Skip to main content

tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  May 16, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

11:00 am
this hour of msnbc live. i'll see you back here at 3:00. right now, katy tur picks things up. a white house in crisis. as nbc news is confirming now, israel was the key partner who provided isis related intelligence shareby the president wi russia last week. and the president so far is refusing to answer questions. as president trump meets with turkey's president, sean spicer is getting ready to brief reporters off camera any minute. we'll bring you the audio from that briefing when it happens. but first, here was the president in the last hour. >> mr. president, did you share classified intelligence information with the russians? >> thank you very much. >> mr. president, did you share classified intelligence with the russians? >> trump ignored shouted questions this afternoon during an oval office meeting with turkish president erdogan. then he went to the podium, took a question, and didn't really answer it. >> we had a very, very
11:01 am
successful meeting with the foreign minister of russia. our fight is against isis. as general mcmaster said. i thought he said, and i know he feels, that we had actually a great meeting with the foreign minister. so we're going to have a lot of great success over the next coming years. >> did president trump reveal highly classified information to the russians as "the washington post" reported? the article cites a u.s. official who said this is code word information. the president was mum in the oval but not on twitter this morning where he said he had the absolute right to share what he wanted to. sound a little like nixon when the president does it, it's not illegal? we'll get into that later. so who was on clean-up duty this time? it is national security advisor h.r. mcmaster for the second day in a row. >> i stand by my statement that i made yesterday. what i'm saying is really the premise of that article is
11:02 am
false. what i'd like to see really debated more, is our national security has been put at risk by those violating confidentiality. as you know, it is whoy appropriate r the president to share whatever information he thinks is necessary. we have got everybody standing by. nbc's hallie jackson at the white house, let's start with you. the president is going on his first foreign trip on friday. that's going to take him to israel. nbc news has now confirmed that that intelligence that he shared with the russians did come from israel. >> that is what nbc news has learned from three government officials familiar with the matter, katy, confirming information just reported by "the new york times" moments ago that israel was the key partner who provided isis related intelligence shared by the president with russia last week. we have asked the white house for a response to this. of course we have yet to hear back, though the expectation is that sean spicer the press secretary when he briefs here off camera will address it given it the latest twist in a story that's dominated headlines for nearly 24 hours now. a significant moment for this white house.
11:03 am
you heard the president with the turkish president just a couple of minutes ago take a question related to this, whether he shared classified information wither is z er isergey lavrov, e said the meeting with the russian officials was a great success, he did not speak to the substance of the question. spicer will also likely be pressed on that and also the fallout that we are seeing now from capitol hill, from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who want more information about what exactly was said and what the implications of that could be. >> hallie, h.r. mcmaster held his own news conference a little bit earlier but he didn't deny a couple of the key components of that "washington post" reporting. one, that donald trump did share highly classified information, and then skd econdly, the presit revealed this city that that information came from. how is the white house trying to justify this? >> the line is that because it is classified information they can't talk about it. essentially that they won't
11:04 am
confirm or deny what may or may not be classified information. it is a continuation of the careful language that we have seen coming out of this white house since this story broke. clearly the foreign trip takes on already highly significant, already being perceived by staffers inside this west wing as a chance for a potential reboot, takes on some new significance particularly with this israel stuff. much more reporting to be done. i think sean spicer's coming out any second. >> ken, how is the intelligence community reacting to all this? >> people inside the intelligence community are pushing back on the notion propagated by h.r. mcmaster that this sharing was appropriate. some people are telling us it was not appropriate, that there will be a damage assessment, principally because israel was not consulted, we were being told. let me just try and explain the significance of israel. the u.s. relies on israel and its arab partners to gather intelligence in the middle east. israel can go places where we kasht. they have access to countries
11:05 am
that we don't. they have native arabic speakers that blend in. if that cooperation were disrupted it would be bad for the united states and its national security. there have been a number of high-profile joint operations that it's been reported the u.s. worked with israel to infiltrate the iranian nuclear problem and inject the virus that slowed down iranian centrifuges. back in january stories were in the israeli press that israeli intelligence officials were concerned about sharing information with the trump administration out of fear that would be shared with russia who would then share it with its client state, iran. iran, after all, is israel's arch enemy. >> exactly. was it possible, ken, that those in the room with donald trump were not fully briefed on exactly what he was sharing and the significance of it? was donald trump not really aware of the significance of the intelligence he was sharing? was he even aware where it came from? >> so what we know is that h.r. mcmaster said today that the president had not been briefed on the source of the information, which was
11:06 am
remarkable. so it suggested that he didn't understand the significance of it as he was sharing it with the russians. >> so the president himself was not briefed. >> exactly. >> not briefed on where this information came from. >> right. you know, it's possible, katy, that he could have -- that what he was saying sounded benign but could also point to highly classified intelligence. there's been a lot of reporting about this laptop bomb plot, but what hasn't been reported is the exact source of the information, how the u.s. intelligence community found out about it and if it was a human source or intercepts and the particular city in isis-controlled syria where that intelligence emanated from. that's the information that according to mcmaster trump conveyed to the russians. >> and, mike, talk to me about the reaction you're getting on the hill right now. are you seeing bipartisan concern about what is going on in the white house? >> absolutely. certainly from democrats, katy. forgive me golf whisper here. as you see behind me, the republican leadership has come
11:07 am
before reporters after their weekly luncheons as they do every tuesday. we are told that the administration has not briefed members of congress, including the intelligence committees. only briefing speaker paul ryan at this point. we've been checking all day. we can report that the cia director mike pompeo is on his way to capitol hill to brief the intelligence committee. this is a previously scheduled briefing. the senate intelligence committee is briefing as well. most republicans were looking for that mcmaster briefing, trying to find any sort of wiggle room they could in the inherent ambiguity and language -- >> wait. could they find any wiggle room? sorry, mike, for irnterrupting you. if the president is tweeting this morning saying he is allowed to do what he wants, to share what he wants? >> well, i had an opportunity to ask a number of republican senators that this very morning. i'll get to that in just a moment. but they are all under the belief that the president can do that if he chooses to do that. is there concern?
