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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  April 3, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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millions of dollars out to women accusing him before. that should have been a red light for fox. >> david folkenflick -- did i get it right? >> you're getting there. >> i'm sorry. i should know better than this. thank you for being here. >> thank you. right now the senate is at deathcon 1. that's how the supreme court battle is described threatening to break up justices. chris coons gave his opinion that he will not confirm gorsuch. feinstein, leahy and warner also
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said they will not support the nominee. there was a stern warning issued to his democratic colleagues. >> if the roles were reversed, i don't believe for one minute you would give one accommodation you're asking us to give garland. you had a chance to grab power, you grabbed it. so when you complain about garland, it's the arsonist complaining about fire. here's where we're headed. we're headed to a world where you don't need one person from each side to pick a judge. and what does that mean? that means the judges are going to be more idealogical, not less. >> we've got an all-star panel of reporters to take us through all the news of the day. kri kristin welker at the white house, and also joining me, national political reporter for the "washington post," robert acosta and national security reporter for the "new york times," matthew rosenberg.
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ca kacie, let's start with you. do they have to change the rules. >> he has said repeatedly over and over again gorsuch will be confirmed, and if that's going to happen at the end of the week, that will mean invoking the nuclear option. that kick-starts a complicated set of procedures on the senate floor. we're likely to see this reported out of the judiciary committee today. that means senator mcconnell tomorrow could begin closing the debate. it's called filing cloture in senate terminology. then that has to take a little bit of time before the rule says it will come back up for an actual vote. what you'll likely see in this filibuster is this 41 or potentially more democrats voting to sustain a filibuster, so essentially voting to keep talking, to keep debating, to
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keep going, to never get to a final confirmation vote. you'll see that on thursday, and that's the point at which mcconnell will have to make a final decision about whether he is using this nuclear option. if that's the case, you're going to see a series of back and forth votes on the senate floor. democrats will have a chance to try to protest. they can make motions to do various different kinds of things. they can't filibuster this move. it's not -- it doesn't quite work that way, the way it's set up. but you can see them try to drag it out, and then once they actualo have a vote, to change the rules. that will take a simple majority vote. 50 senators or 51 senators or the vice president could break a tie in the event a couple republicans decide they did not agree. right now we have no indication that's the case. all signs say mitch mcconnell has enough votes. senator coons is here coming down the hallway -- senator -- senator coons, you are the
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person who really made this headline -- so, katy, apparently the senator not wanting to add too much more to his comments here, simply going through that door. but he, of course, will be the person in the headlines today as the person who tipped the balance here and set the stage for this nuclear option. >> eagle-eyed and quick on her toes, kasie hunt. let's play some of the sounds from democrats saying they're going to try to block kne neil gorsuch. i know senator coons didn't answer any of kacie's questions, but listen to this. >> unfortunately, based on gorsuch's record in the department of justice, his tenure on the bench, his appearance before the senate and his written questions for the record, i cannot support this nomination. >> my conscience will not allow me to ratify the majority leaders' actions. not last year, not this year. i will not, i cannot support
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this nomination. >> senators feinstein and leahy right there. kristin welker, if mitch mcconnell has to go nuclear to get this through, can the white house count it as a win? >> reporter: oh, absolutely, and the president has said he is open to that. he has given mitch mcconnell the green light in the past, katy, when he was first asked about this. but the white house has been all hands on deck when it comes to mr. gorsuch's confirmation process, officials on theill with him, helping him get to know se of these senators, also helping to pre him for that very long, very robust confirmation hearing that we all witnessed a few weeks ago. president trump speaking out about this himself over the weekend, katy, in his weekly address -- >> kristen, i'm so sorry to interrupt you, but kasie hunt who is always quick on her feet now has senator coons. kacie? >> reporter: senator, can you just explain the process a
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little bit. you are the one who has tipped the balance here. what does that mean in the context of the fight? >> what i said in the judiciary markup earlier today is that i'm voting for judge gorsuch in committee, and that i don't think we are ready to stop the debate on the floor. when we say we're having a cloture vote, what's being widely called a filibuster, what that means is are there 60 members of the senate who say we are ready to move to the final vote? i don't think we are, because i frankly think we don't have a kple clear commitment yet from the republican party that they won't change the rules on this nominee and the next nominee. as you've heard from my colleagues and myself, we are still overwhelmed by what happened to judge garland. there's never been a successful fill buls tibuster of a supreme nominee. i said that's technically correct. seven months of refusing to hold a vote for president obama's
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nominee is the least successful nomination ever. my hope is that the majority of the nominee will sit down and talk about, is there a path forward? given how much distance there is between us, i'm not optimistic. but this hopefully will move the republican majority to say they don't want to change the rules and they want to sit down and talk with us about what's going to happen going forward. >> reporter: for democrats, the next nominee is likely to potentially change the balance of the court. this one doesn't. is iworth having this fight right now on this nominee? >> if we can't secure a continuation of the rules, a respect for what should have happened to judge garland, then frankly it is worth having this fight right now. and what i think we've heard in this markup today and what we hear on the floor this week is that the parties are pretty far apart on how we think a supreme court nominee ought to move forward. there was no real consultation with democrats in this nomination process.
