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good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt in new york. it's 9:00 in the east and 6:00 a.m. out west. here's white house what's happening. details on the behind the scenes effort to make a face-to-face meeting between donald trump and kim jong-un. there are some new doubts today. >> we believe that ultimately we're going to be able to trace this back in one form or another to a payment from the trump organization or from the surrogate for mr. trump. >> follow the money. new questions raised in the stormy daniels' lawsuit against the president and where exactly did the $130,000 payout come from? a new answer to that today. cutting a deal, the trump legal team trying to bring the
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robert mueller russia probe to an end. but how? defending jared, ivanka trump saying someone in the white house is embarrassing her husband. that word in an article out today. we have those details, next. we begin with new reaction from the former trump campaign aid at the center of a firestorm this week after his initial refusal to appear before a special counsel grand jury. that man you see there. here's what he said in his first interview since yesterday's testimony. >> i was there a long time. and they have a lot of questions. did i ever hear russian spoken in the office and then they asked why didn't president trump support putin in syria. people say i had a meltdown on tv. i melted tv down that day. i wanted to show what this independent council, investigation does to people like me. >> is it a witch-hunt? >> there is a lot there. i don't believe the leaks to the president.
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>> former trump campaign manager on his refusal to answer certain questions when he testified on thursday. here's what corey lewandowski said. >> what this committee is supposed to be talk about, the russian investigation. i'll sit here forever, if that's what you want. the bottom line, that's not what they want to get ta. they want to make this a circus. they did a very good job of making it a circus. at the end of the day, they are assured from me and many others there was no collusion from the trump campaign and any russians. >> new today "wall street journal" reporting that they're seeking a deal with robert mueller to speed the end of the russia probe. meanwhile, new details on what exactly happened inside the oval office the night they accepted kim jong-un's invitation to meet. president trump interrupted a conversation between south ko a koreas and said, okay, okay, i'll do it.
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they looked at each other as if in disbelief, tell them yes, the president said. let's go to kelly o'donnell. good saturday morning to you. any reaction from the white house to that "wall street journal" specifically to that report, but talking with official os since this surprise announcement and what we learned he was in the oval office and the briefing from the south korean national security adviser and members of that delegation was happening. it's fair to say it was a surprise to everyone that the president would be willing to have this meeting with kim jong-un. it was the national security adviser from south korea, of course, sitting with the president who had also spoken with kim in north korea. and, so, that is a close, direct connection bringing these two world leaders. improbable as it is, together. there are questions about how this will all unfold. one of the issues that we've learned about is that the south koreans and the u.s. decided
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they wanted a short time window to try to keep the pressure on north korea to comply with the things they said it they would do. we have a window of a couple of months. no date has been set. the president has still been tweeting about this and it's still on track. his enthusiasm about a face-to-face meeting with kim jong-un. the deal is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the world. the president's evening tweet followed a press briefing that made the historic meeting sound less certain. >> i'm simply saying that a time and place haven't yet been set. >> reporter: press secretary sarah sanders also appears to have raised the stakes for an initial meeting with north korea. >> they promise to denuclearize. we have to see verifiable actions take place. >> reporter: senior officials insist there for no extra conditions that would force north korea to first verify an end to its nuclear program. saying that would come later.
