tv Morning Joe MSNBC November 28, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PST
and i guess i should ask you, what do you think i'll learn from it? >> you're the national -- how many in this room speak arabic? >> you don't have access to an interpreter? >> you said me directly. what else would i learn from it? [ speaking foreign language ]. >> that was first president trump's national security adviser, john bolton, yesterday and president obama's former security adviser john brennen. brennen had had his security stripped last august. we will get to that and much
more including several big developments in the russia probe. why the names julian assange and donald trump jr. are back in the headlines. plus, the president says his gut tells him more b than anyone's brain. and republicans hold on to that last undecided senate seat while house democrats are prepping a full-court press this january. welcome to "morning joe" on this wednesday, november 28th. i'm willie geist alongside heidi prisbella, mike barnacle, eddie gloud jr. and rick tyler. how are we doing this morning? >> good. >> ready to go? >> yes. >> we've got a lot to get to. >> sort of okay. >> it's a slow roll for barnacle. probably about 7:30 he's ready to go. >> let's start with the new in the mueller probe in just a
moment. but first, republican senator cindy hyde-smith is the projected win he ner of mississippi's runoff. hyde-smith won yesterday's election with 54% of the vote to become the first woman elected to congress from mississippi. she will serve out the remaining two years of thad cochran's turn with the seat returning to the ballot in 2020. hyde-smith was appointed to replace cochran earlier this year after he resigned. republicans now will hold a 53/47 majority in the senate in january. that is a net gain for republicans of two seats. so let's go right to the big board where we find steve kornacki. steve, how did cindy hyde-smith do it? >> you can see that nine hours ago i was sitting here and thinking, things are looking surprisingly interesting in mississippi. >> steve, we don't have your
mike at the moment. so we'll get you a microphone which is always important when making television and we'll get right back to you in just a second. eddie, let me talk to you. mississippi native. we've been talking about this for many months. it was always a long shot. it was always an uphill climb for mike espy. what do you think was the difference in this race? the spread was about 8 to 10 it turned out to be points. >> he was at home for thanksgiving and family members were canvassing and there were mixed results. obviously, cindy hyde-smith won the coast. we knew he had to have a large turnout among african-american voters and we knew there had to be a depressed turnout among republicans. what we saw is trump's presence in mississippi helped the turnout, particularly in rural areas of mississippi.
but i think this is really important to say this, that espy ran a campaign to suggest the future of mississippi, that the coalition he built suggests that mississippi along with georgia, along with texas, along with florida, that the south is changing. and it's changing in a way that suggests that the country broadly is changing. but let's put it this way, too, willie. 52% of mississippians are poor. 59% of mississippi's children. i didn't say black people. i said 59% of mississippi's children are poor. what we need to do is look at what cindy hyde-smith's policies are with regard to health care, with regard to living wage. we need to understand what she represents. this is the last -- i think the the last breath of the inheritors of the plantation class that exploited mississippi for generations. i'm beginning to see something here. maybe that's me being hopeful, but i think something is happening. >> don't you think the expectations were a little built up based on the alabama race
where you had a uniquely flawed candidate in roy moore that you cannot transfer what happened in alabama to mississippi and you cannot win simply by ginning up the african-american base. the third factor has to be the crossover votes, the suburban educated voters and that block really wasn't there. >> well, true. i think some people were comparing it to alabama. but i think folks knew that he had a hard road ahead of him, that this was a long shot. but given the demographics of the state, they are the majority. that's not right or left. that's just right or wrong.
>> steve, pick it up for us. >> interesting thing. you start talking about those suburban voters there. we saw some of these national stories we talk about all the time start to play themselves out in mississippi last night. i was starting to say, that's why it got interesting early in the night and political gravity reasserted itself. desoto county, hyde-smith wins it 59/41. but check this out. that was a 10-point jump from mike espy from what hillary clinton did and a 10-point jump from what barack obama was able to do in 2012 and 2012 was about as good as it's gotten now for a democrat in mississippi. so we start to look at that and say, look, if espy is starting to overperform there in mississippi, that's a new piece of it from democrat. add in strong support from black
voters and third you would need hyde-smith for the republican vote there in the rural areas. you would need that to be down a little bit. you would need her number to be dented a little bit. that's the thing that didn't happen for democrats in mississippi, particularly in the northeast part of the state. hide-smith was getting big turnout. she had getting much higher support than mitt romney got in 2012. she was getting very close to the donald trump level. this is that other national dynamic we talk about all the time in the trump era. that is predominantly rural white voters. so the democratic growth in the suburbs, residual republican strength in the rural areas, what it adds up to in mississippi for democrats is there are some pockets. we say outside memphis, madison county is another one. there was a jump here. espy got 46%, lit clinton got 41. so there were some suburbs in mississippi that could get espy closer than a democrat normally
does. they just ran out. not enough suburbs in mississippi for them. >> steve kornacki, thanks very much. rick tyler, given what happened in the house where there was a wave, 40 seats at this point, what happened on the state level, the senate republicans picked up a couple of seats, 53/ 47 is the margin. now that we have the midterms in the books, what are your broad thoughts? >> it was a wipeout for republicans. the senate map was like winning the lottery. so the senate map was very good for the republicans. but let me say this about cindy hyde-smith. i would like to share eddie's optimism, but i'm not sure i do. cindy hyde-smith was a terrible candidate. she was very gaffe prone. she's policy bereft. she wouldn't debate anybody. she doesn't really know anything. and she's part of the red game in the south, which is they retire their senators so the
governors can appoint, which is what happened to cindy hyde-smith, what happened to roger wicker, and they get the same class of people that are part of the establishment and she was put there by the governor and she was supported by mitch mcconnell and that's the kind of candidate that they would pick. i think it's horribly disconcerting. >> but if you play the long game, if you pay attention to how espy campaigned, f democratic party pays attention to what you did in mississippi, talking about health care and education, not just among poor people, but among working people. that's a theme that the democrats can make huge inroads. >> we're going to come back to mississippi. we've got breaking news according to paul manafort and mueller. manafort's attorney has been
briefing the president's lawyers with his meetings about the special counsel's teams. manafort's attorney repeatedly briefed the president's attorneys with meetings with mueller's team. according to the report, rudy giuliani, one of the president's personal lawyers, acknowledged the arrangement on tuesday and defensed it as a source of valuable insight into the special counsel's inquiry and where it was headed. giuliani said in one example that manafort's lawyer told him prosecutors hammered away as whether the president knew about the infamous june 2016 trump tower meeting. quote, he wants manafort to incriminate trump mr. giuliani declared of mr. mueller. this news comes one day after we learned the special counsel wants to scrap manafort's plea deal, claiming the former trump campaign chairman repeatedly lied to investigators, a claim manafort denies. let's bring in anna scheckter
with new reporting on the probe and she interviewed jerome corsi yesterday. we'll get to that in a moment. but first, this development about manafort's tourneys basically briefing him and filling them in on what mueller was after. >> well, i think this speaks directly to what we've known for a long time, which is that a pardon was really what manafort was looking for. and this just bolsters that. it's just clear that that was the plan from day one and it continued even after those plea negotiations began. >> so manafort had to know that mueller was going to find out one way or another, right? that he was going to go back and his attorneys were talking to the president's attorneys. is that all he was going for was the pardon because he knows he's been incriminated in some way and so now his only way out of
this thing was to help president trump? >> it certainly appears that way, that that is what he was going for. >> it's pretty astounding to a guy who agreed to a plea deal, to do the opposite and work with the president's side. >> it's fairley common in cases where you are several defendants on a joint indictment that their lawyers communicate with one another. it's highly unusual for someone who has cut a plea deal and separated themselves from other defendants to continue cooperating like that. the interesting question, anna, i think not only to me but to others, is how close to they come to witness tampering in this case? i he mean, it's kind of extraordinary. >> that's a great question, but we've seen rudy giuliani do these bizarre things and he continues to say, well, there was nothing illegal about it. so that argument keeps coming up and yet here is another example of that. >> anna, is the pardon really
the end game here? i just feel like there's something else missing. because if you read a lot of the coverage around this, manafort faces all kinds of crimes from which trump cannot protect hill, like money laundering and financial crimes, that there's something missing here in terms of why manafort would take this risk of lying to the special prosecutor. you don't lie to mueller because you get caught. so what is it, do you think, that is missing here in the big picture? >> mr. manafort is in a world of hurt. he is in hot water. and prosecutors can throw so much -- probably throw so much more at him. they've already thrown so much at him. so it's unclear what his strategy is. he's a dis-pratt person -- desp person at this point. he could be going for anything, but it does seem that currying faf with president trump is his.top priority at this point. >> we're getting new details about what roger stone
associate, corsi, knew about the wikileaks dumps. nbc news has object stained information. included in that document are e-mails from c orsi to stone sem to go anticipate the e-mail dump. corsi writes, word is friend in embassy plans two more jumps, referring to julian assange, adding one shortly after i'm back. second in october. impact planned to be very damaging. he also wrote time to let more than john podesta to be sxloexp. corsi scrubbed his computer between mid january and early march of last year deleting all e-mail correspondence that predated october 11th, 2016,
including the messages with stone about wikileaks. corsi said he guested about the podesta e-mail dump and just happened the to be right. >> i believe these podesta e-mails would destroy hillary. why did i think they were coming out in october? because i said to myself, if i had these e-mails, i'm use them as the october surprise. >> but you didn't know that at the time, did you? >> this is speculation. >> well, you didn't exactly write to him that it would be -- >> no, i did, though, explain that to hill. there's some phone conversations i had with him. >> so he essentially told stone exactly what was going to happen? >> yes. what i told the special are prosecutor was i thought i was giving roger a cover story. in other words, i was allowing him to have an alternative explanation for why he said podesta is going to be in the barrel based on my research on
podesta. >> so you were telling him that he could use this story even if it wasn't true? >> absolutely. >> the court papers show mueller sent corsi a draft plea agreement. it stipulated the special counsel would request a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty of lying to investigators. c a corsi says he rejected the deal. anna, i want to take a quick step back and explain who jerome corsi is. he's an author, a conspiracy theorist, and why he's significant on to this russia story. >> that's right. he created this myth that president barack obama was not born in the united states and he maintains that to this day. he's written 20 books on other conspiracy theories. he goes after democrats. he considers himself an opposition researchers, an investigative journalist and democrats are his target. and it seems to me he just
cannot help himself with the conspiracy theory. even speaking with him yesterday. he was telling me that he didn't think that the russians were actually behind the dnc e-mail hacks, despite multiple intelligence agencies saying so. >> so what is his relationship, then, to wikileaks? why would he be a conduit? >> jerm ro jerome corsi was in an inner circle with roger stone and to the left characters that were interested to find out exactly what assange had. corsi told me yesterday he would have been happy to get on a plane and meet with assange. >> how does he explain those e-mails? those are very explicit and
specific. >> he says he read the july 22nd e-mail dump, the first dnc e-mail dump, noticed that there were very few john podesta e-mails in that load of e-mails and deduced that the october surprise was going to be john podesta's e-mails -- >> i can see a lot of skepticism on faces around this table. >> i looked at him and i said -- well, prosecutors, we're extremely skeptical, as well. he told me they were essentially laughing at him. jeanie said so you're telling me you're on a plane with your wife for your 25th anniversary and god just told you that this is what happened? and he said yes. >> from the e-mails, he's ordering corsi here. let's just read this one from july 25th. he says get to, air quotes, with assange at ecuadoran embassy in london and get the pending wicky he leaks e-mails.
