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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 14, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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at comcast, it's my job to develop, apps and tools that simplify your experience. my name is mike, i'm in product development at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. i'll see you tomorrow morning on "today." casey hunt standing by. >> craig, thank you so much. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," kremlin connection? donald trump responds to reports the fbi launched an investigation into whether the president of the united states was acting on behalf of putin when he fired fbi director james comey. >> i never worked for russia. not only did i never work for russia, i think it's a disgrace that you even ask that question because it's a whole big, fat hoax. it's just a hoax.
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snow ball effect. with d.c. snowed in and 800,000 federal employees shut out, the impact of the longest government shutdown in history is rippling across the nation. >> it's hard to explain to your kids why you can or can't do something because you don't know when you're going to get paid. >> it's a day to day struggle for us and it's an added weight adding stress to us here. >> i love being a civil servant. i love working for the american people. it's a joy. it's a privilege, and then this happens it's a stab in the back. and show of force. in saudi arabia the secretary of state is assured by the king and crown prince that those responsible for the death of an american journalist will be held accountable, but will they? >> every single person who has responsibility for the murder of jamal khashoggi needs to be held accountable. >> andrea is in riyadh right now
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and we will get more on the secretary's visit there coming up. good day. i'm casey hunt. good day. i'm casey hunt in for andrea in washington. president trump is traveling to louisiana after brushing off two bombshell reports on his alleged ties to russia and private interactions with vladimir putin. the reporting in "the new york times" on the fbi opening an investigation into the president after his firing of james comey and from "the washington post" on the length to which mr. trump concealed his one-on-one helsinki meeting with president putin. they come as the president finds himself stuck in a government shutdown stalemate with no solution in sight. joining me now nbc white house correspondent kristen welker. washington post correspondent greg miller and international affairs analyst michael mcball former u.s. ambassador to russia
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and frank palusi, former fbi. >> you pressed the new york times about the fbi investigation and he gave what we consider to be a sprawling response. let's listen to a little bit of it. >> the people that saw to that investigation are mccabe who is a proven liar and was fired from the fbi. lisa paige who was forced to leave the fbi and her lover peter stros who we gauss, and a and i guess they started it because i fired comey which was a great thing i did for our country. so the people doing that investigation were people that have been caught that are known scoundrels. i guess you could say they're dirty cops.
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>> so, kristen, the president clearly taking the suggestion from republicans over the weekend to focus on the fbi here. what else did you hear from the president and how is the white house reacting behind the scenes? >> well, casey, the president was defiant and in addition to that extraordinary sound that you just played i asked him directly, yes or no, if he is now or if he has ever worked for russia and in his strongest and clearest terms yet the president said i have never worked for russia. he also called it a disgrace, as you just played there at the top of the show, that i even asked that question, really lashing out and rejecting that new york times report over the weekend that the fbi launched a counterintelligence investigation into president trump in 2017 amid concerns that he may have been wittingly or unwittingly a russian agent. so president trump doing what he does best which is to counter punch. no surprise about that, but what
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he said on the south lawn before leaving today, casey is notable because over the weekend he was asked the very same question, and he didn't answer it directly. so on his second try, when i put it to him, yes or no, finally saying no he's never worked for russia. it is significant that you would have to ask an american president that question and frankly extraordinary to hear his firm denial, casey. >> frank, to that very point, it does seem, and we -- i know we're talking about this last night the president couldn't answer that question definitively when he was first asked about it. it looks like we do have a definitive answer here, and there is still a possibility and the fbi raised this according to the times reporting that the president could have unwittingly have been a russian agent. >> you're absolutely right, casey. the denial that he's working for russia is -- is nice, but it doesn't reveal what mueller is
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likely looking into which is has he been duped by russia, is he so deeply indebted or compromised in some way, shape or form that the process occurred without him fully realizing what is happening and now he may be in a position where he simply can't admit how deep he's in or how owned or handled he is, and you know, the end result, witting or unwitting is pretty much the same which is the possibility that our president is doing the bidding of a foreign government for whatever reason. we should be grateful that there is an fbi brave enough to open that case, to take a look at it and then correctly passing the issue on if it's still pending to a special counsel to resolve. >> of course, this is not the only bombshell report. greg miller in "the washington post" reporting about the length the president went to conceal the conversations, the contents of conversations he had with