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the press secretary did manage to steer away from a controversial storm. >> we addressed this extensively and i don't have anything else to add. >> reporter: new developments in the case of stormy daniels. she claims she had an affair with trump in 2006. which the president denies. this e-mail that shows lawyer michael cohen used his trump organization work e-mail in a message related to payment of $130,000 to daniels. cohen told abc news, the money came from his home equity line of credit. distancing the deal from trump. daniels' attorney doesn't buy it. >> mr. cohen wants the american people to believe that he was just out here doing all of this on his own and not reporting to anybody about it. it's not believable. >> reporter: today the president hits the campaign trail. heading to pennsylvania, where democrats hope to take a republican house seat. the president will headline a
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ral rally for rick. >> rick is a great guy. i think he's going to do really well. he's a great guy. loves this area, loves this country. >> voters in that pennsylvania district cast their ballots on tuesday. this is an open seat that has been held by a republican. democrats really see this as an opportunity to show their anti-trump enthusiasm with their candidate there. also new from the white house just a short time ago, the official announcement that the president will travel internationally next month heading to the summit of the americas in lima, peru, and then making a stop in columbia. a series of meetings with leaders from that part of the world over a series of days. alex? >> all right, i know you will be covering it all for us, kelly o'donnell, thank you so much. joining me now, and jeff mason, white house correspondent for reuters. good morning to you both. i want to start with north korea. because, jeff, you asked white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders about the
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timing of that meeting. i want to run that exchange. here it is. >> do you think a two-month time period is enough time to make sure they will actually fulfill those promises. he said he wants to do it by may? >> we're working on the determination of the time, but let's not be lost in the fact that this didn't happen overnight. >> does that mean it might not be may? >> we haven't set a time or a location. those things have yet to be determined. >> jeff, any chance there was some sort of a miscommunication about the time frame? it was south korea who said talks could take place as soon as may, right? >> it absolutely was. they said the president wanted that to happen by may. that was one reason i asked that question, sarah sanders was givi giving, suggesting a little more flexibility in ability to suggesting more demands in order for those talks to happen. she didn't really give more details and as kelly rightly reported in her package earlier, white house officials after the briefing ended up saying she's not setting any new criteria.
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the meeting is still going forward. this sort of all shows or illustrates the fact that that night everything happened in a very rapid pace, fairly surprising and very spontaneously. and that is interesting and significant because this would be an enormous summit, if it actually happens. the first time a sitting u.s. president has met with the leader of north korea. >> absolutely. all right, we're certainly going to be talking about that all day. talking about how the president is going for a clean reset in the white house and listing some upcoming departures kroordi s ao the article. kelly and mcmaster both of whom trump clashed with for months. gary cohen who just resiso the , aaron. any indication that mcmaster or kelly are on their way out?
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>> well, look back a couple weeks and months. remember, when mcmaster said there was incontrovertible evidence that russia did have a role in meddling in the 2016 election president trump took to twitter and rebuked him. a stunning display between the president and mcmaster. if you look back at john kelly, a couple different moments that made his tenure rocky even before the rob porter storey and the security clearance story. remember, he said the president had evolved on immigration. that is something that got under the president skin. he had that fight with frederica wilson over what she said with the controversy over a gold star widow. it has not been without hiccups. part of a pattern over 14 months. >> let's look further into this article because it goes to say next on the departure list are ivanka and jared kushner. what about this, jeff, any truth to these two potentially leaving? >> well, i don't have any
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sourcing to support that. but i think it's true to say looking back at the first year of president trump's administration that anyone is dispensable. and he has shown that with close aides. with people who were critical parts of his campaign. whether or not he would take that to the next step with his family is something that we'll just have to watch going forward. but, you know, the president also said recently in a press conference, he likes chaos. he's still looking for that perfect team. so, you just never know with the trump white house when it comes to staffing. >> absolutely. but, specifically, we heard about tensions between jared, ivanka and john kelly and, in fact, there are statements where it says the couple are furious at kelly. here's one quote. why do you have to embarrass jared like that ivanka complained to a friend recently. so, what do you think, are the three going to be able to last under the same roof together,
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erin? >> remember, there has been a decline in the jared and ivanka faction with hope hicks leaving and jared kushner while he's had that trouble with his security clearance has taken into his portfolio and beyond the security clearance dealing with the foreign governments during the transition. there's more here to unpack. they're not native washington, d.c., folks. they're from new york. they have a life outside and beyond this. and even in ivanka's public platform you see her distance herself from her father and by being a member of this administrati administration, she's tied to him. >> does it appear the president is choosing towards leaning his family during this time? >> he did say the controversy over jared's security clearance that john kelly would make the decision and he was confident he
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would make the right decision. and john kelly decided to strip jared of that temporary clearance. so, we haven't seen any tweets lately from the president being overly supportive of john kelly. and the reason i mention that is when there were earlier reports last year about him being upset, the president really struck back against that. but, it's just hard to interpret when the president decides to tweet about a staff member and when he doesn't. certainly clear that kelly has made some massive changes in this white house since taking over for reince priebus. undoubtedly, he's not going to be there forever. >> can i ask you both the next white house security director. even suggestions that sarah huckabee sanders would wear two hats in her role. erin, what are you hearing? >> i heard both of those names tossed around but i wouldn't want tasay who is going to be the next. >> jeff, what about you. do you have any intel on this? >> i don't have any intel.
