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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  May 19, 2019 9:00am-11:00am PDT

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slightly admonished me. come on, girl. >> i almost slightly did. >> now i have to see it. ariya has to be the one on the thrown. jon snow would be fine but he didn't really want it. i have news to do. i'll talk to you soon. good day to all of you from msnbc headquarters in new york. it is high noon in the east. welcome to alex witt. he's the first, will he be the last? one republican weighs in on the impeachment question. >> there is now bipartisan support. >> i just spent three days in iowa, and not one individual brought up the mueller report. >> you don't see anybody else agreeing with it. >> can impeachment even be potentially successful in the senate? >> the new headline that raises questions about the president's use of pardons. no longer silent, the president tweets about alabama's new abortion law. what to make of the timing of his response.
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a fast and furious few hours, everyone, with big developments and new reaction since a michigan congressman became the first republican to say the president committed impeachable offenses. the president lashing back on twitter with injustice in the past few hours calling justin amash, quote, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there. he weighed in after he said he carefully read the mueller report. on twitter he said impeachment does not require probable cause that a crime has been committed, but it, quote, simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt or otherwise dishonorable conduct. the libertarian republican also sided with democrats in criticizing the attorney general, accusing him of misrepresenting the findings of the mueller report. so this morning, a top member of
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the judiciary committee where impeachment begins said they are very quickly headed toward opening an impeachment inquiry. >> i think it's a watershed moment. for weeks speaker pelosi said this needs to be bipartisan just from the practical perspective of impeachment moving forward. and i think amash coming on board says there is bipartisan support for really understanding the seriousness of what is in the mueller report. most of the caucus agrees with most of those conclusions that justin amash has around what is in the report. we have read the report. it very carefully laid out a case that really is pushing for the house to take on these issues. >> here's a big point, though. the chairman of the intelligence committee making it and saying this does not change the fact that the gop-led senate does not support impeachment. >> he showed more courage than any other republican in the
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house or senate. but what may be pushing us in the direction of impeachment in any event has less to do with justin amash and more to do with the fact the administration is engaging in a maximum obstructionism campaign. if the only way we can do our oversight is through an impeachment proceeding, then maybe we have to go down that road, but i think it will be important to show the american people this was a decision made reluctantly. this is a decision forced upon us. meanwhile, two top republicans are admonishing that congressman amash has repeatedly criticized the president. >> i think anyone who knows justin's background knows that he sometimes goes a different route than our other republicans in congress. this is clearly the case. you don't see anybody else agreeing with him. in fact, i strongly disagree. >> he votes more with nancy pelosi than he votes with me. it's a question of whether he's even in the republican congress as a whole. what he wants is attention in
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this congress. proper a >> and mitt romney said he's not closer to wanting impeachment, even though he said he's sickened by the conduct in toutd in the mueller report. >> my own view is that justin amash has reached a different conclusion than i have. i respect him. i think it's a courageous statement. i just don't think there is the full element that you need to prove an obstruction of justice case. >> and nbc's mike vakera standing by at the white house. good afternoon to you, my friend. i guess you can look at the tweets because i'm looking at a couple of them. not holding back there. >> there are two 280 tweets there. justin amash it's true that he's a rogue. when john baynor was the
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speaker, they were always butt butting heads. he doesn't fit in the red or blue, republican kind of mindset. this is not the first time he's been out on his own, but that series of tweets we've talked about already where he said, as described in the mueller report, the president's conduct was impeachable. he also took off after the attorney general bill barr about the controversy of that four-page summary, coloring the view of what was actually in the report. he came to the conclusion that bill barr intended to mislead the public. now we have, of course, president trump, and i'll read the tweets from the president this morning. never a fan of justin amash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our republican policies just through getting his name out there in controversy. if he had read the entire mueller report composed by dems who hated trump, he would see it
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is strong on no collusion and no obstruction. we all know that's not true. how do you object strugt when there is no crime and in fact the crimes were committed by the other side? justin is a loodr who sadly plays right into our opponents' hands. there was no sort of movement in the republican in congress. he's out on his own for the time being. he's no vanguard on the republican side against president trump. >> that's a very good point you make there. can i ask what president trump is saying, weighing in on the abortion debate? >> reporter: this is very interesting as well, the president tweeting on this. this states various states including alabama, in the past couple days, a very strict anti-abortion law. ohio, missouri, georgia as well. the president has been silent
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all along. alex, i know you interviewed before the president's tweets yesterday, carol mcinany, the president's spokeswoman, let's hear what she had to say getting out a little ahead of what the president did. >> the president has been clear that he is for exceptions of rape and incest and the life of the mother. that being said, there has been no other pro-life president. i don't know what the president will do, but he said repeatedly he is for those three exceptions. he said that going back to 2016. >> going back to 1999, he told the late, great journalist tim russert that he was very pro-choice. his position has shifted over the years. carol mcinany, before that tweet came out, had not talked about this in state legislatures, but after that interview, he tweeted this. as most people know, and for
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those who would like to know, i am strongly pro-life with the three exceptions, rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother. the same position taken biron ald reagan. we have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new republicans from the bench. we've heard from the republican leader in the house, kevin mccarthy. >> those two are the most notable outspoken opponents there. joining me now, bob and laura. let's go to you first, bob, what do you make first of all of the timing of his comments and what do you think the effects will be? >> justin amash has been
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mentioned. he goes against his party on a number of issues. he's a libertarian. there are some on the right that are there are talking about a primary challenge. that's why i do think it was courageous for him to come out, because donald trump has a grip on the republican party. the timing -- i basically think he just went through it very carefully and he's noting that a lot of members have not gone through it. but for him to do this, i mean, this is going to be a difficult 2020 cycle for him. will the campaign, republican campaign arm, back him or will the rnc back him? he will get one this cycle no doubt. >> mike vakira touched on this, laura, but is there any reason to believe this could be the beginning of something? might we see more republicans following suit here? >> i strongly doubt it, alex. i think they would have come out by now if they were going to.
