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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  May 17, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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25% tariff on steel and a 10% reasonably be done. it risks reducing something that on -- i knew i would screw that is very human to a number. up word. aluminum. the important thing here is this clears the way for the usmca >> 50 colleges uses the score last year. trade deal. it will expand to more this there are other year. that wraps up this hour of msnbc live. andrea mitchell reports starts now. right now, a matter of obstruction. former national security adviser michael flynn told prosecutors that people linked to trump inner circle and congress tried to pressure him once he began cooperating even as he remained focus on investigating the investigators. >> the thing that's interesting about this is this was handled at very senior level of these departments. it wasn't handled in the ordinary ware. i think people have to find out what the government was doing during that period. the commander in chief says hopes there's not war with iran
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blaming the media for getting it all wrong. are his own hawks to blame? >> there's a incoherence in the policy because president trump is saying he wants to have negotiations in dialogue with iran and focus on the nuclear issue when his top advisers have create add policy that makes any negotiation highly unlikely. striking back. supporters of abortion rights are mobilizing as two more states now attempt to follow alabama's lead with new laws restricting a woman's right to choose. >> a lot of people i've met once that have found me on facebook and messaged me in panic. they are ter arerified they wilt get the health care they need and deserve. good day, every one. president trump has been firing up the twitter machine this morning trying to deflect from
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newly unredacted system from testimony of mike flynn that trump insiders and the president's then lawyer tried to pressure him not to cooperate with the mueller probe while accusing the fbi under president obama of spying on him. again, alleging there was spying on his presidential campaign and adding treason means long jail sentences and this was treason. william barr who has sided with the president about the alleged spying added fuel to the fire by approving a review of how the russia probe got started. >> there's a misconception that we know a lot about what happened. the fact of the matter is bob mueller did not look at the government's activities. he was looking at whether or not the trump campaign had conspired with the russians. >> a lot to talk about. joining me is kristen welker.
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clint watts and former u.s. attorney barbara mcquaid. welcome all. the president on twitter, his favorite form of communication. he was coming back from an overnight trip to new york. not stopping when he came back into the white house but on a number of subjects, on the spying, treason. >> it's remarkable. we were a little surprised he didn't answer questions because he was so fired up on twitter this morning. accusing former officials of treason. saying it's now conclusive there was spying on his campaign although not saying specifically who he's talking about. saying he should have been warned about michael flynn. what's remarkable about that is
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we know that former president obama did warn him against bringing flynn onto his administration. the other thing that stands out to me today, that sound bite that you played from the attorney general. when you take that and match it against what we're hearing from the president, it's going to fuel that criticism from democrats that they are in lock step and that the attorney general isn't showing the type of independence that they want to see on this matter. this will only add fuel to the fire and the president has yet to weigh in verbally but we keep watching our twitter feeds because it seems that's where he's lashing out today. >> you were there for a part of this period. there's been criticism from democrats as well as republicans that the obama administration was not more open. they did make announcements about the russia investigation but not explaining what it was. this president, he claim, was not informed as a candidate when he had those intelligence bre h briefings. >> he was told that over the summer of 2016.
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with respect to mike flynn, he got a number of warnings. president obama warned him not to hire him. >> the one meeting. >> two days after the election. mike flynn told don mcgahn during the transition two weeks before the inauguration he was under investigation by the justice department. sally yates warning the white house. they didn't do anything for two and a half weeks until it became public what he had done. his line about not knowing about mike flynn is a complete lie. he did. with respect to the attorney general and this investigation. there's nothing wrong with the justice department trying to make sure everything was done appropriately. the inspector general is already looking at these things. number two, if do you look at the way the attorney general has behaved over the last month, there's no reason he should get the benefit of the doubt. even his remarks where you see him questioning the justice department. using this term spying.
