tv Deadline White House MSNBC January 7, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
ties to russia. on the deliberate intent on the president's part to change the subject, "the new york times" reporter maggie haberman tweets this -- having this dominate kpabl news is something potus prefers to news focused on the mueller probe. but his press secretary ran into trouble when she trotted out trump's border lies on "fox news sunday." >> we know roughly nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know our most vulnerable point of entry is -- >> wait, wait, i know the statistic. i didn't know if you were going to use it but i studied up on this. you know where those 4,000 people are captured? airports. >> not always. >> airports. the state department said there hasn't been any terrorists they found coming across the southern border. >> it's by air, it's by land and by sea. all of the above. >> they're not coming across the southern border, sarah. they're coming and being stopped at airports. >> i'm not disagreeing with you
that they're coming through airports. i'm saying they come by air, by land and by sea. >> don't mess with chris wallace, miss sanders. border lies don't stop there. "the washington post" calling out at least four more white house talking point, the ones linking the u.s./mexico border to terrorism and crime as blatant falsehoods. the fake immigration crisis comes as the president is contradicted by his own national security adviser on his syria policy, a decision that led to the resignation of the most respected man in donald trump's entire government, defense secretary jim mattis. national security adviser john bolton announcing there would be no withdrawal from syria until isis is destroyed. that's a complete reversal from donald trump's assertion that our men and women are coming back, quote, now. that's what he said when the withdrawal was announced. here to take us through another extraordinary day, some of our favorite reporters and friends. from "the washington post" senior political reporter aaron blake and national political reporter and moderator of
"washington week" robert costa. with us at the table, former rnc chairman michael steele, jean peer senior adviser of moveon.org. and as of today, this hour, we're very excited to announce a brand-new msnbc contributor, welcome. tim o'brien's here, executive editor of bloomberg opinion. let me start with you, robert costa, and the president's primetime distraction tomorrow night taking to the airwaves or at least trying to, to talk about the government shutdown he created? >> negotiations have all but fallen apart. over the weekend the democratic congressional aides came to the white house to talk to vice president pence but instead of entering into intention negotiations they were given a bleak presentation about the situation at the border. and in conversation with the reporters today, vice president pence continued to say the national emergency declaration by president trump is being considered. you have this administration building the case for some kind of dramatic action, perhaps executive action that would bypass congress.
>> aaron blake, john fab row serv, who served as a speechwriter for former president obama tweeted this -- they didn't give obama time in 2014 because they believed his speech about immigration would be overtly partisan. this should be a relatively easy decision. i'm not aware of the tally of networks that agreed to carry this but your thoughts on what that calculation should include? >> it's not an easy call, especially given some networks i think including this one, have stopped carrying the white house briefings in light of the many misstatements that have been made there. certainly i think given the fact the obama speech in 2014 was not carried live gives them an excuse to not carry this one live if they have concerns about it. at the same time that risk looking political if you are talking about are the president's base of support, which is already, of course, very concerned about how the media treats the president. so, you know, i don't expect we're going to see a whole lot of news out of this primetime
address on tuesday night. i imagine they'll kind of rehash a bunch of the other data points and arguments they had been making for a very long time. the one mainstay of this debate is we haven't seen a whole lot of snuff coming out of either side. we have not seen either side moving off of where they stand in this versus zero billion versus $5 billion. i don't see any way the president will advance this debate in a debate that is very much stuck in the mud right now. >> michael steele, when was the last time donald trump made news in an address? serious question. >> in his mind, every time he's opened his mouth. but in terms of -- >> when was the last time he opened his mouth to make news? >> i honest to god can't think of any moment where -- >> can you guys? >> oval office. >> this is the first oval office event where he actually would be saying something to the country in which we would all would want to sit and listen and take it in. >> if he were to make news.
