tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC May 21, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PDT
impeachment hearings now. >> if don mcgahn doesn't testify, it is time to open an impeachment query. >> the only thing we can do is start that impeachment inquiry. >> nancy pelosi is a great political strategist and we have to take everything very serious and it is a dilemma for all of us. >> all the breaking stories we're going to bring you. kasie hunt over on capitol hill and the house judiciary committee hearing set to begin any second after plenty of democrats had their say in a dramatic meeting overnight. i want to go to kasie hunt interviewing ocasio-cortez. >> some of these members are a part of her leadership team. >> absolutely. i think it depends on everyday
americans. if you have a representative in a close seat and you think we should be upholding the rule of law, i think it's time to give your representative a call. it sounds like a cliche and sounds like your dentist telling you to floss but it's because we listen and it's important that we listen. >> thank you. i do apologize for throwing you guys at the top of the show, hallie. we were speaking with one of the members who has been focused on this from the beginning but joined, as we know, by an increasingly loud chorus of members of the democratic caucus who maybe don't fit that same liberal progressive profile. and that is really why, you know, the story has been unfolding and so urgent here on capitol hill. you have that meeting in pelosi's meeting last night where several members brought forward these concerns saying the administration has stymied them across the board and that that means it's time to launch
impeachment proceedings. now, there is still a lot of resistance from pelosi and her top leadership team including steny hoyer and jim clyborn. he caught up with reporters in the hallways this morning. take a look at he how framed this debate. it's different from what you just heard. >> we just had a breaking of the gop. we just had a victory in the courts. all of these things seem to indicate to me that our process is working well. and will not be disturbed. >> so, there you have clyborn, you know, recommending that they continue with this process. it has been's designed to check single box so if and when democrats go to the courts, they can point to everything that they have done and say we have
tried everything and we had no luck. you need to rule in our favor. that has been pelosi's preferred strategy. but, i mean, this is some significant division we're seeing in the democratic ranks on a pretty big question here now. as we watch this hearing unfold. you'll keep an eye on how jerry nadler frames this at the top. he is, of course, the chairman of the committee. he has been very loyal to nancy pelosi. she has, in turn, been very loyal to him and other committee chairman. but this pressure is really building. we're going to go from here. we will not see don mcgoocgahn held in contempt today. you see jerry nadler walking into that hearing room. however, we expect that is ultimately the path that they're going to take likely when they come back from the memorial day recess. >> kasie hunt, stay close to a camera. we'll want to come back to you after this hearing concludes. we'll see if we can sneak in kristen welker from the white house. kristen? >> hallie, the white house is
digging in. as you know, president trump effectively directed mcgahn not to show up today. why? they're citing justice department rulings going back for decades that essentially say your advisors current and former to the president have immunity from testifying on capitol hill. so, that is the legal justification for this current move, hallie. but the big picture here. this is part of an intensifying standoff. the white house saying, look, democrats are asking for things that have no legislative purpose and that's why you're continuing to see the white house, essentially, say we're not going to give you these inert views or this information frankly. if you listen to president trump overnight, he was rallying his supporters in pennsylvania. tells you everything you need to know. he was defiant. he sort of took fresh aim at the entire russia investigation and called it treason. not backing down. >> we'll now listen in to this house judiciary committee
hearing. >> i will now recognize myself for an opening statement. more than a year ago, white house counsel don mcgahn sat for the first of several interviews with special counsel robert mueller. over the course of those interviews, he described how the president directed him to have the special counsel fired. he described how the president ordered him to lie about it. he described several other obstructed incidents outlined in the special counsel's report. president in contrast refused to be interviewed by the special counsel or even to answer written questions about his attempts to obstruct the investigation. instead, to address the allegations spelled out by mr. mcgahn and outlined in the report he took to twitter to
call mr. mcgahn a liar. his lawyers went on cable television to do the same. to call mr. mcgahn a liar. there are reports of the president and his lieutenants exerting other kinds of pressure on mr. mcgahn. in short, the president took it upon himself to intimidate a witness who has a legal obligation to be here today. this conduct is not remotely acceptable. the white house asserts that mr. mcgahn does not have to appear today because he entitled to absolute immunity, unquote, from our subpoenas. we know this argument is wrong, of course, because the executive branches tried this approach before. in 2007, president george bush attempted to invoke a similarly unjustified and asked his former counsel to ignore subpoena issued by this committee.
