tv Morning Joe MSNBC August 14, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
about, or taking back way beer as races go on. great have your perspective's we'll be reading axios a.m. in a little while. sign up for the newsletter @signupforaxios.com. thanks for being with us. "morning joe" starts right now. i was in solitary confinement when my captors offered to release me. our code said we could only go home with the release of all captu captured. i thought about it. i wasn't in great shape, and i missed everything about america, but i turned it down. i fell in love with my country when i was a prisoner in someone else's pi loved it, not just for the many comforts of life here. i loved it for its decency, for its faith, and the wisdom, justice and goodness of its
people. i loved it because it was not just a place but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. i was never the same again. i wasn't my own man anymore. i was my country's. [ applause ] that was senator john mccain back in 2008. when he was accepting the republican nomination for president. yesterday president trump signed into a law that it was a military funding bill that was named in honor of john mccain, but it was too much for the president. he couldn't mention the senator a single time. in fact, hours later, donald trump mocked the ailing senator for his vote on health care. and and, you know, willie, it may
have only been a couple elections ago but the republican party, i mean, it might as well have been a century ago when you look at that sort of man who nome talked about putting country first but did put his entire life on the line for his country, and i mean, duty, honor, country. deciding to stay in hanoi, being imprisoned when he was beaten so bad he couldn't even lift his arms over his shoulders, and you have donald trump, of course, as we all know, someone who got five deferment, four for bone spurs and -- or for bone spurs, and graduated from college the day that 40 americans were killed in vietnam. there's just -- it's unspeakable.
yesterday the guy couldn't even mention john mccain's name. the only thing i can figure out is that mccain's name is just a reminder of what he is not every day of his life. >> well we shouldn't be surprised in the way that donald trump talks or doesn't talk about john mccain, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing to see the president of the united states going out of his way, bending over backwards nos to mention the name of the bill that carries john mccain's name for a very specific reason and you like to think even if you have disagreements with john mccain and the fact he didn't vote to reveal the affordable care act you have an american hero in his dieing days, quite frankly, to at least pay tribute in this moment, but the president couldn't do that either. good morning. it is tuesday, august 14th. with us contributor to "time" magazine, msnbc political analyst and former aide to the
former bush administration and msnbc political analyst is with us, nbc news national political oerter heidi przybyla and former chairman of the republican national committee michael steele. joe, get right into it here? >> i'd love to talk to michael quickly as former chairman of the republican party. michael, what -- it's mind-blowing to see john mccain in 2008. >> it is. >> hear all of those people john mccain in 2008 and thens later him as a punchline and a republican party that blindly goes along with such a man who lacks karat to such a degree that he mocks an american hero. >> yes.
that to me joe is most disappointing about this. didn't take a rocket scientist to do it for us that john mccain is someone that donald trump does not value. he does not value his service. he does not value his leadership in the senate. he doesn't value the things that john mccain, whether you disagreed with him or agree with him over policy, represents about what we expect of our leaders. the most disappointing part for me, though, is everybody else in the gop that allows this to fester and to continue, who don't speak out and say, while we may have this disagreement with mccain over policy or philosophy, we value him. we value his service, because he represents the best of us. at times when he need to be our best. and i think that's something -- it's just disappointing as a former head of the party. as you noted, to go back eight years and see where the party
was then, rallying around this man, nominating him to be our standard bearer and today virtually silence as the president, the current president, continues to mock him. his illness notwithstanding. even if john mccain was not as ill as he is, the fact this president does not honor his service to me is despicable. >> willie, despicable, and complete silence. silence in the face of mocking and just loathing this great american hero. a silence in the face of one racist attack after another, coming from the white house, and silence in the face of a complete capitulation to an ex kgb spy, this republican party, these republican leaders will have much to answer for when donald trump leaves the national stage, and he will. >> yes. as common as moments like
yesterday become sadly as common as well has been the silence from some of those republicans. talk about some of the news here, joe. president trump issued another call for the special counsel's investigation to end after the fbi terminated a senior agent, peter strzok, removed from the investigation into russian interference in the election after an internal watchdog discovered he traded negative text messages, you remember, about trump. the president tweeted, agent peter strzok was just fired from the fbi finally the list of bad players in the fbi and doj gets longer and longer. based on the fact strzok was in charge of the witch-hunt it will be dropped? a total hoax, no collusion, no obstruction, i just fight back, writes the president. also tweeted a lead role in the crooked hillary clinton sham investigation. adding it was a total fraud on the american public and should be properly redone. so, joe, there are questions raised, first by peter strzok's
attorney how and why this happened when it happened. >> right. >> the firing of peter strzok is not what was originally recommended but his attorney says was ordered by the deputy director of the fbi after pressure from president trump for all of these weeks and months on peter strzok. >> yeah. nonstop, willie. and nick con havevasori, i can'l with the fact that these republicans in congress don't speak out more aggressively, because the president of the united states again yesterday called the investigation into vladimir putin's interference in american democracy a "witch hupt hupt" director of international intelligence said the red lights
are blinking. the threat is there. the threat is real, the threat is not going away, and you even had kirstjen nielsen, who is not exactly shown herself to stand up to donald trump in times where she should, where she said the cross hairs of -- our american democracy itself is in the cross hairs, because of what vladimir putin is doing. and here you have donald trump calling it a witch-hunt and wanting to end the investigation into putin's interference with american democracy. >> joe, in fact, here is some important pieces here. right? three men two years ago were at start of this invest sgigs russian interference. james comey, head of the fbi, number two, andrew mccabe and now peter strzok, owl three fired by the president or pushed out under pressure from the president. so three people who led and
oversaw and permitted this investigation into russian interference in our country, in our elections, are all now gone and by the way also as you know were overseeing the investigation to hillary clinton. if you're going to pull back a little and think about the facts here, it's undoubted that the investigations of these two people, hillary clinton and donald trump, probably helped donald trump more in the beginning than they do now. and yet here he is calling witch-hunt and going after these people and inserting himself into a personnel decision, and it is something that gives you a bit a foreboding. >> meanwhile, a federal court, in washington, a fourth federal judge reject add challenge to robert mueller's appointment as special counsel. the judge was appointed to the bench by president trump last year. the move to dismiss came from a russian firm charged with conspiracy to defraud the u.s. arguing an independent counsel violated the constitutions appointment clause appointeding an unaccountable branch of
government. the judge rejected that argument wrote that mueller had not strayed from his jurisdiction. pressure on robert mueller from all sides but a decision in his favor yesterday in washington. >> something i found interesting, look how the mueller investigation does send some action items up to new york and they're quick to say, oh, southern district can handle this, but are keeping certain items in their jurisdiction and keeping things closer to d.c. so i do find that interesting, what is passed off as, this is more, this is a local issue and then, oh, this still has superseding issues of national interest. >> what about the larger point, though? that people are not, republicans in particular, not standing up for the premise of the investigation? the premise of the special counsel's work which is not specifically obviously a witch-hunt to go after donald trump but a broad investigation into something everyone including every intelligence agency under this president knows to be true, that russia
interfered in the 2016 election and continues to do so today? >> you're seeing most theatrics on the house side. certainly republican senators could do more to stand up but they are biding their time and looking to get through it mid-terms. to push this off as much as possible and see what effect donald trump is actually going to have when voters go to the polls in november. >> you know, heidi, again, we have to do this every time donald trump calls this investigation into russian interference a witch-hunt. again, a witch-hunt is something where you're wildly going around like joe mccarthy making accusations and, you know, you find next to nothing. in this case, you've had the president -- first of all, we talked about the dozens of russians already busted for trying to interfere in american democracy. you have the president's campaign manager that helped put him over the top, and helped him
at the rnc in 2016. he was arrested. he's being tried right now. national security adviser michael flynn, who was arrested, pled guilty and is cooperating. you had his, his assistant campaign manager rick gates who pled guilty, was arrested, and is cooperating with authorities. you have his campaign adviser who he told the "washington post" was one of his two top campaign advisers, george pap p dopaolous is cooperating with authorities and no witch-hunt that yesterday russians were arguing in federal court the same thing donald trump argues and the same thing donald trump supporters argue. which is, robert mueller's investigation must come to an end. he doesn't have constitutional authority to do what he's doing.
>> so, joe, regardless of what happens with peter strzok and the side show of the attacks by this congress in the house particularly on these department of justice and fbi officials, the investigation goes on. you named -- ticked off all of the numbers and we're now getting close to getting answers about the fate of paul manafort. and let's remind people what the goal of a lot of this is. it is to squeeze these individuals for additional information about the president's own role in all of this, about his knowledge, for instance, about what happened at trump tower. and these are the people who are going to give us those answers. so you can just deduce from the president's own behavior of these increasingly frantic tweets, waking up first thing in the morning, to try and, again, push this narrative of it being a witch-hunt about what his
level of concern is that we are at this stage of the process, and what it means for himself potentially. so this investigation will go on regardless, but i do think that in terms of the significance of peter strzok, the concern there, i think is that there is also an emboldening potentially on the hill. on the one hand you have a silent majority who is not speaking out and then on the other hand folks like devin nunes who want to take it as further ammunition to go after additional people. i saw a conservative website jed, joe, out with strzok, in with orr. in other words, bruce orr yet another fbi official they'll put a target on this back. >> a lot of people on the hill claim scalp in peter strzok. suggesting client's firing amounts to a purge of the
bureau. fbi professional responsibility ultimately decided strzok should face demotion, 60-day suspension and last attempt. the lawyer said the decision to fire strzok is not only a departure from typical bureau practice but contradicts assurances the fbi intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters. on "mtp" daily yesterday mr. goldman added this. >> i don't think that you can rationally reach any conclusion other than it was political. there's no, not a scintilla of evidence at any of pete's political opinions affected his job and in fact read the i.g. report that says pete was one of the more aggressive people on the hillary clinton e-mail investigation and if he had
wanted to somehow impact the election, he could have easily done it and did not do it. >> so michael steele, the fbi has not made a statement about this yet exactly, but his attorney you heard there mr. goelman said the office of responsibility at the fbi recommended something different. a suspension and some punitive measure, not a firing, and the deputy director of the fbi stepped in and canned peter strzok? >> yes. i'm almost certain that that deputy director got some marching order s to do that, to go outside what is the normal procedure and protocol for these matters is at least a yellow flag if not a red flag that there was an undercurrent here. something else that was driving this decision. you know, his lawyers, strzok's lawyers, are going to pursue this openly and publicly. again, here's the bottom line. it's one mother attack, assault, on the fbi and the institution
as a whole, and on top of everything else it has to deal with, we have a process. we have procedures that we try to do and that we do execute by the book. if it is shown that you've gone beyond that it's another blow to the agency, and, again, at the hand of the administration itself. so it's one of those things that, you know, the public's confidence in the fbi is already rattled because of the incessant, belligerent approaches taken by the administration and if it's shown internally that there are working to undermine it's processes, to get at the truth and to expose the truth, then that, again, is further undermining of the agency as a whole a. ton more to get to this morning. talk more about this. as we go to break, following a developing story out of london. counterterrorism officials now
investigating after a man rammed his car into several cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into barriers outside parliament. the man said to be in his late 20s was arrested at the scene suspected of terrorist offenses, officials say. we're told the victims injuries at this point appear to be non-life threatening. this just coming in. we'll stay on top of it for you. still ahead on "morning joe," the mueller team rests its case in paul manafort's fraud trial. whae what's next for the defense. and john kasich talks of a very unpopular president. first, bill karins has a look at the forecast. >> good morning, willie. i'd love to tell a different story. stape thi same thing over an over. people under a flash flood warning. fingerlakes, north central pennsylvania. 4 million people at risk. the red dots a river flood
warning from heavy rain in the past couple days. currently heaviest rain exit syracuse heading over the top of rochester through the finger lakes. dry on the i-95 corridor. hit and miss showers and thunderstorms this afternoon. not a washout day. not like yesterday. then take ourselves into the oh zachs, northern arkansas getting pounded with very heavy rain. you don't like to see that in the mountainous areas. concerning growing there and hit-and-miss showers around kansas city, same for oklahoma city and tulsa. dallas remains mostly dry. the forecast for today. anyone traveling to the west coast, southeast, not bad. atlanta finally a dry day for you. d.c. through the mid-atlantic through charlotte and raleigh, new orleans good, san antonio good. great weather today. chicago, detroit, indianapolis, enjoy it, tomorrow introduce rain chances back to you. washington, d.c., you deserve a
dry day. get out there, cut the grass. muggy, on and off rain. looks like some sunshine this morning. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. when did you see the sign? when i needed to jumpstart sales. build attendance for an event. help people find their way. fastsigns designed new directional signage. and got them back on track. get started at fastsigns.com.
