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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  March 21, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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that wraps upset this hour of "msnbc live." before we go, a special thank you to our senior producer here an msn at msnbc, she's going to become an exclusive producer. thank you, jill. i've gone over my time. kasie hunt picks things up. >> our congrats to jill as well, great that she's getting a promotion. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," bring it on. attorney general william barr comes to the white house as speculation swirls in washington around when robert mueller will release his report. president trump says he is in favor of making it public while he road tests his response. >> it's amazing that a man out of the blue writes a report. i think it's ridiculous. but i want to see the report. golden ticket? the 2020 rumor mill is in
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overdrive as to whether joe biden would announce a running mate at the launch of his campaign with many pointing to his recent meeting with stacey abrams. not everyone thinks it's a good idea. >> i think it would be a mistake for joe biden to come out or any other candidate and announce a running mate right out of the gate. that's taking a lot for granted. and how low will he go? john mccain's children speak out against the president's continued attacks on their late father. even as many in the republican party stay silent. >> and i gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president i had to approve. i don't care about this, i didn't get a thank you. that's okay. good day. i'm kasie hunt.
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andrea is going to be joining us with her latest reporting on secretary pompeo's trip to israel in just a moment. but we're going to begin here with big suspense surrounding the mueller report. the question everyone is asking here in washington is when special counsel robert mueller will complete and send his report to attorney general william barr. here is what we know today. special counsel mueller seen heading into the office this morning, reporting for work as many top attorneys on his team announce their departures. attorney general barr joining deputy attorney general rod rosenstein this afternoon for a ceremony honoring jeff sessions after a white house visit unrelated to the report. president trump staying off social media today as he heads back to the white house after a closed meeting with the business roundtable. joining me with the very latest, nbc white house correspondent kristen welker. nbc intelligence and national security reporter ken dilanian.
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and elliott abrams, who lobbies for lawworks, an organization advocating for the importance of the certainly counsel. kristen, just for the latest from there, clearly this is what the president has been focusing on, walking out of the white house yesterday to that spray that i know you were at, saying immediately, not "hello" or "greetings," but "no collusion, no collusion." it's remarkable that he's been so silent today. >> that's what's been so remarkable for us, cakasie, the fact that he was so vocal on twitter, at the ohio event, going on a ten-minute rant about the late senator john mccain. he does have an event here later this afternoon, so perhaps we'll hear something from him then. just to set the scene, it is the waiting game at the white house,
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kasie. it's really reached a fever pitch. you have officials here huddling, trying to determine next steps, meeting with officials, reporters trying to determine if they know more than we know. everyone wants to know when this report will come out. you are seeing the president start to pre-but this report, even as he tries to discredit the investigation, special counsel robert mueller, saying he didn't get into trumps, trying to paint him as somehow conflicted without offering any evidence. the big headline, president trump saying he does want it to be made public. of course that's up to one person, attorney general bill barr. and we're all waiting for him to give us the word that he's gotten that report, kasie. >> ken dilanian, to that very point, how do we expect events to unfold in the event this actually happens today? >> kasie, we expect the justice
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department will acknowledge receipt of the mueller report but will not say what's in it, initially. and at some point later, we don't know when, attorney general barr will make his own report, a summary of findings to congress and perhaps make some of that public. so really the moment of this would be that the mueller investigation has ended, because the regulations clearly say that once he files his report the investigation is over. it doesn't mean all investigations into people around donald trump are over, but it means the question of coordination with russia is over. and unless there's an indictment filed at the same time which we see no sign of that happening, what it means is that robert mueller will not have charged anyone around donald trump with conspiring in 2016 russian interference effort. that's a big deal, trump will claim vindication. but the question is what else does the report say about the conduct short of crimes? depending on what it says could really mean the difference between vindication and not for donald trump. >> is it possible there could be indictments along with this notice that it's been finished? >> it's certainly possible.
