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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  May 21, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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government spending and whether or not that's where the american people are. the other one is we saw this in a leadership meeting among democrats last night where nancy pelosi is like begging her party, please don't impeach so we can focus on issues like health care because that's what we win on and you see little by little the members around her saying, no, we want to focus on impeachment, there's too much going on, we need more leverage. they say it's the right thing to do. so health care is at the haeart of that. that's what nancy pelosi is talking about. >> jim vandehei, thanks for your time this morning. >> take care. >> you can sign up at signup.axios.com. >> that does it for us on this tuesday morning. i'm yasmin vossoughian alongside geoff bennett. "morning joe" starts right now. ♪ ♪ good morning and welcome to "morning joe."
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it is tuesday, may 21st. along with joe, willie and me we have veteran columnist and msnbc contributor mike barnicle, jonathan lemire, washington bureau chief and author of "the mate tr matriarch," susan page and jeremy bash is with us well. we have a lot going on, including investigations into the trump presidency and attempts to hold the administration accountable. the white house has directed former counsel don mcgahn to defy a congressional subpoena to testify before the house judiciary committee this morning. in a letter to committee chairman jerry nadler, white house counsel said the justice department has, quote, advised me that mr. mcgahn is absolutely
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immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters occurring during his service as a senior adviser to the president. he went on to say the president has directed mr. mcgahn not to appear at the committee's scheduled hearing. a lawyer for mcgahn later said the former white house counsel would, quote, respect the president's instruction and not appear today. congressman david cicilline says it is time to launch an impeachment inquiry if mcgahn doesn't testify. we're going to speak live with the rhode island democrat just ahead. meanwhile, a federal judge sides with the house oversight and reform committee in president trump's lawsuit aimed at blocking lawmakers from getting eight years of his financial records from an accounting firm. according to axios, trump's lawyers argued the subpoena was
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unconstitutional because it wasn't tied to any specific legislation. but attorneys for the oversight committee said the financial disclosures will serve to improve existing ethics and disclosure laws while giving new insight into whether trump is compliant with the emoluments clause of the constitution. the president said he will appeal the decision. also yesterday we learned that michael cohen told lawmakers that trump's attorney, jay sekulow, encouraged him to falsely claim that negotiations to build a trump tower in moscow ended in january of 2016. and more from republican justin amash, who essentially said to trump i'll see your tweet attack and raise you another twitter thread. he is doubling down on his assessment that the president engaged in impeachable behavior and is now explaining to the
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people who say one cannot obstruct justice without an underlying crime, why that is just not so. with all that swirling, president trump clapped along as supporters chanted for the jailing of his perceived enemies. while he touted the attorney general, who the a.p. describes as trump's champion and advocate. >> well, we have a great new attorney general who is going to give it a very fair look, a very fair look. >> so there's an awful lot to sort through here, mika. >> goodness gracious. >> willie, we can start with executive privilege. they are claiming, the white house is claiming executive privilege had there is no basis
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in fact for executive privilege here. jerry nadler wrote a letter again, it's quoting established law. so the white house won't care about it. but the courts most certainly will as they proved yesterday. he says in one part as judge bates previously explained, the notion that a former white house counsel is quote absolutely immune from a congressional subpoena has been, quote, virtually foreclosed upon by the supreme court. you take this move along with the white house counsel's move to try to block those financial records, which a judge said, sorry, no luck, along with jay sekulow, reportedly advising a former white house lawyer -- a former lawyer of the president's to lie in testimony, and you take barr's own statement. this is actually -- it appears
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to be a white house being run by corrupt lawyers and they're just shamelessly trying to delay the inevitable for as long as they can while the president of the united states is actually churning americans up into chanting about locking up the fbi. where would you like to start on that? >> you can see why the president in that clip we just showed is so pleased can the attorney general. this memo came from the justice department from jerry nadler and the judiciary committee saying that don mcgahn cannot testify before the committee. robert mule aeller in volume twy no conclusion on obstruction. don mcgahn says the president asked him to fire the special
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counsel and talk to jeff session about revisiting the idea of recusing himself from the investigation. don mcgahn because the question of obstruction was left open by bob mueller, if anyone, is the man who should sit before the judiciary committee. >> often times congressional investigators will try to get evidence from other sources if for some reason because of privileges they can't get access to a main witness. here there are no other witnesses. don mcgahn was asked, he was directed by the president to do something that was unauthorized, illegal and to lie about it to the records and to investigators. so congress has no choice. of course we can't live in a society in which the president is above the law, above inquiry. the constitution allows congress to investigate the president's high crimes and misdemeanors. don mcgahn is going to have to provide testimony if congress is going to be able to discharge that duty.
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>> jonathan lemire, the president has finally found, as he said, he's finally found his pit bull as an attorney general, who doesn't care about the law, who commits perjury before the united states congress and who sends out -- who sends out letters claiming executive privilege where it does not exist. give us a bird's i've view of what the white house strategy is moving forward. >> first of all, to any democratic probe, the white house strategy is simple, three words, just say no. they are going to attempt to stonewall at every possible turn. they are going to claim executive privilege, they are going to defy subpoenas, they are going to withhold witnesses and testimony. they are going to try to play this in the courts, play the
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long game, thinking that they could get perhaps a favorable legal ruling. but even short of that, that they can extend this, punt this into next year with the thinking that the longer these court battles go, the closer they get to the election that the white house and republicans will be able to point to the democrats and say, look, this is purely political. the election let's say is only a few months away. let's just let the voters decide. let's not have these outstanding legal fights and they're try to paint this as partisan overreach. in terms of the attorney general, that's our story today about the growing relationship between the president and william barr, how we all know that president trump was deeply disappointed with jeff sessions, himself first attorney general, for, mind you, doing the right thing according to justice department guidelines in recusing himself from the russia probe. but trump viewed it as a betrayal, and he never forgave sessions. barr feels that the president should more or less not be investigated on any measure
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while in office and trump has been grateful for his efforts, the wave he framed the mueller report with that four-page letter that set the terms of the debate before we all saw the document, the combative press conference with reporters, his testy standoff with democratic lawmakers on capitol hill when he testified then. and in an overlooked moment earlier this spring when the president issued his veto when congress tried to stop his national emergency declaration at the border, you height recall he had an event in the oval office justifying what he was doing and barr said the president had legal standing to do that and then he went further, surprising even trump, and saying, sir, you have a moral imperative to the american people, you're keeping us safe. and trump told people around him that he finally had my attorney general, he had someone who was
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going to have his interests at heart. >> you know, gene robinson, just since the show started, i've just sketched a few fots about donald trump's lawyers and what they've been doing. it's really shocking. this is just really all what's unfolded over the past 24 hours, it's all in the headlines. first you have reports that the president's lawyer encouraged a key witness to commit perjury before congress. you have an attorney general of course who committed perjury before congress. lied. it's on tape. three, you have an attorney general's claims of executive privilege that at least call where i used to practice law in northwest florida a sham pleadi pleading. there is no basis in fact for that, for fact or law.
