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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  January 10, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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it's 4:00 in new york. seems sneaky dianne feinstein who released the transcripts from the founders of the firm behind the dossier in the interest of transparency and to stem the smear campaign against the fbi is getting under donald trump's skin. or at the very list, earning herself a nickname. the president using his executive time this morning to tweet this. the fact that sneaky dianne feinstein who has on a number of occasions stated that collusion between trump/russia has not been found would release testimony in such an underhanded, and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, is a disgrace. must have tough primary. and on day two of the white house'sed effort to show a president hard at work doing normal presidential stuff, the president re-upped the witch hunt in another tweet dispatched during executive time. the single greatest witch hunt in american history continues. there was no collusion. everybody, including the dems
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knows there was no collusion and yet on and on it goes. russia and the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. republicans should finally take control. republicans are in control of the house and the senate. republicans chair all of the committees investigating trump/russia ties, and the fbi and doj are run by republican men hand-picked by donald trump. so there's that. the gop chairman of the senate judiciary committee responded to donald trump's take control charge by saying he hopes president trump doesn't mean what he tweets. >> the president said you should take -- the republicans should take control of the investigation in light of the release of his transcript. are you losing control of this investigation and should you regain control? >> i don't know what the president has in mind, and i don't think i better comment until i have a discussion with the president on that point. and i don't intend to have a
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discussion with the president on that point, and i hope he doesn't call me and tell me the same thing you said he said. >> in a joint press conference with -- eugene, stop laughing -- with norway's prime minister, the president was asked about the russia investigation and the question that's been looming for days, whether he'll submit to an interview with special counsel robert mueller. >> your legal team, sources have told us, believes in the next few weeks, the special counsel robert mueller will ask for some sort of an interview with you, your legal team believes, as part of wrapping up his investigation. are you open to meeting with him? would you be willing to meet with him without condition or would you demand that a strict said of perhap ters be placed? >> again, there has been no collusion between the trump campaign and russians or trump and russians. no collusion. when i watch you interviewing all the people leaving their committees, i mean, the
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democrats are all running for office and they're trying to say this, that. but bottom line, they say there's no collusion. and there is no collusion. and when you talk about interviews, hillary clinton had an interview where she wasn't sworn in. she wasn't given the oath. they didn't take notes. they didn't record, and it was done on the fourth of july weekend. that's, perhaps, ridiculous and a lot of people looked upon that as being a very serious breach, and it really was. but i'll speak to attorneys. i can only say this it was absolutely no collusion. everybody knows it. every committee -- i've been in office now for 11 months. for 11 months, they've had this phony cloud over this administration, over our government. and it has hurt our government. it does hurt our government. it's a democrat hoax that was brought up as an excuse for losing an election that frankly the democrats should have won because they have such an advantage in the electoral
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college. so it was brought up for that reason. but it's been determined there is no collusion and by virtually everybody. so we'll see what happens. >> would you be open to -- >> we'll see what happens. certainly i'll see what happens. but when they have no collusion and nobody has found any collusion, at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview. >> well, collusion or no collusion, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and christopher rey had a busy day on capitol hill meeting with leaders of the house and senate intel committees. we still don't know why but we'll tell you when we do. nbc's intelligence and national security reporter ken dilanian is back. here at the table, "wall street journal" white house reporter eli stokels, eugene robinson for "the washington post," palmieri and steve schmidt, republican strategist and msnbc contributor back by popular demand. eli, let me start with you.
