tv MSNBC Live With Steve Kornacki MSNBC April 3, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
done. all they care about, the piece of legislation investors care the most about is tax reform. if you can't get these things done, tax reform is not an easy one. that's what woe're looking for. we're in a holding pattern on the markets. >> that's going to do it for me. very busy day. i'm chris jansing. ali, take it away. good afternoon, everyone, i'm ali velshi, let me get that right, ali shellvy elshi, in fo kornacki. topping the agenda right now is the nuclear option. >> there has never been a successful partisan filibuster of a supreme court nominee. and we will not start this week. >> democrats have the support they need to filibuster president trump's supreme court pick. leaving republicans with only one option to confirm him, and democrats say it is extreme. >> drip, drip, drip.
>> pefully americans will see exactly what the president's been talking about for the last several weeks. a new report reveals a potential twist into that investigation into trump's ties to russia. stemming back to the obama administration. and the threat out of north korea. >> if kim jong-un has nuclear weapons and icbms, you know, he can do anything. you know, not only on south korea and america. so i think the world should be ready, you know, to deal with this kirnd of person. >> "nbc nightly news" anchor lester holt speaks exclusive ll with a defector from north korea who has a stern warning for the united states. lester holt is joining us from south korea for a look at how our military is preparing. we begin with our top story. what could be an historic move by the u.s. senate putting judge neil gorsuch on the supreme
court, short of the usual 60-vote threshold. democrats now have surpassed the 41 votes they need to filibuster gorsuch's confirmation in debate phase of the process this week preventing gorsuch from moving on to an up or down vote. republicans won't have the votes to stop that. so it leaves them with one real option, to go nuclear and change the rules of the filibuster all together, ending it and that means passing neil gorsuch's nomination with 51 votes. that makes the tactic dramatically weaker and means it won't be a tool democrats or republicans can use to block future nominations. today white house ess secretary sean spicer condemned what he frames as unprecedented partisanship. >> we have entered a whole new league if this goes forward, now that there's literally going to be the first filibuster in modern times on a qualified judge that's going to 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 has it ever really been the principle we would vote down somebody who was qualified. >> kristen welker is at the white house. kristen, does president trump -- has he said he'd support the nuclear option here? >> reporter: he has. he said it in the past and press secretary sean spicer reiterated that today. the president has always been emphatic that if it comes to this, if democrats do, in fact, move forward with a filibuster, that he would support an action by leader mcconnell to go nuclear, to override that and to get gorsuch confirmed with a simple majority. the president spoke about this over the weekend in his weekly address, talked about from his perspective the need to confirm neil gorsuch.
this is also a white house, ali, that very much wants a win. he's had a rocky couple of weeks, not only because of the failure of the health care bill, but also because of all of these questions about russia and the investigation into potential meddling in the u.s. election. so this white house really wants to turn the page. they want to win. and sean spicer was very clear, they would support a move to go nuclear if it means that he would get confirmed. but as you've been pointing out, this would be significant, it would really be the first time that we see a filibuster along party lines ever in u.s. history. back in 1968, abe fordis was filibustered but that was republicans and democrats who joined together, so this would certainly set a precedent moving forward that a lot of people on both sides of pennsylvania avenue are uncomfortable with, ali. >> kristen, a new report out from "bloomberg view" saying susan rice, who was a top obama
adds v advis adviser, requested the unmasking of several trump campaign officials whose communications might have been incidentally surveilled. earlier today republican senator rand paul called the quote in a tweet, a smoking gun. what do you -- what feedback are you getting on this? >> reporter: well, there's some strong pushback as you can imagine from the obama world. i've been talking to former obama officials who say, look, the bottom line is, part of surveillance and obtaining surveillance is sometimes requires unmasking certain individuals who try to understand what specifically the surveillance shows. so their argument is there's nothing illegal about that. what would be illegal is if those names were then leaked out. you would eectivelye leaking out classified information and their argument is, look, that didn't happen as a part of this process. but what the white house will -- and sean spicer didn't really want to delve into the details here, except to say that it's disconce disconcerting, but of course, president trump has said that
