tv MSNBC Live MSNBC July 17, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
emoji for the tortoise. after all, it's bigger on the inside. that's all for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more npt daily. i'm ali velshi. we've got another one. a brand-new explanation from the white house about that secret meeting at trump tower. president trump tweeting today, most politicians would have taken a meeting like this. the one don jr. took because, quote, that's politics. hours later sean spicer saying this. >> it's quite often for people who are given information during the heat of a campaign, to ask what that is. that's simply what he did. there's nothing as far as we know to lead anyone to believe there was anything except for a discussion about adoption and the magnitsky act. >> voters may want a better explanation. a new poll, only 26% saying that
the meeting was appropriate. the white house now trying to take the focus off the russia investigation again. declaring, are you sitting down for this one, made in america week. despite many trump products still being made overseas. here he is checking out the front seat of a fire truck. and this is president trump trying on an american-made cowboy hat. >> you're going to see things announced that you won't even believe for our country. you'll be seeing that happening really quickly. we're tonightly set up. we're going to stand up for companies, and maybe most importantly, for our workers. >> is this enough to give a much-needed jump-start to an administration that is under water polling-wise? we're almost six months into the trump presidency, and a new abc "washington post" poll showing the president's approval rating dipped to 26%, the lowest mark for a president in the last 70
years, just 25% strongly approve of the job that he is doing so far. then there's this. a new monmouth university poll showing 41% support for impeachment of president trump. compare that to 26% supporting impeachment for president nixon six months into his second term, as the watergate scandal was breaking. with me is howard fineman, the global editorial director for the "huffington post," and jennifer epstein, white house reporter for bloomberg. good to see you all. jennifer, let me start with you. there's been a failure over the last six months of donald trump's presidency to capitalize on this coalition that propelled him to the nomination of the republican party. he has now fallen back to strong support only among that base, roughly about 25% of voters who, i think were on his side back when he was a birther. >> yeah, we're seeing here that the president is struggling,
that he came in saying he would do a lot for these people economically. while there have been some steps, you know, the job creation level has been consistent in that it's continued from where it was in the obama presidency at the end, about 200,000 jobs a month, there are a lot of things that really just seem to be going smoothly, but not a real spike in the kind of things that the president promised from an economic standpoint which gets you to the made america event today and the whole week that he's trying to hammer home what he's attempted to do so far and what he says is coming soon. >> jake, i'm going to talk to jared bernstein about the made in america stuff. but the bottom line is, once again, the president presents -- he makes a speech in which he implies that there are some very obvious things standing in the way of everything we buy being made in america. and at any moment now he's going to clear the decks of all of that kind of stuff and suddenly this american made manufacturing boom is going to be before us. >> yeah, that's what he's
saying. there's no evidence here on capitol hill that that's the case. the thing that's actually quite stunning to me is that there's very little coordination from the white house on message weeks and house and senate republicans. there could be a huge wall-to-wall effort to hammer home this message. the house and senate could pass bills this week that trump wants done on this topic, but they're not. so it's actually -- it's really a missed opportunity many republicans tell me to hammer home a message that like you said at the top could be very useful and popular with his base. >> a perfect example, howard, infrastructure week. he did one of those. got off to a slightly better start than this one. but this is a real topic, that voters probably on both sides of the aisle would be interested in seeing, improved infrastructure and a real project to do that. again, infrastructure week came and went, and i think stephanie and i were the only two suckers talking about it that week. >> well, pittsburgh, my hometown, i'm in favor of new
infrastructure. there are a couple of problems here. first of all, donald trump doesn't get the fact that congress does the actual legislating and the deciding of how much money is to be spent. and that it works better, usually, when a president is involved. as jake said when the president is out making the case, when there's coordination, where there's a bill that's been drafted, with the agreement of the white house staff, and the key leaders on the hill of the party of the president, all that kind of detailed stuff about how you actually pass a law and spend money is something that donald trump doesn't know anything about, and doesn't appear to be very interested in. the other thing that's going on is that the sort of mesmerizing force of both the russia story, and the travail of the health care bill, have kind of frozen the attention of members of congress and they can't seem to focus on anything else. >> that's an interesting point, jennifer. the fact is that this health care bill is hanging by a thread.
