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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  January 4, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST

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be careful out there in the snow and ice and follow us on facebook and twitter twitter, @mitchellreports. craig melvin is up next. >> damage control. the president just talked about those claims made in that explosive new book that's not even out yet. his thoughts on steve bannon's harsh words for the first family. and they let the wolff in the white house. the man behind that book defending his work. apparently there are tapes. so what's the strategy for this white house? today's briefing is expected to start in about 30 minutes. you can see reporters there already starting to assemble. also the big story today, a snow bomb. parents of this country under a blizzard warning. and, folks, it's about to get worse. after the snow, many of us will start to see subzero temperatures. we're going to check in with the one and only al roker in just a few moments. we start with denial and threatened litigation from the
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white house. just moments ago, president trump, who has threatened steve bannon with legal action, made his first public appearance, excuse me, his first public comments about those explosive things that his one-time campaign chairman and adviser said in a new best-seller. >> any words about steve bannon? >> i don't know. he called me a great man last night so he changed his tune pretty quick. thank you all very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. i don't talk to him. i don't talk to him. that's just a misnomer. >> the comments follow a letter from the president's personal attorneys, also threatening to sue the author and publisher of fire and fury. the new inside look at the white house which contains a number of salacious stories which we must make clear once again nbc news has not confirmed but they do call into question president trump's fitness to lead. his a built to read. even his mental health. trump supporters today out in force, pushing back on the book
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and its claim. even bannon who's quotes contain some of the most damning allegations appears to be doing damage control today. >> focus on the agenda because, you know, there is nobody we think higher of than president trump. >> you'll find out most of the sources are people that were disgruntled that no longer work at the white house. >> the president is a best-selling author. he does read. there are some people that assimilate information differently from other people. sir richard branson for example is not a great reader but he's a great reader of people. >> sir richard branson is dyslex dyslexic. >> these are allegations in a book by michael wolff. he's a sleaze bag. >> let us start with our chief white house correspondent halle jackson there in the briefing room getting ready for this briefing set to start in 30 minutes. what are the president's lawyers
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alleging? >> there's essentially -- issuing the cease and desist letters to both the publisher and the author of this book "fire and fury." the book comes out january 9th. cat's out of the bag to a degree. it's a little difficult to put the toothpaste back here. you have the attorneys for donald trump, for the president, saying steve bannon violated a nondisclosure agreement for example. there is obviously a legal threat here. let me for context point out during the campaign, even before that, donald trump has threatened to sue a lot of people. everybody from lawmakers to the women accusing him of sexual misconduct to the club for growth, none of those suits ended up actually getting filed. so it's a question of the follow through here. although it is worth noting that the attorney that the president has brought on for all of this has worked with his family in the past, worked with melania trump for example and also was involved in that lawsuit against gawker with peter teal. gawker obviously no longer exists. so that is the lawsuit.
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let me touch on a couple of issues. you mentioned some of the experts from wolff's piece out today. a little pull back the curtain behind the scenes look. he talks about the access inside that west wing, just through the door behind me there, that he hadded for a large portion of the begin of course the administration. the white house says hey, steve bannon is the one who cleared wolff into the west wing. the majority of the time, 95% of the time. there's one particular explosive passage catching a lot of attention here. when wolff talks about the feeling of the president's advisers here, he says everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of the president's repetitions. it used to be inside of 30 minutes he'd repeat word for word and expression for expression the same three stories. many of his tweets were the product of his repetitions. he just couldn't stop saying something. that is what michael wolff is
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reporting. i asked a friend of the president, you just played a little bit of our interview a second ago, about this particular passage and about the president apparently according to wolff being unable to recognize friends at mar-a-lago over the holiday break. he says the president oftentimes likes to repeat things for dramatic or theatrical effect. he also says the president recognized him on new year's eve at mar-a-lago several times. no questions about the president's mental fitness. in this briefing room about 24 hours ago, you might remember, sanders pivoting to talk about the mental fitness of kim jong-un in north korea. remember, nbc news has not independently confirmed a lot of what's in michael wolff's book. some things in the book that now appear to be just factual untrue, for example, that the president did not know who former house speaker john boehner was. you search twitter, it's obvious the president's been tweeting about john boehner for a long time.