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press secretary holding both hats, sean spicer did that temporarily when he was there. where the communication director sits and could take on that role very quickly and smoothly but i think they're still deliberating at the white house or the president is, who he wants. >> i have never been heard her called mercy. now we know. thank you so much. good to see the both of you, erin and jeff. the potential road blocks to a trump/kim meeting and the skepticism it will ever occur. trump aides believe it will never happen. man: i was born in a hurry. the world made war, my parents made love. and i screamed into life. together, they were unstoppable. and i came along for the ride. did mom give me too much freedom? did dad make me lust for too great an adventure? my scars and bruises tell their own story.
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>> that's something we're going to continue advocating for and pushing for, but let's not forget that the north koreans did promise something. they did promise to denuclearize. >> the understanding, the message from the south korean delegation is that they would denuclearize and that is what our ultimate goal has always been and that will have to be part of the actions that we see them take. >> white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders one day after the president took the unprecedented step of agreeing to meet with the leader of north korea. let's bring in molly war fare expert and former adviser to georgia and executive director of the arms control association.
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good morning to you, both. darryl, i'll reach out to you here first. the south korean officials said on thursday, kim jong-un is committed to denuclearization. would this be the first time they made such a commitment and can they be trusted give on the history? >> well, it's not the first time that the north koreans have agreed to discuss their denuclearization. what the south korean officials also said a few days ago is that in their conversations with kim jong-un, he committed to talk about their nuclear program and he said that they would be interested in denuclearizing if their security can be guaranteed. that's always been the quid pro quo in the talks with the united states over the last 25 or 30 years. the reason why we haven't been able to succeed, in my view, is that even though there have been agreen agreements with bill clinton, george w. bush that were temporarily successful the follow through on both side was not there.
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so, the real test of this diplomatic opening is going to be whether the summit can launch a sustained diplomatic process that leads to steps on denuclearization and whether both sides can follow through. i think we're concentrating too much on what this one summit can achieve. the summit itself is not going to achieve denuclearization but it can be a catalyst for the kind of actions that we want to see out of north korea. >> then what the white house was saying yesterday, darryl, that there have to be certain benchmarks met before getting to this meeting. i mean, so, they're looking at denuclearization. >> i agree that sarah huckabee sanders was a bit confused in her responses. i think they have corrected this. i mean, what is clear from the south koreans, from the white house and other remarks is that the north koreans have agreed to halt ballistic missile and nuclear testing while talks with
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the u.s. continue. the two sides have agreed to a meeting of the heads of state. they're in a talks phase. so, the north koreans have not committed to take denuclearization steps beyond that before this summit. the white house is saying, we're not going to let up on the maximum pressure on the sanctions until and unless north korea starts taking concrete measures toward their eventual denuclearization. we have to remember, this is going to be if it gets going, if it's successful, a long process that requires patience on both sides. the north koreans are not going to give up their nuclear weapons if their security is not guaranteed. and that's also a tough part. what are we going to do. what concrete measures are we going to make to show the north koreans that we're not going to try to change their regime or attack them, et cetera. so, we have some difficult goods to deliver also in the coming months and years.
