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tv   The Place for Politics 2016  MSNBC  March 17, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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, where medicine meets the future. let us help grow your company's tomorrow - today - at that just tastes better. fresher. more flavorful. delicious. only one egg with better nutrition... like more vitamins d, e, and omega 3s. and 25% less saturated fat. only one egg good enough for my family. because why have ordinary when you can have the best. eggland's best. the only egg that gives you so much more: better taste. better nutrition. better eggs. good afternoon. i'm chris jansing. big stories off of capitol hill this afternoon. breaking stories to tell you about. first, that stall nomination for president obama's supreme court candidate, a number of hot
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exchanges during a house hearing on flint water crisis, and where we begin. republican effort to derail donald trump's nomination which has gained significant ground. two former donald trump opponents backing senator ted cruz. marco rubio and lindsey graham. and that's not all. nbc news confirmed graham will be holding a fund-raiser for the sfort. rubio appeared on capitol hill for the first time since bo with respect -- bowing out of the race. he apparently said ted cruz is the only conservative left in the race. asked about the remarks today, here's what rubio said about cruz and the effort to derail trump. >> clearly, ted's positions on issues are conservative. hopefully there's time to still prevent a trump trnomination whh would be damaging to the conservative movement. >> house speaker paul ryan
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striking a neutral tone in comments and with john harwood. here's how ryan described how he and the house will work if there is a president donald trump. >> we do have a clear front-runner to the republican race. you and donald trump, how is that going to work? >> it's going to work if it happens. i'm going to defend conservatism, but we'll have to work with whoever the nominee is. >> trump has been lashing out at cruz via twitter and instagram. offering people the vote for the remake of "liar liar," ted cruz or hillary clinton. reporting on a secretive group of republicans who gathered in washington to help mobilize anybody but trump effort. good to see you, robert. >> good and a hafternoon go eri ericson called ford a republican unity ticket.
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tell us what went on in the room, where the effort is going. >> this morning, at army navy club in downtown washington, a group of two dozen conservatives and more on the phone calling in, had a discussion how to stop trump. the anti-trump coalition within the republican party. they started off talking about a possible third party challenge. but ultimately, the conversation veered to the realization that that's not logistically possible or financially doable. other options to stop trump at convention, and a lot of scenarios how to do that. >> hold on one second. senator harry reid, he is with the nominee for the supreme court, merrick garland. let's take a listen, if we can hear what they're saying. it may be a photo op. neither appears to be speaking. merrick garland going on to capitol hill today in spite of getting that call from mitch mcconnell which said we're not going to consider you. so he has been meeting throughout this afternoon, as he
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goes into the room. they're plotting strategy, the white house has down outreach, putting their plans together. we'll talk about that coming up. let me go back to robert costa and talk about somebody else at that meeting. congressman trent franks of arizona. you talked about that, and i want to read a part of the statement that he just issued. i have been asked on many occasions what i would do if the race comes down to one-on-one contest between mr. trump and mrs. clinton. i have responded as a conservative i cannot trust mr. trump to do the right thing. however i can trust mrs. clinton to do exactly the wrong thing. consequencely in that circumstance i would vote for donald trump. in the meantime i intend to do everything within my power to see ted cruz be our republican nominee. is that where this is heading, sort of against governor kasich and for cruz? >> at this point, i spoke with congressman franks on the phone, he believes that cruz still has a chance of bringing in the
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right together, ideological conservatives suspicious of trump. but cruz has a difficult path ahead to get delegates he needs to stop trump. what they're tacking about at the meeting today is a second ballot. that means those delegates at the convention in july, if no one wins on the first ballot, they become unbound, scramble wherever they want and the hope is in that scenario, if you're a conversation like cruz or congressman franks they'd go to a conservative candidate who is not trump. >> where is the money going to go? how are they going to fund this? how much do they have? where are in he going to spend it? we saw when they tried to use ads against trump in florida how unsuccessful that was. >> money is a looming question if they want a third party bid or piggy back on to another party, something like the constitution party and green party and use those slots to shepherd a conservative on to the ballot in states across the country. it's very hard and very expensive process.
