tv Deadline White House MSNBC August 9, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
i will be back at 10:00 p.m. eastern for "the last word." and i will be back monday at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch on sirius radio, tune in, apple tv, and all over social media. it's time for "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. breaking news this afternoon the suspect accused of carrying out last weekend's massacre at the walmart in es-paso, texas, was specifically targeting mexicans. that's according to law firms earlier today. that confirmation comes on the same day donald trump promises, as he did after the parkland shooting, to do something on guns despite being warned not to by the nra. >> i have a lot of respect for the people at the nra and have spoken to them on numerous
occasions. and, frankly, we need intelligent background checks. >> welcome words if they prove true but we've heard those words before from this president in the wake of the tragic mass shooting that killed 14 high school students and 3 adults in parkland, florida. here's the president after that shooting. >> we will do very strong background checks, very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody and we're going to do plenty of other things. it's not going to be talk like it has been in the past. it's been going on too long, too many instances and we're going to get it done. >> so the press is out with a fact check of that promise after parkland for very strong background checks. ap writes this -- quote, trump later retreated, expressing support for modest changes to the federal background check system and for arming teachers. here's the truth about trump's record on guns, the president actually threatened to veto
bipartisan background check legislation. the president scrapped a rule making it harder for some mentally ill individuals to open guns and he's shown little-to-no interest in stronger measures such as an assault weapons ban. the bottom line, skeptics have every justifications for their pessimism when it comes to donald trump, his allies in congress and stranglehold the nra holds over both. here's congressman tim ryan with legislation on gun control will be front and center. >> that sound like the potomac two-step to me. they're playbook, donald trump, mitch mcconnell, national rifle association, their playbook has always been how do we slow walk this? how do we mealy-mouth it until it goes away, until the news cycle changes and something happens in the world or something happens in america and there's a natural disaster and the story goes back on the backburner. trump is saying we will have
this conversation and that conversation. we don't want to do it now, call the senate back to deal with this now. that's the problem, john. that's the problem the american people are fed up with and now people are starting to pay attention. >> that is where we start with some of our favorite reporters and friend. from "the washington post," phil rucker is back, joyce vance, former u.s. attorney. here at the table rev al sharpton, host of "politicsnation" here on msnbc, and also the president of the national action network. maria teresa kumar is here, president and ceo of vote latino and bloomberg opinion executive editor fresh off a twitter brawl with the president himself, tim o'brien is back. lucky for us, msnbc contributors. phil rucker, let me start with you. i think we're all accustom to the president saying things that have no attachment to the truth or reality. when he says we're going to do something on gun control, whether you love donald trump or hate donald trump, the vast majority of americans hope that's true.
>> yet, nicolle, the polling is completely lopsided on this issue. 80%, 90% of americans think background checks is the way to go. they have thought that for years and yet nothing happened in washington. the president said today he wanted intelligent background checks, that's his word, intelligent. but it's not clear what that means. the devil will be in the details. what is this legislation? will it be the manchin-toomey bill of a few years bag that died in the senate of the obama presidency? will it be something different, perhaps something weaker that would be more appealing to the republicans in the senate. and it's unclear also how much momentum president trump is willing to put behind it. he said what he said at the white house but he said it as he was departing for a week-long vacation at hi gos golf club inw jersey. the senate is out for the entire month of august. it's not clear where the leadership and momentum to do something will come from in the next few days.
>> joyce, if you have 80% or 90% of the american people behind something, you have cross pressure for this president among his base, that includes some people in the trump base. and film rucker saphil said thee details. a lot of people think the devil is in congress. here's what politico wrote, trump quietly used regulations to expand gun access. federal agencies implemented more than half a dozen policy changes, changes that primarily through little notice, rel latory moves expand access to guns by lifting firearm bans in certain locations and limiting the names in the national database designed to keep firearms away from dangerous people. he talks about intelligent background checks. he's done some very, very profound things to weaken checks and balances and limits on guns getting in the hands of -- by this reporting, dangerous people. >> right.