it's kind of ironic that mitch mcconnell put a hold on this, because john mccain is unwell. there are a lot of people who didn't think john mccain was fully onboard with this health care bill to start with. there are two senators who said they're not voting for it. there are probably 13 more who have serious reservations about the whole thing. as much as we wish john mccain well and you can't keep that guy down, it's kind of a comedic excuse for mitch mcconnell. you need the president to help when you have legislation that big hanging by a thread. >> you know, his approval on health care in the bloomberg poll was 23%, 28%, somewhere in there. those kind of numbers are really pretty difficult. because in part, he really has not said what he wants other than a great plan, a really good plan, the best plan. he hasn't set out markers for which you would like to see lawmakers reach. he does have about half a dozen,
or maybe even more senators coming this hour to the white house, all republicans, and this is yet another chance for -- we're not sure, is this turning the arms of some moderates, is it trying to keep some more conservative republicans on board, or trying to keep momentum while senator mccain's out? it remains to be seen. but it seems like the presidential involvement seems to be in fits and starts and without a real clear idea behind it. >> so, jake, when you're talking about health care, it's not going to get any easier when we get past health care and tax reform, but they need to cut spending so much, and so much of that spending is in the health care bill. at what point does -- do these numbers and the influence of this president become something to help get something done? the six-month point, what's the reset that has to happen to make the president useful to getting any kind of legislation passed in this country? >> i'll tell you what's not
useful. we had a story on politico this morning, that the president's aides are considering supporting a primary challenge to jeff blake, the popular republican senator from arizona. i'm not sure in what world the president or his aides thinks this is a good idea. i met up here on capitol hill with complete amusement and complete -- this is like political malpractice. if you talk to republicans in the senate, they'll say that. i'm not sure. this is going to be mitch mcconnell's deal to bring home. and republicans put it the other day, if he can't do it in the senate, there's no one who can do it. to your other point, the idea that the white house thinks they'll be able to kind of move smoothly to tax reform, that's a nice thought. i also want to be a 6'6" swing man for the washington wizards. that's also not going to happen. you know, they need to pass a fiscal year 2018 budget. there are huge gaps between -- within republicans on spending priorities, entitlement priorities. so this is not smooth sailing.
this is real hard ball politics, and legislating. as howard said, he's right, the president has not shown the kind of interest in learning what the -- what it takes to get this stuff done. >> ali, the only interest he's shown is to issue threats. >> right. >> as jake said, you know, they're going after flake. they've been trying to twist other senators' arms. >> for context, flake was very critical of donald trump during the campaign. >> that's true. >> but a lot of presidents let bygones be bygones. this is not the campaign anymore, this is legislating. >> having covered donald trump for a couple years in politics and many years before that in new york, there's never a bygone with donald trump. and he creates new fights all over the place. and when you go after dean heller of nevada, go after flake in arizona, and you aren't doing anything else, and you have a 36% approval rating, you're not doing yourself any good, and you're stepping on mitch mcconnell's turf. donald trump has said, i want --
mitch has got to do this. mitch has to get it done. if you want mitch to get it done, don't get in mitch's business. >> so, jennifer, what is the reset, if there was one? let's give everybody the benefit of the doubt that at six months in, the white house gets the poll numbers like everybody else does. if donald trump is not surrounded, not in an auditorium or stadium with loving admirers all around him, he might say there's an opportunity for a reset, do you believe there's any discussion going on like that? or is the white house full of factions fighting each other? >> since the start of june, we started to have these weeks, infrastructure week, and so on, which has been mocked and maligned a lot of times because they all end up being russia week, donald trump jr. week. and this week seems to be a bit of a don trump jr. week as well. you at least see the white house trying to do some of the things you would see the obama white house do, or the bush white house do, which is to have these
things each week. they have not yet figured out they should be coordinating with the hill on it, and that maybe every week should be health care week for the president until this bill passes. but the idea of doing something around, you know, made in america, or, you know, american heroes is next week, these kind of things, if they are done right, can at least drive the message a bit and be a bit newsworthy. but i think here you have the challenge where it's so disconnected from legislation, so disconnected from everything else happening in washington, and around the country in a lot of ways, that it doesn't necessarily work the way that this white house -- >> ali, they're also selling it the wrong way. they put the package together in secret. but they're making the compromises, they're trying to buy off people in public. it should be the other way around. we should know what's in the package first -- >> and then make the deals, yeah. good to see all three of you. thank you for your time this evening. still ahead, was trump junior's meeting with the russians the only one of its kind?