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but we who have covered this investigation very closely see no sign of that. in fact there's no sign that the mueller grand jury has even met since roger stone was indicted back in january. >> very interesting. so you brought up bob barr and his decisions. here is how he talked about what he was going to do at this pivotal moment during his hearing. take a look. >> will you commit to make public all of the report's conclusions, the mueller report, even if some of the evidence supporting those conclusions can't be made public? >> you know, that certainly is my goal and intent. it's hard for me to conceive of a conclusion that would, you know, run afoul of the regs as currently written. >> of course i meant bill barr, my apologies to bob barr.
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what do you think of the president's saying that he wants the report made public? >> this is one of those times in public life where the president's views don't matter. as ken said earlier, the decision will be made by barr. now, we ought to hold him at his word, because he did commit to transparency and openness. and certainly it will be a problem if he doesn't. the american people expect it. more importantly, this is a commitment made by the attorney general of the united states. and let's be clear, this isn't, yes, there's some discretion as to what gets made available to the public. but laws lay out what the rules are on this. there are regulations that state when and how the special counsel will make a report to the attorney general and what and how the attorney general will make a report to the united states. so it's going to happen in some form. now, the question is will the attorney general do what he said he would and, you know, act in the interests of transparency for the american people. >> here's what else we can be
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sure about, kasie. whatever barr does, it will not satisfy congressional democrats. they want the mueller report and the classified versions. the intelligence communities believe they have a right to a report from the fbi about what they found about counterintelligence concerns about the president, whether the president is compromised in any way by a foreign power. >> because the congress is the arbiter of impeachment or beyond that, just oversight into the executive branch. even if there aren't criminal charges, congress and jerry nadler and elijah cummings feel very strongly they ought to have access to what's called derogatory information. >> ken, is there any precedent for a situation like that, where the gang of eight, per se, for example, would get hold of something that was unredacted where is those without access to this information get pieces of it? >> yes, absolutely. the gang of eight -- the congressional intelligence committees by law have to be
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briefed by the executive branch on intelligence information and operations. and that has been interpreted to mean counterintelligence concerns as well. so they feel like they are entitled to know what the fbi learned about donald trump and his ties to russia. there's also a precedent in watergate for a grand jury report to be turned over to the congress as part of an impeachment inquiry. >> very interesting. kristen welker, on the politics of this being made public, i feel like there's been this sort of shifting perception. as i talk to democrats on the hill, they've in some ways started to focus more on some of the other investigations, what's going on in the southern district of new york, for example. nancy pelosi of course has basically come out and said we shouldn't talk at all about impeachment. where is the white house on the idea that, you know, what may come out of this report could help them in 2020 from a political perspective? >> oh, well, i think you already see the president seizing upon that. he understands that very well, kasie. he's painting himself as a
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president under siege by the democrats. and so that's one of the issues that he's going to campaign on. remember, during the 2018 campaign, when he was out on the campaign trail, he talked about the threat of impeachment. nancy pelosi has essentially taken that off the table for now. but mr. trump certainly i don't think will. and he sees it as a way to fire up his base, to fire up republicans, to get them out to the polls. again, over and over again he said this whole thing is a witch hunt, a hoax. and that underscores this very strategy. i do want to make one more point, kasie, in terms of how much information is released. the white house is concerned there could be information released that's damaging, and yet there's been no one charged with a crime, would that not be in some ways politically problematic. i think that's one of the things they're looking for here as they continue to watch and wait for the mueller report, kasie. >> and finally, kristen, i also want to ask you about hope hicks. she reportedly plans to turn over documents to house
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judiciary. she of course is somebody who was very close to the trump team, remains so. what do you make of that decision? >> well, i think it just goes to show you how broad these investigations are. they're dotting all their i's, crossing all their t's. you're right, she no longer serves the president, but she served in the campaign and in the first days of the administration, arguably she was the closest person to the president, almost like another daughter to him. it would stand to reason she would certainly be on their radar, but again, sort of underscores the scope of these investigations and the fact that they're ongoing no matter what happens with this mueller report, kasie. >> kristen welker, ken dilanian, elliott abrams, thank you all very much, do stay close. next, an update to a story we've been following from new zealand following last week's horrific mass shootings at two
