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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  July 26, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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beat with ari." it's a long day for me but i'm loving it. thank you for watching. you can watch or listen on sirius xm radio, tune in to msnbc.com/now and msnbc app and anil tv. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. aloha and namaste, everyone. i apologize i'm not nicolle wallace. i'm john heilemann. it's 4:00 in new york and i'm here for miss nicolle, who has the day off today. a democrat going where no house democrat has gone before. jerry nadler suggesting his committee is already in effect conducting impeachment inquiries against donald trump. >> just saying there's no difference between what you're doing now and impeachment debate, right? >> a new development in the impeachment debate, demanding more of robert mueller's underlying evidence from the
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court filing, quote, articles of impeachment are under consideration as part of this committee's investigation, although no final determination has been made, unquote. reporting today for "the new york times" and "the washington post," nadler, who whose committee is responsible for recommending articles of impeachment, has gone even further behind closed doors. the debate over how to proceed in the wake of robert mueller's testimony this past week intensifies among democrats. this is from "the new york times." quote, nadler has gradually become convinced his panel should proceed with impeachment hearings and do so as expeditiously as possible, who has not stated so publicly according to lawmakers and aides familiar with his thinking. "the washington post" adds this -- nadler suggested his committee could begin drawing articles of impeachment. they also argue the public sentiment was against impeachment when the house judiciary committee started its proceedings against president richard nixon in 1974 over the watergate scandal and support grew through the hearings. that posture reflected the gap
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between nadler and nancy pelosi, who argued the public much support impeachment first before democrats act. joining us now, white house bureau chief of the post, phil rucker, the fantastic kimberly atkins and joyce vance and with me at the table reverend al sharpton, host of "politicsnation" and president of the action network. amazing to see you as always. rutger, i want to start with you. the whole nadler thing today after all of this, will will be impeachment? will there not be paefltle? impeachment? i was on television with you and what we were hearing was impeachment probably dead. and then you have nadler saying i'm kind of doing impeachment already. what do you think about that? >> he made it clear that's under
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consideration. p it adoesn't mean there will b an impeachment trial on monday. we heard speaker pelosi be a lot more cautious and judicious in her approach to this, and this is her word, the democrats needed to be sophisticated how they approached this. they want to have the best hand possible if and when they move forward with paecimpeachment proceedings. she means gathering more evidence, having more hearings as don mcgahn, the former white house counsel, who nadler's committee is trying to bring forward for public testimony, that remains under negotiation. but that would be a big moment for the democrats potentially. but there are a lot of steps here still to come. >> it kimberly atkins, i want to ask you a question after i play a little bit of nancy pelosi here. pelosi's getting accused by a variety of people of slow-walking impeachment. she doesn't want to do it but she has to make the base believe
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she's kind of open to doing it. >> let's get sophisticated about this. the decision will be made in a timely fashion. and when we have the best strong as possible case. >> so, kim, talk to us about what you think nancy pelosi's calculations at this hour are in the wake of mueller, now that that's over, that not seeming to have changed a lot of minds and certainly a lot of people, the caucus still -- some very adamantly foreimpeachment, beginning an impeachment proceeding, some very strongly against. what is the political calculus she's going through as they head into this recess? >> i think she's shticking to te plan she's had from the beginning because of the divergence of opinion inside the democratic caucus. democrats that i have talked to, both those pushing for impeachment proceedings and those who reason the quite there yet say they understand that all of the democrats in the caucus have different considerations with their districts coming up on what will be a very big
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election year. a lot of folks are in swing districts. their base is a lot more -- their constituency a lot more moderate and may not have an appetite for impeachment, while others do. and nancy pelosi is trying to stay that course and walk that line and say hey, we are working. we are doing something. but behind the scenes, i document think that she is moved by this. i think absent some big groundswell, if there is a change in american sentiment and those folks let lawmakers know during the six-week break that they really want impeachment and you get dozens of lawmakers coming back, a majority of democrats coming back and pushing for it, i just don't see where this goes. i mean, chairman nadler made the point he doesn't it need the word impeachment to do his investigation. if that's the case, i think you will see people on the other side arguing then just do the investigation and let's stop talking about impeachment. >> so, joyce, i don't think we're going to stop talking about it, although it's not clear exactly what we're going to do about it. it's certainly true nadler is in court trying to get at this
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grand jury testimony that was some of the underlying evidence for the mueller inquiry of the we've got nbc news reporting that pelosi signed off on the articles of impeachment language that was in today's court filing that i read in a little bit -- a little bit ago. talk to us a little bit about what democrats have to gain potentially from trying to get that evidence and from pressing to try to get don mcgahn up there in front of congress. >> a couple of things, john. it's important to remember if you divorce for a moment the legal and political aspects of this, legally this is really a master move. because the white house is forcing democrats to go into court to fight for every little bit of evidence that they hope to acquire, the democrats strengthen their hand in terms of what you lat provides by being able to tell the judge, look, this is a proceeding that's precedent to a quasi judicial hearing, which is a fancy way of saying we're investigati investigating whether or not we
