tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC February 7, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PST
hi there. i'm stephanie ruhle. this morning, open season, after threatening congress in the state of the union, democrats launch a series of investigations into president trump and his administration and of course his finances. the president responding to the latest announcement from the house intel chair adam schiff as well you would expect. >> he is just a political hack who is trying to build a name for himself. he has no basis to do that. it is called presidential harassment. >> oversight and commonwealth chaos. virginia's three highest ranking officials now embroiled in their
own individual political chaos. the governor and attorney general both admit they have worn blackface, as a lieutenant governor faces an allegation of sexual assault. if they all resign, the state would be controlled by a man who runs his seat by having his name pulled out of a fish bowl. the justice department launches a probe into a plea deal that says a multimillionaire hedge fund manager jeffrey epsteen, serving just one year in bail, after being accused of having sex with a number of underaged girls. one of the lawyers who made that deal is now president trump's labor secretary. >> i got a lot to cover. we begin today with house democrats, defying the president's call for an end to what he calls ridiculous investigations. democrat leaders say launching investigations, and there is a bunch of them, is literally part of their job description. we have a great panel to explain
all of what is going on if you of but first to take a step back, this is the start of what democrats have been waiting for, and what the administration has been hoping would never, ever come. this week, house democrats are kicking off the first wave of hearings, looking into all aspects of the president's financial life, his political life, and you know it, his administration. here is an example. later today, the oversight sub committee for energy and commerce will begin looking into the policy of family separations at the border. the democratic colleagues on the ways and means committee will be holding a hearing on the president's tax returns. and then on wednesday, the oversight committee started looking into strengthening ethics rules for, you guessed, it the executive branch. the chairs of the two different committees are raising questions about government spending, during the shutdown. and over on the judiciary committee, the chairman is pushing to pre-approve a subpoena for acting attorney general matthew whitaker, just in case he gets cold feet ahead
of his testimony tomorrow. and all of this comes less than 48 hours after the president told the country that investigations like these would hurt our nation. speaker pelosi fired back wednesday, saying, quote, the president should not bring threats to the floor of the house, the democratic colleagues said hey, we're just doing our job. >> we are doing what is demanded by our constitution, that is to be a check and balance on the executive branch, as a matter of fact, we're sworn to do that. >> when he think he might want to be a dictator, he cannot escape, nor should any president, escape congressional overzbligt we're not going to be intimidated or threatened by the president to withhold any legislative advancement. if we do our proper oversight. we are going to do our proper oversight. >> the intelligence committee chairman adam schiff has as much to say as anyone over the direction of the investigations. on wednesday, he announced,
ready for, it five, five areas his committee will be looking at. the scope of u.s. influence on the u.s. political situations, and the trump administration's response and business, and whether foreign actors hold any kind of leverage over the president or associates. whether the president, his family or his associates are at risk of blackmail or coercion by foreign actors. and finally, whether anyone inside or outside the country has tried to obstruct any ongoing investigation. shifr went on to say he will work with other committees and said he is open to expanding the investigation even further. all of this came on the same day that his panel voted to help robert mueller by sending him unredacted transcripts of more than 50 interviews the committee has conducted with everybody from hope hicks to jared kushner, to the president's own son don jr. here is how the president
responded to today's developments. >> you can go deep into the investigation, and with adam schiff, there is nothing -- >> with russia, with the personal financial dealings -- >> he has no business. he is just a political hack trying to build a political name for himself. that's what they do. no other politician has had to go through that. it is called presidential harassment. >> a new term for me. i want to bring my panel in to help me understand all of it. the white house correspondent for the pbs news hour. tim o'brien, executive editor of bloomberg opinion, as well as a trump biographer, and an op-ed columnist for "new york times," noah wily, senior vice president for social justice. and i will go to you first, the
