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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  July 9, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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nothing to do with the indictment brought that was unsealed yesterday for which epstein was in court for. >> thank you for clearing this up. you are the guy we turn to when we need to clear things up. thanks for watching. see you back here at 3:00 p.m. >> i'll see you tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. we hand you off to peter alexander who picks up coverage in washington. >> hello. thank you very much. i'm peter alexander in today for katy tur. 11:00 out west, 2:00 in washington where the president is defending his secretary of labor amid growing calls for his resignation. >> for 2 1/2 years, he's been just an excellent secretary of labor. he's done a fantastic job. what happened 12 or 15 years ago with respect to when he was a u.s. attorney, i think in miami -- is it miami? >> yes. >> if you go back and look at everybody else's decisions, whether it's a u.s. attorney or an assistant u.s. attorney or a judge, you go back 12 or 15 years ago or 20 years ago and look at their past decisions, i
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would think you'd probably find that they would wish they maybe did it a different way. i feel very badly actually for secretary acosta because i've known him as being somebody that works so hard and has done such a good job. >> the growing demands for alex acosta's exit have hit a fever pitch following the new york arrest of registered sex offender jeffrey epstein. acosta is under scrutiny for negotiating a controversial deal with epstein a decade ago when he was the u.s. attorney in florida. it resulted in epstein spending just 13 months in jail for sexually abusing dozens of underage girls. and with epstein in jail again this time in new york, the growing question is whether acosta should face a reckoning of his own. democrats now ratcheting up the pressure on the white house to fire acosta or force him to step down, including top democrats on capitol hill. >> i am calling on secretary
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acosta to resign. it is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in secretary acosta's ability to lead the department of labor. if he refuses to resign, president trump should fire him. >> this morning, acosta took to twitter to defend himself. he claimed prosecutors in new york had new evidence that was unavailable to him a decade ago. the trump administration is supporting him. but former white house advisers tell politico, quote, the next 72 hours are critical for acosta. the way to stay in this administration is to stay under the radar, out of the news and be quiet. potus would like it if it lingers. so the big question that we're asking today, how long will president trump stand by alex acosta? joining me is nbc news white house correspondent kelly o'donnell, associated press white house reporter and msnbc political analyst jonathan
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lemire, politico senior writer and msnbc political contributor jake sherman and politico white house correspondent and associate editor, anita kumar. thank you to my team for being here. we heard from the president within the last hour or so. he is standing by his secretary of labor. what's the case the president is effectively making on alex acosta's behalf? >> one of the things the president is pointing to is his accomplishments on the job. this is different than some of the other cabinet secretaries who have gotten into trouble and ultimately left their positions. those were instances of difficulties they had in the course of doing their business. as a member of the trump administration. these facts go back to acosta's judgment in a prior job as the u.s. attorney in florida. the president separating those in part because he likes the job that secretary acosta has been doing. and one of the problems for this, for the white house, for secretary accoosta is that jobss
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one of the biggest things that's part of the president's argument for re-election. the economy, jobs and so forth. the kind of position where he would want to have that secretary in the sunshine with him talking about various accomplishments or programs. and this makes that very difficult. with the secretary putting out his tweet, calling jeffrey epstein's offenses horrific and talking about new evidence. that perhaps will stop some of the bleeding, but democrats have an easy path here to call for this resignation. the president was also asked today about his own personal interactions with jeffrey epstein who is the person charged with these offenses. and the president also put distance between himself and epstein who he had previously in a new york magazine article called a terrific person, a terrific guy. here's what he said today. >> i knew him like everybody in palm beach knew him. people in palm beach knew him. he was a fixture in palm beach. i had a falling out with him a long time ago. i don't think i've spoken to him for 15 years.
