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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  March 5, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PST

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yasmin vossoughian. "morning joe" starts now. >> is there anyone unwilling to pledge your support for the rab party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person. again, we're looking for you to raise your hand now if you won't make that pledge tonight. >> mr. trump. [ crowd boos ] >> august 6, 2015, one of the moments that helped cement donald trump's status as the outsider in the 2016 for president. turns out he may have known that question was coming courtesy of a contact at fox news. that's not the on place where fox reportedly helped the future president. there was also stormy daniels. it's tuesday march 5th. with us msnbc contributor and so much more, mike barnicle, white house reporter jonathan lemire,
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crista anderson and author of "the death of expertise" tom nichols and author of "power up" jacqueline alemani. joe and mika are off this morning. joe is tending to the funeral of his mother as you heard here. key people, who along with don jr. signed off on a check reimbursing michael cohen for paying off stormy daniels.
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the general services committee holds the lease for the building that houses the trump hotel in washington. the nra received a document request, as well as the "national enquirer." committee chairman jerry nadler said the initial request for documents are limited to those that already have been submitted to the special counsel, the southern district of new york or or congressional committees. the chairman explained what sets his investigation apart. >> our job is very different from other law enforcement agencies. the special prosecutor has a specific manndate to investigat only the russian interference in the election or possible collusion or interference and to look at crimes. the southern district of new
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york only looks at crimes. our job is to protect the rule of law in this country and that means we have to look at the three major threats to the rule of law that we have seen and that is corruption, personal enrichment and violation of the emoluments law, abuse of power, attacks on the press, attacks on the judiciary, attacks on law enforcement agencies and obstruction of justice. >> are you going to cooperate with mr. nadler? >> i cooperate all the time with everybody. up know the beautiful thing? no collusion, it's all a hoax. you're going to learn about that as you grow older. it's a political hokax. >> both the white house and the trump campaign released statements in response to the house judiciary committee's new investigation into potential abuses. last night sarah huckabee sanders released a statement that reads in part "chairman
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nadler and his fellow democrats have embarked on this fishing expedition because they're terrified that their two-year false narrative of russia collusion is tumbling. their intimidation and abuse of american citizens is shameful. democrats are harassing the president to distract from their radical agenda of making america a socialist country. she went on to say the democrats are more interested in pathetic political games and catering to a radical leftist base than on producing results for our citizens. the democrats are not after the truth, they are after the president." and the trump campaign released a similar statement. the white house conference acknowledges that they need
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legitimate reasons. some may produce clashes with the administration over executive privileges. you have over 80 letters. sweeping doesn't begin to cover what nadler and the other committee heads are preparing to do here. some say and critics say this is too much, that it's overreach, that it's not the mandate of the judiciary committee, it's not the mandate of these committees and all they're trying to do is gum up this presidency and to tie up the president and to hurt his chances to become elected in 2020. >> the number is staggering, 80, 81 submissions, even if it were half that. you would think from the outside looking in that this means the end really of the day-to-day operation of the trump administration. they are going to be so tied up in responding and reacting to these requests internally in the white house that you can't see given staff that does not get exactly high marks to begin with
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and the thinness of the staff, so many people have departed, how do they function, jonathan, on a day-to-day basis with all of this hanging over their heads? >> they have hired some new attorneys and staffed up to some degree. elections have consequences. this is the moment the white house has started to prepare for since that day in november when the democrats took control of the house. the cohen hearing was the hoping act and sort of laid out a road map of what's coming. up toed on all t touched on all the different aspects of the president's life, his business and with the subpoena go after the trump orbit, not just the presidency and the administration but everything that's become prior to this. the president was relatively relaxed in that response. according to our reporting, it's a very different picture behind closed doors. he is deeply frustrating with
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what's coming, the failure of the hanoi summit to reach an agreement and this is going to bog down the day-to-day operations of this white house. we're seeing some of that frustration come out through twitter but this is a west wing now that is going to be under siege. >> tom, this is as jonathan said precisely what democrats promised, if they won, we're going to investigate. jerry nadler said this is exactly our mandate, which is oversight of the republicans, oversight of the government. >> this is something raspberepus should have been doing over the last two years. we've simply gotten overwhelmed. if this is a fishing expedition we have to take a line from "jaws," you're going to need a bigger boat because there's going to be a lot of fish and there's a lot to look at here. any one of these could have been
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a major congressional investigation but the republicans managed to stiff arm these, elections have consequences, this is something the democrats said they would do and they're doing it as they promised. >> what does this mean for the day-to-day operations for the united states government? this is going to be a full-time job for this white house to produce the documents, to manage the pushback on it. this is going to take us through and into the campaign. >> i would suggest this is very different in some ways than the message that many democrats ran on and won on in many of these swng distri swing districts. we disagree with the president, we want to work with him and hold him accountable, which is very different from we want to stop this administration from doing anything. republicans were telling voters if you want your government to function, leave us in power, at least there will be a minimal level of functioning. to the, tent this gives trump the ability to say, hey, if you
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don't like what the government is doing, it's because i'm dealing with all of these requests. it further makes him the victim. it went wrong because we can't possibly deal with crisis a, b and c because 81-plus requests have come our way. in some ways that may have been a strategic misfire on the part of nadler. alexander knicks, former head of cambridge and lit ka, very interested to hear what who knows, what his role was with the campaign, any role he may have had in any potential alleged collusion. about there are others on that list are just about making the president look bad. >> to kristen's point, we put up a tweet from david axelrod.
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he wrote "maybe i'm missing something but the hazard of an omnibus document demand by house judiciary versus discrete, serial ones is that however will the the areas of inquiry, the wide-ranging nature of it is too easily plays into the witch hunt meme." >> the president would do this either way regardless of how valid this inquiry is. first of all, this number 80 pales in comparison to the senate whitewater investigation during the clinton administration in which the republicans issued 1,285 subpoenas to the clinton white house. so comparing 80 documents to 1,200, you know, that speaks for itself. but then also i think we need to look at this as an insurance policy. this is, you know, the mueller scope investigation has been pretty limited and as alexandria
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ocasio-cortez said yesterday, this is really about the president's tax returns and his potential ties to foreign governments and whether or not they have leverage over the trump administration. and then, you know, i think lastly this, you know, this should be viewed as, again, an insurance policy and every single one of these people who nadler has requested documents from is already involved in the federal probe of the southern district of new york or the mueller probe and has already been reached out to. these are people who are already it a connected. >> the heads of the house intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight committees have sent letters to white house chief of staff mick mulvaney and secretary of state mike pompeo
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requesting a trove of documents and asking the translators present for the meetings and calls be made available for interviews with their committees. it cites media reports that the president has taken steps to seize control over the meetings and what the two men discussed. "on february 21, 2019 we wrote a joint letter to you requesting basic information about whether the president in fact destroyed records relating to his conversations with president putin in violation of the presidential records act or if he did not, where are those records located?" this is a coordinated effort by
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six or seven committees led by democrats. >> they wanted the information about these meetings since when this happened. we still don't know what happened in the meeting between trump and putin in helsinki when they met for two hours. this is going to be the back drop for the next two years. this is the back drop of the campaign, of his reelection bid. on the one hand they're going to be under siege, that is going to be tough to sort of mount any sort of positive message from this white house when this is happening, but at the same time, this allows him to claim, as we have seen, presidential harassment. that's his new twitter trope. he's going to say we're under attack and the idea of government overreach, democratic overreach, is going to be the theme day to day. i'm the victim here and if you want the government to work, you know, come back to me, doesn't give them this power.
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>>woo haven >> we haven't mentioned it this morning and not a lot of media attention has been focussed on it but one of the most important investigations is going on and it's going over the president's tax returns and if they get the tax returns, that opens up a whole, whole new area of investigation which would truly interest large portions of the american public, without regard to ideology. >> that's one of the holy grails of democrats, if we get in we can subpoena the tax returns. >> we're talking about tax returns like it's completely abnormal for presidents to put forward their tax returns, which president has have been doing fa long time. he's ggt oing to call this a wi
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hunt no matter what you do. all of these things together are just going to overwhelm the white house because they don't have a process for dealing with any of this stuff. i think one of the things that's interesting here is the call to bring in the translators, which i think really shows that the foreign affairs committee in particular has said, you know, we've really had enough of this, this is now going to be hard ball to start calling in people that normally are like kind of a privileged relationship because people need to know these things. i'm a fan of secrecy in foreign policy, but somebody in congress, somewhere in the oversight committee, someone needs to know what happened with the president, with the russians, with helsinki, with his finances. this is the normal business of government that has to get done now and the white house just isn't ready for it. >> kristen, i think some people who look at this but many americans will say my gosh, we've got the mueller investigation, the house intel,
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the senate intel, the southern district of new york is looking into the business side of this. do we really need another two years of investigation of donald trump to overlay what's already there? >> to the point that you made, tom, and that jackie made, donald trump is going to say this is a witch hunt no matter what, but i think the breadth of what is being investigated and the number of investigations means that your median swing voers are likely to believe donald trump when he says it rather than just his base. by giving him ale will more room to mack that argument and be credible to more people, i think it is helping the chance he gets re-elected, that it's harming the chances of any real findings of this investigation to be viewed as this was just the legal process taking its course, this is just oversight at work, which i think in some ways it makes it harder for someone like a bob mueller. let's say he finds something pretty serious. if it is one of a panoply of
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different investigations and trump has more credibility with voters when he says this is a witch hunt, i think that would be really unfortunate. if bob mueller finds something serious and trump is able to wave it away and enhanced by his ability to do so by the fact you had 81 different people trying to dig into every deal trump ever made, it gives him more credibility when he says he's the victim. >> i don't disagree with what you said but you get back to a basic question, the reason for all these investigations -- donald trump j. trump's family criminality over the scope of decades. you could start here in new york with rentals and buildings. now it builds up he's president of the united states. the scope of potential criminality in this thing is unheard of in a sitting president of the united states. to your other point, i absolutely agree with you. by him doing this every day,
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witch hunt, no collusion, every day, multiple times a day, the public out there is just exhausted from all of this and is too busy and too consumed with enough is enough to focus on the criminality. but the public will. >> and it speaks to the bind democrats are in. already we know they're trying to tamp down the idea of impeachment because they feel like that would be overreach. suddenly if investigation becomes too much -- >> we've got a lot ahead on "morning joe." we'll sort through the new reporting linking donald trump with fox news again. plus, did the president personally interview to get the department of justice to stop a merger involving cnn's parent company? and jim vandehei of axios joins us with the answer to the question of what is america's least favorite company? you're watching "morning joe."
