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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  December 18, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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i'm out of time. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. with donald trump and his right wing allies in the throws of a smear campaign against the fbi, news today that fbi counterintelligence specialist warned trump and his campaign in the summer of 2016 that russia would try to infiltrate his campaign. the exclusive new reporting from nbc news reveals that trump was briefed and warned at the session about potential espionage threats from yaush. that's according to two former law enforcement officials familiar with the sessions. a source close to the white house says their position is that trump was unaware of the contacts between his campaign and russians.
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nbc news also reporting that, quote, by the time of the warning in late july or august, at least seven trump campaign officials had been in contact with the russians or people linked to russia, according to public reports. there is no public evidence that the campaign reported any of that to the fbi. in fact, after the warning, donald trump jr. swapped twitter messages with wikileaks which the u.s. intelligence community believed to be acting as an agent of russia. today's revelations from nbc news against the backdrop of a nasty battle with special counsel bob mueller's investigators and their efforts to obtain transition e-mails which are technically government property. >> mr. president, do you believe your transition team e-mails were improperly taken? >> not looking good. it's not looking good. it's quite sad to see that. so my people were very upset about it.
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i can't imagine there's anything on them, frankly, because, as we said, there's no collusion. there's no collusion whatsoever. but a lot of lawyers thought that was pretty sad. >> trump also saying that he would not fire bob mueller. a growing concern among democrats on capitol hill. >> are you considering firing robert mueller? >> no, i'm not. no. what else? what, are you surprised? >> we're always surprised. let's get to all this great reporting with our guests. with us from washington, intelligence and national security reporter ken dilanian whose byline is on that story. "new york times" chief white house correspondent and msnbc analyst peter baker. msnbc national security analyst jeremy bash, former chief of staff at both the cia and the pentagon. and at the table, jen palmieri and bret stevens, "new york times" op ed columnist and msnbc contributor and megan murphy,
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editor for bloomberg businessweek. ken dilanian, let's start with you and your piece today. some extraordinary reporting that now allows us to dispense with the notion that, one, donald trump wasn't made aware of just how aggressively the russians were pursuing both campaigns, not just his, but his and hillary clinton received the same briefing based on your reporting. but a new sort of chink in the timeline now. everything that happened after this briefing was done with the explicit knowledge that the fbi had warned them. and if you lay it up against testimony that we now know from brennan and others, the law enforcement and intelligence community was very much onto the trump campaign and their constant contact with russians. >> well, that's the interesting thing about this, nicolle. you had two things going on. right around the time of this briefing, which we believe was timed to trump's first intelligence briefing on august 17th, right around that time, the fbi was just starting up
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their counterintelligence investigation. they just got information from the cia, john brennan has testified, that there were contacts between trump campaign officials and russia. so what we don't know, though, is whether any of that was explicitly shared in this classified briefing with donald trump. we sort of doubt it because it would have compromised their investigation at that point. so the fbi was really engaged in this juggling act. they wanted to warn the republican nominee for president about standard counterintelligence threats. they wanted to put him on notice he could protect himself, share information with them going forward so they could help protect him. at the same time, they didn't want to compromise their counterintelligence investigation. and you're right. it raises a question of at least negligence going forward. we don't believe that donald trump jr. would have been in that classified counterintelligence briefing. so it's unclear whether his father ever warn him, hey, it may be a good idea to not be in contact with wikileaks who is an agent of russia. i was intrigued to hear a source close to the white house tell me
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that donald trump's position or the white house's position is that donald trump was unaware of any of these contacts with the russians. that struck me as a new thing i hadn't heard before. i've always wondered if he was awear of the trump tower meeting. that's a central issue. and if their position is he didn't know, that's an interesting position for them to be taking. >> ken dilanian, let me hit you with one more. mike flynn and i believe chris christie attended some of these briefings. i don't know if he was in this one you reported out today. but mike flynn was certainly able to be in communication. it's not all on donald trump. and i wonder if there's anything that we may learn in the days ahead about what mike flynn did or didn't convey to the rest of the campaign and who else could be implicated. >> that is a great point. mike flynn, knowing full well the counterintelligence risks that russia presented, but also having traveled to russia and been interested in developing a relationship with russia was in that briefing, was sort of the senior intelligence official on the campaign.
