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tv   MSNBC Live With David Gura  MSNBC  January 12, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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♪ [ ] it's bedtime. peace of mind should never be out of reach. [ voice command beep ] xfinity home. xfinity home connects you to total home security you can control from anywhere on any device. and it protects you with 24/7 professional monitoring. i guess we're sleeping here tonight. xfinity home. simple. easy. awesome. call, go online or demo in an xfinity store today. i'm alex witt. i'm handing things off to morgan radford. you can take it away, my dear. thank you, alex. i'm morgan radford. coming up this hour, working for russia. why the fbi had concerns about president trump? the explosive implications they
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found and the reaction from the president himself as well as former fbi director james comey, one of the reporters who broke the story for the "the new york times" will join me in just a moment. plus longest shutdown ever. hundreds of thousands without a paycheck and now the threat of a national emergency. former congressman and chairman of the house financial services committee barney frank shares his thoughts. and reality on the ground. we'll talk about the potential roadblock a wall could create for both residences and businesses on the border and why every member of congress who's district actually runs along that border is against it. also running for president, two more democrats now throwing their hat into the ring, their message and why one of them believes they can beat trump. we come to you now on day 22 of the longest government shutdown in u.s. history. more on that in just a moment, but first explosive new details on mueller's russia investigation. "the new york times" dropped a bombshell report just overnight that says the fbi has opened an
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inquiry into whether president trump is working with russia against american interests. let's rollback that tape for just a second and show you the exact moment back in 2016 that first caught the fbi's eye. >> russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. >> so that statement and that concern hit a fever pitch when trump fired james comey and then made this statement to nbc's lester holt. >> i was going to fire comey, my decision. it was not -- >> you had made the decision before they came in the room. >> i was going to fire comey. and, in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election. >> "the new york times" says agents had to consider if trump's own actions instituted a possible threat to national
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security. geoff bennett is live at the white house for us, now. how is president trump responding this afternoon? >> reporter: morgan, great to see you. president trump is lashing out in response to this extraordinary "the new york times" report that the fbi felt compelled to take the extraordinary step to determine whether the president of the united states was, in fact, a russian asset. now the president this morning fired off five fury filled tweets which begin with this one. he says, wow, just learned in the failing "the new york times" that the corrupt former leaders of the fbi almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons opened up an investigation on me for no reason and with no proof after i fired who the president called lying james comey. "the new york times" story points out in vivid detail all of the reasons why the fbi felt compelled to determine whether or not the president was a national security threat. now morgan, when the story popped last night, i reached out to the white house to get their
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response and sarah huckabee sanders provided this statement in part which reads, this is absurd, she says of "the new york times" reporting. she continues, unlike president obama who let russia and other foreign adversaries push america around, president trump has actually been tough on russia. that is a debatable point. everything the president has said and done so far suggests that he wants to be putin's friend when we know that russia is, in fact, the united states' geopolitical foe. james comey had something to say about this too. i ask you to judge me by the enemies i have made. comey echoing the fdr's words. >> the white house is keeping you busy this saturday. geoff, thank you so much. let's bring in michael schmidt now. one of the authors of that
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blockbuster article. michael, the white house commented on this report last night and the president has obviously been active and concerned about this on twitter this morning. we follow this stuff every single day but for people who are at home and they're just now joining us, michael, why is this report such a big deal? >> our collective understanding of the mueller investigation, of everything looking at the president has been one about obstruction of justice. did the president obstruct justice in a criminal sense? and that is what we have focused on for the year and a half that it's been since mueller was appointed. what this information that we put in the paper today shows is that the investigation, at least initially of the president was far broader, it was considering a far larger question which was what were the president's true ties to russia, why was he behaving the way that he was, why was he saying the things he was, why was he firing the fbi director, what was really behind