who else might have been involved in the setup? and the follow-up? i'm going to hear from the former ambassador to russia. as we've been talking about, some people think it's made in america week for the trump administration. sounds good. but what about all the trump brand merchandise that's not made in america. we'll have a closer look. plus, the president speaking out about senator mccain and the surgery that's delaying maybe even derailing the gop health care bill. ♪ more kinds of crab than ever, new dishes, and all your favorites. only while crabfest lasts. red lobster. now this is seafood. dad: flash drives? yup. that's dad taking care of business. laptop setup? yup. but who takes care of dad? office depot, office max.
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and you can only stream on two devices at once. this is fun, we're having fun. yeah, we are. no, you're not jimmy. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. xfinity gives you more to stream to more screens. more than a week later we still don't really know what happened in the meeting with donald trump junior. nbc news confirmed at least six people in the room, but there could have been more. and what was the point of the meeting in the first place. white house press secretary sean spicer said this. >> there was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for a discussion about adoption and the magnitsky act. would refer you back to counsel on that. >> named after the man beaten to death by russian authorities.
these two on your screen, "the new york times" reporting that this man, the lobbyist is, quote, a skilled practitioner in opposition research. with a reputation for obtaining e-mail records, information from spyware and other data that appear to be drawn from russian hackers, though he denies that. an opponent of the russian lawyer at the center of the meeting described her to the atlantic as, quote, vindictive and ruthless and unrelenting. steven served as u.s. ambassador at large for the former soviet union and is now a counsel on foreign relations. ned brice is with the national security council and served as special assistant to president obama. steven, good to see you. what do you think this means? they call this guy a master of the dark arts, and said that he's a real practitioner of this research. what do you read from that? >> this is a guy who made his
career in washington, d.c. so they're alive and well in our capital, too. he has a lot of russian clients. and what the russians call black pr is a very rough game. it involves blackmail, and sometimes violence. it's not usually about elections. it tends to revolve around lawsuits, getting people out of businesses, taking property away. and so forth. but he has also made a career in legitimate washington pr, and we don't know exactly which area he was operating in here. >> ned, there's this adoption thing, it's a remarkable red herring. because the magnitsky act, sean spicer should learn how to say it, because it was about a man who was killed, but it's about the specific sanctions on human rights abusers close to vladimir putin about which the russians imposed a prohibition on adopting russian children.
you wouldn't be discussing adoption, you would be discussing the whole context of lifting the magnitsky act. >> that's exactly right. the issues are intertwined in the russian mind. and a meeting about adoption in our parlance is about magnitsky. at the center of this, he's spent the last few years really pitching in washington and around the world, frankly. for moscow, this meeting was never about adoptions, or even the magnitsky act for that matter. it was about getting documentary evidence that the trump team was ready and willing to take part in what could be called collusion. as soon as donald trump jr. sent back that e-mail saying i love it, especially later in the summer, that was what moscow was going for the whole time. that was the intelligence jackpot that they sought. >> so, in other words, steven, they reel you in that way. they offer something up and you say, hey, i'm into it.