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take me inside this white house effort to, obviously, almost too obviously, try to showcase and produce a president being presidential doing stuff that they think is normal for a president. all the while using his executive time to tweet about the russia witch hunt. >> right. no subtlety to that effort we saw yesterday with putting him out there and saying, look at me. i'm in command of the room and i can lead and sort of -- there is no fourth wall with this president. he started the cabinet meeting today by talking to the press who went into the room and saying welcome back to the studio. he knows this is all performance art. he's not going to fool bob mueller with a lot of these things. you see the agitation in the president's behavior and tweets. we'll see what happens. the word salad. the word collusion, repeating it over and over. there's no way to calm this president down when he's
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watching television, when he's up in the residence and tweeting. and john kelly, since he's come in he's brought order to the west wing. we all know this. but he hasn't really tried to restrain trump's sometimes destructive behaviors. that's what we're seeing here. sometimes it takes him a little while, too, to figure out what the right answer or right play is. you saw in the meeting yesterday when dianne feinstein asked him if he'd do a clean daca bill. initially he says sure. it took kevin mccarthy telling him, no, we don't want that. today he said i won't sign a bill that's a clean daca bill. it has to have wall funding. it took him 24 hours to clarify his position. same on the russia thing. there's always the, we'll see what happens response, which is sort of buying him time, but you saw today, john roberts asked him, will you talk to mueller? today he's basically saying at this point, i don't want to talk to him. >> this is what stuck out for me
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and the president's press avail today, he gave a different answer than when asked in the past about whether or not he would talk to mueller. i believe last time he was asked, he was in the east room maybe and says, sure, i'm happy to tell bob mueller what i just told you. there was no collusion. different answer today. and from a pr standpoint, these evolving answers from the president, moving targets on policy are, you know, the bar is so low they barely warrant headlines anymore. from a legal standpoint, the new answer on whether or not he'll talk to bob mueller, i imagine, was noted inside the special counsel's investigation. >> i'm sure it was. we all know as a matter of common sense it would be incredibly risky for donald trump to sit down and have a formal interview with mueller's office or testify before the grand jury. but that's exactly what could happen if mueller goes the route of a grand jury subpoena.
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there -- legal experts say trump could resist and claim constitutive privilege. there's united states versus nixon that says a criminal investigation trumps executive privilege. if mueller really wants him to talk, he'll have to talk or claim his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination which would be incredibly politically disastrous, you could argue for donald trump. but you're right. it's interesting that he seems to be wavering about -- and you know, he might be subject to more risk over the justice question than the obstruction question. maybe he's witneconvinced there collusion. but what about all this pattern of obstruction of justice issues we all know that robert mueller is looking at? what is he going to say about that? >> we know, eugene, from our news organizations reporting from your news organization's reporting, from your news organization's reporting, we know that one of the tactics
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that bob mueller has -- is using is assembling a timeline of exactly what happens. and some of the events include the warning from sally yates to white house counsel don mcgahn trying to stitch together what transpired in those -- ken, jump in and correct me -- 14 days? 17 days? how many days? >> 18 days. >> i was close. 18 days between when don mcgahn was informed that michael flynn could be the subject or the target of black mail and when he was ultimately fired. add to the fact pattern a tweet that came out after he learned mike flynn flipped. was now working for team usa as a former prosecutor described it when you are turning evidence for a federal prosecution. why would donald trump agree to sit down and be confronted with these kinds of incredibly -- i mean, what i know about bob mueller tells me that it won't
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come to what ken just described this standoff, where you have to subpoena the president. what i know about the facts that have been made public in the obstruction investigation tells me that this is a collision in the making. why would donald trump sit down and -- how is he going to answer the question, when did you learn that mike flynn had lied to the fbi? >> right. good question. look. why donald trump would do it is just because donald trump believes he can sort of vamp his way out of anything. because he is donald trump. he gets up and got up and gave all those speeches at all those rallies off the top of his head. he thinks he can charm people and convince people of whatever. that's what his lawyers would be worried about. i don't think any competent attorney would allow donald trump to put himself in that or be put in that sort of situation unless there was no choice. i think it might come down to a subpoena from a grand jury. it may come down to a direct
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clash because, look, if i were his lawyer, i would throw myself bodily between donald trump and that interview because everything can go wrong and very little can go right. >> and this real turn took place, jen, between the inquiry into collusion and questions the that have started to come out really with much greater frequency about obstruction of justice. and the people around donald trump, the people who try to paint a picture and put as positive of a spin on it as they can while maintaining their credibility. they are few and far between. i'm convinced they'll end up in witness protection at some point. those people who have long maintained that it's true. donald trump couldn't collude with his press office. no way he colluded with russia. those people believe he has a great deal of exposure and would be very ill served by talking to bob mueller.
