tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC March 29, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
natural gas imports. i wonder what he was paying for in rent? i wonder if his rent was paid by now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> that's a little swampy. >> usually you say it's like oh, you're living in the house. literally living in the house. >> i have not heard of a closer relationship than that, actually. you can't get closer than living in the house. >> maybe if they were sharing clothes. >> so you seem pretty close to convinced that it wasn't the travel. the travel is not why donald trump fires people, expensive travel does not get you fired in the trump administration?
>> steve mnuchin, ryan zinke and scott pruitt would seem to prove that's not a fireable offense. >> the fbi has been investigating donald trump's attempts to do business in the soviet union longer than we realized. in 2010 he went and explored the possibility of building a trump hotel, trump abandoned it after some were questioned by the lat vie jann authorities. the guardian is reporting that latvia made a request in 2014 to investigate. it was described by two sources who have reviewed it but were not permitted to disit. the authorities asked for trump himself to be interviewed for their inquiry.
at least one tromp organization executive did speak with officials. and the company provided written answers to additional questions. and the u.s. did not formally respond until september 2015. by then the latvian investigators were close to concluding their case and appear not to have pursued the link with trump any further. and by 2016, trump was running for president. and "reuters" is reporting that the special prosecutor is trying to find out what jeff sessions and sergey kislyak said in their conversations during the campaign. conversations that jeff sessions says he just forgot about when he was asked about contact with russians during his confirmation hearings. investigators have asked detailed questions about conversations that sessions, then a trump campaign adviser,
had at a convention event attended by then russian ambassador sergey kislyak. that same source that investigators asked whether jeff sessions had private conversations with sergey kislyak at a campaign speech then candidate trump gave at the mayflower hotel in washington d.c. in 2016. here's a photograph of that event that includes jeff sessions and ambassador sergey kislyak. another question is how and why republican language hostile to russia was deleted from a section of the document related to ukraine. at one committee meeting, according to people in attendance, a member of the platform committee's national security subcommittee, proposed language calling for the united states to supply lethal defensive weapons to ukraine's armed forces and greater coordination with nato on defense planning but the final language deleted the reference to lethal defensive weapons. after the convention denman told routers in 2016, jd gordon told her that he was going to speak to trump about the language and that trump campaign's team played a direct role in
softening the language. nbc news is reporting that president trump does not want anyone in the trump administration to make any negative comments about vladimir putin, even when the administration takes steps to resist putin. according to nbc report, president trump's national security advisors spent months trying to get him to sign off on a plan to aid ukraine. but with the policy shift he told aides not to publically tout his decisions.
doing so, trump argued, might agitate, vladimir putin. he doesn't want us to bring it up one official said. it is not something he wants to talk about. officials tell nbc news that the divide between the actions and the president's public posture on russia stems from, quote, stubborn refusal to be seen as appeasing the media or critics who question his silence or kind words for the russian leader. joining us now jean robins, nicholas christophe, and barbara mcquade. and gene, i want to go to you on this reasoning we're seeing in the nbc report about why we never hear a word about vladimir putin that isn't positive and it's that apparently he just
doesn't want to give us that. >> yeah. >> he feels that would somehow be a victory for his critics. >> step back for a second. this is clinically insane. this makes no sense. we're talking about foreign policy between the united states and russia. huge issue, complicated -- anyhow, it makes no sense. but in the context of donald trump, it's probably true. that's probably a big part of the reason he doesn't want to be seen to give in to the likes of you and me. >> nick, any other politician under suspicion of being too close to russia would -- and to putin, would look for every chance to get in the way of putin. every possible chance to create the counter image. donald trump clearly doesn't want to do that.
and he's telling his people that it would be too much of a concession to his critics. but he could do it playing the tough guy. he told his audiences he's the toughest guy in the world. so there are all sorts of trump characteristics that he could bring to play in the imaginary of this, which he refuses to do. >> it was clear when the administration did agree to supply defensive arms to ukraine, actually some of his aides were making the point that this was actually a tougher move than the obama administration had made. but apparently that -- it was a perfectly good argument but apparently one he didn't want to make. i would say, though, that i do think there is a difference between that period and today. and following the expulsion of russia's latest moves, there is a genuine concern about u.s./russia relations spiraling out of control. so while his hesitation to say anything, to speak about this, truly, like gene said, just insane. today i understand it a little bit better.