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vladimir putin. here's the rz responding or not responding to that report. take a look. >> i just don't know anything about it. i read it this morning. it's a lot of fake news. that was a very good meeting. it was actually a very successful meeting, and i have those meetings with everyone. i just know nothing about it. i have one-on-one meetings with all leaders, including the president of china, including the prime minister of japan, abe, we have those meetings all of the time. no big deal. >> craig miller, that's obviously beside the point. the point is not that the meetings took place, we know that they took place, but rather he went to great lengths to conceal the content of what was said, no? >> that's right. i mean it's one, his extraordinary effort to ensure that even his closest aides don't know what transpired in his closed-door conversation with vladimir putin, but two, we're talking not about china,
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not about japan. we're talking about rush a tsia country that interfered in the 2016 election specifically to help elect donald trump. his interactions with the russian president are of greater interest and of greater significance in many ways than his interactions with the prime minister of japan or somebody from another country. >> michael mcfall, you've been in a position to need such information as might be generated in one of these conversations when you served as the ambassador to russia. is this a normal way to handle such conversations the way greg's reported it? >> no. it's extremely abnormal, and by the way, i worked three years at the white house for president obama before going to moscow, and so i was in many of those meetings with the president and when president obama would meet with putin or president medvedev who was president at the time there was always a note taker.
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that's separate from the interpreter. i think that's getting really mixed up in the coverage of this. the interpreter does not take notes to report out to anybody. they're incapable of doing that. their job is to try to make that conversation happen. i oftentimes was the note taker in those meetings and so president obama always had a note taker. he always had an interpreter and he usually had seenior staff the national security adviser and then we always read those meetings out, a, to the press, by the way. we always had a readout after the meeting with the press and then, b, we wrote up a formal memorandum of that conversation to senior people so that we could conduct our foreign policy as an administration and not just as an individual. >> that's a good point because in the cases of these meetings often the u.s. press has been relying on readouts from the kremlin, not our own white house report on this. >> exactly.
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>> michael mcfall, i want to play this for you, as well. this was president trump saturday night -- excuse me, answering the same question that kristen asked him and obviously giving a different answer. take a look. >> are you now or have you ever worked for russia, mr. president? >> i think it's the most insulting thing i've ever been asked. i think it's the most insulting article i've ever had written and if you read the article you'll see that they found absolutely nothing, but the headline of that article is called the failing new york times for a reason. they've got enemy wrong for three years. they've actually got enemy wrong for many years before that. >> he never says no in that answer. michael, you are well versed in how the russians conduct this sort of business. what's your take on the clues that the fbi was putting together here to suggest to them that the president may have been acting as a russian asset?
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>> the real paradox for the intiefr sto entire story for president trump and candidate trump, i don't think there's conclusive evidence to say he's an agent of the russian government. in my mind, that does not exist in the public do mamain right n but here ate paradox, he acts in the interest of vladimir putin. he says things that are in putin's interest. he reads the talking points that he and only he, by the way, nobody else in the trump administration goes to the length to say and do things that are in the interests of the russian government. so think about it, if you are in one of those meetings and you're rolling into a meeting with putin and there's a suspicion that you might be doing things in the interest of the russian government, wouldn't you want to have a readout of the meeting? wouldn't you want other people there who can testify to how tough you were being with
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vladimir putin? and the fact that he doesn't do that raises suspicion and i think rightly so. we need to understand why he won't carry out the policy of his own administration. it's not the democrats and the opposition and the obama people that are saying you should do this, that and the other. his government is saying it and he chooses a different strategy. why is that? we need know the answer to that question. >> greg miller, concealing the contents of these conversations is fundamentally in vladimir putin's interest, no? >> sure. it gives the russians great advantage in how to depict these meetings and they're always beating the u.s. to the punch in giving their own version of events coming out of these encounters and it gives putin something he knows what trump has said in this meeting. he probably knows things that trump said that might be embarrassing to trump. if trump already has -- is under some sort of leverage for moscow, the way he carries out
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these meetings with putin only make that worse. only enhance russia's hand in their interactions with this president. >> greg miller, kristen welker, ambassador michael mcfall, frank figliuzzi, thank you very much for your insights today. coming up, living on the edge. how long can federal workers make ends meet as the shutdown enters day 24? democratic senator macy hirono joins me next on msnbc. >> everyone has bills to pay. i've got bills to pay. i have family helping me out right now to make ends meet. it's bad because there are families that depend on this paycheck. i see my little ones and my wife who doesn't work. it's hard for families. t work it's hard for families about 50% of people with severe asthma have too many cells called eosinophils in their lungs. eosinophils are a key cause of severe asthma.
