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tv   MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi  MSNBC  April 8, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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make major changes. the latest to go is the director of the u.s. secret service randolph alles. less than 24 hours ago, homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen announced her resignation from that post and now learning from three officials that the president may remove or reassign the current acting deputy clare mcgrady. the latest shakeups leave a number of vacancies at the top level of homeland security department. a department whose mission is to ensure that our homeland is safe, secure and resilient against terrorism and other hazards. no conformed secretary and no confirmed deputy, no head of i.c.e. and no inspector general and come wednesday custom and border protection will no longer have a commissioner because trump named the man who held that position as the acting dhs secretary. politico reports that steven miller is playing a more aggressive role, arguing for
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personnel changes and recently phoning mid-level officials to angrily demand that they do more to stem the flow of immigrants into this country. let's start at the white house with nbc's hans nichols. a very, very busy day. would have been a busy day under normal circumstances and then you have the announcement of the departure of the head of the secret service. what do we know about this? >> he is a 40-year veteran. pete williams is telling us that alles' departure isn't tied to any specific event and certainly not tied to what happened at mar-a-lago a few weeks ago when you had the chinese nationalist trying to sneak in. we have a new name. james m. murray. career secret service official. he has down counterterrorism and fraud cases looking through his background. he appears to be just a career person that is coming through. now, overlaying all this is what is happening at dhs and there is
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uncertainty there. nielsen be out on wednesday and the president announced his intent to have a acting new one on wednesday and here's what kirstjen nielsen said when she spoke to the cameras earlier today. >> i want to thank the president for the tremendous opportunity to serve this country. i'm forever grateful and proud of the men and women of dhs who work so hard every day to execute their missions and protect the homeland. i really look forward to continuing to support them from the outside. i will continue to support all efforts to address the humanitarian and security crisis on the border. >> so, ali, we had to bone up on the sort of vacancy act as well as what succession means and all the various statutes. but a domino effect taking place at dhs. you have clare mcgrady currently the number three. that's the succession act law that she would then therefore be moved up and have to be acting and that you couldn't have him
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super seed him. what we are trying to figure out is they're trying to do something with clare xwrad grad reassign her so the president can get his pick in place. but gives you an indication that they may not have thought entirely through all the moving parts on this. meanwhile, as you mention, you have so many vacancies throughout dhs and now you're going to have a change of a top of secret service. ali? >> to the point that katy and i were just talking about. steven miller who have views on administration to say outside the main stream would be an understatement. the senator from south carolina has said that he is outside even conservative main stream in his thinking. but he seems to be ascended in his influence with donald trump. >> look for a former sessions aide and we all know what happened to mr. sessions when he came into this administration, steven miller had an
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extraordinary amount of power. whenever there is shifting and moving things in any white house whether they're doing a fundamental reorganization or long-standing grievances are being carried out, important not to assign too much power to one individual. at the end of the day, it's always the president that drives it. this is clearly a president that has no problem either publicly humiliating his cabinet members and his staff and/or letting them go without a contingency plan. what we know so far is that the planning for succession at dhs doesn't appear to be going that smoothly and some legal questions that they're still trying to sort through here. ali? >> hans, thanks for your reporting. on wednesday, homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen will be out of her role and replaced by the border and custom protection. particularly because of secretary nielsen's defense of this administration policies including family separation that she has faced calls to resign before. >> we have a secretary in place,
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secretary kirstjen nielsen whose role it is to provide leadership for the department of homeland security. what we've seen instead of leadership and real solutions is an implementation of donald trump's policies of cruelty. by the way right now on your show, i'm calling for the secretary to resign. her incompetence is hurting the community. it's hurting this country. >> the democratic congresswoman from texas joins me now. representative veronica escobar. congresswoman, this is inest the inesttrusting. you called for her resignation. little did we know it would come because she was not considered tough enough by donald trump on the border. your thoughts? >> i mean, i will tell you, a number of people who have said, hey, be careful what you wish for. the next person in line could be worse and while that is absolutely true, that does not mean we don't call out people who have been the enforcer of