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could have orchestrated some kind of education campaign. there's no evidence that he did. and, of course, he did engage in that outreach to the russian ambassador during the transition. so it's clear the trump campaign and the trump transition and trump administration wanted to reach out to russia. wanted to have a relationship with russia. did this sort of wittingly and knowingly, despite the risks they were warned about by the fbi. >> and jeremy bash, wittingly brings me to this john brennan testimony that i think you and i covered together. let me play it and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> by the toime i left office january 20th i had unresolved questions in my minda to whether the russians had been successful in getting u.s. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf, again, even in a witting or unwitting fashion. i've studied russian intelligence activities over the years and i have seen it. again, manifest in many of a counterintelligence cases and how they have been able to get
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people, including inside of cia, to become treasonous and frequently individuals who go along a treasonous path do not realize they're along that path until it gets to be a bit too late. >> jeremy bash, when that testimony was delivered, do you believe that john brennan had in his mind that there was an individual or individuals on the trump campaign or trump team who had been on a treasonous path. >> well, i think it's clear once mike flynn lied to the fbi about his communications with the russians that at least mike flynn was, at the very leefast, unwitting. and the question bob mueller will follow up on is whether he was witting and whether donald trump as the president-elect and later the president, was also witting of these contacts and an effort by russia to reach out. i find ken's reporting fascinating. i think the fact that the campaign, the candidate was warned and that the candidate and the campaign did not then go back to the fbi after the trump
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tower meeting is a huge red flag that not only were they unconcerned with this russian overture but they welcomed it and in some ways want to conceal it. to have warned the fbi would have been to expose their own conduct, the campaign's own conduct and that is something that bob mueller will be very, very interested in. >> let me follow up with you, then, jeremy. the reporting that we -- that is now public, about michael flynn is -- includes a promise he made to rip up russia sanctions on day one. possibly even while he was sitting on the dayus observing the inauguration of the 45th president. we're going to get to bret stevens' great piece on that but hearing that the president himself was warned about what the russians were after and what they wanted, does it seem more or less likely to you that flynn was some rogue actor in a pro-russia effort? >> well, i don't think we have
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enough evidence to know that he made a secret deal to be compensated by the russians to actually infiltrate the campaign. it seems to me like he was doing this with a lot of air cover that in fact, donald trump wanted him to play this role. and so it's -- the bigger question i think is what was donald trump's state of mind. what did he think was going on when he had his son, his son-in-law, campaign chairman and national security adviser and others in the campaign, including the future attorney general actually having these contacts to russia. that is the bigger question. i think flynn probably thought he had the permission to do what he was doing. he was not rogue. and so the question really goes back to the president himself. >> peter baker, this always ends up being a question of how high up did it go? and above mike flynn, there are not too many people. but let me put up a graphic of the trump campaign officials who contacted russians, were in contact with russians after the fbi explicitly warned them of what the nature of those contacts would be. you have michael flynn who has
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now pleaded guilty. jared kushner who is of interest to bob mueller. george papadopoulos, who has pleaded guilty. jeff sessions, the sitting attorney general who i believe has amended his testimony regarding russia contacts three times before congress, and donald trump jr., who spent at least two of the last seven days testifying before house intel. can you talk about whether the white house has any sort of public posture, public position or any comments or thoughts on background simply about the optics? one, two, three, four, five men who were in contact with russians either lied about it and got caught or ended up pleading guilty to crimes because of it or in sessions' case has amended his testimony before congress three times. what is the white house' position on these five men being in touch with russians after they were warned by the fbi? >> well, the white house
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position is that there's nothing necessarily wrong with being in touch with russia. in fact, the president just happened to talk to vladimir putin twice in the last few days. what's wrong is when people go out and lie about investigators. those people, as you point out, have already pleaded guilty. the point the white house says they didn't get charged with collusion or conspiracy or anything wrong in terms of contact with russia. but you're right. it raises questions why they would be so eager or willing to have these contacts with russia given the warning they had gotten with the fbi as your reporting has shown. it suggests a certain willingness to defy the institutions that are in charge of basically warning political figures in this country about the potential risks of contacts with adverse foreign powers. again, nothing wrong with being in touch with russians in and of themselves. the question is, what did those contacts add up to? was there any kind of quid pro quo discussed? the idea of lifting sanctions.