11:08 am
obviously there is a great deal of concern. here's a little bit of that republican sound. i spoke with a number of republicans in the hallways of congress today. >> -- can't go into classified information. it is a critical thing. but again, i don't want to rely on a press article. i'm not disputing it. i'm not admitting it. i just need to know more. >> if it is accurate, it is very concerning. >> i think it's something that's way blown out of proportion. i accept the general's explanation that he went on television and gave. >> i'm going to wait until i get a briefing from -- a secured briefing on it before i make any statement on that. >> katy, to answer your question specifically, i do. i think that there is enough ambiguity when you're talking about things like sources and methods and you are using those kinds of catchphrases where there is enough wiggle room there for republicans to at least hope this blows over. how this affects their larger agenda, how this affects the
11:09 am
lack of discipline we've heard people like bob corker talking about, that's another matter. they're going to continue to deal with that over the court of the next weeks and months. >> mike viqueira is not trying out for the golf network. senate leadership is talking behind him. mike, thank you very much. let's go to our panel. malcolm nance, author of "the plot to hack america." a senior advisor at the state department, ron klain, and michael schmidt. michael, your paper was the one that first reported that this intelligence came from israel. elaborate on that. >> well, obviously the zerldz a israelis are very important to us in that region because they can do things that the united states can't. they have proximity that the united states doesn't. but the interesting thing here
11:10 am
is actually if you look back at the campaign, the issue of the disclosure of classified information that mr. trump and his national security -- early national security advisor mr. flynn made about hillary clinton, there was never any evidence that anything that hillary clinton had, her mishandling of classified information, was ever disclosed publicly. and now this administration's forced to explain how it disclosed this information. so it is a bit embarrassing. >> michael, you're absolutely right. it was a key component of donald trump's campaign, that hillary clinton might have leaked or inadvertently leaked through hacking classified information that she felt like she had a different set of rules for her that applied to everybody else. there's been a number of sound bites mashed together from the campaign that we've been playing all afternoon. but we feel that there is nothing that exemplifies that more than a comment he made last july in virginia beach. take a listen. >> this was not just extreme carelessness with classified
11:11 am
material. which is still totally disqualifying. this is calculated, deliberate, premeditated misconduct, followed by a cover-up that included false statements and lies to congress, the media and the american people. >> malcolm, that is quite a disconnect. >> yeah, that is quite a description considering that none. that was found to be true, remember. and all of it was refuted by the fbi itself. now we find ourselves in a situation where the president of the united states made a snap judgment and decided to release classified information even though it was within his authority. was that right? did he have proper judgment to do that? and now we're finding out that the russians -- they're quite delighted by this because it introduces more chaos into the system, and now they them 70s have a source of information that they could either use for
11:12 am
their own activities or even use it to thwart israel and the united states' activities against the islamic state. it is a debacle no matter how you stretch it. >> neera, how is this affecting our allies? we know there was a report back in january that israel did not necessarily think it was a good idea -- or was warned at least not to share with donald trump. are we going to see any of our allies backing off from continuing to be open to sharing our -- i'm sorry, i'm getting told in my ear that sean spicer is now taking questions. we'll bring you that audio only. it is an audio-only briefing. take a listen. >> -- with those on capitol hill who were asking to see some information. >> i think there was three individuals in the room. secretary of state tillerson, national security director and deputy national security director who were all in that and all have put out statements regarding that. >> i understand they want to see
11:13 am
transcripts -- >> well, i haven't seen anything. what i'm telling you is that i think there are three individuals in that meeting that said it. what has occurred today or over the last little while in terms of these leaks is, frankly, dangerous. the idea that someone who has been given access to information is pushing that information out into the media, undermines our national security. i don't think there is any other way to say it, that it is frankly dangerous. >> is israel the ally here that provided information that the president then shared with the russians. it is our reporting that that is the case. can you please speak to that? >> i cannot comment specifically on that. i'm obviously pleased to see ambassador dormer's comment. we appreciate the relationship that we have with israel and appreciate the exchange of information that we have with them. that being said, i'm not going to comment any further on that. >> my last question for you just gets to the question of credibility that a lot of folks over on capitol hill have been asking over the last maybe 18 or
11:14 am
so. president himself tweeted that his surrogates can't stand at this podium with perfect accuracy. are you concerned when you have yourself, when you have general mcmaster up here, that people don't perhaps trust or find the statements being made are credible go. >> i think i addressed this last week. we do everything we can to provide you with the most updated information at the time. py think general mcmaster stood at this podium a few hours ago and made it very clear he stands by what he said. so i'm not entirely sure. he put out the statement. secretary tillerson put out one and deputy national security advisor for strategy put one out as well. >> you are not concerned about eroding credibility? >> of course. obviously, no one would ever want that. but i suggest to you that the statements that were put out last night are completely consistent and the people who put them out stand by them. >> were they the only ones in the room? my last question. >> i'm sure that -- i don't know the answer to that. i'll follow up with it. i'm not going to necessarily provide you with information that they're not comfortable
11:15 am
providing in terms of who was or wasn't in the room. that's something that's up to the president. >> sean, do you believe that this is a case of the intelligence community or elements in the intelligence community actively seeking to undermine the president and his foreign policy as he seeks to build a closer relationship with russia? >> i don't think it is appropriate for me to -- but i will tell you when you look at that story, it was -- it would be impossible for the president to reveal the source of the information because as general mcmaster made very clear, as he was leaving this podium, the president wasn't briefed on the information and wasn't aware of the source. so the president wasn't aware of this. this wasn't part of his briefing, so therefore to suggest that therefore he revealed it is impossible. >> you did say undermining. you suggest it's, frankly, dangerous. >> it is. >> what's the president going to do about it? >> again, that in itself is a whole process and i am not at liberty to get into that. it is frankly something i wouldn't even be aware of. >> one more question.
