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tv   MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle  MSNBC  March 15, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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stephanie ruhle. >> i don't want to start the show. i want to sit and hear more about the girl scouts in georgia. >> amazing, the power kids have these days. the messaging they're carrying has been inspiring. good morning, everybody. i'm ali velshi. >> i'm stephanie ruhle. do you know what today is? thursday, march 15th. so much to cover. let's get started. >> we have breaking news at this hour from the treasury department. just released, they're taking aim at russia for meddling in the 2016 election and imposing new sanctions. >> overnight at a fundraiser in st. louis, president trump seeming to admit he made up facts in a meeting with his canadian counterpart justin trudeau. >> i said, justin, you do. i didn't know. josh, i had no idea. i just said, you're wrong. you know why? because we're so stupid. >> this revolving door is still spinning at the white house. larry kudlow is set to be the newest face of economic policy for president trump. >> i've known the president a
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long time. we have mutual admiration. he is the president. it is a different role. i will abide by that. >> larry is a mainstream conservative. most conservatives peers cheere appointment. >> he said, you're on the air and i'm looking at a picture of you. very handsome. so trumpian. >> we had conversations with him, and he's talked about people he wanted to hire. he said, i like the look. >> kudlow is on his way in. others may be on their way out. >> anonymous white house sources described to fox news as a, quote, blood bath, that could begin as early as today. toys "r" us was a go-to for generations for kids and parents. overnight, the chain made a new move that could spell the end of an american institution. ♪ i don't want to grow up ♪ i'm a toys "r" us kid >> toys "r" us filing to liquidate its remaining american stores at midnight last night, putting all its locations and 30,000 some employees at risk. >> a lot of kids like going to
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toys "r" us because there's like a lot of wonders. >> there's a lot of wonders. happening now, amid a white house filled with chaos, president trump meeting with the irish prime minister. ahead, of course, of st. patr k patrick's day. the prime minister arrived as part of a long tradition of visits by the irish leader to mark the holiday. the irish pm says trade and ireland's position in europe is at the top of his agenda, while in the u.s., we're going to bring you developments as soon as they begin. >> it's like a warmup for st. patrick's day, which is saturday, and we'll be together then. >> we are. ali and i always spend st. patrick's day together. it's our holiday. right. so steve mnuchin announced new sanctions. hope you're sitting down for this. it's against russian individuals and institutions. all are accused of involvement, meddling, in the 2016 election,
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and malicious cyberattacks. the sanctions look to counter what's designed to have an impact on the midterm elections, eight months away. they're imposing the sanctions. >> listen, it is stunning they are imposing sanctions on individuals. some of the individuals who are indicted in robert mueller's investigation. >> right. >> so, while we can applaud the white house for doing this, it does make me wonder, when president trump says over and over, it was an absolute hoax. >> apparently not. >> could have been china. maybe not. >> she's all choked up about these sanctions. let's go to kelly o'donnell, live at the white house. kelly, there are some people who did not believe this was going to happen. >> reporter: that's true. the treasury department takes a somewhat different view than the president, saying this is part of an ongoing series of steps. the sanctions announced against five entities and 19 individuals look at the issue of si
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cybersecurity and potential attacks against u.s. infrastructure. we're seeing this as one of the steps being taken. at the same time, there has been that conflict where the president has been either restrained or actually in conflict with what the u.s. government has been saying about russia. this is a sign of perhaps a new level of action from the u.s. government, trying to respond to the russian interference and other threat that are in the cyber lane, if you will. cyber bad actors is what officials have said. in addition to that, we have today the united states along with france, germany and great britain, putting out a joint statement, talking about the chemical attack against a former russian spy in the united kingdom. that is another area where the president is sort of following the lead of theresa may, the prime minister, and nikki haley, the u.s. ambassador of the united nations, and taking action. we heard today from senator k cornyn about what the u.s. must do when it comes to russia. >> this sort of thing needs to be responded to. it needs to be punished.
