tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC March 5, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST
"mitchell reports. "chris jansing is up next here on msnbc. hey, chris. thank you so much. good afternoon. we are here at msnbc headquarters in new york, and we are zeroing in. nbc news has learned that the grand jury investigating russia has subpoenaed a witness to provide e-mails, texts, and documents involving the president and a lot of his closest advisers. plus, man of steel. house speaker paul ryan just announced he's pressing the president to shift his position. will that work? and a blue wave, democrats just a day away from their first test of the election season in texas. can they flip seats in the lone star state from red to blue? so a lot going on, and we start with the robert mueller investigation creeping ever closer to president trump himself. on a day that the president welcomes israel's benjamin netanyahu, a leader facing his own high-profile corruption allegations, nbc news obtained a copy of a confidential subpoena
sent by special counselor robert mueller. now he wants correspondence between an unknown witness and top trump campaign officials, those text messages, e-mails, phone logs, documents, also on our radar. two "new york times" reports. one suggesting that the mueller investigation is probing foreign efforts beyond russia to win influence. the other a $120 million mystery. state department money already funded to combat russian meddling has been sitting unused since trump took office. we have a lot to cover. let's start with our reporters jeff bennett and my colleague katie tur. this is blockbuster stuff. what can you tell us about the significance of this subpoena? >> this is a subpoena to one witness asking for information, as you said, on a number of donald trump campaign associates. also white house associates. we have a list of them we can put up on the screen. it's ten different people, carter page, core yi ly lewando
paul manafort, roger stone, steve bannon. it is a pretty big list. and what's notable is that after hope hicks leaves, michael cohen will be the only one known to still be employed by donald trump. he doesn't work for the organization any longer. he is donald trump's personal lawyer. we don't know what the special council will be using this information for. when you talk to analysts and former federal investigators they've said likely that they already -- the special counsel already has all of the communications it's asking for, so this could be a number of things, looking for something maybe they missed. it could be potentially testing whether this witness is actually a cooperative witness, or if this witness is truthful, or using it to test if another witness is being cooperative or truthful.
what's notable the president's name is still on this list. and we reported last week exclusively that robert mueller is asking witnesses about what the president knew and when. >> bewell, the time line of whe they want this information from is interesting. >> it's interesting because we reported last week they're looking into a couple of instances or a number of instances including the press conference in july of 2016 where donald trump said russia, if you're listening, they want to know if the president himself knew about the e-mails, the john podesta e-mails, before the public knew. in this subpoena here they are requesting information from november 1st, 2015, all the way to the present day. that's notable because it's 4 1/2 months after the trump campaign launched. so it makes you wonder and question why it would be so much later. what do they already know about that time period that they don't need to confirm again? again, this is this ongoing investigation, and it's significant because it's very
clear that it is getting under the president's skin. >> and we have seen this before, jeff bennett. we have seen. we know the president is following all of this very carefully. have we gotten any reaction to this point? >> reporter: he's certainly following this very carefully, and his annoyance is reflected on his twitter feed. here is the president's latest tweet about all of this. why did the obama administration start an investigation into the trump campaign with zero proof of wrongdoing long before the election in november? wanted to discredit so crooked h -- meaning hillary clinton -- would win. unprecedented. bigger than watergate. plus, obama did nothing about russian meddling. now the point he makes about the obama administration doing nothing about russian meddling is debatable but, here again, the president denying the fact that any of his campaign associates colluded with russia or he is obstructing or has obstructed the ongoing investigation into it. one bit of news to mention, chris -- you had a question? >> i was going to say to that point that he's talking about
obama not looking into russian meddling, we do know the russians meddled, we know they haven't let up with the midterms coming, and yet in this context you have this state department story about money that's there and not spent. >> reporter: "the new york times" reporting yesterday that the state department has spent none of the $120 million allocated to it to thwart russia's attempts to meddle in the upcoming elections. and not only that, chris, we learned from that reporting the office that is designed to do just that has no people working in it that speak russian due in part to a hiring freeze but, yes, this comes as u.s. intelligence officials make the point the kremlin is targeting the mid-term elections to run another influence campaign. and we know president trump has done very little to thwart it because he believes talk of russia's influence in the 2016 elections undermines his own political standing, chris. >> let's make one point about the tweet he sent out this morning. you can't have your cake and eat it, too. he's saying the obama