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(laughing) call today. comcast business. beyond fast. yesterday on the show we spoke with investigative reporter jane maher about her new piece in "the new yorker." she suggests in her piece that fox may have given trump a heads up that a tough question was coming his way in a 2016 campaign debate when megyn kelly asked about his treatment of women. according to miller, quote, a pair of insiders and a source close to trump believes fox ceo roger ailes gave him a heads up
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the question was coming. the former aide says the heads up was passed on to trump who was the on candidaly candidate d he would not support the nominee, a position that burnished his image as an outsider. and it was reported fox news knew about the subsequent payment to stormy daniels to buy her silence before the election and that they killed the story to protect trump, telling the fox reporter who uncovered the details, quote, good reporter, k kiddo but rupert wants trump to win so let it go. he denies killing the story saying it did not hold up to network standards at the time.
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the new piece devils into at&t' warner which was upheld by a federal appeals court. then-candidate donald trump spoke out against the merger which included cnn stating, quote, that is a deal we will not approve during my administration. he said while he felt it was not a good deal for the country, he would not get involved in the litigation. however, in the late summer of 2017, trump ordered gary cohn to pressure the justice department to intervene. according to a well-informed source, trump called cohn into the oval office along with john kelly and said in exasperation to kelly, i've been telling cohn to get this lawsuit filed and nothing's happened, i've mentioned it 50 times, i want to make sure it's filed, i want
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that deal blocked. and it continued, according to the source, as cohn walked out of the meeting, he told kelly, don't you f 'ing dare call the justice department, we're not going to do business that way. cohn told a source there was pressurethe merger. at&t declined to comment. let's go to the cnn things first, the merger that was upheld by a federal appeals court, by the way.
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according to your reporting is this the way things went by gary cohn basically saying, gary, make sure these things don't go forward? >> i was laughing a little when you were reading the piece, it's an interesting piece but there's nothing read to me that was terribly surprising. i don't know that anyone who didn't know that trump was not pushing to stop the merger. it was fairly well known inside the white house and the independent deidea that he pressured cohn to stop the merger is not surprising. he did it with amazon. he doesn't understand why he can't unilaterally use his power to punish them. the president watches literally now anywhere from two to four hours of fox news a day. if you look at his tweets, the people he cites as evidence of
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his support or new ideas is about 80% fox news hosts. he hired bill shine, who is essentially producing much of fox news to produce the presidency like he produced fox news. his relationship with rupert murdoch, his son-in-law's relationship with rupert murdoch has been strong and steady since the beginning of the presidency. it's a fascinating look i think into a dimension that gives him his staying power because this stuff is related to what you were talking about with jerry nadler and the sort of document request because one of the things -- if you look at the last three months, arguably the worst three months for donald trump in terms of the number of setbacks, the number of investigations and yet the polls that you're seeing over the last couple of weeks, he's still around 44, 45, 46% republicans are steady today as they were two years ago. a lot of that has to do with this relationship he has with
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fox news because that is his direct connection to the republican base. and so the idea that even as things get worse nothing seems to actually affect his polling numbers i think is somewhat attributable to that relation she he has wi relationship he has with fox. >> it should remain shocking a president tried to intervene about a multi-billion dollar merger because he didn't like the coverage he gets under its parent company. >> we talking about this like it was normal. of course he was using executive power in a completely inappropriate way, that's just tuesday. and yet, again, this would be itself going back to what we were speaking about earlier with these congressional investigations, this alone would be a five-alarm fire in washington. and i think it shows you the degree to which the president's behavior has just gotten us used
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to it, that we've just gotten used to this kind of behavior when even two years ago we would have been appalled and calling for investigations and subpoenas and other forms of looking into this that i think would have been really important. >> there's a story out of canada right now that is not the same as this but the allegations are that the prime minister, justin trudeau, sort of nudged his attorney general to go soft on a company that they had had a relationship with and as a result that's an inexcusable use of executive power to try to meddle in the legal system and it may bring down the trudeau government. the idea this is the biggest political scandal in a decade and here it's the sixth headline in a given day i think speaks to the insanity of the moment we are in. >> we just put of a tweet george
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conway, husband of kellyanne conway. he wrote this, "if proven, such an attempt to use presidential authority to secret contribution for the exercise of first amendment rights would unquestionably be grounds for impeachment." that's george conway, kellyanne conway's husband. >> dinner at their house must be so fun. that's true. in virtually any administration prior, it would be. let's talk about if it was george w. bush. there would be a real sense of gathering storm clouds, let's call for the hearings, let's go into this. today as we keep saying, this was the 50th paragraph in the story, which was a terrific story and shed great insight into the presidential merger and the white house and media organization. gary cohn will be asked about this to testify, but whether this has any traction that could
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lead to impeachment, it would be a silly prediction to suggest that could happen. >> this is going to fall under jerry nadler's purview. we put a tease in jim vandehei i didn't understand and i don't have the answer. what is america's lease favorite company? >> the harris poll for 20 years has asked that question, how do you have feel about companies? for the first time in 20 years republicans and democrats volunteered that one of their least favorite companies is the united states government. no one has ever mentioned it in the past. the reason that pollsters think is that, one, trump has made government the central focus of everything but it shows how much people hate the federal government. the danger there i think for democrats would be when you start to talk about medicare for all, it requires a certain level of trust that government can take something super complex, super expensive and make it easier and make it less expensive and make it better for you at the end of the day. and i think it just again also
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speaks to this idea that politics is way too much of our diet, the fact that people are now looking at the government as a company, that that's what comes to mind when they think about amazon or apple, they think about the united states government. people should probably start covering and thinking about other things sometimes. >> it was kind of a trick question, jim, wasn't it? the government's no company. >> that was kind of lame. >> but that's what's interesting. it want the question that was asked. people volunteered that. >> that's what you say. >> mike barnicle is -- >> we'll talk about that off line, barnicle. >> mitch mcconnell admits there are enough votes in the senate to block president trump's national emergency declaration to get a border wall. that new reporting is next on "morning joe." i hear it in the background and she's watching too, saying
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senate marriajority leader h mcconnell is predicting they will overturn trump's declaration of a national emergency so he can build a southern border wall. >> i think what is clear in the senate is is there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the house. >> are you worried that democratic presidents could use that kind of congressional run around in the future for something like climate change or gun control? >> yeah, i am. that's one reason why i argued obviously without success to the president he not take this route. >> the trump administration is working to limit deflections on the matter of rebuking his emergency declaration. zach parkinson, the house deputy of government communication said if senators are planning to vote
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to overturn it, they should contact the white house to get further information on trump's rationale. and if republican senators didn't have anything good to say, they should, quote, keep their powder dry. the senate is expected to vote on the resolution to block trump's declaration. >> i will vote for the motion to disapprove of this and i will continue to speak out. i do believe that there is at least ten republican no votes. we'll see. possibly more. >> so jackie, this is your reporting in "the washington post" that we just read through. you have lisa murkowski, susan collins, rand paul and thom tillis. will there be more and why does
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it matter if they're at the number they need? >> i think rand paul is right, there are a number of senators that have not communicated which way they'll be voted. they've expressed disapproval with what they view as the president he's b's abuse of pow the precedent the president will be setting. quite honestly at the end of the day it is pretty embarrassing for the president and it is the first time that we're seeing the senate and the house, you know, splitting and not necessarily acquiescing to the president's whims and demands, despite wide criticism. and i think what the white house did yesterday didn't necessarily help, going to the hill and telling senators what to do. you know, a few aides grumbled about zach parkinson's directives, who is this kid
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coming here and telling us what we can and can't say to the president and what we can't embas express? one aide told me you all know senators love being told when they can talk about something and when they can't talk about it. there isn't a veto-proof majority to vote for this termination resolution, so i think that's why you're going to see potentially more senators come out in favor of the termination resolution because at the end of the day, this is more of a symbolic move, a sign to the president, that they view this as an abuse of power, which is something the white house does not necessarily agree with. this is an argument they don't buy into. >> rand paul's explanation to vote to block is a civics lesson. he said i don't want more money for the border but congress has to appropriate the money and that's why i'm blocking the
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resolution. >> you can't just move money around at will, this is executive overreach, the president is not a king, the treasury doesn't belong to him. but in the end, this vote is a freebie for a lot of senators. they get to say four or five of us can say we really came out and stood for the right thing knowing that it's not going to be a veto override. i worked in the senate years ago. this is a classic maneuver of i was for it before i was against it. you can vote but in the end the president will still prevail. it's a very mild shot against the bow but the principled argument that senator paul made is a perfectly sensible one. >> there have been very few occasions where republicans on the hill and the senate have rebuked the president. but this is a little different. this is his signature issue in many ways and this will be a little more stinging. i also think we need to watch
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what happens next. does president trump really strike you as the forgiving type? is he going to understand this is a symbolic vote? is this going to perhaps splinter relationships going forward and cost him some allies he can't afford to lose? >> unless those votes are made with a wink and a nod to the white house, i got to do this, i got you going forward. >> agreed, but we're trusting the president to understand that and i think that's tougher. he's not one that takes slights or public embarrassment lightly. i think others will get it but the president himself, maybe not. >> jackie, thanks so much. really interesting piece in the "washington post." great to see you. >> thanks, willie. >> while john bolton is reviled in certain circles, he may be the best hope for saving the world from trump's impulses. that's next on "morning joe."
