tv MSNBC Live MSNBC May 13, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
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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. hey there, everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters in new york. on a very busy saturday where candidates of attorney general are meeting with attorney general jeff sessions as well as rod rosenstein today. president trump saying he might make his final decision on the opening by the end of next week. >> almost all of them are very well-known. >> and the president making those comments on board air force one. this, on his way to liberty university in virginia, where he
was earlier delivering the commencement speech. his first since taking the oath of office. we have reporters covering the angles for you. in lynchburg, virginia, the home of leicht university with a good day to you both. we'll start with you, kelley. first of all, with you, what do you know about the candidates for fbi director? >> well, there's a list of about a dozen names being described as under consideration. sources tell us four have taken place today, checking back, they've now add a fifth name, richmond, virginia, special agent in charge adam lee is included. also with senator john cornyn. andrew mb cake the acting deputy director to james comey. alice fisher who has been a prominent republican voice. she's currently a criminal defense attorney but has also worked in the area of department of justice running that criminal
division. so he's got a lot of experience in government as well. today, those interviews are underway. we're told they're likely to go into the evening. some of them under way at this point. so, they've got hours to go with additional meetings. and we made yet even more names beyond the five today, i'm told, in case there is sufficient time for additional meetings. it's an expanding list and they expect thele interviews will go beyond today, of course. but it's a start and the president was asked about this when he was on air force one heading to liberty university. it's a smaller version of air force one if it looks different to you. he was asked what he was looking for as an fbi director and how quickly he will make up his mind. >> very quickly, because almost all of them are very well-known. they've been vetted over their lifetime, essentially. very well-known, highly respected. really talented people. and that's what we want for the
fbi. >> and judge michael garcia on the appeals court is another name. when the president says vetted over their lifetime, these are individuals who have a history of public service and the vetting at other levels in their career are part of what will make them perhaps easier to confirm in the senate, if they get to that point. so, the president is trying to make a decision soon he says. one of the, sort of time lines to consider, as he leaves for his first foreign trip at the end of the next week, and he acknowledged today that maybe he could have a decision by that point. he said it will move quickly. maybe by the foreign trip. but he's not going to lock himself in on that just yet. but he wants to get this done quickly. this was something he was more willing to talk about after the firing of james comey and all of the controversy. talking about how he wants to put an imprint on the fbi. something that he seemed more willing to engage with reporters about. i also asked him on the south
lawn if he had done any reportings of meetings at the white house and he did not respond. alex. >> quickly, adam lee, i was trying to do my research. what are his qualifications? >> he's the fbi special agent in charge in richmond, virginia, he's someone within the bureau already familiar with the position and has a high position in richmond, virginia. >> speaking of virginia, i think we're just getting video in to us of james comey, who has kept a low profile. we caught him three seconds there walking into a car in virginia. there's been stakeout cameras, a bedroom community there in washington, d.c. we don't know where he's going but we know he's been keeping a low profile now that he's citizen comey. >> ali, to you, let's talk about the president who is 20 or so miles from the white house. but it did not stop him from
slamming washington. let's take a listen. >> we don't need a lecture on washington on how to lead our lives. each of you will do what is right. not what is the easy way. and that you will be true to yourself and your country and your beliefs. in my short time in washington, i've seen first hand how the system is broken. when the pilgrims landed at plymouth, they prayed. when the founders wrote the declaration of independence, they invoked our creator four times. because in america, we don't worship government. we worship god. >> so, ali, you were there -- >> and certainly, that is -- >> i'm just curious -- >> go ahead. >> -- this category of how this was, how people reacted to him, what the tenor was, what was the
commencement address? >> certainly, the tenor, a friendly audience, they were clearly excited to see him. there was a two-prong feeling there in the clip you just played on religious liberty, someone who has acted and spoken in the campaign to give more freedom of speech, including protection of speech. but there's the other prong, donald trump has always been somebody as long as i've covered him over two year he's doubled down. taken this idea of him being an outsider very seriously. it's allowed him to buck the establishment on the republican side, of course, the democrats as well. i think what we'll see from him in the aftermath of this james comey firing is going to be someone who doesn't apologize, he obviously tweeted about this quote/unquote tapes. kelly o'donnell did ask him about that and didn't get a response.