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that and that's a different aspect of things the fbi does. the fbi does criminal investigations and they do counterintelligence national security investigations and this part of the -- on the president in russia fell into that category. >> but that's my question, michael. when you say we have this broader looming concern. are we getting any closer to the case for collusion, because nbc is reporting that we're in the bottom of the ninth for this mueller investigation, so are we about to see this thing wrap up? are we reaching a crescendo here? >> i'm not sure about that. look, we don't know what robert mueller has, we don't know what robert mueller is going to do, we don't know where those findings will end up? will they end up in congress or in the justice department? this is an investigation that has been going on for a long time. the information we have demonstrates what initially this investigation was and mueller took this investigation over
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just days after it began, after the justice department appointed mueller to investigate this to sort of build a mote around the investigation to try and protect it from politics as we've seen it be attacked time and time again by the president for being a political witch hunt and look, we're a year and a half in to it, there's a lot of thought that it could be coming to an end. we're sitting back trying to understand everything that's going on around us. >> michael, you mentioned this concept of protection, what about damage control? how damaging is this for the president and frankly, how does this end for him? >> i'm not sure how damaging or undamaging. i'll leave that up to the viewers and the readers to figure that out, i think what this does show was the sort of unusual, highly unusual nature of what was going on at the fbi in the moments after comey was fired, the fact that the bureau took the historic decision to
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open up this investigation into the president, that is just an incredible moment just to have the president, someone who had just been elected by the entire country come under investigation for working with one of our adversaries. >> highly unusual as you say. michael, thank you so much for joining us. i want to bring in jane newton small and natasha bertrand and kimberly atkins. jane, let's start with you. how does this report change what we previously knew about the mueller probe? >> morgan, we knew from james comey himself that there was no investigation to his knowledge when by the time he stepped down as head of the fbi, by the time he was fired by trump, trump had said in the letter thanking comey for his service after he was fired had tried to write in to that letter a thank you for comey for telling him three separate times that he was not being investigated by the fbi
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and, in fact, his lawyers, the white house lawyers asked the president to remove that line saying it was inappropriate and that actually became one of the pieces of information or one of the basis of evidence that the fbi actually used to open this case along with the interview with lester holt that you showed earlier to open this case against the president saying that he himself was making these ties to comey's firing and the russia investigation and therefore it raised a lot of red flags for the fbi. just the idea that the fbi, the number of levels that you would have to go through to launch such an investigation, that the fbi would suspect the president is either a knowingly or knowingly the agent of another country is just sort of stunning. >> it's also a shocking claim but natasha, i want to turn to you because we heard michael just say this was highly unusual. so how shocking was it for you to hear the president of the united states is under investigation for possibly being a russian agent? >> so at first it wasn't,
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actually. i read that article and my initial reaction was, okay, this always seemed to be what the fbi would have wanted to know in the end, right? this started out, the russian investigation as a whole began as a counterintelligence inquiry into what the russians were doing on u.s. soil including whether any american were helping in their efforts and so the president, being the head of his campaign, of course, would be a natural person to investigate, just to see whether he was having any inappropriate contacts with the russians or even going into office, whether those contacts were sustained. but then, when you dig a little bit further into it, you realize that this wasn't just something all encompassing. this wassall a targeted investigation by the bureau into a sitting president which is completely unprecedented especially when it comes to the counterintelligence aspect of this. this is very big umbrella aspect of what the fbi does. they were just looking for -- >> that's why we're so interested in so many pieces of because we don't understand exactly what it is that this