ms. myers also did not appear at her scheduled hearing. judge john bates who was appointed by president bush slapped down that argument fairly quickly. quote, the executive cannot identify a singal judicial opinion that recognizes immunity for senior presidential advisors in this or any other context. that simple yet critical fact bears repeating. the asserted absolute immunity claim here is entirely unsupported by the case law. close quote from the judicial decision. in other words, when this committee issues a subpoena, even to a senior presidential adviser, the witness must show up. our subpoenas are not optional. mr. mcgahn has a legal obligation to be here for this scheduled appearance.
if he does not immediately correct his mistake, this committee will have no choice but to enforce the subpoena against him. mr. mcgahn did not appear today because the president prevented it. just as the president has said that he would, quote, fight all subpoenas, close quote, issued by congress as part of his broader efforts to cover up his misconduct. this stonewalling makes it all the more important to highlight some of the incidents that mr. mcgahn is said to have witnessed. let me recount some of them. we know that the president directed mr. mcgahn to prevent then attorney general sessions from recusing himself from overseeing the investigation into russian election interference. on march 3rd, 2017, shortly after attorney general jeff sessions did recuse himself from the russia investigation, the
president summoned mr. mcgoodaho the oval office. the president opened the conversation by saying, i don't have a lawyer, unquote. the president told mr. mcgahn that cohn was his attorney. known as the chief architect -- mr. cohn served as president trump's lawyer for a long time defending the president against federal discrimination suits before he, that is was disbarred for ethical practices in 1986. mr. mcgahn refused to follow political babehavior. the department of justice ethics officials have weighed in and that mr. sessions would not
uncuu unrecuse himself and advised the president not to have any contact with mr. sessions on the matter. days later, the president did exactly the opposite. he summoned mr. mcgahn and mr. sessions to mar-a-lago where the president, again, expressed his anger, unquote. he said he wanted mr. sessions to act as his fixer. he said he wanted mr. sessions to undo his recusal and to limit the scope of the investigation. but mr. sessions, too, refused the president's orders. on june 17th, 2017, the president took his displeasure a step further. he called mr. mcgahn at home and directed him to order rod rosenstein to fire robert mueller. mueller has to go, the president barked, call me back when you do it. once again, mr. mcgahn refused. this time mr. mcgahn felt the president's behavior was so inappropriate that he said he would rather resign than trigger
a constitutional crisis. in early 2018, after they describe the president's attempt to force mr. mcgahn to remove the special counsel on his behalf. the president repeated his pattern. quote, this story doesn't look good. you need to correct this. you're the white house counsel, close quote. president trump told mr. mcgahn. what about these notes. why do you take notes, the president said to mr. mcgahn. why he had documented their conversation. the president then told mr. mcgahn to tell the american people something that was not true. he asked them to deny those reports publicly. mr. mcgahn, again, refused the president's order. he refused the president's order to lie to the american people on the president's behalf. six months later the president announced that mr. mcgahn would be leaving the white house.
the special counsel mr. mcgahn to be a, quote, credible witness with no motive to lie or exaggerate given the position he held in the white house, close quote. from the mueller report. the special counsel also found the following. quote, substantial evidence indicates that by june 17th, 2017, the president knew his conduct was under investigation by a federal prosecutor who couldn't present any evidence of federal crimes to a grand jury. substantial evidence indicates that the president's attempts to remove the special counsel were linked to the special counsel's oversight of investigations that involved the president's conduct. and most immediately to reports that the president was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice. substantial evidence indicates and these are all quotes from the report, substantial evidence indicates that urging mcgahn to
have the spence counsel terminated the president acted for the purpose of influencing mcgahn's account to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the president's conduct towards the investigation. substantial evidence indicates that the president's efforts to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation to future interference was intended to prevent further scrutiny of the president and his campaign's conduct. closed quote. those are all quotes from the special counsel's report. i believe that each of these incidents documented in detail in the mueller report constitutes a crime. but for the department of justice's policy of refusing to indict any sitting president, i believe the president would have been indicted and charged with these crimes. i am not alone in this belief. over 900 former federal
prosecutors from across the political spectrum whose job was to determine when the elements of the crime had been satisfied have stated, have agreed that the president committed crimes that would have been charged if he were not the sitting president. and i believe that the president's conduct since the report was released with respect to mr. mcgahn's testimony and other information we have sought has carried this pattern of obstruction and cover up well beyond the four corners of the mueller report. the president has declared out loud his intention to cover up this misconduct. he told mr. mcgahn to commit crimes on his behalf. he told mr. mcgahn to lie about it. after the report came out, the president claimed that mr. mcgahn lied to the special counsel about what happened. then he directed mr. mcgahn not to come here today so that the public would not hear his testimony and so that we could not question him.