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you have a call for rebuking white house lawyers and getting donald trump's finance record. and five, i found just shocking, the attorney general of the united states of america lying on camera about the origins of the mueller investigation and actually talked about the steele dossier when he knows he's a liar when he says that. he knows that was not the origins of it. this has been talked about for months and months. and yet he goes on tv -- the attorney general of the united states of america, not only has he been caught lying to the house and lying to the senate, he is now lying on camera about the origins of that investigation. so, gene, where do we go from here? you're writing about justin amash this morning. any other president would be
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going through impeachment hearings by now. >> for sure. >> absolutely. any other president would be going through impeachment hearings and this one may be going through impeachment hearings sooner than we know. because, you know, this reafuse everything and run-out-the-clock scenario may not be working. that judge had no patience for the sham pleading, as you say, that was made by the president's lawyers about those records and refused to stay his order and basically put it in the lap probably of the appeals court. the appeals court may do the same thing and say get out of here and follow the law. and so it the first court ruling
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in this whole thing, this whole multi-headed this evening is ve encouraging because it indicates that maybe the courts are not going to play along with the run-out-the-clock strategy and are actually going to step up and say you got to do what the law says you got to do. you know, that would restore one as faith, i think, in our system and its ability to exercise the checks and balances that are built into the constitution. this president has no respect for them, the attorney general has no respect for them. you know, his idea of a lawyer is tom hagan of the "godfather." he wants a bunch of them and apparently has got them. >> mika, a lot of people might start talking about impeachment. that's a very long process. i think at the very least you see all these ads by tom steyer talking about impeach president
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trump. i tell you something that could be done more quickly and more effectively is looking back at what happened with bill clinton. blnt got bill clinton got impeached but he got disbarred from the arkansas supreme court for committing perjury. you have the attorney general of the united states of america who has committed perjury. it's on tape. it would seem to make a lot of sense or tom steyer or other people who want to move this process forward and get honesty back in the white house to actually get some lawyers and actually start moving to get the attorney general of the united states disbarred. the truth is out there, the evidence is out there and there's a certain new york city broadcasting legend said, let's go to tape. i mean, that's what they should
quote
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do. he is unworthy to be attorney general of the united states, and he is unworthy of even being an officer of the court because he is lying every day. >> well, i asked the speaker of the house about that. we'll get to that in just a moment. but first, i spoke with nancy pelosi for a headliner special that will air next month. i asked her whether a conservative stepping up changes anything. >> bipartisan support for impeachment has to be in the senate. in terms of congressman amash, his voice speaks to the silence of so many other -- all the other republicans not to hold this president accountable for the oath of office that he takes to protect and defend the
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constitution, respecting the co-equal branches of government. so amash may be one voice but the fact that it is in the absence of other voices, it speaks very loudly. >> doesn't it put more pressure on you that a conservative republican says the threshold for impeachment has been met. >> no. >> no? >> no. >> why? >> this is not about passion, not about prejudice, it's not about politics. it's about patriotism and the presentation of the facts so that the american people can see why we're going down a i don't know. i feel very confident that the american people know that they deserve to know the truth and that's what we want to present to them. in a way that they don't perceive to be without the presentation of the facts. >> should congress be working to impeach who lied and committed
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perjury before the eyes of congress? >> the fact that the attorney general of the united states would lie to congress again, we're on the path of contempt for him. >> you are? >> that's what i would hope. >> the definition of subpoena is literally under penalty. what is the pnl fusing respond to a subpoena. is there article three that he did not honor the speen of the congress of the united states. before they got to that place at that time, they had a long investigation. and that's what we're doing now,
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then we have some options available to us. one in particular is they're saying you have no purpose for these subpoenas. well, under the constitution one of purposes would be to see if you want to go down the path of impeachment. the oth there are other purposes as well. >> so what have you learned? >> well, so much about her life and what an inspiration she is, how smart she is, how confident she is and how disciplined she is. there's no doubt that everything that has happened in her life has brought her to this moment and that she is the ultimate challenge for president donald trump. what's so interesting is it's very clear she has deep feelings about his lack of fitness for office, deep feelings, very clear feelings, but she is not driven by that. she's driven by what's best for the country, what best process to follow so that people can feel -- the american people can
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feel that they are represented in this process. so while impeachment seems like the easy way to go because there and there are processes that she can trigger to hold this president accountable, she really feels that getting the facts and the process of getting the fact exacts is far more important so that the we'll can stand what has happened in this presidency. >> nancy pelosi is in a very strange was. >> nancy pelosi has warned that president trump is trying to goad house democrats into impeachment. i think that's true and in a way it's working. nancy pelosi physicals increasing pressure from some i
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that the congress has a will the purpose in going after them and that gives nancy pelosi some breathing room. you heard in your interview how law enforcement, proochl, in moving had bass she understands that there are some significant costs, tus, if they do that. >> so mike barnicle nancy pelosi is rootoned from the beginning of the term on as have they
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would all do themselves a great disservice if they do not read this article and understand the importance of it. here's sort of the key line out of it. "while democrats harp on trump's unfitness for office, his taxes and impeachment, the president is solidifying plu and, working class person was struggling who said i don't give a damn about donald trump's tax returns, i give a damn about pie job. >> there's not on that, there's also a quote from another young
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peacekeeper and that trump doesn't, know, i lou that. but wow, these past 20 minutes, there as a lot to unpack here in pao pof you have to wonder out there in the country, in youngstown ohio, and this story for the democrats to receive some kind of victory or storing in this this nar tiff, need bo
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bob actual are. >> joe, mook oo. right aftery lyft where she heard from a lot of fellow democrats, many of this many on the jacket becauseshe knows, she's been around long enough, she understands donald trump brung neff that he's baiting them into it's january 20th, 2017 many progressives have been beating the drum of impeachment. nancy pelosi is pulling the long game here. >> playing the long game and, willie, listen, i understand why
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the democrats are frustrated and angry, why they feel like a lot of independents and some republicans who stl care about constitution an norms are really disturbed by donald trump, but this is donald trump's game. it is the game he's been playing and we've known him, all of us have known him for over a decade. we've seen hem politically for three, three and a half years, but it wasn't really until the last couple months that it really became so obvious that every tweet that he sends out to shock people is intended for a shocking headline. he wants to shock people. >> he creates chaos. >> ewants to bait people. he want and be out of control so he can laugh them off. >> mickey marco rubio is the
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only person by that point that donald trump thinks is a challenge. so what does donald trump do? he attacks the pope. now, do you think any headlines the next morning were about nikki haley's endorsement? no, he attacks the pope. when he said suffering. monday morning a staff mmm within up o hp and politely tried to tell him he was off pa "hey, how many negative store did you read on north korea this this weekend? ? and so you're right, i mean,
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nancy pelosi knows that he's becoming more outrageous because he's trying to bait them into an impeachment process that allows him o point me, i'm fighting china for you, i'm fighting north korea for you. i'm fight pngs. >> >> if you read trip gabriel's story, it's working. >> and impeachment program mau it is a balancing act and it's very tough. as you saw yesterday, nancy pelosi is up to the task to say the least. >> there's a reason he's afraid of her and i saw it myself.
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i was just -- this is -- this is one hurdle he'll never surmount and that is the speaker of the house. it ends with her, all of it. still ahead on "morning joe," over the past few days president trump has both opened the idea of talks with iran and threatened to wipe that country off the map. we'll get an update on where things stand today thanks to his rhetoric. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ing "mornin" we'll be right back. ♪ i want it that way... i can't believe it. that karl brought his karaoke machine? ♪ ain't nothing but a heartache... ♪ no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. ♪ i never wanna hear you say... ♪ no, kevin... no, kevin!
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with iran we'll see what happens, but they've been very hostile. they've truly been the number one provocateur of terror in this country and representing their country but certainly our country's been very much involved because we're trying to help a lot of people out and i don't mind that at all.
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we have no indication that anything's happened or will happen, but if it does, it will be met obviously with great force. we'll have no choice. >> reporter: [ inaudible ]. >> i think iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything. if they do something, it will be met with great force, but we have no end caindication that t will. >> the president speaking yesterday at the white house. joining us, courtney, good to see you. i think the entire justification of sending that carrier strike group to the gulf was there were credible threats to iran in the region. what is the president talking about when he goes on yesterday and says we have no indication that anything has happened or will happen. >> and remember later today some of the top national security
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people are going to go to hill to make the case for why they made the decision to send that bomb are strike group and assets to the reengon president trump, everything from they're ready to talk to iran when they're willing to talk and at the same time he's rattling the sabres. so this morning they will go to brief members of the house and then the senate about the intelligence. they'll lay out the intelligence and then they'll talk about where the threat stands right now. officials who have been involved in the briefing process and the preparation process are saying that one thing that the members will hear today is that some of of these efforts vr showing
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tiff -- does of the maritime threat and this was iran loading missiles in the persian gulf, but there continues to be a real and credible threat in iraq from the shi'a militia groups and proxy forces and there continues to a be a pa juan was behind this attack about two weeks ago. >> the twez tweeted if iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of. >> well, willie, the president is a weapon of mass confusion. he's totally wishy washy. he's all over the map.
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i don't think he reads intelligence reports. he said yesterday we have no shows there is an increased level of threats coming from iran and the houthi continuing o fire miss is in saudi arabia has been advocating get into a strp with iran. all of this has been done without sthar sharing the just if. >> so, jonathan le psh.
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well, certainly the president has been all over the place and that tweet in particular is recommend nnt ent fwrrnl about raining fire and fury down be towards moment of possible i don't think prz himself is rewill be tantto not have troops on the ground from
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course has been very skeptical of iran, pushing toward a confrontation, suggesting there is no got that can cop from negotiating. the president, though publicly has not noukd down bolton but privately has said slower and that perhaps you might want. >> i know you're working on a few other angles with this. the must-read opinion pages are heat. plus trump psh -- we'll be back in a moment.
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. more on my conversation with house speaker nancy pelosi. weep touched on we touched on a lot of issues,
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especially president trump's fitness for office. >> is he fit to be president? >> the american people elected him president, not by the popular vote, but by the electoral college. so i respect the office that he holds. >> okay. >> and i think i respect the office that the president holds more than he respects the office that he holds. i believe we must hold him accountable to a high ethical standard, which he has not met, to a level of integrity he has not met and a respect for governance, science and other imperatives that we have. so this is -- we have a moment. but the fact is at the same time we have to try to find common ground to work with him, whether it's on building the infrastructure of america in a
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green way, whether it's lowering the cost of prescription drugs. i don't think we can get him to be helpful in terms of cleaner government, but building infrastructure and lowering health care costs are maybe two places where we can work with him. >> susan, it is something to hear the speaker talking about finding common ground or whether it's on prescription drug prices or infrastructure or certainly of the other areas that she's talked about in the past. is there a chance for any deal before the 2020 election on any significant matter? >> well, we continue to return to infrastructure week, right, every other week of the trump administration has been infrastructure week. i guess it's possible. it seems unlikely given the velocity of every else has happened in nancy pelosi wants
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to try to move forward on some of the things that actually affect the lives of voters. it's hard to give attention to it when there is so much else going on, when you see these investigations coming to a head with the oversight committee be and the intelligence committee and the judiciary committee and then the courts. but she is fighting the good fight on that. >> what's interesting is this is the argument congressional republicans are making, too, which is that these questions have been settled by robert mueller. the obstruction question is still open but they're saying politically let's push this to the side and actually go get things done. whether or not they mean that, whether or not that's cynical, that's the case they've been making, we've been mired in russia for two years. let's do some of these deals that nancy pelosi is talking about. >> and i this at thnk that's ki
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effect of, right? the first 20 minutes of the show, story after story after story related to trump administration misconduct, the russia investigation, perjury, you know, stonewalling. the ecretion of all of this dos tern a lot of people off and it's hard to focus on any one thing. so i understand nancy pelosi saying, yeah, our job is to work for the american people so we need to do all this investigation but we also need to move forward. i agree with susan page. i don't really see a lot of possibility for this administration or willingness on the part of this administration
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to work with democrats on issues and actually move the ball forward. i just don't see enough agreement frankly within the republican caucus to do anything on nancy pelosi's agenda to actually get stuff done. i think we're going to be in this sort of phase for some time and maybe till the leelection. >> and jeremy, hanging over this crippling political situation, largely having to do with domestic issues, today on both sides of the hill and the house and the senate, you're going to have the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, as well as apparently the secretary of state going to senate and house intelligence committees. i'm wondering from your per expectative, do you think that the issue of the use and/or misuse of intelligence with regard to the situation in iran right now will be raised and
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will we hear anything about it? >> i do, mike. i think the fundamental issue is does the president has credibility? a lot of these oversight and investigative matters go to whether or not the president suboranged prjry,s if we can't have confidence that he's playing it straight with us, how are we going to believe him when it comes to matters of ware and peace? i think his intelligence, his military and then will face tough questions or not whether or not what the president claims is happening in the middle east and elsewhere can be trusted. >> all right, jeremy bash, eugene robinson and susan page, thank you all. >> up next, the number of
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measles cases nationwide continues to rise and experts say there's no clar sign that the outbreak is fading. plus the secret kae coming up on "morning joe." "morning joe."