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i would also point out a couple other things. number one, there is a report out from axios that wolff has tapes of some of these interviews. i bring it up for one reason, which is you look at the on the record statements of this book versus some of the background information. steve bannon went on the record to talk about donald trump, to talk about people inside the west wing. so that is notable. i would also say the president, you heard him in that pool spray just a little bit ago, had an opportunity to really lay into steve bannon. he had an opportunity to light up steve bannon, to throw a verbal grenade. he did not. he chose not to do that. he kind of pulled the punch and just said hey, i don't talk to steve bannon much anymore. to finish, i want to mention this new rule inside the west wing. a new old rule you could say. something put in place under john kelly we understand now will be enforced more seriously. that is a restriction on the use of personal cell phones, personal devisors inside the west wing.
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perhaps to crack down on, for example, leaks, but out in on it sound like the west wing is going to be stricter on the use of government devices only inside the west wing for staffers and for guests, craig. >> hallie jackson, thank you. shannon pettypiece, bloomberg, jill winebanks, contributor, also former assistant watergate special prosecutor. and susan page, washington bureau chief for "usa today." the president has developed a bit of a reputation for tweeting about nfl players protesting where the news cycle goes against him today appears to be no exception and response to make america great again. the president wrote, so beautiful, show this picture to the nfl players who still kneel. it would seem as if they clearly realize this is damaging to the brand. how damaging, shannon? >> well, it appears they're trying to get back on message to give you a little bit of inside,
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behind the curtain activity that was going on today, the footage you saw from this immigration meeting that the president was having with senators, that was not a planned photo op. the reporters were called just a few minutes before this meeting took place. called suddenly. we weren't expected to be called into the room. they allowed these remarks to be videotaped. that was not planned. i would think a decision was made at the last minute to let's try and get some image out there. of course, they knew that one of the questions would be about steve bannon and as hallie pointed out, it seemed the president had a prepared remark. so i think they are trying to get off the subject. that would be difficult for the next few days. there's more and more that's going to be coming. certainly days, if not into next week. >> for the first time, we're going to hear from the author of this book tomorrow morning. let me read what mike wolff said
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in an e-mail from top white house aide gary cohen. let me add nbc news has not confirmed this. a senior white house official denies both the substance and existence of such an e-mail. but again, this is what wolff writes. in april, an e-mail originally copied to more than a dozen people went into far wider circulation when it was forwarded and reforwarded. purporting to represent the views of gary cohn and summarizing the appalled sense in much of the white house. the e-mail read, it's worse than you can imagine. an idiot surrounded by clowns. trump won't read anything, not one page memo, not the brief policy papers, nothing. he gets up halfway through meetings with world leaders because he is bored. and his staff is no better. kushner is an entitled baby who knows nothing. bannon is an arrogant expletive who thinks he's smarter than he is. trump is less a person than a collection of terrible traits. no one will survive the first
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year but his family. i hate the work, but feel i need to stay because i'm the only person there with a clue what he's doing. the reason so few jobs have been, the reason so few jobs is that they only accept people who pass ridiculous purity tests, even for midlevel policy making job, where the people will never see the light of day. i am in a constant state of shock and horror. assuming these stories are true, how does the white house turn this ship around, susan page, or is this just one of those stories that we're not even talking about in two days and this is just another wednesday at the white house? >> you know, i do not think this is a story that's going to go away in a day or two and because of tweets about nfl players kneeling. that's for two reasons. one, some of these disclosures have legal repercussions for the russia investigation. they also have these rather devastating political implay i kas because of the picture of a white house that is so dysfunctional. and the comments not just from
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one senior white house official but from many depicting the president in a negative way and depicting the whole setup there as one that's just not really operating in the way you need to have the white house operating. so this is i think quite a serious matter. efforts at damage control so far by the trump folks have been to attack the author, attack the messenger, to call for a cease and desist. it has not been so much to go and deny the substance of the most serious stories that are depicted in this book. >> we heard from steve bannon a few hours ago on a radio show. i did find it noteworthy that he did not dispute much of what's been reported over the past 24 hours in terms of the substance. wolff writing that the white house lawyers did not like the staff's response to that 2016 trump tower meeting with don jr. quote, the lawyers, in disgust and alarm, saw, in effect, each principal becoming a witness to