president trump may think he can hide behind his lawyers, as he launches a series of legal arguments designed to obstruct our work. he cannot think these legal arguments will prevail in court, but he will think he can slow us down and run out the clock on the american people. let me be clear, this committee will hear mr. mcgahn's testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it. we will not allow the president to prevent the american people from hearing from this witness. we will not allow the president to block congressional subpoenas, putting himself and his allies above the law. we will not allow the president to stop this investigation and nothing in these unjustified and unjustifiable legal attacks will stop us from pressing forward with our work on behalf of the american people. we will hold this president
accountable. one way or the other. it now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the judiciary committee, the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, for his opening statements. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for all that have gathered here again. here we go, again. the theater is open and, in fact, right now we're running over the norms of congressional oversight and dabbing and asking for things. and i am glad that the chairman read into the record today the mueller report. i'm glad that he quoted, as he said, this is a quote directly from the mueller report. i wish my chairman would read the rest of it that he has been offered to read, which he has chose not to read. but he did leave out one thing. he left out something in the mueller report from just now. he read mcgahn's testimony beautifully. but he read out what he doesn't want to come back to and the
frustrating thing that brought us back here again and again. there was no collusion. no obstruction charges. there was nothing here. after two years of doing this, we can read it in and talk about how you don't like it and talk about what you would like. at the end of the day, reading the quotes that make the headlines we're also going to read in the bottom line of what was actually concluded. so, the democrats are here trying again. the mueller report concluded no collusion and no obstruction because the report failed to find and we need to dig deeper, deeper than the two years by a prosecutorial dream team because that ended without charges against the president or his family. without giving democrats anything to deliver to their base. now the democrats are trying desperately to make something out of nothing which is why the chairman has, again, subpoenaed today's witnesses. that move has ensured the witness will not testify. you know, this is becoming a
pattern. the chairman new this, i believe, when he sent the subpoena last month, but instead of inviting the witness to testify voluntarily and scope and time for the testimony, the chairman rushed to maximize headlines by issues a subpoena. the third in four months. more subpoenas than the prior chairman issued in six years. the chairman has several ways out here. he took none of them. the chairman could have invited the witness to testify voluntarily. that was the practice in the 1990s when the white house counsel testified before congress. but the chairman did not do that. he launched a subpoena without any consultation. could have invited the witness to testify behind closed doors but you wouldn't have been here and the show would not have been exciting. generate those headlines and everything that we're looking at today and even gaveling in today's hearing without a
witness. i just am glad today to see that we don't have. the chairman orchestrated when he could have avoided it because he's more interested in the fight than fact finding. take the mueller report. more than 99% of the justice department has offered to the chairman. the attorney general who volunteered to testify before the committee, the chairman changed the rules for the first time in the committee's 200-year history thus blocking general barr from testifying. i cannot emphasize this enough. the track record does not show he wants information, he wants to fight, but not the truth. the closer he comes from obtaining information, the further we run from it. the democrats claim the witness to investigate obstruction of justice, but that investigation was already done. robert mueller spent two years running it and then closed it. we are a legislative body that does have valid congressional oversight. let's talk about that mueller report for just a second.