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government shutdown ripples across the country, the economic blow is hitting hard on farm countries which rely on billions of dollars on federal money to keep operations going. nbc's ron hilliard spoke with farmers who say the financial strain from the shutdown and the impact on the president's tariffs have pushed them to the breaking point. >> it seems like every day that we -- we wake up there's a new crisis if it's not with the tariff situation it's with not seeing a report.
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there's just a lot of business decisions that just need a little more clarity. >> as farmers we don't just stop what we're doing. we can't just shut down operations. there's too much at stake. >> my message to washington is to quit the bickering, sit down and understand that the people across the nation are affected by this in one, way, shape, matter or form. >> ron hilliard joins me now. good to see you. clearly, these farmers feeling the pain. first of all, just talk about what you're learning on the ground, but also, are they blaming the president for this or are they blaming democrats in congress? >> reporter: exactly. that's a good question that you ask. you just heard from brent, brian and jimmy and what they told you right there was essentially in the farming operation here in iowa is there's a lot of uncertainty and we are standing on the farm of doug townsend. his family farm has been running
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here since 1896. it's like drinking out of a fire hose here out of the last year. you have the impact of the tariffs, struggling, trying to barely make a profit and now you've got the government shutdown on their hands and what the situation is with the government shutdown is the usda, every single january they put out a report essentially it tells these farmers what the demand is for the different commodities in terms of planning for what it is they should be planting, corn or soybeans or wheat and they don't have that report and they're actively right now trying to plan out what to buy. ultimately, that means for seed and fertilizer and to your question there, casey, who are they blaming in this? all four of the gentlemen that we talked to up in northern iowa say they all want to see a compromise. doug thinks that mitch mcconnell should put the vote ultimately to the floor and the conversation about immigration should take place later and the other three gentlemen all said they need the government to open up and then conversations about what takes place should happen after that, casey. >> president trump take note, he, of course, is speaking
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shortly at the farm bureau. we'll hear more about this. vaughn hillyard, thanks very much as always, sir. president trump insisting that any short-term fix to re-open the government is off the table an idea floated by one of his closest republican senate allies lindsay graham. >> that was a suggestion that lindsay made, but i did reject it. yes. i'm not interested. i want to get it solved. i don't want to just delay it. i want to get it solved. >> joining me now, democratic senator mazie hirono. great to see you. thanks for being here today. >> sure. >> let's start with the shutdown. do you see any scenario where this can be resolved in the congress? it seems as though nancy pelosi and chuck schumer are dug in their positions and the president similarly. how do we get out of it? >> the person who can end the shutdown aside from the president, but you can't talk sense to somebody who makes no sense. the person who can end the shutdown is mitch mcconnell.