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for the next, there should be. it has long been the tradition of the senate that before a president nominates someone for the supreme court, they explore with both the democrats and republicans if this is a consensus nominee. we have the rest of the markup to do now. thank you very much for the chance to give more detail. >> reporter: thank you very much, senator. i really appreciate your time. there you have a little more explanation, katy, from senator coons about making this move. he's been getting political pressure at home from the liberal base. their home newspaper had a full-page ad from one interest group significant they want to really support neil gorsuch. this is from the liberal base and this is why you're seeing it play out as it is. sdplz >> i saw a report that liberal voters were not as fired up with judge gorsuch as they were the
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republican parties' other issues including health care and including this travel ban. >> reporter: i think you've touched on exactly that int. i think this is something -- the supreme crt fight very much activates the grps i the democratic party and on the liberal side who are focused and engaged, who give money, who potentially gin up primary challenges. i would say that's distinct a little bit from the base of the party, but there is some more mixing of that in the wake of some of these decisions that the trump team has made in their first few months in office that have really ignited donors. all these groups are suddenly getting more money coming in because there are a lot of grassroots democrats or people who were not engaged in the process before and they're angry about trump and they want to do something about it. think about it, if you're chuck schumer, leader of the senate, you're trying to wrap warren and
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bernie sanders to show that you're on their side. >> i would remind you that the democratic caucus is almost as fractured as the republican caucus. kristen welker, you were talking before i so rudely interrupted you to get to senator chris coons. you were answering the question of whether the white house can call this a win if mitch mcconnell needs to go nuclear in order to get judge gorsuch onto the court. a little reminder for our viewers, you can see in the bottom corner of your screen, we are awaiting the white house press briefing. it's supposed to happen in a few minutes and we'll take you there live. kristen, proceed. >> reporter: i think they are certainly going to cast it as a win, katy, there's no doubt about that. look, this is a president who needs a win. he has had a rocky couple of weeks. there have been mounting tions over russia, and then, of course, that stinging defeat over health care, the effort to repeal and replace obamacare. one of his key campaign promises
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didn't happen and failed. he's trying to revive that push, it's worth noting, but he needs a win, he wants a win. so if and when judge gorsuch does get confirmed, this white how else will undoubtedly call it a win, and i think you'll hear him cast it in similar light as he did over the weekend in his weekly address when he talked about the qualifications of judge neil gorsuch. the white house has consistently argued you can disagree with him, but when you look at his record, he is someone that is abundantly qualified. i think that's part of the argument you'll hear if and when he is, in fact, confirmed, katy. >> kristen welker,acostas is al. bob, are they feeling they need a win right now, anything will do, they need to have a positive headline? and judge gorsuch is just the positive headline they need? will they use that to their advantage that democrats are just out to block me no matter what? >> they expect to get gorsuch confirmed, especially if the
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rules have to change, but they have so much on their plate and it's unclear if there is strategy about how to accomplish tax reform, how to get democrats and republicans together on infrastructure. in particular, pay close attention to late april when government funding is set to expire. there is an appropriations discussion right now onapitol hill. there is some talk of a bipartisan deal to keep the government funded, but wrangling all these members together on both sides is going to be a significant challenge for the white house that wants to avoid another drama. >> ari melber, correct me if i'm wrong, but senator chris coons seemed to blur the lines a little bit when saying exactly what he meant that he would not vote for cloture? he said he wanted more debate, a discussion about whether or not going nuclear is a good idea. >> this is what people say about washington. it's more confusing than it needs to be. as we heard the last hour, he