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several cases of the measles
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have popped up in 24 states. experts believe it's too early to tell if it is slowing down. dr. dave campbell, you've been following this. where do we stand right now? it doesn't seem to be subsiding. >> no, it's still a major problem for the united states and in particular the state of new york has the vast majority of the cases. so it's important for parents to double-check their kids' immunizations and stay up to date. it's also very important if you're going to travel or mosting people thmos hosting people who have been traveling internationally to check their immunizations and theirs as well as. >> so is there any head way? you see states with numbers
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rising. why is it an issue of vaccinations? >> it has always been an issue of vaccinations. it's an issue with the international community having lots of measles spread across the world. so the answer remains immu immunizatio immunizations. it is also important to recognize the problem with whether it starts, high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and immediately contact your doctor and isolate those that may be infected. >> so let's move on to the opioid epidemic. i use the word epidemic because this is killing people, destroying families across the country and certain candidates are really tapping into this, political candidates for president because they realize this is as important as hack ea care and other issues for families across america. we are still in the mid of an
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epidemic, are we not? >> absolutely. and it's changing over time. we seen the evolution from pain pills to heroin to fentanyl. now we're seeing more cocaine and methamphetamines and with ritalin thrown into the mix. >> there are lawsuits pending but also candidates seeing this is something they need to talk about. dr. dave campbell, thank you very much. coming up, how democrats may be one step close ar to seeing the president's tax returns. >> coming up, david cicilline
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says if mcgahn doesn't show up, there could be could an impeachment inquiry. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. we'll be right back. i switched to liberty mutual,
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>> embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good. >> i love this. this was so good. so he looked at you for kind of reassurance almost in that moment. >> well, in that moment he said he wanted to work in a bipartisan way. and while some will doubt what i say now, honestly, i was applauding him saying now you're talking, now you're talking. but people thought it was more a mock of him than anything and it really was a mock heard around the country. people really responded. >> it was like, sure, okay. >> no, honestly it was, okay, now you're talking about i guess because it was like that, it was m misinterpreted is what it was. >> all right. >> but it is -- i mean, we are a place where the president of the
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united states is not honoring his oath of office. he is in violation of the separation of powers, which is the heart of the matter of our constitution, whether it's co-equal branch of government, balance of power, all that that implies and that's the heart of the matter. beyond that into the bill of rights he's trying to undermine freedom of the press, which is the guardian of our democracy. freedom of speech, freedom of the press. and so there's a case to be made. however, there's so much else going on in terms of russia and this and that and you wonder what do the russians have on this president politically, financially, personally that he is allowing them to get away with disrupting our election? >> speaker of the house nancy pelosi in my interview -- >> tell me about the interview
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with -- i was going to say nancy because we work together but speaker pelosi. >> it's for a headliner special. we took a long look back at her career and her life. she's incredibly disciplined. but she's not even thinking about president trump, she's thinking about the process, the american people and the fact that they need to see information so this all can come together in the right way. i think that approach, that focus on her part is what makes her formidable. welcome back to "morning joe," we have with us msnbc mike barnicle, jonathan lemire and joining the conversation jeffrey goldberg and elizabeth joins us
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well. it's good to have you on board. >> we've been talking about trip gabriel's piece this morning. i went through a litany of impeachable offenses at the top of the show. i could do them again but i think most other presidents or attorney generals would already have impeachment hearings set up against them. nancy pelosi knows, though, what tripp gabiel reported, that people in youngstown, ohio and the upper midwest are saying i don't care about his taxes, i don't care about the russians, i want my job back or the type of job my dad had in youngstown. >> the interesting thing is we've been reporting in other parts of the midwest and it is farmers who are being hurt by the president's trade war, but they say, well, you know, i'll
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take this short-term pain, i'm glad he's standing up to china. so people are not necessarily supporting their economic self-interests. we seen this before. there's a lot of identity politics and as we have seen, the president president maintains 35% support regardless of what happens in washington, regardless of subpoenas, the mueller report, taxes, it really has not budged in two and a half years. >> and tripp gabriel story brought out an interesting contrast between the president of the united states and right now his chief competitor, who is joe biden, regarding china. these youngstown workers and workers across the midwest love a president that's taking on
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china, yet joe biden has said we have nothing to worry about with china. there seems to be a marked contrast that actually may require joe biden to go back and clean that line up a bit. >> yeah, that wouldn't be the first time he had to go back and clean up a line, although he's been pretty disciplined i think. it's been unusual, someone who wrote about him for years. obviously joe biden is acutely aware. it's always this question, right, about whether joe biden is actually the tribune of the white working class of the white blue collar male in the upper midwest. and we don't know for sure how deep that is. but he is acutely sensitive to that image. i don't doubt that his position on china will evolve if evolution is what is required. i'm not trying to sound cynical there but i would bet with you
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that we hear some tougher language when he realizes that this is what people want and people are no longer trusting of lee elites had they come talk to them about china and free trade. >> the tripp gabriel piece in "the new york times" i think struck a cord with people who live in middle america, have relatives in middle america, what those people were saying sounds an awful lot like what you and i hear from friends that don't live on the coast and that is, hey, trump's a fighter. he's not perfect but guess what, neither am i, neither are you. you know, i want him in there fighting for me. he has built a pretty strong brand with a large swath of voters in middle america. >> well, he made a promise in the 2016 presidential election that those jobs left in the steel industry and auto industry
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and cole industry aal history. they're still hanging in, they're still patient with president trump. they want to see what happens. there as one quote in here, exactly what you say, from the guy who talks about the president as being a fighter. he wants the world to look at him and say don't mess with that guy, he will get even says this one guy quoted in the peeiece. we hear from evangelical christians who say we didn't elect a saint, we elected a president. there's something about this man that give people the confidence to hang in with him. we'll see if that continues into the 2020 election. youngstown, ohio is about half african-american. it's not just those white working class workers that we hear so much about in a lot of
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these pieces but 45% or so of the population is african-american. >> willie brings up evangelical voters. obviously so many ivan jel can leaders a -- evangelical leaders are just hypocrites. if you take what they said about bill clinton and now what they say about drumonald trump, theye hypocrites. they've hated republican presidents that got elected and ended up putting moderates in there. so let's move evangelical voters over to the side and say maybe we can explain that away through abortion and other court rulings that are sure to be coming in
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the next decade or so and before. but with these workers in youngstown, ohio, we have seen people voiting against their economic self-interest. the jobs in youngstown are not coming back. the mining jobs that donald trump is talking about, not only are they not coming back, they're going away. carrier, ford, foxcon that donald trump talked about, they've all blown up in his face. will they diskof that this billionaire, this plutocrat is nothing more than the short fat little man behind the curtain
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pushing the buttons. >> i don't know the answer to that, joe. i do know the quote that willie referred to was uttered by a guy named darold franks, he was once a democrat, he's now a republican and darrell franks in youngstown, ohio is not alone. can you find a darrell franks in central massachusetts, you can find a lot of darrell franks in places like michigan, ohio, indiana, throughout the midwest west and on both coasts. the question is will they catch up to reality? that is an unanswerable question now, joe. the vast majority of americans don't get up every day and think about bill barr. they have their own lives, their own children, their own families, their own livelihoods
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and they have, a lot of them, been susceptible to the show, they like the swagger, the fake tough guy performance on stage. whether he'll be unmasked by joe biden or anybody else, that's a question to be seen because he will be eventually because he's a phony tough guy. >> those people that mike's talking about, they love seeing democrats pulling their hair outoned being fruted by draths and they love watching people likes and the media attack and criticize donald trump and pulling our air pout a of
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constitutional storms, they don't care about mat s cs can t the attorney general of the united states has lied and committed perjury under ott. they don't care that and obstructed justice possibly ten times. they don't kier, all right? they don't. you just can't make them care. that means democrats or a republican, they're going to have to beat donald trump on the field that matters to these people and that is jobs, jobs, jobs. that's all it's about for millions of americans. and you can't blame millions of americans who are struggling paycheck to paycheck to stay in their home, to pay their rent, to be able to afford maybe to send one of their children off
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to college. >> so but there is political discipline that's needed as well. they can focus on the issues and be aggressive about the issues, but honestly, the democratic freak out is the part where trump will feed into that and take advantage of that chaos. so again, you know, speaking with the speaker of the house yesterday, the discipline moving forward and really having the systems work, check, balance, get the information, move forward, but then watch what the republicans do. you've got one republican right now who has broke ranks, one republican o finally has stepped up and realized that perhaps the truth and the rule of law is more important than identity politics at the moment. there might be more. >> moving on now, the fight over the trump administration's stone
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walling of democr ing of democr investigations is continuing. in a letter to committee chair jerry nadler, pat cipollone has advised me that mr. mcgahn is absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters occurring during himself service as a senior adviser to the president. a lawyer for mcgahn said he will
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and nad already said the first thing he'd have to do is hold mcgahn in contempt. >> i think it's a very important precedent and the attorneys say that so we're talking about the future. >> if that line from the president sounded familiar, it's because what attorney general william bar told the wall stroot journg, that his long-held held belief and in a newly published interview barr --
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>> already, all right. >> i know. the lies. >> that's the guy should be impeached. if they held him to the same standard they held bill clinton, he would be impeached. the attorney general as well as the president's lawyers have decided they're going to delay justice as much as possible and in so doing they're actually making specious legal claims that have no precedent, as nadler said in his response to mcgahn not testifying, there is absolutely no case law out th e
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there. >> right. >> and maybe the d.c. system came back with a ruling in favor of the oversight committee, it looks like the court stands ready to rule quickly on some of thieves constitutional questions. >> right. t theabout it was if -- there's 500 people who represent the people in the senate as opposed to the presidency of one. so there's a kind of contempt for congress exhibited there. the second point, which related to this, the longer the white
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house fights these measures and the longer the white house seems extrep rouse in the face of demands to turn over financial records, for instance, the more likely impeachment becomes and if congress, if the democrats and congress feel disrespected by this process that the white house is engaging in i think it increases the changes trying move all so there is some longer term or mid-term danger there for the president. >> well, elizabeth, it almost seems as if up have in the attorney general someone who is liberally pre voking the democrats committing perjury in the house, going right up to the
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line of committing perjury in the senate and then saying things like the president has done everything and cooperated from the start. it seems just about everything barr does is in bad faith and perhaps it is to provoke democrats into moving towards impeachment. that seems to be the fight the president and the attorney general want to have. >> well, the attorney general has acted since he came in much more like the president's personal lawyer than as the attorney general of the united states. that we have seen from day one. there's also they feel that would be very politically damaging to this is don mcgahn
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spoke to mueller and his team for 30 hours. the things he told mueller were very, very damaging to the president. he relayed firsthand how the president tried to get him oaf a re there's no privilege there for the president. it's all out in the public. but what is i think very concerning to the white house on live television for a number. >> so let's bring in someone who has say on the question of preechlt. democratic congressman david
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cicilline of richl. don mcgahn is not going to show up before your committee today, himself lawyer has said. will you open up an inquiry? >> it is my opinion we should. there is unity on two issues, one is what we have to deliver on the promises we made to the american people and our for the people agenda to drive down health care costs, drive down the cost of prescription dug and getting we passed legislation to strengthen the aand we have to be sure we hold this president accountability, that no one is above the law and that we have
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to get to the truth. i think there comes a point where white house,s that not rue continue to compel the attendance of witnesses and appropriation dubs of documents to head hod. will there be a moo. >> i think again an impeachment inquiry is really just a formal opening of that question. in the nixon.
