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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  April 7, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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if that gold standard prognostication is right then more upsets are on the way not only this wisconsin but beyond. that does it for us tonight. see you again on monday. now it's time for the last word the ali. >> great show tonight. thanks as always. >> happy weekend. >> and you. good evening. there's new indications president trump may be preparing to salespeoppeak to robert muel. mueller is strengthening his case against key figures in the russia investigation. there's lots to talk about tonight. we have an all star panel to break it down. is president trump preparing to sit down with special prosecutor robert mueller. quote, president trump has begun the initial steps of preparing for a possible interview with the special counsel.
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a white house official said on friday, one source familiar with the proceeding stressed the preparation effort is in its infancy. that have been short and informal and going over potential topics that mueller would likely raise in an interview. the president has not formally agreed to speak to mueller but this is the clearest sign they are open. new evidence that calls into question whether a trump ally may have misled congress. according to a report from abc news, robert mueller has obtained evidence that calls into question congressional testimony given by trump supporter and black water supporter eric prince when he described a meeting with a russian financier as a casual chance encounter over a beer.
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he visits the white house in the early months of trump administration. george nadar shared information about that russian financier during several encounters and sources are telling that to abc news. that appears to be inconsistent with eric prince's sworn testimony before a house investigative panel that the meeting happened by chance. one was obtained last month. two weeks aftermueller issued his second indictment against manafort. the timing of the warrant is significant and issued a week after former manafort partner
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rick gates accepted a plea deal with mueller's team. he's an msnbc political analyst. welcome to all of you. jill, let me start with you. the idea that the president is getting ready to sit down with donald trump, as early in planning stages as that may be, would that be donald trump and his team's decision and if so, what does that tell you? >> first of all, i think it's interesting that they are saying it's in its infancy. it's what you would expect from a president who doesn't read and
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doesn't have a big attention span and it would have to be short in order for him to pay attention. no, it isn't his choice because if mueller wants to get his testimony, all he has to do is issue a subpoena and then he can ask anything he wants. the president would have to invoke a fifth amendment privilege which he would keep with him. he does not have any other privilege that he would use to avoid answering questions, particularly those that involve his conducting anything that has to do with a crime. there's no protection for that. let's listen. >> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. >> do you have a date set? >> there's been no collusion. there's no obstruction. i'm looking forward to it.
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>> joyce, we're about day out from donald trump saying something on an airplane that made stormy daniels lawyer very happy. donald trump, if he is going to talk to robert mueller, may not want to be telling reporters what he's got in mind. >> it seems like the worst possible strategy for someone in his position. it's interesting that we learned this week that the president has been told or alleges he's been told through sources he's a subject of the investigation, not a target. one of the imply kications of learning that is it makes it easier for mueller to subpoena president trump. doj has a long standing policy of very sparingly subpoenaing targets to the grand jury. that doesn't really apply to subjects. once he's in front of grand jury his team has no control of what he's asked. he can't take a lawyer into the grand jury with him. he has to answer the questions
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unless he asserts the fifth amendment privilege and says i can't answer this question because if i answer it, i'll be incriminating myself as a criminal. this is a real problem for him, but he has foreclosed the option of not testifying saying he's willing to go and we know that mueller can enforce that. >> let's talk about the black water founder. the brother of education secretary betsy devos who spoke with great bluster about this meeting that is now being investigated in greater detail. let me tell you what he told stephanie ruhle and me right after talking to the congressional committee. >> why should you meet that russian guy? what was the reason to meet him in. >> he said it's someone they done business with before and sb an interesting guy for you to
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know. we're both involved in the commoditie commodities. i had a beer with him. i don't know if he had a beer. probably had vodka. after that i had no contact with him or any of his colleagues at all. >> do you know he was an associate of president putin's when you met him? >> he was described to me as a russian hedge fund manager. >> let's play this out. he casually meets for a drink with a russian hedge fund manager who was introduced to him by that guy who turns out to be george nadar. what do you make of this? >> he gave testimony to the house intelligence committee that transcripts were provided to the public. she he seems even more arrogant and casual than in his interview with you guys. no big deal. he doesn't mention this guy george nadar who is an associate
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of everybody from the russians, the people running united arab emirates and people related to the trump campaign. if the stories are true that robert mueller has testimony that he set up this meeting purposefully to create a back channel between the trump transition and the russian, eric prince is in a lot of hot water. it gives a strong indication he lied. whether you do that under oath or not, that's a crime. it speaks to the idea of collusion. >> we are starting to see a picture here.
