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tv   MSNBC Live With Alex Witt  MSNBC  December 17, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PST

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east 9:00 a.m. at west. there are a couple big stories we are following for you. there's a new turn in the russia probe. the president's transition team faring off a complaint about it tens of thousands of private e-mail us in the investigation. one of the questions about how special counsel robert mueller got the messages. and the new nbc news wall street journal poll shows what the gop could face heading into the midterms and it is a situation that has not happened since 2008. but we begin with the new details on the russia investigation, the white house pushing back against rumors that special counsel bob mueller's days may be numbered. the presidential transition lawyer firing off a letter to congress accusing mueller of illegally obtaining tens of thousands of transition e-mails, this from a government server. it's a claim promptly denied by mueller's spokesperson. white house official mark shore a bit earlier pushing back that the president may be plotting an end to the investigations. >> this administration is complied in every single
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possible way with the special counsel, tax payers spent millions and millions of dollars, it is not yet proven any sense of collusion with the russians. i think the american people are ready to turn the page -- >> is he setting the stage for firing bob mul kper. >> no, no -- >> there's no way he's going to fire him? >> there's no conversation in the white house. >> none whatsoever. >> you guys keep bringing that up. we have cooperated in every single possible way of that investigation. >> okay. well republicans led by the president's stepped up their attacks on the fbi mueller. just in the last week, democrats say they are seeing a pattern. >> you see a concerted effort out of the white house to undermine the investigation, i really hope our republican colleagues will not join in subverting that process and trying to end this investigation. the question is, what are they afraid of? what is the white house afraid of? let's let them finish the job and get the facts. >> and the president's legal team has reportedly due to meet with mueller as early as this week. let's go to kelly o'donnell
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who's joining us from the white house. okay kelly, we'll get to that in just a second. i'm looking at news that i would like if for you to clarify regarding a call between the president and vladimir putin, it has to do with thwarting a plot? >> reporter: well, at this point, alex, what i can tell you is that white house officials say the president did speak with vladimir putin today. president trump is at camp david and we expect to learn from white house officials what their version of the content of that call will be. what they're prepared to say footbally. from the other side, the kremlin side, there have been some sort of threads of the conversation coming out from that point of view where from the russian side, they've asserted that president trump provided actionable intelligence to clooun to thwart a terror attack. that's from the russia side. we just don't know anymore than that right now. it is notable that the president had a call with putin again because he had one just in recent days. so that comes at a time when there's been so much focus on
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other things related to vladimir putin and the relationship with president trump, one that's been closely watched for all the months of this administration. so, a phone call today, more details to be coming. >> kelly, just a second, let me know if my director can put the tweet back up there. we are coming from sarah sanders with this tweet, can confirm potuus and president putin spoke today. readout from the white house coming out soon. now i'm sorry to interrupted. you go ahead and continue. >> reporter: that's a perfunctory tweet, anyway, that's the news. and it is notable, and it's something we'll watch today as we always try to analyze what the relationship is between the president and vladimir putin and if there are new national security international security events that might have brought these two leaders together. so it is the start of some of our reporting on that. and that will be snag as we learn details, we will bring them to you. on the other issue you set the
