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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  March 12, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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play. i want to bring in nbc investigations reporter tom winter. this is not over yet, you heard investigators saying they were looking at other parents and coaches involved in this. some of these students did know what their parents were up to and some of them didn't. >> yes, hallie, and to tack on to that, the u.s. attorney there not ruling out charges for the students who are presumably still in it school. he said it's up to the schools whether or not those students will remain at those colleges. a couple of things from the press conference, things i -- and also going through the court documents here, things i found of interest. you know, basically they're talking here, they're talking, this is fraud, this isn't -- as the u.s. attorney said, this isn't something where somebody wanted to donate a building or make a preemptive donation to the school. this was outright fraud. the new head of the fbi boston field office saying it's the shame that strikes at the core
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of college admissions. hallie, i can give you some new details based upon the charging complaint. you're looking at some of the schools that were involved in this, as far as where the students went to. the colleges themselves are not directly implicated. but we know this investigation started back in september this year. one of the people cooperating, hallie, actually started to tip off some of the people that this investigation was under way. a lot more details to go through. >> and we'll be checking back with you throughout the day and we'll look for more reporting on "nbc nightly news." for now i'll turn it over to andrea mitchell with me on set for "andrea mitchell reports." right now on "andrea mitchell reports," ready to run, as fervent supporters in the firefighters union shout "run, joe, run." joe biden hints at an announcement soon. [ audience chants "run joe run!" ] >> thank you, thank you. i appreciate the energy you showed.
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save it a little longer, i may need it in a few weeks. [ applause ] and we catch up with him on the rope line. >> i can't think of any reason. >> reporter: no reason not to run? >> we're making that decision now. "he's just not worth it." house speaker nancy pelosi throws cold water on impeachment as house investigations heat up. >> we have to let the process work itself out. >> the only thing worse than putting the country through the trauma of an impeachment is putting the country through the trauma of a failed impeachment. and cheating plot. the feds uncover that massive scheme to defraud testing companies at elite universities involving wealthy parents and even some hollywood stars. >> today we've charged 33 parents nationwide. these parents are a catalogue of wealth and privilege. they include, for example, ceos
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of private and public companies, successful securities and real estate investors, two well-known actresses, a famous fashion designer, and the co-chairman of a global law firm. and good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington, where joe biden just gave us the clearest sign yet that he is ready to run, telling a group of enthusiastic supporters at the international social of firefighters conference, among his longest serving allies in the labor movement, they were chanting "joe, run, joe," that he may need them in a few weeks, then sending a message to both the democratic primary field and to president trump. >> that's what defines us, that in america everybody gets a shot. that's what the next president of the united states needs to understand. and that's what i don't think this current president
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understands at all. [ cheers and applause ] >> i caught up with the vice president moments after his speech, pressing him on his 2020 timing and a possible primary challenger. >> reporter: are you worried about -- >> he's a good guy. >> reporter: why wouldn't you run, with all this support? >> we'll announce this in a little bit. >> joining me now, nbc senior political editor murk murray, daily beast politics editor sam stein, and "washington post" white house correspondent anne gearan as well. mark murray, this is shaping up as the most interesting democratic race i can recall since 1988. >> yes, andrea, joe biden is not in the race but we actually saw him trying out the swim trunks, that he's about to jump into the pool right now. and yeah, as far as like since i've been covering politics, this is going to be the most diverse. it's going to be the largest. and really the most wide open. and to me, one of the gambles
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that joe biden, if he does end up running, would end up making is, can you really run an obama third term, in a way, where you have joe biden, his appeal to a lot of the scranton, pennsylvania, and the delaware, that he certainly represented when he was a united states senator, focus on those people that he believes was why hillary clinton lost, not only in pennsylvania but lost in the midwest. the one challenge he's going to have, though, is that generational divide where some people might end up saying in the democratic party, we don't need an obama third term, we need something completely different this time around and we're going to see some other democrats offering that message. >> and sam, one of the things that he was trying to show to this very enthusiastic labor audience, the firefighters, as you know, among his strongest supporters, is that he's got the passion and he's got the commitment, and he referred to himself as, you know, working class joe, joe from the neighborhood is the way he was introduced. this is his m.o. and they think, at least, his
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supporters think, that given the electoral college, you don't need to try to fight for new york or california if you're a democrat, you need to fight for the rust belt. >> yeah. and he has a pitch that is i think largely generally a general election theme, which is i'm the guy that can win back the states that hillary clinton lost, i can beat donald trump for the working class vote that the democrats lost. the problem he faces is not that. the problem he faces is how do you navigate through a crowded democratic field that in many ways has moved on from the obama-era democratic party. there's a complication, he has a lengthy record. so people are going to dive into the record, notice his support for the iraq war, for trade deals, some of the positions he's taken in the '70s and '80s on racial matters, on criminal justices reform. he's going to spend a lot of his time having to explain why those were his positions in the mast and how he's a different candidate in the present.