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the best thing north korea could do right now is give us a full accounting and what happened -- >> do you take kim jong un at his word? what about you? >> my opinion doesn't matter. >> you're the national security adviser to the president. your opinion matters quite a bit. >> i'm not the national security decision-maker. >> that was john bolton on his own role. graham wood followed boat boltoa trip through eastern europe. graham, good morning. good to see you. >> good morning. >> you say he may be our best hope for saving the world from
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donald trump's impulses, talking about john bolton. what do you mean? >> the clip we just saw is something i heard a lot from john bolton. that's his way of saying i disagree with the president and i'm going to try to get the president to do things that he might not naturallyin inclined do, including things that would bring him more into the mainstream of republican views of national security. he reigning in the president in a subtler way. >> what's a moment where john bolton has changed the president's mind for the better in your view? >> maybe better or maybe not, in north korea. john bolton has been saying for years, don't change north korea on anything. and he's been telling the president don't accept a deal with kim jong un. the president has been very inclined to make a deal. he's been pulling the president back from some of his impulses. another would be syria.
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when the president said we're getting out of syria, everyone is coming back right now. bolton quickly said i agree with the president and revised what that meant over the course of a month and said we're actually going to keep people in syria or near syria for a very long time, exactly the opposite of what was said but changing the course in a way others have been failing to do from within. >> tom, as someone who comes from the national security community, you know john bolton a little bit, you've watched his movements over the years. what's your view of how he handles donald trump different from, say, president bush for example? >> it's in such a strange position to say gotcha, i'm really concerned john bolton is not powerful enough. i think there was concern that bolton would come in and do anything he wanted. it's almost a relief to hear that he's restraining the worst
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impulses. on the other hand, you still get these vectored messages that we're just going to give north korea good press. >> what about the question of iran? bolton's been a hawk on iran for a long time. how is he lean on the president when it comes to that country? >> i think syria is a good example of that. the main concern for bolton in syria is partly isis but not mainly isis. it keeping the interests of iran in check. and he's been an iran hawk for a very long time. i don't think he's been as successful in isolating iran elsewhere but he's trying to take iran's projection of power and keep it restrained. >> iran, syria, russia, north korea, we talk about all of those countries and all of those situations on a daily basis. we are approaching 20 years at war in afghanistan, soon to be like 7,000 days at war in one
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country. did this come up in the course of your conversation? and if not, do you have any sense of bolton's feeling about our role in afghanistan? >> that's a great question. i never heard him talk about afghanistan in any of our time together. we talked about venezuela, we talked about iran, we talked about north korea. afghanistan is a place that we started to mentally disengage with and that doesn't seem to be very high on the list of privates in the white house. >> yesterday vladimir putin official live suspended russia's participation in the 1987 nuclear weapons treaty. the u.s. and nato have accused russia of violating the treaty for years going back to the obama stradministration, though moscow refutes that. it was primarily designed to prevent ground-based nuclear weapons in europe. tom, what do you think?
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>> i recently did a piece where i said i think this is a bad idea. this is another case where maybe john bolton has had influence because john bolton doesn't like this treaty and never did. the russians are clearly cheating on it and we have to do something. the mistake here, we can be bipartisan about this, the obama administration kbd this can down the road, they didn't want to deal with it, they were busy with the iran efforts and best of luck to the europeans, we're going to go arms race the chinese. i think this is a terrible mistake because there's no plan b here. there's no way to engage the russians to say you're in violation of a treaty, you're doing all kinds of bad things, here are some prices you need to pay. instead we've simply said to heck with it, we're out of here, we've got other fish to fry. that's not how you treat your allies, not how you deal with a
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major power cheating on a nuclear treaty and it's not how you manage security when it comes to nuclear weapons. the whole business is a mistake. >> where do you see bolton's hands when it comes to russia? >> in exchange of be a servile to the president on a lot of issues on which he disagrees, there's this treaty like the i.c.c. where he can give a speech and advance a policy that many people are not concerned about in the case of the i.c.c. but if bolton believes the president supports him, who can push the leaving of treaties like this or just have free reign to do that. >> john bolton is now the most important figure in the american national security, no senate confirmation means he answers to no one but the president. the article is "john bolton may
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save us all." thanks, graham. >> thanks. >> coming up, house democrats launch a wide investigation of the president that could lead to impeachment down the road. impeachment down the road. searching for a way to help stop your cold sore? only abreva can get rid of it in... ...as little as 2 1/2 days when used at the first sign. abreva starts to work immediately to block the virus and protect healthy cells. abreva acts on it. so you can too. ♪ the kenya tea development agency is an organization that is owned by tea farmers.
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what do you think about mueller? >> i think bob mueller is an american hero. i don't feel the investigation is a witch hunt. rudy and the president have been effective in a way that would not have been preferably to me, but they have ratcheted up the public's concern about the investigation and its legitimacy. i object to that approach, but it's his choice. he's the president. >> that is former trump white house lawyer ty cobb discussing special counsel bob mueller on an abc news podcast calling him an american hero and saying his investigation is not a witch hunt. welcome back to "morning joe." it's tuesday march 5th. still with us, mike barnicle, white house reporter for the associated press jonathan
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lemire, christian solstice anderson and joining our conversation, associate editor of "the washington post" eugene robinson. joe and mika will be back with us tomorrow. he called mueller a national hero. he did go on to say i don't believe there was any collusion but i don't think we should undermine the voracity and integrity of the investigation itself. >> this is a little bit of the case of what ty cobb's strategy was when he was at the white house, he was under the believe that they should cooperate with the investigation. we went at times where the president wouldn't comment about mueller, he wouldn't go to twitter, wouldn't go after him by name, there was a sense of we should produce documents and the
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ideal strategy from cobb was let's cooperate and get this wrapped as fast as possible. that was all 2017. it's still obviously not over yet. cobb's departure accelerated the new strategy from the white house, the one we saw when rudy giuliani came aboard and the attacks and they've taken a much more hostile tone, one who have unsettled those in trump's our bit, those who do respect muellergiuliani from saying it witch hunt. >> part of the equation in this according to multiple sources is that two legitimately good lawyers representing the
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president of the united states, ty cobb and john dowd, you ask your client the story, what's the story here? your client tells you the story, you then go out and publicly defend your client. but if your client has only told you like 5% of the real story, you're going to look pretty vulnerable after a while and i think that's what actually ended the relationship that the two lawyers had with the president of the united states. >> there was a great frustration that they did not know the whole story. >> interesting to see again when the shackles of the white house are off these people and they get into the private world we hear a little more of the truth of the way they see things. >> it's amazing they remember, oh, yeah, there's something a thing as integrity. bob mueller is a war veteran and a guy who has been respected in washington for as long as anybody can remember. at least ty cobb did take that
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position that jonathan mentioned earlier in that cooperate with this investigation, it's a legitimate investigation, let's just get it over with as quickly as possible. so in that sense he's been quite consistent. but, again, it's news when somebody close to donald trump or somebody who once was donald trump actually comes out and tells the truth. >> the other attorney you mentioned, john dowd, he still maintains it's a witch hunt for the record. yes, he does. >> willie and thom, given your background, one of the most admirable things about bob mueller has less to do with his service in vietnam, his service in the justice department, his service as a homicide investigators in washington, d.c. than through mueller's eyes and through some knowledge of bob mueller, the name donald j. trump, president of the united states, happens to be the focal point of this investigation in
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the public mind, but i would guerin testify you in bob mueller's mind this is an investigation aimed at answering the question who did harm to my country, to bob mueller's country, our country. >> i thought right from the beginning that the mueller investigation, you know, something that the president didn't want to have to deal with, but i said at the start the last thing the russians wanted was one of the most dedicated former fbi directors, a real bloodhound, you know, starting to pry into their stuff. and i think that's something that they haven't wanted. and i think one other comment is that when people talk about this thing's dragging out, this has been a really speedy investigation by the standards of washington. i mean, this thing has been producing indictments and convinces and people going to jail in what is by washington standards record time. so i think, you know, that's an unfair criticism. but, yes, mike, i think the last person the russians wanted
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crawling up their leg was robert mueller. they got it whether they wanted it or not. >> ty cobb is talking about the degradation of forms, a legitimate investigation is being set up as a political witch hunt. it's the difference between are you trying to go for a smart legal strategy or political strategy. a smart legal strategy may be let's not try to provoke mueller and tweet about this a million times a day and create a more difficult for myself, create tweets that could be used against me in a court of law but then there's the political side that there's a gamble that mueller is not going to indict me because i'm the president, i'm going to try to win the battle of public opinion and fight against the idea of impeachment because impeachment is a political rather than a legal act. >> carrying on a political
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exercise. gene robinson, you watched the president's cpac speech the other day and it concerned you. why? >> because it was insane, willie. it was two hours and 20 minutes of rambling, self-serving, self-justifying or at least an attempt to be self-justifying nonsense. and if you listen to it, you know, you hear -- if you heard grandpa talking like that, you'd be concerned. you'd whisper to grandma, "is he all right, is it time for his nap?" he wasn't on and on in -- we almost become inured to it, almost become numb to the fact that the president of the united states, the leader of the free world, the most powerful man in the world can get up and just not make sense. he goes back to the size of the
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crowds at his inauguration and he can't let that go. it's all these sort of themes he's continually mentions. he lies and lies on top of that and then lies on top of that for two hours and 20 minutes. it was just an extraordinary and i think chilling performance because this is our president. >> thom, it was a greatest hit show is what it was. we got the lock her up chant, the inauguration, the crowd size and the settling of tiny scores from things people had written about him years prior. cpac, as you know well, is supposed to be an elevation of conservative ideas and a celebration of those ideas and a promotion of those ideas. did you see any of that in the president's speech? >> no. and it was more than just his greatest hits. it was his greatest hits played by turning it up to 11 right
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down to hugging the flag and, you know, just i think as gene said, this really unsettling moment. i think the greatest comment on what happened at cpac was stewart stevens who yesterday said that the president is so -- that this whole thing was so scary that republicans are now in "weekend at bernie's" territory, just sort of putting him up there and let's see what happens and hope nobody in thno. >> can i push back that c papac an elevation of conservative ideas. i think it used to be very valuable where you would get this can tieecantina effect.