administration and the investigators, whatever, were looking into the trump campaign in order to help hillary clinton win. crook hillary, help her win. the investigation didn't come out -- they didn't know about it -- hillary clinton did not win, so you can't say they did nothing and at the same time were trying to help hillary clinton win. >> i'll steal a line from someone in our morning meeting who said it's complaining about how bad the food was and, by the way, the portions were too small. >> an old wood dwy allen joan. >> katy tur, thank you. reporter for "the washington post," also an msnbc political analyst, ellen rosenstein, a former federal prosecutor, shannon pettypiece who covers for bloomberg news as well. look at the names on the subpoena. when you see it and it's for information stretching back to the early days of the trump campaign, what's your take? >> well, i think it tells us a couple of things. i think the first it tells us the mueller investigation is ongoing. it's not stopping anytime soon,
and we have to be humble about predicting where it will go. it's hard for the president to keep saying he's not the subject of the special counsel if the special counsel is trying to get his communications. in addition to the special counsel investigating what trump may or may not have known about collusion between his campaign and the russians it also goes to obstruction of justice. it's pretty clear he fired comey in part to stop the russia investigation. and how much he knew of the investigation and in particular what he thought his liability might be really goes to the question of what his state of mind was when he fired director comey and whether or not that amounted to obstruction of justice. >> that brings me to what some analysts have suggested, this is more evidence mueller is investigating the trump campaign, the very same way that
a prosecutor would a criminal enterprise. so for the layman, what does this mean? >> well, what it means is that when you're investigating a criminal enterprise, you don't start investigating from the top. you want to start investigating at lower levels because that's where a lot of the actual potentially criminal decisions were made and in particular that's where a lot of your vulnerable witnesses might be, vulnerable in the sense they may be willing to cooperate and most importantly tell you about malfeasance up the chain. just like you wouldn't go after a mob boss directly, you start with the foot soldiers and start rolling that up the organization. that does appear to be the ultimate strategy that special counsel mueller is going with investigating donald trump and his campaign. >> bob, in spite of what the president said and members of his team, his administration, said for much of last year that this was wrapping up, wrapping up, when you look at the scope of the people, when you look again at the kinds of documents that he's looking at and when
they're from, this is a wide net and this certainly doesn't look, does it, as something that's about to wrap up anytime very quickly. >> not at all. of course it's hard to speculate about the special counsel. when you look at this report about the subpoenas, about the documents that robert mueller is seeking, it brings you not just back to 2015 and 2016 but even the months and years ahead of president trump's consideration of a 2016 campaign, who was he talking to in the business community who may be from russia or different foreign countries in the 2013, 2014, 2015 period. all of this seems to be under scrutiny based on my reporting and nbc's reporting about these documents. >> and the fact that, and allen just touched on this point, the president not only himself talked frequently but wanted others to say that he is not under investigation, this could seem to fly in the face of that. >> according to some witnesses and lawyers i've spoken to, the
mueller investigation keeps trying to paint a map about what is going on. they don't have a scope they're limited to. the more they hear from witnesses over the course of the investigation, the more they're willing to paint an even bigger picture. at this point it's hard to put a time line on mueller because of the way he keeps bringing in new witnesses using information to ask further questions. >> shannon, msnbc reported last week mueller's team is asking whether trump knew about the democrats' hack e-mails before it was known. you heard katy talking about that. it does seem the investigation is delving into what trump himself knew, when he knew it. what are you hearing about how all of this late information is affecting the mood at the white house? >> well, we know for over the past year how this investigation has really grated at the president, privately and publicly on his twitter account. he was promised by his lawyers that it would be done by the end
of the year or to some extent that the white house piece of it would be wrapped. mueller would continue investigating russian troll farms but this perception it would be wrapping up near the end of the year. here we are in march. now i believe people are making excuses for why this continues to drag out, that it is -- the end is near. his lawyers are negotiating an interview with the president and mueller. that is something that would probably come at the end stage. as you mention you start from the bottom up. that could indicate something is close but, of course, when you, as everyone has said, when you look at this list of names and communications just the number of documents that would be produced then with have to be reviewed could take months longer. i think it will continue being a frustration that weighs on this president well into the spring of his second year. >> and not just that list of names we just showed you, robert, we've seen a lot of reports of late of the mueller investigation looking at a