president is calling this presidential harassment. chuck schumer, no surprise, saying the president is scared. what are your sources telling you about how they're feeling inside the west wing? >> this is really president trump's worst nightmare. the day after the midterm election he started down this path that said if democrats investigate me, i will find it very hard to work with them. and we might not be able to get anything done in government if i'm under investigation. in reality, that is obviously the job of congress, to look into presidents, and that's their purview and the president is having to deal with the reality of that. i think inside the white house, they're trying to figure out how to deal with this. obviously, a speech writer, or the president themselves, put in that line in the state of the union because they wanted to make sure that it was very clear that the president sees all the democrats' investigations as harassment. and as really a problem, and a road block for governing. but that is actually not true. the president can be investigated and still work with democrats, if he plans to do that, but it is hard to know
whether or not the president would be able to continue to be focused on the business of the day if he has now family members, maybe possibly being investigated and being dragged on to capitol hill. >> all right, brad, do democrats run the risk, or they do run the risk, fending on the question, how do they avoid the appearance of overreaching before the investigations because you know before the midterms, many people out there, as much as they want the president held accountable, they've also said i need the government officials to help me, to help me, my kids to go to a good school, to get my health care, to live the best life. >> and the investigations can't be thele from focus of the democratic congress. democrats have to prove that they number one have the people's business at heart first. that doesn't mean that those investigations shouldn't continue. but they also need to continue with those kind of a spirit of sobriety. they have to look at the stream of trump's finances, not the other streams that have been implicated in his investigation. that's to say, they have to keep
their eyes focused on really significant questions about trump's well-known financial ties, and potentially obligations to russian actors, closely connected with the kremlin. i think if they want to understand what not to do, they simply have to look at congress during the benghazi investigation, the kind of endless, endless, holding the interviewees hostages for hours and understand that is not the way to go. but i think people understand the russia investigation is deadly serious and want to get to the bottom of this. >> i want to ask you about one specific inquiry. the investigation where they are pushing to get president trump's tax returns. here is what kevin mccarthy said about this attempt. >> that just seems political to me. i think the ways and means should focus their time making sure how strong this economy is today, and how we can make it stronger. i think that's the focus of the american people, that they would
like to see going forward. >> all right. we've got the top republican on the committee saying it would be an abuse of power to use the tax code to get an individual's private tax returns. i ask you specifically, as a trump biographer, why is it so important, why would they care so much about his tax returns, what can they show? >> i've seen his tamp returns. he had to turn them over to me in litigation. kevin mccarthy emerges here -- >> he didn't want to share them with you. >> he did not. it took a while. but we got them. kevin mccarthy emerges as a new devon nunes, i don't think this is an ideological or partisan issue. the president of the united states should make his or her tax returns public. every president going back to gerald ford has done so. they have done so voluntarily. it may be a healthy thing for the republic, to make it a rule rather than an obligation for presidents to do so but the reason we need that information, it clarifies to the american people what kind of financial
pressures come to bear on the president, and whether or not the president is making public policy, without consideration for his or her own wallet, and whether or not foreign interests can influence the person sitting in the oval office. >> so without disclosing anything that you cannot disclose, do you think it is a fight worth having? do you think it is worth seeing his tax returns? >> if is definitely a fight worth having. i don't think the tax returns are the most important piece of financial information but what is more important is the money flows in and out of banks and remember paul manafort got in trouble for not reporting overseas income properly and not paying taxes on it. i think the members of congress should take a magnifying glass to issues like that if and when they get their hand on the president's tax returns. i think the other reason he is ambivalent about them coming out, it would actually show how robust his business. is donald trump is not worth $10 billion. he is not even close to being
worth $10 billion. but he has spent a lot of time saying that. he is not philanthropic. that would be evidence of that in his tax returns. but i think most importantly, you would get a window on to who he does business with, and how that might compromise him in the white house. >> one interesting development yesterday was the intelligence committee's vote to now give over 50 interview, unredacted interviews, over to the mueller team. how important is that. >> pretty important. presumably the mueller team already has a lot of the investigation that is already in those transcripts but what is important about it, is it enables them to compare other statements made by witnesses to see whether they are consistent, to see whether the facts suggest that there has been any perjury by anyone. any time this perjury, it's not just that in and of itself was a serious crime, but then you have the question of why did you lie. and what else is underneath that. so it is extremely relevant to
