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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  May 19, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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interests. but how will other world leaders receive him and his policies? new reports that vice president mike pence was kept out of the loop 5babout the investigation into michael flynn. and the right stuff? why joe biden saying hillary clinton wasn't a great candidate for president but he was. we start with that big international trip, though. a nine-day visit will take the president to the middle east and to europe, two areas of the world that have not taken kindly to his past rhetoric about islam. president trump leaves the fbi without a nominee for director and a domestic agenda ensnarled in investigations. in particular, his now former national security adviser. today, the deputy attorney general gave house members a chance to ask questions about the election, and the events of the past few weeks, including
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the firing o james comey. also more unflattering stories out today in "the new york times" and washington post. they detail trump's tense relationship with the former fbi director, with tales of unpleasant hugs. let's start with peter alexander at the white house. what is the white house hoping to get out of this first stop to saudi arabia? >> they cast this as a "historic opportunity as this official described it to me. it's an opportunity, this trip is, with stops at the vatican, israel, and saudi arabia to try to unify the world's major religions as they describe behind a common objective, saying it's an effort to bring these communities together in an effort to "rise above more petty differences." so that was a sort of striking language. this positive foreign policy focused agenda right now. i asked this official about the
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tough rhetoric this president used throughout the course of the campaign, everything from the muslim ban and the suggestion that he thinks islam hates us, and the official said that other presidents have spoken in nicer terms, but they couldn't get a deal done, suggesting he is focused and committed to getting results. so that's the way they frame it. of course, this white house preparing to leave within the next hour. the president departing at 1:50 this afternoon. beyond just focusing on what he's doing overseas, he has the luxury of trying to put thousands of miles when them and all the controversies he's facing domestically. >> rod rosenstein was on capitol hill this time, meeting with members of the house. what have we learned about that meeting? >> reporter: the reason this was called is because of the controversy in the firing of james comey just last tuesday. and rod rosenste, t deputy attorney general, his role in at firing. to start off, we now learned what rod rosenstein told both
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the senate yesterday and the house today about his role in writing that controversial memo which, for a time, was cited as the principal reason for the firing of james comey. he said in his memo released by the justice department, i believe it, i stand by it. i wrote it. we are told democrats in particular questioned him very closely on both on the senate side and the house side about his role in all of that. moving on from that now, of course, bob mueller is appointed as a special counsel, appointed by rosenstein. many members applauded when rosenstein insisted time and time again that mueller would have absolute independence. two members inside the briefing spoke with reporters afterwards. >> director comey was very unpopular with most people. i actually thought -- >> the a.g. said it very well. his reason for doing this appointment is as much about
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returning public confidence. >> again, when we're dancing with angels, the question is will we look back, will people look back and say what did you do to make sure that our elections were fair, transparent, and the way the founding fathers meant for them to be. >> reporter: one of the issues on the table, has this gone from a counterintelligence investigation into a criminal investigation, why does it member? there are some republican members who say now these four investigations, four committees, two on the house, two on the senate, should step back and let bob mueller do his job. democrats want to press on. they still think they have a role to play in investigating russian interference in the election. >> peter, one more question, if you don't mind about that foreign trip. "the new york times" and the associated press both reporting how special accommodations are going to be made for the president while overseas. >> reporter: we don't have the specifics from this side on
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that, but the defense secretary jaime mattis, dina pouwell madea trip out to saudi arabia in advance of this visit. i believe the reassurance is, and what we're hearing from the middle east is they will be rolling out the red carpet as they anticipate the president's arrival within the next 24 hours or so. if saudis made a real effort during the transition period to try to get president trump to come make a visit there. this is striking, be clear, this is an ambitious trip. president obama's first foreign trip, which happened in february after his inauguration, was just a day trip to ottawa, canada. president george bush crossed the border to mexico for a single day trip. this is a nine-day, five-stop trip with a ton at stake. but certainly the countries there recognize the significance of this moment. they're going to do everything in their power to make it a soft landing for the president as well. it doesn't mean there won't be pitfalls. >> peter, mike, appreciate it. maryland congressman steny
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hoyer is the number two democrat. he attended that briefing with rod rosenstein this morning. congressman, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you, katie. >> what did you learn from rod rosenstein, what in particular stood out to you? >> you understand this was a classified briefing. but i think what i knew and what i was made comfortable with, i think he has proceeded in a way, he clearly wants to raise the confidence level of the american people on the facts that are going to be disclosed and we'll get to the bottom of whatever the facts are. rod rosenstein we've known him in maryland for a long time. we have a great deal of confidence in him. and i think that bob mueller's appointment was an excellent appointment, which will in fact lead to a very fair, thorough
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investigation, and the facts will dictate the result, not politics. so i'm confident of that. >> i'm sorry to interrupt you. yesterday, rod rosenstein told members of the senate that he was, according to their accounts, that he was aware that president trump was going to fire fbi director comey before he wrote that memo. did you get any more information on that, number one? and number two, are you comfortable with the role that he played in the ousting of fbi director james comey? >> look, forget what he told us in the briefing. there is absolunswe absolutely in my mind that president trump was accurate when he said a, he had decided to remove mr. comey long before he discussed it with the attorney general and the deputy attorney general. b, that he removed him because of the russia investigation, which he thought was baseless. and three, because he thought comey was show boating.
