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Trump Administration
  MSNBC Live With Steve Kornacki  MSNBC  February 13, 2017 1:05pm-1:18pm PST

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the white house, hallie, thank you for that. let's turn now to inside -- go inside the white house, we're going to talk with kellyanne conway, counselor to the president. she joins us live now from the white house. thank you for joining us. appreciate it. >> thanks, steve. >> we set this up a little bit the a the top. let's hit the reset before i ask the first question here. it's the subject of michael flynn, the national security advisor, reports that he may have discussed those sanctions that the obama administration placed on russia with the russian ambassador before donald trump became president. vice president mike pence denied this on january 15th, now we have a statement from flynn that says, it is possible, he can't guarantee he didn't have these discussions. basic question here, does the national security advisor right now enjoy the full confidence of president trump? >> yes, general flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president. ands this is a big week for general flynn. he's the point of contact for many of these foreign visits. if you look at the official schedule, today we had the prime
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minister of canada, justin trudeau for bilateral meetings. on wednesday, benjamin netanyahu here at the white house. and behind the scenes, they are doing a number of different meetings where they're talking about trade, they're talking about terrorism, security, the fact that canada and the u.s. are very important, neighbors to each other and will continue to be. and obviously the national security advisor is a very important point person. in those discussions, general flynn has said he can't recall. and that he had about 30 phone calls with, i guess leaders at the time. and since then, 70 i'm told, different leaders, and i'll just leave his comments at that. >> but by saying he enjoys the full confidence of the president, these two questions that are out there, one, whether he had a conversation before donald trump became president that involved the sanctions and two, whether he misled or provided false information to the vice president. to mike pence, who then went out there and said hey this conversation, this type of conversation never took place. by saying he enjoys the full
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confidence of the president, are you saying you're satisfied that he did not have those conversations, that he did not mislead the vice president? >> no, those are two different questions. you asked me and i'll repeat the answer. does he have the full confidence of the president? yes, he does. then you're asking me what did he talk about with people when i wasn't on the phone. the only way for know answer that is to tell you what he has said, which is that he can't recall. and what he informed the vice president at the time through a conversation was that he had not, the vice president went out on tv as you know in january and repeated that based on the conversation he had with general flynn. i do find curious that with general flynn as our national security advisor and with the full confidence the president right now, steve, we're not talking about all the things that got done over the weekend and today. we have the prime minister of canada here. we had the prime minister of japan over the weekend, for a very exciting visit here in washington, d.c. at the white house and down at the winter white house in palm beach. we have phone calls between the president and the leader of the president of the united states
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and the presidents of south africa, tunisia, colombia, peru, nigeria. it's a lot of significant things happening with our commander in chief and our president of the united states and leaders around the globe, and obviously general flynn is a part of all of those. >> but when you say you're repeating what he has said and what he has said that the latest statement -- and we can put this up on the screen. this is the revise the statement from michael flynn. this came out on friday. he said he doesn't recall, that's what you're saying, doesn't recall sanctions with the russian ambassador, but quote, couldn't be 100% certain. are you saying that is good enough for president trump to consider the matter settled? you had the vice president say on national television in no uncertain terms that the two of those, the ambassador and flynn had had not discussed the sanctions. >> i think general flynn's statement speaks for itself. >> has he discussed this with the president? >> i can't reveal what he has discussed with the president. >> but have they had a
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discussion since these revelations come out? >> they discussed many things. they routinely discuss any number of issues and concerns. >> has he had a discussion with the vice president about this? >> they talked twice on friday. it's been reported. it's been made public, once in person, i happened to be around for that and once by phone later in the day. >> and is the vice president satisfied? does he believe this was an innocent mistake? how would you characterize the vice president's reaction? >> the vice president's reaction, anything that's been made public, you can see for yourself. other than, i will not reveal what the vice president thinks or feels about anything. anymore that i would reveal what steve kornacki thinks or feels about anything. >> do you consider it -- if it is true that he had discussions, and again, the concern here in terms of federal law, the concern here is the idea of a private citizen engaging in diplomatic conversations. this is again before donald trump became president. if there were discussions involving the sanctions before donald trump became president,
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would you consider that, if that was revealed, would you consider that a fireable offense? >> you're asking me to answer hypotheticals and not looking at the other side. what if it's not true. i haven't heard that question at all. i only hear it in the negative context. and i think we'd have to know the full -- you're just asking me based on hypotheticals instead of nonfacts, i'd have to know what the full example is, what the facts are to answer the question. and so far, i think the vast is what general flynn has said as recently as friday. and to look at what general flynn has been doing with the president of the united states and the vice president since. he's been fully involved in all of these meetings. he spent the whole weekend working down in florida, obviously, involved with the level of the president meeting with the prime minister abe and the wives meeting and of course the national security and meeting. and then again he's been present for these calls, they don't get a lot of coverage, south africa,
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colombia, tunisia, peru, nigeria, just in the last couple days. we have prime minister trudeau here, national security adviser is involved in all of that. and benjamin netanyahu here on wednesday. very involved. and so, i know we want to talk about this one aspect, and you're asking know answer questions about what other people thought or did or said, or believe, and their confidence levels. and i can only tell you what i know, and what i'm allowed to reveal and i can only tell you what they've said in terms of characterizing somebody else's feelings. >> did flynn apologize to the vice president? >> i won't reveal that. and that's a conversation between the vice president and the national security advisor. i walked into the vice president with them. but not about this.
