tv MSNBC Live With Steve Kornacki MSNBC February 17, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
all right. good afternoon everybody. i'm steve kornacki live here in new york. day 29 in the first 100 days. topping the agenda right now, back on the stump. >> america's going to start winning again. winning like never ever before. >> the campaign trail version of donald trump back in full force. it started yesterday with that press conference, today a campaign style speech. next on the docket, a real campaign speech. why trump is going straight to the voters just a month after taking office. and also on our agenda today, how is it playing part one? >> are you disappointed with some of the stuff he says?
>> no, because i don't read social media and i don't watch the news because it's too biased. >> we're going to look at what some of what trump is doing and talk to the voters who made the difference back in november. they were for obama, they switched to trump, they made him president. are they still onboard? also, how's it playing part two? >> after the press conference, a guy who was given the opportunity to have the most powerful job in national security said, no, thanks. >> back inside the beltway is nervousness right now. is trump sring away the people he needs to make his administration work? vice admiral robert harward turning down the president's offer to be his national security advisor. an ominous sign, some are saying. we begin though back where donald trump is most at home on the campaign trail today in north charleston, south carolina. >> when american workers win,
america as a country wins big league, wins. that's my message here today. america's going to start winning again. winning like never ever before. we're not going to let our country be taken advantage of anymore in any way, shape or form. we love america. and we are going to protect america. we love our workers, and we are going to protect our workers. we are going to fight for our jobs. we are going to fight for our families. and we are going to fight to get more jobs and better paying jobs for the loyal citizens. >> that's donald trump today in south carolina at boeing. he's touting rising employment, also talking about what he says is his america first approach to regulating business. the image there trump in front of that big plane, excuse me,
that obviously evoki memories of many of h campaign stops last fall. also, that appearance today in south carolina comes on the heels of yesterday's 77-minute press conference. it resembled in so many ways the style and the substance of so many of his campaign speeches. it also comes today's event did ahead of an actual campaign speech tomorrow in melburn, florida. if any of this is giving you any feelings of deja vu, maybe all of it should. let's take a look at it this way. first, think of the headlines yesterday about that press conference, words like unhinged and bizarre and combative. so much of the media coverage critical of donald trump's performance, conveying a sense of alarm, an idea of a presidency maybe going off the rails. then think of the numbers right now. donald trump's approval rating it is falling, it's down to 39%. worst numbers than we have ever seen for a new president this early in his term. what about the reaction? the reaction of donald trump's
own party. we are seeing signs right now of panic. they're feeling frantic behind the scenes. they are terrified that he's committing political suicide right in front of them. and they're not sure what to do about it. do they distance themselves? do they speak out? do they stay quiet? all of that is what's in the air right now. and it is what's been in the air since donald trump became president. but here is the thing, it is also what was in the air for the entire presidential campaign. remember headlines that convey chaos, controversy, alarm. it suggested a trump campaign that was maybe going off the rails. how about the poll numbers during the campaign? they were falling it seemed constantly. awful numbers on favorability, on competence on whether he was even qualified to be president. they were worse numbers than we'd ever seen for a presidential candidate before. what about the reaction? members of trump's own party panicking, convincing themselves he was committing political
suicide right in front of them. they weren't sure what to do. do they distance themselves? do they speak out? do they stay quiet? that is right now, that was back then during the campaign. and of course when all the votes were counted back then at the end of the campaign in the face of all of that, donald trump won. if you'distened to all the noise he stirred up every day of that campaign you were convinced he was doomed. turned out he wasn't. obviously a very close election. what it really revealed to how deeply divided america is, the popular vote 46% for trump, 48% for hillary clinton. clinton eking out actually a victory in the popular vote there, but what this really shows big picture a country divided in half. it's also far more support than anybody most of all people in his own party thought that donald trump had. this is all something maybe worth keeping in mind right now. candidate trump is back, if he ever really went away. so is the uproar in the media.