now you're in some fashion or other into it. >> well, that's what they do if they're trying to recruit an agent. what we don't know here is whether these people were actually engaged in that kind of enterprise. or whether they were pursuing the interests of their clients. you know, a lot of the people who were under sanctions in the magnitsky act wanted to get out from under, related to other issues, who wanted to get out from under. what we don't know is what kinds of instructions these people had, if any, from the kremlin about the meeting they were undertaking. >> is it likely to you, steven, that nothing came of this? after they got the documentary evidence that ned was talking about? they know the trump campaign or the trump family is interested in a scoop that they could potentially get, because they've been doing it like americans have been doing it for decades. we know how to get onpo research. is it conceivable nothing came of this afterwards? >> it's certainly conceivable,
and not an issue in which we should just jump to clonclusion. it's clear that the trump campaign was frustrated by the lack of information. they've come to that meeting, after all, expecting to get really hot dirt. and they didn't get it. now, whether there was a follow-up, we don't know yet. surely their frustration would have suggested that they get back on the horn and say, wait a second, where was all the stuff you were promising? but we don't have that e-mail trail yet. >> ned, what do you make of that? steven is exactly right, we don't have that e-mail yet, we don't know if that meeting was about setting up other forms of communication, or that everybody just walked away and said, no deal here. >> that's exactly right. what the ambassador was saying. i would point out a couple of things. in the initial e-mail chain, there was a reference to a phone call. i think it's a red herring to say this e-mail chain encapsulated what went on in the run-up to the june meeting. if you read in context, it very
much sounds like don junior got on the phone with one of the people at the center of this. and certainly that con tabtact d have continued. from goldstone, the eccentric producer at the center of this, there's a reference to president trump's personal assistant. that is to say the only avenue was not through don junior and through the formal campaign structure, there could certainly be other inroads that were pursued in the context of this operation. but if we assume for a moment that this was a russian intelligence operation, and it certainly looks to me like it was one, the only question that remains is what price was the kremlin able to exact having this leverage, or having this e-mail from don junior saying, i love it, especially later in the summer? it would be unlike -- very unlike the russians to let that go unuse sgld as the ambassador sid, there may be nothing here. but generally when there's nothing, people just tell the truth, because it's just not
worth trying to dig out from all of this kind of stuff. guys, good to talk to you. thank you so much. u.s. ambassador to the former soviet union for the national security council. chris christie coming up next, speaking out about the russia meeting. you might actually be surprised what he said about it. made in america week in the white house. does that include trump products? stay with us. this is a story about mail and packages. and it's also a story about people and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country,
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what happened inside that secret meeting? who was there? who wasn't? why was it not disclosed? governor chris christie, trump's first major endorsement, and a former u.s. attorney for new jersey, said this earlier today. >> everybody who had any contacts with any foreign nationals, especially anyone from russia, should have been giving that information to the administration, should be put out publicly. my understanding of all this that there's some concern by
some people from collusion. so far, i don't see any evidence of that. i'm sure nobody in the administration thinks that was a good week. >> he's not the only one offering criticism. listen to this. >> this drip, drip, drip thing is just not working. and we need to have a group of people, a core group to come up and understand what everything is, and put it all out there, for better or worse. >> the changing story is embarrassing. the changing story is stupid. the changing story is a mistake. but until the story changes into a specific fact, that makes it a violation, it looks horrible, but it's still not a violation of rule, regulation, law, or statute. >> that's still a very open question. the more we learn, the more legal questions pop up. remember, watergate started out as a political story and ended up being the biggest story in presidential history. joy served as a watergate