possible foreign influence peddling, the report about the campaign and united arab emirates, reports on the kushner family, their real estate dealings. it seems the more information the mueller team gets in, the more target rich all of this is. >> what's of particular concern based on reports of the "times" and "the post" and nbc, what did jared kushner do in the transition when he was meeting with foreign officials as a part of the incoming administration and as jared kushner businessman thinking through the future of the kushner companies. exactly what was said, when was it said, and how it was interpreted during that transition period will be of intense interest for mueller and of congressional investigators in the coming months. >> there's been a lot of reporting on this, shannon. with your ear to the ground at the white house, i wonder what you're hearing. is the president trying to
protect jared kushner or is he trying to get rid of him? >> i think that's probably the question everyone wants to know. role of jared kushner and ivanka has become increasingly important with hope hicks leaving not to mention a number of other allies to jared and ivanka who have left. the spokesman, the president, i know there is a cliche now saying he's become increasingly isolated. at this point the small circle of people around him to understand him and knew him before he was the republican nominee has shrunk to jared, ivanka and his social media director. so maybe he doesn't like all the media attention and scrutiny around jared kushner but he is an ally and someone the president feels is on his side and understands him above anybody else in the room. >> shannon pettypiece, allen rosenste rosenstein, thanks. stick around and talk tariffs,
if you will. about those tariffs, they've pitted the president against speaker paul ryan. will the rest of the republican party be able to convince trump to back down? plus, democrats in texas reaching record levels of early voting in a mid-term year. signs that a blue wave may be ready to hit the lone star state in the first primary tomorrow. we're going to go there live just ahead. you're a life of unpredictable symptoms. crohn's, you've tried to own us. but now it's our turn to take control with stelara® stelara® works differently for adults with moderately to severely active crohn's disease. studies showed relief and remission, with dosing every 8 weeks. stelara® may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before or during treatment, always tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have flu-like symptoms or sores, have had cancer, or develop any new skin growths, or if anyone in your house needs or recently had a vaccine. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems,
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intends to do about tear ariffsr steel and aluminum. to protect our country we must protect america steel. let me bring in shannon pet pettypiece again. the president doubling down. he says, look, just a few moments ago at the white house this is what i'm going to do. let me play that. >> we're not backing down. mexico, we've had a very bad deal with mexico, with canada. it's called nafta. our country on trade has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world whether it's friend or enemy. >> at the same time, shannon, we hear from paul ryan, he puts out a statement saying we are extremely worried about the consequences of the trade war and urges the president not to do this.
he isn't alone. what will happen next? >> reporter: i was sproised to see this statement. paul ryan has been very aligned and in lockstep with the president since day one. he is good at avoiding controversy. if there is something controversial the president is doing and paul ryan does not want to get involved in it, he knows how to duck and weave around those controversies. to make the statement shows how strongly republicans in congress feel that this is not the right type of trade policy. >> yeah, right? >> reporter: right, and they are congress, they are a branch of government. there is a domain for them to have in this. the president needs to be reminded that this is not a unilateral decision he gets to make. congress is involved in this as well. and they were very confused and caught off guard when this announcement was made, even republican members in congress. >> just to remind folks that announcement called for a 24% increase in steel imports, 10% on aluminum and then -- then you
have the commerce secretary wilbur ross saying this yesterday. >> what he has said, if he says something different it will be something different. he has made a decision at this poi point. >> he rattles the stock market, things get confused with conflicting statements and wilbur ross saying whatever he eventually decides he decides. where does this leave people? >> well, i mean, it is something though it took some people by surprise he has been espousing some of this protectionist trade rhetoric, it's one of the core positions that he's long had and it's also one that is as shannon suggested totally anathema with orthodoxy. we don't see that rhetoric particularly from the current wing of the republican
leadership and, you know, the republican party at large. while we have seen him in the past take positions that were out of step with the republican party, they've always managed to sort of rein him back in. we saw this with the debate over gun control where on live tv from the white house he laid out a bunch of proposals that are very inconsistent -- >> on immigration when they had the big meeting and people seemed to be trying to push him back toward -- anyway, so you have all of this going on and we hear from other countries about possible retaliation. we hear from china, we heard from canada, we heard from members of the european union all threatening and then paul ryan warning about the possibilities of a trade war. what are the potential implications for everyday working americans? go ahead, ken. >> sorry, go for it.