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this has become a partisan thing which it shouldn't be. justin amash is doing his job. he's reading the report and making a decision about what he read in the report about whether this man should be president regardless of what party he's in and what party the president is in and what he's supposed to be doing as a republican. he is not a sheep. the rest of them are acting like sheep. they're getting in line. i think what we might be seeing is justin trying to challenge trump in 2020. michigan is a purple state. it's pretty easy for him to do this. they have always voted for democratic senators and then they broke with trump. i think he has the political leeway to actually do his job and come up with conclusions that are nonpartisan. >> i always loved trying to figure out, though, bob, politics versus principle here. in this case, what is justin amash doing here? do you believe it's a principled stance for him or do you believe it's something political and can
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earn him brownie points in his congressional district? he knows his constituents. >> he does, and he's been successful. trump won it by, i think, around eight points in 2016. but this is going to be difficult for him. certainly he gets attention because he bucks his party and the media focuses on that. but at the same time, this is going to make his life harder, and you know with the president, this is not going to be a last set of tweets about justin amash. >> let's move on to the abortion matter. i'll start with you, laura, on this one. do you feel like the president felt like he needed to get on the record after carol mcinany came out and made that statement that we heard mike play. >> what republicans are trying to do the last few months is keeping the attention on democrats, saying abortion until birth, abortion even after birth, which i should say is a
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lie president trump is pushing. now alabama has done something very extreme on the other side. a ban on abortions even because of rape and incest. i think it's a terrible strategy even if you're trying to put it up with the supreme court. it puts trump in an awkward position of having to say, yeah, i think the alabama law is pretty extreme. >> the president called for republicans to be united on this admission. how do you think it will detract from the president's party race. but i do think the default position is rkts look, this is what we were going through before and it is similar to what reagan did. i think they have to be fractured which on a general
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feeling always unites them. >> joe biden calls the president the divider in chief. let's listen to what he had to say. >> the most challenging thing we have to do is defeat donald trump. as long as donald trump is in the white house, none of these critical things are going to get done. so if you want to know what the first and most important plant in my climate proposal is, beat trump. beat trump. beat trump. >> certainly there are those who believe that, but i have to say that just prior to him taking the podium yesterday, i was talking with some democratic strategists, both of whom said we want policy discussion, we want issue discussion. yeah, we want to beat trump, but. how do you think this plays overall? is this a successful tactic for
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joe biden, just unify beating trump? >> no, i think he has to put forth a positive and inspiring vision for democrats. i think there are a lot of people who don't want to just go back and have another obama administration. there were people on both sides of the aisle who were disappointed in the obama administration. there were democrats in 2016 who wanted to just burn it all down. that's how we ended up with trump. joe biden is like the cheesecake factory at this point. he's the restaurant you go to because they have something for the kids. they have a big menu. it's not that exciting but you've been a thousand times and you know it won't give you food poisoning. i don't know if that will be exciting enough to drive out the candidate base while candidates like elizabeth warren is coming out with policy ideas. biden is definitely leading the pack right now in terms of the polls, but that doesn't mean anything. at this point in the 2016 race,
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marco rubio and were leading the race. just like bernie sanders, if we see things change policywise, things might change a little bit. >> i'm wondering how cheesecake factory fits the analogy. >> it just popped into my head. >> bob and laura, thank you so much. for more on the battle of 2020, eight candidates on the campaign trail today holding a dozen-plus events in six-plus states. all of them trying to gain support as joe biden hangs onto his frontrunner status. the former vice president is leading his closest competitor by over 22 points. new hampshire getting the most attention by four candidates being there. ali is in the granite state.
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garrett haake is in south carolina today. what are you seeing? >> reporter: alex, we actually made it to an elizabeth warner event this morning. the thing about warren in new hampshire, she's been talking about a lot of things your panel was talking about with you just now. the abortion efforts going on across the country, to roll back roe v. wade imperfections, as well as the speech from justin amash. let's here how she handled this issue. >> we actually got interesting news late last night, and that is congressman justin amash -- hold on -- has read the mueller report. there's not much that i agree with justin amash on. but there are two things we
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agree completely on, and the first is that every member of congress should read the mueller report. and two, that the rule of law applies even to the president of the united states. >> reporter: and alex, elizabeth warren came out after the mueller report came out and said the house should read the report. to read the report makes you see the obvious, but really the issue of the weekend has been her talking about roe v. wade protections and how the federal government can enshrine those protections even as states intend to chip away at it on a state level. alex, i'm glad you can't wait to
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watch the "game of thrones" tonight. i, too, will be watching the end of it. >> you'll probably be in tennis shoes running around all day, but we can see if we agree on the ending. let's go to garrett headache. he's in birmingham, albuquerque with bernie sanders. sanders got pulled into some questions this morning. what about that? >> sanders was asked what, if anything, he can do take away biden's momentum. this appears to be a one or two-person race with joe biden out in front, bernie sanders close behind and everybody else in the dust. he's got to figure out a way to get past his 2016 performance.
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he ran a great campaign then, he came in second. i've been covering his events in the south here the last couple days. the vast majority of voters i've covered at his events were with him in 2016. he's not just focusing on donald trump specifically, but he's saying, we have to do more. we have to fire up our base. we have to do more, essentially, than just trangulating to get more votes. >> and the truth is that our campaign, i think, can generate that excitement. our generation can talk to some of the trump supporters who now know that they were lied to when trump said he was going to provide health care to everybody and then tried to throw 32 million people off the health care. i think we are the campaign that could beat donald trump.
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>> reporter: alex, these sanders rallies are the envy of anyone else in the campaign. he can draw a big crowd basically anywhere he goes. we saw several thousand people at each of these big rally events over the last couple days. we could see that here. i'm interested in what kind of crowd he draws. birmingham, albuquerque is a city of about 75% african-american. his cities have been predominantly white. that's what killed him in 2016. he's got to expand his region to the african-american community which he's trying to do today. >> when you get those crowds behind him, it's pretty impressive, i have to say. garre garrett haake, thank you so much. i'll be talking to one of the members of congress who is expected to question the treasury secretary about what? yes, the president's taxes. hat? yes, the president's taxes i'm aiming it.
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>> the interrogation skills of democratic congressman kerry porter returns to tuesday in which she is a member. kerry porter is joining me right now. you have some good skills there. i was listinening and you don't let people off the hook. let's remind viewers of this confrontation. >> if you wish to keep me here so i don't have my important meeting and continue to grill me, then we can do that. i will cancel my meeting and i will not be back here. i will be very clear. if that's the way you would like to have this relationship. >> you are free to leave any time you want. you may go any time you want. >> please dismiss everybody. i believe you're supposed to take the gavel and bang it. >> please don't instruct me on how i instruct this committee.
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>> i'm curious what you want to ask him. >> i hope the tone will be different. i think we need to try to calm things down and allow congress to do its work. i hope secretary mnuchin arrives with that kind of attitude, a real willingness to let congress do its job. it's not congress' duty to kowtow to the president or his appointed secretary, it's our job to conduct appropriate oversight. so i plan to try and be professional, but i am going to ask hard questions. that's my duty as a member of congress. it's a co-equal branch of government to the presidency, and i think this president is struggling with that concept. >> here's the other concept of a tough question, because the chairwoman of your question says she wants to ask the secretary whether the president directed him not to release his tax returns. do you have any indications that that may indeed be the case. >> i think we absolutely have to ask that question. look, the law is very clear here. it's in our tax code, it's an old law passed in 1924. and what it says is that upon
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the request of congress, the secretary of the treasury shall release the tax returns of any taxpayer. this law was passed in the wake of scandals and it was explicitly designed to level the playing field between congress and the president. at that time the president could request tax returns, but congress couldn't. so the law here is extremely clear. congress has issued the subpoena. and so mr. mnuchin needs to come answer as to why he's defying congress' lawful request here. >> you have reminded me of the huge uproar over the interpretation of the word shall. did that take you by surprise? that was used any which way of trying to back up whatever perspective people were offering. it was remarkable. >> truly it is remarkable because i'll tell you, as a law professor and somebody who teaches statutory interpretation, there is only one way to interpret that word. >> right. >> that is a word in the legal sense that we know.
