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tv   MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle  MSNBC  June 21, 2019 6:00am-7:01am PDT

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what people would like to see police officers and figures of authority do in terms of repairing relationships with the community. >> it comes down to really comprehensive and compassionate training for police officers. if you are here as a servant of the people you don't just serve some of us. you have to serve all of us. too many times the nypd and police departments across this country criminalize transgender and gay people just for being gay. that is a matter of training and being intentional and deliberate about wanting to be better. i think that is what people want to see is the police department just saying we want to be intentional about being better and we understand where we went wrong and are we ready to move forward. >> thank you guys so much for being here. we greatly appreciate it. the series "stonewall 50 the revolution" at msnbc news.com/stonewall50 film. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. good morning. it is 9:00 a.m. on the east
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coast and we have so much to get to. joe biden still on his heels a trump association promising to tell all to congress today and pulitzer prize winning journalists including one from the all important state of iowa talk about the one question that could decide the election. but all of that being over shadowed this morning by the crescendoing drum beats of war. at this very moment we are learning more about how the president was reportedly planning to retaliate after iran shot down a u.s. surveillance drone. the "new york times" reporting that the president had approved air strikes on iranian military targets but suddenly called the mission off after it was already under way last night. the "new york times" noting that it is unclear why the president made this sudden reversal. our team of nbc reporters joins me with the latest and there's a lot. kristen welker at the white house, richard engel in qatar. what exactly is the white house saying this morning? >> reporter: well, i can tell
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you all of washington is really on edge this morning, steph, as we await president trump's next steps on iran. just to set the scene officials not commenting on the "new york times" report that you just talked about but i can tell you that there was a lot of activity here at the white house overnight. reporters, staff late into the night as were white house officials a lot of them in their offices well into the evening. it was a sign there were likely deliberations going on here late into the night. now, what is the president's mindset moving forward? white house officials point to his comments yesterday in the oval office where president trump said, look. all options are still on the table. he left the door open for a potential military response but he also underscored that he campaigned on a promise to get out of what he called endless wars. that was a key campaign promise that he made back in 2016. i think he is grappling with that and an actual security adviser, john bolton, who is more hawkish on the issue of
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iran. what is going to happen today? i'm told to expect more meetings here. the president is going to have a previously scheduled lunch with his secretary of state. then he is going to host members of congress for the annual picnic here but it is a chance to discuss all of this with them. >> richard engel, reuters reporting this morning that president trump warned iran via oman that the u.s. attack was imminent. what do we know about this? >> reporter: so it's just one more part of this story in which there are great contradictions. the reuters report came out early this morning and it was quite detailed and cited unnamed iranian officials but had a description of correspondence that happened supposedly as this operation's military strike was either being planned or was in its very early stages of actually being launched. and according to the reuters report, citing iranian officials, there was a back
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message sent from president trump to the iranian leadership, a message relayed to the supreme leader of iran, the ayatolla khamenei in which president trump was saying the united states doesn't want war. that there is this attack that is imminent but that the u.s. prefers to have talks and the iranians said they would relay that message to the supreme leader but that the supreme leader in the past has said that he is not interested in face-to-face talks or direct talks with president trump. then a few hours after that report came out, there were multiple denials including to nbc news that that exchange happened. and the white house has come out and said officially, no comment on that report. but like i said, that is just one of the he said/she said. there is also the ongoing dispute of where this drone was. the u.s. insists that it was in