the unmasking is the real story. he tweeted about that over the weekend, that that's what we should be focused on. this is really the clearest example yet that we've gotten of what he might be talking about. but, again, very strong pushback from the obama world saying, look, there is nothing untoward about unmasking individuals as a part of trying to understand various surveillance. >> kristen, thanks very much, kristen welker for us at the white house. back to the supreme court, republican members of the senate judiciary reacting this afternoon to that looming filibuster of the nonnminee, ne gorsuch, condemning what they call a -- >> there's never been a successful filibuster of a supreme court nominee and we will not start this week. judge gorsuch will be confirmed by the end of the week. >> 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 republican can never get theirs. >> if the democrats persist in
this foolish filibuster, the senate majority will have no choice but return to the standard that has prevailed for over two centuries in the senate which is confirming supreme court justices by a majority vote. by the end of the week, i believe judge gorsuch will be confirmed as the next associate justice. that is a victory for the constitution, for the bill of rights, for individual liberty. and for the american people. >> let's get to casey hunt kasi capitol hill, the small taste of the litany of stern comment from republican senators. i think every republican on the committee spoke at that point. they were all pretty unified in the idea that they thought this was partisanship and unfair on the part of the democrats. >> reporter: that's right, ali, and democrats when put this question about partisan opposition to a nominee, will say, look, merrick garland never got a hearing, never got a vote, that's kind of where a lot of their emotion comes from and centers on right now because
before that, the opposition to supreme court nominees has typically been a bipartisan affair. the couple of times that nominees have been blocked, it's usually because the senate in a bipartisan way says to the president, nuh-uh, we're not going to confirm this person you sent to us, there are questions about qualifications, for example. remember harriet miers who was a george w. bush nominee who ultimately did not go to a vote, was withdrawn. so this really is a major break from the traditions in the senate. that's why they call it going nuclear. that should give you a sense, it may sound like hyperbole, but for a chamber that's 100 people who stick around for a long time, get to know each other really well, it is really a departure from how they prefer to operate. but it really does give you a taste of just how partisan things have become here. and mitch mcconnell, the senate republican leader, has been somebody who frankly has a lot of loyalty to the senate as an institution. he's been around for a very long
time. and there was always a sense that he would be reluctant to make this move to change the rules and say, no, we will not do filibusters for supreme court nominees. remember harry reid, the democratic leader at the time, changed the rules for basically everybody else. cabinet appointees for judgeships that were basically anywhere except for the supreme court. there was no filibuster for any of those. they did leave the supreme court out of it, left that to be a little sacred. it looks like we're inevitably on the path to use the nuclear option. >> all those senators came out after that discussion and said judge gorsuch will be a justice -- associate justice of the supreme court by friday. it's not like there are other avenues at this point. >> reporter: it doesn't seem that way. i mean, it is still in theory up to mitch mcconnell and up to the republicans to decide whether or not they want to go through with it, but all indications point to
the idea that they are going to move forward with it. i actually -- i will say, though, there's a little bit of reluctance to embrace it. i asked that group of republicans you just showed for a show of hands as to who would support the nuclear option. nobody really wanted to put their hands up in the air. lindsey graham did. he was very eager to. which was kind of him. but the reality is they're all at this point, we think, planning to support the leader. we're obviously starting to put that question to them one at a time, but so far it seems that that's what's going to happen here. ali? >> kasie, you have done yoman's work today, watching you chase everybody around to get answers from them and answers you got. thanks, kasie. >> reporter: flat shoes, ali, flat shoes. >> that's right. >> i want to bring in democratic senator sheldon whitehouse who is backing a filibuster of judge gorsuch's coirmation. senator, thanks for being with us. you heard what i was talking to kasie about. i'm sure you heard references to what the republican senators on the judiciary committee came out and said. they have sidestepped the whole
issue about judge gorsuch, as far as they're concerned democrats are doing something that is forcing the senate to change its rules. kbha what's your take on it? >> well, it's pretty rich for them to say that we're treating a supreme court nominee in an unfair and unprecedented way by holding to the rules that have governed the supreme court nominees in recent years after they pulled the stunt with merrick garland where forget not letting him have an up and down vote on the senate floor, they never let him have a hearing. so i think they've got no standing to complain. i think what they really want to do is get a fifth republican appointee on this court because the 5-4 decisions of this court have been signaling it is an absolute treasure-trove of goodies for the big special interests behind the republican party. so, you know, mitch went to incredible political effort when you consider the likelihood of a republican president and the likelihood of him being the majority leader, that was a real hail mary, but he did it,