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the money is about delegates and getting delegates together. only so much you can do in upcoming primaries on the ground that's going to stop trump. ads have been ineffective so far. >> thank you so much. more on this read in "the washington post." the conservative club for growth out with a new anti-trump ad. >> universal health care. >> i'm going to take care of everybody. >> who pays for it? >> the government's going to pay with it. >> ask donald trump why he sides with hillary clinton and why he wants more government health care. >> mark halperin and good to see you guys. what do you make of what's going on behind closed doors with the republicans and this coalescing behind ted cruz? >> well, look, john kasich has got a few endorsements as well,
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no doubt that lindsey graham is the biggest indicator of where the current balance is, which is more bolstering cruz to have him be the vehicle to stop trump. lip lindsey graham un-alterably opposed to ted cruz, does not like ted cruz but wants to stop trump. i will say the cruz people, i think, have overstated their ability to stop him by getting more delegates than trump or roughly the same. the key to the stop trump movement is finding someone who can keep trump from getting 50% of the delegates. today you'd have to say cruz is better positioned to do that than kasich but i think kasich could be part of the plan because there are states where kasich can take a lot of votes and keep trump from getting majority of those nonwinner take all states. >> john, where is this going? republicans say they don't like trump, getting together because they don't like trump but if push comes to shove they'll
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support him. >> yeah, look, chris, every effort to stop donald trump has been horribly disorganized and come to late, largely ineffectu ineffectual. nothing i'm seeing now seeing the current efforts will be effect actual. there's a possibility, i think the biggest likelihood of picking up from what mark was taking, john kasich gets enough support and ted cruz continues to get enough support, that they can win enough states, win enough congressional districts and stay in places not winner take all, win a number of those states and keep trump from getting delegates and you get to a contested convention. that's not the most likely scenario but it's not implausible. that has nothing to do with what erick erickson or anybody else behind closed doored in washington, d.c. it more how candidates perform on the stump in states, state by state as the nomination fight goes on and we have states on
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the calendar that are places where maybe trump can be stopped. >> mark, if you're inside that room with kasich's campaign, and you know about the meeting and see you've got lindsey graham, who you never would have thought go over to ted cruz, now raising money for him, how much does it worry you? what do you do about it? can you do anything about it? >> i don't know. look, it's probably in john kate's interest if he wants to be the nominee for ted cruz to get stronger as long as it doesn't keep kasich winning delegates to be a player at convention. trump wins majority, kasich becomes nominee at convention, cruz becomes the nominee at the convention, or someone else. i guess the fifth option is trump becomes nominee without majority. and someone else option, most people think it's not that great. so, if kasich wins the convention with cruz having stopped trump from majority he could get the nomination there, as long as he does decently the rest of the way. i think it's in kasich's and
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cruz's interest to be strong enough and cherry pick places. some cases kasich could be stro stronger, some places where cruz could be stronger. all has to be candidate driven to work and something like a long shot because trump is in a commanding position. >> does it become a longer shot if there are no more debates, now that we know the monday debate has been canceled and it's hard to see what advantage he would find doing a debate between now and the convention. >> i can't point to a debate over the many that we saw in the -- starting last summer and playing out through fall and winter, there's not a debate that hurt donald trump. despite the fact he said many controversial things and events occurred that the press jumped on and said, wow, donald trump had a horrible debate, we're going to see him fall, none of those things happened. sometimes he was better, sometimes a little bit worse but never appreciatebly weakened by a debate that i could think of. i mean maybe it would help john
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kasich in terms of getting more visibility, he would be one who would benefit the most because he continues to be -- he's the new player that a lot of people in some of the states are heading into aren't wholly familiar with. look, to my mind, just to go back to what mark said, if i'm john kasich, do i want ted cruz in the race in california, for instance? if i'm john kasich, i think i do. i think i want ted cruz taking conservative votes away from donald trump and opening up a bigger moderate lane or centrist, more mainstream lane, for kasich. there are a lot of states like that if i were john kasich i wouldn't want to go one-on-one with donald trump. >> it doesn't ever get boring. watch "with all due respect" on msnbc. thankses for coming on and talking. coming up on "hardball" tomorrow, chris matthews one-on-one with john kasich,
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7:00 eastern here on nbc. up next -- president obama's supreme court pick holding high stakes meeting on the hill with top democrats. we saw this a couple of minutes ago. any chance he'll get his day in court? the latest next. and just as the sanders camp ready to fight to the death for clinton super delegates did president obama tell donors sanders is out of time? reaction from the white house and details on the intraparty battle still ahead.
