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sister to be my angel. i want her to be right here in the thick of it with me. >> that's all for this edition of "date line." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. line." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. good morning, i'm dara brown in new york at msnbc world headquarters. it's 7:00 in the east, 4:00 out west and here is what's happening. trump unplugged, from north korea to his plans for 2020. the president back in campaign mode. >> i look forward to 2020 because i want to see how far left the person is going to be that we're going to run against. keep america great exclamation point. i would love oprah to win. reaching out for help, a new report shows a fresh strategy the president is using to help deal with the robert mueller inquiry. plus why prominent
evangelicals are giving the president a pass as new information comes out in the stormy daniels scandal. we begin with a live picture of the white house where president trump's legal team in charge of handling his defense in the mueller investigation might be growing. "the new york times" out with this new report, trump talks with clinton impeachment lawyer about aiding in mueller response. the lawyer met with president trump in the oval office this past week to discuss the possibility according to people familiar with the matter. president trump taking a break from the russia investigation and other scandals, going into full campaign mode last night during a rally in pennsylvania. he took a moment from campaigning for the republican candidate in tuesday's special election to unveil his own campaign slogan for 2020 and who he would like to run against. >> key america great exclamation point. keep america great. i would love oprah to win. i'd love to beat oprah. i know her weakness. no, no, i know her weakness.
wouldn't we love to run against oprah? i would love it. i would love it. that would be a painful experience for her. >> president trump at one point stopped the crowd from booing north korea. this of course coming days after accepting an invitation from kim jong-un to meet. take a listen. >> south korea came to my office after having gone to north korea and seeing kim jong-un and -- no, it's very positive. no. after the meeting you may do that, but now we have to be very nice because let's see what happens. >> nbc news white house correspondent kelly o'donnell caught up with president trump right before that rally. kelly? >> reporter: good morning, dara. high stakes for president trump on his planned meeting with north korea's kim jong-un, will it happen? will it deliver an measurable results? i had a chance to question the president on the south lawn as he was heading out and he sounded positive. before he left the white
house -- >> it's going to be something very special. we have a lot of support so i think north korea is going to go very well. >> reporter: donald trump gave the rogue regime of north korea something of value, the trust of an american president. >> they promised they wouldn't be shooting off missiles in the meantime. >> reporter: as he publicly built expectations that the meeting he agreed to have with kim jong-un will happen. the tweeting north korea has not conducted a missile test since november 28, 2017, and has promised not to do so through our meetings. i believe they will honor that commitment. by accepting north korea's word that it will curb its aggression, the president is taking a major turn from this. >> rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. >> reporter: the president's willingness to meet jolted his
own senior team thursday when he quickly accepted the offer delivered by a south korean delegation. he publicized support for the kim meeting from other world leaders, tweeting that japan's prime minister abe is enthusiastic about talks with north korea and china's president xi appreciates the u.s. is work to go solve the problem diplomatically. bill richardson supports a trump summit with reasonable expectations. >> i know the north koreans they are not going to denuclearize at the meeting or shortly thereafter, but it's worth pursuing that goal. >> reporter: senior administration officials tell me that they along with their south korean partners decided to put a time frame on the trump/kim summit, setting about two months to work on this because they want to keep focus and pressure on north korea. so far no time and no place has been determined. dara? >> thank you, kelly. let's bring in alley vitali
and eugene scott. aly, let's start with you and what you heard during president trump's speech last night including his comments on north korea, what was your biggest take away? >> we keep saying when he goes on these campaign rallies that he's back in campaign mode but i feel like every single time the president leaves the white house and does any kind of speech, even if it's not necessarily on the technical campaign trail he's able to lapse off script and be in a place where he's comfortable. it's as good a time as any to remind that these rallies are as much more president trump as they are for the people he is out there for. last night the only real race -- the only real ray -- sick saccone specifics we heard from the president were the top five reasons to vote for him in pennsylvania. we heard a quick mon kerr given to his opponent, he called him lamb the sham and then he really
went off on 75 minutes of other things. so, yes, we heard that sound on north korea, we also heard him talk about the death penalty for people who help with the prescription drug industry and talking about the opioid crisis and that's something that he had floated several weeks ago at the white house. so you also heard him talk about oprah in 2020 and he unleashed his new campaign slogan. so i think that with these rallies as it was during the 2016 campaign you have a potpourri of headlines that you can pick from and it's really just you're bombarded with news and it's the president's way of saying here are all the things that i can finally weigh in on from a podium among friends, among people who want to cheer for all the things that i'm saying and he's among people who support his agenda in full which is not the kind of reception he typically gets when he is in washington. you have to think of the week he's coming off from. he did a pretty unpopular thing with his own party on tariffs this week. he thought he would get a little bit more praise about the north korea situation and now he's
here with friends that will cheer about them. >> eugene, there are a lot of headlines in there. what were your take a ways from the speech last night? >> one thing i found very interesting is how difficult of a time trump supporters have keeping track of who they're supposed to like and who they're supposed to hate. you saw when trump mentioned the north korea leader many people in the crowd booed because trump previously attacked him calling him rocket man, now trump said, wait, this is someone who we may be able to work something out with. so it's just not -- they don't have a strong idea of who is supporting trump's vision for america. all they know is that they support it. i couldn't help but to wonder how many of these people were fans of oprah winfrey before there was some suggestion that she may run against trump in 2020, but now she's being booed just because their loyalty at the end of the day is to donald trump, but i think a difficult thing for this community of people is that trump doesn't consistently have a loyalty to an ideology and we saw that this
past week on issues related to north korea on issues related to trade, on issues related to tariffs and issues related to gun control and now issues related to the opioid epidemic in which he communicated that he may want the death penalty for people who deal drugs. i think the thing that's most fascinating for me, my biggest take away is how loyal people are to trumpism. >> you both brought up this point about the drug deals. let me play for you what the president said about punishing drug dealers. >> when i was in china and other places, by the way, i said, mr. president, do you have a drug problem? no. no. no. i said, what do you attribute that to? well, the death penalty. it's true. i don't know that the united states frankly is ready for it. they should be ready for it, but at a minimum you have to give long tough sentences. >> allie, is this more of his usual law and order rhetoric or is this something else?