>> that's stone to corsi. >> stone to corsi. word is very damaging. none of this was public information. in materials of the definition of collusion, it was weeks later that these wikileaks e-mails were sent out in a very coordinated, highly effective fashion just within hours of the access hollywood tapes and that then, again, just to remind people who are old enough to remember, the president used wikileaks to maximum effect within the final closing weeks of the campaign. so what is the remaining question here about collusion? simply what the president knew because we have a preclear idea here from the e-mails of what was going on with everyone around him. >> there's the burden of proof of showing that members of the trump campaign actually knew about it. corsi told me he assumed that stone would have passed that information on. he doesn't think that's illegal.
he would have hoped he passed that information on. stone, of course, says he had no advanced knowledge of exactly what wikileaks was going to do, that he did learn things from randy credico, that he did not collude in any way and his lawyers told me he's not worried about this part of it. >> there's a couple of things to take from anna's interview with corsi. first of all, the baseline on corsi is he is a guy who believes the moon landing was staged, that it was faked, okay.? the second thing is, he's been around for years, as anna alluded to. >> was he behind info wars? >> he was the washington bureau chief of info wars. >> and off of this interview, you could indict him as soon as the lights went off on the interview. that's how limited the guy really is. the guy is totally irrational. but the important point is, he, roger stone and others are the kinds of people around donald
trump. that's the most important point, i think. >> great point. >> i think that's an important point. let's not forget. these are con men and -- but -- >> drifters. >> i don't think corsi is irrational. i don't know him, but my sense of him is he pedals in an industry and when you pedal in conspiracy, you write things that lend people to believe in conspiracy. i don't know whether he connected with assange or not. my idea is probably he didn't. but in a way, they hit the jackpot, although this one is -- they also turned up the death card here. and it just happens to match because you -- if you read the e-mails, it's all of that conspiracy language. it isn't specific. it talks about dumps, you know, e-mail dumps and these are going to be damaging, but it doesn't really say what he's dumping.
no one really knows. then it comes out. all the language is that conspiracy language. it's hysterically funny if you're not prone to conspiracy theories like the president is. so i don't know -- how do you interview something like this, these people that none of them can tell the truth how do you know what to believe? >> that's a great question. i've spent a long time with jerry corsi over the past month talking to him multiple times. and i have to say what is astonishing to me is that the court papers back up what he's been telling me all along in terms of what specific prosecutors were doing with his lawyer, the negotiations, the timing of the plea negotiations. so there has been that grain of truth throughout. so it was fantastic to get these court documents, which is really usual and we can see exactly the government's case, what they were laying out against him. and what they're getting him on,
what they're trying to get him to plead to is that in his first meeting in september with investigators, that he lied to them. he said he didn't remember any of these e-mails. once they presented him a week later with the binder of e-mails, they said stone was urging you to get their london far right writer friend to go because it was easier to get some guy in london to go and coresy forwarded the e-mail to the guy in london to get him to go to the ecuadoran embassy. >> mueller is looking at collusion. but has bob mueller, to the extent you've heard, made a
connection from roger stone and jerome coresy who can say we're free agents, we were working outside the campaign on his behalf, have they made a connection to the trump campaign which is what they would have to do to find collusion? >> the court papers show that hasn't happened yet. mueller might have that, but they're trying to get him to plea to lying to investigators, mott to colluding with wikileaks and transporting that information to the trump campaign. they might have a lot more on coresy that we don't know about, so it remains to be seen. >> fascinating interview. the whole thing will be on nbc news..com with jerome coresy. great work, anna. good to see you. >> thanks for having me. still ahead, we'll hear from "the washington post" reporter who sat down in the white house with president trump yesterday.
phil rucker joins us next and it was a doozy. plus, president trump is set to meet with vladimir putin. that's where we find nbc's chief foreign correspondent richel engle and he joins us next with the very latest including his interview with the president of ukraine. but first, bill karins has a check of the forecast. >> people in florida are even complaining about the cold. this is the coldest air of the season for our friends in florida. people in atlanta, your wheelchair windchill in atlanta is 17. there's no snow, no ice or anything like that. just cold. all the snow and ice is all located in northern new england and through western portions of new york state. another couple of inches are possible especially from buffalo southwards. yesterday, you got nailed. some areas got over a foot of snow.
we'll continue to watch that additional snowfall, again, not too big of a deal. you win today in dallas. 70 degrees and sunny. we got another big rain storm heading into the west. i don't think it's going to cause too many problems, but this time we're going to get rain into central california today. tomorrow into central los angeles. we had about a month ago fires in the area. we'll have to see if we get any mud and debris flows. we're welcoming all the wet weather in areas of the west. we're living you with a 30 rock christmas tree. should be just about perfect. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. we've frozen out...out... and forgotten... by a white house and washington mired in special-interests politics. but we can take our country back with a democratic agenda for the people. that means lowering
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week for the g20 summit which is scheduled to include a sideline sit down with russia's vladimir putin. however, the president said yesterday that the putin meeting may not happen due to the latest instance of russian aggression aimed at ukraine. in an interview yesterday, with "the washington post," the president said he was getting a, quote, full report on the incident yesterday evening adding that will be determinative. maybe that won't have the meeting with putin we're going to see. the president continued, i don't like that aggression. i don't like that aggression at all, absolutely. by the way, europe shouldn't like that aggression. they're paying 1% and they're supposed to be paying much more than 1%. joining us now live from kiev,
ukraine, richard engle. yesterday you sat down with an exclusive interview with the russian president. what is his reaction. >> the president is sounding the alarm. he does not think what happened, that it is some ukrainian vessels that wandered into the part of shared territorial waters. he thinks this is part of an escalating campaign. he sat down with me and sounded this alarm and he wants the world to know that this could escalate. >> ukrainian president poroshenko in kiev didn't mince wordser warning of a fight with russia. >> we will fight for our soil.
russia will pay a huge price if they attack us. >> poroshenko says this may have been the opening shots of a new campaign when last sunday russian ships rammed and seized three ukrainian vessels and their crew. >> in 2014, russian forces took over crimea. are we seeing a repeat of the same thing but instead of taking land, they're trying to take the sea? >> you are absolutely right. so now they want to put control on the sea. this is the real purpose of russia, occupation of the sea. >> russia says ukrainian sailors entered russian territorial waters despite warnings. after sunday's clash, poroshenko imposed martial law in areas along the russian boarder. >> to protect our country. >> president trump is expected to meet with vladimir putin at the g20 summit which is coming up very soon. what message would you like president trump to deliver to vladimir putin? >> please, get out from ukraine.
>> i think for me, the key line in the interview was occupation of the sea. 4 1/2 years ago, russia took over crimea. and now the ukrainian government believes that russia is trying to take over the sea which is a vital waterway for this country. in fact, 40% of ukraine's exports pass through the azov sea. so if russia were to take control of that waterway, it could cripple this country. >> and president trump will get that chance in a couple of days, face-to-face with vladimir putin to make that statement. richard engle, thank you very much. let's bring in one of the reporters who conducted that interview. phillip rucker. there's so many places we could start, khashoggi, the mueller investigation, the fed chair, climate change. what jumped out at you as you
sat across from the president first ? >> first we asked him about the stock market, the koclosure of e gm plants. and he went immediately into an attack on the fed chairman, jay powell, said that the fed policies are wrong. he said that he is not a little bit happy with his choice in powell to be the chairman of the central bank and went after powell again and again. the other thing that jumped out was he had a fairley discursive answer explaining why he he does not believe the government's national climate report from last week. this is the report, a sobering and alarming report by his own administration predicting the impacts of climate change, the economic impacts.
he said, look, i have a lot of intelligence, but i'm just not a believer. he went off on some tangents talking about the california wildfires, as well. but he said global warming is not manmade, he doesn't see it that way. >> the president said, quote, one of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have high levels of intelligence, but we're not necessarily such believers in climate change. you look at our air and our water and it's right now at a record clean. he we know on as to whether or not it's manmade and whether or not the effects that you're talking about are there. i don't see it. pretty clear, mike, from the president. doesn't believe in climate change. >> yeah. it was one more incredibly at one level revealing introduce with donald trump about climate change, about vlad meeimir puti. but, phil, i'm going to pretend i'm calling you from "the washington post" and you just sent the article in. can you tell us, eye contact,
was he making eye contact with you? did you have any notes in front of him? what was his mood? did he have angry at any times during this interview? >> that's great, mike. we're going to be writing a little bit more about that later today so stay tuned on our website. but, look, he was his normal self. he's charming and charismatic and wants you to like him. he said no notes in front of hill. he did have aides, both sarah sanders and bill shine as well as kellyanne conway, counselor to the president, sat alongside us next to the oval office. and the president in one area was particularly unusually disciplined when we asked him about the latest developments in the mueller probe, the russia investigation, and the news about paul manafort. he refused to talk about that on the record. he said, look, i am not going to get in the middle of that situation. he talked to us at length about it off the record and shared his views, but when we pressed him, if we could share any of those comments with the public on the record, he said no and that
seemed to be him following direction from his staff. >> phil, he seems to say here that the cia did not affirmatively say that the crown prince of saudi arabia was involved in the killing of khashoggi, but we've all read the reporting that says that the cia did conclude that mbs was at least aware of it. i'm just curious, did you push back on him at all? and how does he respond when you push back to him on things like this that are actually demonstrably false? >> well, he's trying to mislead there. his statement about the murder of khashoggi has been maybe the saudis did it, maybe they didn't. he seems to be denying some of the evidence this is very to the experts at the cia who have briefed leaders in congress. they arrived at a high
confidence assessment, that the crown prince mohammed bin salman ordered the killing of the crown prince. president trump said look, the crown prince told me repeatedly that he had nothing to do with this. maybe he did it, maybe he didn't, and trump went on to say potentially he could visit with the crown prince at the g20 summit in argentina later this week. he's going to be getting down there on thursday. he said there's no schedule meeting with mbs, but that he would certainly talk to him if he sees him. >> in this interview, the president takes the same approach with mbs that he's taken with vladimir putin. he said maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but he denies it. phil, an incredible interview. when you asked about the mueller probe, he says he has no intention of shutting it down, but he did express his frustration with the length of
that investigation. thanks so much. still ahead this morning, the oval office was a crowded place yesterday. the authors of the political playbook spoke with president trump and jake sherman joins us with those details next on "morning joe." you're in the business of helping people. we're in the business of helping you. business loans for eligible card members up to fifty thousand dollars, decided in as little as 60 seconds. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it. but in my mind i'm still 35. that's why i take osteo bi-flex to keep me moving the way i was made to. it nourishes and strengthens my joints for the long-term.