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entire investigation could beget. kimberly, i want to come to this letter for a minute. "the new york times" report says a letter trump wanted to send to comey about this firing also caught the fbi's attention. it says, quote, thanking mr. comey for telling him three times that he was not under investigation. actually, kimberly, i want to turn to you, how suspicious do you think that is? >> well, it is. that was one of the most remarkable aspects of the story when james comey was fired, the fact that a lot of it had to do with this insistence by the president that he go forward and message publicly that the president wasn't under investigation by the fbi. it seemed like a classic case of thou does protest too much. the president was clearly worried about a potential fbi investigation in to him and his own activities. was really remarkable about this is i think both jay and natasha are very right that on the one
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hand it wasn't really surprising at all but on the one hand its extraordinary that the president is not only -- that an fbi investigation was opened into the president but it was based on so many activities he was doing in plain sight, an interview with nbc, his messaging to the fbi agent that he fired, meeting with russian officials in the oval office talking about, among other things, how the pressure was off of him after he fired james comey, all of these things we knew but when you put them together and it seems, of course, the fbi probably looked into this, but when you step back it's extraordinary. >> i want to interrupt you because you mentioned all of these things happening in plain sight. so i want to speak about the other big story that's happening in plain sight and that's the government shutdown. it's the longest now in u.s. history. so kimberly, where does the white house stand now on a possible national emergency declaration? >> i think that's the $64,000 question, the president has vacillated between almost being certain that he would declare
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some sort of national emergency in an effort to diversity defense department funds in order to build this wall which would, i guess, give room to reopen the government and then he said that he won't. this is the key problem that lawmakers both democratic and republicans have cited in the difficulty to reach any sort of agreement here. they don't know exactly what the president wants. the president will continuously dig in in his demand for a wall and it doesn't seem to be a lot of off-ramps for him and now he was seemed to be backing off this national emergency. i think it's anybody guess what he will do. >> let's talk about the dollars and the cents of this. jay, the cost of the shutdown is about $1.2 billion per week. this shutdown could cost more than trump is actually asking for for the wall. >> absolutely. we were certainly getting to that point. it's the longest shutdown in government history. just to build on what kimberly
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was saying is that, donald trump really does this to himself every time, right? there was no investigation until he put his foot in it and made all these statements about the firing of comey and then all of a sudden there is an investigation into him. so he kind of triggered his own investigation. similarly with the government shutdown, he's constantly, he's the one that sort of got into the government shutdown by saying, you know what? we're not going to sign those bills, i'm going to change my mind, i'm not going to sign them. he's built himself into this rhetorical box that he now can't get out of unless they agree to build this wall which is very unlikely and so how does he get out of this box? this is sort of one short-term example of the rhetorical boxes he gets in to but the long-term one is mueller and this investigation and what's he going to do with that. >> jay, you said, how does he get himself out of these boxes? how does this thing end?
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natasha, who do you think is the first to budge and how long is this really sustainable? >> well, just looking at it from a national security perspective, which is what i spent every day trying to figure out is how this shutdown has affected people on the front line of national security and intelligence. it is not sustainable. i know just last week the fbi agents association came out and said we are going to run out of funds for our operation. this is going to make us less safe as a country. same thing with tsa agents and same thing throughout the department of homeland security who are either furloughed or having to work without pay. their budgets are shrinking and that's a really important overlooked point here so in terms of wanting to keep the country safe which is the profound irony of this shutdown to begin with, i don't think it's sustainable and someone's going to have to budge sooner or later, i don't know who that is. >> when will it be? thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. coming up, we dive deeper into that shocking "the new york
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times" report stating that the fbi looked into whether president trump worked against u.s. interest and worked with the russians? plus why president trump says he's not worried about the upcoming public testimony from his former fixer, michael cohen but the real question is, should he be? are creating the future. ( ♪ ) so, every day, we put our latest technology and vast expertise to work. ( ♪ ) the united states postal service makes more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, affordably and on-time. (ringing) ( ♪ ) the future only happens with people who really know how to deliver it.