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i'm not sure how easy that's going to be for him. >> anne gearan, you were out on the campaign trail with me the last time around with hillary clinton and we saw she wasn't a great retail politician, she didn't have that effect on crowds. i can tell you from having come from the rally with the firefighters today, he's got the retail, he's got that gene throughout his soul. but what about the record? >> yeah, i think that's exactly the right question to ask. what about the record, and what about all the other things that aren't retail politics. just look at the reception he got from the firefighters. he can do that part, and it's enormously rewarding to him, clearly, to be that candidate and to get that kind of reception and to feel like he is talking to a part of the base and to a part of the country, frankly, that hasn't been spoken to the right way by democrats in his view.
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exactly right along with that is the question of, you know, really the same question, has he been around too long, is he too old, does he simply have too much time in grade, too many things people can look at and say, yes, we know this was a position you took 20, 30, in some cases 40 years ago, but you're still running, you're the same guy. do you still, for example, you know, think that black criminals are super predators? you remember how that very question hounded hillary during the 2016 campaign. and she didn't handle it well. she had to back-pedal heavily and she really came out damaged from that. he took the same position, he actually was in the senate at that point. in many cases he has a longer record, a deeper record than she did on some of the questions that were the most problematic
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for her. >> having run for the first time for the senate in 1972. here is his pushback on the new budget, here is where he is right in the middle of today's debate when he hits on those hot button issues of medicare cuts. cuts on the domestic side, we all focused on the wall, $8.6 billion for the wall. when you take a deeper look at the entire trump budget proposal, it is a primer for any democrat running. >> did you see the budget that was just introduced? it cuts, it cuts 8$845 billion, almost a trillion-dollar cut in medicare. and almost a quarter trillion, $240 billion cut in medicaid. why? because of a tax cut for the super wealthy that created a deficit of $1.9 trillion.
