my thanks to alexi, elise, a.b. and nick. that does it for our hour. i'm nicolle wallace. "mtp daily" with chuck todd starts right now. well, if it's thursday, president trump attacks robert mueller, totally mischaracterizes his public statement, and then makes an extraordinary admission that russia helped him win the white house. which he then retracted. attorney general barr gets in on the act taking a shot of his own at mueller. all as more democratic lawmakers
are now calling for the opening of impeachment proceedings. welcome to thursday. it's "meet the press daily." i'm chuck todd right here in rainy washington. bob mueller handed the baton to congress, and now the president and his attorney general are hitting mueller. the president not only attacked mueller's credibility, he soed disinformation about mueller's public statement. in a way you could say he was attempting to obstruct mueller's analysis of the case. >> he said essentially you're innocent. i'm innocent of all charges. >> if we had had confidence that the president clearly did commit a crime, we would have said so. >> there was no charge because he had no information. >> under long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider. >> russia didn't help me at all. russia, if anything, i think,
helped the other side. >> they used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the clinton campaign. >> this was all about russia, russia, russia. they don't talk about russia anymore because it turned out to be a hoax. it was all a hoax. >> there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. and that allegation deserves the attention of every american. >> then hours after the president's comments, we finally heard from the attorney general, bill barr, and he went after a mueller a bit in an interview taped for cbs, specifically criticizing mueller's decision to punt on obstruction, which mueller explained was because he was following justice department policy. >> i personally felt he could have reached a decision. the opinion says you cannot indict a president while he's in office, but he could have reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity. but he had his reasons for not
doing it, which he explained. i'm not going to, you know, argue about those reasons. >> it is fascinating, bill barr right there in that quote, basically says, well, mueller could have said he wanted to charge the president but couldn't do it because of justice department policy. would bill barr have been as supportive of mueller if he had gone about and done what barr said? i'll let you guys answer that question. the big question right now, though, is whether or not mueller's statement yesterday is moving the impeachment needle. the president's reaction to it combined with barr's comments suggest perhaps they are worried about mueller moving the needle. and since mueller's statement, nine more house democrats have publicly come out in support of impeachment proceedings. that brings the total to 49 democrats and one republican. if you want an anecdotal piece of evidence, we've also started to hear some constituents, actual voters start to ask questions about impeachment at congressional town halls and on the campaign trail. >> how do you feel about
starting impeachment proceedings based on yesterday's testimony? as a democrat, it's very frustrating to think we've just got to wait until you or one of your colleagues wins in 2020. >> i believe that the judiciary committee should begin impeachment inquiries, inquiries, all right? >> by the way, that's what the shorthand of do you begin impeachment? that's what that means. so did mueller move the needle? if he did, the first places you would start to see it are with constituents, which will tighten the screws on house leadership, probably have the judiciary committee have to take action. in just a moment i'll be joined by a member of the house judiciary committee who has broken with house leadership and last night she heard from constituents. but we'll kick things off with my colleague, nbc news capitol hill reporter leigh ann caldwell. she's been on town hall duty this week. today she is with katie porter. this is a district that could be an interesting indicator for
democrats on the impeachment inner you. so leigh ann, i know you'll have congresswoman porter with you in a second. set the scene. you were in grand rapids for the big justin amash town hall. tell me what's similar, tell me what's different. >> reporter: so, chuck, we chose this town hall because we're in orange county. this is the first time that this district has gone democrat since this district was created in the 1950s, so this is more of a swingy district, more moderate. so we wanted to see what voters here had to say and actually have the congresswoman here with me. she's willing to take a few questions. thank you so much, congresswoman porter. you are a freshman congresswoman. you've come to congress and now you're faced with this question of impeachment. so you have not come out in support of impeachment yet. is that position still hold for you? >> so congress is a dlib afternoon body. so one of the things we're doing is appropriately deliberating. so this morning at 7:15, my
phone rang and it was one of my colleagues on the east coast calling. he wanted to talk through what to make of mr. mueller's statements yesterday. i thought to myself, wow, it's pretty bold that he's calling me at 7:15. he pointed out that i had texted him first to talk about impeachment. so it's important congress try to get this right, it's important that we communicate in the american public about what in fact the constitutional obligations are and what in fact the appropriate steps are. the constitution is pretty vague on this, which means this is part of a public deliberative process in figuring out what to do next. >> so based on mueller's public statement yesterday, has anything changed for you? >> no. i think his statement was entirely consistent with what's in the written report. so i had read those statements in the written report and had already thought through and focused on what he had said and what he had not said. so i think the encouraging thing for everybody is that what he had said is 100% consistent with the report and the job of the congress people is to read that report, to talk with their