really interesting to me that the mueller report was actually within 24 hours of coming out the chairman and the majority subpoenaed for all the documents. in fact, legal subpoena that actually the attorney general to provide documents he cannot legally provide. that's been covered in this committee for the last two weeks exhaustively and even the panel that was with us last week agreed that the subpoena hasked the attorney general to do something illegal. that was his own witnesses said that last week. but, you know what is interesting to me, that we subpoena the documents, we've seen pe subpoenaed the documents and the one thing we seem to avoid is mr. mueller, the one who wrote it. we asked since april about mr. mueller coming. but every time we seem to get close to robert mueller, just gets pushed out a little bit. this is what is really taking, we'll get back to subpoenas in a moment. think about that. you want the work of the author
but you don't want to talk to the author. when we look at this, 99% of theinithe information is at the fingertips. don't be fooled. majority wants to fight and want the drama and doesn't want the information he claims to be seeking and this committee and the chairman issued subpoenaed a and, in fact, the democrats not engaging. abruptly cutting off negotiations and rejecting olive branches by administration. this is where i want to come back to something my chairman just said a moment ago. his quote was in his opening statements that our subpoenas are not optional. we found out a lot about subpoenas. subpoenas now are not optional. let's add to the list, subpoenas are a discussion starter. give us better understanding in
court. not my coatquotes, the chairman quotes. the subpoena the legal document and the forceful documents that all attorneys in this country actually use or a discussion starter. is it to help our standing in court or is it that we don't want it ignored? this time it sumazing to me that the accommodation process and we talk about the committee and the chairman talk about the oversight. i agree with the chairman on this point. they have oversight spaun responsibilities but the responsibility of the chairman to use it properly. and to not rush into subpoenas when you don't get what you want. that is all we've seen in five months here. when we don't get what we want, we subpoena. the first one was the acting attorney general and then everything else has become a race to get a headline. the accommodation process not happening. the accommodation process never here. so, don't be fooled. you may have come. you may have an opinion that says everything is wrong today with the mueller report and the president is guilty. but don't undercut congressional
oversight because you can't wait. that's the problem we have right now. and, so, the question is, are we tearing at the fabric of congressional oversight? it was really interesting to hear some of that last week. when you have a committee that has issued subpoenas that asked the attorney general to do something illegal. when you have the subpoenas when no accommodation process in place. contempt issues in place with no process and no time going through? i just submit to you this. whatever your opinion on the mueller report, great. glad you had it. you didn't get it here today and you're not getting it from this committee because undoubtedly like the author want to talk to the author of the report, they just want to talk about the report and attack the president. in the middle of the day when this committee, who has charge of immigration and intellectual property and we touched none of with a crisis at the border. we have an admission that the economy is good and unemployment
is at the lowest rate. i guess at the end of the day we can't find something that the mueller reports lets them hang their impeachment on, which they can't even agree on, because the president is continuing to do his job and we're here, again, with the circus in full force. with that, i yield back. >> thank you, mr. collins. >> gentleman from tennessee. >> motion is made to adjourn. >> you're the chairman. >> motion is adjourn is not debatable. all in favor. >> opposed. >> do i hear request for recorded vote? the court will call the motion to adjourn.
there are 21 ayes and 13 nos. the hearing is adjourned. >> you have been watching the how judiciary committee in which mcgahn was a no show. republicans arguing this was political theatrics and congressman nadler firmly saying our subpoenas will not be ignored. kasie hunt is still with us on capitol hill along with charlie sabbath correspondent and shane national political reporter for "new york times." kasie, let me go to you here. we may start to see some members coming out. clearly jerry nadler is putting a line in the sand here. he wants to see don mcgahn
threatening a court fight. it seems like this is absolutely where this is headed next. >> it does, hallie. you'll see me jump out of the way here because we are waiting for members of the judiciary committee to come to these microphones and explain more on what is going on behind the scenes. but as you saw there from jerry nadler, that threat to hold mcgahn in attempt. this, you're right, does set up yet another battle for the courts to destd. again, this process has been deliberately moving towards that end. i mean, once it became clear that the administration was not go going to cooperate under basically any circumstances, they were left with little recourse. obviously, the overarching question here does the drum beat towards impeachment in the wake of this. the sources i have been talking to in the halls over the course of the last little while, they're suggesting it is coming from the judiciary committee. those are the members, some of them are part of the leadership
team. but, you know, there could be potentially some conflict with other committees, et cetera. interesting to hear how many of them come out to these microphones and start to say more loudly and clearly that is what they want their leadership to do instead of this very careful, deliberative process that nancy pelosi and her leaders have laid out. so, still many twists and turns to come here, of course. but, i think we're going to see that contempt. if we see that contempt vote not likely to be for a couple weeks. but it does sound, as though, this is the intent at this point. >> kasie, i know you're monitoring the hallways and cameras and we'll come back to you live as we hear from any members of congress who walk out and want to share their views. before we get to our analysts joining us, let me bring in from capitol hill democrat from virginia, a member of the foreign affairs committee and former cia officer. congresswoman, thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me on.