the man is a pathological manipulator, liar. >> he's been lying all week, or for two weeks. lying for years. >> i don't see how he has any credibility. >> which lie do you want to pick? first lie, second lie or a new lie? lied all of his life. >> a few weeks ago rudy giuliani ripping president trump's former fixer less than a month ago. >> if that's his case willie, you can't ever trust the man. you can't use his words. >> no. >> it would be the worst character witness in the world for him. i mean, it's -- his words mean nothing. >> been lying for a long time, according to rudy giuliani. >> that's what he says. >> at the time president trump was railing against the
trustworthiness of his ex-lawyer and fixer michael coen. yesterday the president pointed to cohen as a validator in an effort to dispute and allegation by another former associate omarosa. retweeted michael cohen, wrote to the many dozens of journalists who called me questioning the new book that president trump took a note from me put it in his mouth and ate it, i saw no such thing and am shocked anyone would take this seriously, what is happening. just three weeks ago trump slammed cohen for releasing a tape of him sdegss an affair. what kind of lawyer would tape a client? so sad. joe, almost like there are situational ethics here. >> almost like that. again, look at the clown show that donald trump has brought to washington. isn't it interesting, willie, that the day before he got inaugurated he said he wanted every day to be like a reality
tv show where he vanquishes all comers end of the day. of course, he doesn't do that. he hasn't done that and finds himself, i guess, in the latest gallup poll add 39% approval rating, but my gosh, all the best people, not even close. >> it's extraordinary too, what he tweeted yesterday in a long series of tweets about omarosa, talking how terrible she was an vindictive, not particularly smart. went on weekend on but i kept her around because "she says great things about me." so that is the standard that you can be terrible at your job, complete incompetent, someone nobody else likes but if you say nice things about the press, happened yesterday, believe cohen said something that worked in his favor is suddenly using him as a reliable witness. extraordinary t. is. the man is forever a day trader. nothing strategic about him.
rudy giuliani one day will say that michael cohen is the greatest guy in the world. the next he'll say he's a pathological liar. if that's what suits him on that day. one day he'll say donald trump, basically, asked ed comey, take easy on h easy, the next day say he did not. >> you can see when they change stories, mayor giuliani saying one thing about defense of his client and something different on a different day. on the other hand, they've realized that people's attention span, they're short. every time i see colleagues do fact checking on the president he's told 1,000 lies this year. 100 last week. you have to ask, how do you even grapple with that as journalists, and as voters as a public? the constant stream of
misinformation, position changing, lying, dissembling, lying, it is a blizzard. in a certain sense it protects itself, joe, a real tragedy. there is so much coming out all the time like this it's almost impossible to make sense of or decide what is actually happening at any given moment. >> yep. no doubt about it. elise, it makes it harder to follow for investigators, for journalists. if he told one or two lies a week, then those would be cover stories, and it's much easier to follow that. when he tells just a flurry of lies, obvious lies, day in, day out, you don't know if can you do a front-page investigation of donald trump, don't have to. he'll do it in a twitter feed or
rudy giuliani do it and make it so obvious. wait. everybody understand this, right? but apparently, again, 90% of our, members of our former party don't care that this guy is a liar who contradicts himself on a daily basis. >> joe, i'm going to suggest a radical approach. we can just focus on the truth that was in that tweet, that willie pointed out, that he kept omarosa in the white house because she said good things about him. that really was a grain of truth, a rare drink of water in the desert, the oasis of lies that we can look at and that shows what matters to donald trump. it gives us a world view into how he is managing his administration and we all should be petrified that the criteria for being a high-ranking white house official is how good you are at kissing up to the commander in chief. >> yeah. of course, michael steele, great leaders hate "yes" men.
great leaders hate "yes" women. donald trump proved a long time ago he's not a great leader. this just underlines that fact. >> it does. because great leaders are by their nature definitional. it's something you see, it's something you want to follow. you don't have to ingratiate yourself to it. who comes to mind? john mccain. again, one of those sticking points for this president that because, i think at a certain level, joe, it's almost personal. particularly when you look how personal his attacks have been on someone like john mccain. so when he looks around and he sees these standards of leadership, they are antithetical to where he has been and where he is. he wants to redefine this space in his own image and in order to do that he needs people around him who will prop up that image, bow to that image to "quote
omarosa and give it life when on its own it withers on the vine. >> lot long ago president trump saw ace proval ratings in 42%, 44%. gallup as 42%, now dropped down into the 30s. look at the ballot test between republicans and democrats, boy, that's really gone against republicans as well. look at that 39% approval of donald trump. what does that mean for midterm elections? >> it's not good. it's not good by any stretch. and what it says at the core of it, joe, when you peel back the numbers and dig into who's doing the moving, it's independent voters, center right voters. republicans who are not in the trump orbit who have sided, i'm just not playing on this playground anymore and moving their vote if you will in a different direction.
willing to give democrat as chance to step into the space to offset what they see as a growing problem with this administration. >> regardless what donald trump says, regardless what his supporters say, regardless of what his sycophants on cable news say and online say, there is no doubt that he hit a high-water mark and then you had the child separation policy that's just been a humanitarian nightmare. whether you're a republican or a liberal or independent. and then you had the helsinki conference where donald trump attacked our nato allies and kowtowed to an ex kgb agent and all the chaos that's continued throughout here. it has had a definite impact on his approval ratings. coming up, jim vandehei is standing by with a look at the big headlines axios is covering
it's election day and voters in four states including wisconsin, vermont, minnesota and connecticut head to the polls to make picks ahead of november's elections. in wisconsin eight democrats face off to challenge the inc e incumbent governor scott walker seeking his third term. and minnesota's open governor spot between congressman tim waltz, aaron murphy and aaron swanson. and tim pawlenty tried to win back his job squaring off against commissioner jeff johnson. joining us, axios's jim vandehei. looking at the five most competitive house races in the midterm elections, turns out, all ones held by republicans. what are you looking at?
>> yes. almost every competitive race now is a republican race, but we talk to strategists on both sides to figure what are the five true toss-ups, the ones people should watch. all are held by republicans. districts like most of maine. maine's 2nd district, everything other than portland and augusta basically. a big chunk of trump country there. a district that hasn't flipped from an incumbent in 100 years and republicans are very worried about that. texas' 23rd district, a southwest slice of texas. again, a pure toss-up, again, a place with a growing hispanic population. republicans worried there. the reason for viewers, to understand why republicans are so worried is, look at the special election results, which you talked a lot about. they look at other off-year elections. in every one of those races more democrats are voting than ever before. a trend that continues through each and every race and seems to
be building. you get that momentum you get a wave. a massive loss on election day. that's why republican house leaders, when you talk to them in private, they see few scenarios where they escape with a majority. it's plausible, but with each passing day seems more unlikely. >> jim, nick confessore here. a huge amount of passion for president trump with his base. we hear all the time about trump's base, how much they love him. why is that not enough in this election? what's the counteravailing pressure that will shape a mid-term with the usual low turnout we see? >> trump is the pressure from trump. basically, yes, a lot of republicans love him and will turn out. a lot of democrats who hate him and will turn out. you often need a negative emotion. often need anger to actually get people off their butts to vote on election day. democrats historically are not great voters in off-year elections but dislike trump so much they're turning out.
the other problem, rile trump turns on most of the republican party there is a small slice of traditional republicans, the ones joe's talking about a lot on the show that don't like trump and will not vote for him, and if they go with a democrat especially in these suburban districts, that's where you could have a wipeout. not just a loss of 23 or 24 seats but if they start to move, you can see 30, 40 seats being in play and going into the democrats' hands. step back and look at that map of 435 races, there's about 60 to 70 that are authentically in play. almost all of those are republican seats. they don't have enough money, don't have good enough candidates. they probably don't have enough time to turn a lot of those. that's why democrats feel increasingly good about their chances. >> jim, not so long ago tim rust famously talked about florida, florida, florida. we always looked at florida as the swing state. the decider. it's really something over the past couple of years.