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we are a separate branch of government and i've been saying for quite a while now that the bills passed by the house which by the way, the senate passed to keep government running should be brought to the floor and then we will vote for it and the president can either let them become law without a signature or he can veto them in which case we can override the veto. that is the scenario because people keep asking why don't you all come up with a compromise? these bills are a compromise. the only person who doesn't get it apparently is the president and right now mitch mcconnell who refuses to use his power to help 800,000 people and everybody else suffering to be able to get on with their lives. >> do you really think there would be a veto-proof majority in the senate, though? republicans have not shown very much willingness to buck the president in these kind of situations. >> i suppose mitch mcconnell if he makes his decision to provide the kind of leadership that he should, i would say at that point we are pretty sure that we can get these bills passed and i
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defy any republican to not -- to override a presidential veto at that point, but we're not even there yet, and i think that for me it is a pretty clear-cut choice to be made as to how we can end this government shutdown and it's mitch mcconnell and the republicans. >> let me ask you also about william barr, the judiciary committee on which you are set to hold hearings this week, and we have a prepared remarks from william barr from our pete williams. he writes, quote, i believe it's in the best interest of everyone, the president, congress and most importantly the american people that this matter, the russia investigation, be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work. he called it vitally important for that probe to finish. does this reassure you that william barr can lead the justice department impartially? >> considering that he tried out
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for this job by writing certain things about the mueller investigation and that the president cannot be accused of obstruction of justice, of course, he's going to come and testify that he will not do anything to -- to stymie the investigation, but i would also like to ask him when the report comes out if the report is made public and not given to members of congress, i have a series of questions as to how he will perform or how his approach is as far as the independence of the justice department. there are consent decrees that sessions have brought into question. they are consent decrees that the department of justice has with the police departments, for the kind of irregular policing that's happened, and there are a whole range of other issues besides first and foremost the mueller investigation. >> certainly going to be an interesting couple of days. >> senator, i also want to ask you about the 2020 primary. your fellow hawaiian legislator
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tulsi gabbard has made clear she will run in 2020, but she's run into trouble over past opposition to lgbt rights as well as with her ties to assad. do you think you can support congresswoman gabbard in her bid in 2020? >> i'm going to be looking for someone who has a long record of supporting progressive goals and ideals, and i certainly wish all of our candidates the best because it is going to be a long, hard race, and so i wish everyone well, but for myself in these times of what i would call not normal times, i want someone who has very much been on the page in terms of supporting equal opportunity, choice, all of the kinds of issues that i've been fighting for for decades. >> it sounds like you don't think tulsi gabbard has done that. >> i wish her well, though, as i do all of the other candidates. >> senator mazie hirono, thank
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you very much for your time. we appreciate it. >> sure. and a teacher's struck in the country's second largest school district has officially begun. more than 30,000 los angeles teachers have walked out amid failed negotiations around salaries, class sizes and the hiring of more staff. the teachers' union kicked off the strike from city hall to union headquarters and the l.a. school district has hired 400 substitutes to work with the 600,000 school districts in the l.a. unified school district during that strike. coming up, demanding accountability. will the saudi government hold up their promise to secretary of state mike pompeo to hold every person responsible for the death of jamal khashoggi accountable? andrea mitchell's conversation with a senior member of the saudi royal family next on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. reports" only on msnbc [leaf blower]
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secretary of state mike pompeo met with the saudi king and saudi crown prince muhammad bin salman in saudi arabia today. pompeo told msnbc's andrea mitchell that he discussed jamal khashoggi's murder with the
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crown prince each though the crown prince hasn't accepted the conclusion that he knew about khashoggi's murder. >> our expectations have been clear from early on. every single person who has the responsibility for the murder of jamal khashoggi needs to be held accountable, and the crown prince i spoke about this with king salman as well, they both acknowledged that that accountability needed to take place. >> they discovered it as a rogue operation? >> i'm not going to talk about the details of the conversations. the expectations we've set for them are very clear. >> and joining me now is nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent and of course, the anchor of this very program andrea mitchell. andrea, quite the trip you are taking. what is the significance of those remarks that we just heard from secretary pompeo? >> reporter: it remains to be seen. secretary pompeo is