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i wasn't a fan. >> and the president didn't respond to follow-ups asking for more detail about what that falling out might have been. so the president separating himself from epstein, giving some support to acosta today. and we'll have to see where this goes. that's part of what the white house will be watching, how it plays politically for secretary acosta and how that reflects on the president. peter? >> contrast that with what the president said about epstein in 2002 telling the "new york" magazine among other things that epstein was a, quote, excellent guy. you can see the quotes there on your screen. the bottom line is the president was defending him then -- or was defending him as a great guy then. said they've had a falling out since. so the question now to jonathan, if i can ask you, the president clearly doesn't like caving on anything here. so is that the calculus behind the scenes in the white house on this? stand by your guy as long as you can until there's nothing you can do about it and then just
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cut bait? >> that's the president's first instinct. they're trying to see if this blows over. let's also remember that it is -- this wouldn't be the first time the president has stood by someone the center of controversy. in particular, with allegations like these. someone who backed up people, powerful men accused in the me too movement like roger ailes and also supportive of roy moore, the alabama senate candidate when he ran for office and lost a few years back. right now he does like the work that acosta is doing. he's not inclined to dismiss him. the politico story is spot on in that, at a certain point, time may run out. this president is highly attuned to media coverage. and if this becomes -- this continues as a wall-to-wall story the next few days, that's going to be difficult for the secretary to survive. >> jonathan, as it relates to jeffrey epstein here, acosta said of epstein there was new evidence in this case. we're hearing from the reporter at the "miami herald" who led a lot of the investigation, investigations that got praise from the southern district of new york when we heard from jeff
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berman yesterday. she writes, except the record shows he had the evidence in 2007. remember the 53-page indictment, the phone records, the trash pulls, the flight manifests, the witnesses who work forward epstein. is there new evidence? here he says that there is. >> i'll defer to julia on this. she's done masterful reporting on this throughout the story. doesn't seem as if there's nothing substantial just yet. acosta is mounting his own defense here. we're seeing a pr campaign. his tweets. we've seen others defend him. the president in the oval office backed him up. but again, if pressure continues to mount, there's a number of democrats already who, of course, have called for his resignation. do republicans follow suit? if they do, that may be difficult for the president to stand by acosta and, again, if this just becomes a distraction, if it takes away from what the president wants to talk about, in particular the economy, in which acosta with the jobs portfolio is such a key part of, that's going to be a problem.
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just yesterday the president got really good poll numbers in an abc news/"washington post" poll. his highest yet of his term, mostly because of his handling of the economy. if this acosta/epstein story overshadows that, it's going to be hard for the secretary to stay in his post. >> jake, talking about politics and what impact this could have on republican lawmakers, whether they're affected by it, what they choose to do. we've heard from some of the top democrats. what are you hearing among republicans? >> well, republicans have stood by him for now. that's the real question here. does he become a liability either politically or does he have to come to political at some point over the next, you know, two or three weeks to testify and he's asked these questions and then republicans could be in a tough spot in terms of asking him questions or getting pressure in the hallways. listen, over the next couple of weeks, there's a lot of legislative issues to take care of. there's some shelter for republicans to say, listen, it's not something i'm really focused on at the moment and they can try to duck it. but that can't last for so long. for democrats, this is a free
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hit for democrats. i'd be surprised by the end of this week if there are still democrats who are holding out and not calling for has resignation. it's really the political easy move at this point. but the question is, will embattled republicans feel the pressure to try to throw him overboard? and i'd imagine there will be some, as these legal proceedings kind of push on, some republicans will have to put distance between themselves and the secretary. >> anita, in your piece you suggest the decision to give acosta a pass for now might have something to do with some personal reasons for the president. let me put up a quote from your reporting. the expectation in the west wing is that president donald trump is likely to give acosta the benefit of the doubt because the allegations of assault by women that have been falsely made against him and brett kavanaugh, according to the people. so give us a better understanding of how that calculus plays in here. >> sure. he's very, very sensitive to this issue. as you know, there are a number
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of women that have accused him of assault, and a number of women that have accused now justice brett kavanaugh of assault. and he has very much pushed back. said those aren't true. and he feels that powerful men are often accused by women, in this case, this would be young women, girls even, of false allegations. so he's very attuned to that. and that's part of this calculus. there's another factor going on, which is why president trump supports him for perhaps some of the things he does, has done or said about the economy, there are a lot of people in the white house that do not support him. acting chief of staff mick mulvaney has not been fond of him. there are a lot of business groups that have been complaining to the white house about him because of his actual job that they have -- that the labor department has not gotten enough regulations through the department fast enough, quick enough. and there have been a lot of complaints for months about that. now secretary acosta seems to have solved that problem or at least quickened things up in the last couple of months. so some of those complaints have
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died down. but that is a factor. if he is -- if the president is going to rely on aides or his acting chief of staff to give him advice on this, they may be telling him it's time for him to go. >> kelly, i want to bring you back in. we heard from kellyanne conway on this. she said this is not about alex acosta. this should be about jeffrey epstein. but that argument may only last for so long. >> yes, and she was trying to make the case that by showing alex acosta's face on camera in some of the coverage, at the same time, people are talking about the underlying allegations against jeffrey epstein, who, of course, admitted to misconduct in the last plea agreement back in 2008, that that somehow conflates that and is unfair to acosta. so kellyanne conway being aggressive in her support of the secretary, but it always comes back to, how does this reflect on the president and on the administration, and how does it affect the way the president conducts day-to-day business.