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we have eric prince with a lot of connections to trump and trying to do business with the trump administration. he wanted to take over the war in afghanistan. it looks like these two guys maybe didn't casually and accidentally meet a russian and american. >> now he has a very interesting hook for learning more about those meetings because we have eric prince who by all appearances is on the hook for perjury perjury. that's the sort of thing where mueller may be able to approach him and flip him. that would give him a plea better where he would get better treatment in terms of sentencing than if he would go to trial and be prosecuted for this crime of perjury and perhaps mueller will use prince to explain all of these unexplain and forgotten
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meetings held by so many people in the trump camp with russians tlouts t throughout the campaign. >> one of the russians who is sanctioned. he is somebody that has tied to paul manafort. he's the one that was paying paul manafort for lobbying work on behalf of the russian government and perhaps getting access to the trump campaign as a result. >> what do you think about this development? >> i'd like to add to the comments about eric prince. anybody who ever believes that was a casual meeting, i would like to offer them as a very good invest m tmeninvestment thg that the kushners now have. it's another contact to russia. it's another thing that is manafort and gates are clearly involved with.
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they were very much involved in the trump campaign so we're looking at not just obstruction. we're looking at collusion. i think the evidence is growing on both of those cases. >> manafort is the connection. the investigation of russian ties within the campaign clearly is not limited to for fringe players or carter page. the fbi has a basis to suspect russian collusion involving the very highest levels of the trump campaign. a lot of people say it's a lot of money laundering, but it
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doesn't look like collusion. now the pieces are starting to fall into play that a lot of money changing hands. >> it looks like mueller has been circling the whole time bringing in various players and pieces of this investigation but never losing sight of the fact what he is really investigating is whether or not there was russian interference in the u.s. election and if there were people in the trump campaign who were involved. the players had relationships with the president. there are all sorts of allegations from the nra receiving russian money to russian oligarchs funneling money into campaigns using straw contributors. people who are american citizens to whom they funneled money.
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there's evidence that he was directly involved with oligarchs. he was involved in the creation of back channels. he was present when meetings were held with russians. at the end of the day, these complaints that we've heard so far from many people that mueller is well beyond his jurisdiction are going to be put to rest. we look at that memo that rod rosenstein wrote and the former u.s. attorney in new jersey pointed out yesterday there are two little sentences that follow the grant of jurisdiction from rosenstein to mueller as regards manafort. the rest of that is blacked out. there's more than what we know at this moment that mueller has been given authority to investigate. >> thank you for your analysis tonight. david and jill stick around. first michelle obama gave the nation this advice. >> when they go low, we go high.
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>> now she's back telling us what she thinks about the current state of the nation but first we're on pruitt watch after more calls for his firing including one call from a top west wing official. the president is viewing pruitt as the victim here as scandals pile up against him. that's next. feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin 24 hour relief when allergies occur. day after day, after day. because life should have more wishes and less worries.