11:16 am
is it the president's position that he can at any time declassify anything he chooses? he tweeted this morning he has the absolute right to talk to the russians about whatever he wants to. is that what he's saying there, that he can declassify anything? >> several issues. one is he can obviously -- there is information that is shared with countries all the time on common threats or common areas of interest. then there is a second question that you are asking which is classification authority. my i understanding is the president of course has classification authority. they're not synonymous though. president can always discuss common threats or common issues with host nations -- excuse me, with other heads of government or other government officials as he deems appropriate to tackle the threats that our country faces. but that's -- just so you are clear, there are two separate issues. but, yes, he does, on the second, because that's not a question of what he thinks. that's sort of like a fact. >> just to clarify, last thing that general mcmaster said, so
11:17 am
the president wasn't aware -- this wasn't a part of his briefing so to suggest he revealed it is impossible. are you saying that the president didn't say what is being reported? >> i'm not going to get into the content of the conversation. what i will say, it wasn't part of his briefing. so if that wasn't part of it, to suggest that therefore he released something would not -- it just defies logic. >> so if it wasn't part of his briefing, in a way was there a -- >> again, look, i'm not -- >> -- was there a failure that it didn't rise to the level? >> no. i'm sorry, that's a good point. it is not routine -- again, i'm not going to say it doesn't happen, but generally speaking when the president is briefed -- and it is not just this president. when presidents are briefed, with th they are presented with outcomes, here's threats that we face. there's always -- it is not always common that therefore they would get into all the sources and methods that
11:18 am
undermines it. that's just not always how it happens. so they are presented with here are the threats that we face, here are the circumstances, here are the issues that are in front of you. >> i guess what i'm asking, you think he was fully prepared going into this meeting? >> of course. >> sean, just two for you. can you say whether or not there is an active investigation these leaks are formal or informal? >> i cannot. >> one more. something that general mcmaster declined to answer on two occasions from behind that podium that's causing some unhappiness on the hill, the refusal to say whether the weather wall is in israel or not. can you explain why you guys can't answer that question? >> the western wall is obviously one of the holiest sites in the jewish faith. it is clearly in jerusalem. but there's then -- it's an issue that is -- had serious consideration. it will be a topic that's going to be discussed during the president's trip between the parties that he meets with. but obviously i think this stems from a comment that was made
11:19 am
yesterday and which was not the policy of the united states. and so i think just because -- so just to be clear about what was said yesterday. >> can you talk briefly about the ripple of information and how it came out of the meeting that occurred last week in the oval office with the representatives of the russian government? trying to better understand where and how this information could have leaked. >> i don't --fy kn fif i knew - mean i don't know. >> talking about as a national security threat, you've spoken with the president obviously about this. what's his thinking on the information that leaked, and if there were -- what does he think about the article that was released by "the washington post"? >> well, i think consistent with what he has said for a long time, that the leaks of classified information or sensitive information represent -- there is a reason that they're classified. nonauthorized disclosure of them present a threat to national security. >> sean, there's been reporting
11:20 am
that suggests israel is the country that provided that intelligence to the u.s. whether it was israel or not, lass the administration had contact with the allies to potentially smooth over any complications that might have arisen from this being shared with the russians? >> have we ---ism a he sorry. >> have you reached out to the country that provided that intelligence? >> obviously i'm not going to get into that kind of discussion. what i will see is, as i mentioned earlier, that we appreciate the strong relationship that we have with israel with respect to intelligence sharing and hope to continue to grow that bond. but i'm not going to comment on specifically where it came from. veronica. >> sean, can we get a white house reaction or the president's reaction to the report that said -- >> i'm not aware. generally i don't get updates on former dnc staffers.