constituents and decide what to do next to uphold our duty to safeguard our democracy. >> so you're not yet there on impeachment? >> i haven't made a public decision yet but i'm continuing to get briefings every day as things continue to evolve. >> thank you very much, congresswoman. >> thank you. >> chuck, this town hall hasn't started yet, but it's going to be interesting to hear what questions these voters have and come up in this swing district where there's a lot of moderate democrats and republicans here, chuck. >> leigh ann, it's great. i have to say it caught my ear. she said i haven't made a public decision yet on impeachment. very interesting use of the word "public" and the fact that they're talking behind the scenes with each other, is i think a very significant thing that we learned there too. great job. now go watch the town hall. let me turn now to another elected member of the house. joining me now is pennsylvania
democratic congresswoman madeline dean. she is a member of the house judiciary committee and she does support opening an impeachment inquiry. now congresswoman, good to see you. so let me start with -- >> thank you. >> let me start with -- i don't know if you got a chance to hear your colleague, katie porter, talking about -- >> i did. >> -- what she's deliberating there a little bit. i foundi it interesting that sh had a colleague reaching out to her. how active are the conversations among congress? >> they have picked up pace. i'm a big fan of katie porter. i serve with her on financial services. she's pretty doggone sharp. the conversations have picked up. and maybe particularly with those of us on judiciary. i've had colleagues either call me on the telephone or stop me on the floor, as we're involved in voting, and say what's going on? why is it that you made the
shift a couple of weeks ago now to say that we should call for an impeachment inquiry? and the thing that i say is that i feel on judiciary that we are foot soldiers and then when we issue lawful subpoenas for the constitutional oversight we ought to be doing and they are ignored, blocked, thwarted by this administration, by this president, by this attorney general, enough is enough and i believe we should start an impeachment inquiry. >> do you think that one of the issues here and why this is so -- feels like such a leap for so many members of congress is that there's a perception that saying you're for impeachment means saying you're for kicking him out of office, when really when you say this, it means what you just describe. you're essentially officially creating a grand jury in congress to decide whether this president deserves to be indicted, pure and simple. >> and whether we should file articles of impeachment. >> right, right. it's opening a grand jury and
deciding whether to indict, which in this case would be articles of impeachment. >> right. >> if the public understood it to be that way, do you think there would be more public support for it? >> i do. and i think that's part of our job. as katie said, we're deliberative but we also have to educate the public as to what we know, where we are in the process and what the process looks like. nobody should take lightly the issue of impeachment. when i made that statement, i said i take no joy in it. i do say it with an american sense of optimism that the constitution is strong enough to stand up against the most indecent president we have seen. you know, i thought yesterday, chuck, was a pivotal day. the fact that as he left office, special counsel mueller chose to speak publicly was remarkable. i'm sure it was not lost on you as a student of all of this. he is somebody who said he doesn't need to speak publicly, that the report speaks for itself. well, guess what, my speaking yesterday, he spoke volumes to the american people, saying the
american people need to read that report. if each of them can't read that report, counting on congress, call on congress to make sure that we pull out that which happened. there was sweeping interference of our elections, we know that. the campaign -- trump campaign welcomed it and wallowed in it and then tried to -- and there's ample evidence, as mueller said, ample evidence of obstruction by this president of the investigation of that. >> do you think that -- it's interesting that you were talking about yesterday is a pivotal moment. but katie porter also brought up an important aspect of what mueller said. mueller didn't say anything that hadn't already been written in the report. >> yeah, it was striking. >> but because you could see it, because more americans heard it, it looks like it's having a little bit more of an impact. look, we can have this conversation, a lot of americans aren't going to read the whole report. but is it your job to figure out
how to get americans to hear this report better? does that mean you do need mueller to almost verbalize it? >> sure. it was striking to me when first i heard him make his statement, then i read the transcript of his statement and the language was so familiar because it's language pulled directly from the report. that's the consistency with which he is speaking, a single voice, a clear, single voice. but what i think he was signaling is look what has happened here. we have an attorney general who disguised the truth of this report and continues to do that in very bizarre ways, and we have a president going around claiming he's been exonerated, which just simply isn't the case. so it really was a loud voice when mueller came forward and said, please, read the report. that's why we need mueller to come before our committee. and never go outside the scope of the report, i honor and respect that, but it will help us bring the narrative to the american people. i believe that's our job in our oversight capacity, it's our job in congress.