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and this is the end of the pross. . in the judiciary committee that we need to continue to compel witnesses, seek the production of document, lit i game it in court, to nol the course it takes us and we may well end up in who tried to get member of his staff lie and when you add to that this pattern of the president and the white house to obstruct and impede and prevent us from getting the facts and hearing from witnesses, that rises to a level, in my view, of triggering the formal opening of
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paechlt. krief threw so, i don't thinkman, what would an impauchment inquiry allow us to do? >> i don't know that it -- i think it would signal to the party that this is a serious commit of the i believe we'll continue to give the courts a basis for fully enforcing congressional subpoenas. it would be a way to signal to all the parties who are contemplating defining a subpoena that this is a serious undertaking of eventual
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consideration congressman, jonathan lemire has a question for you. >> the sfchl -- white house -- what sort of teeth can you provide for these penalties? there's been talk about moving to criminal penalties. >> the executive branch will decide what witnesses comply.
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they can eviscerate congressional oversight. we have to go through a process where we'll find them in contempt, we'll authorize a civil action with enforce men of that. this is not about one witness or one president, this is about protecting the constitution, not just for this president but for all future presidents who are watching this. so congress has a responsibility not on to follow the facts where they lead us and to gear the evidence on the american people but to understand decisions we make today will affect the future. it cannot twrchl but as mike said earlier, they may not be tabing this day it day. what is congress doing to
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improve my family's life. weep have dlfr and -- we have to deliver the facts and continue to vet. the president promises locusts descending and eating the flesh from the bones of the dictators in those countries. eventually evolves into a loving relationship where love letters were sent back and forth to each other according to the president himself. are we moving in that direction with iran where the president promises death and destruction from above and now is basically saying after sending carrier groups in no, no problem, no worries, everything's fine, we have no evidence that they're going to do anything untoward in
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our direction. where does this lead? >> you know, joe, your problem is you don't properly preesh the role -- appreciate the role of unpredictability in foreign affairs. >> can i say this, jeffrey? you were an expert on the obama doctrine. donald trump's unpredictability, david ignatius talked about it, he kept hiswhere does trump's policy go? >> there is no policy is the point. unpredictability is the smart tactic but you have to game out where is it leading you? i think you have bunch of different white houses here
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arguing with the the secretary of state thinking never if it comes to that. you know there's a very important point here and this is the difference between iran and north korea, the ayatollah khomeini has been immune to the charms of american intervention. president obama tried to open up a channel in different ways. these guys, it's core to their identity that they not negotiate, especially at the theological level, i'm talking about where the supreme leader sits that, they not engage in useful relations with the united states. they'll do what they need to do to open up their economy and trump has put more pressure on their economy than ever. . but i don't -- i'd be prooiz if
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this ends with a summit meeting where the ayatollah and donald trump have a hardy hand sack. it would be one of the who but at the same time applying language that is alarming. >> and elizabeth, where is the times reporting showing the jobs are going? a lot of traders on wall see the and across will donald trump bring this battle in for landing? >> it's a really question. we just doesn't know. there's the g-20 summit early this summer. we have no idea if there's any
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kind of a deal with president xi on kpn. trump did pull back a bit from the trade war. you know, he delayed a bit and we just doesn't know. i mean, obviously this is popular, as i said before, with his supporters in the midwest, even though the trade war is hurting him, they think it's great that he's tough on china. on one, just to go back back to what jeffrey was saying, i think on iran trump got out of control at the white house, john bolton g got. >> he doesn't rad and there as no cohesive strat sfm be a.
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>> so what should be be looking for from your newsroom? >> we're looking at the constant battle between the president and congress. that is a story we now cover of ing is and we are looking at some foreign policy, use had including something i would highly recommend, a look at the long record of trump vis-a-vis race and ethnicity, looking at some of the scandals and and i
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would say also on our web site and law enforcement as, we're acutely interested in these constitutional issues and acutely interested in whether this standoff with congress is going to move toward a larger question about impeachment. >> well, i'll say, mika, the story in the "atlantic" and his history with racially intensive or inflammatory remarks is an extraordinary read and something every american, even his supporters who want to turn a bleend eye to this man's try sneed teed need to read. and still ahead. if i have learned anything traveling world, it is the power
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of hope, the power of. >> that is just a portion of the 2014 commencement address that helped make admiral willy mccraven a household name. in the years since, he has taken a principaled stand against the worst tendencies of president trump. the retired military leader joins us to talk about it abouti this thing is beautiful. i love the lights. oh man, it's got a mean face on it. it looks like a piece of candy. look at the interior. this is nice. this is my sexy mom car. i would feel like a cool dad. it's just really chic. i love this thing. it's gorgeous. i would pull up in this in a heartbeat. i want one of these. that is sharp. the all-new chevy blazer. speaks for itself. i don't know who they got to design this but give them a cookie and a star.
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listen to your mom, knuckleheads. hand em over. hand what over? video games, whatever you got. let's go. you can watch videos of people playing video games in the morning. is that everything? i can see who's online. i'm gonna sweep the sofa fort. well, look what i found. take control of your wifi with xfinity xfi. let's roll! now that's simple, easy, awesome. xfinity xfi gives you the speed, coverage and control you need. manage your wifi network from anywhere when you download the xfi app today. . start each day with a task completed, find someone to help you through life. respect everyone. know that life is not fair and you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are the toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the down trodden and never, ever give up, if you do these things, the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.
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and what started here will indeed have changed the world for the better. >> that was retired us navy admiral william mccraven in a 2014 commencement speech at the university of texas at austin, which he turned into his best selling book entitled "make your bed, little things that can change your life and maybe the world." for which he joined us here on "morning joe" a little more than two years ago. then came the trump administration. and when trump made the decision to revoke security clearances from former intel officials seemingly as political retribution, mccraven responded with a scathing letter to the president published in the "washington post" entitled "revoke my security, too, mr. president?" he wrote in part "like most americans, i had hoped that when
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you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great naegs needs. a good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. a good leader sets an experience for others to follow. your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. if you think that for a moment your mccarthy era tack telecommunicati -- tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are mistaken. when asked about it the following day, trump claimed he did not know mccraven, despite his 2012 tweet mccrakracraven's role in the mission to kill
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osama blin laden. >> bill mccraven. led the operations that took down saddam hussein, killed osama bin laden said your sentiment is the greatest threat -- >> he's a hillary clinton backer and it would have been nice if we got osama bin lad i don't know -- laden sooner than that. living in pakistan in what they consider a nice mansion, i don't know, i've seen nicer. >> i admire all presidents,
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regardless of pl political party who uphold the dignity of the office. he went on to say i stand by my comment that the president's attack by the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime. when you undermine the people's right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the constitution and all for which it stands. and admiral mccraven joins us next in 90 second.