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then you see what happened in the united kingdom. i was glad to see nikki haley, our ambassador to the united nations, take such a strong stand, together with our allies in the united kingdom, against that sort of activity. but they're out of control, russia is, and that needs to be dealt with one way or the other. this is one way for us to discourage that. >> the president just met with the irish prime minister, and we are told that the president did respond to a question about russia from our colleagues here. there's a lot of activity here in the briefing room. as customary, the tv pool will be playing that out shortly. i'm giving you a preview to wait for new comments from the president on the russia issue, as part of the st. patrick's day festivities that are beginning at white house. the president did respond to a question at the end of, what is the typical oval office ceremonial greeting of another official, the irish prime
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minister. >> you did a good job of that. teshek. what was his name? >> leo veradko. he is an irishman through and through. >> that's my peeks. thank you so much, kelly o'donnell. >> you're from canada. >> that's true. i like to play up the diverse background. >> you know who lies to canadians? >> the president of the united states, actually, lies to canadians. >> he was bragging about making thick things up during a conversation with canada's prime minister. audio of the president mocking justin trudeau during a republican fundraiser last night in st. louis. >> this blows my mind. president trump boasted, are you ready for this, that he had, quote, no idea what he was talking about when he challenged trudeau over the trade balance between the two countries. please, listen to this. >> trudeau came to see me. he's a good guy, justin. he said, no, no, we have no trade deficit with you.
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we have none. donald, please. i said, wrong, justin, you do. i didn't even know. josh, i had no idea. i just said, you're wrong. you know why? because we're so stew bid, and i thoug thought they were smart. i said, you're wrong, justin. he said, nope, we have no trade deficit. i said, well, in that case, i feel differently. i said, but i don't believe it. i sent one of our guys out, his guy and my guy, they checked. well, sir, you're actually right. we have no deficit, but that doesn't include energy and timber. canada, a lot of timber. when you do, we lose $17 billion a year. it's incredible. >> it's incredible. that was a mind-boggling exchange. a short time ago -- >> it was upsetting, ali. >> i don't know what's more upsetting, bragging about lying to a trade ally or actually not knowing the facts. let's listen to the president, by the way, right now, with the
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prime minister of ireland. >> will you visit us soon? >> i will. i love it. i love it. i have property there. i may never get to see it again, but i will -- >> do you play golf? >> i do play golf. >> you do, right? >> i don't. i'm always willing to learn. you can take me for a few rounds. >> will you get to the border of northern ireland? >> two interesting borders. one happens to be where you are, right? it'll be interesting to see what happens. it's my great honor to have the very popular prime minister of ireland with us. we're having some good talks about trade, military and cyber, everything else we're talking about. the relationship is outstanding and getting better. it is a special group of people. a tremendous number of irish are living in new york, where i grew up. they're living in the united
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states. these are truly wonderful people. we love em. mr. prime minister, great to have you. thank you. >> my pleasure. thanks for the invitation to be here. >> i' i'll be in new york on saturday. fifth avenue. >> i'd like to do it with you. >> does it pass trump tower? >> it goes right by trump tower. >> should be good. >> i used to watch it all the time. i would watch it all the time. you'll be there on saturday? >> yeah, yes. a lot of the american side of my family came through new york. they're all in new jersey and florida. >> that's right. makes sense. this is the first time in the oval office. >> i was telling president trump i was here before as a congressional intern back in 2000, but they didn't let me into the oval office on that occasion. >> now we do. you made great progress. thank you for being with us. >> absolutely. look forward to talking to you
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more. >> can you comment on the russian sanctions, mr. president? >> what will you do -- is putin behind this, mr. president? >> looks like it. i spoke with the prime minister, and we are in deep discussions. it is a sad situation. it looks like the russians were behind it. something that should never, ever happen. we're taking it very seriously, as i think are many others. >> anymore detastaff changes? >> they wrote a staff change story today that was false. mike pompeo is going to be an incredible secretary of state. we have some wonderful ideas. i've gotten to know a lot of people over the last year. i've been in washington a little more than a year, where some people have been here 30 or 40 years. i've gotten to know great people. there will always be change, but it was a very false story. very exaggerated. >> do you have -- >> a very exaggerated a false story. there will always be change. i think you want to see change.