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christchurch mosques that left 50 people dead. prime minister jacinda ardern announcing an immediate ban of all military style semi-automatic weapons in new zealand including assault rifles and high capacity magazines. it will get a vote by the country's elected officials next month. she spoke to her constituents earlier today. >> virtually all of the weapons that i have announced as being banned will be categorized as weapons that require an "a" class endorsement. no one will be able to buy these weapons without a permit to procure from the police. i can assure people there is no point in applying for such a permit. coming up, bully pulpit. why aren't more republicans calling the president out as he continues his attacks on the late senator john mccain? you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. [leaf blower]
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in a rare public rebuke, john mccain's youngest daughter bridget slamming president trump's relentless attacks on her father. brin bridget mccain, who rarely speaks in public, tweeted directly at the president today saying, quote, everyone doesn't have to agree with my dad or like him but i do ask you to be respectful. if you can't do that, be mindful. we only said goodbye to him
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seven months ago. if you were invited to my dad's funeral, you would have only wanted to be there for the credit and not any condolences. unfortunately you could not be counted on to be courteous as you are a child in the most important role the world knows. it's the latest in the growing backlash over president trump's repeated public attacks on senator mccain, sparking outrage among mccain's supporters and further dividing his own party. meghan mccain responding this morning on "the view." >> i don't like coming here every day and having to do this, as all of you know it's extremely emotionally exhausting. i don't expect decency and compassion from the trump family. i want to thank the american public for all their decency and compassion. don't feel sorry for my family. >> joining me is jeremy peters and rick tyler.
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rick, this has to be taking a toll on the mccain family. >> there's a certain level of decency, it's hard to understand the motivations, political motivation, any motivation at all for taking on john mccain. you're left with the conclusion that donald trump attacks john mccain because john mccain, a patriot, versus mr. bone spurs, is a man that donald trump cannot and will not ever be. he always seems to try to diminish those around him. you don't see him building people up. people who are comfortable in their own skin, build other people up, that makes them bigger. donald trump, it's always i've got to tear people down so i look bigger. so i guess it's not surprising. but it is sad. >> jeremy peters, it does seem like he's threatened even in death by john mccain. >> he's always been incapable of being a bigger person. so therefore he needs to make himself appear as if he is the bigger person, as rick said, by constantly tearing other people down. this is a fixation, right?
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we've seen trump develop these fixations, over the size of his inaugural crowd, the size of his electoral victory that he keeps coming back to even though it seems like a ridiculous and petty obsession. one thing, though, is that this still shows that despite the fact that republicans won the white house and they control the senate still and they controlled the house for a couple of years, the civil war in the republican party is still raging on. and donald trump didn't always know where he fit in that, when he came down the escalator in june of 2015. but remember, he came down the escalator. he started insulting mexicans as rapists. then two weeks later he says about john mccain he didn't think he was a war hero. then what happened? he got rewarded. in the polls after that, he took off and never again was he really in second place, almost always in third place in a majority of the polls. so he just doesn't see any cost to doing -- saying outrageous things like this. >> and we really have seen a shift in how the republican
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party has responded to these attacks which, as you pointed out, have been going on since 2015. here is what lindsey graham had to say in just the past 24 hours about his friend john mccain in the face of these relentless attacks from the president. >> i love john mccain, i traveled the world with him. i learned a lot from him. he's an american hero and nothing will ever diminish that. i think the president's comments about senator mccain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of senator mccain. i'm going to try to continue to help the president. and a lot of people are coming to john's defense now that called him crazy and a warmonger, so it's kind of interesting to see the politics on how this dispute is being used to bash trump by people who were against both trump and mccain. >> in some ways there lindsey graham defending the president. it is a marked difference from how he sounded back in july of 2015, when lindsey graham said this.