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there was an event here yesterday in the east room. a number of cabinet secretaries were present. secretary acosta was not. today and going forward, what is his public schedule? how can he be effective when there are questions like this? clearly his trip tick of tweets talking about his concerns about the epstein case is a way for him to get control of this. but will that be enough? until he speaks on camera, until the president has to be in position to address it again and that could make the president much more weary about this on how it affects his own administration. >> of course, the president saying they had a falling out. he did with jeffrey epstein back in 2004 -- or back about 15 years ago he said. so now reporters hunt for pictures if there are any pictures of the two since then. we appreciate all of your time. thank you. still ahead right here -- another democrat joining the 2020 race. billionaire tom steyer goes from donor to contender.
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we'll be joined by the reporter who says steyer doesn't just bring his billions. he brings the equivalent of a political death star, too. plus, the president attacks the supreme court over its ruling against adding a citizenship question to the census. and his doj apparently has a new plan to get that question one way or another. but first, breaking news -- obamacare facing another big test this hour in federal court. with coverage for millions of americans on the line. 's sleep. there's a better choice. aleve pm. the only one to combine a safe sleep aid and the 12-hour pain-relieving strength of aleve that dares to last into the morning. so you feel refreshed. aleve pm. there's a better choice.
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we're back with breaking news from capitol hill. the senate majority leader, republican mitch mcconnell, just responded to questions about labor secretary alex acosta. take a listen. >> do you think he should step down? >> well, there's no question that the accusations against epstein are horrendous. and i think it's good news they're being pursued further. as to secretary acosta's continued service, to serve at the pleasure of the president, and i'm inclined to defer to the president to make that decision. >> there he is. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell saying he'll defer to the president as it relates to the future of alex acosta. hardly a ringing endorsement but not the criticism that we've heard from democratic leaders, including the senate minority
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leader chuck schumer. another headline we're focused on today is obamacare which is back in court at this hour. the federal appeals court in louisiana is hearing arguments as we speak on the decision from a judge in texas who struck down the law. on one side, more than a dozen red states, plus department of justice lawyers who argue the entirety of the affordable care act is unconstitutional. on the other, a number of blue states and the democratic held house of representatives who are defending the law. joining me now, nbc news correspondent morgan chaskey and pete williams and huffington post's jonathan con, also the author of "sick." morgan, i want to start with you. you were out in front of the courthouse right now. there was some expectation we could see protests of some kind. obviously with real implications for families around the country given what decision comes out of these hearings. what are you seeing there?
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>> yeah, peter, good afternoon. no protests as of yet but this is an issue that so many in this area are watching today inside this courtroom to see american health care policy basically be discussed right in front of their eyes. it's so crowded they've had to open an overflow room within the past few minutes. a long line stretching out earlier. i had a chance to speak to some of those in line, including three students who came here today to hear this issue first hand. two from tulane, one from university of new orleans, who is majoring in health care administration saying what's discussed in these 45-minute arguments today could likely define his entire career. those three students telling me they're in favor of the affordable care act as is and also would be fine with the private option being done away with altogether. so those arguments just now getting started here in new orleans, but a lot of attention as it gets under way. peter? >> morgan chesky, thank you. pete, help us get a better understanding of what we're looking at here.