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they want to show scott pruitt the door. they wrote scott pruitt's une unethical behavior and his efforts to undermine the epa's core mission to protect our environment and public health demand an appropriate response. his resignation or his firing. hasn't happened yet. it's a friday night. the new york times and wall street report that john kelly is also calling for the president to fire pruitt. the new york times reports kelly told president trump that's week that scott pruitt needed to go in the wake of ethical infractions and spending irregularities. tonight, the hill is reporting house oversight committee trey gowdy has begun probing 50's dollar a night housing arrangement. according to the wall street jou journal the president is not ready to fire him. he welcomes the deregulatory arrangements and values him for
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his agenda. the president tweeted pruitt is doing a great job but is totally undersiege. today the president met with pruitt to roll back fuel efficiency standards. during that he laid out his case for why he should rehmain in hi post. st people from whom he was renting that apartment had no business before the epa which was an entire lie. it turns out he was stiffing the landlord too. they had to get rid of him because he wasn't paying his bills. there's nothing about this story that makes sense. >> the only thing ha makes sense about this story is that scott pruitt and the entire trump
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administration culture of corruption imnates from the top. why is donald trump not going to get rid of scott pruitt. because he's role modelling behavior of donald trump. he's looked at a presidency as a way to profit himself. his hotels, his business. basically, we have an entire administration which looks at feeding at the public trough as an opportunity instead of serving the public. that starts not with pruitt but with the president himself. i do not believe he will be gotten rid of is because the people who back the president, scott pruitt is their favorite cabinet secretary. he does the bidding for the oil and gas industry against the public every day. >> here's my question, jill.
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he's doing the bidding for the oil industry. he's been doing that for a long time. he's from oklahoma. if deregulation is the goal, mick mulvaney is doing it over at cfpb. there's lots of people who do it and not get all this attention. scott pruitt is drawing attention. he has enemies because he's deregulating the epa which a lot of american believe it protects americans from the corporate america. why make all this noise about it. donald trump can't afford to have another cabinet secretary undergoing a cabinet secretary hearing. he's had so many because he's had to fire so many of his people. for the man who will bring us the back, he hasn't. he's created deeper swamp than we ever had.
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we need to sweep it clean nap can be the only reason. you couldn't have said it better. the role model is at the top. that's what's happened. it's okay if they cheat the taxpayers and kill the environment and make it to the point that all of us will suffer. science has gone out the window at epa and animals are in danger. people are in danger. we need to stop this. >> the fake media is pushing hard i'm going to replace ag jeff sessions with epa chief scott pruitt. who is doing great job but is totally -- you can replace those words with anything including about the russia investigation. what is this tweet.
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what does this tell you about donald trump's position and scott pruitt's future? >> i think it tells you he would not fire scott pruitt today. i run -- >> what time is it here? we got three more hours on the west coast. >> i know i'm going out on the limb here, ali. i run a news room with 20 people. we came in this morning. what's going to be the big news of the day? is it going to be scott pruitt? we go great. we're clear into saturday, sunday, maybe even monday. the worst thing as a trump cabinet member, the worst thing he can say about you is he has full confidence in you. that lasts about a week or so. we can do an avenue rarage at t point. i don't think scott pruitt is secu secure. not because he's not doing what donald trump wants him to do or
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acting in an unethical manner. he's indicated with tom price. it looks like ben carson hung on by the skin of his teeth here. he doesn't like the mess outside the mess he causes. he gets jealous of other messes. i'd try to sign a long term lease even at $50 a night. >> no one will let him. they'll push him out. >> his credit rating wouldn't allow for that. >> the lobbyist was steve hart. the couple vickie and steve hart became so frustrated by their lingering tenet they they pushed him out and changed their locks. >> on a cabinet member. >> they were lobbying. >> let me ask you about this. rou routers is reporting that pruitt
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held 25 times more meetings with industry representatives than environmental advocates than in office. pruitt met with representatives 105 times from february 22nd making up 77% of his total meetings during that period. sfrat and apart from -- i actually care less about pruitt spending habits. it's bad. i'm a little more worried about the fact that a lot of americans call the epa dear. they sort of side glance a hug. scott pruitt seem to care. he doesn't believe in climate change. that's not typically a position held by the person who holds that office. is this is one of the key
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issues. he's mad many corrupt secretaries. the issue is he is an enemy of this agency. he hates the mission of this agency which is to protect the environment and he is very smart about his tactics. he is rooting out climate scientists. we heard stories about people who oppose his spending habits. his strongest backers have the group that love scott pruitt the most. they are rolling back regulation after regulation that has protected people but cost a dollar or two or some money to the oil and gas industry. scott pruitt was well known for
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this in oklahoma and he's bringing this tactics effectively. he's last in court a lot but he's been smart about destroying his effort to truly destroy this agency. up next, how trump's pension for bluffing is bringing us closer and closer to a trade war. michelle obama speaks freely about this moment in the trump presidency. hey grandpa. hey, kid. really good to see you. you too. you tell grandma you were going fishing again? maybe. (vo) the best things in life keep going. that's why i got a subaru, too.