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i want to also see different ideas. larry kudlow just came in a little while ago. i think larry is going to be outstanding as economic adviser. we look forward to it. we'll talk to you about it later. thank you very much, everybody. thank you. thank you, everybody. >> are you always truthful with trudeau? >> thanks, everyone. >> could you -- >> it could happen. >> thanks, everyone. >> i look forward to being there. great country. >> thank you. thank you, everyone. >> i'd go to the border. >> thank you. thank you. thank you. thanks, guys. thanks, guys. >> thank you, all, very much. >> come on, guys. thank you, all. thank you, all. thank you, all. >> say hello to the people. >> thank you, all. >> so the president said, looks like it when asked whether there was russian involvement in the election. that is perhaps as close as he's
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gotten to saying something. he did comment on the sanctions that have been imposed by the treasury department on the entities that were named in the mueller investigation as being involved in the 2016 election. so, there is a start. as we were saying, we still have this matter of the lie to the prime minister of canada about our trade relationship with them. >> joining us now, cnbc editor at large john harwood. let's talk about that, john. in 2016, the trade of u.s. goods and services with canada resulted in a $12.5 billion surplus. breaking it down, there was a $12 billion deficit with goods but an almost $25 billion surplus in services. >> canada sells us more goods than we buy from them. that's obvious because of oil in particular and energy. but the u.s. sends all sorts of services, contractors and other work that isn't goods. >> what is the president doing
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here? >> well, the president is operating off a mindset that thinks about goods as the only relevant thing in this equation. of course, they're not. services are incredibly important. in fact, services are one of the huge sources of american exports across the world. but the president's world view is sort of -- as reflected in his comment on things like coal and steel, has to do with factories and images of people digging things out of the ground, and doesn't take account for what the modern economy actually is. that's why it was so extraordinary that he, on the tape we just heard, admitted he was bsing when he went back and forth with justin trudeau. >> part of the problem is we are evolume solvine -- evolving int
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knowledge economy. it's more money per worker when manufacturing goods. it is the normal evolution of a society. i appreciate and it is nuanced, the fact the president looks at it as an old fashioned economy. >> he makes buildings. he thinks about physical construction, physical manufacture as what trade is actually all about. even though it's not. >> so is that dishonest? is it intellectually dishonest? is it not smart? it's not correct. we can't move forward on saying we have trade deficits with countries we have surpluses with. the president may not realize it, but oil is a real thing that comes in from canada. i mean, we can't just deny these things. >> right. you know, the president in those comments sort of indicated it was a little bit of both. he said -- he made an assertion to justin trudeau he had no idea whether it was true or not, but you can then understand from the fuller context of his remarks
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what he was getting at. now, he, the president, is pretty aggressive about not informing himself about policy issues, about shifts in the economy. it's why he, you know, continues to talk about how he's going to bring steel and coal jobs back, even though he's not going to do that. steel tariffs may have a marginal impact, but the fate of the steel industry as a proportion of the u.s. economy, we know what that story is. the same with coal. coal is dwindling for reasons that are partly environmental and partly economic. there is nothing he or anybody else can do to reverse that. he continues to talk about that because he is striking emotional cords that he thinks means shotg something with his base. that's part of why he is out of step with so many voters. >> okay. well, then given that he's made it pretty clear that he's uninformed, but he also openly says, we're knee deep in renegotiating trade, what are
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they renegotiating? are they renegotiating nafta? what does it look like? because justin trudeau can't possibly take the president seriously on this after he hears a tape like that. >> right. >> exactly right. he says he is renegotiating nafta. keep in mind, the transpacific partnership that president obama negotiated and that president trump abandoned included renegotiation provisions of nafta. so, there is modernization that is sitting on the table. the things the president does makes it more and more difficult for canada and mexico to say, yes, if you levy tariffs against canada and mexico and say, i'll take these off if you make me a better deal, that makes it difficult for a rational leader in those countries to say, okay, yes, i'll accept that concession at the point of a gun and make that deal. it is interesting, by the way,
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you were talking earlier about larry kudlow, my friend and colleague from cnbc. larry kudlow said yesterday, you know, we could have a coalition of willing trade partners to array ourselves against china. well, that's exactly what the transpacific partnership was that the president walked away from. >> exactly what it was. >> maybe larry kudlow can bring the president along to a more modern and nuanced view of trade. >> listen, maybe he can. the one thing the president does value is trust. he is in a situation in the white house right now where he does not trust many of the people around him. >> he does trust kudlow. >> he's been friends with larry kudlow for a long time. >> that's right. >> larry kudlow trusts the president, as well. there could be a path here. >> maybe. maybe it'll happen. john, good to see you, buddy. good to see you. >> you bet. >> larry kudlow -- it was pointed out on twitter a few moments ago, when he spoke on cnbc yesterday, he ended by saying, however things work out, it will be god's will. >> hmm.