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>> remember "the new york times" interview with michael schmidt over the holidays? he thought mueller was going to treat him fair. and he went -- >> and that he admired the way eric holder protected president obama. >> yes, nice little -- nice little heads-up to mueller about what he's expecting. but it is the obsession with collusion, i think, one of two things. either he outwardly colluded or he's convinced himself that he's not vulnerable there and that's his safe place. but the obstruction of justice is extraordinarily hard spot for him given everything from instructing don junior and how to respond to "the new york times" about his meeting at trump tower with the russians to firing comey, to when did you know about michael flynn? he's been under oath before to testify in suits involving his business and has not told the truth in those either. so i think that gene is right about how ultimately this could be a major clash with the grand
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jury and a subpoena but you can also see at the same moment trump one day deciding i'm going to do this and calling up bob mueller and saying i'm going to do this. >> when he says no collusion over and over, we talk about tells with this president. he says believe me, you listen hard because you know he's about to say something that may not be true. with this, he says it so much, it's almost drawing your attention -- >> i'm going to sell this book, trump tells. this gets lost in the turn of the news cycle. mueller is brought on. we know this now. mueller has brought on an expert in cyber crime. that doesn't sound to me like something related to obstruction of justice. that sounds like something that could be related to investigating possible collusion. there have been stories about -- >> or money laundering. >> the bannon quote about money laundering. if you step back from this, i don't know that i would just believe the president when he says no collusion given what we're seeing from the investigation. >> i think he's convinced himself --
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>> i think they are likely to find -- >> let me bring steve into the conversation as well because, steve, you have a pretty vast body of commentary on donald trump's relationship with the truth. i wonder if you can marry that up to the stakes for donald trump in doing what today he refused to say that he would do which is to sit in front of a man like bob mueller who has a -- he has a monogamous relationship with the true. bob mueller deals only in truths, and, for better or worse, has a pretty -- holds politics and shenanigans in low regard. talk about the potential collision and while it may be bob mueller's instinct to work this out behind closed doors in a way donald trump is comfortable and our old boss george bush met with pat fitzgerald for about 70 minutes, done around george bush's schedule. i believe that may be mueller's instinct to accommodate donald trump's schedule and timing and
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the sort of duration, but i don't see any way he acquiesces or agrees to any written responses or looney compromises floated in the press in the last couple of days. >> no doubt. donald trump's lawyers are trying to protect him from himself. he is someone who lies constantly. has lied thousands of times over the year as president of the united states. he's wildly undisciplined, and there are countless examples of people who have lied to prosecutors and when, at the end of the day, there's no finding of an underlying crime they wind up with serious criminal penalties attached including jailtime for perjury, for lying to the prosecutor. so certainly i think it's the case that the lawyers would be scared to death about putting their client into a room with the special prosecutor.
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i would say with regard to his recitations that there was no collusion. absolutely there was collusion. the three top people in the campaign met with intelligence great operatives of the prussian government for the purposes of receiving information from the russians that would damage the democratic nominee for president of the united states. so there is definitely collusion. now the question that the special prosecutor, the special counsel will find here was whether there was a criminal conspiracy between the campaign working with the russians to effect the outcome of the presidential election in the united states. that's what we don't know the answer to. we do know that there have been many people around this administration who have lied about their contact with russians. we have three criminal indictments by people who have been the campaign chairman, the
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national security skraeser to the president and his senior national security advise or the campaign and, of course, george papadopoulos. and we'll see who is next. but to say that there is no collusion is just materially untrue. of course there was collusion. was there a conspiracy? that's what we're going to find out. >> ken dilanian, i misspoke. the president didn't say he would not speak to bob mueller. he just didn't answer the question about whether or not he would speak to bob mueller today the same way he answered it when asked about it in the past. i wonder if you can button this up for us in terms of your understanding of what the time frame might be. it seems like bob mueller is taking his time. that, too, rubs the white house and the president the wrong way, but what is the time frame you'd guess that talking to the president might be important to the special counsel? >> we're hearing a lot about obstruction of justice and the notion that maybe mueller wants