obviously huge for the stock market and we've seen the stock market react negatively, and there's a pretty robust debate about whether the tariffs would have the intended effect of reviving american steel industry or reducing our trade deficit with some of the countries that do have surpluses of steel. and so trump may be a bargaining chip that he is trying to use during these ongoing nafta negotiations to renegotiate nafta, but it's hard to see how this would have an immediate benefit on the american economy and, in fact, we've seen signs that it could be detrimental. >> and where this came from, shannon, my colleague, steffi ruhle and peter alexander wrote, the president was angry when he decided to impose the tariffs. hope hicks, comments on white house lies and her resignation, jared's treatment by staff, is
this legislating by presidential mood? >> reporter: we were told as stephanie and peter reported as well that this caught a lot of people off guard, a lot of people, not to mention people on the hill, people within the white house, people within the commercial department. yes, they knew af an announcement was coming. it caught a lot of people off guard. only the president really knows his thinking about it. one other thing, we did glean from our reporting that he, of course, had the idea of pennsylvania and ohio in his mind, and this being a campaign promise and this being something at that would help him and benefit him in the key rust belt swing states. >> shannon pettypiece, thank you for sticking around. ken vogel, always good to see you. tomorrow is the texas primary, the first critical test of democrats' strategy to take back the house in the midterms. could it be the beginning of a
blue wave? our own steve kornacki will walk us through what he's watching for. and oscar winners and presenters got political, very political at last night's awards show with messages of gender equality, mentions of the me too movement. solidarity with dreamers on the eve of what was supposed to be the expiration date for daca, today. >> and i would like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. we grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. dreams are the foundation of hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of america. >> to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.
texas likes to think of itself as go big or go home. that's true as the primary season for the 2018 midterms is about to get under way. there are 215 races on the democratic and republican ballots in the state. more than 650,000 texans in the state's top ten counties have already voted. 370,000 democrats, 282,000 republicans casting early
ballots. for democrats already double what they had four years ago. steve kornacki and vonn hilliard is on the ground. i know you've been looking at the next generation of one of the best known political families, the bushes. so they're a microcosm of what's happening there. what did you find out? >> reporter: yeah, chris, after traveling around the state the last few days, george p. bush is the incumbent and is looking at seeking re-election. after going around the towns it's quite evident having the last anytime of bush isn't quite enough. >> i, george herbert walker bush -- >> i, george walker bush -- >> i, jeb bush -- >> reporter: they're one of the longest running.
prescott bush was elected in 1952 and the staying power is on george prescott bush, the great-grandson. >> i voted for all the bushes until this election. >> i think they're good, ethical people. >> reporter: bush is trying to hold on to his seat as texas land commissioner. with election day this tuesday. george p. bush is nowhere to be found on the campaign trail this is his official government office here, but if you're looking to talk with commissioner bush, you've had a mighty difficult time doing so. >> i want to stand here and look him nose to nose and toe to toe and shake your hand. >> reporter: and you don't feel you've had that opportunity? >> not with george w. bush, no. >> he doesn't have the courtesy to get on the stump, answer questions. >> reporter: that's jerry patterson, a former land commissioner, also a republican, and bush's primary opponent. >> a lot of voters say a bush, we admire the bush family. you're running against a bush.