which no one is suggesting. >> which no one is suggesting. look, this is all prepackaged drama that he's going to roll out tomorrow night because if this was a national emergency, folks, we would have had this address long before now, and to that point, members of his own administration would be reinforcing that national emergency concern with the numbers and information they're putting out instead of what they're doing now, which is contradicting the very statistics he and sarah sanders are putting out. >> aaron i see you nodding. just want to let you jump in depend on the facts. >> i think the clip you played of social security social security sarah huckabee sanders being interviewed by chris wallace is what's happening here. the president saying something false saying there are terrorists coming to the border. we had one a while back where
vice president pence said there were 10 suspected terrorists of the day coming to the border and we had other members of the administration who may have hinted at it, said things that are defensible but they did what kiersten nielsen did talking about how the aliens are being apprehended at the border. we in mike pompeo on one of the cable networks. sean hannity was talking about this claim that terrorists were coming across the southern border. pompeo did not correct him, he fed the premise with his response saying it's a possibility. look, this is not something we're seeing in the data of the the state department said this is not happening, yet the white house feels the need to craft this narrative it really is based on nothing besides their own fearmongering. >> so, it's no a narrative, it is bs. these are lies. call it what it is. we don't have an elegant president. he's craft and crude so we shouldn't polish up these words. this is a lie. any organization struggling what to do with the address tomorrow should look at the address from
the roosevelt room where donald trump's white house announced woe address the nation three days before the midterms to make news about the caravan. white house aides -- as aaron black is suggesting and i'm sure bob costa knows better than me, they didn't have the audacity to stay tune in. i heard a white house official say there would be no news. there's no penalty to monitoring the stream of words and sounds coming from the president's mouth and checking them first, is there? >> there's absolutely no penalty in doing that. in fact i think the unusual challenge this president is presenting is the media has to step up and be an advocate for the truth, because clearly no one surrounding donald trump, his closest advisers, everyone else in the white house, and apparently many people in the gop are not calling him to task about simply telling the truth. they're lying about the conditions on the southern border. they are not terrorists coming out. >> there wasn't a caravan full of terrorists. >> there are not drugs flooding
across in the hands of migrants at the southern borders. apprehension is at a decades low along the southern border. donald trump is fermenting a crisis in the service of his own ego. he wants to create the conditions in which he can use the executive office to stick his fingers into the public purse and try to finance something that will allow him to keep a finance promise. this isn't about effective immigration policy. this isn't about a serious discussion of what the border should look like. this is -- all of this is in the service of the cultive personality surrounding the president and his need to build a wall because he's emotionally attached to it. >> i think it's even more sinister, it's about taking the other stories off the news. the end of the year was dominated about donald trump's trep adags about the southern case of new york and their cases, robert mueller, what he was up to and secretary mattis. >> a lot has come up about him that he does these things to distract. i don't think he's actually that
sophisticated. i really don't. i think he's mono maniacal. there's like a shiny on the in front of his -- >> my dog is sophisticated enough. >> i agree. i think this particular round is less about mueller, ironically, and more about what hand with nancy pelosi taking that gavel. this is his reaction. the democrats are in much more powerful a position to call out and expose a lot of things a lot of republicans on the hill kept covered and hid. he's setting up those balls and barriers, distraction points, bright, shiny objects for us to look elsewhere. this is less about mueller and more about other things that he is concerned about. but certainly doesn't want to share the stage with. >> robert costa, we've got a count at three for the gop defections over the government shutdown over the wall, and i think it was a resounding rebuke from republicans on capitol hill when his syria policy was announced and i saw some murmurs
of relief that john bolton basically reversed donald trump's syria withdrawal policy saying we'll stay there until, these are the three republican senators who are against the government shutdown over the wall, and i think lindsey graham and others have talked openly about the wrong headedness at best of donald trump's syria policy. where do you see the cracks in the gop? is that it or are there more? >> the cracks are widening, talking to moderate republicans over the weekend like peter king of new york, they are becoming increasingly uneasy as this shutdown hits week three. and part of the reason this white house is moving to have a national televised address on tuesday considering declaring a national emergency and moving quite rapidly this week, as talks remain stalled, to take some action potentially, because they know the republican cracks are there. and nancy pelosi, the new house speaker, is going to move forward with a series of votes this week to reopen the government in a piecemeal fashion. those votes in the house will put new pressure on republicans