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he's giving rise to this campaign against the justice department for the president is trying to wage. it's completely inappropriate and especially when you compare it to the way he's described the president's obstruction of justice or attempt as understandable because he's frustrated. he gives the bpresident the benefit of the doubt while attacking the people that work for him. >> it's just going to fuel calls for mueller to testify. >> the former fbi person, the fbi is under attack and under attack as matt was just explaining from the attorney general who runs the fbi. >> it's just the strangest thing. if the russians could have designed this way, they probably would have never believed it. they launched an attack on the united states and tried to influence the campaign. they did a social attack. they attacked our electoral and right now the president and his attorney general are focused on
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the people investigating that attack in is master stroke by the russians. we have not seen any discussion of what they will do from the department of the justice and from the fbi's perspective, he is really not addressed what he will do to make sure this doesn't happen in 2020. we know fbi is going briefings but all this could be reprlayed again. you can look at this and say all i need to do is do a few hacks on voting machine, send out tweet, go ahead and try to compromise somebody in a campaign and play this bplay bok right over again. he's talking about looking at the investigators again and again. maybe there's a will the of open questions. the attorney general job is not to ask obama questionpen questi. i'm very disappointed by his statements today. >> weigh in here. i know this was in mueller report. it hasn't gotten a whole lot of attention. it's been reported it was john dowd who was the president's
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attorney. he's not commented yet but he was the president's attorney at the time. what is the appropriateness of him -- leaving a voice mail and a very aggressive voice mail for mike flynn after mike flynn had dropped out of the cooperating -- mutual defense pact and was clearly cooperating and turning evidence against the president potentially. >> if you look at the language, it's fair he was seeking to influence the testimony of mike flynn. up with of the things that robert mueller said in his robert is they were unable to fully probe the extent of that conversation and what president trump knew about it because of the attorney-client privilege. if john was not a lawyer and someone looking into this situation, i think he could be in a heap of trouble for obstruction of justice. it's very similar to the analysis that robert mueller did of president trump's tweets to
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paul manafort and the statements he made to michael choohen whic suggested praise to manafort for standing strong and criticism for cohen of being a rat. if i were a prosecutor, i would charge all of those counts of obstruction of justice. what you see is a pattern of behavior designed to influence witness testimony which is obstruction of justice. >> in terms of michael flynn and we don't have his confirmation that it is he. would it be only dowd that you would prosecute for obstruction? it wouldn't be the president because you wouldn't know whether the president put him up to it, is that correct? >> this is where it gets tricky. on its face, no. there's an exception to the privilege known as the crime
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fraud exception when there's evidence that the communications related to a crime may be p permissible to scroll that. it appears robert mueller was not as aggressive in investigating what information was shared to president trump. >> while all this is going on, the attorney general did the interview with fox and he asked him about mueller testifying because it had been weeks and weeks and we not heard anything about mueller going to the hill. here is part of that exchange. >> you're okay with him testifying? >> absolutely. >> he works for you? >> yes. >> under you. >> yes. >> or did. what seems to be the hold up? >> my understanding is that
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chairman nadler is talking this over with bob mueller and his staff and trying to schedule it. >> you expect it to happen. >> i have no reason to think it won't. >> is he, himself, in favor of it? he doesn't seem to be. he hasn't said he is. >> what is holding that up? >> that comment seemed to be misleading. the wall street reported the justice department is trying to restrict or narrow the things that the special counsel bob mueller can testify to. maybe they restrict him to where he can only speak to the things that are public and already documented and not the the underlying evidence and underlying things over which the president may be trying to claim executive privilege. if that report is true, for the attorney general to tell fox he has no objection when his own department is trying to narrow his testimony is misleading. >> the president's been all over the map in terms of where he stands on this. i asked the president a couple