the political geographic center has shifted up to your home state in wisconsin. look at wisconsin, and pennsylvania. ohio. michigan. those are the states that elected donald trump, but wisconsin in particular seems to be searching for its political identity. will it continue to be a left of center state? or is it moving hard right? what are we going to see today in those primaries in your home state? >> i mean, scott walker is on the ballot, radioactive since he fwh won in 2010. a bunch of democrats vying to take him on a poll showing he is beatable in a gubernatorial race. in all likelihood, end up with a guy, a superintendent a long time on the education side. if you remember, walker went after teachers. went after their pensions, the amount of money wisconsin is putting into schools. again, this is sort of -- a little microcosm of trump's dynam
dynamic. a state like wisconsin run by republicans. republicans should be killing it. unemployment below 4%. it's a good time to live in wisconsin. the politics have become so radioactive and democrats are more motivated after basically sitting it out because they weren't that motivated by hillary clinton. if they have a big day i think you're right. it is a microcosm and you'll see the same thing potentially in pennsylvania, potentially in minnesota. the only question now is, does this momentum continue? if it continues it's impossible to see republicans keeping control. not that much will change between now and election day. >> look at -- >> michael steele -- >> i look at two other periods in time. 2006, which was a shock to the political system in many respects. i remember it well. i was on the ballot. it was not fun and pretty. 2010, where there was this sort of course correction, another shock to the political system. what does your analysis show
potentially as a shock to the system this november, if the trend lines continue the way they are, how big a shock are you expecting? and what do you think the aftermath of that will be for both political parties going into a presidential year? >> i mean, the aftermath would be that you're going to have obviously democrats feeling like they finally figured out a formula for winning and will use that power, because from a lot of liberals who turned out, hadn't voted in the past, probably turn it into a push for medicare for all. a big push, even if silent now for impeachment. two years of gridlock, probably you're going to have anyways but if democrats are in control they're going to take that subpoena power and it's not just about impeachment. it's about all of these other things that have happened in agencies they don't have the authority to investigation now or the tools to go after republicans on that they will go after them on. either way, a mess after the election. probably a bigger mess and even more radioactive politics if democrats take control, and then
you'll have republicans continuing to have this identity crisis where 80% of party likes trump and likes the direction he's pulled the party in, but there is a john kasich part of the party. a sc scarborough part of the party. point to suburban districts say, look, things we should be winning, have a great economy, tax cuts kicked in yet we're losing them because of trumpism, it will light that debate on fire. >> no doubt about it. jim vandehei, thank you so much. >> take care. thank you. >> and, boy, you know what, willie? is was really interesting. you had donald trump attacking john kasich as a very unpopular governor of ohio. where, of course, we're going to shows though numbers. i'll let you guess who's far more popular in the state of ohio. john kasich or donald trump. >> an easy one. i think the president might also be holding on to the fact john
kasich beat president trump in the primary in ohio by double digits. >> and still ahead in the state of ohio and donald trump saying he's deeply unpopular. we thank jim havandehei. up next on "morning joe" new reports of blind lines we are seeing between private business and the presidency. how white house staffers are getting special perks at trump's golf club. that's still ahead on "morning joe." and we'll be asking heidi all about it. ♪
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there's new reporting from politico this morning that claims trump administration staffers are being offered under the radar perks at the president's golf club in bedminster, new jersey. white house staffers who have a secret service hard pin identifying them as administration officials can flash it at the pro shop and get
the same discount available to club members who pay $350,000 to join that club. those discounts range from 15% off merchandise in the store to 70% off clearance items. according to two staffers and a receipt reviewed by politico, now discounts are not prohibited by the office of government ethics if they are available to all government employees or a standardized discounts but if not the discount is considered a gift. according to government ethics rules an employee can't use his position or any authority associated with public office to solicit or coerce the offering of a gift. heidi, it seems on spectrum of graft this doesn't rank very high. 15% off golf balls at bedminster but indicative of a culture around the president. >> it may seem like a small thing, but it is certainly
symptomatic that we're seeing across the board not just amongst the officials, his cabinet members. an unprecedented number of investigations and felled cabinet officials like scott pruitt. the golden rule of public service is that you're not supposed to profit from it financially. this is a small thing, but we're seeing much bigger symptomatic skiens of this the president is running this government like a private club or business and he doesn't have the will to learn. okay. he's the first president, let's remind everybody in history, who had no public service. no military record. but people gave him a chance because he said he would hire the best people. and that he could learn. well it doesn't seem to be much of an attempt here to learn even the basic rules of government ethics and this is simply another symptom of that.
>> it's so funny listening to and talking about drain the swamp. you look at his cabinet members. you look at what his family has done. you look at what they've all done. this is the swampiest swamp in the history of the swamp. i've never seen anything like it before. but i do have to say, these are ethical violations if staff members get discounts, but i will say considering they will never be able to work in washington again after they are made radioactive by donald trump a 15% discount on clearance items. >> i found a teeny bit upsetting because that's a big discount off those golf shirts from last season. >> on clearance. i don't know if getting 70% off hey the 2017 trump putt-putt championship, i don't know if that's really worth a trade off
in never being able to work for a respectable member of congress or respectable member of the administration again. >> it sounds like this is a pretty easy fix, though, in terms of trump ethical violations because if the discount is extended to everyone in the u.s. government then it seems to be par for the course, you could say. so now maybe there's going to be a rush if they have to competent to it all government employees, so the golf clubs at these various trump resorts, that 70% discount is really going to get overused. >> i think you guys are being hard. the president spends a lot of time at these golf courses, maybe a quarter of his time. he plays a lot of golf while there. this is simply a way to make sure the staff can be with him as he works on the links as we're told by the white house he does. >> of course. does anybody remember donald trump criticizing barack obama for golfing and saying when i'm
president i won't have time for golf. what are the numbers now? does anybody know the numbers off the top of their head? it's almost like half of his days in the white house he's actually spent on the golf course. or at his clubs. it's crazy. >> certainly a lot. >> it is a lot. still ahead, prosecutors, they rest their case against paul manafort. now lawyers for donald trump's information campaign manager will mount their defense. the former u.s. district judge for the southern district of new york will join us straight ahead to weigh in on that and tell us what to expect and what has already been a crazy trial. "morning joe" will be right back. ♪ ♪
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or neurologic disorders. the most common side effects are vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. say goodbye to ticks and fleas... with monthly simparica chewables. the way trump looks at it he's at least better than everybody else in the race beginning with john mccain. >> he was captured. does being captured make you a hero? i'm not sure. >> he's a war hero because he was captured. i like people that weren't captured, i hate to tell you. i would have gotten rid of everything but as you know one of our wonderful senators said thumbs down at 2:00 in the morning. >> you know donald trump for some time has been, obviously, john mccain has made him feel inadequate in every way. inadequate because, you know, he did everything but dodge the draft, five deferments.
but, willie, when you talk about john mccain's service to america, a man who truly puts country first, you have a guy that went in combat, he didn't have to. his father was one of the most powerful people in the united states naevvy, but he decided t fly combat missions. he got shot down as well as a lot of great men at that time. we said it before. he was a prisoner of war under the worst of circumstances, but he refused to go home until all of his men went home. he served ronald reagan. he was a united states congressman who was on the forefront of fighting for the reagan revolution of the 1980s. he became a u.s. senator. fought for a strong military. balanced budgets. responsible spending. willie, in short, he's everything that donald trump is not. >> and the context for this
conversation is president trump's appearance yesterday at fort drum in new york what he o touted the u.s. defense act. john mccain's name is attached to that act. inspired by the man who is dying of cancer right now. the president couldn't celebrate john mccain or offer any praise for john mccain he wouldn't mention his name. as we've talked many times that day we just showed july 18th, 2015, about three years ago was a pivotal day. a lot of people said he's dead in the water. you can't go after a war hero. he's finished. his numbers went up from there and the rest is history. >> what's so fascinating is here you have a guy that donald trump can show no respect for, who gave his all for his country, went into a war zone, got shot
down, was a prisoner of war, could have gotten out. yet you have donald trump even as president of the united states, with all the security that that brings along with it, willie, a man who is afraid to go visit our troops in war zones. a man who is so fearful, who some have said is so cowardly that -- oh, he'll go to fort drum but he's never been to afghanistan. he's never been to iraq. he's never been in war zone where our troops are. he just won't do it. >> such a good question. it's a question i've asked the white house over the last year and a half. i know you have. a lot of reporters have. why hasn't he been to a war zone. i never received a good answer. of course he'll go there, he loves his troops. he's never -- he hasn't had one of those surprise visits we've
become accustomed to on thanksgiving or christmas that presidents typically do. >> maybe he will. let's hope he will. let's hope he can muster up the courage to actually go over and visit our men and women in uniform. >> welcome back to "morning joe" on a tuesday morning. it's tuesday, august 14th, 2018. we have msnbc political analyst and former aide to the george h. w. bush white house and state department alice jordan. political writer for the "new york times" and msnbc political analyst. nbc news national political reporter heidi, msnbc political analyst and former chairman of the republican national committee michael steele and joining the conversation professor at tulane university, walter isaacson. joe, you've been looking at some new poll numbers coming out of gallup. >> gallup poll has -- it's been a tough poll for donald trump,
but he actually over the past month or so he started moving into the low 40s, got up to 41, 42, 43%. in fact, he started doing a lot better in a lot of polls that had him in the 30s in the past. but, walter, we saw quinnipiac a few weeks ago back down in the 30s and now gallup that's been with us for a long time, now gallup has been back down in the 30s after the disastrous child separation policy, the fact that they botched that. they've actually turned it over to the aclu because they are so incompetent, they can't find parents of these children that they intentionally ripped from their arms and separated. and then, of course, i think that helsinki summit where donald trump looked so weak and as the europeans said he looked like putin's poodle. i think that lasting image is just sticking even in the mind
of loyal republicans and independents. gosh, if we voted for the guy we hate to see our president look so weak and feckless and like a lap dog for a ruthless ex-kgb agent who is now running russia. >> it's pretty hard to get down in the 30s when the economy is doing so well. and i think what's really going to change things is if there's any change in the economy. that's the great correlation. gas prices have again up a little bit. that's a great correlation for a president's popularity when they go up the president's popularity goes down. at the moment you're seeing breaks not in the economy which overall pretty good but the tariffs are starting to cream small business owners, farmers, shippers, everything else. the uncertainty that he does by all the tariff and trade
agreements. so i think we got to look at the economy and if the economy starts to falter, if we start to see inflation because of the surge of stimulus spending, we see interest rates go up even higher, when you're at 39% and start dropping that's really bad. >> now, willie, what do you think about that? walter brings up a great point. unemployment is under 4%. economy is doing pretty well. in a lot of ways. wages aren't exploding, but they are not going down. all in all, really good economic days. walter is right. it's hard to be in the 30s in any poll when the economy is doing this well. what do you think dragged trump down? >> i think, you know, if you look at that ohio 12 district that he won by 11 points and looks like we'll get the final provisional ballots in the republican may hang on.