there is genuine reason to be concerned about both sides just escalating in ways that become truly deeply problematic. >> barbara mcquade i want to look at the new investigative elements that have been made public today. working back wards from latvia, which takes us years showing the president's interest in doing business within the old soviet sphere. and it turns out the fbi got called into that deal. >> yeah, you know, as i understand it, that deal -- conversations about that deal was in 2010 and then it never materialized. so it may be, here we are in 2018, it's beyond the statute of limitations to charge that in a mueller investigation. but nonetheless i would imagine there's interest for a number of reasons, related to trump's finances, who he accepted money
from, who has leverage over trump to this day, who may be a blackmailer. so even though that is unlikely to materialize as a charge i think the mueller team would be interesting in learning about the transaction. >> the router report takes us back to the beginning of the investigation saying what happened at the republican convention in july 2016, is an indication that trump campaign contacts and actions related to russia remain central to the special counsel's investigation. >> right. it always keeps coming back to russia. and as barbara said, it keeps coming back to the cast of characters, however many characters there might be in there. you know, i think mueller is going to want to look and probably is looking at, what
russians has the trump organization done business with other the years. who were the people involved in the failed latvia transaction, other transactions for projects involving russians, including the trump tower in moscow. that sort of thing. as we know mueller has attorneys on his staff that are experts in tracing these kind of money flows and connections. >> and nick, you have the attorney general, jeff sessions, basically the focus of an investigation of exactly who said what, to whom, between jeff sessions and russians, including the russian ambassador, and this is something that jeff sessions has dealt with and dealt with in kind of additional appearances of the judiciary committee after his confirmation hearing. in terms of news cycles, there have been moments it felt like okay jeff sessions has put this behind him, but it's never been resolved.
>> exactly. it keeps coming back. now we understand much better the context that was happening. that russia was repeatedly trying, through a whole number of people, to reach the trump campaign and to reach president trump -- or candidate trump himself. and you know, this -- the thing that's also mind boggling about this is during and after the campaign, after president trump was elected, they repeatedly said there had been zero contacts between the trump campaign and russia. remember, vice president pence saying, around the time of the inauguration, of course, there were no contacts, why would there be contacts? now we know there were more than 60. the more you look, the more they are. it's like these russian nesting dolls. you keep finding more. so -- and i have a feeling we're going to need micro scopes to
keep on finding this. >> as a justice department veteran, i want to ask you about what must be an incredible institutional tensions. here you have a special prosecutor who wants to know exactly what the attorney general said to someone, in this case russian ambassador, what that person said to the attorney general, what other conversations the attorney general might have had during the course of the presidential company and possibly at other times that are relevant to this investigation. the attorney general now knows, and has probably known already, that the special prosecutor, working under him in the diagram of the department, is investigating him, fbi agents are investigaing the attorney general. this is something most people in the fbi have never experienced. most people in the justice department have never experienced anything like that. >> it's a very significant matter. it's the very reason we have a special counsel because no one else really can investigate the boss. so the special counsel is empowered to do that. i don't know that the mere fact that he's investigating these particular reported contacts means that there's truth to them. it means that jeff sessions was
involved in collusion in any way. but i think any responsibles prosecutor would have to take that step. we've all heard reports about it, finally someone is looking at it very carefully and will resolve one way or another whether the contacts happened and whether they were appropriate. >> gene it's another moment that underlines how important it was for jeff sessions to recuse himself, something that the president doesn't seem to understand. >> it was, especially since he never resolved the question. and still, you know, and i know, that still donald trump is burning over that. he's still angry at jeff sessions on some level for not being, in his view, loyal, which would have meant not recusing himself. but obviously he had to do it, and he did what he had had to do. >> nick, let's do the thought experiment for a moment. the special prosecutor investigating an unrecused
attorney general, who he is reporting to whenever the attorney general wants to know how things are going he's allowed to check in with the special prosecutor and check things out, how things are going. imagine if this attorney general had not recused. >> this completely under scores exactly why we need a special counsel and it -- why it would be a catastrophe if he ends up, as a lot of us fear, being removed. >> barbara, what about that, if the attorney general is removed, what would then occur? it would take some time to get a new attorney general confirmed, but who would then be running the justice department? >> you know, down the road there would have to be somebody presidentially appointed and senate confirmed -- currently the number three, i think knoll francisco, the solicitor general is the obvious choice. but under the vacancy reform act the president could choose anyone who's presidential appointed or confirmed, like
scott pruitt or betsy devos, he could put is someone like that in for a short time. i worry about that with certain matters that robert mueller brings to bear to the firing of robert mueller. >> it's impossible to imagine someone being put in there to act that way with this understanding of the president without knowing what to do in the first hour. >> that's what you fear. i'm trying to get past barbara's suggestion of betsy devos as acting attorney general. i might have to lie down. >> nick christophe, thank you for joining us. coming up, david hogg is one of the lucky students who survived a mass murderers' attack so he can be attacked by fox news.
