tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC June 19, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PDT
circle top >> adrian:s by his side for years who has heard and seen stuff almost nobody else has heard or seen is answering questions about her former boss. or maybe she's not. in just the last minute or so, that is what we are hearing from a top democrat. hicks is refusing to answer certain questions behind closed doors in front of the house judiciary committee. the hearing does continue. now the woman whose name appears more than 100 times in the special counsel report is in the hot seat. the first white house official, past or present to appear in front of congress since that report's release. the white house saying hicks cannot, cannot answer questions about her time in the west wing. but that is not stopping democrats from trying. >> we were in a mode of legislate, investigate, litigate.
>> our team is with this story and all the otherings we are bringing you. kelly o'donnell and hans nichols. and cynthia oxney and chuck rosenberg. kelly, to you. this is news from congressman nadler confirming hicks is not answering questions. we think about her time in the west wing due this this assertion of executive privilege in the white house. . >> well, jerry nadler told us she is answering questions and that the interview goes on. he came out a short time ago. we spoke to him on camera. and other members we have spoken to have said -- provide a more mixed picture that she is answering some questions. and the other questions are white house counsel that are democratic members of the committee are raising their concerns about a presidential immunity, which is asserted in a letter to the white house
counsel that set the stage for this. we are getting a mixed picture that hicks is here, is participating and is answering some questions. but at the same time there are a number of areas where the committee would like to explore hicks' knowledge because of her proximity to the president at so many key moments. and that is where white house counsel is listening and participating. it has been hectic, as you can imagine, in this hallway. >> let me make sure i'm understanding this. she is answering some questions, not related to her time in the west wing. the areas that the white house has asserted executive privilege on. that's where the lawyers from the white house are stepping in? >> reporter: that is our understanding from the members coming in and out of the room. this is a deposition-style moment for hope hicks.
select intelligence committees, house and senate, and participated in the mueller report as well. her name is throughout the mueller report. certainly more than 100 times where she is listed. and they are saying, according to what we're hearing from members hearing these arguments, that of course the content of the mueller report findings, the information that goes back to her previous testimony, is something that the white house considers to not be an issue of exerting privilege. they see this as separate. they talk about a chilling effect for future white house advisers at a senior level. if they can be compelled to give their insights and experiences and first-hand accounts of what the president was thinking, doing, saying, et cetera. so there is a mixed picture here. hope hicks goes back so far in the president's sphere of influence that she was with him during the campaign, the transition, the white house. left the white house in march of last year. so there is a mixed bag of what the committee wants to talk to her about and what she is
responding to as it has been described to us so far. again, there will be a transcript of her remarks published at some future date. we are gathering nuggets. as we like to call them in the white house. >> sure do. >> reporter: and bits of information from members as they're coming out. kelly, i will let you get back to watching that door. we will come back to you live. hans nichols, we will come to you live. we don't think we will hear from the president until he gets back to the white house from florida. i imagine questions from his former confidante, although she hasn't worked at the white house for a while, might be top of mind >> reporter: there might be a close to realtime readout. they are expecting to talk to white house counsels to figure out just what was said in the meeting. just to be clear on when they will assert privilege, they will assert for the transition period. after president-elect won the election. it's at that point that white house counsel thinks the clock starts ticking. now, the back drop to all of
this is the mueller report. and he has this schizophrenic relationship. at times he said it vindicates him. other times he goes after it. there is an interview he had with "time" magazine two days ago. he said based on the economy, i should be up 15 to 20 points higher, arguing that he has a natural base of 45% to 46%. he thinks it's holding him back. at the same time, he says the witch-hunt has made our base stronger. it's made our people more resilient. you saw this last night the president was clearly speaking to his base. it seems it will be a base-driven re-election. >> thank you. chuck, let me start with you in a lightning round here. did hope hicks have to show up today? >> i think so, right. so there's two things going on, one is the assertion of absolute immunity, which i don't believe is a real thing. right. if the president is right about
absolute immunity, that means she doesn't have to show up at all. the other thing the white house is asserting is executive privilege. perhaps she can't answer certain questions. . >> and it appears, based on what we have heard from lawmakers, talking to reporters in the live shots, she is antsing some questions. but mostly not talking about her time at the white house. it appears that's what is happening behind closed doors. >> that's right. so there are things she can't talk about, according to the president, queuing her time in the white house, and things she should be able to talk about. what happened on the campaign and what happened when she left the white house. . >> here's an interesting thing, though. if you think about it from her point of view, even though executive privilege is of questionable basis during the transition and even questionable for her because she is such a low-level employee, she is a communications person. if you're her lawyer, of course you're asserting executive privilege because you're protecting her. if the witness isn't talking, the witness isn't getting in
trouble. it will be used to protect her and it will have to go to court to determine. >> way back in the day there used to be briefings and we covered them, and i did during my time, she talked with special counsel and robert mueller's team always. they cited her interviews specifically 73 times. her name shows up 100 times overall in the mueller report. you can see some of the ways she's mentioned here. it is the first shot today that somebody who was this close to him since the mueller report came out. what would you expect to see when we eventually see the transcript? >> i would expect to see almost nothing of any value. because it's in her interest to use the shield of executive privilege and wait until she's pushed by the house representatives in court. that makes more sense for her. that makes more sense for her lawyer. and it made sense showed up because the absolute immunity argument is really frankly b.s. but the executive privilege argument has life and needs to be litigated in court.