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so i think that there is little doubt in my mind, not coming out of the briefing by the deputy attorney general, but in my mind, that when president trump said he removed him because of russia, that was the honest underlying cause for his actions. i think that was inappropriate, but i think that's what he did. >> on that note, are you confident the president and the doj are going to keep their hands out of this investigation? after all, he does have the power still to fire robert mueller. >> apparently, he does not. under -- i may be wrong on this, but what we heard in terms of the statute and regulation under which mueller was appointed, he cannot be removed except for cause, and that must be by rosenstein himself. >> got it. are you confident rosenstein is not going to interfere in this investigation? >> absolutely. everything i've known about rod
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rosenstein over the last 12 years frankly, as u.s. attorney in the state of maryland, has been that he's a straight arrow. he does not play politics. he doesn't play favorites. and i'm pretty confident that he would not have appointed somebody of the integrity and reputation of bob mueller if he thought he was going to interfere in any way. i don't think we have to worry about that. i don't think that will happen. >> any clarity on whether or not this is going to be a criminal investigation? >> no, there was no clarity, and i can understand that. clearly, everybody believes that there may be, there may be criminal findings. there may be a reason to take action from a criminal perspective, because there may be some sort of obstruction of justice, which so off happens in cases of this type. but the answer to that is we don't know yet. and mr. rosenstein made no judgment as to whether that was going to be the case or not, as
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he should not. but let me say something in terms of the fact of what mr. mueller is doing, what the former fbi director mueller is doing. and what the congress needs to do. i think we need to move ahead in tandem or complementing the works of the special counsel with a commission. i think the intelligence committees ought to continue with their investigations, which will largely be in private. a commission which will have a much broader perspective, which will be what did the russians do to interfere in our elections. what are they doing frankly perhaps even in a broader sense of just the united states, and what impact did that have on our election? i think that is a critically important legislative objective, and public objective. the commission could be much more public in terms of its work and inform the public to what russia did to put our democracy at risk.