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and the man in the high castle. all in the same place as your live tv. its all included with your amazon prime membership. that's how xfinity makes tv... simple. easy. awesome. welcome back and thank you so much for joining us here on msnbc. right now we have more on the bombshell reporting from "the new york times" that the fbi opened an investigation just days after former fbi director james comey was fired into whether president trump was secretly working on behalf of russia. no evidence since then has emerged publicly that the president was, in fact, in contact with or took direction from russian government officials, but could special counsel robert mueller still be pursuing the counterintelligence mission to build his collusion case. joining me now is former assistant jill wy banbanks and e
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advance. the fact that it goes back a year and a half and nothing came of it that showed a breach of national security means they found nothing. is that true or false? is the report essentially meaningless? >> giuliani is absolutely incorrect here and he knows better as he so often does. the whole point of counterintelligence work is that it's different from the criminal investigative work we do at the justice department. that information sees the light of day in the form of prosecutions that are brought in our open courts. counterintelligence work is very different. the mission there is to identify and to take away a threat to our national security and often that's done covertly. it involves diplomatically action. it involves the essence of counterintelligence work which is covert activity to protect our interests so the fact that
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nothing has come to light publicly is unsurprising, quite frankly. what i think is frightening is in "the new york times" report we see this language where they, in fact, acknowledge that there is nothing public about the president's activity. in order for doj to authorize this kind of investigation i suspect that there was much stronger probably signal intelligence involving the president and in the course of their work the fbi developed a great deal of information, direct information that although not public, exists inside of the united states intelligence community. >> joyce, i think it's that seek cresy that people find so concerning. jill, the report says that law enforcement officials conclude that had they would need strong evidence to take the very sensitive step of investigating the president. so have you seen strong enough evidence in your opinion and frankly, what can the president do now that this report is, in fact, out in the public? >> well, it is definitely enough
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evidence that i have seen in public that would have been irresponsible of the fbi not to start this investigation. we've seen all the clues in front of us. we've seen his cooperation with russia in terms of sanctions and praise of putin, we've seen it in terms of his turning over highly classified information to russians, we've seen it in terms of his statement to nbc's lester holt in saying that he was firing comey in order to get rid of the threat of that investigation, we've seen him fire comey, we've seen so many things that lead us to see the connection between russia and his campaign. the trump tower meeting, the trump moscow tower construction which went on well into the campaign, so there's a lot of things that are in public and that doesn't count what mueller knows behind the scenes. so, yes, this is a legitimate
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investigation. it's one that should be going on and as joyce has pointed out, it is very important that it be kept secret because we need to protect national security. >> the question also becomes then, where do we go from here? joyce, if there is a counterintelligence investigation that's apart of special counsel mueller's probe, how does this change things? >> well, it doesn't change things immediately, but what it does do is it makes it far more incumbent upon our elected officials on the hill that they engage very deliberately and oversight that has gone undone up until now, that they contemplate whether they are at the point where they need to begin to think about impeachment proceedings. the quantum of evidence that prosecutors use to go to court is a very high burden. it has to be evidence that's admissible in a courtroom. it can't be hearsay or have other sorts of just technical evidentiary flaws that keep prosecutors from convicting but
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now we're talking about proceedings designed to protect the integrity of the presidency. there's a lot of publicly available information, undoubtedly there is more that folks have heard in classified settings up on the hill. it is incumbent that they, as our elected representatives, begin to contemplate whether that evidence is now at the point where they need to consider whether this president is hindering the future of our country. i think as i'm saying those words, it's just remarkable that we haven't already reached that point because of the flood of public information, what this new reporting does is it signals that we're now at a breaking point where perhaps people who have delayed for whatever reason need to squarely confront these issues. >> joyce, i want to go back to something you mentioned. you brought up that which is admissible in a courtroom. jill, given the news that michael cohen will testify in congress, in your mind, what is the most damaging thing that could come out of his testimony?
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>> there's so many things that michael cohen and i would add weisselberg who is cooperating know about the history of the trump organization and all of trump's actions before the presidency. all of those things are of significant criminal liability to donald trump, so those may be more important in his testimony because, remember, he is limited by what will not inhibit the investigation by mueller and there is some coordination going on between the oversight committee and the mueller investigation to make sure that his testimony doesn't get in the way of criminal prosecutions that mueller may have in mind. so i don't want the public having this huge expectation that russia and collusion, as it is popularly known, but really conspiracy to interfere with the election and conspiracy between
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the russian government and the campaign, that may not be the focus because of the coordination with mueller. so there could be so many other crimes that will come out in this oversight and even things like the case which is of very significant importance under the constitution, the constitution was written without expectation that someone would run their business out of the white house. >> you have given us a lot to unpack today. jill wine banks and joyce vance thank you so much for being with us. coming up, former democratic congressman barney frank joins me next to react to that plus sharing what he thinks it will take to end the government shutdown. stay with us. hard work baby, it gonna pay off.