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today, axios wrote trump governs by bluffing. he creates apprentice style drama and changes his mind. the word he uses privately and sometimes publicly is flexible. everything is up for negotiation. everything is zero sum. the latest zero sum game is bringing the united states to the brink of a trade war. the stock market doesn't think he's bluffing. the dow jones industrial average fell more than 760 points at one point of fear offense that very trade war. it was down 2.3% at the closing bell. if you make 6 or 7% in year on the market you had a good year. to lose 2 to 3% in a day is
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strange. donald trump and his advisors are all saying completely different things about a potential trade war with china. >> fellas, we already lost a trade war. we lost a trade war. >> we're not running trade war. nothing has happened. >> there's the potential of a trade war and let me be clear. it's not a trade war. >> i'm not say there won't be a little pain. >> i don't want to talk pain. >> the market has gone up 40%, 42%. >> i don't want to disrupt the economy. we need not disrupt the economy. >> we may take a hit and we'll be much stronger for it but it's something we have to do. ultimately if you take a look, it's not only trade with china, it's everybody. >> don't blame japan. don't blame europe. blame china. >> we didn't make that up. good to see you.
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you and i talk business a lot. there's some politics to talk here. president trump said we lost the trade war. larry said there's no trade war. steve mnuchin said there's potential for trade war. president trump said it's easy to win a trade war. it doesn't make sense. if you're going to have any sort of war to have your generals not have the same message that you have. >> to some extent the conflicts you describe reflect the conflict within the republican party. the pro-business wing, the wall street wing, the wing that paul ryan and the house speaker subscribes too. they don't want tariffs. they don't want the see the market going down. some elements of trump's white working class base thrilled to the idea of a fight with china, a fight with other countries over trade and donald trump is speaking to that instinct. the question is how does it net out politically in the campaign.
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i was kind of surprised today to talk to some republicans and some outside analysts who say this tariff issue is not such a bad one. when i talk to david wasserman who is nonpartisan analyst of house races, he said tariffs are not a bad subject for republicans if it gets them off of their tax cut because that tax cut is so unpopular it's better focus on other things. >> the degree to which we're enamored of chinese products is something we don't realize. that gets to the issue you brought up at the beginning.
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is this just sound and fury just to make noise and he'll back off. is he going to announce he's fighting with china and sort slink out of ring and not impose those kinds of tariffs. that would be the difference between noise without consequence. if we get the consequences then we're going to find out in farm states that hurt from exports and from consumers everywhere else who face higher rices. we're going to see whether they blame that on trump or sort thethe themselves out politically given their pre-existing alignments. >> if he's even half serious, this is nuts.
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the president has no actual plan to win now. he's threatening to light american agriculture on fire. this is the dumbest possible way to do this. we've heard in from nebraska, iowa, kansas. we've heard it from illinois. we sell a lot of soybeans to china. we're one of the biggest providers of soybeans in world. china is one of the biggest buyers. there's something for them that they can look to as a win and it will be worth it. this is a difficult situation. remember there was a strategy on the table when president trump took office of dealing with china and trying to put pressure on china. that was the transpacific partnership negotiated with president obama. it excluded china.
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it was designed to put pressure on them. president trump with drew from that. that was thrown overboard. the president is trying to renegotiate nafta. there's no signs those negotiations are getting closer to resolution. >> trade war against china, you could have serious economic consequences throughout the american economy and significantly higher risk of recession in 2019 as he's preparing to run for reelection. >> good to talk to you as always. john harwood joining us tonight. coming up, michelle obama, what she does now that she's observing the current political climate. >> well, take a deep sigh. >> more from the former first lady up next.