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so i think we have a number of investigations that should go forward, that will complement one another. and will get to the bottom of whatever happened. >> congressman, as you know, the president is leaving on his first foreign trip. it's a pretty big one. do you have any concerns? >> i think the honest answer is, i have a lot of concerns about this president dealing with foreign policy. i think during the course of the campaign, during the last weeks as president of the united states, he has said and done things which undermine the confidence that our allies have in us. it's important from our own interest to have their confidence, but it's important for the stability and security of the global community for them to have confidence in the united states of america and in its president. so i am certainly hopeful tt he will not either say or do things in this trip that will further undermine and erode the
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confidence of our allies and raise doubts in their mind as to whether or not what we say from day-to-day is what will be said the next day or the day thereafter. and that we will, in fact, meet our treaty obligations, that we respect our allies, understand that we are in this together. we're not the boss, but we are the leader. there's a distinction. and hopefully the president will reflect that. but to tell you i didn't have concerns would not be honest. >> congressman steny hoyer, appreciate it. happy friday. >> thank you, katie. this leads us to our microsoft pulse question of the day. who is going to potentially head the fbi, so would former senator joe lieberman be a good choice to lead the fbi? cast your vote now at we'll check back in with the
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results. up next, what did pence know? reports that team trump kept the vice president in the dark about the investigation into mike flynn before the inauguration. and democrats fighting words. joe biden comes out swinging at hillary clinton. why he says she wasn't a great candidate, and whether he's thinking about a 2020 run. and top defense officials are giving an update on the fight against isis. we're monitoring that and will bring you a live report right after the break. -what? -we gotta go. -where? -san francisco. -when? -friday. we gotta go. [ tires screech ] any airline. any hotel. any time. go where you want, when you want with no blackout dates. [ muffled music coming from club. "blue monday" by new order. cheers. ] [ music and cheers get louder ] the travel rards credicard from bank of america. it's travel, better connected. thbeneful grain free is so frhealthy... america. oh! farm-raised chicken! that's good chicken.
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hearing that story today was the first i heard of it, and i fully support the decision that president trump made to ask for general flynn's resignation. >> you're disappointed by the story? >> the first i heard of it. i talked to general flynn yesterday, and the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new u.s. sanctions. >> vice president pence under fire today for what he did or did not know about the former nsa michael flynn's involvement with foreign governments. we're joined now live from washington. you've got all the sources on this story. you've been having all the conversations, doing great work. so is the vice president being kept in the dark or to the being truthful? >> reporter: i just got off the phone and talked with an aide out of the vice president's office. and what they did just now is essentially piggyback on the
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denial sent out by the white house last night to that "new york times" report two nights ago that suggested that michael flynn told chief white house counsel don mcgahn on january 4th he was under investigation for being a foreign agent to turkey. over the course of the last 4 ho -- 24 hours, there's been questions whether the vice president was kept in the dark. and if the sound bite you just heard between january 9th, in between january 4th and march 9 9, there was a two-month gap there, which the vice president was potentially kept in the dark. we'll play you a sound bite here from congressman cummings, because mike pence is contesting that he was not aware of michael flynn's connection to turkey until march 9th. >> he sent a very detailed letter talking about flynn's involvement with the turkish government. >> so you think pence is telling
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the truth when he says he only learned about flynn from news reports? >> well, it's either he's not telling the truth or he was running a sloppy shop. >> reporter: this is that three-page letter that was sent to the vice president. but they said the letter not got to the vice president. >> what is worse, that he is being kept in the dark or is the implication from his aides that the president of the united states and those close to him are doing so deliberately? do they not trust the vice president? >> i think that this goes -- i think this particular story here from the new york times a few nights ago is something that goes -- a source expressed a concern that this is a pattern. back in february, there was a 15-day lapse between the time the white house to the point that mike pence was made aware
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of that. the second piece was last week when mike pence spoke for several minutes and contested that donald trump fired james comey on the recommendation of deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, but then the next day, donald trumpoes and absolutely turns right back on that and said he was going to fire him any way. >> are his aides worried about his credibility? >> reporter: mike pence hasn't answered any of these questions whether he's being kept in the dark, as well. we shouted questions out his way yesterday and per usual -- i think when you're talking to these individuals, remember, this is now ten months old, the mike pence/donald trump
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relationship. during the campaign, you never saw mike pence push back. with the situation unfolding at the white house was two months ago after the michael flynn situation with his conversations with the russian ambassador. >> ron hilliard who covered the vice president for us, was one of our campaign embeds, thank you. and mentioning one of our vip producer there is on capitol hill. von, thank you very much. surprising or maybe not so surprising. new revelations about tension and awkward encounters between president trump and james comey. why comey tried to hide behind a curtain, you heard me right, to avoid the president in the weeks before he was fired. and anthony weiner wept openly in court, pleading guilty to the sexting scandal involving a minor in a new york today. the latest on the case and
