tv MSNBC Live With Ayman Mohyeldin MSNBC July 21, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
. >> that will do it for this hour of "msnbc live." i'll be back next saturday at 2:00 eastern. the news continues with my colleague and friend, phillip. >> thank you so much. i am phillip mena live from msnbc headquarters. the firestorm intensifies over the president's tweets aimed at four congresswomen of color. a new report says his top aides feared he did not understand the seriousness of his remarks. exactly one week later he is still attacking the squad. rising tensions in the middle east. new audio reveals a serious back
and forth between iran and british navy as iranian forces seizes a tanker. we will hear that testy exchange. a big week ahead in washington as robert mueller testifies in public. what to watch for and what his testimony could mean for the president. we begin this hour in the feud between the president and the four congresswomen known as the squad. today a new "washington post" report has the president reigniting the firestorm exactly one week after it all started. the article based on interviews with 26 lawmakers, aides reveals behind the scenes tweets and racist rally. it says, quote, president trump's top aides didn't think he fully understand what he did last sunday when he fired off a trio of racist tweets before his trip to the golf course. it discusses how aides and advisers urged him to tone it down. it didn't take long for him to lash out saying "the washington
post" story about my rally in south carolina and tweet about stories that doesn't exist is fake news. the only thing is the record setting crowd and tremendous enthusiasm. he added i don't believe the four congresswomen are capable of loving our country. they should apologize to america and israel for the horrible hateful things they have said. meanwhile the president's divisive rhetoric seems to be taking a toll on some americans. >> they say i'm scared. and i've never in my total of 37 years in public service ever heard a constituent say they were scared of their leader. >> do you believe president trump is a racist? >> i believe he is -- yes, no doubt about it. >> the reality is, this is a guy who is worse than a racist. he's using racist tropes and racial language for political gain. he's trying to use this as a
nation to divide our nation against itself. >> republicans are still standing by their man, rushing to the president's defense on all the morning shows. >> when i think that millions of americans share the president's frustration about sitting members of congress engaging in that kind of reckless rhetoric, whether it be antisemitic rhetoric, referring to border patrol agents, running concentration camps. the president thought it was important to stand up to them. >> this isn't about race, it's not about gender, it's not about religion. these members of the house of representatives more -- not just these four, also some of the candidates running for president on the democratic side -- fundamentally believe in policies that are dangerous nor this nation. >> all right. let's bring in our panel "wall street journal" national politics reporter joshua jamison, director of policy studies and former adviser to romney campaign, lanny chen and "los angeles times" washington bureau chief david louder.
thanks for joining me. lan y, let's start with you. an article from politico says he insists he wasn't using it was betrayed by daily linking to the democratic party. do you think the president has scored points consistently attacking these women. >> depends who he's trying to score points with or on. with respect to his political base, i think there's an argument the strategy is working to further consolidate support, working to drive additional support in 2016 for those that supported him in the election. the theory for the trump campaign is there's more voters out there in states like wisconsin, pennsylvania and michigan where the president is going to have to do well if he wants to win election in 2020. obviously it's not a great strategy if the goal is to attract suburban women or those voters, for example, that left the republican party in the 2018 midterms. in terms of driving the
consolidation of the base of support in 2016 and potentially expanding to a similar set of voters in 2020, i think that strategy could potentially be effective. >> joshua, a number of prominent republicans have urged the president to tone down rhetoric after that fiery rally in north carolina on wednesday. do you think this is what they had in mind? >> probably not. what i think is interesting you showed a couple of clips, republicans unifying around the president, and you showed cory booker earlier, too. 2020 democrats, though who run for president, divided on health care, issues, president trump in the racist remarks against the congresswomen have unified them in a similar fashion. i think it's interesting to watch when you talk to democratic primary voters the number one thing they say they want in a candidate is someone who it came on trump, meet him where he is, so to speak. i think the candidates are showing they are willing to do that. >> david, you wrote a piece for the "l. a. times" this week arguing race was the main driver
of his support in 2016. can you elaborate on that? >> if you go back and take a look at a lot of polling done after the election and in the months since, you can see that racial attitudes and feelings about immigrants are among the strongest correlates we've got whether someone vote for trump or not. it's clear a racial appeal was at the core of what a lot of what trump did in 2016. that doesn't mean doubling down on race is going to help him in 2020. lonny was saying he's consolidating his base. he has his base. he doesn't need to consolidate his base further. he needs to get people who didn't vote for him in 2016. this is probably not the way to do that. >> the president said if those "send her back" chants happen again at another rally he might tell them to stop. do you believe him when he says that? >> he'll do it -- if he does it, we'll believe it. so far at least, a little am g
ambigui ambiguity, a lot of ambiguity how the president responded to it. does it make political sense to him to repudiate remarks. on the one hand the answer is no if indeed what he's trying to do to further drive a message for people whom this kind of posturing makes sense. if the answer is he's trying to appeal to a different segment of the american population, a different segment of the voter base who might potentially be willing to vote for him in 2020, then the answer is he should repudiate it. a lot depends on his target audience and how he feels in any given day. a lot of this is the president doing things off the cuff rather than in an organized manner. >> it's very unpredictable, you're right from day to day. david, you tweetd that the people who have given a lot of thought to candidates 52% is the highest they have recorded this far in advance at least.