>> i think it fits that trend. i think law and order as much as those words are about law and order i think to the president they mean more of this idea of the willingness to rule with an iron fist and be a powerful person who can kind of keep people in line at all costs. again, i want to double back. it's not the first time that he has floated this idea. the first time it started trickling out into the news media was with reports that the president had been talking about it privately and kind of praising these countries that execute drug dealers and then he stopped into an opioid summit a few weeks ago at the white house. again, floated the idea of publicly saying -- seeming to praise these countries that do that, saying they don't really have a problem with drugs anymore. this is probably his most forceful push behind the idea even though he's saying i don't know if we're ready for it, i haven't polled it, but at the same time he's more than willing and more than ready to push it out there and kind of see how it
fairs among his crowds who have never really been too put off by the fact that he talks in pretty harsh terms about potential violence for people who he sees as wrong doers and thusly they see as wrong doers. >> if i can add something, i will say to allie's point she's correct there, there isn't any polling and he's trying to figure out how his supporters feel about him tossing around the death penalty. there has been quite a bit of criticism for those not on the trump train because the president has a bt had a of throwing out the death penalty as a solution to major issues as if the death penalty is not a serious issue. we know when it comes to the central park five that he suggested that these five young men who were not guilty of the crimes they were accused of should be killed. so the idea that this is how best to respond to the drug epidemic is not going to win trump and his party support from people outside of the base and it's something that you would think that someone who was taking this drug epidemic more seriously would process a bit
more other than just throwing an idea out at a rally. >> but we see that that iron fist mentality really does work with his base. i want to move on to why he was in pennsylvania and, eugene, what is the calculation in the white house for winning tuesday's special election there, especially after the outcome of the alabama senate race? >> competitively this is a more traditional or less controversial candidate than roy moore. so there is less fear or anxiety about the long-term implications this could have on the trump white house and the gop. we know that lamb and saccone are pretty much even depending on the polls that you're looking at, but what is different is that democratic voters seem to have far more enthusiasm than republican voters heading into the election and that has to do probably as a whole with just how voters feel about the trump white house, congress as a whole and politics. so it's going to be a turnout thing as it usually s one thing i've been paying attention to
consistently since 2016 is that just because someone says they aren't enthusiastic or aren't going to support someone, we really don't know until the day after. >> we will see what happens on tuesday. stay with us because we have more headlines to discuss. and coming up, lost in translation, we will talk to an expert who has met face-to-face with north koreans. he will tell us about the word denuclearization that it means different things to the u.s. and north korea. ♪
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foreign policy and makes our country weaker. on president trump's decision to meet with kim jong-un, unprecedented against an american and north korean leader. joining me is evans revere, former deputy assistant secretary of state for east asia. evans, what are the chances of this meeting actually taking place? >> well, it's hard to say, but we appear to have a commitment from the president to do this and his immediate staff, the white house staff, have confirmed that they're moving in this direction. so at this point it seems like it may just happen and we better be very careful, the president had better be careful as he makes his preparations in anticipation of that meeting. >> south korean officials said that kim jong-un is committed to dee nuclear dplags, you've said that this word could cause big problems for both sides. >> i think it's very important to keep in mind what the south korean envoy said when he came back from pyongyang in which he
used the phrase that the north koreans have reaffirmed or committed themselves to the denuclearization of the korean peninsula. that is a loaded term. those of you have that have initiated that the north koreans and i've done this for many years over hundreds and hundreds of hours have heard these words before. what that phrase means to the north koreans and we've asked them this and we've told us, that phrase means the elimination of the u.s./south korea alliance, the end of the u.s. military presence on the korean peninsula and the withdrawal of the u.s. nuclear umbrella that defends south korea and japan. that's what that phrase means to the north koreans and that is very different from the u.s. concept of denuclearization. >> i'm sure that's a very different idea than what president trump is thinking about. "the new york times" writes about mr. trump's abrupt yes to north korea and that 45 minutes that could alter history. is 45 minutes enough time to make a decision like this? >> oh, heavens, no. it's really concerning to me as somebody who has been in the