his press secretary sean spicer on friday said that he had nothing to add to that. well, that's not a denial. kind of telling the graduates to do the same thing, brace and stick your convictions. >> ladies, thank you. the department of justice may be focused on finding the next fbi director, but the call for the special prosecutor to lead the rest of investigations, they aren't going away. the latest request coming in a letter from rod rosenstein from 200 u.s. attorneys and assistant district attorneys in the southern district of new york. joining me now, with a welcome to you both. katie, to you first what do you think the likelihood is of a special prosecutor in this case? >> well, that's the big story line to be watching after we go into the next few weeks about the shocking dismissal of james
skomm comey. you're certainly seeing a lot of prech on rod rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor. he's going to briefing the full senate this week, according to senator schumer. i think you'll see quite a bit of pressure certainly from democrats for him to take that step. the question now, whether or not republicans are going to join their democratic colleagues in putting that pressure on rosenstein. congress doesn't have any stay here. this is okay just a decision that rests with the justice department, with rosenstein. but republicans have been circumstanpect about coming fory kind of investigation into the russian interference, even in the wake of the comey firing. we've seen three republican senators come out and say, yes, there should be some kind of independent probe. none of them were a surprise. senator john mccain, senator lindsey graham, both of them had been calling for some kind of independent outside
investigation. so, while you saw a lot of republicans this week say we're disturbed by the dismissal of jim comey, we're disturbed by the timing, by the circumstances that surrounded it. whether or not that will translate into saying we need some kind of independent investigation i think remains to be seen. >> what do you think, eric, do you think there's someone they could pick to replace comey that could quiet the calls for special council there. the five mentioned, mccabe, cornyn, fisher, garcia and lee. were those, any of those to replace james comey that a special counselor would not be needed? >> i think a number of those people, certainly, any of them picked to be the next director, president trump could fire him at anytime he wants. when you see the calls from democrats during the independent counsel, that is response to the
fact that the fbi director, it wasn't just a zmridismissal at point. they want somebody that is outside of the chain of the watergate hearings which doesn't exist anymore, can dismiss and the president can dismiss that person. certainly any of the people that a republican president might want to appoint is going to quiet those concerns. i think we have democrats saying we're careening towards something novel. an fbi director, no matter how respected on both sides of the aisle probably not going to quiet those concerns. >> i want to get into the possible changes into the communications department at the white house. the president saying this to fox's janine jerrell. >> are you moving so quickly that your communications department cannot keep up with this? >> yes, that's true. >> what do we do about that? >> we don't have press conferences. >> you don't mean that?
>> we just don't have them unless i have them every two weeks and do them myself. >> you're both going to weigh in on this. eric, are briefings held by the president himself the best way to get accurate information from this administration? >> well, i think talking to the president certainly as we've seen this past week a lot more likely to get you the truth than talking to any of his spokespeople. because he could have gone out and said anything at anytime. that's not to say what the president says is the truth. but it's certainly a more accurate reflection of what he is thinking and feeling and planning to do. you think back to that first press conference that he held himself that he was reportedly displeased with how his aides were defending him that made a lot of news. that was the first time for the president to engage on his own terms. i think for reporters trying to figure out what he's thinking, that's a better venue than say sean spicer or huckabee.
