tv Deadline White House MSNBC May 31, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
in. thank you for watching. "deadline washington" with nicole wallace starts right now. >> hi, everyone. it is 4:00 in washington, d.c., where we're a few miles from here, donald trump is still stewing and fuming and tweets about robert mueller's press conference and the prospect it may have increased his chances of being impeached. among the ripple effects of that historic appearance by robert mueller this week, elizabeth warren, one of the first democratic presidential candidates to call for donald trump's impeachment, today proposed shredding the d.o.j. policy that puts presidents above the law. congress should make it clear that presidents can be indicted for criminal activity, including obstruction of justice, and when i'm president, i will appoint justice department officials who will reverse flawed policies so no president is shielded from criminal accountability. and while we're on the topic of accountability, new comments today, from attorney general bill barr, who says he is not worried about his legacy, or
political capital, in his words, everyone dies. adding he does not regret taking the job. >> in many ways i'd rather be back to my old life, but i think that i love the department of justice, i love the fbi, i think it's important that he would not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, destroy our institutions. i think one of the ironies today is that people are saying that it's president trump that is shredding our institutions. i really see no evidence of that. from my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically elected president, and basically throwing everything at him, and you know, really changing the norms on the grounds that we have to stop this president, that's where the shredding of our normts and our institutions is occurring. >> really? stop and think about what he said for a second. and how appropriate it is that
the man who decided unilaterally what robert mueller would not, that there wasn't enough evidence to say that the president had committed a crime, also sees not enough evidence that trump is shredding institutions. mr. attorney general, how is this for evidence? >> everybody sees what's going on, in the justice department. i put justice now with quotes. >> these are really, really dishonest people. and they're bad people. and i really think they don't like our country. i really believe that. >> we don't take pictures from cnn. cnn is fake news. i don't take questions from cnn. >> that's okay. i know you're not thinking. you never do. >> this was an obama judge. and i'll tell you what. it's not going to happen like this anymore. >> it was treason. and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again. ever, ever, ever. >> i think mueller is a true
trump hater 18 trump haters including people who worked for hillary clinton, are some of the worst human beings on earth. >> shredding institutions is his thing. and on top of all of, that new calls from republicans now, for robert mueller to testify. so that they might make the fox news highlight reel. rudy giuliani saying republican congressman would eviscerate mueller, that the special counsel is afraid, sean hannity parroting that saying mueller doesn't want to answer questions from jordan and meadows and gates. it is worth pointing out testimony from mueller is unlikely at this point. he said on wednesday that he's retiring and that the report speaks for itself. and in this post era, championed by the current president, some are wondering if mueller's by the book dedication to a lawful process makes him ill suited for the moment. "new york times" writing today, quote, mr. mueller seemed to expect that the system would work as it had in the past. with congress, or perhaps voters making the decision about whether mr. trump had committed
a crime. only to see the president's hand-picked attorney general, mr. mueller's long-time friend, make his own determination that there was not enough evidence to support such a charge. and that is where we start today. with some of our favorite reporters and friends. cara lee, an nbc national political correspondent, joining us from los angeles, times, white house report eli stokeles and former democratic congresswoman and "washington post" columnist donna edwards making some headlines of her own and joining us is former u.s. attorney joyce, and chuck rosenberg, former senior are fbi official. and i have been waiting to talk to you chuck, all week about this extraordinary performance from robert mueller and your ideas. and first, i want to know if you have a theory on the case why barr is so obsessed with bracketing everything, everything, his alleged friend robert mueller does, going out five times, before his friend robert mueller released his report. racing to do a sitdown with cbs
news, the minute, the minute robert mueller leaves the podium, at d.o.j., and continuing to disparage the process by which robert mueller reached his conclusion on the obstruction investigation. >> it seems it is really hard for the truth to catch up to bill barr. bill barr is sprinting ahead of it. you know, i just want to take a moment to address what "the new york times" wrote about bob mueller. "the new york times" wrote about bob mueller.
