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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  July 29, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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hour of msnbc live. so glad you could be here with us on this monday morning. and i'm glad to put you in the capable hands of my colleague chris jansing in new york. >> i'm in here craig melvin. escalating his rhetoric. president trump this morning firing off new attacks against democratic congressman elijah cummings and the people he represents. why it's the latest sign he's leaning into a strategy he thinks will help him win next year. plus, chaos and confusion, police still trying to piece together exactly what happened when a gunman opened fire inside a california food festival, killing at least three people, wounding more than a dozen others. why police this morning aren't ruling out a second suspect. and the end of a tumultuous tenure, dan coats is set to leave next month after he and president trump reportedly clashed over issues ranging from russia to north korea. but we begin with president
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trump again attacking a minority member of congress. and an entire community. this time it's congressman elijah cummings and the city of baltimore and so far it's been mostly crickets from his fellow republicans. cummings, of course, the chair of the oversight committee investigating the administration, he was the target of an onslaught, at least 19 tweets by the president over the weekend and into this morning. his defenders struggling to answer for him. >> plus, look at what he said and why he did it. congressman cummings has sat there and attacked our border patrol agents. all right. this reminds me of what happened to soldiers coming back from vietnam. >> that justifies a racial resentment tweet in response. is that presidential leadership? >> well, look, i didn't do the tweets, chuck. >> i didn't do the tweets. critics didn't hold back
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labeling the tweets racist, including the president's description of cummings' district as a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. the congressman fired back, it is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive branch but it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents. and the baltimore sun's editorial is scathing, particularly the closing paragraph. we would tell the most dishonest man ever to occupy the oval office the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women's private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of vladimir putin, and the guy who insisted there are good people among murderous neo-nazis that he's not fueling most americans that he's slightly competent to hold his post or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. better to have vermin in your neighborhood than to be one.
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kelly atkins, an msnbc contributor is here. and ashley parker, an msnbc senior political analyst. jere jere jeremy peters, "new york times" reporter. and the communications director. we have nbc's rajema ellis. and steve kornacki. lots of great folks. lots to get to. matt, since we're talking about communications, if communications is about delivering your message in a forceful, compelling way, well the sun did it, didn't they? >> they certainly did. i know you mentioned republicans coming out about this. i saw will hurd yesterday, the only african-american republican member in the house yesterday and he, i think, was very critical of the president with his tweets against ilhan omar. he drew a little different line this time. he didn't view it as much of a racial overtone as the previous
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tweets. i think a couple reasons also the house -- >> when you talk about a black neighborhood, not just being rat and rodent infested but also humans wouldn't live there. >> yeah. look, i'm just, again, i respect his opinion. i'm telling you what he said yesterday in the sunday show. >> sure. >> as more republicans come back, especially in the senate, from the weekend break you might hear more of this. the house is in recess so i think that might contribute a little bit to this. but also the republicans i talked to are not very eager to inject themselves. >> because? >> into a third week of trump tweets. again, especially when they're on recess. and, look, i think it's important to -- >> now, just to -- look, i appreciate that. but what does being on recess have to do with standing up against racist attacks? >> well, again, as i said, they're not going to be in congress, folks like ashley or jeremy aren't going to be walking the halls to force them to answer on this. they have to be proactive on it.