what do you think is the main driver of that trend? >> trump. clearly the president drives a huge amount of tngs both from people who love him and hate him, and frankly for people who aren't sure either. he fascinates the country, for better or for worse. as a result of that we're certainly looking at an election in 2020 where we'll have probably the highest turnout we've had since world war i. there are going to be a lot of people voting on both sides. that's a good thing for democracy but it also makes for some unpredictability. the more you bring people out, the more you don't know necessarily how they are going to vote because they don't have a history. >> as we said, the beauty of the democracy to get more people to participate. >> joshua, your paper did some reporting that the squad tried to clear the air with democrats with some drinks in washington and it did not work.
what happened there? >> my colleagues reported three of the four members of the squad sought to mend ties with democratic caucus members over drinks and left the room feeling as though it didn't go over so well. part of that just goes back to the tension that's been building between some of the more progressive members of the house democratic caucus and some of the more moderate democrats, some who flipped seats. nancy pelosi, for example, feels her majority came on the backs of some of those more moderate members in moderate district. there's been tension what they find politically acceptable back home in republican leaning districts at times versus what the base of the party represented by some more progressive members like the four members of the squad, where they want in the caucus. there's always been that tension there and it's stripped down not just to the members themselves but to the staffs. you know, i think the democratic
caucus is trying to rally around them in this moment when president trump is attacking them. some of those tensions between them where the caucus should be, what should be reported in legislation is still simmering. >> drinks couldn't get it done, i guess. lanhee, they are e-mailing socialism approval poll. they are doing that today. they are asking about views on the subject. can you suggest a strategy going forward by the republican party? >> absolutely. i think the president views these four members of the squad and some of the policies they espouse as an effective foil for him. clearly if the election is about socialism versus free enterprise system, i think the president will have a leg up with a lot of americans including some americans who may not have considered voting for him in 2016 but who could potentially be in his camp in 2020 if the election comes down to a referendum on socialism as it were. really this is part of a broader question, which is by attacking
the squad, is the president merely attacking their policies or is he actually attacking so much more. i think the challenge is going to be can you differentiate an attack policy and issue based from one based on personality and other elements which would be more unappealing to some of these swing voters. >> all right, lanhee chen, joshua lauter, thank you for joining me today. coming up bernie sanders speaks exclusively to msnbc about what he will say in detroit. newly released audio reveals a serious confrontation between the british navy and iran. we will play that tape next. hat. patients that i see that complain about dry mouth, they feel like they have to drink a lot of water. medications seem to be the number one cause for dry mouth.