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and now they've got to go make somebody pay for it. >> mike memoli was at that event today, still down in biden country. mike, he's now given a second speech where you are, midtown, this morning, the biden center, the public policy center, his alma mater, the university of delaware. clearly he had the fire on the budget issues and issues that will work well on the campaign trail for him. >> yeah, that's right, andrea. as you say, he just finished remarks here to a group of professionals affiliated with the biden center, a much more subdued event, nothing like what you saw at the firefighters' convention. but even in this event he was signaling his intentions in 2020. he mentioned dark money in politics and was talking about the loss of faith that many americans have in their
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government, frankly. he said, as he put it, a lot of republicans have been trying to undermine public confidence in government and many of them have been elected to government to therefore prove it. what we heard from him very clearly in that firefighters' address is setting the tone for what would be the campaign, which advisers say is more a matter of when, not if, at this point, setting that contrast, as you said, with the president over his budget proposal but also making a moral contrast with the president, talking about the intrinsic american values rooted in our constitution, not necessarily defined by our race, by our gender, and our humanity, and very clearly addressing some of the populist sentiments in his party, talking about how bankers and hedge fund owners are not the ones who made america great, it's the middle class and the unions like the one he spoke to today. he has another speech later this week at the delaware democratic party. we may get even more indication there, just at the moment when advisers are telling me he's going to be making that final decision so that they can begin to execute the game plan that they've been building for months
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if not years with an eye on an april announcement of his plans. >> thanks to mike memoli, who has been following biden for months if not years indeed. stacey abrams, with a very interesting tweet, mark murray, after her appearance at south by southwest with yamiche alcindor, tweeting, i want to be intentional about plans but flexible. i never thought i would be ready to run for potus before 2028 but life comes at you fast. as i shared with yamiche, 2020 is definitely on the table. is she seriously thinking about it? >> certainly, according to that tweet. most of the speculation was that she would make a run for governor of georgia. democrats need to pick up a substantial number of georgia w
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race. what's different between her and beto o'rourke, this is the first move we've heard from stacey abrams about a potential 2020 presidential bid. beto o'rourke now trying to go out to iowa this week, has been making overt moves. stacey abrams certainly has star appeal from the 2018 midterm elections but if she really is considering running, she'll be doing more concrete things than that tweet. >> i asked biden on the rope line about beto, he said, he's a good guy. biden had said, i'm going to wait to see how some of these younger guys do. and nobody has really risen to the top in the last month and a half, two months. >> no. we basically have joe biden in the high 20s, bernie sanders in the high 20s, then basically a big field trying to find out who is the third, fourth, and fifth.
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i don't know how to read that if i'm job. >> i don't think bernie sanders scarce joe bid scares joe biden. >> people know joe biden, right? name recognition is not the problem he has. the question is how does he expand upon that and can you expand upon that when there's 48,000 other candidates running for the office? i don't know. as for stacey abrams, let me just say this. there is an important point to make here which is that she did better against the baseline expectation than beto o'rourke did in texas. and the fact that we haven't talked about her as a viable national candidate does say something i think about race and gender in this country. >> she did give the opposition state of the union response. >> the bedrock voting demographic, as we know, is black women, and i think she would have obviously a lot of connections to that community. >> if she launches, she would be at the top. we'll be interviewing her next week. >> excite. >> or in two weeks. >> i'll be watching.
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>> you should watch he ever dev sam. mark marry, anne gearan, thank you so much, and mike memoli, of course. harold, great to see you from the firefighters association conference in washington. when joe biden decided not to run, you and i were sitting together on the set, you were on the show. do you think the decision will be more positive from your at some point this time around? >> i don't think i'm going to be disappointed this time. but i do remember us sitting on the set when that special bulletin came across. but everything that i sense and everything i feel and what little i know is, i think there will be a different outcome to joe biden's decision this time. >> what about the headwinds? because we've been talking here, the professional pundits are
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talking about the trail, his record on anita hill, on some of the crime issues, which, you know, in the current context, what he said in the '70s and '80s and '90s doesn't sound as current and as popular with the democratic base. >> well, i think really what people are going to come to realize, understand, and embrace, is joe biden is going to bring a level of civility back to the political arena. i think people are really yearning to have, you know, the discussions, the debates, rise to a very high level. i think they're disgusted with the rancor, the division, the great partisan divide, the anger. and i think they look toward joe biden as someone who will bring dignity and civility into the
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debate. andrea, i also think -- and i was listening to your guests, but i think that joe biden more than touches, i think that his voice resonates with the voters that quite frankly the democratic party lost to some degree in the last presidential election. i think he understands very clearly, and i got myself in trouble for saying this, because i love both states on both coasts, but this presidential election isn't going to be decided by 6 million more votes in california or 2 or 3 million more votes in new york or 2 million more votes in massachusetts. this is going to be decided, quite frankly, in the midwest. this is going to be decided by those voters, as we say, when they come home from work, they have to wash their hands, take a shower. those are the voters that are going to decide pennsylvania and ohio and wisconsin and michigan
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and beyond. that's why i'm convinced that joe biden is the candidate that can actually win. >> let me ask you about the response to the speech today, because it was very apparent that he had the passion and the connection with the firefighters, your constituency, particularly on a subject that is very dear to me and a lot of other americans, that is the unfunded compensation fund for the 9/11 victims, for the first responders. we had jon stewart on here and other survivors a week or two ago. this was biden speaking about the 9/11 responders today. >> the 9/11 victims compensation fund. why the hell are we arguing about that still? [ applause ] why is that even being argued? it must be permanently funded, period! permanently funded, period! permanently funded!