probably it needs to be litigated not only for her. >> congressman said this will be the beginning of what he presumed to be litigation. what does that mean? >> well, good, right. to cynthia's point, they ought to go to a federal judge and ask her what are the things until we have that resolution from the federal courts, we can sit around here all day and talk about what we would like to hear from her. but we need a place to litigate the question and we need a court to a adjudicate the question. >> that means we could see this whole thing again. hope hicks coming back to capitol hill if in fact, a court rules in their favor. >> here's the problem for most of us watching this. if we're talking about immunity. as chuck says, there's two things. that is a quick legal battle. it is a constitutional question and doesn't include facts. the executive privilege battle in the courts is a fact-based argument. it's a fact-based dispute. and so the court is going to
have to hear facts. what exactly was her role? is she a high enough policy person? what is this question that you have asked? how did that affect policy? how does that affect the president's ability to get information in the future? that's months and months of litigation. but can i just say one thing? did you notice when he said we were going to federal court, the judge is going to be a woman. whoo-hoo. we're getting there. >> you can see him there talking not specifically about this yet but he may take some questions. in which case we will talk live and about that. it is another front in the ongoing battle between the president and these democrats who are looking to investigate him and looking to, in essence, back up the mueller report with some of the interviews on their own. >>er some. and i don't blame them. so two things. first, hallie, a lot of stuff in the mueller report has been
determined. >> yeah, out there. right. >> it's out there. all that is available. second, i don't blame them for wanting to talk to the witnesses and getting sort of more substance to some of this. to cynthia's point, if you want protected material, you have to go to court and litigate it. >> thank you. on the senate side of capitol hill, by the way, democrats want answers after patrick shanahan suddenly withdrew from consideration for the top pentagon job after the report the fbi was looking into a, quote, violent domestic dispute between shanahan and his ex-wife in which both claimed to police had been punched by the other. he said i never laid a hand on my then-wife. and the "washington post" is releasing part of their interview with another incident in 2011 when a son used a baseball bat to beat his mother, leaving her in a pool of blood with a fractured school.
he wrote will's mother harassed her before three hours before the incident. >> i have never believed will's attack on his mother of an act of self-defense or in any way justified. for that matter, you know, i don't believe violence is appropriate, ever. >> nbc's courtney kube covers the pentagon for us. she is traveling overseas with the military in the united arab emirates. the new acting defense secretary on the job today, right? >> reporter: that's right. so mark esper is the new acting secretary, had been serving as secretary of the army for the last 18 months, since 2017. a west point grad. he was there at the same time as secretary of state mike pompeo. they are rumored to have a good relationship, a close relationship. he also enjoys a nice relationship with a number of close confidantes to president
trump on national security issues. this comes at a time when there hasn't been a confirmed secretary of defense since the end of last year. there have been months without someone leading the helm at the pentagon. it comes when the united states is at a heightened level of tensions with iran. we were out seeing some of the evidence that the u.s. navy is providing what they say is evidence that in fact, the tankers last week in the gulf of oman were attacked by mines. they are saying that the explosives are consistent with types of bombs and explosives that iran is known to have, h hallie. coming up, we will speak with a member of the senate armed services committee about this. senator maizie that ran know will join us.
