tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC February 19, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST
follow the show online, on facebook and on twitter. here is ali velshi and stephanie ruhle. i went down some strange rabbit hole looking at old photos. he look fabulous in every photo he's ever taken from his 20s all the way to now. that is sort of the definition of what looking fabulous was. >> indeed. >> andrea, have a great afternoon. >> thank you. >> you know what head said, when you bought sweatparts, you've given up. >> i have a pair or two. >> it is tuesday, february 19th this was. let's get smarter. >> you think the president is a threat? >> i think it's entirely possible. that's one of the reason we ordered -- >> did you order a counter-intelligence investigation. >> i did. >> did you suspect the president might be working for russia? >> we thought it might be possible. the fact that the president of the united states may have
committed obstruction of justice for the purpose of impeding our investigation into russia, that was the big-picture issue we were trying to find our way through. >> i know you and other members briefed the so-called gang of eight, the leaders of congress in the days after comey way fired, about the russia investigation, so it would have been the majority leader mitch mcconnell, speaker of the house paul ryan and democratic counterparts. did you tell them you had opened a counter-intelligence investigation into president trump? >> the purpose of the briefing was to let our congressionally leadership know exactly what we've been doing. >> did anyone object? >> that's the important part here, savannah. no one objected. breaking news, a new investigation into one of president trump's first supporters on the campaign trail and first advisers in the white house, michael flynn. the house oversight will investigate his role in a plan to transfer nuclear technology to saudi arabia. 16 states including california, new mexico and new york, suing to block the
president's effort to spend billions by dollars a national emergency. >> if congress can't get a measure pass that would hall what he's trying to do, then that's why we're in court, and we'll, i hope, work with an institution my belief is still strong in it, will stand up for what 240 years of democracy has made very, very clear. there is a separation of powers in this country. hi, i'm bernie sanders, i'm running for president. i'm asking you you today to be part of an unprecedented grass-roots campaign of 1 million active volunteers in every state in our country. >> i sit here kamala harris and elizabeth warren. bernie sits a few seats away from me. i think the important thing is there's a whole series of very credible candidates. >> i am going to run for president. that's correct. >> what's going to be different this time? >> we're going to win. okay. lots in there to cover.
we'll get to it, but we're following some breaking news. new fears that the trump administration is working to give nuclear secrets to saudi arabia. whistleblowers from president trump's own national security council revealed a plan, get this, to transfer nuclear technology to the saudis -- >> why? >> yeah, there's a lot of questions here, why being the first. the plan was backed by former national security adviser michael flynn and others. it may have violated the law. as we get into this, the why might be become clear, and it's the same why that got michael flynn involved in a number of things. >> until this proposal, the nuclear power industry would build power plants across the middle east. it would be backed by a group of retired generals who had formed a firm called ip-3. flip called himself an adviser to a subsidiary of ip-3. >> according to the report from
the house oversight committee, one official said the proposal was, quote, not a business plan, about but a scheme for these generals to make some money and added, okay, you know, we cannot do this. >> investigators are worried that president trump is considering this proposal despite career national security officials, experts, objecting to this very plan. >> joining us now can ken delany, i'm going to start with, what? >> first of all, this is another -- this story has been around for a while, but now you have the house oversight committee launching an investigation, and they've had whistle-blowers who came forward anonymously to give details. one issue, as you described, here was a group that mike flynn was advising while he was president trump's campaign/national security adviser, and during the transition, he comes into the