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should file articles of impeachment, which after all are very much like an indictment. prosecutors won't walk into the office one day and say let's indict. they investigate first. that's what congress is doing. and the court now recognizes or will likely recognize, it looks like black letter law to me, this gives them the ability to get information that the white house has tried to block. and don mcgahn is i think really the prize here. there will undoubtedly be things in the grand jury material no it one has seen before that will be of value but it's hard to assess that until one sees it. but don mcgahn is a known quantity. if democrats can put him up in front of congress, whether he's a reluck tap the witness or compliant one, because they have the transcripts mueller left, they know what his testimony is, they will be able to hold him accountable if he deviates from it. hearing the president's rm former white house counsel telling the story how the president asked him to fire bob mueller and to cover it up, lie
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to the press, create fake documents to put into their official files, that has the potential to be moving in a way the mueller testimony, although it was substantively very informative, was not dramatic. >> so, rev, i ask you, they've got this recess, right. people say the democrats will go home, we know what the polling says about support for impeachment inquiry. it's not super strong. it's not overwhelming and it doesn't seem to be moving in a dramatic way. democrats will go home and do town meetings. there are parts of the country where democrats can raise the roof by talking about how the president needs to be impeached but a lot of places the democrats will go home and not talk about this. le in the course we get to labor day and come back and we're looking at mcghan and some of the other things, what is the likelihood we will get to labor day, congress will come back in session, nancy pelosi will see the world in a new light? >> i think one of the things we have to watch is what happens with mckahn and if something
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comes out over the six-week break that congress is going to have that would turn some of that tide around. but there are districts that are going to be a vociferous effort to get an impeachment proceeding going, that's going to fire up some of the congressional members, that they're going to have to come back in and have to really try to light a fire, even though they may the no be the majority of the caucus because if i were in a district that is very vehement against trump, which some of them are, you would not want to face a town hall. you would not want to face your constituents because just as it is difficult for those in swing states to really even risk impeachment proceedings, its even more difficult for those in progressive or even center left districts to justify why they're not proceeding, particularly when you have jerry nadler, who
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is not some wild-eye radical saying the things he's saying and gradually moving there. so it's going to be uncomfortable for a lot of people that are in the congress. >> gabe, i want to ask you this, the democrats -- there was a lot of talk, we're at the end of mueller week, a lot of democrats said before mueller, they said, you know, you've read the book. the book didn't change public opinion. now we have to see the movie. mueller did not want to play a starring role in some movie that would make this all come to life. he gave damning confirmation, reaffirmation of what was in his report on the substance and merits. it's a devastating report against donald trump but it was not the movie. it was not independence day. it was not, you know, any of these big blockbuster that changed everything. now democrats try to figure out, what do we do with what we got? and i want to put a tweet up here, this ted lieu tweet -- analogy, mueller gives us a slice of bread and puts ham on
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it and then another slice of bread. we say it's a ham sandwich. mueller says i didn't make a determination whether or not it was a ham sandwich because i was instructed that i can't call it that. but it's still a ham sandwich. that to me is an example of democrats trying to figure out how can we sharpen a message that can maybe pierce the public's lack of interest or fog of all of this complicated legal stuff. how do you think democrats are doing in approaching that task? >> i think what you saw from nadler today and what he's been talking about for the last few days is really the answer to that question. we saw the book, now look at the movie analogy, maybe the movie wasn't a big splash but maybe the investigative mini series might be so they will try to call more people to congress for testimony, whether it's mcghan or other people who worked in the white house. i think the short answer is these investigations will keep going and they will hope for some sort of splashy led line here. but the reality here is if the tide turns, it's going to be
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more pressure from members of congress and and they will feel that pressure over the next few weeks. it's important to i poit out the mueller testimony, which was considered a dud mostly in new york and washington u. it's not like the number of members calling for impeachment went down. it's continuing to tick up towards 100. that's a significant number. and as we just talked about, there will be more in the following weeks. >> rutger i ask you the same question, basically, when you hear from people on capitol hill and almost as relevant when you hear from people the bureau that you run, the people that hang out at the white house, what is the message democrats could craft of what is out there in the combination of the report, mueller testimony and video that exists, what is the message the democrats are trying to craft and to the extent they're crafting it successfully, is the white house worrying about that at all or are they like hey, man, we're all good now? >> the white house has been much more successful crafting a message to the american people, why it's not truthful, is very simple and easy to understand.