to perhaps move with the democrats. so you see this administration working hard to try to corral republicans, keep them in line. vice president pence is scheduled to go to capitol hill on wednesday after the president's speech to try to rally republicans around the border wall. but this white house knows as well as anyone, if republicans start to break, this shutdown ends. as long as the republicans hold with the president on the wall, you have a standoff, you have democrats potentially breaking. but if that ever cracks in a major way, the president loses his leverage. >> i want to get at how he could lose his leverage quickly. robert costa's talking about the cracks. i think they become something that becomes a gusher when the actual voters, the trump voters, realize it was all a lie. syria withdrawal was a lie. it's sad for the country, secretary mattis resigned over it but it was all a lie. the wall was too. some incredible reporting in "the new york times" over the wk, julia davis and pete baker write, as mr. trump began exploring a presidential run in
2014, his political advisers landed on the idea of a border wall as a pneumonic device of sorts, way to make sure their candidate would remember to talk about getting tough on immigration. how do we get him to continue to talk about immigration? sam nunnburg, one of mr. trump's early political advisers recalls telling roger stone, another adviser, we're going to get him to talk about he's going to build a wall. it was a device to help him through the campaign rallies. >> because he couldn't talk about immigration reform. so we're going to give you this line, build a wall, all about the wall. i think you were talking, nikol nicolle, about the crack. you're going have 800,000-plus federal employees who are not going to get a paycheck friday. that's going to probably affect like a million people when you think about their families. >> the economy. >> exactly. when they have to decide how are they going to pay their rent? how are they going to pay the mortgage? how are they going to take care of their childcare, that will be a heavy weight, the 22
republicans up for re-election, we talked about susan collins tillis, corey gardner, they're thinking about that and that may be what breaks the camel's back. and not all in d.c., most are around across the country. many of them are trump supporters and that's going to be, i think, the pressure point on donald trump. >> dysfunction in the airports. >> i was about to say, i was watching local news last night and the local news coverage of our local airports here was galling. and everybody's got one, a local airport with long security lines. >> and that's going to start to affect commercial flights. pretty soon the f.c.c.'s not going to approve registrations for ipos. there's going to be all sorts of plummeting the federal government does that's nonpartisan. maybe a lot is just part of the process of helping the country function is going to come to a halt and people are going to realize how important just the normal functioning of the government is in their daily lives. >> aaron blake, incredible reporting in your newspaper over the last couple of days about two throngs of i think an
attempt of skplachbing the shutdown. one, donald trump and the people in his west wing alongside him don't understand what the federal government does. and, two, he views these people with a lot of skepticism. i don't remember if this was in your paper or "the new york times," but he views them as sort of an element of the deep state federal workers. >> yeah, and in that way, the shutdown kind of makes sense. of course we have a president here who is p who has been willing in many ways to destroy political norms, not really hold the kind of sacred things in american government as sacred as other people do. that's what i have always hung on to since the beginning of this whole thing. this is a president who has been willing to go farther than anybody else in so many ways. he's been talked out of doing the shutdown before at the last minute when he made similar threats about the border wall. this time the base put the fear of god in him. gop members of congress put the fear of god in him. he's committed to the strategy
now. if he backs down, he's going to look weak. and that is a recipe for a very long shutdown. that is a recipe for a president who's going to make a point and not worry so much about the political consequence that's can come to his party from it. >> some more political consequences coming through in the form of breaking news from nbc news. julia ainsley with this headline and story that just dropped in the last minute or so. julia reporting for nbc news that only six immigrants in in terrorism database stopped by cdp at southern border in the first half of 2018. this is obliterating the propaganda sarah sanders attempted to use on chris wallace of all people. let me read a little bit of what you're reporting and you take us through it, julia. u.s. country ups and border protection encountered only six immigrants on the u.s./mexico border the first half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal government list of known or suspected terrorists. that's according to cpb data obtained by nbc news. the low number contradicts
statements by trump administration officials, including white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders, who said on friday cbp stopped nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists from crossing the southern border in fiscal year 2018. government agencies in charge of these numbers not dispute are or reporting i understand, julia. >> they're not disputing it but it's certainly not something they have wanted to push out, nicolle. we've all been asking this question since friday when sarah sanders and it was repeated again in part by kirstjen nielsen from the rose garden there had been 4,000 or 3,000 people who were known or suspected terrorists stopped at the southern border. we knew all along, nicolle, no one had been arrested on terrorism-related charges but that didn't rule out who might have just been stopped because they were on these databases. remember, the databases include a lot more people than those convicted of terrorism that could be simply a mismatch by a name. but in this case, even with the