a mu of the names making the case for slavery reparations this morning. it is a hot topic on the campaign trail. wait until you hear which democratic candidate doesn't think sit a good idea. and the crowd goes wild as president trump launches his re-election bid with a 2016 vibe. >> our radical democrat opponents are fueled by hatred, prejudice and they want to destroy you and destroy our country as we know it. country as we know it. ♪
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time is a flat circle. at least for president trump, who is in florida today living 2016 all over again. that is how the "new york times" is summing up his official 2020 launch in orlando. as the president spends most of his day down south. he is set to meet with supporters in miami in just about an hour. the president, like an aging rock star, played all of his greatest hits, and that includes hits against somebody who is not even in the race, somebody whom the president brought up at least seven times before acknowledging a single democrat who is actually running in 2020. people thought hillary clinton, crooked hilly was going to win. >> crooked hillary. >> we went through the greatest witch-hunt in political history. >> a hoax. the great hoax. >> they want to destroy you and
they want to destroy our country as we know it. . >> the fake news will say headlines, he didn't fill up the arena. . >> tell sleepy joe that we found the magic wand. sleepy joe. >> bernie sanders socialist takeover of health care. . >> keep america great. >> that in 40 seconds is the last two hours of our nights last night. michael singleton, maria teresa komar. jeff mason. strategy to me seems pretty obvious as somebody who sat through dozen of rallies in 2015, 2016. do that again super charge his base and hope that it works out. >> i mean, look, if you look at last night's rally, it's very clear that republicans are extremely enthusiastic about president trump.
i'm not seeing that same type of enthusiasm with any candidates to be quite honest. if the expectation is for one of those individuals to beat the president, they need to really excite their base. they have to turn out their base. keep in mind, trump barely won in 2016. what it means is with the right individual who can excite the base, really excite some of those independent voters who may have stayed at home, they could see their odds increase significantly. if elections were held today, donald trump would be re-elected. >> is it your argument that the vague enthusiasm situation here outweighs the pull. which, by the way in florida, new polls are showing he trails joe biden, bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. >> i'm going to be hon with you, hallie. nate silver was tweeting about this yesterday. we should not be focusing on the
polls this early on. it should give an indication of, okay, maybe president trump needs to focus a little bit more on xy and z states. but no poll will be able to tell you who will be the president in 2020. >> that is a real fair point. maria? >> the only difference is he is losing to folks who don't have household name recognition. you look at all the polls and he's under water with all the democratic folks that have been polled. and this is just the beginning of the election. so what i'm hearing is the american people are saying anybody but trump. now, i think that his strategy is not only are we going to get the same people who voted for me. but will we be able to suppress the vote. that will be one of his dual strategies. >> the polls help tell him where he should be. >> that's exactly right. >> and he decided to rekickoff even though he filed for re-election in 2017. >> on inauguration day. >> are on inauguration day, which is fine.
the fact that he chose to kick it off in florida, shows me there is some strategy with his team. that is why you won the first time around. go back there, relaunch. what the polls can give him is a road map. and he can follow a general election because no one is going against him. if he tkaopbt fill a 20,000 person arena, that could be a problem. >> an hour and a half speech of lies, distortions and total absolute nonsense. >> another example of the fact that president wants us to keep looking in the rear-view mirror. >> smart strategy for these two to come out and immediately counter the president. did others miss an opportunity by not doing so? >> i think the democrats are going to have to walk a fine line. their election platform cannot be all about trump. this is how we need to do something differently.