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was that discussed during the campaign? and if so, was it discussed in the context of actions that the russians were taking as they themselves basically have shown on behalf of the trump campaign? >> is it the quid pro question already established in the russians promising dirt on hillary clinton and don jr. say, yeah, i love it? >> well, the interest in the -- >> i mean if it didn't materialize, doesn't negate the fact it was offered and they agreed. >> what we don't have is donald trump jr. or anyone saying in exchange for that help, we will do this. i don't think we have anything that i've seen yet that explicitly links those, you know, action for action kind of situation. but you're right. donald trump jr., his understanding of that meeting in trump tower was the russian government was supporting his father. that's what the e-mail he received s ed said. and the information that was going to be given to him or thought it was going to be given, would have incriminated hillary clinton, and it was part of that russian government
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effort to help president trump. and -- or the future president trump. and you are right. he says love it. he definitely did not say this causes me any concern. >> jeremy bash, what does the intelligence community think when the russians who are associated with russian intelligence agencies offer a candidate's son dirt on a political opponent and they say, i love it. are we talking ourselves in circles? >> yeah, i think you are onto something here. based on ken's warning, these briefings to the candidate trump, although they were somewhat generic and general and offered to both campaigns, it's possible, and i would argue probable that the fbi already had picked up some information about the kremlin trying to influence and infiltrate the trump campaign and that motivated those warnings. these weren't just generic campaign season briefings. something very specific the fbi had in their mind. but your question that you just
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pose td to peter. it's important to note when the russian lawyer and trump delegation came to trump tower, they came to talk about the magnitsky act and we know from last week's epic piece in "the washington post" describing the trump administration's response to those sanctions where it was very clear the president himself opposed new congressional sanctions and actually delayed signing those sanctions. it's clear that precisely what the russian delegation was requesting, donald trump was prepared to give. so i don't even exchange, we'll for that. the russians asked for something and the trump campaign did it. >> ken's reporting says your campaign was warned about russians. did you ever have any contact with any russians? >> no, i did not. i never had any russians. >> i'm surprised nobody ever asked me that. >> did you have any knowledge of anybody on your campaign having
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contact with any russians? >> no, they have not had any contact with any russians? >> did you know about anybody lying about any contact with the russians? did you think that if anybody had -- i guess what's so abnormal is, peter baker is right. there is nothing wrong with just having a meeting with russians. there's nothing right about it either. it may not be illegal but normal campaigns do not huddle with russians. >> even ones where, you know, hillary was former secretary of state. so there were a lot of people on the campaign that -- >> george bush was the president and we didn't hear from any russians. >> and we didn't hear from -- there was one time where the ambassador reached out via somebody else to have a meeting with staff and they said, thanks we're not going to do that. but peter is also right that -- the timeline, so this is very revealing for the timeline because we know the fbi started the investigation in july. this meeting apparently happened in august. so they went into that meeting in august already with an
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understanding already of contact the trump campaign had with russia and talked to the president, our future president about it. so they already have -- that was not an interview with donald trump but they already have trump on the record and know what he was thinking at this time. >> consider how close the russians got. you have -- >> do we know the answer? >> yes, i think we do, okay? because the man who was running donald trump's campaign until the summer of 2016 was a man who we later learned, thanks to reporting in "the new york times," seems to have been receiving millions of dollars -- is alleged to have received millions of dollars in cash from the ukrainian president who was a known puppet of putin. what that is, in russian, is -- imagine a scenario in which paul manafort hadn't been fired because this "new york times" had information been reported.
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the man who ran reagan's campaign went on to become head of cia. what job might paul manafort have connected in a trump administration if he hadn't been exposed? he might have had a high level job, head of cia, omb, any number of offices. the russians would have been able to threaten him with exposure of the fact that he was conducting what seems to have an fraudulent or illicit electoral activity in ukraine, the things he's now been indicted. imagine if someone like paul manafort had simply lasted another six months to get into the white house. >> and they find all of the very best people, right? ken dilanian, congratulations on your piece. when we come back, house republicans preparing to wrap up their investigation into trump's ties with russia with democrats saying the investigation is far from complete. and the questioning far from nonpartisan. also ahead, donald trump unveils a new national security
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strategy, but will he undermine it with his own twitter feed when it comes to russia. and a live report on the amtrak train derailment in washington state this morning. stay with us. keyboard clacking ] [ mouse clicks, keyboard clacking ] [ mouse clicking ] [ keyboard clacking ] [ mouse clicking ] [ keyboard clacking ] ♪ good questions lead to good answers. our advisors can help you find both. talk to one today and see why we're bullish on the future. yours.