it's those suburban women that kept moore out of office in alabama. suburban women in columbus who took a flyer perhaps on donald trump the first time around and western ready to go along with him this time. that's one snapshot. that's part of what's going on. your point about helsinki is a good one talking to republicans who say that was a basic moment of sticking up for your country. you stood on the stage next to the bad guy and you were asked to stick up for your country and you failed at that. i think that moment has stayed with a lot of people in this country. >> i think so. michael steele, for some reason i keep going back when people talk about donald trump's strength in the parties and his weakness, i keep going back to the iowa caucuses and the des moines suburbs and how well marco rubio did in the des moines suburbs and marco won.
donald trump really does have blind spots in those suburbs unless he's running against hillary clinton. but here's the problem for donald trump and the republican party. he will never run against hillary clinton again. so, you can see very early on in marco's results in the suburbs that that was going to be a blind spot for donald trump. right now there's not enough suburban voters in the republican primary to make the difference for candidates like marco rubio. >> i think that's exactly right, joe. that's where the hemorrhaging has begun for quite some time now, as a matter of fact. you've seen this slow ebb away from the republican party in those suburban areas. the concentration of voters now in the cities that were once considered small cities are now growing into medium size cities is another problem. then went you project this forward given everything else that we know, i think the corner
stone of the vote going into any election cycle will be the white female vote. so without a hillary clinton to beat up and to push around and to remind voters you don't like her, it now becomes more about the president. the guy who wants everything to be about him. guess what? yeah, this is now all about you, and the response that the voters are beginning to show is we're not as interested as we once were and that's a problem for the republicans in november, and it will be a problem going into 2020. the saving grace, joe, as you've talked about for some weeks now democrats have come to the table with what? what's the message here to give those suburban voters something to latch on to as they move away from republicans. >> walter, you have to take michael's point that look it's not about trump.
trump is all consuming. he's taken over every news cycle. if you talked to a political scientist what they might tell you if you take an incumbent president in a good economy that person is an odds on favorite to within an election. i'm spencle of the spentism. if i had to place some bets i would give him some-odds. what's your opinion? >> if the economy keeps roaring ahead any president is difficult to beat. the message you give this is an administration of pure corruption. they said they would go there and fight for you and instead they are like pigs at the trough. secondly an administration of cruelty. we're not in an america that rips families apart. third an administration that lacks character, whether it's omarosa or donald trump, it's like a reality tv show that people don't tell the truth.
i think that's the type of message that could work if it was a democrat connected with the economic concerns of ordinary concerns. >> i just don't know, walter, if we can actually look at the age old economic indicators and make the same assumptions that we made in past elections. reagan famously asked are you better off now than you were four years ago. you look at post-tax cuts we already see in the economic data that inflation is eating out the wage increases, however minimal they are. they are being actually subtracted from -- you got the farmers who have a lot of angst about these tariffs. health care prices are set to go through the roof this summer and into 2019. i just don't see that in the data many average americans are feeling a huge boom from these tax cuts when we see that the majority went to stock buy backs by big corporations and i will tell you that later this week there's a survey coming out
showing ceo pay exploded in trump's first year in office. >> you make a very good point on health care too. i think that the trump administration now owns health care is going to be falling apart and when people can't get health care coverage they are going to blame the trump administration. >> i think to your point about the economy it's interesting to watch wisconsin today just because you look at how in the primaries it's been contentious over where these republican senate candidates who are vying for the nomination where they stand pro tariff, anti-tariff, are they supporting donald trump. democrats are forced to split the script a little bit and be a little bit more pro trade than they other weiss normally would have been. you have donald trump attacking harley-davidson on the eve of a primary, and i certainly think that the trickle effect from people being impacted, be it a
farmer or manufacturer by november at least that's going to be baked in a little bit. >> so michael steele, if you're running the dnc right now and trying to come up with an attack against a republican party or a campaign against republican candidates in 2018, walter talked about corruption, cruelty, lack of character, heidi talked about those tax cuts for the rich, also health care. boy, there's a lot for democratic candidates to choose from. what do you think is the single, one or two most potent issues against trump republicans? >> i think right now, you know, when you stop and think about it, it's probably going be the combination of the tariffs, the impact on the middle of the country, which is really donald trump's kind of core base of support. and the irony of health care.
because what's going to happen at the end of september, beginning of october, talking about eating inflation, eating away at that tax cut that you got or eating away at the pay raise you got will be the health care premiums you'll start to pay. when the announcement comes out the 30%, 40%, 50% increase in health care premiums because of the roll back on mandates which the president is applauding and hard core trump supporters are saluting but the fact of the matter is the insurance provider will say here's the bill. that's the ultimate check in. if democrats can make that narrative stick at the same time people are getting those notices, that is going to drive a lot of folks to the polls to express their displeasure because their paychecks will get smaller when they have to give 30% more to the health insurance companies. >> where do small government conservatives like you and me go
in november? think about it. think about it. the largest spending bill in the history of the government by trump republicans. the highest national debt in the history of this country by trump republicans. massive deficits, high tariffs, high tariff taxes. absolutely the worst fiscal responsibility we've ever seen. where do small government conservatives go this fall? >> well, you stay at home or you decide to vote for a democrat. i think that is what it comes down to. you look at small government conservatives who held their noses and voted for donald trump, despite what they knew about his ability to spend and debt. they might have voted in protest to hillary clinton in voting against hillary clinton and she's not going to be on the ballot in 2018. it's up to donald trump at this point. and i look at women.
and the republican party. and steve bannon was quoted a couple of days ago saying republicans shouldn't bother with women any more. that's a great electoral strategy discount half the population. so that's the attitude of the republican party. maybe they can cling to a few wins here and, there but in the long term it's just not viable said someone from that segment of the population. >> michael steele, all he can do is chuckle. >> most lame brain thing we can do. let's ignore 50% plus of the population. let's ignore it. >> heidi, there's a primary today. the president tweeted encouraging the boycott of harley-davidson in wisconsin. might have encouraged a boycott of cheddar cheese in that state.
harley says these tariffs will cost them $100 million a year and may have to move production overseas because of the president's tariffs. donald trump attacks that institution inside the state putting scott walker in a bind of not criticizing trump but, obviously, wanting harley to stay put in his state. >> zoo he may be able to bring some bike toers brs to bedminst pose for that shot. that explains why we're seeing what we're seeing in this competitive map in 2018 which is that it's not just these suburban swing districts that everybody expected to be the competitive battlegrounds, it's actually some of the districts where trump swept, these working class districts, or at least districts that have a large working class contingent like ohio's 12th where trump led by or won by 11 points and now it's still too close to call. and that's because people are seeing, the farmers are seeing it, the harley-davidson
employees are seeing it. and at the end of the day if the president is not producing those jobs that's going to come back to hurt him because that was his number one promise to these people was that he was going to bring jobs back to the forgotten man. >> you know, you made a really good point about harley-davidson and every wisconsin politician having then to answer. these are all local races that are happening now in the mid-terms and every republican on the ballot, every week or so has to say do you agree with donald trump attacking harley-davidson? all these wisconsin politicians. you watch dances that would have dazzled you in finally saying no i don't agree with the president. >> scott walker is spending this money to bring a chinese company to wisconsin. he has to explain why the president is driving harley-davidson out of wisconsin. >> his explanation on the trail
of course i want harley-davidson to stay put and i believe we'll get there because the president wants to get to a place of no tariffs. >> you've also seen scott walker having to defend foxconn and huge incentives at wisconsin is throwing at foxconn and donald trump is supportive of that. harley-davidson an iconic american company he's berating them over twitter constantly. and the timing. really? wasn't it sunday, i think. really? he had to do that before the tuesday primaries and force republicans to take a stand and. >> we're following the latest on the secret recording from inside the white house. "morning joe" is coming right back. so you have, your headphones,
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>> in the midst of the omarosa drama came the acknowledgment from the president his west wing requires none disclosure agreements. he tweeted omarosa has a fully dined none disclosure agreement. she claims otherwise. >> what is this about the trump people saying they've nondisclosure signed by you. >> not by me. they presented to it me, brought it to my office. >> what would you get out of that. >> the moment they said couldn't sthoit my attorneys -- >> what would you get out of signing something like that >> donald trump was tired of the leaks and he thought if he had these agreements he could fear -- put fear --
>> you here by promise and agree not to demean or disparage publicly. most analysts agree such agreements are not enforceable. jake, are there nda? >> most think these are not enforceable. the most stunning thing, the "the washington post" on its front page reported this morning that if you signed it you couldn't go fork for another federal candidate. so, these are very broad, very all encompassing. i think the important thing to remember about omarosa and this incident is she's really beating trump at her own game. she can't be bought off. john kelly told her to go quietly. she's not going quietly. it's very obvious to anybody watching that this is kind of the second time trump has been confronted with a very media
savvy person, the first being stormy daniels but omarosa is clearly media savvy and doesn't have anything to lose and can't be controlled. really it's a stunning thing to watch trump get thrown back on his heels who he brought up, gave a job in the white house and now she's owning him. >> just a question. so the language in that nda is nondisparagement language. it seems like they are asking people to sign agreements to not criticize the president. and i'm course what that tells bus the president's state of mind, his departing staffers, what he's most worried about. >> one person you asked about, i was having a conversation with somebody about trump's psyche or a book i'm working on and he more than anything likes to make sure that he's not getting in these verbal jousting matches with people he once saw loyal to
him. he thinks -- he's happy to go up toe to toe with opponents, people of the other party. but elves like if you are part of his fold then you should not be disparaging him or criticizing him in anyway. interesting peek inside somebody's psyche. somebody who is strong. dlt likes to be seen as a strong a-type figure and behind-the-scenes trying to control everybody. it's a quite interesting moment of putting trump on the couch. >> certainly news worthy that omarosa is a product of trump, and that she was someone who would take a tape recorder inside the white house and inside the situation room no matter. it's a product of the culture that he's created in the white house of infighting and paranoia and leaks. how much attention should we give omarosa given her own credibility issues unless sometimes soon she comes forward
with an actual tape that gives us some actual news? >> i think a few things to unpack here. number one, it's news worthy in and of itself that this white house' mechanism allowed a soon-to-be departing, soon-to-be fired staffer into the situation room with the chief of staff with a cell phone. people who have been in the situation room in the white house have told me that's obviously one of the most sacred places in the building a place where secrets of war, intelligence, spying are discussed. so that in and of itself is news worthy. the fact that the member of trump's staff taping him is news worthy and the contents of the taping is news worthy thing to examine. it's news worthy to know that john kelly was telling somebody he was about to fire that they should go quietly or else their reputation would be damaged. i think there's actually nothing that's not news worthy about all of this. this is an incredibly important
peek inside the white house. >> but also a question of s saturation. she's trying to sell a book. it's been over 24 hours. how much should we give going forward given her credibility issues unless she has something explosive on these tapes which so far she hasn't. >> define explosive. that conversation with john kelly to me is extremely news worthy and extremely news worthy look at somebody who is very close to the president, how he operates and how he wields his power. i don't think she needs to be on every cable television show to sell books without news. i think that's true. listen, the media climate exists for people to help sell books. this is not an unusual thing. she -- yes she does have credibility issues. people have questioned things that she said and things that