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the cruelest immigration policies of our generation. it was important to call her out. it was important to remove her. and i think it's very important for us to bring to light a couple of things. number one, that her replacement, there should be absolutely no role for furthering family separation. that there should be real solutions. for example, instead of using highly paid, highly trained agents to hand out diapers and burritos to people who are in refugee camps in this country, we should have social service workers doing that work instead. getting our agents back on the front lines. secondly, we've got to bring forward legislation that is compassionate and humane. we're working on that. we need to stop the attempts to circumvent the law and the attempts to rewrite the law in a way that is more cruel and more limiting. we've knot to bring forward and we are working on that alternative solutions and real
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ideas so that we can address what is a monumental challenge for sure to be sure. but one that has been made worse by incompetence and cruelty. >> let's just remind everybody of the times that secretary nielsen has defended these policies you're talking about. listen with me. >> the exclusive product of loopholes in our federal immigration laws that prevent illegal immigrant minors and family members from being detained and removed to their home countries. in other words, these loopholes create a functionally open border and apprehension without detention and removal is not border security. >> as you sit here today, you do not know how many human beings have died while in the custody of the department that you lead. and you, in preparation for today's hearing, you didn't ascertain that number but you don't know it today. >> i don't have an exact figure for you. >> do you have a rough idea? >> sir, what i can tell you -- >> i'm talking about people who have died in your custody.
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you don't have the number. >> what we do know we have stopped over 3,000, what we call special interest aliens trying to come in the country on the southern border. those are aliens who the intel community have identified are of concern. >> i just want you to admit that the cages exist. >> sir, they're not cages. >> what are they? >> areas of the border facility that are carved out. >> i don't know where to start with that. the 3,000 special interest aliens turned out to be a lie. and you've seen the ways in which people are detained in texas. what is your response to this and your fears about what happens next? >> well, you showed some snippets of someone who has repeatedly lied to congress and the american people. it's about time that we are honest with one another. when i've spoken with many of the families who are running from violence and crushing
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poverty and persecution, they're not running because they've heard that there is some loophole that exists, they're running for their lives literally. and the sooner we understand that and the sooner we have leadership convening the leaders of this hemisphere because this is a shared challenge and it's going to take collaboration and it's going to take ownership. the sooner we can do that, the sooner we can really achieve some workable solutions. but we also have to be honest with ourselves. a lot of the women that i spoke to on friday when we had yet another congressional delegation visit el paso. many of those women have been waiting it out with their children in their home countries while their husbands have been in this country for two, three, four years working. they're working in construction. they're working in agriculture. they're working in meat packing plants. these are people already working in our community and their families, the rest of their families are fleeing violence. we need to look at this picture
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honestly, ali. we have to understand our role. we have to understand the root factors. this idea if you close loopholes suddenly migrants will stop coming. that's a complete denial of what's really happening. it serves no one well. so, i'm looking forward to continuing the work that we have been doing in the house, trying to address these root causes and trying to find real solutions instead of what the administration has been doing, which, by the way, has been taking steven miller's lead. i hope that the president sees that the advice he keeps getting from stephen miller ends up creating worse situations, bigbbig bigger problems, more chaos. just like they rid themselves of kirstjen nielsen. but we will come forward with real solutions and real ideas. no reason we should be treating people inhumanity and we don't
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treat it with compassion. >> congresswoman escobar, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. three service members have been killed outside an attack in bagram airbase. courtney has been following this and has the latest from the pentagon. >> hi, ali. an attack just outside of bagram air base. which is just outside of kabul. this is being described as a catastrophic vehicle born ied. three american troops were also injured in this attack. we don't know yet very much about who is behind it other than the taliban have released a statement claiming responsibility. they say it was a vehicle attack, but they're claiming that the number of killed and wounded was higher, as is often the case in these sorts of incidents, ali. >> courtney, is this a har binger of something more