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it's a great honor to bring in admiral william mccraven. he's out with a new book enti e entitled "sea stories, my life in special operations." >> we spent some time together. >> we did. i was in charge of the west coast seals at the time and we had a great visit. >> my god, he remembers you. >> i left thinking how the hell
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do these men do it, how do we find such people? you know, the lead-in talked an awful lot about donald trump. but as i told you, i absolutely loved your last book. mika can attest to that. >> he's obsessed with that. >> i would wake her up and say "listen to this, listen to this." i want to read one part and have you expand a little bit on it. this book would have been relevant 200 years before donald trump, it will be relevant 200 years after donald trump. it's more a character study. "we both wanted to be seals so badly, nothing in the water was going to stop us. if we had to fight off sharks, we would do so. our job was honorable, gave us courage and courage is a remarkable story. withoutor at the mercy of life's
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temptations and without courage no great society can flour, wut kourn the bullies of the fleisss and you can defeaty. so when you commanded men out there, you can't teach courage. but as a parent, how can you instill it in your children? >> yeah, you know, i was raised by two parents from the world war ii generation, kind of the greatest generation. i mean, they were children of the depression, they were children of world war i and as adults all the men went off to fight in world war ii. as a young child growing up, just watching my parents, my mother was a school teacher from east texas and so they were raised with these great qualities and the qualities i
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talk about in the book and in the new book "sea stares" are a lot about what referendum and i was fortunate in my career to be around some remarkable men and women who shaped the operations that i talk about in the book after 9/11 and who i was just honored to serve with. and so you're right, you can't teach courage, but i think you can watch courageous men and women in action and learn from that. >> let's talk about another part of your biography that i found fascinating. we have a lot of business leaders that watch, a lot of people in politics and a lot of americans watching that can learn from your story. it wasn't always easy for you. of course you had a terrible
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pa parachuting accident you had to work through and fight threw. but also you had to go up against some people that came up in a different culture than you. they found you to be too cautious, they found you to be too careful. you got bumped around. it was not and you found yourself having to prove yourself time and o and it's rg chang the. >> certainly as a military commander, you have to listen to the troops. you're taught every day that your responsibility is to tack care of the troops. now, frankly, taking care of the troops doesn't mean letting they will go on lib are the every day at 3:00. taking care of the troops means you set high standard, you hold people accountable, but you have to listen to them and you have to listen to what they have to say because frankly it's the troops that are in the foxholes,
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the troops that are fighting the hard fights. as a senior officer you can learn from them and help direct the course of your organization, whether it's a small team or u.s. special operations u.s. s command by listening to the troops, by respecting the troops' position. again, they're not always right, but if you don't take what they say into account, you may find yourself on the wrong path. >> and you also talk about leading by example. be the first to jump, be the last in line when it's time to eat at night. >> absolutely. >> they're watching you. >> they are watching you. and again, you do have to set the example. it's the great thing about the military, from the time you're a young ensign or second lieutenant or a young noncommission officer, you're taught, you have to lead from the front. so to your point, joe, leading from the front is about going first into the jaws of death, you know, where it is dangerous, jumping out of the airplanes first, you know, and sometimes leading from the front does mean being in the back of the line,
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being back in the allow for chow, being back in the line for whatever perks are out there. >> so what are people who have read "make your bed," what are they going to see in "sea stories"? >> "sea stories" is a bit of a memoir. it's 18 stories about my time in special operations, a little bit about before i joined the sales. and you know, there's the story on the bin laden raid, there's the story of the rescue of captain phillips and the story of the capture of saddam hussein. but i really hope what people take away from the book is, again, the great men and women i had the opportunity to work with, both the senior focus, so president bush and president obama and leon panetta and the great folks after 9/11. some of the great folks that i served with prior to 9/11. and then, of course, the remarkable soldier, sailors, airmen, and marines that i was privileged to work we ever day. >> admiral, we were joking a minute ago, there's an entire generation of kids who curse you because they have to make your
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beds every morning after every parent has read your previous book. but in "sea stories," you write about the men and women you led. and what i'm impressed about in the book, it's not really about you, it's about the men and women who served under you in the bin laden raid and the rescue of captain phillips. there's been so much erosion of trust in the next generation and institutions of trust, whether it's in politicians or in the media or in banks. but the one place we still have trust is in our military. can you talk about what i call the real 1% in this country, which is the men and women who suit up, who volunteer, and go fight? >> i actually think it's more than that. as i've told folks before, it may surprise you, but i'm the biggest fan of the millennials you'll ever meet and i always hear this rhetoric about the fact that the millennials, they're pampered and they're soft and they're entitled. i'm quick to say, then you never saw them in a firefight in afghanistan or iraq. or you never saw them trying to
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change their life going to school in the state of texas, because i was the chancellor of the university of texas. and so anybody that doubts whether or not the future of the united states is bright, and i know sometimes, you know, from where we are, it looks challenging, but having served with the men and women in uniform, having seen the young students going to school at texas, having to spend time with the firefighters and the emts and all of the first responders that are millennials, this is a great generation. and so we should have a lot of hope, i think, in moving forward. >> you know, admiral, you mentioned leon panetta in passing. you've worked with some remarkable public servants. leon panetta, john brennan, george tennant, two presidents. the role of character and honor in the people you serve with and the people you serve under, we live now at a time when many institutions in the intelligence community, the fbi, are under assault. but speak about the role of character and honor being the
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ultimate definition of public service. >> yeah. i think you nailed it. it is the ultimate definition of public service. and i mentioned in the book, but i've said it before publicly as well, i had the great honor of working for bush 43 on the national security council staff and of course i served under president obama as one of his commanders. and while i didn't agree with every man on every decision they made, the fact of the matter was, i always felt confident that they were doing right by the country, that they were men of integrity and honor, and in my time in the service, again, you know, when you look up the chain of command and you see men and women that you work for and they're going to make mistakes, they're human. but if you think they're doing it for the right reasons and think they're men and women of character, it is easy to follow them. and we're fortunate to have a lot of great men and women of character in the military, and i think in government service writ large. >> admiral, i want to ask you about a story in the news,
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because it kind of falls under your purview. this is this story that's been reported this week, president trump floating potential pardons, including one for a navy s.e.a.l. who's about to stand trial for killing civilians in iraq, allegedly. what's your view of a presidential pardon in that case and what would it signal to the troops? >> of course, the president has the right to pardon who he thinks it's appropriate to do so. the one cautionary note i have here is, you know, in the chain of command, when we are conducting a courts marshal or when you are executing the military code of uniform justice, there's a thing called undue influence. so as a senior commander, when i was an senior commander, you're not allowed to telegraph how you think the outcome of the adjudication should go. so if there is about to a court-martial or what we refer to as a captain's mast, you're not allowed to talk to the commander who is actually doing the investigation and is responsible for the outcome of that investigation. you're not allowed to signal that. that's called undue influence. that individual, that commander has got to go through the
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process, the uniform code of military justice has to go through the process, has to present his findings. now, after the trial or after the findings are presented and then it comes to you as a commander, then you're allowed to weigh in. but you're not allowed to influence it before the process is complete. so my caution to the president is, by signalling the fact that he might pardon whoever that might be, i'm concerned that is unduly influencing those commanders that have to make the decision on that particular individual that is either going to trial or is being investigated. >> the book is "sea stories: my life in special operations" retired admiral william mccraven, thank you very much for being on the show this morning. >> thank you. >> you bet. still ahead, member of the foreign affairs committee, adam kinzinger will address the escalating tensions with iran. plus, more from my one-on-one interview with house speaker nancy pelosi. what he's saying about the impeachment remarks by republican congressman justin
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amash. and before we go to break, we've got so much going on at knowyourvalue.com this week. we are zeroing in on resilience. how women can bounce back from adver adversi adversity, adapt from change and grow from past mistakes. all about your career and building it, building personal and professional resilience is a key lesson in my latest book, "earn it," a practical book for women who are just starting out in their careers. we'll be right back with much more "morning joe." eers we'll be right back with much more "morning joe.