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international air space. that the drone was flying about 20 miles from the iranian coast at high altitude and that it was struck by an iranian surface-to-air missile. the iranians who put out pieces of what they say are the drone insist the drone was much closer to the iranian shore, within iranian territorial air space, and they say they can prove it and they are presenting evidence to international diplomats. so all along in this crisis with iran going back to the ships, there have been these competing claims with the u.s. making a case and then the iranians injecting quite a bit of ambiguity. i think that is partly deliberate. the iranians want to continually have a way out, a back door, want to have a way to pile on the pressure, but, also, to say, we didn't do it. we're not trying to cause a conflict here. >> richard, thank you so much. kristen as well. as we speak the president just went on a four tweet storm so i
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want to bring in some experts. three people who know the inner workings of the trump white house, our insiders, white house correspondent for pbs newshour, ashley parker pulitzer prize winning white house reporter for "the washington post," both msnbc political analysts, and jeff mason white house correspondent for reuters. tell us what you can about what is going on inside the west wing yesterday. i mean this morning i haven't even read through them yet but the president is certainly letting it rip on twitter. the question is, is he standing with the rest of the white house? >> well, there are competing tensions in the white house on this as there are on a number of issues and speaking broadly you have john bolton who is always, almost always more hawkish than the president and a lot of people in the white house really pushing for a strong response on iran and these recent attacks. there is some concern, may sort
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of give him the leverage he needs internally to make his case. you have secretary pompeo on that side, jeanna haskell at the cia apparently urging actions. the president is really torn as always on foreign policy, on one hand the urge against endless wars. he has sort of always with a few notable exceptions been very hesitant about getting involved in foreign conflicts and far away lands especially in the middle east, stuff that he doesn't view as america first. but he also hates to be seen as someone who is weak, as someone who is pushed around on the world stage. you can look back to even his presidency where he did authorize tomahawk missile strikes in syria, for instance, in the early months. and when he felt kim jong un of north korea was disrespecting him he promised a rain of fire and fury. of course that has shifted.
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he has been between wanting to be a deal maker and not get drawn in and wanting to seem tough. if you look at his tweets, he sort of actually goes inside and explains exactly what he was thinking when the white house had authorized these strikes and then suddenly at the very last minute called them off. >> i want to go through that right now. "times" reporting bolton, haskel favored a military response and suddenly the president said no way. moments ago he tweeted what happened in the white house or why the change occurred. the president tweets this. president obama made a desperate and terrible deal with iran, gave them $150 billion plus $1.8 billion in cash. iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. gave them a free path to nuclear weapons and soon instead of saying thank you iran yelled, death to america. i terminated the deal, which was not even ratified by congress and imposed strong sanctions. they are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of
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my presidency when they were causing major problems throughout the middle east. now they are bust. on monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in international waters. we were cocked and loaded to retaliate last night on three different sites when i asked how many will die? 150 people sir was the answer from the general. ten minutes before the strike i stopped it. not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. i am in no hurry. our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go. by far, the best in the world. sanctions are biting and more added last night. iran can never have nuclear weapons, not against the u.s.a., and not against the world. so the president laying it out there. you may have had jeanna haskel and john bolton and mike pompeo saying let's move forward and the president said not so fast. >> all along there was a big question whether the president changed his mind or whether there was a strategic change in the mission.