anyway, because this seat is so important to them to protect the dark money, to protect citizens united and the big donors. and to protect the corporations who fund them. >> so let's just talk about what effect this concept of going nuclear has for the future. number one, it takes away the concept that the senate is not like the house, it's not simply a partisan body. it's a chamber of sober second thought. and number two, it does give everyone this tool to use in the future including republicans when and if the democrats hold the balance of power in the senate. are you worried about unintended outcomes and future consequences of forcing this type of a vote >> there's nothing in the constitution that says advice and consent requires a supermajority, so, you know, i can live with it. i can live with it when we changed it before and can live with it now. where that really gets a little
bit dangerous is if they start moving the nuclear option over into the legislative side, they take bills they want to pass where they can't create the f 0 votes they have so often said the senate needs to pass anything significant and jam individual bills through one at a time using the nuclear option. they've said they don't want to go there, but every step you take toward that makes it a little bit easier. >> right. but that first step started with harry reid, right? where certain appointments were allowed to go through with a 51 votes and the intention was not to use it for the supreme court. now it will be used for the supreme court and you're saying the -- >> that was kind of the understanding at the time. i think that the republicans and harry all agreed that leaving the supreme court alone would be the right thing to do. they were upset that we were breaking their filibusters of all the obama judges on the d.c. sir circuit court of appeals but to go to the supreme court then i
think would have been a whole other level of toxicity. so the fact that they're so willing to go there so quickly right now kind of gives the lie to a lot of their complaining back then. >> let me just play you -- obviously we talked about merrick garland, let me play to you what senate judiciary chair chuck grassley said when asked about why this is different from merrick garland. here's what he said. >> i said regardless of who won the election, we'd process this nominee and so we're processing the nominee. 9:00 on election night, everybody thought that hillary clinton was going to be president of the united states, but long time before that 9:00, months before, i said whoever's elected president, we're going to process that nominee and that's what we're doing right now. that's democracy at work. >> so he has a bit of a point, right? as you said, mitch mcconnell, you know, took a big gamble in
thinking that this was going it be t to be the outcome, as did chuck grassley. at this point, they are benefiting from whatever good fortunes smiled upon the republican party and elected republicans to both houses and the white house. >> backers of the republican party are smiling now. it's what the court 5-4 has done for these big special interests through the unlimited money in citizens united, through the dark money flow, through all the decisions that protect corporations against lawsuits and courts. it's -- that's who's really smiling. >> so i guess the point is, the opposition to a candidate that most republicans are going to accept is never really going to change for the democrats in the senate. is there -- is there something like an appropriate candidate that you think donald trump would ever put forward that would allow democrats to support? >> not if he's picking them off the shopping lists of right-wing
front organizations. i mean, that got neil gorsuch off to a very, very bad start. but there is nothing in the constitution, there's nothing in the history of traditions of the senate that would prevent the president from announcing a consensus candidate with the majority leader and minority leader standing beside him. they didn't even try. they went to a special interest list, they picked this guy and the dark money is out trying to push him onto the court. it's not a great tablea. >> thank you for joining us. i apeciate your time. >> good to talk to you. >> senator sheldon whitehouse, democrat from rhode island. still ahead, president trump is issuing a warning to china about deals with north korea just as there are new concerns today about the regime's weapons capabilities. one of the most high-profile defectors from the country is warning, "the world should be ready," for the threat of a nuclear weapon. nbc's lester holt spoke with him exclusively and will join me live coming up. plus the latest on the deadly train explosion in rufsh
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the headlines are at the half hour. it appears senate republicans will have to employ the so-called nuclear option to confirm u.s. supreme court nominee, neil gorsuch. the senate judiciary committee voting along party lines today to send his nomination to the full senate. democrats have the votes to block the confirmation. republicans say they will now change senate rules to confirm gorsuch with a simple majority instead of the 60 votes typically needed. president trump's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner is visiting iraq. the white house says he was invited by the joint chiefs of staff chairman general joseph dunford. the two plan to meet with government officials an discuss the ongoing military campaign