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it means uit's a mandate. there is no opportunity to skate this. if there was a legitimate legal argument, the treasury secretary could petition the court and try to get an interpretation on the facts. what you can't do is just flat out refuse to comply with a congressional request. that is upsetting the rule of law. it's upsetting the system of checks and balances in this country, and our country deserves more from this president. >> let's discuss this, because i want to ask you about congressman justin amash being the first to say the president has performed criminal acts for impeachment. does this tell you that congress has to do oversight? >> when i'm in the fourth district like i am many weeks, i
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don't hear about impeachment from my constituents. i get a lot of conditions like infrastructure. my constituents don't ask me very frequently about impeachment. but to be clear, i've read the mueller report. there is significant findings in the mueller report, including in the concluding sentences in which the mueller report says, if we knew the president had not objestructed justice, we would y that, and we decline to do so. it is very clear if you read the mueller report that there is a need for congress to continue to do the oversight necessary to make a decision about whether or not we should begin impeachment. i also want to remind the american people, impeachment isn't a conviction. impeachment in the house is a decision that there is enough evidence that we should send the situation forward to the united states senate, which is the body that will conduct a trial and do
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additional fact-finding and determination. so the house's job here is to reach a different evidenciary threshold than the senate who would actually be this body that would decide whether or not this president had, in fact, committed obstruction of justice. our job is to see, is there enough evidence to push this forward. >> california congresswoman katie porter, come see me again. you have an open invitation. i would like to continue this conversation. >> thank you. president trump said he doesn't want any military showdown with iran, but can he resist pressure from his hawkish advisers? advisers you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. flonase.
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make no mistake, this is exactly what john bolton wanted to have happen. he pushed it under a rock with george bush, and he's pushing it under a rock in iran today. >> also a presidential candidate with his take between the u.s. and iran. joining me now, former native allied commander and security and diplomacy analyst. sir, always good to see you, admiral. thank you for being here. is he right? is this president being pushed into iran? and i'm curious, what do those
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exchanges typically look like between military advisers and presidents? >> john bolton is, in fact, well known for taking an extremely hawkish position on iran. the president, i think, on the other hand, on this one, is leaning back because he has an election coming. the last thing in the world president trump wants is to be engaged in a war in the middle east as he heads into 18 months before an election. kind of parked in the middle, alex, who i think is a balancer in this relationship, secretary of state mike pompeo. i think he lieeans toward a har line with iran but would rather use tools short of war. those are the dynamics at play, and in terms of how these conversations occur, typically they're in what's called the situation room in the white house. joint chiefs of staff are there, secretary of defense. bolton will be conducting those meetings so he has a lot of power as it unfolds.
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i don't think we'll head into combat with iran, but we will have much more tension as this summer approaches. >> the tenor of these conversations, though, i'm envisioning a west wing submission here. are the advisers allowed to speak with candor? >> in my experience, yes. i've been with republican, democrat, president bush, president obama. they will speak with dan docand. i think you can count on the chairman of joint chiefs, general joe dunford to speak directly. i have a great deal of faith in general dunford for portraying the actions accurately and also what an exchange with iran would be. >> i'm curious what you think of the president's statement.
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he said he's waiting for iran to contact him. are negotiations plausible? >> i think it's plausible but unlikely from where we sit right now. of course, this is classic president trump, new york, business, real estate. hey, pick up the phone and give me a call, we'll sort this out. unfortunately, that's not how these situations tend to get resolved. what has happened right now, alex, and why we're all concerned and why you and i are having this conversation is because of escalating tension and increasing movement of forces, both u.s. and iranian, into a very volatile arabian gulf. that's not going to get solved by a quick phone call. what is required here is real pressure on iran going forward with our allies. so my number one prescription for the president is let's get closer with our european allies as well as the saudis, as well as the israelis. we've got to be united in opposing iran. if we do that, i think we have a
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reasonable chance of avoiding a hot war. >> speaking of the volatility you mentioned there in the arabian gulf, since friday, u.s. officials have suggested now a de-escalation in the persian gulf. but then you see in the last 24 hours, this activity, exxonmobil evacuating oil workers from iraq. u.s. diplomats caution passenger airplanes flying over the gulf. worldwide shipping insurers consider raising rates. is the genie out of the bottle? can it be put back in? >> that remains to be seen. what is driving that event is that iran has actually used explosives against four tankers in the gulf about five days ago. that's what really ratcheted up the tensions. and reportedly, although this is less certain, may have used drones against saudi oil pipe lines ashore.
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so it's really iran that is really punching the button and launching some kind of explosive attack here. that's the genie that's out of the bottle right now. i think de-escalation is going to be tricky, to say the least. again, our best prospect here is to get this out of the u.s. versus iran and get it out to all the nations involved. everybody has an interest of getting that to the shipping. >> before i let you go, i do want to ask about the white house saying the president is considering pardons of servicemen accused of war crimes, and those include murder, attempted murder, desecration of corpses. what kind of message does this send? >> it will be a bad message to the military, because each of these cases are very different, alex, but they all have one thing in common. all of them were investigated by the military, conducted under military court martials, military trials, and these
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individuals who have been incarcerated are incarcerated in military prisons. so the argument that these are troops under intense stress who broke down and the courts just don't understand, huh-uh. the courts who convicted them were their peers in a very real way, fellow combat veterans. i would urge the president to tread very carefully here because we don't want to send a snag to a vast majority of our troops who would never engage in activity like this. >> thank you so much. >> thanks, alex. florida's governor isn't saying where voter rolls were hacked in the state in 2016. he says he can't talk about, but why why? will the public ever get the full story? get the full story so, every day, we put our latest technology and unrivaled network to work. ♪ the united states postal service makes
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there was no manipulation, didn't have any effect, but there were two counties, and i'm not allowed to name the counties. i signed a disclosure agreement. i would be willing to name it for you guys, but they asked me to do that so i'm going to respect their wishes. >> developing this hour, florida governor ron desantis, you heard him there say he's not allowed to say which counties' voter rolls were hacked in 2016. but politico says officials can announce which counties were attacked if they choose to do so. for politico, also an msnbc
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contributor. desantis said he signed this agreement. don't people have the right to know if they were defied by a foreign operator? >> they do, and that's what people in florida are really frustrated about, is the fbi characterizes the counters themselves rather than the voters to be the victims of this russian cyberattack. when you look at it, though, it really doesn't make much sense because, of course, it is the victims of this and the people who potentially had their voter registration information altered or stolen, or whatever happened in 2016. across the board, this is something the fbi does during the victim notification process. it is up to the victims themselves and the counties whether to disclose if they were actually targeted. >> so this means that the feds
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are facing bipartisan criticism, all kinds of allegations over classifying information. does this qualify in your mind as a case of overclassifying? >> there are people who say this is a dramatic overclassification. people on both sides of the aisle are wondering why the fbi would need to keep the names of the counties a secret if the russians already know that the fbi knows which counties were targeted, and the public at large knows that the gru, the russian intelligence military agency, did attack these counties in 2016. so there is a question of whether there is an investigation from security saying, we are still monitoring the activity so that in 2020, we can look at it again. telling the victims about this doesn't seem like it would create more harm.