tonight advertisers are pulling out of fox news because of attacks on david hogg. and tonight the president returned to his old pleasing trademark. >> you're fired. >> but he's apparently afraid to say that to the people he actually fires. the veterans affairs secretary said the president didn't say any word about firing the last time he spoke to him, which, of course, was the day that he got fired. . des preservision. only preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula recommended by the national eye institute to help reduce the risk
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> in the trump administration, this is what your last day of work is like. >> when's the last time you spoke to him? >> i spoke to the president yesterday. >> what was that conversation like? >> we spoke about the progress that i was making. what i needed to do from a policy perspective to make sure that we were fixing the issues in va. very focussed. he was inquisitive about the things we were working on, making sure we were focussed on the job at hand. >> wait. that's before you were fired? >> that's correct. >> you spoke to him, he made no mention of the fact that he was about to terminate you? >> that's correct. >> and then you found out via tweet?
>> right before that the chief of staff kelly gave me a call, which i appreciated, gave me a heads up. but that was much after the phone call. >> white house chief of staff john kelly was able to squeeze in a warning to the veterans affairs secretary david shulkin that he was going to be fired by tweet in a couple minutes but john kelly was squeezed out of the firing of national security advisor h.r. mcmaster. according to bloomberg kelly wasn't with the president last week when trump decided to oust h.r. mcmaster and replace him with john boll ton. just two people were in the room, trump and bolton. and kelly is rarely on the line anymore, when trump spoke to vladimir putin, kelly wasn't there. donald trump has told confidants that the white house is the opposite of chaos portrayed in the media. with hope hicks leaving her job this week and white house chief of staff john kelly becoming increasingly irrelevant, the
president is beginning to wonder if he needs a chief of staff or communications director. some outside advisers are telling him he doesn't need a chief of staff or communications director. according to a cnn report, the option has been planted in trump's mind and he's not rejected it outright. joining this discussion, amy siskind. amy, an extraordinary book. it is the most easily readable book i have ever held in my hands. you flip it open to any page and you get the list of crazy insane things that happen in the trump world any given day. jim, i want to go to the white house. imagine if you will, a white house without a chief of staff, a communications director, and really seriously, how different would that be?
>> not really different. >> this is what it's been. >> this is an sequel to "home alone" he's making the decisions. he's firing people. everyone's like who's the next communications director, what does it matter, he's doing the job himself. that's why you see the chaos you see. he's had four communications director, we're on our third national security advisor. this is unprecedented and it's getting worse and not better. >> john kelly was brought in to stop the chaos and the leaking. the leaking got worse, the chaos got worse. i have not seen a single day there's been any positive affect to have john kelly around. >> trump is seizing power now. when you look at the list of who he's getting rid of and bringing in outsiders, it's become the trump organization.
his desire, if you look at the last few weeks, he's unilaterally taking action. there's no rhyme or reason to the policy. in the obama administration he'd lay out a plan. one week we're having china tariffs. it's whatever his friends talked to him about the night before or to change the subject. you can sense that he is in skbrol there's no checks and balances. the legislative branch is doing nothing to stop him. >> there's a huge difference between the image he still tries to convey by doing the trademark you're fired out there on the stage today but the very same man is afraid to say that to a human being in real life. >> it is unbelievable. the guy calls up his secretary, and instead of firing him like he did every week on tv for ten years he pulls the punch and has someone else do it. apparently he can't fire anyone and be mean to vladimir putin. for a strong man president who's defining himself by his strength he's showing weakness in really
weird places. >> amy, yours is what may be the first history reference book written during the trump administration. because the point of your book is to say this is not normal. we are losing track, there's too many things in a given day. a day with 11 extraordinary things that have never happened before is getting lost because of some other thing, some tweet or something like that, and you're trying to hold on to every one of these things and leave this record of what you now call the list. >> yes. so what's happening each week is chaos, the week before is gone. there are things going on that is not getting any coverage. which is happening to the environment, marginalized communities, rights of women, information disappearing.