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did you know comcast business goes beyond fast with a gig-speed network. complete internet reliability. advanced voice solutions. wifi to keep everyone connected. video monitoring. that's huge. did you guys know we did all this stuff? no. i'm not even done yet. wow. business tv. cloud apps and support. comcast business goes beyond at&t. start with internet and voice for just $59.90 a month. it's everything a small business owner needs. comcast business. beyond fast. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." it is tuesday, may 21st, along with joe, willie, and me. we have veteran columnist and msnbc contributor, mike barnicle. white house reporter for the associated press, jonathan lamir, washington bureau chief for "usa today" and author of
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"the matriarch," susan page. former chief of staff at the cia and department of defense, nbc news national security analyst, jeremy bash is with us as well. we have a lot of moving parts, joe, and developments concerning the investigation into the trump presidency and congressional democrats' attempts to hold the administration accountable. the white house has directed former counsel don mcgahn to defy a congressional subpoena to testify before the house judiciary committee this morning. in a letter to committee chairman jerry nadler, white house counsel pat cipollone said the justice department has, quote, advised me that mr. mcgahn is absolutely immune from compelled congressional testimony with respect to matters occurring during his service as a senior adviser to the president. he went on to say, the president has directed mr. mcgahn not to
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appear at the committee's scheduled hearing. a lawyer for mcgahn later said the former white house counsel would, quote, respect the president's instruction and not appear today. congressman david cicilline, member of the judiciary committee, says it is time to launch an impeachment inquiry if mcgahn doesn't testify. meanwhile, a federal judge sides with the house oversight and reform committee in president trump's lawsuit, aimed at blocking lawmakers from getting eight years of his financial records from an accounting firm. according to axios, trump's lawyers argued the subpoena was unconstitutional because it wasn't tied to any specific legislation. but attorneys for the oversight committee said that the financial disclosures will serve to improve existing ethics and disclosure laws while giving new insight into whether trump is compliant with the emoluments
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clause of the constitution. the president said he will appeal the decision. also yesterday, we learned that michael cohen told lawmakers that trump's attorney, jay sekulow, encouraged him to falsely claim that negotiations to build a trump tower in moscow ended in january of 2016. and more from republican justin amash, who essentially said to trump, i'll see your tweet attack and raise you another twitter thread. he is doubling down on his assessment that the president engaged in impeachable behavior and is now explaining to the people who say one cannot extract justice without an underlying crime why that is just not so. with all of that swirling, president trump clapped along as supporters chanted for the jailing of his perceived enemies, while he had touted the attorney general, who the ap
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describes as trump's champion and advocate. [ chanting: lock him up ] >> well, we have a great new attorney general who's going to give it a very fair look. a very fair look. >> good gracious. >> there's an awful lot to sort through here, mika. let's start, though, willie, we can start with executive privilege. they are claiming, the white house is claiming executive privilege when there is no basis in fact for executive privilege here. jerry nadler wrote a letter, again, it's quoting established law, so the white house won't care about it. but the courts most certainly will, as they proved yesterday. he says in one part, as judge bates previously explained, the
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notion that a former white house counsel is, quote, absolutely immune from a congressional subpoena has been, quote, virtually foreclosed upon by the supreme court. of you take this move along with the white house counsel's move to try to block those financial records, which a judge said, sorry, no luck, along with jay sekulow, reportedly advising a former white house lawyer, a former lawyer of the president's to lie in testimony. and you take barr's own statement. this is actually, it appears to be a white house being run by corrupt lawyers and they're just shamelessly trying to delay the inevitable for as long as they can, while the president of the united states is actually su
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sureing americans up about locking up the fbi. >> you can see why he's so pleased, because this memo came from the justice department and jerry nadler saying that don mcgahn cannot testify because of executive privilege. let's remind people that don mcgahn, we can say, the star witness of the mueller report. his name was cited more than 150 times. and robert mueller in volume ii made no conclusion on the question of obstruction. but don mcgahn laid out a number of instances where the president of the united states himself obstructed the investigation, including jeremy bash twice where don mcgahn says the president asked him to fire the special counsel, also asked him to talk to jeff sessions about revisiting the idea of recusing himself from the investigation. don mcgahn, because the question of obstruction was left open bip bob mueller, if anyone is the man who should sit before the judiciary committee. >> he often times congressional investigators, willie, will try to get evidence from other
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sources, if they will for some reason, because of privileges can't get access to a main witness. here, there are no really other witnesses. don mcgahn the key witness. he was asked, he was directed by the president to do something that was unauthorized, illegal, and to lie about it to the records and to investigators. and so congress has no choice. and of course, we can't live in a society in which the president is above the law, above inquiry. the constitution allows congress to investigate the president's high crimes and misdemeanors. don mcgahn will have to provide testimony if congress is going to be able to discharge that duty. >> jonathan, the white house has clearly set upon a strategy where they have found lawyers, the president has finally found, as he said, he's finally found his pit bull as an attorney general, who doesn't care about the law, who commits perjury before united states congress,
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and who sends out letters claiming executive privilege where that executive privilege does not exist. so talk about -- take us 30,000 feet and give us a bird's eye view of exactly what this white house house's strategy is moving forward. >> it's a few things at once, joe. first of all, in any democratic probe, the white house strategy is simple. it's three words. just say no. they are going to attempt to stonewall at every possible turn. they are going to claim executive privilege. they are going to defy subpoenas. they are going to withhold witnesses and testimony. they are going to try to play this in the courts, play the long game, thinking that they could get, perhaps, a favorable legal ruling. but even short of that, that they can extend this, that they can punt this into next year, with the thinking that, as long as -- the longer these court battles go, the closer they get to the election, that the white house and republicans will be able to point to the democrats and say, look, this is purely
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political. you know, the election, let's say, is only a few months away, let's just let the voters decide. let's not have these outstanding legal fights. and they'll try to paint this as partisan overreach. and in terms of the attorney general, that's our story today, about the growing relationship between the president and william barr. how we all know that president trump was deeply disappointed with jeff sessions, his first attorney general for, mind you, doing the right thing, according to justice department guidelines in recusing himself from the russia probe. but trump viewed it as a betrayal. hep viewed it as a lack of loyalty and he never forgave sessions. barr, we know, is a true proponent of executive power. he feels that the president should more or less not be investigated on any measure, while in office. and trump has been grateful for his efforts. the way he framed the mueller report with that four-page letter that really set the terms of the debate before we all saw the document. the combative press conference with reporters about the mueller investigation. his testy standoffs with democratic lawmakers on capitol hill, when he testified then.
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and in an overlooked moment, earlier this spring, when the president issued his veto for the -- when congress tried to stop his national emergency declaration at the border, you might recall, he had an event in the oval office, justifying what he was doing. and barr stepped forward and said to him, that the president had legal standing to do this. and then he went a step further, surprising even trump saying, and sir, you have a moral imperative to do this for the american people. you're keeping us safe, or words to that extent. and trump told people around him, starting on that day, and it's only grown in the weeks that have followed, that he finally had my attorney general. n that he had his roy cohn, he had his bobby kennedy, his eric holder, someone that had his interests at heart. >> still ahead on "morning joe," my one-on-one interview with house speaker nancy pelosi. i asked her if she's feeling more pressure to impeach the president now that a republican congressman is echoing that call. we'll talk about that. but first, let's go right to bill karins with a check on the continuing threat of severe weather.
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bill? >> it hasn't ended yet, mika. it started last night. we had numerous tornadoes reported. 18 in all. we had some significant damage. we had twin tornadoes at one point. this was captured by our helicopter pilot out of oklahoma city. you can see one on the left there, one on the right. and we had a lot of other damage that occurred. we had one big tornado near magnum, oklahoma. that one definitely did so the significant damage. we definitely lost some structures. some people lost their homes in that one. it's amazing that no one was injured and no one -- no fatalities, i should say, yet, because we're not done. we still have a tornado watch for areas of eastern oklahoma, heading towards the ft. smith and fayetteville, arkansas, areas. and now we have six more early morning tornado warnings. usually in the morning you get a little bit of a break. one of them gave tulsa a good scare. that's northeast of you up on the interstate. and to the west of mcallister, numerous tornado warnings on this line that has to slide
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through southern portions of oklahoma. we'll continue to keep an eye on this. 17 million people are at risk, the rest of today. we're not done yet. anywhere from st. louis to columbus to springfield, from the ozarks down to little rock, you're under that enhanced risk. we'll have isolated tornadoes and we'll have damaging wind and hail, too. and the other issue is we've had up to 8 inches of rain in areas of northeast oklahoma. we have record flooding on at least one creek in the area. we'll see a top five all-time missouri river flood in the next couple of days. it's just been soaking all spring and another 6, 7 inches of rain from this storm system and we have massive problems. and on top of all of this mess last night, can you believe we had our first named system of the hurricane season. this is anandrea. this will not be affecting or influencing anyone here in the lower 48. so, yeah, very active, to say the least. and our thoughts are with oklahoma this morning, when we'll watch missouri and arkansas the rest of this afternoon. areas on the east coast, you don't have to worry about severe
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storms heading your way from this storm system. it will weaken significantly by the time it gets there. so soak up and enjoy the beautiful weather while you have it. you're watch "morning joe." we'll be right back. you're watch "morning joe. we'll be right back. i felt i couldn't be at my best wifor my family. c, in only 8 weeks with mavyret, i was cured and left those doubts behind. i faced reminders of my hep c every day. but in only 8 weeks with mavyret, i was cured. even hanging with friends i worried about my hep c. but in only 8 weeks with mavyret, i was cured. mavyret is the only 8-week cure for all common types of hep c. before starting mavyret your doctor will test if you've had hepatitis b which may flare up and cause serious liver problems during and after treatment. tell your doctor if you've had hepatitis b, a liver or kidney transplant, other liver problems, hiv-1, or other medical conditions, and all medicines you take including herbal supplements. don't take mavyret with atazanavir or rifampin, or if you've had certain liver problems. common side effects include headache and tiredness.
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comcast business goes beyond at&t. start with internet and voice for just $59.90 a month. it's everything a small business owner needs. comcast business. beyond fast. welcome back to "morning joe." house speaker nancy pelosi isn't actively pushing for impeaching the president, but she's not ruling it out, either. i sat down with pelosi in washington to talk about that and the call from one michigan republican to hold the president accountable. >> news of the day, justin amash's position on impeachment. he's tweeted more today. he's come right back at the president. does it fit the bar for bipartisan support for impeachment? >> well, bipartisan support for impeachment has to be in the senate. >> yeah. >> in terms of congressman amash, his voice speaks to the
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silence of so many other -- all the other republicans not to hold this president accountable for the oath of office that he takes to protect and defend the constitution, respecting the co-equal branches of government. so, amash may be one voice, but the fact that it is in the absence of other voices, it speaks very loudly. >> so doesn't it put more pressure on you that a conservative republican says the threshold for impeachment has been met? >> no. >> no? >> why? >> well, we have to -- we're -- this isn't about politics. it's not about passion, it's not about prejudice, it's not about politics. it's about patriotism and it's about the presentation of the facts. so that the american people can see why we're going down a certain path. and it is -- i don't know. i feel very confident that the american people know that they deserve to know the truth and that's what we want to present to them, in a way that they
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don't perceive to be without the presentation of the facts. >> should congress be working to impeach barr, who lied and committed perjury before the eyes of congress? >> the fact that the attorney general of the united states would lie to congress, under oath, again, we're on the path of contempt for him. >> you are? >> that's what i would hope. >> the definition of subpoena is literally under penalty. what is the penalty for refusing to respond to a subpoena? is there one? >> well, it depends. it depends. in other words, in the nixon articles of impeachment, article iii is that he did not honor the subpoena of the congress of the united states. so that is an issue. but the other part of it is is there are many paths. before they got to that place at
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that time, they had a long investigation. and that's what we're doing now. to see where that takes us. and if they refused to honor their oath of office, then we have some options available to us. one in particular is, they're saying, you have no purpose for these subpoenas. well, under the constitution, one of the purposes would be to see if you want to go down the path of impeachment. the other purpose as well. >> so what did you learn talking to the speaker? >> well, so much about her life and what an inspiration she is and how smart she is, how confident she is, and how disciplined she is. there's no doubt that everything that has happened in her life has brought her to this moment. and that she is the ultimate challenge for president donald trump. and what's so interesting is, it's very clear. she has deep feelings about his lack of fitness for office, deep feelings, very clear feelings,
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but she is not driven by that. she's driven by what's best for the country, what best process to follow so that people can feel, the american people can feel that they are represented in this process. so while impeachment seems like the easy way to go, because there are guardrails, there are systems, and there are definitely processes that she can trigger to hold this president accountable, she really feels that getting the facts and the process of getting the facts is far more important, so that the people can understand what has happened in this presidency. susan page, nancy pelosi is in a very interesting situation, because at the same time, congress is supposed to hold the president accountable. and there's a lot of ways this he is pushing through guardrails. >> you know, it's so interesting. nancy pelosi has warned that president trump is trying to goad house democrats into impeachment.