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what we now know is the president is laying out that he did not want to kill 150 people in iran and went with his gut and did the last-minute change. we see a president here stuck between two places. he wants to look strong and make sure iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon and they know not to shoot down a u.s. drone but he also knows that he made this clear promise to his supporters not to get into another war. i talked to so many trump supporters who backed him because they did not want working class men and women to be going off to war in a country they didn't understand and really not getting into another war that looks like afghanistan or iraq. we have the president essentially admitting, look. at the last minute i decided i don't want to go through with it. he is of course leaving it very open that this could happen again and said not right now. i'm not in a rush. he didn't say i don't want to do this and never will again. i think we'll still be in a very tense situation and washington is still going to be very much watching closely what the president decides to do today. >> there is no current defense
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secretary. patrick shanahan leaving. the new acting secretary doesn't start until monday. how much power does this put in the president's hands? >> the president always has a lot of power over military affairs. it is his decision in the end and as he just said in that tweet he decided at the last minute not to go forward. i thought it was interesting that he indicated that it was when a general told him that 150 people would die that he decided that wasn't a good decision and one wonders when that general told him that, if it was just ten minutes before hand that seems a little hard to believe that they wouldn't have discussed that during the hours of deliberations they had before sending -- setting the three strikes up in the first place. clearly he has competing advice. the other reporters have gone over the people at the white house advocating for. i think there are some people at the pentagon advocating against. the president has to weigh the possibility of escalation, how that might affect not only
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people's lives but also the economy, the world economy, and the u.s. economy as he goes into a political campaign where he is very proud of the economy and the stock market doing so well. >> let's put this in perspective, even what the president said this week. on monday he had a very different tone at his campaign kick-off event. i want to listen to that. >> we're charting a path to siflt and peace in the middle east because great nations do not want to fight endless wars. they've been going on forever. starting to remove a lot of troops. we're finally putting america first. >> ashley, that was monday the president talking about, excuse me, the president talking about removing troops. now here we are. is there a clear path? >> i mean, i think that's what
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they were, first of all, this president and other presidents, there are no easy answers when it comes to questions of war. when it comes to questions of the middle east. that is what the president is now grappling with. he's made very clear in that clip you played and frankly his entire candidacy he does not want endless wars. he is very skeptical of situations in the middle east and what the u.s. involvement with young men and women should be. at the same time, there are moments when he wants to sound really tough, when he doesn't want to be pushed around. this is also a president it's worth keeping in mind who very much in some ways his foreign policy could be defined as anti-obama, especially early on. he wanted to do whatever the opposite of what his predecessor had done. and he sort of thought president obama was weak on iran. you can see him trying to set himself apart in contrast from
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president obama and staying true to his own principles of generally being anti-intervention. but with some, again, very notable exceptions. it is a real debate and deliberation not just in the advisers around the president but even within the president's own gut and impulses. >> all right. thank you all so much. we're going to dig deeper on iran with someone who knows how president trump thinks maybe better than anyone. and a man who has seen the most highly classified intelligence on iran for years. and later, not one but two pulitzer prize winning journalists tell us the one question that could decide the entire election.
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i'm stephanie ruhle. let's dig deeper into this breaking news as the president confirmed just moments ago there was indeed a plan to strike iran but at the last minute it was called off because he said it would not be proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. here with us the former director of the national counterterrorism center and msnbc security analyst. he is one of the few people who briefed both president obama and president trump on the middle east and saw the most highly
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classified intelligence we've had for years. my friend tim o'brien bloomberg opinion editor and brett stevens op-ed columnist for the "new york times" and former bureau chief for "the washington post." he has covered middle east policy for years. nick, let's start with you. your reaction to the president's explanation this morning on how it was on and because of him it was off. >> good morning, stephanie. of course the word i focused in on what the president was saying was proportionate. obviously what he was concerned about was what everybody has been concerned about and that is entering into some kind of escalating spiral of violence without having an end game and knowing how you're going to get out of it. and so he obviously asked some serious questions last night about whether taking that step was actually going to lead to an outcome that served our interests and i think he was cautious and decided that he wasn't prepared to enter that spiral. of course one of the hard challenges in this problem is understanding what is the thinking going on in tehran?
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what is their calculus? who is recommending what to their senior leadership? and so if i'm the president i'm pushing my senior national security team to give me some answers not just about the next 48 or 72 hours but how do we manage our way out of this in a way that gets us what we want through some combination of diplomacy and coercive force if necessary? >> how do others look at the president's actions -- as thoughtful or weak? >> that's hard to answer. there are certainly some across the broader middle east who will say the president blinked and question, well, are the americans again not prepared to step up when pressure needs to be brought on iran? this is why you invest in relationships. if the president has those kinds of relationships with middle eastern leaders of the sort that he trumpets all of the time then those relationships should count for something and he should be able to explain his thinking to our partners in the region.