that's part of what happens in an authoritarian regime. this is an old play book, even if new to our fragile democracy. what we learned in high school history, there were checks and balances, these are more norms than laws and there's nothing stopping him short of the election in 2018 flipping democrat control. if we have a fair election. there's nothing under way to assure we will. i think we're at a point where things are escalating pretty rapidly. we don't have a state department. eight out of the top ten key roles are vacant. one of them that is filled is filled with a fox and friends cohost. he's taking on diplomacy, too, he's image with kim jong-un. he's sending south korean
officials to say he's meeting with kim jong-un. he's running the country now and republicans refuse to put him in check. >> thank you for joining the discussion tonight. once again, advertisers are fleeing fox news. they drove bill o'reilly out of his job. and the battle with stormy daniels and the trump lawyers keep making mistakes that stormy daniels' lawyer has to thank them for. ♪ ♪ next chapter ♪
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fox news pushed the panic button today on laura ingraham at exactly 1:06 p.m. at that point, only one advertiser had had publically announced the decision to pull out of her show after she ridiculed david hogg on twitter. he's the 17-year-old senior who is a familiar voice on this program and at the march for our lives. he's a senior at parkland high school. he survived the mass shooting at his high school in parkland, florida on february 14th. and as a student reporter, he's been eloquent in leading the campaign for gun safety laws. yesterday laura ingraham ridiculed hogg for having been rejected for some colleges. there are 20 million college students in america. almost all of them have been rejected. david hogg's case is typical. he's been accepted and rejected at certain colleges. he has spoken about it. he has mentioned certain things he's going on in his life, even though's grieving and a
movement. he mentioned it with modesty. in laura ingraham's tweet she said he was whining about it. last night on twitter david hogg suggested that advertisers should boycott her show. she had no reaction to that. and then 25 hours after she so bravely fired off her insulting tweet about david hogg, laura ingraham tweeted this apology. any student should be proud of a 4.2 gpa, including david hogg. on reflection, in the spirit of holy week, i apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of parkland. i'm sorry we kind of lost our spot here.
parkland -- then she went on to talk about having david hogg on the show. we can skip past all of that, we don't need any of that. so it took her 25 hours, 25 hours of reflection to decide to apologize. and she was apologizing not because one advertiser had already announced a boycott of her show. she was apologizing because it's holy week, and on reflection, in the spirit of holy week, i apologize. is what she said. okay. what if it wasn't holy week? laura ingraham continued to lose advertisers after the apology. trip adviser said in our view these statements focussed on a high school student, crossed the line of decency, as such we have made a decision to stop advertising on this program. nut rish said we have decided to top advertisering.
way fair said the decision of an adult to criticize a high school student who lost his classmates is not consistent with our values. nestle said we have no plans to buy ads in the future. david hogg told the "new york times" she only apologized after we went after his advertisers. the only reason laura ingraham has a show on fox news now is because the prime time lineup was blown up last year when bill o'reilly was forced out of the new york not because he was a repeated and constant sexual harasser who paid tens of millions of dollars in settlement fees to his victims, including $32 million to one of them, fox news new about that, they kept him on the payroll, they had no problem with that. the only reason bill o'reilly had to be kicked out of fox news is his advertisers turn odd him every day more and more
advertisers turned on him and said enough is enough. we covered the fight of the advertisers fleeing bill o'reilly's show every night on this program when that was happening and when bill o'reilly was finally driven out, it was clear anyone could be driven out of fox news if enough advertisers turn on them. so what laura ingraham was doing today, after what she called reflection, 25 hours of reflection, was following her boss' orders to save her job. if david hogg can continue to drive advertisers away from laura ingraham's show, she will not survive. the timing of laura ingraham's apology, the wording of laura ingraham's apology has no credibility as a real apology. so she might have to try apologizing again. and next time, i would suggest, in the spirit of holy week as she would put it, as an act of contrition, she could release her college rejection letters. when we come back, we'll consider the political power of david hogg and the other young leaders of the march for our lives.