this is legislation we have already passed. how can you reimagine america? it has to be a helpful message but it can't be just about trump. >> as we are talking about what the president is doing today in florida, which is re-election, 2020, meeting with supporters, fund-raising, which we'll get to, he would -- i would venture a guess -- is watching cable. he is tweeting about congressional hearings, presumably the one that hope hicks is conducting right now. her testimony in front of the house judiciary committee. thiss going to be a theme. a lot of times, jeff, in the next year and a half we will say we're talking about x topic. president trump is tweeting about y topic having to do with potential impeachment and house investigations. >> that is something that irritates him and his base. for the same reason that he brought it up last night, the same reason he is continuing to say witch-hunt, and the same reason he is focusing on an opponent not running against him in 2020, i know it resonates with the people who need to come
out and vote for him. >> impeachment, for the republicans polled, it helps them to raise a lot of money. >> he has raised a lot of money. president trump has raised almost $25 million in the last 24 hours, right? so to put that in perspective. fair to show the context here. joe biden raised the most in the first 24 hours at $6.3 million. huge fund-raising advantage for president trump here. and i get people say moneyy-wise, does it matter? it helps to build the ground operation. >> that helps you get people out on the field, air commercials and test on facebook. a lot of this is they have been running a good digital strategy since he became president of the united states. they know how to raise money. and the thing is, money buys you -- it can buy you parts of a campaign. >> can he sustain this pace? >> i think he can.
a lot of establishment republicans were good with him. they indicate to me that donald trump has coalesced each of those factions within the republican party, including the donor class. they are with this guy whether they like him or not, and the numbers prove it. remember, democrats are splitting up the donors at the lower level. they're splitting them. so their numbers are never going to look as good as the president of the united states, at least for now. . >> remember, he did the 2016 campaign on almost no money. >> you're all coming back later on the show. thank you. a test of leadership for mayor pete buttigieg. the changes he is making to a police department after a man was shot and killed by an officer this week.
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hearings rigged. i understand you have been busy talking with lawmakers as they are coming out talking to you. so what are you hearing? >> reporter: we are hearing from a few different democratic lawmakers who say hope hicks has responded to questions about her time during the campaign period. but when any questions are asked, even something as simple and mundane as the location of her office and it's proximity to the president, democratic lawmakers say that the lawyers from the white house counsel's office has objected. there's been some back and forth. and then they say that hope hicks has not answered those questions. of course we know that the president's white house counsel sent a letter to this committee outlining they were going to assert something called absolute immunity. some of the democratic lawmakers have been incredibly frustrated saying that doesn't even exist. to give you a sense of some of the mood, we spoke with eric swalwe swalwell, one of the 2020 contenders. here's a bit of what he would say coming out of the hearing.
. >> that's going to take more time and set us back. that's all thisst is takes us to the court and wastes the taxpayers' dollars. she will have to answer these questions anyway. we don't get any farther. and you will just see the president say, well, this is taking too long. and the reason it's taking too long is because it's a team of obstructors. >> reporter: each of the democratic members we have talked to don't have any issue with hope hicks herself, that she has been polite and professional. but they are very frustrated at the white house. and one member, ted lou lui, says he is watching obstruction of justice right before his eyes >> we are one week away from the first democratic debates. wednesday, the first round of 2020 democrats take the stage for the first time.
elizabeth warren, beto o'rourke front and center. night two, liz wetting warren, pete buttigieg. he is busy with his other job as mayor of south bend, indiana. he is now directing his police chief to order that officers keep their body cameras on at all times while interacting with the public. that's after a white officer shot and killed a black man in south bend over the weekend. police said that officer's body cam was not on. >> a member of our south bend family lost his hand at the hand of another member of our family. a constant stories showing things that tarnish the badge and fuel mistrust. we cannot pretend this is unrelated to race. >> let's get back to the trail with nbc news road warriors on the road to the first debates in miami.
savannah is in my home state. savannah, first to you. talk about what you are hearing and seeing from voters on the road. >> reporter: hey, hallie. we started the week in western pennsylvania in deeply red venango county. people told us their support is not rock solid for trump. many said they will be watching the debate to see if there is a democratic candidate they might want to support. we have driven across the state and are now in lehigh county, which clinton won by five points. but it has the third most populated city here and that's allentown. 20 minutes outside of allentown, you're in trump county. we came to the community fair. i played dime toss. i fished for sharks in a bucket and asking people what they thought about president trump. i asked everyone i spoke with about the polls that were leaked from within the trump campaign. they all pretty much laughed at me. that he said what did polls do for us in 2016?
their support is still strong. take a listen. >> do you think trump will get your vote again? >> oh, absolutely. >> yeah? and what do you think as far as the state of pennsylvania. for trump? >> i think most of the people that i talked to, even some of my democratic neighbors, will vote for trump. so i think it's definitely -- he has a very good chance of making it. >> you know what, so far -- so far i can't complain. i can't complain. he's loud and boisterous but i think over time things are changing. >> so, hallie, when i was actually in line at the hot dog truck, the guy who owns the hot dog truck says he wishes he could have been in florida. again, support very strong here. >> for sure.