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>> very much so. so, molly, why does it appear that mr. trump is willing to jump in at this time. what feels like a preliminary level given the heft of all that needs to be discussed and positions that need to be met. is there a chance suckered by kim and what do you think kim wants? >> i think it does seem the president is viewing this as part of the show. and we've heard comments on this throughout the week. but i do think he's viewing the meeting as an element of a show or even just announcing the bilateral meeting as the heads of states as part of the circus that is running around the white house this week. the meeting between the heads of state should be the end of a process of negotiation or after significant progress has been made forward about new negotiations and already the negotiations are a stall tactic and they already set this up as a win/win for kim. just a meeting with the united states president alone is a huge internal victory for the north koreans propaganda machine and
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one of the few areas where president trump has been very articulate about human rights violations and ooppression of the people is on north crea and he deserves a lot of praise for that. giving him this photo of him meeting with american president is just more fuel for him to continue the internal dynamics that he has created of oppressing his people and pushing forward with a nuclear regime and i just think there's been very little consideration of the wholistic view of what these negotiations are going to be. >> molly, when you think about how this all came about, according to "wall street journal" they claim that mr. trump interrupted south korean officials. they were sitting around and analyzing an offer from kim and then he says, okay, okay, tell them i'll do it. the south korean officials look at each other like, really. complete disbelief and the president says, yeah, tell them yes. there is an impulsive streak in this president. could that be an asset dealing with this north korean leader? >> it's hard to know because
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nobody is really sure what a meeting between the president and kim will be like. nobody really has that much information about what kim is like in interactions with others because he's very isolated. my concern is that president trump does not know the history of negotiations between the u.s. and north korea. as darryl mentioned, a very long history of experience here. that the propensity -- what the north koreans want is the u.s. to disarm, as well. that they want to see mutual steps forward and removing american forces from the korean peninsula. and it's unclear that the president is prepared to discuss all of these different factors. it shouldn't be the meeting that he is in. he should not be the one doing tactical level negotiation. >> some white house aides believe that this may never happen. walk us through the logistics. what needs to get done in order to pull this off by may? >> well -- >> you know -- >> there does have to be intensive preparations for this meeting.
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that's clear. and we can be concerned about it. donald trump is impulsive. but that is the opportunity and i think the team is going to get him ready for this meeting. i think we need to look at this sum at little differently than a lot of the commentators and politicians have been describing it. this is not a summit that is going to end a process of denuclearization. it is not going to be the end point for additional steps north koreans are going to take. this is going to be the launching point. what we need to think about here is we need to maintain a good atmosphere between the two countries, between now and may or whenever the summit happens. that means the north koreans need to continue to halt ballistic missile and nuclear testing. we need to see the preparations continue. there will be a north/south summit in late april. and then what we want to see is the preparations made for the
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structured negotiation between the two sides in which each side is taking concrete measures to address the other's mutual concerns. so, one other point, the summit itself is a concession. that's true. but this is a concession, i think, that is very much worth making. i think donald trump made the right decision. i don't often praise him. this has created a much different atmosphere. we're talking right now in 2018 about diplomacy and talks and reducing tensions and not the threats of fire and fury and the insalt insal insults. this is a far better path. and this is clearly the right direction and with the right preparation, we can, at the very least, halt north korea's nuclear program. >> but, molly, very quickly here. does the president hold any cards to come out on top? north korea has a history of making agreements and then breaking them.
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>> absolutely. i think the hazard with any of this that regimes with north korea and others view negotiations as a stall tactic. they'll continue to do what it is they want to do to move forward with their plans while engaged in negotiations so they can be a step ahead moving forward. i agree with darryl there are risks taking with negotiations to change-up the environment in which these things can happen. however, the erraticness with which the president has thus far approached this process, i would view a lot of caution with moving into negotiations with a country like north korea with this mindset that isn't very considered and deliberate moving forward. >> all right, molly mccrew and darryl, thank you very much. a new report claiming the president is pressing his lawyers to find some way to end the investigation. the faster the better.