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>> are the republicans ever going to find out whether their particular voter rolls were hacked, and what would it take to get that information? >> these things leak out, alex. they said in the panhandle they were hacked and politico actually confirmed that. these things always get out. what we have to do is keep on the pressure of the local election officials, saying, look, people have to have faith. turnout might be depressed in 2017 that their vote are laying it out for us. the first republican is crossing the aisle and bringing up the "i" word. there has been a torrent of reaction, but will any gop-er join him? gop-er join him feeling good? oh yeah. now i'm ready to focus on my project.
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did any of you hear the "bundle your home and auto" part? -i like that, just not when it comes out of her mouth. -yeah, as a mother, i wouldn't want my kids to see that. -good mom. -to see -- wait. i'm sorry. what? -don't kids see enough violence as it is? -i've seen violence. -maybe we turn the word "bundle" into a character, like mr. bundles. -top o' the bundle to you. [ laughter ] bundle, bundle, bundle. -my kids would love that. -yeah. i think anybody who knows justin's background knows he sometimes goes a different route. you don't see anybody else agreeing with him. >> justin amash has reached a different conclusion than i have. >> this is exactly what you
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would expect from justin. he never supported the president, and i think he's just looking for attention. >> you hear republicans distancing themselves from congressman justin amash after he broke with the party in declaring president trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. congressman amash also accused attorney general bill barr of deliberately misrepresenting mueller's report. join me now, elena beverly, who worked for the obama administration. bill press, nationally syndicated radio talk show host. and republican strategist susan delpercio. good to see y'all. let's get into it here with you, susan. how significant is congressman amash's decision to side with democrats on these views? >> it's not very significant, alex. besides the fact that you could see how his colleagues responded, this is one voice speaking, in my opinion, the truth, but it's not the avalanche that is necessary for democrats to take up impeachment when nancy pelosi was saying that we need a bipartisan effort. >> if it weren't justin amash, given his history, susan, would
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it have a different effect, do you think? >> no, because we've seen mitt romney separate himself from the administration. we've seen a couple things happen. even when it's one or two or three senators, we need to see a critical mass when it comes to this on the republican side. for saying exactly what congressman amash said, there are reasons to call for impeachment hearings based on the mueller report. >> there are reasons, but why do you think the congressman stopped short of making a direct call to start impeachment proceedings? >> well, unfortunately, i think that he actually is considering some of the phrasing that mitt romney stated, which is basically considering the politics and the practicality of the matter, and unfortunately, we just do not have enough members of congress who are willing to stand up for and be responsible about their duty to serve the american people, to serve the people and uphold the institutions of government as well as our constitution. >> and look, bill, there are some differing views on whether
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this is game changing or not for democrats. let's listen to congress members. here they are. >> i think it's a watershed moment. for weeks, speaker pelosi has said this needs to be bipartisan if it's going to move forward. i think justin amash coming on board means that there is now bipartisan support for really understanding the seriousness of what is in the mueller report. >> i think what the speaker has referred to, and i have as well, is can an impeachment be potentially successful in the senate? we see no signs of that yet. >> adam schiff's point well taken there. the justin amash declaration, bill, is it more significant to democrats than republicans? does this move democrats any closer to impeachment proceedings? >> well, first of all, let me say i'm glad to see one republican congressman has read the mueller report and reached his conclusions, which i think are very troubling.
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>> you're echoing the sentiments of elizabeth warren. she was saying the same thing. >> and of susan this morning too. i think also it's good to see one republican congressman with enough cojones to put his country above his party. but i don't think this one vote will make that much difference with what the democrats are wanting to do for a couple reasons. one, we don't -- democrats don't need votes in the house. one vote is one vote, right? that's bipartisan in the most narrow definition of it. what democrats need are votes in the senate. you give me five republican senators who say they would vote to convict if the evidence is there, that changes the game. this does not. secondly, speaker pelosi is very, very clear. she says, look, let's not focus on impeachment. let's focus on the legislative agenda. let's focus on the hearings. let's focus on 2020. justin amash is not going to change that focus. >> can i, susan, get your
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reaction to a theory about congressman amash's demonstration? let's listen to brian darling. >> i think justin amash is running for president. i think this is something that shows he is going to probably run as a libertarian for president. >> what do you think of that? >> not much. >> okay. >> and if he does, he does. that's fine, i suppose. he's sbientitled to. but what's more important here to me is as a republican who called for republicans to stand with democrats against president trump's call for a national emergency to have the funds moved for the wall because it was their constitutional responsibility, i feel the same way about the democrats in the house right now. it is clear that they can move -- should move, at least based on the findings of the mueller report, to impeachment hearings. that's their constitutional responsibility. it's a different choice to make a political decision. but you can't call on
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republicans to stand up because it's constitutionally right and not call up on democrats to do it as well. >> can i ask both of you, bill, first and then alaina, is this all just politics that is keeping the democrats from pushing even harder for impeachment? >> i just got to say, i think partly politics. i think it's really they don't want to divide the country knowing that it's never going to work. by pursuing the hearings, seeing what is there, bringing that evidence out to the american people, i think is the better and safer approach. >> is that's what you think, alaina, given where the senate stands? >> honestly, i do. i fight with my strategist colleagues about this all the time. impeach >> isis a zero-sum game after you build a record. the democrats are actually in a place right now where they can continue to build the record and then turn it over to the voters. and i think that's the way to go. >> okay. good to see you guys.