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president obama made a case
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that would be familiar to all of you, which is that as democrats move through this competitive primary process, we need to be mindful of the fact that our success in november in leaking a democratic president will depend on the commitment and ability of the democratic party to come together behind our nominee. >> white house press secretary josh earnest reacting to a "new york times" report that claims the president, quote, privately told a group of democratic donors last friday that senator bernie sanders is nearing the point where his campaign against hillary clinton will come to an end and that the party must soon come together to back her. the report comes days after sanders was bruised by his super tuesday losses. despite his deficit, insisting
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his best contests are still ahe ahead. the campaign raised more than $3.2 million. they expect sanders to close his gap with wins in utah. hillary clinton superdelegates. kasie hunt is in sedona, arizona. what's the sanders campaign reaction to the report about the president? >> reporter: chris, well, they are soldiering forward regardless of this. i was just talking to jeff weaver, bernie sanders' campaign manager, and he said, well, if you want somebody to get out to unify the party, hillary clinton is more than welcome to leave the race and bernie sanders would be happy to be the democratic nominee. so more defiance from this campaign which is planning to soldier on. sanders keeping up a very
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intense schedule through the western part of the country over the next couple of days. they feel like they are in position to win some western caucus states, utah, idaho are next up. alaska, hawaii, washington state after that. of course, arizona holding a primary on tuesday. public polling shows hillary clinton is in good position here but bernie sanders is spending a lot of time in arizona. by the time we get to those -- that tuesday vote, it likely he will have been here tuesday, thursday, friday, saturday, sunday morning, and maybe again on monday as they work out some of the details of his schedule. so they're trying very hard here. they feel good about young latinos. but the reality is, as you outlined, it pretty tough for him delegatewise and it's telling they're focused on super delegates that they previously have been critical of. >> kasie hunt out in sedona.
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now joining us from santa fe, new mexico, governor bill richardson who supports hillary clinton. good to see you. >> nice to be with you, chris. >> i want to remind people you supported president obama in 2008, you now support clinton. what do you make of the reports and what josh earnest said, the success of the democratic party is going to depend on the team, democrats coming together coalescing. is it too early to think that it's time for bernie sanders to get out? >> well, yeah, i think you have to show respect for sanders. he's run a good race. i think hillary has to keep his supporters backing her after the nomination. i do believe she's going to win. i think the president was reflecting of feeling. i was out in chicago campaigning for hillary on monday, right before the primary, and things were getting a little negative between the two, a little tense. the supporters were getting a
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little personal. so i think the president is sending a message that maybe soon we have to coalesce and unite. i think it's important, too, sanders has run a good race. we have to keep that progressive wing with the nominee. you're going into stated -- i'm a westerner -- you're going into utah, idaho, hawaii, then later in california where sanders shows some strength. but i think hillary with her five victories on tuesday is unquestionably going to be the nominee. but here you have to thread a needle of unity but unity's also keeping the sanders progressives supportive of the nominee and that will probably be hillary. and keeping that enthusiasm level up if it turns out not to be bernie sanders. i want to play for you what jeff weaver just said when he was interviewed and asked about this. obviously, bernie sanders' campaign manager. >> the senator has been very