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table for us, this issue of the trump transition team and that is an entity that existed, of course, during the time of the campaign and then once president trump won the election, all the way up until inauguration day. it's a legal entity where they were receiving some federal dollars from tax payers but raising noun support their efforts to build out a government to figure out who they wanted to appoint, all those kinds of things. they of course had e-mail, that e-mail was provided by the general services administration of the federal government. they put together things like office space telephones to give you a sense of that. now, the issue here is that a lawyer for the trump transition says that robert mueller and his special counsel team -- they obtained e-mails from that transition without the transition teams knowledge. and they assert that there was attorney-client privilege there that might have been violated, also constitutional questions of illegal search and seizure. that's the allegation coming from the trump lawyer. from the transition team. now, on the other side of the things, we've learned from the
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office of the special counsel, they view this and you know, alex, we don't often hear public statements from them, but they felt it was appropriate to speak out today providing us with this statement. when we have obtained e-mail in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either of the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process. so they are saying they have done nothing wrong, their ability to obtain those e-mails was lawful according to special counsel side. there may be a legal debate here, but there's a political one to be sure. and that is allies of president trump certainly want to use any information they might have to try to discredit this ongoing probe. now today, steve mnuchin, who's out talking about taxes and the tax cut plan was also asked about the status of the white house relationship with the russia probe. here's what he had to say. >> i haven't heard anything about this. but we've got to get past this
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investigation. there's a giant distransaction, nobody said that this impacted the outcome of the election. there's nothing there. it should be over quickly, and people to want focus on other things. trump administration officials is they are saying that no intent from the president to fire robert mueller which is a multi-step process, he can't directly fire him. and they're eager to get on with it. at the same time, of course, we don't know how much more work robert mueller's probe has to go, we have seen some indictments, a guilty plea, we just don't know what the end game is just yet, but it remains a politically volatile, very interesting story that unfolds and just bits and pieces. seems week by week, month by month, alex. >> and we have a ways to go yet. kelly, thank you for that. the latest on what we're getting from the white house regarding this phone call between president putin and president trump. joining me now, kimberlyachens, chief washington reporter and
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jeremy peters, both are msnbc contributors, guys, before i want to get to what we booked you to talk about which is the mueller investigation, and attempts to discredit it in the like, this conversation that we are hearing about from kelly o.'s reporting that donald trump called president putin of russia today to discuss plans that apparently the cia had intercepted for some sort of a terrorist plot. sarah huckabee sanders has confirmed that there was a conversation between the two leaders today. she says the readout as you can read right there from the white house is coming shortly, but your thoughts on that. if indeed the content of what kelly o. was reporting, what we believe to be true, proves to be true. i'll go to you first, jeremy. >> well, like kelly o. said, i think this is pretty perfunctory, world leaders have these conversations all the time, especially over issues of intelligence sharing and corporation. the problem however is because of the question surrounding donald trump, his campaign, and their efforts to work with the
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russians to help defeat hillary clinton, every conversation that a member of this administration has with anybody who has a russian-sounding name comes under immediate scrutiny and suspicion. >> yeah, and kimberly, your thoughts on this as well? >> yeah, i think that jeremy is right. and look, until we know exactly what this is about, it's tough to talk specifically about it, but i think you can probably expect the president to use this. in his ongoing messaging that he wants to work with russia. he sees someone -- it's better to have sclooun as an ally in a way than as an enemy. we've seen him saying that frequently and pushing back against this investigation. i think this will be used as an example of that. >> okay. guys, before we continue, our scheduled conversation, i want to have malcolm nance join us who's on the phone and msnbc terrorism analyst. put this all into context for us if what kelly o. is reporting and sarah huckabee sanders is reporting, if the contact is true about the warning to president putin.