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>> tim, the "new york times" peter baker wrote about the president's dilemma this morning and he writes this. he has adopted a modified version of theodore roosevelt's maxim when it comes to overseas military threats, speak loudly and carry a small stick or carry a big stick but wave it around without actually using it much. how much of an internal conflict is the president facing here? >> there is a great quote in that same piece by peter that trump's at war with himself. he wants to be macho on the world stage and walk as if he is ready to strike militarily and yet he is also personally, he doesn't have a philosophy but is personally opposed to getting more deeply involved in the military entanglements. all of that is catching up to him now. his ability to sort of hold the two contradictory things in motion is fine unless you go to war. we saw this before only a week and a half ago on mexico. he walked right up to i'm going
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to drop a tariff bomb on mexico. markets go into disarray. people wonder what he'll do. at the last minute he pulls back. for the last week you've had this escalation -- >> to that, he would argue it worked. he would argue that look at the markets yesterday hitting a record high and he got, well, he might overstate it, something out of mexico. >> they already had an agreement in place with mexico. he got nothing more out of mexico. what is he going to get out of this with iran? i think iran will interpret this as you have a president who doesn't follow through. the idea he didn't find out how many casualties there might be until the planes are in the air showed he is not in touch with his military advisers, not asking the right questions in time, or is coming up with excuses to explain this hamlet like inability he has to actually be a military leader. >> trump enthusiasts like to compare him to reagan. what would reagan have done? >> reagan would have had a good plan, had an idea of how to execute it, would have executed it rapidly and it would have been over. he did that over the gulf in
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libya in 1981. he did that again in 1988 when there was a one day naval battle in which we sank about half of the iranian operational fleet. what trump has done and i wrote this in my klum last saturday was demonstrate to the iranians he is a twitter tiger. this is a guy who likes to speak loudly, is full of bluster, but the fact is he is not only a very cautious president but he's an extraordinarily disorganized president. tim is exactly right. you just have to ask yourself the kind of extraordinary breakdown in normal american governance that a president orders a strike but only asks the follow on question, is it proportionate? how many people on the other side are going to die, when the planes are already in the air? the accusation the republicans always made about president clinton, president obama, is they were weak, hesitant, pulled out at the last minute, signaled
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weakness to our enemies, and trump is actually fulfilling exactly that kind of stereotype as a republican. very briefly, i was editor-in-chief of the jerusalem post not "the washington post." >> excuse me. my mistake. you said you were watching the new hbo series "chernobyl" and it reminded you of the trump presidency. you wrote, a country's survival during a crisis depends on the credibility of its government. how does that play into this he said/she said we're in we're out. >> this is an important point. what is interesting about "chernobyl" is the soviet system had everyone lying to everyone else. there was no trust. there were people who believed the system absolutely and people who didn't believe a word. what happens when you have a president who lied according to a "the washington post" account something north of like 10,000 times? you have that complete breakdown of trust. there are moments in national life where the credibility of your leadership, the credibility
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of the president is absolutely crucial to get things done. now we are watching this happen in small ways. people don't believe the iranians attacked those tankers last week. they're not sure whether the president is telling the truth about where our drone was shot down. eventually we'll get into a real crisis, much closer to home, and no one is going to believe a word the president says. >> the boy who cried wolf it sounds like you're saying. next, the president said they were locked and loaded before he decided to call off the strike. how dangerous is a last-minute decision like that? >> well, of course it is dangerous because it adds to the unpredictability and volatility of this -- >> the president argues unpredictability is his secret sauce. >> maybe that works in a trade context where you're not talking about lives on the line but it doesn't work in the same way or carry with it no risk the way it might in a trade contest. something both tim and brett pointed to that i think is worth doubling down on is the absence