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was unequivocal. it sounded to most reporters and people who were covering live tweeting these days that hearing where he's against gorsuch's nomination, that's the vote, and that he was against cloture, which means he would be for a filibuster taking dems over 41. we had that big breaking news banner headline. he came out to kasie hunt and slightly blurred the position by implying that what he's really concerned about is mitch mcconnell going nuclear and changing the rules rather than saying as long as that's the eve eventualty, if that's what's coming, he does want to support this filibuster. there's a saying the intelltual takes simple thing and makes it complex, the artist takes a complex thing and makes it simple. i think senator coons looks like the intellectual there, because what was clear an hour ago, a 41 filibuster, he just shaded
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slightly. maybe he is trying to seem eminently reasonable, and trying to, as politicians sometimes do, have it both ways, excite and appease the liberal base that wants this payback for merrick garland who never got a hearing and also taking some sort of position that he's only doing this because of mitch mcconnell, that mitch mcconnell is going to go nuclear. that's what i would close on. if this happens, it will change the way this supreme court is staffed for the foreseeable future, and it will polarize the court that any time the party has unilateral control of the senate and the white house, they have almost no incentive to go anywhere near the middle. they can both sides pick more extreme judges. i'm not sure that's what the country would definitely want in a polarized world. >> let's switch gears here. it's 2:14, and for the past hour and 14 minutes, we've been talking mostly about judge neil gorsuch. what we haven't been talking about is russia in national security and foreign policy. to talk more about that, we do have matthew rosenberg for the
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"new york times." there is a lot going on. a couple different topics i want you to weigh in on. first, jared kushner is in iraq today, jared kushner with no previous diplomatic experience, no previous military experience, no previous foreign policy experience until he got to this role. what do you make of him making a trip to that country, especially since it comes before rex tillerson is gone and even before h.r. mcmasters has gone in anfficial capacity in this administration? >> it's sort of amazing. they seem to be doing a little bit of a finishing school for jared, sort of broadening out his experience. i'm not quite sure what he brings to the table. i understand he went at the request of jim mattis, the defense secretary. i can see why mattis would want to educate someone like jared kushner on the issues of iraq and perhaps kind of broaden jared's view of the world. i do think format adverti matti understands he's dealing with people at the white house who have an incredibly narrow,
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prolific view of a conflict we've been involved in for over a decade now. >> and, matt, the other bit of news is the president wants to get tweeting about how he was surveilled again this morning, and there is some news out of blo bloomberg news saying the former national security adviser susan rice was the one who requested the identities of the americans in intel reports connected to the trump campaign be unmasked. this idea of unmasking has been very much a talking point that we've been hearing in the past few days. talk to me about that report, and was there anything in there that was a bombshell? >> i mean, this is the amazing thing. in a month in which -- let's be honest, a montgomerh ago, jeff sessions recused himself. there was an espionage
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investigation involved in the white house. when americans a caught up in things, thr names are masked, their identities are obscured. certain people do have power to unmask those names. susan rice would have been one of them. there is no big bombshell there. also names can be unmasked in a counterintelligence examination, which we know there was, for other reasons. the trump white house, which has the power to declassify this, has it. what we've been told by our sources is that this is mostly foreign officials talking to each other about their efforts to get people on the trump team. there is no great big bombshells here, and there are issues here, but not what the trump administration is talking about. these are not reports that were disseminated widely, these were where a dozen people, probably less, could see them. so it seems to take a very small
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issue to distract from bigger issues they don't want to talk about. >> thank you guys for joining me. up next i'll talk to the journalist behind that susan rice story which is already being seized on by members of the gop. also this hour, former special agent chris watts joins me in stunning testimony. he tells the committee that russia is still trying to undermine the united states with president trump playing right into their hands. >> he denies the intel from the united states about russia. he claimed that the election could be rigged. that was the number one theme push by allies all the way up to t election. but first our poll question of the day. should the white house use political justice be used to block judge gorsuch's nomination? 89% of you said yes.