>> katie to eric's point, the credibility called into question. you have the white house press team looking to get the stories straight. and "the wall street journal" also reporting on this. when do they need to restore the credibility, or can they? >> i think it's interesting to see the president come out and say i'm just going to hold briefings myself every two weeks and talk directly to the media. i think that fits in with his approach to medial from ted mme. that's the reason why you see this president use twitter so much. you see him do media interviews where he tells his own side of the story. i think there may be a glowing sense in the white house that they've got to just threat this guy talk for himself. at this point, his aides are sort of struggling to either
substantiate or or the to know exactly how to represent what he's feeling at a given moment. >> guys, thank you so much for joining me. appreciate it. illinois senator dick durbin calling on the democrats rosenstein to attorney. we'll ask john delaney if he agrees. stay with us. meticulously crafted interior. all of these are feats of engineering. combining them with near-perfect weight distribution... ...is a feat of amazing. experience the first-ever 471-horsepower lexus lc 500 or the multistage hybrid lc 500h. experience amazing. when a fire destroyed everything in our living room. we replaced it all without touching our savings. yeah, our insurance
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right out of the gate, why do you support, as i'm told you do having a special prosecutor in this case? >> alex, thanks for having me. i think we clearly need a special prosecutor. the american people deserve to get to the bottom of actually what happened to russia's interference in our election. we know they did that. all 17 intelligence agencies have confirmed that. whether there is cooperation, coordination, collusion between the russian government and the trump campaign. i don't believe at this point in time we can get answers to those questions unless we have a special prosecutor. getting to the bottom of the question is really important for two reasons. first, most obviously, whether or not the trump campaign did coordinate with the russian government. and there are obviously very serious implications associated with whether we determine they did or didn't. secondly, there's clearly kind of a larger cold war going on in the world between russia and the united states of america. where putin as the leader of
kind of a form of government that we call autocracy, he wants to spread that around the world. and he's interfering with governments and election to try to accomplish that goal. we, the united states of america are the leaders of a democratic form of government. it's in our interest, in the interests of the world, for more governments to become democracies. this larger chess game is going on right now. and the fact that the russian government interfered with the elections. and the fact that there may have been coordination between the campaign and sitting president of the united states, and russia. the american people really deserve an answer to that question. so, there's really two residence we need to find the answer. i think they found out what's going on, what's going on with the house with the intelligence committee. what's happening with the fbi which is obviously leading the investigation. i don't think you can come to any other conclusion that it's in the best interest of the american people that we need a special independent prosecutor
to actually get to the bottom of these very fundamental questions. >> as far as interfering with that decision, you got dick durbin calling for rosenstein's reputation. he said to preserve his reputation agency a credible prosecutor, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein must appoint an independent special prosecutor to pursue possible criminal charges or resign. you've got dianne feinstein also saying he should renine. you want to call for a special prosecutor? >> yes. >> do you also want to call for his resignation? >> i think he has to look in the mirror. and he has to make a determination based on what's gone on in the last week and the larger implications that i talked about a week ago whether he believes that justice can be served would you a special prosecutor in place. i believe if he looks himself in the mirror and asks himself that
question, he will conclude that justice cannot be served unless a special prosecutor is put in place. and if he doesn't do that i think he's not serving the american people and the calls for miss resignation are appropriate. >> how much do you think the generals, u.s. associates, assistants, that letter, over 200 signing that's got to be done, how much do you think that will influence him? >> i think based on what we know, based on the sentiment of the american people on this issue. based on how consequential. russia interfered with our election. we know that all 17 intelligence agencies have confirmed that. that is without question that that occurred. so, whether the sitting president's campaign had any coordination or cooperation with them in that goal which there's