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no collusion, no obstruction, total exoneration. mueller's six hour of testimonies in the house on wednesday refuted that line but it was very sort of complicated and nuanced and difficult to remember. it's not a bumper sticker, for example. the challenge democrats have had in the congress is how to communicate to the american people the urgency behind this and how to communicate what exactly trump did wrong and what exactly they believe he should be impeached over. and one thing to keep an eye on is the emerging presidential race on the democratic side. that will take center stage more and more as we head into the fall and win utter of this year. and so many of those presidential candidates are calling for impeachment. it's a subject not necessarily with voters but it has been in the debates and it has been in the media interviews these candidates are giving. so there's pressure coming from outside of the congress but within the party. >> so rutger, you sort of took us to the white house fog, machine here. just for the esch sake of reality and the record, i want
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to put this up. this is the fake, false, lying, grotesque email the trump campaign put out. here's the fog machine. robert mueller confirmed what we already know, no collusion, no obstruction, total exoneration. there it is. thats what the white house, you talked about the clarity of the message. here's the reality, just to remind everyone what bob mueller said on those topics. go. >> the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him. but that is not what your report said, is it? >> correctle, it is not what the report said. >> what about total exoneration, did you actually totally exonerate the president? >> no. >> in fact, your report expressly states it did not exonerate the president? >> it does. >> joyce, i want to ask you this, given that that is -- here's the white house line. it's an abject lie.
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here's mueller staying categorically that it's false. here's all of the stuff we know. what's the big message that democrats must get across on top of which i'll just add one of the places mueller went in the hearings that was a little surprise to people is the skep the he casts doubt on the president's credibility. he got as close to calling the president a liar as bob mueller could ever come talking about the lack of credibility he had in comparison to other witnesses. taken all together, what is the message that democrats could potentially drive that the american public really needs to hear? >> you know, i think phil is right when he says the president does a much better job of writing bumper stickers than the democratic party does. but really it's tough to take these difficult complex issues and turn them into a bumper sticker. i guess you can see the president is a crook. but the more important line for democrats to get across is that the president tried to preserve
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his own self-interest when the country was under attack at russia. maybe the real wisdom here that we get from bob mueller is russia attacked us and the president did nothing. >> joyce, it's always great to have you here. thank you for doing this and we will see you on the other side of the weekend. phil rutger, always great to see you. kim atkins, you will stay with us, and we will be back to talk to you after the break. hours after, moscow mitch, my favorite new nickname for mitch mcconnell, hours after he pulled the plug on election security, his own party blows the whistle on just how widespread russia's attack on the election was. also on the show, new flashpoint for democrats just days before the next big set of debates. and the american citizen detained at the border for nearly one month. it's unbelievable story offering a glimpse of just how bad things there are. all of these stories coming up in a few minutes. until i almost lost my life.