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of regular order decision making. the idea you have seasoned senior sober advisers sitting around and debating these issues with the president. that is not a picture we have in our head right now. the image we have is is one much more of ad hoc decision making. whoever gets to the president at the right moment with the most compelling argument. that is a recipe for inconsistent decision making. whether republican or democrat, in the past we've been able to count on some form of regular ordered decision making organized out of the national security council and that doesn't seem to be in play today. >> can i make one point? >> you may. >> you're right the president likes to project unpredictability. he thinks that is his signature card. but whether it is tariffs or these called off strikes on iran, it is predictable. he hesitates and withdraws at the last minute. there is fear in him and the iranians are expert calculators when it comes to figuring out the fear in their enemies. i think they've got this guy's
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number. >> tim, ashley parker said in the last segment, president trump's foreign policy is the un-obama. his goal is to undo whatever obama did. how much do you think that drives or is driving his decision making here? brett just compared him to obama and said they are similar in terms of blinking. >> no. i didn't compare him to obama. i compared him to the republican stereotype of obama. >> my mistake. >> a vacillating chief executive. >> right. >> you know, doing everything, undoing everything obama did is a campaign strategy. it is not a governing strategy and not a military strategy. trump took us out of the jcpoa with iran in the spring. there were going to be consequences. you either had to tighten the screws economically and get them to kneel or have a military confrontation. that was inevitable as a result of that. you can't simply say i've undone an agreement and there it is and now i can live with it. trump is now dealing with the consequences of that and he's fully unprepared,
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intellectually, emotionally, strategically to take this on in a rational, transparent, and constructive way. i think what brett just said about the consequences of his lying over months and months on lesser issues come to the forenow when he need a political coalition behind him and the american people to believe he is doing this for the right reasons. >> nick, in a normal scenario one would say it is a huge deal there is not currently a secretary of defense. the new acting secretary doesn't start until monday. we are living in trump world, the i and i alone presidency where at the end of the day the president has a lot of people speak to him but makes decisions on his own good or bad. is it that big of a deal he doesn't have a defense secretary? >> i think it is. again, you want all voices represented around the table and represented with equal weight. obviously a new acting secretary assuming that happens as soon as friday or monday, that person isn't going to come into the chair with the depth of knowledge, the relationship with the president, the ability to in a sensing up against other
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members of the cabinet, other members of the president's senior team. there is a kind of an asymmetry right now in the way the president's advisers are configured and that just doesn't contribute to a stable outcome right now. >> all right. gentlemen, thank you so much for making us smarter on this very important topic. please stay with me. next, joe biden answers critics again over his comments about working with segregationists in the senate. what the former vice president is saying this morning. this is the ocean. just listen. (vo) there's so much we want to show her.
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we're just five days from the first democratic debates and front-runner joe biden is apparently trying to smooth things over with rival cory booker. amid a very public back and forth sparked after the former vice president talked about working with segregationist senators. we'll go live to columbia, south carolina, where several white house hopefuls are headed today. tell me about this phone call between biden and booker yesterday. >> reporter: stephanie, our sources say it was the former vice president who called cory booker on wednesday night essentially as you said to try to smooth things over and put the flames out here a little bit and let the two men who have been very public about this
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incident or at least cory booker has, have a private conversation to try to turn things down a little bit. we know what didn't happen is neither of the two men apologized to each other and cory booker tried to reframe the conversation here a little bit around not just the segregationist senators but the conversation before that where biden talked about one of the senators referring to him as son, not boy. booker trying to explain why exactly that is so hurtful talking to lawrence o'donnell last night. >> i have an opportunity to explain to him even further why african americans, african-american men who have been called boy before, why racist senators like those would look at him and call him son as seeing themselves in him, and see in a black man, call them boy because they don't see themselves but they see someone that they're dehumanizing or degrading. so having conversations like