criminality around obstruction is still so dangerous and still so terrifying to the president >> because if the question on criminality is decided, if it's resolved, if it's resolved the way mueller and his team obviously think it should be resolved, then this president ought to be impeached by republicans, democrats, libertarians, independents, everybody up there so if you want to save the
president you have to talk about him in ways that don't square with the truth you have to say there was an you have to say there was no collusion, you have to sayo it was a hoax, you have to characterize it as a witch hunt. you have to do everything, nicole,g, but read the darn report. once you getadar into the detai. once you get into the stubborn facts, what you see is a pattern of obstruction of justice. and we don't need to convict a president of obstruction of justice to remove him from office. we have to deduce those facts in an impeachment trial to remove him from office. i think what you're seeing on the other side is an attempt to hide, obfuscate, to sort of decode the facts. and i think that's really dangerous. it's not eanew, we've seen a lo of it, but i think it's really dangerous. >> i have one more for you chuck and then i'm going to open this up. i spenthi a lot of the week tryg to -- i have a 7-year-old, so i spend a lot of my life trying to
boil things down to 7-year-old comprehension, i'm not saying the congress is 7, you can take from what whatever parallel you want. presidential motorcade speed, they speed for safety, to get through dangerous cities, efficiency, and because most motorcades drive on closed freeways. no police officer sits on the side of thece freeway with that speed gun trying to catch them. and no presidential motorcade vehicle receives a ticket. doesn't mean they weren't speeding. a former national security official said that was a suitable analogy to obstruction. just because mueller wasn't examining or prosecuting donald trump for the crime of obstruction doesn't mean he wasn't obstructing and because he didn't write him a ticket for obstruction of justice doesn't mean he couldn't ben charged i if he were anyone else. is that an appropriate parallel? >> absolutely.
lots of people do things wrong and don't get caught and charged for it, in the world of criminal tax evasion, not civil tax mistakes, but tax evasion, we know we catch a small percentage of people that cheat on their taxes. so you can cheat on your taxes and go to jail or cheat on your taxes and skate by. or speeding on a freeway, even if if it's shutdown to the public. so i think the analogy works. what bob mueller found was a set of w facts for anyone else on t planet constitute an obstruction of justice. the fact that he couldn't charge the president with it because of doj policy, doesn't mean the president didn't do it. i think your analogy is spot on. >> joyce vance, let me ask you to jump in on what is not, not a good faith campaign on the part ofar rudy giuliani or sean hanny for the public or congress to
hearre from robert mueller. what is clearly something sinister and thdifferent. calls from the right, some of the president's allies to have robert mueller on the hill to be pressed by jacketless jim jordan, what's that about? >> we know what it's about. we've seen this a dog and pony showan before. this won't be about asking questions of director mueller. it will be congressmen jumping up and down on their stage, using the bully pulpit to make statements and ending the statements with a question mark at the end so they remain within the procedural rules in the house. it may be worth it to hear from bob mueller in that forum firsthand, perhaps questioned cohesively by democrats. but this is the republican effort to discredit a man, who chuck has said eloquently, played by the rules. tried to preserve the country
when those around him seem to be burning down its norms at a frightening pace. >> we're going to get to your calls because it's double sided. we saw the power of nine minutes from robert mueller to move this conversation. to move people's understanding about what was in the report. and there isth a valid and legitimate wish, desire, effort to see more of that on capitol hill, to educate the public. that's what you write about today, right? >> it is. i think it's important to be able to tell a story that is a full narrative. and my fear right now is that democrats have spread this information out across six different committees, multiple subpoenas and courtmm proceedin, and it's kind of incoherent for the american public, and i think it is important to hear from bob mueller and frankly a select committee setting or something like that, they can actually set the terms where there's questioning from counsel and not fromes members, where members ps
offer questions to counsel to t to sell a story. they don't have to have the terms of the debate set like ordinary congressionale hearin and i think that's what democrats need to do. if the american people don't hear it inif that way, and i describe it as the difference between reading a book, and i read the book, and seeing the movie.g the movie kind of sticks with you because that's the world we're in, people are busy, and democrats in order to move public opinion have to begin to tell the story. otherwise they don't have the narrative at all. >> where are we though in that process? i talked to a former national security official who thought the moment wascu slipping away from democrats. >> i think it's close. i think the danger here is that the president pretends in his language thatpr he wants to bri impeachment on.he i don't believe it for a minute. >> me neither. >> read his tweets, look at his demeanor in a press cluster, this is somebody fearing impeachment like, you know, you fear the measles.