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seriously. taliban claiming responsibility for this attack. its arer not the kind of thing. even as i read that breaking news. not the kind of thing we commonly hear about. what is the context around this? >> if you look at this in the bigger context. afghanistan, there is still a war going on there. the timing of this is very critical, though. because it comes when the u.s. special envoy is in the midst of negotiations with the taliban. he's trying to bring the afghan government into these negotiations to reach some sort of a peace settlement after nearly two decades at war, ali. but people forget. the u.s. military and the coalition and the afghan military are still engaged in a very active war there. both with the taliban and now with this huge threat from isis up in the east, ali. >> courtney, thank you so much. national security and military reporter joining us from the pentagon. more breaking news. acerous felicity huffman is pleading guilty. what she is saying about the
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charge and why she said she betrayed her daughter. you're watching g msnbc. 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
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xfinity watchathon week. television is back! now through april 14, enjoy free access to the best shows and movies from hbo, showtime, epix and more. what! so, you can get more into what you're into. whether it's more laughs, oops. epic escapes, or high-flying thrills, get more into what you're into. just say "watchathon" into your x1 voice remote, or download the xfinity stream app. xfinity watchathon week, free. now through april 14. breaking news. felicity huffman and several other parents are pleading guilty for their part in the
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large-scale college admission cheating scandal. one of the 50 people in what they call the biggest college admission scam ever prosecuted and the investigation is ongoing. the actress released a statement saying, quote, i am in full acceptance of my guilt and with deep regret and shame over what i have done. i accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those actions. joining me now is miguel who has been following this closely. miguel, some question about how this was going to go given the evidence that prosecutors seemed to have on her and others. >> they had a strong case and many people were expecting a plea deal. 13 parents have entered a plea deal. i want to read you more of the statement released. she goes on to say after what you have read, i am ashamed of the pain i have caused my daughter, my family, my friends, my colleagues and the educational community.
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i want to apologize to them and especially i want to apologize to the students who worked hard every day to get into college and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly. she went on to say my daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions and, in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, i have betrayed her. this transgression towards her and the public, i will carry the rest of my life. my desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty. there you have it. felicity huffman taking full accountability for the crime she says she committed to get her daughter into usc or one of these eight elite universities across the country. huffman is accused of paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct answers on her daughter's s.a.t. exam. therefore, bringing up her daughter's s.a.t. score so she could get into one of the elite
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eight universities. one of 13 other parent who have taken a plea deal. this may be the beginning of what we see, several more plea deals in the works. >> in a couple cases in one case at yale somebody's admission was rescinded after theyert s start studying there. in the case of felicity huffman, william h. macy was not charged. he was caught discussing it with singer but they didn't feel it was appropriate to charge william h. macy so felicity huffman alone was charged in the iscase. several parents have been accused of this crime. lori loughlin and her husband who is a fashion director have not entered a plea. there is no word yet, ali, on what other parent may do who are still involved in this case as you know. 50 parents, 50 people were charged and arrested in this
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case and the alleged ring leader, william singer, said he helped upwards of 700 families. prosecutors told nbc news that there certainly could be more arrests and more charges in the coming days. >> miguel, thank you for your reporting on that. the trump administration is taking an unprecedented step as part of itseft . a foreign terrorist organization. the united states has already sanctioned dozens of people and entities associated with the elite branch of iran's armed forces but never the whole organization. >> this is the first time that the united states has designated a part of another government. we're doing it because the iranian regime use of terrorism state craft makes it fundamentally different from any other government. this historic step the leading state sponsor of terror and the
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financial means to spread misery and death around the world. >> israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu, thanked president trump in a tweet saying, once again, you are keeping the world safe from iran, aggression and terrorism. designating u.s. military forces as a terrorist organization. i want to take a look at why the u.s. would target the islamic revolutionary guard corps. set up after the islamic revolution in 1979 to defend the new government. commands its own air, land and naval units and it also controls iran's ballistic missiles and other nuclear programs. the force has also been a network of domestic paramilitaries known as the basij and a special operation unit known as the quds force. and this will become relevant in just a minute. the irgc have 125,000 members and answers directly to iran's