office and has already decided to jam through the proposal that will benefit this group to build nuclear plants in saudi arabia. so lawyers told him and told mime on the nsc, that's a criminal conflict of interest and it shouldn't go forward, yet people close to flynn continued to push it. secondly, there's rules about transferring nuclear technology to other countries. there's policies and procedures to make sure they won't build weapons with the byproducts. according to this report, the rules were not followed. flynn and his people were trying to push it through, disregarding the rules, and people said we can't do this. finally after flynn was fired, h.r. mcmaster said we have to stop work on this, we're done, but now -- because h.r. mcmaster is gone, as you know, it's back on the table. that's what the house is concerned about. the trump administration is continuing to pursue this plan. we know there's close tie twos
the trump administration and the saudi arabia. >> the first one to look at is whether or not this transfer of technology or the building of these nuclear plants in the middle east makes sense from a policy and national security perspective. the second one is whether there were folks who were involved in encouraging this, because they might have had a business interest in it, or as some might say cloolloquially on the take. >> another fact on that. tom barrack, he was commissioned as a special envoy to sort of sell this plan. he has extensive business ties, the backers of the the project had a draft order for the president to sign naming ba
barracks as the special enjoy. the issue is the 15udis had never agreed to follow the nonproliferation safeguard that the u.s. generally requires. >> help us understand how the house oversight committee has opened this investigation. you mentioned it before, now that democrats have control, they mean business. what does this action actually look like? >> they have already gotten information from whistle-blowers. people have come forward at great risk to themselves, who were there, to provide e-mails and inside information. now they're going forward with an investigation including document requests to all the agencies, the white house, the cia, the energy department and the private companies involved. they can compel document requests and in some cases, testimony with their subpoena power. >> how is jared kushner involved? >> he's mentioned in this report
as somebody who was trying to get this in front of the president, but there's also been reporting that he decided not to go forward with the project, because he had other plans for the saudi/u.s. relationship. it remains to be seen, and i think they'll pursue that. >> so do we know is president trump still considering this? or something we floated, but obviously didn't pursue? >> the house report said that trump had a meeting with saudi officials on february 12th at which the topic was discussed. so the house investigators are very concerned that this is on the table in the trump at manages. >> remarkable, thank you, ken dyl didylanie. >> there may have been other involvement, but this guy finds a way to take a piece out of any deal that's going on anywhere.
>> if you're tom barrack, you want as far away from this administration as possible. unlike many of these people that won the life super bowl in getting to be associated. tom barracks is a super-rich mega-successful guy living in francis and his boat, he could say si say sayonara. >> he's still involved in the inauguration. >> that's the most nonsense excuse i've ever heard. >> we he we so involved with the saudis, and you keep on finding all these people who seem to have some unique financial benefit or involvement with the saudis. i'm glad we've drained the swamp. unbelievable. new bombshells from andrew mccabe. he says he told bipartisan leaders about the trump investigation, and no one
objected. we'll dig into what that means. ruth bader ginsburg, she's back on the bench today, her first day back since surgery to remove two cancerous nodules from her left lung in december. she missed january oral arguments, the first time she was absent when she joined the court back in 1983. you're joining "velshi & ruhle" on msnbc. snbc nice tip. i'll give you two bucks for the chair. two?! that's a victorian antique! all right, how much for the recliner, then? wait wait... how did that get out here? that is definitely not for sale! is this a yard sale? if it's in the yard then it's... for sale. oh, here we go. geico. it's easy to switch and save on homeowners and renters insurance.
welcome impact, we are following new developments from andrew mccabe. >> he said not only did he order a counter counter-intelligence investigation, thinking it was possible that trump was working on behalf of russia, he told a bipartisan -- i'm going to say it one more time -- a bipartisan group of leaders about it. >> the purpose of the briefing was to let our congressional leadership know exactly what we've been doing, opening a case of this nature, not something that an fbi director, not something that an acting fbi director do by itself. the recommendation came from my team, i review it with the lawyers, i discussed it at length -- >> did you tell congress? >> i told congress. >> did anyone object? >> no one objected, not on legal grounds, not on constitutional ground and not on the facts.