i too had a town hall last night so i'm looking forward to katie doing a great job -- >> what did you learn from it? you were about to answer the question i was about to ask. what did you learn from it, and how many people did you feel like voluntarily talked about this and how many of them are like, you know what, please can you focus on pre-existing conditions? >> guess what, they want us to do both and that was my great takeaway. and there's been a shift in the conversation in my community, in my district. so last night what came up were gun violence, health care, prescription drug pricing, climate change, social security, cost of student loan debt, all of those important things. they want to talk about that. i bet it wasn't two or three questions in from the audience and then the question of holding this president accountable. the man asked for impeachment. that's why i took the time to
explain why i went for an impeachment inquiry. the room mostly, i would say 99% of the room applauded in terms of impeachment inquiry. they absolutely did. that is a shift from four or five or six weeks ago. >> do you think that there is a little bit of a problem where as much as i think that every committee should be independent, judiciary, you guys -- look, you're the big todkahuna here, intel is doing some stuff, financial services is doing some stuff on trump and personal finances. is it in some ways, should it all be concentrated into one single effort? should it be a special select committee? all go through judiciary and then worry about the other stuff? i think that may also be contributing to the public confusion about what the goals of congress are. >> i think there's room enough for all of us to do our job.
certainly judiciary is, as somebody said to me in the eye of the storm, and if you've ever been in the eye of the storm you know the clarity that comes, the daylight that comes, so i'm glad i'm there in judiciary. but i believe the other five committees have important oversight roles as well. this is a heavy lift what we're doing here. sadly, there's too much to look at. there's damning evidence of the indecency, the corruption, the cruelty of this administration. and so it's all hands on deck. i honor the work of the other committees and the chairs and how thought fully they're moving forward as well. >> do you worry that delaying this decision on impeachment congresswide, that that actually the longer you wait may start to look more political? they're making a political calculation about when or if to begin the inquiry? >> not if we do our jobs right. if we do our job and prove to the american people that we are doing this lawfully and by way of process and not leaping to
impeachment, then i believe we will have done it right. if we make the decision by way of a political calculation, that will be a grave mistake on our part. that's why i feel that i'm very much a part of the process. and let's remember what's at stake here. what's at stake is two things mueller told us. we have had a systematic sweeping interference of our election by russia, and this administration is doing nothing about it. it's covering it up. it welcomed it to its own benefit. and then we have the tearing down of the fabric of our constitution, of our rule of law, by a president where there's ample evidence of his obstruction of justice. mueller did the right thing and he said yesterday very clearly, if he could have exonerated the president, he would have said so, and he cannot say so. >> all right, congresswoman madeline dean, democrat from pennsylvania, thank you for coming on and sharing your views, much appreciate it. coming up, mueller did put the ball in congress' court and the number of lawmakers calling for opening a grand jury
investigation is now up to 50. so what does happen next? >> do you think they're going to impeach you? >> i don't see how. they can because they're possibly allowed, although i can't imagine the courts allowing it. i've never got into it. i never thought that would even be possible to be using that word. to me it's a dirty word, the word "impeach." it's a dirty, filthy, disgusting word and it had nothing to do with me. word and it had nothing to do with me. lolittle scoundrels. don't stoop to their level. draw the line with the roundup sure shot wand. it extends with a protective shield and targets weeds more precisely. it lets you kill what's bad right down to the root while guarding the good. roundup sure shot wand. got bugs too? roundup for lawns bug destroyer kills and prevents them, even grubs. roundup brand. trusted for over 40 years. ♪ when you have nausea, heartburn, ♪