i think we're also surprised to see he's talking out of both sides of his mouth on this issue. you know, the reality here is law enforcement has almost uniformly believed for many as long as i was in the justice department over 25 years that universal background checks were sort of a no brainer because right now if you buy a gun at a gunshow or online or through a person-to-person transfer, there's no background check. and that's how a lot of guns that get used in significant violent crimes are sold so the house has a bill, hr8, that would close those loopholes. there's also issues how long it takes to do checks and how long it takes for sales to go through if the checks are not completed within the mandatory 72-hour period. some states make it longer. here the president is at fault where he could have put the resources into fbi and atf so they could complete those background checks. instead those resources are
slowly disappearing. there's no real reason to believe that the president has a commitment. there's no specific plan on the table, even though there are a lot of options. >> i want to dive into the news that broke this afternoon that the law enforcement has confirmed the killer's motive was to kill mexicans. i want to dive into trump's language on guns because he explained everything from arcade games to, you know, bad moods or mental illness and unhappy people. but i want you to tell me, i want you to explain to me sort of the organization of donald trump's brain. because i remember donald trump during the campaign at the nra convention and we didn't pull that out but he was i think the first and earliest person endorsed by the nra. he has been so proud and happy to be as aligned with the nra as he is. he has been -- he has talked about it as though it is in his mind a great political
accomplishment to be as synced up with the nra that he is. but you play the video after parkland, and i remember watching that event. you played the video today on departure where in his words, no more talk. i called mitch. he was waiting for my call. we're going to do something. what do you think, using your predictive powers, what happens next? >> i don't think he's going to lift a hand at all on background checks. i don't think he cares about it morally. i don't think he cares about it as policy and i don't think he cares in any way about the victims of the shootings. he looks at this very narrowly he likes the fact the nra came out for him early. when he began running it he mentioned it again on the white house lawn today. he sees it as a matter of loyalty and nothing else. he realizes the nra has essentially become the piggy bank of the gop, giving exclusively to republican candidates and office holders. he likes that about him.
when you ask him to explain the organization in his mind, there is no organization. inside his mind there's a putter, a cheeseburger, someone else's credit card and a porn video and the rest of it is just an empty space where he's figuring out how he can occupy center stage and meet these other needs he has that are very self-centered and self-involved. he's not sophisticated about policy. he's never thought it true. he said a year ago in february 2018 he told the members of the gop in the oval office they were scared of the nra, implying he wasn't. and that they would get background checks put through after parkland. about two days after that meeting chris cox from the nra came to the white house and, poof, it disappeared. that's the power of the nra. since then cox is gone. they are in disarray, smoking corruption scandals in there. there's a possibility nra lacks the muscles to flex that they once did.
but i'm very pessimistic about the idea that mitch mcconnell will suddenly step back and donald trump will suddenly see the light and the nra will be inconsequential. this is money and guns. it's not a moral issue for the people who need to change it. >> is donald trump afraid of the nra? >> donald trump coddles the nra. donald trump loves the nra. donald trump has no reason to be afraid of it because he sees them as an ally. at the end of the day his policies will be lined up with the nras. >> let me show you all of the things donald trump has attributed the epidemic of guns, violence to in his career. >> mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun. we must stop the glorification of violence in our society. this includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. bad guys aren't giving up their guns. and you're not going to be giving up your guns either.