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president trump is busy on social media this saturday. this morning he launched 12 tweets following a new york times story that reported that the fbi was investigating whether trump secretly worked for russia against u.s. interests. the president also lashing out at some familiar targets including former fbi director james comey and special counsel robert mueller. he also slammed democrats again over the partial government shutdown. joining me now is former democratic congressman of massachusetts barney frank. mr. frank, first, i want to get your reaction to the trump fbi inquiry. you just heard someone else describe this as highly unusual. how remarkable is it to you that
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the president of the united states could be the subject of a counterintelligence investigation? >> well, it's obviously extraordinary. it's the first time it's ever happened. there is a potential precedent but that undermines how important this is. clearly j. edgar hoover with his own resources in the fbi investigate other presidents, not because he thought they were working for foreign power, but because he wanted to get stuff on them in which he could blackmail them. but that underlines how important this is. the fbi has always been one of the more politically conservative institutions in america. now i don't know exactly what they're going to find or not find about any explicit involvement, but here's the most important fact from the standpoint of the country politically. one of the most historically conservative institutions in america that takes very seriously its mission to protect
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the country, believed on the basis of his actions that trump might have been under the control or the influence of the russians. that's the key point. not at this point why he was doing it, we don't know, but here's this very conservative political institution, the fbi, looking at the president's behavior as he's in office and saying, there's something here. not just that, not just that, the key point is that the fbi believed based on his behavior that they needed to explain why he was being so pro-russian and this is a very conservative group post-comey saying this president is being so pro-russian something may be up. >> you describe the fbi as this conservative, political institution but while we have you i want to turn to this government shutdown. the president tweeted just today we have a massive humanitarian
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crisis at our southern border. we will be out for a long time unless the democrats come back from their vacations and get back to work. i'm in the white house ready to sign. how do you see this shutdown ending? >> first of all, it is the president's political -- remember a few weeks ago before the shutdown, the united states senate with a republican majority unanimously passed bills to keep the government going reflecting agreement on all of these issues about how the government actually functions and the assumption was that donald trump was going to sign it and then the most right wing elements in america, ann coulter and rush limbaugh and others yelled at him and then he said, no, we wouldn't do it. senator mcconnell, the republican leader who controls the agenda of the senate as the leader, has announced that the president has not just a veto
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that can be overridden by two-thirds but an absolute veto over what the senate would continue. this notion that he won't bring a bill to the floor without the prior approval of the president of the united states is a drastic amendment of the u.s. constitution. ronald reagan was overridden with republican votes, george bush. this is the first time a senate leader has said the united states senate is now totally under the control of the president of our party and we won't even vote on something if he doesn't give us permission. >> that's what i want to ask you about, because given where things are politically right now, looking ahead, we saw according to the "the wall street journal" that trump's aide have started putting together this state of the union speech and they're discussing how to use the january 29th address if the shutdown remains in place. if we are still in shutdown mode then, can the president realistically look the american people in the eye and say that the state of our union is strong? >> frankly, if you're asking me, can he, this president could
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apparently look the american people in the eye and tell them that the sun goes around the earth. i have never seen a supposedly responsible human being less constrained by reality, so obviously he'll say things that, frankly, are unrealistic. the problem is, and here's the way it works, he is worried about his most right wing elements. the republican senate has announced that they won't do anything he doesn't give them permission to do, an extraordinary amendment to the american constitution. what that means is that the most right wing elements in america who don't represent a huge percentage of the country now control the congress because trump won't do anything on russia limbaugh and coulter gives them permission and the senate won't do anything until trump gives them permission and that's the problem we have. the only way out of it, i believe, is for republican
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senators to decide that they are not going to give up all of their power. we have a lot of republican senators up for expectation in 2020, two of those who are vulnerable, because they have democratic leaning states in maine and colorado, collins and gardner, have already said they want it open. the way out of this is for the public that does not like this to let republican senators know in their states that they will not get re-elected in 2020 if they do not exercise the constitutional law with the senate and all we're asking them to do is to repass bills that they already passed that reflect the very broad agreement on how to fund the government. >> former congressman barney frank, thank you so much for being with us this afternoon. >> you're welcome. up next, it's official. julian castro announces he's running for president in 2020.
