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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  February 10, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PST

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>> we'll see them in court. it's a political decision and we're going to see them in court and i look forward to doing it. >> president trump's national security adviser did talk to the ambassador about the sanctions before the inaugural despite repeated denials. japan's prime minister is about to meet the president. plus feeling the heat a key republican facing an angry hometown crowd. is this a sign of something to come. >> so president trump nominated -- [ booing ] all right, a good sense of where we're going. i do believe in my heart of hearts that given the choice that was before us, by far donald trump was the better choice, by far. [ booing ] >> good day i'm andrea mitchell
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in washington. it's a critical moment in the early weeks of the trump presidency. the president going back to the drawing board as you see the flags and the marines out there positioned for the arrival of japan's prime minister, and today that meeting with japanese prime minister shnz shnz about to come at this hour, after the president made a key concession to china in a late night phone call. feeling the political sting of his first big judicial defeat, the unanimous decision from the ninth circuit casting a cloud over the administration's temporary travel ban. joining me peter alexander and nbc justice correspondent pete williams. >> peter, they may go to rewrite, a lot of anticipation for the arrival of the japanese prime minister. >> reporter: exactly. you can see the color guard honor guard behind me as they anticipate the prime minister's arrival, only the second time it
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will occur on president trump's watch. shinzo abe one of the first to meet with president trump before we taken office, after he won the white house but specifically to the executive order the new details from senior administration officials suggests they have having nominations since before the court of appeals ruled on this about potential paths forward and those paths according to this aide include, one, further the current case the senior official telling me they feel confident they will be proven "correct on the merits of this case" but separately potentially signing a new immigration executive order in the words of this official "very soon." it follows reporting from our colleague joe scarborough at msnbc that folks within the white house here had been redrafting an immigration executive order in an effort, in the words of joe scarborough, to make sure it would be able to clear the federal courts. i'm told right now they don't have any concern according to the aide about clearing the
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federal courts. still president trump himself indicated feel confidently they will prevail on the merits of the initial appeal begin. >> pete williams this is a setback they could have avoided if they spent more time writing the order. what are their options? >> go to the supreme court, rewrite it, go to the ninth circuit court of appeals. the president 1 h00% right whene says see you in court. this is still in seattle. as they prepare to duke it out in court whether it's legal and constitutional in seattle, should the enforcement be put on hold in the meantime? we have the answer from the ninth circuit, presumably the government could go to the supreme court and ask them to lift that stay and let them enforce it in the meantime but it's going to be in court. the seattle hearing will gon about whether it's legal and constitutional. meanwhile on the other side of
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thcountry, just across the river from where we are in alexandria, virginia, a federal judge heard argument on that question. leoni brinkham, whether it's constitution or legal on a lawsuit by the state of virginia, which is almost identical to the others, tough for foreign students and faculty and people who work for high-tech companies. so it's going to be in court. the question in the meantime is, can it be enforced while they prepare to have these legal battles? >> and didn't the justice department signal in its response to the appeal court in its brief that they were already prepared to have this fallback position, where they would exempt the, you know, the students, the executives, the people who work for silicon valley? >> the government has said this three times, one in its reply brief initially filed at the nooibt s ninth circuit, second during the oral arguments and third time in the virginia case.
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why is this important? so what the ninth circuit said is this is unconstitutional because it deprives the rights of the people with visas who are here in the u.s. what the government says is, while people in the seven countries that aren't here yet don't have any constitutional rights. they're not even in the united states. so if the executive order were pe pared down, only count people who have never been to the u.s. or gotten visas anymore, it would be a much harder case to challenge in court. >> peter alexander, at the same time as you've got this japanese leader arriving, the president making a big concession ando china in his conversation with the chinese president last night, reiterating the one china policy, contrary to what he had raised in a pre-inaugural conversation with taiwan, there you see the president. let's go to this live.