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as far as colleges and everything, i've gotten several rejection letters, i've got some acceptances, too. but i don't know where i'm going to be in november. >> that was ryan deutsche a senior at parkland high school. he is alive tonight because he hid in a closet while 17 people in his high school were gunned down by a 19-year-old mass murderer who was able to buy an assault weapon. that was him speaking on this program friday night. and ryan is one of the lucky ones. he's one of the kids that's still alive. he knows it makes him one of the lucky ones. it also makes him one of the students that fox news might choose to the attack at any moment. gene robinson is back with us for this discussion. gene we've seen this before with bill o'reilly. i want to throw up an image of all the advertisers -- we created a wall for this when we were covering the bill o'reilly crisis at fox news. we put up a full screen of every one of the advertisers, which is over there if our cameras can find it. yeah.
and it kept building every night. just kept getting bigger, bigger, bigger. eight have pulled out of the laura ingraham show. seven of them after her apology, which they have obviously judged to be inadequate. >> that's right. you recall, during the the o'reilly episode this did tend to snowball. now that was happening at the sort of me too moment. this is the moment of the kids from parkland, i think. and the fact that laura ingraham made this gross -- i was going to call it an error. p it was an atrocity really, an obscenity what she did, the way she criticized a young high school student who had been
through that sort of trauma, or any high school student in that way on fox news. but the fact that she went there is just an indication of the extent to which these students and this movement have gotten under the skin of the far right and sent them to some sort of def-con 1 level of panic over the impact they're having, i think. >> fox people have always considered the other side of the debate an enemy. they've done plenty of attacks on people like me, that's fine. i don't know most of them, i don't notice them. >> they don't like me much either. >> but it's their habit, that it never crossed laura ingraham's mind that this kind of wise guy stuff is her currency, this is
what she traffics in. never crossed her mind there was a single thing wrong with it. had 24 hours to stare at it and couldn't find anything wrong with it. >> she's a bully. and that's what fox news is. for the first time a bunch of smart kids took to social media and punched the bully in the face. you just read the list of eight companies that have gotten rid of her, but there are seven that haven't, including at&t, liberty mutual, and what are they going to do? it feels like once or twice you can see american politics flip on its head, we saw it with gay marriage, this is that moment for gun control. these kids are doing it, and they're doing it on on line, social media, it and looks like the nra, traditional washington lobbyists, can't cope with it. you're right laura ingraham panicked, lashed out and is
paying a dear price. i'm not a betting man but i'd go to vegas and bet she doesn't have a show next week. >> her bosses at fox news have been through this. they went through it with bill o'reilly, they know how this wave works and how quickly you have to do something about it and had no idea what to do in the case of o'reilly, what are you going to do, apologize to the women he's paid tens of millions of dollars to. o'reilly couldn't figure out a word to say under the circumstances and fox couldn't figure out how to say them. >> you figure the next step is probably another laura ingraham apology, if she gets a chance to do that, and i assume she will. because clearly the first one did not have the impact. so now these other companies that jim mentioned have to decide which side are they going to be on in this story. and i think that, you know, probably more are going to decide they want to be on the side of the kids who were viciously attacked. >> i want to take another look
of the honor roll of advertisers who have left laura ingraham. it's expedia, hulu, nest lee. nutrisch, way fair, johnson & johnson, stitch fix, trip adviser. this is what we did during bill o'reilly, leaving them up there since they're no longer advertising on fox news, leave them there and let them get some viewer exposure as we discuss this. >> nice. >> jim, laura ingraham, in her apology, it struck me so that she had to reach out to the religious right, to remind them i'm on your side remember, and
she framed her apology as something she was doing in the spirit of holy week. she invoked religion into her apology. by the way, left open the question of okay there's 51 other weeks, what would have happened on those weeks? >> it's so transparent. it hasn't about holy week. it's about one thing, and that's money. when the sponsors started walking she had no choice. instead of being honest and saying i screwed up, this was terrible, she had to drape herself in religion to remind her base don't leave me i am yours, i need your help here. it's so transparent and i don't think it's going to work because these right wingers are picking a fight with 17-year-old kids and they know how to fight back on social media much faster. what's going to happen tomorrow if i work for any of these companies i'm going to say if we