she's doernne, but if she has t cache of tapes, she has released several tapes of detailed conversation. i don't think we should dismiss her or dismiss this as someone selling a book. this is a former senior white house staffer who is claiming and with evidence that she taped the president and his staff in the white house. >> so walter, the president on a list of tweets as he watched omarosa's media tour said john kelly told him she was a loser nothing but problems but asked to be kept on because she said great things about me. >> reality tv star, you preside like you're a tv personality. >> are you having a moment like a lot of americans are, i can't believe we're talking about 0 ma rosaks the former tv villain from "the apprentice" being in
the situation room and trying to take down a president. >> when you say omarosa former villain on a tv room being in the situation room you worry about how did we get to this place where we turn the administration of the united states into a reality tv show. but i'm going to push back for a second. on this notion of being shocked and appalled, ndas. this is far too broad, i can see why this is bad. but i've always felt there was something improper about aides working in the white house secretly taking notes, writing tell all books as soon as they left which made it hard to have honest conversations in the white house. and i think it makes some sense to assume and perhaps ask that anybody who goes to work for a candidate or goes to work in the white house has to say, look, i'm not going to do a tell all
book what everybody said at every meet because that hurts to govern properly. >> that's the way the system has been constructed the president is to engender loyalty from those who work for him. that's what the system is based on. people working for president obama, president bush, you would have outliars here and there but nothing like the landslide of leaks coming from this white house and it's because they don't respect or think the man at the top is looking out for necessarily the country' best interest or their own best interest. >> walter, i think it's a reasonable debate we could have because on the one hand, yes, these people can immediately cash in on their experiences in the white house in a way that maybe isn't in the best service of the country, but at the same tame they are witnesses to history. and if ever there is a time for the need for whistle blowing in
an administration it is now. but i do think that we could have a reasonable debate about what those limits should be, if there should be time constraints because it has become such a part of the culture as well and then you have people like omarosa who don't have a lot of credibility leveling charges, you know, that we have no way of really knowing whether they are true or not. >> there's whistle blowing and there's recording the president of the united states in the situation room. >> that's right. i can tell you on capitol hill where i'm quite familiar, aides are not famous and i can't tell you how many senior aides and even middle level aides take detailed notes of meetings between members of congress not only -- like you could debate the incentive structure, you could debate why people do it. but it happens all the time, detailed notes of conversations, nearly transcript, offers being tossed back and forth between two parties on one side of the aisle or between the two
parties. so this -- yes, i think that bringing a device into a secured location to tape the chief of staff, the ethics are obviously you can have a debate about that. this is not unique and not only aides who want to go sell books and cash out, it's to give to reporters who might write books and cash out or to write stories. this is not a unique phenomenon of people behind-the-scenes recording in some way what's going on in government. >> interesting conversation. >> sometimes people took notes to do their jobs well too. >> that's true. >> if you're a speech writer or to caraccurately translate poli for the american people. >> we thank everybody for doing that. >> in history it's grown from the days of franklin roast where colonel stenson kept diaries to starting with the carter administration where suddenly people were doing tell all
memoirs during the administration. i do think it's getting a bit out of hand. you do want to say you got to be discreet. >> jake sherman thank you. coming up next the war against privacy. we go inside silicon valley's fight to keep hold of our personal data. that's ahead on "morning joe". (vo) this is not a video game. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now. and today can save your life. ♪ ♪
a new piece in the new issue of the "new york times" magazine and it's in this morning and called "the war against privacy." in it you describe silicone valley's fight to maintain its largely unregulated access to our personal data while profiling one man in his efforts to bring about a reckoning for big tech. in the article you write this. to silicon valley personal information had become a kind of limitless natural deposit formed in the digital ether by ordinary people as they browse, used apps and message friends opinion like the oil barons before them they
had collected and refined that resource to build some of the most valuable companies in the world like facebook and google. an emerging duopoly that today controls more than half of the world market. but the entire business model rests on access to your personal data. the tech industry didn't want to give up its powers of surveillance, it wanted to entrench them. and silicon valley almost always got what they wanted. nick, i noticed some of those sentences and descriptions are written in past tense. how much has changed over the past year? do they still have untrammelled access to our personal information or are they finally being policed? >> they still have it right now but change is in the air. this is a story about the political machine that is i lie
convalley and big tech built to defend their business model over 20 years. similar to the political machines built by other big industries in the past like oil bar bar barons. it succeeded in beating off almost every serious effort to regulate big tech and strict access to data until recently in california where an unlikely activist actually used a technique originally devised to beat the trusts and the oil barons and put a referendum on the california ballot to have more privacy rules. what changed here, joe, was really the cambridge analytical scandal. all of a sudden you traded your privacy for free stuff. they saw the cost of their privacy was the donald trump presidency and changed the politics around this issue, the
referendum was forced to issue a compromise in the california state legislature and california has the strongest privacy bill in the country. probably a model for washington and states around the country. >> it's funny they didn't mind so much when barack obama used facebook and google to get elected but donald trump, okay, that's a bridge too far. so, i was talking to chief marketing officer of a large company, and i said why is this so important? how do you use this information? and he said it's incredible. if we team up what we get off of facebook with let's say what cambridge analytical can give us and we merge that information together we can always find our consumers, far cheaper, far easier and incredibly effective. it is personal marketing like nothing we've ever seen before. is that where the real value of this comes? >> the worry here it's not just
the value, joe. it gives companies a lot more power over consumers. they can figure out how much money you're willing to pay down to the cent. charge you a higher price because they can make a guess about your willingness to pay. they can guess you're about to get divorced or buy a car or buy a house or have an affair. the ability of does predict what you're going to do and what you want is the real place we're at now and where it gets really scary. it's about power ultimately, joe. >> what's the likelihood this spread to other states, that what starts in california goes across the country? >> i think it's pretty likely probably because this law is going to inspire other people in states around the country to say well if california has this how come we can have it in new york or connecticut and more importantly i think it shows the industry's argument for years which it's not possible to do this, it's too hard, too burdensome is not an excuse any
more and they will move towards a national regulation to avoid having to put out these brush fires around the country. >> and the world. >> yeah. all right. thank you. and make sure you read nick's article, fascinating new article in the "new york times" magazine. coming up next, a new phase of paul manafort's trial set to begin in a few hours. the prosecution has rested its case. so what's his defense? we're going to talk to a former assistant u.s. attorney straight ahead on "morning joe". we'll be right back. ♪
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yesterday. with us now from outside the courthouse in alexandria, virginia, msnbc legal analyst daniel goldman. a former assistant united states attorney in the criminal division of the u.s. attorney's office for the southern district of new york. daniel, thanks so much for being with us. we had some fireworks with the judge going after the prosecutors while they were trying their case. do we expect the fireworks to continue now? >> reporter: well, yesterday was a tamer day as the prosecution was wrapping up its case. and i don't expect the defense to have a significant case, joe. they will announce this morning arobertson 9:30 a.m. when court begins whether they have any witnesses at all and who they will be. the big question is always whether the defendant himself will testify. no one expects paul manafort to testify here given the litany of misdeeds and misconduct he's engaged in which some has come out in this trial and a lot has
not. the question becomes will they have any case at all. you need to remember a little bit from the defense perspective, they tried to make their case through the cross-examination of government witnesses and the reason i don't think there will be a significant case is that that p particularly on the cross-examination of rick gates, the government's main cooperating witness. so if they have any case, it will likely be a short one, and we may actually go into closing arguments this afternoon. >> this is walter, daniel. i wanted to ask you. do you think that they're going to have to try to counter this sort of corrupt ostrich-coat-spending grossness or will they stick directly to the law in the case here? >> well, i think they will do that in closing arguments, walter, that they will argue that as the judge has been saying the entire trial, which is helpful to the defense, that it is not a crime to be rich. and they will try to deal with it in that way, but you raise an
interesting point that came out yesterday, which is that there was a lot of testimony over the last two days really about this bank loan, three loans of $16 million that paul manafort got from a small bank in chicago, and what ultimately came out is that the bank officials and even all the way up to the president wanted to reject the loan application, but the ceo and chairman of the bank, steven caulk, came in over their heads to approve it. what came out is that what he really was after, and there are e-mails to this effect, is he wanted a position in the trump administration. but, interestingly, and i know you guys were talking about the swampiness of the trump administration earlier today, the defense may try to use the fact that manafort was engaging in this dirty conduct as part of their defense to say he may have done something wrong, but he did not commit the crimes that are charged here. >> that's a weird defense.
>> heidi. we reported at the beginning of the trial that the ultimate goal of mueller's was to try to use manafort to squeeze him to get more information about the broader russia investigation. as we wind to a close here, did you see anything in the course of this trial that draws any connection to the broader russia investigation? >> there were little bits and pieces that came out at this trial that may impact the broader investigation. for example, there was part of a side bar conference with the judge that was sealed because it related to an ongoing investigation unconnected to this case. there was some testimony that paul manafort asked rick gates to update a russian oligarch about the course of the investigation, which then obviously leads someone to believe was he updating the rush an oligarchs about the course of the campaign, but there really was not very much about the russia investigation in this
trial, and the judge has been very adamant about restricting that. >> daniel, this is michael steele here. a quick question about the judge. is the prosecution concerned at all that the way the judge has behaved towards them and the things that he has emphasized, almost sort of, you know, carrying the water of the defense, if you will, are they concerned about that weighing with this jury if it goes to the jury today or at some point? it will, but how are they factoring in that impact in their closing argument and as well as what they think the outcome could be? >> i'm sure they're annoyed about it, and it does have the possibility of impacting the jury. mostly, when the judge interjects during the questioning and helps the defense in their cross-examination, if the judge is restricting evidence that's one thing, but when he's involved in the questioning and raising questions about the credibility of witnesses, that
is inappropriate and that would really annoy the prosecution. but, generally speaking, as a prosecutor you just put your head down and you got to try the case and to the best you can. from the prosecution standpoint, this case does not rise and fall with rick gates and they will be really emphasizing the fact that rick gates was corroborated by a number of other witnesses and a lot of documentary evidence. so they just put their head forward and try to do their job. >> all right, daniel goldman. thank you so much for being with us. we appreciate it. walt walter isaacon, th son, this lo like a case that's a slam dunk given all of the evidence and the documents against manafort, but at the same time we've both seen it. you never know what's going to happen in a trial until the jury comes back in. >> yeah, and i think if the jury comes back in and doesn't convict manafort, this will actually be pretty seismic. you know, we're all talking
about the way mueller's investigation is going to get from here to there and here to there, and he's got so much. i think we have to brace for the fact that if this is an acquittal, it could really allow trump and his mignonions to undermine mueller pretty badly. >> no doubt about it. this is an incredibly important trial for the mueller team. we will see what happens. walter isaacson, thank you for being with us as always. we appreciate it. coming up, president trump holds a signing ceremony for a bill that was supposed to honor senator john mccain, but the president refused to mention the name john mccain. what's wrong with him? plus, the president uses a firing of peter strzok to call for an end to the russia probe, which has already put a lot of his people behind bars and got 'em pleaing with prosecutors.
also, a relaunch of the clinton e-mail investigation is what donald trump wants as well. basically, he wants everything that will distract from what he did during 2016's campaign. we'll talk about that and much more when "morning joe" returns. ♪ be right back. with moderate to severe crohn's disease, i was there, just not always where i needed to be. is she alright? i hope so. so i talked to my doctor about humira. i learned humira is for people who still have symptoms of crohn's disease after trying other medications. and the majority of people on humira saw significant symptom relief and many achieved remission in as little as 4 weeks. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure.