he wants --ea he doesn't want impeachment. democrats should not run away from it. and frankly, the constitution requires it. >> now to the people who know more than all of us, the reporters. where is this story going? what is the president doing? because the president disagrees with sean hannity and rudy giuliani. hen tweeted last week, i don't knowas why the radical left democrats want bob mueller to testify when he just issued a $40 million report that states loud and clear for all to hear, no collusion, no obstruction. now he has a different message, or at least his friends do, that's notie what robert muelle concluded. where's the white house on robert mueller's testimony, on the antics? >> clearly they were nervous watching him on television unsure of what he was going to say. they had some imagery ready to tweet out afterwards, saying case closed and everything else, but i think the reason the white house is sending out this message that you do not comply
with these subpoenas from house democrats is that they appreciate the value ofde a televised hearing. theyhe understand what that wou mean for the country, how everyone would focus on the president. the president understands the poweren of television as well a anybody. he knowsis if if you sit bob mueller there for several hours and everybody in the country is watching it, that's going to be a serious moment and that may change public opinion in a way that a lot of other things have not. i think bob mueller understands the spectacle that would be and that's why -- not to disagree with anything that chuck said about bob mueller and his constitutionou and how he sees things and not wanting to get involved in something that would come across incredibly partisan, but ifcr he decides not to go testify, that is depriving the democrats of that opportunity just as the way that his -- you know, because he's following the rules, he's saying i can't say this explicitly that the president obstructed justice.
if i could have said that, if i could have exonerated him, i would have.ne he's basically in the absence of saying that, proving a negative, saying you can deduce what i'm saying, but he enables the white house to do the opposite and sarah sanders and everybody else is saying, see if he'd been able to prove it, he'd have a moral obligation to say so. they're just flipping it around andin because there's that grey area and because robert mueller will not go quite as far as would be convenient for is, at this point, preventing them from making that case more publicly. >> the white house doesn't know where this is going. that's why you see them lurching from this thing to that thing, no we mean this, that. now t the strategy is robert mueller has to testify. we need him in there. i thought the rudy giuliani analogy that this would be -- he would be eviscerated worse than michael cohen. something thatas the president and his testimony was obsessed with and unhappy
about. >> he out did north korea that week. >> it's like the spaghetti on the wall, what sticks. they're reactive, not in control, trying to figure it out. we may have a better sense where it'ser going next week when the house is back and there's more of a everybody is in the same space and see the speaker try to figure it out and how far she's going to be pulled towards impeachment or whether they're goinghm to try to subpoena mueller, but who knows. the white house doesn't know -- >> they don't ever know. >> that's all over the place. >> what's bill barr doing, former republican circles, people who knew him in his cia days and his first tour of duty as attorney general, and in private practice, some of them, notti all of them, find this version of bill barr unrecognizable. >> yes, you hear that, but you hear some of what he's saying is
what you expect because of how much he believes in president executive power and how much he believes it should be preserved and he wanted to step in and make sure it's not eroded. when you look at what barr said in his interview and what rudy giuliani and thent others are saying, they're basically saying the same things and the undercurrent of it all is to discredit mueller. barr isre just saying it and th things that he's saying are much more -- they're just softer and he's a figure who doesn't -- he's not bombastic, he's barely gesturing when he's speaking. >> barr? >> yes. >> he whisper. so you're lulled -- >> you're lulled and listening. his message is very similar to these other people around trump who are saying very directly. barr says in his interview that there's evidence that makes him believe senior government officials niimproperly surveill
the trump campaign. people around the president said the same thing, just differently, they did it, they were spying -- he actually used the word spying. when you look at what he said about mueller, i thought he was going to i give me a report thai could hand out, a i had to writ theto summary. media was camped out. that's just saying -- first of all, how did they not figure that out on the same page before that happened. but it's just this under current of trying to discredit mueller and he's doing it in a subdued way and other people around the president are doing it in an overt iway. >> i would add barr is doing it in a soft voice but an extremely, extremely aggressive way. the thing e a about barr to tra their story is changing. the first read from senior justice department officials when muelleric finished is ther was no disagreements about the law d and the evidence. barr changed his message. in the cbs interview he
questioned the legal analysis and had a different take or different words on the evidence. and this is clintonian parsing. the likes of which we haven't seen since that area. >> that's right. barr seems to be taking a leaf from trump's book and saying what he needs to say to get through this particular day, without worrying about whether it's consistent with what he said in the past. this isth a level of disingenuo conduct for the person who sits on the fifth floor in the justice department and supposed to be our top federal law enforcement officer. i think one of the difficult things here is barr on the one hand says i couldn't with stand the pressure of the press for those two days after o i had th report and mueller didn't give me what i thought he was going to give t me, so i had to rush something out. couldn't with stand the pressure from the press but at the same time he had no problem with standing the pressure of a
duelly issued subpoena asking himna to testify in front of congress. this is new levels of dishonest behavior. >> it's unbelievable, the audacity of besomething, i don' know what. joyce vance thank you for spending timeva with us. after the break, why can't we indict a sitting president who committed criminal conduct. elizabeth warren thinks we should change the law. as the 2020 democratic candidates fan out across california, new pressure to make the cut for the fall debates. and ahead, one of trump's favorite murderous dictators is at it again. the state department looking at reports that kim jong-un executed one of his top negotiators after the disastrous second summit with trump. second summit with trump nice! but uh, what's up with your partner?