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the senate, more folks will come out as they come back to washington and reporters again find them in the hallways and press them on it. but again that will probably be the case, less so for the house. >> ashley, we saw republican senator rick scott struggling to defend the president on "meet the press." once again, seems to be a pretty simple callation fculation for republicans. are they endorsing this, though, by their silence? >> well, as matt was saying republicans feel like they're in a very tricky position and to be clear there's not many profiles in courage here but if you get them privately they will sometimes say they are uncomfortable with his language and tweets and would prefer he doesn't do it. but they are very loathe to publicly criticize the president, even with something, a tweet that was perhaps very clearly a racist tweet that was even more stark, maybe, about the squad a week or two ago,
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even then there were only four or five republican members who really came out and said anything sharp about the president. and that is just a reality of where the party is right now. they -- in some ways they're a lot like some voters in the republican party. they don't like what the president says. they don't like the way he says it. they don't like his tweets. for better or worse they understand that he is their guy and they are loathe to get crosswise with him, which does create this problem, which as you said they're not really coming up -- coming out and standing up against racist tweets, racist language or a racially tinged, racially charged language depending on the instance. >> kimberly, are we saying political payback for congressman cummings' investigations into the president, or is this more of an extension of 2016, he wants to go back to that playbook? what's happening here? >> i think it's all of the above. it's definitely politically
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motivated because of chairman cummings' work in investigating president trump and his administration. and it is definitely the playbook. we saw the way that the president spoke about chicago, for example, in a very loud dog whistle. he claimed to be appealing to african-americans but of course it was the exact opposite. and it's an extension of these attacks that began -- well, not began, but that included the attacks on the four congress people of color and what's happening with republicans, republicans are loathe to criticize this president publicly for another -- for a number of reasons. they don't want to be attacked by him. they don't want to offend members of his base that they feel that they need politically. but in this case the tweet about chairman cummings, we are seeing, as ashley pointed out, some republicans are saying differentiating this one. but this tweet is just an example of the more covert kind of racist message that you've seen more in the past that gives some republicans the ability to
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retro fit a rationale on it to give them some sort of plausible deniability that it's about policy or saying that baltimore does have all these problems while at the same time not having to address the racism issue. it's been very difficult for any republican to stand up firmly and say this is not the way that we -- that we speak to people and about people and about americans. they're really afraid to do that even though they are not here in congress. we don't -- we're not chasing them down so this would be the perfect time for them to be able to do that. >> well, also members of his administration, who normally are on the sunday shows, case in point, not just rick scott, but mick mulvaney, the acting white house chief of staff, here's what he said. >> i think it's right for the president to raise the issue of -- look, i was in congress for six years. if i had poverty in my district like baltimore or crime like chicago or homelessness like san francisco, and i spent all of my time in washington, d.c. chasing down this mueller investigation, this bizarre impeachment crusade
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i'd get fired. and i think the president is right to raise that and it has absolutely zero to do with race. >> jeremy what he's trying to say is that democrats are focusing on scandal instead of hope helping residents in their districts. what? >> what mulvaney is doing there, chris, is articulating the more strategic big picture argument republicans have been trying to make for really years now about democratic governance. and this point that trump is making about cummings' district is, by no means, novel or new. what they have been doing, if you watch fox news, if you listen to talk radio, the right has been trying to portray cities like los angeles, san francisco, seattle as drug infested, as decaying, as bordering on anarchy, with just homelessness problems and feces in the street. so it's an argument they're trying to make about democrats' inability to lead. it's also tied to what president
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trump did at the very end of his 2016 campaign when he went to detroit and he said to black voters what the hell do you have to lose? and that was meant really to suppress the black vote. i mean, it was -- they will say that they were trying to win over african-americans but really what it was meant to do is to say democrats haven't helped you if you live in a city like baltimore or detroit. what they've done after ruling your cities for decades is left you pretty much in the state that you started out in, no quality of life improvement whatsoever. and that did have some effect in suppressing the vote in places like detroit and milwaukee, certainly. so i think this is part of a bigger picture argument the president of course as he is known to do tends to make those arguments in a much cruder fashion on twitter, and that's the situation that we've seen unfolding over the last few days here. >> so, steve, black voters in the democratic primaries are
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expected to account for what, one out of every four votes. let's look at the history, and look at this as a political calculation. >> yeah, i guess two pieces of this here, just in terms of the black vote in the democratic primaries what you're seeing here is this is the share in recent presidential primaries, the share of the overall primary vote that black voters accounted for. it was an all-time high of 2016, 24%, expecting it to be at least that high in 2020. so one out of four votes cast in democratic primaries we expect to be from black voters. it's a new project we've put online at nbc news, we've looked at the exit polling for every individual state, democratic presidential primary since the dawn of exit polling, taking you back to the late 1970s. one thing that jumps out is since 1992 no one has won the democratic nomination for president. look at all these names here, none of the nominees have done it without also winning the black vote, generally overwhelmingly so it's a very
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important constituency on the democratic side and also just in terms of that turnout question you're raising that jeremy was just speaking to there in the general election what you see here is the past four general elections this is the black turnout in the november election. and what you see is a spike here in 2008, in 2012, black turnout reached about two-thirds. barack obama on the ballot in both those races, won both of those races and then 2004, 2016, races that democrats narrowly lost and look at the difference. from about 66, 67% turnout, down to 60% turnout and again narrow democratic loss in '16. narrow democratic loss in '04. higher black turnout in '08 and '12. democratic victories in those years. interesting pattern. >> kimberly, the big question becomes could this backfire on the president? could it actually serve to increase black voter turnout? obviously very helpful to the democrat, whoever he or she may be. >> i think it depends on who the
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democratic nominee and what the democratic nominee does. as i said this is a message that donald trump did have during his 2016 campaign. and we did see that drop in black voter turnout. it's up to the democratic party and the democratic nominee to really galvanize and encourage voters to come out, give them a reason to vote, other than, you know, to vote out donald trump. that message was not enough. the last time around. and they have to do better this time. >> meantime, ashley, you wrote about son-in-law jared kushner's major role in the president's reelection campaign, it's focused on appealing to inner city voters, at the same time as your paper pointed out his family has a pretty nasty history of being frankly slum lords in that city of having many thousands of apartments with hundreds of violations, including rat infestation.