if we had guns in california on the other side where the bullets went in a different direction, you wouldn't have 14 or 15 people dead right now. if even in paris they had guns on the other side going in the opposite direction, you wouldn't have 130-plus dead. if they knew there were guns in the room, it might not have happened. >> where do you start? >> when you have a presidential candidate that says i can shoot someone on fifth avenue and get away with it, he encompasses what violence means. it's not the video games. this idea that you throw the reason that someone pulls the trigger at the feet of someone who is suffering from mental illness, hate is not a mental illness. we have a perpetrator in the white house that doesn't want to take responsibility for their words, his words. he descendford thed from the es four years ago saying they were
criminals and rapists. we knew exactly what he was talking about. the fact we didn't take him more seriously as a country is why we're here with him, because of the moment he helped create. now he wants to absolve himself. and he is not someone that is faithful to any group. right now there's rumblings that the nra is in disarray. what is he doing? he's asking his advisers how strong are they really? he all recognizes the american people are fed up this might be the watershed moment, he might do the right thing only to save himself on re-election. >> to the point of this being something that he stated, i mean, i by beto o'rouke has done a good job of putting this back on the media leak. stop asking questions you know the answer to. donald trump says mexicans are rapists are murderers. we have confirmation that the
killer's target were mexicans. a lot of language overlap between the president's twitter feed and killer's message. what is sort of the basic question democrats take to the country? >> i think when you have the law enforcement release a statement today that the shooter, we don't have to guess about, the shooter is saying he was targeting mexicans, it is a hate crime. so all of this hogwash the president is talking about, about video games and other things, hogwash. this guy did not say i was watching video games. he did not say any of the excuses the president gave. he said i came at mexicans. who has been the orator of trying to demonize and denigrate mexicans? donald trump, go forward today, donald trump who is brash and demanding says i talked to mitch on the phone. not that i told mitch to get back here to washington and have a special session. no that i said the senate ought to be doing this and break a day
in their recess. by the way, i'm on my way to the hampton to a fund-raiser, hurry up, because i've got to get out and pick up money. then i'm going on an extended vacation. but trust me, even though i lied to you every time before, trust me after my vacation and my golfing and after mitch gets finished in kentucky, we're going to do this. what are we going to do? we're going to do background checks. we're not even going to talk about assault weapons. the fact of the matter is this whole tape you played where he said if though know guys have a gun, they won't come, they came. walmart is in a carry state. there was no way that 21-year-old didn't know people in that walmart didn't have guns. they sell guns in walmart. he didn't care anyway. he came in and started shooting no one somebody could have taken a gun off the rack and shot back. he was so full of hate and determined to do it. we are in a state of emergency and we have a president on his
way to the hamptons and into the golf course. >> you're on this shoefr week. we have a lot of conversation about donald trump. you along with tim are the coolest customers in knowing what you are seeing, predicting what you see before you see it. and i think you speak to the anger in this country that's boiling over not just the question of guns but around this question about our complacency about race. >> i think we're co-signing it by ducking it. we're talking about a president that called a group of people based on their nationality rapists. we're talking about a president that said those african-american nations in haiti, s-hole countries, we're talking about a president whose lawyer and somebody he said was like his son sat in front of congress under oath and said the president said have you ever seen a black person run anything, any country that worked? he is a white supremacist by his own statements and by the witnesses of his own lawyers. so why are we dancing around this trying to be all
analytical. what are we looking at? you're looking at what you're seeing. let's do something. >> to underscore, it's not his rhetoric. we get lost in the terrible things. but his policies, the policies he's underscoring. the fact one of the first things he did when he was president was actually create a muslim ban. that had hundreds of thousands of people on the streets saying not on our watch. he put in a census question that disenfranchised the american latino vote, we have children dyeing in cages. he created a denaturalization task force and the lift keeps going on and on. how much do we need to show the american people, this man is not a unifier. he's weaponizing race over being american. when he talk about the jrt of majority/minority country, we have this vision we're talking about a real small fraction of us, no, it's 40% of us, 132 million strong and we need all of us to come together. you know else who is there?
the russians. the russians know the stronger we are as a unified voice, then it's harder for them to resurrect themselves. right now the russians what they're trying to do is resurrect themselves at any cost and they found someone in donald trump to do that work for them. >> and we can't be bullied, i know he's going through a twitter war. i went through it last week with the president. he needs to know and the democrats need to show they will not be bullied. he says i'm a racist yet we were friends for 25 years. what did he have on blackface when i saw him for 25 years? i knew you were white. yet i was racist. we need to stand up to him, make him stand up to the country or get another president. >> phil rucker, i see signs of there's no way to spin your way out of being so politically rigid. and the ra jidty in his politics suggest he knows he's a hostage of the nra. the president doesn't have wiggle room on guns because he can't walk away from them.