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why is there even a debate? we have basic, basic, basic moral obligations as americans. there's no doubt of the damage caused to these firefighters. >> harold, your response? >> well, andrea, it speaks for itself. listen, i hate to personalize this, but i've had the opportunity to attend so many memorial services with joe biden, where those who made the ultimate sacrifice, i remember the days and weeks following the attacks on 9/11, joe's deep concern and commitment at that time in the united states senate to see that we begin the process to establish a fund that would provide the benefits and the compensation that have been earned, and those that served were entitled to. i think he finds it unbelievable
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that we have to have this debate. the fund should be fully funded, it should be made permanent. we shouldn't ask for those who served on that pile for the weeks and months after those attacks to have to come to d.c. with their hat and hand to try to secure the benefits they've more than earned. he feels that. these aren't rhetorical flourishes. this is somebody who believes it and feels it and has been there. so that's why he connects so deeply with our membership and our union, our leadership. >> well, you made your case certainly for your members, and he made the case today for you. and we'll have to wait and see. we expect a big announcement coming soon. i know he talked to you backstage. >> i'll just say this. i'll just say this, andrea. america needs joe biden a lot more than he just needs to be the president of the united states. we need joe biden. >> thanks for being with us today, we appreciate your
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perspective. thank you, harold. coming up, breaking news from boston where the fbi has broken up what they call an alcohol college cheating scam. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. msnbc cal: we saved our money and now, we get to spend it - our way. ♪
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now that's simple, easy, awesome. customize each line by paying for data by the gig or get unlimited. get $250 back when you pre-order a new samsung galaxy. click, call, or visit a store today. and our breaking news today, an alleged nationwide college admissions cheating and recruiting scream has been busted by the fbi and federal prosecutors in boston. several hollywood big names are
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among the 50 people charged including actresses felicity huffman and lori loughlin, both charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. nbc justice correspondent pete williams has been covering all of this. pete, this is extraordinary, we're talking about some of the elite schools in the country. are they aware of all this or are they unwitting to it? >> it looks like they're unwitting, according to federal prosecutors. elite schools, andrea, and elite parents. people with a lot of money, paying a man in newport beach, california, who would then arrange to have somebody else take their tests for them or correct their a.c.t. or s.a.t. tests, or phony up athletic backgrounds to try to get them admitted to these schools through the athletic programs. $25 million is the total that prosecutors say was paid to this california man, william singer, who then helped some 41 parents
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across the country, they paid him and he in turn bribed the coaches at ucla, usd -- university of san diego, usc, stanford, georgetown, wake forrest, and yale, to get children into their programs using the dedicated slots they had for admission to athletic programs. these were, in some cases, the prosecutors say, the students were aware of what was going on. in some cases, they say, they didn't know. after they took the a.c.t. or s.a.t., somebody else was marking up their tests for them. in many cases they say the children were aware of this. they say the issue is when people got into, say, 12 slots in georgetown in the tennis program, it's not just that they were taking tennis slots. they were taking 12 slots at georgetown, in a highly competitive university, that would not go to other students
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who didn't cheat to try to get into these schools. so the parents were paying somewhere between, say, 2 to $300,000, in some cases millions of dollars, to get their children into these schools. you mentioned the two actresses, felicity huffman and lori loughlin. huffman, they say that's a case of getting somebody to cheat on the test. also charged was felicity huffman's husband, a fashion designer, and the list of people charged, ceos of big money, heads of law firms, people with a lot of money, obviously, to pay bribes to the coaches. the prosecutors say as far as they can tell, with one exception of a university administrator charged, the schools were not aware of this. as i say, in some cases the children were aware, in some cases they were not. the justice department is calling this the largest college
