tv Hugh Hewitt MSNBC March 3, 2018 5:00am-5:30am PST
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 to get business done. american express open. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt at msnbc world headquarters in new york. hugh hewitt is off today. here's what's happening right now. angry and unglued. new nbc reporting about the state president trump was in when he made his decision on strict tariffs. the kushner question. did his business influence policies? the question special counsel wants to know plus, the wild week that
was. making sense of the dramatic developments of the white house this week and what they signal moving forward. but we begin with the three big stories we're following out of the white house, chief among them nbc news learning what may have prompted president trump to launch a potential trade war, comments which sent the stock market reeling. president trump was angry and, quote, unglued about simmering issues when he imposed tariffs, catching his white house completely off guard. the "washington post" digging into whether anyone had direct knowledge this announcement was on the mohorizon. former adviser and billionaire carl icahn dumped millions in steel-related stocks. and mueller's team is looking into whether kushner's ties have
anything to do with it. and publicing condemning russia's actions. >> when i hear what he was saying just yesterday about the nuclear capabilities that he has and then the president of the united states is tweeting about alec baldwin this morning, where is your sense of priorities? >> all right. back now to the president's decision to add tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. over to kelly o'donnell in west palm beach, florida with more on the fallout of that. what can you tell us? >> reporter: good morning, alex. caution and anxiety rolling in from u.s. allies, urging president trump to rethink his plan. now, the president has long talked about wanting to impose tariffs on imports for steel and aluminum. but the way he did it is the shocker. an announcement without any of the policy backup not telling america's friends, and even u.s. lawmakers. that could have expensive
consequences. no outward sign of swirling crises as the president and first lady return to palm beach. >> the dow will close down 50 points. >> reporter: from a whip saw on wall street to shocked republicans predicting the president' surprise plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum will backfire. >> i think increased prices will hurt jobs. >> reporter: ross said consumers will pay only a fraction more from soup to soda. >> all of this hysteria is a lot to do about nothing. >> reporter: fallout in flamed by potential harm in the global economy for american businesses and workers. the president made his controversial position sound simple on twitter. trade wars are good and easy to win. friday, while the president was away for the billy graham funeral, chief of staff john kelly spoke to reporters off camera, trying to shore up his own power. i have absolutely nothing to
even consider resigning over. kelly, who took heat over his management, revisited missteps around the scandal that forced out top aide rob porter over spousal abuse al allegations. kelly said we didn't cover ourselves in glory in how we handled that. turning to special counsel investigation, nbc news reports that investigators are looking at the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. and discussions he had with high-profile figures from several countries during the pr presidential transition. they want to know if discussions influenced u.s. policy. kushner has denied any improper contacts from the serious to the silly. the president reengaged his battle with actor alec baldwin, hughes dying mediocre career was saved by his terrible impersonation of me. baldwin gave it back saying, i'd like to hang in there for the impeachment hearings, the
resignation speech, the farewell helicopter ride to mar-a-lago. looking ahead to this week, that's when the president says he will sign his tariffs into effect. that means there is time for further negotiation, conversation, and influence on the president to see if there might be some exceptions to his plan. alex? >> it's been quite a week. kelly, thank you for that. with a very good morning to you both. kate, i'll start with you. what are you and your colleagues hearing may have prompted the president to become, as we're quoting, unglued? >> well, good morning, alex. it is great to be with you again. as far as what's causing the president to become unglued, those are obviously, you know, interesting reports. there's a whole bunch of chaos happening in the white house. you know, there have been staffing changes and all kinds of things that have happened really since day one. it is sort is of as a lot of
people have noted it is kind of like "the apprentice", the president's former reality tv show. you don't know who is going to be in and who is going to be out at any given time. it hrepdz itself to this policy chaos where the president can change his mind on a number of policies in a given day. so it really keeps all of us on on our toes as far as what might be coming out of the white house. and it especially keeps people on capitol hill, even republicans, on their toes. they don't necessarily know what will the president say on gun control or these tariffs. >> ken, if you want to prioritize the headlines this week, what do you think was the most damaging? hope resignation. where do you see it in terms of priority? >> well, i think some of the staffing issues, they're not going to have a lot of impact outside of washington, d.c. but the tariff issue, this is