so is the downturn in his numbers. so is the panic in his own party. it can feel like his presidency is buckling right now, but remember it also felt like his campaign was too. so that is the big question, is the different now, or is history repeating itself? are we just going to find out that the country is as divided now as it was on election day when it turned out there were a lot more people who were with him than almost anyone ever thought. here now to talk about it on this friday, we've got bill press, host of the bill press show, nbc's kaci hunt with reaction from the hill, washington commentary editor and msnbc's katy tur. thank you all for being here. katy tur, i will start with you. you were out there on the campaign trail with donald trump. he's going back to that right now. he's comfortable there. what do you make of this decision to go back to what he thinks worked for him? >> steve, you nailed it in that intro. this is candidate trump. and when it looked like it was most chaotic during his
campaign, it was actually fine. his poll numbers may have been tanking, but his enthusiasm remained. and ultimately his poll numbers didn't tank that far. especially when it came to the republican party despite some pretty high unfavorable numbers. so what you are seeing is him trying to get back to his roots. you can tell that he was itching in that white house to do what he liked to do during the campaign, which was talk, get in front of the cameras, talk to the press, go and have rallies. he was on television, national television getting cheers, or at least being combative every single day for the past -- for the entire 17 months of the campaign. and he's been pretty withheld now in that white house. almost kept in a version of solitary confinement for him. that's part of the reason why you see the cameras follow him to those roundtable meetings. it's a chance for him to maintain a presence. so he's going to go to this -- somebody's having a party in this newsroom. so he's going to go to this
rally on saturday and he's going to probably be faced with thousands of supporters who are all going to be cheering for him. and it's going to be a chance for him to remind the republican party that he's the one that took them to his dance. i don't know if you can hear, but somebody's having a birthday party right behind this camera. >> it's a friday before a holiday weekend, everybody's in a festive mood i guess. >> i want cake. >> so do i. we got 51 minutes maybe we can split something. kaci hunt, let me go to you on capitol hill. here's a sense i get from afar and tell me if this is what you're finding or not on capitol hill. >> uh-huh. >> republicans remember the campaign. they thought everything donald trump was doing was wrong. they feel in their guts he's probably wrong again right now strategically, but there's some pause there because it turned out that it worked in the campaign. >> it did work in the campaign, steve. but look, members of congress and the republican party are still just as uncomfortable with donald trump today as they were during the campaign. i mean, look, all the reblicans appear donald trump
was going to lose the election and he didn't. it's a bit confusing as well because they of course have to go home and they have to run again. members of the house have to run every two years. there's a batch of republicans up for re-election every two years. and it's not clear what carried donald trump to the white house is going to carry them. and so i think that that really is the dynamic that from a political perspective we want to hone in on over the course of the coming months because at the end of the day republicans here on capitol hill they want to get things done. they see things like that press conference and they feel like it gets in the way of doing big things like passing tax reform, overhauling the health care law, but if there is something that could make them nervous, it's the risk of losing their own elections. and if it comes to the point where his approval rating is so low and they have to go home to their states and they realize, you know, they're running, they're not donald trump, they do not benefit from the same things that he benefits for, whatever crossover support he may have among democrats, for example, one member of congress was telling me a very interesting story about going to a rally in their state during