>> say what? >> that's nuts. >> joining us now, danny cevalos. mccabe is talking about the game of eight. where these people. >> i have devin nunes on there. he was briefed on this. are we to believe he didn't tell the president? >> i'm going to ask danny that. >> he reportedly briefed the president on things he learned in congress. you along at that gang of eight there. those are the top of the top leaders in congress, including
none e nunes. vs hard to making allegations when it's something he briefed the congressional leadership on from both sides. whether nunes ran out the door and briefed trump, that's one issue, but back to the core issue, which is it's hard to say that mccabe and some deep state was attempting a takeover. so what happens after this. now he has said, i told the gang of eight. what happens? does some governing body reach out to the gang of eight? or do we land into an he said/he said smackdown. >> the fact that they may have
given false statements to investigators, because irrespective of this other stuff, that on its own is a potential --. mccabe needs to be mindful. on the other hand, where do we come from here? it become very different for anyone to say mccabe was engineering a coup, but at the same time because top republican leaders were aware, this cannot possibly come as a surprise, which yet raises another question. why did we not know about this beforehand? why is in the hospital in the top republican leadership revealed that they were already briefed on these -- >> the gang of eight, the whole concept is they have more access to highly classified information to anyone else, except the president. but they want really come on tv and tell us about this. >> no, they can't, but they can refrain, or to the best of their
ability, keep others from excoriating mccabe. >> they can't keep the president from doing that. lindsey graham can't say, hey, d.t., can the not say that? that's ridiculous. let me take issue with that. mitch mcconnell could say, perhaps you're going down the wrong word. >> okay, but the phone call, perhaps you shouldn't, mr. president, and actually being able to get president trump to do anything, that's a nonstarter. i mean, mitch mcconnell could tell them to do that. yeah, right. >> nobody is going to tell the president to tweet or not tweet about anybody. going back to leadership, it's difficult to make the case there was a unilateral effort by law enforcement. >> or the fbi was acting as a
rogue organization, or as many have said, trump should never criticize the fbi, because they will make a personal issue of it. not necessarily. not if you are all the while, as you're opening these investigations, briefing the gang of eight, briefing congress, essential, including leaders from both sides. it makes it difficult to make that claim. >> here's a question. would robert mueller's report, the investigation, include this? would it get to the bottom of this? an drew mccabe said i trust mueller's investigation to get to the bottom of whatever is out there. >> his mandate is to investigate russia collusion from all angles. you can imagine an easy line drawn from russian collusion and james comey arguably being ordered to stop that investigation into russia collusion. you saw in the interview with mccabe he discussed that very issue. if the president asked, for
example, comey to lay off flip, and that is related to the russia investigation, this may all fall within the ambit of the mueller team's investigation into russian collusion. >> you're a defense lawyer. put yourself in the position of become andrew mc kay's lawyer. he was fired for lying about his interactions with the media. that might affect his cleblt. he says i told congressional leaders about this. he knows the gang of eight have rules about what they can say publicly or not. so if someone sells andrew mccabe is lying, how do they prove that? and how does mccabe prove he's not? >> the first concern is the possible have aition into his false stales false statement to investigators long before. if the government is going to be
consistent, then they have to prosecute everyone for false statements. beyond that, beyond any criminal liability, it becomes more of a pr committee. to the extent there was any report generated internally, that may help. the reality is, mccabe's number one concern is a potential prosecution and a grand jury being convened for his alleged false statements in the investigation. >> has anyone from the gang of eight made a statement since he said this? >> i don't believe they have. see, they make a habit -- whenever you ask someone in the gang of eight or subject to classified, they'll always tell you, it can't tell you about that. >> but in rod rosenstein's case what us it where he said that rosenstein potential agreed to wear a wire. i'm pretty sure his office came
out and said, this is not true. have we heard the gang of eight saying anything, good, bad or otherwise? >> that wire issue will be hotly contested. so too is whether or not did they really discuss the 25th amendment seriously? and what were the depths of that discussion? that's all tied in with the would you wear a wire conversation? >> danny, thank you for this. this is good et into interesting territory. >> you know what crack me up and when one of us says, i have a question, and we do it all the time. yeah, that's why he came. coming up next, stephanie has news for you. >> bernie sander is back. i'm pretty sure he didn't leave. i'm glad you said that. >> people are going to scream
attal at ali and i that he's not a democrat. >> we're just giving you the news. we're going to find out if he is running, why he's running as a democrat, when he and so many other clays he's not one. we'll have been kasie hunt on her new interview with kamala harris and what the senator says about democratic socialism. >> we have to have a system that recognizes it has been not been working for everyone equally. t working for everyone equally about 50% of people with evesevere asthma k? have too many cells called eosinophils in their lungs. eosinophils are a key cause of severe asthma. fasenra is designed to target and remove these cells.