>> i'm running against one of the bushes who i do not care for the performance of that particular bush. >> jerry patterson running for texas land commissioner. >> reporter: patterson has a tough battle as he campaigns across the state. are you guys backing jerry? >> you raised an interesting question. i'll duck it. >> reporter: bush has faced heavy criticism for his handling of hurricane harvey and the renovation of the historic alamo. has george p. bush represented the state of texas well? >> so-so. i'm not real happy with him. >> reporter: and you're not going to be voting for him on tuesday? >> no. >> land commissioner george p. bush is standing with donald trump. >> reporter: now bush is relying on his father's greatest foe, the man who viciously attack his father. >> jeb bush, we call him low energy, low energy. >> reporter: and the bush name throughout the 2016 campaign. >> he's afraid to use his last name. can you believe it? i'm jeb with an exclamation point. >> reporter: acknowledgement of
the new family in power. >> commissioner bush is endorsed by donald trump jr. >> he separated himself from the remainder of the bush family and, in my mind, that has served him well. >> reporter: it may be just enough to keep the dynasty alive. now it's not expected george p. bush will outright lose tomorrow. here this texas they have primaries so if george p. does not get 50% of the threshold, then he'll likely go into a run-off against that candidate you heard from, jerry patterson. i want to underline the note here that it's been fascinate to go not see george p. out. he's nowhere on the campaign trail. officials say he's not talking with local or national media. when i asked when are we going to see him next, he said we'll see you after polls close tomorrow night. >> interesting. it's so interesting to see how many of the republicans are aligning themselves with the president despite his low
rating. what are you watching for tomorrow? >> that piece sets this up perfectly. what we have is a story about the past and the present of the republican party and maybe the future. he's talking about george p. bush running statewide. let me talk about one little congressional district you can barely see it there, the seventh district. the suburbs of houston. let me show you why it's so fascinating. this district has been republican for half a century ever since george h.w. bush won it in 1966 the houston suburbs. when george bush, the former president, george h.w. bush, won it. it's suburban, college educated, it's right outside houston. you see mitt romney won it by 21 points. republicans used to have no problem here. donald trump comes along, he loses this district, the seventh district. hillary clinton carried it. you have a republican indumb be
incumbent. you think about that contract, you just saw it in vonn's piece there. george p. bush, the grandson, alliance himself with donald trump trying to survive. meanwhile, what once was bush country in texas, this is one of the top democratic targets in the country. we'll see who they emerge with as a candidate. there's going to be a run-off there. quickly two others we can take you through. the 23rd district. this is huge geographically here. always a swing district that went for romney. went for clinton in '16. republican incumbent there. democrats have that one circled. a very similar story in the suburbs of houston. go north the suburbs of dallas. again, a republican incumbent, pete sessions. romney wins it by 16 running in 2012. hillary clinton carries in 2016. used to be reliable. not so reliable anymore. those are the places, among others, democrats are really looking in 2018.
>> it's going to be fascinating tomorrow. steve, thank you so much. we appreciate you both. mark davis is one of the leading conservative radio talk show hosts and he joins me now. mark, good to see you. you saw those numbers on early voting. what do you take away from them? >> well, there's a reason for enthusiasm for early voting among democrats. if everybody goes and looks at battleground texas, the group formed a few years ago to try to turn texas purple and ultimately blue if their dreams come true. i have to give it to them. they are trying. they are trying hard. they come no a trump era where a lot had a tough time speaking the trump language. most of texas is not having a problem with that. he remains enormously popular. steve found some districts that may flip. houston used to be bush country. george p. is clinging to the trump presidency as no other
member of his family seems willing to do. on your question about the early voting, there's big democrat enthusiasm for what may happen. the republicans know that ted cruz ain't going to lose and their congressman ain't going to lose. >> what do you see in terms of the shifting population? the latino population is increasing, the number of latinos in the state rose from $6.7 million. that's a 60% increase. what might that mean tomorrow? >> well, tomorrow it might mean some margins -- tomorrow in the primaries, quite frankly, not much. in the general, ted cruz who is likely to face el paso's congressman, a strong candidate.