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like complimentary wi-fi and drinks. plus savings for everyone in your stateroom when you book now during the celebrity cruises sail beyond event. and i am a senior public safety my namspecialist for pg&e. my job is to help educate our first responders on how to deal with natural gas and electric emergencies. everyday when we go to work we want everyone to work safely and come home safely. i live right here in auburn, i absolutely love this community. once i moved here i didn't want to live anywhere else. i love that people in this community are willing to come together to make a difference for other people's lives. together, we're building a better california. welcome back, everyone. i'm alex witt. 31 past the hour. here's what we're monitoring for you. president trump's attorney reacting to a "wall street journal" report that they're
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interviewing mr. trump but in exchange for a quick end to the negotiation. here with more, natasha staff writer with "the atlantic." good morning to you. what are you hearing about this? >> i am hearing there is really no way mueller is going to agree to artificially cut his investigation short just because, you know, the president's defense team wants him to. he really, according to legal experts that i've spoken to, he would really not do his job if he agreed to these terms. if he agreed to limit theation, for example, to 60 days from the time that the president is interviewed. but i guess what the defense team is going for is they're seeking to leverage a potential interview with the president in exchange for a speedy conclusion to the investigation. but if they tried to kind of pressure mueller into ending the investigation, there's really other ways that he can go about this. serve up a grand jury subpoena and that would be that. >> to your point, "the wall
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street journal" report says 60-day limit and someone comes into the office the day before and, wait, i have the bombshell material and he says, no, i can't handle it. investigation is over tomorrow. seems completely unrealistic. "new york times" reports that the president asked key witnesses. so would mueller rather want to interview the president if he's been trying to find out what previous witnesses may have said? >> there's still a definite need for him to interview the president and this is just more of an example of trump's kind of attempts to obstruct justice. he tried. according to "new york times" article he tried to get his own counsel in the white house don mcgahn to come out and say that he never requested that mueller be fired and had to push back against that and say, well, you did tell me to put the order in to have mueller fired. so, the fact that he's asking witnesses about their
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conversations with mueller is not altogether surprising. i mean, this is -- when you read the "new york times" piece you can hear trump's voice. he asked reince priebus. were they nice? that's a very trumpian thing. but the more concerning part of it is when he asked don mcgahn to come out and essentially change his testimony. >> yeah. i want to talk about a tweet that you posted on thursday and it's about an excerpt from the russian roulette and it talks about trump's visit to a nightclub back in 2013 and salacious acts that often took place at that vegas club. why do you think that excerpt is significant? >> the question is whether or not there was a performance that night that trump was at that nightclub. that kind of mirrored the acts that we saw outlined in the
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dossier. the salacious acts. the christopher steele dossier that said he went to moscow and there were these kind of -- there was this golden shower show performed in the ritz-carlton. the question is, whether or not the russian pop star who has been very close with the trumps for a number of years, whether or not he witnessed something at that nightclub. maybe trump liked what he saw and tried to arrange for the same thing to be done when trump visited moscow, as we have all learned from trump's body guard keith schiller he did offer to send up to his hotel room when he was there. >> this is a breakfast show. okay. i want to talk about another excerpt from the back that looks
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at the reaction. they were not allowed to retaliate at the time, but did they have a choice? why risk an international incident when this was not on the public's radar. and then would any action been seen as them trying to tip is it scale in hillary clinton's favor? >> this is the issue. they were caught between a rock and a hard place. they thought the election was going to be won by hillary clinton and now many obama administration officials will tell you they regret not acting more forcefully. susan rice said, you know, according in david corn's book, looking back on it. but a lot of concern among top administration officials whether this would cause an international incident. and then, of course, there was difficulty in getting the republicans to cooperate with, you know, perhaps safeguarding election infrastructure even
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more. there was pressure and pushback from within the country and also internationally. there were concerns this could escalate things unnecessarily. >> natasha, always good to talk to you. thank you so much. >> thanks, alealex. a growing list of white house departures that may grow even more. the president is in the mood to show senior staffers the door and probably even jared and ivanka.