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one thing that makes this unusual is you have the federal government, the department of justice arguing with the plaintiffs. >> yes, even though the government is still enforcing the law, they're also going to argue they think it should be all struck down. 45-minute arguments for each side. 90 minutes total. here's the big issue. when obamacare was passed, you may remember it was challenged, and the supreme court ruled that, yes, the individual mandate part, the part that says every american has to buy health insurance, would be unconstitutional on its own. the government can't force you to buy something but because there was a penalty if you didn't buy insurance, the law could be saved as a legitimate use of congress' taxing power. in 2017, the republican-controlled congress said we'll fix that. we'll just set the tax at zero. texas and the other states sued. the judge agreed with them in their argument that because there was no longer a tax, there was nothing to save the law. now the states and the house that are defending the law say, well, wait a minute. you've got it all wrong. without a tax, there's no
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penalty so you don't have to buy insurance so there's no mandate anymore. nothing is unconstitutional. the second big issue is was the judge right that even if that part of the law is unconstitutional, does the entire rest of it collapse? the judge said, yes, because it's all interlinked. the parties saying, no, certain parts can still be saved. so those are the two big issues but the court may also say this. well, geez, if the justice department, which administers the law, now agrees with the states it's unconstitutional, is this case over? is it moot? do we have anything to argue about? and that's an issue as well. >> jonathan, let me bring you in. help us understand what is at stake here. if the justice department is to be successful, if they were to wipe out the affordable care act, of course, this wouldn't likely conclude, we presume, until some point next year, some point in the supreme court's term which would put it only a matter of months before the 2020 election. what would the impact be if the aca were erased, obamacare
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erased? >> the impact would be devastating. it's really hard to overstate. remember, we're talking about every piece of the affordable care act. so the -- everybody knows the protections of the pre-existing conditions. those go out the window. but it goes beyond that. the money that people get, the tax credits to help them buy insurance, that money disappears. all the money that's being spent to help states expand medicaid which you 37 states, plus washington, d.c., have done. that goes away. and when you add it all up, that is 20 million people who aren't going to get health insurance, according to the best projections we have. and even that doesn't fully cover it because you know the affordable care act touches every aspect of our health care system and does things that people aren't even that aware of like setting -- prohibiting lifetime limits on benefits which is something that means a lot to people with severe medical conditions. in the old days, even good
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employer-based private insurance had those limits. the affordable care act said they had to go away. take away the law, those go away. and all of these impacts all the way, all these changes to the way that medicare pays hospitals. public health measures. it's hard to overstate how much devastation, how much chaos a decision like that would unleash. >> jonathan, fundamentally, this would appear to be in the conversations i have with strategists on both sides challenging for republicans, right? so either one way if they lose the case, they lose the case. if they win the case, they have to come up with some alternative as they head into the 2020 election to try to help find health care coverage for all -- health insurance for these millions of americans who would then be uncovered. this was a successful strategy for the democrats running on this issue. it could put the republicans in a real bind in 2020, couldn't it? >> it really could. all the smart republicans i know are desperate for this case to go away. they are hoping the circuit court overturns the decision because they say this is bad news for the republicans
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politically. but, you know, bad news for the republicans politically, much, much worse news for all the people who would lose health insurance. >> jonathan, pete williams and morgan chesky who is in new orleans today, thank you. coming up next, the mega democratic donor and billionaire tom steyer joins the 2020 field. and he is ready to open up his wallet. thanks for the ride-along, captain! i've never been in one of these before, even though geico has been- ohhh. ooh ohh here we go, here we go. you got cut off there, what were you saying? oooo. oh no no. maybe that geico has been proudly serving the military for over 75 years? is that what you wanted to say? mhmmm.