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happy sunday. thank you. coming up next hour, we're going to talk about this headline. why kamala harris keeps getting asked about becoming the veep nominee. he veep nominee. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ applebee's new loaded fajitas. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. applebyou wouldn't acceptitas. from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms
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impeachable conduct. a republican breaks with his party in calling out the president. will he be the only one? tax tug-of-war. the house democrats' next move to get trump's tax returns. knock down the house. a new documentary that
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chronicles alexandria ocasio-cortez's journey to becoming aoc. a very good day to all of you here at msnbc world headquarters in new york. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." rapids developments in the last few hours with the president slamming the first republican lawmaker to say the president committed impeachable offenses. the president lashing back on twitter within just the past couple hours, calling congressman justin amash, quote, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our republican id ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there. this all started yesterday when the congressman weighed in on the impeachment question after he says he carefully read the mueller report. he said impeachment does not require probable cause that a crime has been committed but that it, quote, simply requires a finding an individual is engaged in carrileeless or dishonorable conduct. he accused the attorney general
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of misrepresenting the findings of the mueller report. moments ago, i spoke with democratic congressman katy porter. she addressed the debate on whether considering how the gop-led senate will vote should play into the impeachment equation. >> impeachment isn't a conviction. impeachment in the house is a decision that there is enough evidence that we should send the situation forward to the united states senate, which is the body that will conduct a trial and do additional fact finding and determination. the house's job here is to reach a different evidentiary threshold than the senate. >> and this morning, a top member of the judiciary committee, where impeachment begins, said they are quickly headed toward opening an impeachment inquiry. >> i think it's a watershed moment. for weeks, speaker pelosi has said this needs to be bipartisan if it's going to move forward, just from the practical perspective of impeachment moving forward. i think justin amash coming on
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board means that there is now bipartisan support for really understanding the seriousness of what is in the mueller report. >> meanwhile, two top house republicans are emphasizing that congressman amash has previously and repeatedly criticized the president. >> i think anybody who knows justin's background knows that he sometimes goes a different route than the rest of the republicans in our conference. this is clearly one of those cases. >> he votes more with nancy pelosi han than he ever votes w me. what he wants is attention in this process. >> nbc's matt bradley is at the white house with more. let's get to a little more about what the president is saying about congressman amash. >> reporter: well, the president used some familiar words over a very familiar medium for him, lashing out against amash on twitter, calling him a total lightweight, calling him a loser
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and said there was no collusion, no obstruction. even challenged amash saying even if he read the report, he would have seen that. amash said he read the whole 448-page report yesterday in his 13-tweet that laid out the arguments for impeachment. this is one of those things that depends on how you see the investigation. those in favor of impeachment are going to say this is proof that this is a bipartisan issue, that amash is crossing the aisle, that he's a conservative republican. after all, he's a member of the freedom caucus, that 32-member group that's fairly to the right among other caucuses in congress. others are going to say this isn't an indicator of anything at all, as we've been hearing from some of your guests this morning. he's always been a renegade. he's always been a critic of the president. this doesn't really amount to that kinds of bipartisan support
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for impeachment that nancy pelosi and others have been calling for. we have schiff and romney giving opposite perspectives here. >> he showed more courage than any other republican in the house or senate but what may be pushing us in the direction of impeachment has less to do with justin amash and more to do with the fact the administration is engaging in this campaign. >> my own view is that justin amash has reached a different conclusion than i have. i respect him. i think it's a courageous statement. >> so obviously this is kind of throwing a grenade into republican debates around impeachment, but really this week look at how it affects the democratic field for the 2020 election and see if it tips the scale there is. that's been a really big litmus test for democrats who are running for president, whether or not they support impeachment.
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>> okay. matt bradley at the white house, thank you for that setup. here we go, everyone. welcome to all three of you. charlie, you first. do you get the sense justin amash is acting on principle, do you think he's motivated by politics, being in a purple state there in michigan? what is ultimately behind his comments? >> well, i don't want to get inside of his head, but justin amash has a history of huing to certain principles. he voted against trump's declaration that there was a national emergency that let him spend more money on the border wall than congress had appropriated for that purpose. but even going back into the obama era, he was sort of of that libertarian/constitutionalist slant when it came to things like war and whether it needs to be authorized by congress and surveillance. so this fitds very neatly within
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that kind of tangential to the mainstream republican party stance he's had all along. i heard someone the last hour saying he's just running for president. i don't see any reason to believe he's just trying to get attention. this seems like amash being amash. >> that was interesting. we almost didn't have the conversation after that. moving on, so we have republicans this morning who are dismissing amash as an outlier. but is this something that some republican voters would take note of? >> you know, certainly i think some will. i think there's a lot of discomfort even among republicans. we've seen a lot of republicans who are more moderate stop identifying as republicans, sort of move themselves into an independent camp. i certainly think the same folks who might have voted for trump but are feeling a little uneasy about that decision are open to voting for someone else. certainly this may resonate with them. but i think that, you know, what the republican reaction has been, has been really to batten
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down the hatches and sort of say this guy's an outlier. we don't even know if he's one of us anymore. this is not really what republicans are doing. this is just what justin amash, who's his own thing, is doing. he votes with nancy pelosi. so there's definitely, i think, an effort to sort of push him out of the fold and say this is not where we are, this is just one guy. so far, you know, they have a point. i think there's a good chance that amash will remain an outlier. >> pushing him out of the fold, james, but into this because you heard congressman saying this is a sign that there's bipartisan support. do you think it's too early to make that assessment? will this go anywhere? >> well, it's not too early. it's logistically true. that'll be the new talking point of the democratic party going forward. elizabeth warren mentioned this fact at a house party in new hampshire just an hour or so
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ago. it's now a bipartisan effort. but where it heads from here, it's important to remember the calendar. we're now already in the middle of a presidential primary season. if you are actually going to move forward with an impeachment, it's going to take a lot of time, particularly the fact democrats are not prepared to move right now on that. in fact, democrats have appeared to want to have investigations and do something else, whether it's infrastructure or any number of issues they want to pursue. that's fine, but in terms of actually logistically beginning with impeachment because of, say, justin amash wants to do something, i'm very skeptical. i actually do think we are running out of time. >> that's a very practical assessment you offer there. i don't think you're wrong. we also heard from congressman schiff. let's play something else he said. >> if the only way that we can do our oversight is through an impeachment proceeding, then maybe we have to go down that road, but i think it'll be important to show the american people this was a decision made reluctantly. this is a decision forced upon
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us. >> you know, can they make that case, charlie? given that democrats have been talking impeachment pretty much since trump took office. >> i think there's a technical thing he's getting at that's maybe one level removed from the question you're asking, which is that what are the things they're trying to get right now is grand jury information that underlies the mueller report, not just the blacked out portions of the mueller report but raw transcripts of what people said. it's not clear that the judge who oversees the grand jury that mueller used has the authority to give that information to congress absent an impeachment proceeding. so there's this technical legal reason why having something open might make it easier for them to get one of the 50 million different categories of information they've been trying to get and have been systemically stonewalled over. >> so the op-ed that was in the
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hill, which argued democrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook, continuing to write in part, since mueller stated there was no collusion, democrats unwillingness to open an impeachmented inquiry undermines their claims. almost instantly you could feel desperation growing. do you think in terms of timing democrats missed their window of opportunity? >> i think when you heard even from governor -- i mean senator romney, earlier this morning was that there's a difference between the bucket of whether or not you feel the president committed impeachment offenses. then there's the other bucket about politically if the country has moved on and is not there with you to do it. clearly some progressive democrats feel like if you went down the path of impeachment, maybe you can convince people to come along with you. it's certainly true that whether it was political gamesmanship
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from attorney general barr or people's own interpretation of how they read or how they heard about the mueller report that the political argument in terms of the broad swath of the country is not there on impeachment, even if they think he made possibly impeachment offenses. >> all this comes amid the reports of the increasing frustration by democrats over their stalled investigations into the president. how long do you think the white house can stonewall? >> oh, i think they can stonewall for a very long time. you know, i think that they view time as on their side. the goal for them is to draw this out as much as possible. if that means tossing it to the courts, then so be it. courts take a long time to resolve things, even when they're easy cases. there's always appeals. i absolutely think running out the clock, getting to 2020, beyond 2020 is absolutely something that this administration wants to do and honestly probably can do. when you have schiff, who's been
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really measured in a lot of ways since this report came out, starting to talk about impeachment, you're starting to talk about the fact they could just sort of see their investigations go nowhere all the way through this coming election and potentially beyond. because of stonewalling from this administration. they're not coming to testify. they're not responding to subpoenas. they're actually going out and proactively suing in order to stop certain records from becoming shared with congress. so i absolutely think that that is a strategy. when you have someone like schiff starting to talk about impeachment, he's doing that because he realizes this administration can just run out the clock. so they might have to take this to another level if they want to do that joemoversight. >> extraordinary tactic. good to see all three of you. thank you, guys. it could be the key moment on capitol hill this week that could bring the country a step closer to seeing the president's tax returns. or not. i'll talk with a member of
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developing this hour, the tug of war over the president's tax returns, escalating to a whole new level.