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deputy attorney general rod rosenstein this morning briefed members in the house on the firing of fbi director james
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comey and the appointment of a special counsel. members said that the special counsel's investigation into russian interference into the election and possible collusion with the trump campaign would be wide ranging. >> the scope, again, of director mueller includes any questions about referrals related to any misconduct, any interference, and this were questions well outside the russian scope in there. >> let's bring in ned price and hugh hewitt, host of "the hue hewitt" show. ned, when he says "outside the scope" and i'm paraphrasing, the russian interference, what does he mean, darrell issa i should say? >> it's difficult to say what he had in mind, but what we've heard from director mueller is he's going to take a look at the
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issue of russian meddling in our election and the possibility of any collusion with the administration and any ancillary issues. so i think what we would include there, things like mike flynn, potential other activity on the part of paul manafort, carter page and the like. but what we don't know is where this investigation will go. i think that's the real unknown here. and it's why we so desperately needed a special counsel to turn over every rock and look in every nook and cranny. >> generally, what is the time line expected for this? >> as we all know, special counsels are notorious for going on for potentially years and years. ken starr was appointed in 1994 and it was 1998 when president clinton went through his impeachment proceedings. director mueller has a firm deadline. there is an election coming up in 2018. part of the reason we need a special counsel is to learn the lessons of rusrussia's meddling
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our elections. just as we saw in france and in germany for their elections coming up. while the election is in 2020, we need to learn those lessons, to digest them well in advance of move 2020. so the american public can be informed when they go to the polls next time. >> wis this good or bad for the republican agenda? >> it's great news for republicans. i had speaker paul rn o my showhis morning. they'rba on track. ned understated it. it wasn't just ken starr. the lawrence walsh investigation went six plus years into iran contra. >> but in is a slightly different scenario. the special counsel doesn't have as wide ranging authority as both ken starr did in the '23450i7'90s. >> that's correct. the independent counsel statute went out in 1999.
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but a special counsel can go as long as they need to. i am hoping it is like jacob stein who went for six months with ed meesh. you can go when you're focused. that's why i'm happy it's mueller, because he has a very accomplished record in the investigation of real crime. so republicans who want to move forward with their agenda, tax reform, the passage of the repeal of obamacare, a great deal of getting to the 350 ship navy, repairing the national security damage of the last eight years, they're happy to get this in a box and under bob mueller's direction. he can't be fired unless he does something egregious. >> ned, i hope you saw this story in "the new york times" today, detailing how james comey felt about donald trump.
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this meeting where donald trump seemed to blow him a kiss and almost extended his arms to embrace him in a hug. the article says, he's wearing a blue blazer and standing in part of the room that's as far from trump as he can, and he's against blue drapes, and trump singles him out and trump pulls him into a hug. comey was disgusted by this. he felt it was an intentional attempt to compromise him in public. ned, what is your reaction to that? >> i think that's absolutely what it was. look, director comey has endured criticism from the left and the right. but on this point, i think he's absolutely correct. donald trump wanted that image of a warm embrace, a hand shake turned bro hug, if you will, between the two of them, so he could keep him safely in his camp. he could give the impression that director comey was on his side. and director comey, despite his
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faults that have been pointed out, was fiercely impartial and fiercely independent throughout his career, both with the bush administration and late we are the obama administration. there's a famous anecdote that director comey declined an invitation with president obama to play basketball out of this concern. and he was very uneasy with the dinner he had with president trump some five days into the administration. of course was uneasy with this apparent public display of affection between the two men. and i think with very good reason. >> donald trump is not a typical politician. he is not schooled i political behavior. do you think there's chance or somewhat are the chances that h does something like this again to robert mueller or tries to at least? >> well, look, the president is very unique, you've covered him for a year, and i've had many, many exchanges with him through the debates and the radio. he's definitely one of a kind. but i had jonah goldberg on the
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show. and he made the point if director comey did not keep detailed notes on his interactions with president obama but did with president trump, it's damning he had abagenda. i want all of the comey memos -- >> why would it matter what memos he would have written about president obama if it's true what he wrote about president trump, that president trump is asking him to end an investigation? what is the -- >> great question. and a lawyer's mind and in jonah's mind, if you don't keep any votes on president obama and you do on president trump, it indicates that you have an agenda at the beginning of the trump administration to somehow either box him in or embarrass him. that's why i want all of the comey memos. i don't know that to be true, but i certainly do believe based upon the new york times that he was suspicious of him going in. and there are reasons to be wary of donald trump. you have to be wary of the president drawing you in. he's not the normal guy who back