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>> right now president trump greets prime minister shinzo abe. in the past, the president wouldn't always come out here to the dwaet to the front of the west wing. president trump who has done it with the leader of the united dipping dom, theresa may, now shinzo abe, one of the first to meet with then president-elect trump and that visit at trump tower, where ivanka trump and jared kushner were among those attending. today the conversation will focus on a variety of different topics, among them the economy, the trade relationship between the two countries but of course also security issues, including the relationship to north korea and that region. president trump throughout the course of the campaign as candidate trump made it clear he thought countries like japan may have to protect themselves in terms of that relationship, certain that will be one of the topics they discuss on this day as well, andrea. >> as you noted with the warm greeting, that was a double hug and two hands on a handshake, so
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that was a very warm personal greeting. when you say, peter, that the president hasn't in the past, this president with two foreign leaders has, what we mean is in the past presidents usually don't come out to greet their foreign guests. this is certainly a gesture of respect in the trump style as we see it evolving. >> i think that's exactly right. this president, let's be clear. have done a lot of things differently as past pridents, no betteredf last night with kelly o'donnell and hallie jackson in the press area of the west wing, they were told there would not be any further statement from the white house in terms to its reaction of the immigration executive order and the findings of the ninth circuit court of appeals. they turn around the president of the united states standing there as he was walking over to the residence where he would be having din we are his secretary of state rex tillerson and sheldon adelson a big republican donor as well. interesting in the conversation,
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last night there was no indication there was anything else on the schedule in terms of a phone call with president xi jinping to take place. late last night it appears the conversation happened after a conversation between president trump and his secretary of state. some suggested the last person in the room may be the one who sort of gives the president the direction that he ultimately follows. >> indeed, and i can tell you one other thing that you have to infer that there was likely a discussion about net inanyahu's visit next week, adelson is one of the israeli prime minister's strongest supporters and is a newspaper publisher there in israel as well. peter thank you so much. peter, you cued it up perfectly. here's what happens when the president was headed to that dinner from the oval office and kelly o'donnell and hallie jackson happened to be there in the hallway, and ran into him, other presidents would just say,
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you know, good evening, whatever, and march on. not mr. trump, and with his permission, kelly o'donnell pulled out her phone and this was the recording. >> chuck todd is the moderator of "meet the press" and host of msnbc's "mtp daily" at 5:00 eastern every night. well, that is so unusual, this doesn't usually happen this kind of informal chat. he said it was okay for kelly o.
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to record it, and went on to say he had not talked to jeff sessions, his newly sworn in attorney general. so he was responding really within minutes of the ruling that he had watched on tv. >> right, and i think, look, that's on one hand there's always been a part of donald trump, you know, he wants to be accessible to the press, probably more so than his staff wants him to be accessible to the press, and i think that was one of those moments there. but it seems as if what seemed like the obvious thing to do last week when i asked vice president pence, okay, you've got the setback, you have this. any thought about essentially rescinding the order and rewriting it? at the time, no, no, no, this had been properly vetted and they didn't want to entertain that. if you look at the decision the 3-0 decision made, they basically gave them a road map on how to rewrite it. so i think that it's clear that
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that's all the advice the president's getting. i think at this point it's, is he comfortable with admitting defeat? essentially, all right, got to hit reset, let's do this again. that's not in his nature. he does eventually recalibrate but usually it's always a week after somebody else would have already cried uncle, but it does seem as if they realized this is the fastest way to get this. >> in fa, if they are arguing there was a national security issue at stake. >> right. >> a case they did not really make in their briefs. >> right. >> they didn't present any evidence. if they are making that argument they can come out and say for him, the fastest way is we have four potential tie-ins to the supreme court, an eight-member court, we've got other issues like neil gorsuch on the table, we're going to move on and get this done quickly. >> the other thing about the order is, it never did address the problem that, when you do talk to folks that are worried about vetting, that it is, which is the visa waiver program, which is, you know --
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>> from europe. >> from europe, which is any european nationals who hold european passports and may have been, joined the fight, that's always been the issue. >> plug those holes. >> this has been the problem. so this order doesn't address that. it may be something have to be addressed by congress. look, i think they now are realizing they need to rewrite this order. i'll be curious to see how the president falls on his sword on this one. >> and the other issue really with the foreign visitor with the call to china. >> yep. >> with all that's happening with russia, is michael flynn, the national security adviser, now there is confirmation we've confirmed it as well, he did, in fact, discuss with the russian ambassador the sanctions before the inaugural, discussed the sanctions that president obama had just levied on russia because of the election year hacking, and we did see at the time a very strange and