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mr. president, do you believe your transition team e-mails were improperly taken? >> not looking good. it's not looking good. it's quite sad to see that. my people were quite upset about it. i can't imagine there's anything on them, frankly.
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as we said, there's no collusion. no collusion whatsoever. but a lot of lawyers thought that was pretty sad. >> president trump fueling allegations by his legal team over the weekend that special counsel bob mueller illegally obtained, mails from the trump transition team during his invest gaugs into russian collusion. the special counsel's office responding in a special statement. when we have obtained e-mails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process. our panel is still here with us. along with jeremy and peter. peter baker, let me ask you about this tight rope that the white house seems to be walking between, obviously, greenlighting some of their closest allies in the right wing media's attacks and some of their closest allies in congress' not even veiled swipes but full-throated attacks on bob mueller and his team while marching the president out before the cameras and issuing statements under ty cobb's name
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saying he's not going to fire bob mueller. is it a sustainable posture? >> well, it's a shift anyway. basically for the last couple of months the president has been pretty good about sticking to ty cobb's advice which was don't attack the special counsel. you're innocent. you haven't done anything wrong. let's let him find that, conclude that and announce that and he'll have more credibility making that announcement if you haven't muddied up the waters. the president has basically followed that and his allies have more or less followed that. now we're seeing the last few days or week or so the beginning of what seemed to be if not a coordinated, certainly a consistent, steady drum beat of attacks against robert mueller and his people who question the credibility of the investigation, whether it's partisan or not. the president in effect is giving permission to these allies to do so because, clearly, he's worried that this investigation is going some place he doesn't want it to go or thinks it's gone on too long
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and he's grown tired or impatient with the advice he's been given from his lawyers to keep away from it. >> jeremy bash, let me ask you about bob mueller's investigation and these e-mails from over the weekend. you haven't seen a lot of public commenting from bob mueller at very many junctures. i was struck by the fact that we've talked about bob mueller a lot. he's not someone who reads his own press clippings, unlike donald trump, but he is someone for whom the integrity of the investigation, the integrity and seriousness of what he's undertaking is sake red to him. i want to know how you felt when he had his spokesperson put out that statement over the weekend. >> i think it was important for the special counsel to make clear to the public that they are using standard investigative techniques that are used in a variety of criminal investigations. in this case, it appears that what the special counsel did is asked the government agency responsible for running the computer systems for the transition team, the government services agency, the general services administration, the
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gsa, to turn over the e-mails and materials in a consensual way. that's a standard investigative technique. had they not done it or had the transition team interposed some objection and didn't want these turned over, bob mueller would have gotten a grand jury subpoena. the material was going to go to bob mueller either way. he got it the easy route. if the trump team wanted to make them go the hard route, he would have gone the hard route and gotten them anyway. there's absolutely nothing that bob mueller did that was incorrect in this matter. >> it seems like there are two things going on. one there is one fbi agent involved that we know of who sent attacks that make clear his political leanings were not to lean in favor of donald trump. bob mueller, as far as we know when he learned about it removed him from the mueller investigation. that seems to be one sort of bucket of gasoline poured on this dumpster fire against bob mueller. the other is that donald trump himself doesn't like any of the people running his own justice
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department. and i want to read you something from "the washington post." a senior official says trump mocked rosenstein's recent testimony on capitol hill saying he looked weak and unable to answer questions. trump has ranted about rosenstein as a democrat. one of these advisers said. characterized him as a threat to the presidency. so rod rosenstein for anyone who doesn't know, is a republican. he was appointed by a republican, as republican u.s. attorney. and i wonder if what isn't going on is this game of chicken and this sort of faux -- it's almost like the thought police that -- the republican position going to be that only republicans can investigate republicans? >> here's the thing with rod rosenstein. he's about one step away from getting a disparaging nickname in terms of how donald trump, the president, progresses with these things. there's three things going on. one is this consistent coordinated strategy of attacking bob muell enot even through the president but through allies with people