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right? >> that's right. and not just jared's family history there, but we did a profile on jared because we wanted to kind of explain his outsized role which we didn't think people realized behind the scenes in the 2020 campaign, which is that almost everything flows through him. one of the details as you pointed out is that he had asked someone to bring him a ten point plan for winning inner cities. and then as we wrote his family has a pretty bad history of their control of their buildings in baltimore. but our profile ironically was posted on the same day the president began that cascade of tweets against chairman cummings. and one thing we made clear in our story is, look, jared has a lot of supporters but he has a lot of detractors who say for instance the idea that republicans can win inner cities in ten years is naive. those are the things they pointed to as classic examples. it's fine for jared to order up a plan. how can he possibly believe this
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is a good use of anyone's time when his father-in-law is tweeting what he's tweeting. it looks like it is going to become a campaign run on racial animous and on top of that his family's history is not exactly spotless. >> is there no irony that we see here, matt, of the president's attacks given the history? of the involvement in housing and, in fact, what one activist there said creating a race to the bottom in terms of poorly maintained properties. >> yeah, to be clear, i don't care where you live. i don't think anybody should be living in rat infested, mice infested, anything housing. >> we can all agree on that, yeah. >> i think we can all agree on that. and when it comes to a ten year plan regardless of win or lose the trump campaign will not be running in ten years. and, look, i think right now this 2020 election is going to be extremely tight. it's going to focus on most likely the midwest, white
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working class voters, maybe some suburbs in arizona and georgia. i think that's where the trump campaign folks should be focusing on. these long-term plans are fantastic. we would love to win inner city voters. reagan and bush did it in the late '80s and early 1990s. right now we've got to focus on 2020. >> jeremy, i want to play something that national action network founder and msnbc host reverend al sharpton had to say, by the way obviously the target of presidential tweets. he just said this last hour in baltimore. >> i know donald trump. he's not mature enough to take criticism. he can't help it. he's like a child. somebody say something, he reacts. he's thin skinned, and not really matured that well. but he has a particular venom for blacks and people of color. >> you spoke to reverend al
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yesterday, jeremy, pretty extensively about this big picture topic. what else did he tell you? >> it shows you, i think my conversation with al sharpton really kind of drove home how politically opportunistic this is for donald trump. al sharpton fielded a call from president trump shortly after his election, of president elect trump saying thank you to sharpton for something that sharpton had said about trump's political astuteness and the way that he was able to figure out how to appeal to certain voters to get elected. and sure enough his phone rings and it's trump saying thank you so much reverend al. so this idea that now all the sudden trump thinks that he hates whites, i think what's really going on there is that al sharpton, of course, has been the right's boogie man for two, three decades now. as far in the past as some of his episodes are, they still get attention in right wing media like they happened yesterday. it's pretty amazing.