some funnel cake for your friend here on set. vaughan, i believe you are in arkansas today, my friend, right? >> reporter: yeah. that's right, hallie. we made our way from seattle, the coast, the southwest. we are in arkansas approaching the south. and president trump last night, down in orlando, there was a key political issue that he did not mention from the stage. that was abortion. access to women's reproductive health care much we are 3,000 miles into this. perhaps the issue we have heard almost more than any other issue is that. concern over potentially overturning roe v. wade, abortion rights. i want to let you hear from a couple folks because this is an issue that will be a polarizing issue come this next general election. the first democratic debate is coming up. the major issue on your mind? >> it's abortion. i'm pro life. and so the democratic candidates
probably won't have a lot to say. >> abortion, absolutely. >> what are you concerned about? >> i'm concerned what the democrats think about it. >> you're concerned about roe v. wade being over turned? >> yeah. >> reporter: so we'll be watching when you talk to the voters, particularly democratic voters. they say they want to hear these candidates next week address abortion rights up on the stage. one other thing to know, when you look at the party affiliations and where they stand on abortion, one-third of republicans, according to the pew research center, actually believe in abortion rights and abortions, almost in all circumstances, should be legal. it will be interesting to see how the two sides talk about the issue here in these months ahead. hallie? . >> thanks to the both of you. we will refuse to let you forget that the 2020 democratic contenders take to the stage in miami in one week. and we quite literally know where everyone will stand. liz wetting warren will be on extra stage. beto o'rourke, amy klobuchar.
you can watch all of it starting at 9:00 eastern here on msnbc, nbc news, telemundo as well. >> right now, members of the house judiciary sub committee are holding a hearing on slavery reparations. senator cory booker first up to testify. it's all happening after mitch mcconnell said he's against the move. would a bill supporting this make it through the senate? an interesting conversation next. conversation next >> we, you know, tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing a landmark civil rights legislation. we elected an african-american president. cted an afrin-caamerin president.
we are back live on capitol hill. where for the first time in more than a decade, a house panel is holding a hearing on a bill that would study reparations for the descendants of slaves. danny glover is among those scheduled to speak. they are hearing from 2020 candidate cory booker. he introduced a companion bill, along with a house one, sponsored by sheila jackson lee, who also just spoke. watch. >> it is only this group, even though they attempted to enslave native americans, it is only this group that can singularly,
singularly, claimed to have been slaves under the auspices, institution and leadership of the united states government. >> so hears the thing. even if a reparations plan were to eventually pass the house, it probably isn't going anywhere in the senate if mitch mcconnell is still in charge. >> i don't think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea. we have, you know, tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. we elected an african-american president. >> i'm joined now by msnbc contributor eddie cloud, from princeton. a republican strategist and former trump deputy chief of staff at hahn. shawna thomas, jeff mason with reuters. eddie, your reaction to mcconnell. he said it would be hard to figure out who to compensate
here? what's the argument to mcconnell? >> first of all, i think leader mcconnell needs to read his history a little bit more. we didn't fight the war to settle reparations. the issue of slavery tore the country apart. when we think about civil rights legislation, voting rights of '64, 65, we know immediately upon passage there were attempts to undermine them. we have to understand, hallie, we to the floor a racial wealth gap because black folk don't save money like other folk. we have a racial wealth gap because of a housing market that cut us off from certain kinds of wealth. we are expecting the effects of a deul labor market. these are systemic issues that flow from our history. and i think leader mcconnell refuses to address that. because he wants to think that representations is always be about addressing individual harm. as long as he's thinking about
it in that way he will draw this conclusion. k we need to see how a group has been harmed over time. >> hallie, i think republicans, more than likely, are thinking about this as we are going to write a check and give free money out to a bunch of people. most people would be against that. even president obama was not for reparations. but as a country we need to have long-term investments within the african-american community. you heard the professor talking about the wealth gap, right? the average african-american household income -- or not income but wealth is $16,000. that's not a lot of money in comparison -- compared to the white family household, which has about $160,000 in wealth. that's a huge disparity when you talk about education, upward mobility. we need to have long-term investment in community and financial resources, investment in health care, particularly for black women. for republicans the idea and the conversation should be, okay,