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slaps everyone and gets along with everyone. but on if other hand, it could have just been gregariousness, and jim comey is a very stand offish guy. i think brian williams said he has an elliott ness approach. so it will be interesting to see if president obama was in one category and president trump in another. >> do you have any indication that president obama -- what i gather james comey took detailed notes about everything. >> that's what i gather. i think we all need to consider the much more likely possibility that jim comey turned to a memorializing events when he was especially troubled by them. so if word on the street is that he has a whole series of memos accumulated during his 100 plus
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days with president trump, and perhaps fewer from his time under president obama or none or whatever the case is, i think we have to accept the fact that that is a function not of any sort of political preference, but of his experience in the trump administration, feeling put under the gun and perhaps boxed in. >> of course, at this time, the russians trying to hack into the american election, so that puts a different set of circumstances on all of this. appreciate your time to both of you. have a good weekend, guys. >> thank you. let's see what you're saying today. would joe lieberman be a good choiceo lead the fbi. he is the front-runner at the moment. only 2% say yes. 98% say no to the man who did run on the democratic ticket with vice president al gore back when he was running in 2000. there is still time to weigh in at
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see if we can change those results and be a little less lopsi lopsided, or not. the man who slammed his car into a crowd at times square thursday killing one woman and injuring 22 others was charged with second degree murder. richard rojas will face attempted murder and aggravated vehicular assault charges. the woman killed was 18-year-old alyssa elsman, a tourist from portage, michigan. and wikileaks founder julian assange celebrated rape charges being dropped against him today by swedish prosecutors. assange has been seeking asylum in the embassy of ecuador for the last five years, but british police say he still faces a warrant for failing to appear in court there, and will arrest him on the spot if he leaves that embassy. right now, top defense officials giving an update on the fight against isis. for more, let's go to hans nichols. give us the latest.
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>> what we're hearing from defense secretary mattis is articulating a policy that's been somewhat obvious on the ground now for several weeks, and that is the u.s. forces working with coalition partners will try to surround and encircle isis, and then annihilate them, and there won't be any chance for them to escape and potentially go to north america or northern europe and have a terrorist attack there. it's a little dit bit of a difference in mosul. they left a western route open. in syria and raqqah, they're trying to surround all of the villages and allow no fighters to escape so they don't then become foreign fighters in europe or the united states. >> and hans, what's the latest about this north korean missile test that we saw last weekend? we're learning more about it. >> reporter: it's very troubling what we're learning. this was a kn-17 rocket, a range of around 28,000 miles.
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what we learned is when it reentered the atmosphere, it looked like it reentered in tact. it was a controlled reentry. that was all one of the main obstacles that north korea had had on their missile program, on their ballistic missile program. what they did is they shot it straight up in the air. so the arc came down like this. but it was very controlled and they wanted to see if it could establish reentry and do it. it did that successfully. that's a great deal of concern, according to two military officials on the reporting to be transparent about that. it is a great deal of concern at the pentagon. they tried to test the kn-17 now four times. this is the first time they did it. and this one feels different. everyone in the pentagon is saying this is deadly serious. we're watching to see whether or not secretary mattis also weighs in. >> are they watching for anytng iparticularoming up soon, hans? >> they're also watching for test. what they see is a liquid fuel. they don't see any launch pads
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according to our reporting. they don't see preparations around the corner. the solid fuel ones they could surprise us with. but the real dangerous one, the kn-17 does need a bit of a lead time and they're not seeing anything there. one quick thing, it doesn't have fins, so when they do bring it in, they don't have a lot of accuracy. that doesn't mean it isn't a very dangerous weapon. >> how far can it go, hans? >> 2800 miles, i believe is the theoretical range. this one didn't go that far. this only went 460 miles. but that's because they shot it so high up in the air, went up about 1200 miles. i'm not going to pretend i did well in trigonometry, but you tease that out, and it could easily hit guam, which is about 2100 miles away from the launch pad in north korea. >> hans nichols, thank you for being so ready for all my various questions. we're expecting to see
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president trump leave the white house for his big trip in about 20 minutes or so. his five country tour is coming at a critical time as the president tries to manage all the scandals plaguing the white house. but is the president himself responsible for his administration's constant flow of crises? my next guest says yes. and the right stuff. why joe biden says he was a better candidate than hillary clinton. is the former sle eer veep gear for a run in 2020? ready or not, here i come. ♪ anyone can dream. making it a reality is the hard part. northrop grumman command and control systems always let you see the complete picture. and we're looking for a few dreamers to join us. hey, need fast try cool mint zantac.