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to talk to trump some time soon about that. that may be true. the obstruction of justice case goes over a shorter period of time. it's a smaller number of witnesses, and it's out in the open. it's people we know about. the collusion and conspiracy aspect is hidden. so i think we should be very cautious about what we don't know about that case. what witnesses are calling, and the hiring of this cyber expert is interesting. we shouldn't write off the collusion part. here's the thing about the collusion aspect. i've talked to a lot of legal experts who say you cannot get to the bottom of collusion until you have the testimony of paul manafort. you may not have that testimony unless you convict paul manafort and that could be months from now. it's possible this thing goes well into 2018 and i wouldn't put too much stock in the idea that mueller will want to talk to donald trump some time in the next month or two. >> my seems go out to every foreign leader who has to stand next to donald trump on days like today. ken dilanian, thanks for
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starting us off. we'll take you to the president's studio, his word, the one he used today to describe a scene of himself acting like the president inside the white house. and the president's most vocal right wing allies warn donald trump not to waver on his hard line immigration promises. with nothing less than impeachment at stake, another house republican member announces his retirement. growing up, we were german. we danced in a german dance group. i wore lederhosen. when i first got on ancestry i was really surprised that i wasn't finding all of these germans in my tree. i decided to have my dna tested through ancestry dna. the big surprise was we're not german at all. 52% of my dna comes from scotland and ireland. so, i traded in my lederhosen for a kilt. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at
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welcome back to the studio.
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nice to have you. >> it was a tremendous meeting. actually it was reported as incredibly good. and my performance -- some of them called it a performance. i consider it work, but got great reviews by everybody other than two networks who were phenomenal for about two hours. then after that, they were called by their bosses and said, oh, wait a minute. >> listening to president trump review hour-by-hour coverage of his performance in yesterday's meeting on immigration makes one thing abundantly clear. if he were 6, his kindergarten teacher would have a parental intervention about screen time. ashley parker and phil rucker writing for the 55 minutes that the scene unfolded on television, the president demonstrated stability, although not necessarily capability. is he up for the job? and a very stable genius as he claimed on twitter, he inadvertently opened another.
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what exactly is going to be in that immigration bill? peter baker and "the new york times" summed it up this way. it was a measure of mr. trump's political weakness that anyone seemed surprised. he did not lapse into incoherence but neither did he demonstrate mastery of policy details after a year in office. let's bring robert costa, "washington post" national political reporter, also an msnbc analyst and moderator of washington week into the conversation. and robert, let's start with you. what do you make of the preside president. you've covered him for a long time. letting it all hang out. inviting people into the studio. talking about the hour-by-hour cable news coverage making it clear he monitored coverage on more than two networks, and offering sort of that hour-by-hour critique. he just can't quit his tv life. >> he can, and when i was watching that scene yesterday, i thought back to years ago when i first encountered president trump as the political figure.
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and he used to mix up the word ratings and polls. the ratings are great. what do you mean the ratings? oh, the polls are great. he thinks in theatrical terms and these commercial terms as he moves forward in his presidency. the challenge for president trump is those people in the room, the congressional leaders, they don't often perform for a public audience in these intense negotiations over such an important issue like immigration. and whether this actually pans out into a deal, very much remains to be seen. >> steve schmidt, the trouble with yesterday to me wasn't the effort to have a conversation with members of both parties about a problem that is dire. that has -- it confounded our own boss george w. bush who failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform and president obama who failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform. the fail are seems to be donald trump's complete inability to
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stay focused on what it was. it was supposed to be an initial conversation with good will displayed by him and people in the room about solving a problem and what he is so wrapped around the axel of his own ratings and per formances that it didn't seem to sustain his own interest while he was there. >> well, look, the meeting yesterday was a reaction, of course, to the wolff book where the premise has been laid out that the president is incoherent, fundamentally unfit for the job, profoundly unstable. so the solution to that was the stunt we saw play out discussing immigration yesterday. and so while he may have been coherent, he demonstrated his complete utter, unpreparedness to discuss a serious public policy issue in this country. and then what i think was most shameful about it is when we
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talk about the d.r.e.a.m.ers. we're talking about 800,000 actual living human beings in this country. think of the fear and the anxiety that their lack of permanent status has on them. their livelihoods, on their families. this is an urgent issue. it's a moral imperative to fix it. and it deserves more than cheap stunts. the leadership of both parties ought to get their noses to the grindstone and fix this. give relief to these people who have known no other country as their home other than the united states of america. and what you saw yesterday is the total collapse of rigor around the policy-making process. and it explains perfectly how you get a health care bill put forward by the republican congress that no one understands. no one has any idea what's in it.