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and one other thing i think is worth noting out, worth pointing out with regard to representative cummings is that there is a really interesting piece in the atlantic by peter nicholas who talks about the relationship that cummings and trump formed early on in trump's presidency. that, to me, doesn't sound like a man, a president who thinks that i lee elijah cummings is at or is this terrible public servant, i think it's really political opportunistic. >> opportunistic and maybe we have seen in the past how the president turns on people who he once liked. so jeremy peters, kimberly atkins, matt gorman, steve kornacki, much appreciated. police are still trying to figure out if a second suspect was involved in last night's mass shooting at a california food festival, four people are dead, including a gunman. we'll go live to the scene where
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investigators are trying to piece together what happened there. a national security shakeup, national intelligence director dan coats out as president trump prepares to nominate one of his most ardent defenders in congress to replace him. how the stage is set for a nasty confirmation battle. and you should be mad at simple things that are unnecessarily complicated. but you're not mad, because you're trading with e*trade, which isn't complicated. their app makes trading quick and simple so you can strike when the time is right. don't get mad, get e*trade and start trading today. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, hmm. exactly. so you only pay for what you need. nice. but, uh... what's up with your... partner? not again. limu that's your reflection. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪
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no, no, no that's my guy. that's my guy. look at you the fate of the world is in your hands and you can't even get along. your momma. [ screaming ] confirmation process for president trump's pick to replace national intelligence director dan coats.
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his departure tweeted by the president yesterday. a career politician with no intelligence experience, staunch conservative, a trump loyalist, whose fierce protection of the president was on full display at the mueller hearing on wednesday. >> i agree with the chairman this morning when he said donald trump is not above the law. he's not. but he damn sure shouldn't be below the law which is where volume two of this report puts him. >> senate minority leader chuck schumer slammed the president's pick in a statement. "it's clear that representative ratcliffe was selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to president trump with his questioning of robert mueller. if senate republicans elevate such a player to a position that requires intelligence, expertise and nonpartisanship it would be a big mistake." joining me is ken dilanian.
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juan, ratcliffe has a 96% lifetime rating from the american conservative union. what do you make of a staunch conservative being nominated to a position that's traditionally been nonpartisan and given to people with significant intel backgrounds? >> you're right, the tradition of the director of national intelligence has been one where the professional assuming that role has either been a former ambassador or had a long standing role in the intelligence community and has had a gravitas in independence unto themselves that allows them to be an adviser to the president, to speak truth to power, to present intelligent assessments, not just to the president but to the american people in a credible way. it's important for that person not to see the role as a political role and that role be seen as an objective role, not just to the president but to the american people. there's a lot of questions obviously here. i would give a little bit of benefit of the doubt though
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here. keep in mind, you had congressman pompeo assuming the role as cia director. he was able to do that well, i think objectively. he's now moved on to be a strong secretary of state. so i think a good professional was able to move into these roles and assume the constraints and demands of that role. i don't know enough about this congressman to know if he can do that but that will certainly be the subject of conversation on the hill. >> one of the things we know is that he has agreed with the president repeatedly. in fact, coats, of course, has long been referred to as one of the adults in the room, somebody who was willing to stand up. along with some other people, frankly, who have already departed, nikki haley, john kelly, jim mattis. who's left then, juan, to challenge the president on issues of national security or to give voice to the other side, which is so critically important when you're making these decisions about the security of our country? >> well, it's a great question. i think you still have great
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professionals willing to speak truth to power like secretary pompeo. i think john bolton often presents contrarian views to the president's own views. it's the professionals running the agencies themselves, the 16 elements of the intelligence community, the 17th is the office of the director of national intelligence, that are actually doing the day-to-day work of collecting information, assessing it, providing the analysis, that policymakers need, people like gina haspel at the cia, a long-term career member there, admiral mcguire at the national counterterrorism center, chris wray at the fbi, these are the professionals doing the everyday work. it will be interesting to see how a new director of national intelligence can work with these individuals. that's where the rubber meets the road and where the president gets his information from. >> ken, dan coats did challenge the president on russian