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coincidental or not change of posture in russia, the foreign minister coming out and saying we're going to fight this and retaliate, and here we expelled so many of these alleged spies and next thing you heard vladimir putin saying oh, not so much, let's have the american children come in for a christmas party. so it was clear there was some signal there. >> look, i think the question of flynn's fate, there are plenty of people in that white house that aren't big fans of mike flynn. plenty of people in trump's national security orbit that aren't big fans of mike flynn. i think the question is, does he lose confidence in the president? that's always been -- the biggest protector of mike flynn has been the president, and so for instance, did he lie to mike pence? vice president pence wednesday out as vice president-elect and essentially said, no, they did not talk about sanctions, and he knew this because he talked to essentially got this from mike flynn, that's what mike flynn told him. if, indeed, mike flynn lied to
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him or misled the vice president, how can they continue to work together, if there's already some trust issues, there's been some, you know, we know there's a lot of angst with the team he's put together in the national security circle. so if you've lost that confidence with the vice president, how can the president keep sticking by. that's what i think is going to be flynn's biggest problem. >> some reporting in the "new york times" that, when flynn wrote the memo of who should sit at the table at the principals committee meeting, the cabinet secretaries who make key recommendations to the president. in putting steve bannon as a permanent member, a voting member, someone at the table talking, not just an adviser sitting on the sidelines, that he didn't fully explain to the president what that meant, this this was a precedent, that it hadn't happened before and also he was held responsible for the way the rollout of the executive order was done without all of
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the agencies, the state department and others not weighing in. >> he's also, i had somebody close to the president say this to me a few weeks ago which is, there's a point where the president gets irritated when somebody around him can, accumulates bad press and mike flynn's son has accumulated bad press on behalf of mike flynn. that hasn't gone unnoticed by the president. nobody knows how much strikes you get. >> very controversial posts. >> and conspiracy theorists with the comet pizza thing in washington, d.c., and that crazy business. nobody knows how many strikes you get in trump world. some get four or five before they're out, some people only get one or two. but there's people around, acknowledge that flynn has accumulated some with him. at what point is it too much for the president? right now he's flynn's biggest protector. >> and there's also the role of jared kushner, very quietly having a great deal of influence
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over foreign policy. you'll see more of this next week when we have the israeli prime minister coming, but already he was a key intermediary, getting early access for the japanese prime minister. that warm greeting was not unusually going to be going off to mar-a-lago. they'll be golfing. >> it's interesting, he decided to treat president trump much differently than other world leaders. he went all in. he went aggressively early. he was a little nervous, so on what he had heard on the campaign trail. it's interesting, and so look, he is forging a close personal relationship with this president early. we know that works, that you know, you do what abe is doing right now, which is essentially go out of your way to pay homage to him, right? he went to trump tower. he has come here, he is now going to mar-a-lago and we know it's important to president
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trump that mar-a-lago be seen as a great place to host other international leaders, and here's abe willing to do that. you know, it will be interesting to see if abe gets success working with president trump this way, if other world leaders start copying sort of how abe has managed him versus how other world leaders have managed him. >> and also important strategically this makes sense for donald trump if he's trying to push back against china. japan has hugely important security interests in the south china sea to try to push back against what they view and we also view as chinese aggression there. >> plus on the economic front, you know, i think there is a lot of republicans on capitol hill while they realize the politics of tpp, made it impossible for tpp to live. that doesn't mean they would not like to see some sort of replacement of some form and maybe it's not one trade agreement, maybe it's a series of bilateral trade agreements but that try to accomplish a similar thing, providing an
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economic check on china so it isn't just chai that writing the rules of the road particularly when it comes to the asia-pacific region. that is another reason why, you know, the president needs a close relationship with japan. >> and then there's vladimir putin. the reports of more leaks from a telephone call. the white house has to be concerned about that, the reuters report initially yesterday saying that, in that phone call, the issue of the now s.t.a.r.t. agreement -- let's look at this photo-op in the oval office. the japanese prime minisr an president trump. and let's hear if our colleagues are asking any questions. >> we know they'll shout. the question is will he respond.