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a tax cut bill that no one has any idea what's in it. no one knows what it costs. nobody knows who it affects. and this is just a continuation of that collapse of rigor at what should be a serious business of making public policies that afoects a grefect nation of 330 million people. >> i think steve is getting at the shallowness of what was on display yesterday. but something else, i remember the last time i had this issue with the white house press office was around cafefe. i want to share what was shared about this and the discrepancy between what was said. this was around dianne feinstein -- i'm sorry. let's listen. >> what about a clean daca bill now? with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure, like we did back -- oh, i remember when
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kennedy was here. it was really a major, major effort, and it was great disappointment that it went nowhere. >> i remember that. >> i have no problem. i think that's what dick is saying. we're going to come up with daca. we're going to do daca and then start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehens i've. >> would you be agreeable to that? >> yes, i would like -- >> mr. president -- >> i think a lot of people would like to see that. but i think we have to do daca first. >> mr. president, you need to be clear, though -- >> so what was crossed out of the transcript that was released was him agreeing to what feinstein was re-upping. kennedy was around when bush was president and they were trying to do comprehensive. i think president obama attempted a similar approach. it was deleted from the white house press office transcript. why? >> it's no accident because that was the moment that everybody seized on. that was the clip playing on twitter. and that was where the president basically said to dianne
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feinstein. sure, we'll do what the democrats want. and kevin mckaertcarthy had to in and bring trump back to his position. no, we're not doing a clean bdaa bill. the fact you can censor a transcript is a keystone cops episode from this west wing. but if you step back from this, you don't seed a lot of analysis, a tick tock and behind the scenes report of what's going on. it is plain as day for everyone to see. the president also said in that meeting that, whatever you guys bring to me, i will sign. whatever deals, the deal you guys come up with. and so, when it comes to policy-making, that's, you know, there were democrats who left that meeting who said this was more substantive than i thought it would be. it's a low bar. they said this on the record publicly. perhaps the president did set a tone for a deal to be made even if the shallowness of that exercise was apparent for everyone to see. but in terms of the president
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leading on this policy matter, i mean, you just basically heard him say to the cameras, i will sign a ham sandwich. i'll sign whatever you send to me. it doesn't really matter. i just want to sign something. >> he's getting high marks relatively on this for being coherent. >> he's completely made to look like an infant for majority leader -- >> right. >> mccarthy -- >> and after that event, i believe sarah huckabee sanders went to the posium ae i podium undermined her. so for this staff, the president is not the chief policymaker. >> no. >> that's stunning. >> not even close. and, look, this is an issue on which -- and i hesitate to even say it, on which he should be the policymaker, right? because we know where the democrats stand on immigration. we know where the republicans stand on immigration. and i cannot be optimistic that they will actually make a deal.
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the president could have said, look, first thing we're going to do, we're going to do daca and more rmoney for the wall. call it border security, whatever you want to call it. we'll do this much money and this is what we'll do with daca. and sort of laid down the law. but even at that level, at the superficial level, i don't think he is capable of doing it. >> what's amazing is that the president's ambivalence is their greatest political asset. he doesn't really care what's in it. >> even on his signature issue. >> they can't figure out how to turn that into an asset. >> could donald trump be alienating his base. why some of his allies are sounding the alarm bells. r! how many of 'em? we don't know. dozens. all right! let's teach these freaks some manners! good luck out there, captain! thanks! but i don't need luck, i have skills... i don't have my keys. (on intercom) all hands. we are looking for the captain's keys again. they are on a silver carabiner.