prosecutor and former general counsel for the u.s. army. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> we need to parse a bunch of these things. for instance, donald trump junior has no position in government. jared kushner does. so, you know, he's had some issue with properly disclosing with whom he met as it relates to foreign governments. there might be some legal issue somewhere. it might have to do with campaign finance and national security. even when you listen to chris christie and you listen to governor sununu, they were both sort of saying, this is bad and it's embarrassing and doesn't look good, that's not even what you're hearing from the white house. they want you to think nothing about this is wrong at all. >> the election laws of the united states bar taking anything of value from a foreign national. let alone a foreign government. here it appears to have been a russian government lawyer. even if she wasn't, she was definitely a foreign national. that's something that shouldn't
have happened. donald trump jr., paul manafort and jared kushner should not have met with them, especially when they were told the reason for it was to get opposition research to help their candidate, trump, and hurt candidate hillary. so that was a bad thing. and i don't think anybody can argue that that wasn't against the criminal sanctions, or the civil sanctions of the election code of the united states. >> then we've got the issue with jared kushner who has filled his forms out now two or three times, his security clearance forms. top-secret security clearance in the united states. he was after submitting his form twice interviewed by the fbi, which is standard. and now we don't know. were these meetings actually disclosed? were they not disclosed? not disclosing it, and having those conversations with the fbi would also be a legal problem. >> it would. because lying to the fbi is a
criminal offense. lying to the american public is a voting problem, it's a political problem, but it's not a legal problem. but it is when you don't tell the truth to the fbi. and filling out the form is a false statement to the government. that is grounds not only for losing your security clearance but grounds for prosecution. you can't lie on those forms. and it appears that he either had really bad amnesia on multiple occasions, and we're now being told that there were at least 100 other people that he met with, that weren't disclosed. you can't forget that many. you might forget one. >> he went from zero to a hundred which is unusual. you might have had 60 and thought it was 50. but the zero to a hundred is complicated. let me ask you this, as a prosecutor, at this point everyone in the white house has lawyered up, or the main characters have lawyered up. this is tough, because this is a family that is close.
this is a group at the white house that's to some degree under siege from parts of the country. how do you as a prosecutor figure out where the truth really lies? let me ask you this way, how does bob mueller figures out where the truth lies? >> it's not just about mueller, i would say it is the senate intelligence committee, all the voters who need to know the truth before they vote in 2018. but you have to just find somebody who's willing to tell the truth. and in the cast of characters we have here so far, i'm not sure we've seen someone who knows the truth, who understands the facts are facts. and that they have to tell those. but i think that with the staff that bob mueller has, he will get down to the truth, and that eventually much like in watergate, there will be someone who will crack. it may take a while, but eventually people will see that their own best interests require that they come forward and tell the truth. and we may find that there are
tapes of any of these conversations. we may find that the secret service actually is aware of who went in and out of those meetings. how long they lasted. there may be recordings that the russians have of the conversations that were had between donald trump jr. and emin. which it's been pointed out that that seems to have happened. we don't know that for sure, but for sure the e-mail chain suggests that emin was on stage in moscow, and as soon as he got off, they were going to talk. it seems like they did. >> if you're the prosecutor, there are lots of roads, for the rest of us, we're just curious, we want an answer. if you're the senate and house meaning to get serious about this, there are roads to follow that will lead somebody somewhere. >> there are roads to follow. and getting the computer of donald trump jr. would be very helpful. we only know that this is what he said the chain is. we don't know how many other e-mail chains there are between
him and the russians. and we need to know that. so let's get his computer. let's not let that get away from us. >> jill, good to talk to you. thank you so much for being with us. a former watergate prosecutor and general counsel in the u.s. army. president trump kicking off made in america week. will his own company stop outsourcing to companies like china? the white house was asked about that. we die weekenders. the watch me let if fly. this i gotta try weekenders. then we've got the bendy... ... spendy weekenders. the tranquility awaits. hanging with our mates weekenders and the it's been quite a day... ...so glad we got away weekenders. whatever kind of weekender you are, there's a hilton for you. book your weekend break direct at hilton.com and join the weekenders. and it's also a story mail aabout people and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget...