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meddling, isis, north korea, we could go on, he stood up for members of the intel community, notably after the president sided with vladimir putin rather than his own intelligence community about interference in the election. his resignation, though, is a little bit vague. he wrote as we have previously discussed i believe it is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life. what do we know about the back story there? >> it's pretty clear dan coats was forced out and it's clear he had not been happy for some time and we realize he never clicked with donald trump. one of the reasons for that, frankly, seems to be that dan coats, although he was a republican senator, put loyalty to the truth over loyalty to donald trump and he did that in public on many occasions. just in january at the worldwide threats hearing as you said he testified that iran was complying with the nuclear deal, that north korea was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons and that isis remained a threat in syria. all those things contradicted things that donald trump had been saying. and, you know, last summer at the aspen security forum when
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coats learned on the stage with andrea mitchell that donald trump had invited vladimir putin to the white house coats made clear howe ridiculous he felt that to be. >> just friday coats made the announcement, essentially a new czar to oversee election security. you have that as well. >> that's right. >> i want to play one more thing. i think it's really pertinent, that democratic congressman chris fur murphy said when he w asked about the nomination earlier this morning. take a listen. >> so i don't know this guy. i think he's a television character that the president has watched. i'll certainly do my own evaluation. but it strikes me as a very inappropriate choice for the job at a moment when we are trying to lift intelligence out of the political soup. >> director of national intelligence and key players
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on -- in congress, ken dilanian don't really know much about him. >> as juan said it's fair to give him the benefit of the doubt. we don't know how he will act if confirmed as dni. if he will put aside his partisanship. he was the second most conservative member of congress by some measures and he said on fox yesterday that he believes that members of the obama administration committed crimes in launching the russia investigation, and that, frankly, is a conspiracy theory without a shred of evidence. so i think he goes in with a lot of baggage that will have to be unpacked in the intelligence committee confirmation hearings. >> ken dilanian, juan zarate, much appreciated, thanks to both of you. the latest ahead on the mass shooting at a california food festival, four people are dead, including the gunman. police still trying to figure out whether a second suspect was involved. here's how witnesses described the moments that gunfire erupted inside the festival. >> we both turned and we saw him standing there and he was
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reloading his gun. he had it like towards the ground. he was putting like another magazine into it and all of a sudden he just -- and he just opened fire and started walking towards our booth and me and my sister just ran the opposite direction where he was standing. hmm. exactly. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. nice. but, uh... what's up with your... partner? not again. limu that's your reflection. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪
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we want to get you caught up on the breaking news we've been following out of northern california where police are now looking for a possible second suspect after yesterday's deadly shooting spree at a festival. three people were killed, including a 6-year-old boy, his mother, and grandmother were also shot. and are recovering. his father left to grieve. >> i lost my son. there's nothing i really can do besides try to be with him until i can put him in his resting spot. >> as we wait for a press conference in about 90 minutes nbc's molly hunter is in gilroy with new details about the shooter and the ongoing investigation. molly, police say the shooter is dead. what can you tell us about the possibility of an accomplice? >> reporter: chris, hey, good morning. the shooter is dead and we now know his name. federal officials confirmed to nbc news his name is santino
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williams. police held a press conference last night and spoke about the fact that witnesses were talking about the presence of someone supporting, not necessarily a second shooter. but someone helping the gunman. we're going to have a press conference right here outside the police department where we will get more answers. let me run through what we do know. police said the shooter entered the perimeter fence using some tool. to get into that garlic festival, chris, everyone had to go through a metal detector, get a bag check, even for a food festival, fairly tight security. a shooter came in through an opening in the fence. take a look how some of the eyewitnesses described the scene. >> the vendor that was getting ready to serve me she actually said get down. that's gunfire. there's a shooter. >> he just rose his gun up and started spraying out rounds all
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around. >> he was liking like a police officer, like he wanted to get stuff done. and it was horrifying. >> reporter: it was a terrifying scene. and eyewitnesses describe him basically shooting indiscriminately. the thing that stood out to me is that gilroy police engaged him within a minute. he was able to shoot three people dead and shoot 11 people, we know 11 people suffered from gunshot wounds in addition to a couple other people injured and the mayhem getting trampled. that is a very short window to shoot a lot of people and of course the police chief really commended his officers for engaging so quickly. but hopefully, chris, we'll learn more about his motive, who he is, where he's from, what his age is in the press conference coming up. >> molly hunter, thank you for that and we know you'll update us when the press conference happens. an aside, gabby giffords has
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issued a statement saying that this must stop. we must stop this. two american teens accused of killing a police officer in italy are now blaming each other. the 18 and 19-year-old from mill valley, california stole a backpack from an italian, then demanded money and cocaine for its return. when a plain clothes police officer tried to investigate the situation turned violent. the officer who was just 35 and had just come back from his honeymoon was stabbed to death. the murder weapon was hidden in the ceiling tiles of their hotel room. both are being held behind bars in rome. less than 33 hours out from the next democratic presidential debate and while candidates spent the last couple of weeks sparring over records and issues like health care race may end up taking center stage once again thanks to president trump. a new sign that president obama might not stay as quiet as he's been when it comes to his