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it's not cpac anymore, it's tpac. it's no longer the breadth of the conservative movement descending on one hotel for a couple of days, it's now i love president trump and i think that's an incorrect and narrow view. >> it's incorrect because president trump is not conservative, at least according to what i thought were conservative principles. >> so say we all. >> i understand how he took over the republicans party. he captured the base and so republicans have to follow him in this sort of pied piper way. but conservatives were supposed to have principles and ideas and he believes in none of those principles and ideas. it's just amazing. >> this speech of two hours is sort of the extreme version, but we have seen this before. i was talking to someone in the
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last day or so who predicted this speech that after a week of real defeat for this president, the public relations defeat with the cohen testimony and the failure to reach an agreement in vietnam, that he needed an outlet. he needed some sort of release. we've seen this where he has -- the infamous speech to the boy scouts during that first summer, which came amid the health care falling apart, particularly when given a friendly audience and this one was and they responded to everything he did, including that flag hold. he got riled up, he needs that feedback from the base and needs that release, in some way setting himself to go forward. should a president's temperament really need that? that's a fair inquiry, but this is something very much of the pace of donald trump, this is how he gains energy is finding this base. it reflects, then, why so much of what he aims his policy and rhetoric is back at that very base.
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>> i would submit if you went to that speech, got the tape of it, clipped out the introduce that he's the president of the united states, you would look at it as if, ut o-- uh-oh, he's clearly mental patient and somebody in his family better hopefully come on stage and take him off. the length of it, the sustained assault, going back to crowd sizes and things like that. >> but, mike, the crowd eats it up and he's sustained by that. >> that is a crowd that applauded the death of john mccain. >> certainly that audience -- yes, that's an extreme part of it. but his base does enjoy these performances. that was the campaign night after night, sometimes several times a day was that sort of energy that is correct kind of
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performance to breaking norms and being different. that's what they wanted then and he's betting that's what they want again. >> can i just ask you both on this side of the table what it like to be a lifelong conservative and to look up and see donald trump as the avitar of conservatism? i mean that as a valid question, i'm not being snarky. >> i'd like to yield my time. >> seriously, for things that so many people have fought for for so long as conservatives. >> is a dt's a disorienting mom. he is doing things likes appointing judges and on the other hand, if you think of conservatism as a temperament that says let's proceed with caution, let's avoid taking big risks, let's maintain norms, donald trump is the opposite of a conservative in that way. if you, luke i like, like i do conservative temperament as
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well, donald trump is the opposite. >> there's no policy that i want enough to trade off what we are trading off daily. nothing personally for me is worth what we're paying for. when you brought up the boy scouts speech, this speech was yet another case of one more speech that in any other world would have ended a presidency. but this is speech number 300 that would have ended a presidency and we are just getting used to it. we are getting worn down and numb to the destruction of these norms. i worry about how we bring them back. that's me as a conservative. >> that might be the ultimate question, gene, the damage that's already been done to the institution of the presidency going forward. is it repairable? can we repair it? >> tom raised it, i don't know the answer to that. i suspect none of us know the answer to that. i suspect that will be really
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difficult. once you give that up, once you say that a speech like donald trump gave is okay or even if it's not okay, that the nation isn't up in arms and it's not, you know, a giant headline on all the newspapers. the president of the united states went and said all these crazy, ridiculous, insane things for two and a half hours. we just -- it's just, yeah, it might be on the front page but it's just another trump speech, it's like the boy scouts speech he gave, we're getting used to it. we do become inured to this and you wonder can we ever get back the decorum and the sort of sense of history and responsibility that we associated with the presidency for the entire history of this country until now. this is not like any other
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president. no other president could have or would have given a speech like that. >> i think all we can do is believe in the resilience of our system and the resilience of our constitutional traditions and the resilience of our norms. but it is going to be hard to get it back because we've proven it is possible for a president to act this way, something that was always hypothetical until now. i still have enough strength in the strength of our constitutional system and our constitutional character that we can somehow recover from this. maybe i'm an optimist. >> it's a good point. it's one thing i've been saying about the declaration of a national emergency. if you let this president do it, the next president will do it as well. that leaves out that the next president would say it not appropriate to go over the head of congress. we could have a different person in office someday that would not overreach and exercise that kind of authority.
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let's hope. >> gene robinson, i want to ask you about the house judiciary committee led by jerry nadler sending out over 81 inquiries. what have we opened up here with democrats now taking the chairs of all these committees? >> well, it's called oversight and none of it was done in the last two years and, you know, we always say that elections have consequences. this election, the midterm election put democrats in charge of the house of representatives, which put jerry nadler in charge of the judiciary committee, and there's a huge backlog now of questions that have to be asked and a whole bunch of people who need to answer those questions. and so in a sense it's making up for two years in which these questions weren't asked and
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people weren't requested to either provide documents or ultimately to come in and testify. this should have been going on all along. we've been talking about norms that have been eradicated and red lines that have been crossed and crossed and crossed again and, you know, at some point you've got to sort of keep an accounting of that and start trying to -- this is basically trying to catch up on what should have happened for the last two years. >> mike, we know one thing, it's going to be an exhausting year and a half between waiting for the mueller investigation intel in the house and the senate committees and now you have this sweeping six or seven committees led by democrats investigating the president. not that they shouldn't be, it's their job of oversight but, man, it's going to be a long year and a half. >> and volume of daily, almost
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hour live developmen hourly developments of all of these stories, will there be any chance for us to talk about the american league east? >> without question. we'll get there shortly. we have news on the presidential race. senator jeff merkley of oregon has just announced he will not enter the democrat beiic primarr 2020. instead, he will run for the senate saying he plans to double down on his efforts. he can only run for one office at a time and has chosen to run for senate. and john hickenlooper has non announced he's running for president. we'll talk about it much more with senator doug jones of alabama. he joins our conversation next on "morning joe." that is why alexandria
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♪ ♪ oh my momma check in from afar with remote access. and have professional monitoring backing you up with xfinity home. demo in an xfinity store, call, or go online today. joining us, the first democrat from alabama elected in 25 years, doug jones, he's out with "bending toward justice." senator, welcome. great to you have with us. i want to ask you first about the terrible, devastating tornadoes that hit your state, at least 23 people dead, including children there. our hearts go out to you. what else can you tell us about the recovery there? >> unfortunately this is an
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all-too familiar scene for folks in hall bamalabama, whether it' hurricanes or tornadoes. the governor and her team are on the ground doing incredible work. i think they're still in search and rescue, going through all the devastation and find all the injured. hopefully the death toll will not rise and then we'll start the effort to rebuild. alabama has a resilient people. they are neighborly and people are coming from all over to help the people in beauregard and lee county. >> those pictures are breathtaking. as you know better than i, you just don't get warning for these things. they drop on top of you and you can't get out of the way. >> we've done a better job but they happen quickly. i will tell you, i've seen that
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damage firsthand, not that particular storm. you can see the video and the photographs. until you actually witness this, you can't possibly imagine. it will take your breath away the devastation these tornadoes can do. i'm very proud at the response that the people of alabama are showing right now and i thank all of those around the country for their thoughts and prayers as well. >> we just can't not believe the pictures we're seeing. before we get to your book, which is fascinating, i want to ask you about some of the news this morning including house democrats, the house judiciary committee led by jerry nadler, fellow democrat, sending out letters to more than 80 people in donald trump's life, the democrats said if we get elected, we'll take over these
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committees in the house and we will exercise our right to oversee the president of the united states and this white house. do you support the efforts by jerry nadler? do you think it's a good idea to have this sweeping investigation? >> i think certainly you have to start oversight. i think the house folks are in a much better position than i am. you have to go where evidence leads you. as it comes in, you just can't ignore certain things. they're going to be looking at every aspect possible. we've gone for two years with no oversight whatsoever. i do think we have to be very careful not to make this about an individual and make this about oversight and about alleged criminal activity or obstruction and not about an individual. i've seen that too many times with prosecutors. but i think certainly there's got to be this significant oversight into what's going on with the administration. >> isn't this pretty clearly, senator, about one individual, president trump? >> no, i don't think it is about one individual.
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i think it's about the activities of the administration at this point. clearly there are people, including the president, that are involved in that for sure, but i don't think that you can say right now at all that this is clearly focused on one individual. i think they are going where they have some information and i think that that's the key. i don't think you issue broad range subpoenas without some information that there is information there that you need for that oversight responsibility. i think that's the responsible thing to do. >> senator, there's an alabama woman, american-born woman now currently in syria being held. she is being represented by a couple of lawyers who are intent on getting her back to the united states based upon the fact they claim she's an american citizen, which she once was. what's your view on that? should she be allowed to return to this country? should she be allowed to return to this country in handcuff? what's your view? >> my view about that is i think she needs to face justice. i don't know the details about her citizenship.
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that's going to be between the courts and the state department. as a former prosecutor who has put a couple of domestic terrorists in prison before, i just have a faith in the american system of justice and this department of justice and in any succeeding department of justice to make sure those who have committed crimes against the people of the united states are held accountable. i think it sends a wrong message that when someone can commit crimes against the united states, flee to another country that they get essentially a get out of jail free card to remain somewhere other than in this country. i think it's better to bring her back, not with open arms, not with a welcoming party but to face the american system of justice. she committed a crime against the american people and she should face the consequences. >> you're the first democrat to support the pick for william barr. it came out he will not recuse himself for overseeing the
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russia investigation. does that concern you or is it an appropriate decision? >> i think it's an appropriate decision. i didn't see anything in my due diligence against barr. i have followed his career and i talked to him extensively about that. i didn't see anything that would require him to recuse himself in the russia investigation. i feel that he will do the right thing. i think he's going to protect the mueller investigation and i do believe he will do what he can to make sure as much of that mueller report is made public as possible. >> senator, your book is called "bending toward justice, the birmingham church bombing that changed the course of civil rights." this was that day in 1963 when four little girls when killed as klansmen planted dynamite under the church.