some circumstantial evidence certainly to indicate that that occurred, getting to the bottom of that question is so important, i don't know how someone could argue that we shouldn't do everything we can to ensure that a fellow bottoms up investigation is done void of political interference. void of potential interference from the chief executive of united states of america. we saw it happen this week because the president admitted that he fired james comey because of his continued pursuit of the russian investigation. in fact, his firing occurred right after comey asked for additional resources. at worst, it could be a cover-up. how you can argue that the american people don't deserve an answer to that question i don't see that as the case. if we want our government to function, if we want there to be confidence in our government, i think we need to get to the
bottom of the question. based on what happened, i don't think you can do it honestly, without a special prosecutor. and we also need a strong independent head of the fbi. that's part of this, too. there's going to be a selection who the next fbi director could be. to me, there should be credit tearia. criteria. comey wanted more resources and the answer to that you're fired. if i was going to be the fbi director i would condition the acceptances on that to make sure i had the lee sources i need to pursue the investigation as quickly as possible. >> those five interviews of the five on the screen being conducted today. congre congressman john delaney, come and see me again. we're going to take you to
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gop workers are feeling the fallout. angry and frustration boil over as millions fear losing their health care in san diego this week. could there be talk about reset in wake of voter outrage. i'm joined by von hilliard literally on the beach. come on. are you trying to rub it in there. there you are in san diego. what's the reaction, are the republican members concerned about health care and the reaction they're getting from their constituents? >> reporter: good afternoon, alex. in fact, it was on this beach, coronado peach where 200 protesters greeted the committee inside here. with protests of their own. calling for an independent commission on russia. and also darrell issa, the
pressure that you're talking about at these town halls that we're seeing here. in large part is because there's not much of a message that the republican party is actually able to deliver at this point. the white house agenda has stalled for the most part. the house passed a health care bill thatly unpopular. and alex. >> i'm curious, do you see any sign in that room, within lawmakers that support for donald trump is waning? >> reporter: in talking with these -- there's 160 rnc members here. senate committee, house committee, we're all here. across the board, do you remember what october 2016 looked like? one month before the last election. where the future of the trump campaign seems quite ominous. just a month later, he pulled it off and he's now in the white
house. so we're still 18 months away. give this time. the senate is going to take up a health care measure they'll see if they can work out something with the house. donald trump recorded for those in the room, said i'll be on the room for senate candidates. the interesting line that he said, if things are going like they're going now, we'll be fine and actually pick up your senate seats. is this a room of partygoers from all 50 states. standing by trump, just three months in. >> vaughn hillyard, you're on a beach in san diego, you can take your tie off. i'm just saying. >> reporter: i took the jacket off. much more about president trump's comments and tweets about james comey? could the president face allegations similar to the ones that brought down richard nixon. we're going to have a federal prosecutor when she joins us after this break.
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welcome back. i'm alex witt live at msnbc headquarters. as the search gets under way the fallout over the firing of james comey continues. new details emerging about the one-on-one president with president comey, just after the white house was warned about general flynn's ties to russia. joining me now, nbc's ken delanie. the president characterizing the circumstances of that dinner meeting in one way. what are you learning about the timing and circumstances of that meeting with people familiar with it? >> alex, president trump first raised the issue of this interview. he said two things that james comey requested the dinner, and he said at that dinner, he asked to remain in his job. i'm speaking to people that
neither of those things are true and that jim comey is going to speak to that issue because he feels that it compromises the reputation of the fbi and his own reputation. as james clapper said on the entire this week, comey told him about the dinner it was going to take place and he was reluctant to do it because he was concerned about the appearance of it. and i was told that he didn't even want the people inside the fbi knowing that it happened. >> so the president tweeting that he might have recorded that meeting. and i'm not interested in getting inside a psychological profile of the president, why would he say it was recorded if it wasn't? are your sources talking about that? >> the one way to read this, trump being bluffed. you hope if a tape exists it bolsters the idea that you're sure of what you're saying.