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admissions scam ever prosecuted in the federal courts. and they say that they describe the people involved in this as a catalogue of wealth and privilege. securities and real estate investors, actresses, designers, law firms. just these eight schools, they say, but they do say their investigation is continuing, andrea. >> let me ask you this. i'm confused about two things. first of all, at least i know in the ivy league and i think in other elite schools as well, you can't get into an athletic program if you can't qualify to get into the university. maybe it puts a thumb on the scale, but you have to have the numbers. how did they cheat on the numbers for these college board tests? was the college board involved or any other people involved? how did they alter the results of the exams? >> understood. so the way it worked, according to federal prosecutors, is the children, the students would fill out their tests and then somebody else would take the test form and say to -- perhaps it was a child taking it the second time, and they would say,
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how well do you want your child to do, what do you want the score to be? then someone would change their test score, submit it to somebody in turn, an a.c.t. who was also being bribed and was also in on the scam. so you're right, it was changing academic standards, changing test scores, and also phonying up athletic backgrounds. in some cases photoshopping the pictures of these students onto the bodies of actual athletes. >> i know for sure you got into school the right way, pete williamsen, the smartest guy in our room, thank you very much, pete. and meanwhile, after receiving a controversial sentence of only 47 months for his financial crimes case, a federal judge in virginia, paul manafort will learn his fate tomorrow from a judge presiding over his d.c. case. she could give him ten years if she chose to. president trump has not ruled
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out a potential pardon for his former campaign chairman. former cia director john brennan weighing in monday on "meet the press daily." >> personally i don't have any doubt that mr. trump is going to pardon paul manafort at some point. the question is when. then if he's also convicted of state charges, donald trump is not going to be able to pardon him for that. >> joining me now is bob bauer, former white house special counsel to president obama, and jill wine-banks, former assistant watergate special prosecutor and msnbc legal contributor. here in person, will havjill, s to see you. >> thank you. >> obviously the judge tomorrow with manafort can go consecutive, she can go concurrent, she can do less than the five and five. she's got a lot of options. is it improper for her to take into consideration how lenient many people think the virginia sentence was? >> she's human, but technically,
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no, she will focus on the crimes that he's being sentenced for in her courtroom. she knows about the witness tampering, she knows about the failure of the agreement with prosecutors because of his continuing to lie. those are factors she definitely will take into account. he admitted to crimes in the eastern district of virginia that he had had a hung jury on in her courtroom. so she has a lot of options in what she will consider. >> and she was tough on him before because she was she who revoked his bail because of the witness tampering that was proved to her satisfaction and actually had him behind bars pending his trial. bob bauer, you were white house counsel so you know the procedure very well for deciding on a pardon. this president signaled very, very early, when he parted sheriff joe arpaio, that he was going to look to the political side of pardoning and not even
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wait toward the end of his term, do it right up front. >> there's an additional element here. as you recall, mr. manafort's lawyers, while purportedly cooperating with the government, were providing information about the details of the exchanges with prosecutors with mr. trump's own attorneys. and so if he parted mr. manafort, i think there will be some considerable attention to whether there were any signals from the white house to mr. man aare t manafort that if he held on and was uncooperative while pretending to cooperate, he would have the presidential blessing in the form of a pardon. >> and in fact the president flagged what the judge said incorrectly, quoting what the judge said, the judge never precisely saying that he wasn't charged with collusion. manafort's lawyer came directly out of the courtroom and said,