>> i have a lot to talk to you. let me start with your reaction to what you just saw in that house judiciary committee hearing. should there be more of a call and nancy pelosi should increasingly consider the possibility of impeachment? >> i will say, i ran out of my committee hearing in the foreign affairs committee to come and meet you today. i just got the tail end of your presentation. it looks like mr. mcgahn did not show up. catching myself up there, i think that is a tremendously important step and at this point in time, i believe members of the judiciary committee need to determine what are the next steps forward. i think it's evidence that, once again, the administration is demonstrating a lack of respect for the oversight role that congress is supposed to play and i serve on the foreign affairs committee and agriculture committee and we have members of the administration come before us regularly and we haven't yet seen this level of disrespect. so, i think it does speak to when there is an issue related to the president, why is it that at that point in time the
members of the administration don't come forward and engage with congress, as so many other members would you support holdig don mcgahn in contempt? >> i do think this is deeply troubling. >> you mentioned you were running out of another briefing. i believe from john brennan and wendy sherman related to iran. are you correct on that? >> i was on a foreign affairs committee and we were talking about russia. i did attend the other briefing this morning. >> did you see anything in that briefing? regarding threats from iran? >> the point of the briefing we attended was a bit of level setting. many members of congress who don't have a background in national security. i am a former intelligence officer and certainly many military veterans who are familiar with the goings on in
the middle east. so, i think the purpose of the caucus meeting was to give a historical perspective of better understanding of what is happening and has happened historically in the relationship between the u.s. and iran before we walk into a briefing later this afternoon with the administration. and representatives mr. pompeo will be there and secretary pompeo will be there and it was intended to be more educational and to create a foundation of information before our discussion later this afternoon. >> i believe the acting defense secretary will also be at the briefing later on this afternoon. what specific intelligence will you be looking for in that briefing? what do you need to see? >> i'm concerned with what i view as a complete lack of strategy in our efforts against iran. in our efforts to engage with iran. i am deeply concerned by what i view is action on the united states and it's dangerous for u.s. forces. we have forces in iraq and syria and yemen and they're in danger
every time we take what looks to be aggressive action. let me be clear. we must always defend our country. we must always ensure that we are keeping our country safe and defending our country. but that comes through diplomacy. that comes through engagement. that does not come through rhetoric and strategy void actions like we've seen recently. >> congresswoman, thank you for joining us and for your time in what i know is a busy morning and busy day for you. busy at the halls of the capitol, as well. take you back to the microphones where members are speaking to reporters. we'll listen in. >> i support the chairman. look forward to this process and continuing to see the truth comes out to the american people. >> what is the next step for don mcgahn? >> mr. mcgahn should be held in contempt. we will have strong attempt citations. i don't know we'll go as far
because there are legal issues there that i don't totally agree with. >> file your article of impeachment? >> they are as ready to go as mr. roberts -- >> what are you waiting for? >> one thing, i'm waiting for mr. mueller to testify before this committee. i think it's important that we hear from mr. mueller. >> are you sensing a shift? >> you have been listening to democrats in the house judiciary committee speaking to reporters as this is unfolding. don mcgahn former white house counsel someone who sat down for 30 plus hours with robert mueller and the special counsel team not appearing at the direction of the white house. the white house team telling don mcgahn he should have immunity. that is their legal argument for this. charlie and joyce i want to bring you in on what we listened to. joyce, you heard chairman nadler say there are reports that the
president and his lieutenants exerting pressure on mcgahn. do you believe the white house is trying to intimidate don mcgahn or a legal leg to stand on here? >> it's happening in public. we have seen the president threaten mcgahn, talk about his law firm. perhaps it's not been as direct as one might expect from this president in person, but certainly the public persona has been somewhat menacing. the important point here, though, is that mcgahn had the opportunity to show up. he no longer works for this president. he was free to testify, if he chose to. i thought representative nadler's of the president laying out his argument that mcgahn was a liar and mcgahn not choosing to show up in congress to defend himself and discuss the facts was very telling. so, you ask whether the president has a leg to stand on and the reality is nadler does a
good job of laying out the law here. a case he cited which is persuasive authority, not binding. but it indicates that the white house is just wrong here. >> charlie. it is clear that this is heading towards a court fight almost certainly. you heard that from jerry nadler and heard it when he said our subpoenas are not optional. where does this go next in your view? >> well, after congress votes to recommend holding him in contempt, it will go to the house floor and at some point nancy pelosi who controls the house's lawsuits will have to decide whether with her counsel chairman whether to file a civil lawsuit. whether or not they held in contempt by then asking a judge for an order directing don mcgahn to comply with their subpoena. that will cue up the fight whether it is accurate as the administration says that he's absolutely immune from even showing up or whether that