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supreme leader. the oerlrganization got involven reconstruction efforts after the war of the 1980s and since expanded its economic interests to include a vast network of businesses which are said to include oil and gas projects, banking, shipping and telecommunications. they are a big part of the iranian economy. the u.s. estimates the irgc may actually have control or significant influence over as much as half of the iranian economy. i want to have a little more of this conversation. i want to bring in david s. cohen. he's a former deputy director of the cia and former under secretary of treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. he was one of the architects of the sanctions that pushed iran into making a deal to curb its nuclear program. he currently leads the financial and business integrity group at the law firm. thanks for beelg wiing with us. >> thanks, a li. >> you understood the value of
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sanctions particularly with respect to iran. where does this stand where you feel? >> the sanctions i put in place were very effective. they were designed to achieve an objective and generate leverage for a negotiation with regards to iran's nuclear program. the irgc was a major target of ours. contrary to what secretary pompeo just said has been designated multiple times. as we sit here today before this fto designation, the foreign terrorist organization designation, sanctioned under six separate sanctions program. the question that i think we need to ask is, what is the purpose of designating the organization today when we have in place a vast array of sanctions already against the rogc against the quds force and the head of the rogc and a
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number of the entities that they control in the iranian economy. >> this is a good question. because when you were involved in the crafting of the sanctions led to the iran deal, the goal was, hopefully, a deal that helped bring iran into the international community. the idea is that if these countries are in the international community and in the international economy, they will see the benefit of doing that versus the opposite. there's a policy goal. >> ultimately, the idea of the sanctions and the obama administration was great leverage for a negotiation with the idea that if the iranians agreed to limit their nuclear program, we would relieve the sanctions and slowly integrate iran back into the international business community, as they had been pre-'79. no false hope that iran was going to change overnight and the rogc is a significant problem in iran both because of the activities that they engage
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in through the quds force and others and the military activities and the special operation activities that they are in. but the idea was that the sanctions could be relieved gradually in a way to both reward iran for restraining its nuclear program and to work on other issues regarding iranian malign activity in the region as we make progress with iran as a problem overall. >> is this just a way around the fact that this admin stragdz wa wanted to get out of the iran deal? >> designed to prevent the iran deal from coming back into effect. you can see people who are supporting the designation of the rogc as a foreign terrorist organization and an additional step as a means to make it politically more difficult for a future administration to get back into a negotiation with the iranians because now you have
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the designated foreign terrorist organization. part of this is to, quote, build a wall to prevent a future negotiation with iran over its nuclear program. >> david, always good to see you. thank you for joining us. >> thank you, ali. >> he is now with the law fiwilr hail. police arrested a maryland man who rented a u-haul truck to attack. pete williams joins me now with that news. pete? >> the fbi says this man who is a 28-year-old from maryland, rondel henry of germantown, maryland, was a computer expert at a satellite services company here in the washington area and that he walked off his job on march 26th deciding that he wanted to carry out some kind of attack inspired by isis videos and what the fbi says was by his
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own words hatred for anyone who did not believe in the muslim faith. they said he followed around a u-haul truck and watched where it was parked and when the driver left, he stole the truck and then according to the fbi, drove around the washington area looking for some place to attack that would have a large number of pedestrians. according to court documents, he first drove to dulles airport in virginia outside washington and decided that the circumstances just weren't right for carrying out the kind of attack he wanted to do and then drove on to the national harbor in maryland outside washington and because it was early in the morning, he decided that he would have to wait until more people would get there. according to the court documents, he then parked the car and hid in a boat overnight waiting for more people to gather. now, in the meantime, the u-haul had reported one of its vehicles
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stolen and the fbi, local law enforcement found it parked at a parking garage in national harbor and checked surveillance video. they had gotten the vehicle information on henry's vehicle that he had parked in order to steal the truck at the mall parking garage in virginia. saw him getting out of the truck and arrested him. and according to the fbi, he immediately admitted that he stole the truck and said he wanted to carry out attacks. they quote him as saying in their interview with him, quote, i was just going to keep driving and driving. i wasn't going to stop. now, his family when they reported him missing on march 26th had said they were concerned for his physical and emotional safety. we haven't yet talked to members of the family. but they apparently were aware that he was having some kind of mental or emotional problems. and that may have been a factor here. he'll appear in court for a detention hearing tomorrow.
