tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC April 11, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT
. andrea mitchell here in new york city. >> just in time. thank you very much. arrested. julian assange dragged out of the embassy in london. charged by the u.s. with conspiracy to break into a secure government computer involving chelsea manning in 2010. will he be extradited to the u.s.? >> he wants to thank all of his supporters for their ongoing
support having said i told you so. show of force with homeland security's leadership forced out. the president said he will deploy more troops to the border. >> our military can't act like a military would act because if they got a little rough, everybody would go crazy. our military can't act like they would normally act or like another military from another country would act. >> coming up, former homeland security secretary jeh johnson. spy games. democrats are outraged over the attorney's general to investigate why the fbi originally launched an investigation into russia's interference. >> let me say how very dismay and disappointing that the chief law enforcement officer of our country is going off the rails. >> coming up, democratic senator
here on andrea mitchell reports. good day, every one. as wikileaks founder julian assan assange, the controversial figure in celebrated hacking cases have faced a london magistrate. dragged out of tell me bas si where he was given asylum for seven years. even as the spectacle was playing out, the justice department announced separate u.s. charges of conspiracy with computer intrusion alleging he engaged in a conspiracy with chelsea manning back in 2010. the court filing quote during an exchange manning told asang aftash assange that's all i got left. the u.s. will seek his extradition to try him in the u.s. a process that could take months. he's not been charged with
anything to do with the russian hacking of democratic campaign e-mails in 2016. no athorough taif reporting on r report found. her 35 year prison sentence for leaking intelligence records was commuted by president obama in 2017. lawyers say their client is a victim of efforts for political persecution. first to you.
this was basically violation of bail charges. that's the pre-text for the charges in the uk. that said, where does it go from here? does it go the next stage and when does the extradition hearing take place? >> he appeared before the judge in this building behind me. it was such a fast trial. he was immediately convicted of basically violating his bail terms. that sentence could be up to a year. sentencing has been put off to later date. we know that his next will be appearing in court on may 2nd. that's when he will probably be facing discussion about extradition. he will be appearing by video link with officials in the united states and then it's not till june 12th that the deadline for american lawyers to present papers to british authorities on that extradition will come around. we'll probably not going to hear about the terms of the possibility of this extradition for another several weeks.
you mentioned this could take months. it could take months. it could also take years before this extradition really comes around and that's because we don't know exactly what the u.s. government officials are going to be trying to pile onto this extradition. right now he's only facing that one charge that he conspired to try to hack into u.s. government computers. it's unclear whether they will be trying to pack in other charges related to that 2016 e-mail leak from the dnc or far more serious crimes. andrea. >> pete williams, when we talk about the u.s. interest in him, obviously, julian assange has been a key figure in all of these cases. it goes back to chelsea manning in 2010. the most recent issues have been 2016 and he is not charged with any of that. where do you see this going? >> the government is trying to
draw a distinction between the journalistic side of wikileaks, if you will, to use that expression. what they say is the crime here. the government is saying we're not criminalizing that part. we're criminalizing jewel yoon assange helping chelsea manning hack into a defense department computer by getting somebody else's password. what the document says here is manning gave assange an encrypted password and said can you decrypt this for me so i can get into this computer pretending to be somebody else and then get further documents and cover my tracks. that's the crime. hacking into a computer that chelsea manning was not authorized to access. that's why the government said
this isn't criminalizing journalism. there's language in the indictment that says the primary purpose of the conspiracy was to facilitate manning's basic -- acquisition of documents. it was thought an unsolvable problem of prosecuting him for the publication of the material. where it goes next, i doubt the extradition process will proceeds on anything beyond just this very narrow charge here.
ecq ecuador said to the brits don't arrest him unless you're sure. it's doubtful he would face a full five years even if he got to the u.s. and this was the only charge. >> the backdrop is important. pete does a brilliant job there of outlining the way the doj is trying to present this. i think it's important.