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and i think that's true. and i think in a way, it's working. we know that nancy pelosi faces increasing pressure from some house democrats to go the impeachment route. but i think the most important thing in that court decision that came out yesterday on subpoenas is that the judge explicitly said that you do not have to have an impeachment proceeding to enforce a subpoena for those financial records. that the congress has a legitimate purpose in going after them. and that, i think, gives nancy pelosi some breathing room. because you heard in your interview how reluctant she continues to be about choosing that path, that particular path, impeachment in moving ahead, because she understands that there are some significant costs, risks for democrats if they do that. >> coming up on "morning joe," when it's a tough question to answer, president trump will often say, "we'll see what happens." right now that appears to be the official u.s. policy when it comes to potential war with
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with iran, we'll see what
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happens, but they've been very hostile. they've truly been the number one provocateur of terror in this country, you know, representing their country, but certainly our country has been very much involved, because we're trying to help a lot of people out, and i don't mind that at all. we have no indication that anything's happened or will happen, but if it does, it will be met, obviously, with great force. we'll have no choice. >> i think iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything. if they do something, it will be met with great force. but we have no indication that they will. >> that's the president speaking yesterday at the white house. joining us now, nbc news national security and military reporter, courtney couey. courtney, good morning. good to see you. this is kind of head spinning, isn't it? help me out here. i think the entire justification for sending that carrier strike group to the gulf is that there
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were credible threats from iran in the region. what is the president talking about when he goes on yesterday and says, we have no indication that anything that has happened or will happen? >> and remember, willie, you know, later today, some of the president's top national security people are going to go to the hill to try to make the case for why they made the decision to send that carrier strike group and the bomber task force and additional assets into the region. that this was a credible threat stream. you know, we've really heard two different messages here from president trump over the past few days. everything from he's willing to talk to iran, when they're willing to talk, but then on the same hand, he'll rattle the sabers. so what we're looking at today is acting secretary of defense, patrick shanahan, the chairman of the joint chiefs general, joe dunceford, secretary of state mike pompeo and others are going to go to the hill to brief first members of the house and then members of the senate about this intelligence. they're going to lay out the intelligence that led the military to make this decision to surge forward the carrier
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strike group and other assets. and then they're going to talk about where the threat stands right now. officials who have been involved in the briefing process and the preparation process are saying that one thing that the members will hear today is that some of these efforts are having, are showing positive signs and seem to be having some kind of a deterrent method with iran. specifically that they're seeing some of the maritime threat and this was iran loading missiles on to dowels in the persian gulf. some of that seems to be diminishing. but there continues to be what they're going to call a real and credible threat in iraq from these shia militia groups and proxy forces. and there continues to be a maritime threat and they're expected to reference the tankers that were attacked, that the u.s. now believes iran was behind this attack about two weeks ago, willie. >> so, jeremy, the president tweeted just two days ago, quote, if iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of iran. never threaten the united states
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again. that coming from the president of the united states. so to your trained idea, over the last several weeks, what do you see happening here? where is this headed? >> well, willie, the president is a weapon of mass confusion. he's totally wishy-washy, he's all over the map. he has no strategy. i don't think he reads intelligence reports. he said yesterday, we have no indication that iran is doing anything. i don't think that's accurate. in fact, the state department did order the departure of key personnel from embassies and ca consulates in iraq. that's significant. it shows there is an increased level of threats coming from iran. you do see iran and their proxy forces, the hewitt houthi to c to fire missiles into saudi arabia. it's not that all is fine, but then again, his rhetoric is really inviting a conflict. i think john bolton has been advocating to get into a scrape with iran. that would be, it justifies an american military action. all of this has been done without sharing the information to the intelligence and the
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justification without congress. so i think kind of, willie, it's a huge mess. and unless we're clear-eyed, direct, and forthright, we're not going to achieve our objectives in the gulf of elsewhere. >> nbc's courtney kube, thank you so much. coming up on "morning joe," amid talk of war with iran, a proxy battle already raging right now in syria. we'll talk to a member of the house armed services committee, adam kinzinger, next on "morning joe." joe.
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sleepy joe said that he's running to, quote, save the world. well, he was. he's going to save every country but ours. don't forget, biden deserted you. he's not from pennsylvania. i guess he was born here, but he left you, folks. he left you for another state. remember that, please. i meant to say that. this guy talks about, i know
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scranton, i know -- well, i know the places better. he left you for another state and he didn't take care of you, because he didn't take care of your jobs. he let other countries come in and rip off america. we would lose everything if we go with the people that you see that are running for office you saw that. last night i watched alfred e. newman. what's going on with fox, by the way? what's going on there? they're putting more democrats on than you have republicans. something strange is going on at fox, folks! something very strange. did you see this guy last night? i did want to watch. you always have to watch the competition, if you call it that. and he was knocking the hell out of fox and fox put him -- someone is going to have to explain the whole fox deal to me. >> the president seems to be
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upset about this town hall with fox news yesterday. do you think that he sees you as some kind of a dangerous adversary? [ speaking foreign language ] i think the president just doesn't quite know what to do with me. >> he's right! he has no idea what to do with him. mayor pete buttigieg answering in both english and spanish with telemundo yesterday. jonathan lamir, mayor pete has a long way to go, there are certain sectors that he really is going to have trouble with, but boy does he get under trump's skin? >> he does seem to provoke a reaction from the president that we haven't seen from many of these 2020 candidates, you're right. mayor pete buttigieg, though, off to a very impressive start to this campaign. you know, is still well behind in the polls, behind former vice president joe biden. he will certainly have to answer questions about whether he can
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appeal to minority voters. he's polling not well there compared to biden and some of his competition. but he's someone that has really caught their attention. they certainly still believe that biden or perhaps senator harris or senator warren may be ahead of the pack. senator sanders, as well, but that he is sort of, his sudden rise has really startled them. they see him as, obviously, very intelligent, you know, sort of very well spoken, very formidable person who can move -- will have to prove his foreign policy chops in particular, and lay out some more proposals. but seems to have a certain talent that the president and the people around him respect. and by the way, it's not a coincidence that the president was in pennsylvania last night. expect to see that time and time again. it follows up recent visits to wisconsin and michigan. they've taken efforts to shore up the local republican parties in those states. they know how key those states are if he's going to win again. and according to your internal polling, he trails joe biden in all three. >> go back to that first clip we
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showed president trump talking about deserting the people oeop pennsylvania. joe biden was 10 years old when his family moved from pennsylvania to delaware. >> at the age of 10, he was forced to make a decision, should he stay alone in the apartment in scranton or follow his family to delaware. and courageously, at 10 years of age, he decided, i'll go with you, mom and dad. >> mike barnicle with the fact check once again. let's take a turn and hear that old phrase, all fiction has a bit of truth in it. even this. >> i've heard all i need to hear. >> well, that long has been the way hollywood portrays the covert work of american spice.
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our next guest can speak to it firsthand. joining us now, former chief of disguise with over 25 years in the cia, johnna mendez. she's co-author of the book "the moscow rules: the secret cia tactics that helped america win the cold war." good morning! good to have you with us. >> good to be here. >> so how wrong does hollywood get cia disguise? >> hollywood makes it look much easier than it is. but they planted the seed of an idea in the public's mind that we must be using masks. and for many years, we wanted to do it. but it took ten years of development to make it happen. still, the way it looks on screen, especially with tom cruise is mostly cgi and interspersing the real actor with the mask. but we have an ability that he developed with some people in hollywood to make masks that animated, that you could wear in an interview situation like this
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and i could carry on and you probably would not know i was -- >> this is you here right now? >> i'm sorry. i'm sorry, if it was a mask it would look much better than this. >> so let's talk about the real-life work you did. because this book is so fascinating, it gets right to the heart of the cold war. you're stationed in moscow in the 1970s where covert work, i understand, was nearly impossible. >> they had us smothered underneath a blanket of 24-hour-a-day surveillance, whether you were in your apartment, whether you were even at work, if you were in your car or on foot. they were stalking you. and they were shutting us down. that was the whole purpose. we could not meet with the russian agents who had the intelligence that we were trying to collect. so the job at cia in my particular office was to develop some tradecraft that our case officers could use on the street so that they could meet with the agents and carry on a relationship. it was life and death. if our officers were somehow followed, somehow connected to
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the russian, the russian would be arrested and he would be executed. and they were executed. a number of our agents were caught and executed. not because of our tradecraft, not because they didn't have the wherewithal to do the job. it was american traitors who betrayed them. adler james, bob hansen, there was a handful of them that just traded their names for diamonds or for money. >> so what were some of the innovations that you all came up with to combat what you were facing from the kgb? >> my husband's name was tony mendez. >> and a lot of people know that name. >> of "argo" fame. >> he was an artist in his heart, and he thought like an artist, and he was also a little bit the outlier in problem solving scenarios at cia. he came up with some very ingenious ideas. one of them was called a jib, a jack in the box. it's what every person in an hov
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lane dreams of. it's a pop-up dummy. you could get in the car with a briefcase and put it on the passenger seat -- actually, you put it on the floorboard, the passenger would exit the car. you push the button, the gdummy pops up, and the surveillance behind you -- because you do this when you're turning a corner or in a predetermined place and the surveillance would never know. and they would follow you and your dummy all day long. so the men that stepped out of the car was free. he was free of surveillance. and he could work. that would be one kind of thing that we did. we did something called i.d. transfer, where we could take you and joe and we could switch you. so that you would look like joe. and if they were following joe, they might actually be following you, wearing a mask that looked like joe. and joe could go off and do whatever he wanted to do. those kinds of things. >> can you get me joe's hair? could you do that for me?