harriet myers case from the end of the bush administration will prevail, again, and he'll be directed to show up. and that will also cue up whether the trump administration is right that they can assert executive privilege to prevent him from talking about stuff that he already told mueller and that attorney general barr already made public by making most of the mueller report public. which raises another court precedent that says once the executive branch has made something public that was previously confidential, it can no longer use privilege to shield it. the administration is going to have some difficult arguments to overcome once this gets into court. but to the extent its strategy is to just run out the clock and delay things. it may not matter that much because it will try to litigate and keep appealing its losses as long as it can to push off congress' ability to have this hearing that it very much wants to have. >> interesting one of them being how this law firm based in washington, the don mcgahn now
works for, again, is complicating matters as it relates with his relationship to the white house. >> his old firm was the big firm which a brand in 2016 and continues to be paid millions of dollars by the trump campaign and the rnc and there is a financial relationship between the president and mcgo. >> the big storyline, listen, arguably one of the most challenging moments for nancy pelo pelosi. our team is looking for her and other top democrats to get their reaction for this as the drum beat grows louder. the dramatic meeting overnight calls from democrats, not in the progressive lane but saying the time has come. i want to play from seth molten what he said in the hallways here about this because the timing of this, this call not just from democratic voters but for some members of congress to move forward with impeachment is getting louder. watch.
so, we don't have it. he said over 30 president associates with urere indicted don't tell me there is not enough to discuss impeachment. you heard a democrat from tennessee say we are waiting for mueller and then he'll move forward. >> i think, hallie a lot of people think it would streamline this process and make it easier for people to get a hold of the information and that's why a lot of people are pushing forward for it. i think why speaker pelosi is holding firm is because she knows it is going to be tough and going to be a distraction. she saw what happened to bill clinton. when he was impeached, it helped him. she doesn't think this is helpful. she is one of the people who can see the forest from the trees and she doesn't think this is helpful to her party. >> no end game for the democrats. if the house democrats pass impeachment, it goes to the senate and they don't have the votes. there is an overwhelming set of
republicans and only one republican in congress has talked about impeachment and it came in recent days. >> this is the argument that speaker pelosi has made. i want to check with our control room to see if we have the sound bite from jerry nadler about obstruction. it will be inest ther interesti your take on that. listen to jerry nadler talking where don mcgahn did not show up and why he thinks that is wrong. a lot of reaction coming from capitol hill. let me play that. >> there are reports that the president and lieutenants exerting other kind of pressure on mr. mcgahn. in short, the president took it upon himself to intimidate a witness who has a legal obligation to be here today. this conduct is not remotely acceptable. >> and, joyce, that was jerry nadler talking about the potential for intimidation as we discuss that relates to obstruction. how does the white house make the argument here? because as you've described,
they are standing on this immunity leg, if you will. likely some kind of day of action from democrats to hold in contempt, not just potentially don mcgahn but possibly attorney general bill barr, as well. >> i thought this is one of the most important things that representative nadler said today. he talked not just about the president's, but the mueller report and the evidence in that report that talked about obstruction linking the two together, calling it an ongoing. now we have this high-ranking figure in the party saying that he believes the president has created the crime of obstruction of justice. it is very difficult to see how you avoid taking the next step, which is that the president has to be impeached for committing that kind of crime. >> joyce, charlie, thank you. amie and shane, stick around. we have much more to come. including an nbc news exclusive
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exclusive. with the 2020 race heating up, our team has a look at russian interference goes deeper than russian interference. richard engel is live for us in our bureau and talk with us about some of theind toi findin the documents that nbc news obtained exclusively. what is going on? >> one of the stronger stories i have covered in some time. we know about russian attempts to influence u.s. elections. that was documented extensively in the mueller report and in the justice department's various indictments. but it is not just elections that the russians are trying to influence or considering influence. they are looking actively at trying to disrupt the very fabric of american society. so, what these documents that we looked at exclusively were, were effectively brainstorming sessions among russian operatives.