situation before, who has had to make some difficult decisions, who advised secretaries of state and presidents about how to go about this. this seems to have been very impulsive and they abrupt, but once again, the decision has been made and unfortunately i think that's one of three or four mistakes that have already been committed so far and the serious preparations for this summit have not even begun yet. >> you mentioned mistakes. what are the other mistakes? >> well, the very first one right out of the box was the north koreans have been seeking for decades a meeting with the president of the united states. the president of the united states, this president, has essentially given them that for free with no requirement on their part to do anything other than make some vague promises. that gives the north korean leader and the north koreans some legitimacy. the north koreans have told us for years the next time they meet with the united states they will be coming to the table as a nuclear weapon state and that is
the status that they will bring to the table if and when this meeting occurred. that's mistake number one. i would also suggest that the president and his staff have violated what i like to call the rule number one of presidential summit ri, you don't engage the president of the united states in a summit unless the president and his adversary both understand what the summit is going to produce, what the outcome is, and i'd say a third mistake, quite frankly, is that the president is convinced or has been convinced that the north koreans have committed themselves to denuclearization. they've done no such thing and so far there has not been not a single utterance by the north korean leader or the north korean media about denuclearization or any commitment to that. no public reference to that at all. we should be concerned about this. >> evans, going forward, what should the u.s. have asked before agreeing to this meeting? >> the very first question is
are you committed to denuclearization? what do you mean by denuclearization? and are you prepared to engage with the united states in a dialogue towards that end? towards that goal of denuclearization? those are the sorts of questions that experienced diplomats, experienced veterans of this process of negotiating with north koreans would normally ask. there's no indication that they have been asked or that they even will be asked prior to this summit. this is concerning. >> the u.s. has held informal back channel talks with north korea and that's how american detainees like otto warmbier were eventually released. some of the critics say that president trump agreed to this summit without even securing the release of three americans that are still being held there. is that a pre condition that he could have pushed for? >> that's certainly one thing that he could have pushed for and i hope that in the preparation for this summit a senior envoy of the united states will meet with the north koreans and make it clear that that's an expectation. full disclosure, i worked with the warmbier family for over a
year and a half to try to secure his release and it was a really tragic outcome and i've worked on many of the other cases of these americans who have been imprisoned unfairly and cruelly by the north koreans and this is -- it's an outrage and americans should demand that these people who are still in north korean custody be released. >> there certainly are a lot of questions going forward before this meeting happening. thank you so much for joining us on this sunday morning. >> thank you for having me. coming up, why no word yet from president trump about the stormy daniels scandal. some answers coming up next. on this sunday morning. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job
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>> either michael cohn did this from his own funds in which it was a massive in kind contribution way above federal limits, that's a felony, or he expected to be reinl burrsed in which case he was concealing the true source of the contribution, that's also a felony. i think michael cohen is in trouble either way. >> eugene, during the campaign we repeatedly heard president trump threaten to sue his accusers. is there a sense for why he wasn't even mentioned stormy daniels? >> i think he's taking advice from his lawyers who are telling him that perhaps he should remain as quiet as possible on this situation. we know that there is more to this than has been reported and even more players. we've heard jessica drake, another porn star in addition to stormy daniels, come out and say that perhaps she had some knowledge about the involvement between the president and stormy daniels. so this perhaps could be one of the rare incidents where
president trump has already said what he feels like he needs to say, which is that he has not been involved in all of this, but is waiting it out to see what more could be revealed before he speaks again. >> ali, what's your take on this? what have you been hearing about this stormy daniels scandal? >> i think the fact that it's the second beat story in so many of these news cycles is still really stunning to me. we've been getting a pretty steady drip of new stormy daniels news since january when the "wall street journal" first reupped this story and i think it's just fascinating and a total sign of the times that we don't hear more about it. i will say the white house waded deeper into it this week than we have previously seen them wade. past questions about michael cohen and these payments have gone unanswered and passed off from people like sarah sanders in the past. this week she referenced past arbitration being won. that did give us a sense that there had been some kind of updates and that the president may have been or is likely aware of the fact that this is moving
forward. i'm waiting to see when this really breaks into something one of the top stories we hear about. >> ali, great to have you, eugene, great to have you today. and that will do it for me. i'm dara brown. thanks for watching. at the top of the hour it's "politics nation" but up ahead it's "your business." 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. so here's to you, mom and dad. freedom and adventure. pepsoriasis does that. it was tough getting out there on stage. i wanted to be clear. i wanted it to last. so i kept on fighting. i found something that worked.
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