large database, we know that there were 41 stops on the southern border in the first half of the fiscal year 2018 by cbp and only nine -- only six of those people, sorry, were not american. the majority were u.s. citizens or legal permanent residents who matched that. so only six of those were immigrants. they were stopped by cbp. that is a much lower number than 4,000. again, we're only talking about the first half of 2018, not the full year. we don't have the data for the full year. but i think if you're just monitoring that trend that there were only six arrested in six months, it would be pretty difficult to see how would you ever get anything near 4,000 at the southern border like she claimed. >> i wish i could travel back in time and say hi, everyone, it's 4:00 and start with this but i'm going to make everybody here endure this. let's watch sarah sanders telling data you tracked down because you're a bad reporter but this had to be at sarah huckabee sanders disposal when she told these lies yesterday on
fox news. let's watch. >> we know that roughly nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come in to our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border. >> wait, i know the statistics, i didn't know if you would use it but i studied up on this. you know where those 4,000 people are captured, airports. >> not always. >> the statement department said there has not been any terrorists they found coming across the southern border. >> it's by air, by land and by sea, all of the above. >> but they're not coming across the southern borders, sarah. they're coming and being stopped at airports. >> they're coming a number of ways. i'm not disagree they're coming through airports. eye saying they come by air, by land and sea. >> i think that's a motto for disneyland, they come by air and land and sea. take me through everything that's wrong with that statement. do you think donald trump will try that tomorrow night on primetime on the network airwaves? >> it's a figure they've been using to make their argument not only for the border wall and government shutdown and now
possibly declaring a national emergency in order to get that $5 billion in funding, trying to say this is a matter of national security. in fact we have known for a long time because of reports from the intelligence community and just merely arrest records and kind of records we can see of charges brought on terrorism in this country that the southern border has not been a major vulnerability threat that's been reported by the state department over and over again. but today we actually have a number, six. only six immigrants. again, not arrested or convicted terrorists, simply stopped because they were on a list. the vast majority of those, over 3,700, actually came through airports. if you think about it, that makes a lot of sense economically because if you are someone who is supported by a foreign terrorist organization that you have that kind of funding to carry out an attack on the united states, you're not going to be among the poorest people to come to the united states by foot. you would enter the easy way, by
plane. that's taking us down into a darker rabbit hole. but here -- >> but it is taking us down a darker rabbit hole because it's the airports that are at threat by donald trump's government shutdown, because the tsa is thicking out, aren't they? >> that's true, and people who are not furloughed. >> they're there to catch the six while the 3,700 are roaming through our airports. robert costa, you're talking about cracks. julia ainsley's incredible reporting seems like it might widen some of them. >> you're right. we have to see how republicans respond to this. republicans facing re-election in 2020 already have the burden of president trump on their back, if you look at the suburban districts from 2018, republicans struggled in many of them and were defeated in many of those areas and now a government shutdown. but michael steele's point earlier is really important, this is about setting the tone for divided governmentment you
have president trump and vice president pence trying to test the house democrats and see if they can break them on the border wall. as democrats are holding firm and not going to give in to the president calling this immoral, the border wall, and this is a fight about immigration to be sure but also how is this year going to play out? who really has power in this new washington? >> aaron blake, let me get you to jump in on julie ainsley's new reporting and the politics now. i understand the politics of the wall. they're about donald trump's trepidation of individuals with names like ann coulter, rush limbaugh, sean hannity. but these are cold-hard facts that are going to make their way on to i have to think some programs on fox news and really blow up the propaganda the president's been spewing about immigration. >> you're exactly right. i actually looked into this last week. i looked for mentions of the idea of terrorists coming across the border on fox news, on sean hannity's program, on their primetime program, and this is something that came up repeatedly. hannity, in fact, said it four times that evening's show when mike pompeo was talking about
the possibility of that happening. this is something that came up with guests on other programs on fox news. it's really something that has taken root because of the repeated claims of the president, because of those kind of subjective, maybe technically true but very misleading claims by mike pompeo and kiersten neels anticipate. it's good we're getting more data to debunk something. i would not expect the president to bring up something like in his primetime address tuesday night. aleast we will have something to hit back on as far as debunking that claim from now on. >> michael steele, how do you expect the democrats who now run the committees with oversight over immigration to deal with it all of this information that is basically being covered up by the republican stooges in the congress is now going to be available by committees with oversight responsibilities over these agencies? >> i think the democrats, if they're smart on this, and i think nancy pelosi is on this