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announced that you won't even believe for our country in making product in our country. and things that are great for american jobs. you're going to see that happening really quickly. we're going to stand up for our companies, and maybe, most importantly, for our workers. wait until you see what's up for you. you are going to be so happy. we will buy american, and we will hire american. right, governor? [ applause ] >> happy made in america week, everybody. president trump touting made in america today. it has such a nice ring to it. alas, there are issues. first, it's a distraction. second, the trump organization outsources a dozen products out to other countries. ivanka's own fashion line uses exclusively foreign factories and workers to put its stuff together. the "washington post" asking the white house if their companies
would commit to make more products in the united states. the answer was, we'll get back to you on that. there was the other issue, the exploding economic growth that is simply not possible. >> we're bringing it from 1% up to 4%, and i actually think we can go higher than 4%. i think you can go to 5% or 6%. >> our most important priority is to sustain economic growth. i think we can sustain 3% to 4% gdp. >> we probably should have assumed 3% to 4% growth. 3% growth is just getting back to normal. >> that would be aggressive. higher wages, and lower priced goods. the stock market is up. we've long realized that half of americans don't own stock. the performance of the stock market is decoupled from the performance of the economy as a whole. the president it seems may have won an election based on an entire series of economic promises on which he cannot deliver. made in america is the latest, but 4%, 5%, 6% economic growth
is probably the more serious untruth. a former chief economist and adviser to vice president biden, jared, you and i have had many conversations about this. boy, would we love to figure out a recipe for getting america to 4%, 5%, or 6% economic growth. it's not partisan, right? every president wants to be the one who has low unemployment, high economic growth, high wages, lots of jobs in america, and exporting everything they can possibly export. >> true. by the way, donald trump did inherit an economy that was low unemployment. that's already on the books. look, you're not going to get to 3% or 4% gdp growth, the trend growth of gdp as you and i both know is 2%. historically it's been faster than that. but that has a ton to do with the fact that we have an aging work force. that's demography. i think that on these economic
issues, and probably made in america is the best example, the gulf between what donald trump says, the rhetoric you've heard today, and you were just playing, and his actual plans is just about as wide as the gulf of mexico. that's the gulf i'm talking about. especially when it comes to, i think made in america. this is a theme that he really tried to pitch perfectly on the campaign. this really resonates with his base. but if you actually look at the proposals, they go sharply in the other direction. >> he actually said, we're going to get rid of stuff, and get rid of the barriers. the reason we don't export more isn't actually about regulation or barriers, generally speaking. >> right. look at his own business, which is a microcosm of the fact that we've had trade deficits, shared gdp, that averaged about 3% over the last 20 years. that's 3% slower of a drag on gdp. now, that is partly a function of the fact that some countries
manage their currencies, and export capital to our country in ways that hurt us in that regard. and this is the key point. there's just nothing on the trump agenda that does anything about that. if you look at health care, if you look at training, if you look at tax policy, all of that really whacks the very people who put him where he is today, based on these prom cities. >> final question, and this is back to my first point. we do have an issue with wages and costs in this country. people have had -- middle class people have had wage pressures for a long time. they've not seen big increases in their wages, but goods have not been particularly expensive. a bicycle today is probably cheaper than 20 years ago, adjusted for inflation. i guess my question for you is, how do we manage the idea that we want high wage jobs in america, but we don't want to pay more for goods? >> that's true productivity growth. that's through how efficiently we change our inputs into outputs. if we can improve that part of
the economy, that will show up in wages, at least at the average. for the median worker, lower wage workers, that's part of bargaining clout. you can have gdp of 3%, 4%, 5%, 6%, it doesn't help middle wage people. it has to do with unions, tight unemployment, with the ability to bargain for a fair wage. now, you can talk about low inflation and that's very true. you raise a great point. but remember, when we talk about stagnant income, like the stagnant median income, we're factoring in inflation. that's a real measure. it means even when you factor in the benefits of low-priced goods -- >> if you're not making any money, it doesn't make a difference if the bicycle is the same as 20 years ago. coming up, no election hacking. the claim from the russian government just as we learn new details about thousands of attempts to hack our states' voting systems.