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fair" says president trump is moving to make a clear reset and the first officials to go chief of staff john kelly and national security adviser h.r. mcmaster. the move is being driven by the president's growing frustrations feeling like he's being reined in by the people around him. white house staff secretary under president obama and chris whipple author of "the gatekeepers." big welcome to you both and raja, a former west wing staffer and interesting to note that you held the same position that until recently rob porter also held in the trump administration. i'm curious, do you think any good could come of a clean reset at the white house? >> this sort of turnover is really unprecedented and, honestly, quite a contrast with the no drama obama mantra we had in the last administration. the real question that will emerge is whether this personnel chaos has any spillover.
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for example, in the last several weeks, we've seen two major policy announcements with respect to tariffs which seem somewhat less than coordinated. >> chris, the white house is in a state of chaos. let's take a listen to this. >> the white house has tremendous energy. it has tremendous spirit. it is a great place to be working. many, many people want every single job. you know, i read, oh, gee, maybe people don't want to work for trump and, believe me. everybody wants to work in the white house. yeah, there will be people. i'm not going to be specific. but there will be people that change. they always change. sometimes they want to go out and do something else. >> chris, does he have a point? >> you know, as is often the case, you can take what donald trump just said and the truth is the exact opposite. you know, i've been talking to former republican white house chiefs of staff, high-ranking national security officials. almost none of them want to take a job in this white house and
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who can blame them? i mean, you have a president who has shown that he's incapable of governing over the first year. who doesn't even know what he's for and what he's against when he talks about tariffs and gun control. but more than that, working in this white house is almost on a daily basis this white house lies about matters large and small and everyone in the orbit of donald trump gets sucked in and damaged or destroyed by the that. so, very few people with any integrity or competence, quite frankly, want to go into this white house at the senior levels. f >> and then to talk further about those at the white house, the brookings institution crunched the numbers. 34% turn over rate at the end of year one. let's compare to that obama's turnover rate, 9%, george w. bush 6% and clinton 11% there.
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you worked in the white house. what effect does turnover on productivity and morale? >> these jobs are all long hours and relatively low pay compare tad what you can make in the private sector and lawyering up because of the russia investigation. having this sort of turmoil around all of it makes it it even more challenging to join. one interesting fact of the senior advisors, one of the few positions that has not turned over is that of white house counsel. there's incentive to not let the white house go in the middle of this russia investigation. >> that's morale. productivity, raj, how is one able to just pick up from where someone else has left off or do you have to back track a bit and get brought up to speed? doesn't it slow everything down? >> it definitely does. that's why you rarely see major announcements about departures happen at the same time. right now looking for a national
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economic director at the same time as a communication director. those are twohappening. >> you have an addition now john kelly and h.r. mcmaster and jared kushner, rex tillerson, all of them in questionable standing. the associated press is reporting that all of this is feeding fears of a brain drain in the white house. is this a realistic concern? >> no question about it. you know, donald trump was saying the other day, well, this is great energy. well, a lot of energy in a house on fire or a nuclear meltdown, too. i mean, this is a white house that is in free fall. you know, a lot of that is not just on trump, but on john kelly. kelly has failed, even by his own very narrow definition of the job, which is to make the trains run on time in the west wing. >> can i say what happened to that, chris. when he was coming onboard. i mean the expectations were so high for him. were they too high? >> they were unrealistically
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high. but i have to say that kelly, his failure is even more glaring than reince priebus' in my mind because kelly was empowered in a way that reince priebus never was. even by his own narrow definition of the job, he's really failed to make the trains run on time and to make this president more effective. and most importantly, donald trump has never figured out that there is a difference between governing and campaigning. campaigning you divide, you demonizing, you disrupt. that's the only thing he knows how to do. it's kelly job to help show him how to govern. >> chris ripple and raj, thank you for your insights. the porn star, the $130,000 payment and the lengths an attorney went to to give it to her. new information, next. weekends are my time. i need an insulin that fits my schedule. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪ (announcer) tresiba® is used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes.