if he can cut that to single digits, that's a very big thing. you have to crawl before you walk. this is the path to turning texas purple. but for now we remain a red state. down you road you never know. >> there's always something that maybe those of us who play this political game and watch it very closely don't always expect. you look at issues that will be larger than usual and enthusiasm of people working to what will happen in november. tariffs very much in the news now following the school shoot ing in florida. regulations about who can own a gun. how might issues play out in this? >> it will be huge. we have one of the earliest primaries in america. we have more than a half a year
before the november decisions are mate. how will these tariffs be playing out? i took calls about this almost the entire morning on my show. >> really? >> i found a lot of people remain skeptical about other people willing to follow that trump clarion call and as far as the gun issue goes it resonates hugely here. if it looks like a possible threat to second amendment rights that could absolutely energize republicans. we know the democrats will be energized and should be. there may be republicans ready and willing to meet them. >> mark davis, always good to see you. thank you so much. >> thank you, chris. appreciate it. >> some say a key provision is missing. we'll talk to a father who lost his daughter about why he vows to get it passed anyway. and president trump's meeting
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something that democrats and many of the students from stoneman douglas high school say is necessary. joining me now is andrew pollack whose 18-year-old daughter was killed in the shooting almost three weeks ago. thank you so much for being with us. our sincerest sympathies. it always feels hollow to ask this question after a tragedy like what befell your family, but how are you doing? how is the family doing? >> i'm holding up and i want everyone out there who wants to help me on my crusade to follow me and help support my page. that would be great. >> remembermeadow.com. >> remembermeadow.com that will help me with my crusade. we have strength in numbers and need to make our schools safe. how can you help you? i'm in tallahassee. >> it amazing me when people have gone through the tragedy you've seen and find the inner
strength to try to bring about change. you support the bill being considered today, the school marshal program is in it. it would arm school staff members and teachers who, first of all, volunteer and get more than 130 hours of training. as you know teachers have been encouraged to lobby against the plan. a recent poll found america is divided. 50% oppose arming teachers. i wonder can you talk about what is motivating your position on this and have you talked to teachers there and how do they feel about it? >> yes, i did. actually, i spoke to a bunch of friends that i have about this bill, and there's something you're failing to mention. what you're failing to mention is that it's voluntary. this whole program for the school board is voluntary. so what makes it -- what's important is because in some areas where the police are very close, they could respond
faster, but you're failing to forget in rural areas it could take the police much longer to get to the school. so someone like a marshal trained with the police for that specific scenario i think is beneficial -- beneficial for the school. >> so i do want to say we did say this is -- people have to volunteer. you're not -- this is not requiring people to decide to arm themselves. >> no. >> the people who want to do it -- and you've said, also, that gun control laws are not achievable right now. you've been advocating, correct me if i'm wrong, a school safety first program. what makes sense to you from where you sit? >> correct. part of the problem is the media, like before you got on you started talking about the ar bill and it takes away from the focus of what's important to me and i think a majority of americans. they want to just know their
kids are safe. so every time the media starts talking about gun control, it takes away from our objective of making our schools safe, which is achievable right now it we come together. if the media stops saying gun control and instead of using the word gun control put in there school safety, it will be an easy task to get together and make it happen. >> but the question is for many people and, in fact, the polls show this, for many people school safety is equated with getting rid of assault rifles or at least putting strong restrictions on who can get their hands on assault rifles and weapons that were designed as weapons of war as opposed to personal safety or hunting, those kinds of things. why not talk about restricting or banning those kinds of weapons? >> because that's not going to solve the problem next week. next week i want my kids safe, if i had one that went to school, but i don't.
every other person i know has kids going to school. how is it going to -- banning ars, say there's a few million rifles, how is that going to make them safe next week? we want them safe next week, the american people. in order to do that, we need to make the school safe. just like if you went to a concert, you can't get into a concert with a weapon. the people at the concert that run it, are they looking to ban -- are they looking to make laws on gun control? no. they did what they did. they put in their metal detectors. they put in the security and you're safe when you go to a concert. i just want that same thing implemented at a school. and later on, i don't have a problem with anyone out there fighting any gun law possible. it doesn't bother me. but right now if we focus on just making our schools safe, like a courthouse, we'd get it done much quicker. >> andrew pollack, we thank you
for taking the time, and our thoughts are with meadow, an extraordinary young girl, and like far too many whose life was cut short and had so much promise. thank you so much. we appreciate it. >> thank you. and i want to thank all the people for sending prayers. i really appreciate it. it helps. thank you. >> thank you. president trump and israel's prime minister meeting at the white house as both leaders face major investigations. how are their individual troubles impacting their summit today?