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what caused you to write this history? >> i always felt that the case should be put down, all of the cases, what happened in birmingham in 1963 as we know it, how we came together to prosecutor those cases successfully and to get the story, to let everybody go behind the curtain to see what happened and how we put the cases together. you know, some 37 and 38 years later, it took a long time for me to pull that together. i do think it's important to remind people what happened in the civil rights era of the 50s and 60s in particular and the crimes and the atrocities. part of the church bombing occurred because of the rhetoric of public physicals, whether it was george wallace or beau connor. we now see so much rhetoric in the social media and in our public life that we have to remind people of what happened so we hopefully don't do that and go back there again. it's not just a black-and-white
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issue anymore. it involves race, religion, gender, you name it. there is so much hate and rhetoric and divisiveness that this is an important reminder that we need to care for each other more, respect each other more and consider things from other people's point of view. >> gene robinson has a question for you. >> sure. >> just to follow up, we are at a moment when race relations in this country seem to have gone backwards. and i see sort of expressions of outright, overt vicious racism that i haven't really seen since my childhood in the south. and so, you know, as another southerner and an american, how do you see this atmosphere and, you know, you hope that we get out of it but how do we get out of it? how do we get back on the path of that bending arc bending
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toward justice rather than away from it? >> gene, it's a great question. it's something i think all americans should be concerned about these days. you know, unfortunately i think we see so much in social media where people can just sit behind in their silos and behind closed doors and they can just express things they would neff haver ha said to someone face to face. i think we have to have more dialogues in this country about race and religion and gender equality. it's a much broader conversation i think we have to have and i think we have to dial back the rhetoric. you're absolutely right. up s you see the overt racism but you also see what i call political race i, the efforts to deny people the right to vote, not because of the hatred of the race but because of the political power that it brings. i think all that comes into play and people just go to their corners when this comes up. instead of having the
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conversations, they just go to their corners and want to yell at each other and we got to get over that. we got to not have those kind of divisive politics. >> senator, social media certainly inflames the situation on an almost minute-by-minute basis in this country, but what's your view on words as weapons employed by the president of the united states? not necessarily on race but on division. i mean, we have enough divisions in this country and yet a lot of what he seems to be saying exacerbates divisions. >> i agree with that. and it's very disappointing. i don't think the president or any public official or any individual should be saying those kind of things. again, that kind of goes back to what i think is more of a political play right now, to try to, you know, just talk to the base and to get them supportive and ensure support. but it's very, very divisive. i've been concerned about that during the campaign, comments
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following charleston and particularly charlottesville. i think those things kind of hurt us. i go back to what happened in alabama. anyone will tell you that studied the history of the civil rights movement in the south, people were empowered to do things they might not have been otherwise empowered to do. we've got to be very, very careful about that. >> the book is "bending toward justice, the birmingham church bombing that changed the course of civil rights." it is out today. if you've never been to birmingham and stood there next to the 16th street baptist church, it's something you ought to do at least once in your life. senator, we appreciate your time. >> great to be here this morning. >> still ahead, questions about whether roger stone violated his gag order after one of his
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instagram posts got the attention of robert mueller. that's coming up on "morning joe." oming up on "morning joe.
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we have the clemson tigers here. i did the same thing. we could have had chefs, but we
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got fast food. i know you people very well. >> he's not wrong. a new tradition when hosting national champions may be president trump yesterday treating the seven time football champions into chick-fil-a and mcdonald's at the white house, similar spread to the ones served to the clemson tigers back in january. is this the tradition? this is clearly a president knowing what college kids want to eat. >> i'm not going to turn down chick-fil-a. >> i think this is a new thing. the president and people around him were happy with the images that came out of the clemson -- that was during the government shutdown, we're not going to have this expensive meal and it came out of the president's
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pocket. the president felt like, well, college kids, they like fast food, let's just do this. it's a nice image for the president, not putting on heirs and also what he likes to eat. >> it's folks wearing the white gloves putting it on silver trays. that defines donald trump's image. he's a president who understands images matter and the image of the silver platter with the big mac on it is the perfect trump administration. >> how many times have we said part of the reason people love donald trump is he was the guy they would be if they had his kind of money. they would live in that house and order in all the unlimited chick-fil-a. >> roger stone's freedom may be in jeopardy after special counsel robert mueller's office alerted the judge overseeing stone's trial of another questionable social media post.
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lawyers for stone were in court yesterday to answer questions over a book by their client that featured a new introduction. judge amy jackson wanted to know why she had not been alerted about the publication after issuing a strong gag order late last month. stone argued he had not violated the gag order because parts of it were published in january. and stone had shared a photo on his instagram account over the weekend suggesting he had been framed. the special counsel's team did not ask the judge to determine whether stone broke her gag order. gene robinson, it's starting to look like roger stone just wants to get caught, maybe a cry tofo help here. >> this is actually unbelievable because this judge, who is not easily amused, she's not amused by any of this, but she has been
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patient, she was explicit the last time, you know, this is not baseball, you don't get three strikes and he'd already had two. so it's really unclear what's going to happen here. the judge clearly does not want to toss roger stone in jail pending trial if she doesn't have to. but one wonders if she's just going to see this as an affront to the court and as direct defines and if she does, he's going to be in trouble. >> i'm having trouble, thom, seeing the context in which this wasn't a violation of the gag order. >> he's using the legally sophisticated strategy of i forgot this was out there. i think it's amazing that the judge gave him a second chance
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after what he did the last time, which really could have been construed as threatening a federal judge. i think she didn't want to throw him in jail, it would have looked prejudicial, she gave him this out and she's given him enough rope to hang himself and he seems to be determined to tie as many knots as he can. >> no matter what, you're going to post -- >> your bikini shots from vacation were right on point, of you in a bikini. eugene robinson, thanks so much. we'll be reading your latest piece in the "washington post." it should concern us all. thanks, gene. >> coming up next, a counterintuitive road trip through red state america. we'll explain when "morning joe" comes right back. it's probably gonna be dinner and drinks.
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yesterday mika and mike barnicle spoke with author samantha allen about her travels through many of the states that voted for donald trump through 2016. here is their conversation. >> joining us now is award winning journalist and daily beast senior reporter samantha allen. she's out with a new book called "real queer america, lbgt red states." she traveled to document to places that almost half of the lbgt narrative calls home. the untold story of the 21st is the queer girl in tennessee who stays put. welcome to the show. tell us what else you found in
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your travels? >> i just found amazing pockets of lgbt acceptance all over more conservative parts of the united states, whether it's in provo utah. >> you talked about that support in places where you least expected it. what were you expecting to see? >> you know, i have lived a lot of my life in utah and georgia and florida, so i knew from firsthand experience that these places were often more welcoming to lbgt people than sometimes we might think that they are. but even then i was surprised by the amazing kind of acceptance that i found in provo, utah, for example. i spent a lot of time at a youth center that was right across the street from a mormon temple and a lot of the lgbt youth came from mormon familiar, they were
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trying to figure out ways to support them while observing a pretty conservative faith. it was remarkable. >> so why did you decide to write this book and what surprised you most in the process. >> you know, i to write it shory after the 2016 election. i saw, you know, a fair amount of commentary of people on social media dismissive towards red state america. you know i still encounter that flyover country attitude from friends who live on the coast. i wanted to kind of go out there and say no, this is what lgbtq life is like in these places, it's not uniformly awful. yes there's lots combat at state legislative levels, lots of lgbtq bills being proposed, but these places themselves are often warm, welcoming places to live. >> so, samantha, there's a school of thought and i don't know how large or popular the school of thought is, but it does exist that out there in the
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larger country beyond us, beyond the coastal elite neighborhoods, that to be young and gay, lgbtq, living in the holloy of west virginia or tennessee the loneliness, the isolation creates a culture of suicide, pretty good that envelope lgbtq people out in the country. that's not true? >> oh, i mean i think that's very much true. i don't want to sugarcoat what's happening in these places. utah, for example, still has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the country. so, i think there are very real issues to deal with, but i think part of what we're seeing is folks moving to more kind of affordable mid-size cities in the south and west rather than going all the way to new york or los gatos or san francisco, which can be really, as we know, costly places to live.
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i think, you know, we still see folks needing to get out of more rural areas to an urban environment to find lgbtq acceptance remember but they will go st. louis or norfolk, virginia or salt lake city rather than feeling the need to get to the ocean. >> samantha, one thing that strikes me about the long march of gay rights in this country is how it was slow and all of a sudden extremely fast. all of a sudden gay marriage reached huge acceptance, was approved by the supreme court, and part of it, i think, was people learning that their neighbors were gay, having personal relationships with people who were queer, and i wonder if you think that as queer people are living in places that are not centers of liberalism as they spread to places like dayton or stay in those places that they were from, if that's going to be the leading cultural edge of political change in some of these places and towns and states that are not historically
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as legally friendly to gay people? >> yeah. that's exactly the phenomenon i was exploring. look, i think the kind of engine that's driving the lgbtq movement in this country is precisely that, people coming out to their friends, relatives, co-worker, that's happening more and more. millennials as we know are out as lgbtq at record rates. millennials are also not moving to cities in the south and west. so that's going to just be a radical makeover for the country, i think. >> so, samantha, i think maybe the principle wish that any parent has for a child is that at minimum you want your child to be happy. >> absolutely. >> so, a young child, lgbtq child, a queer child is the route the road to happiness getting easier or is it getting the same, kind of difficult in rural communities? >> you know, i think if you look at data on this, there's still a
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lot of blame in schools. there's more anti-lgbtq going on in schools than we expect. overall i think the road will get easier. i was moved when i went to utah. i'm transgender myself. i'm an ex-mormon. you know, i had a road to acceptance with my own family when i came out. when i went to utah i met transgender kids who came out to their mormon parents and their parents first reaction was i want to you be happy. i want to figure a way forward for you in this life. i don't want to stand in the way of that. >> that's encouraging. >> the book is "real queer america lgbtq stories from red states." samantha allen, thanks so much. "morning joe" is back in a moment.