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donald trump. he might not take the threat of russian interference on our elections very seriously but a 67-page report from the senate intel committee shows there's nothing funny about it. the bipartisan report, released just one day after robert mueller warned of the gravity of the threat finds election systems in all 50 of these united states were targeted. the report states, quote, the russian government directed extensive activity beginning in at least 2014 and carrying into
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at least 2017 against u.s. election infrastructure at the state and local level. the report found the russians took advantage of the nation's decentralized voting system, exploding seams -- that's exploiting, not exploding, seams between the oversight systems. and also found the overnight was sorely lacking in 2016 and attempts to warn the states about potential security breaches did not provide enough information or go to the appropriate people. joining me at the table senior fellow at the policy research institute and former fbi agent clint watson, the man who saw this stuff coming in realtime before just about anybody. this is a great place to start because you were so pressing about this in 2016 and followed it literally as close as any human i know, what did you learn from the senate intel report? >> there were two parts that i talked about. one is the election was trying
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to employ monitors at polling places, which was our fear on election night, whoc was going o win with, but would would someone show up at the election place with a gun. and what were the russians doing there, start a provocation? were they going to claim there was election rigging or voter fraud? the other was the u.s. being a central point for the results of the elections. so could the russians hack in there and change the votes of the voting system and media such as a false report comes out, which would create mass confusion and lead everybody to believe there's election rigging. those two things i thought were remarkable and have gone under the table to this point. >> kimberly, i want to toss this to you because it's one of my obsessive things. i remember talking to clint and others, forgetting about the votes can be manipulated, whether the system can be hacked, we have a lot to worry about that, but annizy poi easyf
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entry, the night of the election the results come in and there's a report to associated press and then all of a sudden there's a announcement, donald trump won vermont 92-8. and you have fox news going on saying donald trump won over wemingly and all of a sudden you have chaos not because the votes are altered but the reporting of the votes are altered. do you think this will get us to focus on it more? >> yes, that is a very real concern can. it was a concern in 2016. because if you also remember at that time, donald trump, the republican candidate, had already begun this messaging that if he loses, that means that the vote is rigged in some way, that there's something nefarious going on he was already planting the seeds in
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his own campaign messaging which had folks concerned there would be an effort to try to deny the legitimacy of the vote, ended up winning so that didn't happen. but it could happen again in 2020. there are a lot of soft spots in the election system. we focus a lot on the senate intelligence committee importantly so, but one of the things that goes on in the background on capitol hill all the time is there's been lots of hearings where lots of local and state people have come in and literally begged congress to act in order to give them thele toos they need to secure up their election systems before the election in congress has not acted. >> i want to read this thing in "the washington post" that talks about the senate intelligence report. the headline is, new senate intel reports deepens the mystery surrounding russia 2016 election interference. the biggest fear of the highest levels of the intelligence world, is that military officers were studying the decentralized
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election systems in the united states to identify the links in preparation for something much more malicious and chaotic in 2020. so i ask you, gabe, as you think about this, we heard her bob mueller in a hearing. they're doing it now, they're going to keep doing. we have seen christopher wray in multiple public settings say, dude, like my hair is on fire. this is a five-alarm fire. we're going to talk in a second about moscow mitch but i just ask you this from what you know and you talk to political players all the time, how worried are they and how worried should they be? >> the answer to the second question is extremely worried, maybe more worried about this or anything else when it comes to election day in 2020, they're all very worried about this, particularly democrats talk about it a lot. but the answer is they don't know how to worry because there's no recourse for them to do anything. you have them con stan thely asking for money and policy and oversight but that's not happening.