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there was no collusion here. that seemed to be a "pardon me" statement to the president, bob. >> yes. there's all sorts of ways to communicate. i don't know that, given the contact between trump's lawyers and manafort's lawyers during the period were all that subtle. some of them may have been behind closed doors. >> and judge jackson has a busy week, she also has the roger stone gag order. he is submitting last night that he did not remember or was not intentionally violating the gag order when he published a new introduction to his book. is she going to buy it? >> i don't think so. how could he forget it? it was clear and recent. he was aware of it at the time. he's smart enough that he should have been aware of it and it was a blatant disregard of the order
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to do that. he's attacking the prosecution once again. the problem with this is it's a one-sided fight. the prosecutor is, properly, saying nothing. so he's not defending himself or his case. in the meantime, the president and roger stone and many others are going, this is a fraud, this is a witch hunt, this is a hoax, i'm being charged unfairly. and these are angry democrats, even though of course mueller is a republican. and it really can affect the outcome of the case in terms of how will the american people see this. during watergate, we were careful not to ever talk about the case. but our press officer had us being interviewed as people so that people would accept that we were not politically motivated, that we were just doing our job. that's something that's missing here where you have an attack and no defense. >> a busy week for the mueller team and related case as well. thank you so much, jill wine-banks, great to see you. and bob bauer, as always, thank
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you. and coming up, cloak of darkness. new evidence that north korean arms companies are secretly doing business with iran. the details coming next on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. on msnbc cvs pharmacy.
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in a new report for the u.n. security council, the u.n. is investigating two north korean and iranian arms companies suspected of being in violation of sanctions. >> it's an investigation into who exactly is at the north korean embassy at tehran and what they're doing there, because the member state told us that north korea's most important arms trading companies and ballistic missile trading companies, namely comint and green pine, an associated corporation, both of which are blacklisted by the united nations, are extremely active in iran now. >> joining me now is ben rhodes, former deputy national security adviser in the obama white house, now an nbc political contributor, and nbc national security and global affairs reporter dan deluse who has been
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covering this. dan, they've been going back and forth over and over again to tehran. what's going on there? >> yes, in fact there's a pattern where they've been flying to dubai and return to tehran in a few hours. this is the pattern of basically carrying cash for the north korean regime, that's the suspici suspicion. >> and that cash is financing the scheme. this details the ship to ship transfers. hugh griffiths, who we interviewed yesterday, said in 15 years of working for united nations investigators, has never seen anything like this, where they're repainting the hulls of the ships to make them look panamanian rather than north
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korean, but they're using signals to masquerade as ships that are far away. >> they're stealing the license plates, basically. it's a very sophisticated. you're right, this expert was totally flabbergasted, he had never seen it at this level. they took the identity of another ship and basically fooled banks, commodity traders and a lot of the world. >> to load gallons and gallons of oil into these tankers which were really north korean, illegal, blacklisted tankers, making in one transfer $5.7 million. if you add it all up, and this is out at sea, beyond the vision, most times, of the satellites, they are making, you know, untold millions of dollars illegally for their weapons programs. >> the sanctions are leaking. the oil is getting in. they're selling their coal. they're making money off it. they're selling weapons. so much for maximum pressure,
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really. this really shows there's a real problem with the sanctions regime. >> to ben rhodes, you've seen this before. i want to ask you and dan as well about venezuela. before we leave north korea, the mixed signals, you've got the state department, steve biegun and mike pompeo on the one side, and the president who with personal diplomacy will solve all this, walking away from a bad deal by all accounts, but what do we do to get them back to the table? >> andrea, this makes a mockery of president trump's approach to these two countries. he's pulled out of the deal with iran that iran was complying with and he's pursuing this agreement with north korea while the very same people that are negotiating with us are engaged in this type of illicit activity. it shows me that underneath the smiles and handshakes between kim and trump, nothing about the north korean regime has changed.