you remember those terrifying pictures of people being fired on from a u.s. helicopter. the question is, was the law broken. that's absolutely crucial question. i suspect that the u.s. is putting forward what it needs to put forward in order to attain an extradition from the united kingdom. i don't think that's guaranteed. i've seen computer hackers who have hacked into american military computers from the uk. still not get extradited after a long legal process. there will be a huge debate about the implication of journalism and whether this crosses the line of trying to prosecute a publisher or journalist. >> what are those issues regarding journalism and the
freedom of the press which is what assange's lawyer brought up outside the courthouse. >> i expect this will be a defense that continues to get raised as assange fights extradition. he could decide to waive extradition and come here voluntarily. i don't think that's likely. the defense will be this was him receiving this classified material or helping chelsea manning to receive classified material which would be a violation of espionage act. he hasn't been charged with that. the government was very narrow in their charges. he simply been charged with a conspiracy which just an agreement with chelsea manning to hack into these protected dod servers. it has nothing to do with his role as a journalist. it has nothing to do with his receipt or publication of classified material. it's all about that hacking crime and his agreement with manning to do that. i think they were smart by
keeping the charges narrowly focused. i think it will be harder for assange the fight those. enormous damage done. people whose lives could have been put in jeopardy but the cheer embarrassment and that's what the assange people said was journalism because they were simply revealing what had been done during wartime and some egregious behavior. >> no one should mistake this guy for some kind of hero. he does not scour the world looking for wrong doing. we never hear from him when it concerns china, russia, syria, iran, north korea. he focuses exclusively on the united states. very frequently what he is exposing either directly or by working with others is ongoing operations.
intelligence operations and other things. i don't know yet whether it will figure in any charges against him but his relationship with russia goes back a long time. as early as 2012 he was in contact with the russian tv network rt and doing a talk show which he had to stop when two swedish women accused him of s misconduct. he hid in the embassy there. the 2017 assessment from the intelligence community was very clear in saying with high confidence that documents hacked by the russian military intelligence service, the gru had gone to wikileaks from the russians working through two of those online percentages the russians had invented. his relationship with a country hostile to the united states has been long and cooperative and regrettably quite effective. >> in one of the mueller
indictment, wasn't it clear that this was, that wikileaks was the organization that was laid out in that indictment of the russian operators. >> that's my recall of it. aside that that, what was the real damage assessment from the intelligence community from the wikileaks documents. >> it concerned intelligence operations. he had a role in facilitating edward snowden's public indication of things he took. if you actually do an analysis of what he revealed and leaked as has been done by the blog
that looks at these things, only about 10% of what snowden brought out had something to do with surveillance. the rest of it had to do with ongoing intelligence operations. things like the revelation of hacking tools. budgetary priorities going on within the intelligence community. i think the damage assessment was pretty severe on what came out here. >> from your recollection, was the intelligence community not happy with eric holder's reluctance to take tougher action or to indictment him before the trump administration did do so? >> i think the intelligence community realized the dilemma that the administration was in here. that not wanting to do something
that could beint interpreted as action against journalism. i think they were walking a fine line here. i believe the intelligence community understood that. were they happy about it? no they weren't happy. you'll recall in his earl day d as the cia director said quite clearly that he and the cia regarded wikileaks as a hostile intelligence service. i don't think they were happy with the outcome. i think they understood that the government had some limitations on what it could do here given that it respects -- given they wanted to avoid and still want to avoid the interpretation they are infringing on journalism. i don't regard what he does as journalism but that's another matter. i think that's the justice department has to make that call. >> that will be litigated.
a lot more bad news more michael avenatti. federal prosecutors announcing a 36-count indictment against stormy daniels former attorney. these new counts piling on top of wire and bank frauds charges for alleged attempt to squeeze nike for 25 million. this morning he tweeted he will plead not guilty to all charges. coming up next, deep impact. how will the firings another homeland security affect protecting our country? jeh johnson is joining me next. t yes. it's way day! it's wayfair's biggest sale of the year, and you're invited! starting april 10, score our lowest prices since black friday on best-selling furniture, decor, and way more.