11:21 am
>> it would certainly have a great influence on where the leaks came from. there are a lot of implications in the story, of course. >> i understand that. but for me to comment from here about an ongoing investigation, i believe it is still ongoing. i don't even know the status of it in terms of d.c. but it would be highly inappropriate to do that. >> thank you, sean. two questions. first, the nature of the information that the president is alleged to have shared are the kinds of things that the five "is," allies, sha among each other. is this a sign that that list could be expanded or that the president is considering expanding the five "is," the allies we share intelligence with on a regular basis? >> i would just go back to the point that i think, whether it's this particular country or any other, it is quite common place for us to share information on common threats that our countries face or two countries face. or a variety of other
11:22 am
information that is considered a threat. it is a very commonplace thing to occur. >> and the other thing is, what's lost in all of this was that the president met with dr. kissinger. what advise did dr. kissinger give him on anything? was there any readout of their conversation? >> i didn't get one at the time. generally speaking, we don't get readouts of that. >> -- given that you've got the story that landed in your lap today, i'm sure you heard senator corker say that this white house is in a downward spiral. how do you view the current state of things right now? is a downward spiral fair? unfair? is chaotic fair, unfair? and does this white house need a reset? >> well, i think we're doing -- the president's committed to enacting his agenda. he feels very strongly about what he's doing and why he is doing it. the leaks that occurred today are not helpful. first and foremost, the national
11:23 am
security, beyond any other issue. but obviously we're very -- the president's very proud of the work and the accomplishments that he's had in these first few months and looking forward to this trip around the country -- around the world that i think is really going to continue to grow the relationships that he's already started to build. >> is there any soul searching that's being done, any reflection that -- or any blame even being placed for sort of the current state of chaos, if you will, inside the west wing or your colleagues, the president himself? >> i guess the answer -- the way i would answer that is, when you look at what appears to be somebody intentionally leaking classified information, and you're asking where the blame should be placed, i think it is pretty clear. i mean it is -- to realize that somebody has intentionally gone out once again -- you start to go back over the last couple months.
11:24 am
how many times there's been an unauthorized disclosure of national security. i've said it from this podium before, but it is extremely troubling. i think that when you ask how we feel about it, when you are committed to doing -- whether it is economic policy, or foreign policy, that is in the best interest of the country, and people are going out intentionally leaking classified information that threatens national security. as i said, it's dangerous. april. >> sean, could you tell us how the president gets his intelligence briefings? because we understand that each president has them differently, they ask for them differently. how does this president receive his intelligence breeiefings? >> that's an interesting question. i don't sit in on the briefings. each day a team comes over and -- i should probably follow up on it before i get too far ahead. but they come in person and present him with information and it's classified. >> okay. but does he read any parts of it
11:25 am
or is he given the information -- >> i don't sit in on it. so i don't -- i don't know. >> follow up on that, couple questions. the question -- well, the statement from mcmaster begs the question as to a statement about not having parts of the intelligence that the president talked about to russia begs a couple of questions. why was that not included? some are asking in the intelligence community. does this go to the fact that the president may not be trusted with this information? and, also, it goes into, again, how does he get his information and why it was left out. >> i know you stepped out for a while. we actually went over this. >> i'm sorry, i was called away. >> i know. but we went over this. i hope you feel better. basically the answer that i gave -- it was either blake or trey -- was that generally speaking the president's presented with the end result of
11:26 am
the intelligence. here are the threats, here are the issues that are facing us. generally speaking they don't go into the sources and methods. >> but is there -- has there ever been a concern that this president was not able to handle the intelligence information and then kind of crafted it to a piece where he would not get in trouble if it were to slip out? >> no. >> george. >> i'm not -- >> everyone gets a your honor it. >> a couple people had more . i want to ask something about secret service. i understand that dave garrett is being eyed as the head of uniform division of secret service. and david garrett during the clinton administration was reprimanded for saying the "n" word to a female pass holder here at the white house. what do you say to that? >> i -- you have to believe me that i don't get into the different divisions of employment at the secret service. i think that -- >> that is under the administration's purview. >> sure, as is all the federal government.
11:27 am
i think specifically as a division of the secret service, kathy at the secret service is probably -- and public affairs office is probably your best bet. george. >> a trick question. >> thank you. >> there's a lot of reporting in israel the president was going to go to massada. is that something that's been scrubbed? if he is going, what's the message you're trying to send? >> if i can, it is our goal to have an off-the-record briefing tomorrow probably some time laterhe lo logistics of the trip. we can walk you through that. but obviously a lot of things aren't finalized for security reasons. i don't want to get anything beyond general mcmaster said today. our goal is to have notice out to you guys at some point what the details of the trip are. >> sean, it may seem like a
11:28 am
small matter, but the president mispronounced president erdogan's name a couple of times. we had a report yesterday from politico that the president reading and embracing a report that was pushed in front of him from a fake 1970s "time" magazine story. we've had numerous reports of the way the president consumes information, including, not exclusive to, the events of the last few days. two questions, is the president doing his homework, and are you satisfied or can you tell the american people that the president is getting the best quality information possible to make decisions? >> yes, on both. >> senator cornyn pulled out of the fbi search. does the president still think it is possible to name a new director before he goes on the trip? or is that likely the drag? >> i think it is obviously likely but that's up to both doj and then obviously to the president in terms of who he could get -- doj is still interviewing candidates.