particular point, will do the appropriate level of due diligence. everything in its proper time and space. everything in its proper time and pace. so there's no real rush for them to now jump on. the president is his own worst communicator. he's always been on these things. >> incredible, right? >> it doesn't matter, sarah sanders engaging with chris wallace. it doesn't matter. at the end of the day we're going to see and hear and know tomorrow night from the man himself. and he will ill communicate the conversation with the american people. and if the democrats are smart, they will take their time. take it all in, get the proe appropriate video and file records and then start whatever process they're going to do. >> let me press you though, how do you undo the damage with the people who believe the lies? >> look, there comes a point in any relationship where if you want to continue to harm yourself, there's not much i can
do, right? if you continue want to take in bad information and act on that what i'm telling you, no, that match tip is hot. you don't want to touch it and you continue to do that, there's a point there's nothing i can say any longer that's going to help you help yourself. >> let the toddlers play with the fire crackers. let me reach out with breaking news from julia ainsley, who's with us now and get your thoughts p. u.s. customs and border protection encountered only six immigrants on the u.s./mexico border in the first half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal list of suspected terrorists. it contradicts trmp administration officials including white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders. the significance, of course, the presidents asked for airtime tomorrow night on this politics. >> the politics of lies as we've been discussing the first half of the show. it just continues. he's not going step away from it. he's going to have a primetime address in the oval office
tomorrow, and he's going to be talking to his base. he's not talking to the country, like most presidents, democrats and republicans, have done in the past. he's just talking to his is he small and shrinking base. there's one more thing i want to say, we talk a lot about undocumented immigrants and that's whom he goes after. i think donald trump wants to get rid of legal immigration. and it's because of people who come from brown and black countries. just a year ago, it was reported that he said, i don't want anybody coming. why do we have to have people from african nations as the whole country? >> the whole country. >> that was just a year ago. he's made himself really clear from the moment he announced coming down the escalator, talking about mexicans are rapists. >> and he did tell us who he would prefer immigrations. nordic countries. >> that's what he wants. >> i don't look very nordic, but here we are. >> i think that's what all of this is about. this is the type of country he sees that he wants. >> and he has no concern about
the impact of his own decisions on anyone else around him. he's been insulated his entire life, the consequences of his own decisions he was born wealthy. he became a celebrity as an adult and now he's president. each of those things put this sort of safety zone around him where no matter what he did, he wouldn't suffer the sort of flashback of making bad choices. so he makes his choices in an impact free zone. he's happy to be in front of the cam raxt he camera, he's happy to get the attention. he doesn't care about policy. he's ignorant about policy. he doesn't have the patience or sophistication to understand it. he sensationalizes everything to get air time. and in the process i think he does real damage. he's racialized a number of important public discussions because he's a racist. he has created a zen phobic trope around the southern border in negotiations with china are completely divorce from sensible policy making. it's all in the service of himself.
you see with what i think is one of the most amazing things in all of had is how that sort of krun corruption creeps around the people around hill. you have sarah sanders and kiersten nielsen spouting figures they know are not true simply because their boss wants them do that. >> with all respect to julia ainsley, if she can find these numbers, sarah sanders can too. julia, congrats on your scoop. when we come back, the walk-back to end all walk-backs, donald trump's national security adviser reversing donald trump's pledge to bring all troops home from sear yria now. now john bolton is singing a different, different tune. and lying to congress is a crime you may be hearing a whole lot about in 2019. michael cohen pleaded guilty to it. who else may be in the same boat? and who trusts the president? the chief of staff, but the chairman of the intel committee wants to know where donald
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donald trump is known for self-destructive statements and impulsive decisions that throw the government he leads into chaos. but perhaps no decision has harmed his presidency more in the eyes of his republican allies in congress or the eyes of america's allies around the world than his decision to withdraw all troops from syria. it was a decision that cost him his secretary of defense. but now it's his national security adviser who's reversing his boss on that withdrawal. "the new york times" reports, quote, president trump's national security adviser, john bolton, rolled back on sunday mr. trump's decision to rapidly withdraw from syria. laying out conditions for a pullout that could leave american forces there for months or even years. mr. bolton making a visit to israel told reporters that
american forces would remain in syria until the last remnants of the islamic state were defeated. and turkey provided guarantees it would not strike kurdish forces allied with the u.s. that piece hit a nerve with the president
who tweeted this -- the failing "the new york times" has knowingly written a very inaccurate story on my intentions on syria. no different from my original statements. we will be leaving at a proper pace. while at the same time continuing to fight isis and doing all else that is prudent and necessary. hmm, it seems like the president can't even keep track of his own story. >> so our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back and they're coming back now. we're going to be removing our troops. i never said we're doing it that quickly. >> how long? >> it's going quickly. and we have won against isis. we've beaten them and we have beaten them badly. we won't be finally pulled out