don't fix this by noon we're in deep trouble. >> thank you both for joining us, really appreciate it. coming up, president trump has a lot of so-called lawyers fighting stormy daniels, they don't sound like lawyers because they keep getting president trump in more and more trouble in the stormy daniels case. reaction... ...that's heard throughout the connected business world. at&t network security helps protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions, by sensing cyber-attacks in near real time and automatically deploying countermeasures. keeping the world of business connected and protected. that's the power of and. ( ♪ )
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the truth is he loves the boss. >> he did it out of love. >> he did it -- [ applause ] >> he did it out of love and he did it out of loyalty, okay? >> the man getting laughed out when describing cohen's love for trump is david schwartz. he has not filed a legal appearance in the stormy daniels lawsuit. attorney brent blakely is actually michael cohen's lawyer. david dennison is always is alias that the president of the united states uses in confidentiality agreements with women. that's right. the president has an official leem alias. david schwartz has become the person who speaks for michael cohen on tv.
his friend is at least as bad as michael cohen and has made it clear that the confidentiality agreement will be ruled invalid. >> the president was never aware of the agreement. >> the judge denied a motion to speed up depositions for president trump add michael cohen but indicated the depositions can go forward after other preliminary steps are taking. they say asking for the depositions now are premature. >> the president was never aware of the agreement. >> the judge denied a motion to speed up depositions for president trump add michael cohen but indicated the depositions can go forward after other preliminary steps are taking. they say asking for the depositions now are premature. barbara, here you have schwartz saying that the president if knew absolutely nothing. he knew absolutely nothing about this confidentiality agreement with stormy daniels and therefore could not possibly have been a party to it and yet donald trump in his own name is trying to federal court to enforce it.
>> yeah. as other experts have pointed out, today if president trump or david dennison did not know about the existence he could not have entered into it and it is unenforceable. the comments is illogical and may render the contract unenforceable to free stormy daniels to free her story as she wishes. >> she has pointed out that there are passages in the judge's ruling to where the judge points how how it can go to court assuming you reach certain points in trying to resolve it all with arbitration. >> first it's premature. the trump defendants have time to time to file their answer. they have indicated they plan to file a motion to enforce the
arbitration provision. it hasn't happened yet. the judge did say that the motion for the deposition was denied without prejudice. it means the parties can bring it again. after those other events occur the lawyer for stormy daniels plans to file that motion. >> barbara, thank you very much for joining us tonight. i appreciate it. the judge did say that the motion for the deposition was denied without prejudice. it means the parties can bring it again. after those other events occur the lawyer for stormy daniels plans to file that motion. >> barbara, thank you very much for joining us tonight. i appreciate it.
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up to 45%, yeah. ladies and gentlemen, at this rate he is two porn stars away from being reelected. think about it. >> coming up more on how the trfrp white house deals with the president's refusal to criticize putin. one of the news reporters will join brian. the 11th hour with brian williams starts right now. as russia now expels our diplomats our nbc news reporting reveals what trump is saying and not saying about putin. one is here with us tonight. the latest details on the mueller investigation and why he is looking into the republican
convention. the 11th hour on a thursday night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters. day 434 of the trump administration. the president is at the 137th day of his presidency spent at a trump branded property. he will spend the long easter weekends there levering behind a less than rock solid situation. today he said good-bye to hope hicks. jonathan puts it this way. hicks was more accurate described by white house officials as trump's white house woman and providing after firm mags and able to provide bad news with few repercussions. john kelly wasn't at president donald trump's side for crucial
decisions on policy moves. described by white house officials as trump's white house woman and providing affirmation and able to provide bad news with few repercussions. john kelly wasn't at president donald trump's side for crucial decisions on policy moves. kelly wasn't on the call. even as the president appears to be running the white house without kelly's input trump has made a point of pun likely praising his chief of staff which, as you know, can also be the kiss of death. >> we have general kelly here, four star, he is doing a great job in washington.
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