tv MSNBC Live MSNBC January 13, 2018 4:00am-4:30am PST
to share in it. it's -- it's hard. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. good morning. i'm dara brown at msnbc world headquarters in new york. it's 7:00 a.m. in the east, 4:00 a.m. out west. here's what's happening. vital signs, what we learned from president trump's physical exam and what we can expect to learn in the coming days. new fallout from the president's alleged remark on haiti and africa. more news today from the people inside the meeting room where it reportedly happened. lawyering up. former white house chief strategist prepares to tell all to the house intel committee. what the risks are for president trump. that's next. and we begin with politics. democrats sending their strongest signal yet in response to president trump's alleged incendiary remarks about people
from haiti, elle value have a door, and africa. another move signaling an impasse. minority leader nancy pelosi released a statement last night saying democrats must insist on a clean dream act. meanwhile, the chairman of the congressional black caucus will lead an effort next week to censure the president as a result of his comments. >> he may be our president, but he's not the moral compass of the united states. you have to call it what it is. it was an ignorant remark. it was a racist remark, and it served to do exactly what he wanted to do, change the conversation from his base being upset with him about his immigration remarks. >> congresswoman maxine waters now joining congressman john lewis in his boycott of president trump's state of the union address. >> what does he have to say that i would be interested in? i don't trust him. i don't appreciate him. and i wouldn't waste my time sitting in that house listening to what he has to say. he does not deserve my
attention. >> but president trump's strongest supporters are not backing down. here's former campaign manager corey lewandowski on president trump's alleged preference for some immigrants over others. >> in haiti, the average person's income is $804 a year. in norway, the average person's income is $97,000 a year. now, if those refugees are going to come to the united states, do you want a person whose average income is $800 a year and they're going to be a kri contributing member of society? >> anthony scaramucci, who lasted ten days as white house communications director, tweeted, potus is not a racist, he's far from it, perhaps the least racist. nbc's peter alexander has reaction from those in the oval office meeting and new reporting on another inappropriate comment president trump allegedly made last fall during an intelligence briefing. >> president trump ignoring questions as outrage grows after his vulgar insult calling
african nations s-holes, while suggesting the u.s. should accept people from more places like norway, the president saying his words were tough but this was not the language used. democratic senator dick durbin, who attended thursday's meeting, insisting the president did use that word, repeatedly. >> in the course of his comments, he said things which were hate filled, vile, and racist. i cannot believe that in the history of the white house, in that oval office, any president has ever spoken the words that i personally heard our president speak yesterday. >> reporter: president trump adding he didn't say anything derogatory about haitians, but durbin says also not true, that mr. trump asked aloud, do we need more haitians. one posted a statement without addressing the issue, two staying silent. tom cotton and david purdue saying they do not recall
trump's remarks. and lindsey graham noting, i said my piece directly to the president yesterday. president trump working the phones, according to two sources close to the administration, calling friends to assess the damage. one describing his mood as belligerent. speaker paul ryan delivering this muted rebuke. >> first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful. >> maybe we'll agree. maybe we won't. >> reporter: unhelpful to a bipartisan effort to reach an immigration deal, condemnation from haiti's ambassador. >> the stigma, the stereotypes that revolve around haiti have got to stop. >> reporter: anger echoed by haitians in south florida. >> to say something about another country, another people, he should be ashamed. >> reporter: the countries of botswana and senegal trying to clarify the president's remarks. it's not the first time he's broken decor rum. nbc news learned last fall the president inquired about a career intelligence analyst who was briefing him, asking why
the, quote, pretty korean lady isn't negotiating with north korea on behalf of the u.s. according to two officials with direct knowledge of the exchange. the white house did not immediately respond to a request for comment. >> that's nbc's peter alexander. let's bring in the senior political correspondent for bustle and julia manchester, repo reporter for the hill. president trump denies the reported derogatory comments against haitians, but democratic senator dick durbin said this after the meeting. >> senator graham made his presentation. the president interrupted him several times with questions, and in the course of his comments said things which were hate filled, vile, and racist. >> republican senators tom cotton and david purdue released a joint statement saying, we do not recall the president saying these comments specifically. so erin, what is more plausible here? >> what i'm looking at is the
white house statement on thursday after this report came out in "the washington post." a white house spokesman did not deny the report, further didn't push back against the report. that spokesman said the president feels like he is putting americans first by controlling who's allowed into the country. he said that the criteria is based on who best can fit in, prosper here, and assimilate. now, 12 hours later, we saw that narrative change. early in the morning, we saw the president come out and say, i didn't specifically use that language, but again, we have this strong statement from senator durbin saying unequivocally that he did. lindsey graham's statement can be taken to corroborate that. he even said that to his senator from his home state, tim scott. really, it's just a case of a lot of people saying we don't know, we don't remember, we don't recall specifically. remember that the president hasn't come forward and said he unequivocally denounces the statement. >> and julia, you heard in peter's report the comments about the analyst and why she didn't work in north korea. it seems to be a pattern of sorts with the president.