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clear, let me be clear right now, because there's a lot of chatter out there. this race is going all the way to the convention. my prediction by june 7th, last day of big primaries and caucuses in this process, we will pass secretary clinton in pledge delegates. >> do you have any sense that anything is going to change especially when, after losing five states, three of them resoundingly to hillary clinton, he was able to bring in $3.2 million in just a matter of days and made hit 5 million? >> i don't agree with weaver. weaver has to say that, he has to keep supporters going and the race going and i don't blame him for saying that. but i think hillary in the upcoming primaries also, she's got to be very strong with a lot of hispanic voters in arizona. i think she'll win arizona. then you go into california, new mexico, my state. she's got to be strong there. >> if you were going to talk to bernie sanders, would you say to
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him, respectfully, it's time to step down, it's time to look for a way out? >> no, i wouldn't. i would say to sanders, you know, get the campaign a little more positive, focus more on the issues. i thought michigan and illinois, some of those midwest got a little personal. i would say keep your progressive wing talking about the issues. i wouldn't say to sanders it's time to get out but i would say eventually, eventually it doesn't look good for you and the best thing you can do is keep the campaign on the issues, don't damage hillary too much, focus on the general election which i happen to think is going to be tougher than people think. i think trump will not be a pushover. i think hillary wins but this guy is aroused a populism out there, negativity, a lot of reagan democrats, i worry about, they don't stay with the
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nominee. we've got a unity effort that can't end with a nomination of the democrats. it has to end in november at the general. when we have to stay unified to win. >> i want to ask you, before you go, about the american student from the university of virginia who has been sentenced to 15 years hard labor in north korea because you've been involved in getting people back before. he is 21, convicted and sentenced at north supreme court, charged with subversion and begged for his life. >> please save my life. i'm only human. i have made the worst mistake of my life. >> what can you tell us about negotiations to bring this young man home? >> well, i met with two north koreans two days ago in new york to ask them for humanitarian
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release of otto because the relationship between the u.s. and north korea now is not very good. we've got more sanctions, military exercises in the north koreans are behaving irresponsibly, nuclear testing, et cetera. we don't know much about this new north korean leader, what he's otto. my view the only positive of sentencing, which is outrageous, now negotiate. this happened, other patterns before with american prisoners. they are charged up with false charges, they're not given access to the consular services and make confessions that are forced and you have 15-year absurd sentences but you start negotiating. the north koreans are going to want something, a high-level visit, want to send a message, want humanitarian assistance.
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the problem is this new leader, he's so unpredictable. you don't know where he's coming from. he's unsure of himself, killing off a lot of his own internal opponents. so you're in a quandary, i think the state department is working hard on this. they have the inside track how to make this happen. but if i can help, i was asked by governor kasich of ohio, otto was his constituents, and the parents of this young man to help, because i've done these before, and i'm doing what i can as a private citizen. >> well, governor bill rach ardson, thank you for coming on the program and good luck with that. we know how difficult a situation this is and how heart wrenching for everyone who knows him. we also want to note that bernie sanders will be rachel maddow's guest tonight 9:00 p.m. eastern. tune in for that. our thanks to the governor. still ahead -- house republicans hold michigan's governor and epa
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chief accountable for the water crisis in flint. >> i am asking the questions. >> okay. >> yes, okay. in february, when you first arrived on the scene. it wasn't until january of the next year that you actually did something. that's the fundamental problem. don't look around like you're mystified. that's what happened. miguel showed up in february. you didn't take action. >> we'll talk with him, congressman jason chaffetz about his tough questioning of the epa chief. the president's supreme court nominee on capitol hill but only to meet with members on one side of the aisle.