have, to see the house cooperating with the mueller investigation, and just to go back to one of brent's points, part of why this is so important, that the house engage in this oversight, that the public must understand is that we have a president who has made policy decisions with regard to foreign governments that appear to be against the best interests of the american people, and it is not just about russia. it's about the united arab emirates, turkey, china, and what they have essentially said in the investigation, we are actually looking at whether the president of the united states, is making decisions consistent with our national interests. and remember that adam schiff is an expert in intelligence, he's an expert prosecutor, and this is not someone without a body of experience to understand what is at stake and what they have to
understand to do appropriate oversight of the u.s. president. >> but some policies that aren't even in line with the president's own america first agenda. brett, these transcripts could put don jr. and jared in the cross-hairs. how does that change the calculus, or the position for the president? >> i feel like we're living macbeth, and at the end of the play, and that keeps being drawn closer and closer, and it is going to have much more of an effect on the president's political calculations, i don't think the president naturally wants to see his son, maybe his son-in-law, i don't know, go to jail, but suffer the kind of legal jeopardy that they're going to, that they're going to endure right now. so i think it just makes his jeopardys that much more acute. >> do you have any idea how much overlap there could be between the intelligence committee investigation and the mueller
investigation? because it seems like they're looking at the same stuff. >> they're likely looking at the same stuff but what has been pretty clear that the democrats want to make crystal clear is that they want to allow robert mueller to do anything that he needs to do, basically giving him the tools that he needs, if there is anything that they can provide, to help them along the way, so they're definitely looking at some of the same actors and looking at some of the same themes, but robert mueller is seen as a person who is ultimately going to have the power here to actually issue a report, actually issue some finding on whether or not the president acted criminally or anyone around him acted criminally. but i think there was a point made, the democrats are walking a fine line here, when it comes to not focusing too much on investigations. but we also have to remember that the midterms were so much about the president, even though the president wasn't on the ballot, there were so many people that said, we need to check on this president, and that's how nancy pelosi got the house back and got to become speaker. so this is also the idea that a lot of these lawmakers feel a personal responsibility to investigate the president
because the people who put them in office want the president investigated. >> it is going to be a complicated time. you know who wins? lawyers? thank you all. really good conversation. the department of justice launches an investigate into a plea deal, with a very politically connected multimillionaire. you know this guy, he is accused of being a pedophile. the former u.s. attorney who will approve this deal is now president trump's secretary of labor. deal is now president trump's secretary of labor. is highest in network quality by people who use it every day? this is a tough one. well, not really, because verizon won both. so you don't even have to choose. why didn't you just lead with that? it's like a fun thing. (vo) chosen by experts. chosen by you. get 50 million songs now with apple music included, on us. on both ios and android. it's the unlimited plan you need on the network you deserve. val, vern... i'm off to college and i'm not gonna be around... i'm worried about my parents' retirement. oh, don't worry.
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this one turns my stomach. a miscarriage of justice. that is how republican senator ben sass describes the new sentence given to a very wealthy florida man. jeffrey epstein in 2008, accused of having sex with dozens, dozens of underaged girls. now, a federal investigation seeks to shed new light on the plea deal that was reached in this case and investigators are looking specifically into the lawyers who handled epstein's case. one of the attorneys under investigation, alexander acosta who is currently serving as president trump's labor secretary. during the time of the investigation, he was an attorney for the southern district of florida. we have more now nor details in the studio. this is a twisted story from the beginning. >> it is complex. and this investigation was