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about congressional politics and what house leadership was worried about in 1998 in the impeachment. i'm read it for you again here. house republicans talked about the problems during a leadership meeting yesterday afternoon one gop source said there is now greater recognition that party leaders must play not only to their most loyal supporters but to swing voters who are tired of the scandal, partisan back biting in washington. that sounds a bit familiar. >> vaguely familiar. >> where we are today. but this does feel like a slower roll and a slower build than what we saw back in '98. >> well, i think it is and probably will be for some time. the starr investigation landed like a bomb on capitol hill. and it was salacious and it just revved everything up. i think speaker gingrich, then speaker gingrich had been moving in the direction of impeachment, but that ramped it up quickly. everything we heard from pelosi yesterday after mueller had done
his performance, indicated she was going to continue to walk more slowly on this and is not in any rush and i think doesn't want to be pushed in a rush. but the pressure question is wi pressure build on her. >> donna, she believes she is reflecting the majority of her caucus right now. do you think that will be the majority review when everybody comes back in two weeks? >> i think one of the things the mueller statement did yesterday is to focus all the members on the report if they had not been focused on it before. where you see 50 members on the record, i suspect that off the record is -- you sort of heard from katie porter. >> i thought that was interesting. she said i haven't made a public statement yet. i know of others who say i'm not ready to say publicly i'm for impeachment, but privately i am. she's not one of them. >> and i've heard the same thing. i suspect when they get back there's going to be an even more
focused discussion about proceeding. and my view is that for democrats, this is actually the best time to begin this process because it gives them the time to get it done so they're not in the midst of an election cycle. maybe that's part of the strategy. it's not just trump waiting it out, it may be democrats waiting it out. >> you know, i am curious, alfonso, because i'm sure you have a thought on this. i want to put up the ben wittes full screen, guys. i thought he summed this up. he said since the trump administration has made it abundantly clear that they will not cooperate with routine follow-up to the mueller report, what questions does congress want to explore and which is less important. is it to evaluate trump's conduct? is it to establish a factual record to support some piece or pieces of legislation? is it to set the table for impeachment? or is it to dramatize or bring
to life the mueller report and as trump might put it, see what happens. congress' current strategy is an incoherent muddle. i thought that was a fair critique by somebody who we know he thinks this is a very troubling report. >> i think so. but i think what they need to do right now is to clarify to the american public their point of view that there was -- that there clear low was obstruction of justice. right now referring to the mueller report, but frankly, you know, i've been critical of the report, at least the second part on obstruction of justice, because he didn't follow the traditional legal standard or analysis. he didn't render judgment on whether there was wrongdoing or a crime. >> but he said he didn't think he could. he thought he couldn't. >> he couldn't he says because he couldn't file charges. i president cannot be indicted. he's not called to indict the president, but the investigation
was about determining if there was wrongdoing. if that wasn't the purpose of the investigation and he couldn't say it that way, then this was a fool's errand. what was he doing? and i think if he said it clearly, then i think the american public would say, okay, i understand that congress can proceed. but right now, i mean you have so many different interpretations of what the report means or is saying. >> did mueller play this too close to the vest, donna? >> i think the statement that he made yesterday, it actually would have been helpful for that to come out several weeks ago. >> imagine if it had been first before barr. would we be in a different place? >> i think we might be in a different place. but even where we are, the constitution allows for the process, congress has to do its job. there's not a choice about that. so, you know, the obstructive acts that mueller did lay out in the second volume of the report, that's enough for the congress to begin to act on. that's their responsibility. they can't avoid that responsibility.