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as president trump continues to gut the department of homeland security, the department is giving the tsa double duty appointing him acting secretary. today's arrest of julian assange is another reminder of the critical function of cyber security for the department especially during the upcoming election. another key mandate for homeland. joining me now is jeh johnson. welcome. a lot to talk about. >> thanks for having me. >> your former department with
all of these issues on the table and now the secretary is gone. the basicing deputie iacting de gone. >> deputy secretary. >> they are just asking the tsa agency head to move over and be acting deputy secretary while still running tsa. secret service is leaderless. the morale and -- how can morale continue? >> it's more than a matter of morale. >> what is the risks to us? >> right now in the public mind and public eye, dhs is immigration, border security. it's so much more. the department of homeland security created after 9/11 is aviation security, cyber security, port security, border
security. you need -- >> fema, secret service. >> protection of our national leaders. every one of those components need a permanent senate confirmed leader. when you have -- when i came in as secretary december 2013, we had a number of vacancies. priority number one for me was to fill those vacancies. get them to the white house and the senate. they were all done in a matter of months. when you have this ma vacancies, it creates at the senior management level an atmosphere of uncertainty, paranoia and paralysis. given the challenges we're facing with homeland security on our southern border, that's not a good place for the department, for the government or the country to be. >> when you have an acting secretary, especially given the way nielsen was forced occup ed.
how can you have someone who can tell the president this is court ruling. you have to abide by this or figure out congressional action. if he's not willing to accept any kind of negative news from his leadership, doesn't that further paralyze the people who are temporarily in place? >> when you serve in an acting capacity and perhaps aspire to the job after senate confirmation, there's a certain element of job security lacking there. it makes it harder -- this the common sense. it makes it harder to provide the type of advice that a president needs to hear that is not always welcome advice. having so many people in acting roles is also something that detracts from the quality of the advice that the president gets from his cabinet officials. it's not just dhs.
it's a number of other places in the cabinet. >> how do you even attract staff? >> that too is a challenge. we see there are promotions from within, but in this atmosphere a lot of well meaning public servants are asking why would i want to serve? why would i want to step into this? filling the vacancies in the department charged with our homeland security really should be a very, very top priority for this president and this white house. >> i want to ask you about julian assange. one of the issues is cyber security. you were involved in trying to protect the 2016 election. you were alerted to the possibility of russian interference. what is your reaction to the initial attempts. >> i was reminded in august 2010 when i was general counsel, i
wrote him a cease and desist letter. the indictment, when i read it, it was a fairly narrow, discreet charge and picking up on the prior discussion, what the indictment reflects is there's a line that can be crossed from being as a conventional journalist, the recipient of classified information which in a free and open society there's a certain degree of protection to and crossing that line over to being an active participant in a conspiracy to break into a government computer and steal classified information of the u.s. government and the indictments represents that assange crossed that line and became an active participant in that conspiracy and hopefully conventional journalists. when they get legal advice in these kinds of situations, i'm told there's a line that can be crossed from being the recipient of newsworthy information that
is classified to being an active participant in this theft of classified information. >> i want to you about william barr as well. the raised a lot of hack les by saying he was looking into whether there was spying. spying when you were in office. spying on the trump campaign by the obama campaign. you were involved in the early stajss on questions abo-- stages on the dossier. did you think there was credible evidence of russian interference that needed to be investigated based upon the evidence available to the fbi or did you think it was up support ed or needs to be investigated as unauthorized spying? >> the extent to which the trump campaign was involved is a
matter that was addressed by mueller report and extent to which it lacked the investigation of that lack its adequate predicates is a matter for the fbi and intelligence community. it's possible that as a matter of a counter espionage investigation that individuals, private individuals who happen to be involved in a political campaign may become part of government surveillance. as part of a legitimate counter espionage criminal investigation as long as they have the established legal predicates for doing so. people who are part of a campaign are private citizens. they are not immune from investigation. >> there were fisa warrants in all of these cases as far as we know, correct? >> you'd have to ask somebody from the fbi or intelligence
community. >> were you aware of unauthorized spying? >> no, of course not. >> do you think it was appropriate for the attorney to put that out without explaining what he meant? >> i've noticed about this attorney general that he tends to choose his words carefully. can't speculate about whether he fully intended to create the controversy that he created yesterday in his testimony. >> i guess we have to leave it there. thank you very much. >> as you can see, i choose my words carefully too. >> indeed. a lot of questions being raised even by ben about whether someone he has defended has shown he's not living up to that standard and putting out a lot of fueling the conspiracy theories. >> a lot of legitimate questions. >> thank you very much. coming up, dems fighting words. they lash out at william barr.