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major developments out of the middle east today and this coming week. the british government is expected to respond to iran's seizure of a british oil tanker tomorrow with what it's calling diplomatic and economic measures. britain said the response will be robust. there is a mystery around the specifics. this as nbc news has obtained a dramatic audio recording the moments before iran's revolutionary guard took over that tanker in the strait of hormuz friday. >> if you obey you will be safe. if you obey you will be safe. alter your course to 360 degrees immediately. over. folkstrot two three six. this is sepah navy patrol boat. no challenge is intended. no challenge is intended.
i want and inspect the ship for security reason. over. you must not impair, impede, obstruct, or hamper the passage of the mv steena. please confirm that you are not intending to violate international law by unlawfully attempting to board the mvstena. you heard the british security officer warning them not to take steps against the tanker. u.s. marines jammed and destroyed an iranian drone in the gulf of hormuz on thursday. that came after iran shot down a u.s. drone which almost led to president trump ordering strikes on iran. meantime u.s. officials say the trump administration is considering ending a program that allows iran to run a civilian nuclear program with international assistance. the civilian program is a key part of the 2015 iran deal which
the u.s. pulled out of. but if this goes through, the twh whole deal could unravel. this is happening while they have no permanent leader at the pentagon. mark esper could get the job after a confirmation hearing tuesday. counter-terrorism on the agenda when pakistan's prime minister meets with president trump on monday. lots to unpack here. let's get to it with nbc news tehran bureau chief in tehran. msnbc national security analyst and foreign policy analyst steve clemmons. thanks for joining us today. let me start with you. what has been the reaction to the audiotape we heard. has it made tensions worse there? >> well, it's intensifying an already highly volatile situation and it's also drawing in a lot of other players. the uk said the british flag tanker was in the amani waters,
they served as a go between iran and united states, a goop relationship with both of them support the british claim. they say the tanker was one nautical mile inside the imani waters. iran disputes that. they say it was a clear action of tit for tat and nothing else. also after listening to that recording you just played, which was put out by maritime security firm called global driad, those are worryinging. you hear british navy frigate, iot c and naval tanker moments before it was seized. you can hear iran say they want to inspect the tanker. you can hear them telling the ship to change course. they are thelg th telling them if you obey it will be safe. it tells them conduct its passage. it's in international waters and
must not be bared, impeded or hampered. these are all very tense moments. the ambassador to the uk weighed in the response will be firm and they are ready for all scenarios. iran's foreign minister blamed john bolton for this saying he had put the british up to taking an iranian super tanker last month which led to the iranians seizing this tanker. so it's a really very delicate situation. and any small miscalculation could lead to some serious problems. >> evelyn, what are your thoughts here? all the key players, prettyan, u.s. and iran, they are all saying they are not going to back down. where do you see relations going from here. >> it's really tense right now. the iranians are trying to put the pressure on the europeans, frankly speaking, to get us back to the negotiating table. president trump has said that he's willing to negotiate with the iranians but looks like his
administration right now is more interested in keeping the pressure on iran, the sanctions pressure, which is what iran wants lifted. they want the economic -- they need economic relief right now. >> steve, we know president trump's stance on the iran deal but most of the democrats running for president say they would rejoin the deal if they win. pol"politico" has an article ou now saying that could be tricky because for among other reasons parts of the deal are set to expire. what do they need between now and inauguration day to allow for that deal to happen? >> i don't know what ultimately the president will do but he's been sending some-odd signals. first of all, he's loud rand paul to negotiate with iran's foreign minister and possibly open the door to a trump deal with iran. they began to talk to each other through twitter and other forums saying the additional protocols for the jcpoa, iran deal, could
be moved forward if the united states could remove some of the sanctions that is imposed on him. both sides are playing chess with one another. there is a precision in this reckless escalation. i agree totally with ali it's very, very dangerous. you have a game going on right now where both sides are attempting to threaten the other with things that could really cripple them. what i think we've seen in the straits of hormuz right now is the west's worst nightmare to some degree about a war with iran and what that would do to global oil flow and the role of the iranians there. i think that right now both sides are muscling up, and we may -- i feel awkward saying this but we may get to a condition where both sides are willing to actually talk to each other. i've always thought it wasn't the iran you deal that donald trump didn't really like because it was a deal with iran,ette wasn't the trump deal with iran. i think that's right now what
people are wig to look at. is there an opportunity we can take it and donald trump can make it his deal. >> a more hands on approach to the deal. >> i think he wants his name on it. >> i can see that. we've learned this week u.s. has begun establishing an air baps inside saudi arabia. hundreds of trips are headed back to that base. what do we know about the air base. what can you tell us about that? >> that's right. for the first time in 15 years the u.s. military began moving equipment and hundreds of troops back to that military base in saudi arabia because they say they needed to counter a threat from iran. the deployment will include some 500 troops as well as fighter jets and patriots long range missile defense systems. but that's already getting the iranians angry. iran's foreign minister responded to that move accusing u.s. army of being a bunch of