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we are waiting on the white house press briefing, which is going to happen at any minute now. but as the president continues to push an unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped by president obama, an anonymous report that appears to bolster trump's assertions are trying to appear on line. bloomberg said, top obama
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adviser susan rice sought names of trump in raw intelligence reports. the same day nunes made the initial claims that u.s. spies may have scooped up complications from the trump team, this is what rice had to say. >> i knew nothing about this. i was surprised to see reports from chairman nunes on that count today. i really don't know to what chairman nunes was referring. >> the gop is already recognizing this story. senator rand paul tweeting, smoking gun found. obama pal and noticed dissembler su susan rice said to be spying on trump campaign. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> is there concern with what susan rice said in that interview with judy woodruff and what you were reporting? >> she was not asked to unmask the names of u.s. perns
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connted in intelligence reports, so i spose there is wiggle room and s may have thought she was referring to something else, and the backdrop of this is the trump tweet that said obama had illegally wiretapped trump tower, which there's been no support for that specific claim, although i think it's significant that there were a number of these kinds of raw reports and that susan rice had sought to find out who the individuals were when they were referring to the trump transition activities. >> as the national acting security adviser at the time, isn't it perfectly routine to ask her to unmask names so she can see them, so she can better understand investigation that is ongoing? >> well, if it was about russia, but remember, the original claim from chairman nunes was that these reports had nothing to do with russia, and in addition to that, it really depends on the context. i mean, yes, it's true that you can have senior political appointees unmasking incidental collection like this if there
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were a pending terrorist attack or some sort of -- a server was taken over in a cyber attack or something like that. so that sort of thing happens, but the bar is pretty low. is there sort of a foreign intelligence value to any of this, which could mean just about anything, and in this particular case, it appears, at least, and i'd like to see the white house declassify these reports so we can all look at the evidence ourselves, but from my sources it appears this was pretty much rumor, valuable potential political information about the trump transition plans for when they came into office and who they were meeting with and their views on foreign policy. again, it's a pretty low bar and maybe the real scandal here is that the rules need to be tightened and the surveillance law needs to be reformed. >> were you able to find out if she was successful at unmasking these names? doesn't she have to have that granted by, say, mike rogers? >> yes. in a lot of cases she was able to unmask the names later. >> could mike rogers be
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considered someone out for a political hit on anybody in t trump campaign, considering he was trying to get a position within the trump administration? >> no, i don't think mike rogers could, but i think it's also the standard practice. we know from before in the middle of the iran fight in 2015 that the names of members of congress and the names of jewish groups were essentially unmasked and sent to the white house during the legal surveillance of israeli senior officials. so this kind of thing has happened before, and i have to say to the viewers of msnbc who i think tend to lean more to the progressive side, i think democrats should be very concerned about this, because if the obama white house can do a transition to the trump transition, there is nothing that would stop the trump administration from doing this with his political allies if it's fairly easy for his people to do this if it's not directly
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related to intelligence reasons. >> the same details in your report appeared last night in another report by the man who pushed the pizzagate story. does that concern you? >> i have nothing to do -- i was unaware of that when i was reporting my story. i know there are a lot of other mainstream journalists who are reporting it. i don't know how that got gets his information, and i can tell you, it had no effect on my reporting. >> eli link. appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> now i want to bring in cliff watts, former fbi special agent. clint, you had some riveting testimony the other day in front of the senate intelligence committee talking about russia and what russia is doing right now in order to no longer affect the outme of the election because that is gone, but to effect and undermine democracy. what are the larger points? >> i think the big issue is americans need to realize that this bickering we have going on right now, these debates, intel hearings, what we're seeing is further erosion of trust among
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samaritans and their institutions. just like you're talking about with these wiretaps or allegations of wiretaps, collateral collection, all of that feeds into this narrative that you can't trust the government even when we have no evidence to believe either way. >> how are they doing this? social media, right? >> right. you take the stories that you see, anything that makes chaos. they could be political, they could be something about capital markets failing. it could be protest or even clamty, that tclam -- calamity, the world is coming to an end. but they become falla krircies people fall back on their ideas. >> does it advance what russia is trying to do? >> the information system is there all the time.
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so sometimes they might make their own fake news, but it's more beneficial to take that which is already gaining traction, other false stories, and just reinject those in the system and audiences the most influence over. >> so when you see people patrolling a certain policy, how can you be sure these are real ople and not trolls that are being manipulated by either a larger troll or potentially a foreign government? >> you can't be sure exactly, but there are some tells that are out there. one, they tend to amplify at paces that come in weird increments. usually the ratio of people that follow or are being followed come in mathematical patterns. so if you take a whole sample of stories and you put them on a graph, you'll see they're manufactured by mathematics, not by natural conversation. >> how is donald trump playing into this? >> he just continues to use either stolen information that's been hoelsed sted on wikileaks
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conspiracy of his own as weapons politically. today he said things were fed to the clinton campaign. he's again using that to batter his opponents as of this morning. >> so you say russia is manipulating donald trump and he doesn't even know it. >> they can say that, yeah. he either is unaware or doesn't care. you know, he may just be opportunistic. >> cliff watts, thank you. waiting on the senate committee to vote on gorsuch's nomination. also we're waiting for a white house press briefing. we'll bring you both as they happen.