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there is a new democrat running for the 2020 presidential nomination. tom steyer made a late entry into the primary. steyer previously declined to run for president saying he wanted to instead focus on his efforts to raise support for impeaching president trump. but now the hedge fund billionaire says he is the best choice to, quote, end the hostile corporate takeover of our democracy. and steyer comes ready to make it rain. he has already booked more than a million dollars worth of ads in critical primary states. joining me now, nbc news digital reporter alex seitswald. thanks for being here. alex, you just finished a conversation with tom steyer, the newest democrat in this field a short time ago. in the past we heard from him, he said he was going to decline,
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going to pass this go around. obviously, something changed. what is it? >> right, a lot of things changed. the field developed. but what he told me is that in january when he decided not to run, he was going to focus on impeachment. in the seven months since he feels like he's won that argument, even though impeachment looks no more likely in the house or in the -- or removal in the senate, he calls that a failure of government. he said because it's not going to happen there, he needs to get in the race himself and try to oust president trump from the ballot box. >> let me play some of his video released earlier today. >> i think what people believe is that the system has left them. i think people believe that the corporations have bought the democracy, that the politicians don't care about or respect them. don't put them first. are not working for them. but are actually working for the people who have rigged the system. >> so fundamentally, does he understand the challenges of sort of being a billionaire who says he's fighting off -- fighting for the working people
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in this situation? fighting against the sort of corporate business lobby here? is that a challenge for him? >> he's really leaning into it. he sounds a little like donald trump or ross perot who died today. no one owns me. i can't be bought. i'm not beholden to the establishment or to donors, to corporate interest which sounds a lot like what donald trump pitched to voters in 2016. and he has fought battles with nancy pelosi who has not wanted impeachment to be a major issue. he's been willing to do that and willing to put his money where his mouth is. i do think there's a question of whether he's the best mess. >>er f-- messenger for this. i can see elizabeth warren or bernie sanders really going after him on that. but he's going to make his pitch in saying that just like they have their small dollars, i have my big donors and can do what i want to work for the people. >> he has, i think, something more than 8 million people who are on board with this impeachment effort that he had been leading to get rid of
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donald trump. you describe his mailing list as a political death star. how potent is a list like that for a candidate like tom steyer? >> we use that term in a piece we wrote early last year. and democratic strategists were already saying this is among the biggest email list that's been amassed in democratic politics. that's obviously tremendously powerful for fund-raising, small-dollar fund raising if he wants to make it on a debate stage. >> he doesn't need the money for the money. he needs the donors. you need something like 130,000 donors, even if it's 5 cents each, just to show up on that stage. >> he's been very adepts at building up a media platform. one of the democrats we talked to said he has been to trump in a sense what trump was to obama in the sense of channeling partisan opposition to one figure in particular in order to create a large base of support and he cornered that market of the impeachment guy. he's been the impeach guy for a
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year plus and frustrated democrats, democrats frustrated with their party leadership have flocked to him because he's carrying the banner on that issue. >> it's ironic. nancy pelosi saying just follow my lead. not the best strategy. we'll investigate intensively but don't need to impeach. then this guy who is leaning in with what we heard from the statement, but also with this idea of impeachment. is impeachment enough for a candidate on the democratic debate stage right now? >> the fact that his opening message sounds more like a bernie sanders or an elizabeth warren, i think, suggests that it is not, and he understands that it is not. he really built his appeal up until now in a very esoteric way. first climate change and then impeachment. he needs to broaden that if he'll have the appeal necessary. >> as he tries to broaden that and gets into lanes that some democrats argue belong to them. bernie sanders among them dissatisfied by this announcement. here's what he said to andrea mitchell a short time ago. take a listen. >> i have known tom for a number
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of years. and i like tom personally. but i do have to say, as somebody who in this campaign has received 2 million campaign contributions, averaging, i believe, $19 a person, i am a bit tired of seeing billionaires trying to buy political power. so i like tom. he is a good guy. he's a friend of mine, but i'm not a great fan of billionaires getting involved in the political process. >> said like you'd expect bernie sanders to say it there. who is tom steyer a threat to if there were to be one on the democratic side? >> because of his money and massive email list he's a threat to the entire field. and this changes things tremendously. people don't drop out of presidential campaigns because they don't have a chance to win. they drop out because they can't put gas in their tank. >> eric swalwell among them. >> just yesterday eric swalwell said he was specifically not running because of this. this is very much a reality. steyer is going to respond to that kind of attack.