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the house ways and means committee considering its next steps after steve mnuchin refuses to comply with a subpoena to give six years of the president's federal tax returns to congress. joini joining me now -- i'm curious as we begin here, do you agree with your chairman that proceeding to court is the best option? do you think that could happen this week? or are there other ways your committee can try to enforce this subpoena? >> alex, thanks very much. i think the most important thing is to move immediately. they are trying to run out the clock, and democratic timidity and delays will only permit them to do that. i believe we should hold mr. mnuchin in contempt. they have shown contempt for the constitution and the right of congress to get these records in a statute that says they shall provide. they have shown contempt just like their master, mr. trump, has shown contempt for the constitution. but if we are to proceed to court, let's get it done now.
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i think the better way is to hold them in contempt and to use inherent contempt with the penalties involved instead of seeing this delayed through hearings and appeals and rehearings so the trump administration accomplishes its objective of denying any access to congress to these documents. >> yes, doing what we were calling in the last discussion stonewalling. but when you talk about holding them in contempt, what does that look like? >> it looks like the congress voting to hold them in contempt since they've shown such contempt for the constitution and the clear language of a statute, issuing a summons for them to appear, giving a committee responsibilities to determine whether they have any basis for rejecting the subpoena, and if not, then to confine them. i think we have the power to do both. that has been recognized
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repeatedly. you'll recall in watergate, senator sam irvin told nixon officials, either show up here or you're going to be put in jail. whether we use a fine or confinement, we need to take bold action or this administration will recognize it can get away with most anything. >> could this be done concurrently with court filings, holding in contempt, potentially seeing, you know, watching the media see these people put into handcuffs and taken to jail? i mean, could all this happen simultaneously? >> i see no reason why it could not. and again, this does not necessarily mean putting them in jail, although i think it would be good for us to explore what correctional facilities in the washington area are available. but they could be fined. that might be -- you know, i think some of these officials -- it may be that trump populated his cabinet as he has with mnuchin and other billionaires so they don't mind $25,000, $50,000 a day. but i think there are some
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people in the trump administration who don't want to take the risk and might begin to respond to their public lawful responsibilities instead of just being people that follow trump right down the path to wrongdoing. >> for his part, steve mnuchin has repeatedly argued that your committee does not have legitimate legislative purpose to try to request the president's tax returns. what do you say to that? >> well, you know, the white house broadened that this week and responded to the congress that the only thing the congress can do is if it plans to implement or approve some legislation. that's the only basis for an investigation. that is a reading of the powers of this branch of government that has never existed before. this president seems to have a tyrant admiration society. he has doer uterte come. he has one thug after another at the white house. he admires these people. if we keep ceding authority to him with our timidity and don't
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ask forcefully, he will grab all the power he can and move us toward a strong man form of government. >> let's get to michigan congressman justin amash. we've been talking a lot about him because he's the first republican lawmaker to declare the president committed impeachment offenses. what's your reaction to that? and might it push democrats closer to consensus as to weighing whether or not to bring forth impeachment proceedings? >> well, justin is a republican who votes most of the time with donald trump. we're on opposite sides. but he's also a person of integrity and of courage. what's really amazing in the last 24 hours is not just what justin said but what other republicans will not say. they tried to distance themselves from him and him from donald trump, but they do not provide any explanation why the facts that he talks about are not applicable.
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i believe it's clear that donald trump has committed impeachable offenses. the only question is whether moving forward with impeachment immediately is in favor. it may be we have no choice but to move forward with impeachment given his conduct and his refusal, not unlike some mafia gang, to let anyone say anything or provide any documents. >> congressman, i want to get to one question on iran, sir. sources are telling the associated press that former cia director john brennan will be briefing house democrats this week on the situation. it is scheduled for the same day as the trump administration's closed-door briefings for lawmakers. i'm curious, are you going to -- do you plan to attend both sessions? i'm curious also about the information you're looking for from democrats and from brennan as opposed to the what the trump administration might say. can you confirm brennan is coming to speak with you? >> i can't confirm, but i'd
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certainly welcome his sound advice, and i'll be at the trump administration briefing also. i was very involved in opposing the misinformation and propaganda from bush and cheney that led us into the greatest disaster in american foreign policy history. this is a dangerous point. i didn't think we would reach it until next year when donald trump needed a war to distract from all of his whererongdoing at home. but john bolton, the dr. strange love of this administration and the saudis, to whom trump seems to have outsourced so much of our policy in the middle east, they pose a clear and present danger. so i plan to be actively involved in this. i hope my colleagues will be too. it's a very dangerous time for us to take on a country four times as big as iraq with all the thousands of lives that have already been lost, all the families that have been disrupted. i don't think americans want to go to war there and provoked by the declaration of a terrorist
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organization for a part of the very dangerous part of the iranian government and the withdrawal from a sound nuclear agreement negotiated with allies from other parts of the world. that was so wrong, and now bolton seems to be leading us along the lines. i remember that claim made back during the iraq war that boys go to baghdad but that real men go to tehran. it is that kind of approach that has done so much harm to america, and we need not to continue down that path again. >> texas congressman lloyd doggett, i appreciate your candor. thank you. of all the democrats tossing their hat into the 2020 ring, bill de blasio's announcement may have dropped with the most resounding thud. a new york journalist who knows de blasio is joining me next. de blao siis joining me next e v, you never hear "it's not my job." that's because right where you live, there's a need for your time and skills and effort and talent. please consider volunteering and feeling that feeling that you helped someone today.