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the president whoever he is has to decide he can't pass the buck to anybody. >> the buck stops here. >> i do believe that the buck stops here. >> it stops with me. i am the one who is ultimately accountable to the american people. >> for ultimately the buck stops with me. >> does the buck stop with you over this shutdown? >> the buck stops with everybody. heumatoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr. a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well enough. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling and further joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz xr can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma have happened. as have tears in the stomach or intestines, serious allergic reactions, low blood cell counts, higher liver tests and cholesterol levels. don't start xeljanz xr if you have an infection. your doctor should perform blood tests before
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what's the latest? >> reporter: morgan, he made it official in two languages in both english and spanish and that moment saying, i am a candidate for the united states presidency in spanish was the moment that he told me he prepared for, a wink to the hispanic population here in san antonio, texas, and to hispanics watching this moment nationwide. surrounded by his identical twin brother and his wife erica and two children and his mother rosie castro, he made his case emphasizing a progressive platform before a crowd of over 2,000 people here today. i had a chance, morgan, to sit down with him prior to this announcement and asked him what does his candidacy represent given where latinos are in 2016 and this is what he said. >> i represent the anecdote to donald trump. mine is an immigrant story, it's an american dream story, it's a
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testament that everybody counts in this country and i look forward to sharing a vision where everybody, whether you're latino or any other background, you can reach your dreams in this country. >> reporter: final note of color for you, morgan, he got off the stage with a song from selena. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> it is a powerful moment in this country for latinos who feel that their stories are finally be reflected. that's a powerful moment. thank you so much. the government shutdown over president trump's border wall is now the longest in u.s. history while critics say the wall is not a real emergency, president trump continues to weigh his options. nbc news reports the president is considering using disaster
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relief money including funds set aside for puerto rico and that would be to fund his wall along the southern border. joining me now is a congressman. there are nine districts along the u.s./mexico border. you all are against this border wall. explain to us why. >> i think because quite simply we represent the border lens. we deal with the reality of the border, not with anything that's contrived, not anything that is driven by political expediency. it is not -- the border is not this festering hole of crime and human waves and disease, the border is not a place that where violence is rampant, it's not the wild west.
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it is indeed a place for generations people have lived. it is an area that is stressed and it's stressed by this administration's enforcement only policy and this fanciful political politically expeddient border wall. >> for the people who live and work in your district, what roadblocks would this wall create for your residents? >> i think that one of the things the borderland does need, it needs an investment both public and private economic attention. too many people unemployed. too many unmet needs. and you do that by -- by getting that investment and what we're hearing from the wall and the foolish rhetoric is that essentially this is not a place to do business, this is not a place to invest and the economy and many of these border
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communities is already suffered. the waiting periods have already suffered. the flow of trade has already suffered. there's an economic downside to people that have for generations been the fabric, the working fabric and the business fabric of these borderlands. that's the downside and it is an economic one and with all the social implication that's that brings. >> when you mentioned the economic downside, the big question is also who is going to pay because during his presidential campaign, then candidate donald trump said that mexico would be paying for the wall along the southern border but now the president may diversity disaster relief money to pay for this wall. what is your reaction to hearing that? >> the lie that mexico was going to pay for it, mexico's never going to pay for it. the american taxpayers are going to pay for this. and now we see that the people in dire need of recovery attention because of disaster that happened in puerto rico, the people of puerto rico are now going to pay for the wall.
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it is typical trump and i have to say this. one of the reasons not only the opposition that i mentioned, the consequences, a wall is not going to do zero sum security, one of the things beginning at the very beginning almost three years ago, this wall has been built on bigotry. the whole methodology of wall has been built by trump on bigotry, on lies, on political expediency and above that is also something that i think people need to remember, when those of us that are opposed to this wall, we're opposed for all the factual legitimate reasons but rewarding bigotry as a political tool and giving this man what he wants based on how he's approached this issue, i think is maybe a bridge too far for many of us to take. >> you and your residence are down there every single day so we thank you for your experience and your perspective. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you very much. coming up, we could be weeks
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or even months away from the end of the longest government shutdown in u.s. history. if the president does declare that national emergency over the border wall, how might that play out? stay with us. ♪ [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪ ♪ i have... ♪ to most, he's golfer. i have... to me, he's... ...well, dad. so when his joint pain from psoriatic arthritis got really bad, it scared me. and what could that pain mean? joint pain could mean joint damage. enbrel helps relieve joint pain... ...helps stop irreversible joint damage... and helps skin get clearer.