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our code said we could only go home in the order of our capture, and there were men who had been shot down long before me. i thought about it though. i wasn't in great shape and i missed everything about america, but i turned it down. i fell in love with my country when i was a prisoner in someone else's. i loved it not just for the many comforts of life here, i loved it for its decency, for its faith and the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. i loved it because it was not just a place but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. i was never the same again. i wasn't my own man anymore. i was my country's. >> that was senator john mccain
back in 2008 when he was accepting the republican nomination for president. yesterday president trump signed into law a military funding bill that was named in honor of john mccain, but it was too much for the president. he couldn't mention the senator a single time. in fact, hours later donald trump mocked the ailing senator for his vote on health care. and, you know, willie, it may have only been a couple of elections ago, but the republican party -- i mean it might as well have been a century ago when you look at that sort of man who not only talked about putting country first but did put his entire life on the line for his country, and i mean duty, honor, country, deciding to stay in
hanoi, being imprisoned, when he was beaten so bad he couldn't even lift his arms over his shoulders. and you have donald trump, of course as we all know, someone who got five deferments, four of them for bone spurs and -- or for bone spurs and, you know, graduated from college the day that 40 americans were killed in vietnam. there's just -- it is unspeakable. but yesterday he -- the guy -- the guy couldn't even mention john mccain's name, and the only thing i can figure out is that mccain's name is just a reminder of what he is not every day of his life. >> well, we shouldn't be surprised in the way that donald trump talks or doesn't talk about john mccain, but it doesn't make it any less
disappointing to see the president of the united states going out of his way, bending over backwards not to mention the name of a bill that carries john mccain's name for a very specific reason. you would like to think, even if you have disagreements with john mccain or you resent the fact that he didn't vote to repeal the affordable care act that you would have the class for an american icon, an american hero, in his dying days, quite frankly, to at least pay tribute in this moment, but the president couldn't do that either. good morning. it is tuesday, august 14th. with us, we have contributor to time magazine, msnbc political analyst and former aide to the george w. bush white house, elise jordan. political writer for "the new york times" and political analyst, nicholas caposori, and heidi press heidi and michael steele. should we get into it here? >> i would like to talk to
michael quickly as former chairman of the republican party. michael, it is mind blowing to see john mccain in 2008 -- >> it is. >> -- and hear all of those people cheering john mccain in 2008, and eight years later you have a president who actually attacks him, uses him as a punch line, and a republican party that blindly goes along with such a man who lacks character, to such a degree that he mocks an american hero. >> yeah, that for me, joe, is probably the most disappointing part of all of this. we figured out that -- it didn't take a rocket scientist to do it for us, that john mccain is someone that donald trump does not value. he does not value his service. he does not value his leadership in the senate. he doesn't value the things that john mccain -- whether you disagreed with him or agreed with him over policy --
represents about what we expect of our leaders. the most disappointing part for me though is everybody else in the gop. >> yeah. >> that allows this to fester and to continue, who don't speak out and say, while we may have this disagreement with mccain over policy or philosophy, we value him, we value his service, because he represents the best of us at times when we need to be our best. i think that that's something -- it is just disappointing as a former head of the party. as you noted, to go back eight years and see where the party was then, rallying around this man and nominating him to be our standard bearer, and today virtual silence as the president, the current president continues to mock him. his illness notwithstanding, even if john mccain was not as ill as he is, the fact that this president does not value his service to me is just despicable. >> willie, it is despicable, and
complete silence, silence in the face of mocking and just loathing this great american hero, a silence in the face of one racist attack after another coming from the white house, and silence in the face of a complete capitulation to an ex-kgb spy. these republican leaders will have much to answer for when donald trump leaves the national stage, and he will. >> yes, as common as moments like yesterday from the president become sadly as common as well, has been the silence from the republicans. president trump issued another call for the special counsel's investigation to end after the fbi terminated a senior agent, peter strzok, who was removed from the investigation into russian interference in the election after an internal watchdog discovered he traded negative text messages, you will
remember, about trump. the president tweeted, agent peter strzok was just fired from the fbi, finally the list of bad players in the fbi and the doj gets longer and longer. based on the fact that strzok was in charge of the witch hunt, will it be dropped? it is a total hoax. no collusion, no obstruction. i just fight back, writes the president. he later tweeted that strzok had a lead role in what the president called the crooked hillary clinton sham investigation, adding it was a total fraud on the american public and should be properly redone. so, joe, there are questions raised, first by peter strzok's attorney about how this happened, why it happened, when it happened. >> right. >> the firing of peter strzok is not what was originally recommend, but his attorney says was ordered by the deputy director of the fbi after pressure from president trump for all of these weeks and months on peter strzok. >> yeah. it is non-stop, willie. you know, nick, what i just
can't deal with is the fact that these republicans in congress don't speak out more aggressively because the president of the united states yesterday again called the investigation into vladimir putin's interference in america democracy a, quote, witch hunt, despite the fact we've had dozens -- a couple dozens of russians indicted. we had the press conference last week where the director of national intelligence said that this is a grave threat toman democractoman -- to american democracy, the red lights are blinking. you had trump's fbi director he appointed coming out and saying the threat is there, the threat is real, the threat is not going away. and you even had kirstjen nielsen, who is -- has not exactly shown herself to stand up to donald trump at times when she said where she said the crosshairs -- or american
democracy itself is in the crosshairs because of what vladimir putin is doing. here you have donald trump calling it a witch hunt and wanting to end the investigation into putin's interference with american democracy. >> well, joe, in fact here is some important pieces here, right. there were three men who two years ago were at the start of this investigation into russian interference, james comey, the head of the fbi, his number two was andrew mccabe and now peter strzok, all three have been fired by the president or pushed out under pressure from the president. so three people who led and oversaw and permitted this investigation into russian interference in our country, in our elections, are all now gone. by the way, they also, as you know, were overseeing the investigation into hillary clinton. if you are going to pull back a little bit and think about the facts here, it is undoubted that the investigations of these two people, hilary clinton and donald trump, probably helped donald trump more in the beginning than they do now, and
yet here he is, you know, calling witch hunt and going after these people and inserting himself into a personnel decision. and it is, you know, something that gives you a bit of for bodying. >> meanwhile at a federal court in washington yesterday a fourth federal judge rejected a challenge to robert mueller's appointment as special counsel. the judge, dabney friedrich was appointed last year. the move to dismiss argued that it violated the appointments clause by creating an unaccountable branch of government. the judge rejected that argument and wrote mueller had not strayed from his jurisdiction. a injuries in mueller's favor in washington yesterday. >> something i found to be interesting is you look at how the mueller investigation sends some action items up to new york and they're quick the say, oh, the southern district can handle this, but they are keeping certain items in their
jurisdiction and keeping things closer to d.c. so i do find that interesting, what is passed off as this is more -- this is a local issue and then, oh, this still has superseding issues of national interest. >> what about the larger point, elise, that republicans in particular are not standing up for the premise of the investigation, the premise of the special counsel's work, which is not specifically obviously a witch hunt to go after donald trump but a broad investigation into something everyone, including every intelligence agency under this president, knows to be true, that russia interfered in the 2016 election and continues to do so today? >> i think you're seeing most of the theatrics on the house side. i mean certainly there are republican senator hospital could do more to stand up for this investigation, but they really are biding their time and looking to just get through mid terms. and so to push this off as much as possible, to see what effect donald trump is actually going to have when voters go to the polls in november. >> still ahead on "morning joe",
president trump lashed out at michael cohen last month, calling it inconceivable his former fixer secretly recorded him, but now the president is relying on cohen to dispute claims by another former member of his inner circle. we'll get to that. first, here is bill karins with a check of the forecast. hey, bill. >> a check of another soggy forecast. yesterday the downpours continued in pennsylvania. it has been endless and we had horrible flooding on saturday, and then yesterday we had more water rescues. a lot of the streams are already full. we get the thunderstorms and the run-off quickly heads in and you get scenes like this out there. so it shouldn't be as bad today in most areas, but we are still going to have the potential for at least something similar. so let's get to the maps. four million people at risk. we have shifted out of the new york city area into the mountainous regions of the catskills, the poconos, and all of this red, these are flash flood warning going on because of this cluster of thunderstorms between scranton and binghamton. it is sitting here, hasn't moved much all morning long. the ground is already saturated.