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we're back with breaking news because if it's a beautiful friday in may new breaks on the flynn case. this has just happened. i remember it was about ten days ago we reported that by may 31st, a federal judge involved in the flynn sentencing wanted the transcript of a voice mail message left from donald trump's lawyer, john dowd, he's about three lawyers ago, for the lawyer for mike flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi about a conversation with a russian ambassador during the transition. here's what we're learning. this is from the transcript that was just released of a voicemail left from the president's lawyer, who we learned today
was, in fact, john dowd to mike flynn's lawyer, this is what he left. hi, rob, this is john again, uh, maybe -- it seems like he stutters here. i'm sympathetic. i understand your situation, but let me see if i can't state it in starker terms. it wouldn't surprise me if you'd gone on to make a deal with the government. if there's information that implicates the president then we have a national security issue. so you know we need some kind of heads up. um, just for the sake of protecting all our interests if we can. remember what we've always said about the president and his feelings toward flynn and that still remains. but -- well, in any event, um, let me know and i appreciate your listening and taking the time. thanks, pal. i read that as though it were a single transcript, it showed up on your screen as shut. there are still a lot of dots.
you think there's redacted content? >> we don't know. maybe it was inaudible. the way it's remember, the sentence written remember -- has an r in brackets as writers know that's usually a sentence that's not full and you're trying to make it make sense. some of this was in the report -- >> the mueller report. >> -- and we've seen it. but it's still so stark when you see it, a, it's so amateur, and, b, it's so blatant. the part where he tries to say this is a national security issue. this is nothing other than about protecting his client. this is not about the country or national security or anything like that. it's clearly out here. to say i'm going to state it in starker terms, it has a mix of threatened. and thanks pal, like he grabbed the neck at the end or something. it reads very threatening. you can see why this was a
significant part of the mueller report. >> carol went through a and b, chuck, i'd add c, this is good fellas. it's straight out of a mob movie. being a nonlawyer or noninvestigative journalist, it gives me a simple view. this is donald trump's lawyer calling donald trump's national security advisor who was one of the first people to get caught lying about a conversation with a russia, let me say this in starker terms, wouldn't surprise me if you flipped, but if there's anything that implicates the president, we have an issue, a national security issue. even after the mueller report released a version of this, we are seeing this today. >> you can see ray liotta and robert de niro sitting there talking about it.