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another principal's potential misdeeds -- all conspiring with one another to get their story straight. stephen miller, hope hicks had draft order at least typed kushner's version of the first letter written at bedminister to fire comey. hicks had joined with kushner and his wife to draft on air force one the trump-directed press release about don jr.'s meeting in the trump tower. how significant are those revelations? >> all of this is significant. all of it is another piece of puzzle. they all fit together to start showing a very compelling case of obstruction of justice. and it doesn't matter whether there's an underlying collusion or underlying conspiracy with the russians. there is a clear case being shown that they were obstructing and impeding the investigation of that relationship. and so we have some pretty good
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evidence against all of these people gathering together and committing a crime. >> wolff also writes this about trump's opinion of bob mueller, jill. and then there was the president's insistent claim he could do something. i can fire him, he would say. indeed it was his -- it was another of his repetitive loops. i can fire him, i can fire him. if he thinks he can fire mueller, than what's preventing him from doing just that? >> well there are two things. one is he can't fire him. he would have to fire rosenstein. in order to do that, he would probably have to get rid of the attorney general and replace him. because the rule is he can't be fired except for cause and so far there is no cause. rosenstein has made that absolutely clear. the second reason is that the public outcry and the resistance is prepared to march en masse if
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mueller is fired. this is what happened during watergate. the saturday night massacre led to a public outcry that forced the president to appoint a second special prosecutor and to turn over the tapes that ultimately are what got them into complete trouble and led to his articles of impeachment and led to the senate concluding that they would convict him. so it would be a fool hearty lack of knowledge of history if the president now fired mueller, he should learn from the lesson of watergate and the saturday night massacre. >> shannon, going back to hal hally's reporting there, the personal cell phones, is that going to stem the leaks? >> well, i mean, no. because you can just take your phone off of the white house campus and call whoever you want or do whatever you want. this is a ban on the west wing, you know, plenty of white house
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staffers can walk out of west wing any time and go to the pete's coffee down street and make a phone call or send a text message. i will point out this is a must different white house today in some ways -- okay, in some ways it's much different than even six months ago. there's no more bannon, priebus, spicer. a number of people will be giving their resignations at the one year mark if they have not already, like we've seen gina powell leave and omarosa step away. it is going to be different in year two. but of course the one consistency is president trump. he will remain the president. he sets the tone. and so i think things will change like use of cell phones and the personnel. obviously some very major things will stay the same. >> susan page what continues to strike me about the whole thing is, granted, they're railing against the author of the book today, but here was a guy who was allowed inside the white house for, again what appears to
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be the better part of 200 days, talks to hundreds, conducted on the record interviews. if one had just done a web search of the author, they probably would have found out, susan, that maybe this wasn't the guy that they wanted writing this kind of book about the president. >> you know, you're right, michael wolff wasn't he's dropping. he wasn't overhearing somebody on the next seat. he was invited into the white house repeated lid for hours. extraordinary access. and got on the record quotes from people close to and supportive of president trump. that's what makes it so devastating. it's not some democrats depicting the president as not being an effective leader or questions about his leadership and judgment. it's the people who are closest to him, who work the hardest for his election, talking on the record and according to these reports, sometimes even on tape, which makes it hard to deny things that you perhaps told a reporter on the record. >> there are tapes. susan, thank you, jill, thank you, miss petty piece, always
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good to have you as well, thanks to you. as the trump administration and its allies, as they continue to fire back at the book's author, that writer just laid out a detailed defense of his work. we'll look at that. and once again we're expecting the white house to take more questions about his work. i've just been told it's been pushed back. the daily press briefing now at 2:00. that means you'll have us for 43 more minutings. plus, millions of americans feeling the effects of just one heck of a snowstorm right now. a bomb cyclone. that is a meteorological term. al roker will verify it. he is standing by to show us who's likely to see the most trouble.