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>> what he said about john i think was offensive. he's becoming a jackass at a time when we need to have a serious debate about the future of the party in the country. this is a line he's crossed and this is the beginning of the end of donald trump. >> senator, you seem angry. >> i am really pissed. >> rick tyler, republicans -- lindsey graham isn't the only one who's changed his tone on this. mitch mcconnell put out a tweet saying nice things about john mccain, saying nothing about the president of the united states. where is the republican party on this? >> lost. there is no -- the republican party i knew is gone, rest in peace. it's not coming back. and the only thing i can conclude about lindsey graham is when lindsey graham was running for president and thought he could beat donald trump, it was easy and convenient to attack him. now that he's running for reelection in south carolina where trump has a lot of
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supporters, he's doing the expedient thing. that's not leadership. at some point republicans would do well if they were saying, look, i'm willing to lose my seat and go back and be a citizen. it gets really tiresome that the only people speaking out are those who aren't running for reelection and are retiring. >> jeremy, does it come down to that in your view for lindsey graham? he's been relatively transparent in saying, i need president trump on my side if i want my seat in d.c., like being there. >> that's absolutely right. donald trump won that debate about the future of the republican party. he won it for now, i don't know what the republican party looks like three or four years now. but for now the republican party is his. evidence of that is the fact that lindsey graham needs to worry about a primary from somebody whom voters in the republican party perceive as more pro trump than he is. that says it all, kasie. the biggest problem for the party, though, is donald trump is not a republican. donald trump doesn't care about
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the future of the republican party. donald trump, as one of his aides said to me, wants the next republican candidate for president to lose by 40 points because he wants to be able to prove that he did it, john mccain couldn't. >> and part of the reason i think we're talking about john mccain is because donald trump uses these opportunities, the same with the kellyanne conway and george conway, to make us not notice that he's made no progress in north korea, to make us notice he's made no progress in the china trade deals, to make us notice that he knew about the gm closing back in july of 2018 and has done nothing about it. >> or to stop talking, perhaps, about the mueller report. rick tyler, jeremy peters, thank you so much. coming up, a little help from his friends. is the trump administration interfering in another country's election? andrea mitchell joins us live from jerusalem, next on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. this time, it's his turn.
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i speak with prime minister netanyahu all the time. we're declining to meet with him, i'm declining to meet with him simply because our general policy is we don't meet with any world leader two weeks before their election.
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i think that's inappropriate. >> that was president obama back in 2015 when he refused to grant israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu a pre-election visit. but the trump white house doesn't have the same reservations, announcing that netanyahu will visit president trump in washington and have dinner at the white house next week, just before his april 9th election. joining me now is nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent and the anchor of this program, andrea mitchell from jerusalem. andrea, this is a pretty notable show of support from the trump administration for the israeli prime minister, who is of course under threat of indictment in addition to being up for reelection. >> he is indeed. and it is unusual, not unprecedented. there have been times when there was certainly a show of support from other presidents to an israeli prime minister before an election. very rare, though. and never a visit this close to an election.
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that's what so unusual about it. as president obama said, and he had a notably frosty relationship with prime minister netanyahu over settlements. that's all changed with donald trump. donald trump has a vested interest in his strongest ally, benjamin netanyahu, being reelected. they share a mutual hatred, really, of iran, disputes with the iranian leadership, calling the iranian leaders aggressive, dedicated to the destruction of israel. again, today mike pompeo saying that. asked what he's going to say when he goes to jerusalem tomorrow, he said he'll say that hezbollah is a terrorist organization, period, end of story. hezbollah are the elected leaders in the lebanese parliament. so he will be very confrontational and threatening