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that, that is the kind of dialogue i think is a constructive thing. >> reporter: i've been talking to black voters here all morning. this has penetrated a little bit and has clearly gone beyond just a typical washington story but still an enormous amount of good will for joe biden in that community. folks i talk to say they understand what joe biden was trying to say. they would like to hear him apologize. >> thank you so much. joining the conversation msnbc contributor, president, and ceo of voto latino and we are getting local with the editor of the "storm lake times" in iowa who has vital insights on iowa voters and the former democratic senator and governor of indiana evan bayh. to you first. regarding this back and forth between joe biden and cory booker you say both are right. >> well, they're both good people, stephanie. i know and have worked with them both. the former vice president is right to say we need to try and reach out to people even with whom we disagree to try and work
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to get things done when we can find common ground. he's right about that even though the republicans may not be willing to meet us very often if mitch mcconnell continues in control. cory is right that you have some bridges that are just too far. the president was wrong. there were no good people on both sides in charlottesville. neo nazis, racists, you don't reach out to them. they should be shunned and denounced. so this is a learning moment. i'm glad they had the conversation and hopefully we'll be a better country because of it. >> how does this dust up between the two of them play into the debates which are now just five days away? >> well, it is interesting. i know both of them well and i have to say what i found most curious is that cory booker is the nicest person literally and so to pick a fight with him seems a little odd on the vice president's side. i think the vice president really needs to listen because he is an incredible listener privately and one of the few politicians i've met personally that is really curious about fixing things and has a track record of fixing those things
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but he has to be able to translate the personal conversations outward so the american people can feel he not only listens but does have contrition. that is going to be one of the challenges because it gets to a point especially under this presidency where the american people want to say as a leader i will be able to demonstrate when i make mistakes so we can move the country forward and more importantly so we can fix the big problems. >> take me to the voters. you are there in iowa, the first contest state. if and how is this playing out? >> well, actually it's probably not the top issue in the minds of iowa voters. it is pouring rain today. in iowa. we've had epic floods. not all the crops have been planted yet. this looks, probably from the midwest, admittedly nearly homogenously white state. it doesn't have perhaps the resonance it might in other
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early states. >> senator bayh elizabeth warren is out with a new plan to ban private prisons and stop contractors from profiting off prisons. what do you make of her recent rise in the polls? >> clearly her focus on substance is resonating with voters looking for actual progress and answers rather than just a reality show television presidency for the next four years. so i think that is what explains it and our iowan on the panel can tell us why she is rising in iowa. again, putting flesh on the bones and rolling out a very thoughtful program. whether you agree or not at least she is attempting to be substantive and that is distinguishing her from the 22 or 23 other candidates. >> art, elizabeth warren's "i've got a plan for that" seems to be working across a number of states but you point out in iowa it is all about organizing on the ground. who's got the ground game advantage in your state? >> elizabeth warren has a
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tremendous ground game and hired a lot of former obama people from the first campaign. she's got a very well deployed field staff. cory booker has one of the largest field staffs in iowa. john delaney believe it or not has the highest number of rural organizers. and beto o'rourke. you can't count any of the lesser candidates out at this point. biden and booker may be arguing on the national stage along with bernie but in iowa things are very fluid and warren has a very sharp ground operation in iowa. >> senator, what are you looking for in the debate with so many candidates up there? quite a few need to have a stand out moment. >> they really do, stephanie. that's hard on a stage with nine other people. so the tendency would be to either be more extreme or to have sort of an outlandish moment of some kind that will become a sound bite the next day. that might work in the short run with narrow segments of the base but not well in the long run.