against isis. president trump welcoming egyptian president abdel el sisi to the white house today, the first egyptian leader to visit the white house since arab spring in to 2011. the president said the two leaders will work together on terrorism and other issues. rescuers in colombia still searching for people missing after flooding and mudslides in the southern start of that country. the government says the death toll from this weekend's disaster now stands at 262. north carolina and gonzaga face off in just a few hours to determine this year's ncaa men's college basketball champion. both teams made it to tonight's final in phoenix after winning close games this weekend. president trump appears to be raising the stakes before a crucial summit meeting with chinese president xi jinping in florida later this week. the president spoke with "financial times" newspaper this past weekend, asked if he would consider a, quote, grand bargain, where china pressures north korea in exchange for a
guarantee that u.s. would remove its troops from korean peninsula. the newspaper quotes trump as saying, "well, if china is not going to solve north korea, we will. that is all i am telling you." north korea will likely be on the table when president trump and president xi meet later this week, but it's unclear if the chinese leader will be moved by his comments. joining us now to take a closer look, gordon cheng, "daily beast" columnist and author of "nuclear showdown: north korea takes on the world and the coming collapse of china." gordon, good to see you, thank you for being with us. >> thank you, ali. >> gordon, i guess i have to a you, donald trump is talking tough on north korea, but ultimately most strategists think that the way to solve the north korean problem has to involve china. do you agree with that? >> well, in a sense, i do, but, you know, since 2003, we have really put china at the center of our plans to disarm north korea and beijing used its position to buy time for the north korean weapons programs
also to transfer technology both nuclear weapons technology and ballistic missile technology to the north koreans. so we do need a new strategy. our strategy probably has to coerce china, but you know, eventually china does become a part of this. >> okay. i want to ask you about the coercion in a moment. first thing i think i want to understand from you, there are a lot of people who believe that north korea and kim jong-un operate in a bit of a box, the parameters, the borders of which are set out by china and that sometimes he reaches outside of that box but he shouldn't. do you believe that's true? is he -- is he limited by what china allows him to say and do in terms of his provocations against south korea and the rest of the world? >> i think most of the time china has a general parameters for what kim jong-un does, but, you know, relations between beijing and pyongyang are strained and that is not just a show for the international community. but nonetheless, beijing supports north korea because
north korea accomplishes some very important short-term objectives for beijing. so essentially that is a story about beijing setting the limits, but it's sort of a very subtle mechanism and not necessarily beijing calling up kim jong-un and telling him what he can or can't do. >> i mean, south korea's a booming economy, china's one of the biggest economies in the world. north korea's broke. north korea cannot exist as its own country. it's not even like iran where it has relations with anyone else in the world. i mean, without china, there's no north korea. >> absoluty. 9 0% of north korea ee's foreig trade is with china, 98, 99% of north korea's oil comes from china. china suppliey ies 100% of the , no air force without beijing. clearly with the diplomatic, political, economic support comes from china. china could cut it off if it really wanted to. >> what do we have to do to get
china to cut it off? >> i think we need to start to enforce u.s. laws especially money laundering laws against chinese financial institutions that is actually been involved in north korea ee's elicit commerce. $81 million heist from the central bank of bangladesh, account of the federal reserve of new york, probably was facilitated by chinese banks. you know, we need to start unplugging a chinese bank, probably bank of china which was named in the u.n. panel report as being involved. if we do that, beijing will understand for first time since 1994, we are serious about protecting the american homeland and would certainly cripple north korea's proliferation activities. >> let's see if that comes up later this week in the meeting between donald trump and xi jinping. gordon chechk ang author of "nu showdown: north korea takes on the world." more on the threat from north korea, lester holt is at a u.s. military site in south korea, osan air base located 50
miles from the heavily fored demilitarized zone between north and south korea. u.s. and south korean service members stationed are closely watching these rising tensions in the region as they would be on the front lines of any conflict. lester is broadcasting from there for part of the week and joins me tonight. lester, good to see you. tell us more about some of the activities that are taking place where you are. >> reporter: well, ali, this is osan air base and behind me, a-10 and f-16. you talked about the proximity. the f-16 in full afterburner could be at the border in three minutes. they have to always maintain a war footing here no matter what is being said between the two capitals. but clearly, they're monitoring what's going on here. the folks here train and their slogan is "ready to fight tonight" because they know things could swing that quickly. they could have to spring into action tonight. so we had a chance to also visit here, a very rare access to the