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perhaps unsurprisingly, fire and fury is now number one on amazon's best-seller list. a new article in the hollywood reporter, the author reveals how he was given extraordinary access to write this explosive tell all. quote, i interviewed donald trump for the hollywood reporter in june 2016 and he seemed to have liked or not disliked the piece i wrote. after the election, i proposed to him that i come to the white house and report an inside story for later publication. journalistically, as a fly on the wall. which he seemed to misconstrue as a request for a job. no, i said, i'd just like to
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watch and write a book. a book, he responded, losing interest. i hear a lot of people want to write books, he added, clearly not understanding why anybody would. but sure, trump seemed to say, knock yourself out. joined now by msnbc's own ckati ter. gabe sherman, "vanity fair" special correspondent, also msnbc contributor who i'm sure is also working on a book of sorts as well, right? >> everyone should be working on a book. >> books are great. they're interesting. they're good reads. they're full of details. >> especially audio book. i agree with you. wolff goes on to say, i'm going to read it here, his not disapproval became kind of a passport for me to hang around, checking in each week, making appointments with various senior staffers who put my name in the system and then wandering across the street to the white house and plunking myself down, day after day, on a west wing couch. does this help explain how he was able to get such inside information -- >> absolutely.
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>> in quotes? >> he talks about just sitting on the west wing couch and just watching the staffers and the aides as they were running by. he calls it a thoroughfare. and he had access, close access, to all of the senior aides. he talks about the author's note. also check out an author's note to see how somebody put together a book. he talking about how he did this with hundreds of interviews from the president to the senior staff, some who tooked dozens of times. that's kind of a questionable thi thing. makes you wonder what in the book might be hearsay or second or third hand. there's already some folks coming out saying i never said that. so the question is how is he going to be able to authenticate some quotes in the book. he does have some tapes. >> did doesn't sound like he has tapes of all of the interviews. >> the very first anecdote in the book is about a dinner between steve bannon and roger ailes. where ailes seems to be, as wolff rights, incredulous, who
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donald trump, who knows nothing, has no political beliefs, actually pulled this off and actually won. and it's a very vivid, very detailed account of that meeting that has, in itself, some explosive details. the question is, how in the world did he recount this? did steve bannon just tell him about this? how can you trust this is what roger ailes said? after all, roger ails is no longer with us. turns out, according to wolff, he was the one who hosted the dinner. he was there for watching as bannon was trying to convince roger ailes that steve bannon had donald trump in lock step with the bannon way of doing things, the nationalism way of doing things. the fox news way of doing things. >> "the washington post," i'm sure you read the article, raised some of the same issues. he noted that wolff in the past has been called blunt, pathetic and calculating. a provoketeur.
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he has been accused of not just recreating scenes, but of creating them wholesale. essentially saying here's a guy that makes stuff up. do you find him to be credible? >> listen, i should point out that michael wolff has attacked me personally. help wrote a nasty review of my roger ailes biography. i'm no fan of michael wolff. that said, i think this is actually credible. the thrust of this book, that the people closest to the president of the united states find him to be mentally and emotionally unfit for office rings very true. so obviously michael wolff has a controversial past. when it comes to his reporting on the trump white house, i think readers should take it seriously. >> again, as gabe was saying, a lot of this aligns with a lot of the conversations that i've had
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with people who have worked in the white house, people who have been close to donald trump for a long time. i got a text message from somebody who used to work in the white house, who's known trump a long time. a couple months ago, after my book came out. and texted me to say, do you think he's lost a step since the campaign. so this is a pervasive view amok those who know him. that should not be surprising. >> lost a step as in his mental capacity? >> yes. >> you tweeted something i want to share with our viewers and listeners on sirius as well. giving access to wolff. all they needed to do was call murdoch and he would have said don't cooperate because wolff had written a nasty book about him. i kept waiting for that call to be made. why would trump world -- and we talked about this in the commercial break, why would they allow this guy in for 200 days, hundreds of interviews? >> it boggles the mind. michael wolff is nothing, if not an astute media operator.