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>> what did they say? >> please, look at me. >> i don't think they're going to ever give up holding hands. >> yes. >> all right, thank you, press. >> thank you, everybody. >> thank you. >> a little discipline there by the president. >> i didn't hear any questions. >> i didn't hear any shouted in english. i think we were hearing shouted questions from maybe the japanese pool. >> we will have questions and perhaps one of the reasons for discipline is that there will be a press conference, in about 45 minutes. we'll see both of them come out and taking questions from the press corps. >> absolutely. speaking of questions, "meet the press"? >> we do, obviously we got a lot to do on where the travel ban is headed. by sunday we may have a new order and need a legal wre breakdown. we're preparing for all scenarios. >> the saturday night/sunday early morning rewrite we've
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become used to. kellyanne conway under fire for making this pitch. >> go by ivanka's stuff. i hate shopping but i'm going to get some myself today. it's a wonderful line. i own some of it. i'll give a free commercial here, go buy it today, everybody, you can find it online. >> after that plug, the white house press secretary sean spicer told reporters that she was being counseled, his word, on ethics rules and this is what conl conway after seeing the president. >> he spoke about a range of matters. he supports me 100%. it was a heartening moment. to america's women at some point in life you ought to have a boss who treated me the way the president of the united states treated me today. >> and conway said later the president's 100% behind her but the two top lawmakers on the house oversight committee are asking the office of government ethics to recommend disciplinary action against conway. joining me is one of the latest authors who initiated all of
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this, congressman elijah cummings and jason chaffetz joined in. why do you think this is a big deal? the president is the authority here, because the office of government ethics is not a disciplinary body. it's an investigative body, and the president apparently has told her, it's okay with him. >> well, the president, during the campaign, made it clear when he talked about hillary clinton that nobody is above the law, and there are laws and regulations that clearly say that you cannot act in your official capacity as a government employee and particularly here as a counselor to the president, to advertise and promote and endorse a product to help somebody else, and andrea, this is a clear violation. let me tell you something. if you were looking for the textbook case of a violation, this was it. not only did she talk about
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evo ivanka trump's products but said i am now giving a free advertisement and she had the seal of the president right behind her acting in her official capacity. you know, so we have laws, and at some point, somebody has to hold the trump administration accountable, and so that's what this is all about. that's my job. as a matter of fact, every two years we swear to uphold the constitution, and this is all a part of what we do. that's my job in oversight, and mr. chaffetz's job too. i'm glad he joined me in this effort. i've been asking him literally for months now to look into these conflicts of interests, and he has refused to do so. so finally, he gets the textbook case and i think he had absolutely no choice but to join in. >> now she was clearly doing
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something after the president of the united states had slammed the department chain nordstroms for canceling its commitment to carry the product. so the president of the united states is doing it, and i understand he can do, on stuff like this, that the conflict rules do not technically apply to the president of the united states, but they do to his staff. but he certainly sets the tone, doesn't he? >> no doubt about it. this is becoming a pattern and it is interesting, andrea, that if you did this in several departments within the government, you can get anything from a five-day suspension to a, to actually losing your position, and so she should not be held to a different standard than other employees in the government, but you're absolutely right, and i would hope that president trump would look at the ethics laws and make