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acknowledging that he did question whether or not the people who killed jamal khashoggi are being held accountable. he is staring in the face of the man, the most powerful man of the country, frankly, the young crown prince who the cia is responsible. news before, during and after, they don't have the hard evidence in terms of the smoking gun and the intersent of him saying go get him, but they are aware that the cia and the intelligence community that mike pompeo once led and that there are penalties to pay, there are tighter restrictions than ever before here than in years past and they're certainly taking place, but there are tighter restrictions, and a lot of women, in particular, in jail. >> andry a you have been reporting on the human right
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abuses and the rights of women in saudi arabia. this, of course, something that mbs is getting some credit for in the west. what have you learned? >> reporter: well, first of all, it's a mixed role. as you can see, i had the opportunity to drive around with a woman driving and she's very proud of that. she was very active in wanting this reform. she enjoys it. she's the mother of two, she's a teacher and very active on social media. so she sees it as a plus and is not concerned as many others like amnesty international and others about the women in jail. they say in a november report they've been tortured. i asked prince phafaisal and for ambassador to the u.s., and very influential saudi and the son of a former king, king faisal and
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asked him about these reports and about the khashoggi murder because he not only knew him, he employed him in the embassy as an adviser and the embassy in washington, d.c., and this is what he said. >> it's a stigma in that we are -- hopefully with the continued process of bringing these people to justice that the clarity of the situation and the transparency of the process will remove some of the static that surrounds this terrible incidents. >> prince turki is a very prominent fugur and a diplomat at the highest level and is a supporter of the crown prince's reform and thinks that there is progress that says no societiy is perfect and he rejects the allegation that the crown prince had to know about it, but the
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u.s. intelligence and former colleagues in the intel xhuns communi intelligence community because he believes that in all countries that are subordinates who lie to their leaders and we brought up the case of the wmd and the false allegations of weapons in iraq and colin powell and the like. so he had many answers to respond to the question. i should say, casey, thank you so much for honoring me by taking on the show today on top of everything you're doing. so great to have you on the chair. >> thank you. i'm so honored to do it. thank you very much, stay safe on your journey with the secretary of state. for much more of andrea's reporting from saudi arabia tune in to nbc nightly news with lester holt tonight. coming up, russian roulette. how risky was the fbi's unprecedented investigation into whether president trump was
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secretly working on behalf of russia? this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. hell reports" only on msnbc at humana, we believe great
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new questions about the direction of the mueller probe after two blockbuster reports from "the new york times" and "the washington post" raised questions about president trump's relationship with russia. in lawfair benjamin writes
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observers of the russia investigation have generally under stood of special counsel robert mueller's work as focusing on at least two separate tracks, collusion of the russian government and the potential obstruction of justice on the other, but what if the obstruction was the collusion or at least part of it? joining me now is barbara mccoy, former u.s. attorney and an msnbc contributor and msnbc legal analyst benjamin witis the editor in chief at lawfair who wrote that piece. benjamin, i want to start with you and i did read through and i recommend it to our viewers as it is quite lengthy as you lay out this argument. my question for you is to kind of explain why does it matter in the context of the mueller investigation that you think obstruction and collusion are part of the same track? >> yes. that's a very complicated question. let me try to distill it. first of all, there has always
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been a bit of a legal puzzle as to how the obstruction investigation was what lawyers would call predicated. so -- and this is behind, for example, the bill barr memo that will be at issue tomorrow where barr writes a 19-page memo questioning whether there could possibly be an obstruction investigation given the facts as he understood them and that's because he's imagining a criminal investigation. he's imagining a statute that has elements that he doesn't think the president can violate in the context of his exercise of article 2 authority. >> because he is the president. >> because he is the president and he gets to fire the fbi director he wants and he gets to get involved in investigations if he wants, though it is quite improper for him to do so. so the first answer to your question is if you imagine that the fbi thought about this from early on as a