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bringing up next messages of exchanges, people bringing up possible collusion, anti-trump sentiment among agents, questioning the integrity of our fbi to a level you really haven't seen before and particularly with somebody like bob mueller in the chair. the second thing is, the penny doesn't seem to have dropped yet on collusion. the president said it again. no collusion. a collection of these e-mails is very bad. well, look, people haven't been striking deals and pleading guilty for collusion. they've been striking deals and pleading guilty for lying about their contacts with the russians n that's where this investigation has centered and gotten the most juice so far is that people clearly were not fully transparent and did not disclose their contacts. and that is what he's been able to gain tracks on. but the third thing is and almost the saddest part of this is i don't know if either of those really matter because in this kind of a news environment in a hyperpartisan environment they muddy the waters enough. they make hard-core republicans think that bob mueller is
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conducting biased investigation into the president. they put out a stream of news stories and outlets that are friendly. it's consistently talked about in certain outlets that this is really an attack to the democratic process of our country. forget about whether the russians tried to collude with the campaign. now it's whether the fbi is running a witch hunt into the president. and that's what is so disturbing about this is we are right as the media to question whether our very role in this, in reporting what is accurately happening in this investigation is actually under threat in this administration. there's many days i wake up and i do believe it is. >> that's the media's role. what's the republicans' role. they seem to be walking along like zombie goefhosts in this sr mueller campaign. they kept us safe after 9/11, kept us from being attacked here at home again. some of those are the same outlets meghan is talking about. >> one thing when you hear sean
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hannity comparing the fbi to the kgb. what's really distressing is how this anti-mueller view has infected sort of mainstream normal republican circles so that somehow the suggestion is, oh, this guy is on this wild fishing expedition. what does this have to do with collusion? i'm old enough to remember the way in which whitewater was covered and how president clinton ended up being impeached. he was impeached because of a relationship he had that he lied about with monica lewinsky that i don't think thad anything to do with land deals in arkansas which were the genesis of that particular process. so for republicans right now to say that bob mueller has exceeded his initial agreement is extremely rich. and the other thing so distressing is the attack on mueller's character and the suggestion that somehow because he was once director of the fbi he also was a platoon leader in
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vietnam and u.s. attorney, many other things, that somehow he's incapable of conducting an impartial investigation. he was appointed to his job as fbi director by george w. bush. so what is the standard now going to be? the only people that can investigate the president are the lackees of the president? who can investigate the president are people whose staff has been vetted to make sure that even in their most intimate exchanges, no anti-trump comment has been made? >> give me a name. who would that be? corey lewandowski? >> this is a man who can conduct an impartial investigation. >> what you are saying is right. >> this is what we're down to. >> jen palmieri, democrats don't hide their despair either. you have adam schiff on our show friday and i think it's a sentiment jackie spear said over the weekend. the rumor, the fear is all of
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this is to lay a foundation for having some sort of justification for firing bob mueller. >> right now trump is pushing on an open door trying to discredit muell are and people aren't pushing back enough and that's going to fall on democrats to do that. and a lot of democrats oar adam schiff is an american hero in my view and he's terrific, but it's going to have to be a morn senior democrats, and it's going to have to be more of them because -- and i know they are loet loathed to do that because it looks political and partisan. but their job is to be a check and a balance on the president of the united states. this is a very serious matter. and i think that the voters will respond favorably if they're out there aggressively making the case of what he's doing thwarting the rule of law. >> peter baker, does the white house believe because they have been told by anyone other than their own lawyers that this wraps up at the end of the year? >> i don't think so. i don't know wat bob mueller has told them but it's really hard
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to believe that he's given any kind of time frame to this. certainly a time frame that's that quick. the lawyers have been trying to keep the president calm by giving him thesis ide ideas it be over soon. hang tight. he's asked everybody in the white house to have interviews, complete these interviews. what more could there be? anybody who has lived through these things, just talking about whitewater. they don't last just a few months, sometimes even a yoor. it doesn't feel like this is an investigation anywhere near wrapping up. >> peter baker, thank you so much for spending some time with us. at the one-year mark, two prominent republican security experts examine donald trump's foreign policy accomplishments with this. quote, at least he hasn't started world war iii. we'll look at his newly unveiled strategy when we come back. causing a lack of sharpness, or even trouble with recall.