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>> interesting way to talk about being the national economic adviser to the president. god's will. >> we're going to talk to you all about this guy, larry kudlow, president trump's new pick to be the new economic adviser, and his interesting views on donald trump's new trade tariffs when we come back. the dow dipped yesterday as boeing stock fell over worries of a potential trade war because of the tariffs. here's a look at the markets now, in the green. remember, we have been on quite a run. when things get volatile, you wonder why. could it be the trade tariffs? speaking of boeing, at an event with the boeing chairman and ceo yesterday, president trump said, the f-18 is his favorite plane, and he called it a work of art. then he said he wanted to buy another 24 boeing f-18s with sub capabilities. here's the problem, they do not exist. >> you're watching "velshi & ruhle" live on msnbc. you can't make this up. t got a p
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." president trump has appointed conservative economist larry kudlow to replace gary cohn, the outgoing director of the national economic counsel. let's take a look at who mr. kudlow is and where he stands on the issues. much like president trump himself, kudlow is probably best known for appearing on television. he is a long-time cnbc contributor who hosted several shows over the years. he ralalso hosts a radio show a
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writes for the "national review." kudlow supported trump in the 2016 election, and he's acted as something of an intorformal advr to the then-candidate. kudlow is a traditional fiscal conservative. he believes in low taxes and less regulation. that probably stems from his time in the reagan administration. the father of american supply side economics. kudlow worked in the office of management and budget during reagan's first term. following his time in government, kudlow returned to the pry sivate sector, as a sen management director at bear stearns until the mid '90s. as recently as this month, he vocally disagreed with the president's policies. he co-wrote an op-ed criticizing trump's tariff proposal, call g ing them attack hikes. he walked that back a little bit, saying we need to be tough on china. >> i am going to strongly favor
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targeted tariffs and tax increases on china until they come to the table sincerely and play ball with us. >> great. you want to have targeted tariffs against china? >> it's not what we're doing. >> absolutely not what we're doing. go after intellectual property. go after where china spends their money on artificial intelligence. >> nobody disagrees that's actually a thing. there are things china does that are not fair trade practices. they're not the things donald trump identified during the campaign but, sure, targeted is the point. generally, if you're larry kudlow, you see the world as one in which there should be few trade barriers generally. when people are doing things that are unfair, you target them to change it. >> larry kudlow, however, is someone who believes if the stock market rises, the economy will go with it. >> right. >> if you think about how the trump voter was born, part of it was post financial crisis, when you saw places like new york and san francisco rise. people who owned assets had extraordinary recoveries. but people in the middle didn't. >> wages didn't go up.
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>> correct. >> even though the stock market has been going up for nine years. >> larry kudlow talked openly about teachers out there, fi firefefir firemen, if you have a pension, it's in the market, the market goes up, it is your best shot of collecting the pension. guess what? many hourly wage workers don't have pensions. >> right. larry kudlow has never been -- never had a tax reduction he didn't like. from recent studies in the united kingdom to studies distant in the united states, there is no direct relationship between cutting corporate tax rates and increasing wages. despite the fact that president trump will continue to talk about the bonuses that have been given out since the tax cuts. bonuses are not base wage hikes. again, it's not as widespread as the president would like it to be. >> you can say all day long you like the tax cuts but, remember, the money has to come from somewhere. the deficit matters.