mercenaries hired by saudis to do their dirty work for them. he said he thinks saudis can buy security and will try to resolve their problems by sacrificing every last u.s. soldier. in real terms in the u.s. does make that deployment, which they look like they are going to, it's going to create another flash point in this already very troubled region and could possibly open the door for another conflict by accident when there's so many u.s. troops and iranian forces rummaging around in a very tight, crowded space. but also interestingly about that deployment, it's not making people in the u.s. very easy or comfortable either. the house is voting to block those arm sales to saudi arabia for various reasons of their malign activities that have gone on. they aren't very comfortable with those sales. it's probably going to be vetoed
by the president and will probably go through. >> as he looks to solidify that relationship between saudi arabia and the united states. evelyn, since you were a deputy assistant to secretary of defense under president obama, i'd like you to weigh in on mark esper's nomination as defense secretary? >> sure, richard. i mean, i worked actually with mark when i worked in the congress. he was in the house at the time, i was in the senate. we went head-to-head on international security issues. he's a competent man. he knows all aspects of the military defense establishment, if you will, having worked in congress, having worked in associations in the ideation association industry and in the corporate defense world. so he's very competent. he was army secretary, of course, as you know up until this nomination. he understands how the pentagon works. he knows how to get things done. he understands international environment so he's far more qualified than the previous
acting secretary and i think he's qualified in general and will do a good job. he will have a lot of pressure on him not just with regard to iran and other international scenarios but with regard to troops on the border on the southern border of the united states. >> a lot on his plate to say the least. evelyn farkas, steve, ali, i know it's getting late in tehran, thank you for joining us. is this the time to take down mitch mcconnell. his approval rate is at 50% in his home state of kentucky. can he actually get beat in 2020? at in 2020 johnson & johnson is a baby company. but we're also a cancer fighting, hiv controlling, joint replacing, and depression relieving company. from the day you're born we never stop taking care of you.
now to the latest on the 2020 presidential race. msnbc spoke exclusively with senator bernie sanders not long before he took the stage at a rally in iowa. joining me now live from mount pleasant iowa is nbc news road warrior. mike, good afternoon. you spoke with senator sanders today. how does he plan to separate himself from senator warren? >> it's interesting, phillip. having this historically large field of democratic candidates can really be exhausting sometimes. when it comes to these two-night debates it provides an opportunity for voters to see the candidates side by side in different ways.
in that first debate in miami, had bernie sanders sharing with joe biden. elizabeth warren all to herself on the first night. in detroit next week, we'll see a different side by side, which is bernie sanders and warren sharing the stage. a real battle of two progressive lane front-runners. i had a chance to ask sanders about what he expects in that matchup. let's listen to how he answered. >> you know, i think senator warren will speak for herself. the theme for me will be to talk about the war against the working class of this country for the last 45 years and the incredible level of wealth and income inequality we have right now. >> we've been following senator sanders all weekend here. the contrast not taking debate with senator warren. he's tried to keep the focus on joe biden on the issue of health care. pooid was here to start the week talking about his vision for improving affordable care act, attacking senator sanders saying medicare for all risks putting a
lot of americans in a hiatus, losing coverage, ending medicare as we know it. senator sanders called that absurd saying his plan is the most realistic in terms of reaching that fwol of democratic party for a long time, which is full universal coverage. phillip. >> mike joining us on the campaign trail in iowa. thank you so much, mike. let's go to another 2020 race we have to watch right now. three democrats working to unseat mitch mccobble. he's been in the senate for decades and re-elected five times. one of his challengers is amy mcgrath, former marine and combat pilot who lost a tight race in 2019 to republican andy barr. this month she announced her run for kentucky senate seat raising an impressive $2.5 million in 24 hours. that amount could have qualified her to join 2020 presidential debate stage this month but her response to that was, quote, i'd rather defeat mitch and drain
the swamp." mcconnell is currently the most unpopular united states senator. in a poll by morning consult he has a 50% disapproval from his voters, voters in his own state. joining me now to discuss this is npr coordinator and two-time peabody winning journalist, kelly, thank you for joining me. first of all, do you think a democrat can beat mitch mcconnell? can amy mcgrath beat him? can any democrat beat him? >> anybody can win any race. as you said, mitch mcconnell has been re-elected to the senate five times. he's been in his seat six times total. it's not just that he's been unpopular in kentucky now, he's been unhappy before. as he has told me many times, when he takes his case to the people of kentucky, he figures out a way to win. how does he do that? he raises a lot of money for one thing. he's very good at that. he figures out who his opponents
are and who his allies are. for instance in the last race he was running in 2014. this was a time when he made the race very much about barack obama, right, and tapping into a voting public that was to some degree disillusioned with the president at the time. what's he going to do in 2020 make his shadow running mate basically donald trump who, guess what, is very popular in the state of kentucky. so i think mitch mcconnell can see his unpopularity but say to voters, look what i've done with this president, look what i've done for this president. look at the things we've done together. he thinks he's got a chance to do it. like i said, i can't make predictions. anything is possible for democrats. i do think it won't be easy. >> to further punctuate his unpopularity in his home state i learned from your podcast "embedd "embedd "embedded" only got 20% in his home precinct.