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sure that his counsel counsels him and set a tone for his entire administration, because let me tell you something. at some point, these things are going to get worse and worse and we're going to have, i think he's going to have some major problems. i don't know what they'll be, but i've been warning of these problems for a very long time, and so hopefully he will get the message that he has to set the tone, but when he gets on television -- and i can understand defending your daughter but please, i mean, his job, number one, is to run the united states of america, and so again, nordstroms said the product just wasn't selling at the level that they wanted it to. so that's a business decision. so we have to, we just can't get bogged down on this. that's the other thing. when we, when the trump administration gets bogged down in these kind of things, i think it hurts their credibility with
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other issues that they may have to deal with, and that's never good. >> well, congressman, the larger issue is also you've got a president who has not released his tax rushes, we don't know where his foreign investments are, it's hard to figure out how he may or may not be influencing something that benefits himself or the interests of his sons who are running the business, and according to the "new york times" reporting it was not abirrevocable trust so donald trump can take this all back after he leaves office. there are a lot of issues that have not been fully addressed. >> no doubt about it, andrea. the key is, who's benefiting from all of this, and there's no doubt about it, that the president will benefit from all of these entanglements that he's still involved in. he can say whatever he wants about separating himself from the management, but the question is, you have to follow the money, and the dollars are going
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into president trump'spockets. we've got a situation rig now this gsa lease that trump post office hotel in washington where it clearly states that he cannot, that is, a government official cannot be a part of that lease. but he is, and he's benefiting and you've got folks from foreign governments wanting to play nice with the president, coming and staying at that hotel, holding their various activities at that hotel, because they want the favor of the president, and some of them have admitted that. those are the kinds of things that cause people to lose faith in government, and we just cannot have that. >> and is mike flynn, the national security adviser, at all on your radar? >> no doubt about it. >> reports confirmed he did discuss sanctions with the russian ambassador? >> i am very concerned about general flynn because i think
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that his story has changed three or four times. initially he said he only had two conversations and he said it was about the christmas holidays and expressing some sympathy and the next thing you know, he said that he didn't have any kind of discussions about the sanctions, and now he says he doesn't remember and my concern, andrea, is that all of this, and i agree with chuck todd. you know, when you're not truthful with the vice president of the united states, and the vice president goes out there and makes these allegations and says you didn't do anything wrong, and then come to find out, that was not accurate, that's a major problem, but there's another problem. that is that we question whether or not he should have a security clearance. i mean, that's very significant. so i think todd is right. these things are adding up one by one, and at some point, the president has got to make a
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decision. is this really somebody i want in my cabinet? >> do you think anyone's investigated this? >> i'm pretty sure, yes. there's a lot going on with this, and i expect at some point we'll know a little bit more, but we have been pressing chairman chaffetz to look into this situation, too, because i consider this very serious. let me tell you mething. if hillary clinton did something like this, the republicans would crazy, and so all i'm saying is, let's use the same standards, let's look at all of these ethical conflict of interest issues just like you would have looked at them with regard to secretary clinton. >> we're going to have to leave it there. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thanks, congressman. when we'll be right back.