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get your groove on with one a day 50+. ♪ get ready for the wild life ♪ complete multivitamins with key nutrients that address 6 concerns of aging, including heart health, supported by b-vitamins. your one a day is showing. when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night, so he got home safe. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. there's never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time. >> there's certainly something donald trump can take credit for and that's spurring political activism. among the resistance for sure but even among those who support him. from the first women's march the day after trump's inauguration, the largest single day protest in american history to the parkland students march for our lives in washington, dc last
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month and then the teacher walkouts that continue tonight in oklahoma. "washington post" sums it up. rallying nation. millions of americans are joining protests and getting political. the sheer size of these protests and the fact that they have maintained their intensity after more than a year of the trump presidency have political analysts musing about waves and even mitch mcconnell admitted this week that republicans could be facing a category 5 storm in the midterms. today, the koch political report shifted 13 congressional races all to the left and numbers to explain who is in these pictures and why they are there. "the washington post" and the kaiser family foundation conducted what they say is, quote, the most extensive study of rally goers and protesters in
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more than a decade. one of the first attempts to quantify how many americans are motivated by trump to join these increasingly frequent political events. here's what they found. a stunning 20% of americans say they participated in a political rally or protest in the last 2 years. the issues that motivated them to rally were women's rights, the environment closely followed by lgbt rights, the affordable care act, abortion and police shootings. 40% are democrats, 36% are independent and 20% are republican. 70% of them disapprove of president trump. 83% of them say they are certain to vote in november. former first lady michelle obama shared her thoughts about the leadership in the conference in boston. >> there are times in history when we feel like we're going backward, but that's part of the growth. you know, you take two steps forward, and one step backward, but you're constantly moving forward. and that's a hard thing for people to understand, especially when they think or know they're
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right about many issues. but that's how things go and i think we're at a point in time where we have to figure out who we want to be as a nation. and we've had two stark examples of what we can be. i certainly know what direction i want the country to go in. we've got to fight for that vision. it just didn't happen and we can't take it for granted. i think a lot of what we're seeing is what happens when take things for granted. i felt like the 8 years barack was president was like having the good parent at home, you know, the responsible parent, the one that told you to eat your carrots and go to bed on time and now perhaps we have the other parent in the house and we thought it would feel fun, maybe it feels fun to some for now because we can eat candy all day and stay up late and not follow the rules and, you know, we're going to sort of, at a point in
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time, look at those two experiences and see how we feel. and i think it's going to take young people the next generation of leaders to really determine what kind of world they want to be in, and voting has got to be part of that equation. >> will americans listen to michelle obama's advice and turn out for the 2018 midterm elections? that's up next. so he got home safe. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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and to the politicians that believe their right to own a gun comes before our lives, get ready to get voted out by us. >> joining me now is lena taylor, the state senator for wisconsin's fourth district representing part of the great city of milwaukee and back with us. lena, good to have you with us. you're in a state that's purple that donald trump risks losing the next time around. what are you seeing in wisconsin in terms of ground swell movements and protest and people who are not going to sit on the sidelines as donald trump leads this country? >> i'd like to say we're a blue state with red polka dots, but i
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will say in the last election that it's very clear that we have just on tuesday and the new way that will come and then just was able to flip several districts, several counties that had gone for trump. she flipped those in those districts that went to her. in all areas of the state. the west, the north, the southeast, only one flipped in the southeast as well as there have been many rallies around the issues of the women's march, in madison, in milwaukee, and so there really has been a huge movement and then the youth. only one flipped in the southeast. there's be many rallies around the issue of the women o's marc in madison and wisconsin. the youth even marched to paul ryan's district to tell him that they need to do something about gun control. in particular saying that
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universal background checks should be done. they're going to be involved not only in marching and registering people to vote and going to vote. that's what's most important. people must vote. >> a couple of weeks ago i was out there for the march for our lives. a lot of groups we have talked about and the causes for which people march is they have been part of a con stitch went group. the march for our lives introduced another constituency into politics. a constituency too young to vote or not yet able to vote. that tells me this is mul multigenerational. >> absolutely. >> i guess i would say that there are so many dark spots to the current moment.