that's a sign of political weakness. the president on air force one between stops in dayton and el paso, lashing out at biden, it is more than just biden getting under his skin. biden stood at a teleprompter and delivered a speech that if everyone heard it every single day, i'm pretty sure that message, whether it's joe biden or whomever prevails in the democratic prielary, would prevail among suburban women in lake county, ohio, the kind of places that put trump over the edge. he is in a particularly perilous place. does he know that? >> he does, nicolle, and i think that's why he's lashing out so much not only at biden but tim and all sorts of other people this week. he's angry he's being blamed in part for this shooting in el paso. he's angry that decades of soaking racial divisions and in some cases outright racist comments and actions are coming to haunt him in a profound way.
this is a label that could stick for him and be defining between now and upcoming election as voters form their opinions, with whether or not to give him another four years with this label of racist. but some trump advisers think it could work to their advantage. there's a danger here on the democrats politicizing this too much. i'm telling you what they say. >> i believe you. i worked on a few presidential campaigns and i don't -- my political advice is worth what people pay for it, nothing. but racism is not a way to victory. >> well, there's a strategy here in sowing racial divides, which is why the president did the tweets about the squad, four congresswomen of color, a few weeks back and his side is trying to argue by calling trump out the racists could turn off trump voters and supporters.
we will see if that pans out. >> you look like a political operative. i think the strategic level, the political strategy and it's disgusting, the strategy is paint the democratic party as extreme in their policies. and i don't know what they tell the toddler in chief, but the actual politics of being thought of as a racist are devastating in swing counties. i think the strategies -- and it's disgusting but at its best, it's conception is to paint the entire democratic party as extreme in their policies and the president wanted to use those women to do it. i saw some of the reporting, i think axios has it, that they think being called a white supremacist does suit them. are they really digging in and comfortable with that though? >> well, the reality, nicolle, is they don't have an option here. the president will not apologize. the president will not take back what he said. he's never apologized for anything. so they've got to try to argue their way out of this and come
out on the other side and look for some light at the end of the tunnel. but it is a very difficult political moment for donald trump. >> joyce, can you just take me inside of what being chris wray was like this week? he testified on the 23rd i believe of july. a lot of that got lost in robert mueller's testimony the next day or a couple of days later. and testified that the domestic terrorism is a threat and the greatest cause of domestic terrorism is white supremacy. you know how six of the 20 or 21 democratic candidates for president describing donald trump as a white supremacist. what does the world view inside law enforcement look like right now? how much is the president's speech, whether they can do anything about it or not, of concern? >> you know, it's tough to be chris wray, the director of the fbi, or anyone in law enforcement right now. because on the one hand you understand there is now data that suggests that nationalists, terrorism, domestic terrorism, is not just on the rise but it
is the leading cause of terrorist activity in this country. virtually all of the cases the fbi is investigating come from that threat stream. and yet at the same time you've got the man in the white house, who's your boss, and he is, if not openly advocating for it and then refusing to walk it back. and you know, here's the easy path forward for donald trump. if you don't want to see violence, if you don't want people to think you're a racist, you simply say, i'm not calling for a violent solution. no one should do that in my name. trump's failure to do that make law enforcement's job very tough. >> joyce vance and phil rucker, we're always happy to you have, especially this week. thank you. >> when we come back, after a torrent of criticism over his rhetoric on race, more on the strategy phil rucker just reported. the allies welcome the president being branded a white supremacist, they say. they think it will help him win in 2020. we'll see. also ahead, encouraging professionals and other lifelong
official tenders her resignation as the president pursues loyalists to lead the top agencies. and it's either the best news of the day or the worst, the president is going on his summer vacation today where his aides say he will focus on golf, twitter, cable. what can go wrong? evere psorias, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. upper respiratory tract infection and headache may occur. tell your doctor about your medicines, and if you're pregnant or planning to be. otezla. show more of you.