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when you look at what is happening in the senate, particularly senate republicans shutting down election security measures, you have democrats in particular but political players of all stripes saying this is terrible but we don't know what to do. >> i want to turn to this. i will get to you because i know you have a lot to say about this, rev, but i want to turn to that question now and what republicans did this week in the face of all of this report, and what mueller said and everything else we know, the reality that despite all of that, you've got mitch mcconnell shutting down a vote on election security measures, two of them. it prompted -- it's one of the most astonishing things i have seen. most irresponsible. it's not the first time mcconne mcconnell does something like this. i want to play a clip of my friend joe scarborough on "morning joe" this morning. let's play that right now. >> he is aiding and abetting vladimir putin's ongoing attempts to subvert american
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democracy according to the republican fbi, cia, dmi, intel committee, all republicans are all saying russian is subverting american democracy and moscow mitch won't even let the senate take a vote on it! that is un-american. >> un-american? >> absolutely. when you look at the fact -- you have to look at the total context. donald trump, mitch mcconnell and the republicans had tried to convince the american public there was this massive voter fraud. they had people feeling that they were going to steal the election. they set the climate for what russia could have and in this cases actually did. so if you're going outside and people are walking by with an umbrella, be eveven though it's raining, you're getting ready for the rain. they took the umbrella out. they're the ones that raised the issue. now they're the ones that are
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going to shut down looking at any possibility of the fraud? they're the ones who wanted to vote i.d. laws, all of these requirements. now all of a sudden we don't want anything and it happens to coincide with the russian strategy. some of us feel that's a little bit too far. clearly they have set the table for russia to continue to do what they want to do and i think not only democrats but those of us in the civil rights and voting rights community are very concerned about it. when you have been talking about people at the polls trying to propose something, all they need is one disturbance to overturn a whole precinct's vote. that's extremely dangerous. >> kimberly atkins, i want to to read to you something from "the washington post," a column and ask you about what the motivation here is. we have seen republicans capitulate to donald trump, who previously did not like him,
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current thely does n currently like him, but here's what she wrote -- why is america turning the gates open to america's foes? the president is clearly disturbing, that is what president trump wants. p why doest perfect want the cup country to lower its guard against russia? president trump expects vladimir putin will help him win in 2020 just as he did in 2016. i'm not saying just that he expects it, kim, he's inviting it. we saw him on george stephanopoulos saying, russia can you hear me? come back and do it again. now there are other countries we know he's inviting to do it too by opening the door. there's a question in here somehow somewhere, i promise you. but what ais the deis the deal ? is mitch mcconnell in the back pocket of a fully corrupt donald trump? >> mitch mcconnell since donald trump has taken office has taken the role of protecting this president at all costs, having a republican in the white house to mcconnell is more important than anything else. we know, one, from the moment he
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got into the white house and even before, donald trump didn't want to talk about russia for many reasons, one of which was it made it seem as if that cast some doubt over the legitimacy of his presidency and he was very concerned about that. and he wanted to downplay russia completely. then as you pointed out subsequently, we've seen that message sort of shift. there wasn't -- i didn't do anything wrong, nothing happened. there was, well, if it happened, it would be fine. and that was basically an invitation for foreign adversaries to engage. we heard from robert mueller, one thing he made clear on wednesday is the efforts by russia were meant to aid trump and he knows that. >> clint, i want to come back and end the block with you because you're the scariest guy at the table and i feel like we should be filled with foreboding doom here. was he probing vulnerabilities, maybe they were proeting vulnerabilities because they want ut to exploit them later
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but maybe they want us to know they're probing vulnerabilities for cy ops. you don't have to change votes to get in the system. i wonder -- the reason i think it's relevant is they did so many things that were easily detectible. they didn't cover their tracks. when you look at it do you think what's so insidious about this, they can either manipulate the election or manipulate our faith in the election? either way it's a win for russia. >> it's a double-edged sword and that's what's consistent throughout it. they take a very small action even if we as the u.s. government ma gaitigate it and hey, we found an intrusion and have taken care of it. they already through that action created some doubt. how do you know? how did you fix it? we have been going through this three years. i have no more confidence than three years ago we got to the bottom of it all and fixed the
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patches. we don't go through election integrity. that is a blueprint for any actor, foreign or domestic, to completely mess up america for three more years after 2020. >> scale of one to ten, ten being totally certain and zero totally uncertain, in 2020 russia or another state foreign actor will ak theively interfere with the american election, what is your scale of level of concern? >> i think that will depend on the candidates. many i it comes down from russia and iran from afar. but the biggest fear i have are duplication method actors. you're seeing duplication and contractors for hire in a big, big way. >> thank you for giving me another thing to worry about. clinton watts, thank you for being here, even though you messed up my entiringed with. le still to come, joe biden,
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mr. nice guy above the fray thing is getting tough with kamala harris and cory booker on criminal justice. al justice and out of the hospital. don't take entresto if pregnant; it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren or if you've had angioedema with an ace or arb. the most serious side effects are angioedema, low blood pressure, kidney problems, or high blood potassium. ask your doctor about entresto. where to next? your but as you get older,hing. it naturally begins to change, causing a lack of sharpness, or even trouble with recall. thankfully, the breakthrough in prevagen helps your brain and actually improves memory. the secret is an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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an escalation today on one of the central tensions of the 2020 democratic primary fight, the battle over joe biden's record on race. the front runner is battling back after criticism of two african-american candidates in that race, kamala harris and cory booker. the second set of democratic debates set for next week in detroit where biden and harris will be shoulder to shoulder on stage together, booker extending their now several day long running feud over criminal justice and legislation reform. >> i will always speak truth to power and watching the crime bill in the '80s and '90s and all of the things he put into place, this is something that should be talked about. the response to having a subsequent conversation about people's records shouldn't be to go on the attack.