something that conservatives have been working against for a general raegz, ever since ronald reagan's administration, they have built an infrastructure is and movement to up pose such policy outcomes. they have really worked to promote free trade, which some view as essentially a tax on goods coming into the united states. when the president in just a moment erodes some of the work that they have been working on 30, 40 years, it's a real big thing. it will have real impacts on the economic outcomes in the united states nor everyone. >> yeah. and i just want to double-check. this came out of the blue, right? there were no prepared statements when the president went into that, quote, listening meeting. the names of those coming to this meeting were not even on the list specifically for the white house. i mean, john kelly had no idea who was going to be in that meeting, right? >> policywise, from a process
standpoint, this obviously wasn't well put together. but if you had listened to the president over the last year and a half or on during the campaign, it's been something he has been hammering for a long, long time. >> kate, with regard to jared kushner, the "washington post" has this headline now. jared has faded. inside the 28 days of tumult that left kushner badly diminished. privately you have the president reiterating longstanding concerns. he's angry that kushner and of course by extension his daughter ivanka were, in his view, being dishonestly maligned. he said everything could be better for them if they simply gave up the government jobs, returned to new york. is and this is according to a white house official who has discussed it with him. kate, you and your colleagues, what are you hearing about this? does the president really want them to stay or head home to new york? >> well, these business entanglements that have dogged jared kushner, ivanka trump and the president himself, they haven't given up their ownership
stakes in their private comes. so it just sort of opens them to these charges that they have, you know, some kind of potential to influence them with their -- whether it's loans to their businesses or, you know, to sort of influence governmental policy in a way that would result in their bottom lines for the companies that they have. none of them has really given up their business entanglements. so you have to figure there are going to be some questions raised about conflicts of interest. and, you know, is that too much now for the president to handle? we're going to find out >> just to resurrect another issue, tim, john kelly spoke to reporters yesterday and gave a timeline for porter's resignation last month. how are you reading into the timing of this explanation? why reignite it? it's not like they didn't have
enough going on this week. >> i think the chief of staff feels the need to lay out exactly what happened there. for the first time he became the center of a scandal. the the white house scandal on rob porter has almost entirely been self-inflicted. the white house time after time changed its story, defended rob porter at probably inappropriate times. now, john kelly faced a lot of criticism for the way he handled it. i think he wanted to loop around and ride to fix it. as someone who is a former military officer, he felt that he had some level of accountability to put forward. >> how about the hope hicks departure, kate? how big a deal is that? >> well, she seems to be incredibly close to the president. somebody who was with him from before the campaign actually launched. seems to be sort of a confidante of president trump. so, you know, it sounds like this is a big deal.
you know, what we're hearing is that this is somebody that the president relied on and sort of looked at as an adviser on all things. maybe not policy necessarily, but somebody who is a sounding board, somebody who maybe had a grounding influence on the president. so this is certainly -- it lends itself to increased chaos. >> yeah. so picking up on what kate said with regard to hope hicks. so not necessarily organizationorganizatio organizational is and policy perspective. but on her departure, what do you think the effect will be on him? his mood even? >> that's hard to speculate on. but we already know that this is a white house that is chaotic at the best of times. when the president loses one of his closest confidantes, he may feel a little bit more under the gun, a little bit more pressure on him on a day-to-day basis. this is someone he has trusted for years and years going back before the campaign, was a key
voice during the tumultuous months into the transition, the first few months of the white house. this is someone he has really leaned upon. so it's impossible to say that he wouldn't miss her presence in the white house. >> all right, guys. that's a wrap for this morning. kate and tim mak, thank you so much. >> thank you. so what about jared? next guest is a memory of congress asking what will it take for the senior white house adviser to get fired? we have the some answers next. the best treatment for me? so i made a point to talk to my doctor. he told me about eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. not only does eliquis treat dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. eliquis had both... ...and that turned around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to.