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donald trump was racist rhetoric about the racist shooters in el paso and mexico. they said they believe donald trump is a white supremacist and there's an open debate about whether the president's rhetoric is playing a role in what they describe as inspiring white supremacy. and the trump team finds themselves clinging to the dark underbelly of american politics, they're hugging it. axios reporting the campaign is, quote, welcoming that charge. sources close to the president telling axios, they believe the joerd charge that the president is a white supremacist will help him win in 2020. these trump allies tell us that the claim by democratic opponents is not only emboldening his base but also alienating some mainstream republicans who think democrats have gone too far.
joining our conversation, the former deputy national security adviser to president obama, ben rhodes. everyone else is still here. i've got to get your thoughts on this idea. i think being called a racist is about the most horrific thing you can see about someone. you have eight of the democrats running to replace him calling him a white supremacist. one, do you agree? and two, is this good politics? >> i certainly agree. let's check the videotape here. this is a man who built the program where my old boss wasn't born in the united states. would he possibly be saying that if barack obama wasn't white? no. in his first speech he calls mexicans rapists and on and on. the fact the massive uptick in white supremacy violence is coincidental that they say the same things the white supremacists say on message boards, beggar's belief here,
nicolle. we have to call thing what's they are. in terms of the politics, look, i get a little tired of this debate should democrats talk about these things and pocketbook issues like health care. if you want to be president of the united states, you have to lead and talk about everything. you have to be willing to call out these profound trends shaking cohesion in our society and threatening the lives of the american people and you have to talk about pocketbook issues like health care and education and other things. so i'm glad they are not shying from this debate, i think the american people, especially in the swing districts you mentioned, are smart enough to figure out which person will make the best figure in their lives. >> a normal person has 30 to 50 contacts on their schedule every day, six events before noon, including an in-personal intelligence briefing, a normal president. the idea you train for the
presidency by being able to multitask and fight, fight but don't come to your doorstep that needs to be fought like a fight against domestic terrorism and advance an agenda is a good one and one worth reminding people of for those of us who have been there before, it's hard to remind everyone how hard we functioned under this. i want to get to the fight for the rise of islamic terrorism. i feel like democrats are retreating of somewhat of a defensive posture. and if anyone retreated in the face of islamic terrorism, my old party would have come after them politically. i want your honest assessment of what the democrats should do to stay on the offense of domestic terrorism and ties to white supremacy christopher wray testified to. >> this is a national security crisis i would say, nicolle. the number one threat to the american people in terms of their personal security is
threat of white supremacist terrorism. that's not just my view, that's the view of the director of the fbi. a normal president would be running meetings on this in the white house. a normal president would be putting more resources on this challenge. a normal president would have department of justice and homeland security trying to figure out what the radicalization process that is leading to these shootings. if you look at donald trump, what we hear from the reporting is the department of homeland security scrubbed mentions of white supremacist terrorism in favor of just focusing on islamic terrorism because they don't want to upset trump. just think about that. because they don't want to upset the feelings of the president of the united states, his own team is avoiding bringing to him the number one threat to the american people. if we look at the juxtaposition of guns, another national security threat, white supremacist terrorism and russian interference in our election, these are the national security challenges confronting the united states and the president is willfully ignoring them, i would like to see
democrats make these national security arguments, getting guns off the streets, getting the white supremacists that lead to violence and securing our elections. >> i want to bring the table in but i want to ask a yes or no question, is donald trump a threat to our security, ben? >> absolutely. if you have a president who is willfully preventing his own administration from defending our democracy against election interference, from going after white supremacists who are propagating violence in this country and from getting ar-15s guns off the streets that are weapons of war, how is that not a threat to our security? >> you were talking in the break their country is warning their own citizens of exactly the security threats ben just articulated. >> yes, venezuela, new zealand and uruguay issued travel advisories for their citizens as people of color to travel to the united states. the only people who wonder
whether or not donald trump's language leads to increase violence against people of color are white people. people of color already understand this. there have been plenty of reports of latinos in el paso who now feel like they have a target on their back. the african-american experience in this country has been one of undersurveillance and under the thumb of the law. this is not a new phenomenon. what is new about this is you have someone in the white house who is a narcissist and racist. and you saw evidence of both this week. he travels to dayton and el paso and what comes out of that? a video that's essentially a campaign ad of him going to the hospital,s had scored to heroic music with everyone taking his picture and the president giving thumb's up. it's not about the victims. it's not about the families. it's not about the pain and the way those communities have been scarred. it's about trump as a man of action. he will take any event, no matter how horrid and turn it into a stage prop for himself. that's a measure of his narcissism.