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>> well, you know, i think that a warning going from president putin by president trump himself is pretty high level. who would do this themselves. and as a matter of fact, when we have terrorist plots that are broken by u.s. intelligence and we want to pass that warning on, we would have liaison officers or diplomats do this duty. do these duties. so it's highly unusual for the president of the united states and his staff, senior staff to have called russia themselves about something which the russians may have already known. you know, it's very interesting that, you know, in russia, their security services are pretty tight and they have quite a grip on their internal intelligence about terrorist acts. >> well okay, and to your point,
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tell me what you think of -- frankly, i am reading something right now which i am not going to broadcast publicly yet because we have not gotten this confirmed from a white house official readout, that said, i'm reading something from the kremlin which does itemize quite in detail the content of the phone call, the approximate timing of it, what was to have been targeted and all of that. so from the kremlin point of view, clearly this is got to be some politics going on here. you make the point that kremlin itself has a robust intelligence service, why would the kremlin put this kind of a readout out for me to read? >> well, you know, there's two ways to look at this, there's a political way and then there's an actual counterterrorist way. let me take counterterrorism first. that they want to show that there is a relationship that could be made better, stronger, and more fruitful by showing the depth of information at the
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united states is willing to share with it. but that's being generous because that is not in the nature of the russian federation. we don't do this. the way that may be unfolding. in the past, you know, presidents and white houses don't do this. on a political sense, it's throwing the white house a bone. there are many people in the united states who believe that the united states and russia should have really good relations and that these relations should exceed whatever is going on within the investigations being carried out by the special counsel. that being said, the one place that they can make headway and gain support is through counterterrorism. we don't know if this plot is real, we don't know whether it was initial analysis or information which in fact to be quite suspicious, could have been fed to u.s. intelligence by russian intelligence acting out as players. it's very hard to get very
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specific information about terrorist plots. and, you know, the russians may in fact be playing us in order to get president trump the ability to say that this relationship needs to be strengthened and by extension, maybe sanctions need to be removed. >> huh. but again to reiterate, the fact that the president made this phone call to inform the russian president, that you find highly unusual. is there another circumstance that you know of where a president may have done that or in this particular administration, is there another country with whom individuals over terrorism is do so great that you would expect this president to call the president or leader of another country to warn them about something? >> right. the mechanisms are in place and u.s. intelligence and law enforcement communities to get critical information about potential terrorist activities out to our allies and neighbors and other countries quicker than it could ever be done by doing it to the white house.
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the white house is a consumer of this information, but the information would have been developed, cultivated, groomed, and double checked at the national counterterrorism center or at one of the fbi's counterterrorism centers and then it would have been brought to the the attention of the national security advisor and staff, but that information if it was critical would have been already transmitted by the npct out to our liaison officers or diplomats in order to ensure the criticality is not wasted and the terrorists don't carry out the attack in the amount of time you're running a route to the white house, but presidents do after the fact may have a perfunctory call to national leaders to say, hey, you know, what do you think about that information that we sent to you and usually you get a thanks. it is unusual and i look forward to hearing how people in past
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administrations have managed this at the senior level, but it just doesn't sound right. >> okay. well clearly very ably wearing your terrorism analyst hat. thank you for phonesing in with the breaking news. we may touch back again. meantime i'm going back to the panel. initially offering your thoughts as well. okay. let's talk about the mueller investigation. i mean obviously related to russia, so jeremy, republicans this week, they've been certainly ramping up efforts to try and discredit it by raising the question of bias. is this e-mail accusation just another layer of the more to all of it? when are you hear kpg. >> well every little bit of information that comes out that suggests some form of political bias on the part of these investigators against president trump is going to be fuel to the fire in a massive, conservative media confrontation that's happening right now that trump is listening to and watching every single day. he marinates in this stuff.
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it's on hannity, laura ingram, talk radio, and all is meant to discredit mueller and convince the president that he is within his rights to fire him. there have been calls in the conservative media for months now, and this started immediately after his appointment when you heard accusations that -- allegations thrown around that mueller's lawyers were donors to democrats and it's just mushroomed from there. and now you have the text messages, you have the accusations of improperly obtained e-mails. this is a drum beat that is going to continue and i think the question is, at what point does the president finally snap? i don't know that he does and ends up pulling the trigger on setting the wheels in motion to fire mueller, but certainly, that is the intent of a lot of republicans and powerful media personalities. >> but, kimberly, the fact that we had ty cobb saying no, this is not on the agenda, we are not going to be firing bob mueller and you just had mark short he