until isis is gone. we won and that's the way we want it and that's the way they want it. >> joining the conversation, matt miller, former chief spokesman for the justice department, aaron michael, tim miller's still here. michael, we will start with you, truly a president who will say anything. >> yes, i think it's embarrassing for the president because it raises the question who's in charge of the foreign policy decision making process? the president or national security adviser john bolton. and i think it also raises the question if we were just going to end up back with the same policy we had three weeks ago, which is essentially we're not pentagon to withdraw until ice sis is defeated, what was the point of the last three weeks? what was the point of driving your defense secretary out of the government over this decision? what was the point of unsettling your allies and making the united states look listless and unsteady? the answer is there's no real answer to the questions because the president doesn't make
decisions through a ration foreign policy decision making process like other presidents did. he makes decisions on a whim, reverses them on a whim. i think what you saw here is what you see often is where he announces a decision and then you have people inside the administration who disagree with it, scurry to try to change it after the fact. allies who disagree and try to change it after the fact. the reason they do that is oftentimes they're successful and it appears they have been successful here. >> matt miller, i want to press on this because i think it's important, the last three weeks were about nothing but secretary mattis that we know of went to the white house on multiple occasions to beg him not to announce that all troops would be removed immediately. we ended up not doing that. who could have been urging the president to do something that he was resistant to on moultipl occasions from jim mattis, if it's not precise, if he doesn't know what he's talking about? we know russia wanted us out of
syria. somebody made the case more strongly, more effectively, more convincingly to mattis and then trump reverts back to the mattis position. what explanation do you have? >> it is a great question because usually in this case you go to the simplest explanation for the president's behaver when he ignores the advice of the experts around him, you look at the ding dongs on "fox & friends" say but even they were criticizing him. >> they killed him. they crushed him. >> they killed him for that decision. was it the russians? was it steve bannon, who supposedly was on the outs but is one of the people who was an isolationist and recommended these decisions early on in the administration? we don't know the answer to that question. or is it his longheld belief we've got to get out and he was pushing for this for a long time. maybe because he was mad about mattis and something else, that's the thing that happens sometimes in the administration, sometimes he makes decision because he's mad at someone. maybe he's mad at jim mattis and said i'm doing this and i'm
doing it now and we don't want to hear from you anymore. i don't think we know the answer to that yet. >> it statements like that from matt miller maybe we go to bed at night thinking we all might die. iron blak aaron blake, let me get you to jump in here. this reversal from the white house that was front and center, dominating the weeks before christmas because it resulted in secretary mattis' resignation and because as matt miller pointed out, it went against every political pressure facing this president. your thoughts on how john bolton got away with embarrassing donald trump? >> well, if you look at some of the comments that have come out in the last week or so, lindsey graham after meeting with the president i believe it was on december 30th offered a kind of version of events that squares once bolt saeon said. it seems like this decision was made a little while ago, maybe they're drawing out the string a little more. i think this is all confirming exactly what we saw from john
kelly in that interview with "the los angeles times" where he talked about the people around the president can give him all of the information and from there it's up to the president to actually use it. it confirms what rex tillerson said a few weeks ago, which was very much in the same vain. this appears to have been very much like other things the president decided upon, like a military parade, like a transgender troop ban. smfsing th something that was decided upon on the fly and had to make work. in this case they were not able to make it work. the president prevailed upon him to take a more cautious approach and it was worth emphasizing the fact we're now basically in the same position we were a few weeks ago. the president and his national security adviser have both said this withdrawal is not going to be complete until isis is gone. that is a very absolute line. that is a line that may be a long ways away and that does not allow for a speed write withdrawal. so if anything, i think we've seen an affirmation of the
former policy that jim mattis and brett mcgurk both stood up for so strongly and eventually resigned over. >> i know when that will be, because war on terror, war against a terror group, much, much to the distress of the american voters, democrats and republicans, is forever. those are forever wars. >> they are. and you don't get into them easily. you certainly don't get out of them easily. i think it's interesting when you look at all of the time line here, my analysis of it such as it is, is putin played a role in getting trump to leave syria. israel played a role in getting trump to stay or go back. and i think at the end of the day, the last phone call with putin was, you guys don't really need to be there. come on, this is draining your economy. this is not good. go ahead, we got this. we got your back. >> we got your back on facebook. >> yeah, right.