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it didn't hatch. the 2016 election was not hacked. that's the word. according to russia. the kremlin today rejecting any u.s. conditions for the return of two seized russian compounds in new york state and maryland, that it lost as part of its punishment for attacking the u.s. election system. today here in the u.s., new reports are revealing the extent of russia's efforts to influence the election. in south carolina, there were nearly 150,000 attempts to break into its voter registration system on election day. in illinois, hackers were hitting the state elections board five times per second, 24 hours a day. but those states are not alone rvt just last month homeland security officials said 21 states could have been targeted by hackers. all this, and we're still learning more details about that
meeting in trump tower between members of the trump staff and a kremlin connected lawyer. with me is vladimir, a russian opposition activist, and vice chairman of the pro-democracy movement, open russia. vladimir's been poisoned twice. he believes it was the putin regime that did it. he's testified before congress about the need for the u.s. to take a harsh stand against russia. vladimir, good to see you. >> good to be on your program. just a small correction, it's not about taking a tougher stance against russia, it's about taking a tougher stance against vladimir putin's regime. >> i know whenever you're on with somebody, you make that distinction. there's no argument russia and russian people, many of whom are victims of the same problem. i guess that's why it's important to hear from you, because do you find it difficult to understand why some americans are not able to conceive the fact that the russian administration, the russian government may have been trying to hack our election since
you've seen it at play in russia? >> well, you just mentioned the kremlin's denial. i don't know how many denials there already were. in fact, the main job of the kremlin's press spokesman seems to be just denying everything. the kremlin's involvement or connection, the fact that they even know some people who are being talked about. if you look back at the last 17 years of vladimir putin's rule, they've been denying pretty much anything, that everybody knows that they've done. whenever they've been confronted, for example, with the suppression of press freedom in russia, they deny it. they said we have nothing to do with this. even in the early yours of vladimir putin's rule, the state was clearly behind the closure of independent television networks in russia, they claimed it was a shell of a dispute. in terms of international affairs, look at the evolution of vladimir putin's own statements about what happened with crimea. he initially denied having anything to do with this. he claimed it was local self-defense forces.
i think that was the phrase. and gradually, over the last three years, it basically evolved into him proudly and brazenly admitting it was indeed the russian military behind the operation. so i think, you know, let's wait and see what happens in a few years 'time. >> what's the danger of the trump administration not accepting this argument that you make? because they're not even at a point that they are in a position to push on the russians. the russians are saying, give us our compounds back. nothing happened. there's no more to talk about. you stole our stuff. if we're not in a position to say to them, you need to stop doing these things, and maybe we'll give you your compounds back or whatever the case is, we're not getting anywhere. >> i think it's just the mentality of the people who are in charge of russia today, who are leaders of the current regime. most of them, of course, as you well know from the kgb, and mentality of those people is they only understand a position
of strength and they understand the position of principle. i think we clearly saw this from the experience of the previous two u.s. administrations. remember, george w. bush looking into vladimir putin. president barack obama engaging in a reset with the putin regime. and frankly, neither attempt ended very well as we know. i think going forward, it is very important that any relations, long-time relations, both with the kremlin regime and with russia, is based on principle. i think it's important to talk about the substance of this meeting a little more than a year ago at trump tower that everyone's been talking about over the last few days. i think too many people are overlooking the actual reason this meeting took place. and the reason why the -- those two kremlin proxies sought the meeting in the first place. and this is part of a continued and sustained effort by the kremlin regime to overturn the
magnitsky act, which is a u.s. law passed in 2012 which introduced targeted personal sanctions against human rights abusers in the putin regime. we talked about the distinction, the important distinction, the importance of the distinction between russia as a nation and putin's regime. this was a smart and honorable law. the whole country was not blamed for the abuse of some individuals. >> it's hitting wealthy individuals and vladimir putin. >> the crooks and human rights abusers from travelling to the u.s. and using the financial system. the kremlin has been desperate to try to overturn that law. so if people want to talk about the consequences of that meeting, i think it's more important to watch that the act continues to be implemented and enforced by the current administration. >> we had bill broader on this
show on friday night actually having those discussions. i'm glad to have them with you as well. thank you, vladimir. >> okay. coming up, president trump hosting a group of republican senators at the white house tonight so they can help him get that health care bill passed. or maybe it's already over. what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels. smart. with liberty mual new car replacement™, we'll replace the full value of your car. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. having mplaque psoriasise is not always easy.