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do you think that the $5 billion request by the president is unreasonable? >> they haven't even spent the $1.3 billion. they haven't spent a penny of the $1.3 billion they requested in last year's budget. >> are you shutting the door to anything above -- >> this is our position. we're not negotiating in the press. this is our position. >> joining us now, senior writer of politico, the coauthor of the playbook jake sherman. he sat down yesterday even with president trump in the oval office to discuss how he plans to get the border wall funded one of the key campaign promises. jake, good morning. so you heard chuck schumer saying we're not going above $1.6 billion. the president wants $5 billion for the border wall. quoting from your interview, the
president is seeing the wall through a political lens. sometimes his inner thoughts come out in an interview. >> it's stunning. phil rucker and josh bossi interview the president yesterday morning. at 2:30 p.m. yesterday, trump met with the house republican leadership. anna and i came into the oval office shortly after that meeting and the president said he is not backing off the $5 billion. he had indicated to josh and phil he said some wiggle room on that. and i think it's an important thing to note. the president is now being backed up by republican leaders. they're basically saying we want this $a5 billion and we're willing to shut the president down. the president told us that yesterday, he is very willing to shut the government down. the president has long been convinced by his capitol hill allies that this is not a winning political fight. he now seems to believe that it is a winning political fight and it looks like he's going to go to the mat for it.
he sees the $5 billion as being just for the wall with additional money to come for other border security measures. so we're in unchartered territory in this fight which is the government shuts down next froi. so we're nine days away from a shutdown. the two sides are billions of dollars apart and i don't -- from my decade of covering congress, i don't -- i really don't believe there's any road map at this moment to get out of this fight. >> but, jake, it's heidi. i feel like we've been here before. >> we have. >> and that the issue is really that trump wants the issue. it's nos nt necessarily about t hard and fast dollar amount. and since we've been here before, we can maybe guess what the ending is here and that is that we throw a little bit more money at the border wall and maybe it's spread out over several more years, ultimately allowing him to say after five,
teb years, whatever the time frame is, that he does get his $5 billion. is there a what this is? >> i don't think so, heidi, for a couple of reasons. i think there's a chance they could spread this money out over time. i think that is a possibility. the president in a meeting yesterday said he didn't like that plan, but he might be okay with it according to the people i spoke to this morning. but let's remember in about 30 days, congress switches over to democratic control, the house does, that is. and the president is experiencing the last kind of gasp of all republican washington. and i think he really feels like he has put off this fight now for 24 months. there is no ambiguity in the 2016 campaign that the president had said he was going to build a border wall. he said mexico is going to pay for it. that turns out not to be the case, quite clearly. but i do think he believes that he's been putting off this fight at the request of his allies on capitol hill and it's time to have this fight.
i think that's really clear from my conversation with him and from the conversations i've had with people like jim jordan and mark meadows and kevin mccarthy and steve scalise is that this is the time they need to have this fight. he knows he's not going to get it in the future. to be honest with you, i think it's going to be difficult for nancy pelosi to be anywhere near this deal. she has a speaker election january 3rd. she can't have her hands on a deal to build a border wall with mexico when she's getting flack from her left wing. >> rick. >> jake, let's say the president goes all the way to the wall on this one, pardon the pun, and goes with his highly intelligent brain and his gut and uses this as a caravan and has a stunning result as he did in the last election. so he wants to use this as an issue. but what are republicans on the hill telling you about this? they saw what happened to their colleagues in the house p.
who would get the blame if the government were to shut down sflp. >> i do think that the blame for a shutdown is vastly overstated. not based on anything besides evidence. in 2013, republicans shut down the government. in 2014 they gained seats in the house and won the senate. so there's not aen ton of evidence in recent years that shutdowns hurt politically, especially this far away from an election. that being said, the house and the senate are two different issues at this moment. the house has gotten far more conservative in the last couple of years than the senate. republicans have a tough map in the senate in 2020. but there is basically no issue. moderates have been wiped out. california republicans kevin mccarthy's delegation has been decimated and is a thing of the past. so you're now left with a very red house republican conference that can can stand these fights and that's good for president trump. i think he sees this, as he said, as a winning campaign issue. he thinks, again, he won in 2016
based on restrictive immigration policies. that's the way he sees it and that's the way his allies on the hill see it. >> here is the quote again from jake's interview with the president talking about the border i will tell you politically speaking, the issue is a total winner. "politico's" jake sherman. thanks so much, jake. coming up, we will talk to one of the lawmakers trying to bring a bipartisan bill to the floor to protect special counsel bob mueller. chris coons joins us when "morning joe" comes back. (chime)
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i am very likely to run for president and i've said that and, you know, if i decide to do it, then i'm going to go -- >> when are you making the jump? >> as much as i'd love to break the news tonight here, i will do that in texas. >> when are you going to decide? >> i will decide before the end of the year. i'm going to decide before december. >> chris almost got him to do it. sounds like you will join julian castro into the mix. that comes as another texas democrat, beto o'rourke, seems to be toying with the add as well. welcome back to "morning joe." we have nbc news national political reporter heidi przybyla, eddie glaude jr., rick tyler and joining our conversation political writer for the "new york times" and msnbc nbc political analyst nick confessore, former assistant united states attorney for the
tourn district of new york, an msnbc nbc legal analyst daniel goldman and host of ckdc on msnbc nbc kasie hunt. joe and mika have the morning off. dan, the breaking news concerning paul manafort and robert mueller's russia probe. according to new reporting from "the new york times," manafort's attorney has been briefing president trump's lawyers about his meetings with the special counsel's team. the report claims manafort's lawyer repeatedly briefed trump's legal team on his discussions with federal investigators even after manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel. that is according to one of mr. trump's lawyers and two people familiar with the conversations. according to the report ruddy skrul yaen acknowledged the arrangement on tuesday and defended it as a source of valuable insight into the special counsel's inquiry and where it was headed. giuliani said in one example that manafort's lawyer had told them prosecutors hammered away
at whether the president knew about the infamous june 2016 trump tower meeting. quote, he wants manafort to incriminate trump. mr. giuliani said of mr. mueller. this news comes just one day after we learned the special counsel wants to scrap manafort's plea deal, claiming the former trump campaign chairman had repeatedly lied to investigators, that is a claim that manafort denies. okay, dan, so let's just lay this out in plain terms. what you have is in paul manafort someone who after he struck a plea deal with the special counsel still has his attorneys feeding information back to president trump about what bob mueller is after in his investigation. as a former prosecutor is this something you've seen before? >> no, it's almost unheard of. i guess sometimes you might have a cooperating witness notify another good friend that you're targeting that the feds are coming for them, but to have lawyers communicating like this
as a sort of inside informant into the investigation going back to the lawyer for a subject of the investigation is obviously improper, it's reason enough right there and then for the special counsel to end paul manafort's cooperation and it may be illegal, depending on whether there is obstruction of justice or witness tampering coming from the president and his lawyers. >> what do you suspect paul manafort is up to here? he has already made the deal, he thinks he has saved his hide to some extent and yet after he makes the deal -- and he knows bob mueller is going to find out he's doing this, knowing all that he still authorizes his lawyer to talk with president trump's team. >> i think he's trying to have it both ways. he figures i can try to get my sentencing reduction by pulling a fast one over on the prosecutors and i can keep my option open with the president of getting a pardon if the
potentially that comes down the line. it is incredibly stupid and he now is facing the rest of his life in jail, unless he gets a pardon, but now we know that he was giving information about trump and that the special counsel is interested, of course, in trump. it becomes much more politically difficult for donald trump to pardon paul manafort. if he were to do that right now, you know that the reason is because paul manafort was his inside guy, and it is just beyond any scope and realm of propriety for the president to do something like that. >> do you suspect as you look at this, let's pull back a little bit, that information that paul manafort's attorney passed to president trump's attorneys could have impacted the way president trump answered all of those written questions he received from the special counsel? >> absolutely. of course it could. imagine if you're responding to questions and what's very important in any investigation
is to try to get truthful answers that are the best recollections of that individual. imagine if you know what other people are saying, what they're asking other people and you're able to tailor your answers exactly to the information you know. rudy giuliani says this is a valuable source of information. of course it is. yes, it's the inside information you have as a subject of the investigation about what they're looking at related to you. of course it's valuable information, it is also incredibly improper. >> rudy giuliani straight owns up to it. >> rudy giuliani has not been the most helpful surrogate throughout this entire process, dan, aren't there certain charges -- maybe you can walk us through it -- that manafort faces which trump cannot protect him from, including money laundering and tax fraud and all of the things that would be taken out of the federal
jurisdiction where he can't help him, trump can't help him? >> the real reason why paul manafort's path here is irrational and flat out stupid is that he admitted to all of these crimes in a very lengthy statement of offense where he admitted it under oath. if he were to be pardoned and let's say that happens, a state prosecutor in virginia walks that statement of offense into court and charges him with tax fraud. a state prosecutor in new york talks that statement of offense into court and charges him with bank fraud and other crimes. so he may get out of federal prison, but he will likely just go into state prison. >> on top of that he has already given them the key to his piggy bank, right, to his lockbox. he has written in this plea deal you can have all my stuff if the cooperation fails, you know, the court can go after his assets
through civil procedure, right, danny? >> that's right. >> it's possible that he gets a pardon and stays out of the federal clink, but he will be broke in the end. >> the assets are essentially gone. >> yeah. >> he is not getting those back, even if he gets pardoned. >> talk about -- manafort would have had to have offered mueller something to get the plea deal in the first place. what is it that he would have offered and now he's saying he's lying about? in other words, i mean, i think there is a strategy of kill the alligator that's closest to the boat for mueller. but what is it that he offered because he would have had to have thrown somebody under the bus? >> presumably the president. >> so he likely gave a taste to mueller of the types of things that he could enlighten them about. he is the top person who has pled guilty so far, the campaign chairman. there certainly is information -- >> those are unrelated to '16 events what he has pled guilty
to, is that true or is there more? >> yes, he has only pled guilty to the charges that did not arise out of the campaign. that's correct. but they would be interested in the information he has on 2016. the weird thing about the dynamic that existed with paul manafort is that because of the timing of his trial coming up, they didn't have time to debrief him before he pled guilty. ordinarily when you have someone like paul manafort who is a defendant, you meet with them many, many, many times and you determine before they plead guilty whether he is truthful, whether you can rely on them, whether he has good information and then you enter into a cooperation agreement. they did the reverse here because of the timing of it and then after he pled guilty, after he admitted to all of this then they realized that he can't be relied on, he's not truthful. >> the special counsel's investigation is one lane, but the house also is looking into russian interference in the election and democrats soon will lead the intel committee in the house, one of their first
targets may be a blocked phone number in donald trump jr.'s phone records as the committee investigates possible ties between the trump campaign and russia. congressman adam schiff told "usa today" the committee will have to prioritize the most important witnesses and records that republicans had blocked democrats from pursuing. schiff said the clearest example of that obstruction is phone records that would show whether the blocked phone number logged as trump jr. belonged to them presidential candidate donald trump. in june 2016 trump's son arranged a meeting after being promised dirt on hillary clinton. trump jr. at first said he never told his father about that meeting and then told senate investigators he could not recall who he spoke with that night. so, kasie hunt, devin nunes in a matter of seven and a half, eight weeks will no longer be sitting as the chair of the intel committee, that will be adam schiff. adam schiff has been dogged in his pursuit of a relationship between the trump campaign and russia and it appears we have
the first indication of where he'll start. >> and his profile has been very much elevated as a result and he is somebody that speaks on behalf of democratic leadership in many ways. i do think you are seeing him walk this careful line that democrats are going to have to walk, and we should note that he is very close to nancy pelosi who has talked about some of this. they are going to have to make sure that they don't -- they are not seen as overreaching and i think you can see that strategy in what schiff has been talking about. he's also talked about focusing on money laundering and there have been some reports that the committee is going to staff up on people that may be able to look into the trump organization's financial ties and perhaps make some connections between the president's personal business and financial interests and some of what played out throughout the course of the election. i think that one story that you highlighted about this blocked phone number, that lines right up with what mueller is folk seng on. we know that, you know, who knew about that trump tower meeting, that's what he's digging into in all of this latest reporting.