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what is it doing? >> but kudlow says it is not going to go up. it'll go up, but kudlow says it is not going to. he made the argument with the president that the president uses. economic growth will go up, and we will grow ourselves out of the deficit. >> then this will be the challenge for larry kudlow. in the position that he's in now, he has to stand there and represent real data. >> right. but the fear is he may stand there and represent the president in the face of real data. >> well, as larry kudlow says, it's god's will. coming up next, nbc news exclusive report about one of america's allies. we'll tell you why the crown prince of saudi arabia is reportedly hiding his own mother from his father, the king. >> i mean, that's stunning. >> whack. now, it is time for science. this one involves two very special friends of the show. identical twin ace tstronauts. mark kelly spent a year in space from 2015 to 2016.
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before he left, the identical twins shared dna. >> after his return, 7% of scott's dna had changed. we'll talk about that. you're walking "velshi & ruhle" on msnbc. >> that's straight up weird. ♪ a wealth of information. a wealth of perspective. ♪ a wealth of opportunities. that's the clarity you get from fidelity wealth management. straightforward advice, tailored recommendations, tax-efficient investing strategies, and a dedicated advisor to help you grow and protect your wealth. fidelity wealth management.
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." here are the top stories we're watching right now. breaking news moments ago. senate intelligence committee ranking member mark warner spoke about the russia sanctions. >> this is long overdue. the administration missed its deadline. that was very disappointing. remember, these sanctions were approved, i believe, 98-2. while i think this is a good step, it is not sufficient. many of the agencies and entities had already been under sanction. what continues to concern me is while you had the administration on, there seems to be a reluctance of the president himself to call out russia as a bad actor. i continue to be very concerns that we're not fully prepared for the elections. >> u.s. intelligence chiefs
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warned russia plans to interfere in the 2018/2020 elections. so far, there's been no comprehensive announcement from the white house on how to fight the foreign influence. also, the u.s. navy is investigating what caused a deadly crash near key west, florida. two aviators were killed when their fighter jet went down during a training mission yesterday. witnesses said it appeared the plane experienced some sort of explosion while it was midair. the ceo of the blunt testing company theranos, is being charged of massive fraud. she was slapped with a $500,000 fine for deceiving investment. the charges force her to give up control of the company. she claims they created a new blood testing device, but the "wall street journal" reported the device is erroneous. >> $500,000 fine and not being able to run a company for ten years? >> nothing. >> that is a slap on your black
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turtleneck wrist. >> the sec can't impose criminal charges, but the u.s. attorney is looking into this. given the fraud they perpetrated, i would imagine there will be more. >> $700 million. none of their board members are charged with anything here. you have to remember what a star-studded lineup. you've got -- >> james mattis was on the board. >> george schultz. henry kissinger. you have an extraordinary lineup. >> everybody wanted this to be a success story. it was a young woman who hadn't graduated from stanford. you know, we want -- >> 34-year-old billionaire. they said she'd be the next steve jobs. i don't know. things certainly got away. massive investors like rupert murdoch. due diligence. where was it? wow. there she is with bill clinton, jack ma. they were supposed to have a hillary clinton fundraiser at theran theranos, and they changed the venue. this story is a wow for me. saudi arabia's crown prince -- >> the guy on the right.