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that is a tough balance to strike for these candidates who aren't in the top tier. they have to try but the risk is there they'll go too far and it'll kind of blow up in their face. >> well, in five days we'll find out. thank you all so much former senator evan bayh, art cullen, you stick around. i want to go deeper on iowa in the next segment. a russian born former trump associate set to testify and he has sworn to tell all. one day after hope hicks told absolutely nothing. mankind has ever faced. we got the idea that if we took two dimensional patient imaging and put it in holographic displays, we could dissect around the tumor so we can safely remove it. when we first started, we felt like this might just not be possible but verizon 5g ultra wideband will give us the ability to do this. ♪
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former trump associate is set to testify today in front of congressional investigators looking into trump's ties with russia. while other trump allies have been very reluctant to answer any questions from congress, he could be the most cooperative witness yet. he tells "the washington post" he will answer every question without exception. joining the conversation former u.s. attorney and msnbc legal analyst, and back with us tim o'brien who knows the role sater plays within the trump orbit very well. "the washington post" says he plans to discuss previously undiscussed details about his efforts to get trump tower built in moscow. people seem to be very enthused that sater is going to tell all. why are we so convinced he knows that much, a, and, b, that he is going to be honest? he's hardly a good character.
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>> that's the problem with felix sater as a witness. he is a career criminal, in an investment scam where he targeted holocaust victims. he has been a long-term and long-time partner of president trump. trump has denied this repeatedly in depositions but it is simply not true. sater had an office two floors beneath trump's in trump tower. they pursued the trump tower moscow deal together. they built the trump sojo together. they pursued other deals together. the question that needs to be answered is what does felix sater say about the president's financial conflicts of interest or the president's credibility vis-a-vis his own financial interests in russia? during the campaign trump repeatedly said he had no investments in russia. felix sater has created a paper trail that shows that indeed the trump organization and trump himself were pursuing a project
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in russia prior to the election at length and in detail even though trump denied it. it gets to this question of what kind of leverage potentially did russia have over a president, or a candidate campaigning to be president at the same time he was trying to make money in russia. >> we have to turn and ask about hope hicks. i'm not entirely sure why democrats were surprised but hope hicks refused to answer more than 150 questions from lawmakers, citing executive immunity. many of the questions were very basic. she said no way, jose. what options do democrats have now and is executive immunity even a real thing? >> no. so they refused to answer most questions on the basis of what they called executive immunity and the theory is that since the president couldn't be called to answer questions before congress because of his position as chief
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executive all of his aides stand in his shoes and similarly cannot be called to answer questions about anything during the period of time she worked as an aide in the white house. there is one court opinion that i'm aware of that studied this question and rejected it. it is that there is qualified executive privilege which means on a question by question basis you may be able to invoke privilege to refuse to answer a question if it might reveal sensitive deliberations so as not to chill future conversations within the white house. but to blanketly say i'm not going to answer anything about the time i was in the white house has been rejected as a legal theory. she even refused to answer a question as to the location of her desk in the white house. >> how about after she was in the white house? she has stayed in close contact with the trump family. my colleague pointed out her lawyer is trying to assert privilege over a conversation she had with the president when they went to dinner, wait for it, in april. >> she was asked some questions about things that occurred
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before the administration and afterwards. she did finally answer questions about that conversation but only in general terms saying they reminisced about campaign rallies. so it seems that it is incumbent upon the democrats in congress if they want to get answers, substantive answers to these questions, to push it, to go to court, to get a ruling that these questions need to be answered. >> do you buy, tim, that jerry nadler house judiciary chair is making the argument, hope hicks' unwillingness to participate is all part of the democrats' plan and could lay out a legal road map to basically destroy the idea of executive immunity? >> i have no idea how this is going to play out legally. it is very complex. i think barb has gotten to the heart of the matter about where the fine line should be drawn between what is protected conversation and information and what is not. but there is no question that hope hicks is a material and
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fact witness to possible obstruction of justice by the president. that is still the looming question hanging over trump's actions in all of this. >> the looming question. can anyone get the answer? thank you both so much. busy day here. coming up, the president confirms he called for then called off strikes on iran. a member of the senate armed services committee and presidential candidate kirsten gillibrand will be here. at panera, our salads with peak-season berries... creamy avocado... and a dressing fit for a goddess. come taste what a salad should be.