clearly there are some leads the democrats will be able to follow that they weren't able to about ever. >> how difficult would it be to figure out what that blocked number was because that phone call has become almost legendary at this point. who did donald trump jr. speak to about the meeting of 2016. >> i bet bob mueller already knows because you can get the phone records from both sides. well, he at least knows whether it's the president or not because you can get the number on trump's side, the president's side, and you can see if there's the call that matches up and those phone records would have been subpoenaed early on in the investigation. >> what are the implications if that is, in fact, the president's phone number? >> two things, one, don jr. lied to congress so there's perjury right there, and, two, is that really for the first time it would place the president right in the middle of the ongoing collusion. we know certainly he learned
about it after at some point, but there has been no reporting that i'm aware of that he was aware of these efforts by -- to get information from russia that would be valuable to the campaign. >> dan, just to clarify, there was a call to the blocked number both before the trump tower meeting and after or was it just after or just before? do we know that? >> i think as i recall there are two calls that don jr. makes to the same number i think before and maybe even during, but that there's somewhere in the middle there is one blocked call right around or during the meeting, i think maybe it was shortly after the meeting. >> can i just sad i know from my own reporting that it was hours later that the president went down the street and went to a luncheon where he was with paul manafort who, of course, is another main player who was in that meeting. >> and this is the problem that bob mueller has with manafort going south is that donald trump
didn't use e-mail and so paul manafort was in that meeting. if paul manafort relayed the information about that meeting in person to donald trump, that would have been really valuable information to bob mueller -- for bob mueller to have, but because they are ripping up his cooperation agreement, he is no longer cooperating with him, that is essentially null and void evidence. you can't use that going forward. >> so, eddie, this is the new universe that the president faces with the house being taken over by democrats. this is the universe he has feared and why he was hoping to keep the house is that people like adam schiff, jerry nadler who takes over the jude shall committee will be all over the russia investigation. >> that's absolutely true and i actually am not concerned and i hope they aren't concerned about overreaching. i hope they go for the truth or go for the jugular, however you want to put it, if the truth is the jugular. part of what i -- and the reason why i say that is because the political calculus of overreach can overshadow the concerns
around democracy. right? at the heart of this issue, at the heart of this concern is the health and well being of our democracy. so i don't want schiff and others to be concerned about overreaching, i want them to get to the truth. >> chase the truth. new details about what roger stone associate jerome corsi allegedly knew about the e-mail dump by wikileaks in 2016. nbc news has obtained draft court papers prepared by special counsel robert mueller that lays out information he has on corsi. included in that document are e-mails from corsi to stone that seem to anticipate the information dump by wikileaks. in one e-mail from early august of 2016, corsi writes, word is friend in embassy plans two more dumps, referring to wikileaks founder julian assange, adding, one shortly after i'm back, second in october, impact plan to be very damaging. corsi also wrote to stone, quote, time to let more than clinton campaign chairman john
podesta to be em to be excess poed as in bed with enemy if they are not willing to drop hillary clinton. in the court papers mueller's team says corsi scrubbed his computer between january and early march of last year, deleting all e-mail correspondence that predated october 11th, 2016, including the messages with stone about wikileaks. speaking with nbc news yesterday corsi said he guessed about the podesta e-mail dump and just happened to be right. >> i believe these podesta e-mails would destroy hillary. why did i think they were coming out in october? because i said to myself if i had these e-mails i'd use them as the october surprise. >> but you didn't know that at the time, did you? >> this is speculation. >> well, you didn't exactly write to him that it would be drip by drip. >> i did, though, explain that to him. there is some phone conversations i had with him -- >> so you essentially told stone
exactly what was going to happen? >> yes. >> what i told the special prosecutor was i thought i was giving roger a cover story, in other words, i was allowing him to have an alternative explanation for why he said podesta will be in the barrel, based on my research on podesta. >> so you were telling him that he could use this story even if it wasn't true. >> absolutely. >> so, nick, the eye rolls on this set were so hard i thought a couple people were going to pass out while he was talking about. he would have you believe that he guessed and wrote in very specific detail in those e-mails there will be one coming when i get back, one in october from, quote, our friend in the embassy talking about julian assange. we talked about who jerome corsi is, he is a conspiracy theorist, long time one of the god fathers of the birther movement, as barnicle pointed out he doesn't believe that the moon landing took place. why is he important to talk about russia here?
>> he lies for a living this guy. i find that that passage there, that was amazing. look, it's an awfully good guess if it was a guess. i will grant him that in 2016 in some parts of conservatism there was a lot of talk and conspiracy theorizing about john podesta and his brother and their lobbying firm. okay. but of all the people you would focus on and have a brainstorm about, for it to be john podesta in the summer of 2016, guess what, the one terrible thing for hillary clinton is going to be john podesta who everyone thinks is probably among the least damaged or toxic people on that campaign. he is a think tank head and a guy who does climate change stuff. to imagine that he is going to be the thing that brings down hillary clinton and to guess what and for it not to be those e-mails makes no sense at all. he is important because he provides theoretically direct
connective tissue between this hacking and the russian plan to subvert our elections and the trump campaign or at least the outer orbit of the trump campaign. you see mueller building this chain of connection from jerome corsi to roger stone and back to the campaign. that's why the trump lawyers were so mad when trump's name was put in this draft filing with course. he. >> dan, this gets back to the heart of the issue we've been debating for months now. what is the definition of collusion if here we have e-mail evidence of a potentially direct bridge between julian assange and individuals around the trump team? trump doesn't use e-mail. at what point do we make a declaration of collusion? >> right. so the crime of collusion is really conspiracy, which bob mueller has charged against the russians in two indictments, it's conspiracy to defraud the united states by essentially
undermining the proper process and procedures and laws of the election. so that's how it would be charged. what's truly remarkable about the jerome corsi stuff is that he actually turned over this information to nbc, it was a draft plea agreement and statement of offense to on solve himself, to show why i did not actually commit false statements of course, the rest of us are far more interested in what the e-mails actually say and what they reveal is that there was additional knowledge that roger stone had prior knowledge of the wikileaks dump. the key person here and the reason why whatever jerome corsi says doesn't really matter is another sort of fringe dark ted malik who is a guy who lives in london who is referenced in the e-mails. he was approached by bob mueller at logan airport and they took his phone and they dumped his phone, everything that was on his phone. they have all that information. as you can imagine you guys have
phones, right, your e-mails are there, your texts are there, there is a lot of good information there. so, a, jerome corsi is likely to get charged with making false statements and i bet ted malik is a critical witness against him, but b, you're now starting to see the sharks circling roger stone and you're starting to see how this case is coming together. whether there are people involved in the campaign and further up who were -- who had knowledge, you know, and roger stone was conspiring with, that still remains an open question. >> so, nick, part of the reason i'm skeptical and i realize that reporters like you and heidi don't have subpoena power, you can't threaten anybody with jail time, but reporters have been really good in digging up stuff, but we've been two years and can we say that it's the holy grail to get that connective tissue between russia and trump, some coordinating event and we don't have it, which leads me to believe all these reporters are looking for it and it's not
there, which leads me to believe mueller might not have it, either. >> without speculating with what he does and does not have, every time he has put some of his findings on paper it turns out he has ten times more than we think he does. we have not seen any charging documents from the mueller team, i believe, that talk about the president's own finances and financial ties and direct relationships with russia or with russians or russian oligarchs. so that to me as a reporter is a big question mark on this that we haven't seen into. it is perfectly possible that all we're going to have is what we have now, which is essentially the russians making like half a dozen passes at the trump campaign and half a dozen different ways, trying to get -- to help them and ultimately, you know, having this leak engineered of damaging documents on hillary clinton, which ended up being pretty important in the campaign. but you could be right, it could be that what we know now is basically the broad outlines of what we will see in the end.