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former adviser to the hillary clinton campaign. kimberly atkins is back with us. kimberly with the president's latest attacks against baltimore and congressman cummings, do you think, going to change the tenor of the debate, will trump more likely be the target than joe biden was the last time? >> well, one thing i think we will see over the next 48, 72 hours and beyond throughout the campaign is democrats really focusing more on the issue of race. the issue of race is pervasive, even when you're talking about a lot of issues they're going to be focused on from housing to education to the economy. it's a central part. and with the president really putting that into high focus it's going to be something that democrats will focus on. i think they have to also take into account how much they take trump on directly. i think there's a lot of discussion as to whether you focus on policy or focus on trump. i think the democrats, to be effective, have to walk and chew
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gum at the same time. they have to show that not only do they have the policies that are -- that they believe are best suited for voters, but they have to show that in the general election they can stand at a podium, at a debate, across from donald trump, and be able to deliver a winning message. they have to do all of those things. >> adrian, if the key question is, and we know it is for democratic primary voters who can beat trump, is articulating a strong response to him going after yet another congress member of congress critical, maybe in some ways even more important than some of the issues, showing they could stand on a stage with donald trump and answer to him in an effective way. >> well, chris, i think it's hard to really determine which is more important because to kimberly's point you've got to walk and chew gum at the same time. democratic candidates don't ar take late their positions on policy issues and don't make those kitchen table issues, health care, education, jobs, raising wages, a forefront of
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their campaign we will lose in the general election. if you make this just a referendum on trump we will lose as democrats. you've got to go on the stage and show that you don't stand for trump's character, that you find his comments abhorrent, that you will restore character, if you're the democratic nominee you will restore character and integrity to the white house. at the same time you've got to make sure you're out there articulating a forefront vision for americans because we saw in the midterms, chris, in 2018, candidates didn't win on an anti-trump agenda. they won in record numbers, democratic candidates across the board, because they had a mission on protecting health care, protecting jobs, raising wages, making the lives better for everyday americans, which trump has failed to do. you've got to do both in order to be successful. >> and we've talked, kimberly, just in this hour, strategically about how the president found this to be successful, these racial issues, in 2016. so he's maybe going back to that playbook. but is it also possible that he
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did this now because he wants race to be at the center of the conversation in this debate? >> absolutely. i mean, i think he does see that as an effective tool. i mean, he has done this not just during campaign season. we've seen him thrive on the sort of social divisions, these cultural divisions that he thinks benefit him politically, everything from nfl -- going after nfl protesters and the like. so he definitely -- this is going to be a key part of his playbook, moving into 2020, and it really has never stopped being a part of his playbook, and he does see this as an advantage, republicans more broadly than him see the cultural division issue if it is quote/unquote identity politics. they see that as winning for republicans. >> joe biden, the front runner, and still the front runner, adrian, had what was widely regarded as a lackluster, disastrous debate last time
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around. insiders say he knows he has to do better this time. i want to remind folks what he said last week how this time he's not holding back. let me play that. >> i was probably overly polite in the way i didn't respond. >> are you going to be less polite then? >> i'm going to smile a lot. >> what did you mean when you said you're not going to be as polite in the next debate? >> we'll see. >> i wonder what the president has done since that debate is setting him up for maybe a little bit of do-over. >> there's no doubt that joe biden and his team of advisers know he's got to have a better performance in this debate. he's got a record, a legislative record that goes back, you know, 50 something years, or a little bit less than 50 years to when he was 29 years old and first elected to congress. he's got to make sure that he rises above the fray and tries to make this, you know, more of a referendum on him versus trump as opposed to getting into the
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weeds of some of these primary issues because other candidates will attack him on this. because of what you've seen in the last two weeks, right, because president trump has gone out there and made race a really big issue as kimberly noted he's done time and time again this is where i think joe biden can be at his strongest, where he can rise above the fray and say, listen, guys, i am running for president because i want to restore character and integrity to the white house and i think you will see him do that because there -- joe biden is at his best when he is talking about character issues and how we need to actually make this country a better place and go back to where we were before trump was in office. i hope you'll see that out of joe biden this week. >> thanks to both of you. members of president obama's administration got a boost from their former boss, he slammed president trump's rhetoric. is this a sign we may hear more from the 44th president?