championed and called for by senator ben sass. >> a republican. >> that's right. and actually was supported by 14 lawmakers from across the aisle. so in that sense, you know, it is not politically motivated. it does have the potential to touch on the trump white house, and of course, to hugely impact the women who took such a risk to come forward with these allegations. >> multimillionaire hedge fund manager jeffrey epstein ran in powerful circles and encountered people like bill clinton and prince andrew, among his many friends. and now a new federal investigation is under way into whether justice department attorney someplace committed professional misconduct agreeing to a 2008 plea deal allowing him to serve just over a year in jail, after being accused of having sex with underaged girls. the new justice department probe comes after the miami herald tracked down many alleged victims. >> i was 16. >> i was 16. >> i started going to him when i
was like 14. >> the original report from the palm beach police department alleged the girls were promised money in exchange for massages. >> he just laid down in his towel. on his stomach. when he flipped over, that's when he said, okay, you can go ahead and take off your shirt and pants. >> the accounts included accusations ranging from indecent exposure, to inappropriate touching, and rape. according to earlier court filings, it is alleged epstein preyed on at least 40 underaged girls. >> we believe that this would end up in a prosecution that would incarcerate mr. etepstein the rest of his life. >> he pleaded guilty to solicitation of prostitution, and only served 13 months in a county jail. >> one of the most lenient deals for a serial child molester, probably in history. >> what an amazing -- >> the former u.s. attorney who approved the deal is now president trump's secretary of
labor. alexander acosta was asked about the plea deal during his confirmation deal last year. he said there was broad agreement to accept the deal, and argued that it was originally a state case. and the department of justice got involved to ensure epstein got jail time and forced to register as a sex offender. the 2008 agreement protects epstein and anyone who worked with him from federal charges. he is a registered sex offender but can travel freely to homes in new york, florida, and the caribbean. >> we asked the secretary of labor for a statement, he so far has not given further comment, but jeffrey epstein's attorney has given a comment and says it was anything but a sweetheart jail. he went to jail, served a period of probation and lived up to
every obligation under the agreement and has firmly had his conduct under the law. >> he went to jail for a year and every day, he got to leave, go to his office, and then come back, and go to bed there. so just get your head around what going to jail looks like. what ramifications if any could acosta face? >> this is where it is interesting. because what is not is happening is the 34r5 plea deal itself is not getting investigated so far in a way that will affect jeffery epstein, but the question is over how it was handled and whether there were inappropriate, whether it was handled inappropriately there, and that's why it may -- >> bit government, not epstein. >> correct. absolutely. so that's how it may impact on acosta. and you know, i guess, one of the issues here, of course, is that even if what happened can't be changed, maybe there can be lessons for the future. i know that's not a good enough answer, but that may be where we're at. >> well it is good enough, at least to start. with awful these questions that are being asked.
every day, we cover money, power, politics here, this horrible story, it is all three. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> the top three democratic leaders in virginia, this one is really blowing my mind. all embroiled in their own political scandals but none of them are showing signs of resigning. we will go to virginia for the latest details including how a person who got their job by having their name pulled out of a fish bowl could end up being governor of the state of virginia. >> and president trump is still taking the stage at the national prayer breakfast and what he is saying this morning. ayer breakf saying this morning. i don't keep track of regrets.
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i don't even to know what to make of this. virginia's capital is in chaos this morning, with the state's top three leaders engulfed in their own individual scandals. the state's attorney general now admitting to blackface at a party in college, and governor ralph north am is called to step down in his own black face controversy. at the same time, there is a woman accusing the lieutenant governor fairfax of sexual assault and now going public of what she says happened to her back in 2004. let's go live to richmond
virginia and first, to the sexual assault allegations, what does vanessa tyson say happened? >> well, dr. tyson says she met justin fairfax in the summer of 2004. they were both working at the democratic national convention. they had a mutual friend in common. they struck up a conversation. she says that he then invited her at some point back to his hotel room, and here's what she says happened next. there are kids in the room, you might want to turn down the sound for a second, what began as a consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault. mr. fairfax put his hand behind my neck and forcefully pushed my head toward his crotch. mr. fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him. so this is something that justin fraf fairfax categorically denied and it happened before he was married and it was 100% consensual. >> and we think dr. tyson's account is painful.