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and they've been working on diligently throughout the weekend through today. >> the reason this has been reported, the reason this information is out there is apparently the intelligence community intercepted these phone calls between flynn and the russian ambassador. there are transcripts available in the interest of clearing up all of the public questions, and all of the questions i'm asking you right now, do you think those transcripts should be released? >> i'm not sure there are transcripts. you used the word reportedly and allegedly -- >> if the transcripts exist, do you think they should be released? >> it depends. it depends if they're a matter of national security interest. there's an idea that somehow that everything the president and vice president nooshl security advise should somehow be what the rest of us know. and that's just not true. they should always have information that we don't. but in the case of these transcripts, again, would have to know the context was, would have to know what's in them, what they're relevant to. we're putting conundrums on top
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of hypotheticals on top of conjecture here. we take it all very seriously. but i think we're having the same conversation seven different ways, respectfully, and ignoring all other things that the national security advisor, president, vice president, and this administration are doing together for the good of the people. >> i want to ask you too about one of your counterparts in the administration, steven miller, another top advisor to the president. he made news yesterday on "face the nation." he was talking about the immigration executive order, about the court ruling, the refusal of the court to lift the temporary stay in place on the enforcement of that order. and steven miller said put this up on the screen, the end result of this is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we take further actions that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned. that phrase right there, will not be questioned, has received a lot of attention since he made that on sunday. it's raised the question, i'll give you a chance to answer
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here, does the white house -- does this administration respect the power of the courts to review presidential decisions? >> yes, they do. and steven miller does as well. what he is saying is will not be questioned. what he means is it's a lot of latitude, great authority. and in the case of president trump, steve, he believes he doesn't just have the authority under the statute 1882 and the constitution, he believes that he has the duty and the responsibility to protect our homeland and our citizens and our interests and our allies. and that's what he's doing here. we are fully confident we will prevail in the merits. and i believe what my colleague steven miller is saying is that as this is either adjudicated through the courts or another executive order is issued or high court takes it up, whatever the corrective course and whatever the remedy ends up being that will have to dig into something that's not yet been dug into. because we were talking about a tro. here we'll be talking about the merits. we'll be talking about does a president in fact have the type
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of constitutional statutory authority that would allow him or her to exact this kind of temporary halt on travel from seven narrowly prescribed countries protecting those who, the lprs, legal permanent residents, who have the green cards, and making clear why this would be an effect. what it is the president is trying to -- who the president is trying to protect. what he is trying to accomplish. and of course, we respect the three branchs of government. we respect the three branches of government. they are separate and equal. they are checks and balances to the other. so far, a lot of the coverage has been on the court. and what the court has done. and there hasn't really been as much coverage as to in my view as to what the constitution and statute provides the executive in this case. >> in terms of the enforcement of the order, the potential for new executive order being issued. you just mentioned that as well. you mentioned the idea of protecting permanent residents maybe were away when the issue
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was put down, protecting their ability to get back in the country. that was not part of the original order. was that a mistake not providing explicit protection for green card holders. >> well the clarification was very important because this country has -- we have an interest in full and faith execution of our green card program, otherwise known as legal permanent residence. if that's your status, then you were not meant to be included in this particular executive action. that has long been clarified, and i would send it to you at the time, the numbers may be slightly different now, but basically a day or two, maybe a day or two after this originally was executed. there was as many requests and waivers that were requested were granted to those green card holders. so, i'm just laying out there that there are a number of different options and where we go from here, but regardless of the option, and regardless of the forum that the next step takes, we will have this
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adjudicated on the merits. people will have to look at statutes, court will look at the statute, look at the president's constitutional authority, and see just how broad it is. in the interest of protecting the homeland. what the president is allowed to do under the constitution of the statute is take necessary action as he or she deems fit. he beat a united states senator from new york who was a senator on 9/11, he beat a former first lady by having a much more clear and compelling and, you know, frankly muscular policy on these issues that continue to vex and concern many americans. it's very clear. if you get passed all of the, i think the hyperbole and some of the hysteria and you look at what americans think of some of the underlying policies and they
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think presidents should be doing, the president's first role is to protect it's people. and that's what president trump's intention is here. >> okay. kellyanne