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very similar to what he did with rupert murdoch. years ago, he wrote a flattering "vanity fair" column about murdoch being the write owner to take over "the wall street journal" at a time the rest of the media was freaking out. fast forward, murdoch liked the column, he gave him access for a book, wolff then in turn used that access and wrote a very critical book of murdoch that aired a lot of dirty laundry. michael wolff wrote a lot of columns that called the rest of the media biased. trump liked those pieces. what happened? wolff did it again. >> the bait and switch. >> donald trump is very easy to manipulate in that way. he wouldn't want to talk to me because he didn't like my reporting. all you had to do is raise your hand and say you're leading in this poll and he would turn around and have an entire discussion. i talk about it in my book, not to give a subtle plug for my
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book. >> that's okay, only the third plug. >> you can trick him by being nice to him. this is clearly what michael wolff did. >> scary when you think about what president xi or putin would have to do. >> look at what xi did in china. rolling out the red carpet. taking him to the forbidden city. >> stroking his ego. >> his face projected on buildings. part of the reason why wolff was given this sort of access is because the white house was, probably still is, but certainly was before john kelly came in very disorganized. so steve bannon, the chief strategist, waving you in, you're going to be there and you're going to sit there and nobody's going to know to tell you to leave. >> i don't want to let something go you just brought up. you indicate and peter alexander asked this question of sarah huckabee sanders. this question of the president's mental fitness. you both still have sources inside the white house. is this a legitimate concern by those who are close to the
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president? >> 110%. i've reported this in "vanity fair" as well. people around the president who know him the best say this is not the same man who even ran for office or of the aprentiss days. this is a person whose memory and emotional judgment is slipping. >> if you look at older interviews with donald trump, he seems to be able to keep the thread longer than he can keep it now in interviews. >> all right. you hiked in in your snow boots. we wanted you to do double duty. the family business of governing. the person jared kushner and ivanka trump blame for problems they saw in the white house. plus, heavy snow, strong wind, marching up the east coast. this is a live look at central park there. here in new york city. we have al roker standing by. he is not in the park. mr. roker is inside. he's around all his fancy computers and weather monitors. he's going to tell us where this
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storm is going to be the strongest in the coming hours.
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a raging nor'easter unleashing heavy waves and snow
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from the south to new england. behind it, in some places, record shattering cold. mr. roker, thank you for sticking around for triple duty. where is this thing now? where is it headed next? >> right now, it's making its way up the coast. the good news is it is already what we call bombed out. it is now a classic nor'easter as it comes up the coast. it has come a little closer to the west. 50 to 75 miles. we will see more activity as you make your way inland. albany, binghamton, salesbury. this system right now, snowfall totals, jfk airport officially in blizzard conditions. more than three hours of quarter mile visibility. three-plus inches of snow falling. winds of over 35 miles per hour. there have been blizzard conditions all along the new
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england coast. islip airport picking up 17 inches of snow out on long island. bridgeport, almost 8. east providence rhode island, 8 inches of snow. bayville delaware, 16 inches of snow. here are the impacts we're looking at still. we've got winter weather advisories. right along the coast, we're talking blizzard warnings from eastern maine, down through boston. long island, not quite new york city but long island. coastal new jersey. into the delmarva peninsula. some warnings will be through friday morning. snowfall totals. we're looking at 3 to 6 inches in philadelphia. 6 to 8 inches in new york city. it's going to be hard to keep track of these. it's a very light snow. because it's very granular. very powdery. when these winds kick up, there's blowing and drifting. hartford, we're looking at 7 to 10 inches of snow. there have been big problems with mass transit, especially the rails.
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the switches are getting clogged up with snow so they're having to slow down the trains. providence, 8 to 14 inches when all is said and done. boston, 10 to 16 inches of snow. and they've had their second highest high tide since 1978. they've been watching this. portland, 12 to 15 inches. we've had snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour. as this system pulls away, the next thing we're going to be looking at, the wind gusts. wind gusts of over 60 miles per hour. you combine this with the high tides along massachusetts and maine's border. and we are looking at real problems. so power outages probably going to be occurring as well. trees coming down. this could be a real mess going into tomorrow. and then the other problem, everything that's on the ground is not going anywhere. because at this point, craig, we're talking dangerously cold temperatures and windchills. so windchill advisories, watches
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and warnings extended as far west as indiana and michigan. as far south as the southeast. and u.n. to boston. 60 million people plus under this. and not only will we have winds, but we will also have very cold air being pulled in. so right now it feels like 12 in richmond, 13 in boston, 22 in atlanta, 2 in st. louis. tomorrow morning, as we move into the weekend, look at these. we should see record lows in bangor, philadelphia, raleigh will be 9. chicago on saturday, minus 5. so this is dangerously cold air. we have to get through the weekend. and then we can take a little bit of a break. temperatures will start to moderate. and we can all catch our breath. in the meantime, the next 48 hours, going to be kind of tough and going into the weekend. of course the airports, a big problem. they're going to be taking a while to get back on track. so it's a real mess. >> what i'm hearing from you is it's bad now for a lot of folks, it's about to get worse.