the campaign and looking out at the crowd and saying, you know what, i've been doing rallies in my state for 20 years. and i usually know, i stand on the stage and i know every face in that crowd. and that did not happen when this person was at trump events in that state. this member said, you know what, these people are democrats. they are not people that normally come to my rallies. and so i think that phenomenon is something we want to keep a very close eye on over the course of the comingonth because there could potentially be lot of pressure on some of these members to back away from donald trump. and while, yes, what happened yesterday might invigorate that small base of supporters, i do think it's still an open question as to whether those people are the ones who ultimately made the difference for him in a general election. and that's what these members are going to be running on. you know, i just think they're headed back for the first time since donald trump took office to their home states, i mean we're going to learn a lot over the next week. >> yeah, well bill, let me ask you. from a democrat's standpoint,
given the parallels we're talking about between the current situation and what happened in the campaign, you know, democrats feeling like they look at trump's poll numbers drop right now, they look at the hit he just took from the court, the press conference and sort of the reception it's gotten at least in much of the press since yesterday. i imagine democrats are feeling pretty good about their situation. does it haunt them at all the idea that, hey, it turned out there was actually a lot more support from the last time we tested this in the election, maybe that's still the case? >> well, you know, steve, i try to look at it not just as a democrat but first of all as a white house reporter. and also as an american. i mean there's no doubt, and i think the big word for washington right now is disarray. no matter what donald trump says there's total disarray at the white house. i think the first four weeks have just been a disaster on almost every front. there's disarray in the congress as kasie pointed out. republicans told me they're alarmed by what they see and saw at the news conference
yesterday. and democrats i don't think really know how to read it. but at some point it seems to me and i may be wrong, at some point donald trump is a brilliant campaigner. he feeds off the crowds. they love him. he's good at it. he knows what lines to use. at some point, i believe, you got to move beyond that and the american pple are going to judge him, if not already but pretty soon. not by the big crowds that he gets, by what he gets done in the white house and how he governs. and so far we have seen no sign of his ability to move from campaigner in chief to the president of the united states. >> well, tim, there was an interesting quote here from mitch mcconnell, a top republican in the senate. he said he's not a fan of what he calls the extra discussion that donald trump engages in, i think meaning twitter and a lot of things he said at that press conference yesterday. here's a question for a republican like mcconnell though, if donald trump looks at the election as the ultimate validation of his political instincts, how do you convince him now to change?
>> that's exactly right. he's not going to be a different person. and one of the things he's not going to stop tweeting. he's not going to be focused. today at boeing he did give a scripted speech, so that was slightly different. but for a lot of these guys when you talk to these people, we sat down with mike lee yesterday at the examiner and he was saying i've got my conservatism, trump has his populism and we're going to try to make them fit together. he's not trying to change trump. he's trying to find the overlap. but a lot of these guys see it as providing as it's a distraction but it doesn't distract them. mitch mcconnell gets to do what he wants, gets to pass what he wants and everybody in the press is freaking out over, you know, whether trump knew what happened in the electoral college. meanwhile the house is passing bills about planned parenthood and the senate is confirming nominees. so it's distracting the media, that doesn't mean it's distracting paul ryan and mitch mcconnell. >> and, katy tur, i wonder, i saw reince priebus this morning on one of the morning shows. seemed open to the possibility
that donald trump will do more in the future of what he did yesterday. is that something you expect? katy tur, let me try one more time. >> i'm so sorry. >> yeah, no problem. i'll say it again. reince priebus this morning he was suggesting maybe donald trump in the future would do more of what he did yesterday, the idea of sort of going out there,cting as his own spesman, essentially it seemed delivering a message to the people. you guys aren't doing this right, i'll show you how it's done, do you think we'll see more of that? >> yeah, he said donald trump is his best spokesperson. and i think we could see that. i think it depends on the reaction going forward and whether or not this means his poll numbers drop precipitously and how the gop is able to handle it and balance it and try to get their agenda done. but i don't even think if reince priebus, no, donald trump, you can't do this, that donald trump would listen. frankly, if he's going to do