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when heartburn hits fight back fast with tums chewy bites. fast relief in every bite. crunchy outside. chewy inside. tum tum tum tum tums chewy bites. it's very risky, very unorthodox. i'm worried that kim jong-un is setting us in a trap, but i support the president. things couldn't possibly be worse in the korean peninsula right now. >> that was former u.s. ambassador to the u.n. bill richardson who has experience negotiating with north korean
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officials. joining me now is jonathan alter and michael singleton. gentlemen, good morning to you both. jonathan, do you think the president deserves some credit for bringing us to this point of negotiating, having discussions face-to-face? >> absolutely. you can always say talking is better than a bloody noise, which is where the conversation was before. remember, over the last couple of months we heard all these reports that the trump administration was maybe going to deliver a bloody nose to north korea, which would have been disastrous. once you start hostilities, you don't know where they're going to end. and this is a very, very serious situation. so any step back from that and a move towards talks is a good thing. having said that, it's not at all clear that these talks will go well and i think the best
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thing for the world would be to talk about talking for the next three years. 50 years ago, alex, the united states, north vietnam and south vietnam had the paris peace talks. they argued for weeks about the shape of the table, literally the shape of the table in paris. in the case of the vietnam war, that was a bad thing. they needed to get on with making peace. in this case it would be a good thing. it would keep the parties talking without having an actual summit that could end badly. if the summit goes badly, we could then be closer to war than we are now. >> definitely high stakes here. >> the "wall street journal" account of how the president responded to jong-un's offer.
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does it concern you that the president was so quick seemingly to accept that invitation? >> it does. i would caution a lot of our viewers to keep in mind that typically in something like this you would want the president to go through a process where he has the opportunity to talk with his secretary of state, who, if you recall, made a statement earlier in the day saying we would not have direct talks with nkdz or somethi nk north korea or something to that effect and that he would take a few days to meet with the secretary of defense and advisers. i'm not certain the president did that. we're not exactly sure how many nuclear test sites are within north korea, which is one reason why it's been so difficult for our military generals and analysts to predict how to work to strike and how precise those strikes would be. if they do agree to decrease
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their nuclear program, how can we be assured and trust that will take place. i think the president has to be cautious with this meetings and the expectations that this white house sets. >> absolutely. let's talk about the timing here, jonathan. joe scarborough suggested a link between the president's sudden decision to meet with kim jong-un and this growing focus on stormy daniels. do you think the president is trying to shift the narrative? is that a fair observation? >> i think it is. he's instinctively built that way. so any time that the heat accumulates on a particular subject, he changes the subject. the same way when the ratings of "the apprentice" would dip, he would change the story line to stay on the air. this is all a big reality show. that's also the big danger when you're dealing with north korea. that is not a reality show. that is reality with all of our
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lives at stake. we need to be careful here even though it's a good thing that we're moving towards diplomacy that we don't let trump sort of hijack the whole story with his impulsiveness. it's impulsiveness that leads to war. that's why what we want to be doing is having the gears of diplomacy going now and to talk, talk, talk about preconditioned, about what the room is, what the venue is going to be. is it going to be at a trump hotel in asia? all of these things should be talked to death so that thereby we don't have to have this high stakes summit when trump is still president. be great if they were talking about talking for the next three years. >> what do you think of jonathan's analysis? >> look, i think the president has always done, in my opinion, a marvelous job of taking the
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topics. i wrote a column on this a year ago. any time the pressure heats up, he will tweet something or say something to change our focus. what i'm concerned about, again, we have to be careful with talks with north korea. as your guest stated, if we are not, we will potentially be closer to war. if you look at the korean peninsula now, it's in chaos in comparison to years previous. i would hope the president is taking judgment here. >> all right. good to see you both. thanks. >> thanks alec. coming up on "am joy," how a russian pop star figures into the russian investigation when the president seems so interested in meeting vladimir putin. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job
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of "msnbc live." stay where you are. "am joy" is headed your way right now. at some point the president of the united states needs to answer the very basic questions relating his relationship with ms. daniels. he needs to do so like bill clinton did. he needs to do so like gary hart did. he needs to do so like countless other politicians have done over the last 30 years. >> good morning. welcome to "am joy." the story that no one has wanted to


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