>> right. >> it seems odd to invoke national, to carol's point. let me say why i think it's okay. it's okay for attorneys to enter into a joint agreement. if we're all under investigation, we ban together and exchange information, perfectly okay. the law recognizes that, prosecutors are okay with it, defense attorneys are okay. however, say someone leaves that joint agreement, then you give notice to the people in that agreement and you cut off communications. so dowd, knowing that flynn is about to cut a deal with the government, he references it in the voicemail, he suspects something is up and says, by the way, we would still like to know what's going on. the mere fact you're leaving our defense agreement shouldn't preclude you, buddy, from telling us about the stuff you know and what's going to happen and predicating it on national
security terms. so i don't only find it odd, i find it troubling. >> joyce vance, i know you were going to get up and i believe someone pulled you back down, told you about our breaking news. are you still with us? >> i am. >> i want to target another part of the transcript that came out. this is the judge in the mike flynn sentencing, people may not remember the mueller report, the mueller investigation started after mike flynn was found to have lied to the fbi. he's still awaiting sentencing. this transcript was released as part of the legal process around mike flynn. it's a transcript from the president's lawyer, john dowd, two or three lawyers ago, and this is a voicemail he met on mike flynn's lawyer's phone. it says this, remember what we said about the president and his feelings toward flynn, and that still remains. what is that saying? there are news reports in the "new york times" and other
outlets that they dangled pardons in front of paul manafort and mike flynn. is this part of an effort to tamper with a witness' testimony? >> given the context of this voicemail it's hard to rule that out as a possibility. that's to say it's something that prosecutors have an obligation to look into. we know that mueller didn't always get truthful testimony from witnesses. we know that some witnesses were unavailable. but this is, i think, exactly that. it looks like an offer to dangle a pardon and the real question is, was john dowd the president's lawyer acting with the president's knowledge or not. this transcript doesn't answer that question but it hangs out there very importantly. >> and eli, just a reminder of why they were so scared of flynn. flynn participated in 19 interviews with the special counsel. you reported on other investigative threads involving -- i mean, it wasn't just the russia probe. flynn turned out to be a very,
very useful witness to the federal government. >> right, he was there with trump throughout the entire campaign, spent a lot of time talking to the government. and, you know, just reading this and thinking about it as you're talking about it, i'm struck by the amateur-ishness of it. and the attorneys, he's their client, they don't know, they're searching for information from flynn who may have taken a deal with the government because they don't know if they can trust or trump told them the whole story. this is a client they refused to be allowed be interviewed because they knew it would be a disaster, he couldn't get through it without saying something incriminating. you can see in this, they don't know from talking to the president privately, what the story is and what flynn may have said to the government. >> charlie sykes has joined our table. these are familiar characters,
michael flynn a one-time military biography. he morphed into a different face when he joined donald trump on the campaign trail and then committed the crime and confessed to the crime of lying to the fbi when he was asked about conversations with the russian ambassador, sergey kislyak. this is one of two transcripts we were told would be released by this date, may 31st, and the other is a transcript of the call he lied about between michael flynn and sergey kislyak. >> you created the context for this. this transcript is what's frustrating about the entire debate we're having. it's not a smoking gun. it's ambiguous, what piece of the puzzle is it. it's interesting you made reference to what movie is it, is it "good fellas," the "sopran
"sopranos". those of us in the weeds may have suppositions about it, but the context has not been created. this is why it's so important to get all of this evidence out, to recognize we are in the era of talkies people are not necessarily going to read the whole report, sit and analyze each particular document, but this is what congress needs to do. it needs to create this narrative, this movie -- that's a very, very good analogy. so people begin to understand okay this doesn't necessarily prove anything, but it is part of a deeply troubling pattern. i think that's the connecting of the dots. and that's why it's so crucial for congress not to rely on people to read the documents but to actually put on the show. >> let's stick with the connective tissue. i think what we got today is an important piece of what links the mueller report to the incompetent corruption, which is i think part of what you're saying and what seems to me to always have an echo to what jim
comey described in that meeting with donald trump before the inauguration. that it was like meeting with the family. they sat around, they asked not one question about the russian hack on the american election. they sat around trying to protect donald trump's political prerogatives. this is a transcript in which donald trump -- this was not a white house official, this was donald trump's defense lawyer, basically, dangling some sort of favorable treatment, reminding michael flynn's lawyer about how the president feels about him -- let me go to the bank with that for a minute -- before, during or after the process of flipping, basically, on the president. >> that's why robert mueller came out yesterday and reminded everybody that his report had documented in great detail the various attempts to obstruct justice, the dangling of pardons, the possible intimidation of witnesses, all of these things out there. and made it clear that his report did not exonerate the president. and there's no other way, you've been discussing it all week,
there's no other way to read that, other than robert mueller saying it's up to congress, the ball is in your court you have to do this. this is the kind of thing, connective tissue that would be part of these hearings and the american people if they began to see there is a pattern here and it's a consistent pattern, i think you'd start to see public opinion begin to shift on this. >> you're one of the explainers in chief of this moment, chuck, help us stitch together the connective tissue. this is the transcript of the voicemail between the president's lawyer and flynn's lawyer, we expect we might see a transcript and maybe tapes at some point of these communications, the call that flynn lied about between michael flynn and russian ambassador, sergey kislyak, what's the significance of both? >> to charlie's point, which i think is an important one, by itself, standing alone it is ambiguous. it's hard to know what happened
before and after just from this one transcript. but in the report, volume ii, you have a series of events like this, and when you put it together, which is what prosecutors do, put together a series of events that connect to one another, you see a picture emerge. i also see charlie and donna's point that more people get that information from a movie than a book, i respect that. mueller however isn't a director, he's a writer. the written product he produced does have all the answers if one cared to read it. where does it go from here and what do we see next? i imagine we're going to see more of the transcripts that the judge will release information that will help round out the story, but it's been written. regardless of how we consume it, the facts are out there for us now and there for the congress should they choose to act. >> joyce vance thank you for not going far from that seat.