11:29 am
if we have an update on the proce process. >> i literally don't have an update. part of it is doj will notify us when they believe they have candidates the president wants to meet with or the president will ask them who they have but we are not at that point in the process. >> can you explain -- you're saying that the leaks -- that there is a problem obviously that there's leaks. other people say that the president said something inappropriate. regardless of what happened. how can you assure allies that have expressed concern about leaks in the united states that their information is safe with the united states? how can you assure them? are people calling them? i don't mean the particular ally. i just mean in general. >> i think we take -- i mean, look. there's no one who is more outraged about this than the president and he has been very clear in his statements over the last couple months that this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and that this action undermines or national security. i don't know -- he's taking -- again, it will be inappropriate
11:30 am
for me to discuss anything beyond that. >> are calls being made? >> again, i'm not going to get into anything. >> three quick questions. one, president reagan -- they'll be quick, i promise. -- said of the former soviet union that they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, lie or cheat, to attain global revolution. that was their long-term goal. >> what's the beginning part? >> that president reagan said that the soviet union reserves unto itself the right to commit any crime, lie or cheat to obtain its long-term goals. so what do you think? what does this president think the long-term goals of russia are? that's the first question. the second is, do you think a public official has a right at any time to lie to the american public under any circumstance? and third, i guess going back to our question earlier, but to be more pointed, what do you say to the critics who say this administration, in one word, in the last few weeks has been insent? >> inept? >> as far as russia goes, the question is what do we think
11:31 am
their goals are? >> what do you think their long-term goals are? >> we'll have to get back to you. i'm not prepared to go over what russia's strategic goals are at this time. >> the second one was do you think under any circumstance it is all right for a public official to lie to the american public? >> um, the reason i'm going to -- i'm hedging on this is that i'm just thinking mentally going through every position of the united states government. in theory if you were an operative of some sort, or if there was -- i mean there are cases in which -- >> public officials. >> i understand. yeah, if it is a public official, then no. >> and the third one. as far as the last week, the actions from this str administration -- >> like i said, when you have people that are leak being information, the president's going to do everything he can, i can tell you that. >> but that's not unique. >> i think that the level of number of quotes and the damage, i can't say i'm an expert on this but i would say it is pretty -- seems like a lot to me.
11:32 am
john. >> a number of republican lawmakers this morning say they were troubled by what they read in the "washington post," the story that came out late yesterday afternoon. senator lindsey graham in an interview that he did today said the only thing i can say when it comes to russia, they are an unreliable partner. does the administration share that point of view that russia is an unreliable partner? >> i think first and foremost, you saw by the comments of the three individuals, they were troubled by the report in the "washington post." so that's the first thing i would say. the second thing is -- because again, look. when you go back and realize that three people who were in a very small meeting come out, the secretary of state, the national security advisor and deputy national security advisor, and dispute the account, and yet on the other hand you have a budge of no -- bunch of anonymous sources using leaked information that's disputed from what was actually briefed and not briefed, you
11:33 am
realize that that -- you have to question the intention of why that was done. that is something that we're equally concerned with in terms of the report itself. that a leak that came out does this kind of damage. clearly, you've got to wonder why it was done and who did it. >> but to lindsey graham's point that he was making, that comment that i just read to you, does the president share his belief that russia is an unreliable partner? >> i think -- all i'll say is that on areas like combating isis, in particular we have a shared interest. in syria, there are areas where we can have a shared interest. i think in areas where, whatever country it is, we can find a shared interest to further, whether it is our interest or national economic interest, that is something we would have to consider. but to rule out any country on its face is something that is sort of well above -- it's something that only the president can decide.
11:34 am
>> sean, why did the president's counterterrorism advisor feel the need to reach out to the cia and nsa? >> i'm going to get into call that any staff member may or may not make. but i will say that to suggest that someone who is the homeland security advisor wouldn't be making calls would somewhat be a little odd that in the routine part of their job that they wouldn't be calling around to different agencies. that being said, in terms of what i think you're intending to ask with respect to the article, again, i would go back to the fact that there were three prominent individuals in the meeting that dispute the account. >> is the white house doing anything to reach out to members of congress to explain what happened in the meeting with the russian officials? senator burr on the intelligence committee said just before you came out that he's still waiting to hear from someone at the white house. >> i do believe that there are some folks that -- people have asked that have walk them through, shared the statements, et cetera, et cetera.