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with every decision and every action, we are now putting america first. we are bere building our nation, our confidence and our standing in the world. >> president trump's new america first national security strategy unveiled today. a 30-minute speech that sounded at times like a campaign rally with mentions of his win over hillary clinton, the border and the failures of his predecessors. notably missing from all that security talk was anything resembling criticism of russia for its role in interfering in the 2016 election. instead we got this. >> we also face rival powers -- russia and china -- that seek to challenge american influence values and wealth. we will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries, but in a manner that always protects our national interest.
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as an example, we thanked our country for the intelligence that our cia was able to provide them concerning a major terrorist attack planned in st. petersburg where many people, perhaps the thousands could have been killed. >> even the foreign policy document is drawing criticism that he won't say. here's how "the new york times" put it. while the document outlines a detailed plan to push back against china's global economic ambitions, it says little about the cyberand information warfare techniques moscow used to try to influence the election. we'll bring into the conversation susan glasser, chief international affairs columnist. susan, i love your piece. you had an interview with elliott cohen and max boot. explain who they are and what they said to you. >> two charter members of the
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republican division of the never trumper society. they organized a bunch of fellow republicans during the 2016 elections to come out and oppose trump on national security grounds. i went back to them to ask them a year later, well, how are you doing? they warned that trump would be the most reckless president ever when it came to national security. i asked if that was really the case. elliott cohen had a remark that said, well, they haven't started world war iii yet. i don't know if that's an accomplishment. but your point is really well take own this national security strategy that's out today. many people give fairly high marks to the team that donald trump has put together, or see it as such a conventional republican, national security team. the big problem is that nobody thinks that donald trump actually subscribes to the national security policy that his team has put together. >> bret stephens, you're nodding. one, why are you nodding and,
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two, if it's possible to put something on a piece of paper when you have got donald trump and vladimir putin literally swooning at each other in public appearances. before they had their call yesterday about intel sharing, which is pretty standard with just about everyone in any country we're not at war with we share intel with. but two days earlier, vladimir putin praised him for the american economy. he call him to say thanks. what difference does it make what's on a piece of paper if the president of the united states uses soft power to ooze admiration for vladimir putin. >> the president issued the right comments about charlottesville before correcting himself and offering his true views. >> or nato. he was on a piece of paper that we weren't walk away from article 5 but it took two trips to europe for him to say it. >> a couple points. all of these national security
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documents are really limited value. like guaranties of belgian neutrality. george w. bush comes to power. what's his theme when it comes to the united states? the united states shouldn't do nation building. what's the theme of his presidency? nation building. we were as deeply into the middle east by the time we were rolling up isis in mosul as we ever were. so history has a way of laughing at these national security strategies. in the case of trump, you know, listening to and looking at the document, okay, this is what h.r. mcmaster says about the world but it's -- the most important statements coming out of the white house are the ones coming out of the president's twitter feed. they reflect his instinct and the way he's going to operate in the world and it's what the rest of the world believes anyway. >> how weird is it for the cia to hear donald trump sort of boasting about sharing intelligence with russia. we share intelligence with all
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of our allies all the time. >> yeah, and i don't know the facts of this particular matter but cia or other intelligence agencies, if they provided information to stop a terrorist attack, that's amazing they do that and they do that all the time. it's not unusual. what's unusual here is that putin felt the need to publicize it and show his own people that he's getting something from donald trump and from washington. that's disturbing in its own right. i don't think cia should be used as a pawn in putin's own propaganda machine inside russia. and it's also concerning that the president, our president, then responded by again calling out this episode as something that can be shared publicly. usually we don't disclose, we don't discuss when we use intelligence to stop terrorist attacks. it can be dangerous to do that because it can compromise sources and methods and i'm frankly surprised the white house went along with putin there. >> can you speak to what jeremy
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and bret have touched on. all the traditional figures on donald trump's national security team. i think h.r. mcmaster gave a speech and stayed close to the text but it didn't bear out in what was delivered from president trump today. >> this issue is not isolated just to russia. although russia is the most obvious and sort of head-snapping example. i call it the cognitive dissonance of the trump foreign policy. you're left constantly trying to interpret. the world thinks the foreign policy is whatever trump says it is and they're looking at his twitter feed. here in washington you have people who are still desperate to invest in the idea that there is somebody in charge of this foreign policy other than trump. so you have this built-in tensionion that leads us all to become kremlinologists of the trump white house when it comes to foreign policy. that's the biggest single problem. on which issue today should we say, actually, the written
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foreign policy is the foreign policy. on which issue is should we pay attention to the president's twitter feed? obviously discarding one entirely is not an option for us. >> an online course at trump university. thank you so much. when we come back, an ominous sign ahead for republicans and president trump, even as they come closer than ever to their first big legislative win. my day starts well before i'm in the kitchen. i need my blood sugar to stay in control. i need to shave my a1c i'm always on call.