we're not going to give out anything free. but what can we do as a government, society, to have long-term investments to help african-americans catch up to where the rest of white americans are. >> hr-40, the bill they are talking about on the hill, it used to be the conyers bill, is a bill to study how you would do reparations. >> let's be clear what this is. it is to study how you would take the steps to do this. >> what does it look like. >> right. >> all the things you're talking about. how do you do that? >> and the thing that is bother some about what mitch mcconnell said, he said it's been 150 years. blah, blah, blah. we have tried different things. they tried affirmative action and other things. it hasn't done anything about the wage gap you're talking about. why not try putting a commission together to study to figure out can this be done? in some ways it seems like such a gimme to republicans and democrats. then again, no one has had a hearing on this bill and it's
been introduced 30 years. >> sheila jackson is the only person of color on the house handle looking at it. >> yes, yes. >> are and i just think this whole idea makes a lot of people uncomfortable, just to be honest. and even i think there are white democrats who are not on board with this. i think the argument has to be centered on how do we invest long term. and i think we're missing that here. >> one of the -- go ahead, eddie. . >> and i just want to say the uncomfortable of it is rooted in a basic simple fact. and that is that we are constantly engaged in evasion of who we actually are. we tell ourselves a story, a history that is always about america as this more perfect union. we don't want to look the darkness of who we are squarely in the face. we think about donald trump and the loud racist as somehow anomalies, these people are over there because we have this melodramatic understanding who
americans are. we have the good persons over here and the bad persons over there. but when we take an honest look at who we are, we will actually confront the fact that the reason why black folk in this country are where they are isn't solely because they're making bad choices and because they're lazy or that they just want free stuff. it has something to do with with a history, a systemic history of racism that denied them opportunity and a chance to flourish. >> this is not the first time or the last time we will be hearing about this in the 2020 race. you mentioned some white democrats are not in favor of this. that includes joe biden who confirmed to us overnight he is not supporting this bill, not supporting reparations at the moment. many 2020 candidates have talked about that. senator cory booker is making that case. he just got up from the day as he was testifying in front of the sub committee on that. i want to play you. we just heard what he had to say. >> i believe this is an urgent moment. and this bill, which i am now
leading on the senate side, is the beginning of an important process. not just to examine and study this history that has not been addressed, the silence that persists, but also to find practical ideas to address the enduring injustices in our nation. >> jeff, this is going to remain an issue. >> and democratic candidates, particularly those that aren't joe biden, are looking to distinguish themselves against him. he has a lot of support from the african-american community. but senator booker emphasizing that may be a way to define himself from separating himself from the front-runner in the democratic race >> he could say, hey, i'm a cosponsor. i think amy klobuchar is, bernie sanders is a co sponsor. another way to separate themselves out. when i say this is a gimme for joe biden. it is suspect we're going to
give black people $100 million. but to say is there a way to make things more equal. >> if people are concerned about crime, about policing. i mean, white individuals, particularly folks on my side, why would you not want to figure out a way to help better communities so you don't have some of the systemic issues that we currently sigh today? it seems nonsensical to me. >> and you are seeing right now live some of the leading scholars, thinkers, activists in the african-american community making that point, making that case to this house sub committee, including actor danny glover. he will stay on top of this story. thank you for being part of this conversation. shawna and jeff, you will be back. thank you all. up next, the u.n. officially assigning blame for the murder of khashoggi. >> plus, back to capitol hill. talking with one senator about who knew what went when it comes to patrick shanahan. to patrick shanahan.