>> all right. a lot to wade through this morning. dan goldman, thanks very much. you never want to be approached at an airport by bob mueller. logan or otherwise. >> or nick. >> no. still ahead on "morning joe," mitch mcconnell says he will block a bill to protect special counsel robert mueller. we will show you his reasoning even as other republicans are pushing for the legislation. for no other reason than to show this vehicle, this is completely gratuitous, but we had to show you there is a giant cow. 6'4" tall, weighs over a ton. he was too about i go to fit into the slaughter house so now he's hanging out with his friends. his size saved his life. "morning joe" is coming right back. (chime)
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and a complimentary first month's payment. this is moving day with the best in-home wifi experience and millions of wifi hotspots to help you stay connected. and this is moving day with reliable service appointments in a two-hour window so you're up and running in no time. show me decorating shows. this is staying connected with xfinity to make moving... simple. easy. awesome. stay connected while you move with the best wifi experience and two-hour appointment windows. click, call or visit a store today. despite president trump's repeated attacks on robert mueller senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is vowing to
stop bipartisan legislation that would protect the special counsel's investigation. mcconnell told reporters again yesterday he would probably block the bill if senators tried to put it up for a vote. >> the president is not going to fire robert mueller, nor do i think he should nor do i think he should not be allowed to finish. we have a lot of things to do to try to finish up this year without taking votes on things that are completely irrelevant to outcomes. >> before mcconnell made those comments the number two senate republican, john cornyn of texas, told reporters party leaders were trying to gauge support for the bill to protect mueller and held open the possibility of bringing it up for a vote. joining us now is one of the senators behind that legislation to protect bob mueller, a member of the judiciary and foreign affairs committees, democratic senator chris coons of delaware. senator, good morning, always
food to see you. you've been behind this right from the beginning. we've asked what gives majority leader mcconnell just confidence that donald trump will not fire bob mueller. he doesn't seem to have much defense besides saying he is no the going to fire him. do you know why he's holding so fast on this? >> i've spoken to many republican senators about why they continue to have confidence that president trump won't suddenly reach out and fire special counsel robert mueller given that president trump just yesterday was tweeting that the mueller investigation with a rigged witch-hunt run by dang ri democrats. i don't know what would give me the idea that president trump might suddenly do something unpredictable except that he does it almost every day. >> how do they explain it? >> they don't have an answer other than, well, it would be a bad thing to do so it won't happen. this is the easiest way possible to prevent an entirely predictable constitutional crisis. when i press my friends who are
republican senators and leaders and say what would we do if he were to abruptly fire robert mueller, they say, well, it's not going to happen. this is a simple step. i am grateful that senator flake continues to have a good partner in this. he and i will be on the floor of the senate later today once again asking for a live unanimous consent. we could take up and pass this bill in a few minutes this afternoon and i'm confident it would get 60 votes. >> senator, let's not forget the president has put in an kting attorney general who has been openly hostile toot mueller investigation in public comments, volumes he has written as well. has that added any layer of urgency tomorrow so of your republican colleagues. we've heard john cornyn now perhaps open to the possibility of voting for this? >> absolutely. a number of senators of both parties have privately agreed that whitaker is a less reliable supervisor and may well stumble into interfering with the mueller investigation or may do it intentionally. here is one of the things that worries me the most, which will
yeah, we wouldn't know until after he had taken steps that would constrain the mueller investigation in ways that would prevent it from concluding appropriately. so i think there's a number of steps here that have been taken recently, the abrupt forced resignation of attorney general sessions, his replacement not by rod rosenstein who should have succeeded him under the relevant statute but by matt whitaker a political appointee and as you just referenced the things that whitaker said last year about the mueller investigation and the things president trump continues to say and to tweet, all of that gives me significant reason for concern. this bill passed the judiciary committee by a strong bipartisan vote of 14-7 back in april, it's time to take it up and pass it. >> senator, kasie hunt has a question for you. >> senator, good morning. good to see you. mitch mcconnell said yesterday at his news conference that it's likely he will go to the floor and block your unanimous consent request to have a vote on this protection bill. so if that does happen i'm
curious are the conversations about trying to attach this legislation to the end of the year spending bill still alive? is that still something that you're considering and do you think democrats would be willing to potentially hold up that bill over this legislation? >> well, kasie, we are not there yet and what i think the republican majority leader ought to do is simply allow us to have a vote and move forward. senator flake i will remind you has steadfastly refused to vote for any presidential nominee for a judicial post, either in the judiciary committee or on the floor until we get this vote. that gives us some leverage. i appreciate that. and the co-sponsors of the bill are still standing behind it. so i think there's time this week and next for us to consider this issue before we get to the end of year spending bill. i think it's a big mistake for president trump to be cheering on a possible government shutdown over $5 billion more for his wall. kasie, i'm old enough to remember back to when the
mexicans were going to pay for this wall. we appropriated about $1.3 billion last year that hasn't been spent yet on extending the wall. there's about 700 miles of border wall already. like almost every democrat, i have voted for increased investments in border security, but to shut down the government of the united states when republicans control the senate and the house and the white house over a fight about border wall money when they haven't spent the money they've already got seems to me pretty silly. i think we should resolve the mueller bill separately, get it taken up and passed and then work together to resolve our spending issues before the end of this -- before the current bill runs out december 7th. >> senator, at the risk of plunging a substantial portion of our audience into instant depression, i want to ask you about your effort to have this legislation to protect bob mueller once again trying to put it forward. my question is why? why would you do it when the
history of this is you're surrounded in the united states senate by an entire political party who is afraid to say boo to any of the outrages that have out kurd in this presidency over nearly two years. why would you consider to do this when you have these dressing room fighters who go into the cloak room and speak to you, boy, this is awful, this is really awful, chris, we've really got to stop this, then they go out on to the senate floor and do nothing. why? why do you continue to do it? >> because it's my job. i think my job, my role, i think the role all of us are challenged to do here in the senate is to fix real problems and we can see this problem coming at us like a freight train. why do i keep reaching across the aisle, why do i keep trying to edges will late, mike, it's because i don't know what else to do. i could simply attack my colleagues and denounce them or i can reach across the aisle and try and fix a problem that we can all see coming.
i think that's my role here and the way in which i can contribute. i share your deep concerns, at times i get very angry at my colleagues for things they say and do, but i think it's my role and my opportunity here to serve, to work across the aisle and try to find a solution. senator flake a only going to be here serving alongside me a few more ex would. he was willing to step up and take this on and i think that's a great interest iks. >> god bless you. >> senator, it's heidi. let's not accept for a moment that mcconnell has no good reason for blocking this legislation. there are a lot of -- there is a broad cross-section of republicans who actually support this, including grassley, tillis, graham, collins. so speak to us from the heart for a moment. what do you think is really going on and why is mcconnell doing this? do you think that he's trying to protect the president? >> yes. >> that was an easy question. can you elaborate on that? >> well, look, to be fair, there
are some republican senators who have constitutional concerns about this bill. i have discussed those at length with a number of them. i strongly disagree. i wouldn't be sponsoring a bill that i thought had any constitutional infirmities and i'm struck by the fact that as you just reminded us the chairman of the judiciary committee, chuck grassley, a number of other leaders in the republican caucus, lindsey graham, thom tillis, jeff flake all voted for this bill in judiciary. i think frankly at the end of the day leader mcconnell has gotten reassurances from the president that he won't act against mueller, but those assurances are undermined every single day when president trump both tweets untrue criticisms of robert mueller and his investigation and does other things that are unexpected or unconventional or unjustified. his conduct in foreign affairs, some of the ways he speaks and engages with our allies and some of the things he has done domestically. so if i were majority leader of the senate i would be gravely
concerned that there is an imminent constitutional crisis that i had the opportunity to prevent and i would find a way to allow this bill to become law quietly. instead he is going to come to the floor likely and block us today. i wish we weren't having this confrontation, i wish we could simply move forward and protect this investigation which is in everyone's interest. it's in the president's best interest. it's in the country's best interest. so i'm puzzled by why the majority leader continues to do the president's bidding on this, but that's what i think is likely to happen today. my hope is that the investigation will be allowed to work through to its conclusion and its results will be shared with the congress appropriately and then with the public so we all know what comes out of this investigation. >> senator coons, i want to kind of move to another level of abstraction just for a quick connected second. you talked about your anger with your colleagues, you talk about your hope. there is a sense in which we are
awash in hypocrisy and moral deficits seem to kind of be everywhere in the country and you gave some remarks recently about your prayer, what you think of -- what you think about the nation. could you talk about what you see as the moral state of the country and what you were trying to address in that -- in your statements because it seems to me that your anger and your prayer, they seem to go together and i would love for you to talk a little bit about that a little bit more. >> well, thank you. the clip that you're showing now is of a speech i gave last night at new york avenue presbyterian church here in washington. that was abraham lincoln's church, the place where abraham lincoln went to go and pray and to seek some solace and comfort and guidance during the darkest hour of our history when we had a brutal civil war going on, not just sharp partisan speeches on the floor of the senate, but a
violent conflict that took many, many lives all across our country. i was there to talk about the importance of healing, of forgiveness, of addressing our divisions. look, there's real reasons why we're really mad at each other here in the senate. we just finished a difficult divisive election, just before that we had the kavanaugh confirmation hearings and i talked about thanksgiving dinner and what it means for us as a country, to see each other as neighbor, not just those who look like us or sound like us or pray like us, but folks from all backgrounds and how our country was able to heal the wounds of the civil war, but we have lots of unaddressed, unresolved tensions and difficulties. we here in the congress should model more humble behavior, more prayerful behavior, more uniting behavior and not allow the current environment or some of our current national leaders to promote division. we instead should demonstrate
how we're able to work together and to resolve our nation's big challenges. i'm the co-leaders of the weekly prayer breakfast in the senate. one of the reasons i am thrilled to have that opportunity is it's a chance for senators to gather every wednesday morning and listen to each other and trust each other in confidence and in prayer. it's a broad bipartisan gathering that has dozens of senators who participate and i just appreciate the chance to share with your viewers that there are folks here who recognize just how divided we are and how much harder we all need to work to try to address that. >> a lot of people saying amen to that message this morning. thanks so much for being with us, senator chris coons, we appreciate it. still ahead on "morning joe" democrats flipped several republican-held seats in california earlier this month. we will talk to one of the republicans who was caught up in the blue wave. that's next on "morning joe." - [narrator] the typical vacuum head has its limitations,
california heavily targeted by national democrats. denim previously had beaten the odds in a district carried by hillary clinton and by president obama in the last two presidential elections. the retired air force combat veteran and now outgoing four-term congressman joins us now. congressman, good to have you with us this morning. let's talk about your race a little bit. what happened there and more broadly what's going on in the state of california? >> it was a tough race. certainly the most expensive race that i have ever seen. with so few seats at play in california there were a lot of other areas, that were very well organized. close to me was the bay area and there were thousands of people that didn't have anything to campaign for, this he came over to my district and campaigned. so it was a tough fought race. my opponent i think did a great job, it was very vigorous. we've met since then, had a good discussion about the future of the tenth congressional district. >> congressman, i want to ask
you the blue wave that we see now it's clear was cresting in places like california and new jersey and new york where republicans in these blue states were just almost wiped out. i wonder as someone who tried to do some work on dreamer legislation in congress and who is in california, i wonder if you think there are lessons for your party, you know, for the ensuing two years and for the next election about what it means to be tied so closely to president trump's assertion of policy on immigration and if there's a danger for your party here. >> you know, there were certainly some unique issues in this campaign, i would say healthcare was probably the biggest that was used across the country and including in california, but on immigration, it's a difficult issue. i knew that when i took it on. when we pushed the discharge petition i knew how tough it was going to be not only in the primary where it got used go el ninos me, but it also got used against me in the general because we didn't actually accomplish the full reform that we were looking at, but it's still something not only am i
proud of, but something that needs to get done in a bipartisan fashion. our bill was not dissimilar to what the gang of eight bill was that came out of the senate that had every democrat on board. regardless of who is in charge, i think the other party is going to use this as an issue that is very divisive. >> congressman, picking up on what nick said, the republican party in california in particular seems to have a public relations problem, they are getting -- this predates trump, they've been getting wiped out settlement clee for years, the state legislature has been dominated by democrats, the state races have been dominated by democrats. if you had any advice to the republican party of california to be a competitive party what would it be? >> figure out the new election law. we've had six different election laws change in the last six years, four of which happened this election. when you've got six out of those seven congressional seats that were targeted, six of them were ahead on election night, election day voters, six of them
were ahead on absentee, six of them were ahead on early voting. i think the question needs to come back is this new election law, first of all, what do these provisionals say about our overall election and changing -- i mean, statistically impossible to have six seats that won all of the early voting including election day to see the provisionals, the set aside ballots come in after the fact and in this case the 21st district two weeks late. i mean, the question needs to be not only the republican party in california on the rules, but i think the state as a whole needs to look at the provisional ballots. >> congressman, midterm elections are almost always a referendum on the current president and actually this president said it himself that this election would be a referendum on him. what do you think the results would have looked like in your district if we hit rewind for a moment and we had elected, for instance, a president bush or a
president cruz, would it look any different? >> you know, i don't know. you know, there's certainly a lot to be said about midterms, but president trump right before election day was almost even in my district, two years ago he only lost my district by three points and our biggest issue in california, especially in the central valley, has been water and he signed four pieces of legislation on water and just yesterday we for the first time in 40 years now have a proposal to build a new lake, a new reservoir that it will really help save california's central valley, our bread basket. so the president has done some good things, it was good on messaging, but obviously it was a midterm election and midterm elections are always tough for the party in pa you are. >> the u.s. department of agriculture announcing a $449 million grant for that california party storage that you had pushed for. congressman, before i let you go i want to ask you coming out of their wildfires, you just had the camp fire, the most
devastating in the history of the state of california, president trump again yesterday when asked in an interview about climate change said i'm just not a believer. what's your view on climate change? do you think it contributed to things like the wildfires in your state? >> yes. i'm a believer, but i also believe that it cuts both ways. you know, this is an issue that you absolutely have to clean the fuel out of our forests, we need to do a better job of following timber harvesting plan under both republican and democrat administrations, but we also need to do things like -- i passed in two different fema bills mr. smart codes so we are actually building houses that are resistant to fires and other dangers across the entire country. with he can do things better and we ought to be focusing on green energy, which is one of the reasons we focus on water not only for the into you tour of the valley but water is critical to hydro electricity, to our solar, to the most renewable energy that we have. >> congressman jeff den ham of california, thank you for your time this morning and thank you for your service to the country,
sir. >> thank you. it's been a real honor. still ahead on "morning joe" -- >> he speaks from his heart and -- >> well, i speak from my heart and my brain, just so we understand. >> right. >> this is maybe more important. >> i went to an ivy league school, i'm very highly educated. i know words, i have the best words. >> who are you consulting with consistently so that you're ready on day one? >> i'm speaking with myself, number one, because i have a very good brain and i've said a lot of things. >> they say is donald trump an intellectual. trust me, i'm like a smart person. >> i understand things. i comprehend very well. okay? better that think i think almost anybody. >> i'm very consistent. i'm a very stable genius. >> everybody knows the smartest people always tell you how smart they are. president trump never missing an opportunity to say how smart he is. now he's also talking about how reliable his gut is. the "washington post" phillip
rucker joins us with a wide-ranging interview conducted yesterday with the president. i promise you don't want to miss it. "morning joe" is coming right back. let's begin. yes or no? do you want the same tools and seamless experience across web and tablet? do you want $4.95 commissions for stocks, $0.50 options contracts? $1.50 futures contracts? what about a dedicated service team of trading specialists? did you say yes?