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tough sanctions against iran. today he was the highest elected official to go to the western wall, to put a prayer on the wall, alongside benjamin netanyahu. president trump was here and did not do that with netanyahu. so it was really a sign of solidarity and a signal of support to israelis' claims to the sovereign city, despite the palestinians' claims to a fair share of it. now there are no conversations with the palestinians, haven't been since the u.s. moved the embassy from tel aviv to israel, recognizing jerusalem, here, where i sit in the old city, as the capital of israel, which other presidents in both parties have not done. pompeo also visited the old consulate here which is now being expanded, rebuilt into the new embassy as it's now been officially moved. there have been no talks with the palestinians since, and none
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certainly on this trip. he also went to a synagogue built in the roman tunnels that are actually under the muslim quarter here of the old city. and again, a prayer was said by the rabbi for president trump. and then you're going to have the extraordinary visit only two weeks before the israeli election with this embattled israeli leader getting a big boost of support by the american administration, and going to the white house next week for dinner with president trump. >> andrea, no democratic presidential candidate has committed to attending the aipac conference next week, and liberal groups are calling for a boycott. does that signal a political shift around this? >> i think there is a shift. netanyahu has been a polarizing influence among american jews, lobbying groups, interest groups. you've got the j street group and others who are more liberal
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and are strongly against his policies. and most recently, he aligned himself with some really right wing anti-arab well-known group here's that are disciples of meier kahane, a rabbi from brooklyn who was an elected official here, returned and was later assassinated in new york city. back in the '80s he was actually a member of parliament here. he was so radical, and his disciples are now allies of netanyahu's, who is copying donald trump's base-pleasing policies, also talking about the fake media, the fake news. he's been very aggressive. he's included donald trump in billboards, in his campaign ads. they could not be more closely aligned. and i think you're going to see a lot more including hints that netanyahu here this week has been pressing for the u.s. to
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recognize israel's annexation of the golan heights, which were taken by israel at the end of the six-day war in 1967 from syria. very important strategically, militarily, and politically. that's where hezbollah has been firing rockets against northern israel for decades and decades. and to take part of the golan heights and legitimize it in u.s. terms, that could also come next week at the aipac conference. that's another reason why some of the liberal, more progressive democrats are electing to be identified with that pro-israel lobbying group. >> the indid ddefatiguable and mitchell, thank you very much. coming up, first mate. is joe biden eyeing a potential running mate in a 2020 white house bid? you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. rea mitcl reports" only on msnbc -driverless cars... -all ground personnel...
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joining me is mike memoli and shannon pettypiece. mike, i want to start with you. i don't know if it's appropriate to call you the biden whisperer, but i feel like that is the role certainly we are so grateful for your great reporting on all of this. what's the thinking behind the scenes on making a decision like this, and where does the thinking about it stand? >> kasie, i think the fact that we're starting to see all this speculation like an early running mate announcement is indicative of the fact that we've gotten to a new phase in biden's own decision about the race itself. i think it's fair to say we've moved beyond will he or won't he run to when will he announce, how will he announce and how will he run. i reported as far as a year ago that among the ideas to address the potential vulnerabilities in the race around his age would be
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announcing for just one term and also announcing the identity of his running mate. we saw last week the vice president had lunch with stacey abrams. that renewed some of the speculation that that might be something he'll consider. what sources in the highest level of the biden political operation tell me that yes, the potential option of choosing a vice president early in the process is on the table. it's one of 12 to 20 unconventional ideas they're considering as they look at the possible announcement. they also push back strongly on the idea that he did in fact offer the vice presidency to stacey abrams this week. this would be something that would land at the end of the day. i asked jim clyburn this and he was very clear on his view, he said it would be a mistake for joe biden or anybody else who is thinking about running for president to name a running mate this early, that it's seen perhaps as taking things for granted in terms of the viability of their own candidacy. >> very interesting.