today after three weeks of racial turmoil in this country that he set in motion, he retweets katey hopkins, a british racist and xenophobe on his twitter feed not once but twice. you and i have talked about this in our earlier show, we cataloged the history of trump's racism and racist acts. he retweeted katie hopkins an unnu uncountable number of times. i find it painful and i'm a privileged white guy. i cannot even imagine what it feels like for people of color right now. this man who is in the premier leadership position in the world is retweeting racist and racist sentiments. >> what is the appropriate response? >> first of all, we should all have plenty of anger, first of all. but it goes back to this policy, as he's landing in el paso, there's the largest i.c.e. raid
in american history tearing hundreds of people from their families. and also it was gross, this was the kids' first day of school. they were excited coming home to tell their kids what their first day of school and from now on forever that will be their remembrance of the first day of school. we're also disillusioned to think he only does not like people of color. he's actively doing policy, putting all of us in danger. obama right before he left the white house, he had basically an evaluation saying white supremacists is one of the things you had to be collectively worried about. he created the counter violent extremist task force which borrowed individuals and experts from everything from the department of homeland security to the department of education, hhs, fbi. it was about 13 people from different parts of the agencies to monitor extremists. what was one of the first thing donald trump zeroed out last year in his budget? this program. meaning he has no intention
right now of keeping us safe if we're not monitoring where we know these individuals live and exist. we cannot track them or find them. we cannot make sure that joey over here might be a problem. let me actually find out what's happening over here. let me contact the fbi so we can zero in on joey and his activities and his friends. that's a danger. >> he also put aside president obama's administration, making it for people with mental health issues to get done. he's talking about mental health the other day. he's the one that pushed that aside that president obama had established. but i want to address this whole politics, where they think it works for them politically. i've dealt with the last three or four presidents. we were opposed, many of us in the civil rights community, to the crime bill. but no one ever said bill clinton said we're going to put these people in cages. we had problems with george bush over katrina. there was nobody that came out and said oh, he said have you ever seen any blacks be able to
run anything? they're a bunk of animach of an there and rapists. i think you're underestimating the charge of white supremacist here, there's little room for doubt with independent voters. if any independent voters say that's too far, they are going extreme, how do you even make the argument it's extreme when you out of your mouth have said things, mr. president and you're own lawyer and confidante, who you let handle your women said this is what you said. there's no sudden light between this now. that's not true with presidents we had before that we may have had differences with because they had dignity and they were able to see in that office, even if we disagreed with them, we knew they were presidents and we knew they were presidential. you are dealing with a guy that has no class and does not care what he says and he says it in public. watch today. they came out from law enforcement and said this killer
said he was labeling them or after them because they were mexican. are we going to hear him make a statement about that? he can't because he has called them rapists and murderers. don't go anywhere, after the break sticking with national security, another top intel official resigned. and leaves a strong signal on the way out the door that donald trump's war on intel is alive and kicking. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ for a restless night's sleep. pain settle there's a better choice. aleve pm. the only one to combine a safe sleep aid
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i have great confidence in my intelligence people, but i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. >> mr. president, did you talk to your intelligence today about the displeasure you had -- >> i did. and they said they were totally misquoted and it was taken out of context. so what i do is i suggested you call them. when my intelligence people tell me how wonderful iran is, if you don't mind, i'm going to just go
by my own counsel. >> donald trump may soon run out of intelligence officials to ignore and insult. another top intel official stepping down just weeks after dni dan koets announced his departure. sue gordon, an intelligence official resigned and in a handwritten note she told trump she's not leaving voluntarily, calling her resignation an act of respect and patriotism, not preference. you should have your team, she wrote. the backdrop to all of this news yesterday the former fbi director andy mccabe is suing the justice department claiming he was fired, quote, for his refusal to pledge partisan leadership to trump, adding it was trump's unconstitutional plan and scheme to remove fbi employees who were deemed to be his partisan opponents because they were not politically loyal to him. i have covered this as closely