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president trump will be leaving behind and array of controversies and investigations. but as "the washington post" catherine pell writes -- they are all of trump's own doing. she joins me now. and nicholas is also here. guys, when we say he's leaving behind, we mean he's going on his foreign trip and leaving behind a number of controversies. let's start with your piece. you say the president is the maker of his own mess. >> yes. absolutely. we have seen crisis after crisis, all self-inflicted by trump upon himself at this point. and in a sense, you know, we're lucky in that as tumultuous as this administration has been, the rest of the economy, the rest of the world has been relatively calm, at least in
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comparison to the early months of the obama administration. so all of the messes we're dealing with are coming from the administration itself, which makes you wonder when we run out of luck, when this lull in crises ends, what happens? will this administration be able to handle, you know, a recession, which is going to come eventually. or any other kind of external shock. they just don't seem to have their act together. >> or a really bad weather event at that. >> exactly. >> hugh hewitt had paul ryan on his radio show and he asked him if the republican agenda is going to get done and republicans feel like they're going to be able to get whatever they need to get done, health care, tax reform, what not. is there an argument that the appointment of robert mueller will effectively quiet down the noise surrounding the russian investigation enough for them to get their agenda done? >> no, i don't think so. >> why not? >> look, i think there's a sense
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in which it gives some breathing room because people on the hill can now say there's an investigation, a special counsel, i can't comment, i'm not going to get involved. so it gives political breathing room. the obse their agenda is the president and his white house, and their difficulties in fellowing through, sticking with the plan and executing. that's always been the problem. the russia stuff is not somehow this thing that was hitting in the way of a functional white house. the problem has been that the president has trouble staying focused. the white house is torn apart by rivalries internally. they can't decide what to focus on, and you need a focused white house in the first year to be able to do complicated things like tax reform and health care. >> how much would it help if somebody took away donald trump's phoneso? i say that seriously, because half the time the drama created is from a tweet of his.
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>> that would be of enormous help, but there are lots of problems. they haven't even nominated people for key positions in treasury, in state, in the labor department, federal reserve. basically throughout the executive branch, there are all of these important openings that have not been filled. take tax reform for example. this is supposedly one of the president's most important priorities and if you look at the top jobs in the treasury, you know, there are a number of political appointees who are supposed to be in charge of tax and they don't even have names for possible nominees. so even if you got rid of the distraction of trump aggravating the internet through various kinds of, you know, social media use, whatever else, that still wouldn't address the problem. they don't have the personnel in place. they don't have any interest in
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getting qualified personnel in place, and they have three people trying to do everything. jared kushner is in charge of the entire government at this point. >> so the republicans in the white house clearly have some hurdles to get over. the republicans may want to sell their agenda going forward. but the democrats, their big plan of action right now is to try and take apart donald trump. there's concern about whether that is a good strategy or if they're going to be falling into the same trap during the election, which is to underestimate donald trump. joe biden was speaking at a conference and we hadn't heard him denigrate hillary clinton in any way or criticize her, but he did the other night, saying i never thought she was a great candidate. i thought i was a great candidate. could i run in 2020? yes. would i? probably no. could i run in 2020? yes. would i? probably no. is that political speak that the
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door is cracked open a it wille? >> a man like joe biden, who has thought about being president for of his life can never quite let go of that. he's also said i could have won in 2016. i think if joe biden could have won in 2016, he would have run in 2016 and didn't. it's easy to say could a guy of his profile won some of those places that trump won? sure. the fact that biden would be the standard bearer of this party hints at the bigger problems this party has. there's no crop of new people. >> absolutely. we have to go. thanks to both of you. happy friday. live pictures of air force one. president trump is expected to board in the next hour to kick off his first overseas trip as president of the united states.