chuck rosenberg thank you. it was worth the wait this week. your new podcast is fantastic, it's called the oath, a new episode with sally yates this week. after the break, elizabeth warren calling for impeachment yet again, and the new policy today aimed at making presidents accountable for their crimes. ess accountable for their crimes to simone, i leave the van gogh.
should a sitting president be above the law? elizabeth warren doesn't think so. and along with being one of the first prominent democrats to call for donald trump's impeachment, today she announced changing the laws so that congress isn't the only body that can hold a president accountable for misconduct. warren today laying out the steps of her plan in a post saying she'd pass a law clarifying congress's intent that the doj can indict a president. amend the obstruction of justice
statues, appoint an attorney general that will protect the rule of law. and do a full reversal on the olc opinion that the president cannot be indicted. the final paragraph she writes, no matter what he may think, donald trump is not a king. don't tell him. no president is. and our democracy only works if everyone can be held accountable. these changes will make sure that's the case for generations to come. donna, i'm coming straight to you, because i think if you ask most americans, they think this is so central to who we are, and i think people would say, wow, how did we fall so far? >> i think most people don't even know that you can't indict a sitting president. you know, elizabeth warren has actually been outfront, you know, from the very beginning. first on impeachment after she read the mueller report. and now she's like leading the pack. and i think the reason for that
is because she hears from people and she's speaking common sense. most people know while a president can be impeached and they've heard that phrase high crimes and misdemeanors but they don't think that the president just can't do know wrong, they know they can't do no wrong. >> i think elizabeth warren's judgment isn't cloudy. i think nancy pelosi is wrapped around six axles. she leaves the podium and we look at each other, what did she say? it's almost indecipherable what the democrats' speaking on. elizabeth warren is speaking with authority, she sees the high grounds. and every time she sees an egregious example of donald trump's criminal misconduct, she oops on it. >> and she says it in plain language. this is a lesson for all democrats. we have to speak more plainly. that's why robert mueller's
statement was powerful because it was simple. it was eight minutes of truth. and elizabeth warren speaks to that. >> you're right. on almost all these issues we are incredibly polarized, tribal. there's a fundamental consensus in the american people that no person is above the law. this guideline that the president cannot be indicted is a guideline. it's not based on constitutional law, and it's thin. this is one area there ought to be a bipartisan consensus post trump. it's ridiculous to say a president can't be diindicted. i did a podcast, if the president goes in private quarters and murders his wife, does anyone think he would serve out his term and not be indicted? there could be common sense terms to protect the president. but it's a fundamental principle in life that nobody is above the
law, particularly the president. >> and elizabeth warren's post, and amash's tweet, even if you didn't read the tweet, he went out and smoke with elizabeth warren's clarity, whether he was inspired by her, i do not know. the sad thing is these are examples so few we can focus on them a week later. >> yes. but also they have the luxury -- particularly elizabeth warren -- she's not trying to wrangle a complicated -- >> she's not trying to play politics. >> trying to figure out how to wrangle her caucus, which is what nancy pelosi is doing, which is why you see her struggling with that. she's able to be clear. but she's been clearer than some of the other candidates who are running for president. but i think your point is the point. that there are a lot of people in country who woke up and were like, oh, i thought no one was above the law. oh, oh, okay. so she's tapping into that and
she's also tapping into the base. it's a way to kind of please the base without making it entirely about trump. it's broader than that. it's about our country. >> it's not an extremist position. >> not at all. when you have a congress that can't do anything, which may be the problem trying to do something like this. it becomes more appealing to people. >> charlie you and i are old enough to remember when republicans used to be attracted spiritually, psychically, and morally to the idea a president can't be held above the law. >> i was thinking how everyone reversed positions from the 1990s. take what everyone believed and reverse it. this there ought to be this moment we step back, things have gotten out of balance. the president should not be able to unilateral raise taxes tens of millions of dollars. the president should not be immune from the law.
if we committed the same acts the president committed, we would be going to jail. he is not a king, a royal. we don't have a royal system. justin amash has done a couple things, he has in some ways shamed the democrats because he's been clearer and more coherent making the case. and he's sent a message to his fellow republicans, you can stand up to trump without committing political suicide. maybe there's a place for this place. if you thought last month's summit with kim jong-un went off the track in an alarming way, you won't believe what's reported about kim jong-un and his punitive measures for his staff about the debacle. his staff about the debacle. i've always been excited for what's next.