something, he's going to do something. reportedly his aides told him to not get out there and have that press conference yesterday and he announced it himself and went out and did it. so i don't really think it's up to reince priebus at this point. it's just one of those things that this is how he operated during the campaign, this is what got him to the white house. they don't see -- or he doesn't see any reason to change who he is. >> yeah, bill, i saw you nodding there. what do you think of that idea -- it's almost like the gm who fires the coach and takes over. trump is the de facto white house press secretary. >> look, there's no doubt that donald trump wanted to do this because he didn't feel that his people were doing a good enough job of portraying the positive side of these first four weeks. so he said, damn it, you can't do it, i'm going to go out there and do it myself. i think he totally failed in convincing the american people that this is a well oiled machine, or whatever phrase that he used. and he ran through, i mean, so
many things he claimed which were just simply not true. you talked about the electoral college, the fact he inherited a mess, on and on. and i don't think he did himself any good. so i would hope that reince priebus and the wiser heads would prevail, but i certainly agree with katy, i don't expect it. i think there's nobody around him who can really control him. >> and, tim, also raises to me i know there's been a lot of criticism, it's almost fashionable in the political world to criticize sean spicer the white house press secretary for the job he's doing, but i thought watching trump out there yesterday almost illustrated the impossibility of anybody else acting as his spokesperson. >> well, that's right. because it's hard to know what his position's going to be. but also because, i mean, i disagree with bill. i think trump went out there -- i don't think he's trying to convince the american people that it's a well oiled machine. he went out there to fight an enemy and the enemy was us, was the news media. and i think for a lot of the people he was trying to appeal to he won. it was a brawl. sean spicer does that too. he goes out there, he's an irish
guy like me, he tries to throw the punches, but nobody can throw them, nobody -- more importantly nobody can dodge the punches like donald trump can. and so that's how you see it. he's fighting the news media and a lot of people think he's winning. >> all right. tim, bill, katy, kasie, thank you for joining us for this mega panel on the friday before president's day weekend. we appreciate the time and we are going to take a very quick break. but on the other side of it, looking forward to this one, we are going to head out to one of those states that was for obama, that's been for a bunch of democrats going back decades but that switched to donald trump, wisconsin one of those states that trump turned red. we're going to check in on how he's being received out there in the wake of his press conference. also, the dark and murky world of the deep state. donald trump has aired his grievances with the intelligence community. is the intelligence community now getting its revenge? >> we're going to find the leakers. we're going to find the leakers.
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i'll be in melbourne, florida at 5:00 on saturday. and i just heard that the crowds are massive that want to be there. >> well, it's president trump as we've been saying returning to campgn mode tomorrow. he'll be down in florida. it is basically -- it is an official campaign rally. he's trying to connect back with the voters who put him in office in the first place. now, these first few weeks in office obviously generating more than their share of controversy, more than their share of criticism. how is it resonating with the
voters who elected him? nbc's kevin tibbles headed to kenosha county, wisconsin, once bustling hub of manufacturing and near majority of residents travel outside of that county for employment. president obama won kenosha county twice. it was a big win in 2012 for him, double digits, 12 points. check this out though, four years later talk about a swing. from 12 points for obama to a victory for donald trump. how did donald trump win wisconsin? how did donald trump win the election? kenosha county is a big part of the story. so how are those voters feeling now after the first four weeks of the trump presidency? kevin tibbles is in downtown kenosha in front of the coffee pot diner. kevin, what are they telling you? >> reporter: well, you know what, steve, the coffee pot has some history here. they've been here since 1934. and my friendly research found out that that's 14 presidents.