i have never done anything like what she suggests. any review of the circumstances would support my account, because it is the truth. i take this situation very seriously, and continue to believe dr. tyson should be treated with respect. but i cannot agree to a description of events that simply is not true. now, this allegation we should point out is uncorroborated, which is why the "washington post" chose not to publish it last year, when dr. tieson first approached them. that's what she said. steph? >> now let's go to the other two controversies a new blackface controversy, this time involving the state's attorney general who would be third in line to get the job as the governor. i guess second, second, so after ralph northam, the lieutenant governor, then him. what is he saying now? >> it looks like the attorney general is trying to get ahead of what would be bad news. so he is now admitting that in 1980, when he was a 19-year-old undergrad, he and a group of friends, he says put on wigs and brown makeup to dress as rappers, who they liked to
listen to at the time. the political problem that he faces, on saturday, he thought that governor northam should resign over his own blackface scandal. here is that statement from mark. if we can put it up on the screen. we don't have the statement. so we'll have to see. at the moment, you have the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the attorney general, all saying they're not going anywhere any time soon. if they were to step down, steph, you would then have the house speaker assume the governorship. the problem for the democrats though, is that the house speaker is a conservative republican. so the question is, do the democrats want to keep their lock on the state house here? or do they want to fall in line with democrats nationally who have said there is no room for misconduct in their ranks because if they then criticize president trump for his behavior, they then look hypocritical. so nobody really knows what comes next here. >> my goodness. joining me now mbs nbc political
analyst and democratic pollster, and brett is back with me. cornell, goy to you first. the headline this morning is this. democrats, calls for virginia resignations, with power at risk. what is your take on this? because many are saying why aren't more high profile democrats weighing in here? >> well, listen, and i think senator warner said that the allegations coming out are troubling, and they are. we got to hit both sides of this. but let's be clear. the rise of these three gentlemen in virginia has been, has come to a halt. and we got to figure out a way out of this that virginians will be satisfied. and i don't think those handing power over to republicans, because remember northam got more votes than anyone ever who ran for governor of virginia. and virginia is completely rejected trump and the politics
of trump. so handing over the state government to trump republicans is certainly not what virginians want. but i do think at this point, we're going to have to have someone step in, and say look, we've got to move on from this, northam probably should, the lieutenant governor probably is going to have to be forced to step down, he should replace her with a woman, and then he should probably step down, so that woman can lead virginia. that i think is the only way out of this mess, because this is a complete mess. >> a mess it is. cornell, what kind of position does this put democrats in? dr. tyson is being represented by the same law firm that represented christine blasey ford. we obviously know who she was, the woman who accused supreme court justice kavanaugh of sexual assault. >> democrats have to stand with their values. look -- >> which values matter more to
them, i guess. >> all of them. let's not forget not too long ago, progressive women drummed senator, al franken out, those same progressive voices at some point, i think they're going to call for the lieutenant governor to step down. however, at the same time, i think this is important, at the same time, where have those voices, those progressive voices been calling for northam to step down, because of the racism, you can't have it both ways, you can't say that i'm for these values, when it comes to women's rights, and women's issues, but with racism, we're going to give that a pass, so they got to call for both of them to step down and a problem for a lot of the progressive women, they have been quiet on the north am and the racism thing, so they are going to have to step up in both cases here. >> what do you think? >> well, the first thing i think is that these allegations are very serious, and must be taken seriously.