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mr. trump. so, mr. trump. >> august 6th, 2015, one of the moments that helped cement donald trump's status as the outsider in the 2016 campaign for president. turn out he may have known that question of coming courtesy of a contact at fox news. that's not the only place where fox reportedly helped the future president. there was also stormy daniels. more on that in just a moment. good morning. welcome to "morning joe". it's tuesday, march 5th. with us we have msnbc contributor, mike barnicle. whus reporter for the associated press. columnist at the "washington examiner". national security expert columnist at "usa today" and author of the book "death of expertise." joining us the author of the "washington post" early morning newsletter power up. joe and mika are off this morning. joe is tending to the planning as you heard yesterday of his mother's funeral and we, again,
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our sending our love and thoughts to joe and his family this morning. we'll start here with the house judiciary committee sweeping investigation into possible abusive power by the president. the committee is demanding documents from more than 80 people, entities and agencies in and around the trump orbit. key people include the president's two adult sons, his son-in-law and allen weisselberg, the chief financial officer at the trump organization who along with don jr. signed off on a check reimbursing michael cohen for paying off stormy daniels. requests went to the trump organization, foundation, the trump campaign, transition, inaugural committee and to the white house as well as to the fbi, the justice department and general services committee which holds the lease for the building that houses the trump hotel in washington. the nra also received a document request as well as the "national enquirer" parent company american media. wikileaks and jared kushner's family business. to ensure swift response and no
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claim of executive privilege committee chairman jerry nadler said the initial request for documents are limited to those that have already been submitted to the special counsel, the southern district of new york or other congressional committees. the chairman explained what sets his investigation apart. >> our job is very different from other law enforcement agencies. the special prosecutor has a specific mandate to investigate only the russian interference with election and possible collusion by the trump administration or anybody else with interference of election and only to look at crimes. the southern district of new york also only look at driems. we have to look at a much broader question. our job is to protect the rule of law in this country. that means we have to look at the three major threats to the rule of law we've seen and that's corruption, personal enrichment in violation of the emolument clause, abuse of power, attacks on the press, attacks on the judiciary,
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attacks on law enforcement agencies and obstruction of justice. >> are you going to cooperate with mr. nadler? >> i cooperate all the time with everybody. and you know the beautiful thing, no collusion, it's all a hoax. you're going to learn about that as you grow older. it's a political hoax. >> president of the u.n. speaking at an event for a national championship football team yesterday. both the white house and trump campaign released statements in response to the house judiciary committee's new investigation into potential abuses. last night press secretary sarah huckabee sanders released a statement that reads in part chairman nadler and his fellow democrats have embarked on this fishing expedition because they are terrified that their two year false narrative of russia collusion is crumbing. their intimidation and abuse of american citizens is shameful. democrats are harassing the president to distract from their radical agenda of making america a socialist country, killing babies after their born and
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pushing a green new deal that would destroy jobs and bankrupt up america. democrats are more interested in pathetic political games and indicate the oregon a radical leftist base than producing results for our citizens. the democrats are not after the truth, they are after the president. meanwhile trump's 20 campaign released a similar statement titled house democrats launch the witch00. the white house counsel office acknowledges the judiciary committee needs reasonable accommodation to perform legitimate oversight spots. the white house counsel's office plans to review the document request on a case by case basis but ultimately some of the requests may produce clashes with the administration over executive privilege. so mike barnicle there's a lot in there. you got more than 80 letters. sweeping doesn't begin to cover what jerry nadler and other committee heads are preparing to do here. some say and critics say this is too much, it's overreach, that
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it's not the mandate of the judiciary committee, it's not the mandate of these committees and all they are trying to do is gum up this presidency and to tie up the president and to hurt his chances to become elected in 2020. the number is staggering. even half of that. in effect you would think from the outside looking in. that this means the end, really of the day-to-day operation of the trump administration. they are going to be so tied up in responding and reacting to these requests internally in the white house that you can't see given staff that doesn't get high marks to begin with, and the thinness of the staff, so many people have departed, how do they function on a day-to-day basis with all of this hanging over their heads? >> this will be overwhelming. elections have consequences. this is the moment that the white house has started to prepare for since that day in november when the democrats took control of the house.
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this is game on. . last week the cohen hearing in many ways was the opening act. more than that laid out a road map of what's coming. we touched about the different aspects of the president's life, his business. the ability to go after every part of the trump orbit not just the presidency, not just his administration but everything that's come prior to this. this is a white house -- you saw the president there. he was relatively relaxed in that response. . but it's a very different picture behind closed doors where he is deeply frustrated with what's coming. he knows he's had a rough couple of weeks not just with the cohen hearing but the failure of the hanoi sum-minute to reach an agreement. this will bog down the day-to-day operations of white house. we're seeing that frustration come out through twitter but this is a west wing that's going to be under siege. >> this is precisely what democrats promised.
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if they won they would investigate. jerry nadler says this is exactly our mandate which is oversight of the president. oversight of the government. >> this is something republicans should have been doing for two years. any one of these issues could have been a massive scandal in any other administration. and i think in some ways we simply have gotten overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many of them. if this is a fishing expedition we have to take a line from "jaws." you'll need a bigger boat. there's a lot to look here. any one of these could have been a major congressional investigation but the republicans managed to stiff-arm these as john said. elections have consequences. this was something that democrats said they would do and they are doing it as they promised when they ran. >> what does this mean for the day-to-day operations of the united states government? when you look at it, as mike said, this is going to be a full-time job for this white house to produce documents, to
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manage the push back on it. this will take us through and into the campaign. >> this is different than the message that many democrats ran on and won on in many much these swing districts. that message was we disagree with the president, we want to work with him when we can, we want to hold him accountable which is very different from we want to stop his administration from doing anything. that's what republicans were trying to tell these voters. if you want your government to function leave us in power at least there will be some minimal level of functioning. i do think that to the extent that suddenly this gives trump the ability to say hey you don't like what the government is doing it's because i'm too busy tied up with these requests. it makes him the vick figure for anything that goes wrong. it didn't go wrong because my administration handled it wrong, it went wrong because we possibly can't deal with crisis a, b or c because 81 plus requests come our way.
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that may have been a strategic misfire on nadler. some folks on that list of 81 i would be very interested in from. alexander nix. very interested in what he knows, what his role was with the kpairn. any role he may have had in any potential alleged collusion. other folks it's clear they just want to make the president look bad. by stepping that far they allow president trump to set them up and say look i'm the victim here. >> to that point, we put up a tweet. from david axelrod. the former senior adviser to president obama. wrote this maybe i'm missing something but what hazard of omnibus documents demand by house judiciary versus discrete serial ones is that however legitimate the areas of inquiry the wide ranging nature of it is too easily plays into the witch-hunt meme. that's axelrod expressing the point that maybe this does allow
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the president of the united states to dismiss everything now as a witch-hunt. >> the president would do that either way regardless of how valid this inquiry actually is. it's important to note a few thing. first of all this number 80 pales in comparison to the senate whitewater investigation during the clinton administration in which republicans issued 1285 subpoenas to the clinton white house. so, you know, compare 80 documents to 1,200, you know, that speaks for itself. also we need to look at this as an insurance policy. this s-you know, the mueller scope investigation has been pretty limited and as alexandria occasio-cortez said yesterday during a press conference i think at the end of the day people are realizing this is about the president's tax returns and his potential ties to foreign governments and whether or not they have leverage over the trump administration. and then, you know, i think lastly, this should be viewed
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as, again, an insurance policy and every single one of these people who nadler has requested documents from is already involved in the federal probe of the southern district of new york or the mueller probe and already been reached out to. these are people who are already connected to these investigations. >> it doesn't stop there. house democrats also want to know about donald trump's communications with vladimir putin. we'll go through that part of the story next on "morning joe". so we improved everything.g. we used 50% fewer ingredients. added one-handed pumps. and beat the top safety standards. johnson's® choose gentle.
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[ sighing ] ♪ oh my momma she gave me ♪ these feathered breaths ♪ ♪ oh my momma check in from afar with remote access. and have professional monitoring backing you up with xfinity home. demo in an xfinity store, call, or go online today. welcome back to "morning joe". we've been talking about a new push by house democrats to investigate the president on multiple front. among them a request for information on the president's communications with russian president vladimir putin. the heads of the house intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight committees sent letters to whitney houston house chief of staff and secretary of
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state requesting a trove of documents and asking that the translators present for the meetings and calls be made available for interviews with their committees. it cite media reports that claim the president took steps to conceal his communication with the russian put seizing notes from one meeting and directing one interpreter to keep quiet about what the two men discussed. chairman schiff and elijah cummings write this. on february 21st we wrote a joint letter to you requesting basic information whether the president destroyed records relating to his conversations with president putin in violation of the presidential records act or if he did not, where those records are currently located. they went on the white house failed to provide any response to our inquiry as a result we're now expanding our investigation. so johnathan, this is not a question of jerry nadler and the house judiciary committee this is a coordinated effort by six or seven different committees
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led by democrats. >> that's right. they've wanted the information about these russia meetings from day one. we still don't know what was discussed in that one-on-one meeting between presidents trump and putin in helsinki where they met privately for two hours sore. this, you know, is going to be the backdrop of the next two years. this is the backdrop of just not tying up the trump administration's day-to-day operations, this is the backdrop of the campaign. the backdrop of his re-election bid is against all of these probes and on one hand yes they are going to be under siege. it's going to be tough to mount any sort of positive message from this white house. at the same time this allows him to claim as we've seen presidential harassment. that's his new sort of twitter trove. he's going to say we're one attack and the idea of government overreach, democratic yo overreach is the theme. i'm the victim here. if you want the government to work come back to me don't give
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them this power. >> we haven't mentioned it this morning and not a whole lot of media attention has been focused on it but one of the most important inquiries is occur right now as we speak. the chairman of the house ways and means committee is going after donald j. trump's tax returns and if they get the tax returns, that opens up a whole, whole new area of investigation that would truly interest i think large portions of the american public without regard to your ideology. >> again, tom, that's one of the holy grals for the democrats. one of the promises if we get in we can subpoena the tax returns. >> we're talking about the tax returns as if it's completely abnormal for the president to put forward tax returns which is something presidents have been doing for a long time. an important point here as jackie said he's going to call this a witch00. you can call one person and it's a witch-hunt and the problem is that the white house is
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understaffed, undermanned, underpowered, all of these things together will overwhelm the white house because they don't have a process for dealing with any of this stuff. i think one of the things that's interesting here is that the call to bring in the translators which i think really shows that the foreign affairs committee in particular has said we've had enough of this, this is now going to be hardball to start calling in people that have a privileged relationship because people need to know they things. i'm a fan of secrecy in foreign policy. but somebody in congress, somewhere in the oversight committee, somebody needs to know what happened with the president, with the russians, with helsinki, with his finances. i mean there is just kind of the normal business of government that has to get done now and i think, you know, the white house just isn't ready for it. >> coming up, mitch mcconnell said i told you so.