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what he told me is by pitching himself as an outsider. bernie sanders, elizabeth warren, 73 years of experience combined in the senate. he is, obviously, none of that. >> democrats are happy he's doing it his way and not the howard schultz way which is running as an independent where there could be a risk down the line. nice to see you. thanks for your reporting today. the majority leader gets a challenger. the woman vowing to bring it to mitch mcconnell in 2020. e diabe, dietary choices are crucial to help manage blood sugar, but it can be difficult to find a balanced solution. try great-tasting boost glucose control. the patented blend of protein, fat, and carbs is part of a balanced formula that's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels. in fact, it provides 60% more protein than the leading diabetes nutrition shake and contains only 1 carb choice. enjoy the balanced nutrition of boost glucose control as part of a healthy diet.
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senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has a challenger for his seat in kentucky. democrat and former marine amy mcgrath who you might remember from her 2018 house race just announced that she is going after the longtime republican leader. mitch mcconnell has been commenting -- >> i sat at this table, and i wrote a letter to my senator. telling him i wanted to fly fighter jets in combat, to fight for my country, and that women should be able to do that. he never wrote back. i'm amy mcgrath. and i've often wondered how many other people did mitch mcconnell never take the time to write back? or even think about? >> that announcement is one of three in the last 24 hours that have started to try to define this 2020 battleground in kentucky. republican chris kovak made waves with his decision to go
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after senator pat roberts' seat in kansas and former republican congressman scott taylor announced he is taking on democratic senator mark warner in virginia. joining me now is nbc news senior political editor mark murray and former pennsylvania republican congressman ryan costello. thank you for being with us right now. mark, let me ask you about amy mcgrath. this is getting a lot of buzz already today. a lot of democrats want to see mitch mcconnell picked off. she lost in the house run in one of the best sort of opportunities that a democrat would have in a while. in a blue area as it goes. or the least red, we should say, in kentucky, to andy barr in 2018. the president won kentucky by 30 points. >> uh-huh. >> can someone beat mitch mcconnell in a presidential election year in kentucky? >> it's going to be really hard. the good news for amy mcgrath is she'll be able to raise a tremendous amount of money as she was able to do in 2018. she's also an outsider. which does kind of help you if you want to take on mitch mcconnell and tie him to
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washington. but the bad news is that donald trump won kentucky by 30 points. and even somehow if mitch mcconnell underperforms trump in 2020, it's not going to be by 30 points. maybe, you know, it's by 20 points or so and mitch mcconnell is very unpopular. democrats want to be able to beat him, but, to me, the purpose of having mcgrath run isn't necessarily to defeat mcconnell. it's to make sure he gets an opponent and that you end up trying to tie up republican resources in places like kentucky so democrats can spend elsewhere. >> mitch mcconnell already responding to this new campaign, this new candidacy of mcgrath. he was ready for it. allies already putting out ads on the area. here's mcconnell only a short time ago. >> unlike a lot of my members, i actually enjoy campaigning. as you know, i've had a few of them. and it will be a spirited race, particularly since i've become leader of my party in the senate. i get more attention than i used to. and i look forward to the contest and laying outer
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differences to the people of kentucky. >> congressman, we were having a conversation in the break. beto o'rourke ran against ted cruz. got all this national attention. got a ton of money, didn't win but raised his profile dramatically here. is this a similar situation in that there are a lot of democrats nationally, maybe not enough of them in kentucky, but those that want to beat mitch mcconnell? >> i think, yes. i also believe, though, if you are a republican or supporting republican senate candidates around the country, this is more money deployed to a race that is really not going to happen for democrats. and so that's money that may not go -- >> takes money away from elsewhere? >> that's one. the other irony is the attacks you see day in, day out against mitch mcconnell by democrats are going to help him in kentucky. and so, you know, this is, to your point, a lot of national attention may go on this race. that national attention may counterintuitively help senator mcconnell in his re-election. and i do believe to the extent