the issue of -- >> taken seriously, and saying you got to quit today are not the same thing. >> that is correct. the problem that we have is are we talking about politics or are we talking about law? from a legal stand point, thdue process takes time and there should be due process. from a political standpoint, it is the legitimacy of the person in office to be seen as someone who has the integrity to serve. and remember the debate we were having over pret brett kavanaugh and his supreme court appointment and the resource justice who bee lived in the way he did in the confirmation hearings but had very serious allegations of his behavior and what does that mean for someone in that serious position of public trust. what is going on here is that we haven't addressed, in virginia, the context of a culture of racism, where there was racist behavior that was acceptable,
even to people who weren't necessarily thinking it through, and we haven't seen, what governor northam did not do, was demonstrate that he had any understanding about how offensive and wrong that conduct was. when you have to sit in state and make policy decisions that will impact the lives of black virginians as well as white virginians, as well as latino virginians, and if you can't demonstrate that you understand those interests, in the same way that we have interests around gender, and gender violence, sexual assault is a significantly serious problem in this country. literally some of the estimates are that 50% of women, and girls, experience some form of sexual harassment or sexual violence. so either we have folks in public office who know how to take that seriously, to lead our country in the right direction, or we don't. and i do think that cornell is right about having to stand up to those values. i also think we have to find a
way to balance that, with the process so that we don't become the kind of culture that just assumes any allegation is true. so there is a balancing act here. >> and how do you do that? how do you do that? >> look, i don't know, but i will say, i mean i agree with so much of what you just said -- >> i want to be brutally honest. i don't want like your tv answer versus your private answer. i want your honest answer. >> look, my honest answer is if we don't make sincere contrition a part of our political culture, and if we don't judge people, not just by their worst moments but by the totality of their record, then we're heading for a bad place, because there is not a person -- >> do people say that with brett kavanaugh? >> i mean, let me just talk about virginia for a second. if at some point people don't say to themselves, a political
culture that holds you to account for something you did 40 years ago, which is in disputably awful, if that takes hold then the reckoning is going to last for a very long time. there are people who work in this network who have done things that they deeply regret. i have said things in my life that are probably not recorded that people regret. and then the question is, well, is the problem that you got caught saying this, or is it that you, you know, how you feel now, what you think now. and i don't have any easy answers. it is extremely vexing. in the case of northam, i find his sort of being immediately truthful in the present, in many ways, as troubling as the behavior in the past. i think in some ways, that is more of an indictment against him. but this isn't something that
our political culture, it is something that our political culture will have to work its way through, because at the end of the day, a lot of people will be judge today harshly on the worst moments of their lives, even if it doesn't reflect years of behavior and thinking that tell you otherwise. >> can i just in quickly on that point? listen, i'm someone who has been very vocal about calling out racism, sexually and political behavior, and there has to be an avenue for redemption. there has to be a way for forgiveness. the problem with the governor, i think a lot of people criticize him, he wasn't contrite. and i waited. >> that was with brett kavanaugh and his hearings. >> and brett kavanaugh ultimately got on the supreme court. so he didn't pay the ultimate price for this. but look, listen, i'm from virginia and i'm a southerner, we have to have a pathway for fw fwor, forgiveness if people are asking for forgiveness to reconcile and move forward.
god help us in this country if we don't have a pathway to redemption around racial issues in this country. >> what about being able to reconcile? >> let's back up. i think we're conflating things we shouldn't. brett kavanaugh had several problems. there was an allegation, then there was clear behavior around copious drinking and additional allegations, and we did not have a full hearing, and accounting, even though we had a process for it. in this case, the issue is, we don't have a clear process, because the process of the election itself, the election has happened, so the question becomes a purely political one. but i don't think we should sit here and suggest that there was no -- we literally swept under the rug the opportunity to understand better what a series of women were saying about brett kavanaugh, and then we have his behavior that he exhibited in the confirmation hearing itself,
which was essentially behavior that even conservative judges were saying was inappropriate behavior to suggest he had the temperament to sit on the bench. now, in this case, what is the process? well, one is you actually could imagine having a process of a public accounting, and to the point of redemption, demonstrate that you've learned something, and still have. and we haven't had that. >> and sexual assault is also a crime. and blackface is awful, but not a crime. this is really complicated. virginia. >> this is continuing to be upsetting for all parties involved. and i think about dr. tyson and what she is going through and how hard it is for somebody to come forward. thank you all. this is a really important and a really hard conversation. coming up, the trump administration's consumer
financial protection bureau says we can't abandon obama era rules regulating payday loans. if we don't know what they are, i will tell you. they are the worse. some of those loans are coming with interest rates of 400%. payday lenders prey on people who are the most desperate. e moe head to msnbc news to see my interview on the culture of business and what it stands for, it is more important than any corporate job and why more seniors need to lead with their hearts. did you hear me? their hearts. arts did you hear me? their hearts we all make excuses for the things we don't want to do. but when it comes to colon cancer screening... i'm not doin' that. i eat plenty of kale. ahem, as i was saying... ...with cologuard, you don't need an excuse... all that prep? no thanks. that drink tastes horrible!