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>> -- will meet with president trump at the white house next tuesday. >> he is 32 years old, the effective ruler of saudi arabia. he consolidated his power quickly and comes with little experience at running a country. as rumors float about the failing health of his father, the crown prince is also a tight ally of jared kushner. >> remember, they had the all night meeting, the two of them, a few months ago. >> and saudi arabia imposes this blockade on qatar. it's continued. he is a partner in the trump administration's plan for the middle east. while we've always had good relations with saudi arabia, it's blossomed into a love affair with this country. there is a weirdness to the story. >> the prince's power is starting to show cracks. now, in an nbc news exclusive report, u.s. officials say the crown prince blocked his own mom, she's hidden away from the king, and this has been taking place for years, fearing she would impose her son's plans to amass power and divide the royal family. for more, let's bring in nbc's
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carol lee, who broke the story. the prince likes to take credit for being forward thinking and progressive, you know. he held the big conference just a few months ago, bringing business leaders, this whole women are going to be able to drive. except his mom is hidden away from the dad. >> reporte >> yeah. we spoke to 14 current and former u.s. officials who said that more than two years ago, he made a power move and shut his mom away from his father because he was concerned that she had influence over him and that she would somehow get in the way of his plans to be what he is now, which is heir to the throne. he did that, you know, by creating various excuses for her absence. he would say things like, she's out of the country receiving medical treatment. there was a meeting that people told us about in the oval office with president obama, the king and president obama in 2015,
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where the king said he hoped to see his wife in new york while he was in the u.s. because she was getting medical treatment there. you know, u.s. officials obviously didn't say she's not in new york, but that was further evidence for them, what they'd already seen and intelligence they had been gathering on the royal family. two other things i would say is, one, people believe he is aided in doing this because the king, according to u.s. officials, is not always lucid. the other thing i'd say is theve this. >> if i'm the king of saudi arabia -- >> don't i call the shots and see my wife? >> wouldn't i be able to see my wife for the last couple of years? >> you know, it's interesting because when you talk to -- saudi arabia is one of the countries that the u.s. has the hardest time sort of figuring out the inner workings of the royal family. it takes a lot of time, and they don't really know things always
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in real time. but the king is, apparently, very close to his son and, you know, this was long the plan, for this sort of power grab that we've seen over the last year. as i was saying before, there is some belief among u.s. officials that this is helped by the fact that the king is elderly. he is 82 years old. >> i'd like to think that if my son locked me away, my husband, the tiger dog, would be like, boys, where's your mom? bring her over. >> carol, good to see you. thank you for this reporting. >> you, too. >> my parents share a cell phone. you can't separate them. they're like a kid's soccer team. >> mine don't use a cell phone. >> that's the point, my father doesn't use a cell phone. if you want to reach my father, go through my mother. >> turn it on and make a call and they turn it back off. so good. >> may be beyond my abilities. >> siri, please, we're in the middle of a live show.
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stop, siri. president trump quietly changing the face of american justice for generations. how trump is on track to appoint more federal judges than any other presidents combined. we're going to talk about what that means for the long-term future of this country. and we want to hear what you think about this story and everything else we talk about. check us out on social media and tweet us @velshiruhle. many sleep-aids have pain medicine but zzzquil is different because why would you take a pain medicine when all you want is good sleep?
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welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." no matter what happens with president trump's border wall, immigration policies or even the massive tax cuts, he's really going to have a profound effect on the u.s. well after he leaves office, beyond any political decision. he's shaping the judiciary. so far, he's outpaced all of his predecessors with 12 federal appellate judges confirmed in the first year. on top of six federal district courts and one supreme court justice. >> those boys and girls will be in the job for decades. he has been outsourcing his judicial picks to a group he loved na ed name checking on th campaign trail. >> i came up with a list, the federal list society was very much involved. i submitted a list of 11 judges, approved by federalist society. what i've done is we went to the federalist society. went to the federalist society. i'll get them from federalist
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society, which is really the gold standard. federalist society. we went to the federalist society. federalist society. that's like the gold standard. you know, i've picked through federalist society, we picked 11 supreme court jusjustices. very much federalist society choices. we have a list of 20 judges, and all have been vetted by federalist society. >> all right. that group is getting an outsized influence on the federal judiciary. president trump has 54 nominees awaiting confirmation by the senate. nothing compared to the 146 current vacancies on the federal bench. stephanie, what is the federalist society? >> okay. if the president is relying on the federalist society to help shape the federal judiciary, let's figure out exactly what that group is. it was founded back in 1982 by conservative legal students at
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yale, harvard and the university of chicago's schools of law. among their faculty advisers was antonin scalia, a future supreme court justice. the group advances two specific legal theories. one, originalism. in the words of justice scalia, the constitution is not living but dead. the idea is that the meaning doesn't change with the times. anything the founders did not include, say abortion or gay marriage, should not be considered. the other, tex iualism. laws are interpreted only on the text, not the intent of the authors. problem, they were addressing the conditions or the times. the society found an early booster in ronald reagan's attorney general, meese, who put young and conservative leaders in positions. in the george h.w. bush administration, they got to help
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select the judges. in george w. bush's administration, half for federalist members. he appointed men with strong federalist society ties. the woman first appointed withdrew her name from on tension after attacked on her lack of ties from the society. she was replaced by alito. one of the major players behind three justices, alito and gorsuch, is leonard leo, the long-time executive vice president of the federalist society. it is a group most americans haven't heard of but have been making a massive mark on the american legal doctrine. >> joining us is the author of the "federalist society," how conservatives took the law back from liberals.