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there are coattails from president trump, they're going to go downward into senator mcconnell's column. and even if senator mcconnell doesn't perform at president trump's level in kentucky, which, i think you have to test that theory. it certainly will not be at a margin of 30%. >> let's go to kansas, if we can. how viable is that candidacy for kovak? he lost when he ran for governor to a democrat in that state. is kovak a viable candidate? >> i think a lot of republicans are going to make sure he's not the candidate. >> mitch mcconnell suggesting, hey, suggesting that there's not going to be money from the senate representation to help him out. >> even mcconnell's super pac suggested they might end up trying to attack him if he becomes the nominee or at least a tloehreat to do so. so we're talking about the races in kentucky and also in kansas. to me, this isn't even the real battleground that we're going to see, which is going to end up deciding control of the senate. the democrats, on their eye,
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they are looking at places like colorado, arizona, maine, where susan collins is. and then hoping to pick up somewhere like north carolina and iowa, maybe texas. that is really going to be the terrain that decides the majority in 2020. >> so in a weird way, the more they talk about kentucky, the more it takes away from probably where democrats want to have the attention. >> where do you view this as you look ahead to 2020. the president had good numbers recently. the economy has benefited him when it comes to presidential behavior. a lot of americans widely don't like the way he's carried himself. >> i still think it comes down to pennsylvania, as a former pennsylvanian. i don't see how democrats -- i don't see how trump can win without pennsylvania. if democrats don't win pennsylvania, i think that is indicative they couldn't win north carolina, couldn't pick up florida, couldn't pick up ohio. and so i think every presidential election has a bellwether state. in the past it's been ohio, florida. i think in 2020, it comes down to pennsylvania. >> certainly looks like it's
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going to come down to something like that. >> i'd add wisconsin, too. >> michigan only 10,000 votes that separated the two in that state. congressman, mark, thanks for your help. coming up on this next hour of msnbc, if at first you fail, replace the lawyers and try again. reports of the president's new plan to get that citizenship question on the census. that is next on msnbc. we are live. n each branch of the military, but i'm command central. it's so important to us that verizon is supporting military families. when i have a child deployed, having a reliable network means everything. so, when i get a video chat, and i get to see their face, it's the best thing in the world. and i've earned every one of these gray hairs. military moms, we serve too. (vo) the network more people rely on, gives you more. like military plans with a special price on unlimited, $100 per line, and big savings on our best phones when you switch. that's verizon.
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the president is slamming the supreme court today for rejecting his administration's request to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. president trump's frustration with that decision showed up in a series of tweets this morning. first, echoing a fox news host and tweeting, quote, the supreme court got it wrong. then saying the recent strained decision, quote, shows how incredibly important our upcoming 2020 election is. i have long heard that the appointment of supreme court justices is a president's most important decision. so true. >> the attorney general claims could appeal to the high court. joining me is "washington post"
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national security reporter matt supotsky and former u.s. attorney and msnbc contributor joyce vance. we always botch your name. joyce, let me start with you. the trump campaign already sending out a message sort of on this issue. they think it's one that resonates with their base. it reads, do you believe the 2020 united states census should ask if a people are american citizens? absolutely no, it reads. what does it mean for the president of the united states to say the supreme court got it wrong? >> this is a president who is no fan of the rule of law. we see that across a variety of different issues. but here we're really squarely presenting this issue of a lawless president who believes his opinions and his views should carry more weight than supreme court decisions. and that's dangerous territory. this appeal to voters saying, if we don't like the supreme court's decision, then they must
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be bad judges is the sort of pernicious argument that does enormous damage to democracy over time. >> you know, i was speaking to a trump ally over the weekend, and this ally said to me, the bottom line for the president who is a marketer said the issue is the perception of fighting for his supporters, fighting for his base. so, even if there is an executive order on this or if he goes back with the same case and tries to proceed and gets caught up. the courts, again, the message is clear to his audience. he's fighting on their behalf. matt, we heard from the president's counselor kellyanne conway today about the president's confidence nat ttha question will be added. here's what conway said. >> is the president confident this is going to actually -- >> yes. the president knows there is constitutional, legal ground. the supreme court didn't issue a legal impediment decision. chief justice john roberts said