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was on the talk shows. you are having a firing of bob mueller at the end of the year. that are worried that he may do exactly that. jeremy is absolutely right. there is a very strong messaging effort to discredit this administration, to this investigation rather. robert mueller investigation. at the same time, there are people who believe that if the president firing robert mueller, that it will set into motion a political chain of events that will be even more damaging to the white house than when the president fired former fbi director james comey. it's a thought that perhaps instead of firing robert mueller there will be this consistent effort to try to discredit every
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aspect of this investigation in the same way that we've seen that these claims that the e-mails were obtained illegally. i think lawyers would know that e-mails that are served by a third party don't have the same protections as other e-mails. they would also know that someone like robert mueller who has done this for a long time and is a pro would not go and seeing in evidence a way that he couldn't use it in court. and you can tell, they didn't go to a judge, they didn't go to the deputy attorney general, they went to congress with this complaint. it seems more of a messaging and discrediting campaign than a real legal objection to that. >> more political as opposed to legal at this point. okay guys, switching gears completely here, i want to talk about the alabama senate race and hearing what doug jones said this morning when asked if he would consider voting with republicans on some issues a z a representative of a deeply red state. here it is. >> of course i do. i mean, look, jake, one of the problems in american politics right now, in my opinion, is that everybody thinks because you're a member of one party or
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another you're going to vote a certain way. and that should not be the case. shouldn't ever be the case. i'm going to talk to people on both sides of the aisle, try to figure out what sing in the best interest of my state and in the country. now, don't expect me to vote solidly for the republicans or democrats. i don't think anybody should be able to count on my vote for anything. they've got to make sure i'm looking at it, studying it, and i'm going to study all sides. >> jeremy, there is a reelection now in three years here, is there a scenario where jones can keep his seat without siding with republicans in the state of alabama? >> no. doug jones has a target on his back from -- had it on his back from the night he was elected. alabama is an r plus 25 state. and quite frankly, it's really hard to see how a democrat can get -- we've seen democrats fall across the deep south in election cycle after election cycle. really there is only one, and that's bill nel snon florida and florida isn't really the deep south anymore.
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so, i don't see how he's able to get through. especially because the pressure from the democratic party will be so great on him to vote with them. there's been very little leeway granted or very little willingness on the part of senators from red states like joe manchin, claire mccaskill, you would think they would have every incentive, no, that's not what the democratic party wants right now. >> i don't have time, but i'm barrelling throw you kimberly, there's a new nbc/wall street journal poll, for the first time in nine years, they have a double digit lead among voters. 50% of the folks rooting for democratic control of congress. quickly your takeaway here. >> it's bad news for republicans. look, these generic polls don't really measure individual districts where these races are actually run. but it's a tough -- it's tough news for republicans, especially with president trump getting ready to take a very active role
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on the campaign trail. he may galvanize some republicans, but he may be the best, you know, campaign for the democrats. the best messaging for the democrats on the campaign trail as well to vote against him. so it's a tough place for republicans to start. >> all right, kimberly and jeremy, good to see you both, thank you so much. >> thanks, alex. well last time he spoke with me about the mueller investigation, he predicted people would be in indicted, people are going to jail, up next, we're catching up with him. that being this guy, congressman denny heck, we're going to get his take on the latest turns in the russia probe. see you in just a minute.
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as debt gets higher and higher and higher, it slows the economy down, it cuts taxes to provide more economic growth, at the same time, you drive up the debt, they kind of work in opposite of one another. >> then you don't get the -- >> that's why they need to look at the savings. >> john kasich on nbc's meet the press explaining his problem with a tax cut funded by a deficit. joining me now is congressman denny heck, democrat and member of the intelligence committee. good to talk with you on a weekend. let's get to it. tax bill, have you read it and do you know how you're going to vote on tuesday? >> so, i have not yet read it because it actually just came out last night in detail. we're spending the weekend -- or rather friday night, we're spending the weekend pooring over it, the broad brush strokes lead me to the conclusive that i
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will not only vote against it with enthusiasm, i have to two objections to it. the first of which it is hugely deficit exploding as you have reported so often before. this is going to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit. and secondly, it's robin hood in reverse, it literally gives more than 50% of the benefits of a tax cut to the healthiest 1% in this nation. i don't think that's what's called for, you know, alex, the great irony i see here is that my republican colleagues have evidently become born again case yans, you and i can remember when the nation's economy was in recall. you have $16 trillion in fetework being wiped our. eight and a half million people losing their homes and in order to stimulate the economy to grow it faster, we have a spending orifice call spending plan of a mere $700 billion near compared to the 1.5 trillion in this tax cut program that the republicans