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investigation in the role of the saudi crown prince. it's a scathing review and probably hard enough opinion against the crown prince in washington where critics say an operation of this magnitude would have required the prince's knowledge. kelly craft is in front of the senate right now, you're looking at it live, it's for her confirmation hearing. mitch mcconnell introducing her a few minutes ago. >> i'm proud to say ambassador kraft is a phenomenal nomination by the president and i'm proud to support her nomination and really proud to be here this morning to introduce her to you. >> that job is among more than a dozen top positions that are vacant or have acting officials in those roles. you're looking at a list, the chief of staff, the fema director, homeland security, and
the secretary of defense with patrick shanahan pulling out quickly. senator, thanks for being back on the show. >> morning. >> let me start with former acting secretary shanahan. when did you learn about the family issues in his past? >> just recently when everyone else heard about it. a free press. >> you voted to confirm his as deppy. how did the senate miss this? >> it's not how did the senate miss this, how did the vetting miss this? it goes to show the vetting the white house does of its major nominees is really shallow and superficial. >> some of the reporting indicates pieces of this were in court filings, divorce filings, et cetera. is this not something that would come out normally during the vetting process or confirmation process? >> yes, and the fact that it
didn't showed that the white house apparently doesn't consider this kind of information from vetting to be crucial. the fact is that this administration, or this president, nominates a lot of people because he likes them. you know, they're his personal physician as a nominee for the secretary of veterans affairs or his pilot to head the faa. the fact that the president thinks these are good guys and gals and he likes them is not what i consider good vetting. all of these nominees are supposed to be asked, is there anything in your past that would cause embarrassment to the president. >> senator blumenthal wants an investigation to see if there were intentional things to high patrick shanahan's past.
would you like that? >> sure i would. i'd like to be sure the vetting of these nominees is done in a way that provides the relevant nomination. >> would you vote to confirm ma mark esper as defense secretary? >> if he's formally nominated i would want to know first of all if he can stand up to the president, it's hard to fill the shoes of somebody like james mattis who, by the way, stepped down and he was a person i felt could stand up to the president. i would want to know whether esper could. how is he going to deal with iran, north korea, syria? with the border? and does he intend to move money around so that he can give the president the money that the president wants for his border wall? mainly, can he stand up to the president? meanwhile, i don't even know if the president is going to nominate him for the permanent position.
what i hear is that he'll be an acting secretary of defense, which means that he doesn't really have the power or, in fact, a lot of the experience necessary. so who's going to be running the show? is it going to be mike pompeo? is it going to be bolton? who has already said we should attack iran. these are really uncertain times and i'm very concerned about our national security posture with our president pretty much going it alone. >> before i let you go, i'd like you to put on your judiciary committee hat because there are 2020 democratic candidates, including your colleagues, who have been asked this question, whether the department of justice should prosecute president trump once he were to be out of office. you sit on that committee, do you think that's an important thing for democratic candidates to be talking about? >> i certainly think that we -- you know, when i look at the 800 or so former prosecutors who say there's enough in the mueller
report to indict the president were it not for the fact that he's a sitting president, i would say that is grounds for those kinds of further actions. in addition, the other investigations that are going on regarding the president's activities in his organizations should also continue, including the state of new york, the prosecutors in the southern district of new york, all of those kinds of activities should go on, so yes, he needs to be held accountable. >> senator, thanks for coming back on the show. we appreciate your perspective. >> sure. time to get a look at what our sources are saying. shawna and jeff rejoin us. and jeff you're going to talk trade. >> yesterday, the president made news with his tweet but the real back story is the fact that china finally confirmed that president xi is going to meet with president trump at the g20. that rekindled trade talks that have been staled the last month
or so. but the sources i've been speaking to at the white house are trying to keep expectations low. >> sources tell me something else, it's your birthday, 29 years young. >> you have good sources. 29. 29. >> you'll be partying it up with the 29 candles. and you and i will be at something else cool, congressional women's softball game. >> good sources. >> there will be multiple female members of congress against the press core. we play for the young survival coalition which helps young women dealing with all things that come with being diagnosed with breast cancer. it's a great organization, my walk up song is the same as senator kirsten gillibrand, i probably like the song a little bit more. >> i like it too. i'll be cheering for you tonight. thank you both for being on. that does it for us this hour.
more news with craig melvin in new york bigging it up. >> picking it up. >>. hallie jackson, thank you, chief. craig melvin here at msnbc headquarters in new york city. second verse same as the first. a new campaign but much of the same. president trump's re-election bid is in full swing after last night's kickoff. with his first event set to launch within the hour, what, if anything, will be different this time around? we'll take a look at that. plus, what will she say? former white house communications director, long-time trump aide hope hicks is back on capitol hill as we speak. but with the white house already intervening, how much will lawmakers actually hear from ms. hicks? a hearing over an issue that's been unsettled for