11:35 am
>> are there any plans for the president to reach out himself to any members to explain or reassure -- >> i don't -- not that i'm aware of. >> so you've referenced a few times these statements from mcmaster, tillerson, and powell. one thing none of them addressed is sort of the key point of the articles, which is that the president divulged classified information. none of their statements addressed that. so can you clarify for us whether or not the president divulged classified information, number one. and number two, if so, who gave the okay on that? was that pre-approved by state or by any of the agencies? >> number one, there is in the formal course of conversations with different countries, whether it's threats or information, information is routinely shared. secondly, as was mentioned, if the president wanted to share information, that's within his decision. that all being said, i'm not going to discuss -- go down a road parsing what would be and
11:36 am
what wouldn't be. >> you won't clarify whether or not the information he shared was classified. >> i think as you pointed out, the three statements that were made -- they are very clear of what was not addressed. again, getting into starting to have a discussion about what is or what isn't classified is a very dangerous road. >> two questions. first, in this meeting with the russians at the white house, why was the president's first inclination to want to share sensitive information rather than impress on them their meddling in the u.s. election which according to officials this week is something russia certainly did. >> i think that conversation is still private. to assume what was and wasn't discussed would not be accurate. i'm not going to get into the contents of that. but i also think that again, we're missing what was shared and the purpose. there was a discussion about a shared aviation threat. as general mcmaster pointed out,
11:37 am
they had an airplane that was taken down in some way in october of 2015, which over 200 lives were lost. they shared and discussed a shared threat that our two countries have and a concern that we have. i think that is extremely appropriate. >> secondly, one of the knocks against this administration has basically been that you guys do things in a sloppy manner and that makes things like this worse. yes, we routinely share information but we routinely share information that is sensitive with our allies. we don't routinely share sensitive information with the russians. so i guess did you guys take the proper procedures to let intelligence agencies know ahead of time that you wanted to share this information -- the president did, with russian officials or did he just make the call on the spot and is that the reason these calls were made afterward to the cia and the nsa, and was in a learning experience in any way for this administration about following protocols to ensure you guys don't get the kind of headlines
11:38 am
next time that you did this time? >> well, number one, to make any assumptions about what was shared, what wasn't shared and what processes were or were not followed would be highly speculative. number two, as i've said repeatedly, the information that was shared was of a common threat and one that we both have a desire -- have a shared goal in eradicating. so to suggest that -- which i think is the nut of the question -- we -- why wouldn't we want to share a common threat and the efforts that both countries are taking to eradicate a threat that we both feel? >> there is no indication that you guys -- >> hold on, with all due respect, you have no understanding of that. for you -- i'm not -- but to sit back and say, because it hasn't been leaked out, i mean that's the nature of the leak. somebody's selectively leaking information and facts. there's a reason it's selective. is because they're trying to create -- again, for me to guess
11:39 am
why. but at least it appears as though somebody's trying to create a narrative or a problem. but to further suggest that somehow because you get one piece of a puzzle that you know what the entire puzzle looks like, even to suggest that that piece is accurate, which in this case you've heard our position on that. but to -- this is clearly a pattern of people releasing sensitive information to further what appears to be someone's agenda. i think that -- again, the president's raised this. several people in the administration have raised this. but theyed th idea that there i seemingly no concern over something like this being put out in the open i think is, frankly, concerning. and it should be to every american that we have information of a classified nature that's being sent out into the open -- brian, brian,
11:40 am
brian. no, that's not how it works. jessica. >> sean, if i could follow up. about the fight against isil in this context. that's what the president talked about was the source of the information -- or i should say framework of the conversation he had with the russians last week. so is the president actively looking for new partners in the fight against isil? and is it his intent to look to partners that have previously been unconsidered because they were not part of traditional alliances or partnerships with the united states? >> i think it's safe to say that the president is going to look to anybody who wants to share our goal of eradicating radical islamic terrorism, isil, and other threats from around the globe. thank you, guys, very much. have a great day. we'll talk to you tomorrow in connecticut. >> you have been listening in to sean spicer's off-camera briefing. a little bit earlier today the white house decided to take the regular daily briefing off camera. nbc news and msnbc decided to
11:41 am
take that audio feed of it regardless. we feel like it is a pretty important news day. there's a lot of questions about national security and this was the first comprehensive moment that the white house has taken to answer questions from reporters. we have got a team of reporters and analysts, as always, to break this down. hallie jackson is going to join us from that briefing room in a moment. ken delaney is in our newsroom. malcolm nance, an msnbc terrorism analyst. neera hawk, former advisor to the state department. ron clean, and syndicated columnist and msnbc contributor george will. jennifer ruben, opinion writer for the "washington post." ken, let's start with you. the jerusalem post came out with a story a moment ago that said two top israeli intelligence officials said it would be very bad if israel turned out to be the source of the intel. that was before we confirmed that israel was in fact the source of the intelligence. they're calling this -- we're
11:42 am
calling it a grave violation. what is the impact that we are going to be feeling from this revelation? >> it could be severe, katy. just to recap, nbc news is reporting that israel was the source of the classified intelligence that donald trump provided to the russians in this oval office meeting, and that this happened without alerting the israelis. "the washington post" is reporting this is highly sensitive intelligence, closely held. it wasn't even shared with our allies. so the impact of this could be grave. israel had already been concerned, according to press reporting in israel, about sharing information with the trump administration. worried that it would be turned over to russia, then to iran, israel's arch enemy. we rely heavily on israel in the middle east. united states, the cia does numerous joint operations the israelis. israelis have native arabic