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that simplify your experience. my name is mike, i'm in product development at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. a new government report suggests the trump administration is risking the safety of thousands of teenage migrants being held in detention camps run by private contractors. the associated press has obtained a memo published by the inspector general at the department of health and human services. it concerns the tent city that was supposed to hold 360 migrant children but now holds more than 2300 teens in a remote desert in texas. the government memo claims that the trump administration has waived fbi fingerprint background checks for all of the 2100 staffers responsible for taking care of the children there. according to the ap, the memo
states this. t trujillo is using checks of a private contractor that has less comprehensive data, thereby heightening the risk of migrants with a criminal history to hurt migrant children. this tent city has one clinician for every 100 children. the ap report claims more teenagers are being held in this one tent city than all but one of the nation's 204 federal prisons. still ahead this morning, several new developments in the russia probe from paul manafort's lawyers briefing the president's legal team while supposedly cooperating with the special counsel. and the nbc news exclusive that roger stone told corsi about the wikileaks dump two weeks before it happened.
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sort of intelligence. >> half the people in this room speak arabic. >> do you have access to an interpreter? >> if they were speaking korean, i wouldn't learn any more from it, either. [ speaking foreign language ] >> that was first president trump's national security adviser john bolton yesterday, and then president obama's former deputy national security adviser, and later security director john brennan in 2010. back story here, bolton opted against listening to the tape of the murder of khashoggi while he had his security stripped.
donald trump jr. is back in the headlines. plus, what does trump's gut say about the meeting with vladimir putin? the election is officially in the books while they're counting on a full press this january. good morning. i'm willie geist alongside heidi pritzbila, and republican strategist and msnbc political contributor rick tyler. how we doing this morning? >> very good. >> we have a lot to get to. >> sort of okay. >> aiit's a slow roll for barnacle. first the final results of the 2018 midterms are now in. republican senator cindy
hyde-smith is the projected winner defeating democrat mike espy. she secured 50% of the vote to be the first woman elected to congress in mississippi. she will serve out the remaining two years of thad cochran's term that was to end in 2020. she was slated to fill his seat after cochran resigned. that is a net gain for republicans of two seats. mississippi native, we've been talking about this race for many months when we sat in oxford, mississippi in september. it was always a long shot. it was always an uphill climb for mike espy. what do you think the difference is in this race? it turned out to be an eight-point spread. >> we knew we had to get a straight, a royal flush, whatever you call it, in order
to win, right? i was at home for thanksgiving and family members were canvassing and there were mixed results. obviously cindy hyde-smith won the coast. we knew he had to have a large turnout among african-american voters and we knew there had to be a large press turnout among republican voters. trump actually helped the turnout, particularly in rural areas of mississippi. but i think this is really important to say this, that espy ran a campaign to suggest the future of mississippi, that the coalition he built suggests that mississippi, along with georgia, along with texas, along with florida, that the south is changing. and it's changing in a way that suggests that the country broadly is changing. but let's put it this way, too. 52 million mississippians are poor. 59% of mississippi's children -- i didn't say blacks -- are poor.
with regard to hyde-smith's policies with health care, with the living wage, we have to understand what she represents. this is, i think, the last breath of the inheritors of the plantation class that have explored mississippi for generations. i'm beginning to see something here. maybe that's me being hopeful about my home state, but i think something is happening here. >> don't you think the expectations were a little built up based on the alabama race where you really had such a uniquely flawed candidate in roy moore that you cannot transfer what happened in alabama to mississippi, and you cannot win, like we saw with these numbers, simply by jetting up the african-american base and having a depressed white vote. the third factor has to be those crossover votes, those suburban, educated voters, and that bloc just really wasn't there. >> that's true. some people were comparing it to alabama, but i think folks knew
he had a hard road ahead of him, that this was a long shot. but i think also given the demographics of the state, if poor people -- poor people -- in mississippi acted in their interest, they are the majority. they are the majority. that's not red or blue, that's not right or left, that's just right or wrong, right? so if poor people are acting in their interest, then they can change. >> rick tyler, if you look at that race more broadly, looking at the house where there are 40 seats at this point, the senate, republicans picked up a couple seats. 54-47 is the margin. now that we have sort of the midterms in the books, what are your broad stroke thoughts? >> it was a wipeout for republicans, no doubt about it. the senate map was like winning the lottery, so the senate map was very good for republicans. let me say this about cindy hyde-smith. i would like to share eddie's
optimism, but i'm not sure i do. cindy hyde-smith was a terrible candidate. she said racist things. she's bereft, she doesn't really know anything. they retire their senators so the governors can appoint, which is what happened with cindy hyde-smith, what happened with roger whitaker. she was put there by the governor and she was supported by mitch mcconnell and that's the kind of candidate they would pick. i think it's horribly discouraging. >> if you play the long game, and it's going to be a long game not just in the south but with poor constituencies that mike espy appealed to well. if you pay attention to the campaign, if the democratic campaign pays attention to what he did in mississippi, talking about health care and education not just among poor people, among working people, that's a universal national theme that the democrats, if they get back to it and stick to it, can make,
i think, huge inroads. >> we're going to come back to mississippi. we've got some breaking news concerning paul manafort and robert mueller's probe. according to a new report from the "new york times," manafort's attorney has been briefing lawyers about president trump's team. manafort's lawyers briefly talked to trump's legal team even after manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel. according to the report, rudy giuliani, one of the president's personal lawyers, acknowledged the arrangement on tuesday and defended it as a source of valuable insight into the special counsel's inquiry and where it was headed. giuliani said in one example that manafort's lawyer had told him prosecutors hammered away at whether the president knew about the infamous june 2016 trump tower meeting. quote, he wants manafort to incriminate trump, mr. giuliani declared of mr. mueller.
this news comes just one day after we learned the special counsel wants to scrap manafort's plea deal claiming the former trump campaign chairman lied, a claim manafort denies. let's bring in anna sector. she has new reporting on the probe and interviewed james corsi yesterday. we'll get to that development yesterday. anna, good morning. we want to get to the corsi interview you conducted yesterday. first this development about manafort's attorneys even after he struck the plea deal going back and talking to president trump's lawyers, basically briefing them and filling them in on what mueller was after. >> i think this speaks directly to what we've known for a long time that a pardon was really what manafort was looking for. this just bolsters that. it's just clear that was the plan from day one and it continued even after those plea negotiations began. >> so manafort had to know that
mueller was going to find out one way or another, right, that he was going back and his attorneys were talking to the president's attorneys? is that all he was going for, was the pardon, because he knows he was being incriminated in some way and his only way out of this thing is to help president trump through it? >> it certainly appears that way, that that's what he was going for. >> mike, what do you think about this? it's pretty astonishing to see a guy who has agreed to a plea deal and works with the president's side. >> it's fairly common in a case where you have several defendants in a joint indictment that their lawyers communicate with one another. it's highly unusual for someone who has cut a plea deal and separated themselves from other defendants to continue cooperating like that. the interesting question, anna, i think, not only to me but to others, is how close do they come to witness tampering in this case? i mean, it's kind of extraordinary. >> that's a great question.
but we've seen rudy giuliani do these bizarre things, and he continues to say, well, there was nothing illegal about it. so that argument keeps coming up, and here is yet another example of that. >> anna, is the pardon really the end game here? i just feel like there's something else missing. because if you read a lot of the coverage around this, manafort faces all kinds of crimes from which trump cannot protect him. like money laundering and financial crimes, that there is something missing here in terms of why manafort would take this risk of lying to the special prosecutor. you don't lie to mueller because you get caught. so what is it, do you think, that is missing here in the big picture? >> mr. manafort is in a world of hurt. he is in hot water. and prosecutors can throw -- probably throw so much more at him. they've already thrown so much at him. so it's really unclear what his strategy is. i mean, he's a desperate person
at this point, so he could be going for anything. but it does seem that currying favor with president trump is his top priority at this point. >> anna, stay with us. we want to get to your brand new reporting on the role of wikileaks in the 2016 election. that is next. but first, here's bill karins with a check on the forecast. >> it's really cold here. the cold air has moved all the way through the middle of the country to the sunshine state. even atlanta is cold. not fun in atlanta at 17. even with a little sunshine, you warm up to the 40s and 50s. well below average in the southeast, even miami today. typically it should be 80 degrees, only in the mid-60s. we're still dealing with the snow in areas of northern new england. a couple spots had 16 inches of snow in southern vermont, even spots in new hampshire had 17.