air operation center. it's an underground facility here where they're watching the entire korean peninsula. they have an idea of what's going on in terms of aircraft movements. they're also the first, excuse me, the first to see missile launches and they have to quickly plot where that missile may go. whether it's going to go harmless into sea or if it's threatening seoul or some other part of south korea. i should also mention i had a sit-down interview with thae yong ho, was a high ranking diplomat in london, north korean diplomat who late last year defected to south korea. i had a broad-ranging interview with him about the north korean threat, about kim jong-un and he says that sanctions are effective but he will have to be eliminated in order to get rid of a nuclear weapons. here's some of what he told me. >> and when i was asked these kinds of questions, i always
will tell them that kim jong-un is a person who did not even hesitate to kill his uncle, even his half-brother. so he's a man who can do anything. >> reporter: and ali, one of the things he added is kim jong-un is very aware of what happened to saddam hussein and moammar gadhafi and the nuclear weapons, that nuclear program is part of his assurance of survival. he believes they're getting access to western videos smuggled in, know what's essentially on the other side of the border, modern society that exists here. he believes that will plant the seeds of perhaps revolution at some point that people may rise up. in terms of what the west should do, he believes that kim jong-un should be eliminat. lester, the hermit kingdom becomes less of a hermit if that information gets in but a lot of
the people who live in north korea are exiles. there are many exiles from north korea living in south korea. when you talk about kim jong-un being eliminated, are they worried about some sort of a real war with north korea where some of their family or kin might be? >> reporter: well, i don't know about north koreans living here feel that way, but i can tell you in general, there is a sense of -- people i've talked to, both americans here and koreans, that they have heard the threats before, there have been many periods in this long twisted history in which there have been provocative statements from both sides and nothing happens. and i think that maybe it's denial or maybe it's reality, but there is a sense of that. at the same time, you can't escape walking the streets of seoul and looking and seeing signs for shelters. the war scenarios are if the north is provoked that sort of nuclear weapons, they may use artillery, tens of thousands of artillery pieces that could rain
down on seoul just minutes away. so it is a very, very stark outlook if things were to go south, if the, as they say around here, balloon goes up. i think, yeah, people i think, deep seeded have a worry, but day to day they continue on. >> good point, it's not just nuclear war they're worried about but conventional war. lester holt for us in south korea. lester will anchor "nbc nightly news" tonight from south korea with much more on that threat from the north. >>okay. up next, more on the report that former national security adviser susan rice sought to unmask names of trump aides in intelligence reports. republicans are seizing on the report as president trump continues to push an unsubstantiated claim that he was wiretapped by president obama. i'll discuss it with our panel, next.
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it goes in one direction versus where i think it was going -- where other amounts of interest that have come from this room and beyond. >> press secretary sean spicer noting a, quote, interesting lack of interest, when reporters asked for the administration's reaction to a report from "bloomberg" today that former national security adviser susan rice had asked for the unmasking of team trump members in an intelligence -- if intelligence reports during the trump transition. joining us to discuss, i want to bring in james jeffrey, former deputy national security adviser under president george w. bush. and hugh hewitt, msnbc contributor and host of the "hugh hewitt radio show" and if sean spicer's watching, we're talking about this so everybody knows, we're actually having this discussion. let me start with you. james. this -- i want to separate the idea that there was surveillance from the idea that susan rice, national security adviser, asked for that information, unmasked
it, perhaps, from the idea that somebody leaked it. those are three separate things. >> three separate things. the surveillance, if we can trust chairman nunes, was legal in all of the things he saw which is presumably what the white house is kind of leaking right now. secondly, she had to make a formal request, we believe, to the national security agency, to unmask names. this something you can't just do for the fun of it. d you have to provide a justificati justification. what was that justification in finally, what did she do with this? because these names did not leak. the only person who's been leaked in this entire issue has been general flynn. and that was related to russia which, again, nunes says it not involved here. >> hugh, so let's make sense of this, then. what are we mad at susan rice for doing? she was the national security adviser. according to james jeffrey, she had the ability to ask for those names, no law was broken. what are we mad about? >> i'm not mad at anything yet, ali. eli lake makes clear in this
"bloomberg" piece that what she did is, in fact, legal. it's unusual, though, and the pattern in practice has got to be revealed. i think she needs to be called for the senate and house intelligence committees to ask why she requested unmasking, how often she did so, and with whom did she share, if anyone, we don't know if she shared it with anyone, why did she do so? there's a serious of questions here that go to whether or not, while this does not appear to involve general flynn yet, it did, in fact, involve general flynn because the fear, not yet proven, is that national security adviser rice swept up a bunch of what ought to have been minimized names and identities and left them lying around in places where they would make their way to the press. general mike hayden has speculated that. >> you had me until "left them lying around in places where they would be picked up by the press." there has been zero reporting on that. no one has suggested that. >> no, mike flynn was leaked. mike flynn was leaked. that was a felony. somebody created --