nobody could get past, number one, jerusalem. they couldn't get past it. we've taken it off the table. so this gives us a real opportunity to peace. >> okay. that was president trump earlier this afternoon, ahead of a working lunch with israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu. iran's presence in war-torn syria and middle east peace undoubtedly on the agenda. but there is something else that looms over this meeting. netanyahu stepping into a white house that is, of course, at the center of a major investigation, even as the israeli leader faces an investigation of his own, back home. politico's senior foreign affairs correspondent, michael
crowley, is here to discuss. so let's start with the meeting. it's still going on, michael. we've got our cameras waiting to see when they might come out of the oval office. but let me play what benjamin netanyahu said just a little while ago. >> if i had to say, what is our greatest challenge in the middle east, to both our countries, to our arab neighbors, it's encapsulated in one word. iran. we have to stop this country that chants death to israel, death to america. iran must be stopped. that is our common challenge. >> so iran, you obviously have syria, you have the embassy move. those are some of the things they talked about in the little on-camera, but i think probably the most, i don't know if you would say it's the striking thing, but the one thing that the president liked was netanyahu sees president trump as a staunch ally. >> yeah, absolutely. you know, these two men have
really had a lovefest and it's a striking contrast to the obama years, where there was this torturous relationship between president barack obama and prime minister netanyahu. they did not get along personally. reporters sort of looked forward to these oval office visits, because the body language was so hostile. now netanyahu comes in and he is comparing donald trump to the great historical friends of israel. it was amazing to hear netanyahu say, you're in the tradition of cyrus the great, lord balfour, and harry truman, who recognized the state of israel for your recognition of jerusalem as the capital of israel. you are a great man in history when it comes to the jewish people. so he is really hugging trump and wants a lot from him, particularly on that issue of iran. netanyahu much less interested in getting a peace process started. donald trump seemed to be interested in that. we haven't seen this peace plan he's supposedly working on in secret. it's iran that floounetanyahu i
really pressing. trump is probably asking him some questions about the peace process, but iran at the center of the israeli leader's agenda. >> and in the eyes of the israelis, is the white house weakened after this whole security clearance message, for instance, with jared kushner? we saw it reported in "the washington post" that israel was one of the countries trying to leverage his potential vulnerabilities? >> reporter: yeah, so we don't know a lot more about that. i think that it's not clear exactly what the israelis may have done. some of that reporting suggested that some of those conversations about how to manipulate the trump foreign policy team and jared kushner in particular was really just a matter of trying to take advantage of nigh eaived inexperience, but there were also some indications that there could be some implications and business deals. it's very unusual for president trump to have given his son-in-law, who has no foreign policy experience, he's in his early to mid-30s, putting him in
charge of this portfolio. and a lot of experts in middle east politics and the peace process found it laughable, preposterous that kushner was given this portfolio. some other people will say, kushner has the trust of the president, that's the most important thing for a diplomat, he has a fresh perspective, and you even hear some people who have a lot of experience in this world, dennis ross, for instance, has advised many presidents, saying that jared kushner's security clearance is not essential to him continue to play this role. but there's definitely a school of thought that says, no, this really cripples him. >> michael crawly, it will be interesting to see what comes out of this meeting today. thank you so much. >> thanks for having me. >> and we'll be right back. hasd of a pre-pubescent squire! thy armor was forged by a feeble-fingered peasant woman... your mom! as long as hecklers love to heckle,
and that wraps up this hour of "msnbc live." i'm chris jansing. we're going to end this hour as we began it, with miss katy tur. >> chris jansing, what a day at the white house. netanyahu there, netanyahu facing all those allegations and charges. the president facing all sorts of questions. >> breaking news on both of those investigations. >> netanyahu has yet to leave the white house. we're keeping an eye on that. chris jansing, thank you very much. good to see you back. it is 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in washington where robert mueller wants more. they have issued at least one subpoena to a witness asking for all of anything in connection to key trump campaign figures, white house aides,