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this morning officially bernie sanders entered the race. >> it's a very different race this time. he's battling a large and diversion field expected to get larger. so far it includes five women. >> joining us now, kasie hunt, who covered the sanders campaign back in 2016, also eugene scott. "the washington post" political reporter. you spoke with kamala harris, who this is the first time she created real distance, when you want democratic socialist? that's not me. >> she did indeed. that, of course, even more relevant behalf bernie sanders' entry into this race. quite frankly the president and his campaign, campaign in waiting, focusing on this idea of democrats as socialist it is. you heard it in the state of the
union. bernie sanders still not a democratic, though for the second time running for the nomination. kamala harris was very clear with reporters she does not identify as a democratic socialist, so i tried to push her a bit on what exactly that means, how she defines democratic socialist, what is different about where she stands. take a look at how she answered. >> bernie sanders jumped into the race today, you said ear not a democratic socialist. >> i'm not. >> what is the difference, in your mind? >> well, i can talk about who i am. i believe that we have got to have a system that recognizes it has not been working for everyone equally. so i support capitalism. it in theory is something that requires competition that will allow us to be better and evo e
evolve. >> i thought it was interesting she said out of the gate i can talk about who i am. that's something true about the harris campaign listening to her on the trail, her biography and background is clearly going to be important. you have seen a lot of democratic voters are interested, they're looking for a candidate that's a woman, a person of color, that adds diversity, as they consider who should be on the ticket in 2020. obviously bernie sanders make in a lot of ways the opposite art. he talks about how it should simply be a contest of ideas. he doesn't necessarily want to talk about who he is when he's making the arguments, just wants to talk about what is the policy position. quite frankly that rubbed some people the wrong way. i know you always want to chat about african-americans, and whether or not they would be willing to support bernie sanders. the way that kamala harris answered that question, first of
all, it shows you how difficult it is, it's about labels in many ways, i asked her about medicare for all. she said that's not a socialist idea. that's not something that came originally from bernie sanders, but she did again focus on the identity question first, ali. >> eugene, to kasie's question about not just democrats at large have to choose from, but african-american democrats, in the last democratic primary you had hillary clinton sort of hoping that bill clinton's popularity was going to translate to her, yet bernie sanders sort of face something accusations he didn't have enough outreach on that front. in this field of democratic candidates so far, african-americans have different options. >> they absolutely do. and even beyond just african-american candidates, just other candies of color.
if bernie sanders is going to successful with black voters, more so than 2016, he's going to have to compete guess some of these candidates who frankly more fluent talking to voters of color about the issues impacting them specifically. obviously bernie sanders has wider name recognition, but when you look at some of the bay voters of color, they are very much more in line with kamala harris and interested in her compared to bernie sanders, in part because of the some concerns in his 2016 presidential campaign about black staffers not feeling like they were heard and valued, just some other issues related to outreach. so sanders will have to do something very differently than he did in 2016, in addition to getting ahead.
>> kasie, you talked to me earlier about the rock star environment around bernie's campaign in 2016. he had a lot of ideas that were very progressive that people were excited, but even last night we heard to amy klobuchar that a clove of the ideas are aspirational, but tough to pay for. will bermie sanders be held to a higher standard, but sir, how will you pay for them? >> we tried to hold him to that standard in 2016. if you've ever watched interview with his bernie sanders, there are things that get under his skin. sometimes he baulks at a question. this was an area where it was never really clear what he stood, and there was some irritation, you're making these
promises, but at the end of the day, when the rubber meets the road, how will you actually get it done? one interesting thing that's different about this primary is there are? people who are coming out -- elizabeth warren has proposed a tax on the wealthy with x amount of dollars. she is putting out there how she would pay for it. bent yes sanders ease team did put out an outline, but there were a lot of questions, and it wasn't clear that any of the math added up. yeah, i do think it's going to be a potential problem for him. the challenge is, and one thing i'm cureius how this will play out after four years of donald trump saying that the world is one way when you know your eyes may be telling you it's not that way. are voters still looking for people to tell them that something will happen even if there's not a realistic way to explain it. donald trump went to pittsburgh and said i'm going to bring the
coal jobs back. obviously that never really would happen, but when hillary clinton said it will not happen, that did not go over well. so we'll see in klobuchar can handle it in a different way. >> there's still seven more candidates in the potential candidates that we haven't talked about. joe biden or beto o'rourke, or others who may get into the race. what's your sense of the competition between the established big candidates like bernie sanders, by the way, who has a big among advantage over everyone and others who say, listen to me, this is the option to get some change. >> i think some of the early polling we have seen here at "the washington post," they want to get behind someone who can win, and win the support of some of the most loyal voting blocs.