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armade wh smarttrack®r aligners material to precisely move your teeth to your st smile you are looking at the senate judiciary committee. they are voting right now about whether to advance judge neil gorsuch out of their committee and onto a floor and debate on the house. let's listen. >> is it correct the votes are 11, 9a. >> according to the vote, the
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nomination will be reported to the floor. as i mentioned earlier, i'll put my statement in support of both mr. rusenstein and mr. brandt in the record. i'm not going to take time to speak on them now, but they are both highly qualified nominees, and i said earlier it's imperative that the justice department have senior leadership in place as soon as possible, and i would like to call on senator feinstein. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i intend to vote aye on mr. rosenstein on no on mrs. brand, and i'd like to put a statement in the record, if i may. >> your statement will be put in the record. anybody else want to speak? senator kobachar? >> the senate is voting to put neil gorsuch to the nomination house floor.
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nbc's pete williams, our justice correspondent. pete, what do you make of this and where does it go from here? >> reporter: as expected, katy. it will go to the senate and we'll have historic action in the u.s. senate. never before in american history has there been part of a filibuster attempt of a supreme court nominee. with today's vote strictly along party lines to recommend the nomination of neil gorsuch go to the senate floor, the democrats have said they may try to insist that he get 60 votes, and the republicans say if that happens, they'll just change the rules. they've not been too straightforward about that, but lindsey graham sort of gave it all away today to say if there is a filibuster, they will change the rules. that will be a first for the u.s. senate. so it looks like we're heading for confirmation for neil gorsuch on friday, and if that happens, he could be sworn in and could be on the supreme court by monday in time to hear the last 13 or so cases of the term that will be argued in late
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april. i should say, katy, you heard them talk about rob rosenstein and emily brand. they take on more importance now because the attorney general jeff sessions has recused himself of any involvement in the russia investigation, so that would fall on the shoulders of rod rosenstein. rosenstein certainly has some bipartisan credentials. he served under both parties, katy. >> thanks for pointing out that it's the senate floor, not the house floor as i said. i misspoke about that. and michael steele, msnbc political analyst and former rnc chairman. nera, i'm going to start with you. is it a good idea to decide to filibuster judge gorsuch when it doesn't look like it's going to affect the balance of power in the court right now? >> i think the real challenge for democrats and progressives
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is that neil gorsuch's record is to the right of justice scalia and it's really hard to justify that kind of record going onto the court at a time of such polarization. i think the real tragedy of all of this is that when republicans decided themselves to break the rules last year by their treatment of judge garland, this is the inevitable result, which is that we asked for -- progress sifz asked for real answers by judge gorsuch. he refused to give them, and there is no trust. i think most americans think for a lifetime appointment, you should have a consensus nominee which obviously judge gorsuch is not. >> are the democrats willing to give a consensus on any nominee going forward? do they expect donald trump to put forth somebody that they would agree with? even if he did, are athey feelig like their base of voters would allow them to do that without some sort of political repercussion? >> absolutely. there are plenty of nominees
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that donald trump could have put forward that democrats would agree with. they would have gotten 60 votes. maybe some republicans would have disagreed, some democrats -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt you. senator dick durbin is talking to reporters right now. we want to take a quick listen. we just lost him. that's senator dick durbin who was speaking to reporters. he is on the senate judiciary committee. nera, i apologize. back to what you were saying. >> no worries. i think the reality here is that judge gorsuch is a nominee with a record, again, far to the right of justice scalia, and ats what is deeply concerning to democratic senators. there are a plethora, dozens of judges that donald trump could have picked from that would have gotten 60 votes. it was his choice to go forward with a nominee that would appease the right wing base. that is not what i think -- that should not be what democrats or
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republicans really want at this time of deep polarization. >> and the vote was 11-9 to advance judge gorsuch out of the senate judiciary committee and on to the senate floor. michael, it looks like mitch mcconnell is going to try to invoke the nuclear option. do you believe that he has the support from the republican party to do so, and is it a good idea? >> yes and yes. i think he's got more than enough support not just from the members of the senate but across the country. i think a lot of conservatives had long expected this. in fact, the drama leading up to this is really -- >> michael, i'm sorry, i have to interrupt you just like i did to nera. senator grassley is now talking to reporters. >> we've heard there is going to be a filfilibuster, and if the democrats will filibuster this person of high quality, there isn't any justice that a republican will put forth that
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they would get his -- that they would support. so, consequently, this seems to me to be something that puts us in a situation of reconsidering exactly -- for the other side to reconsider what they do in regard to justices if they want the system of confirmation to work. >> i was very troubled by this particular set of hearings and by our colleagues on the other side who are willing to vote against the nominee for the united states supreme court. for the first time in history we conduct a filibuster. i don't think that's worthy of the senate, i don't think it's the right thing to do. if they can filibuster somebody at the quality of neil gorsuch who has the highest ratings from