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your insurance on time. tap one little bumper, and up go your rates. what good is having insurance if you get punished for using it? news flash: nobody's perfect. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty stands with you™ liberty mutual insurance. that meeting yesterday is flat-out betrayal for the voters that put him in office. i voted for him on immigration, and only immigration.
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>> if trump actually messes up this, he's done more damage to himself than anyone else can do to him. >> let's be clear. if the american people who voted for donald trump are abandoned in this process, they will not vote in 2018. >> that was just a smattering of the kinds of calls that came into breitbart radio on the topic of that immigration meeting we've been talking about. clearly trump's base not too pleased with that meeting yesterday. rush limbaugh tried to justify the president's actions. >> donald trump could not possibly believe that he could abandon his three-year position on immigration and still maintain the support of his base. donald trump just could not be that obtuse. >> could he, robert costa? >>. >> the question facing president trump is is he in office to serve an ideology or merely
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looking for political victories? if he's seeking just a victory to shore up his own support and not looking to rally conservatives ahead of the midterms, cut a deal with democrats on daca, maybe including some border security, of course. based on my reporting, many people in the republican base will revolt but that may be the price he pays to try to recover some of his presidency. >> yet another point alienating the president from his base, the announcement that he'll head to the world economic fornum davos, switzerland, later this month. the event has become synonymous with global elites. a group mr. trump attacked during the 2016 campaign while vowing to improve the lives of america's working men and women. the panel and robert and steve, everyone is still here. eli, i have spent a lot of time covering the democrats that flipped and voted for donald trump. i'm sure they don't know what
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davos is, but when they hear about it, they'll not be psyched. >> no president other than bill clinton has been concerned about it because of the optics. hobnobbing with heads of state. it just doesn't really look great. donald trump lives in his own world. he doesn't care about -- i was researching this yesterday about donald trump and davos. and i saw that donald trump had never been invited. that's probably the reason he accepted right there. he does so many things just to show that he can. just to be the center of attention. i imagine that he will go and that he will be mostly conciliatory outwardly but relish the degree that just his presence there dominates the entire event. >> they wouldn't let me come and now they have to because i'm the president. >> and you've been there. >> yeah. >> what is he going to talk about? he pulled out of the paris accord to the public dis -- i
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mean, nobody -- he went to europe and refused to affirm our commitment to article five until it was written in a teleprompter and maybe a shock collar put on him. his third attempt. the muslim ban was widely -- or the travel ban wildly unpopular in europe. he's had awkward interactions. we have him pushing aside the leader of montenegro at a nato summit. he's not been on a charm offensive. he also made some weird comments about macron's wife, talking about her looks. i think we have that, too. he's not really won over hearts and/or minds on his stops in europe. >> i went to davos with president clinton. it's the most pretentious place on this planet if not other planets. a small part of me relishes the fact that donald trump is going to go there and probably tell them off. i think eli has hit on something that he's probably going because he's never been invited but he'll find some moments to, in front of the global elites
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really tell them off and that will make its base very happy. >> does he tell people off to their face? >> who knows what he says but your question presupposed he'd act like somebody -- a normal person would, which is to try to find some common ground. something that we can all talk about and make some progress. and that's not how he operates. so he'll say whatever is on his mind. make america great again. >> there's this disinence with donald trump. there always has been. the blue collar champion in the election. he's donald trump. have you seen "the apprentice"? you've seen trump tower. it's gilded in gold. there's something about his wealth and his ostentatiousness and his moving in those circles that i think his base understands and accepts, even if it seems like it complete ly doesn't jive or line up with -- >> it's ostentatious. they see he's getting in there. he's ostentatious and he's getting in the face of the global elites.
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i think they are comfortable with that. >> steve, let me give you the last word and ask you, this is sort of a silly conversation in some ways because we don't know what he'll do. his missteps in europe are -- they watch him. it looks like a blooper reel. on a serious note, i think this could undermine his brand and make him look like he's full of bleep. you look like you're full of it when you run as a guy who is going to drain the swamp and not only do you help fill up the swamp in washington but you go and swim around in a champagne and caviar-filled swamp in davos. >> it's amazing. when a president of the united states travels internationally, there's a strategic purpose to it. there's some goal that the president is trying to obtain. i have no idea what the purpose of the trip is to davos. just another episode of a tv show, not so different, i suppose, than when the brady bunch took off to hawaii for a two-part special.