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democrats after he said spying did occur against donald trump's presidential campaign. >> it was deeply disturbing to see the attorney general make such a cavalier suggestion that there was spying on the kpacamp. that may be pleasing to the president but it was a deep disservice to the men and women of the fbi. >> when you start making spying with law enforcement, that sets off red flags everywhere. >> joining me now is democratic senat senator. senator, welcome. ben called it wreckless language. what do you call it? >> it's more than reckless. when barr opened his mouth, trump's words came tumbling out.
we don't take down a president. we have things called a rule of law. he uses other terms that a dictator would use like a coup. we don't have c ouroups. we have elections. this language emboldens the president to talk about this investigation as a witch hunt. it was a tremendous disservice by barr to use such language and raises the issue of whether or not barr really is independent attorney general that this country needs. >> has he lost faith with you to the point where you're not going to accept his redacted version next week when you do get it and there's going to be a fight which could go through the courts to try to see the underlying documents in the report itself. >> it will be a fight. he has it within his power to go to the court and release a full
report, mueller report to congress. he refuses to do that saying instead to challenging the members of congress. why don't you do it? why don't you go to court? he's acting like the attorney for the president and not the attorney for our country. it raises serious concerns for me as to how far he's going to go to be the yes person for donald trump. >> on the house side, even though democrats have control of the house with thehat they are discovering is being the chairman of ways and means that the treasury secretary will lay back and let these tax returns come forward. steve mnuchin saying he's not going to let the irs turn over the tax returns as many people argue is mandated under law. what options now do the house democrats have? >> that's the thing about this
administration that so many of their decisions lead to court challenges as to whether or not there's an underlying basis for the resistance. there's nothing in the law that allows him to weigh in. this is the kind of administration we have where the rule of law, i think their attitude is it didn't apply to them. the kind of attitude they convey to legitimate questions asked by members of congress is appalling. it starts at the top. >> what steps next on the senate side are you able to take and how are you going to go up with chairman lindsey graham? >> my hope is that when we get an unredacted version or the unredacted mueller report i hope we'll be able to go forward and draw our own conclusions and i hope there will be information in the mueller report that will raise concerns about whether or
not the president engaged in obstruction of justice which is yet another instance where a member of this administration just weighs in and decides for the administration and i suppose the american people there was no obstruction of justice even though we saw the president doing everything he can do make the mueller investigation go away. >> senator, thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up, leader of the pack. joe biden's reboot. steve ckornacki joins me with te latest. e ckornacki joins me wite latest with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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ask your doctor about eliquis. joe biden, despite his very bad week is still in front-runner in several new polls even after that controversial over how he handled complaints of overly familiar behavior. this as all signs point to a formal announcement in a few weeks that he's running for president. joining me now is steve kornacki. welcome both. steve, these numbers are interesting, revealing. >> i think so. the biden controversy, we talked a lot about it. the media talked a lot about it. check this out. when the conversation began on this subject with joe biden a couple of weeks ago versus now.
this is a weekly poll. tl three weeks ago to today. he's down three points. he is still sitting at 32%. he's still in first place in the weekly poll. it is a drop of three. that is very slight. look at this as well. his standing, favorable, unfavorable number among democratic voters. the start of this controversy it was 79-11. two weeks later. you can see right there. 75, 15. virtually unchanged. still overwhelmingly popular among democrats. one of the reasons here might be there's something with have seen on the democratic side. there's been an age divide. a stark and significant age divide. this is from a cnn poll a couple of weeks ago. among democratic voters over the age of 45. check that out. there's biden in first place with 36%. look. sanders down at 8%.