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now say is necessary to grow the economy faster, at a time, when the stock market is all-time high, when untime high when corporate profits and cash reserves are at all-time highs. the fact of the matter is they're born again, welcome aboard, but i think they're a little missed time in their effort to get this economy stimulated and misdirected. what this nation desperately needs is increased productivity growth so that we can begin having more broadly shared wage growth. >> which means that you do not believe that which the republicans have aspoused which is this trickle down theory that it's going to go to the corporations that all of their coughers will be open, they'll increase employment, they will rise with wages, you just -- you don't see that happening 911 then is what you're saying. >> more importantly, alex, neither does any mainstream economist in this country, believe that that is the case. >> which is why perhaps this tax bill that the point remains
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deeply unpopular. all right. let's move on to the russia investigation. as you know, your fellow democrats have sounded some warnings at the president and republicans are kind of i think atology shut down the congressional probes, what are you hearing on capitol hill about this? >> so, let's by fur date between the congressional investigations and bob mueller's investigations. there are exceedingly disturbing signs that house republicans are becoming eager to shut down the house permanent select committee on intelligence investigation. that's highly premature. it says they're more interested in getting it over with than in getting right and i'm deeply concerned about this. separately, however, we're beginning to see a drum beat to undermine bob mueller's efforts. and i think that's frankly, well, let's put it this way, president trump has a play book and if you open it up, there's one play in it. and it issed a homonon, attack, attack, attack. what i find interesting about that is that he's misapplying a
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theory, his theory of political chaos from the political theater to the legal theater. and what i mean by that is, bob mueller doesn't care about all the public relations noise and the political undermining that the president's attempting to engage in. this is a legal process. prosecutors and judges don't care about this kind of attack. what they care about is the facts. and that's clearly what bob mueller cares about and he's going to get to them. >> it's funny you describe them that way. my sense is he's not listening to anything we are saying. if we start talking about it, he's turning it off because he's the one who knows what he knows and what he has yet to know that he's trying to decipher and figure out. i will say this from a political standpoint, the president's lawyer says mueller's not going to be fired. we heard mark short with chuck todd saying le not be fired. surrogates are saying, they're cooperating with investigations in every way possible, where do you think these rumors came from? what's the origin of them?
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>> well, i think it's a part of their broader effort to understood mind bob mueller so that the political track, for example, within the congress and then just the general reseptemberivity within the american public, but more accurately within the ever narrow base of supporters for the president, you know been when i think of bob mueller, alex, i think of two words, integrity and profelgsission al. >> so the likelihood of congressional hearings then continuing on until 2018, i mean, it stands to reason they will be and who would your committee still like to hear from? i know you can't tell me anyone you've officialed asked, but, you know, wish list? >> alex, if i cannot tell you any of those that we have spoken with, i certainly cannot tell you any of those with whom we would like to speak with. you do this every time. sorry, alex. sorry. >> no, all right. very quickly talk about alabama
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and that race, in fact, here's what senate majority whip john, cornen say about the roy moore defeat. >> i think the explanation for alabama was we had a flawed candidate who won the republican primary and who couldn't win the general election. that's not a new lesson, that's an old lesson remembered or demonstrated once again. >> so did republicans lose or did democrats win? >> you know, that's just pin. it's not particularly good spin either because, alex, we got multiple dots here forming a line. let's not just look at alabama, let's look at what happened in virginia, let's look at what happened in new jersey, let's look at what happened in some special legislative races in michigan and oklahoma and washington state, and let's look at some mayoral contests throughout this country. listen, there is no question look at 2018, midterm elections are a day of reckoning for what the majority party is doing right now and what president trump is proposed. and in alabama, by the way,
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let's take an example of why it is that house democrats are going to compete in lots of places that they have not competed before, in mull bricks fifth congressional seat in alabama, he's retiring from the u.s. house, president trump carried that last year by a margin of 65 to 31. that's an amazing landslide. 65 to 31. mr. moore and senator elect jones virtually tied in that congressional district. that's where huntsville is, that's where scientists are who work on rocket programs and you know what, when the president's administration says we're not going to allow the use of terms like evidence space and science-based, these scientists don't like that. we're going to see competitive, congressional district races where nobody thought possible just a few short months ago. >> and just to add a very quick exclamation point rather in this new nbc news wall street journal poll, 50% of registered voters
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say they prefer a democratic controlled congress, 39% want republicans in charge. much to be revealed and to discuss in the future. thank you so much. congressman denny heck. up next, breaking news on a private phone call between president trump and vladimir putin. we'll be right back. shawn evans: it's 6 am. 40 million americans are waking up to a gillette shave. and at our factory in boston, 1,200 workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get.