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senate majority leader mitch mcconnell is predicting the senate will pass a resolution to overturn president trump's declaration of a national emergency so he can build a southern border wall. >> i think what is clear in the senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president. and in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the house. >> are you worried that future democratic presidents could use that for a congressional run around in the future for something like climate change? >> i am. that's why i argued without success to the president that he not take this route. >> the trump administration is working to limit defections on the measure rebuking trump's emergency declaration. during a meeting yesterday zach parkinson the house deputy director of government
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communications said if senators are planning to vote to overturn it, they should contact the white house to get further information on trump's rationale. if republican senators didn't have anything good to see should quote keep their powder dry. that's according to two people with knowledge of the private discussion. the senate is expected to vote on the resolution by march 15th before the senate's next recess. so far at least four republican senators say they will vote in favor of the resolution. according to senator rand paul there could be more. >> i will vote for the motion to disapprove of this. and i'll continue to speak out. i do believe that there is at least ten republican no votes. we'll see. possibly more. >> so jackie this is your reporting in the "washington post" that we just read through. you have lisa murkowski, susan collins, tom tillis and rand paul republicans who are defecting to block the emergency declaration.
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will there be more and why does it matter if they are already at the number that they need >> i mean i think rand paul is exactly right. there are a number of senators who have not yet communicated which way they are going to be voting. they expressed disapproval with what they view as the president's abuse of power and potential precedent that they are going to be setting for future democratic presidents but they haven't said they will be voting against, in favor of this termination resolution. then i think why this is so important is quite frankly at the end of the day it's pretty embarrassing for the president and really the first time that we're seeing the senate and the house, you know, splitting and not necessarily acquiescing to the president's demands despite widespread criticism. what the house did yesterday didn't help telling senators what to do. a few aides grumbled about park
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inson's directive who is this kid coming here telling us what we can and can't say to the president and what we can't express. one aide you all know senators love to be told when they can talk about something and when they can. there is a veto proof majority that would require 290 votes. so that's why you're going to see potentially more senators come out in favor of the termination resolution because at the end of the day this is more of a symbolic move that this is, they view this as abuse of power and bad precedent which is something that the white house does not necessarily agree with. this is an argument they don't buy into. >> rand paul's explanation is a pretty simple civics lesson. i want more money for the border but congress has to appropriate the money. that's how our system works. that's why i'm voting for the blocking of the resolution.
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>> good conservative argument to say this is executive overreach. you can just move money around at will. the president is not a king. the treasury done belong him to. in the end look this vote is a freebie for a lot of senators. they get to say, four or five of us can say we really came out and stood for the right thing, knowing that it's not going to be a veto override. i worked in the senate years ago. this is a classic manu virtual of i was for it before i was against it. and you can vote before in the end the president will still prevail. it's a very mild shot across the bow, but the principle argument that senator paul made is a perfectly sensible one. >> there's been very few occasion when republicans and the senate rebuked the president. this is different. this is his signature issue. this will be more stinging.
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he'll forge forward with this. i think we need to watch what happens next. like does president trump strike you as a forgiving type. will he understand this is a symbolic vote? will this perhaps splinter relationships going forward and perhaps cost him some allies he can afford to lose? >> coming up on "morning joe" photo copied checks signed by donald trump and donald trump jr. played a big part in michael cohen's testimony on capitol hill last week. there's more where that came from. we got our hand on another check that was cut to cohen. ari joins us next to explain. "morning joe" is back in a moment.
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this check, the $70,000 check which is signed according to my client signed by allen weisselberg and donald trump jr. that this check was the first check and it's the check that the president himself said to my
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client when he visited him in the white house, said that that check would be forthcoming soon. and sure enough it was on valentine's day. 2017. >> so your view is that really helps further demolish the denial that trump was somehow post facto reimbursing something he didn't authorize? >> that's exactly right. >> yeah. >> that was michael cohen's lawyer last night in an exclusive interview revealing for the first time a 2017 check signed by key trump figures for hush money payments. ari joins us now along with jonathan kaepart, ruth marcus, and columnist for the "daily beast" and contributing opinion writer for the "new york times". he's author of the new book entitled "if we can keep it." welcome, everybody.
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ari, let me start with you. tell us more about that check we learned about on your show last night? >> this was breaking news last night. people know about lanny davis one of mr. cohen's lawyers. the news he broke last night we learned about it during the show and i have it here is the first check. i mean this is significant because this was not at the hearing. this is the $70,000 check from a trump trust to michael cohen written during the trump presidency, february 14th, 2017. happened to be valentine's day. and what it shows is that on this score the documentary financial evidence corroborates michael cohen's account that donald trump was paying him while president for a confessed election crime and, thus, rebuts the denials we've seen from donald trump both in public and through his spokespersons that somehow he wasn't in on this repayment scheme. >> signed by allen weisselberg
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the cfo of the trump organization and by donald trump jr. as was reported last night on your show. underline if you can the significance of the date, february 14th, 2017. because he is president of the united states at that point. >> he's president and this is a confessed crime, according to what michael cohen pled in new york, and the check you're looking at again, reinforces what cohen testified to last week but in front of the house they only had the two other later $35,000 separate checks. this corroborates another piece of the account. the first meeting where those, as you see from the "morning joe," the checks we had from last week. here we have another check another receipt if you will that does corroborate key portions of cohen's account. that's important because as we all know he has lied at one point. the more the evidence comes into the record remember whether what we broke on the beat last night, what comes out of the house or other proceeding, the more the story by cohen falls into place
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and that's bad for donald trump. >> so the story from donald trump long is michael cohen is my attorney he had the privilege and right to cut checks and we would reimburse him. does that hold up under examination? >> i think that becomes less and less realistic when you look at the combination of evidence, both the financial evidence what he testified to and let's not forget an audio recording that showed cohen and trump talking about, in real-time not later, not this post-reimbursement giuliani story but in real-time let's also use the enquirer as a subsidiary of the trump organization to handle his business in tint of the campaign. that investigation continues in new york as well. >> what happens now? what happens now with that check? >> one thing that happens now mike barnicle will add wisdom and wit to the analysis on "morning joe". beyond that all of this comes back to the question of what do you do when you discover a president does really bad stuff,
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whether it's felonous which salel call or abuse of power which is a congressional call. we're in that right now. you have the new york feds according to the "wall street journal" looking at it. you have the mueller earned game. all of this comes back to when we learn the facts this stuff that our system thinks something you have to fix when a president does it in office or not? that's the super question i can't answer today. the news we have today is more support for michael cohen's testimony. >> jonathan, this new check turns up on the show last night in the context of jerry nadler making the announcement or revelation that jerry nadler, chair of the house judiciary committee sent more than 80 letters to various people in donald trump's life and across his life from politics to business to inaugural to transition to his personal life. what's the significance of this now? we know it's just not judiciary,
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a number of democrat led committees in the united states congress leading investigations over donald trump likely through the duration of his first term in office. >> right. this is what oversight looks like. the people who are going to be called in for questioning, these are the same people who should have been called in two years ago when republicans controlled the house and the senate. now politically we know why that didn't happen. but, remember, congress is a co-equal branch of government. supposed to provide oversight of the executive and that wasn't done two years ago. so there are a lot of, you know, congressman nadler's announcement was overwhelming in terms of the number, but imagine if democrats had had control two years ago that this wouldn't be happening rolling, ongoing. so what democrats are doing, i think, is trying to make up for lost time. you can view this through a political lens, and question
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whether this is the right thing to do. but you can also -- you should look at it through a constitutional lens which is this is what congress should be doing and that check that ari showed on the to show exclusively yesterday and again this morning is another reason why we should be paying attention to what the house is now doing and looking to see where all of these investigations lead. there's a lot of smoke here. a lot of smoke. we have seen it since 2016. and now we're finally have people in place and in power who are willing to go look to see where the spoke is coming from. >> michael, this is an incredibly broad investigation as first laid out, at least the letters sent out, the scope of who has information, sought buyerry nasdb by jerry nadler and his committee. what do you think specifically
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jerry nadler and his committee on judiciary are after that those other investigations are not? >> well, i think the mueller investigation and the southern district investigation are probably looking for at potential illegalities and crimes whereas nadler that's not necessarily the limit of his mandate or even perhaps the emphasis of his mandate. he's looking also as he said on abc sunday morning abuse of power and corruption generally. and possibly impeachable offenses. he was very careful about talking about impeachment, but the point is that impeachable offenses aren't necessarily illegalities and illegalities are not necessarily impeachable offenses. he may be looking more in that direction at things that constitute clear abuses of power or, you know, attempts to
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obstruct justice or attempts to do other things by a president that constitute something that a president of the united states ought not do but might not be necessarily illegal. >> when he a discussion earlier in the show about the risk of the democrats sort of -- the perception of overreach. they are going too far. my question for you is, what sort of guidelines should they have? should nadler and others have? yes there's a political calculation here. you don't want to be seen handing trump ammunition to play the victim. this is what they told their voters they would do. don't you feel that's something they have to pursue? what's the balancing act? >> the balancing act is to, and i think congressman nadler has been doing a very good job ever walking that tight rope so far. not to leap immediately to there are impeachable offenses here but as jonathan suggested to catch up on the fact that we have gone for two years without
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the house or the senate exercising a normal responsible oversight function. so what you want to do is take situations and the check that ari helped uncover is a perfect example. where there are legitimate questions, a reasonable basis for further inquiry. what did donald trump jr. understand about the purpose of this check and why it was cut and what the nature of the connection to the election was and to election laws? what did allen weisselberg understand was the purpose of the check? what conversations did they have with the president of the united states? you take each one of those things and you say what is the basis for further questioning and you drill down on those. "the new yorker" had a piece yesterday that talked about the president trying to order his staff to tell the justice department to stop a merger because he didn't like it. these are reasonable questions. as long as the american public
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can understand there are reasonable questions. there will be some people who agree with the president this is presidential harassment. it's not harassment if you have a basis for asking. >> it's interesting, willie, when we think about this big picture it can be a mistake to look at everything through the lens is it crime or impeachable or not and those are the only two roads. the president and republicans have a point when they argue against the lurch to do that on every issue. let's say for the sake of argument that the campaign finance crime that michael cohen confessed to should not be impeachable. does that mean you stop looking at it? of course not. you have potential financial impropriety. if the "national enquirer" is running some sort of free wheeling violating subsidiary
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fund for other candidates that's got to stop. if it's doing extortion on the side that has to stop. whether that's bad for donald trump legally or politically. there's an important nuance or gray area of a lot of stuff that might be bad. another one is emoluments. we don't have a lot of precedent on this because no other president tried to enrich himself and make money while he's president. it's not automatically illegal. nobody else had the brass idea. bill clinton and barack obama could have had a law firm and bill good rates. nobody had the audacity to do that. just because that's not impeachable should the people ask we should pay the president while he is president. >> that's where jerry nadler is
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heading. "wall street journal" reports a former attorney for michael cohen approached the president's attorney about a possible pardon. according to people familiar with the discussion, it reportedly occurred after trade of -- after the raid on cohen's home and business. the president's lawyers including rudy giuliani, jay sekulow and others dismissed the idea of a pardon. but mr. giuliani left open the possibility that the president could grant mr. cohen one in the future. the "journal" notes ryan raised the subject with a lawyer for the trump organization and the company's general counsel. according to the report ryan left the impression if cohen could not rely on a pardon he would cooperate with the southern district of new york. cohen testified last week stating quote i never asked for or would accept a pardon from president trump. there's no indication cohen. asked for a pardon.