>> he's from louisville, kentucky. it's a historically blue district. probably the bluest part of kentucky, which, by the way, used to be a blue state. he's not popular in his home district. he can tell you exactly how many votes he got in that district and the fact more than 100 counties and districts in the state did end up voting for him when it mattered. amy mcgrath is an interesting figure. she came very close, right, in the house race you mentioned against andy barr, republican. she came closer in a district that went heavily for trump in 2016, but that's also a pretty blue part of kentucky, too. if she couldn't take that, i think you had a lot of people saying, you know, this is not going to be an easy thing for her. also, let's be honest, she didn't come out swinging, right? very early on she was asked if she would have voted for supreme court justice brett kavanaugh,
at first she said yes, then no. mcconnell picked up on that right away talking about how she's a nip flopper. i think she's a kind of person who it's a tough line. she can get a lot of money from outside kentucky. there's probably a lot of people from outside kentucky who want to see a democrat beat mitch mcconnell but all that matters is kentucky. how she can raise money and get the votes in that state. a state, again, where the president is very popular. >> also on your podcast called "embedded" great podcast by the way. >> thank you. >> you mentioned mcconnell's response about racist comments in 2016 here is how mcconnell reacted when asked about this on cbs. >> i think these gratuitous attacks on americans who got here recently or whose parents got here recently ought to stop. plenty of things he ought to be thinking about rather than taking shots at americans with regard to their ethnicity.
>> what do you make of that? >> hard to imagine thee years ago because we're not in a time where he criticizes the president when he makes racist remarks. it's interesting to trace the time from then to now where he was more willing to say that. look, he said that before trump was elected president. there was still a primary going on, a relative humidity primary going on, right, there were different stakes. once trump became president, there are two very different people, mitch mcconnell and donald trump. very early on they realized they were going to have to work together. what did that mean? well, it probably means ignoring some of the things he says and not commenting on them when you don't feel like you need to. >> as you discussed in your podcast, to mitch mcconnell winning is the only thing that matters at the end of the day. kelly, thank you so much at the end of the day. >> thank you for having me. >> new voters across the country are reacting to the president's controversial remarks. ting to t
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now it's time for red, white, and you, our weekly segment that show cases the voice of the u.s. voter ahead of the 2020 election. last sunday the president tweeted that, quote, progressive democrat congresswomen who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe should go back and help fix the totally prone and crime infested places from which they came, unquote.