this is democratic voters over 45 years old. flip that around now. younger democrat voters, those under 45, look at how the world changes. biden drops in half. only 19% under 45. sanders quadruples. it hasn't been much overall. it's a sign that joe biden makes moves, this is the kind of coverage he can expect. not automatic that kind of coverage will knock him down that month. >> he's leading in a california poll. >> i think interesting in that, a lot of times we say biden is in first place. it's name recognition. california, kamala harris has name recognition too. biden still in first place. >> he's leading bernie sanders in the new hampshire poll where
bernie sanders is the vermont guy next deer. he's there with jeb bush. they're talking about opioids. no overt politics today. >> reporter: that's right. i wonder if governor bush might play along and tease the vice president as we have tended to see. they sometimes tend to inject policy as well. it's interesting. listen to your conversation with steve, if there's one thing i heard from the vice president's team not just in the past week but over the last few months is there's a real intensity of support for the vice president that they think goes well beyond name identification. this event today which is interesting for that reason because if there's a cautionary
tale of someone leading in the front-runner, it was jeb bush. four years ago, bush was the front-runner in that race. the visual might not be one that vice president's team wants for that very comparison today. we are just two weeks away from an announcement. perhaps not far from here. sg what about the money factor. bernie sanders is breaking all records on money raising and joe biden is not known for that and not being known to raise online the way people do now. >> that's one of the final pieces they are putting together in these last few weeks here. it's made hires in this front. they are watching closely. sochl the some of these numbers coming out. we're seeing that over the course of the entire quarter as they report these numbers in that the final numbers are not looking quite as impressive.
they can compete for big dollars and with that deficit of support he has nation wide for small donors as well. >> thank you so much on joe biden's home turf in philadelphia and steve kornacki. mpb coming up, the president has been talking with south korea's president in the oval office about the failed summit but on a lot of other stuff. kristen welker joins us from the white house. we'll be right back. the white house. we'll be right back.
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prurch in the oval office with south korean president moon. talking about failed negotiations in hanoi and he agrees attorney general barr saying there was spying. joining me now kristen welker and rake stable former undersecretary of state in the obama administration and mara gay a member of the "new york times" editorial board. rick, first to you.
we're talking about this whole issue with william barr and the 2016 campaign and now apparently relaunching investigation into the origins of investigating the russian interference. >> you mentioned what president trump said not knowing anything about wikileaks. i go back to mueller's indictment of the 13 research agency in st. petersburg. they worked so closely with wikileaks throughout the campaign you could say there was a nexus, a conspiracy between wikileaks, between the russians and i think the trump campaign as well. >> of course, we don't know, won't know until next week what the redacted mueller report releases. what do democrats do? william barr has made it clear that he's working very closely whether it's for reasons the way he sees the law or the way he sees this president, working very closely with the president's theory of the case? >> i think political democrats are at a huge bind.
they don't have much to gain by running this into the ground with the technicalities of how this was unveiled. they look like they are at risk of pursuing a subject that the american public is done on but the political class cares about. it depends whether they will reconfigure and focus on health care, focus on other issues which nancy pelosi is trying to do. >> they can walk and talk and chew gum at the same time but right now the focus clearly seems on mueller not on issues voters care about. >> it needs be both. the right line, this isn't something that voters necessarily going to want to hear about but the right line from the democrats is, you know, we're just trying to fill our constitutional obligation to be a check, to serve as a check on this white house and the president is forcing us to do so. the administration is forcing us to do so. what we really want to talk about is health care and
everything else that affects the daily lives of americans. that's a very narrow line to walk but one that they will have to learn how to do. >> kristen welker, you at the white house were there on the south lawn yesterday when the president used the word treason and talked about conspiracy. now he just used the word treason to talk about his critics. >> that's right. he said there was unprecedented spying on his campaign, andrea. really notable in light of what we heard from the attorney general yesterday when he said he believed there was spying on the trump campaign. the firestorm it set off he did echo what we heard from the president and in fact he echoed a number of what people would call conspiracy theories. that's why you had that strong backlash from the democrats, some democrats calling on the attorney general to withdraw that statement. nancy pelosi sharply critical saying that's the words of someone who serves the president and not the country.