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new york city mayor bill de blasio is defending his run for president since announcing his candidacy, he's campaigned in iowa and south carolina, and this morning de blasio defended again. >> who is the bill de blasio voter? who's your constituency here? >> a vision that's about working
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people has a very strong appeal across the board. i have six years of evidence that change can happen for working people. we've shown what it looks like when the government is actually on the side of working people and willing to take on the 1%. >> joining me now, a journalist who has covered de blasio closely, political reporter with politico. this is such an interesting article that you wherrote. before de blasio announced he was running, you reported his allies were saying to him, do not do it. so what do you make now of the way he answered that question from my colleague, and could you identify anyone who wants him to run? >> well, yes, it's true we spoke to more than three dozen people who are close to the mayor and his family and the vast majority of them thought it was a terrible idea for him to run for president, that it could have a negative impact on the rest of his term as mayor if he didn't win. and so it's become clear he's taking his own counsel and
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thinks on his own this is a good idea, this is not necessarily anyone urging him to do this. he thinks that he has something that no other candidate in the race has, which is this massive executive experience running new york city for the last six years and putting into place progressive policies like universal pre-kindergarten that a lot of other democrats in the field already would lover to be able to say they had already done. >> to that point, people are going to have to get to this article because you definitely qualify those things he claims as his accomplishments as well. with regard to defending the jabs he's taken at the president, because he says that's what voters want to see, here's some back and forth between these two new yorkers. >> i can't believe it. i just heard that the worst mayor in the history of new york city and without question the worst mayor in the united states is now running for president.
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>> hey, con don, i saw your video, and man you looked really low energy. you were getting your facts wrong. i really think you better rest up because you're going to need it for the election ahead. we're coming for you. >> so what do you make of how de blasio's framing his opposition to the president? by the way, didn't the president take a little flak for doing that on board air force one? >> absolutely. i think that mayor de blasio is pulling from the playbook that he used to win re-election as mayor in 2017, in part because donald trump is so broadly unpopular in new york city. now, what's interesting there is that dynamic does not hold across the rest of the country. donald trump is not as unpopular in a lot of other places in america as he is in new york city, which is a very liberal place in a lot of places. and i don't know if it's a strategy that's going to work. you haven't seen a lot of other candidates take that tack with the president. >> what about the possibility that de blasio is running for
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president to try to repair his political image? people have suggested that. what do you think? >> i don't know about that. i think that what we've heard from people who used to work for him from people in his orbit is that he has sort of a compulsion, a fascination, an obsession, if you will, with national politics. he's always been interested in it ever since he first became mayor in 2014. he immediately started thinking about ways he could have an impact on the national conversation. he's been involved in national politics for his entire career. he was hillary clinton's former campaign manager when she ran for u.s. senate. he was on the ground in iowa for john edwards. >> so you'd think all of this would give him a resume and a platform that, you know, people would say, okay, go bill, but that's not what you're hearing. why is he so unpopular? >> it's hard to put your finger on it, but he has a pretty bad relationship with the new york
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city press corps that covers him. early on in his term, a lot of what he was doing was defined by some mistakes he had of being extremely tardy, even to important things like memorials. he dropped a groundhog, then it died later. maybe unrelated. he ate pizza with a knife and fork. things that sort of maybe impacted the dignity and gravitas of the office that weren't necessarily his faumt. he also doesn't seem to care that people don't like him. to be fair, not everybody doesn't like him, but he has about 40%, 45% approval rating in new york city. >> well, you talk about those things that affect the dignity and you have a president that tweets about losers and lightweights. thai thank you, laura. now joining me, barbara lee. welcome back to the broadcast, ma'am. let's get to who you are
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endorsed, which is kamala harris. what do you think about mayor de blasio throwing his hat in the race? i'm curious what you thought because i know in 2015 you were with de blasio when he kicked off his progressive agenda campaign. >> look, i think that we have an extraordinary field of candidates. what's important is we come out of that convention unified so we can defeat donald trump and his very backwards, very dangerous agenda. each candidate brings forth new constituencies, different c constituencies, which broadens the base of the democratic party. i think whoever is the nominee will unify everyone to move forward. i certainly have endorsed senator kamala harris. i think when the public saw her grilling and questioning attorney general barr, her prosecutorial skills, her experience, she's never lost an election, i mean, i think kamala harris can win, and i know we're
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organizing a very grassroots campaign and broadening the base for the party with women, people of color, millennials, people who didn't just vote in the last elections. i think senator harris is going to be the nominee, and i think that members of -- the candidates who are running now will broad than base, which will make sure that we win in november. >> there's no doubt she is a very, very impressive candidate. let's get to this issue here about the anti-abortion bans because not only are you the author of the each woman act, which gives women equal access to abortion coverage, you're also the co-chair of the pro-choice caucus. i want to take a listen to what senator kirsten gillibrand said earlier. >> this is nothing short of an all-out assault on women's reproductive freedom. i hope america's women are paying attention because president trump has started a war on america's women. if it's a fight he wants to have, it's a fight he's going to have and he's going to lose.
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>> do you agree with the senator? i'm curious what you're doing to fight this and might you file an injunction. >> she's absolutely correct. i remember the days of back-alley abortions very well. i remember the days of roe versus wade very well. i have to say this is a very dangerous moment for women. women should have the right to determine their own health care. they should have the right to make those hard decisions. no government official, no politician should get in the way of women's decisions that are very difficult. let me just tell you, this is another dangerous moment because what you see are these states trying to pass these very deadly -- and that's what they are. they're disproportionately going to impact women of color, these deadly measures to get to the supreme court to overturn roe
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versus wade. but we're not going to go back there. women are mobilizing around the country, and men. this is a war on women's health. women in no way should even believe we're going to let those days take us back to the days before roe versus wade. my each woman act really does provide for the end of discrimination against low-income women and women of color in terms of the reproductive health choices and awe allows for one of those choices to be abortions. >> we have 18 months until the election. how does this play out for 2020? >> this is going to play out in a way that we've never seen before. we're going to see women. we're going to see low-income women. we're going to see progressives. we're going to see people of color. we're going to see everyone. i believe we're going to see millennials really coming out en masse to vote. oftentimes we don't -- many young people don't remember the
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days before roe versus wade. now they know what is at risk. they know that this trump administration and the far right are trying to take away their basic human rights. women's rights are human rights. the right to make their own decision about their own body, these are human rights. so i think the voters are going to come out with a strong vote to say no way will we go back to the days of back-alley abortions. too many women died. too many women could die now. we're not going to let this happen and we're going to vote to make sure it does not happen. >> california congresswoman barbara lee. thank you so much. always good to see you. >> my pleasure. coming up next, we're going to talk about this headline. why kamala harris keeps getting asked about becoming veep. p.