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as house democrats huddled in baltimore this week for their annual retreat we have a lot to think about. "time" magazine posted this question on its cover "do the democrats matter? "after a bruising loss in november they will elect its new leader, congressman keith ellison, the more progressive wing of the party or tom perez, and joining me now tom perez and jamie harrison from south carolina also in that mix. >> great to be with you. >> first of all, how do you tap into the protests, the anger out there? how do you make that into an organized movement? because what we've seen is democrats are protesting but
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they don't have the votes in the house or the senate. they have not been able to stop these confirmations from going forward. >> sure. we have to organize, organize, organize. we need to build 50-state strategy plus the territories and that's what we do. when we organize, when we're talking to people, we win. in this past election, we did a lot of data an lalytics to the exclusion of going out and making house calls. when we make house calls we win and when we partner with our other friends in the labor movement, planned parenthood and other pillars of the progressive movement, we do well and that's what i'm trying to do. when we put our values out there, and i've been out there at airports, i've been with people who are saying donald trump doesn't stand for american values, and the challenge for democrats is to capture this energy, turn this moment into a movement. i think we can, by getting back to basics and building those strong parties and communicating
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our values of opportunity and inclusion, and that's what i'm trying to do as the dnc chair if if i have the privilege of getting elected. >> even though the poll numbers are not very good for the president right now, and he did lose the popular vote by 3 million votes to hillary clinton, his voters, his base supporters are still telling us in the field that they like what he's doing. they are dazzled by perhaps some of the activity. he's hit some rough patches, but how do you persuade people who voted for him and really rejected well-financed celebrity-laden democratic campaign? >> i think we tell the story of betrayal. hours into the trump administration, he issues an executive action that makes it harder for first time home buyers to buy a home, makes it more expensive. just last week he makes it more difficult for people saving for retirement to get the advice they need.
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on all of these economic issues that matter, economic security, democrats have always been in the lead, whether it's saving social security, making sure that medicare isn't privatized and when we get out there in every zip code, not just every 4th october at a church but 12 months a year organizing telling people what our values are, when we communicate our values, it translates into votes, and that's what i want to do if i have the privilege of being the chair is get out there and take the fight to donald trump, communicate our values, and make sure we turn around the dnc and build it into an institution that's not just electing a president, but is working from the school board to the senate, all across america, to build that party, communicate our values and elect democrats. i think we can do it. you see that energy out there, everywhere i go, so many people. >> was president obama, did president obama pay enough attention to party maintenance,
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party building? >> with hindsight the answer to that is no. we have a party -- the ofa helped elect the president in 2008 and 2012, but what ended up happening during that administration was the 50-state strategy that howard dean had put in place began toat fee, and so we have too many parties today that are struggling. you know what? this is all fixable. i was in kansas earlier this week, even though donald trump won by 12, 13 points. so when we are firing on all cylinders, organizing in every state, when we are providing help for candidate training, taking on the scourge of voter suppression going on and i have a robust proposal for doing
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that. that's how we rally democrats and ensure democrats win. >> tom perez two weeks to go. >> pleasure to be with you. >> you, too. turning to the new revelations despite te niles national security adviser mike flynn did discuss u.s. sanctions against russia with the russian ambassador a month before president trump was sworn in. joining me is ambassador christopher hill deep of the joseph korbell school of international studies at the university of denver. thank you for being with us. the japanese ambassador, excuse me, prime minister in the white house right now, a warm greeting and news conference to come. the call to the president to reassure the chinese president he believes in the one china policy and not veering towards taiwan. at the same time the national security adviser is under fire for these conversations with the russian ambassador. how would you assess the way
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donald trump is doing on national security right now? >> there's no question it's been chaotic but what he's trying to do with abe is perhaps start a process of reassuring allies. couple of precursors of the abe visit have gone well, first of all having his secretary of defense go out to south korea, and japan, and give assurances there and assurances of america's staying power in terms of being an ally of japan, and i suspect, too, there has been considerable briefing of the president so he understands what japan is actually done. they have a very robust supporter of this security agreement within the context of their douglas mccarthy era constitution, which limits their military spending to 1% of their gdp. i think secondly, it was very important to reach out to the chinese, because if we were still with a situation where the u.s./china relationship is in
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shambles and certainly the idea you could bring the one china policy back on the table was really a dog that was not going to hunt, you'll then have a good meeting with abe at the same time deteriorating relations with china. i don't think that's helpful to anybody and certainly not to the japane japanese. i think this is kind of gng well. how mr. flynn or general flynn fits in this is anybody's guess, but i suspect we have not heard the ralast of the revelations o the call he evidently made to the russian embassy to speak to the russian ambassador, and i suspect that people who know the entire contents of that call and i think we have to wait and see. >> what is the impact on the relationship with russia with vladimir putin to have this back channeling with the ambassador and the allegation there was a signal sent to russia don't worry about the sanctions, the
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new team is coming into up to. >> that seems like the situation, there was a signal to the russians don't worry about this stuff, we're coming in, in a matter of days. all will be well. also the issue of having first meeting with a leader that is prime minister abe who clearly wants too kind of cast his lot with president trump and perhaps educate him on some of the trade issues but certainly try to show he understands where trump is coming from and that whole story will be stepped on in the coming 48 hours by this general flynn issue. so they cannot be very happy about this in the white house. >> thank you so much, chris hill, former ambassador, thank you very much for joining us, from denver today. and coming up here, brothers in arms, an iraq war veteran on the legal fight over the travel ban and what it means for those he served with in iraq. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. what are you doing?