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i'm morgan radford at msnbc headquarters in new york. today the president is back on twitter saying, quote, we have a massive humanitarian crisis at our southern border. we will be out for a long time unless the democrats come back from their vacations and get back to work. i am in the white house ready to sign. yesterday it sounded like president trump pulled back on his option of declaring a national emergency. take a listen. >> now the easy solution is for me to call a national emergency. i could do that very quickly. i have the absolute right to do it, but i'm not going to do it so fast because this is something congress should do and we're waiting for the democrats to vote. they should come back and vote. >> joining us now to unpack that jill wine banks and joyce vance former u.s. attorney. jill, let's start with you, the president has continually said he has the power to declare a national emergency, but is that power as straightforward as he
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makes it sound? >> to some extent it is, but having the right to declare an emergency does not make it right to do so. there has to actually be an emergency and so far there is absolutely no emergency. there is no emergency when he controlled the house and the senate and didn't pass a bill that allowed for building a wall and the danger of him declaring an emergency is the powers that it gives to the president, are very dangerous if they are in the hands of someone who doesn't have the best interests of america in his heart and that's what could happen here. it would allow him to use the military inside of america for domestic unrest, it would allow him to adjourn congress, it would allow him to do a lot of other things that woint fear with our democratic principles, most dramatically, it is up to the congress to appropriate funds to operate the government
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and this would allow him to use his own powers to decide how money is spent and to diversity it from puerto rico, to diversity it from california, to divert it from the needs of america. >> jill, i want to come right off of something you just said, you're talking about diverting those funds, how likely is it that the president does divert those disaster funds, joyce? >> the president can try but my expectation is that it'll take about a nano second for good lawyers to go into federal court seeking what lawyers call a tro a temporary restraining order that keeps the president from taking any action while the lawyers have the chance to fully litigate these issues. and jill is dead on the money here. this is a manufactured crisis. it's a crisis that he brings to the forefront when it's politically expedient like he did in the days leading up to
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the midterm elections where he sent troops to the border where he aroused fears of a caravan heading to our southern border. this is another manufactured crisis and the courts won't fall for it. >> before you let you go, i must ask, jill, the final question is about your broach. today it looks like it's a frog. is there a statement there? i know you typically have a political reason behind your broaches? >> i do it's asking why are the republican toadies in congress still supporting this president? they need to grow a backbone and stand up for what is right for america. >> we will find out what happens ahead of the state of the union. jill wine banks, joyce vance, thank you so much for being with us. we'll be right back with more. you are watching msnbc. don't go anywhere. -i know, it's not much, but it's home.
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that wraps up this hour of msnbc live. i'm morgan radford. thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. my colleague richard lui picks up our coverage from here. how are you doing? >> we'll see you again tomorrow. i'm richard lui. president trump firing back at that explosive "new york times" report that fbi officials were so concerned about his behavior after firing james comey, they then launched a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was working on behalf of russia.
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>> i was going to fire comey, my decision. it was not -- >> you had made the decision before they came in the room. >> i was going to fire comey. >> plus 22 days and counting. the government shutdown now the longest in united states history. pay stubs are issued with a big egg on them, zero dollars and no negotiation scheduled as of now. and ready to run, julian castro, announcing his plans for 2020. >> i am a candidate for president of the united states of america. but first, the russia investigation is where we'll start originally known by the fbi code name cross five hurricane just turned into a category five hurricane, if you will. the "new york times" out with a bombshell report, law enforcement officials got so concerned that they then began
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an investigation whether trump was working on behalf of russia either knowingly or unwittingly. counterintelligence investigators reportedly considered whether the president's actions instituted a national security threat. the president tweeting this morning in response that the investigation was open for no reason and with no proof. the story is also putting a focus on two terms, criminal versus counterintelligence. two different kinds of fbi investigations. criminal being aimed at solving a crime, possibly resulting in arrests and in convictions. counterintelligence, that being a different stream, being a fact-finding mission, to understand what a foreign power is doing or trying to do to stop anti-american activity in the process. joining us right now danny is a val less and frank montoya. danny, let's start with you on this and


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