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the vice president is also there. the big topic could be the fight raging over the gop health care bill. today, more protests on capitol hill and more arrests. [chanting] >> demonstrators trying to keep pressure on senators who are still undecided. here's more pressure from the new abc washington post poll. 50% of the respondents say they prefer obama care to the republican plan, oops, just 24% saying they prefer the republican plan. anyway, this fight will now go on longer than some people planned for. senator senate majority leader postponed the vote until after senator mccain returns from surgery. here is what president trump had to say about it. >> president trump: we hope senator mccain gets well soon. we miss him. he's a crusty voice in
washington. plus, we need his vote. >> joining me is a senior politics writer. national political reporter for real clear politics, welcome to both of you. kaitlyn, i can't but imagine there's more to this because we weren't clear where john mccain was. we know that there were at least 10 or 12 or 13 senator who is had not declared on this new bill but who didn't like the last version. so it's not clear that they're on board. we still don't have a cbo score. it seems strangely convenient that mitch mcconnell has said we're going to wait for john mccain. >> you can't make this up. the interesting thing about the white house meeting is these senators are pretty much decided on this bill. this is not wooing undecided voters, but the president is facing this difficult challenge. he's always framed this bill in political terms saying, you guys have to pass this because we need to move on to tax reform. you have to pass this because you promised to do so. they've never been able to make
the case of why they have been supportive. >> it's a really good bill? >> exactly. he's not talking right now to those undecided voters, at least not in this meeting. >> this is interesting, david. the poll that indicated 24% of people like this bill; 50% like the obama care better. these are actually better numbers than the house bill showed. it's still pretty lousy. >> yeah. not by much. 24% is really bad, but i think kaitlyn's point is really pointed. trump pitched never had any substance. when i talked to an aid to senator rand paul the last time he went in and met with trump, he said the argument was basically, you have to do it. these guys care about the substance. they care about what it's going to do in their state to medicate. they care about what it's going to do to premiums. trump has never had that capacity. this is a lot of show to go in with these senators, but i don't think it's going to move them. i don't care it's going to move
the -- i don't think it's going to move the poll numbers you just had on the board. >> kaitlyn, the other issue is cutting the budget. these are remarkably necessary to get tax reformulator on. there were -- reform later on. some saw this as a dangerous expanding of entitle ment. this gets them somewhere idea logically. >> you have some area where is this was expanded. the interesting debate are the republican governors who are not providing any political cover for senators from ohio or nevada to support this bill. so it's this predicament that they're in that once this is enacted, obama care has been in law for a while now. people have benefitted from this. they know that politically it's very difficult to take benefits away from people. so you're having this kind of interesting debate with republicans about that.
it's very hard for them to coalesce around an idea. you also have conservatives who are concerned about the taxes or concerned about the spending. they want full repeal. and this bill, they argue, doesn't necessarily do that. >> david, what is your sense? is there room to get the conservative senators and the moderate senators on board to get more than 50 votes? >> i think it's hard to split that, but the senator i'm watching is ron johnson, a state that trump carried. he came out today, even after the revisions, saying he has more concerns. to me, that's a warning sign for mitch mcconnell. i think it can't pass without -- if somebody like ron johnson in a trump state isn't for it, i think that does not bode well for the bill's chances. >> okay. thank you, kaitlyn and david. that's it for me. thank you for watching.
i'm going to see you back here tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern. i'm ali velshi. for now, i have to quit talking on tv in favor of my friend chris matthews and hard ball that starts right now. >> so what if it was chelsea. let's play hard ball. >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in san francisco. let's call it the chelsea test. a new monument university poll shows that 29% of americans say they do not think it was wrong for donald trump, jr., paul manafort, and jared kushner to meet with russians to get dirt on hillary clinton from the kremlin. this is their position, they say. the 29%, even if it's proven, it was fine. well, now the chelsea test.