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and as you can gather, the government is saying he should be held without bail until he can be put on trial, ali. >> pete, always a busy day for you but this one seems unusually busy. thank you for joining me with this breaking news. nbc pete williams in washington. coming up, mayor pete buttigieg is campaigning. we will take a closer look at their strategy out west and speaking of the contenders. cory booker's campaign announced it raised $5 million in the first quarter and puts him behind. keep in mind, some of these candidates got in at different times. the rest of the field has just one week left to file their q1 reports to the federal elections commission.
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i was tired of having my calls dropped, and then i'd heard that i could get apple music if i switched over and i said, "boom!" (vo) the best network is even better with apple music on us. plus save big when you switch. only on verizon. back to our breaking news from earlier in the hour. new details on what charges felicity huffman and several other parents are pleading guilty to in the college admission scandal. joining me now with tom winter. he has some sort of court document in his hand. >> according to the criminal information that has just been filed in u.s. district court in massachusetts, ali, felicity huffman agrees that she paid and admits she paid $15,000 to this key foundation. we've been talking about the head of this, somebody who has already pleaded guilty. you see her going into tape from last week when she was going into court. she is pleading guilty today to conspiracy to commit mail fraud
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and honest services fraud. basically what is going to happen here is she will have to show up again at that same courthouse. she will have to plead guilty and ascendants will be imposed. we don't yet have the plea agreement whether or not any sort of a downward reduction or any sort of a lighter sentence recommended by the government. according to the press release from the u.s. attorney office in boston, there is no, there is no suggestion that there is any sort of an agreement on prison term that is included here. she faces up to 20 years, ali. but chances are here she's not really going to do that much time. chances are she is going to probably do something less than that. i would suspect no violent crime associated with this and no other charges associated with this and she's admitting to her guilt even before indictment, i think it is likely that she will go no where near the 20 years. whether or not she actually has to do some prison time is possible in this case and she also faces a significant amount of fines and three years of
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supervised release. this is a significant, significant quemedevelopment in. >> i'm fascinated by a note you sent out. the parents who improperly took tax deductions for the bribe payments have now agreed to cooperate with the irs and pay back taxes. that is fascinating to me. >> that's exactly correct. i don't know if that applies to huffman's case because that isn't said here. the people who took the bribe payments and the people who made the bribe payments because in all of these instances they received documents essentially said, hey, here's $15,000 to your charitable organization and this is just to help us out with education. but, in fact, it was a bribe payment. if they then took that deduction on their tax payment is making a charitable contribution, then according to this, the people involved with that will have to pay back the back taxes to the irs and since the irs was involved in this investigation they will get their end, too. typically they're helpful in these instances to figure out which payments went where and
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when. >> do we know anything about whether fines are something that can be in place with people's prison sentences? >> i don't think it will be in place of prison sentences. i doubt that will be the case here. we don't have all the documents to put that together. the fine, the minimum fine is $250,000 or whatever is greater of the two times of whatever they paid. we're getting into some legal technicalities here. >> i always like to push you because you're good at this stuff. >> i think it is interesting that two parents received separate criminal information today and they're cooperating in the ongoing investigation. we know this is ongoing. over 700 parents that were involved in this. i would expect more developments to come. >> we have heard more and we don't know where they are from. tom winter, thank you. the first votes won't be cast for ten month but that isn't stopping some of the 2020 presidential candidates from stumping in the first states where senators will cast their ballots.