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and i find these attacks on me ridiculous. >> kimberly is back, rev is still here, gabe is still here, a lot of people who know a lot about the democratic fight that's happening. i ask you, just tell me, this is now days running, biden, he took some hits from harris after that debate. you saw his numbers sag a little bit. but he's kind of rebounded on the polling front but he still seems to be simmering a little personally and he's taking up attacking harris repeatedly and harris is fighting back. three days into this fight, who's winning and who's losing? >> i think right now it's pretty much going to be even going in on who's going to win but i think that -- i hope it doesn't get into political cannibalism where they do trump's work for him. but the real problem we have here is you can't raise an issue on a candidate and then not expect the candidate to be able to come back and raise issues. i think once that door was
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opened, they give him the license to move, he just has to be very careful how he moves on them. because yes, the '94 crime bill was an atrocity. i marched against biden and bill clinton on that. but stopping frisk, which he charged booker with, a two, three, four, five year atrocity we marched on. >> does booker have a real problem on that? >> there's some record of that problem he ignored. the other problem you've got to watch is if biden hits with stopping frisk on wednesday night, bill de blasio, who was mayor of new york, is on that stage, more will come in. this could end up very dangerous for the democrats. and the door was opened because biden was attacked, you can't tell a man under attack don't respond. >> and dangerous you think for booker? >> i think dangerous for the
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whole party because you're going to start getting into these fights and booker can get hurt. i think there's been problems on the left that have raised issues about harris' record as attorney general. it all becomes fair game. and how do people like me or others say wait a inin, don't say that when we didn't say that when they were attacking biden. it's an uncomfortable position. >> kimberly atkins, i want to ask you this,ing so harris took -- fired a cannon shot at biden in the msnbc debates last month. we saw biden's polls slip as i said, but what we see this week is this monmouth poll from south carolina where biden has 51% of votes from supporters in south carolina. he's rebounded in a large extent. i ask you as we head into these debates, if biden rebounded and still has this very strong support among black voters, why does he need to go in on cory booker? why why does he need to go in on
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kamala harris where he's still in a position where he's strong but the core of the constituency that made him the front-runner, is it not dangerous for biden to get in this fight? >> no, i think it's something he needs to do. look, it is summertime, so polls i think they can't measure outcomes. they can measure mow men tmentu sure. we've seen joe biden largely keep his momentum but harris and booker and others move forward quickly. that's one point. i think it's not about the candidates attacking each other, going after each other. i think it's about joe biden doing in this debate what he should have done in the first it. kamala harris did go after him and scored some i points and raised her profile but she did it on his record. he said he wasn't prepared. now what he and his team are telegraphing when you come for my records this time, i'm going to be prepared and go back on your record, which is what he should have done in the first
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debate. he has to keep himself by getting knocked back. he's still the front-runner, even though it's early, because of these polls and i think reverend al is right, it's not just going to be booker and harris. everybody's going to be coming for them because they need to get their own profile raised. it's not going to be an easy thing and joe biden needs to be prepared for offense and defense. >> let's get this fox news poll up here, the national poll with the head to head aand month among these top democrats. joe biden and donald trump. that had biden way ahead. head to head with trump, biden is beating trump by ten points. sanders beating trump by six points. . trump ahead of warren by one and that's margin of error and trump ahead of harris by one point too. really in that poll game, joe biden, if the main thing joe biden has is appeal to democrats in general and especially to some communities that are