pitch ideas in which they bat around different proposals on how to create chaos in the united states, particularly by targeting the african-american community. in these correspondences the operatives say that president trump's election has exposed weaknesses and divisions in american society, particularly with regard to race that they want to capitalize on. and they bat around different ideas on how to take advantage of this. and one of the more outlandish ideas was to seek out and recruit american, african-americans, especially ex-cons. people who might be radicalized already to send them to unspecified, quote, camps in africa. give them military and sabotage training and this is quoting the correspondents and then bring
them back to the united states. another plot talked about encouraging, again, radical african-americans to push for an independent state in the southern united states. now, there's no indication that these plans were operational. these were idea sessions and they were pitch meetings and it gives you an idea of the kind of things that they are looking at and that they are very ambitious, to say the least. >> that sounds like it. richard engel with that exclusive. thank you much for joining us with all that. 2020 news to get to. president trump going after joe biden in what is shaping up to be the battleground of 2020, pennsylvania. >> don't forget, biden deserted you. he was not from pennsylvania. he was born here, but he left you, folks. he left you for another state. he didn't take care of you because he didn't take care of your jobs. >> p.a. is one of three states in the u.s. where the president is looking for after winning
pennsylvania, wisconsin and michigan by less than one point. they acknowledge privately there is reason to be a little bit worried. joining me now, msnbc political analyst, zerlina maxwell, senior director of progressive programming at sirius xm. amy parms and shane gold mmatch are still with us here on set. both have acknowledged my home state is a must win for them. if you look at the trends of pennsylvania, president trump won there in 2016, as we've said. but before that, it was democrat, democrat, democrat for the past six presidential elections. what do democrats need to do to try to flip that state blue for 2020? >> i think the same thing is true about pennsylvania that's true about michigan and also wisconsin. it's that we need to increase turnout. and specifically in the major cities. so when we're talking about these three states and specifically pennsylvania, we need to remember that the
difference between 2016 and elections where democrats were successful in that state is that we had large african-american turnout. and so the 44,000 or so vote difference in 2016 was largely because the turnout was down compared to previous cycles, like 2012 and 2008 for president obama. so i think if we look at 2018 as an indicator for what's going to happen in 2020, things are looking good, because michigan, pennsylvania, and wisconsin, all threed a democratic wins statewide in the midterm elections. so i think that democrats need to focus on turnout. and certainly can spend some time trying to win back those obama/trump voters. but i think the focus should be on turning out the african-american community. >> you talk about the president's low approval rating in pennsylvania, right? it's not extremely high. but some polling also shows that more than half of voters in that state, 54%, say they're actually better off financially than they were back in 2016. there is a real chance, right,
that some of these voters are going to look past their disapproval of the president and say, listen, i got more money in my pocket, i got more money in my wallet, that's what i'm going to vote on. >> sure! i think that everybody wakes up every day and thinks about how much money they have in their bank accounts and if they can tackle all of their bills and take care of their families. but one of the issues that extends beyond how much money you have in your percenbank acc is the president's rhetoric around immigration and race. and i think that that's a major factor. i don't think that, you know, if you're a person of color and you're waking up and you're saying, well, the racism is fine just because i have money in my bank account or potentially had a small tax cut that i may or may not have felt, i think that racial issues are going to be the focus. and i think people are thinking about that despite the fact that the economy strong. >> when you talk about joe biden, shane, that's somebody you're writing about. and your piece this morning gives you an ideas look into his