and it's time that they do it now. >> but if you look at the american public, i know there is increased momentum on the democratic side to start an impeachment process. but if you look at polling on the american public, it's pretty divided on whether there was obstruction of justice. >> the job of the congress is to lay out the case and to move public opinion on this. that's their job. >> frankly -- >> or not. they may not come up with articles of impeachment. >> but that hasn't happened yet. i see interviews from members of congress and they keep saying the mueller report. why don't you talk of the specific facts? >> dan, i feel like part of their problem goes to something i asked the congresswoman is everybody hears the word "impeachment" and hear something different. some hear it and think he's out of office. others hear it and it's congress' version of a grand jury. most people simply don't realize it's simply congress' version of a grand jury. >> i think that's to be expected. i think people should not necessarily -- we shouldn't
assume that they know all of the particulars. people hear impeachment and they know is an effort in one way or another to go after a sitting president. that's a very big step. it is politically fraught and that's why i think speaker pelosi is moving slowly. i think the special counsel yesterday went as far as he thought he could, because there was another line he mentioned about it would be unfair to accuse somebody of something -- >> which goes to what you say. >> unfair to accuse because there is no court of law in which to adjudicate that. now, you can take issue with that, but it seemed to me he laid out a series of steps that really here my hands were tied. most important he said, congress, it's your issue. >> we were talking about that. that's in a footnote in the report. so i think the interesting thing about the statement is that he was emphasizing certain points that a lot of people knew. >> you're a lawyer. >> yes. >> recovering lawyer. you're a recovering lawyer as well.
i'm curious what you thought of the bill barr rhetoric when he he said he thought mueller could have come to a conclusion and then he says, now, of course he couldn't indict. i'm trying to figure out what would the reaction have been from barr or others in the legal community had mueller said, look, i would have indicted him if i could have but i wasn't allowed to because that gets at what dan just brought up. you're accusing somebody of a crime with no ability to defend themselves. >> right. i don't know why he brought that up. but again, if he can determine that there is wrongdoing, that the president engaged in a crime or wrongdoing, that then clearly opens the door for congress to act. but that didn't -- >> it does, but barr and the department of justice would have brought the world of hurt down on him. what are you doing? the process says you can't do that. >> there's no way this report would have seen the light of day if that had been the conclusion of robert mueller. barr continues to act as lawyer
for the president instead of the attorney general. so what i think is that mueller laid out the obstructive acts and he said, congress, it's your responsibility to look and to see if you can hold the president accountable for wrongdoing for crimes, for misdemeanors, as the constitution provides. >> i do think that's what he should have at least said. this is being written for congress to decide, not the justice department. >> even the referral. we don't know if it's an actual referral to congress or not. >> but he's an employee of the justice department. this was a report that was to go to the attorney general. so -- and given everything we know about him being a straight shooter and straight arrow guy, he seemed not to want to go out on that limb. >> we're going to do a segment after about is he too straight arrow for the times. but i'll talk about that on the other side of the break. dan, donna and alfonso, you're sticking around. coming up, the uproar over the uss john mccain, the white
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the opinion says that the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge. >> welcome back. your interpretation of what robert mueller said yesterday may depend on your opinion of president trump.
as "the new york times" peter barng p baker put it, at long last the spinks of washington spoke yesterday. here is what president trump heard, case closed. here's what the president's adversaries heard. time to impeach. and here's what garrett graff heard. mueller is in his own mueller-like way screaming for presidential impeachment proceedings. all right, so what did mueller mean? joining us is someone else who knows robert mueller pretty well. he was the executive assistant director of the fbi while mueller was the bureau's director, worked in the home office there with him. mr. anderson, good to see you, sir. >> good to see you, chuck. >> all right. everybody is trying to read between the lines of what mueller meant, what he said. you saw what garrett graff thought mueller was doing. many of us assumed that if he's amplifying a footnote that, yes, he seems to be sending a message. but you know this man better than all of us. what did you hear? >> so good points.