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>> really big right by you, look at -- >> like i could just reach out, i could just touch. >> ow, ow. >> that's great. al, it's good to have you, sir. >> you, too, my friend. it's personal, the shots that steve bannon takes at ivanka trump and jared kushner in this new book.
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your brain changes as you get older. but prevagen helps your brain with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember. michael wolff's new book reveals first daughter ivanka trump had no love for steve
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bannon. wolff writing in part even bot-like in public. about a father and more alarmed by where his white house was heading. she and her husband blame this on bannon and his trump philosophy often interpreted as let trump be bannon. the couple began to regard him as more diabolical than putin. not confirmed what is in wolff's book. let's bring in the correspondent correspondent for "vanity fair." and in the spirit of our last guest, author of the loudest voice in the room, you got a book too, conservative commentator, msnbc contributor, author of how the right lost its mind. gabe, let me start with you. there's a lot of ink in this
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book devoted to the president's family. here's one example of wolff describing how they wielded power inside the white house. the trump family was not going to be run by its lawyers. jared and ivanka helped to coordinate a series of lurid leaks, drinking, bad behavior, personal life in disarray about marcs cou s coulcosowitz who ad president to send the couple home. shortly after, kasowitz was out. what do we know about the clout of the president's daughter and son-in-law? >> clearly what this book showed and it echoes a lot of my own reporting is that really there was this power struggle between steve bannon on one side who represented the president's base and ivanka and her husband who wanted trump to reach out and be more palatable to a mainstream-style of politics. this was the defining struggle
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of the early months of the trump white house that michael wolff chronicles. we saw behind the scenes, you know, like he wrote ivanka trump is very controlled in public. in private, she is very much of an infighter. a "vanity fair" piece several weeks ago, i reported how ivanka and steve bannon got into screaming matches in the oval office when things got really heated. this clearly is a relationship that was troubled from start. >> do we know the impetus for that? do we know precisely why it was that ivanka had so much disdain for steve bannon and apparently vice versa? >> there's two things. one is his politics. ivanka and jared grew up in, you know, new york city as, you know, sort of new york liberals or democrats and, you know, while maybe fiscally conservative, socially liberal. steve bannon's politics really offended them. they found is distasteful. especially his advice to trump not to apologize for his charlottesville comments.
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really this was a style issue as well as a policy issue. >> steve bannon throughout the book based on the excerpts i've read, takes a number of cheap and personal shots at ivanka trump. she was a nonevent on the campaign, he writes. she became a white house staffer and that's when people suddenly realized she's dumb as a brick. a little marketing savvy and has a look, but as far as understanding actually how the world works and what politics is and what it means, nothing. once you expose that, you lose such credibility. jared is just kind of flirts in and does the arab stuff. what's the point there? like, why would steve bannon go on that kind of rant about the president's daughter and his son-in-law? >> well, the little bit of hubris. bannon has apparently been saying this off the record for some time. what really has done bannon is, three things. number one is the hubris. you know, letting people know that he was the puppet master. number two is attacking members
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of the president's own family. never a good idea. okay, using words like treasonist and unpatriotic. validating the russia investigation. and then raising issues. i don't think we really paid enough attention to two words that appear in that book that allegedly came out of steve bann bannon's mouth where he allegedly talked about money laundering. he's suggesting he engaged in unpatriotic behavior and perhaps criminal behavior and there is an invisible but very sensitive red line that was crossed there because he's gone past the politics into the family and raising some issues that i think exposed some real vulnerability. if you're wondering why the president has reacted to this, even by his standard, kind of an unhinged way, i do think he's raising issues of really hypersensitivity in trump's mind. >> charlie, based on the excerpts that you've read so
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far, and what you know about this white house, i know you still got some sources that are close to this administration, you find it believable? >> i think that we ought to approach the book with a certain amount of skepticism just because, you know, michael wolff might be kind of a journalistic horse's ass does not mean his reporting does not reflect a lot of the reporting we're hearing. gabriel sherman's reporting. maggie haberman, who by the way, was derided by wolff throughout the campaign. you put all of this together. you talk to the people. and you do get the sense that this does reflect a consensus of what's been going on behind the scenes. but it is -- it is quite a lurid picture. it is quite a vivid picture of a white house in complete meltdown. >> charlie, good to have you, thank you, sir. mr. sherman, thank you for doing some double duty today. by the way, the guy who wrote that week, michael wolff, his first exclusive interview about his work, that's tomorrow morning on "today."