those comments from president trump has many voters talking. >> you tell me you're not going to be attending the president's rally tonight. why not? >> i don't like him. >> what don't you like about him? he is inhumane and inconsiderate and he doesn't know the difference between a truth and a lie. >> he told them to go back where they came from. that's racist. they are american citizens. they have been voted into office by american citizens. >> my daughter said something i enjoyed. when the president told the female congresswoman to come back where they came from. she said, you know, asking someone to go back to queens, new york, is probably the last thing that the president actual hi wants to see because that base is energized. >> the president's rally later in the week along with a further series of tweets criticizing congresswoman ilhan omar led to a rawkus rally in north carolina in which supporters chanted,
send her back. president trump did little to stop the crowd. some voters were bothered by what they heard? >> it was pretty disappointing. number one, it showed how much the lack of knowledge, the level of lack of knowledge for all the citizens in that group right there. ilhan omar is a citizen. >> as an immigrant, i feel that's very, very disrespectful and very, very hurtful. for me and most of us, this is our home. i have my family here, friends, my work, everything. my life is here. >> his comments are hurtful. they are demeaning. there are very little words i can really describe how i feel about what he's saying about who are his people. they are here, in this country, their home. to think somebody who is a leader of our country can say that, it's bewildering to me honestly. >> newspapers in north carolina responded to that vitriol on
display in greenville. a headline in raleigh news and observer read ecu, site of accepted her back chants, tries to again distance itself from trump rally. adding east carolina university distanced itself from trump's rally on its campus sending a letter once again saying it did not sponsor, host that rally. trump go back remark. in a workplace it might be illegal. president trump's suggestion force women of color go back to countries which they came has excited some in his political base. yet in many workplaces and institutions, that same language would be unacceptable and possibly illegal. that's it for this week's red, white, and you. next, the countdown is on for robert mueller's public testimony. what to expect and how the white house is bracing for potentially damaging testimony. house is bracing for potentially damaging testimony
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or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily... and it may take longer than usual for bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. what's around the corner could be surprising. ask your doctor about eliquis. we're just three days away from former special counsel robert mueller's first ever public testimony on his report into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. mueller is slated to testify for
three hours before the house judiciary committee and two hours before the intelligence committee on wednesday. judiciary committee chairman nadler says the goal is to raise awareness about what's in the mueller report. >> we want the american people who hear directly from special counsel mueller what the investigation found. i think there's very substantial -- the report presents very substantial evidence the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and we have to let mueller present those facts to the american people. >> for democrats there's a lot riding on wednesday's appearance. "the washington post" reports over the past few weeks members of both committees have been holding one-on-one prepare sessions with aides playing mueller forcing lawmakers to respond to different scenarios like reticent mueller or comb combative mueller. joining me to discuss hans nichols in berkeley heights, new jersey, near bedminster where the president is spending his weekend. debra pearl stein, professor at
cor doza school of law. thank you for joining me. what's the strategy going into the testimony. >> get the president out of town. the president is scheduled oppose wednesday to go to west virginia. we'll see to what extent there's counter-programming. recall last week when the president went to greenville the white house announced shortly after the initial testimony when we thought it was going to be last wednesday. the chal epping for the white house is going to be moderating the president's impulses on this. the president has gone back and forth. remember initially he said he thought bob mueller behaved honorably when asked at the white house. most recently when we had more testimony and we had the full -- we had mueller actually speak to the cameras, i asked the president if he thought mueller was behaving honorably, he said, look, mueller was out to get him. mueller was conflicted. we'll see how far the president goes attacking mueller. just taking the scope of the last six months or so, it seems
like the president is feistyest before he's about to get onto his helicopter and go somewhere. that will be the main opportunity, i suspect, to interact with the president on wednesday. it's going to go in any direction i have a problem with one, how about that? deborah, let's say you were questioning robert mueller. what are some of the questions that you would ask? >> i think there are two different things that are critical for the committees to do. for the house judiciary committee, the critical task is to establish certain basic facts that it's clear the vast majority of the american public that hasn't read the mueller report may not yet know. the things that the attorney general misled about, for example, the decision not to bring charges against the president, substantially based on an existing department of justice rule prohibiting any charges against any -- criminal charges against any sitting president, that the report does not, in fact, exonerate the president of obstruction of justice. quite the contrary. and that -- that, in fact, to