11:43 am
speakers that can blend in. they're crucial in the fight against terrorism. >> hallie, the white house all but confirmed that israel was the source of the information when sean spicer said that he hasn't yet had a chance to talk to israel. they also pushed back on whether the president of the united states was properly briefed for this meeting between the russian ambassador and the russian foreign minister and donald trump. >> so, the press secretary did not deny any of the reporting from our network and from the "new york times" regarding israel. he cited a statement from ambassador -- the ambassador. i would read it to you. i think you just read it on the air so i will leave that to you. that was the extent essentially of his response. regarding that piece of the puzzle. as to the other piece of the puzzle, the discussion of what the president knew about whatever information he may have revealed to these russian officials that were inside the white house here, to be precise here, sean spicer said that the president didn't know -- and
11:44 am
reiterated what we heard from general mcmaster earlier in the day, the national security advisor, that the president hadn't been aware of sources and methods. by their thinking, how cot president have revealed something that would have xrom mi compromised sources and methods. >> let's get to one of those former intelligence officious, our own malcolm nance, an msnbc terrorism analyst for us here at msnbc. malcolm, does this endanger national security? >> well, yes, it does endanger national security. even though the president himself may have thought in that moment that he was going to declassify this and help the russians assist us in the war on isis, israel, or whoever the actual third party is -- we don't know -- has something to say about it. we don't know the collection process they were using. they may have agents in the field using a sensitive collection system. they may have an electronic collection system. whatever it is, israel is going to be pulling it out right now because they are not going to
11:45 am
take any chances that whoever they have that's this close to isis is going to survive the next 24 hours. >> naae rechr, do you agree? >> absolutely. our enemies are gleeful. at the moment you are intelligence officials in europe who have already come out and spoken to american reporters saying that they are also going to start withholding information. that's the latest reporting from the associated press. the challenge here that sean spicer presented is one of the accountability and one of judgment. yes, the president is accountable and also has the authority to be able to disclose information. but does he have the judgment to be revealing and to understand how to wield that information. when you're not sharing information with your allies, but you're sharing them with the russians, that points to a lack of judgment. on top of that, the president is
11:46 am
now basing american foreign policy on how he feels about the person in front of him. so if he likes for some reason he likes the russians, he likes authoritarians like erdogan, and he will then reveal information to them when actually their interests are not even remotely allied with what the united states wants to see in the region. syria is the perfect example. you have the russians who are propping up the assad regime, actually creating this chaos environment for isis infiltration. all the allies in the western world are against that. >> the israel ambassador did release a statement. hallie just talked it a moment ago saying israel has full confidence in our intelligence sharing relationship with the united states and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under president trump. there's also the politics aspect of this. mitch mcconnell addressed it just a moment ago. >> do you have concerns about the president's ability to properly handle classified
11:47 am
information? >> no. >> has your party lost confidence in president trump? >> no. >> is the white house going to release any documents or transcripts? >> the intelligence committee i think has already requested additional information. i have a lot of confidence in chairman burr and senator warner to handle that whole matter. >> -- the seemingly endless -- >> i think it would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the white house. >> helpful to have less drama emanating from the white house. but mitch mcconnell there also saying he has not lost confidence in donald trump. george will, i want to ask you about republicans and their reaction. you've got a wall of tweets that we collected from last year talking about republican reaction to hillary clinton potentially making classified information susceptible to hackers. reince priebus, paul ryan, john
11:48 am
cornyn, sean spicer, trey gowdy, chris christie, all saying that it is extremely dangerous for her to mishandle classified information and that she shouldn't have further access to it. that's what paul ryan said. my question to you is, do republicans look hypocritical? >> it is not news that most politicians most of the time are situational ethicists. where they stand depends on where they sit. they're now sitting in different chairs. what i think the republicans on capitol hill know is that every day spent on these distractions -- and this is what mr. mcconnell is talking about when he pleaded for a little less drama. every day spent on this is not spent on something else. it's not spent on tax reform, health care reform, infrastructure, all the rest. most first-time presidencies have lost whatever momentum and political capital they had by labor day. they've either put in place their agenda or they haven't.
11:49 am
that's not going to be in place for mr. trump, it's clear, by labor day now. this is the middle of may, and we're still going from one distraction to another, and it is going to have a long-term cost on the presidency. >> if this is just status quo partisan politics, at what point does the good of the country come in to play beyond that? at what point do republicans say, hey, you know what? this is going a little too far. is there a point? >> well, i would have thought we would have hit that about three scandals ago. but as george says, people are tribalists. there are partisans. i think until there is something that is so fundamental that shakes the competence of the republican base, most of these leaders are going to stick with him. but remember, even in the quintessential white house scandal, watergate, at the very end president nixon enjoyed 31% support. there will be people who always stick with him, who will go down
11:50 am
the tubes with him. the question is for republicans how do they expect to survive in 2018 if they support him? how do they look their constituents in the eye and say they are fulfilling their constitutional responsibility to be a check on the executive? and right now i think they're in severe danger of neither getting their agenda, nor getting re-elected in 2018. that's going to be a problem. >> so a lot more unanswered questions. we'll sneak a quick commercial break in for a moment. we'll come back with our panel. we promise we will get to ron clean. stay with us. it's time for the "your business entrepreneur of the week." michael dorf is a frustrated musician turned urban winemaker. he started city winery to put together all of his loves. it is a restaurant, a winery, and a music venue. he's taken the leap expanding now to five cities. for more, watch "your business" weekends at 7:30 on msnbc.