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jeff mason, how is the white house thinking about a potential joe biden bid? we've repeated many times that he's somebody that the president is concerned about running against. is that still the current thinking, from where you sit? >> well, i think in general at the white house they've got so many of their own issues and problems to deal with that they're kind of just watching the democrats -- >> too many other things to worry about? >> a little bit of a distance. there is confidence in the white house and the trump campaign that they can handle whoever the democrats put up. the president has shown he would be happy to be in a one on one with joe biden. that doesn't mean there wouldn't be strengths that biden would bring to the ticket that president trump would have to confront. but i think that in general there's a lot of confidence over here about his prospects for 2020. that said, in terms of the strategy that the biden folks are going through, you know, he has before, when he was considering running for president in 2016, flirted with
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the idea of coming out and announcing that he had a running mate already. in 2016 it might have been elizabeth warren. so that report is in some ways consistent with some thinking that he has had before. and this is of course, shannon, one piece of this is that stacey abrams is her own person, and there seems to be a little bit of, she may have a shot at that vice presidential spot no matter who wins the nomination. >> or a shot at the presidential spot too, she hasn't ruled that out. that's a weird thing about the story, there has been no perspective from stacey abrams. i'm sure reporters have reached out to her but she hasn't commented. but yes, she may want to sign on with another candidate or make her own presidential running. even that the biden camp is thinking about this i think highlights a vulnerability that they see, that he does not
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necessarily respect where the democratic party is going, he is not necessarily the face that certain groups in the democratic party want. there's a desire for a woman, a minority, someone younger. you can kind of see them trying to get out ahead of that concern that could come out later on. >> this is a perfect segue to the topic of john hickenlooper who is also running for president. >> some of your competitors have vowed to have a woman on the ticket. would you do the same? >> of course. i'll ask you another question. >> i'm asked the questions. >> i know. i know. but how come we're not asking more often the women, would you be willing to put a man on the ticket? >> shannon? >> we have many men on the ticket, that is a thing that has happened before, so maybe not a relevant point to bring up. so it does get to this point, in
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2018, the democratic party really -- they've pushed for women candidates, pushed for younger candidates, people with a unorthodox background. if you look at where the republican party was this time four years ago, let's say, there was a desire among republicans for a different face. they didn't go for a woman or a minority, but they went for a businessman. there is a hunger on the democratic side to have an unconventional candidate, to not go down the path again of an older, establishment white man. >> and there is thinking that it would balance out the top of the ticket as well. anyway, john hickenlooper, i guess we'll ponder that question. mike, jeff, shannon, thank you very much. coming up, the woman who founded the massage parlor where boston patriots owner robert kraft was nabbed in a prostitution ring has connections to donald trump that democrats want to investigate. she shares her story exclusively
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new england patriots owner robert kraft and other men
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arrested in a prostitution investigation are asking a florida court to block the release of hidden camera videos and other evidence in the case. kraft faces two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. he pleaded not guilty and has denied any illegal activity. meanwhile the former operator of the florida spa where kraft is accused of soliciting prostitutes is speaking out. nbc's cynthia mcfadden has her story. >> this is the first time you've agreed to do an interview. >> yes. >> why did you decide to sit down? >> i don't do anything wrong. >> cindy yang came to the u.s. 20 years ago. she became a u.s. citizen, created a string of day spas, and loves president trump. >> you're a really devoted donald trump supporter. >> yes. >> in florida, she told us the last few weeks have been a nightmare ever since robert kraft was charged with soliciting sex at the orchids of asia day spa and "the miami
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herald" reported cindy yang was the original owner of the spa. a series of articles since have raised questions whether she was engaged in illegal businesses, whether she was selling access to president trump and whether she's been working for the chinese government as a spy. it even led congressional democrats to request counterintelligence and criminal investigations of yang by the fbi. ms. yang also reportedly created a business named gyus investments that may be selling access to the president and members of his family to clients from china. if torue, these allegations raie serious counterintelligence concerns. but yang, who sold the spa seven years ago, says none of it is true. she's given money to the republicans, like millions of others, and has only two pictures of herself with donald trump who she does not know. she says it all comes down to prejudice. >> nobody else has it happen,
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only me. i'm thinking it's because i'm chinese, a chinese republican. that's the issue. >> is that what you believe? >> yes. >> dismissing the concerns raised may not be that simple. >> if we study how intelligence services work, they are constantly looking for windows of opportunity to get next to their targets, get access to their political targets, their targets of wealth, power, and influence. >> frank fablousi the former head of counter intelligence for the fbi. >> i'm convinced after years of counter intelligence experience she would have been very much on their radar screen. >> you're aware that in the u.s. there's a tremendous amount of concern about chinese espionage against the united states taking place right here. >> but i'm american citizen. i'm not a chinese citizen. >> her answers to specific questions won't satisfy everyone but yang says he hopes the