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i do. if you ride, you get it. geico motorcycle. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more. time for my favorite part of the show. money, power, politics. payday lenders. i talked about them before. the worst of the worst. we scored a massive victory of the trump administration, rolling back restrictions that were set to take effect later this year. i remember it was corey lieuen do youski working with some of them in a lobbyist capacity. the consumer protection bureau says it will abandon rules to require lenders to ensure that borrows could repay their loans before issuing them. the goal was to help prevent borrowers from being sucked into death traps, when borrows cannot pay back their loan right away,
taking several months to do, so costs them hundreds of dollars in finance charges, on top of the original loan amount. it is a vortex that crushes people. many of these loans have interest rates, are you ready for this, of 400%. 20 times higher than the average credit card. there are 23,000 payday lenders across the nation. almost twice the number of mcdonald's fast food chains. and almost 10 million millennials have taken out one of these loans in the last two years. this is so upsetting to me. joining me contributor, back with us. why? walk me through. why did the trump administration roll back these regulations? >> well, some would say cruelty is the whole point. which we've heard -- >> but let's not be like that, let's be serious. what's their argument? >> let's look at this pragmatically. this is a lobby extraordinarily
powerful thefrmt have a lot of money to throw away. no different than the credit card lobby, brokerage firm lobby. they have members and the members want results nand this case you have a mallable administration that looks at business of the business, and what they're supposed to focus on and not what the effects are on the consumer. so now we have a consumer financial protection bureau that quite frankly is working harder to remove regulation than to enforce regulation. just one more example. >> what is the rational argument that the current regulators would make for why this makes sense? that's what i don't understand. >> this is a reflection of mick mulvaney's sort of dog eat dog view of financial efficiency, that if you have rules, they get in the way, and if there aren't rules, people then have to fend for themselves, and they prove their wiles by whether or not they are able to make money, and if they get picked off in the process, so be it. i don't think any economy that actually functions well, brings people in the middle class,
which good economies do, function that way. but you've got a deep philosophic attack to that notion and it is coming home to roost about lifting regulations. >> people are not going to payday lenders to buy their first homes. they're going to payday lenders to pay their medical bills. >> when they're in trouble. >> they are going to payday lenders when their car is broken and they got to get it fixed to get to work. you made a broader point jeff, what we're seeing with this administration is a new battleground of rolling back regulations, versus sort of rampant inequality. >> yes, so on the one hand, we've got senators writing op-eds about stock buybacks, on the other hand we've got a situation where $29 billion worth of payday loans were made last year, racking up $5 billion in fees, and almost all of that is coming at the expense of people who literally are the most vulnerable. the most vulnerable. so the bigger picture is that the pendulum is swinging back. you almost look at this and say
it ain't going to matter because people are sick and tired on both sides of aisle of this kind of oppressive behavior from the financial industry. >> they're not though. hold on a second. they say that they are. we were all here after the financial crisi calling them fat cat bankers. america being furious nobody went to jail. not that furious because then president trump was elected. he surrounded himself with gary cohn and wilbur ross and they said let's get rid of dodd/frank and who needs the volcker rule. >> the argument is it would help them but they are seeing it isn't. you can't tell someone i'm helping you and smack them in the face by allowing financial institutions to take advantage of them. it can't go on indefinitely forever. as a certain point there will be a realization. i don't know if that's 2020 or 2022 in the next midterms but people are going to wake up and say, you know what it turns out this rampant laissez-faire philosophy of financial markets and banking institutions, this didn't go my way or work out for
me and people will have their minds changed by reality if not by political arguments. >> you bring up the financial crisis. donald trump is an outcome of the financial crisis. his presidency is a reflection of the distress that average americans felt in the wake of that meltdown where they lost homes. they lost their pensions. they lost their children's -- savings for their children's college. and large institutions overlooked them. both parties overlooked them to some extent. the media overlooked them. and the business world overlooked them. and people in the heartland said wall street got bailed out. >> that's really important. i agree. >> we didn't get bailed out. now what you've had is a team coming in there and are redegulating rules meant to protect unsophisticated low-income people from digging financial graves for themselves. >> this is what i don't understand. so i'm with you that sort of the rise of the trump voter, that forgotten american who saw president obama in his last state of the union talk about the great financial recovery,
those people looked at him and said screw you, dude. and then trump gets elected and this deregulatory environment is only going to be hurt. >> here's what they're being -- none of this payday lending activity would exist if there weren't a need for it. we're talking about the symptom. the cause is that half the country can't access $500. if we regulate financial institutions, then you'll have access to no money, which, of course, is an absolute lie. the same lie they tell about why wall street needs to be more lightly regulated. >> let's talk about what that money is. if your car breaks down and you need to go to work and you don't have money to get it repaired, you cannot earn a living. this is not people borrowing money to get jewelry. this isn't people borrowing money to take a vacation. generally it's people borrowing money to keep their lives together. and we used to call this loan sharking, not payday lending.