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battle over president obama's supreme court nominee is reaching a boiling point on capitol hill already. moments ago, judge merrick garland and harry reid began their meeting following garland's meeting with another key democrat, senator patrick
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leahy, ranking member of the judiciary committee. leahy pressed republicans to confirm the judge. >> the president wasn't elected for three years. nearly 5 million vote plurality, i didn't realize -- i realize some in the other party are jealous but he was elected and he's trying to do this in job and he has done his job. now it's our turn to do ours. >> i'll be talking to senator leahy in a few moments. nbc's kelly o'donnell following all of this for us. what more do we know about the strategy to get garland confirmed as we see him go into the harry reid's office. >> we will see democrats from the senate and certainly broader in the party outside groups as well keeping up the pressure, day by day, and particularly targeting senate republicans who are up for re-election in tough races, and that will be a key part of the argument against
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them. if in fact republicans obstruct the garland nomination and don't give him even a hearing and that is certainly where it stands right now. part of what complicates this, merrick garland has been praised by many republicans over time. he is someone who gets the respect of both parties, and in a different time and place might be quite easily confirmed. but that isn't the situation now because of a larger issue. he would be replacing antonin scalia, the conversation, really the heart and soul of the conservative wing of the supreme court, and this open seat would shift the balance of the court from conservative to liberal if an obama appointee is selected presuming garland would lead more toward that side. that is the thing republicans want to prevent and they want to keep their most conservative active voters enner guys guised
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through the election season, the presidential race, as well as house and senate races, they want to keep them fired up. part of what we're seeing is a dilemma for republicans including one of the most senior, orrin hatch of utah, who typically had a lot of good things to say about merrick garland. >> we've taken the position the right thing to do, it's a principal position, put this for the next president. it may be hillary clinton. democrats can whine about that. >> there is this gamble who would be the next president, would it be a republican, would it be hillary clinton? and how would that affect the court? no guarantees that if hillary clinton were elected that the republican would change their strategy. that's been buzzed about but not sure that would actually happen. so that's something we'll have to watch. the key thing for now is senators leave for two weeks, pressure will stay on. >> thanks so much, kelly.
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expect a fight over merrick garland's confirmation to reach beyond capitol hill. "the new york times" put it this way, quote, more than 100 protest rallies scheduled in key electoral states like ohio, pennsylvania, new hampshire, iowa, television advertisements scripted, twitter and facebook rolling out, it's a battle that will drive groups on both sides of the aisle. we wanted to hear from group taking part in this battle. joining me, kurt levy, executive director of the conservative freedom works foundation. good afternoon. >> thanks for having me on. >> you said this fight is bigger than robert bork in '87 and clarence thomas in 1991, why? >> because the soul of the supreme court is on the lun here. there's four center right justices, four liberal juts and if president obama succeeds in appointing a fifth liberal jut -- >> let me interrupt you.
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we want to hear what harry reid has to say. he just met with merrick garland. >> he is -- his qualifications a about as good as you can get. he and i are both trial lawyers. i was able to talk about some of my cases and we had a good time just visiting about the law. one of his prize clerks was someone who worked for mow me for many years now down at the homeland security, serena hoy, she's a rhodes scholar. we had a great visit about her. she -- he married her. so it was really a pleasant meeting and i enjoyed it very, very much. the concern we have, after meeting this good man, why can't republicans do what they're supposed to, do their jobs? why are they afraid to meet with
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him? why are they afraid to hold hearings? are they afraid american people will watch these hearings and demand they do something more than they are demanding now? i don't get it what the republicans are trying to do. last night the republican leader admitted that letting american people have input on the supreme court is not the goal. the goal, of course, is to try to rile up their base in the november elections. and they've got the koch brothers and others already spending money to drum up the support. the support that they're getting comes from this dark money and it's just so awful. what did they do in iowa circuit court judge started because they're afraid grassley might
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get the nod from the president, so they went after this good woman who is on the circuit court covering iowa. remember what o'connell said right after obama was elected. their number one goal is to defeat obama. number one goal. and he said it publicly, that was admirable and that's what they attempteded to do. make sure obama was not re-elected they failed miserably and he's going to fail miserably at this. they cannot succeed in the position they've taken. it totally against the american people. doesn't matter how much money the koch brothers spend. we're going to continue with our message, all we want them to do is their jobs. >> talk about what the strategy is over the next two weeks while