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central to his support like african-americans, like i'm the guy, i may not be perfect on my record on the crime bill, i may not be perfect on everything, but i have been on your side for a long time, i was barack obama's vice president and i'm the likeliest guy to beat donald trump. here's another poll, we saw a poll with him beating trump in ohio, a state republicans have felt pretty comfortable at. is biden amazingly after all of this still in a position where he's really the dominant front-runner on that basis or is he more fragile than he looks? >> i think he's more fragile than the numbers suggest because you see the other people going after him suggesting they see room to take from his support. but there are a number of things going on. there are reasons j.b. joe biden is saying i'm the electable one, democrats, and you should vote for me for that purpose. and last week when he went after joe biden it was on electability terms. he said when we talk about electability, we have to talk about somebody who can appeal in
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large ways to the african-american community. he was saying he wasn't sure joe biden could do that. there are other people saying the electability conversation is a fine one to have. but let's be clear, it's the middle of july in the off year and no one is paying attention. >> i want to play donald trump doing his punditry which he loves doing about the democratic race. let's listen to that and i have a question on the other side. >> sleepy joe, these fading fast. the only good thing about mueller is he made joe biden look like a dynamo. when you watched mueller's performance yesterday. i think probably biden is the one that asked him to go on. so you have him and he's sort of a little leading. you have a whole group, elizabeth warren, formally known as pocahontas. i'm sure that will come out because that's a tough thing for her to withstand, i believe, because her whole life was a fake. she used that very, very adeptly
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and it was not good. you have harris and bernie looks like he's fading to me. bernie looks like he missed his time. >> rev, here's my question, donald trump has the worst poker face in america. he says what he thinks and he also says a lot by what he doesn't say. in that group he attacked everybody or dismissed everybody in the top tier of democrats except kamala harris. there's been some reporting about republicans looking at her with a little bit of nervousness. what do you make of that reporting? do you think it's right trump omitting her suggests he's a little afraid of her and that the white house and that operation see her because of her prosecutorial skill and other factors as having something they're nervous about? >> no, i think that is absolutely correct. i think what he omitted harris, it is because they are afraid, if kamala harris does the top two, or even three in iowa, the electability question goes out the window and that is what
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happened with hillary clinton and barack obama. i remember when obama won iowa, people that told me i was crazy for being with obama started running over there. if she can break through just in the top three in iowa, the electability question goes out of the window. i think they know that. if she catches fire, that's their worst nightmare, to face this younger, black woman who he can't call sleepy, he can't call pocahontas and is a prosecutor. everybody in new york knows the last thing donald trump wants to face is a prosecutor. >> especially if he finishes the top three and joe biden does not win in iowa. you have an interesting situation. >> start getting ready for something. coming up, an american citizen detained for nearly a month at a boarding facility. he said the conditions were so horrible, he considered self-deporting. self-deporting this summer at panera, we're going all in on strawberries.