>> you just said she swept up a bunch of names and left them somewhere where they could be leak to the press. >> we ought to find out if she did that. we need to find out and have her testify to that point. >> james, as the national security adviser, and you were the deputy national security adviser, if you had an intelligence report, raw intelligence, and you wanted the names of people therein unmasked for your own purposes or reasons that you need in the government, who would you have to explain that to you? >> you'd have to explain that to the agency that owns the intelligence, but to just add, these things are listed as u.s. person number one, u.s. person number two. the game we would play when we saw raw intelligence and it usually took us five seconds was to figure out who it was. so i think this is very curious that she would ask for these names to be unmasked because as i said, we normally can figure out who it is. >> so what does -- follow that line of thought for me. where does that go? you're saying it's curious she would ask who it is. what does that imply? >> we need to see the
documentation that she used to justify to, again, the national security agency, this u.s. citizen needs to be unmasked. if this was a fisa case, that is a foreign source inside the united states, very, very strong inhi bases against this. even if you're tapping somebody's lines overseas, you're not supposed to do this without the justification. >> y andh are in the same place, what is the justification or doing this? hugh, i want to bring this back to, now we're looking at three different things. we're looking at surveillance of the trump team as it relates to russia, incidental or not. we're looking for the unmasking of names then we're looking at the dissemination of names. the white house would have you lump the last two together and say that that's the serious issue that we should all be investigating. it's sort of what sean spicer implied. versus others who think that the issue is whether or not the trump campaign had relations with russian officials. which one's more important to
you? >> by far the most -- the most important issue is what did russia do and what are they going to do in the future? what is their cyber capability to attack united states elections and the united states government? i think ambassador will agree with me on that, that's what the burr/warner hearings where focused on because that's a threat to the future. the second most important issue and the fbi is investigating this, is whether or not anyone among the trump circle had inappropriate contacts with anyone within the russia sphere of influence. then number three, did susan rice, ben rhodes and other people violate law and policy by attempting to create newspaper stories damaging to team trump as they entered into power? >> that hierarchy -- >> they're all important. >> that hierarchy -- >> number one is the most important. >> right. you understand the republicans who don't follow that hierarchy. they actually think the most important thing is number three that you said and that seems to be a distraction effort by some people. i mean, sean spicer i'm not sure would agree with what you just laid out there. >> i talked to sean on my show
last week. he's just as frustrated that no one is paying any attention to silo three, while silo two gets all the attention and not much attention is paid to silo one. in my opinion, 50% to 70% goes with silo one and sigh he tlo t three are equally important. >> fair enough. james, what do you think, when you divide up the silos, let's talk about the third one the administration and many republicans say the media doesn't spend enough time on. who leaked this stuff. how important is that to you? >> once again, if the only leak we have is general flynn's leak, it's hard to see why this is a major issue and in the case of flynn, we were in a position where flynn, as a national security adviser, could have been blackmailed and turned into an agent by the russians after he had said things publicly and had people like vice president pence say things publicly that the russians knew weren't true because they, of course, had tapes of transcripts, themselves. so that was a very serious problem, so if you're ever going to justify a leak, believe me,
that's a leak to justify. but we're talking about supposedly dozens of susan rice requests. why was she doing it? what happened to them? they clearly didn't come into the private sector. >> gentlemen, fruitful discussion. thanks for having it with me. >> thanks, ali. >> look forward to talking to you again. new pictures of jared kushner in iraq making an unannounced trip on behalf of the president. we'll talk about his visit next. plus president trump hitting the links this weekend with a surprising guest, senator rand paul. while the two haven't always played nice, the senator posted a tweet shortly after suggesting that they could be close to working out a deal on health care. does this mean new hope for the chances of repealing and replacing obamacare? we'll talk about it next. various: (shouting) heigh! ho! ( ♪ ) it's off to work we go! woman: on the gulf coast, new exxonmobil projects are expected to create over 45,000 jobs. and each job created by the energy industry supports two others in the community. altogether, the industry supports over 9 million jobs nationwide.