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the markets change... at t. rowe price... our disciplined approach remains. global markets may be uncertain... but you can feel confident in our investment experience around the world. call us or your advisor... t. rowe price. invest with confidence. never missing a chance to tout himself often in the third person, the president tweeted this this morning. remember, republicans are 5-0 in congressional races this year. the media refuses to mention this. i said gillespie and moore would lose for very different reasons, and they did. i also predicted "i" would win. republicans will do very well in 2018, very well. and copy fox & friends for
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inexplicable reasons. the only problem is the republicans lost a special election for the senate in alabama, and the president didn't count the election for california's 34th district where democrat jimmy gomez won. 5-1, my office is in longworth. i'd invite you to visit but wouldn't to cut into your tv time. more americans say they'd prefer democrats in control of congress. 50% versus 39%. according to a new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. the last time democrats had that double-digit lead and hit the 50% mark? september 2008, right before obama was elected. the panel is still here. megan murphy, with -- i'm not surprised that democrats have that much of an advantage over republicans for any reason other than just the constant chaos and mayhem and this feeling that trump and the republicans are unchecked. however, i tried to figure out if we'd ever have an economy that appeared to be so healthy
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and approval ratings for the party in control so low. >> yeah, that's what is truly baffling. we should make clear that the president inherited some very strong, positive economic tailwinds when he took office. we had seen under president obama unemployment halved, we'd seen over 10 million jobs created. and we've seen that tra jectry continue. confidence that we'll get comprehensive tax reform. we should be very clear that doesn't benefit over 50% of americans and it really disproportionately goes to the wel wealthiest americans. what is so fascinating is this is why the tax reform bill is so make or break in terms of the economy because the real issue facing the american economy is that so many people still feel left out because their wages, their paycheck has remained stagnant and they haven't gotten a real boost in wages. so much of the flow of rising prosperity and economic recovery has flowed to the wealthiest
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households. that explains so much of the anger that you saw help fuel the president trump. that's what you see so many people saying, wait a second. i'm still not benefiting. i'm not seeing manufacturing gains. i'm not seeing my pay package go up. that's going to be the real test. that is what's so fascinating about this tax bill is we don't know what's going to happen. there nor studies that show this type of trickle down economics actually does impact the middle class families they say it's going to and certainly not the lowest earning families. and whether they'll feel that real boost in their paycheck that's going to help the republicans get over some of these truly woeful, woeful polling numbers and whether democrats will be able to capitalize on that sentiment almost in the exact reverse we saw. >> let me ask you. the only thing more unpopular than republicans in congress is the republican-backed tax bill. and there's a reason that presidents, democrats and republicans, do tax cuts in a bipartisan way because they tend to not be very popular with anyone other than really rich
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people. >> and it was -- one of the polls i saw this morning showed even in trump counties, it was under -- level of support is 39%. and i think that people, they are going into this year thinking year thinking this plan will not help them and even though, if those, if there are some that will find benefit, my experience having been on the other side of this, trying to sell people and great benefits of the payroll tax benefit, they don't feel that. look, $50 more in your paycheck! they don't feel it because of the underlying economic problems that were identified. that's not going to get solved here. democrats have to be very aggressive in not just pushing back on taxes. it's all of trump that's going to -- and treat him seriously, take him as the serious threat he is and that's going to propel them in 2018. >> how do republicans sort of deal with the sort of poetic
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justice or irony that is -- sort of the fact we have an economy that's healthy and the fact that their approval ratings are as low as ever? >> i think they're going to have to pray that the stimulative effects they predict for the tax bill actually take hold. particularly as was said if you start to see whether or not wages rise. if you do, i think democrats will find that they're not in quite as good shape 11 months or 12 months from now than they might have hoped. look, you know, democrats need to be very careful here, because in many respects they are perhaps falling into the same trap that republicans did in 1998. 1998, republicans were in a rage to impeach the president. they considered him a moral delinquent, lying to the american people, was well known to be abusive towards women. all of this sort of, you know, moral fervor was playing into republican politics in a year
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when the dow jones industrial average went up 16%. unemployment hit a 28 or 29-year low. the result, people expected democrats to be clobbered in the mid-terms, in fact they gained a number of seats in congress. so if you actually see some whether you call it a sugar high, whatever you want to call it, some stimulus in the tax bill in terms of hiring, wages, democrats will have a hard case to make. people won't care about the president's tweets or high crimes an misdemeanors. >> bill clinton wasn't a threat and president trump is. >> donald trump has a 35% approval rating. >> it's true. >> he is a sincere threat to the preri republic. democrats react, you see it in alabama and virginia. i take your cautions but i think it's a different time this time. up next, a live report from
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the scene of the deadly trail deployment in washington state. what's the secret of turning a no into a yes? do you know how to network like a champ and when is a good time to have some fun in the office? i'm j.j. ramberg and have great answers to these questions which might help you run a better business. check out the "your business" page on nbcnews.com for an exclusive online video series to help you grow fast, and go further. thank you! so we're a go? yes! we got a yes! what does that mean for purchasing? purchase. let's do this. got it. book the flights! hai! si! si! ya! ya! ya! what does that mean for us? we can get stuff. what's it mean for shipping? ship the goods. you're a go! you got the green light. that means go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open.
