tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC March 8, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST
at ft. benning, georgia. he will make his way to alabama to tour the areas that have been completely devastated by those tornadoes with the first lady and their son. i am going to hand it off to andrea mitchell. i'll see you back here on monday morning. "andrea mitchell reports" starts right a now. and right now on "andrea mitchell reports," 47 months, a light sentence for paul manafort sparking outrage from many but sympathy for the president. >> i feel very badly for paul manafort. i think it's been a very, very tough time for him. the judge said there was no collusion with russia. it's had nothing to do with collusion, t there was no collusion. damage control. democrats trying to repair their party's rift over hate t speecha new target forec president trum. >> i thought that vote was a disgrace. the democrats have become an anti-israel party. they've become an anti-jewish party. and that's too bad.h y. >> i think what we did
yesterday, passing this resolution that basically condemns discrimination in its many forms, i think that's a positive thing, right? that's a good thing to do, it passed overwhelmingly. that doesn't mean that we shouldn't separately call anti-semitism when we see it. and who runs the world? on this international women's day, a focus on gender equality. >> what do you tell little girls who are wondering, could that ever be me? >> i'm going to tell them, don't give up on your dreams. they arep there, you have to g for tthem. you can be working with nasa and launching vehicles further than they've gone before, we're going back to the moon, and you can be a part of it. >> women are strong. women get it done! and good day and happy international women's day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington where president trump is praising paul manafort and
puttingor his own spin on the sentencing judge's comments. >> the judge, i mean, for whatever reason, i was very honored byn, it, also made the statement that this had nothing to do with collusion with russia. so, you know, keep it going. let's go, keep the hoax going. >> the president failing to mention that t manafort was convicted on bank and tax fraud charges and that judge t.s. ellis barred any mention of russian collusion when the manafort trial began. he's t seizing on this comment from manafort's defense lawyer, whichns critics call a blatant request for a pardon. >> most importantly, what you saw today was the same thing we had said from day one, there is absolutely no evidence that paul manafort was involved with any collusion with any government officialth from russia. and more breaking news from president's twitter feed, the president writing on his air
force flight to alabama today to tour tornado data, that convicted formerer f efixer mic cohen directly asked me for a pardon, i said no, he lied again. >> michael cohen lied about the pardon. a stone cold lie. he's lied about a lot of things but when he lied about the pardon, that was really a lie. he knew all about pardons. his lawyer said they went to my lawyers and asked for pardons. i could go a step above that but i won't do it now. >> and michael cohen has treated his denial of all that, we'll get to that in a moment. first, kristen welker, again another white house communications chief has designed, i believe this is the fifth communications chief in two yearsli to leave the white house. >> andrea, this is significant, you're absolutely right, the
fifth communications director in two years. of course this is a critical role, the communications director.at and some of his predecessors included sean spicer, also hope hicks who served for a short time, and who can forget anthony scaramucci who had the job for a few days. this white house has already experienced so much upheaval. you've covered so many administrations, andrea, you how important this role is, to direct and guide all the communications coming out of the white house whether it be on foreign or dems poliomestic par. having said that, we know that president trump likes to be his own communications director. we saw that today when he was out on the south lawn answering questions before his departure. itis also comes at a notable moment after that explosive "new yorker" article came out a few
days ago, essentially detailing the, close relationship betwee fox news and the trump white house, of course bill shine a former fox executive, and one of the charges in that speech is that the stormy daniels story came to t light from a reporter within fox news, and it was basically put to rest. and it wasn't allowed to be published. this is significant. no word yet on who is going to replace bill shine. it comes against the backdrop, andrea, of this twitter feud between president trump and his former attorney michael cohen, the president essentially saying michael cohen asked him, mr. president, this is international women's day, you may want to use the day to apologize for your own lies and dirty deeds, then named stephanie mcdougal and stormy daniels. based on my reporting, andrea,
lanny davis telling me earlier this week that it was cohen who directed his attorney to discuss the possibility of a pardon with president trump's attorney. we have of course reached back out to our sources to try to clarify and see what the truth is behindwh the president's twe. we'll let you know as soon as we find out, andrea. >> on top of all of this, of course, all of the other issues facing the president today. we've got nbc intelligence and national security reporter ken dilanian with us, jeremy bash, former chief of staff at the cia and pentagon, and msnbc political analyst peter baker, chief white house correspondent at "the new york times" and former federal prosecutor jim walden. let me askro about this issue o billbo shine and the white hous again not having a communications director. a key position in almost every white house that i've ever covered. >> yeah, absolutely. look, turnover has been high in