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of weeks ago should mueller testify. he said that's up to the attorney general. then the very next day he went to twitter and said he actually shouldn't testify. then he reversed himself yet again a couple of days later and said it's fine. it's sdtill up to the attorney general. white house officials say at this point in time they are not ware of any steps that the administration, that the president, the the white house is preparing the take to try to block him. >> how long do we expect that mueller will remain an employee of doj? >> it's great question. when the report was finished, his spokesperson told the press he would only be around for matter of days. that was some six weeks or so ago and he's still there. >> thank you so much. great to see you. >> thanks so you and coming up, mixed signals. what led to the heightened tension, the military stand off
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more theories about why the war drums have been beating so loudly between the u.s. and iran. the president is blaming the media tweeting the fake news media is hurting our country with its highly inaccurate coverage of iran. at least iran doesn't know what to think which may very well be
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a good thing. this as the wall street journal is reporting there's been miscalculations on both sides that iran's leaders interpreted tough measures from washington. the recent designation of the revolutionary guard as a terror group as a preludes to war. they were prompted to take steps gearing up their military planning. the president telling his aides to dial it down. ned, leet's talk about the possibility of a accidental war. washington has been aggressive but taking steps like on the
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global ban on imports of iranian oil. >> i think that's right. i think the fact of the matter is we have seen a series of provocations are our own administration in recent months. we did tally in recent days. we counted 36 provocations from the trump administration designating the irgc creating what's called the iran action group. touting our military prowess. all since the trump administration left the iran deal in may of 2018. i think the fact of the matter is here that we saw a really remarkable headline this week. the president of the united states had to tell his acting secretary of defense, i emphasize we have an acting secretary of defense in all of this. he didn't want more with iran. we have to ask how we got to a point where the president had to make explicit that he didn't want another devastating, potentially catastrophic war in
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middle east. the answer is we have two hard liners. mike pompeo and john bolton leading a policy process that's a vacuum. they have driven us to a point of escalation for the sake of escalation. it's no small wonder that we're here in this situation right now. >> a small drone, in fact, flew close to the u.s. embassy in baghdad. the staff had to take cover. local security made sure the drone was not a potential attack but you can imagine in this climate that kind of thing can set off a lot of steps that we don't want to imagine. >> absolutely. the forces are on high alert and high guard, as they should be. we have to have a good deal of skepticism not necessarily for this drone event but from what we're hearing from this administration when it comes to the threat environment. our antennas should go up every
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time we hear this administration publicly characterize it. mike pompeo, the secretary of state was called out by congress for issuing a public report that mischaracterized and left out key intelligence on iran's compliance with the iran deal. mike pompeo, went to great lengths to weaponize and misportray and mischaracterize intelligence on iran's compliance with the deal. i think it's very dangerous environment. we need to be on guard and have our antennas up. >> fair warning. thank you very much. smart chris van hollen is here. he and three other democratic senators sent a letter to president trump thursday about the administration's growing confrontation with iran.
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welcome. what are your concerns? >> this is a very dangerous moment. it's good to hear president trump say he doesn't want to go to war. but as was just reported the trump administration has taken a series of very provocative actions that risk miscalculation. risk the iranians taking steps in response to that provocation. it could light fire and create a war. we're dealing with john bolton. physically close to the president. he is wanted to bomb iran for a long time. he's a skilled bureaucratic inside fighter. i'm reminded of two other skilled inside fighters. dick cheney as vice president and donald rumsfeld. they manipulated the intelligence around iraq. they cherry picked the intelligence and they got president george w. bush to go to war in iraq.