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the american bar association and almost everybody that's ever known him, including a number of top democrat intellectuals in the law, then who can qualify under their rules? unless they made all their political idealogical bets. that's the wrong thing to do, and i'm not proud of my colleagues for politicizing this thing the way they have. it just shows there is so much pressure on them from the radical left that they really can't take the radical left on and vote out and vote for someone of the quality of neil gorsuch. my gosh. this is just abysmal and it's very, very upsetting to me and i think everybody else. >> there's never been a successful partisan filibuster of a supreme court nominee, and we will not start this week. judge gorsuch will be confirmed
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by the end of the week by the united states senate and take his place as the next associate justice on the united states supreme court. >> well, i can't say it much better than that. our democratic colleagues will not accept the fact that president trp won. heid, and when you win the white hous you have the ability to appoint people in the supreme court. the list was given to the public. nobody was surprised by the list. i can't thank president trump more than you listen to people who understand the law and understand the judges available for a republican to pick. president trump couldn't have chosen a better person. mike pence couldn't have chosen a better person. paul ryan, a county councilman, republican in south carolina couldn't have picked a better person. if you're filibustering him as a democrat it means you just don't accept the fact that president trump won, and this is the end of the qualification standards
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to be on the supreme court. hamilton is rolling over in his grave. i'm sorry we got here, but we are where we are, and i'm going to vote to change the rules because i'm not going to be part of the senate where democrats get their judges and republicans can never get theirs. that's not what it's all about. >> there is an old saying that in the courtroom when the law is against you, you pound the facts. when the facts are against you, you pound the law. when everything is against you, you pound the table. we heard a fair amount of pounding today. we also heard a fair amount of that when we held our hearing week before last. the point is, this is a judge very well qualified. this is a judge that has one objective and one objective alone, which is to achieve correct outcomes of the law. to figure out what the law says and apply it. unable to attack him on any other ground and afraid of what this means, namely that it will be more difficult, rather than less, for the supreme court to legislate from the hnch, to
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make law, to set policy, some of our colleagues are just determined to pound the table in order to stop judge gorsuch. and all they can come up with are facts that have absolutely nothing to do with his qualifications as a jurist or even his willingness to follow the law. that's why i'm pleased to stand with my colleagues to confirm him. i stand with my colleagues in following the same precedent we've been following for years. the fact is that a few years ago when the president was changing the senate, there was not a single distinction, a single law-based argument that doesn't apply legally to the vote we'll be taking this week. that's why i'm pleased to stand with my colleagues to support this nominee and move forward with this confirmation. thank you. >> today was a victory for the rule of law and also a moment of clarity. for those of us who value and cherish the constitution and bill of rights, today is one step closer to judge neil gorsuch being confirmed as the next associate justice on the supreme court. but it was also a moment of clarity because in the process
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of the supreme court hearings, we saw democratic senators throw every fastball they could, use every attack they could and end up with no meaningful criticism of judge gorsuch's record. a decade on the court of appeals, a decade following the law, following the constitution, being faithful to his oath. the position of the democrats, we just saw a party line vote in this judiciary committee where every democrat voted no not based on kwaul fiktalifications based on temperament, not based on anything in his record. indeed a decade ago, no congressman opposed his move to the court of appeals. they are opposed to donald trump appointing anyone in the court. if they will filibuster neil gorsuch, they will filibuster anybody in the republican party. that's why if the democrats
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insist on this foolish filibuster, the senate will have no choice but to return to the standard that has prevailed for over two centuries in the senate which is confirming supreme court justices by majority vote. by the end of the week, i believe judge gorsuch will be confirmed as associate chief justice, and that is a victory for the american people. >> neil gorsuch is a good man. he's been a good judge on the 10th circuit and he'll be a great judge in the supreme court. it's sad, but it's a reflection on a brokenness in the u.s. senate, not any problem with judge gorsuch. americans should be excited about a guy who is going to go on the court who wants to serve as a judge, not as a superlegislator. there were a number of people who decided the judge was going to be guilty until being proven guilty. then they tried to read 2700 opinions and find something that
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supported their appeal. they did not find anything and judge gorsuch will be a wonderful addition to the supreme court. >> judge gorsuch is a great man and a great judge. i was proud to follow him in committee, and i look forward to seeing him on the floor of the senate. >> it's unfortunate we had a bipartisan vote today. we've had a phenomenally long process here. three days of testimony by judge gorsuch. it took over 20 hours, over 30 witnesses. and now this markup. it truly is unfortunate tit s devolved io a bipartisan vote. aot of members on the other side brought forth reasons they were going to vote no. as some of my colleagues said, those were pretty strained arguments. but there is a difference between voting no and filibustering. it's very important to realize that there has only been one filibuster successfully of a supreme court issue. this was a nomination to be a