what are we hearing from white house aides? >> we actually heard reports and sources tell us that president trump actually on thursday night going into friday was almost calling his allies and friends and bragging about these -- the coverage this was all getting on national tv. i think the president probably looks at this and says this isn't necessarily bad for my base. i mean, his base has tended to really really, i guess, absorb this more nativist, very hardline immigration stance that he's often put out. so i think the president has definitely seen this maybe as a positive sign, but it's interesting because we saw on friday the comments were denounced by the host of "fox & friends." shortly after that, the president tweeted that while his language was tough in the meeting, he didn't say those exact words. so i think the president and his base probably view this as a
positive sign. i think it's also important to note that these comments -- these similar comments in the past from the president on immigration, on foreigners, hasn't exactly hurt him. he said similar things during the campaign, and we see that it's played very well with his base. so we'll really have to see how it played going forward. >> and erin, building on what julia said, there are a number of ways to look at this fallout. so what is the worst of it all politically for the president or the republicans? >> it gets progressively harder for the president to distance himself from these comments or from the idea that he's speaking candidly about his feelings and how he feels about different groups coming into the u.s. it's because he has a track record of making divisive statements on race. charlottesville, he said there were good people on both sides of the protest. look at the furor he whipped up over black athletes who decided to protest the national anthem. look at what he said on the campaign trail about mexicans not being the best ones to come across the border, calling them rapists and criminals. look at what he said about judge
curiel, someone who he said was not able to do his job impartially because of his background. this is a pattern for president trump. it goes back to his days as a real estate developer. it's something he's going to have to fight against, if he chooses to do so. the white house is going to have to contend with only a fraction of the 30% who currently approve of the president, and they'll see that base shrink smaller. >> i think it's interesting just to look at the scene of all of this. these comments about haitians and other african nations were reportedly made one day before the eighth anniversary of the earthquake that took the lives of thousands of haitians and came just days before martin luther king jr. day. it's just -- it's remarkable to see how this has played out, and it'll be interesting to see how this goes going forward. >> the timing is remarkable. julia, on that, congressman cedric richmond said the remarks by the president are not only racist but a play to his base to divert opposition from the base to any daca deal. how do you interpret that?
>> well, i think these comments definitely have put a roadblock in daca negotiations. i don't think democrats are going to be as willing to work with the president. they're going to be very skeptical on this in the future. however, we do see if you look at the makeup of that meeting, it is true that i think there are certain players in the white house such as his aide stephen miller, who were working to maybe get the president to not make as many concessions on daca in the negotiating process. senator senators cotton and purdue were there. they're hardliners on immigration. however, the presence of people like cotton and purdue do suggest that there is a movement within this negotiating process not to give a lot of leeway to democrats. >> julia and erin, a lot to talk about on saturday. please stick around. >> thanks. coming up, steve bannon is set to testify before house intelligence. will this now lead to robert mueller's team asking for a face
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a bombshell new report from "the wall street journal" alleges that a lawyer for president trump paid a porn star more than $100,000 to keep silent just before the presidential election. nbc's jeff bennett is at the white house with more. jeff, good morning to you. what else is this report alleging here? >> reporter: good morning. president trump's long-time personal attorney is denying that mr. trump had a actual encounter with an adult film star while he was married to melania. it comes after an explosive new "wall street journal" report alleging the actress received a six-figure payout to keep her from going public. this morning, new fallout following a bombshell report from "the wall street journal" based on anonymous sources,
alleging that trump lawyer michael cohen arranged for a $130,000 payment to a former adult film star in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with mr. trump. the payment said to have come a month before the 2016 presidential election, around the same time the trump campaign was nearly derailed by the now infamous "access hollywood" tape in which mr. trump can be heard bragging about being able to grope women. >> you can do anything. >> whatever you want. >> grab them by the [ bleep ]. >> reporter: lewd comments he later dismissed. >> hello, how are you. >> reporter: the journal says stephanie clifford, whose stage name is stormy daniels, told sources she met the president at a celebrity golf tournament in lake tahoe in july 2006. mr. trump was already married to melania at the time. a white house official responding in a statement, these are old, recycled reports, which were published and strongly denied prior to the election.