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he will join "meet the press" on sunday as well. that's only on nbc. changing priorities. new federal laws on pot. and why some towns are hoping that the new state pot law in california will help them go from bankrupt to booming.
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the trump administration is rolling back the obama era policy allowing states to determine whether to allow the commercial and medical sale of marijuana. attorney general jeff sessions announced today that federal prosecutors will now determine once again how aggressively to enforce federal law which prohibits buying, selling, or possessing the drug. 35 states now permit the sale and use of marijuana. one of those states, california. california started issuing permits for the recreational sale of marijuana. some are going as far as hoping pot sales could jump start struggling local economies with economic development. for his series pot gold rush msnbc's jacob soberoff traveled to a few of those places.
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>> reporter: all throughout california towns with struggling economies are hoping to turn things around by getting into the canibus business. >> looking at the remains of buildings. now this is kind of what's happened. this was once a thriving cut flower area. now most of those greenhouses are vacant. >> reporter: in the '90s the u.s. signed a trade pact with columbia that devastated monterey's cut flower industry. he intends to renovate this area and convert to a canabus growing operation. he's not the only one. >> this is called fuji lane. it was the powerhouse of the cut flower industry. as you look down you'll see fancy fencing with bashed wire on top. wherever you see that on that road is a new canabus operation come into being. we'll end up with close to a couple hundred greenhouse operations here. >> 400 miles to the south the
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town of dessert hot springs is bankrupting in 2001. they're hoping canabus will revive. >> what you're seeing is hot springs they've zoned. it's canabus friendly. all of them have canabus opportunities. >> 30,000 square feet. >> greta carter has a use the production facilities. like this new $7 million grow house. >> one room, times 84. >> times $2,000 a pound. >> times $2,000 a pound times 12. >> is 2 million 16,000. >> each room will turn four times. >> so that is 8,064,000 for khanna bus every single year. >> how much tax revenue are we talking about? >> over $300,000 a year. >> 300,000 bucks just from this
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building? >> yes. >> it's already had an impact on one life in desert hot springs. real estate prices. >> my guess is it didn't work very much a couple years ago. >> a couple years ago they were probably purchased for around 60,000 an acre. >> 60,000? >> now you'd be lucky if you could find one for 900,000 to a million. >> you're talking a million dollars an acre. >> undeveloped. >> in the middle of the desert and three years ago this cost you $60,000 an acre. >> that's what i'm telling you. >> she's the ceo. >> nice to meet you. >> one of carter's clients is building a grow house to be staffed. >> you got your permit today? >> yes. >> what's happening? >> we're moving in. >> this is a veteran owned canabus? >> marine corps veteran. >> both of you. >> you're betting on these guys that they're going to succeed but you're not betting on everybody out here?
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>> i'm all in with these guys. they blend good business sense with a conscious and with canabus experience. >> the odds in california's new recreational pot industry as in any gold rush are against you. >> from lessons we learned from other states the failure rate is pretty high. 70% will fail. >> so it looks like a gold rush but it might not be for everybody? >> that's right. wow. a grow house opened and operated by vets. that's good to see. what if anything are they saying out in california about this news today from the attorney general? >> i mean, they're obviously not happy about it, craig. but they've been preparing for this. it's almost been a pasrt of ther business model. good people don't smoke marijuana as an avid marijuana activist. i spoke to steve d'angelo. now is not the time to panic. there's still a federal law on the books that say feds won't raid states with approved medical marijuana. once something like that would
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be to drop back, they have to be concerned. >> jacob soboroff. >> we are waiting on the white house press briefing to start. it was pushed back from 1:30 to 2:00. when it happens, we'll bring it to you live. thank you so much. 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.
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that wraps up this hour of msnbc live. katie tur is standing here to pick things up. >> it's

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