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the trump show off to davos, off to the alps. i have no idea, though, what the purpose of it is. what he's going to say or do, why he's there and, for sure, none of these people have any idea what he's doing there also. >> to that point, i did e-mail the national security official in the trump white house and asked just that. what is the strategic intent on sending donald trump to davos and was met with radio silence. up next, another high-profile republican bows out of a tough re-election fight. why it could be bad news for the future of the trump presidency. how do you win at business?
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congressman darrell issa's announcement today that he's going to retire this year may have put president trump one step closer to possible impeachment. with less than ten months to go before the midterms, 18 congressional gop incumbents
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have already announced their retirements. of those retirements, seven are from districts hillary clinton carried or narrowly lost in 2016. arizona congresswoman martha mcsally's decision to run for the senate makes eight seats ripe for the picking. and the map is simple. democrats would need to pick up 24 seats to win a majority. at stake, nothing short of the impeachment of the president. by the way, that's just retirements. four congressional republicans have resigned. five are leaving to run for the senate and another six leaving to run for governor. robert costa, you know the map. you know the vibe and the feeling out there in the country. you've observed some of the polls from the election coverage that have taken place in the second half of last year. what is the worry felt by the president's political allies about the potential or
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possibility of the house of representatives flipping to democratic control? >> there's rippling and anxiety within the republican party. lawmakers i've spoken to in recent weeks point to virginia. the special election in alabama and they say the suburban voters seem to be turning not only because of a particular issue because of the republican tax plan or the republican health care proposal, but in part the whole party's image and how it's dominated by president trump. president trump surely has his base voters, but he really won the election because swing voters in the mid-atlantic and the midwest, they turn toward the republican side because they wanted change. if that appetite wanes, a lot of these rank and file republicans say maybe it's not for me in this district to run again. >> this is the anti-trump republican and i wonder if that changing any dynamics in the suburbs. you write mitt-ism versus
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trumpism. romney's return to the national stage flares gop divide. many eager for a resurgence in the trump era have seized on the prospect of a senator romney as a clean-cut republican counterweight to the unorthodox and chaotic trump presidency. trump aligned conservatives have recoiled and said the party's base voters have moved on and would shun the former massachusetts governor as an elite relic of the sort of conventional politics they rejected by embracing the reality tv star turned president. do you think that mitt romney represents some sort of safe haven for the party? you know, some symbol that it still stands for the source of things -- just on the question of russia. mitt romney called russia the largest geopolitical threat facing this country. you've got a very different orientation in donald trump. i wonder if it helps or simply highlights how unorthodox donald trump really is. >> his potential candidacy does highlight those differences but
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what's really intriguing about romney's possibility here is that he highlights the stylistic differences on the republican side. there are issue differences on matters like russia and trade with the establishment republicans and the trump republicans. but on so many issues republicans have pretty much settled their differences, the real divide is over how to be combative. how to present yourself as a candidate. will you be a breitbart/steve bannon type? donald trump type or more buttoned up, mitt romney, country club establishment republican, nelson rockefeller or the bush family? and that's really where republican voters seem to be navigating. what do they want the party to be? how do they want it to look? >> jen palmieri, wave elections are usually negative reactions. in '06, a negative response to the two wars that george bush had gotten our country entangled in after 9/11. in 2010, a reaction to things they were unhappy about with the rise to the tea party and things
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people don't approve of. if this is a wave election, the prospect of having control of the house for potential impeachment power. how animating is that for democratic candidates and voters? >> so i democrats and republican voters? >> democrats in congress now are rightfully concerned about over, being too focused on trump's fitness for office are and impeachment. >> because those the cases, that was the case hillary made? >> but the -- but i think that -- and you go back to things like, well '98, so focused on impeaching clinton. you can learn from history. surf's up, the wave's coming because it's a reaction to trump and people are thinking they need to take back their country and stand back and vote and democrat is the way to make their voice heard, but i do think that democrats, you want
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to talk about issues, but part of your job is to hold the president of the united states responsible. if they take over and i don't think they should shy away from holding the president accountable. whether that leads to impeachment hearings or not, because that is their job, and he is a true threat. that is -- i think fundamentally, trump, a reaction to trump is what this reaction on the voter side -- >> i can see you bursting. real quick. >> what you just said is absolutely the thing. if the democratic committee asked me for advice, don't talk about impeachment. talk about holding him accountable, which we need our congress to do. congress has the power to investigate. the power to subpoena, you know, the power of oversight, power of the purse. that's what the constitution says. this is what congress is supposed to do, if an executive is out of control.