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they continue to advance their nuclear and ballistic missile program, they continue to engage in illicit activity. they're biding for time while they go about their business. >> i want to ask you to put on your hat as a formerly national security adviser. what do you think is signaled by the fact that the state department last night ordered all embassy personnel out of venezuela, citing the deteriorating situation with these massive blackouts, are we about to face potentially some kind of military conflict there? >> that's my concern, andrea. first of all there has clearly been a deteriorating security situation in caracas. what's happened since the administration recognized oppo as president, maduro has been digging in for a siege. our oil sanctions have
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compounded venezuela's economy collapsing. what we essentially have is a failed state. what i've been worried about is the trump administration doesn't seem to have a plan "b." they recognize guaido but the military doesn't go with him. now we're pulling our diplomats out. we can use this collapsing situation as a pretext for military intervention. that to me would be a big mistake. >> dan, there's no question that maduro deserved to be pressured, sanctioned, whatever. guaido seems to be a legitimate leader with a lot of support. but this could be a very long siege if there are no more military defections. >> it's not clear they had a plan if it didn't work quickly. you're seeing that in other areas in foreign policy, where they have a very bold step but
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don't necessarily have a plan "b." >> part of the problem could be that the national security council doesn't have an effective deputies committee or principals meetings to ask the pentagon, ask the different stakeholders, what do you think before they make these decisions. ben, you've seen this up close and you now see the result of a very different approach to decisionmaking. for the most part, there was a lot of criticism of some of the decisions that, you know, your boss president obama made on syria, almost unilaterally without the advice of a lot of other people, but leave that aside. the associated press is now saying that the venezuelan attorney general, a maduron person, obviously, is investigating juan guaido for an alleged attack on the power grid, blaming the united states. pompeo strongly denied any u.s. complicity, covert or any other kind, in this blackout. where does this take us? >> it's not surprising to me that essentially, since the
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trump administration made this bid to recognize guaido, of course maduro is digging in. you're right, he's a man who's eviscerated the democratic institutions of that country. he's a man venezuelans would be better off without. that doesn't mean in the real world that he's just going to leave because donald trump chooses to recognize the opposition leader as the president. what i see maduro doing is digging in and hanging on for survival. this is what these types of autocrats and dictators do. and again, your point about process is right. you need to get those people around the table so you're thinking two or three steps down the road, andrea. and bad process tends to lead to bad policy. again, they're not thinking about what the plan "b" is when they make these huge lunges in a direction. what we have is a country that's falling apart. frankly, the collapse in venezuela is being accelerated by what we're doing, the polarization is being accelerated. even if somehow maduro is dislodged, the question is what's going to be left and how do we put this place back together.