michael cohen denying the sexual encounter took place, telling nbc news, president trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has ms. daniels. in a statement provided to nbc news, which cohen says is signed by daniels, she calls the journal article absolutely false, adding, rumors that i received hush money from donald trump are completely false. nbc news has not independently verified the statement. and neither the white house nor cohen deny or acknowledge the six-figure payment. now, while there is no allegation of nonconsensual behavior in this instance, more than a dozen women have come forward with claims of sexual harassment and assault against president trump, allegations he vehemently denies. >> jeff bennett, thank you so much for that report. it's a big week ahead for steve bannon. sources tell nbc news that the former white house chief strategist will testify before the house intelligence committee this tuesday. with me to shed more light on
the legal significance of this is former federal prosecutor doug birds. doug, good morning to you. >> good morning. >> nbc has learned that bannon hired bill burke to represent him when he speaks to the intel committee in a closed session on tuesday. this is the same lawyer who's also representing white house counsel don mcgahn and former white house chief of stat reince priebus in mueller's russia investigation. sources say bannon's testimony doesn't have any connection with the special counsel's investigation, but is there a conflict of interest here? >> well, they are saying there's no connection, but i kind of agree with what you're insinuating is it does seem a little odd to be representing those three individuals when there could be overlap. but at the same time, if they're taking the position that it's separate, so be it. it'll be. behind closed doors, which makes it a little less dramatic in terms of watching every minute of the testimony. but at the same time, we'll learn to some extent, you know, what was asked. i don't have a crystal ball, but
they going to drill down on exactly what he knew about the meeting in trump tower, of course, because you had the report in the michael wolff book about that. he put some harsh labels on it, so they're going to want to know, what did you base that on, what specifically do you know about what took place, how it was set up, and who was involved. >> does this appearance open the door to mueller interviewing bannon? >> i think it does, actually. it's funny because you started out with the idea, oh, it doesn't involve mueller, but i don't see it that way at all. i think mueller could certainly seek to interview steve bannon. >> we learned this week that talks are under way for mueller's investigation to interview president trump. here's what the president has said about speaking with the special counsel this week compared to how he felt about it back in june. >> would you speak under oath to give your version of -- >> 100%. >> if robert mueller wanted to speak with you about that -- >> i would be glad to tell him exactly what i just told you. >> would you be willing to meet with him without condition or
would you demand that a strict set of parameters -- >> certainly i'll see what happens, but when they have no collusion and nobody's found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you'd even have an interview. >> in the latter there, a bit more hesitant now. why do you think that is? >> well, i mean, i make a little joke which is 100% until he speaks to counsel. seriously, these are difficult circumstances. whether you've done anything wrong or not, you have to be extremely careful. so that's why he appears to be, you know, modifying the position. it's interesting, politically it sounds great, 100%, meaning i've done nothing wrong, but then when the reality sets in that it's an extremely complicated matter, then it becomes different. what'll really be interesting will be the way it plays out if there is to be an interview. you know, we remember president clinton testifying in the grand jury, but he did it by closed circuit. so it'll be a little bit different than a normal sort of
appearance. first they're going to ask him, will you voluntarily appear. my crystal ball on that is he'll say no. then they'll discuss having to issue a subpoena and some agreement might be reached, fine tuning exactly how it's going to be done, where, what circumstances. all the experts have said they can use written questions in lieu of actual testimony. we'll see how it plays out. i think it's likely that it may happen. >> and real quick, the white house hasn't given a reason to think the president wouldn't answer mueller's questions or invoke the fifth amendment. do you think president trump could decline to respond to a subpoena from robert mueller? >> that's a great question, of course, because that starts implicating things like executive privilege and national security. however, the president's position is going to be weaker because a lot of this happened before he was president. >> doug burns, thank you so much. >> my pleasure. coming up, results are in from the president's physical exam. he says he was going to do very well, but will he ever hear if his eating habits add up to a clean bill of health? i was wondering if an electric toothbrush really cleans better
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president trump has received encouraging news after undergoing his first medical examination while in office at walter reed medical center. let's bring in erin and julia. julia, i'll start with you. dr. ronny jackson is saying president trump's mifirst medic checkup went extremely well. what kind of information can we expect to get about the president's health? >> i think we'll expect to get how he basically did in the physical exam. i don't know. i'm not a doctor, so it's hard for me to speculate on that. but we'll see how he did, what kind of shape he's in. fitness, et cetera. one thing on that statement that was released that i'd like to point out and i think several other journalists have pointed out is his name was spelled wrong. it was ronnie when it's ronny. the white house did release that
statement. critics have said that statement was very trumpian and have pointed out the president's health and fitness habits aren't exactly healthy. he tends to like fast food, doesn't exercise that much, with the exception of golf, drinks a lot of diet coke. it'll be interesting to see how this is played on tuesday. >> erin, barack obama's 2016 medical exam disclosed quite a bit of information. sarah huckabee sanders says she's expecting president trump will be as forthcoming with his medical information as his predecessors. do you buy that? >> we'll find out on tuesday, especially if the white house position goes in front of reporters to face questions because one item that wasn't included in the president's physical this week are mental acuity tests. that's something that's come into question not only from michael wolf's book but ever since the president brought it up last saturday when he tweeted that he's, like, very smart, a very stable genius. that comes on the heels of his tweet about having a bigger nuclear launch button than kim jong-un, which is making members of his own party question how
sharp he is these days. that's been attacked by the white house as a partisan line, something that they're not leaning into at all. but there are going to be questions from reporters about this going forward. >> and before i let you both go, former president barack obama appeared on the first episode of david letterman's netflix show. do you think we'll be seeing more of obama on the talk show circuit with so much to talk about? >> i think it's very possible. i think obama has definitely upped his public appearances in recent weeks. we saw he appeared with prince harry in his first presidential interview a couple weeks ago. so i think as we get closer to 2018, we'll see obama having a more public appearance and appearing on shows like late night shows, which have been critical of trump and republicans. >> erin, real quick, yes or no? >> in that interview with david letterman, he avoided mentioning president trump by name. the two have hit heads on different issues throughout the year, but we have seen a restrained approach from president obama. we're going to have to see what's forward. >> thank you so much for joining me this morning.
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