and then the israelis are like, wtf, what are you doing? no. and made the phone call to bolton. >> whom they know well. >> whom they know very well and bolton is like i'm on the next plane. and what happens, he gets there and announces what the new policy is, which is the same as the old policy, on their soil. >> maybe trump saw them. the front page of "the washington post" today is in big letters, john bolton contradicts donald trump on syria. do you think bolton picked up his phone and said, i can't hear you, i can't hear you. what went down today? >> must have been a bad connection. dude, i'll call you back. >> bolton, steven miller and the kids, there's nobody left. he can't get rid of him. >> this was salvaging what would be a real sticking point with the israelis. look, a lot of the folks in the middle east are nervous about iran no more than the israelis. and so this pullout, giving this swath of space to russia and
iran was not something that i don't think the israelis were going to tolerate. they back channeled that conversation. >> you know who probably made those points in his three visits to the white house who told the president not to -- >> mr. mattis. >> probably jim mattis. aaron blake, thank you for spending time with us, we're grateful. after the break, donald trump's culture of pathological lying was a feature of his campaign and his white house. there may finally be some consequences for some of those lies. could federal prosecutors been signaling a new willingness to charge people for lying to congress when they charge michael cohen? we'll ask our panel after the break. k.
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and i'm only referencing him because his letters to the committee to update his testimony after three press reportings on some things he didn't disclose is out there. i don't want to put any others out there because it's not public yet. >> witnesses in the russia investigation, you know who you are, are officially on notice. the new democratically controlled house intel committee vowing to scour testimony obtained under republican control for lies and inconsistencies and turn anything that doesn't add up over to robert mueller. which means chances are good that if you have trump's allies on the list those of those who testified before congress, including donald trump's son don jr. and several senior white house officials may soon find themselves under intensifying pressure by robert mueller of the joining our conversation former federal prosecutor, knew msnbc legal ammist, john kirchner, matt, michael are still here. let me start with you.
a lot of people suspected michael cohen's final crime he pleaded guilty to, lying to congress, may have also been a signal to other people who may have committed the same crime. is that every the case? >> yes, nicolle, when you looked back at the sentencing memo that the special counsel's office filed in michael cohen's case, there's one pretty powerful and vivid line of foreshadowing in that memo when it says, and they're discussing the fact michael cohen lied to, i believe, both the house and senate intel committees about the timing and the nature of the efforts being made by trump in his organization to build the trump tower in moscow. and there is this line in the sentencing memo that says cohen described to the special counsel the circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to
the congressional inquiries. we know they were false responses. once his lies are put to testimony, it's awfully easy for them to determine who else lied under oath. they simply need to review transcripts, see who else lied, and i'm betting that bob mueller in his office on a secure whiteboard somewhere has the names of the people who he can already prove lied to congress listed out. and beyond the lie, it also tends to show that there was a conspiracy to lie. because michael cohen circulated his false answers to others. we don't know who those others are but bob mueller does. >> glenn, anyone else who puts their glasses on to read has a key to my heart. so i will give you one more. i notice in mike flynn's sentencing memo, where they were actually at least on the mueller side, arguing for leniency in sentencing for mike flynn but they made a point of really detailing just how insidious and
corosive it is for someone of his stature in the u.s. government to lie. just talk a little bit about the general mindset amongst federal prosecutors about lying in the context of an investigation. >> nicolle, i was actually in the courtroom at what i will call the attempted sentencing of michael flynn. i saw judge emmet sullivan, who i appeared perfect when i was a prosecutor here in d.c., just absolutely take him to task. judge sullivan, who often lays into prosecutors if we're not doing something quickly enough or efficiently enough, really looked at general flynn as government misconduct personified. because the national security adviser getting caught talking dirty to the russians on the phone and then lying about it, it really doesn't get more egregious or more damaging to our national security than that. and, you know, couple that with the fact that he has now been cooperating over the course of so many meetings with the mueller team, and even in his
