tv MSNBC Live MSNBC March 17, 2018 5:30am-6:00am PDT
hey there, good morning, everyone. i'm alex wilt at msnbc world headquarters in new york at the half hour. we have breaking news to share this morning. president trump's embattled deputy director fired last night for demonstrating lack of cap door under oath. he responded with a blistering statement saying i am being singled out because of the role i played, the actions i took, and the events i witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of james comey. the focus me is part of an unprecedented effort by the
administration, driven by the president himself, to remove me from my position, and destroy my reputation. president trump calling mccabe's dismissal a great day for the hard working men and women of the fbi and great day for democracy. mccabe was with the agency more than 21 years. he was set to retire tomorrow. joining me now with more, chief international analyst admiral james sir rhee tass. this fire 26 hours before retiring with full pension benefits. how is this being viewed? >> it will be viewed very negatively within those communities. let's back up for a minute. andrew mccabe, very distinguished career, graduated duke university, washington university law school, 20 plus years in the fbi, on the street, member of s.w.a.t. when he was
young, interrogator in counterterrorism, counterintelligence. very, very solid professional. so i think there are three things that just don't feel right about this. one is the eupl proportionality of the fine, if you will. losing a pension like that is a multimillion dollar fine for someone in his position. secondly, it feels hypocritical. this is an administration that plays it looks with the facts from time to time. so lack of candor, really? and the politicization piece. it feels like the long arm of the white house reaching out at this man. i think this is a problematic firing. it will be viewed that way in the intelligence community and in the fbi. >> i should think. and does this rattle nerves as well? >> it does, particularly because of, if you will, alex, the knock-on effect on the mueller investigation. it really has a feel of you start firing people in that
chain of command. let's face it, attorney general sessions is under fire. certainly mueller is not popular himself in the white house. it kind of feels like they are warming up the playbook for taking apart the mueller investigation. that ought to concern us deeply. >> to that extent, sir, as far as the russia investigation is concerned, mccabe suggesting this is an ongoing war on the mueller probe. do you think it could potentially hurt that effort? >> i think it possibly could. certainly, again, it's kind of the atmospherics here. every day from the white house we see a statement about the witch-hu witch-hunt. yet we keep seeing facts come out that would indicate that there are connections. so i think we have to ask director mueller to follow the facts wherever they go without fear or favor and any sense of tainting that mueller investigation i think does a disservice to the public. >> it feels like a naked
politicization of what should be a clear separation between national security and the white house's partisan inclinations. does it feel that way to you? >> it does. and just to put it in a military context, having spent many, many years in the military. when there is an investigation like this, what is not appropriate is that a commander, say an ultimate four-star commander, weighs in publicly about someone lower in the chain of command. but that's exactly what we have seen here. we have seen the president reveling in the firing. you can really feel palpably the absolute attention paid to this from the white house. it is not appropriate. all of it will send a chilling effect on these investigations. that's worrisome. >> does it spill over into the diplomatic community from here? >> is i think in the diplomatic world we have, if you will, a different set of challenges. the number one being the immediate rapid firing of
secretary tillerson, who was, let's face it, a voice for diplomacy, kind of a voice for reason. certainly he had problems gaining the trust not only of the president but of the department itself. morale is very low there. let's hope that secretary designate pompeo, who is a good leader, good thinker, can come in and right the ship on the diplomatic side. but, yeah, all of this is very unsettling to the civil service broadly conceived. very worrisome. >> it feels if tillerson, disagreeing with the president costs one a job in this administration. is this type of rule unprecedented? >> well, let's stipulate up front that the president has the choice of picking the people who serve for him or her. that's a given. but there does seem to be with this revolving door in the white house, a sense that it is hard
to please this particular president partly because he is so mercurial. take north korea. he moves from fire and fury to, hey, we're going to cut the greatest deal in the world here. you can make arguments on both sides of the coin. but to whip saw and then serve him as a cabinet leader is very, very difficult. >> i want to get to another matter relative to the response to the president not standing with the british after the russian attack. we have barry mcofry who put out a treat which reads, reluctantly i have concluded that president trump is a serious threat to u.s. national security. he is refuse to go protect vital u.s. interests from active russian attacks. sit parent that he is for some unknown reason under the sway of mr. putin. admiral, what are your thoughts on this? >> first of all, i know the general well. i have a lot of regard for his opinions. he does not state them loosely.
in terms of the current situation with russia, our president needs to understand that vladimir putin is no friend to the united states, that russia is actively seeking to undermine our nation not only domestically but our foreign policy as well. they have invaded parts of ukraine. supporting a war criminal in syria. they are are intense and cyber battle around the world to undermine u.s. interests. we need to understand that. we need to respond to it. and i agree with general mcofry that our president does not spend enough time focus on the threat emanating from russia today. >> thank you very much for your time and your insights. i appreciate them. >> you bet, alex. you have a good weekend. >> and to you, sir. thank you. joe watkins, forminger white house aide to george h.w. bush, and rick tyler former cruz campaign spokesman, msnbc political analyst.