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welcome back everyone. let's get to what we are monitoring for you right now. this breaking news on a private phone call between the president and vladimir putin. white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders tweeting a confirmation that the two world leaders indeed spoke today. now the kremlin for it's part is saying putin made the phone call to thank president trump for a cia tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in st. petersburg. we're going to get more on this coming your way at the top of the hour. meantime in the russia investigation, the president's transition team is accusing robert mueller of illegally obtaining tens of thousands of e-mails for his probe. now this morning, democratic senator joe manchin said he does not believe the investigation has been tainted. >> when he finishes his investigation that we're going to have confidence it was done in a fair and balanced way. i truly believe that. and i'm not led to believe that
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anybody on the intelligence committee thinks that he would not be the right person as anybody better than him. >> all right. let's bring in attorney and legal analyst kate fang for more on this. i want to get right into it here. mueller's office got these e-mails from the general services administration. trump's transition lawyer argues that this violate attorney client privilege as well as the fourth amendment, but then mueller's spokesman says to nbc news, we have secured either the account owners consent or appropriate criminal process. what do you think? were these documents rather were they legally obtained by mueller's team? >> i think it's much to do about legal nothing. it's political theater. it's fitting with the their ty that is coming out of the trump administration and now from the trump transition team that mueller is acting with some type of political operative bias in the way he's obtaining his documents, e-mails, his evidence. alex, here's the bottom line,
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the gsa is a government entity. maintains servers, e-mails on servers, it provides laptops, cell phones, and other devices to the transition team. they are warned, they as in the transition team, those members are warned that those e-mails, those laptops, those cell phones, are going to be monitored and audited so the bottom line is this, if you're sending e-mails or you're communicating in a way with people that you shouldn't be communicating with, you don't have an expectation of privacy because you've been warned. that is why the fourth amendment doesn't apply and if there is an issue, then take it to the court, but you see the letter from the trump transition team attorney and he's not screaming i'm filing a motion and i'm dragging you to court, he's actually asking congress, please, give us more protection in the future for other transition teams. that's all he's asking for. >> bottom line, i have asked others of this, this is political more than legal. >> it is. it is a legal nothing burger is what it is. because, at the end of the day, these documents were obtained, gsa basically warned the transition team, these are not
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going to be held to expectation of privacy so do what you do, you've been warned, heed the warning, and you better not be up to nothing good if you don't want anybody to know what you're up to. >> another facet here to discuss the mueller investigation, the fbi, they've all been under fire by republicans. take a listen to part of what's being said. >> fundamental questions, did the fbi pay christopher steel the author of the dossier and was the dossier the basis for getting warrants to spy on people associated with president trump's campaign. if the answer is yes to either of those questions, then this is as terrible as it gets, as wrong as it gets, this should never happened in united states of america. that's why this is so fundamental. >> is congressman jordan right, if the fbi was involved in elicit means to spy on the trump investigation, and nullify these find expectation. >> i mean, you'd basically have to link things together to be able to nullify the validity, legitimacy, and the legality of all of the means that the mueller investigation team has brought upon itself or basically
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used? the tools it's used to be able to nullify all the results and i don't think you can do that. there are certain aspects of an investigation that you have to look at and you have to scrutinize, but it doesn't completely negate the legality of an entire investigation and that is again another way of throwing political narrative towards a legal investigation and trying to call the entirety of that investigation into question which is not a fair thing to do. >> i want to quickly address michael flynn and what the president said friday in regards to pardoning the former national security advisor. quick sound byte here. >> about michael flynn, would you consider a pardon for michael flynn? >> i don't want to talk about pardons for michael flynn yet, we'll see what happens. >> one of my guests said might have been a nudge, nudge, wink, wink code in that remark for flynn. what's your take on that? >> what kind of nudge, nudge, wink, wink, if you look at the plea agreement that flynn has with the mueller investigation, it clearly states that flynn is not excla pated from any type of prosecution on a state level and
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you can't pardon for a state investigator, state charged crime. and so really, okay, go ahead, try to pardon him for that, but again, you're going to lose so much political capital if you try to do that. you're going to look like you're obstructing justice and that is not what trump needs. >> i love getting in the legal weeds with you. really good conversation. in 2018, president trump will be off to the races campaigning for the midterm elections, but with low approval ratings and the russia probe hanging over his head, will he really be a boost for republican candidates? prz if you have moderate to severe . hr and you're talking to your rheumatologist about a medication, this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further irreversible damage. this is humira helping me reach for more. humira has been clinically studied for over 20 years. humira works for many adults. it targets and blocks a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis.