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interview will avert pending fbi investigation. cynthia mcfadden, nbc news. joining me now, national security analyst clint wats, a former fbi special agent. clint, it's great to have you, and you point out that this story really speaks to how muddy the waters are in the trump campaign, and sort of extended business empire because he never divested. is what we're seeing here, is it an attempt to influence him? is it straight up espionage? is it both of those things? >> yeah, this is one of the lines we just don't know. if you look at cohen's search warrant materials with central consultants last week and money that was flowing in there. in this case, ms. yang, you can't tell what's influence, you can't tell what's espionage, you can't tell what's good political donations. lobbyists tend to push their agenda through formalized
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channels in d.c. but in this case, we just see open doors and access, and we've even seen reports of foreign countries saying we should go at donald trump jr., jared kushner, they are open for influence, let's try and nudge up to them. doesn't necessarily mean it's a spy. it's a great way to advance your interest. >> you mentioned the formality of our usual lobbying structure. there are a lot of rules around that if you lobbying on behalf of a foreign power, you have to register under the farrah act, et cetera, that seems different than what we are seeing here. >> it's completely different and more standardized. i think that's why you're seeing from the mueller investigation this reoccurring theme of going after the fara act, and can we set rules in place. the other thing that's strange is the focus on ms. yang. i know that is a sensational story, but i think a better question congress can be asking when it comes to counter intelligence is go to the intelligence community and ask
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one simple question, how many times since the trump administration started have we seen espionage targets that we believe are trying to penetrate the u.s. government show up at the white house, or mar-a-lago, with trump campaign people. you don't need to be specific on those but it will tell you the severity of the problem. that's a better question to ask to get a sense of what the problem is this. is this influence from afar or is this really deep espionage that we need to be concerned about. >> i might clip that and start asking my sources that very question, clint. one thing, another thing you point out here having worked behind the scenes on a lot of this stuff. typically american presidents are looking to avoid being influenced in this kind of underhanded way by foreign powers. do you get the sense that the president wants to listen to the intelligence community on that or is he open to this, and how does the community grapple with that? >> i think that must just be jaw dropping for them.
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could you imagine being a counter intelligence officer at the white house, whether it's the president on his potentially unsecure phone tweeting or showing up at mar-a-lago with people of any sort of membership that happen to buy a ticket. it's a nightmare and the other part is how do you approach the white house about those concerns and those threats. what do you do about it. you don't really have levers, especially when you're being publicly discredited and ignored at the table during briefings. nobody is paying attention to the information you're getting. it becomes a question of how much do you do in terms of awareness, in terms of monitoring and what do you brief to the staff or not. it's got to be a really challenging issue for public servants inside the intelligence committee. >> what's your sense of which countries are most liable or most capable of doing this kind of influence or espionage work, is it china, russia, who is it? >> in terms of influence, we have seen it. ru russians are old hats at it, and brilliant, but they're poor.
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i'll tell you who isn't poor. the chinese. they invest heavily, they're much more sophisticated, much more targeted and in terms of other countries if you have looked at the news headlines, the uae, israel, turkey, they have interests you're trying to pursue and reaching out to the different tentacles of the trump campaign at times. it comes down to resource and effort. the chinese, frank figliuzzi was talking about, the chinese are the most adept threat. >> who says, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. this is andrea mitchell reports only on msnbc. msnbc. want preventive screenings for things like
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you've heard the old saying that man's best friend is a dog, but here's proof that a dog's best friend could be another cog dog. meet golden retrievers, charlie and maverick. charlie lost both eyes to glaucoma. his owners brought maverick home on new year's day of this year. while it wasn't love at first sniff, charlie got comfortable with his new brother mav who became his old seeing eye dog, picking up charlie's lost toys and helping him out on walks. the stripes recently welcomed their first nonfur baby into the house, and from the looks of it, all their kids are getting long
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really well. they have started an instagram page, charlie and mav where they share photos of the two best buds who they say are living life to the fullest. i love this story. that does it for this edition of andrea mitchell reports, follow the show on facebook and twitter @mitchell reports and tune in to kcdc at 7:00 p.m. eastern. now here's ali velshi and stephanie ruhle. >> have yourself a great afternoon. hello to all of you, i'm ali velshi. >> and i'm stephanie ruhle. let's get smarter. robert mueller could wrap up his report any kay now. >> how much of the report gets revealed to the public is up to bill barr. president trump said he wants the people to see it. >> let it come out. let people see it. that's up to the attorney general. we have a very good attorney general. he's a very highly respected man, and we'll see what happens. there are

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