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republicans are back home. how will you apply pressure to them? how do you think that will be successful? >> a lot of the pleasure applied by you folks. i think the stories have been commendable recognizing what an important issue this is and i'm going to try, when i go home, make sure you have more to talk about. i'm going to do an event or two or three in nevada. we already have the locations we're going to do them. i think they'll be good events. and my caucus is doing that all around the country. i'll be traveling that day and i'll have to do it from long distance, where we're going to have a day of going to -- we have petition signed by lots of
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people and we're going to join with that. >> any level of confidence to get a vote? what are his thoughts? >> he is -- this is something that's new for him. approved about i a wide margin, 18, 19 year ago. he's -- this is new to him, politics is not something he's been involved in. i'm confident he's going to get approved. republicans cannot do this, it will not work. they said maybe we can do something in the lame duck. what is that about? what is that about? if they're going to do it, why don't they just do it now, have hearings and do it the way we've always done it. for them, i talked to joe biden today, one of you asked me, what about the biden rule. >> there is no biden rule. that's something they made up. joe biden as chairman of the judiciary committee, he
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processed all supreme court nominations. to his credit, even know the committee did not approve nominations he would bring them to the floor anyway. >> building on ted's question -- >> let me ask you what we just heard from senator reid. he makes the point about his qualifications, merrick garland has been praised by democrats and republicans alike for intellect, thoughtful decisions, his experiences from oklahoma city to the un fla bomber have led some to suggest in a world threatened by terror there could be no better appointment, i could go on. why not let him have the hearing? why not let the american people hear about who this guy is in his own words? >> it's not enough for the american people to hear. we believe the american people should have a say in whether obama is allowed to transform the court in a liberal election. >> didn't they have that say four years ago, knowing if there was an opening on the supreme
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court, that he would be the one constitutionally to nominate someone to fill it? >> that wasn't a major issue. this time because the vacancy's occurring in an election year, it will be one of the top issues. the american people really have a right to decide. do they want a court that's going to get rid of second amendment rights, going to allow regulatory agencies to run roughshod over people or want a court that's going to respect individual liberty and enforce founders' limitsen 0 the federal government? again, something that has to be decided by the american people and this is a unique opportunity for them to do it. it's fantastic this election will be about that vacancy and a real not just a chance for the american people to speak out, but a real education for them about what's the proper philosophy of the supreme court, of judge in general? if they want to choose a liberal court and elect, say, hillary clinton and a democratic senate, so be it.
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we're willing to live with that. >> kurt levy, thank you for being on the program and sticking around as we listened to harry reid. >> i want to bring in caroline fredrickson president of the american constitution society for law and policy. you heard from the opposition, you know what they have to say. but more importantly, they're in charge of the senate and merrick garland got a phone call from mitch mcconnell saying this isn't happening. what's your strategy here? >> i think senator reid addressed it pretty clearly, that from the beginning, senator mcconnell has just been dr. no. he said no to obama winning a second term, he said no to the affordable care act, he's blocked judges throughout president obama's terms in office. so it's not a surprise that he continues to say no, but each of those instances, the caucus that he works with has gotten him to yes, and i think that's the same circumstance now as senators
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from both sides are starting to say they're going to meet with merrick garland, that they are going to sit down with him as they do with all nominees and i think it's just the beginning of a move towards a hearing and hopefully a vote soon. >> what is the american constitution society doing to move in a direction you want? are you working independently from progressive groups or is there an effort to get everybody together to speak with one voice to put more money behind this effort? >> i think we represent the legal community, the progressive legal community and our people are members who are lawyers and law professors, judges and elected officials as well as law students are just incensed with the behavior of the republican leadership that this is so unprecedented. they're going to be speak out about this disrespect that's being done to our constitution and the disrespect that's being done to president obama. his predecessors on 24 occasions
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in an election year have nominated justices, 21 of whom confirmed. so the disrespect to president obama is palpable and our folks are going to be speaking up about it. >> caroline fredrickson, thanks so much. >> that was one big thing happening on capitol hill. you saw the meeting. but there is another one and that is michigan governor rick snyder, epa chief gina mccarthy in the hot seat on capitol hill facing questions from house members on their roles in the flint water crisis. governor snider did try to accept some of the blame. take a listen. >> let me be blunt, this was a failure of government at all levels, local, state, and federal officials. we all failed the families of flint. not a day or night goes by that this tragedy doesn't weigh on my mind. >> yet the calls from democrats for him to step down remain strong.