one thing i will tell you, and i worked for three directors. bob mueller i think does it as well as anybody ever could. the fact that he got up and made a testimony and a brief statement about his report is extremely significant to me because over the years that i worked with him, even when we would go up to congress, the senate, the house intelligence committee, the national security council, he would only go when it was so significant he really wanted people to listen. and i can tell you the key thing that i took away from this, chuck, yesterday was, look, he put the report out. he let everybody talk. i think he wanted to clarify exactly what he meant by it. as a lot of your guests have said tonight, he enclosure lcle out to the congress to say there's something here that you really need to look at. that's the significance of him coming out for that nine-minute news conference yesterday, chuck. >> so you did view it that in his own way he's saying this was a referral to congress?
>> there's no doubt in my mind by the language that he used, which i thought was extremely clear, that he thinks that the congress and eventually potentially the senate, depending on how the hearings go, should be looking at this. there's no doubt in my mind. >> all right. i want you to help us interpret something else then. this is on the issue of whether to charge the president. let me play sot 1, guys. >> under long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. that is unconstitutional. even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited. charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider. >> i'm sure you've heard what bill barr has said. he said he believes in his own personal opinion that mueller could have indicated what he would have done even though he formally couldn't have indicted him. i find it hard to believe that
the attorney general had mueller done that would still have said that, but i will take him at his word. do you -- what do you think think -- if barr really said that to mueller, then why didn't mueller say it? >> i don't know if the attorney general would say that to the former director. i do think if he had the ability to come out and say it, he probably would have. the one thing i know from sitting in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of meetings with former director bob mueller is he absolutely abides by the rule of law. it does not surprise me one iota that he followed department of justice policies and procedures to the exact letter. but i think some of this could have been said upfront or at least clarified for the american people, because i think that is part of this which is confusing. after the entire investigation, now there's a statement. i think the reason he did that, however, though, he wanted to conduct an investigation thoroughly, which obviously he did with his team. but then come to a conclusion of
where, okay, i can't say he did, i can't say he didn't. however, i'm telling the congress loud and clear there's something that you should probably pursue here. >> i want you to see if you react to something here. it's not that flattering about mr. mueller. it's from a former federal prosecutor, ken white. he writes this. he says mueller is a man out of time. this is the age of alternatively factual tweets and sound bites. he's a throwback that expects americans to read and absorb carefully worded 400-page reports. has he met us? his high standards sometimes manifest as touching naivete. >> there's no doubt we've moved forward in the age of communication and all the things we can do with cyber links and social media. look, this was a thorough investigation. any united states attorney and anybody in the fbi for a time is not unusual. a 400-page report to me is not
that big of a tedeal to read. look, this isn't a run-of-the-mill case. this is a case that directly involves a nation state attacking our country and potentially a president doing something criminal. so i don't agree with him. the one thing i will say, and this goes back to my love for the man, bob mueller, because i would go anywhere in the world for this guy to this day, if this tells you how good of a leader he was in the fbi. the one thing i can say to anybody that's listening to this. this is an absolute factual unbiased account of whatever the investigation is. that is exactly how i saw him conduct his job as the director for the 12 years i worked under him. there's no doubt in my mind if he could have done anything else, he would have. >> bob anderson, former executive assistant to the fbi director -- executive assistant director of the fbi, thanks for coming on and sharing your views, close friend of mr. mueller. appreciate it. >> thanks, chuck. >> we wanted to mark the passing
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to me, john mccain, i wasn't a fan. but i would never do a thing like that. now, somebody did it because they thought i didn't like him, okay. and they were well meaning, i will say. i didn't know anything about it. i would never have done that. >> time now for the lid. that was president trump this morning denying that he personally had anything to do with the white house reportedly asking the navy to hide the uss john mccain war shship during h memorial day visit to japan but