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just how critical is this trip for his presidency? stay with us. david. what's going on?h hey! ♪ that's it? yeah. ♪ everybody two seconds! ♪ "dear sebastian, after careful consideration of your application, it is with great pleasure that we offer our congratulations on your acceptance..." through the tuition assistance program, every day mcdonald's helps more people go to college. it's part of our commitment to being america's best first job. ♪ wearing powerful sunscreen? yes! neutrogena® ultra sheer. unbeatable protection helps prevent early skin aging and skin cancer with a clean feel. the best for your skin. ultra sheer®. neutrogena®. nosy neighbor with a glad bag, full of trash. what happens next? nothing. only glad has febreze to neutralize odors for 5 days. guaranteed. even the most perceptive noses won't notice the trash.
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president. there's a live look at air force i. john finer was a chief staff member and we have chief contribut contributor. john, first to you. what is going to be the most complicated stop? all of them seem to have a speed bump or two. >> i think each of the stops, at least the first two, have similar complications. that said, president trump will be well received in both saudi arabia and israel, and the challenge he and the white house face is keeping a warm reception, on the nice things the other leaders will say about him, on the broad areas of policy agreement, the hard line this nation has taken on iran and extremism andrrorism, and not focus on stray words that come out of the president's mouth or perhaps a speech in islam which may be the biggest challenge at all that doesn't strike exactly the right notes
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given this administration's sort of a nuanced view of the religion. these guys have not shown a great ability to walk and chew gum at the same time, and i think that will be the hardest part of a foreign trip. >> john, you call it a nuanced view. that's sort of a diplomatic way of saying you're not a diplomat. steve, given this trip to saudi arabia about islam, what do you think about this? >> i think what john fein says is right even if he were organizing the trip, and he's not. in each one of these nations he'll be visiting has an interest in trying to show itself a good host and try to pave over a lot of the problems. but let's just face it, steven miller who is the principal author on a speech the president is going to give in saudi arabia on islam in the land that is a custodian to the two holy mosques, we haven't seen a lot
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of predictively good moments come out of donald trump's enkourts wie encounters with that subject, so i have a fear there will abe a lot of problems. not only in saudi arabia and speaking to the muslim world about their religion and how they ought to kind of up the game in terms of how they're managing their people, but he's also going to nato and he's going to face an alliance that largely was organized around concerned about an aggressive russia, a former soviet union, and we have the issue of donald trump having shared classified intelligence with russia without -- you know, previous permission from israel. he's going to go to a g-7 summit where donald trump has been shaking the global trading system, walking out of trade deals and applying a lot of skepticism to others. this is likely to be a very rocky trip at every point, i fear. >> john, really quickly if you can. stephen miller is going to be
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drafting the president's speeches. stephen miller drafted many of his speeches during the campaign. he was behind at least a portion of the travel ban. what's your reaction to him being so heavily involved in making what would be considered diplomatically sensitive remarks? >> well, steve clemens indicated this is a president that has surrounded himself with a team of advisers, many of whom -- there's no other way to really describe it -- an islamic view of islam, an alarmist view of islam not just in the middle east but in terms of muslims in the united states and migrants and refugees that come to the united states. so this is sort of a high stakes, high risk, high reward moment for the administration. they had the opportunity to lay out a view of the politics of the region, you know, in a way that maybe could present a slightly different face from the one they have presented so far through their policies, but there's no reason to believe that's what they'll actually do given the people around the president whispering in his ear about what islam should mean to the united states.
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>> a reminder, the president leaves in just a few minutes, but it is a long flight to get to saudi arabia. he won't be giving remarks there until sunday. john finer, steve clemens, thank you very much. we'll be right back. 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.
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it is 2:00 p.m. in the east, 1 11:00 a.m. out west, and the word of the day? boundaries. the president is expected to depart washington in just a few minutes. he'll leave the boundaries of the u.s. this afternoon for


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