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>> there you are dripping with guilt, drawing your paycheck, hiring lawyers at the expense of the people and doing your dead level best to spread accountability to others and not being accountable. it's not appropriate. pretty soon we will have men who strike their wives saying, i'm sorry, dear, but there were failures at all levels. people who put dollars over the fundamental safety of the people do not belong in government and you need to resign, too, governor snider. >> on the republican side, the calls are strong for epa chief mccarthy who pointed her finger at the state of michigan to step down. >> if you want to do the courageous thing, like you said to susan headman did, you, too, should resign. nobody's going to believe that you have the opportunity, you had the presence, you had the
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authority, you had the backing of the federal government, and you did not act when you had the chance. if you're going to do the courageous thing, you too should step down. >> joining me now, congressman jason chaffetz. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> the white house responded to your call for the epa administrator to resign. in fact they argued she has taken aggressive action throughout this. let me play you more of what josh earnest had to say. >> when you take a look at the record that she has compiled just in her few years as the administrator of the epa, it's a strong case to make the united states of america has never had a better administrator of the environmental protection agency. >> he went on to say what is needed for congress to appropriate the necessary resources. did you maybe go a step too far in calling for her resignation? >> no, the white house is fundamentally wrong. go tell that to the people of flint, michigan. epa was in there february 2015 and it wasn't until january of
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2016 they actually took decisive action. they think that's a job well done and worthy of promotion, shame on them. that is absolutely not right. >> she said she didn't have the ability to go in and flip a switch. >> yes, she does. >> it on the state and local level. >> no doubt the state of michigan, department of environmental quality failed. but part of the reason the epa's there in the first place if somebody's not doing what they are supposed to be doing the clean water act gives them the act to do that. i point to january 20th this year, they did take action. the question is, why did it take literally almost a year to get to that point? and it's not because they didn't have enough money. it wasn't because of anything other than incompetence and their enact to address this in in a serious way. again, michigan screwed up. so did the epa. i've seen nobody at any level of the federal government take
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responsibility. they're unapologetic. >> you mentioned residents of flint and a number traveled by bus to be there today. i want to play what one person said about the dire situation he and thousands of others have been facing. >> i have no trust in the government. i can't drink water out of the faucet anymore. i don't know what's in it. we've been lied to and snider needs to go to jail. >> he said the governor should go to jail. senator cummings said there's no doubt in my mind if a corporate ceo lahas done, he should be h l hauled on criminal charges. >> we have jurisdiction on epa and the reality is that after miguel del toro the employee did the test, they knew there was a
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problem. the mayor of flint called epa, asked the administrator if the water was safe and they said yes. that's why he went on local television and encouraged residents to continue to drink it. i feel that for gentleman because to this day they don't have clean water. they're using bottled water to take showers. this should never happen. >> flint is far from alone. that new study that identifies i think 2,000 water system used by 6 million people that have excessive lead levels detected in the past four years. what is congress' role in this? what does the federal government need to do to stop this? >> we need a competent epa and the administrator's shown incompetence. under the law the safe water act they are supposed to update the lead and copper rule. they are supposed to do that every six years. but they were supposed to get it done and gina mccarthy said they
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would get it done by 2013. now they're saying 2018. i don't know how many rules or laws to write for the epa to just do its job, provide competence. again at michigan department of environmental quality, there have been people fired, dismissed, going to face serious charges here, i think. but what about the epa? you can't simultaneously say they're the best epa administrator we've ever had since the dinosaurs. that doesn't -- that doesn't ring true. >> congressman jason chaffetz, thanks for taking time. senator patrick leahy on his meeting with the president's supreme court nominee and the long fight that's ahead. and during this event, you can get a great deal on this jetta. it drives great... volkswagen believes safety is very important so all eleven models come standard with an intelligent crash response system... hmm..... .....and seven stability-enhancing systems... hmm... ...for more confidence...