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that's why i would have preferred some process of trying to negotiate that exit and negotiate a pathway to elections. but they've tried to move with brute force. maduro knows how to play that game and he's going to dig in and not let go. >> ben rhodes, dan de luce, thank you so much. coming up, nancy pelosi taking impeachment off the table for now. democratic congresswoman barbara lee joins me next. can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. upper respiratory tract infection and headache may occur. tell your doctor about your medicines,
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house speaker nancy pelosi stirring debate within her own ranks saying publicly for the first time what she has been telling impeachment fire brands in her own caucus, telling "the washington post" magazine impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there is something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, i don't think we should go down that path because it divides the country and he's just not worth it. pelosi did not back down when asked about these comments monday evening on capitol hill. >> they don't believe in it. they want it to impeach president bush because of the iraq war. i didn't believe in it then, i don't believe it now unless there's conclusive evidence that takes us to that place. >> joining me now is congresswoman barbara lee. thank you for being with us. on impeachment is she saying it divides the country that unless the senate is going to go for it, why go down this path, because it will only blow back against democrats? but what if there is a real
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reason to go forward with impeachment? what do you say to fellow democrats? >> well, andrea, nice to be with you. i believe she did say unless there is conclusive evidence and that's what these committee hearings are conducting, their investigations and oversight responsibilities. the mueller report still has not come out. we need to see what that has said. i, for one, believe that no one, including the president, is above the law. i believe we have to continue, allow the investigations and the process to come forward and we shall see what the conclusion is from our committees and from the mueller report. >> if the mueller report is damaging, if the committee evidence is damaging but r republicans are still holding firm in the senate which would have to convict, should there be an impeachment vote coming from the house, would you still agree with the speaker that you should not go down that road, or should you push the envelope? >> andrea, i think right now that's a hypothetical. i personally have voted for
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impeachment twice. i think we'll see what the evidence shows. i think it will be up to the public also because republicans would have to evaluate the evidence and really come together with democrats to form a conclusion around impeachment yes or no. and so it's very important that this be a bipartisan effort if in fact that takes place. i agree, it would be divisive if in fact republicans and democrats don't agree. but we have to make sure that we understand that these investigations are extremely important. the outcome and the conclusions of the mueller report are extremely important to make those decisions. we aren't there yet. >> the president has been going after democrats for the resolution that you all voted for. it was a compromise, it did not criticize congressman omar specifically, it embraced an anti-hate resolution, so broad that some people said it basically said not enough about anti-semiti anti-semitism.
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so sarah sanders was asked about this and pressed about whether the president actually said at mar-a-lago reportedly that democrats hate jewish people. what about the president trying to divide the party further on this issue and go after democrats for not being strong enough on anti-semitism? >> well, first of all, that's who he is. if he said those remarks, they're despicable and they're outrageous. the resolution that we supported, it condemned anti-semitism, it condemned islamophob islamophobia, racism, bigotry in all of its forms. that's who we are. we need to condemn hatred in every respect. it would be out rageous for a president to say this and i hope he did not say that. >> i want to also ask you about the medicare and the other budget cuts and the trump budget at large because we're talking about more than $845 billion in reductions for these programs, these social programs. we're talking about $1.9
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trillion for mandatory programs like medicaid and medicare. our colleague, jeremy bash, pointed out that the gimmicks are pretty extraordinary because they don't count the tax cuts continuing, which are clearly not going to be repealed so it doesn't account for the tax cuts that have to be paid for and a whole lot of defense spending, more than a trillion dollars off budget in these offshore contingency accounts. so it pushes deficit spending even farther beyond what the eye can see. >> i serve budget committee and the appropriations committee. this budget is immoral and it's sinister. we said early on democrats, who did not vote -- we did not vote for the tax cut. we said that we would see huge cuts in medicare, medicaid, social security. guess what, this budget verifies that. we also said that overseas
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contingency account is really a gimmick. what it does is fund these unauthorized wars off budget. they're asking for $174 billion in defense, yet they're cutting the state department, our nondefense diplomatic initiatives by 23%. this shows who they are. they really have this notion that remember steve bannon, who said he wanted to deconstruct the administrative state. they're going after domestic spending in a way that is so damaging to the most vulnerable, to the middle class, to working men and women. it's not a budget that we can support. you even look at what he's put in there for his fake wall, fake emergency. he talks about putting in over $8 billion for that. so it's unacceptable. i believe it's dead on arrival. >> congresswoman barbara lee. we'll have to leave it there. thanks for being with us. we'll be right back. thanks for being with us we'll be right back. riin was so frustrating. my skin... it was embarrassing.
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out of time. here's ali velshi for "velshi & ruhle." >> have yourself a great afternoon. hello, everybody, i'm ali velshi. my colleague, stephanie ruhle, is on assignment. it is tuesday, march 12th. let's get smarter. >> the nationwide cheating scandal involving college entrance exams has now been exposed by the fbi and federal prosecutors in boston. you've got these hollywood actors, felicity huffman, lori

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