14 presidents that they have watched from the coffee shop reading their morning papers and finding out the news. what's different this time around is of course this really is not an auto manufacturing center anymore. as a matter of fact, the chrysler plant here has been leveled. the only real new jobs in town are out on the highway where there is a -- they should open up a muffler shop, but out on the highway there is an amazon fulfillment center. here in town a lot of people are looking for jobs in this blue collar place, but when you hear people talking about this new president, you know, the phrase from just south of here, how's it playing in peoria? well, when we talk to people in the coffee pot today about how trump is playing in kenosha, here's what they had to say. are you disappointed with some of the stuff he says? >> no, because i don't read
social media and i don't watch the news. it's too biased. >> i think he's probably keeping some of his promises. i really have a hard time getting past his rhetoric. >> he's always getting slammed by reporters and media. >> he's doing things different it seems like. he's doing things not the pc way, for regular people like myself i think think the way he thinks. doing things the way we might do them. we're not politicians. we don't play those games. he might be good -- you know, he's good at that. >> reporter: so, steve, what you hear time and time again from people who say they voted for donald trump is that even before the election when we were out here doing stories on america they were saying, well, he talks like me. he may not come from a family background like mine, he may not
be a blue collar worker, but he seems to talk like me. he seems to sound like he represents me. and as several people said to me this afternoon in the coffee pot, let's give him a chance and see where it goes. listen, there are a lot of detractors in there and heard a lot of people saying they were very upset with yesterday's press conference, but the overwhelming resonance was this guy kind of sounds like i do. and for that reason he seems to have a lot of people's trust in his community, steve. >> all right. very interesting. one of the places that flipped from blue to red and made trump president. kevin tibbles out there in kenosha. thanks for that, kevin. what about the reaction to the trump presidency in the beltway? is it a sign of trouble that he just got a no from a highly respected individual for the job of national security advisor? we will talk about that next. earning your cash back shouldn't be this complicated.
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and it is time now for a check of the headlines at the half hour. president trump repeating his pledge to keep more manufacturing jobs in the united states. this during a visit to south carolina today. he was at a boeing plant. company unveiled a new version of its 787 dreamliner aircraft. president set to spend the weekend in florida. he's going to hold a campaign-style rally in florida tomorrow. and today scott pruitt confirmed as new head of environmental protection agency. democrats trying to delay that vote. they thought they would have a chance to read e-mails between pruitt and gas executives ordered released by an oklahoma judge. congressional black caucus says the white house has now reached out trying to set up a meeting with president trump. this comes a day after the president asked reporter april ryan during his news conference if she would help set up a
meeting with the group. and vice president mike pence arriving in germany a short while ago. he is making his debut on the world stage as vice president. pence attending the munich security conference. he's going to speak there tomorrow. he's also planning to meet with german chancellor angela merkel. and bill cosby scoring a legal victory against one of his accusers today. a federal judge in massachusetts dismissing a defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who says that he raped her back in 1974. cosby though still facing criminal charges i pennsyla where he has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting anoth man in 2014. he denies the allegations. republicans and democrats at this hour paying tribute to former house republican leader bob michael, republican from illinois, former aide says michael passed away today at the age of 93. he held the role of minority leader in the u.s. house for 14 years. that spanned the reagan, george h.w. bush and part of the clinton administrations.
michael known for being able to compromise with democrats. his retirement in 1994 marked a major turning point in american politics. his successor, newt gingrich, credited with moving republicans into a far more aggressive and partisan posture. and pittsburgh steelers -- pittsburgh penguins superstar sidney crosby celebrating a major milestone, 1,000th nhl point scoring the goal in last night's game. he did it in just 757 games. and now another big story this week in washington. donald trump and his search for a new national security advisor. the white house saying the president offered the job to retired vice admiral and navy s.e.a.l. robert harward, he then turned it down telling associated press it was for personal reasons. that comes just days after the
president asked michael flynn for his resignation for not being completely forthcoming with vice president mike pence about his communications with russia's ambassador to the united states. joining us now to talk about this is retired four-star general and nbc news military analyst barry mccaffrey, thank you for joining us. how do you read harward's refusal to accept the job. seems unusual circumstance, publicly here the reason is persal but a lot of people in washington reading this as somebody qualified, competent, widely expect widely respected looking at the chaos saying i don't want to be a part of that. >> well, that may well be true. i think the only thing i'm positive about is we need good people in government, that certainly includes national security advisor job. there are plenty of candidates out there, there's going to be some difficulty because the intellectual heavyweights in the republican establishment