big fund-raising operation. you have some details where you talk about the lavish affairs, the live jazz band playing at one house, caviar on offer at another house, pink peonies on display in south carolina in these lush floral arrangements there. other 2020 democrats are saying, nah, we're good, we don't want these big donors. do you think that's going to be an issue for joe biden? >> i think he's saying that's not going to be an issue. and that's the bet he's making, collecting money from these big donors aren't the things that voters will ultimately care about. you have candidates like bernie sanders and elizabeth warren who have made a big point of saying, i don't do events like this. and joe biden is saying, not only do i do events like this, but i'm inviting the press on. and everything i say, it's going to be on the record. >> you talk about bernie sanders, he's already fund-raising off of this. the campaign using that as ammo in these email blasts. >> bernie sanders is looking at joe biden as his biggest opponent at this point. every time joe biden has some success, he goes out to his
supporters, like, look what he's doing, we need to do better than this. so they're going to kind of make things rough for him in terms of fund-raisi fund-raising, in terms of being the establishment figure. joe biden is banking on the fact, as shane said, that he can do both. that he can still appeal to small donors but also appeal to these big moneymakers. >> guys, stick around. zerlina maxwell, it's always a pleasure to have you on. thank you, my friend. appreciate it. msnbc's road warriors and all the democratic contenders are on the road to miami for the first democratic debate of the 2020 election. that's going to be next month, june 26th and 27th. it will be here before you know it on msnbc, nbc news, telemundo. it will also be live streamed on n nbcnews.com. it's going to be very interesting. time to get a look at something else that's interesting, what our sources are saying. amy, what are you hearing from your sources and reporting on? >> looking at biden in polling, people are saying, oh, there's no enthusiasm behind him. the crowd size is small, but his
people are feeling pretty good about where he is in polling. they're looking a new morning consult poll that was out today that shows that not only is he up in intense favorability, but he is the second choice among people -- he's the second favorite among all these other candidates. and that is optimistic. that looks like an optimistic thing for them. because if all of these people drop out, they're all going to move over to biden. >> shane, what are you working on? what are your sources telling you? >> that dig debate coming up, 12 candidates who have to double qualify, both with polling measurements and donor measurements, jay inslee on the precipice of getting 65,000 donors. that may sound like a good thing for him. the party is worried, though, at this point, there are more than 20 candidates, there are only 20 slots on that debate stage. not everyone is qualified, but it's a little bit of a scrum to get those last few slots. and some surprising candidates haven't hit that donor threshold. chief among them, john hickenlooper in california and kirsten gillibrand, senator from new york. >> big names. we'll see how that shakes up in the next three, four weeks now before the debates start. shane and amy, great to see you
here in new york. thank you very much for coming on. coming up, kids under pressure. part ii of our special series here at msnbc news, highlighting everyday issues facing kids and by extension, facing the future of this country. we're talking about the new movement to empower young girls to sideline perfection. that's next. to sideline peecrftion that's next. alright boys, time for bed.
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. we want to take you live now to breaking news. some dramatic and scary video coming to us out of oklahoma city. multiple rescues are happening right now. you can see as they zoom in, one
woman, that woman has just been pulled to safety, essentially. was clinging to a tree. it appears that there are other rescues happening as well. this is a region that's been hit with 24 tornadoes in the past 24 hours. you've seen homes flooded and it looks as though in the upper left corner of your screen there is another rescuers trying to get to somebody who is clinging to a tree. it appears back in that tree line there. it is dangerous, it is scary, and there's the potential for more storms on the way in this region. it's something that i know craig melvin will be watching very closely. and craig, it is some terrifying video to watch. glad that that woman appears to be okay. >> we have been following those storms closely over the past few days, as you indicated. so far, no deaths. let's hope that doesn't change, hallie. thank you. good morning to you here. craig melvin, msnbc headquarters here in new york city. two big stories we're following in addition to those storms. on capitol hill, moments ago, the house judiciary committee held a