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okay. no really. he wrote me beautiful letters. they're great letters. we fell in love. >> does it give you pause at all to be appearing to side with a brutal dictators instead of with a fellow american, the former vice president, joe biden? >> well, kim jong-un made a statement that joe biden is a low iq individual. he probably is based on his record. i think i agree with him on that. >> donald trump's love for kim jong-un is well documented. just ask him. just like kim's history of brutality and human rights violations and now we're hearing this. kim executed his special envoy to the u.s. and four other officials after talks with trump broke down during their second summit. the envoy was executed in march. he said he was won over by the
american imperialimperialist. nbc news has not confirmed the reporting. everybody is back. i don't know how to say this po po politely. he waves his arms and flaps about love letters between kim jong-un. the world is a fterrifying plac and he's playing footsie with people who are brutal. >> he said they stopped testing missile. now they are testing again. the reason they refused to engage with this regime was because of the human rights abuses and exactly things like what we're hearing about now. donald trump chose to engage with him and we've seen throughout the presidency, he said to other countries we're not going to let human rights concerns get in the way of
making deals. that has been his approach, rightly or wrongly, that sort of uses up a lot of the capital that america used to have in the world when it comes to being a moral leader, a force for small d democracy in the world. that is something that the u.s. has abdicated with this administration and the question now for donald trump, i think, is they've said even though they got nothing out of the summit, they said we're going to meet again. after this, does this change the calculation for president trump or does he still want to historic achievement so bad he'll continue to make excuses for kim and continue to meet with him? >> if the parents of otto wa warmbier describing the condition of their beloved son coming home, didn't stop him, why would this? >> kim told him he didn't know anything about otto.
even some of the president's critics supported the idea of him doing diplomacy because got so heated. >> that's not diplomacy. >> we don't know anything. it shows despite how much having talks and falling in love, they don't know what happened. the brits don't know because north korea still entirely opaque to us. even if we do find out that this happened, what are they going to do? you saw with the whole khashoggi and the saudis. this is not place where this administration places value. they don't. i absolutely think he would press ahead with north korea after this because they have shown that it's not something they care about. >> when does america stop being america, if you keep getting in bed? this is not diplomacy to spread your arms and say then we fell in love.
it's perverse. >> it's a bad romance but it's predictable it would be bad. it may be shocking but it's not surprising if we understand what this regime is like. it is what is donald trump's fascination with appeasing dictators like putin or kim or praising bloody awe tuthoritari. what is it about that? i remember when ronald reagan would go abroad and he would still stand up for american values and give speeches in moscow about human freedom and i remember when republicans were appalled at what they thought was president obama's apology tour. remember when president obama went to a baseball game with castro. this was a huge scandal. you wonder -- you don't have to wonder. what republicans would say if barack obama had sucked up to somebody like this in this egregiously or turned such a
blind eye. carol is right. this is an administration that clearly does not care about these human rights issues or the cost in human life. >> every year the united states puts out a report on human rights conditions around the world and north korea is always at the top of the list for every egregious behavior that you can find. the president knows this. he really doesn't care. i think it's actually a consistent pattern if you connect saudi arabia and north korea and his embrace of duarte in the philippines. this is a president who doesn't value human rights. we're going to sneak in our last break. we'll be right back. g to sneak last break we'll be right back. ching and more time loving every room, even the ones you never thought could look good. you get great deals on the things you need and actually want. you get fast and free shipping on thousands of items and finds for every home,
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we're out of time. my thanks to eli, carol, donna and to you most of all for watching. mtp daily with chuck todd starts right now. if it's friday, a bad week gets even worse for president trump. could his latest self-destructive crisis creating move be an effort to distract from impeachment? if it is, katy bar the door. the steady trickle of democrats calling for impeachment could turn into a flood. the trump administration's changes to the census were about one thing and one thing only. increasing the power of white