this is really going to be be potentially politically problematic going forward. it's worth noting what you guys are talking about, the president' comments regarding wikileaks. it's stunning i know nothing about wikileaks. that's not my thing the. the president said during the campaign i love wikileaks when they were hacking those emails of hillary clinton and dnc. tough line for the president to walk and think. >> in 30 seconds we'll see that tape. north korea, south korea has been somewhat of in a bind. south koreans were told, really blaming john bolton national security adviser for the stalemate in hanoi and the fact that the new yorkers didn't go any further. >> i look at president moon today. he seems the younger child of
two parents contemplating a divorce and he's trying to make sure they don't do anything crazy. that's trump and kim. he has a horse in the race which he has been the peace candidate from the beginning. he wants that more than anybody. a lot of reporting today suggests he wants president trump to relax some sanctions on north korea. >> here's the q and a. >> are you making economic progress for north korea and south korea are you willing to allow some leeway in relaxes sanctions so south korea can pursue some more economic project? >> we're discussing certain humanitarian things right now. i'm okay with that, to be honest. you have to be okay with that. and south korea is doing certain things to help out with food and various other things for north korea. and we'll be discussing different things. again, the relationship is a much different relationship than it was two years ago. you remember what that was all about. certainly during the obama
administration where nuclear weapons were being tested often, where rockets and missiles were being sent up in many cases over japan, and we are in a much different situation right now. we'll be discussing that very much, actually. >> mr. president, do you still love wikileaks? >> i know nothing about wikileaks. it's not my thing. and i know there's something having to do with julian assange. i've been seeing what's happened with julian assange and that will be a determination, i would imagine mostly by the attorney general who is doing an excellent determination. i know nothing about them. >> what would you like to see happen? >> i don't really have an opinion. i know the attorney general will be involved in that. he'll make a decision. >> mr. president, are you concerned about spying into your
campaign? >> yes, i am. i think what he said was absolutely true. there was absolutely spying into my campaign. i'll go a step forward my opinion is illegal spying, unprecedented spying and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again and i think his answer was actually a very accurate one and a lot of people saw -- a lot of people understand, many, many people understand the situation and want to be open to that situation. hard to believe it could have happened but did it. there was spying in my campaign. and his answer was a very accurate one. >> mr. president -- >> it's something that could happen. it's a step by step. it's not a fast process. it's step by step. i enjoyed the summits. i enjoyed being with the chairman. i think it's been very productive and really s-it's a step by step. it's not going to go fast.
i've been telling you that for a long time. if it goes fast it's not foreign policier deal. i think that would be largely dependent on chairman kim. i know the president has been fighting this battle for a long time. he's done an excellent job. i consider him a great ally. a lot of good things are happening. a lot of good things are happening in the world. our economy is the best it's ever been. our unemployment numbers and employment are the best they've ever been. we have more people working right now in the united states than we ever had before. almost 160 million people. south korea is doing very well. their economy is doing very well. i think our trade deal has helped that process. so we're sitting on two great countries right now and we're leading two great countries and i can speak for myself and president moon, we think north
korea has tremendous potential and really potential under the leadership of kim jong-un. let's see how it all works out. >> mr. president, have you spoken with moon in the last few weeks. >> i don't want to speak to that. >> you're concerned -- >> there was no collusion or obstruction. we never did anything wrong. the people that did something wrong was the other side. the dirty cops and the problems that were caused. it was a disgrace that happened. again, it should never happen to a president again. you are just lucky i'm the president because a lot of other presidents would have reacted much differently than i reacted. you're very lucky i was the president during this scam. during the russian hoax as i call it. so, no, i'm not concerned at l
all. the bottom line no collusion, no obstruction. that's the way it was. i know people are disappointed. they know the real answers. when democrats go behind-the-scenes and they go to a room back stage they talk and laugh because they know it's a big scam, a big hoax. it's called politics, but this is dirty politics and this is actually treason. a very bad thing that people have done and i just hope that law enforcement takes it up because if they don't take it up they are doing a great disservice to our country. yes, go ahead, please. >> [ inaudible ] >> we're talking about long term. we always talk about long term. our relationship with south korea is extraordinary. we only think in terms of long term with south korea. okay. >> mr.