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so that's what i would add. up next, trump's latest response to "fire and fury." it's time now for "your business" of the week. a california-based ozo bot says kids don't have to be just passive consumers of electronic toys but creators. he makes programmable robots to get kids to code. his business is taking off. for more, watch "your business" weekend mornings at 7:30 on msnbc. 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! we help all types of businesses with money, tools and know-how
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we are going to take a strong look at our country's libel laws. so when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts.
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if somebody says something that's totally false, and knowingly false, that the person that has been abused, defamed, liabled, will have meaningful recourse. our current libel laws of a sham, a disgrace and do not represent american values or american fairness. so we're going to take a strong look at that. we want fairness. can't say things that are false, knowingly false, and be able to smile as money pours into your bank account. >> steve schmidt. you can't say things that are false knowingly false. and smile and put money in your bank account. can you? >> well, i think the issue with the book is that people believe it's true, because we've watched for the last year the chaos of this administration unfold in front of our own eyes, and the,
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again. he just seems to have absolutely no understanding at all about the first amendment. about freedom of the press. the right of free expression, and it's remarkable to see the president of the united states reacting to a book like this. just incredible. >> it's also remarkable, eli, to hear him talk about people who life. the "washington post" has him up to like thousands and thousands of lies? real quick. >> when describesa person born without -- birtherism, six years and by the "washington post" fact check gotten away with more than 2,000 falsehoods in year one. it's not even over yet. >> plus, defames people every morning. >> including women and kids. >> exactly. who would get sued under these new libel laws more than donald
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trump? nobody more than donald trump. so -- ah. >> jen? >> yeah. a lot of people in america would start to benefit. a lot of people can wake up with money rushing into their bank accounts. >> and donald trump, as i recall, is currently being sued for libel by one of his accusers. is that right? >> he is. and listening to the president's comments, it's a reminder that the press in this country has to be vigilant to stand up for its first amendment rights because the press is standing, it is being eroded every day in the public discourse. in part by the president's comments, and this is a country that has always had a free press, and that is crucial to our democracy. >> steve schmidt, robert costa brings us back, always does, the most serious point of all. >> one of the norms of this administration has been the assault on foundational pillars of the american republic.
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the assaults on the justice department. the justice system. we are a nation of laws, where the rule of law is paramount. his assaults on the free media, on the free press. the spirit of the first amendment. he has attacked the government of the united states with his deep state talk, alleging conspiracy by sinister, unseen forces, that are working against the american people that only he can protect those people from by trampling on constitutional norms and accruing more power to his office. this is a constant of the administration. these fundamental pillars of the american republic, the constanye of this president on them. >> and the constancy of projecting. my parallel to that is constantly projecting on others what he's guilty of. >> and willing to take a strong look at the libel laws, meaning
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he's not going to really do anything. that mean, what i understand, his lawyers told him he doesn't really have any legal recourse against michael wolff and that's why he's frustrated. >> we'll pull the "brady bunch" music, next time you see steve schmidt. thank you to you all. that does it for our hour. i'm nicolle wallace. "mtp daily" starts right now. hi, chuck. >> hi, nicolle. well, he does it again. doesn't he? >> every day. >> that's what he does. 's change the rundown. all right. if it's wednesday -- did the president just flip on cooperating with the special counsel? tonight, president trump throws cold water on an interview with bob mueller. >> when they have no collusion and nobody's found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview. >> but can the president legally avoid speaking to the special counsel? plus steve


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