people close to comey saying comey would be more than happy to have a taped conversation because he's sure what he is saying is correct. there's another thing about james comey, he has a history of writing memos, doubting controversial controverversatio. so a tape may not only be the only way to memize that. donald trump own words, legal experts questioning whether his actions constitute a possible case for obstruction of justice. in thursday's interview with nbc's lester holt, he changed the original position on the firing of comey, take a listen. >> i was going to fire him regardless of -- >> adding, one of the factor was comey's ongoing probe into russia's investigation. >> when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, this russia
thing with trump and russia is a made up story, it's an excuse by the democrats having lost an election that they should have won. >> now, on friday, many interpreted his feets as a warner to the former fbi director. and talking about with ken, better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press. obstruction charges were indeed one of the factors in the impeachment proceedings that brought down president nixon in kno 1994. and then for clinton in 1998. clinton remained in office, of course, after being impeached by the house but acquitted by the senate. at questions, though, were his statements under oath when he tried to cover up his affair with monica lewinsky as part of the white water investigation. joining us is former alabama
attorney general joyce stance. joyce, a big welcome to you. in your pvopinion, do you see a obstruction of justice? >> it highlights the need to have a good independent investigation because no prosecutor can assess potential charges until the facts are very clear. but from what we know at the moment, we have a situation very different from the situation involving former president clinton where there was testimonied under oath. it was alleged to have been improperly given. what we're looking at now is a situation that really doesn't fit neatly into the existence of obstruction of justice statutes. there's an entire series of law that covers obstruction. they weren't really written contemplating a situation involving the president and the head of the fbi. one law that may be at stake is the federal briberies statue. if there's a clear quid pro quo
here, that we have, that if this conversation between the president and former director comey involved an exchange for loyalty. then we might be be looking at it. >> in my understanding, it's differ from state to state, but in the district of columbia, it is allowed to have a recording did the other party gives their approval to do so. with regard to what needs to be one with these conversations, if indeed they exist is there a law about that? >> well, it's a big if. and many jurisdiction including the district of columbia, which means if you are and i are on the phone and i consent to
taking the call then it's legal. that's not true in many states. if is crosses the lines it would depend on local law. let's say there were tapes legally made in the district of columbia, perhaps, the assertion of privilege, but in this particular case, at least with regard to discussions with james comey that would have been waived. >> i go through a chronology of history leading into an introduction for you. can it be drawn from both the impeachment proceedings of president nixon and president clinton? >> so, i'm certainly not an historical scholar, but i think the analogy is this. our system of government is one that functions on the credibility. government. the public has to believe in the integrity of the system, and that no man is above the law if
the system is to function properly. here you have allegations that the president asked the director of the fbi who was investigating him for a promise of loyalty. you then have to request were those requests made by anyone else in the justice department? was there any other high ranking officered that asked for a promise of loyalty? is the president trying to create this own department of justice? and unless the independence of the justice department and the integrity is one of the linchpins of the federal government. if that believes it fails then we may be headed towards impeachment. >> can i get a yes or no answer in terms of maintaining the integrity of the system? does that mean a special prosecutor should be brought in? >> i think that's one way of doing it. another way maybe having a new independent head of the fbi
named. you may remember that director comey was a republican director. his naming by president obama appealed widely to people who believed in his integrity. it gave the republicans something. it gave the democrats something. i think president trump will have that sort of a pick. someone with unquestionable integrity. to someone inside the justice department, not someone appointed. coming up next, an alleged look of president trump's look into voter fraud. considering the president's unfounded claims thatles of people voted illegally. my colleague keir simmons will be with us in the next half hour. he's going to have an exclusive interview with princess beatrice. what she's done that others have not accomplished.