some extent, certain aspects of obstruction, not those by the president, but those of witnesses who refuse to speak truthfully to the investigators, who destroyed texts and other important evidence, that the investigation might have needed, that led mueller to conclude in his report that their investigation was materially impaired. that's if the house judiciary committee can do that much, they will have done a great deal and a great service already. the intelligence committee's responsibility is to examine how much of a threat this was to the security of u.s. elections in 2016 and critically how much of a threat still exists, the fairness and legitimacy of the election process now. the mueller report reveals that the russians interfered massively in the 2016 campaign, and mueller is clear that his investigation was not a counterintelligence investigation. so outstanding questions about
the extent to which the president or members of his administration may be compromised by aspects of the relationship with russia or russian nationals, are questions that mueller didn't get to. and establishing what the mueller report didn't answer is in this respect as critical as establishing the questions that it did answer. >> katie, what do you want to know, what would you ask mueller? >> so, phillip, i'd want to know whether or not robert mueller personally believes in the office of legal counsel, that olc memo, an opinion that says you cannot indict a sitting president. as we know, robert mueller no longer works for the department of justice. he's a private citizen. i would ask him, do you personally support or oppose that concept? number two, i'd ask robert mueller why did you not do and insist upon the one-on-one face-to-face interview with donald trump? as we all know, there was this excruciating back and foorrth tt went on for a year to get trump to sit down and there was no questioning of trump directly by
the mueller team. finally, i'd ask robert mueller, considering the findings in your report, within the confines or framework of the olc memo, do you support congress ensuing impeachment proceedings against donald trump? again, robert mueller may be reticent as we heard from your intro. they've been practicing rhett september mu reticent mueller, difficult mueller. i think robert mueller needs to answer questions in a yes-or-no fashion, a very short period of time but should be afforded the opportunity to explain his answers and i'm glad to hear that congress is being organized and detailed in the way that they're approaching this. each congressman has five minutes and that is not a long time as we all know on television to be able to get the information that sometimes you need. >> what's your gut, katie, do you think we all know he said at the press conference about not expanding or deviating beyond what we wrote in his report. how far do you think he's going to veer away from what he wrote in the 448-page report? >> we're not going to see him veer away from the report. what we're going to hope for is the way the questions are posed are just as important as the
answers that we get from robert mueller. we know robert mueller stands by his testimony. however, robert mueller as we know from previous earn gaungag in term of going to congress, going to capitol hill and being grilled by lawmakers, he has taken the opportunity to be able to expand upon responses. do not expect fireworks, though, on wednesday. i believe robert mueller's going to remain composed. calm. he's going to continue to be the person that we've seen him be which is not somebody who wants to grandstand or show boat. >> hans, we know the republicans continue to back the president. what is the white house most concerned about concerning mueller's testimony? >> oh, probably just that their whole argument that mueller gave him a clean bill of health will somehow be undermined. you know, you look at what that -- we really need to get to the bottom of that letter that mueller's office sent to william barr that william barr and his accounting of the mueller report didn't capture the context, substance or nature of the report. so any deviation from the mueller testimony, excuse me, the mueller report and the testimony, is what the white
house could potentially undermine their argument that they've been given this vindication. you'll also look to see to what extent republicans try go back one step ahead of it and see about the origins of the initial investigation. so republicans will have their -- they'll have their strategy going to this as well. but i think one of the wildcards in this is high silent mueller will be, whether or not he'll stick to the four corners of the 448-page report. also what the president does and how he react and for that, with the entire trump presidency, we need to stay tuned. >> deborah, really quickly here, who do you think the house democrats should subpoena next after mueller? >> i think they should pursue subpoenas they already issued. the house already filed a lawsuit to enforce the subpoena demanding that former white house counsel don mcgahn testify before congress. the president through mcgahn and others have repeatedly asserted, i think, meritless claims of absolute immunity from such testimony.
those cases need to move forward in the courts. >> all right. deborah pearlstein, katie phang, hans nichols, thank you all for joining me today. tonight, watch "the mueller repo report: what you need to know with ari melber" at 9:00 p.m. eastern only on msnbc. we'll be right back. back. award winning interface. award winning design. award winning engine. the volvo xc90. the most awarded luxury suv of the century.
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>> good evening, and welcome to "politicsnation." tonight's lead, multitasking. if you're unsure of whether president trump's ongoing harassment of four congresswomen of color is motivated by his documented baseline racism, or you believe it has at least grown into an election year ploy to distract from his troubles and speak to the most deplorable tendencies of his base, well, reverend al is here to tell you when it comes to using racism as a personal and political philosophy, this president can do both. and he's keeping it going against the so-called squad. tweeting this morning that he doesn't believe the four congresswomen are capable of loving our country, that they sh