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the one silver lining in united states donald trump has created a counter response. large scale resistance that started with women but is moving across the country. it's reaching millennials. it's reaching out to college students. we're seeing people take political action. 83% of them will vote. more importantly if they stay engaged in politics in the future, they will transform this country not in 2018 or 2020 or not just in those two times wu for decades to come just as the generation of zifrl rights activists and activists of vietnam war changed the country as well.
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that happened in connor lamb. democrats are voting at higher levels than republicans. >> i remember back to when public service workers were staging protests in the wisconsin state house. back then that was a big deal. we covered it for days and days. here the washington post family foundation poll indicated that 40% of adults polled had contacted their elected officials this the last two years. there's a sense of citizen responsibility. a sense of movement amongst most people who are not the host active but the idea they will call or let their elected officials know what they think. that alone is a development for america where our voter turn outs are not all that great. >> that is very true. if nothing else, you say that the 45th president has inspired individuals who normally have
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not been engaged in politics to be in politics. i see individuals from, you know, senators like pat spearman in vegas that's running for congress to citizens like kim hill knot who is running for congress. you have all types of individuals who normally had not been engage tods people engaged who are not only running for office, they are engaging in talking to their elected official. young people are engaged. people i had not heard from are asking to volunteer and be involved. it's also showing that people are doing it by going to vote. i believe the 45th president has encouraged people to see the chan -- to be the change they want to see. >> we talk about michelle obama's admonition that people should get involved. do you see the obama's getting more involved?
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>> i hope so. i think they are uniquely inspiring not just to democrats but to the whole country. i think the contrast between the demeanor and adulthood, i think michelle obama would call it, and what we're experiencing every day with donald trump. i think you'll see them campaigning for democrats. the 2018 election is the most important midterm we ever been through. every day we know republicans will not hold this president accountable. we need people to vote on election day and the president
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and mrs. obama can inspire that kind of action. >> thanks to both you have for joining us tonight opini. well, like most of you, i just bought a house. -oh! -very nice. now i'm turning into my dad. i text in full sentences. i refer to every child as chief.
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this hat was free. what am i supposed to do, not wear it? next thing you know, i'm telling strangers defense wins championships. -well, it does. -right? why is the door open? are we trying to air condition the whole neighborhood? at least i bundled home and auto on an internet website, progressive can't save you from becoming your parents, but we can save you money when you bundle home and auto. i mean, why would i replace this? it's not broken.
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rocket mortgage: america's largest mortgage lender. marvel studios' "avengers: infinity war" in theaters april 27th. time for tonight's last word. >> according to the washington post advisors are concern mueller told president trump he's only the subject to bait trump into an interview that could put him into legal
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trouble. apparently it's not the first time they tried to bait him. >> trump has been trading tariffs with china this week. we're getting closer to trade war. today he proposed an additional 100 billion dollars of tariffs on chinese goods which just about everyone on both sides thinks is a terrible idea. yesterday he defended the plan by highlighting our trade deficit. when you're already $500 billion down you can't lose. which is the trump company motto. >> and that is tonight's last word. up next, president trump's trade ideas are getting slammed by a lot of republicans. one of mitt romney's policy advisors reacts next on the 11th hour. tonight more damaging headlines for epa chief scott pruitt. nudes he spent millions on security and travel but flew coach when it was on his own dime.
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plus on a week that brought the first sentencing of prison time in the russia investigation and word of a forthcoming robert from robert mueller, a look at the legal advice being offered up to donald trump. from surprise policy announcements to staff issues and a steep dive in the stock market, the wild week in this trump white house. the 11th hour on a friday night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 442 of the trump administration and the white house is facing mounting pressure to do something about epa administrator scott pruitt. he's been under fire since outside spending. his rental of a capital controversial to represent energy clients. he discussed his