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welcome. good to see you here. >> thanks for having me. >> there are a lot of federal vacancies. was this the federal society's long game all along, to have the vacancies exist so they can pile on and control the judiciary for a long time? >> they understood if you wanted to change the law, you had to change the judges. this was something that the earlier students, when they were, as you say, at chicago and yale, their advisers understood, and this has been a force and a very important thing for them. they've gone through the last 30 or so years now, 35 now. >> ronald reagan got the most federal judges since 1933. it was more than 400, i want to say. after that, the other recent two-termers, are in the 300s. any idea how trump will fair? >> could be more than 300 or so. he came in with 103 federal vacancies, primarily because of the republican-controlled senate upholding his nominations, including mayor garland, the
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nomination for the supreme court. this is great for trump. from a political perspective, i think there were a number of people, a number of republicans, who could forget about the problems with him as it related to the presidency, attacks on the campaign trail, i think they sort of held their noses because they understood this is the most important thing a president does. supreme court and appeals court. >> you can take the moral rep hence -- reprehensibility and put it aside. >> absolutely. >> the gay marriage, abortion, second amendment are important priorities, you can ignore what the president is doing because this is a long-term strategy. >> conservatives since roe v. wade in the '70s tried to overturn abortion. they thought they could do it with the supreme court. they were unable to do so. they cited an incrementalist strategy, hatched by people in the federalist society, which is slowly chipping away of the
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right. now, we have abortion clinics required to have standards and other things that makes it harder for the clinics to be open. it's just one thing. >> some are changing at a state level. there's a lot of this going on. >> absolutely. >> abortion clinics in some places have to have passages wide enough for two gurneys to pass by. people are saying, what is the relevance? on the supreme court, you don't have to retire. the u.s. supreme court has three justices who are 79 years old or older. >> yes. >> 79, 81, 84. >> they're hold oning on. gorsuch was first, clearly, a conservative jurist. it's not just supreme court who have lifetime appointments. also, a federal judge. if you want to overtake the judiciary, you'll get young men and women who are conservative, you get through the confirmation process. of course, now, the republicans
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are able to do it with a simple majority because of what democrats did when obama was having such trouble. >> changed td rule ed the rules >> blue slips are gone. senators from home states cannot pull back a nomination. >> or hold the nomination. >> holding it up with young men and women except, of course, loading it up with young men, not so many women. danielle, thank you. >> thank you. when we come back, an iconic american business set to close its doors. this is a very sad brand story. >> i mean, come on, it hasn't been iconic for a long time. >> talk about a grinch. >> it is. come on. >> we're going to end this segment just like that. talking about the rise and fall of a beloved brand. >> it's not that beloved. >> beloved. ♪ i don't want to grow up ♪ baby, if i did, i couldn't be a toys "r" us kid ♪ ♪ more games ♪ oh, boy, i want to be a toys "r" us kid ♪
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- there's a common thread i see every time i'm in the field. while this was burning, you were saving other homes. neighbors helping neighbors and strangers alike. - this is what america's about. - sometimes it's nice to see all the good that's out there. bringing folks out, we have seen it in community after community. welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." it appears toys "r" us, the iconic american brand, will soon be no more. the one-time retail giant told employees it is selling or closing all of its stores ahead
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of a bankruptcy hearing this afternoon. let's take a look at the company's long and rocky history. founded by charles lazarus at the start of the baby boom, they originally sold kids' furniture. started selling toys in 1957 to increase the rate of repeat customers. after ownership changes, the company went public in 1978. in the late '90s, they lost ground to retail giants like walmart. in 2005, it was purchased by investment firms in a $6 billion leverage buyout, most known as an lvo. toys "r" us registered for a public offering in 2010. after years of slumping sales, it eventually withdrew its application in 2013. by 2015, its flagship times square store closed. top sales growth continued to lag. in 2017, the company hired a law firm that specializes in corporate restructuring. that is bad news bears.