nothing tops perry, new york. it's a town south of buffalo. they just reported 28 inches of snow with this snowstorm and it is still snowing south of buffalo as you're traveling down through bradford here and also erie. you'll notice south of syracuse, too, if you're on 81 you'll have problems with additional snow. then our attention turns to the west. here's a pretty good-sized storm coming into california. i don't think it will cause too much destruction but it will bring very beneficial rainfall to areas that haven't seen it yet. we had about a quarter to half inch last week in southern california. this is the soaking rain that will end all your fire threats until we get to early next summer. here's los angeles. we have you getting about an inch of rain. the last time los angeles had an inch of rain was early january this year. that's why this is such a big deal. the mountains could get three or four inches of rain. no travel concerns middle of the country, just snow showers in minneapolis and chicago where it definitely looks like a winter wonderland. later on today we officially
show me decorating shows. this is staying connected with xfinity to make moving... simple. easy. awesome. stay connected while you move with the best wifi experience and two-hour appointment windows. click, call or visit a store today. . welcome back to "morning joe." new claims are coming out about what corsi really knew about the release of wikileaks. mueller lays out the information he knows about corsi, e-mails between corsi and stone talking about wikileaks. correspondence says, word is fr friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. one shortly after i'm back.
second in october. impact planned to be very damaging. also, time to let more than to be exposed as in bed with enemy if they are not ready to drop hrc. that appears to be the game hackers are now about. he deleted all e-mail correspondence that predated october 11, 2016, including all discussion about wikileaks. corsi said he guessed about the podesta e-mail dump and just happened to be right. >> i believe these podesta e-mails would destroy hillary. why would i think they were coming out in october? because i said to myself, if i had these e-mails, i would use them as the october surprise. >> but you didn't know that at the time, did you? >> this is speculation. >> you didn't exactly write to him that it would be drip by drip. >> i did explain that to him.
there were some phone conversations i had with him. >> you essentially told stone exactly what was going to happen? >> yes. what i told the special prosecutor was i thought i was giving roger a cover story. in other words, i was allowing him to have an alternative explanation for why he said podesta is going to be in the barrel based on my research on podesta. >> so you were telling him that he could use this story even if it wasn't true? >> absolutely. >> the court papers also show mueller sent corsi a draft plea agreement. it stipulated the special counsel would give him a sentence of probation if he pled guilty of lying to prosecutors. corsi said he rejektcted the de. i want to take a step back and explain to the viewers who corsi
is. why is he significant to this russia story? >> he created this mess that president barack obama was not born in the united states, and he maintains that to this day. he's written 20 books on other conspiracy theories. he goes after democrats. he considers himself an opposition researcher and an investigative journalist, and democrats are his target. it seems to me he just cannot help himself with the conspiracy theory. even speaking with him yesterday, he was telling me he didn't think the russians were actually behind the dnc e-mail hacks despite multiple intelligence agencies saying so. >> so what is his relationship, then, to wikileaks? why would he be a conduit between julian assange and roger stone and eventually to the trump campaign? >> james corsi was in this circle of roger stone, james corsi, and to the left, characters like randy credico
who was anxious to find out exactly what he had. corsi said he would be happy to fly to the embassy and meet with assange and he would have been happy to give all of that to stone. he said he didn't have this additional knowledge despite the e-mails -- >> how does he explain those e-mails? they're very explicit. >> he said he read the first dnc e-mail dump. noticed there were very few john podesta e-mails in that load of e-mails and deduced that the october surprise was going to be john podesta's e-mails. >> there is a lot of skepticism on faces around this table. >> i looked at him -- well, prosecutors were extremely skeptical as well. he told me they were essentially laughing at him. one of the prosecutors said, so you're telling me that you were on a plane going to italy with
your wife for your 25th anniversary, and god just told you that this has happened, and he said yes. >> great work, anna. great to see you. >> thanks for having me. coming up on "morning joe," president trump describes his reasoning for government warnings and why he denies climate change. "morning joe" is coming right back. hi, kids! i'm carl and i'm a broker. do you offer $4.95 online equity trades? great question. see, for a full service brokerage like ours, that's tough to do. schwab does it. next question. do you offer a satisfaction guarantee? a what now? a satisfaction guarantee. like schwab does. man: (scoffing) what are you teaching these kids? ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs, backed by a satisfaction guarantee.
. let's bring in one of the reporters who conducted that interview with the president, bureau chief of the "washington post" and political analyst for msnbc and nbc news, philip rucker. phil, there are so many places we could start. climate change, the mueller investigation, the fed chair. what jumped out at you as you sat across the desk from the president of the united states in the oval office as the most significant of his comments? >> well, i'll mention two things, willie. the first is we asked him about the economic news of late, the declines in the stock market, the closure of gm plants, laying
off thousands of workers at general motors, and he went immediately into an attack of the fed chairman jed powell. he said he's not very happy with his chairman of powell as chairman of the bank and went after powell again and again, and that was striking to us. the other thing that jumped out is he had a fairly cursory answer explaining why he doesn't believe the government's national climate report from last week. this is a report, a really sober and alarming report by his own administration predicting the impacts of climate change, the economic impacts down the road from global warming. and the president said, look, i have a lot of intelligence but i'm just not a believer, and explained -- went off on some tangent talking about the california wildfires as well, but explained that he does not necessarily believe that global warming is manmade, and he just
doesn't see it that way. >> let me read the quote for people driving in the car and can't see it. the president told phil, quote, one of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we're not necessarily such believers. you look at our air and water and it's right now at a record clean. he went on, as to whether or not it's manmade or if the effects you're talking about are there, i don't see it. >> it was one very revealing interview with president trump about climate change, about vladimir putin. phil, i'm going to pretend i called you from the "washington post." you just sent the interview in. it's great. congratulations. phil, do you have time for a sidebar, what was going on? can you tell us, eye contact? was he making eye contact with you? did he have any notes in front of him? did he seem angry at any time during this interview? >> we're actually going to be writing a little more about that
later today, so stay tuned on our website. but look, he was his normal self. he's charming and charismatic and wants to you like him. he offered us drinks. he had no notes in front of him. the desk was pretty clear. he did have aides, though, both sarah sanders and bill shine, candidate to the president, sat alongside us in the oval office. the president in one area was particularly unusually disciplined when we asked him about the latest developments in the mueller probe, the russia investigation and the news about paul manafort. he refused to talk about that on the record. he said, look, i'm not going to get in the middle of that situation. he talked to us at length about it off the record and shared his views, but when we pressed him if we could share any of those comments with the public on the record, he said no. and that seemed to be him following direction from his staff. >> phil, he seems to say here that the cia did not affirmatively say that the crown
prince of saudi arabia was involved in the killing of khashoggi. but we've all read the reporting that says that the cia actually did conclude that nbs was at least aware of it. i'm just curious, did you push back on him at all, and how does he respond when you push back to him on things like this that are actually demonstrably false? >> well, he's trying to mislead there, i think. his statement about the murder of khashoggi has been maybe the saudis did it, maybe they didn't. he seems to be denying some of the evidence that is very plain to the experts at the cia who have briefed the white house, they have briefed leaders in congress. you know, they arrived at a high confidence assessment that the crown prince, mohammad bin salman, ordered the killing of jamal khashoggi. trump does not necessarily believe that. he said, look, the crown prince
told me repeatedly in phone calls that he had nothing to do with this and didn't know about it. he said people around him denied it happened. maybe it did, maybe it didn't, but trump went on to say potentially he can visit with the crown prince at the g-20 summit in argentina later this week. he's going to be getting down there on thursday. he said there is no scheduled meeting with mbs, but he would certainly talk to him if he sees him. coming up on "morning joe," we'll shine a much needed spotlight on the war in afghanistan that is still claiming american lives 17 years after it began with three more americans dying just yesterday. that conversation is next on "morning joe." - meet the ninja foodi, the pressure cooker that crisps,
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protect bob mueller. 45 minutes later, a key vote is scheduled on a controversial judicial nomination. this afternoon there may be a vote on a resolution to withdraw u.s. support of the war in yemen. also happening today, nancy pelosi has her caucus vote on the house side. so kasie hunt, you'll be covering all of it. which one do you think will end up being the most important of the day? >> a couple things, that nancy pelosi vote will drive the morning, but at this point the drama has been pretty much reduced on that. she's been pretty effective at corralling her caucus. of course, any trouble she might face is more likely to come during the floor vote coming up in january. on the senate side, what i'm looking for is just how strongly are they going to rebuke president trump? this vote about the war in yemen, they've had this vote before. it came close to passing. then it was about the constitutional issues around congress voting to authorize war or not. but it's become, this time, very
much about the president's response or lack thereof to the khashoggi killing. they'll be coming out, the senators of this briefing. there's been a lot of back and forth about gina haspel testifying or not behind closed doors or, rather, i should say, briefing them or not. the question seems to be, she may have heard this tape as opposed to some of the other officials who have said publicly that they haven't listened to it, and that having to have her answer questions from senators about the tape could be really, really problematic. but if they come out of that briefing and they feel as though the administration is not being straight with them, this yemen vote could really go against the administration. i would look at it kind of through that lens. on the flip side of that, though, and we talked about this a little bit earlier, that mueller protection move from chris coons and jeff flake. mitch mcconnell has signalled he's likely to block it. that's of course the flip side of mitch mcconnell protecting the president, willie. >> let me ask you what i asked
chris coons and he didn't have a good answer. what is the rationale for mueller not to have this vote to protect the special counsel. >> he said he didn't think he needs it, and you heard chris coons' assessment that it was about protecting the president. i would add to that that mitch mcconnell is up for reelection in 2020. he wants to run again. if there's a threat to him in kentucky, it's a primary. and if president trump were to turn against the majority leader and back a primary, that would be a very dangerous situation for mitch mcconnell. so he's incentivized not to poke the bear, i suppose, would be the best way to put it. >> that's broaden out the conversation with nbc news correspondent hans nichols, chief international security and diplomacy analyst for nbc news and msnbc, retired four-star army admiral james vecitis. and the retired army that served
in iraq, paul. paul, let me start with you. we heard that three american soldiers died in kabul. people forget about this war. it's on 17 years. we're up to 1400 american deaths in afghanistan. how do you keep this front and center as americans continue to die? >> you're doing it right now. afghanistan is not on that list. it wasn't a priority in the congressional midterms. our community started to call it forgotastan. there was a young soldier killed over the holiday weekend, he was on multiple tours over there. our troops really feel like they're forgotten. they're overseas at holiday time. the commander-in-chief needs to connect with them. it's important for him to visit with them just to show they have the support of the american
people, and their families back home with open seats at holiday tables in the next couple of months. >> the president said yesterday that he will get to the troops in the war zone in good time without any specifics behind it. hans nichols, let me ask you, the president also said during that interview that the experts told him he needs to stay in afghanistan, basically putting the onus on other people telling him we need to be there. is there any movement, is there any thought inside the pentagon that there may be time to bring home those 14,000 troops? >> not really. because when you look at the number of casualties the afghans are suffering, they're so much higher than the u.s. casualties, right? the afghans are suffering about 20 deaths a day. that comes from the president. the u.s. number this year is 12 on the year. i think the general view is here you need to force the taliban to the negotiating table. and that's been part of the key, this new strategy that president trump ultimately accepted. but when you listen to him talk, it seems like he is the most skeptical person of his own
strategy. for the first time when he's talking to troops, he did say over thanksgiving that you're winning and we're winning and so much progress has been made. that's really the first time we've heard the president talk about afghanistan in over a year, and he seemed to be endorsing his own strategy. what we heard from him in the "washington post" interview reminded me of that initial raid that went bad in the early days of the trump presidency in yemen. remember ryan and the navy s.e.a.l. they lost, and the president said the generals lost ryan. he seems to be buying an insurance policy in putting distance between himself and his own strategy. willie? >> let me ask you, we just witnessed the death over the weekend of a 25-year army veteran in afghanistan. he was eight years of age when that war in afghanistan began. we just talked about iraq and afghanistan, we just mentioned our role in the war in yemen.