denounced our current president during the campaign. so the pickins are probably more slim than they ought to be, but there's good people out there. you know, steve hadley, who was national security advisor for bush 43, dave petraeus, i would urge civilian given the fact secretary of defense superb public servant jim mattis is military background, they need to go talk to harvard kennedy school and find out who is a defense intellectual they can bring in. >> let me ask you about one of the candidates so we know this individual's a candidate because donald trump said so. he put this on twitter today said general keith kellogg who i've known for a long time is very much in play for nsa as are three others. we can put up a list here some of the other names tha are being circulated right now. you se kellogg's name. he's currently the acting
national security advisor. you were quoted this week in a politico article saying you know kellogg, he's a good man, but you don't think he'll be the selection. why is that? >> well, that's a pretty tough environment in there to deal with mr. bannon and, you know, kellyanne conway and the chief of staff of the party. somebody's got to have the chops to deal with them. i think general kellogg's a very fine, staple, knowledgeable good man. he clearly could do the job, but trying to deal with that inner workings of the white house right now is going to be very, very difficult. i'd be happier to see a former governor, former senator, someone who had a wider, you know, audience in government and among the american people. >> yeah, i'm curious looking at the situation and just looking at how the white house is sort of being run in general right now, if somebody was asking you just for advice on taking this job, what do you think is key to
being able to perform this job in this environment? >> well, i've had people call me about working for the administration. i told them to do it and try and be loyal to the president's ideas. you know, the american people deserve the best we can get in the next four years. the national security advisor's an unusually difficult position to fill. those department cabinet secretaries to include state, defense, ciadirector, these are solid people who have line authority. when it comes to the nfc advisor, it's somebody who's got to have the total trust and credit of the united states and somehow balance these other political concerns that in this administration are in intense. so, again, you know, kellogg would be just fine. what i think it would do is transfer more power back to cabinet secretary if didn't have
a widely known major public servant. >> is it especially important just given how short flynn's tenure was, how controversial flynn's tenure was, lingering questions left by that, is it particularly important to this administration right now to put somebody in that position who has that sort of wide bipartisan respect? >> yeah, i think so. by the way, i think they got the time because general kellogg there's no question he knows how to bring all this stuff together. and i'm sure secretary mattis are comfortable with them. they don't want people turning them down in public either. but they've got to get out there and vet some of these guys or gals. you know, dr. condi rice was national security advisor that i had a lot of contact with during bush 43. that's the caliber of the person they need. and they're out there. and they will serve the american people and this president. >> all right.
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i've actually called the justice department to look into the leaks. those are criminal leaks. the press should be ashamed of themselves, but more importantly the people that gave out the information to the press should be ashamed of themselves. >> well, with all of the controversy about michael flynn and possible connections between trump, the campaign, the trump team and russia all swirling, donald trump says he's going to make a war on government leaks a focal point after his first few weeks in office. trump's early days of course have been plagued by headlines like these. and what do they all have in common? headlines we're putting up on the screen. well, they are from information
gleaned from government officials, often it seems from the intelligence sector, providing salacious and anonymous information to reporters. this has made trump furious. he's now ordering the justice department, he says, to look into leaks. capitol hill also reviewing how to combat the issues that have come up, house oversight committee chair jason chaffetz saying this afternoon his committee, the house intelligence committee will take the lead on issues surrounding russia's involvement with the trump campaign and that his oversight committee will also look at leaks. the question right now with all of these leaks, with the stories they have produced, are we seeing valuable information rightfully being brought at from behind the closed walls of the fbi or cia, or are we seeing intelligence committee launching an improper political war against the president? joining me now to discuss eli lake, national security columnist for bloomberg view. andteve clemens, washington editor at large for the atlantic. eli, let me start with you. one reading on everything we've been seeing, and i think this might be something a lot of people in trump world feel right
now, donald trump has been critical of the intelligence community over the last few months. now you have all of these anonymous leaks that are creating damaging stories for him. is it fair to interpret this as potentially a political war being waged by the intelligence community against trump? >> yes, it is. i think we're seeing elements of the national security state basically violating -- i want to clarify something. i'm very much in favor of leaks in my column that came out today i said as much and i don't like leak investigation or enforcement of what i think are antiquated state secrecy laws. but when you're talking about disclosing details of monitored conversations of incoming u.s. officials who are u.s. citizens, i think those are police state tactics. it's very rare that reporters and i speaking as one of them would get access to such a thing. and i think that it's clearly political. especially since today we're learning that the fbi doesn't --