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let's be very vigilant because the actions president trump is taken have been highly provocative and dangerous. >> the senate and house leadership, the gang of eight, the leaders plus the lank raran members were briefed for the first time yesterday. the first time. nancy pelosi for weeks has been asking for a meeting. lindsey graham has been asking for briefings. he's not one of those ranking members. do you feel that the briefings are now going to take place? the all senate briefing next tuesday and the house briefing as well? >> it's outrageous that we have gotten this far down the road without a briefing from the executive branch. the gang of eight was briefed. we expect to have a full senate briefing this coming week. many of us individually have been asking for briefings. we haven't gotten them. i've had a chance to review the
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intelligence that's been provided by the administration and i can just tell you from look at the public reports and everything else, my interpretation is very similar to what you indicate the wall street journal has been reporting which is iran is watched these very provocative actions and they then will take counter measures to defend themselves. that could lead to miscalculation. you have a lot of shiia militia in iraq. the danger of things erupting is real. that could lead to a war. the president may say he may not want it but people like john bolton are doing everything they can to put us in a position where you might have that miscalculation. >> the president met yesterday with the president of switzerland, not typical meeting. the swiss are interimmediate
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are intermediaries. could there be some dip emplolo ov overtures. our information with tehran is they won't be calling. >> i hope there is. one of the first things the president did is tear up the iran nuclear agreement. an agreement that con trains ste iranian nuclear program. he designated the irg as a terrorist organization. he's taken a series of steps and says i want iran to give me a call. iran saying, look, if you've got a better proposal than you've already put on the table, let us know what it is. in the meantime, bolton has just implemented this series of provocatio provocations. yes, i hope we could have a
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conversation but president trump's got to realize this isn't some kind of new york real estate deal. you're talking about serious business. >> they have said if you squeeze the regime enough economically, they will come back to table and negotiate better deal. the chance offens of that happe? >> it's not going to happen. we just saw the iranian response. in fact, they sort of live with the fact that trump ripped up the agreement for over a year. when the administration refused to provide waivers for some of the measures that help us keep iran in the deal, iran indicated it's not going to be bound forever. what you're seeing happen is the trump policies are giving more power to the iranian hard
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liners. this is no democracy. this is a dictatorship but there are range of views within the iranian regime. what john bolton and president trump are doing is empowering the hard liners and giving them more strength in iran rather than those that want to work with the united states in the west. >> senator, thank you so much. coming up, borderline. details of the dramatic changes president trump wants to make to his border wall and border policy. you're watching andrea mitchell reports on msnbc. you're watching andrea mitchell reports on msnbc
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> companies are moving office ini other countries because we prevent them from retaining highly skilled and even if i might, totally brilliant people. we discriminate against genius. we discriminate against brilliance. we won't anymore once we get this passed. >> that might be a while. president trump's new
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immigration proposal would include a test for migrants and other asylum seekers as tough as the citizenship test now given to people who have been in the united states for years. it's a heavy burdens opposed by many business groups and others. the plan is under fire for democrats for among other issues not doing anything for the dreamers who came here as to toddlers and know no other country or the other un undocumented 11 million immigrants. joining me now is the ceo of save the children action network. welcome both. >> thank you. >> mark, let's talk about the court ruling that says children have to be protected and cannot be detained for more than 20 days which is long enough. >> it was settled in 1987.
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senator graham who save the children has worked with a lot to push good policy on foreign affairs has this idea of extending that from 20 days to 100 days to put unaccompanied minors in detention. when you look at the greatness of america and look at some of the good things ta senator graham has done, have we gotten to this point where we have to detain kids for 100 days, it's crazy. >> this doesn't speak to the fact we have not figured out how to track all the children who were separated. thousands of children, perhaps as many as 2,000 children who were not identified properly and hhs was supposedly responsible for that. whatever agency is responsible for not figuring out how to track children who are placed elsewhere across the country when they were trying out the celebration policy for six months before it was announced. >> there's so much work that has
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to be done before we can talk art senator graham's proposal. it takes our attention away from the work that should be done. kids coming from anywhere into america have rights. we're not seeing those rights add he adhered to is a shame. kids that are unaccompanied and families struggling are treated in such manners. >> i know it's unlikely to be legislated but are we beginning to change the conversation even and normalize things that would have never been proposed before? >> i think that's what this administration is trying to do is shift away from the real humanitarian crisis and real collusions that would really involve going to the regions, the source of the problems in these countries and instead
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shifting it away and creating what this administration's calling a merit based system which is really code for a very selective way in which steve miller wants to hand pick and choose who comes into this country and actually change its complexi complexion. it's a version of social engineering that we're seeing laid out and has nothing to do with rationally and credibly solving our immigration system, which is broken. you mention that democrats aren't going to support it. republicans are divide on it. it really is not a good faith effort when you don't even see the most vowulnerable addressed and that's the dreamers. the fact that it really just wreaks of a 2020 campaign document as red meat and really pushing out notions and ideas that have been part of this
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administration that are really anti-immigrant, anti-people of color and anti-family. when i say anti-people of color and anti-immigrant, i'm referring to when president trump showed his hand when he talked about s hole countries and people from africa and haiti and el salvador and saying don't we more people from norway coming to this country. it's absurd. it's not going to go anywhere. it's dead on arrival. it should be. we need to really engage folks on both sides of the aisle and address all the elements that are going to be important to addressing this issue. >> the other thing you were just referring to, some of the countries like el salvador, they are cutting the state department programs including some law enforcement programs that have been effective with the fbi and trying to deal with the problems down there. >> it's ridiculous that during
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this time you're seeing efforts to cut back the funding and foreign aid to those countries. dealing with those in the source areas is going to really help deal with those children who are coming here. >> senator graham has talked about putting more money into those countries but we have not seen the dollars put into legislation. a lot of talk but not a lot of action. >> there parts of these proposals which is to change the border wall itself. spikes and chains. >> he doesn't have any credibility on the border wall either. he's in campaign rallies telling people the wall is being built. there's no credibility here. what we do know is across the board, the american people believe that a wall on our border is costly, unnecessary and ineffective. it's why he couldn't get support for his wall and had to make a declaration that's been challenged in the courts.