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lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. for some, lyrica can significantly relieve fibromyalgia pain and improve function, so i feel better. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactionson, or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. or swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or blurry vision. common side effects are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who have had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica. with less pain, i can be more active. ask your doctor about lyrica.
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among those relieve today with the court decision to suspend president trump's travel ban is a former u.s. marine officer, former marine captain zach isco wrote in an op-ed that iraqi interpreters were his platoon's lifeline when he fought overcease. one he calls frank was wounded when he helped soldiers retake fallujah. with the stroke of a pen
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president trump dashed frank's plan to escape from iraq. after six years of vetting he and his family had been approved for visas when the executive order was signed. zach is on the board of the international refugee assistance project. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me. >> is there an update since the temporary lifting of the ban, has the interpreter you call frank gotten out of iraq? >> he's still in iraq. but in the last week it looks like his case is being moved forward. in december or november we received a message he was approved to come to the u.s. my wife and i started to prepare our bedroom for him and his wife's arrival and they have an 18 month old and one on the way, and then all this happened, and about a week ago we found out his case was moving forward and that he should be getting prepared for a medical screening, which is the next step in the process. so we'll see what happens at this stage. at least the court ruling gives us some hope.
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>> zach, what would you tell donald trump and his advisers who are saying there is a real national security threat from these seven countries, and they point to president obama in congress for having isolated these countrieses adangerous transit points. what would you say about the impact on refugees, on people like your former interpreter and others who are caught up in all this? >> it's a great question. one of the arguments that they are making is that these are countries that don't have databases and control over their population and so you have concern somebody is trying to come to this country. my response would be with translators for the u.s. military we know exactly who they are. frank served with me for five months in quat. he was shot, assaulting a building with my platoon. he has numerous letters of recommendations from military officers. he served our country honorably,
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wore our marine corps uniform in combat, something that very few americans do today and on other side of it, in terms of refugee s it shows ignorance how the refug refugee resettlement process works. if you're a refugee in syria you don't just decide you're moving to the u.s. the way the process works is you apply the u.n. for resettlement and the u.n. decides what country they'll try to resettle you in. if you're an isis fighter trying to get to the u.s., the refugee resettlement process is probably the worst way getting to the u.s. because there's no guarantee where you're going to end up outside of where you are leaving. >> you quote john kelly telling you in 2007 when you were fighting as you were discussing and maybe it's the same interpreter, and you say you'll never forget his words that your
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interpreter had worn the marine corps uniform in quat and we had an obligation to keep him safe. >> i had a wonderful translater abbod al kafaji. i testified before the united states senate on a need to protect refugees. it's amazing ten years later we're dealing with issues. before i testified i had to meet with general john kelly at the time the marine corps' liaison to congress. on one hand his job was to make sure i was not going to embarrass the marine corps as a young captain going in front of the senate. he said he wore the marine uniform in combat and we had an obligation to safeguard him and his family. i've used those words in his testimony and since then because i don't think there's any stronger argument that you could make for what we owe these men
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and women who have served our country. >> well, thank you for your service, zach, it's good to see but. >> great to see you, too, and thank you so much. >> your insights, appreciate it. any minute now president trump and japanese prime minister abe are expected to hold a joint press conference. you can see the room, they're getting ready in the east room. we'll bring it to you live. american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at find out how american express cards and services put some manwich on the table... and give boring weeknight meals, the night off.