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amy klobuchar and bernie sanders spoke hoping to union workers. mayor buttigieg was meeting with members at a coffee house and meeting with a veteran community where we go. what is going on, what is the feeling that you're seeing? >> you're exactly right, ali. a lot of attention going around mayor pete buttigieg and he's here touring. he was at a coffee shop this morning and now he's here talking to veterans and also touring the apartments and the food pantry they have going on here. as soon as he pulled up i saw a man go up and saying a lot of the things that mayor pete says about democracy are things that this voter wants to hear more of. i caught up with this voter and
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i said, is this a man who has your vote? he said, he is. he likes the way he talks about compromise and putting democracy first. and this man says to him the biggest issue is health care. that is something that mayor pete has been out there talking about. he likes the idea of medicare for all and laying the groundwork for a public option. so, certainly, as we're out here on the campaign trail, voters want to learn more about this man. inest the interestingly enough you would think you would hear more about age about pete who is under 40 and most people who say they're interested and like him, they like the generational argument he makes on climate change and they like the experience they've seen from him so far and the way he talks about his experience in south bend as a mayor and dealing with those issues but on a larger, national scale. >> i want to talk more about pete, but let's talk about burnbur bernie sanders and amy
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klobuchar. nevada has a high concentration of union workers. >> that's exactly right. amy klobuchar and bernie sanders have deep roots there. making her pitch as a daughter and granddaughter of union workers and bernie sanders i think got nine standing ovations because he continuously brought up issues that they really do care about here about specific employers not paying for income taxes. policy and narrative. this morning at the union convention we were at that's exactly what they did. so, it gives voters something to latch on to in terms of the personal connection with the candidate when they talk about the personal story and also when they put in the policies that they would like to implement, if they were given the chance to be the democratic nominee and then later the president, ali. >> the latest installment of the ally v. show. joining us now peter and
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latest piece is called "why beto and buttigieg pretend to be kennedys." and also with us senior politics editor beth who just wrote about why pete buttigieg's age may be an eset wiasset in new hampshir. let's start there. that is something that ally brought up. he's 35. constitutionally legal to run for president. not 14. but it's interesting. tell me why you think it might be good for older voters. >> just from conversations i had in new hampshire. that's an older state to begin with. the 13th oldest state in the country as of the most recent consensus and his events that i attended was very well stacked with people but they were white and they were older. just a big contrast with the candidate himself. talking to all these voters, does this bring you pause and do
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you have an issue with it? they said, look, older people have had their chance. done their thing. it's time now for a new voice. they would specifically point to bernie sanders who won the primary big in 2016 over hillary clinton and joe biden who we expect will get in shortly. people pointed to both of those men and said they're past their prime. it's time for a new voice and a new generation to come in and take this over. it was very striking, ali. >> peter, i want a quote about pete buttigieg and among the many dramas, within the still growing democratic field, the 2020 primaries will also be a test of whether, after 60 years, the character of a kennedyesque charismatic loner. what are you talking about here? >> the democrats are always looking for a new spokesperson. a new evangelist.
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somebody who is going to preach the ideals that they believe in in an apiinspiring way. we saw it with the attention given to beto o'rourke and that argument talking about democracy and generational change. we can do better. they want an aspiring message, democrats. especially from a younger person. >> what is your sense of how that works because what we saw, beth, in the early days certainly of beto o'rourke was almost a push back on the cur charisma and jumping on tables and maybe that settled down. but almost as if democrats were saying, that's not what we want. we don't want a feeling and a look, we want substance and policy. where are we now? ? even though buttigieg and beto are somewhat similar age, mayor pete is almost the opposite of beto in that way. he's very policy oriented.