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does the president want to get rid of his attorney general? >> not that i know of. >> and how about jared kushner? >> no. >> is jared kushner becoming a distraction given all the controversies he's been at the center of these days? >> he is still a valued member of the administration and will continue to do the work he is doing and we will continue to push forward as well. >> nbc news reports the mueller team is investigating whether kushner business deals influenced trump administration policy days after he lost his top secret security clearance. my next guest put out this. so what does jared have is to do to get fired? joining me is the democrat from arizona. with a good morning to you, sir. have you come up with an answer to your tweet there?
>> no. i can't answer to the tweet. it goes to show how ridiculous the situation is. imagine where this is a democrat president who has a son-in-law operating in the white house without security clearance and meeting with officials from all over the world while at the same time enter mingling his failing businesses and asking for business loans. there would be literal riots in congress for potential impeachment. somehow the president and the trump administration feels they are above the law. >> you are i'm sure well aware the editorial ball called on you. this is following the report that the kushner companies received hundreds on of millions of dollars in loans from lenders whose top executives met with kushner not in an office or restaurant, right in the white house. can congress fix that? can you regulate ethics? >> well, we certainly can.
the problem is you have unethical leadership in paul ryan in charge of the white house who has no backbone that we can find in terms of willing to stand up to the president and this administration. get democrats elected so we can pass this. unfortunately in the past we never had to do this. we had democrats and republicans who had some norms, some understanding of the rule of law. this president is acting lawless, continuing to act lawless until there is a check on him. it has to be essentially the upcoming elections or, again, if we have speaker ryan actually do his duty under the constitution to actually put in check the executive. you wouldn't hold my breath. the speaker has not shown any courage so far. so we will have to rely on the elections for that to happen. >> kushner pushed for comey firing, pushed hiring manafort, attended the meeting that promised dirt on hillary clinton, pushed for back channel
to moscow in a meeting with gorkov. do you think the president sees him as a liability now? two conflicting stories coming out of the white house. some speculating he wants him to go. others saying, no, it's his son-in-law. he relies on him, cares about him, and trusts him. >> i don't want to get into that scary place within donald trump's brain. that's a place i don't want to go. in my opinion, i don't think he does want to get rid of him. kushner is not some kind of braniac that helps him make decisions. kushner is there to push for the trump, inc. the ideas they send this man just like ivanka trump around the world to all of these countries where he is trying to strike deals for the future of donald trump, inc.wants he leaves office. that's why you see him going to places rich in money but not necessarily areas we should only be fox using on. at the end of the day, the most
important thing, whether he is good or bad for trump, he is a liability to the united states. the fact that he lied so many times on his security clearance should concern all of us, not necessarily just what trump thinks. >> what you're saying basically is president trump is using his presidency to further the coffers of trump, inc.currently and down the road. >> absolutely. >> is that something whispered in the halls of congress? are there flagrant evidence of that? >> well, certainly it is talked about in the halls of congress, not necessarily by the party and leadership but we do talk about it. we see it all the time. donald trump jr. going and mixing business in india. kushner meeting with qatary trying to ask for money. and ivanka trump getting a trademark a day before donald trump himself decides not to
impose economic sanctions on china regarding detroit. you have all of these things that keep adding up. no one is putting this altogether in terms of the party of power that is supposed to keep him in check. and it all points to one thing. this is all about pure gravity. make the most money, increase their brand, and continue pushing for trump being there while they're in the white house and after they're in the white house. let alone that he is billing millions on of dollars of taxpayer dollars when he goes on these weekend trips. >> which is where he is right now. republican congressman tom rooney who sits on the committee says hicks was set up by the line of questioning and forced into admitting that she told white lies for the president. do you believe she was set up?