for that person to win, we do believe that for the most part, they will have possibilito be m pragmatic, and reach out to people who may have stayed out in 2016 or even voted for trump. so it will be interesting to see which candidates can bring both of these wings of the democratic party to be together and effective. >> both of you, thank you. kasie hunt and eugene scott. >> i think it's funny when bernie sanders would get a bit chafed. you know what makes me think of, president trump on the campaign trail in ohio, don't sell your houses, there's no plants going to be closed. and what did person learn in the last year? the president doesn't have control over corporations. if they decide they're going to close a plant, they're going to close a plant. he can't reverse what he did for
those corporations on the tax cuts. >> i don't want to encourage the lack of specificity when they introduce things, and when bernie sanders bros in medicare for -- he said i won't have a price war, but will let others figure it out. as a strong proponent of universal health care, no matter the proposals, it will be better than what we have. >> how do you suggest the massive plans without having to also a, but it will raise your taxes. how do we ask for more, but unwilling to have our taxes raised. >> if it raises your taxes, but takes away the ancillary costs, then maybe there's a net benefit, but you do have to go to some pangs to explain it. >> you have to go through pains to explain it. what we learned in the last two years, which is hard for anyone running for president, that people want to hear three words,
slogans, and assignment going to fix it. >> medicare for all, single payer health care, and that's the danger. >> it's complicated. 16 states are suing the president, using his very own words against hem. we'll break down why the border situation is still not a national emergency. you're watching "velshi & ruhle" on msnbc. on msnb*trade whose tech makes life easier by automatically adding technical patterns on charts and helping you understand what they mean. don't get mad, get e*trade. 4 out of 5 people who have a stroke, their first symptom... is a stroke. 80 percent of all strokes and heart disease? preventable. and 149 dollars is all it takes to get screened and help take control of your health. we're life line screening... and if you're over 50... call this number, to schedule an appointment... for five painless screenings that go beyond
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glue president trump's national emergency is facing a lawsuit now from 16 states, resistance from congress, even a slow walking from the acting defense secretary. now, for facts' sake, president trump's claims when announcing the emergency are just not true. take his claim that the president likes to use that the united states losing more than $200 billion per year on undocumented immigrants. that's false. a stud we by the cove sever tiff think tank, the heritage foundation, found that the cost was closer to 54, but the costs are unclear. many of them actually pay taxes then there's the entire premise that immigrants are overrunning the southern border.
according to homeland security data, more than 415,000 people were stopped at the southern border in the fiscal year 2017 take a look at that. beingingly, could nay clans made up the largest group. something along the wall along the border would -- most of us canadians do come to the united states via mexico. the united states own data says the southern border is not the primary source of unlawful -- that's a fact.
then saying -- the d.e.a.'s national drug threat assessment found that most drugs were actually seized at ports of entry. for example, 90% of heroin seized was taken at ports of entry, 88% of cocaine. 87% of methamphetamine. so, there should be nothing coming in between ports. >> so the white house may see that and respond and say 10% is 10% too much. >> fair enough. >> to that, fair point, but 10%, does that constitute a national emergency. >> if 90% is coming through the places. that's what's coming in through ports of entry, but you have to fit out ways in which your ports of entry which actually have
state of, maybe needs better technology to look through the things that come through. if you don't want people overstaying visas in the united states, get tough on canadians. by the way, they're all old canadians, the southern states, they're snowbirds, because they don't get a visa. they come across, stay and go home. >> you have sealed borders, say that, but stop with the you're going to stop the drugs and the criminals. >> right now i'm thinking about students in west virginia, who could facing another teacher strike. education. we need every dollar for that, and we need tons of money for border security. it's just unclear whether there's a national urgent need for a wall. we're going to follow -- we have some breaking news surrounding the investigation into hush money payments set up by the longtime fixer michael
cohen. "new york times" has just broken this story. "new york times" is reporting that president trump called his new then attorney general matthew whitaker -- listen to this. he called the attorney general and asked if someone else could take over the investigation, and not just someone else, someone who was actually friendly to the president. this is incredible. >> i'm going to have to start with a big, what? pete williams, what? >> so what the times story says is the white house asked whitaker if he could get jeffrey berman, the u.s. attorney appointed by trump in new york, to take over the case. berman was out of the case, recused. the times says that berman recused himself. our understanding is that's not actually how it worked. justice department rules prohibit u.s. attorneys from recusing themselves. there instead is a process by