as i have covered any thread of the trump presidency because -- you know this better than anybody, but during the bush years, i worked very closely with the national security officials and it was sort of a miracle because they're so adverse having anything to do really with communicators because we're on the softer side of things. you're laughing because you know i'm right. >> yes. >> but after 9/11 we needed to protect this country after we had gone to war in iraq and afghanistan and need to declass intelligence and military information and convey that. i have the best sense, if i have a sense of anything, to how trump's presidency has rocked and shattered lifelong public servants whose entire work has never involved even awareness of a politician's partisan leanings. these are the kinds of people who may not even know where fox news or msnbc are on the cable
dial. talk about the defamation from professionals in our intelligence and law enforcement agency. >> someone like sue gordon had who decades in the intelligence agency, i haven't the slightest idea what her politics are. and i overlapped with her for eight years. the reality is the intelligence community generally were career people. people who knew the business of intelligence. and the way in which the meeting would function, nicolle, you know, you go in the situation room and intelligence people kick it off by telling you what the status of a situation is and policymakers debate what to do. in other words, they're responsible for the facts and analysis and information and pulling it all together. and then the policymakers make decisions off of that. clearly what was so disturbing about this is trump doesn't want people who privilege facts. trump want people who will tell him what he wants to hear, to back up his policies. so he wants people who will tell him his north korea policy is working even though north korea is still building nuclear weapons. he wants people who will tell him vladimir putin's denial of interfering in our election is
correct, even though that's not the finding of our intelligence community. this gets at the very heart of the credibility of the $100 billion annual enterprise that is the u.s. intelligence community. if we can trust that they're guided by facts because they have a president who is basically fishing for people who will tell them whatever he wants to hear, then we're going to be far less safe, and foreign intelligence services will not want to cooperate with us. foreign intelligence sources will wonder whether if they provide the information to the united states that doesn't track what trump wants to hear, whether they will be in danger here. this is rocking the very foundation of what the mission of the intelligence community is when someone like sue gordon, who is just a career highly capable person, can no longer be in her position just because she's not going to tell trump everything he wants to hear from his intelligence community. >> i also think trump benefits from the speed of the news cycle because this is really part of the mattis resignation. i remember at the end of last
year, i remember saying on the air this is the least safe i have felt during the trump presidency when mattis resigned over a policy debate, a policy divide over the president's desire, wish, plan musing, i don't know, i believe he backtracked on it after the country lost mattis, to withdraw serp dip tuesdayly from syria. you now have the number two leaving, sue gordon and a lot of rumblings of tension at the cia with political folks that work under gina haspel. what is the full national security picture, what does it look like from where you sit? >> the national security picture looks like we could be headed to any number of crises. we have a crisis that has been boiling over with iran for some time now. we have venezuela where maduro is still entrenched despite what trump said happened. we have china trade war escalating. we've got north korea still firing off missiles and building nuclear weapons. we need a good intelligence
community to understand what is happening in these different places around the world, to understand the different threats to the american people, including the threat of white supremacists terrorism. instead of investigating in that capacity, trump is hollowing it out. he's disarming the capability of the u.s. government to understand what is happening either abroad or with threats that are coming here at home. by the way, this is something you can't get back, nicolle. if you have hundreds of years of experience walking out the door on a regular basis, you can't just replace that. so we're hollowing out the state department and losing expertise we can't get back as a country and that will be with us years to come, even after trump leaves. >> after the break, donald trump is heading on vacation today to focus on a few of his favorite things, golf, twitter and cable. that story is true and it's next. is true and it's next s. somos muy diferentes. muy diferentes. (vo) verizon knows everyone in your family is different. there are so many of us doing so many different things. (vo) that's why verizon lets everyone
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vacation comes as his presidency is under siege. the ap sums it up like this, quote, with his poll numbers stalled, his ability to rally the country being questioned, escalating trade war. rising tensions with both iran and north korea, and in the aftermath of the latest mass shootings, pressure to act on guns and face accusations of his own role in fostering an environment of hate. add another item. a startlingly under the radar admission from jerry nadler. >> this is formal impeachment proceedings. we are investigating all the evidence, we are gatheringed evidence and we will at the conclusion of this hopefully by the end of the year vote to vote articles of impeachment to the house floor or we won't. that's a decision that we'll have to make. but that's exactly the process we are in right now. >> rob, this is either the smartest, craftiest impeachment strategy i've ever seen in my life, or not.