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we have a new low at the u.s. mexican border. an american-born teenager was held for weeks at the facility in texas. here's what the 18-year-old told "the dallas morning news" about the horrors he experienced. francisco erwin galicia spent 23 days in conditions that made him so desperate, he almost opted to self-deport. galicia said he lost 26 pounds because officers did not provide him with enough food. he said he wasn't allowed to shower and his skin was dry and dirty. he and 60 other men were crammed into an overcrowded holding area where they slept on the floor and were given only aluminum foil blankets when he said somebody had to sleep on the rest room area floor. joining this conversation, former deputy assistant attorney general elliot williams. elliot, how did we get here? >> well, there's two big problems here. number one, none of the facilities that are there at the
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border are designed for the amount of volume they have now because we and have the addressesed this as the hemisphere wide humanitarian crisis it is. there's that in his pocket at the time he's apprehended in his mother produces a copy of his birth certificate at the time he's in detention. yet still the border patrol officers were not believing his claims to u.s. citizenship. citizenship, you know, it's practically something quite sacred, john, and i think even recognizing that agents and officers have a job to do at the border. they have to make hard decisions. but at a certain point we need to take seriously claims when an individual claims he's a citizen of the united states. that just didn't happen here. this natural-born u.s. citizen was just not treated properly. >> we hear about the squalid conditions down at the border a lot, elliot. we do not hear stories of this
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kind of treatment of american citizens. i'll tell you something else we don't hear that often is stories about u.s. active duty troops just feet away from migrants in texas. here's an nbc news quote i want to read to you. the troops were assigned to the facility to provide welfare checks on the migrants, but the officials say that has evolved into a continual presence watching over them. i don't like to use latin on television, elliot. but isn't there some principle pasa cometatis. is this not either a violation of law or something pretty close? >> i'm a lawyer. you can use all the latin you want. john. but this gets back to the fundamental question in the united states. we regard immigration as a public safety matter and not an
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nick matter or a mum anitarian matter. so think about who's having the conversation. you see the president. you see the secretary of homeland security out speaking. but there is the humanitarian community, where are the people who frankly can address the public corruption in guatemala and el salvador that can fix this. but at the end of the day when you have a hammer and everything looks like a nail. yes, you're going to end up with military at the border guarding little kids who are in cages. so, this requires a fund memo re-shaping and re-thinking how we think of and treat immigration in the united states. and we're just off base here. >> let me ask you one last question, elliot to stick with your specialty here before we have to let you go. we got some senate democrats who went down there and checked out the situation. they're coming back. anybody who tours down there says we've got to have changes here. political pressure coming from
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senate democrats in a senate controlled by republicans, specifically mitch mcconnell. how likely is that to actually effect change? >> i don't think it is because, again, when this started with using the separation of children from their parents as a deterrent, as a deliberate choice made by the government, it'll be very hard to see how deliberate change will come. now the democrats were very smart because they asked for very basic and fundamental needs. they're talking about lights being turned off at night so kids can sleep. there are quite basic needs. so it'll be interesting to see how they spnd to those request. >> not a pleasurable topic but a pleasure to have you on television because you're so smart. after the break a story straight out of a mad libs book. donald trump's quest to free an american rapper from jail in sweden next. ? with the freestyle libre 14 day system just scan the sensor with your reader,
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all right. it's one of those headlines that would have sound made up just five years ago. the president of the united states is attacking the country of sweden demanding the release of american wrapper asyap rocky. the grammy-nominated artist, a charge that he denies. here we have donald trump tweeting, quote, give asap rocky his freedom. we do so much for sweden, but it
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doesn't seem to work the other way around. kim atkins, i ask you, like, what is to be said and made of this? >> all i could make of it was in another tweet that he tweeted about this, he said that sweden was letting the african-american community down. i have yet to hear any black voter put asap rocky at the top of their list of concerns. i am waiting for the tweet for the president to say he's going to get to the bottom of the american teen had his rights being violated even though he had his birth certificate on him. i think that's probably a better place for the president to put his attention. >> i want to say to you, sharpton, here is the thing. the president has done one thing that the left thinks is good, the criminal justice reform. the act they passed that kushner spear-headed, they like that. and yet this week we got bill
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barr reinstituting the federal death penalty while the president is also apparently trying to play racial politics of some kind with this asap rocky thing. the conflicts are so intense that i can't figure out what he's thinking even from the standpoint of his manipulative political mind. what's the calculation? >> well, i think the calculation is he first of all is responding to requests by kim kardashian and kanye because some of us had said this was unjust. and i think that what the president is doing is trying to score to look like he's balanced when clearly a lot of independent voters are talking about his racism. because i think kimberly's right. why would he make this something for the african-american community? for him to specifically say that even when he's trying to be more, let's say, expansive, he
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still has to segregate the concerns and make him an african-american artist. >> here's the score. on one side pre asap rocky. and then we have instituting the death penalty. >> that makes a lot of sense in the same week. you guys are great. it does it for this hour. i was here for nicole. i'll be here on monday for nicole. "mtp daily" starts with chuck todd right now. ♪ if it's friday, more democrats call for an impeachment inquiry as the judiciary committee chairman claims, in effect, that an inquiry is already underway. plus, russia, if you're listening, as democrats ring their hands over the impeachment question after

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