this white house across the board, higher than any presidency in modern times. by the end of his second year there had been a turnover rate of 65% according to the brookings institution which counts these things. no position has been more problematic or fraught than that of communications chief, absolutely, as kristen just said. you could actually even count bill shine as the sixth person if you count jason miller who took the j job at the very beginning but didn't actually serve because he ran into problems of his own. the issue here is of course you have a president who prefers to besi his own communications chi. he's never satisfied with the person speaking for him. we no longer even have white house briefings anymore because the idea that someone would get up at a podium every day and speak on behalf of the president became too problematic, the president likes to do that himself. so it's kind of ake no-win job even if you're the most talented person in the world. it's a warning sign forpe the person who might take it next. >> it seems sudden except for the jane mayer piece in "the new
yorker" criticizing the relationship between fox news and the white house. it would be hardly credible that the president would respond to that. >> my guess is the president is not too worried about "the new yorker," certainly not worried about being too close to fox news. however i think there had been in recent weeks signs of discomfort on his part that there was a lack of chemistry with bill shine, that you saw that bill shine wasn't showing up for some of the major moments when a message chief would have been expected, for instance he wasn't on the trip to vietnam where the president met with kim jong-un, the north korean dictator. people saw the beginnings of distancing there. he's got this campaign job, but that's seen by some people close to the white house as kind of a face-saving gesture. >> it does seem like that in the way it was announced. ken dilanian, you were there at the manafort courthouse, and the expression of shock on the faces of all of the people on the ari melber show on msnbc when it broke, when he said 47 months. here people had been talking
about the maximum could be 24 1/2 years, according to the sentencing guidelines. it just seems like a very, very lenient sentence. >> uponle reflection, with some more reporting, it really is, andrea. i've been consulting with experts today, andve people hav been contrasting the peoptreatm paul manafort got with what happens to poor defendants of color in drug cases. there's a case in south dakota of tax evasion where a person got nine years. >> $55 million was proved to the satisfaction of the jurors, and wesa even had the jury, one jur last night on lawrence o'donnell, on "then last word, saying it was 11-1 on the other ten counts. >> that's right, one hold-out. this was a complicated scheme that lasted tenth years. the reason the guidelines called for up to 24 years is because it met theus criteria for that. guidelines are designed so that federal sentences are fair. judge ellis, for reasons known
only to him, decided to depart dramatically downward. been very critical of the mueller investigation, a lot of people see this as a shot by him at robert homueller, he's viewe the wholeillegitimate. he didn't think of of the whole case and essentially ignored whated the federal guidelines sd and gave paul manafort a sweet deal. >> let's play that juror with lawrence o'donnell, i wanted you to hear this woman, she's a trump supporter. she said she would vote for the president again. but she strongly felt that this was a very light sentence. >> i support president trump. he's our president. he was elected. and i thinkhe he's doing a good job. but i will be very disappointed in him if he does pardon paul manafort for paul manafort's crimes. >> that was paula duncan. jim, as a former prosecutor, what did you think about this sentence? >> i think it's important to the judge was
sentencing a proven cheat but not a proven traitor. and i think that the president is grasping at straws when he turns that comment into some kind of support for the notion that there was no conspiracy with russia. all the judge was saying is that day may come but that day is noa today. but i certainly agree that people arece right to be shocke by the disparities between the extensive scheme that manafort was convicted of, the sentencing guidelines that he faced, and the ultimate slap on the wrist that he got. it's a systematic problem, a problem in this case but a systematic problem. it's important to note that judgent ellis is one of the few judges that has been speaking out about reducing sentences for indigent drug defendants as well. so he does havege a history of being balanced. >> at the same time, he said that paul manafort has led a blameless life. this is aam man who had pleaded guilty in another case in which
he's going to be sentenced next week, and hardly a blameless life given everything else that has been testified to. >> almost every aspect of his professional career had some criminal element to it, whether it was representing foreign governments without registering, whether it was taxth evasion, whether it was money laundering, whether it was lying to authorities about etit. this was a comprehensive criminal scheme. it's true thatal the sentence w light. i clerked in the court where judge ellis was a judge 20 years ago, he does march to the beat of another drummer in his own head andhi that drummer has gro louder in recent years. he will be sentenced in the d.c. case next week, i suspect the judge will run at least some of that sentence concurrent with the present sentence. in my view he is still eligible for a pardon in the mind of the