[ laughter ] >> i'm glad you said or not. [ laughter ] i can't figure it out either. >> okay, good. so it's not a -- >> all of us i think are in that club. i can't figure out what we're doing and why. and i think that clearly, you know, the events, that week are horrific, we still need people to really focus in on we are talking about the testimony by robert mueller that we are still under threat from russian interference with our elections and we're rushing in these debates and all without ever answering how are we going to protect the integrity of the elections. and those are -- >> and who's going to protect -- >> and who's going to do it and under what method are they going to use, and are they going to be assigned by this president who acts like it's no issue at all. i mean, you have this president that acts as the white supremacy
is a hoax and everything else is a hoax. no addressing at all the fact that we have been told by mr. mueller who he accepted exonerated him from collusion but is not going to accept that mueller said we are still under threat as we move here, we are moving forward like he never said that. >> i mean, this is the challenge is that the democrats right now are missing such an opportunity with the majority of the american people just feel uneased. there is not an american that looks for the majority of them. right, there is the sliver that looks at this president that says things are not right. the level of anxiety of the american people is at an all-time high. this is a drip, drip, drip, do we impeach or do we not. the closer they get to the election, the harder it is going to be. that alone should also make people feel, like, we're ready. when you make a whole group of individuals feel uncomfortable, unsafe in their communities, and you do not apologize, i'm ready.
but the fact that he's not along to investigate and provide us the resources to protect our election system, what are you hiding from, is that the only way you will get elected? we have so many different courses that they can go for impeachment, but they are so afraid they're going to do a misstep. sometimes you just have to follow your gut of you know what the right thing to do and be leaders. >> this impeachment strategy i talked to congressional reporter this week who said they're pursuing this legal strategy. now i'm not sure about the politics as you both said, we'll see it. >> doesn't scream of boldness, but you've been in litigation with donald trump. maybe this is exactly the right way to get at donald trump. >> well, i suspect what's going on is literally this is this core graphed dance among nancy pelosi, jerry nadler, adam schiff, maxine waters and richard neal. those are the relevant committee heads who can get the goods on donald trump. it does feel like this is slow. they don't want to get this in front of the election. they also are building a case. they want to make a case to the
american public that this man should be impeached i think primarily for financial crimes which is not what robert mueller did. and i think this is what's in their wheelhouse right now, his taxes, his financial relationships, his business relationships. you saw this week "the wall street journal" had a very interesting story on how it leaked on which several banks in new york are giving money to house financial services and the intelligence committee. and it pertains to trump's deals in moscow when he was running for president. that's a damning deal. it shows the president compromised about whether there were financial quid pro quos. if it happens after election day at this point, then trump's more vulnerable at that point if he loses. they can tag him out of office. quid p i also as a journalist am pained
by that law because he broke the law. donald trump obstructed justice. >> we don't have enough time to do you justice here, ben, but just the thought on how these stories get lost. robert mueller did have the nation's attention, as we sit here right now, russia's attacking us. >> and i think russia gets better each time they should attack us. and to connect what we were talking about earlier, nicole, what happens if there is a massive russian interference in our election, what happens if they actually try to effect the vote tabulation. there's a very close election? and we're looking for the referee to tell us what happened, and the intelligence community's been kind of gutted out. he's bullied the leadership of the intelligence community into silence. who is going to throw the flag here, right? >> open questions, and they're all scary. that's why we're all going to keep talking it though. we though have to sneak in our last break. don't go anywhere, though. we'll be right back. otezla is not a cream.
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sharpton, theres kumar. "mtp daily" with chuck todd starts now. ♪ if it's friday, it's "meet the press daily," and good evening. i am chuck todd coming to you live from sioux city in the great state of iowa which is the epicenter of the presidential race right now. 17 candidates are in the hawkeye state today alone with more on the way this weekend i just spoke with one of them. senator kamala harris. in a moment we'll show you what she said about supporting gun legislation in the senate which is a major issue today after the president claimed that he, mitch mcconnell, and even the nra, would support legislation that would strengthen background checks which was appen