which the justice department makes those decisions. in any case, berman was off the case, recused. what the times says is the president or the white house ask whitaker to put bemplen back on, and whitaker said he couldn't do that or declined to do that, because berman was recused. the justice department spokeswoman has a statement pushpush ing back to some extent, pointing out that when whitaker testified, he said, quote -- at no time has the white house asked for nor have i provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation or any other investigation. i was going to read that one more time. "at no time has the white house asked for nor have i provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's
investigation or other investigations." so a pushback to some extent against the story. >> hard to know what the parsing in that means. is that an absolute denial? is that a "new york times" is reporting is wrong? >> well, the statement is just as gave it to you. i think -- i think that the gravamen of the statement is that. -- >> but a promise or a commitment is not the same as a request. >> and this was into michael cohen. so i'm wondering whether that's the distinction. >> the question was -- or any other investigation. or any other investigation. >> so the white house -- okay. so this is -- i just want to be clear on this, pete, that's from the testimony that whitaker game to congress? >> right. it was in his opening statement,
and then again when he was asked by congresswoman zoe lofgren about it, she says -- she was asking him -- i'm looking back at the trip -- generally speaking this issue of whether he was asked to do anything about the russia investigation, and he says -- i can assure this committee before being appointed -- before appointing me to this position, the president did not ask for nor did i provide any commitments, promises concerning the special counsel's investigation or any other investigation. of course, that was before appointing him. the times story says that he was asked about this while he was attorney general. >> so it maybe by different things. >> they're offering this statement in rebuttal, but there are two time frames involved here. let's bring in danny
cevallos. it's an explosive story in "new york times." it says, if you take this to be there was ample public evidence that mr. trump had the corrupt intent to try to derail the mueller investigation, the legal standard for an obstruction of justice case. we're not sure whether it happened or didn't happen. if the president called matthew whitaker to ask him to have a judge unrecuse himself in a case that is peripherally connected to the president -- >> a u.s. attorney, not a judge. >> sorry, a u.s. attorney. thank you. that would be a very, very serious matter. >> it could be a serious matter. it all depends on how you view executive power. this goes back to a discussion we've had many times over the last year. is it obstruction or is it the president using his executive power as the head of the doj to
reallocate resources, make personnel decisions, hire and fire whomever he likes. there is a case to be made for obstruction. it could be derailing an investigation by reassigning some kind of loyalist or some perceived loyalist and of course whitaker apparently saying you can't do that. it means it never happened. so it really depends. it's an age-old discussion we've had. is it obstruction of justice if the president is doing it and doing it -- by that i, mean directing the doj to do things. and that's the key. corrupt intent is defined as an improper purpose. in other words, he can do this act, but it all depends what's in his mind. was he doing it because he wanted to do something, a correct decision for the doj, or was he doing it for his own personal gain? >> let's bring in "new york times" washington correspondent michael schmitt. >> one of the authors of this. >> this is an explosive story, but it's one that we're already
seeing some pretty significant pushback from the white house on. what's your take? >> for this story, we went back and re-examined a lot of what the president has done in the past two years as he sought to control the investigation. we found out things he tried to do related to the michael cohen investigation. we found out things he did as far back as february of 2017, right after mike flynn got fired. we were trying to paint a portrait of what the president's efforts to control, to sort of direct the narrative had been. as we know, the president speaks at length about these investigations, goes on and on and complains about them. we know that he's being examined for his ties to russia. we know he's being examined for obstruction. so what did that obstruction really look like? that's what we tried to tackle. >> all right. and to the extent that you heard pete williams with us, what whitaker said to congress during his confirmation efforts.
he said that the president at that point, prior to him becoming the attorney general, had not asked him to intervene in anything. obviously your reporting is this took place after whitaker became the attorney general. has there been any comment on that? >> we received the same statement from the justice department. the reporting we have in our story is about when whitaker was the acting attorney general, this discussion about whether a u.s. attorney in new york could unrecuse himself. whitaker really thought he was there to jump on a grenade for the president, but whitaker also ran into the constraints of the justice department. the fact that even as the acting attorney general, he may not have had the power and authority that the president hoped he would in that situation. so we've included the response from the justice department in our piece. whitaker has testified about this. he was questioned by members of congress, not pinning him down on every littles aspect of this.