>> when you admit the truth, it's not awe setup. and secondly, she's an adult. she has taken this responsibility of working for the president, representing the president. you know, i don't understand where congressman rooney feels he has to treat someone who is part of the executive with kid gloves. at the same time they want to throw young and women below the age of 16 and try them as adults. however, i guess somehow hope hicks at the age of 29 gets to be treated differently. thiss, again, part of the republican leadership coverup to give cover to the president for whatever actions he did during the campaign is and the transition. >> but congressman, do you think a lot of people in washington, under certain circumstances, may tell white lies? >> i think it's different for
everybody. but in your capacity as an official when you represent somebody, i certainly would not accept my staff saying white lies for me. and certainly that's what it seems like. i was not part of the testimony, but it seems like hope hicks admitted lies time and time again for the president. and it's up to the president at this point whether he accepts one of his staffers is going to be doing that. >> all right. let's go to the president's position on gun reform, though it is not at all clear to me where that stapz. here is an exchange at the white house meeting on wednesday. here it is. >> i'm a fan of the nra. no bigger fan. i'm a big fan of the nra. but that doesn't mean to have to agree on everything. it doesn't sense that i have to wait until i'm 21 to get this but i can get a handgun at age 18. >> we didn't address it, mr. president? >> that's because you're afraid
of the nra. >> chris cox, i had a great meeting tonight with@real donald trump and@vp. we all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from bad people. which will inform gun policy going forward? >> well, i'm going to bet the tphar or tphar will get their way with president trump. we have seen president trump time and time again use this showmanship style of meeting where he makes these strong announcements. and then he quickly votes private lu to his staff to more conservative elements of his party to interest groups. this is a really good example. the nra historically, since we have been aware of these mass shootings, has done nothing to stem that. their only goal and hope is to
sell more weapons so that way they can keep their manufacturers happy. and they're going to make sure that, you know, donald trump, who they spent $30 million, and maybe more to help get elected president, they will continue to make sure he listens to them and follows their orders. and i wouldn't be surprised if that also stays the same when it comes to speaker ryan and leader mitch mcconnell. luckily, we have parkland students who are more courageous than the politicians, certainly more than the president and the leadership of the republican party, willing to step out and fight the nra. right now these adults are not doing anything. >> before i let you go, i want to ask about the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. nbc exclusive report is saying today that he was angry, unglued when he made that decision. three things that were bothering him. white lies on it of hope hicks and her testimony there. a few with jeff sessions, which
is ongoing given whatever day it is. and the kushner/kelly battles. do you agree with the president that a trade war is he easy to win? >> no. anything you that has the title war in it is not going to be easy. we need to adjust our trade policies and do it in a very thoughtful manner. back to the point that you are trying to make, he is becoming unglued, why are we all of a sudden discovering this man is unglued? for four years he was pushing conspiracy theory that the sitting president of the united states, sitting president barack obama was a kenyan born conspiracy where we imported this man to make sure he became president. somehow he wasn't unglued then. he wasn't unglued when he ordered a muslim ban. he wasn't unglued when he fired fbi director comey. this man is unglued. he has been unglued for a while. now, some of the reason they are considered him unglued is
because it finally affects them. he was unflewed before he was president and since he the oath of office. if we wanted to make sure he doesn't continue down this horrible road, we would have to have leadership as in paul ryan and mitch mcconnell being true leaders and invoke the constitution to keep the executive in check. but they haven't been doc this. if you think he is unglued now, i'm glad you finally joined what many of us have been saying for many months. but i only think it is going to get worse. >> just for the record, that is the verbiage being used from inside the white house now on, even those who are off the record. they don't want to be named. now they are using the word unglued. so there it is. it's out there. good to see you. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you so much. so many headlines, so many questions. what to make of the wild week that was in the trump white house and whether it will get better or worse.