a welcome to all three of you. i will reach out to you, rick, first. general sessions has shown himself capable of withstanding pressures from the president. what do you think his motivation is here? did he gain anything politically with this mccabe move? >> jeff sessions? >> yeah. >> i'm not sure. clearly this was directed by the president, at the president's behest which is very concerning. his tweet gives it away. he is trying to undermine the fbi. he talks about corruption at the highest levels. so he is saying that mccabe was corrupt. mccabe was apparently close to comey. comey was corrupt. it is designed to undermine the fbi, which is designed to undermine the mueller investigation. i think it is deeply concerning. >> i'm going to put this another way. does jeff sessions now get good standing with the president because of this? ? probably. but it's going to be very difficult -- remember, the fbi
is under the justice department, which he leads. and i think this is going to have a devastating effect on the morale of the fbi. and he has to effectively lead the if i can. and remember the fbi is the chief federal law enforcement investigative unit of the united states. it keeps us safe every single day, undermining fbi is really i think a very dangerous thing to do. >> yeah. i think you're reflecting exactly what the admiral was saying as well. joe, we have the president who twaoelted mccabe's firing made it a great day for democracy. why does he view it that way? what is the reality of this situation? how does this reflect ultimately on the president? >> well, it doesn't reflect well, i don't think, on the president. certainly firing the deputy two days before his retirement is meant to make a statement and it makes a very loud statement that they are trying to undermine mccabe's credibility. and further underscores the war that is going on between the white house and the fbi, which is not a good thing for america certainly in this day in age or
ever for that matter. it is troubling. i agree that it is troubling that the president would be reveling in the firing of andrew mccabe. i know it is -- it is certainly meant to help undermine the mueller investigation. i don't know that it will necessarily. but it is meant to undermine it, certainly to hurt its credibility. but this is not a happy day or a good day for the united states. >> yeah. adrian, white house press secretary sanders said yesterday andrew mccabe but, by most accounts, a bad actor. lee zeldin tweeting, calling it inappropriate and timely and saying mccabe was a ringleader of rogue actors who were shameful exception at the top not the norm. what do you make of that? >> you know, first of all, the fact that the white house is even weighing in on this shows how highly political this decision really was. it is unclear if attorney general sessions was doing this to maybe, you know, do trump's
bidding so he could maybe protect his own job. but the fact that you have the white house weighing in on this is incredible. look, we have not seen the ig report. we don't know at this point whether mccabe truly deserved to be fired. we will see more when this report does come out. but the fact that this is becoming so political that you have the president tweet in a tweet that showed a lot of glee that mccabe was fired is -- just shows how political this is. >> what do you think the public perception is going to be of this, adrienne? >> we'll see how the weekend goes. there's a lot to impact here. for one, we've got to remember that mccabe showed bias into hillary clinton's e-mails. at the same time, donald trump is trying to say, oh, mccabe is part of them because his wife was running for the virginia state legislature and mcauliffe, a big supporter during the campaign made donations to her campaign. so there's a little to unpack
here. we will see how it shakes out. it seems a cheap shot given the fact that he could have stayed on two more days and received his pension. >> and a race mccabe ultimately lost. the inspector general's report. it has not yet been made public. how much about whether this move is justified boils down to interpretation depending on what political side you happen to fall. >> well, a lot of it. mccabe's wife did run as a democrat. there was a donation through terry anything allive. so you can point to that. th there is an ethics process and discloche other that process. and also the talking to the media. mccabe revealed that he did talk to the media through the public affairs department in the fbi and did it in the proper channels. that is an established policy that goes on today. that is all subject to
interpretation. so you could see he leaked to the media. but if they can demonstrate that he did it through the proper channels, i don't know. we'll have to see what the report says. and i'm sure phemccabe will challenge this in a court of law because he will be denied his pension. >> 26 hours before he would be able to get it. remarkable the timing. what do you think the public perception of this is going to be, and do you think there is a chance this splits trump supporters? >> i don't know that it splits trump supporters. but certainly i think for the general public it doesn't smell right. it doesn't have the smell of honesty. both adrienne and rick have talked about the ig report which has yet to come out. that would cast more light on whether this was justified. but at the end of the day, mccabe was one of the officers at the fbi who had clearance to deal with the media. it doesn't seem that he did anything out of sorts.