is reported to not looking to charge michael flynn with any kind of crime at this point. so what was this all about? >> steve clemens, how do you interpret it? how do you interpret the line between valuable public information being brought to light for the public versus what eli's describing? >> well, look, i think if donald trump were hugging the intelligence community as he did the day when he visited the cia, he celebrated james comey, i mean there's another narrative out there despite the one i think eli and i he's been at war with it, but let's just say he loved the intelligence community. i think i would hope the intelligence community that knew that they had information about how members close to him in the white hoe who we no longer servinthe constitution of the united states and were defiling itnd potentially engaged in -- and potentially engaged in criminal activity, i would hope that we would still see enterprising journalists make their way and find these sources in the intelligence community,
be they leaks or be they from journalists' good work, i think that's absolutely how this government works. i really respect how eli has qualified what he has put out there, that he favors leaks and whatnot. but i do think -- we have a lot of doubts about this particular president and how he has made some somersaults on russia, which he's entitled to do, but we also have a right to understand if his people are being blackmailed, if they are under the influence of russia, if they've made deals that we don't know about. and i think there are many people in the national security establishment that have their concerns that collusion has gone on. so in that circumstance i absolutely favor the leaks and i don't look at them as selective in the way that eli does though i respect his point of view. >> let me ask you about it from this direction, because i want to put this tweet up. now, this is from rob rianeeinee
says it's only a matter of time. the incompetent lying narcissistic fool is going down. intelligence community will not let d.t., donald trump, destroy democracy. and steve clemens, i saw that getting a lot of circulation online and i have to say it made me stop and made me think. i mean, donald trump is right now he is the dually elected president of the united states. is this a good road for us to be going down as a country if the intelligence community is called upon, is relied upon for the nd of thing beingescribed there? i got to say it'sob reiner here, but i'm hearing this from an awful lot of people and an awful lot of the president's political opponents seem to be looking saying take this guy out. >> i heard a liberal u.s. senator the other day say there are two people, two people not in the intelligence community, but two people standing between the collapse of democracy -- a liberal u.s. senator who said john mccain and james comey. and that's a remarkable statement given all of the
antipathy about comey. the question is whether that's the right frame or not, of course it's not the right frame. but this is a situation as you read perhaps in david frohm's piece, the issue is the other parts of the system of checks and balances of our services in government may be cowed and so bullied and harassed, ineffective or coopted that the other parts of the government you would expect to fall into line are not necessarily doing that or going to. and that's why i'm concerned about the intelligence community. i don't say that it's inappropriate if the rest of the operation, the nuts and bolts of our democracy are not working as they should, because this is an administration that's very comfortable calling out people as we saw in the press conference yesterday, harassing individuals, harassing institutions. and in that environment i'm ready to take any part of the system that's willing to check and control and contain an out of control executive branch.
>> eli lake, what do you think of the idea extraordinary circumstances justify extraordinary measures? >> i think that that rob reiner tweet is insanity. and i think people are losing their minds right now. i'm sorry, but donald trump campaigned and i very vigorously disagreed with him, i wrote a column last week calling the code pink republican, but he campaigned on the idea of resetting relations with russia. his incoming national security advisor had a conversation with the ambassador, we still don't know exactly what was said but nothing i've seen so far suggests that that is some sort of high crime that deserved this kind of extraordinary leak. and quite frankly violation of mike flynn's privacy and destroying of his sort of, you know, very brief tenure as national security advisor even though i disagree with him on these policy issues and share concerns with david frohm and steve clemens that there are authoritarian tendencies with this president. but turning to one of the most anti -- a secret state often
evaded and at times been at odds with efforts to have congressional oversight as we saw only less than two years ago when there was a huge scandal with the cia tapping and eavesdropping on senate staffers who were trying to compile information on the torture report, it's just -- i can't -- i really cannot believe i'm seeing democrats falling into this trap. the cia and the intelligence community are not going to save our democracy. democratic party, courts and american citizens are. let's try to get that straight. >> all right. eli lake, steve clemens, thanks to both of you for joining us. >> thank you. >> and coming up, some more numbers for you about donald trump, his job performance so far, how about deep pervasive partisan polarization and what may keep donald trump -- may keep his clout where it is with republicans longer than you might think. our most important number of the day, that is next. before fibromyalgia, i was active.