president and the manafort team. >> kristen welker, the president was asked about pardoning manafort because he had spoken so sympathetically about him. a this is what he had to say today as heha left the white house. >> i don't even discuss it. the only one discussing it is you. i haven't discussed it. >> that's what he said to the press. but he certainly seems to be holding that out as something that i think you've probably talked to rudy giuliani and the other lawyers about. >> i e have, andrea. overnight rudy giuliani told me the president isn't ruling it in or out but he's not considering it h at this time. president trump himself back in november said he's not ruling it out. so it's something that we're watching veryme closely. and of course his tone, when it comess to paul manafort, is ve different than it isna for somee like michael cohen, for example. he's praised paul manafort, talked about the fact that this is a tough time for him. so all of that only fueling speculation about a possible pardon, andrea. >> ken dilanian, when we talk
about these pardons, and whether or not pardons can eventually be viewed in the context of obstruction of justice, the pardon dangle, whatever it is, how do legal experts view that? >> iter opens up a really thorn question. can prosecutors, members of the executive orbranch, investigate the president for exercising ai constitutional ngauthority? that's not really clear. it's pretty clear congress can certainly look at it, and my reporting says congress is very interested in the question of whetheron michael coheny had a pardonr dangled before him at time when he was essentially lying on behalf of the president, he was still on his side. whether he first brought it up, the f real question is were the communicating to him, keep telling the story and you're going to get a pardon? that could be a matter of impeachment in the end. >> i agree with ken. the distinction of course is that in moste cases a pardon power is not used in an investigation of the president, where the president is the subject. where the president is the subject, i think thepr constitutionalsu calculus chang
here. with respect toalch the he said said, michael cohen saying idid have a solution, let's put the president under oath. the president is standing there on the white house lawn, he's got all the time in the world to make statements but he doesn't have time to talk to the prosecutors in the special counsel's office. he should. >> good luck with that, considering the way he's talked about, repeatedly talked about robert mueller. let me also ask you about the mueller report. it's friday, another friday. any signals at all coming, jeremy, ken? >> we're expecting a quiet day. >> you're expecting a quiet day? >> i haven't heard anything. this special hcounsel's office has been so tight-lipped with even transmitting signals about its intentions about process. i think we won't see it coming. >> when it does get delivered, we're told, by the new attorney general or the justice department, congress will get a
notification that it has arrived but there t won't be any kind o immediate report delivered to either congress or the public. >> we're hoping that that will happen, andrea. >> we may not even know. >> we may not even know, it may be there now for all we know and they're deciding to roll it out. some people think it would make sense for them to take the report and make sure barr has something to say about it before they acknowledge receipt. if they say, hey, we've got the report, there's going to be a firestorm and all kinds of pressure on barr to tell us what's in it. >> before they release anything to congress or the public, they have to go you look at it and go through the whole clearance process. as someone who dealt with that a lot. >> i believe the office of the director of national intelligence will have to go through the report and redact any information that seemed a risk to national security if it's revealed. we're all thinking back to the time of the ken starr report when that was transmitted, including the backup evidence. it went to the ford house office building and only the judiciary
staff and members of the committees got access to the report andan we had to wait several days for people like abbe lowell who was then counsel to that committee during the clinton era to go through it and unveil what it said. >>un and you had the unfortunat drama, or fortunate as the case may be, of the network correspondents reading it live on thehe air with all of the salacious details that had not been redacted. kristen welker, at this stage, the president arriving in alabama, he's going to do a tour of a h place that's been en devastated, obviously a moment for, presidential leadership. this is the role of the commander in chief and of the president of the united states. so that will be the focus. but very shortly afterwards he's going to have to return to all of these legal issues and the lack ofth a communications co director. any hint of who might step up to that role?io >> no indication at this point. i wouldn't be surprised, andrea, if we saw sarah sanders step in
at least temporarily. that's something that we saw happen under sean spicer, for example, when he was the white house press secretary, the communications director mike dubkey, left and sean spicer took over on an interim basis. i wouldn't be surprised if sarah sanders took overd the broader responsibilities of that role as they look for a final replacement, again underscoring thisre point, president trump remains his own best communicator, in his mind. so ultimately he's the one who day in and day out is typically driving the communications messages out of this white house, andrea. >> kristen welker, ken dilanian, jeremy bash, thanks to all. t coming up, devastation, president trump in alabama surveying the damage from recent tornadoes that killed dozens. nt tornadoes that killed dozens but no matter what park you live on, one of 10,000 local allstate agents knows yours. now that you know the truth, are you in good hands?