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this is a total betrayal of president trump's economic populous message on the campaign trail. it's a huge giveaway to big corporations, millions of middle class tax payers will see taxes go up, even though republicans promise that would not happen. millionaires will get an average annual tax break of $35,000 a year and the big winners of the corporations -- >> chris van hollen taking shots at the republican party's tax bill as the clock ticks closer to that final vote this week. the house goes first on it's passage on tuesday. let's bring in republican strategist liz mayor, the founder of the super pac make america awesome and the communications director and msnbc contributor howard dean, former dnc chairman and former governor of vermont with a welcome to you both, nice to have you join us, liz, on a sunday. >> thanks for having me. >> junior response to senator
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hollen's claims there, is the president ultimately breaking his promise to the american people? >> i'm not sure that i would necessarily characterize it that way. i think there are valid criticisms that you can make of the republican tax plan, but on the whole, i think it's pretty good and i think it's pretty accurate to say that if you are a family with children because of the way that they've expanded the child tax credit here, you probably are going to be better off. there are some people who obviously won't be, but i don't think that the way that people have tried to characterize this, the way the democrats have tried to characterize this is the middle class and the poor losesing out while millionaires and billionaires get richer is actually quite fair. it's a lot more nuanced than that, and there are going to be winners and losers, but it's not fair to say to say that's done on a pure class divide, there will be a lot of middle class and americans who will going to benefit from this if you go line by line through. >> so howard, do the demes have any cards left to play here? is this tax plan more or less a done deal regardless of the opposition and if so, will they
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regret not doing more to work with republicans on compromises as some on the right are accusing. >> we were never given the chance to work. it was cooked behind closed doors. most people didn't read their own bill before they voted on it. this is nonsense that there was going to be bipartisan -- if the majority party has to invite the other people to come and they never did, secondly, i would disagree with liz. there are a whole lot of people who get a small tax cut, but 67 million americans who make less than $100,000 see that tax cut go away after five years and have a tax increase, and that is also the republicans have enough money to crank up $1.5 trillion worth of debt to saddle our kids with. any potential or even pretension that the republicans care about fiscal responsibility went right out the window this with thing. creates huge deficits, 42 out of 42 economists at the chicago -- university of chicago which is a conservative university surveyed
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think this tax -- there's no way this tax bill will ever create the growth to make up for that deficit. i think this is the terrible deal. it's awful for the american people, and there's a lot of good stuff in there for donald trump's donors. lind sip graham said if we don't pass this, the donors will be mad. that's a hell of a reason to pass a tax cut. >> guys, 2018, the washington post out with a story, detailing a very large scale plan for the president to get really involved, get behind the gop candidates saying the president told advisors he wants to travel extensively and hold rallies and he's looking forward to spending much of 2018 campaigning. so will republican candidates, are they going to welcome the president's campaign efforts or, liz, do you think they might view this as a risk? >> i think it depends on the candidate and it depends on where they're running and it depends on the nature of the district or the state. look, there are some places where the president is an asset. i think there are far more places where he is a liability, but i think it's also worth remembering that for as much as
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the president may be posturing as if he wants to help republican candidates, pretty much the president's favorite pass time is actually making life difficult for mitch mcconnell and paul ryan and causing them trouble and generally being up to mischief in that regard, so i think you have to kind of have to look at what he's saying with that in mind. with that being said, as i noted, there are places where he will be an asset. for martha blackburn in tennessee, he might be an asset. if you're looking at for example barbara's district in northern virginia, which is very close to where i live, i don't think barbara probably wants the president anywhere near that district. certainly as a supporter of hers. i would prefer that he stay away. i think it's been demonstrated that when donald trump meddles in virginia politics, it doesn't tend to work out well for republicans. >> yeah, that's true. the same article, howard, it says that the white house political team says that it's messaging in 2018's going to largely focus on the economy. so what about the message from the democrats? are they falling behind on creating their own strategy for 2018? we have discussed many times how