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nominated -- [ booing ] >> that was a tough hometown crowd greeting republican congressman jason chaffetz, chair of the house oversight committee. joining me is chris cillizza, msnbc contributor and founder of "the washington post" fix blog. how do you read that? >> you tell us one of the most republican states in the country, but this is a place where there's been a lot of resistance to donald trump. now i do think there was another town hall in murfreesboro, tennessee, last night, a strongly republican area, and in that one you saw more booing, more questions about obamacare, more questions about trump. what you see is an activated democratic electorate who is going out to register their disapproval with how people like chaffetz are doing things. now that said i think there are some republicans and
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independents there as well. i don't know what to make of it but i will tell you, remember, eight years ago in 2009, the leading edge of what happened in 2010 was the discontent registered in these town halls with democratic members about the affordable care act. so we may well be seeing that, or it could just be sort of a spurt here and an outbreak there. >> and another new development is i've confirmed now that elliott abrams is not going to be the secretary of state. >> yep. >> he was far along enough as a front-runner, and i had reported last week he was the front-runner. he met with the president and secretary tillerson tuesday night at the white house. they had a good meeting i'm told on good authority. >> that's right. >> subsequent to that, critics of mr. abrams, drug up some things he had said critical of donald trump in the primary so this goes to the old rule, it's very difficult for donald trump to overlook criticism past criticism of him. tillerson had chosen abrams, but now aprograms will not be deputy
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secretary of state. >> right and he did it a few names. nikki haley is the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. and she was quite critical of donald trump, quite publicly, but it's not the kind of thing he's going to make a habit of. this pick, at brahms pick as you know better than i, would be the sort of thing that many long time state department employees long time diplomat s would like probably win him a fair amount of goodwill within that organization. >> he was known as somebody who would listen to criticism. now, the rap on him of course was back in 1991, he was convicted of withholding information about iran-contra from congress. he was pardoned by jonlg herbert walker bush in '91. that was something but that was not going to be the bar to this. they have decided to go with it. they thought they had the votes that they could get him confirmed. >> i will say, look, no president, no politician, no person likes to, loves people who criticize them.
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that said, is there a chilling effect when the sole reason given for not hiring someone who is capable, without question, is because he was critical of the president during a heated primary battle? that is a tough standard for almost anybody to you know, clear that hurdle. >> well, you've got a white house where the press secretary said to state department diplomats and others who had filed a protest through the dissent channel which is a time honored channel that goes back to the vietnam war and is considered exactly how they are supposed to offer their differt views to the secretary of state. he said if they can't get with the program, they should get out so there is a certain signal here. >> the dissent is a part, it is built into a healthy democracy, and a healthy system. that's how the world works. if we only talk to people we agreed with 100% of the time, we would not be getting a whole
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perspective. that's true of any president, any company, any reporter, right? that's part of your job, dissent is part of what we all have to deal with and factor in, and use it to shape our opinions. >> not in this case. thank you so much. stay with us, we'll be right back and of course we're waiting for the press conference. not down. it's feeling up thinking up living up. it's being in motion... in body in spirit in the now. boost. it's not just nutrition. it's intelligent nutrition. with 26 vitamins and minerals and 10 grams of protein. all in 3 delicious flavors. it's choosing to go in one direction... up. boost. be up for it. everything your family touches sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox.
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thanks for being with us. craig melvin is up next here on msnbc. craig? >> good to see you. stick around for me if you can. good afternoon to