we mention it now on television and in the newspapers as if resolutions about yemen or afghanistan or iraq are part of a highway bill. because we've become so used to the word "war" in this country, a country where less than 1% serve in these wars. you know about afghanistan, you know about iraq from your role in nato and your role personally as a member of the united states military. what are we doing? >> well, on this one, mike, i'm with jim mattis, which is it's time to end this war in afghanistan. and i think we can do this. two data points here. one is we are 90% less in the number of troops in afghanistan. when i commanded that mission, i had 150,000 troops under my command. we're down to 14,000. so we are making progress in the sense that the afghans are taking up the fight.
it's absolutely correct that it is time to end that war. there can be a negotiated ending to this thing. all of these insurgencies in the end, mike, and you know this, conclude with a negotiation. second point. it's not just the united states. when i was the commander, i signed 1,900 letters of con dol condolence to families that lost their troops in afghanistan. 900,000 of them came from european nations. we need to use nato effectively here, push the taliban, get over that last mile and close this one out. it's time to move on from these wars. >> paul, we're talking about the men and women on the battlefield in afghanistan. you have so admirably given your life to supporting the men and women who come home from those battlefields and what happens to them when they get back home. you talk at iva about the big six, things we need to take care
of and help our veterans with right now. americans watching this show right now, what should they know about vets that's not being given enough attention? >> first we're not doing enough. it's really a contract that americans have with our service members and we're breaking that over and over again. the va is failing to cut gi checks on time to student veterans. folks are supposed to get a housing allowance over the holidays. because of a technology breakdown, they're not getting paid on time. >> that's been going on for weeks. why isn't it fixed? >> we started talking about this back in september. the white house ignored it, the va secretary didn't solve it, and that's happening right now. we're talking about supporting our troops. people who have done the right thing here in our country are not getting paid on time? that's shameful and outrageous. that's just one of the issues. we have to talk about support for women veterans in the va.
>> paul, we're seeing what is being called a camouflage wave. in this blue wave there is a record number of folks who have served in the military coming into congress. also at the state level. what do you think are among that list some of the things that are immediately actionable? what can these people do to make a difference today for these veterans? >> number one, i hope they can bring some civility. i think they represent hope, inspiration, a kind of get it done attitude, and hopefully they can work together across partisan lines like the world war ii veterans did, and focus on issues that mattered most like cleaning up the va, who is running the va. the house chairman is going to have some subpoena power. let's dig into it and find out what's really going on at the va. also some hard questions. they've been on the ground in iraq and afghanistan. they can push the colleagues and say, what are we doing over there? that can come from a voice of authority after they've served
themselves. >> we were talking about the vote in yemen that's coming later today. what does that mean as a practical matter if it passes for americans not to support the war in yemen? does that mean not selling arms to saudis? >> that's really the al qaeda mission against al qaeda and yemen. there are two wars in yemen, right? there is the raid i talked about earlier where you have teams going in. we don't frankly know how frequently, but when these missions go bad, we find out about them. then you have the refueling mission, but that ended. 29 days ago secretary mattis said the time for admiring this problem, meaning yemen, has gone on too long and he wanted there to be a cease fire within a month, within 30 days. that is coming up. so there is frustration on the pentagon side that the war between the huthis and the regime in yemen has gone on this long, but they want to maintain their ability to do pinprick strike and/or send teams in to
go after al qaeda, and there are a lot of al qaeda in yemen. to be clear, most of those al qaeda are on the government side. when you talk to people who know yemen well, they say it's actually safer on islamic extremism on the huthi side. >> we have former cia director john brennan here not long ago saying this was a form of leverage for the united states to stop support in yemen. do you think that will happen here? >> i do. and just to fill in a little bit more color here, and i've been in the command center in riyadh, i've seen the level of support we are providing. it's not only the things hans mentioned, it's intelligence, precision guided pieces of that. it's cyber, it's weapons, there is a whole spectrum of support here. we shouldn't think of it, i don't think, as an on and off switch where it's either, we're going to be 100% in or just shut
it down. it's a rheostat. we can start dropping this thing back. dropping the refueling was step one. there is a lot more to go on that dial. we ought to be taking advantage of this. if that can help end this horrible conflict in yemen which is the worst humanitarian crisis globally we've seen since syria, then that would be the right direction to take, and that is showing our saudi partners that we are serious about khashoggi and we are going to take action. >> paul, before i let you go, i'm going to ask you about one issue that doesn't get any attention at all, but you've talked to me about this as sort of a bul gr urkburgeoning crisie pits. how serious is that problem? >> it's huge. we've had over 3 million people deployed since 9/11, and many feel like they've been exposed. >> what is that? >> it's toxic exposure.
the military takes military waste to medical waste and puts it in a pit and throws it on fire. they just burned everything. it went up in the air, our troops breathed it in for sometimes years and now they're showing adverse health effects. it's similar to ground zero exposure after 9/11. our members are deeply concerned about it. we need congressional action immediately. we shouldn't wait 30 years to recognize burn pits and provide medical support like we did with agent orange. that's what happened after vietnam and in many ways we're repeating the same mistakes. >> if you check out iva's website, it's a big deal. paul, thank you for being here. thank you both as well. coming up next, we'll dig into what is being called the world's biggest corruption scandal ever, the panama papers which exposed the dark secrets of the rich and powerful. it featured the name trump on more than 3,000 documents.
>> it's traffickers, terrorists. >> everyone knows the rich don't pay their taxes. >> there is connected. >> and guess what? you are the victim. >> journalists have been killed. >> oh, it's really scary. >> we have the goods on how it worked. >> laundering money. >> espionage. >> corruption. >> underground rivers of money. >> everything you thought was happening, here's the evidence, it is. are talking about winning the most jd power iqs and appeal awards. talking about driver-assist technology talking about cars that talk and listen. talking about the highest customer loyalty in the country. but that's enough talking. seriously. that was a lot of talking. back to building
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he may be thrown out of office over allegations that his family owns several illegal offshore businesses. >> breaking news from brazil where the senate there has voted to impeach the president and plunges the country into political chaos. >> protesters in but -- on the board of two offshore firms, one in the bahamas, the other in panama. >> that is a look at the new epics network documentary "the panama papers," examining the massive data leak that exposed prominent public figures in the largest global corruption scandal in history. joining us now is alex winter, the director of the film. let's start by reminding people exactly what this was, 11.5 million documents, a group of journalists got together to
compile it. >> it was the largest coordinated act of journalism in history. a data dump was received from a whistle blower named john doe. no one knows who john doe is. it covered offices all over the world, not based in panama necessarily, that revealed enormous corruption based on mostly offshore tax shelters. >> who were we talking about? we said prominent figures. >> it's everybody, everybody's guilty. so assad, putin, trump, it took down prime ministers. it was a vast trove of data that really named almost, you know, every country. >> mike? >> so it's basically hiding money and avoiding taxes in the country that you live in, correct? >> it is. and then flowing that money through other countries often. even in the united states where
we have tax loopholes, say delaware and nevada, which are sheltering huge amounts of money for russia, china, brazil and other countries. >> what we complain about here, not all of us, but those of us who are interested in tax equity, we complain about how tax codes are written for the benefit of the rich to hide money. >> right. >> this is on a global scale. >> it's unethical, but it's often legal. that's really the problem. it really ripped the skap off that and showed us it didn't an isolated group of rich people dodging taxes. it's creating income inequality on a vast scale, trillions and trillions of dollars out of coffers of the countries it involves. your health care, it's your education, it's your roads. you know, all the money that's coming out of your pocket is basically being stolen by other people. >> alex, how do people -- you become wealthy, or how do people get involved in this network? is it a real network?
do they meet? describe the network itself and how people get into it. >> it's often accountants or lawyers. if you have money, we can, you know, help you shelter that money for tax. some of the people involved, some of the celebrities named in the panama papers, had no idea where the money was going. other people were very aware. people who were creating the systems did know. they knew what corruption they were involved in, they knew the mechanisms they were creating in order to hide the money. a lot of that was totally criminal. >> alex, is this the logic of capitalism, an inevitable outcome of the ways in which people are engaged in the manic pursuit of surplus value? >> there's no doubt that this is something that capitalism helps create. but one of the things we're trying to show in the film is that doesn't need to be the case. it's not something that serves the public good. and the public good isn't, you know, the working class. it's everybody. it's literally everybody, we're talking about enormous amounts of money being essentially hidden and stolen by a very
small group of the population. it's not the way a system is going to function and it will create, ultimately, such vast income inequality that there will be a break of some kind. >> election, among the names that come up is trump's. we know looking at his financial disclosure, he has a lot of shell companies, in what context, can you tell us about? >> we don't have a smoking gun, as it were, that would just blow everything apart, but we certainly were able to see how he creates his businesses, to what length he goes to create businesses that will hide where the money is going and what the money is even being used for. you know, we know already, i think, enough to know there's a lot of money laundering going on. everybody's on the hunt for a smoking gun to get rock solid, you know, sort of chain of events to see where that's going. but there's a huge amount of paperwork in there that shows you how his businesses are
constructed. >> it's an amazingly complex story. somehow you capture it all in this excellent documentary. the new film "the panama papers" airs december 11th on epix network and is available now on epix.com. alex, thank you very much. i'd like credit for getting through this without a bill and ted's reference. oh wait i just did. under a minute for final thoughts, mike? >> off of alex's fine film, how long do you think it would take you to do a film on the, you know, tax scams in the united states of america alone? >> i would like to make a ten-part series on that, if possible. >> eddie? >> mississippi chose to double down on racism last night. hopefully we'll choose another path. >> connecting saudi arabia to russia, putin's been watching our weak reaction to saudi arabia, and that's, i think, emboldened them to hit the ukrainian vessels.
>> gm layoffs, clo se to my heat being from michigan, and legal tax schemes in the tax bill, it does encourage companies to move overseas because they pay a lower effective tax rate on their subsidiaries. >> stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. good morning, everyone, i'm stephanie ruhle. i've got to start today with crimes and lies, a new report suggests paul manafort's attorneys repeatedly briefed president trump's attorneys on their discussions with robert mueller. the president's attorney, rudy giuliani defending the move as "a source of valuable insight into the special counsel's inquiry," and said mueller is treating manafort like a terrorist. gut check, in a wide ranging interview with the "washington post," the president questions climate change and again he blasts his own fed chair, the president saying his own gut tells him more than anyone else's