11:51 am
will your business be ready when growth presents itself? 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 ♪ 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. ♪ surfing is a sport that takes a lot out of you physically. from the moment i wake up on my tempur-pedic mattress i feel like i am ready to take on the day. i don't have aches and pains from the previous day's training
11:52 am
and i feel like myself. i wake up feeling stronger. a better surfer. a better me. ♪ now through june 11th, save $600 when you buy select tempur-pedic adjustable mattress sets. find your exclusive retailer at it's looking up, not fit's being in motion. boost® high protein it's intelligent nutrition with 15 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. boost® the number one high protein complete nutritional drink.
11:53 am
11:54 am
some bad things came out today. you know, those classified. you know the word "classified." >> this was not just extreme carelessness with classified material. which is still totally disqualifying. this is calculated, deliberate, premeditated misconduct. >> the secretary of state was extremely careless and negligent in handling our classified secrets. she lied about pass you are on classified information. right? in my administration, i am going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information. >> she said she sent nothing mark classified. a total lie. >> we can't have someone in the oval office who doesn't understand the meaning of the
11:55 am
word "confidential or classified." put classified information in the reach of our enemies. >> classified, confidential. >> they're so classified, they're beyond classified. >> and maybe classified at the highest, highest level. how sad. >> that was the last few weeks -- or months really of the campaign last year when donald trump was on message reading a prompter trying to convey that hillary clinton was not fit for the white house because she improperly could reveal classified information that she didn't understand what the word "classifi "classified" meant. you heard him right there say it over and over and over again. now donald trump is accused of doing the same thing, this time in a meeting with the russian ambassador and the russian foreign minister revealing highly classified information that was passed on by an ally from israel. we've got our panel back. george will, jennifer ruben, ken
11:56 am
delaneyian. in relation to donald trump, does he look like a hypocrite? >> well, he looks like someone who's making it up as he goes along. i think he -- people talk one way during a campaign and another as president. the gap in this case is unusually large, but he's an unusual man. and it seems to me the explanation, the default explanation for all of these behafb behaviors is that the country decided to treat the presidency as an entry-level political job and this is twha you get. >> ron, why are members of this administration willing to go out and clean up for a president who is repeatedly some might say throwing his staffers under the bus, have them go out and say one thing, only to have him come out publicly and say something quite different. same thing you could argue today when donald trump tweeted it was within his right to reveal any information whenever he wants. >> yeah. george mentioned how the
11:57 am
president's sacrificing momentum. he's sacrificing credibility which is just as important. now they're on the old lawyer's trick of pleading in the alternative, it wasn't true. if he said it, he didn't know there were secrets. if he said the city, turns out that really wasn't secret at all. by the way, if it was a secret, turns outs the president can say anything he wants to say any time he can declassify. one, the white house has had a problem with credibility from the start and people don't believe their story. now they can't even keep their story straight on this one and on the firing of director comey. that's going to make people less willing to protect the president. even his allies will be less willing to defend him because his story keeps changing. he keeps undercutting the story. that's a horrible situation to be in when you're president of the united states. >> ron, you talked to usa "today." in it you said a polarizing president with a dubious relationship to facts who has created an environment where his supporters believe him even when he is lying and more and more americans won't believe him even if he is telling the truth.
11:58 am
expand. >> yeah. that is the big credibility gap we have here. jennifer's right that he has steadfast supporters who are going to believe him no matter what he says, even when he isn't telling the truth. but i think with more and more americans who aren't in that steadfast support group, he is sacrificing his credibility, he's trashing his own aides' credibility, the deputy attorney general last week, general mcmaster, dina powell, secretary tillerson on this incident. he is going to find that when a white house loses its credibility in that fundamental way, it is very, very hard to govern. >> jen, how do republicans recapture their voters and recapture their voters' ability to trust someone beyond this president? say they want to dissociate themselves from this president, say they don't feel like this is somebody that is going to get their agenda done. how do republicans find a way to get those voters back to the republican party and away from donald trump if they find they need to do that? >> i don't know that they can. they might look to a president
11:59 am
pence. and i fail to see why that's not a terrific option for them and the country. i don't know why they're so intent on keeping president trump where he is. secondly, it may be simply up to the voters in four years. and there is no amount of work that they can do. this was the president's problem. this is the president who leaked the information. he's incensed with leaks? the leak came from him! i sent it to it the russians. were the russians trustworthy to keep it secret? it's these sort of probable, illogical really hair-brain excused that have lost most of the current. i don't think the republicans can do anything to get it back for him. they can suffer for him in silence, suffer for him publicly or they can wait until he is voted out of office. >> and they can hope they find some way to get their agenda done. buzzfeed is reporting an israeli official said trump's sharing intelligence with russia is their worst fierce confirmed. much more on this throughout
12:00 pm
the hours at msnbc. that's going to do it here for us. thank you all for sticking around with us throughout that entire hour. that's going to do it for me. again, i'm katy tur. craig melvin picks things up right now. we start with the breaking news. nbc news has just confirmed that it was israel that was the source of that classified isis related intelligence shared by president trump with russian officials last week in the oval office. furious reaction continuing to pour in after that story was first reported by "the washington post" last night. we just heard the president address that report a short time ago. >> very, very successful meeting with the foreign minister of russia. our fight is against isis, as general mcmaster said. i thought he said, and i know he feels, that we had actually a great meeting with the foreign minister. we're going to have a lot of