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chief justice on a force, and that was not a partisan filibuster. both parties supported that filibuster. other than that one example, there has never been a successful filibuster of a supreme court nominee. it's unfortunate to see us potentially moving toward that kind of outcome now. it really does reflect much more on the senate than it does on judge gorsuch. >> well, last night i cut my hand on a piece of sheet metal and had to get five stitches and now that ranks as the second most painful thing i've experienced this week. what we saw in the committee hearing today, to me, really just -- it's an amazing theater that we have created here to create this pretext for a partisan filibuster that's not going to be successful. judge gorsuch is going to get nominated. he's going to get nominated because he's extremely qualified. he did an extraordinary job in 20 hours of committee hearings,
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and i have to say senator grassley did a good job of managing that process. my colleagues should really think of what they're trying to do this week. they're not going to be successful, and hopefully we can get some consensus. but if not, i'm very confident we'll see one of the great judges confirmed to the supreme court later this week. >> the american people deserve an up or down vote on neil gorsuch. the american people expect an up or down vote on neil gorsuch. and the american people are entitled to an up or down vote on neil gorsuch. some of our democratic colleagues are going to try to prevent that vote. that would be wrong. and i don't think the american people will agree with it.
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>> forgive me, there's some of you. let's just get a show of hands who here will vote for the nuclear option. >> we're not going to show hands. >> senator grassley, what do you say to merrick garland in this situation? >> there was a biden rule, and if there hadn't been a biden rule, garland would be on the supreme court right now. >> do you argue with the nuclear option -- >> i'm going to do whatever it takes to get gorsuch on the supreme court. >> so that's a yes? >> i'm going to do whatever it takes to get gorsuch on the supreme court. >> senators, republicans are so angry -- >> you just saw a number of republicans on the senate judiciary committee explaining why they voted yes for neil gorsuch and why they feel the democrats need to vote yes as well. you also saw senator tom tillis
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saying he believes neil gorsuch should be nominated a couple days ago, maybe a couple weeks ago. he said it would be great disrespect, it was a great disrespect for harry reid to change the rules and vote the nuclear option a few years ago. he wouldn't answer whether or not he believes the same for mitch mcconnell. we're going to find out if he ends up supporting it going forward. in the meantime, sean spicer is holding his press briefing of the he's about to take questions. what you missed while we were listening to this is he came out and had a big check. he said donald trump would be donating the first quarter's salary, $78,000, to the national park service. and then the secretary of the interior, ryan ziki, came up and thank the sean spicer, thank ed president for doing so and spoke a little about what they would do with that money. in the meantime, sean spicer is still talking so we'll go to him right now. >> if the democrats get their way, and i know it's looking
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this way, this will be the first successful filibuster of a nominee to join the supreme court. which is clearly unprecedented. with a vote on judge gorsuch expected will see which senators are willing to keep this seat open to get in the way of president trump making progress on one of his most significant choices so far. also today, opens the application process for this year's h 1 b visas. there are issues with the program as it currently stands. however there are several laws on the books that went unenforced in the previous administration. the trump administration will be enforcing laws protecting american workers from discriminating hiring practices. looking ahead to the schedule for the rest of the week, the president will host the ceo town hall meeting on the business climate torment morning. in the afternoon he'll make remarks at the building trade
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union national legislative conference. on wednesday as i mentioned, he will host his majesty king abdullah of jordan. and the wounded warriors soldier ride. the president will depart with president xi tomorrow. he has been briefed on colombia and we are working closely to support efforts to address the extent of losses caused by this natural disaster. the president has been briefed on today's attack in st. petersburg metro. the united states condemns this reprehensible attack and act of violence. our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and killed people. attacks like these on ordinary citizens just going about their lives remind us that the world must work as one to combat violence in all forms. the united states is prepared to offer assistance to russia, that
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it may require investigating this crime. and with that, i would be glad to take your questions. >> on the same topic here. why is cushner there and not the president? what message is the president sending? >> i don't think there's, it is not a binary choice in this particular choice. both jared kushner and tom bossert, the assistant to the president, are on the trip at the request and invitation of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. it was an opportunity for both of them. ironically the first trip for mr. kushner and mr. bossert. they'll even briefings and updates with respect to what's going on, our military efforts there and efforts to defeat isis. jared will express the commitment of the united states to the gov of iraq, meet with