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i think this is the third or fourth time this week i've said it, another record close on wall street today. now here's diedre bosa with a cnbc market wrap. >> steve, you're absolutely right. notching fresh gains, a bit more muted before the holiday weekend. dow and s&p 500 both indexes higher by about four points, but the nasdaq the real winner here thanks to gains in kraft heinz
offering to buy consumer products giant unilever for $143 billion. unilever said no thanks, but kraft said it is still going to try to pursue an agreement. markets of course are closed monday for president's day, but next week investors are looking forward to more earnings and of course more policy hints from president donald trump. that's your snbz necnbc news up. 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 open.com.
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yeah you love it, don't you? you love it so much! i feel like when he eats beneful, he kinda turns into a puppy again. it's protein. it's vegetables. it's grains. i mean, like that sounds like a dinner i'd make for myself, right? (riley) hey it's a big bag. just have some of mine. (vo) try beneful healthy weight with chicken. with real chicken as the number one ingredient. healthful. flavorful. beneful. if the democrats who have -- all you have to do is look at where they are right now. the only thing they can do is delay because they screwed things up royally, believe me. >> little taste there of donald
trump at that press conference yesterday. it ran for 77 minutes, 77 though is not our most important number of the day today. as you can see it is 39, as in what will 39, this is a new poll here, donald trump's approval rating as president from pew sits at 39%. we talked about this earlier, we just have not seen a new president come to office and have numbers this low this early in his term. so you say, oh, it's panic city for trump, and more importantly panic cityor republicans, right? well, let's dig a little deeper into the numbers here. what do you find? well, first of all, look at this polarization. approval rating for donald trump among republicans, his own party 84%, almost universal support there among democrats, very few democrats approve of donald trump. single digits, just 8%. look at that gap. and remember that gap because let's put it in perspective here. let's compare it. actually, you don't have to remember. we have it here again. compare it to other recent
presidents. a couple things jump out at you. take a look at this. 84% for donald trump in his own party, 84% support. how about other presidents at this point in their presidency, this early point? well, what do you see? george w. bush less than trump had with his own party, bill clinton, less than trump had with his own party, george h.w. bush less than he had with his own party, reagan,less than he has with his own party. the only modern president with a higher approval rating within his own party at this point as president barack obama just two points better. this is the dilemma for republicans. they look at that democratic number, independent number say, hey, trump is in political trouble right here. not much room for error with him. but that kind of support from republicans, 84% republican office holders look at that and it does have to make them wonder sort of like the election results when he won a victory they never saw coming. is he more in touch with my base, with my party's base than i am? does he get them? does he bond with them in a way
i don't? that's what that number has to give them pause. so when they think about, hey, is he saying something i disagree with, should i break with him, that number may give him pause. we're out of time. "mtp daily" starts right now. if it's friday, there's a distinct political weather pattern that is moving through the stormy four-week-old white house. tonight, the fog of trump. >> america is going to start winning again. winning like never ever before. >> behind the bluster and the crowd pleasing rallies are the very real struggles of the new administration being obscured. plus, you've heard of sticking with the union. is donald trump now sticking it to the unions? successfully peeling away traditional democratic support. and why political expression is a slam dunk in the world
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