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>> you know, if you wanted to make my day, a bald man would walk into my office. and it was like an artist looking at an empty canvas. we would just be thrilled. >> it's in the book, tell us the story, tell people the story about you fooling president george h.w. bush. >> that's one of my favorite stories. we were just starting to produce these masks. number one got burned up in an oven and just smelled like burning rubber in that room. it was horrible. number two came out, it was made for me, i never looked so wonderful as when i wore that mask. when i retired, i wanted to take it, they said no. but it was a new piece of tradecraft, and so i showed it to my office director and we showed it to the director of the cia, bill web str ster at the t and he said, he liked it very much, let's go to the white house. i had no i.d., no paperwork, just had me in a mask, this was
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before 9/11, he said, don't worry, you can do this. and we got stuck outside of the oval office. there was -- something was going long. there was a meeting that was going over. so i'm out there with a mask and everybody's laughing and joking and carrying on and it was nerve-racking, but then we went in and all sat in a semi-circle and it was bob gates and bob sunu sununu, a group of us. and i was the first one to brief the president, who had been the director of cia at one point. so i said, you know, here's some photos of you in disguise back in the day. i'm here to show you the latest thing. and he said, well, let's see it. and i said, well, you're looking at. he said, hold on, i'll take it off. he said, don't take it off. >> is that what we're looking at right here? >> that's me wearing that disguise. >> that's amazing! >> i really liked it! i liked the hair back then, too. so then he sat back down at his
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desk, and he said, take it off. and so i did, i peeled off my face. and i held it up so that he could see it. ten years later, i got the photo of that moment and they had air brushed the mask out of the picture. so i have a picture, in my library, of me, it looks like i'm lecturing the president. but when i left the oval office and i went out where the secretary was, the photographer came out and she was always in the room and she was probably always there, ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching. she came out and came over to me and she said, what did you do? and i said, i can't tell you. it's classified. >> well, this book is full of stories like that. what an extraordinary, remarkable career you had and your husband, as well, obviously. the book is "the moscow rules," the secret cia tactics that helped america win the cold war. jonna mendez, thank you.
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>> i want my aihair. >> mike wants his hair now. >> >next up, justin amash doubling down saying the president has committed impeachable offenses. we'll also get new reporting from julia ainsley on the department of homeland security and its backup plan to fund operations at the southern border. keep it on "morning joe." we're coming right back. t on "m. we're coming right back. is that net carbs or total?...
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because, you know, look, i like justin personally, we get along, but there's never really been anything out here politically or in policy that we agree on. and this is one of those, too. i read the mueller report. thin maybe most have. it's long and there's a lot of legalese. when i read it i said first off, there's no evidence of collusion. when it comes to the obstruction issue, there's no final thing mentioned on that. and what it comes down to is people that were responsible were held responsible. you have manafort, et cetera, now serving time. even the democrats aren't saying impeach right now. this idea that there's a dam in the republicans breaking is unrealistic. >> you see the mueller report differently than he does. do you think the attorney general committed prrj and lied? >> not that i've seen, no. and i get that this is -- when mueller came out and said we don't have evidence to say let's
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indict and send the president to jail, it created this kind of storm. a lot of people invested years in this narrative. now they're going to do investigation after investigation. and look, they're in the majority. that's their opportunity, their option to do it. i just disagree. and when you have most of the democrats not even saying impeachment again, this idea there's going to be some shift in the republican belief i think is unrealistic. >> so when the attorney general testified before congress at the hearing, you don't think he lied or committed perjury, and you don't think he should be held in contempt? like, you did not hear anything he said that was untrue? >> i don't see evidence for prrj perjury or hold him in contempt. i'm open. i want to be a fair congressman and do the right thing, but i don't see that. i see a party that invested a lot in a narrative, and now is
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desperate to see the narrative true. >> hi, it's willie geist. i like to get you in on military matters as someone who flew missions. a lot of people concerned because of the experience of the leadup to iraq about what's going on with iran, moving the carrier strike groups, the talk of the credible groups. from what you know, how concerned should americans be about the threat of iran and about the threat of a potential war with the united states in iran? >> i think concerned but not losing sleep over it. so if you look back at iranian behavior in the region for years, it's really been the same. and if you look at during the fight against isis, one of the concerns we had is that iran before even trump was president that iran was going to energize the shia militias in iraq. we saw that potentially with the rocket attack near the green zone. we've had that concern.
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we have seen them supporting the houthi rebels, putting military equipment in cities. we see syria, 50,000 dead children, 500,000 syrians and upholding the corrupt government. iranian behavior in the region has been terrible and atrocious. i think the mashs administration is correct to respond. it makes iranian challenges to american personnel less likely and frankly if they do it, we should have an option to be able to defend our people and allies? >> and you're okay with the rhetoric from president trump? yesterday he said we don't have a specific threat but we're ready. before he said we have a credible threat and if they continue to threat the united states, we'll -- >> i don't agree with how the president puts things all the time.
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but in this case it's a legitimate threat from iran. if we see short range missiles within striking distance of american forces, iran says israel is the little satan and the u.s. is the big satan. eventually you have to take them at their words. a quarter of americans in the war were killed by iranian technology or technology services, they're not scared of fighting american interests. you may hate president trump or love him. this is one of those things where as americans we have to find areas of agreement and one of those is defending our people overseas. >> congressman, changing the topic here a bit, i don't know about when you were in high school, but when i was in high school they taught a course called civics, and you'd find out about checks and balances and things like that and the legislative process. i'm wondering what are your thoughts on the white house's consistent refusal to respond to any subpoenas issued by the
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united states' house of representatives? >> it's tough to tell. i think if there is legitimate executive privilege, they should be able to file it. if there's not, we should get as much of the story as we can. i'm not mired on that committee in the day today, the reasoning. i watch it on the news and get information here. and my view is i think congress should be an equal branch to the presidency. things like getting the president's tax returns, every american, even the president of the united states, has a right to keep those private unless congress can show a compelling reason and right now it just appears the compelling reason is because he hasn't done it yet which is not required of a president of the united states. >> congressman jonathan has a question for you. >> i want to follow up with what mike asked. the white house has basically said they're only going to cooperate, they believe congress only has any investigative ability if they can connect it to forthcoming legislation.
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that's a narrow view of what congress is supposed to do. do you agree with that? >> i don't know. look, i'm not an expert in these questions. i just hear from people what's going on. i hear a compelling argument about why there should be executive privilege and why when people go and testify to a grand jury they should be able to have that information protected and given to mueller and it doesn't have to necessarily come out and be displayed over public. there's sanktty in the grand jury. again, if there's evidence where i hear compelling evidence that congress has a right to hear from these folks, then sure. the democrats are putting a lot of investment in this narrative. they have the majority. that's how it's going to play out in many cases is in politics. >> congressman, i want to ask you about syria. you're writing a bipartisan letter with some others about the attacks. what are you asking for? >> well, i think the president,
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the administration and frankly the western free world and the u.n. should call for things to be halted. you look at what the russians are doing. there's a lot of focus on khashoggi. it's a tragic situation. right now the russians and syrians are intentionally bombing hospitals in id lib. there's concern that u.n. was provided or provided locations of the hospitals for humanitarian reasons and the russians are actually using the cord nanordinates to make the s. this is evil. this is something -- we spend a lot of time talking act a lot of stuff. this is tragic. this is creating the next generation of isis if we're not careful. >> congressman, thank you very much for being our guest this morning. >> any time. thanks. >> this morning, we're learning more about the department of homeland security's backup plan to fund operations at the southern border. according to documents obtained by nbc news, dhs is asking $232
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million from the transportation security administration to fund border operation with congress fails to approve the $1.1 billion funding request. let's bring in national security reporter for nbc news julia ainsley who broke the story. julia, what else do you have? >> well, mika, this is a backup plan, as you say. this is if congress doesn't come through on the supplemental funding request to provide more funding for the border detention beds, more people doing more of the processing. right now tsa and other agencies are being hold to look at budgets and tsa says we were not overbudgeted for 232 million. any amount you take will break programs. some of those programs include workman's comp for their workers and a new security system that's supposed to better screen our luggage as it moves through the am airport. something they've been
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developing for some time. it would be on hold if they had to send the resources to the border. another is funding for front line security officers. these are people who are crucial as a busy summer season is upon us and it could delay wait times at airports. it's also just important to remember even if this plan doesn't go through and they get the funding from congress, this tellsing us something about the priorities of the administration. they would be willing to look at areas like airport security in order to fund the mission at the border. >> nbc's julia ainsley, thank you very much. i'll be following that and does tell us something. that does it for us this morning. chris jansing picks up the coverage right now just on time. >> a little bit of hot tea, mika. thank you so much. hello. i'm chris jansing in more stephanie ruhle. we have a lot to get to this morning. a team of extraordinary nbc reporters is here with new details on the stories impacting your life today. starting with devastating storms.
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at least 80 tornadoes, 80 rip across the midwest. and they haven't stopped. we're live in oklahoma. and nbc news exclusive. documents revealing thousands of migrants detained by i.c.e. were force good solitary confinement not for breaking the rules but for being gay, disabled or mentally ill. a federal judge rules against the trump administration ordering the president's accounting firm to turn over financial documents to congress. and speaking of congress, a democratic leadership meeting gets heated as members of the house judiciary committee plead with pelosi to launch inimpeachment proceedings if don mcgahn refuses to comply with the subpoena to testify this morning. so far he's refusing. >> no one is above the law including the president of the united states. let me be clear. if don mcgann doesn't testify, it's time to open an inimpeachment inquiry. >> i'll

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