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>> are democrats lining up the need to do something for more these children? >> we heard all across the country from republicans and democrats that kids should be made a priority. that the detention idea is a bad idea. separating kids and their families are a bad idea. save the children has worked for 100 years add voe indicavocatin rights of kids. we see bipartisan support. i wish the folks who are political leaders in washington would listen to what you said. sit down doonds the hard work to address the issues not only in the other countries but here in the united states. >> the harm of those kid will be irreparable. we really need to think about any of these separations that are occurring.
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up to six million american children are at risk because they live in families and with these extreme policies raised and separations occurring, that will effect every one within the united states. >> talking about generations. >> pediatricians are saying the same thing. >> we'll have to leave it there now. >> thanks for your attention to this. coming up, democrats digging in on republican assaults against reproductive freedom and gender identity. stay with us. tive freedom and genderde intity. stay with us s... s...u... s...u...v... these letters used to mean something. letters earned in backwoods, high hills, and steep dunes. but somewhere along the way, suvs became pretenders, not pioneers. but you never forgot the difference, and neither did we. there are many suvs, but there's only one legend. hurry in now to the jeep celebration event and get $500 additional bonus cash on select models.
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house democrats just pass ted sweeping legislation to extend civil rights legislation to the lgbt community. the equality act that was a top priority which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. the bill faces long odds in the republican lead senate. this as alabama's abortion ban has become a rally cry for 2020 democrat candidates. louisiana and missouri now closer to passing new restrictive abortion bills and the governors have indicated they will sign them into law. joining me democratic congressman. a co-sponsor of the equality act. congratulations to you for
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passage of your bill. what's the prospect for the senate? >> i think that's where the organizing will go. this took 37 years from when my state, wisconsin, passed the first bill for gays and lesbians. it took this long to get it to pass the house of representatives. it's long over due. the majority of states you can get marriedy eiey eied on a sat lose your housing and job on a monday. >> is there anything congress can do given how many states are passing very restrictive abortion bills. there's states for blue states to pass abortion rights bill. this will get to the supreme court. is there any movement at all with the senate hard set against
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it? >> one of the biggest things that republicans will have to realize is they move to these extreme measures where you pass bills that don't allow rape or the life of a mother to even be considered. this is really extreme and outside the mainstream of where the american people are at. the more they do this because they are worried about primary, the more they will show they are not a party that represents the mainstream of america. in congress, we'll continue to advance legislation like we have to make sure there's paycheck fairness. women make 80 cle 0 cents on th dollar. we'll make sure women are recognized as the 52% if republicans keep going down this worm hole, eventually that will hit a lot of dirt. we'll be much better off as democrats. we will block anything they try to do in regards of taking away equal rights for women. >> there is push back. chris matthews had a hardball
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town hall meeting in pennsylvania. there was a very compelling plea from a union worker. a man speaking to chris and the democratic national chair about the way that part of pennsylvania, which was critical, as was your state of wisconsin in the democratic loss in 2016. if social issues become drivers for democrats rather than the economic kitchen table issues, watch this. >> our agenda has -- we can't have candidates that are only concerned with social issues. a social issue for me is the ability to go out and provide for my family. with justices on the supreme court that because of the gimmicks that was used to, i as a union member don't have as many rights now. >> that's a plea from a guy from the labor union in part of
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pennsylvania i know very well. which went for trump. >> as did my state of wisconsin. that's why democrats are doing what we're doing. we will have a bill to increase minimum wage and the floor for people's salaries. we're taking care of making sure the affordable care act is sured up for going after prescription drug pricing because that will make more people have money in their pockets. our dealing with those economic issues and that's what we're leading with. we're trying to run on kitchen table economic issues. what you talk about is whether or not you can afford the rent or mortgage. that's what we have been passing as democrats and i hope the senate will take up some of those measures. >> congressman, thanks very much. thanks for being with us today. coming up, red scare. journalists and author book
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who was responsible for protecting communist infiltration and protecting communists. >> have you no sense of decency, sir? have you left no sense of decency. >> it was a turning point. in the 1950s, joe mccarthy was on a crusade trying to expose communists in the u.s. government. it was an era in which the country was gripped by fear. in his new book, "a good american family," david maraniss dives into his own family history and how his family was impacted during the mccarthy era. it's such a pleasure to have you here. tell me what you discovered when you started going through your family's history.