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new video of president trump's senior adviser and son if law jared kushner in iraq today. kushner meeting with iraqi, american and coalition officials and traveling with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general joseph dunford, a spokesperson for the general said kushner was travels, quote, on behalf of the president to express his support to iraq and u.s. personnel involved in the campaign against isis. for more i want to bring in nbc's hans nicholsrom the pentagon. hans, what do we make of this trip? >> this is an opportunity for the pentagon, frankly, to educate someone that they know is going to have a great deal of influence, that's jared kushner, over their issues. so general dunford invited mr. kushner on this trip, secret
trip to iraq. we also know, ali, he's there as an emissary of the president, representative of his father-in-law. recall that about two weeks ago president weeks ago, president trump and abadi met in the oval office. if there's a direct communication other, letter or some sort of mention that president trump wants to send to him, he can do that with mr. kushner. i'll be curious to see where they spend the night. typically they fly out of the country for security reasons. remember, there's an active war going on. however, today, because of weather, some of the flight operations, the strikes are taking place from coalition aircraft, mostly u.s. aircraft have not been taking place. reporting the story all through the day. what everyone here says is that they know jared kushner will have a great deal of influence on the campaign against isis on, a whole host offer issues. they want him to have the best
information so they see this as a teaching moment. >> thanks for that. now here is hampton pearson with the cnbc marketwrap. >> we have markets closing in the red as the first quarter comes to a close. the dow dropping 13 points. the s&p 500 lower by 4. the nasdaq down by 17 points. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job,
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he is the executive editor of axios. we were talking earlier about how rand paul tweeted that he had been golfing with the president and they had made some progress on a discussion about health care. you would think they might have had that discussion prior to coming out with the bill. do you think that health care is coming back? >> well, they're trying to bring it back. republicans are desperately trying to bandage over that wound. it is making it hard for republican leaders to do anything else. april 29, day 100 of the trump presidency. trying to head off a shutdown. wanting to move to tax reform and maybe eventually infrastructure. right now the speaker looks weak, the president looks weak on the hill. ? this is a lot of pessimism. the house freedom caucus still in charge of something.
>> the map has become clearer. tax reform is not easier than health care. for those who think, let's move on to tax reform. >> you're completely right. this is your wheel house. shark a third of the economy. tax reform is the whole enchilada. the idea that they're floating is for the changes the most conservative want, maybe give to it tom price. let him give a relief to state one by one. it would mean your more moderate members in swing districts don't have to take as tough a vote. that's one idea they're trying to do it. but at the moment, both sides are on a fighting mood. the president tweeting at the freedom caucus over the weekend. i was talking to republicans. they like it. they want the house freedom
caucus to be punched in the nose. they think they've been allowed to take everything. one person called it 30 people in children of the government. when they add a few hangers on, they can be disruptive enough as we saw, you have to replace them with something. so there has to be, some call it a governing coalition which has to involve moderate republicans and maybe even some democrats. until you go down that road, what's the point of introducing major complicated legislation that people in the freedom caucus will oppose? >> you're 1,000% right. that's why the people that i talked to don't see it going very far. until they say, we need to do something different. do something to bring the caucus together. we don't see that happening. so that's why i think you're right. the democra will be involved in that issue to keep the government open. no money for the wall.
>> so play this out for me. if that, two way you're talking about it, the president who was the worst thing for democrats, dashed their hopes and dreams, may end up giving they will more than they thought. >> the only people that holds more cards than democrats the freedom caucus. and they can pews. they control both ends of pennsylvania avenue. democrats therefore know they'll be able to drive a hard deal. they know that the house leadership, one of them said to me after the health care disaster, we krngs will not allow a shutdown. >> so i'll keep playing this out farther ask farther.
part of what we saw was what happened with gorsuch. you're not looking at republican who's want to deal. so there's an opportunity to say, hey, there president needs to us get a few things done. what do you get other than making donald trump look like a more successful president. >> democrats might want to be part of it. but as long as republicans don't have their game together, why would democrats bail them out? so democrats might join a winning republican coalition. to give them votes to pull something off and have a w for donald trump, you think you're right. no sign that anything is head that had way. you call kit being clearer. i can call it being harsher. the rhetoric is one of the more acceptable picks the president
could have made for the supreme court. the fact they're going to war over this shows the split. this is where he is paying the check for some of the twes and the things he said since the inauguration. i think on inauguration day, there might have been some democrats who said guy looks strong. let's play ball with him. >> all right. that does it for me. i'm in for steve kornacki. katy tur is in for chuck. if it's monday, chaos clouds. chaos in the capital. what the democratic filibuster of the gorsuch supreme court nomination could predict about the future of the trump agenda. >> i will not support judge gorsuch's nomination in the judiciary committee. >> plus the art of diplomacy. >> we'll be friends for a long, long period of time. president trump's embrace kicks off a high