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president trump surveying the damage from the deadly tornadoes. he's on route right now to beauregard, alabama. today three funerals are scheduled for people in lee county including one of the youngest, 10-year-old taylor thornton who was staying overnight at a friend's house when the tornado struck. nbc's gabe gutierrez is in alabama. gabe, the devastation has been incredible. i don't know how people are healing. you've got the funerals today, the president arriving. what else do we expect there today?
>> reporter: hi there, andrea, certainly a lot to take in for this community. a few moments ago we actually saw marine one fly over this area, as the president and the first lady toured the devastation here in beauregard, alabama. a tornado tore through this area carving a 70-mile path of destruction through eastern alabama and georgia, one of several tornadoes that ripped across the south just a few days ago. andrea, as you mentioned, 23 people were killed in this tornado outbreak. more than 90 people were injured. a few of them are still at the hospital. over the past few days we've spoken with several of these victims' families. and the president is expected to meet with several of those families over the next few hours and also meet with first responders. the governor of alabama is here accompanying him on this tour. the president has already approved an emergency disaster declaration for alabama, one of 118 or so emergency disaster declarations that he has approved in the first two years
of his presidency, andrea. >> gabe gutierrez, we'll be coming back to you as we see what the president does as he lands there very shortly. this morning a federal judge in alexandria, virginia, ordering chelsea manning back to jail after a contempt hearing for an ongoing investigation into wikileaks. the former army intelligence analyst refusing to answer any questions before a grand jury, objecting to going before the grand jury as a violation of her first, fourth, and sixth amendment rights. manning's 35-year prison sentence for leaking intelligence records to wikileaks was commuted by president obama. the judge says she has to stay in jail until she testifies or until the grand jury completes its service. we'll be right back. d jury comps its service. we'll be right back. so we improved everything.g. we used 50% fewer ingredients.
i thought yesterday's vote by the house was disgraceful because it's become -- the democrats have become an anti-israel party. they've become an anti-jewish party. and i thought that vote was a disgrace. >> president trump slamming house democrats' anti-hate measure which passed overwhelmingly after democratic leaders scrambled all week to
extinguish the political firestorm sparked by controversial remarks by freshman congresswoman i will hand omar. the only votes against the measure were 22 republicans. republican steve king voted present. let's get the inside scoop on that and on 2020 from msnbc's garrett haake on capitol hill, margaret carlson, columnist for the daily beast, and jeremy peters from "the new york times" and msnbc contributor. the president is obviously trying to exploit the divisions and now calling the democratic party anti-jewish, which is like throwing a political bomb, a grenade into this mix. >> democrats have been thrilled to have this young, diverse, outspoken party, particularly the freshman class they've gotten. and now they're seeing the downside that, they have a
young, diverse, outspoken class of freshmen who will speak out on things and who may not be as easy to control and keep in line as democratic leadership may like. make no mistake, democrats are glad to have this issue and this week behind them. congresswoman omar has been a rising star in this party but she continues to get in trouble on this issue and democrats are hopeful that she will not continue to do so after what has been a long and probably embarrassing week for her. that said, they got a bit of a gift from republicans by having 23 republicans including leadership vote against this anti-semitism resolution, one republican described it to me as republicans snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. it's hard to make this issue a clean hit against democrats. they say this is a watered-down bill, that's why they voted no, but still, when you're explaining, you're losing. and it seems more likely than not that both sides are grown try to move on from this this week until the next thing flares up. >> and who knows what the next
thing to flare up will be. but, margaret carlson, you've got the democratic candidates for president trying to grapple with this issue as well, some coming out in support of ilhan omar. bernie sanders, for instance. >> well, bernie sanders is, you know, on the far left of the party, so he can do it. i mean, i think with biden coming out this week, they're looking at who are the centrists in the party, because we do, as garrett said, have the most diverse, outspoken house the democrats have ever had. none of those people are going to be able to appeal to the middle of the party which democrats are going to have to do in order to beat president trump. >> and we have another democrat in the race this week, john hickenlooper, former two-term governor of colorado, former mayor of denver. he had a big kickoff in denver last night. let's watch. >> donald trump is alienating our allies, ripping away our
health care, endangering our planet, and destroying our democracy. now, i understand, i understand clearly, that i'm not the first person in the race. or the most well-known person in the race. but let me tell you, at four syllables and 12 letters, hickenlooper is now the biggest name in the race. >> and hickenlooper was on "morning joe" today, jeremy, he seemed to be struggling to avoid any labels. he doesn't want to talk about this whole socialism issue which is of course coming up because of aoc, because of bernie sanders. let's watch hickenlooper with joe scarborough. >> are you concerned about some factions of your party embracing socialism? >> i think there's -- the democratic party is a big tent. that's one of the things i've always loved about the democratic party.