it is a recipe for trouble. it is also pouring in rochester, have to watch out with urban problems with the water ponding up there. in the southern plains it has been raining all morning in the ozarks. dallas had a rainy morning, it is shifting to the north. the bad news is we've had numerous days in a row with cloudy skies and rain. the good is that we've had drought conditions in this region so it is beneficial rain, although you don't want it ruining your plans. today's forecast, the rainy weather in the plains. on-and-off showers in new england. you will finally get a nice day in washington, d.c. and atlanta. tomorrow actually looks warm and summer-like for the east coast. so areas like new york city, a shot of 90 degrees tomorrow. if not tomorrow, then on thursday definitely into the 90s. next chance of rain for the big apple won't be until friday when the next cold front comes through. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ♪ ♪
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c the man is a pathological manipulator, liar. he has been lying all week, or two weeks. he's been lying for years. i don't see how he has any credibility. which lie do you want to pick? do you want to pick the first lie, the second lie or a new lie? because he has lied all his life. >> that was a couple of weeks ago, rudy guilliani ripping president trump's former fixer, michael cohen, a month ago. >> if that's the case, willie, you can't ever trust the man. you can't use his words. >> no. >> it would be the worst character witness in the world for him. i mean it is -- his words mean nothing. >> he's been lying for a long time according to rudy guilliani. >> that's what he says. >> at the time president trump was railing against the trustworthiness of his ex lawyer and fixer, michael cohen. but yesterday the president pointed to cohen as a validator. >> oh, wow. >> in an effort to dispute an allegation by another former
associate, omarosa manigault newman. his twitter account retweeted michael cohen, to the many dozens of journalists who called me questioning omarosa's claim in her new book that president trump took a note from me, put it in his mouth and ate it, i saw no such thing and am shocked anyone would take this seriously. what is happening? just three weeks ago trump slammed cohen releasing a tape of him discussing a payment to a woman alleging an affair. trump asked, what kind of a lawyer would tape a client? so sad. joe, it is almost like there are situational ethics here. >> almost like that. >> yeah. >> again, look at the clown show that donald trump has brought to washington. isn't it interesting, willie, that the day before he got inaugurated he said he wanted every day to be like a reality tv show? >> yes. >> where he vanquishes all comers at the end of the day. of course, he doesn't to that, he hasn't done that, and finds himself i guess in the latest
gallup poll at a 39% approval rating. my gosh, all of the best people? not even close. >> it is extraordinary what he tweeted yesterday in a long series of tweets about omarosa, talking about how terrible she was and vindictive and she wasn't particularly smart. he went on and on, and he said, but i kept her around because, quote, she said great things about me. that is the standard, that you can be terrible at your job, completely incompetent, someone no one else around the office likes, but if you say nice things about the president -- which is what happened yesterday. he believed michael cohen said something that worked in the president's favor so suddenly he is using him as a reliable witness. it is pretty extraordinary. >> it really is. nick, the man is forever a day trader. there's nothing strategic about him. rudy guilliani one day will say michael cohen is the greatest guy in the world, the next he will say he is a pathological liar if that's what suits him on that day. one day he will say donald trump
basically asked jim comey to take it easy on his national security advisor, the next he will say, i never said that. it is as if the people think that videotape does not exist. >> well, it toss exisdoes exist. we can see when they changed their stories. mayor guilliani is saying one thing on one day about defense of his client and a different thing on a different day. but on the other handy think what they've realized is people's attention span are short. every time i see colleagues of mine in the press do some of their fact checking on the president, he has told 1,000 lies this year, 100 last week. you have to ask, how do you even grapple with that as journalists and as voters as a public? the constant stream of misinformation, position changing, lying, dissembling, false statements, it is a blizzard, and it is almost -- you know, in a certain sense it protects itself, swroe, whijoe,a
real tragedy. there's so much coming out all the time like this, it is almost impossible to make sense or decide what is actually happening at any given moment. >> still ahead, voters head to the polls in four states across the country today. we're taking a look at some of the most competitive races next on "morning joe." this is frank. sup! this is frank's favorite record. this is frank's dog. and this is frank's record shop. frank knowns northern soul, but how to set up a limited liability company... what's that mean? not so much. so he turned to his friends at legalzoom. yup! they hooked me up. we helped with his llc, contracts, and some other stuff
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i do count on pg&e to keep our firefighters safe. that's why we ask for their help. well, it is election day and voters in four states including wisconsin, vermont, minnesota and connecticut will head to the polls to make their picks ahead of november elections. in wisconsin eight democrats face off to challenge the incumbent governor scott walker who is seeking his third term. meanwhile, democrats will see a three-way battle for minnesota's open governor spot between congressman tim waltz, state representative aaron murphy and state attorney general laurie swanson. on the republican side, two-term minnesota governor tim pawlenty will try to win back his old job. joining us, cofounder and ceo of axios, jim van de hide.
you are looking at the races looking at ones held by republicans, which are you looking at? >> almost every competitive race right now is a republican race, but we talked to strategists on both sides to figure out what are the five true toss-ups, the ones people should watch. all of those are held by republicans. districts like most of maine, maine's second district which is everything other than portland and augusta basically, a chunk of trump country there. a district that hasn't flipped from an incumbent in 1u7bd years and republicans are worried about that. you have texas' 23rd district, which is the southwest slice of texas. again, appears a toss-up. again, a place with a growing hispanic population. republicans worried there. the reason, like for viewers to understand why republicans are so worried is they look at those special election results which you guys have talked a lot about and they look at other off-year elections, and in every single one of those races more democrats are voting than ever before. so that's a trend that continues
throughout each and every race and seems to be building. when you get that kind of momentum, that's when you get a wave. that's when you get a massive loss on election day, and that's why republican house leaders when you talk to them in private, they see very few scenarios where they escape with a majority. it is plausible, but with each passing day it seems more unlikely. >> hey, jim. nick confessore here. obviously there's a huge amount of passion with president trump with his base, we hear all the time about trump's base and how much they love him. why is that not enough in this election? what is the countervailing pressure that will shape a midterm with the usual kind of low turnout we see? >> trump is the countervailing pressure to trump, right. basically, yes, there are a lot of republicans who love him and will turn out. there's a lot of democrats who hate him and will turn out, and you often need a negative emotion. you often need anger to get people off their butts and to vote on election day. democrats historically are not
great voters in off-year elections but they dislike trump so much they're turning out. the problem is while trump turns on most of the republican party, there is a small slice of sort of traditional republicans, the ones joe is talking about a lot on this show, that don't like trump and will not vote for him. if they go with the democrat, especially in these suburban districts, that's where you could have a wipe-out, not just a loss of 23 or 24 seats. but if they start to move, you can see 30, 40 seats being in play and going into the democrats' hands. when you step back and look at the map of 435 races, there's about 60 to 70 that are authentically in play. almost all of those are republican seats, and they don't have enough money, they don't have good enough candidates, they probably don't have enough time to turn a lot of those. that's why democrats feel increasingly good about their chances. >> you know, jim, not so long ago tim russert famously talked about florida, florida, florida, and we always looked at florida as the swing state, the decider.
it is really something over the past couple of years, the political geographic center has shifted up to your home state in wisconsin. you look at wisconsin and pennsylvania, owe hhio, michiga. those are the states that elected donald trump, but wisconsin in particular seems to be searching for its political identity. will it continue to be a left-of-center state or is it moving hard rate? what are we going to see today in those primaries in your home state? >> yeah, i mean scott walker is on the ballot. he has been radio active since he won in 2010. a bunch of democrats are vying to take him on. a lot of polls show that walker is beatable in the gubernatorial race. in all likelihood you will end up with the guy who is the superintendent for a long time, so on the education side. if you remember, walker went after teachers. he went after their pensions. he went after the amount of money wisconsin is putting into schools. again, like this is sort of -- it is a little microcosm of
trump's dynamic because a state like wisconsin, run by republicans, republicans should be killing it. the unemployment rate is below 4% in wisconsin. they're bringing in lots of new jobs. like life is good, it is a good time to live in wisconsin. you have the politics that have become so radioactive and democrats are more motivated after basically sitting it out because they weren't that motivated by hillary clinton. if they have a big day, i do think you're right, it is a microcosm, and you will see the same thing potentially in pennsylvania, potentially in minnesota. the only question now is does this momentum continue. if it continues, it is impossible to see republicans keep in control because not that much is going to change between now and election day. >> thank you very much, jim. still ahead this morning, three years ago then-candidate donald trump looked to connect with heartland voters by giving kids helicopter rides at the iowa state fair. iowa presidential politics could get more interesting in 2020. that's coming up on "morning joe."
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with us now let's bring in white house bureau chief at "the washington post" and political analyst for msnbc and nbc news, philip rutger. also co-host of amanpour and company on pbs and contributing editor, elisa menendez. as many of you know that are watching the show, donald trump is tweeting again and tweeting about his former white house adviser, omarosa. he just posted this a short time ago. quote, when you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the white house, i guess it just didn't work out. good work by general kelly for quickly firing that dog.