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♪ how do you like it, ♪ how do you like it ♪ ♪ more, more, more ♪ how do you like it, how do you like it ♪ all you can eat is back. how do you like that? applebee's. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. for 2 1/2 years, former president barack obama has been largely silent about his successor's tweets and behaviors, letting the new president govern.
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in a new political statement he is praising the african-american members of his administration for writing this op-ed. obama tweeted i've always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration but more than what we did, i'm proud of how they're continuing to fight for an america that's better. his former staffers wrote we refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy. we call on local, state and congressional officials as well as presidential candidates to articulate their policies and strategies for moving us forward as a strong democracy. i'm particularly glad to have you today. this was written after the attacks on the squad. now we're seeing what the president has to say about
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baltimore and congressman elijah cummings. was there kind of a breaking point? was this something that could have been building? how did this all come together? >> chris, thanks for having me today. yes, we have that all of us stayed in touch with. the continued rhetoric, the attacks, we just started talking. one email led to another and then quickly, you know, everyone decided let's write an op-ed. there was a small team that drafted an op-ed. we were able to get over 100 signatures in 24 hours. we worked very quickly to put this together and then to see if we could share it with a media outlet. we were able to get it placed. i think it was overwhelming to see that a group that has been basically spread out across the country since leaving washington a few years ago came together and really felt like it was time, because we're all active in our communities and we all
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feel the importance of raising our voice on an issue like race. >> knowing how reticent president obama has been -- i was at his very last press conference and he talked about the fact that he was not going to be involved, he was going to walk away. were you all pretty surprised when he decided to tweet, as he did, his support for this? >> i think we actually were glad to see he tweeted and gave us the support to continue to do this. i think president obama always made sure we understood the basic of our voice and civic engagement and how pertinent it is to continue to speak up. at his last speech many of us sat back and listened to him and talked about the importance of being a citizen. as many of us returned back to citizen life we realized more and more every day as we see the rhetoric and what's going on in our country that we need to keep our voice raised and keep speaking out on issues.
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>> you have this published. i'm sure you heard a lot from folks who supported you on this. you see what the president tweeted. it was literally an onslaught of elijah cummings this weekend. what goes through your mind when you see that? >> i think it's hurtful for all of us when we do see the type of response that happens on twitter. i know i have worked in baltimore. just seeing how the people there really worked to have change. incredible things are happening in baltimore. incredible things are happening across the country and in our cities. the areas where you see predominantly african-americans, we should not live in an environment where our leadership is attacking. we need a leader and a president who represents everyone and speaks on behalf of everyone. this is an important time in our country.
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we are asking everyone to make sure they vote and taking part as being active citizens so that we don't have a country where we have to worry about this type of rhetori rhetoric. >> what do you think, is this a one-off or will we hear more from the president as we get into the 2020 presidential election? >> the election is coming very soon. i think you'll continue to hear him but you'll hear from more members of the administration. this is a very important time. i look forward to see what's happening in the future. >> more to come perhaps. heather foster, good to see you. thanks. ahead on "andrea mitchell reports" much more on national intelligence director dan coats and the scrutiny surrounding the man tapped to replace him. surre man tapped to replace him. hey, who are you? oh, hey jeff, i'm a car thief... what?! i'm here to steal your car because, well, that's my job. what? what??
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that wraps up this hour of "msnbc live." andrea mitchell reports starts now but with ayman mohyeldin. loyalist to be the next intelligence chief after a rocky relationship with dan coats. some republican leaders are concerned that congressman john ratcliffe is too political, after his questioning of robert mueller. >> americans need to know this, as they listen to the democrats and socialists on the other side

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