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he left the door open and this president plans to barrel through it. >> so, is the president banking on chief justice roberts or constitutional legal ground as kellyanne conway describes it? >> i would love to know what their strategy is. bill barr, the president have said there is some sort of strategy to get this thing, excuse me, to get this thing on the census. but they had conceded a week ago. the justice department saw no way to get this on the census. the census is being printed as we speak without the question and the justice department had previously represented to the court if they couldn't get it on by a date certain by july 1st, i think it was, then they were done. and now, apparently, they're not. but no one is really willing to say what they're going to do. i think inside the justice department, i know inside the justice department there is a fear that they're on pretty shaky legal ground. they just had to swap out the whole team of lawyers that was on this case. so, i think we're in very
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uncertain waters. i'm not sure where this confidence from kellyanne conway and the president is coming from. >> swapping out the lawyers including the lawyer who told the judge they were finding out about the president's opinion of this. the moment the president was tweeting about it, saying among other things, i will do everything possible to get to the bottom of it here. we were talking about the attorney general william barr a second ago, joyce. here's what we heard from him within the last 24 hours. take a listen. >> we've been considering all the options and i have been in constant discussions with the president ever since the supreme court decision came down. and i think over the next day or two you'll see what approach we're taking. i think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the census. >> so, what approach could they be taking against this on the census? >> well, i'm all ears, like so many people are to hear what the justice department will come up
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with. their initial argument was the citizenship question would help them enforce the voting rights act. of course, that has proven to be maliciously false. so, now, they'll have to craft a whole new argument and convince the supreme court. oh, this was the real reason. that is a very difficult thing to do this far down the road in a case. and the fact that there has bipartisan a complete swap out of the 11 doj lawyers who have been previously handling these cases, the new york case had gone all the way to the supreme court, indicates that something inside of the justice department isn't right. that there are lawyers who have concerned about their own profession aal ethics and integrity if they would continue advocating in this case. >> thank you, both, very much. we appreciate it. the president's friends and foe. one more thing, when we're back. . we have to be able to
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one more thing before we go. for at least two days now, president trump has been set off by that leaked wire. those leaked cables revealing the british ambassador to the u.s. kim derek calling his administration and calling him insecure. those choice yet composed criticism have been enough for the president to cut ties with the ambassador altogether. just last night, the white house, according to an official there disinvited derek from dining with the president and the mayor of qatar, one of the world's most wealthiest nations.
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but he is far from the first foreign dignitary to criticize president trump and far from using harshest term s terms. issued a statement calling the president a mentally -- during kim's new year's day speech which he promised he had a nuclear button on his desk. the president's response to those, quote, my button is much bigger and works. president trump didn't sever ties with the north korean dictator, far from it. instead he went on to have three separate face-to-face meetings with kim jong-un and the most recent at the dmz and since issued nothing but praise for the north korean dictator. >> i trust him and i take him at his word. i hope that's true.
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>> we have had a very good relationship. we have a very good relationship with chairman kim, which is very important. i like him, he likes me and the relationship is good. i was really being tough and so was he. we go back and forth. and then we fell in love. okay. no, really. he wrote me beautiful letters and they're great letters. we fell in love. but, you know what, they'll say, donald trump said they fell in love. how horrible. how horrible is that? so unpresidential. >> with kim jong-un, he exchanged love letters with the ambassador to our closest ally. part of that special relationship, he's now banned. that's going to wrap things up for this hour, i'm peter alexander in washington. ali velshi picks things up. >> always great to see you. have a great afternoon. >> you, too. the future of the affordable
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care act. a panel of judges in new orleans hearing arguments right now from republican-led states seeking to have the 2010 law declared unconstitutional, as well as democrats trying to save the law. the case focuses on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which has been described as the linchpin of the law. house speaker nancy pelosi says the stakes of this couldn't be higher. >> every family in america is one phone call, one diagnosis, one accident away from being pre-existing conditions. the costs that they incur and the health on family members. it is important the court honors the precedence when it rules in favor of the affordable care act. >> let's take a look at how we got to this point. the affordable care act


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