we've heard it said before and we've heard it discussed before about how tyrants and autocrats and, yes, fascists, communists, others have used the language of dehumanization to justify, well, a movement away from democracy and a movement away from decent standards. i will tell you just in the past ten minutes i did a quick search on why certain leaders do that. i found an npr article where they interviewed david livingstone smith who wrote a book called "less than human, the psychology of cruelty." as npr explained during the interview, during the holocaust
nazis refused to jews as rats. in rwanda genocide was often justified, calling them cockroaches, slave owners considered slaves sub human animals. that was one of the takeaways from the book of dehumanization. again, this was written in 2011. it is because it opens the door for cruelty and genocide. nobody is saying that donald trump is a nazi. nobody is saying that he's adolf hitler in 1938, 1939, 1940, but you can see time and time again -- and i will go to elise here -- this is how dictators and tyrants open the door, and they do it by dehumanizing their political opponents. >> right. you know, joe, there's a piece
of this that's about language. we saw a lot of this language used touring the campaign. the real problem though is the way it connects to policy. so when you watch what is happening at our southern border, when you watch children being taken from their parents, when you face the reality that there are still over 500 of those children who have not been reunited with their parents, that goes back to this language. that goes back to the fact that we have set a baseline where these are no longer people. these are no longer people who are like us. they do not deserve the basic rights we as americans enjoy and deserve, and that's where the language becomes particularly scary. >> well, let's follow up on that. because guess what led up to his -- what i think many would think is savage behavior on the border. when he launched his campaign he talked about mexicans being racists. just this past year, what did he call hispanics? he called hispanics breeders, like they were animals, like they were dogs, like they were
mules. we've seen it time and time again. so he uses that language, and what does it move to? it moves to a policy where infants are ripped from their mother's breasts at the border, separated and possibly orphaned for life. there actually is precedent here. >> and, joe, the language is not new, right. i mean this language has been played by those on the far right for a very long time. what's now alarming is how mainstream it is becoming, so mainstream it is now coming out of our white house. so when you hear laura ingraham giving her, you know, rant about the united states, the changing nature of the united states, the demographic shift that is happening in the united states, her connecting that demographic shift to immigration, that's not a dog whistle. that is a blow horn, and it is intended to rile up people who are upset about the fact that america is changing, and the question i have is whether or not that is going to motivate people going into november on
both sides of the aisle to come out and say, this is not the way that we talk about others in america, or to see if other people are motivated by the hate that is being spewed. >> and you just -- willie, you really don't know, because i just saw a poll in florida, one of the most important senate races in america, rick scott, who has been a steadfast defender of donald trump from day one, he refuses to criticize him. we had him on this show, and quite frankly he embarrassed himself by how much he was kowtowing to donald trump. rick scott is only behind three points in his race against bill nelson among latinos. so you wonder whether this bigotry, this dehumanization of hispanics from donald trump and the republican party is actually getting through. >> yeah, we'll see. i mean we'll learn a lot about that coming up in the fall. there's also as we talk about the border, the conflation of putting ms-13 out there in every
conversation, so then when it comes time to talk about separating children from their mothers he again brings up ms-13 and somehow gives himself cover that those are the kind of people we are trying to keep out of the country, when in most cases their asylum seekers. there's the language, phil rucker, and as you cover the white house there's the question as we look at the recent tweet of why donald trump hired a, quote, craze, lying lowlife and put her inside the west wing if she was so terrible. >> yeah, willie, and he didn't just hire her, but he kept her in the job for a year. he tweeted yesterday she was not showing up to work, she would miss meetings, her colleagues didn't like her, she was hated inside the building and you wonder why he protected her for so long, why he kept her in that job. it wasn't just any job. she was an assistant to the president, making a top salary of $180,000 a year. she was in the senior staff meetings. she had access to the oval office. she had broad responsibilities, and paid for by the taxpayers. you wonder where the management decisions were made, why they
were made and why she stayed so long. >> here's the reason he gave yesterday in a tweet. he said, when general kelly came on board he told me omarosa was a loser and nothing but problems. i told him to try to work it out if possible because she only said great things about me. that's why she remained in her position. >> that's exactly right. and president trump took advantage of her through that year. she would be thrust out to defend him any time there was something controversial or he would say something that was perceived as racist or sexist or misogynist or what have you, it was omarosa, among others, who would go on camera and defend him and be, you know, sort of a face defending him, and he liked having her there. but it is important to remember this is not his personal, private enterprise. this was the government of the united states. she was an employee of the taxpayers and stayed in that job for a year. >> michael steele, i guess we shouldn't be surprised when a reality show host is elected president that he brings the reality culture with him and many of the culture -- the
characters from the reality show to his side inside the white house and running the united states government. >> absolutely. from the very beginning this is what this has been. every day is another episode in an ongoing series. the president plays this out on twitter. all of the characters inside that orbit, you know, play out their respective roles, and it gets manifested in moments like this where at some point, as we've seen, the villain -- in this case omarosa, who was brought into trump's world originally to play that role on "the apprentice" strikes back. now the president is having to deal with, you know, a person of his own creation. she is his mini me, and in many respects does donald trump a great service because she does donald trump better than donald trump in many respects. he's trying to figure out how to get his footing to deal with
her. i take from this tweet one other interesting thing. i was listening to the earlier conversation about it, and i couldn't help but thinking the use of the term "dog" at the end of that was trump's way of saying something that he knew he couldn't put in print about omarosa. so that just tells you just how much she has gotten to him, and it will be interesting to see whether or not she can bring out of donald trump something that we rarely get to see, and that is an uglier side of what is already an ugly side of donald trump. >> well, by the way, the ugliness continues this morning. not verified yet by nbc, but cbs had omarosa on, another tape. brian class tweeted this, in a recorded call katrina pierson, a senior trump campaign official, thought about how she could best spin a recording where donald trump was using the "n" word.
and clause reminds us in case you missed it, it is the same katrina pierson wondering whether there are any, quote, pure breeds left. he sub tweeted katrina pierson tweet, perfect. obama's dad born in africa, mitt romney's dad born in mexico. are any pure breeds left? elise, these are people that donald trump surrounds himself with. these are people that donald trump is perfectly fine with and, you know, it is not just that he's using the "n" word, it is that they're trying to spin it the best way they can spin it, and the person trying to spin it is saying publicly she's discussed it, that there are no, quote, pure breeds left.
>> well, that's really big picture i think what we should take away from this episode. it is not really about omarosa so much, just as it is about someone who came in, was clearly opportunistic, with no loyalty. as soon as she decides the trump bandwagon isn't staying hitched to -- i mean shifs firee was fi too -- jumped ship and would rather take a payout every month. so you see with her what other trump officials will probably do in the coming months and years. they're going to also come out with their own stories and disavow as they all try to take care of themselves because donald trump has shown that he's all about his own self-interest and that has trickled down to everyone on the staff. >> so after tweeting about omarosa this morning, the president then turned his attention to attorney general jeff sessions, tweeting in part,
if we had a real attorney general, this witch hunt would never have been started. looking at the wrong people. alicia, this, of course, is president trump's hand-picked attorney general, jeff sessions, who was the first united states senator to step out in 2015 and 2016 and back president trump. again, the reason he is saying this is because he believes that the first sin was that jeff sessions recused himself from the investigation into russia, recused himself from dealing with the mueller probe. i think he believes if sessions had not recused himself it may have gone away. >> where it ties into the omarosa story, saying i kept her around because she said nice things about me, we know it is a president that values loyalty above all else, that he feels his own attorney general has not been sufficient loyal, but it is about muddying the water. first it is about peter strzok, and then bruce ohr. so if there is a villain, it is shifting and it feeds the narrative that the justice
department -- and by the way, his tweet this morning, he put justice in kwo faces and says they're not doing the job they're supposed to do. >> donald trump has no agency. it is kind of unbelievable how all of this stuff happens to him and he might be commander in chief of the most powerful nation in the world, but he is just a victim and everyone is out to get him. >> just a victim who happened to tell everybody who would listen along with people close to him that jeff sessions was the smartest man in washington, d.c., jeff sessions was the most brilliant senator of all time, something that i quite frankly have known jeff for a while but i never heard anybody say that about jeff. also, they were actually considering making jeff sessions secretary of state because he was just so brilliant. of course, their conclusions, donald trump's and those close to him, all came from the fact that jeff sessions was the first senator to actually support him. but, nick confessore, again,
donald trump going back, lamenting the fact that this, quote, witch hunt ever began, a witch hunt which we will again underline the fact has put five, six of his people -- got them arrest, some some of his closest advisers. a couple of dozen russians indicted. and also donald trump secretary of homeland security saying that because of vladimir putin, this investigation has actually uncovered the democracy itself is in putin's cross hairs. and yet he's calling that a witch hunt. >> joe, if it's a witch hunt, it is finding an awful lot of real live witches. this is probably the most high stakes and productive investigation of the white house we've seen in years in terms of indictments and guilty pleas. can't be brushed off as something with no substance. just to connect these two dots, joe. think about the playbook at work with the omarosa affair and the
russia scandal. we've now seen evidence the president has a playbook he's used to in business life which is bringing a lot of controversial people, throw them against each other, try and ride the tiger, and then buy them off with their silence, have ndas, have payouts and payments. he tried to bring that to the white house. he tried to bring this playbook to be used in private business and for his own afars allegedly into the white house. guess what. it does not work in public service. >> not at all. all right. alicia menendez, thank you so much, phillip rucker, thank you as well. fascinating conversation. coming up next, avenatti stirs up democrats -- hard to say with a straight face. stirs up democrats ahead of the potential to to presidential run. we'll talk about that ahead of "morning joe." you're headed down the highway
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>> reporter: the iowa state fair, a staple of presidential politics. an l.a. lawyer for a porn star suing the president. are you serious? >> if i wasn't serious, i wouldn't be here. >> reporter: he has reason to believe, judging by the reaction. would you potentially vote for stormy daniels' lawyer avenatti? >> yes. >> reporter: and democratic party activists. >> do it, do it. >> reporter: av nat yes has been all over, from tv news to the boarder. >> there should be no debate as to whether children should be separated. >> reporter: to anti-trump protests in london. at times he's made claims he's not ready to back up. >> you've told us other women have come to you. are they fully vetted? is there more to share? >> they're not fully vetted but there's at least two i think on solid ground. >> reporter: while they wait for the midterms -- >> number one, 2018. >> 2018 midterms. >> 2018, massachusetts. >> reporter: avenatti is an unlikely contender. much like donald trump in august
of 2015. >> let's give them a helicopter right. >> reporter: he turned his helicopter into a fairground ride. now avenatti says he's the only one who can compete on trump's level. >> the approach will not work. i think we tried that in 2016. >> reporter: and they were drawn to his message. >> when they go low, we go higher. the higher stuff. >> we need more harder stuff. >> you're damn right. >> probably i would vote for -- >> i'm going with avenatti. >> avenatti. >> i would lean that way. >> reporter: towards avenatti? >> yes. >> we do need a fighter. >> can i make a difference for you? >> i actually thought that before i came, i watched him on tv on different things. >> reporter: you think he can beat donald trump? >> easily. can you imagine trump debating him? that wouldn't be a fair fight at all. >> it doesn't matter how much experience you have or what you policy positions are.
if you can't beat them, you don't have any business being the nominee. >> reporter: vaugh hillyard, des moines, iowa. >> all right, alicia, we turn to you on this one. let's put the man aside for a moment and talk about the idea the democrats have to be able to punch back against donald trump to have a shot to beat him. >> i think the real question is what lesson will america have learned from donald trump's presidency is the lesson that the only way someone can become elected president of the united states is to have a platform and celebrity or is the lesson that you have no governmental experience, no diplomatic experience, that there is a steep learning curve going into what many would consider the most important job in the world and that that ought to be criteria for judgment as people go to the polls. >> donald trump has so stretched the realm of political possibility in this country that three year s ago, if you'd saida porn star's lawyer wants to be president, you would have been laughed out of the room. now they're saying they'll give
him a look. >> i think avenatti proves that the current crop of democratic candidates got to learn how to be more aggressive and how to fight donald trump. and convince voters they can beat him on a debate stage and also at the polls. willie, avenatti said something that all americans should run from. the quote, it doesn't matter how much experience you have. it does. we have got to get past this idea. republicans and democrats alike. whether you're talking about donald trump or whether you're talking about barack obama who did not have experience in washington, d.c. before he came to washington. we've got to find people that actually know how to do this. we wouldn't even select a dentist that had never operated -- had never, like, drilled for a cavity, a filling. why would we elect the president of the united states with no
experience? we've got to get past this mind-set that they have to be from the outside. we need somebody who actually knows how to make washington work. and not a lawyer and not a reality tv show that's never had experience there. >> those two things i would say, joe, not mutually exclusive. that's going to do it for us this morning. thank you all for being here. we'll see you back here tomorrow morning. stephanie ruhle picks up our coverage right now. >> thank you so much, willie. good morning, everyone. we start today with breaking news. london police are now launching a terror investigation after a car goes full speed into a barrier just outside of parliament. >> there was another car, like, behind him. it looks like it was planned. >> the best. remember that line? it was from first lady melania trump. well, president trump, he's escalating his attacks on former white house aide omarosa. calling her a