>> it is loan sharking. >> the regulations they want to remove are astounding. you say, why -- wait. why is that bad? so they want to take away these cooling off periods so that people can take consecutive loans one after another after another. you're almost guaranteed to get yourself bankrupt if you want to do that and they want to remove any restriction whatsoever from these loans. it's not just payday loans. it's unrestricted payday loans. it's going to kill people. >> thank you both. this is a really important conversation. and mick mulvaney or any other official from the cfpb, i invite you to join me on air. if we're getting this wrong, explain it to us. but the way it seems to me, to ui us, it's so predatory, so abusive to the people who need the most help out there. if we've got it wrong, explain it. right now, i want to take you live to washington where president trump just finished speaking at the national prayer breakfast.
nbc's garrett haake is outside the event that just wrapped up. what did he talk about? >> stephanie, this was essentially a cut down version of the state of the union speech targeted to people in communities of faith. the president hit most of the unifying themes he hit during the state of the union and skipped most of the partisanship he hit during the state of the union. he talked about the importance of faith in america's public works and in america's great public achievements. also talked about some issues particularly important to some of the communities of faith, some of the christian communities in particular that have been so supportive of this president, including the freeing the pastor andrew brunson from turkey. he joked the pastor's daughter would be getting married this weekend and he hasn't gotten his invitation yet. he did not go political if you will othe issue of abortion and on the issue of protecting the sanctity of life. that's essentially as close as he got to delve bog that issue here today.
mostly sticking to the broad themes here of this bipartisan prayer breakfast and not into the partisan weeds as he did on tuesday night. >> gall right, garrett. you may need to figure out why those sirens are going off behind you. coming up, the increasing number of congressional investigations into president trump. a member of the house intelligence committee will be here to respond to trump's claims that the investigations constitute, quote, presidential harassment. hmm. ally begins to change, causing a lack of sharpness, or even trouble with recall. thankfully, the breakthrough in prevagen helps your brain and actually improves memory. the secret is an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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you know how we like to end this show. there is always good news somewhere and i promise good news ruhles. it may be february, but it's still christmas. the residents of ellingham drive could not let neighbor ryan kay miss christmas. the 24-year-old was diagnosed with pneumonia in early december. he then slipped into a drug-induced coma when things took a turn for the worse. when ryan finally awoke on january 24th, he turned to his mother and asked if he missed christmas. but thanks to some very thoughtful neighbors, she told him christmas was waiting for him at home and they welcomed ryan back to the neighborhood with a festive february christmas celebration. that is some neighborly love, and those are some great americans. thank you for watching.
i'm stephanie ruhle. i'll see you again at 1:00 p.m. find me all day long on twitter. right now, more news. chris jansing is here. >> merry christmas, ryan. never ha bad time for the christmas spirit. i'm chris jansing in for hallie jackson on this thursday. washington's newest sheriffs are flexing their house muscles. they are defying the president. something he's very clearly aware of this morning. ahead, the hearings now on capitol hill and what's being handed over to the special counsel. in virginia, the crisis turning into crises. scandals now engulfing the state's top three officials. the latest, the attorney general who says he, like the governor, once appeared in blackface while the woman accusing the lieutenant governor of sexual assault shares her story in detail. all of it threatening democrats' grip on power in the state. plus, the