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he has charisma and he is a smart man. the man i would use is earnest. he is quite earnest almost to the point where he needs to have more of an edge to do the rough and tumble that he will have to do at some point in this big field. comparing him to the kennedys and i sort of see it and i sort of don't. he's so earnest and jfk had this slightly wicked smile, a little transgressive quality to him and you don't see that at all with mayor pete. midwestern wholesomeness which is quite in contrast with what you think of a national politician. usually you have to throw a lot of sharp elbows. we'll see if pete can do that. >> he talked open about his sexualty and how he wouldn't have wanted to be gay and wouldn't have chosen it. if there was a pillow he could have swallowed, he would have. something he could have cut out
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of his body, he would have. i was trying to figure out who he was talking to in that conversation this weekend. >> he was talking about his story and his sense of suffering. the flipside of being 37 yearsole, peyears o old, emphasizing the struggles he went through as a gay man. you know, it shows that he is seasoned in a way. he's emotionally mature. he's somebody who understands pain and understands the need to overcome and reach a higher understanding. that's the message i think he's trying to get across. >> well, it sounded quite effective. very authentic i authentic. straight ahead, tax day is almost here and many americans counting on a refund are facing a hefty tax bill. unhappy returns is coming up. up
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tax day is just one week from today and the first year americans are filing taxes under the tax reform plan that president trump made law in december of 2017 which made changes to rates and deductions. the president promised most people would see a tax cut. how are folks feeling about it? 28% of respondents think they'll ultimately pay more in taxes. only 17% think they're going to pay less. nbc jake ward spoke to a young mom from houston who said she
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was hoping her tax return would help her through her unpaid maternity leave. but she was shocked to learn how it would affect her family. >> reporter: she used to look forward to filing her taxes. >> typically i enjoy tax season because it's easy for me to do and we typically get a refund. i get it done as soon as possible. >> reporter: this year instead of getting back the $5,000 wright was expecting and she and her husband got last year, the houston mom found they actually owed the government money. >> i called my husband immediately crying. i was in a large amount of stress at that point. it's almost traumatizing. >> reporter: with the birth of new daughter olivia three weeks ago, wright said her family was counting on a tax refund to cover the cost of her unpaid maternity leave. wright is one of millions of americans for whom tax season 2019 has been a source of surprise. and disappointment. according to nerd wallet, 59% of americans who have filed a
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federal tax return so far have reported smaller refunds this year than last year. >> 6% of taxpayers are going to get a tax increase. but 6% of taxpayers is almost 10 million people. >> reporter: wright it's almost 10 million people. >> wright who manages a coffee house said although she and her husband make less than $50,000, under new laws they don't qualify for an earned income credit and no longer able to claim the personal deductions they claimed last year. she's among those who the change in the tax code is a big deal. who else is feeling the squeeze? those living in many higher are areas. they could deduct state and local taxes, salt, but the new code reduces those. and work related expenses, under new tax laws they can no longer
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claim those deductions. president trump argued the new tax code has benefitted millions. >> with the tax cuts the biggest in the history of our country, tax cuts with people having more money in their pocket. >> reporter: and donald trump jr. defended laws tweeting, of course, refunds are down, people are paying less in taxes and the code is simplified. a refund means you overpaid. as for wright she said she and her husband are trying to figure out what to do about a lack of tax refund. she's now started a paypal me fund and made the decision to return to work this week, four weeks earlier than planned. >> we were banking on the refund. we live paycheck to paycheck, we can't save as of right now. jake ward joins me now. she said we live paycheck to paycheck. the tens of millions of americans who say the same thing we saw it in the government
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shutdown. >> that's right. >> so people are seeing they're paying less in taxes and yet people are mad about the way this is turning out. >> it makes you wonder if there's any policy that people wouldn't get upset about. they say that 80% of taxpayers are going to pay less taxes because of this. but twitter right now is exploded with people outraged they're not going to get their refund. basically they held onto more of the money over the course of paycheck to paycheck, but then at the end of the year they don't come up with the refund they felt they were going to. so people feel the loss -- >> this is interesting. if you gave 50 bucks a month extra, if you paid extra taxes, that's 600 bucks a year. if you had that money as a refund, it's better to not have the government hold your money. >> yeah, it makes more sense. >> but people don't like the idea. >> as one person said to me today, i treat it as if it is an
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untouchable savings account, right that does the work for me. i don't get to touch it until tax refund time comes around and boom i have this infusion of money, it's almost as if the inefficiency of the system has been serving people -- >> it is inefficient for the government to have your money instead of you. if you were going to save or invest it, you would do better than the government. >> i don't often agree with donald trump jr. but in this -- >> in this case he's right. >> that's right. >> this is interesting. the psychology of it's harder to give something up. it's better for your brain to not give something up. >> it feels terrible, even though it makes sense for you to take an extra 50 bucks home in each paycheck. instead that gets frittered away. especially in a country that half of us can't put together $400 in an emergency, the average credit card debt is $8,000, people are made and
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broken by these small checks. >> you're going to continue this, right? >> we have two more to come. >> thank you, jake. jake ward is going to be covering tax returns all this week on msnbc. what you can do if you find yourself owing the government more money. back to the breaking news in the top of the hour. two top officials out from their posts at homeland security. this afternoon news broke that the director of the secret service is leaving. he reported to the head of the agency, secretary kirstjen nielsen, who resigned last night under pressure from trump with a source siting mutual frustration, due in part to trump's renewed support for celebrating migrant families at the border. tom perez tweeted this afternoon, kirstjen nielsen's record of separating families and locking kids in cages was not cruel enough for trump.