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u.s. personnel engaged in the campaign. and mr. bossert will participate in meetings ask briefings to reinforce the strong u.s./iraqi partnership to defeat isis. this is not a one shot deal. in the course of conversation, the invitation was extend asked he took it up. >> his portfolio has grown. he is to broker middle east peace and overhaul the federal government. can dough all of these things? >> i think not to, it is not like, he is a team that he oversees. it is there are a lot of areas that he works behalf of the president and the agenda. getting an overlook, to see the sacrifice and progress our team is mg on the u.s. side is an opportunity that every government official and every
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member of the media should frankly take advantage of if offered that opportunity. >> a report out today says the trump can draw money out of his business at any time without disclosing that. so i have two questions. one, has the president withdrawn any money from his businesses since taking office, and can the white house commit that the president will disclose future withdrawals if they take place? >> i'm not sure what he's withdrawn. i think that, i'm somewhat surprised in the sense that anyone would find it shocking. a blind trust or any trust, the entire point of setting it up is that somebody can withdraw money. that's part of the point of setting it up. >> why was this change made after? >> no no, i do, but i think that, you just went and started to say this change was made. i'm not aware there was any change. just because a left wing blog makes the point of something
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changing doesn't mean it actually happened ixt not aware there was ever a change in the trust. the idea that the president is withdrawing money at some point is exactly the purpose of what the trust, why a trust to set up regardless of an individual. >> so you're not saying whether or not it has changed? just to clarify. >> no, no. to the best of my knowledge, it the hand changed. >> there are multiple reports of looking at taiwan packages. >> last august the president shortly criticized then president obama for not making more of a public case for human rights throughout the muslim world, throughout the arab world. you have said that it is better to raise those issues privately. i'm trying to understand the evolution of the thinking there.
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what changed his mind in. >> i think the president recognizes that those are conversations where we can, as i said, there are areas that we can work with in cooperation and concern. it is best described as areas that need to be discussed like that to make progress on it. i don't think that should be a huge surprise. i'm not going to get into what they discussed privately. i will tell you that we understand the concern and i think throws things that i believe progress is made privately. >> i have two. has president trump spoken with vladimir putin about the terror attack in russia in. >> not yet. i know that obviously the president of egypt just left moments ago, prior to me coming out. but i do know that as i mentioned, our teams have been reaching out to both the government of russia and
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colombia. i believe there's been some outreach to the government of peru and their mud slides there. and then the violence that occurred in russia is something that we have already started reaching out from a government to government standpoint. if there's a call, we'll make sure that we read that out. >> slicked, senator rand paul has called the reports that susan rice asked about, a smoking gun. does president agree we that? >> i saw senator paul's tweet. >> i want to make sure i'm clear and consistent. we've been trying to say that there is been an ongoing investigation that we have supported. i will say, we will continue to say that there is a troubling direction that some of this is going in. we're going to let this review
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go on before we jump to it. but i think that it is interesting. the lack of interest that i've seen in these developments when it goes in one direction versus where, other amounts of interest that have come from this room and beyond. i am somewhat surprised in terms of the level of interest that i've seen from the press corps. one set of developments versus another. that being said, i won't get into a further discussion of that. >> does white house believe susan rice may have done anything illegal in. >> appreciate the effort there. i'm not going on start going down that road, as we've seen before. we go down one road, we need to go down them all. at this point we have supported this review that we've asked for. the development that's we've seen in materials of the public
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on the record, that evelyn farkas, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for russian affairs said very publicly this was part of an attempt of the obama administration to spread classified information then you see the developments today. i'm somewhat more from a media standpoint, somewhat intrigued by the lack of interest that we've seen in these public revelations and reporting that has gone in that direction, than we've seen in the other directions we've seen. that being said, i won't get into it. >> as it relates to neil gorsuch. is the white house comfortable with the nuclear option potentially being involved? >> the president said several weeks ago, this was something he would support. we're comfortable that that decision is up to leader mcconnell, how he wants the senate to deal with this. i think the leader's comments are very clear with the
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direction he's headed in. we have entered a whole new league if this goes forward, in materials of democrats really going and say, it is one thing on vote against a nominee. we've seen that in the past. and i understand that. we've gone from the devolution of saying the president has the right, as long as they're qualified, right? we've seen with it john roberts, got 78 votes. when you see it in one direction versus now, there will literally be the first filibuster in modern times on a qualified judge that will end up going on the court. we have really come a long way. and i think democrats are setting a very dangerous precedent when it comes to how they want to do this. because this isn't about voting against somebody or having an issue with them. it is literally trying to stop using the filibuster for something it was never intended for. nor is it the principle that we would vote down someone who is


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