so this firing, especially just two days in advance of his retirement is meant to acceptex send a strong signal. i think the americans got the signal that was set by the firing. >> we will talk with you about stormy daniels in a couple of segments. we have new developments in that saga. for the first time, the president's name is officially linked to the case. and then in the next hour, the white house exits. who is next to go? captivating exteriors dynamic lighting
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weeks. we're not going to pack up and go home. we're not going to dismiss the case. >> joining me right now msnbc legal analyst danny sa value lass. >> it is important to understand this is a notice of removal. it doesn't actually indicate that the trump team is looking to actually recover $20 million. instead, it is a jurisdictional requirement so that the trump team can drag this case out of state court and up to federal court. they have to allege greater than $75,000 for diversity jurisdiction to apply. now, they may never actually seek that money. they may never actually go after her for defamation. but for now this is just part of the tactic of taking the case out of the plaintiff's home court, which is california state court. defendants, particularly large corporations in cases often like
to remove because if the plaintiff chose state court as its forum, if nothing else, it will throw the plaintiff off its game to take the case out of state court and up to federal court. but the next move by ec consultants and the trump team will be this. they will file a motion to remand the case, kick the case out of the court they were just moved to and back down to arbitration. because arbitration is where ec consultants can win this case. >> okay. but i'm not clear why bothering to move this from state, in this case, california to federal. does the federal court approach a case like this differently than a state court would? >> federal court generally will apply california state law. but there are several tactical advantages to removal. perhaps there may be a better composition of judges that the cohen team and the trump team
finds favorable. maybe it's because they assume that the plaintiff's attorney is more wired in state court where he normally practices. he may practice a lot in federal court too. but sometimes removal is a litt neutral playing ground. after all, that's where the removal statute originated from. an older idea that someone from a far-off state couldn't get a fair trial in a kentucky state court or a pennsylvania state court. and that only a federal court could give them a fair tribunal. in modern times, i don't know that that's still the case. but that's what removal jurisdiction is. that's the only significance of the $20 million allegation. >> danny salvo thank you. a shocking allegation by stormy daniels that could raise the case to a possible criminal level.
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so many questions this morning about the story porn star stormy daniels wants to tell about president trump. her lawyer making these explosive remarks on msnbc's "morning joe." >> was she threatened in any way? >> yes. >> was she threatened with physical harm? >> yes. >> can you tell us whether it came from the president directly, the physical threats? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> will you dep that the president of the united states threatened your client? >> i will not confirm or deny. >> let's bring in adrian elrod. adrienne, how do you interpret those remarks in. >> i find them to be very disturbing. what the story is also doing is it continues to remind everybody of donald trump's myriad problems with women. we have so many women who came forward during the campaign who alleged sexual assault, sexual harassment by the president. now we're seeing this again. it's a cloud that continues to evolve over the trump administration. >> and look, joe, gotta make clear, these are all unproven
allegations at this point. and the president's team denies that a sexual relationship with stormy daniels ever took place, but how damaging are these claims of threats for the white house? >> they're very damaging of course. this is a bad story that just won't go away. it still doesn't help the fact that there's a possible ftc violation with regards to the $130,000 that was paid. so this is a very bad story, it's not going away any time soon, unfortunately. and i certainly, i think we're all watching to see if the allegations are true. that her lawyer made. >> i want to play another clip from that interview with her lawyer. let's listen. >> you would not take on a client or a case like this without unequivocal proof? >> i'll answer that in the affirmative, yes. >> you would not take on a case like this unless there was proof that there was a sexual relationship between stormy daniels and president trump and they tried to silence her about it? >> correct. >> what are president trump's supporters going to make of
that? >> look, i think president trump supporters don't actually believe it. but it is remarkable. lawyers have a low credibility when it comes to public perception. so do porn stars, but in this case, it seems that the porn star may look like she has more credibility than the president here. that's remarkable in itself. "60 minutes" is going to air their interview on the 25th, on sunday. and obviously if they're going to run it, they must have some explosive evidence, we'll all be looking to see what that is. this is a real problem that just keeps dragging out for the president. >> yeah. that, that is set to run a week from tomorrow on sunday night. adrienne, what are your expectations when that thing goes? >> well you know i have to believe that anderson cooper is doing this, it's on "60 minutes," you are always breaking some sort of news when you're doing a big "60 minutes" piece. the way the white house has handled this shows how tone-deaf they are, in terms of the whole me, too movement. a woman is coming forward and saying that the president, that
the president in some way may have harassed her. the fact they're trying to silence her is extremely disturbing and shows how out of touch they are with the woman's movement that's happening right now. adrienne elrod, joe watkins, rick tyler, good to see you. new reaction to the late-night mccabe firing and it appears to be a personal attack by the president. and the exit signs at the white house, who's next to go. there are two types of people in the world. those who fear the future... and those who embrace it. the future is for the unafraid. ♪ ♪ stay at la quinta. where we're changing with stylish make-overs. then at your next meeting,
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