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judge merrick garland wrapped up his meeting with harry reid. moments ago, reid spoke about their meeting, and questioned the republicans. >> the concern that we have, especially after meeting this good man, is why can't republicans do what they're supposed to, do their jobs? why are they afraid to meet with him? why are they afraid to hold hearings? >> senator patrick leahy from vermont, ranking member 0 on the judiciary committee who met with
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judge garland today. what can you tell us about the meeting? >> i thought it was a good meeting. of course i knew him anyway, i voted on his confirmation before, confirmation times when he's been confirmed overwhelmingly by both republicans and democrats voting for him. i'm very impressed with his background. we were both prosecutors. i talked to him how well he handled the oklahoma city bombing case. but made sure he was independent on the bench, sometimes ruling with the government, sometimes ruling against the government. it was just nice to spend some time with somebody with such a first-rate legal mind. >> so, were you able to give him any assurances about what's happening on the democratic side in the senate to give him a hearing, before all of this
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happened and the republicans made it clear that they didn't think that it was for the president to do this or at least they were not going to take it up? the question was, who would put themselves through this if there's no chance of them actually ever having a confirmation hearing? what do you think the chances are that will happen? what assurances were you able to give the judge? >> i'm the longest serving member of the senate. since i've been here, every single nominee, republican or democrat, has had a hearing, they've had a vote, even when the democrats were in charge, republican president, and it's an election year, they still got a vote. i would -- i recommended to the judge maybe the senate republican leadership will come to their senses and uphold the constitution. the president's done his part. the constitution stays he shall
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nominate. we're supposed to advice and contend. the tradition, 100 years of having votes, hearings and votes. i realize there are some who for political purposes or they're up this year don't want to vote one way or the other. well, that's balogna. you're afraid to vote. if you're afraid to have a vote, you shouldn't be in the u.s. senate. >> but how does that happen? i mean, obviouslying they're not just going to change their minds. in fact, mitch mcconnell couldn't have been any clearer having a phone call with merrick garland and telling him that they were not going to hold a hearing. so is there a plan beyond, as you put it, hoping that the opposition will come to their senses? what can you do to move this forward? >> it makes the senate look small to have someone say phone it in. i'll talk about phone with the
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supreme court nominee. that's beneath the united states senate. it goes against all our tradition. i know senator mcconnell said his number one goal was to make president obama fail. no leader has ever said that about any president, whether their party or the other party. the fact is, the president's doing his job. he was elected by an overwhelming majority four years ago, four a four-year term. he can't just go off and say i'm not going to work for the next 300 days. he's doing his work. the senate should stop taking recesses and start sitting down and do its work. >> so let's say all of this is continuing over the next couple of woks, people go home. do you think there's public pressure put to bear? any of the outside groups are going to spend millions on both
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sides, could make a difference? what might move the needle? and from your many years of experience of working and knowing how hyper charged atmospheres can get around a presidential nomination, in the end, what do you think the chances are, senator leahy, that he does get a hearing? >> i haven't talked to any special interest groups on either side. when i talked with vermonters andier single vermont, whether republican or democrat or independent, they say you guys ought to do your job, vote for him, vote against the nominee, but you're looking foolish in refusing to have to give him a hearing and give him a vote. i agree with my fellow vermonters. >> senator patrick leahy, always good to see you. >> still an open question about whether he gets to 1237 and we'll see as it plays out. i don't think it's the ideal outcome for the party. you have a nominee and people
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coalesce around a nominee and it gibbs you a stronger position in the election. i don't think donald trump will be able to do. >> senator rubio talking about the prospects of a contested convention. that talk is increased as republicans and others fret more and more about a trump nomination. when "usa today" asked laura bush whether she could vote for trump, the former first lady replied, don't ask. the economist monthly global risk assessment puts the risk of president trump on par with local jihad itch. both could have negative impact on free trade. republicans are working to derail trump's nomination at the convention level. here's one way it could, who. first round most delegates bound to vote for the candidate they represent but if there's no winner they keep voting and more delegates become free agented to pick whoever they want. the party's delegates get to create additional rules one week before the convention. so there's nothing to stop them
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from making it easy for a new flame to be added into the mix, fascinating stuff. that's going to do it for me this hour. i'm chris jansing. i'll be heading to cuba to cover the president's visit there. he lands on sunday. "mtp daily" starts now. if it's thursday, as donald trump marches on, the stop trump forces seem stumped. is the answer a third party? rally around cruz, kasich, an open convention. how about more attack ads? trying all, throwing anything against the trump wall and just hoping that something, anything, sticks. this is "mtp daily" and it starts right now. good evening. i'm chuck todd in washington. i don't want to mention march


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