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>> my father never talked about that part of his life. he moved on and taught me all the lessons of journalism, to search for the truth wherever i could. going back into that era when he was as a young man, a member of the communist party, not a secret agent, was just espousing his political beliefs and was called before the house un-american activities commit and fired from his job and we bounced around for five years. it was about the end of those five years when i started to be conscious, i was 7 years old, and had not known what was going on before that. and didn't explore it deeply until four years ago. >> he was a veteran of world war ii and a patriot and there were -- there were people in our country who for a number of reasons, largely during the depression era, didn't believe in the economic policies, believed in socialism, so it
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wasn't that unusual in his world. >> right. you know, in retrospect there's no way to defend the systems and he would later say he was stubborn in his cignorance. but he was motivated by racial justice. he was in the military and world war 2. he was a commander of an all-black unit and wrote hundreds of letters about how proud he was of giving these men who were considered second-class citizens in a segregated army a fair shake. then he was called before the house un-american activities committee and was called un-american by a southern congressman who has been a member of the ku klux klan and
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involved in a lynching. >> and you uncovered that in your research for this book? >> there was a wonderful friend and journalist who wrote a book about the case, and in that, there's one paragraph about a man who drove the car that carried the lynched body. it was the future chairman of the house un-american activities committee and i did a lot more research on that. >> you went to the archives and found the statement your father had written about how he felt as a patriot trying to deliver that statement. he was not permitted to. so you had never seen it before. >> that was the most powerful moment of my research. 63 years after he appeared before the committee, he wanted to deliver a three-page statement on what he felt it meant to be an american. the chairman said you can't deliver it unless you're contrite and name names which he
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refused to do. and i found it. it's a powerful statement on the meaning of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. >> do you feel today given what we're all going through, it's an extraordinary time, i've never seen the kind of control on information, agency after agency, no pentagon briefings, very few state department briefings, no white house briefings, very little interaction, do you feel there's -- there are threats to press freedoms with the president using a stylist term enemy of the people? >> you know, speech is different from action and we both know a lot of administrations clamp down on the press in the ways that they can, but it's never been this blatant in terms of the enemies of the people line which is just chilling. >> the book is extraordinary. i was up half the night reading your book. >> sorry to keep you up. >> no, it's something that --
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it's a very important lesson in history and it's a lesson for a lot of younger people who may not be as familiar with it. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thank you for everything you're doing and writing. and the book is "a good american family." bringing emergency health care to hard-hit rural america. that's in our next hour. stay with us. stay with us
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and that does it for this
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edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow us on only at mitchell reports. and here is ali velshi and stephanie ruhle for "velshi & ruhle." >> you have a great afternoon. thank you. i'm ali velshi. >> and i'm stephanie ruhle. it is friday, may 17th, with a lot to cover. >> we begin with breaking news, the united states has reached a deal to lift steel and aluminum tariffs on canada and mexico. sources tell cnbc, the tariffs could be today. >> joining us from the white house a


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