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i think when you make the decision it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago? >> that of course is ronald reagan asking voters his landmark 1980 campaign question, are you better off than you were four years ago? some ohio voters answered that very question earlier this week in a special msnbc townhall "the deciders." take a look. >> he's good at what he does. i think he picks and pokes at certain underlying things that
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people have and that makes them want to come out and vote. but it is empty promises. >> we're doing very well. >> i run a small business now, and my numbers are growing. and they're growing so well, i'm able to add staff. >> we still want to do all of this call and talk about immigration. let's talk about our roads, schools, economy, the va. >> back with me two pulitzer prize winners. the author of "storm lake" resilience and hope from a heartland newspaper. when you spoke to voters in iowa, do they say they are better off than four years ago? >> no, they aren't. they're not better off than they were six years or ago or ten years ago. it doesn't have that much to do with the current administration. it has everything to do with a deteriorating rural economy. >> brett, i want to not forget
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president trump's tweet back in 2011 where he wrote in ard to get elected barack obama will start a war with iran. so here we are. as trump approaches re-election, having an escalation with iran, humanitarian crisis on the border, in terms of foreign relations are we better off? >> i want to say how honored i am to be on the same show with art cullen. >> that makes two of us, bret. >> secondly, your question gets at the heart of essentially the problem with the are you better off question. it's not just an economic question. on many economic -- with many economic indicators, americans are better off than they were three years ago. the matters have been broadly improving for many years before then. but it goes to larger things. they are committing suicide in
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rates bigger than before. the population, our age is not growing older which is unprecedented. our rural populations are declining and long-term decline for a long time. many counties in the heartland where operation keeps going down. and foreign policy, there is a sense that we are a country that is out of control. we have a leadership that doesn't know what it's doing, that is operatiseer rat kael. i think the question is, yeah, you might be better off from an economic basis, but there is a sense that we have -- we're off the center of our axis. we are spin anything directions difficult to predict. we don't have any confidence in the quality or honesty of government. so in that sense, that larger sense, i don't think we're better off than four years ago. >> trump is making immigration a focal point of the 2020 election.
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how does immigration impact the livelihood of rural americans three years after he was elected? >> well, in storm lake, our elementary is 9 0% children of color, mainly from latin america. we are a meat processing town that processes hogs and turkeys. immigrants are vital to the community of 10,000 to 15,000 people. we're not sure how many people actually live here because they don't want to meet the census taker because of so far fear right now, fear of getting deported even if you have local papers. immigrants are vital to dairy barnes, meat packing. and we often think about them labor in lettuce fields. but they are slaughtering hogs
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every day in storm lake. without them, the hogs don't get slaughtered. >> does the president's argument work with other parts of america. not that people are anti- anti-imgrant. but they talk about the crisis at the border where we month r not showing enough compassion for people. >> people are bothered by the fact that wages are stagnant in rural places. but they're not stagnant because of latinos working in a packing house or a dairy barn scooping manu manure. that's something anglos won't take. nobody wants to cut the behind of a hog unless you have just come from a refugee camp. they're really not taking jobs away from people at the john deere factory.
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they're getting their foot on the first running of the ladder to american success. people try to stoic fear for the bottom of the base that is screen phobic. it holds back progress in rural places or depopulated. people want to move to the rural places but we're forbidding it. it is not about resentment but repopulating rural places. >> art, you certainly just made us better and smarter. i'm honored that you joined us. please come back again. bret, thank you so much. that wraps us up. i'm stephanie raul i will see you at 1:00 p.m. with my partner
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ali velshi. coming up right now, more news with friend and colleague in washington, hallie jackson. >> thank you so much. cocked, loaded and canceled. the president has now confirmed the breaking news that he pulled back at the last second from retail kwraeuting against iran. "new york times" reporting planes and ships were already in position to attack what the president describes as three different sites. but ultimately he decided it wasn't proportional. >> stopping u.s. flights from entering iranian airspace. we have our team here with the latest on the new developments. we'll also be talking with 2020 candidate kirsten gillibrand live. she is on the senate armed services committee.

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