was also an explanation from president trump. the request was made in an email sent on may 15th to navy and air force officials. that was obtained by our folks at cnbc. it reads please confirm number 3 will be satisfied, number 3 meaning the request that, quote, the u. uss john mccain needs to be out of sight. dan, donna, an fauns olfonso ar. i believe the president's explanation. i believe that he didn't know it but it was an attempt to keep him from seeing it. what does this tell you about how this staff operates? out of fear? is it out of fear of him or fear of what he could say? >> well, you remember a week ago when he lined all the members of his team up and said what was my demeanor like when i met with nancy pelosi? >> dear leader. >> but sarah sanders said i've seen both, which was an
indication that they are away of him being able to blow and they don't want to see that. i don't think it's just people around him. i heard a story about two foreign leaders who were talking about an upcoming meeting and how you shape the agenda in a way that doesn't set off the president of the united states. so it's not just the white house staff. >> alfonso, i think it's. [ applause ] -- plausible that the person who did this was keeping him from saying or doing something that would be embarrassing. >> i think that's plausible. i think there are a lot of people in the white house that reflect the president's views and want to be the -- those who implement his views and, sadly, they follow his tone and narrative. it's a conservative who's learned to, like many or most of trump's policies, this really
frustrates me. you can't defend this. this is horrible, that a message was sent from the white house to the navy. i'm a little bit concerned that the navy didn't push back immediately. >> they didn't push back at all. >> eventually they did, but they should have said, wait a second. >> you know, donna, one of my favorite things to share with my kids is the presidential menu. the thing -- the place mat and you see all the -- my favorite part of it is there isn't democrat or republican, they're americans. they are american presidents. when we name aircraft carriers, there's no "r" or "d" after the uss george bush or the uss john mccain. this is the part that trump really, i think -- this is what frustrates official washington. he does not believe in the american story sometimes. and john mccain and his entire family is embedded in the american story. >> well, and you know clearly the president, even the mention of john mccain sets him off. >> he did again today. >> today you could see that.
but it's also true, for those of us who have parents. my dad served in the air force for 30 years. as a military person, you grow up knowing that you don't take political sides, because you serve the commander in chief. but when you have a commander in chief who operates like this, it sends the entire wrong message to all of those sailors who were left out because the president could see john mccain's name. >> they might have been wearing a hat that said the uss john mccain. three generations of john sidney mccains have served this country. >> while the president may not have known, he defended this white house official. he said he was well meaning. how is this well meaning? this is about promoting this bitterness. it's something that i just don't like. >> but the well meaning is this is how he operates and it goes to if you say nice things to him, if you're kim jong-un and you say nice things about his political opponent, he's fine with that too. it is part of the same mindset that he has. everything is about loyalty
first. loyalty, loyalty, loyalty. a >> and loyalty in one direction. loyalty to him. that's the prism through which he sees the world and through which he operates. so he will defend people who he thinks are taking care of him. >> by the way, there are four john sidney mccains. the fourth is active, but for this aircraft carrier, it honors the three, the three john sidney mccains that are no longer with us. but my fear, donna, is that this is -- that more and more people are going to learn that politics is practiced in this transactional way. you know, this is the cynical side that i wonder that we've messed up. >> well, and i think that for young people looking at that, how many of them look and say i want to be a president, i want to be a senator, i want to be a member of congress because they see the body politic just devolve into this. it doesn't look good.
we've got a lot to do to restore it and it isn't just about getting rid of this one president. >> no, no, no, no. we created this. >> the reaction to this sends the other signal that counters. >> it does, it does, which is why we discussed it. that's all we've for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow. "the beat with ari melber" starts right now. good evening, ari. >> good evening, chuck. there are democrats responding to mueller's statement by pushing for impeachment. we have that story. also the man who played mueller himself, robert de niro, teaming up with prosecutors in a bid to get public attention for what to do next. the director of that very video joins me later this hour, rob reiner. our top story tonight, the day after bob mueller broke his silence is something that you may have seen before. it is a pattern the trump administration has settled on when dealing with bob mueller's sometimes explosive and negative findings. let me tell you exactly what this