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cohen spokeswoman says he stands by his testimony. is this a question of semantics whether cohen told his attorney to go look for a pardon or whether the attorney did it on her own. >> this is a fascinating story. it's not bad for trump or his lawyers if it was someone petitioning for a pardon. people at various stages in the criminal process try to get pardons site goes away. if, however, there was some engagement of the idea or dangling of a pardon, that could be bad for the white house. what's most i wanting about this, is this one of those stories that you read on its face and just has some news or is this some people trying to get ahead of what the southern district might be investigating, which is pardon dangling. . >> it cuts into cohen's credibility. we don't know he asked personally for this pardon. he's on record who said he never did. but he lied to congress before and lied to investigators before. the weight his testimony is now he's telling the truth.
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if this is another one he didn't that undermines his credibility in other areas too. >> i want to get your book "if we can keep it." the premise is that the republic has collapsed. explain that. >> well, look around you. what are we talking about in this segment? we're pretty close. we went with a dramatic title. it's defensible. the idea of the book is just to take a longer dive back into our history and try to explain to readers where all this comes from. you know you hear a lot of people say that polarization goes back to the '90s. that's right. it goes back to the 1790s. the book goes back to the 1790s. if you read history from that time you'll see debates about the size and scope of government. i do take readers up through all that history but i do say there's something different
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about today. through most of our history our political parties made no real ideological sense. they weren't ideological could herren and thus a lot of overlap in our parties. and that overlap made a lot of negotiation and compromise possible. up through the 1960s into the 1970s. then the parties started to harden ideologically and that overlap kind of disappeared. and they both deviated from the center. i think the republicans, i want to say clearly have deviated more from the center than the democrats have. but both have. and this disappearance of overlap is what makes the polarization that we have today worse and somewhat more dangerous than even at times in the 19th century. >> jonathan? >> michael, congratulations on your book. the question i have for you is, can we -- can this damage be repaired? can the republic be
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reconstituted to what we knew it to be and thought it to be before the election of the 45th president? >> well, before the election of the 45th president yes. things weren't fabulous at that point. >> true. >> so we can get back to there. the question is can we get back to this kind of, of period that we had in the post-war era when there was a lot of negotiation and compromise on capitol hill and when a lot of republicans voted for civil rights and they did things like even into the 1980s when ronald reagan and tip o'neill negotiated the bill to save social security, which included some benefit cuts and some tax increases, which republicans would never agree to today. the answer in the book for those who wish to buy it is that, you know, we can maybe get back to those kinds of days but it's going to take a long time.
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there aren't any silver bullets. there aren't any easy fixes. it's a 15 or 20 year project. >> this is a big long conversation. we've only scratched the surface. read the book "if we can keep. saved." it's available now. michael, thank you so much. ari, thank you. we'll see you at 6:00 eastern time on "the beat." ruth and jonathan, stay with us. our next guest says the politics of racial resentment is killing america's heartland. he'll explain when "morning joe" comes right back. t back from the very beginning ... it was always our singular focus, to do whatever it takes, use every possible resource, to fight cancer. and never lose sight of the patients we're fighting for. our cancer treatment specialists share the same vision. experts from all over the world, working closely together to deliver truly personalized cancer care. and these are the specialists we're proud to call our own. expert medicine works here. learn more at cancercenter.com.
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joining us now, professor of sociology and psychology and the director of medicine at vanderbilt university. he is author of "dying of whiteness: how the politics of racial resentment is killing america's heartland." we won't talk about vanderbilt basketball as much as i love our school. the book is "dying of whiteness." explain the premise, what you did and how awe rifd at your thesis. diving of whiteness is a story about how the politics that are supposed to make white america great again, if you look at the actual policies end up making working class white lives harder, sicker and in many instances shorter. i'm from missouri. i grew up in kansas city. now i live in tennessee. and i spend about 7 or 8 years
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tracking really what happens at the every day level if you live in a state like that that rejects the affordable care act and cuts medicaid expansion, if you live in a state that makes very, very easy for people to get guns or that has huge tax cuts that benefit wealthy people but cut schools, roads and bridges where you live. and what i found is far from making every day life great for people in, fact, those politics ended up functioning almost like risk factors like secondhand smoke that shorten people's life spans. >> the idea is a great number of people in this country that voted for donald trump voted in essence for policies that work against them. let's take the state of tennessee, for example, where you live. what is a good example of that there? >> i spent a lot of time doing focus groups with people who were quite medically ill and would have benefited from had the medicaid expansion happened in tennessee, had the state embraced the affordable care
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act. i thought the premise was maybe when people are chronically ill and death's doorstep, this may be a time for them to actually think, gosh, i would like to have -- i would like to have the benefits that the aca is going to brichlt i foung. i found the most chronically ill people said i would -- i mean, i'll never forget this. someone had an oxygen mask and things tlik a things like that said i don't support the aca. i don't want my tax dollars going to mexicans and welfare queens. the idea of people taking what is mine at this epic moment in people's lives. >> ruth marcus is in washington with a question. >> so this is a very provocative book. it reminds me a little bit of the book from some years ago "what's the matter with kansas" similarly wrote about identified people voting against what seemed to be in their economic and to some extent self
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interests. i wonder if you have a theory of how to get beyond that and as you say, you had these people in focus groups who needed the help that the aca could give them yet we're je we're rejecting it. i wonder if we should take them more seriously in the sense that clearly some trump voters and republican voters are animated by social issues, by a sense of agreement at the role of government. how do you speak to them and change their minds? what did you -- what did you glean in reporting your book about that? >> that's a great question. i think the question of how to change people's minds was something that was kind of going through my head as i was doing a lot of the interviews for the book. and part of it i ended up feeling is change in part had to come from within in a particular way and by that i mean it can't be democrats' job to go and try to say we need to take care of your health and there is not
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also a movement coming from within conservatism to say that actually conservative politics also should take care of working class people of all backgrounds. but i did also find that in the course of my interviews that there were -- i mean especially some people were flat out voicing racial veresentment and saying i don't care fit sink miz o sinks my own ship. other people said, gosh, maybe universe health care wouldn't be the worst thing in the world or maybe we should have background checks when we have guns. but moments in the focus groups shouted out by the other people in the groups and so it did teach me this lesson that there is a messaging that the gop has done and n. which ideas like hk a health care and guns and tax cuts are more than policies they're white racial identities. i became more and more frustrated even though i think that's problematic, i didn't see a ton of kind of counter messaging. in other words, the gop and trump were very effective at
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defining what whiteness was but there was no counter message that people could fall back on. >> jonathan? >> jonathan, i'm glad you said that. it plays into the question i wanted to ask you. i was at a conference and someone was talking about how he had couldn't understand how white women, the majority of them vote the for donald trump and how could they do that because they were voting against their interests. and someone in response said, no, they were voting in their interests. they were not voting as women. they were voting as white americans. so when you have something so strong as race that basically blinds people to policies that are for their own interests as well, how do you breakthrough? it is even possible to breakthrough? is it even possible for a counter message to breakthrough to get them to change their minds, their hearts? >> two points quickly. i know we're probably short on
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time. i would say that on one hand i do think that people often vote also based on the material realities of their lives. and so i do think that there is a particular form of messaging that helps working class people of all backgrounds. i do think that the democrats need to promote that message better in a particular way. in other words, i argue in the book that policies that hurt white americans also hurt everybody else and we can flip that and make policies that are better for people. but i would also say that i think we're in a hard moment to talk about race but ultimately we need to have a much more broad conversation about whiteness. we can't just let donald trump define what it means to be white. there needs to be pushback on this point about race in america. >> the boo is being "dying of whiteness: how politics of racial resentment is killing america's heartland." thank you. say hi to everybody at vanderbilt for me. >> thank you. >> that does it for us this m k morning. >> hello, i'm chris jansing. this morning, construction,
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