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whoever he points next will likely be worse. we must all stand to withhold our values as americans. tom perez joins me now. good to see you again. >> good to be with you. >> a bit of a crisis at homeland security. remember when there was no homeland security department, it was invented after 9/11 because there was lack of coordination in dealing with threats to the country. asking someone what dhs does, they'd say it's immigration right now. >> the question is who isn't acting right now. everyone there is acting. as someone who worked in three different federal agencies, that's not good. the notion this secretary, who will live in infamy, who is no longer there, is going to be replaced by someone that he wants to be quote/unquote tougher. they're losing sight of the point here. the point is to be smarter.
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when you're smarter you're better. tough doesn't equal smart. it doesn't equal effective. they violate the hippocratic oath of policy making every day when it comes to homeland security and immigration policy. at every turn they're making the wrong decision. let's cut foreign aid and you know what, foreign aid is how you get at the root causes of the challenges that exist in those countries. he talks about -- the fact is at the border right now they've moved a lot of drug prosecutions out of federal court and into state court so they can prosecute migrant cases in federal court. i thought you were supposed to keep the border safe. at every turn they're making the wrong decision. we need smart measures. measures that will ensure we can uphold the rule of law. we're a nation of laws and immigrants. every day they're violating the
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hippocratic oath. >> let me ask you what this says about a department. you were a cabinet secretary, the secretary of labor. what does this tell you about a place there's that much disarray, there isn't somebody running the thing because they're not doing the president's bidding. >> it's chaos. who isn't in an acting position at the department of homeland security. you have a defense secretary who's acting. in so many of these critical positions that are supposed to both coordinate and design key policies you don't have a senate confirmed person in place. and the result of that right now is chaos. what we need is an orderly process. there's so many things that could be done if their focus was something other than i want to say something that will sound good at a rally of 10,000 people for a campaign stop. you could make so much progress if you were thinking level headed at this moment. we should have many, many more
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asylum officers and my friend doris mizeferat the migration policy institute has outlined a way of getting asylum officers down to the border to adjudicate al asylum matters. if you increase that you can address part of the crisis. in the obama administration what they did was to build relationships with our allies, so coast a rica agreed to take in a number of people applying for asylum so they didn't have to come to the united states. the challenge is when you have offended all of your allies, they're not exactly running toward us to provide assistance. so when i keep hearing talk about tough, tough doesn't equal smart. tough equals dumb. and we need to make sure we have smart law enforcement. that's how we can address the
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challenges at the border. >> tom always good to see you. thank you for joining me. tom perez. i want to look at the markets. i want to see how stocks are doing. we've had a rough day all day today as investors have struggled with getting the stock market to go up a little bit. we have seen a bit of an increase, on the right side of the screen, over the last hour. but the dow is getting ready to close about a third of a percent lower. i want to look at the other markets as well. it does seem to be that trading is inline with the other majors, the s&p 500, i'm trying to get it up on the screen for you. the s&p 500 and the nasdaq are both in an opposite direction. s&p actually had a pretty good gain, about a 2% -- i'm sorry it's almost flat. it's 2 points higher. the nasdaq is up about 13 points. it's sort of -- it's not in sync
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today but all three markets, that's the day weer looking at. i'm going to see you back here tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. eastern and 3:00 p.m. eastern. you can always find me on social media. thank you for watching, "deadline: white house" with nicole wallace starts right now. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in the new york with news breaking this afternoon that donald trump fired his secret service director, there are questions today about the fate of high level firings and what's behind them. secret service director, randolph alice, who was appointed two years ago is the second person fired by donald trump in less than 24 hours. an administration official telling nbc news the firing was not on any single event. this ouster comes one day after homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen resigned


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