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counterintelligence matter as well as a criminal matter, it helps answer the question how they got involved in the first place. in addition, at a different level, i think the answer to your question is we have thought of these as two very straight things, but if you're trying to understand how bob mueller is thinking, if you're trying to understand how the fbi was thinking about it, understanding the narrative they're telling themselves, they may be much less separate, that it might not be the story might not be we were investigating collusion and then the president came around and tried to shut down the investigation and we're investigating that as an obstruction. it might be we are investigating russian activity in the 2016 election and efforts on the u.s. side to assist that activity and part of that assistance may have been the president trying to kneecap this investigation. >> so you're saying by firing
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jim comey that could itself been an action that the counterintelligence folks at the fbi would have said, no, no, we don't do that. >> exactly. so there may be a great deal more narrative coherence to the way the investigators have thought about what they're investigating than the kind of choppy bits and pieces that we were focused on. >> sure. okay. barbara mcquade, ben mentioned william barr, and we have gotten some prepared remarks from him that get at this very question because we know those hearings coming up tomorrow and wednesday are likely to focus on this memo and questions around whether or not he would protect the mueller investigation and he writes, quote, i believe it's vitally important that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation among other things in this testimony. do you think that that's going to be enough to reassure democrats and do you think from a legal perspective that he is on solid ground to not recuse
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himself from oversight of the mueller probe? >> well, i think the statements are a good start, but i think the senators will have a number of significant questions for him. it suggests that robert mueller should continue investigating the fact, but what does that say about his view of the law? i think there are enough red flags there to cause some concern. as ben has said he wrote a 19-page memo unsolicited and sent it to leadership at the department of justice arguing that the president could not legally be charged with obstruction of justice. what was that about? why would he send such a thing? would he find that it's legally insufficient to mete out charges of obstruction of justice? and whether he has pre-judged the case that he must be recused and whether he rejects the advice of career ethics officers at the department of justice about recusal and his use of
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obstruction of justice and is known as someone who has a strong view of executive power and does he find that the president is above the law with these things. i think those are crucial questions that the senators will ask him and just to give ben his props here. if you're not reading it because he's covering all angles of the political spectrum in a different way. >> you're very kind. >> barbara mcquade, ben wites, thank you very much. appreciate your insights. coming up, digging in, president trump up to the task on possible 2020 opponents. the inside scoop is next right here on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. reports"c so why wouldn't you take something for the most important part of you... your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, prevagen has been shown in clinical trials to improve short-term memory.
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♪ downy unstopables president trump sparking major backlash for invoking one of the worst native american massacres in history and using it as a political punchline in his latest attack against elizabeth warren. the president slamming a recent warren video tweeting, quote, if elizabeth warren, often referred to by me as pocahontas, did this commercial from bighorn or wounded knee instead of her kitchen and her husband dressed
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in full indian garb it would have been a smash. >> former white house communications director under president obama, kimberly atkins and jeremy peter, politics reporter for "the new york times." jim palmery, i want to start with you. this, quite frankly, racist stereotype against elizabeth warren, her campaign has decided not to respond to it. my suspicion is that that may be intentional although i don't want to characterize that as reporting. what is your view on how -- first of all, the president's actions, but also on how warren and her team are handling this? >> so -- that tweet, there's just so much in it and it seems to me to be that he was hoping to divert attention from shutdown, divert attention from the mueller investigation over
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the weekend by picking a fight with someone who considers to be a good opponent for him and what's remarkable about it is in case that anyone forgot that he he brings in wounded knee and big horn, really deep -- >> scars. >> places that, you know, cause so much pain. and i think what we learn in the clinton campaign, i think this is what warren is doing and it's smart, is don't pick a fight with him when he attacks you personally. you know, we said if you attack other people we would defend them. if he makes personal attacks against hillary she would ignore them. that's the best way to handle a bully. >> jeremy, kimberly, weigh in here. kimberly, i'll start with you. as jen says, there is just so much in this tweet that it does seem as though perhaps it is another attempt to distract from the mueller investigation. >> or it's a part of what this