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last september, toys "r" us filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. last night, the company announced it will be winding down the businesses and liquidating the inventory of all itsnationwide. >> can i give my version? didn't see the box stores coming. they didn't see the online stores coming. the stores were a mess. i think if you'd gone in one the last ten years, you'd say, when is this closing? >> while all this happened, we'd love to say it was walmart and amazon that killed it, loisten, they wrapped up a massive amount of debt because they weren't operating well. while we say amazon is now the big, bad giant, toys "r" us used to be. >> they took out the little stores. >> all the mom and pop stores around the corner that you would go to with your mom and dad, they wiped those guys out. >> everybody was wiped out after wiping out the retailers. the walmart and amazons are doing it now. i don't want to sound like an
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old fogey, but it is worth degree, wh considering, when you go to the little stores, you get a curated experience. it is becoming vogue again to do so. when you g o to amazon, walmart or toys "r" us, you're getting a kmod ti commoditized product. >> you need to offer an experience. >> toys "r" us hasn't been an experience. >> if it is going to be a mess, people will go to amazon. >> if i don't have a valuable experience, i'll buy it elsewhere. >> it is an iconic american brand. >> good jingle. join us for a special edition of "velshi & ruhle" this saturday from south by southwest. >> cowboy hat. >> yeah, in hus taustin, texas. 12:30 p.m. eastern time on saturday. you are watching "velshi & ruhle." >> it is going to be this guy in leather chaps and a cowboy hat. what's the secret to turning a no into a yes? do you know how to network like
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a champ? when is a good time to have fun in the office? i'm j.j. ramberg. i've got some great answers to all of these questions, which might help you run a better business. check out the your business page on nbc for an exclusive online video series to help you work smart, grow fast and go further. >> announcer: sponsored by american express open. helping you get business done. oh. nuh uh. yeah. ahhhhh. mm-mm. oh. yeah. ah. agh. d-d-d... no. hmmm. uh... huh. yeah. uh... huh. in business, there are a lot of ways to say no. thank you so much. thank you. so we're doing it. yes. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we help all types of businesses with money, tools and know-how to get business done. american express open.
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you know what's not awesome? gig-speed internet. to get business done. when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. it is now time for our
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monumental american. this is our favorite part of the show. this one is a tough one. we're honoring someone who may be deserving of more recognition. today, it is draylon mason. a 17-year-old honors student and musician who was tragically killed in austin, texas, just this past week, by a package bomb that arrived on his porch. >> he was a member of the austin sound waves. he played the bass and cello. the constructer said when mason played, quote, the light is coming out of him. the energy and the positiveness of him and the desire to be good. mason was a third degree black belt in karate. >> he was set to graduate high school this spring and had been accepted to the butler school of music at the university of texas. he wanted to be a surgery. >> thanks for watching this hour of "velshi & ruhle." right now, time for "andrea mitchell reports."
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>> right now, revolving door. who is in? who is out? more turmoil as the president appoints a long-time friend and tv commentator to be his top economic adviser and announces it on twitter. >> my immediate reaction was, yes, honored to take the job. i thought he was going to call me because i had some problems with the across the board tariffs, as you know. then we got into the conversation, and he started talking about the director job. that's when i realized that that was what this was really going to be about. alternative facts. audio surfaces of the president admitting he made up a tall story about the trade deficit in a meeting with canada's prime minister justin trudeau at the fundraiser last night. >> good looking guy comes in. donald, we have no trade deficit. very proud. everybody else, you know, is getting killed with it. i said, justin, well, you do. i didn't even know. josh, i had no idea. i just said,


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