there are all kinds of ideas. >> would you call yourself a proud capitalist? >> oh, i don't know. the labels, i'm not sure any of them fit. >> there's a guy who was trained as an engineer and then when the mining industry crashed, he started with craft beers and created -- he's quite a successful capitalist, created the whole craft beer industry, then got into politics and was a successful mayor and governor. where do you put his chances in this group? >> he was governor, let's not forget, of a very purple state. you can't be a raging liberal to win in a state as politically diverse as colorado is. hickenlooper's appeal could be as one of these centrist candidates who could draw in republicans who have become so disenchanted with trump that
they don't vote at all, they're wary of the democratic party. but if he continues to answer questions about socialism like that, he's not going to get very many republican voters who are trying to stay home because republicans really do feel like, going forward, from the trump campaign, the rnc on down, that this socialism message is a big winner for them and they are going to keep hammering that over and over again until we -- >> isn't that a risk for the democratic party, margaret and jeremy, the fact that they have to avoid letting donald trump and republicans define what issues they're going to talk about? if they're going to be asked by us and everyone else about socialism all the time, and about these other issues, now the president's defining the democratic party as anti-jewish, which would be news to a lot of democrats, i'm sure, you know, that puts them on the defensive. and they're not talking about what they want to talk about which is health care and other issues. >> trump is random anyway with
terms like socialism. democrats have certainly been providing fodder for that. hickenlooper is calling himself a fiery pragmatist. pragmatist is what you call yourself when you don't know to put yourself on the spectrum or how you want to be defined. he's a capitalist but is more worried about offending the left wing of the party than the center wing of the party. >> the house did something today, they passed hr 1, let me show you california congresswoman katie hill. >> this is important for my generation and those that follow all of us had of this is when we take our democracy back. so many of us ran and so many of us were elected because we believed that our political system is broken. >> so, garrett haake, this got swamped by all of the negative news from pelosi's perspective
about the fight over ilhan omar. but this is a big deal, of course it has no future in the senate, but this does outline all of their principles about making election day a holiday, about voter access. >> yeah, look, this is a very broad election reform, election integrity bill. it hits a number of democratic priorities. it would make election day a federal holiday. it bans partisan gerrymandering. it would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns, that might sound familiar to folks out there. there's a lot that democrats have put into this bill. but it's about to run into a republican buzz saw. mitch mcconnell has been hammering this bill as it's worked its way through the house, reminding people he's the guy who opposed the mccain/feingold election reform efforts. there are few issues that get mitch mcconnell as animated as trying to reform money in politics in ways he sees as
inappropriate. so this bill will die an untimely death in the senate. there are elements that i could see being pulled out and sent to the senate in the future. but again, this is the peril of being in the majority, you can control the calendar, you can control the floor, but you can't necessarily control everything that comes out of your members' mouth, and that makes it harder to control the political narrative. >> since friday night when "the new york times" put joe biden on the front page, our daily biden watch, i'm saying the first of april is when he declares. >> you have good sources so i'll trust you, andrea. you have to look at it, the context of biden's potential announcement, where is the democratic party going? garrett talked about all this young, energetic membership, and the leadership on capitol hill and joe biden is close to 80.