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president really believes and it's -- >> it could be both of those. >> time and time again, we saw him at a white house ceremony for navajo code talkers using this slur in front of native american heroes standing in front of a portrait of andrew jackson who led one of the worst catastrophes for native americans in our country's history. this is what the president does. i think i'm going to disagree with jennifer a little bit. i think when you see this, and clearly this is setting up for 2020. donald trump is going to hammer this for the entirety of the 2020 campaign. if elizabeth warren and democrats generally don't have a clear and consistent response to this sort of racist language, it's going to be detrimental to them. democrats frankly didn't do enough to reach out to latin -- latino voters to black voters, other minority voters to organize them, register them and get them motivated to vote. if they make that same mistake in 2020 by not addressing this head on, it's to their peril. >> jeremy, i want to get your
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take. jennifer, i want you to respond to that. >> when he attacked her personally, hillary personally, that we would ignore. when he attacked a hispanic judge that was weighing in on his case, when he said that people crossing the border were rapists, criminals, and drug dealers, that we respond to. that you have to fight back on. but what you have to try to distinguish is don't go down the rabbit hole of defending yourselves against his personal attacks. that's what we saw so many republicans do in the primary. he's always going to win that. so you've got to -- you have to defend against when he attacks other people and makes racist attacks and obviously hillary did a lot of that. but try to keep yourself out of it, don't go down that rabbit hole. >> because it's an illustrious day in american politics, i want to discuss another situation where we have a republican making what are undoubtedly racist remarks. steve king, who questioned in an
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interview with "the new york times" why the terms white sprem supremacist and white nationalist were offensive. i talked to steve king about exactly why was it that he said these things. here was his response. >> congressman, you said white supremacy and white nationalism. you didn't understand how that was offense i. how could you not understand that that was offensive? >> what i was really talking about was the continuation of applying labels onto people as freely as they are. i reject white nationalism. i reject white supremacy. it's not part of my ideology. i reject anyone who carries that ideology. >> so why did you say it? >> that was in a context of a long interview with the times. >> did the times get you wrong, did they misquote you? >> i don't think i can answer that clearly, but i'll just say i have responded to this and i think you understand where i stand. >> so, jeremy, just to be clear, there was a new york times article, steve king seemed to say, i reject these things i
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said in "the new york times," but would not go on to say that "the new york times" had misquoted him. >> yeah. >> republicans are actually pushing back against this this time. what's different about these comments? we could sit here -- we could go talk to the end of the show about the things he said along these lines in the past. >> i don't know, kasie, that there is all that much that's different. i think you had kevin mccarthy speak out against steve king saying these are reprehensible comments by steve king. tim scott as the only black republican senator spoke out. but by and large, the republican party is still in a position where it condones this type of behavior from the very highest levels. as we just talked about, i mean, the president of the united states has a history of continuously making these racially charged and provocative comments. and what i hear republicans saying very privately is they wonder if two things might happen sometime down the line. and both of these have
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antecedents in the modern history of the republican government, the decision by william buckley go to go after the john birch society and the decision by barry gold water and other leading capitol hill republicans to tell president nixon he wasn't going to survive impeachment. if things continue to get very bad for the president as we've seen, you wonder if those two similar things might happen with trump, but can one happen without the other, i don't know. >> i'm glad you mentioned the tim scott op-ed. it went under the headline why are republicans accused of racism. because we're silent on things like this when people similar to king's opinions open their mouths, they not only damage the conservative brand but the nation as a whole. they refuse to turn the favor to those on the other side. i have to say, kimberly, tim scott's perspective on this -- frankly, he's spoke unon out a number of times on race related issues. it speaks to having a diverse
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perspective and underscores how little the republicans actually have. >> right. why is tim scott always the one designate today speak out on this? this should be a unified message of condemnation coming from the entire party, which we don't see enough. >> kimberly atkins, jeremy peters, jennifer palmieri, thank you all very much. we will be right back. ♪ [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪ ♪ i have... ♪
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that does it for this
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edition of andrea mitchell reports. follow on line at facebook and twitter mitchell reports. and do watch kasie d.c. on sunday here on msnbc. here are ali velshi and stephanie ruhle. >> good afternoon, everyone. i'm ali velshi. >> i'm stephanie ruhle. it is monday, january 14. let's get smarter. >> i never worked for russia, you know that answer better than anybody. not only did i never work for russia, i think be it's a disgrace you even asked that question because it's a whole big fat hoax. the people doing that investigation were people that had been caught that are known scoundrels. i guess you could say they're dirty cops. >> the notion that president trump is a threat to american national security is absolutely ludicrous. >> i find it astonishing. and to me, it tells me a lot about the people running t