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an amtrak train derailment today in washington state killed several and injured at least 70. ntsb are on the scene. for more, what we're learning, jim forman is in pierce county for us. this was the inaugural trip for this train on this journey. any clues at this hour about what went wrong? >> reporter: people onboard especially one longtime amtrak
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worker, who was riding as one of the celebrants of this inaugural train, actually an added run. not a new train and not necessarily new tracks. it's upgraded tracks. he said he felt a thud and then they were just flying. people were flying. i can tell you right now, we have gone from a rescue to a recovery operation. at least half a dozen people are dead, but here's the thing. a state trooper a short time ago told me they cannot get in to some of the most mangled parts of the wreckage, because it is just unsafe. so a large crane has come in. they're getting the preparations made to set it up, to shore up those cars that are just mangled and dangling so rescuers and go in, recover those killed and make sure they have all the evidence they need for their investigation as well. >> jim, this is -- this is the first time i've heard the figure half a dozen people are confirmed dead. do you have -- is that a number
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being given by local law enforcement? coming from the ntsb, or has the ntsb not really begun their formal part of the investigation yet? >> reporter: no. the ntsb go team from washington will do the heavy lift. we've heard from a number of sources that it is half a dozen. a.p. is reporting that number. there is fluidity in it, in talking with the troopers, but i've done the math of the number of people onboard. 83. and 77 of them were taken to the hospital. so that is jiving with the number given of half a dozen people killed this morning. and what was supposed to be a festive train ride. it was a precedent. dignitaries from amtrak and the state all here to hype the new service when this tragedy occurred. >> jim, i heard early in the day that there was no one in a passenger vehicle on the freeway there on i-5 injured, that was
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killed. is that true to your understanding? >> reporter: yes. not killed. and from what -- my conversations have been -- not seriously wounded, considering that a massive -- amtrak train came plowing down at the start of rush hour traffic. this stretch of i-5 is notoriously sluggish, even at 7:40 in the morning, and the cars would have been stacking up as they make their way to the south. so that is no small miracle that no one on the ground underneath the train was killed. >> small miracles. we'll take them on a day like today. jim forman, thank you. opening a conversation, donald trump had bizarre tweets today about infrastructure. he's been president for a year and there hasn't been an infrastructure package sent to capitol hill. >> and no infrastructure package in the tax reform bill where one thing there is bipartisan agreement on is the desperate need for infrastructure improvement in this country. we don't want to prejudge the
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cause of this tragic accident, and it could have been much worse, sounds like from our bridges to roads, to airports to train tracks to our ports, it is a security issue. it is a healthiness issue, dilapidated, dangerous and this is where we need investment. one thing the people want the president to put forward, he consistently failed to do it, bipartisan support. should be done. >> that does it for "deadline." i'm nicolle wallace, my friend katy tur in the for chuck on "mtp daily." it is a monday. good evening. i'm katy tur in new york in for chuck todd. welcome to "mtp daily." the president says he's going to get tough with russia. but is anyone taking him seriously? mr. trump today delivered a major national security address in w

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