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his list of executive orders on thursday. launching a commission to look into alleged voter fraud and voter suppression. the president's advisory commission on election integrity will be headed up by vice president mike pence. and the goal, to examine the president's unsubstantiated claims of improper voting and voter fraud registration in november's election. the commission is expected to report its findings back to the president some time next year. joining me now michael waldman. mike is a former clinton speechwriter. and now at nyu. michael, welcome back. good to talk to you, we get back to the president and his supporters as you know adamant about this since the election. the president having tweeted in addition to winning the electoral college in a landslide, i won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. >> is voter fraud an apparent issue? >> it's a prevalent
hallucination out of our president. in the same way this flows with the constitutional crisis with the firing of the fbi director. you're right it comes from a tweet, his claim that he really won the pop lawyer vote that there were 3 to 5 million illegal voters that nobody noticed. and that must be rampant in the land. in that late night tweet to this now taxpayer finance investigation is a straight line. unlike other looks at the election system, it's not bipartisan in any meaningful way. as you mentioned vice president fence chairs it. the number two, a guy camed chris also from canada. and he's one that i would say believes president trump's -- i would say, fib. there are plenty of things to be fixed about our election
process. >> you mentioned the secretary of state of kansas and the vice chair of this commission who has really pushed back at voter i.d. laws are aimed at minority voters. >> we do have a great deal of people about people voting in the same election. we do have evidence about noncitizens. >> some say people who bring that up, just don't want minorities voting. >> i think that's a ridiculous argument. look, voter fraud can respect any jurisdiction, any part of the country. no we don't know in with an assumption of what we're going to find. let's just find what the facts are. >> how confident are you, michael? and i'm asking if the center is going to be add to get involved. well well. >> the government ought to be
protecting everybody's right to vote. court after court have found some of these voting laws are discriminatory. like the law in texas, disenfrandisen fra disenfran disenfranceized. we ought to protect voting rights but as for this fleegsz some kind of rampant epidemic of voter fraud. every expert and officials have made clear it isn't true -- i'm sorry. >> not at all. my question is, though, is there anything in the wake of election after election that you think could be done to improve the voter system? the i.d. laws or anything else? is there one thing that comes to you mind for you? >> absolutely. first off, i'm not against voter i.d. i'm just wanting to make sure it's the kind of thing that everybody has. and many, many people don't have the kinds of restricted
paperwork that some of the members of this commission are. we're moving in many states now in nine states to automatic voter registration where the government makes sure that they're accurate. and when you -- interact with the dmv or something else, you're on the rolls. that is a huge breakthrough that would add tens of millions are people who are not eligible to vote. that's the way it is. not the ones that actually are zri discriminatory. >> michael walden, thank you. >> my pleasure. we're just about nine hours or so from one of the most anticipated skit on "saturday night live".
well, tonight "saturday night live" is live coast to coast. and melissa mccarthy is taking the reins as host for the fifth time. mccarthy was spotted thursday donning her sean spicer costume, on the streets of manhattan. we got to sit down with a familiar face with how politics have changed over the years. hi, savannah. >> that's right, i sat down with former "saturday night live" cast member joe piscopo who actually got to play in the '80s. he told me that politics and comedy have gone hand in hand. >> reporter: "saturday night live's" president trump is what many people are talking about each sunday.
as is the show's impression of white house press secretary sean spicer. and tweeting that the show is unwatchable and unfunny but america seems to disagree. with the show experiencing its highest ratings averaging 11 million viewers. joe paiscopo was an "snl" skaft member from 1980 to 19984, he played both presidents. president carter and president reag reagan. >> you can make fun of the divide in the country. "snl," brilliantly has wrapped their arms around the times. >> reporter: "snl" has done impersonations. >> i get invited to the white house.
mr. tread, joe piscopo, joe, how are you? warmest handshake i've ever felt. >> reporter: aside from "snl," late night comedy shows are finding themselves in the political cross fire. earlier this month, a twitter firestorm using the #fire colbert gain the seem after the late night show host made comments about the president that some called homophobic. >> billy was born with a heart disease. >> reporter: jimmy kimmel used his late night plat tomorrow foe his son's health condition. melissa mccarthy is hosting tonight's episode of "snl" which is being broadcasted live in all time zones. and the star was seen from in manhattan on a packed street. according to piscopo. that's probably a good idea.
>> an independent has since decided to support a different candidate, alex. >> i'm guessing that alec baldwin is going to -- are you with me? >> yeah, he changed the way i felt about impersonenating them. >> savannah, good to see you. that's a wrap. i'm alex witt. meanwhile my colleague keir simmons picks up from here. with the search for a new fbi director. plus, the cyber attack that
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