sentencing memorandum, it was set out how he had firsthand, long-term access to president trump and knowledge about the inner workings of the campaign, that spells real trouble for president trump and his family members and close associates. >> matt miller, i have long abandoned cause and effect with donald trump but i will give you two pieces of information and ask you to go. so over the weekend in "the new york times," david lanheart writes, why this campaign violation is worse than others. these payments were not most campaign finance violences but involved large secret payoffs in the final weeks of a campaign that prosecutors said deceived the voting problem. what should happen to a president that won office with criminal behavior? the founder considered this possibility and the most direct answer came from george mason, a president who practiced corruption, and by that means
procured his appointment in the i first instance, should be subject to impeachment. and then president trump tweeted, many people who currently part of my opposition including the president obama and dems have had campaign violations, in some cases for very large sums of money of the these are civil cases. they paid a fine and settled. while no big deal,dy not commit a campaign violation. >> i think the president's behavior both in public and private have shown for several months he knows the fdny investigation is a threat to his presidency and maybe even a threat to his personal freedom when he leaves office. this isn't the first time he tweeted something to downplay the except of those crimes, comparing it to something president obama did which was truly a civil violation. and then it was the acts reported over the holidays that the president intervened at the justice department and complained to matt whitaker, the acting attorney general, and asked why more wasn't being done
to control the prosecutors at the southern district of new york. i think that's a pretty obvious active obstruction of justice. i think before their investigation is done, we're going to hear more about that intervention at the justice department. for him to reach over for him to reach over and intervene at doj two years into his presidency when he ought to know that is a hot stove, that is what got him pintappointed ie first place. when prosecutors stand up in course, court, i would be very, very concerned. >> you always put it in a way that makes me want to know what is next, matt miller. when we come back, some white house officials trying to plug some leaks. and how they're trying to stem the flow of kremlin talking
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about montenegro. so it is deeply concerning, republicans and congress do need to speak out. history will hold them accountable. >> how is donald trump getting hissings information? perhaps a more important question is someone trying to feed him prorussia talking points. it drieks me that the biggest play for clue and mystery with my 7-year-old mystery, the biggest clu is that driver can't stay on message. how does he nail the specifics on the 1979 invasion of
afghanistan. how does he carve out and nail the specifics of what the united states would like the united states to do vis-a-vis nato. how does he pinpoint exactly what american president would say and do? >> it is extremely perplexing. i think if he is always faced with a buy fair choice been he will take the pro russian position. she railing against nato in a way that we had not seen before. the second point that is kind of the harder question, i don't think anyone has a good answer yet which is how does he have these talking point that's would be hard for anyone outside of the kremlin to know.
we know they're looking at coordination between the trump administration and the russian government. is he in the pocket of the russian government. he continues to raise the question all of the time by this very strange behavior where he seems to know, the president that did you want know anything about foreign policy knows very specific things about russian preferences in foreign policy. >> the best that i can give you is that we know that our president is a walking and talking national threat.
>> the simplest answer is that in some level he is indebted to rush that. why did he shove the montenegran president aside, literally, at a summit. why are his talking points about afghanistan not even old soviet talking points. trump has been around russian org niced crime and russian money for about 15 years. vuladimir putin plays long ball, it is possible they identified him as someone they could touch a long time ago. but now the chickens have come home to roost and that explains
he'll -- helsinki. it explains the cry media platform getting inserted. they call come back be holden in some fashion. >> just on that point, i think that is the crux of it, it is all about preservation. he still wants trump moscow. i think it is imbedded in him in ways. he thinks in his world view he gets through this period, he is a private citizen again. >> we're going to coanchor the trump opening with his angel bracelet. >> i'm there. >> can't make it up. >> how much do you think the
house democrats could do in terms of oversight. >> i think they can do a lot. >> they can answer the question of where does this come from? >> absolutely they can. >> it is indicated in realtime there are concerns here going back and saying we're looking at what these pryor folks have testified too. there are some issues. >> thank you, michael steel, great job. and tim o'brien, that does it for us, mtp daily starts now. >> thank you for coming back to work on friday. >> i know, thank you. >> yeah, three hours instead of four on friday. >> nicole, always good to see you. if it is monday, it is about time.