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if you become the presidential nominee of your party, will you choose a woman to be your vice president? >> i want to choose somebody that will complement what i have, could step in and be president in case something happened, and will actually reflect and represent different life experiences than i've had along the way. a woman could certainly do that. >> montana governor and 2020 contender steve bullock earlier today. here's how one of the women on the trail, senator kamala harris, feels about those discussions. >> senator, are you sick of all the talk of how you'd be a perfect running mate?
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>> you know, listen, i think that, sure, if people want to speculate about running mates, i encourage that. i think that joe biden would be a great running mate. as vice president, he's proven he knows how to do the job. >> there you go. let's bring in msnbc contributor adrian elrod, former director of strategic communications for the clinton campaign, democratic strategi strategist don calloway. my sunday group. good to see you again. adrian, we just heard the senator flip that script on the question that's being asked of many of the men running for president. why is this conversation about running mates different for women? >> well, you know, first of all, alex, i thought senator harris did a wonderful job of sort of clapping back, injecting a little humor into the question, but you know, i have to wonder why is she even getting these questions? why is this speculation even coming forward about why a woman has to be the number two to joe
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biden, who's currently leading the polls. there's 20 other candidates, at least, who are polling underneath him. why is the question coming to senator harris, you know, what do you think about being the nominee? we're so early in the race. we have not even started the first debate yet. a lot is going to change. i think it's very insulting, and frankly, i think it's indicative of where we are still as a society when it comes to accepting women as elected leaderings, especially those running for the highest office in the land. >> what do you think, don? is there sexism there? if it's not, what else could it be? >> it's fully sexism. fundamentally, this country is still fundamentally sexist and fundamentally racist. that's the only reason people are asking kamala harris, who is imminently qualified, the only reason we're getting this is because we're still not prepared to see a woman at the top slot. let's be clear. only one of the first 11 democratic candidates was a straight white male. of the remaining 12 who have gotten in, ten of them are
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straight white males. what we've seen is a situation in which somewhere in the subconscious of the democratic party, folks think we need a straight white male to come save the day from this president. i fundamentally reject that. we need somebody who represents all of america and who can bring more people into the equation, particularly from a voting participation perspective. i don't think that has to be a joe biden. i think kamala harris is imminently qualified. >> all right. there's a mention of joe biden here, so what do you think, amy, in regard to the way he held his kickoff rally yesterday, making that case for unity, painting president trump as the divider in chief? did you see a candidate there that is a threat to this president? >> he is a threat to a degree inas far as those who maybe aren't comfortable with president trump's personality. maybe they are happy with some of his policies, but it's the personality that rubs them the wrong way. i think joe biden is very wisely
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capitalizing on that as trying to be somebody who is more of a statesman, more of a gentleman, if you will. is it wishful thinking, though, that the entire party will become united and all the sudden mind its ps and qs and open the door for each other and pat each other on the back? definitely wishful thinking. >> all right. can i ask you, is this all about what it appears right now that, joe biden is effectively running on electability? does that work for him? you first, adrienne. >> you know, alex, it is. i think he's going to lay out his campaign, announce some policies in the coming weeks. i think joe biden is the one rare candidate in this race who can actually run on a message of electability. we see it in the polls time and time again. when you poll democratic party voters and caucus goers in the early states in particular, they believe at this moment he's the most electable against donald trump. i believe that will change when
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we start the debate process, when more and more candidates come forward and people are able to see them collectively on stage talking to each other, having policy debates. i think more people will come forward as people and candidates who can take on trump. right now joe biden is doing exactly -- if i was advising him, he's doing exactly what he should be doing. >> you agree, don? >> yeah, he's running on electability and also familiarity. joe biden's main cache is his proximity to the most popular politician of our lifetime, barack obama. but i continue to challenge this notion of what does electability mean? on some very subconscious level, electability means a square-jawed, heterosexual white guy. i reject that notion. i will until i'm done with this political game. >> okay. unfortunately, i've got to wrap there. that means, amy, i'm starting with you next time. good to see all three of you. the improbable win of alexandria ocasio-cortez. i'll speak with the filmmaker of a new documentary on the democratic activist seeking to
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four of those women including now-representative alexandria ocasio-cortez and joining me now, rachel, the film's director. big congrats to you, rachel. this is being met with great applause and appreciate. but tell me what stood out to you about these four women because there were hundreds who ran for congress. so, what made you follow their campaigns? >> well, thanks so much for having me, alex. i decided to follow these four women because they had already personal reasons for running for office. each of them had experienced loss or injustice or both in ways that really infused their campaigns with the kind of urgency and high stakes i'm always looking if for as a filmmak filmmaker. each of them had a real winning on-screen presence that i knew was going to be compelling to watch, win or lose, because at the time all of these were considered long-shot campaigns. i wanted to make sure it would be worth watching no matter what happened. >> so we know the outcomes. three of the four women you
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followed lost their bids. alexandria ocasio-cortez, she became aoc. why did she prevail while the others were unsuccessful? >> well, i think there are also different dynamics in any election race. you got the candidate, incumbent, dynamics of the district. i think there are -- there's a lot of factors going on and each race is different. in the case of alexandria, she ran a fantastic campaign. she's very gifted at expressing complex, nuance, political ideas in a way that ordinary people can connect with. i think the way -- what we're trying to explore in the film is really the personal side of what that transformation looks like to go from being an ordinary person into becomeing a viable candidate for federal office. you really sheet in her. >> she also seems to be fearless. i mean, she just goes for it. do you think, though, that the impact of these women will be
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felt in future congressional makeups? that the fact that there are 529, do you have every expectation based on what you saw that there are more women that are saying we're going to do the same thing? >> absolutely. i think you see these waves continuing. and you also see the effects even in as the current 2020 cycle heats up, each of these four women changed the conversation in their districts. so even though others may not have won their elections this time, they did win the conversations and a lot of the platforms that they were all running on are now a much bigger part of our national conversation. >> it is on netflix. it's called "knock down the house." rachel lears, well done, thank you so much. >> thank you. ahead the next hour, a new report from "the new york times" about suspicious activity alerting deutsche bank and its involving accounts linked to donald trump and jared kushner. we've got the report on that story coming up with kendis. balanced nutrition for strength and energy!
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we're all at a time here only "weekends with alex witt." time for kendis. >> good afternoon. i'm kendis gibson at msnbc headquarters. we're beginning with breaking news. largest banks in the world over suspicious activity involving president trump and jared kushner's bank accounts. what the bank did about it.


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