the house has asked whitaker more questions about this. we'll see if he ever responds. >> so here's a question. what's the implication of this? it didn't happen, right? the president asked for it to happen. what's the implication as to why it didn't happen? >> well, i don't know what the implication about why it didn't happen is. i think what it does show is there are certain constraints at the justice department that are operating free or independently of the wishes and desires of the president. it's an incredibly unique situation to watch the justice department function under trump as he tries to influence different parts of the investigation. these are things the president has done as far back as jim comey, asking him to end the investigation into mike flynn, and trump trying to pressure his former attorney general, jeff session, on lots of different things related to the special counsel investigation. this is not a new behavior that
we've seen. >> to that point, he pressured jeff sessions. what we've heard about the campaign, they didn't make a direct request. the statement is there was no promise or commitment. isn't there something different between whitaker promising or committing to change out the person working on the investigation to the president, asking him, hey, man, can you work on that? like, is there a situation where the statement that we're getting from the doj is some world-class wordsmithing? >> i'm going to let the department of justice speak for themselves on that. >> fair enough. all right. well, thank you for your reporting on this, michael schmidt. reporting the president may have tried to interfere into the investigation of michael cohen with having a new prosecutor, supervisor. all right. thanks as well to danny and to pete williams.
now we got to get back to president trump and the national emergency, which is now facing a lawsuit from a total of 16 states. joining us is one of the attorneys general in that lawsuit, maryland a.g. brian, how confident are you that this lawsuit will be successful, and what gives you particular hope for this case? >> well, let me say first of all, stephanie, that the president and i agree about a very fundamental aspect of this case. that is he said he didn't need to do it, didn't need to declare an emergency. i agree with that. he did not. as ali just pointed out a few minutes ago, there's no basis for this. there's no basis for a declaration of emergency. that is, i think, a fatal flaw for the government. we also think that he violates the constitution, violates the law, and as he tries to roll this out, he's going to hit a number of different stumbling
blocks. >> the president has indicated the administration -- you know, he said it in his speech. it's going to go to the ninth circuit. we're going to have a bad result, something else is going to happen, a bad result, then it's going to get to the supreme court and we'll have a good result. >> or it'll go to the supreme court in not a timely fashion, so the president will get to ride this for a while. >> what's your sense of the president's road mapping of this? >> well, i think that's an accurate prediction. it'll go to the ninth circuit. then it'll go to the supreme court. the question is whether he'll be enjoying while the case is in progress. i hope he will be. this is a guy who does not respect the rule of law. rule of law is at the core of our democracy. and he's shown repeatedly that he has no interest in protecting, preserving, or abiding by the rule of law. the first president in history to violate our original anti-corruption law, the emoluments clauses of the constitution. the first time that a president
has taken money that's not been appropriated, and used it for a fake emergency. i think you've got a lot of obstacles before he gets to the supreme court. >> to play devil's advocate, if you want to say this isn't politics, it's just about l rth rule of law, we know the president loves to criticize the ninth circuit. he does, other republicans do. why file it there rather than somewhere else? >> well, the attorney general of california is leading the case, and that's his state. so that's why it's been filed in california. california is also a border state that has many interests that are impacted by this declaration of emergency. so california makes sense as a venue for this action. >> general frosh, hi. question for you. why does maryland have standing
to sue the federal government over the federal government's allocation of million teitary s? >> well, there's a real question about whether he's allowed to spend money on the military for this, but that is one of the reasons that we have standing. we're expecting about half a billion dollars in appropriations for military construction. what the president is saying is he's going to use it for something else. he's going to use it to build a wall on the southern border. >> general, you're right, and that's exactly what you allege verbatim. when you say we are expecting funding, that we is still money going from one military place to another military place. so how do you get over that standing hurdle? as you know, maryland needs a concrete interest in the outcome of the litigation. how do you tell the federal government how it allocates its military spending? >> congress has determined how it's doing its military appropriation, allocating the spending, and it has allocated a
half a billion dollars or more than half a billion to maryland. so if we don't get that money, we're adversely impacted. we have a real stake in it. and that's why we're participating in the lawsuit. >> attorney general brian frosh, thank you for joining us, sir. we appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. >> we're going to leave it there. this has been a pretty news-filled hour. right now we hand you off to peter alexander, who picks up coverage in washington. >> good afternoon to both of you. good afternoon to you at home. i'm peter alexander in today for katy tur. it's 11:00 out west, 2:00 p.m. in the east. we begin with breaking news. "the new york times" reporting that, quote, as federal prosecutors in manhattan gathered evidence late last year about president trump's role in silencing women with hush money payments during the 2016 campaign, mr. trump called