i don't know whether the democratic base, given biden's past, and you can drag out all the anita hill sound bites, and his opponents will, will they go for that? although can you think of another democrat who could beat trump, who has already announced they're running? that's the big question. >> jeremy peters, margaret carlson, happy friday afternoon. we'll wait to see whether we have other big news coming today. and garrett haake, as always, thank you. coming up, broken promises. president trump makes his first comments about kim jong-un. and on this international women's day, the only woman on the senate foreign relations committee. we all make excuses for the things we don't want to do. but when it comes to colon cancer screening... i'm not doin' that. i eat plenty of kale. ahem, as i was saying... ...with cologuard, you don't need an excuse... all that prep? no thanks.
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so, who is telling the truth about michael cone and pardons? that's becoming a bigger argument following president trump's tweet from air force one today that cohen asked him for a pardon, something cohen has immediately denied. joining me clint watts, former special agent and msnbc analyst and cynthia oxney, former federal prosecutor and msnbc legal analyst as well. clint, first to you. cohen and this whole dispute, plus i want to ask you about the judge saying that paul manafort has had an otherwise blameless life. >> yeah -- >> surprising to a lot of people. >> it's really hard for me to get my head around that. i mean, you'd have to willfully turn away from what he was doing in ukraine, which he was working on behalf of the party of nations which was a group of that was driving russia's interest. he showed up in ledgers going
back in 2014 for multiple payments up in the millions. he was going for russia's policy agenda in ukraine at a time when the u.s. was trying to strengthen ukraine's resolve against russian aggression. so it's just remarkable when you look at this entire package of evidence we've seen come forward that he could make such a claim. and i think he had to just willfully turn a blind eye to all of those things. >> and not registering as an agent as well. >> exactly. >> cynthia, what about cohen versus trump and the legal significance, what if the president is correct in that cohen misstated the facts to the committee, lied to the committee? >> right. the problem is both of these men are liars, and so what's going to have to happen is, instead of looking at the two liars to figure out what happened, we have to look to the other witnesses. and we know there's other lawyers involved and -- >> it could have been a one on one conversation. >> it could have been a one on one. there are other conversations that will give us something to
know about the credibility because cohen's lawyers apparently did approach. there was some discussion, we have to flesch it out. otherwise we have two cockroaches in a bottle. that's really what trump and cohen are. >> well, clint watts, what about the pressure on the judge in d.c.? now, the federal judge in d.c., the manafort case comes up before her for sentencing. she has a maximum of ten years, five and five, she could do five and five concurrently. she could tack 10 on, she could do less. does she have to now -- does she feel any pressure to redress what many feel was an inappropriately low sentence in the virginia case? >> yeah, i think she has one thing going to her advantage, which essentially manafort agreed to work with the mueller team and did not. he essentially worked against them in many ways. so she has a little bit more leverage in terms of how she goes about doing her sentencing. i would imagine that she will not do concurrently and she will go ahead and add to that.
you know, where that shakes out, i still think it's going to be at least a decade, you know, that he gets in total. but it does make her calculus in the eyeball of her assessment what that sentence will be much more scrutinized, i think. it puts her in a much tougher position. >> she's also the judge for the roger stone case and she has to deal with that and whether or not his book deal or his book violated her partial gag order. but we're going to have to leave that now and come back to it next week. clint watts, cynthia oxney, thank you so much. we'll be right back. what?! i'm here to steal your car because, well, that's my job. what? what?? what?! (laughing) what?? what?! what?! [crash] what?! haha, it happens. and if you've got cut-rate car insurance, paying for this could feel like getting robbed twice. so get allstate... and be better protected from mayhem... like me. ♪
and thanks for being with us. you can follow us online at mitchell reports. and here is ali velshi and stephanie ruhle. >> i'm ali velshi >> and i'm stephanie ruhle. international women and ali day. let's get a little smarter. february jobs released, 20,000 jobs, even though 180,000 were estimated, but wages -- and this is a huge positive -- are ticking up. >> the big question right now is looking forward to the rest of 2019 and saying, what does this job number mean for where the economy is going. >> there have been increasing calls from economists of a slow down in the economy. could this be the start of that inob