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it is never beneficial to approach anything from a strategic standpoint as just being the party of no or not the other guy. >> actually, unfortunately, that worked quite well for the is republicanings. the republicans took 63 seats in 2010 and took 63 seats in 2016 and more in 2014 for being the party of no. for better or worse, all you have to do is be against trump and remind people, barbara comstock may not want trump in her district, but he's going to be on television every night right next to her thanks to our ad guys. in 2020, when you're running for president, you have to have a positive message about what you would do different than the person returning. i do think the message we have which is about the economy, see, the problem with trump and his message about the economy is ordinary people aren't feeling the economy. it's not been easier for somebody in iowa or michigan or pennsylvania to get a job now that donald trump is president.
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and they know that. so, you know, i think the record, his record speaks for itself. i do expect to take back the house. i think we have a good shot at the senate now. >> okay. quickly, i want to get to the significant polling numbers out this morning from our nbc news/"wall street journal" poll which shows 50% of voters say they prefer a democrat controlled congress. 39% say stay republican. 59% of democrats reported a high level in next year's elections compared to 49% of republicans. are republicans at a disadvantage heading into 2018, and howard, is it going to all be about turnout in a midterm election which is typically less than a general election. >> it depends on where you're looking. when you're looking at the house, democrats do have the edge there. in your first midterm election of a candidacy, many times the opposite party does come into power. you have that trend, plus, a lot
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of enthusiasm for democrats. that has been a factor. most recently in the alabama senate special election. i think that's something they probably can use to retake the house. that is more likely than not. with regard to the senate, it's a lot harder to look at because we obviously have seats that are currently republican held that are very vulnerable, when i think democrats stand a good chance of taking, namely nevada and searizona. realistically, then you're in a place where democrats can hold all their vulnerable seats, republicans will not be a good place on election day. but that's your question, can democrats hold those vulnerable seats. you have people running in north dakota and missouri, and you don't know what's going to happen there. i thing the senate is a tougher calculus. >> howard, i'm out of time, but do you think these numbers showing enthusiasm by democrats, does that encourage you? >> well, yes. but i actually agree with liz on her analysis. these polls are all fine and good. we're over a year out.
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>> right. >> a year out. so we really, if this poll was in september, i would think it would peen a lot more than it actually does. >> okay, well, all right. we'll have another one in september and have you back. >> thank you. >> that would be great. >> thank you so much, liz and howard. >> coming up, will he or won't he. the white house on whether trump is considering firing mueller, and did the mueller investigation legally obtain thousands of e-mails from the trump transition team. we'll ask ted deutch in the next hour. when i received the diagnosis, i knew,
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in our next hour, an insider's take on trump's constant escalating attacks on the fbi. we'll talk to a former agent about that. but first, saturday night li live's weekend update poked tru fun at trump's initial tweet at roy moore's loss. >> congratulations to doug jones. the people of alabama are great and the republicans will have another shot. it never ends. that's it? you went all in for an accused pedophile, and when he lost, trump was like, well, we had fun. good game, guys. like nothing happened. he could be removed from office tonight and tomorrow, he would tweet congrats to robert mueller on a great investigation.
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