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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  April 6, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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since taking office. his first meeting with china's
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president xi jinping in the course of two days at his m mar lago resort. first there is more breaking news from capitol hill. senate democrats a successful filibuster of neil gorsuch has set off a chain reaction. and intelligence committee chairman devin nunes under pressure to rescues himself because of that trip to the white house that is finally sidelined. sidelining himself from the russia investigation after the bipartisan house ethics committee opened an investigation as to whether or not new nest mishandled information he got from the white house. ed markey is just off of the floor as there has been a series of votes.
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tell us the state of it right n now. >> without question, every senator knows that right now they're part of a historic moment. there is now an effortcr that h gun by senator mcconnell and the republicans to change the rules a 60 vote margin in order to confirm a 60 vote to a just majority. right now that is what thert senate is in the process of debating. and ultimately, unfortunately,
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the republicans do have the votes in order to change these rules in a way that is going to profoundly change our institution. >> now, chuck schumer, the democratic leader on the floor speaking right now as this gets under way. is it worth it to risk what can go back against you if you ever regain the majority. the prospect of having no ph filibuster option on these issues because of this one decision. i realize it is a lifetime appointment, but down the road aren't you paying a very heavy price? >> we're going to have to debate it at another time. but on this issue, on the issue of whether or not 60 votes is needed for a supreme court nominee, given how many historic decisions have been 5-4 votes. bush versus gore. selecting a new president, the citizens united decision. decision after decision, 5 to 4. this one person, this ninth vote, is so important to the
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history of the country, and in our opinion, it's worth the fight. it is worth standing up to make sure that we make the point that the problem is not with the process. not with the 60 vote margin, it is with this nominee who is a radical right-wing member of the judiciary right now with a record that made it clear that he would not be able to represent the main stream of the american public. >> now just to push back for a moment, he is filling the scalia seat, he is not changing the ballots. he is filling a seat that is a -- >> and as well it is the votes
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for objective criteria, and it will not change the composition of the court that will tilt against women's health, against consumers, against environmental protections. he himself, on his own record, has produced a voting record in the judiciary which is so clearly even thclea clearly empthetical. i want to ask you about syria because of the horror of this apparent chemical attack. do you support a limited military option if the president moves in that direction, he was certainly hinting at it yesterday. >> this is for president trump, a chance to change his views on russia. to say to russia, number one, it's critical for you to fully
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implement the removal of all chemicals within syria. that has not happened. secondly there is a full implementation of the cease fire that turkey, iran, and russia negotiated. that is not being implemented. that there is all access for humanitarian aide in that country, and fourthly that there is a negotiation. that takes lace, with assad at the table and all other parties so we can reach a negotiated settlement. a military intervention by the united states could result in a military escalation by russia, iran, and other countries as well. let us first try a negotiated settlement. let us have president trump talk to putin about getting to a table so we can begin a diplomatic resolution. >> thank you so much, i know you have to run, thank you for taking time off of the floor. >> kristen well ker and and
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kacie hill, who is getting her exercise side. you have the horror of what happens in syria, he is the only person in the administration, national security team, that is not mentioned russia's complicity in this. clearly that has not happened. >> that is right, in fact it was nikki hailey who had strong words about russia, but we heard strong words frnot from preside trump. he indicated that his view of assad has now changed.
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why is that significant? just several days ago the secretary of state said it is up to the syrian people to determine the feaith and future of assad. so are they considering something different here in the president is very clear that he is not going to tip his hand about the potential strategic options, but the pentagon is preparing a series of responses from the president. no word yet if they requested those options that could be available to him, but this is clearly a pressing national security problem as he prepares to hold that all important summit with the leader of china when he is expected to press on another crisis. north korea, the fact they had a number of recent provocations, president trump expected to try to turn up the heat on china to put the psh on nor-- pressure o
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north korea for them to tone it down. >> at the same time, these big foreign policy decisions are being decided in a national security council that no longer has steve bannon has a member, and now has the permanent membership of the cia director, the director of national intelligence, and the chairman of the joint chief. it is general mcmaster taking control of the nsc away from what has been in play under mike flynn. what about the turmoil in the west wing over all of this. >> butting steve bannon in the position of chief strategist, and more controversial when he was put in the national security council. yesterday the white house's official line was that bannon was put in place to oversee mike flynn operationally and now that flynn is out steve bannon has done his job and there is no reason for him to be there. we know there is a lot of turmoil and questions about his role her
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we also know there is a growing divide here within this white house between people like bannon who represent the populist appeal of this president, and people with a more global outlook. jared kushner. gary cone, and we're seeing them increasingly at odds here. why does the president keep steve bannon on? he is someone who helped him win the white house and who is a real reality check in terms of what he promised to those voters. this is this creating instability? now they're trying to revive repealing and replacing obama care, and as they prepare to take recess, there is no classi
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information. >> that's right, andrea, they have. and that is what prompted all of this. the house ethics committee is a bipartisan committ, an equal number of republicans and democrats, so for this to happen, at least one republican has to have concerns about some of the things devin nunes has
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said. he has been giving a series of press conferences in the course of the last few weeks mostly here on capitol hill. that one exception was when he went to tell the president about intelligence he had, a day before, he talked to a white house reporters then, but the question that the house ethics committee is looking into is whether he, at any point in these numerous press c conferences, did he divulge classified information. now we know that he met with speaker ryan last night. a congressional aide says, and the speaker and nunes have been saying this was nunes decision,
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and they are not saying if they want him to rescues himself here. but they're saying this was a distraction, and he will rescues himself from anything related to the russian probe, to include all of the things we have been talking about as wl as trump associates. so what happens now, the congressman conway of texas is taking over this probe. he is next in line. we tried to catch up with congressman nunes, but he would not comment on that. andrea? >> and last we saw you, kacie, you were running down the hallway and keeping up right in pace with congressman nunes. >> luckily not in the rain.
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>> we'll come back to you momentarily when the key votes take place on the senate side. get your running gear ready. more on the investigation, the shake up, a democratic from the house intelligence meeting coming up, plus we continue to watch the historic moves in the senate. the rewriting of rules and the rewriting of rules and clearing of the way for
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think has been a distraction, do you still have confidence in him. >> speaker ryan after devin nunes stepped aside after it was revealed whether or not he he improperly spoke on classified materials. we wanted to bring you in and ask, you have been calling for his recusal. was this voluntary? >> i can't say, but it was the right move. we want to get this investigation back on strak to we can show the american people that we're making progress. >> at this point do you have confidence that without him at u can move forward? do you have confidence in the new leadership? >> i do. i like mike kahn way. we're just asking that we follow
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the evidence. any evidence that is relevant, we should hear from them and be able to review them. i want to say to my constituents that we have a plan to do that. and we were able to agree. >> when we talked to adam schipp yesterday on the show, he has a letter on his desk asking for sally yates to testify, where does that stand now? the critical testimony of sally yates? >> that needs to happen and that was after a fall low up meeting. some of the information we'll have to receive in a classified setting, and the hearing with sally yaets, that was supposed
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to be an open hearing. i think one of the real issues that we had is that he closed and canceled that hearing, so i hope that is put back on the calendar so we can get back to work. >> is sally yates on that witness list? >> yeah. we can't go into names, but that one has been agreed on and it should be the next one that we have. >> do you think you will be get the cooperation from the white house? last we knew adam schipp said he had seen the materials, he was given access to the materials, but he was not allow to share them with other members of the committee, are you going to be able to see and other members of the committee to see what the chairman has seen. >> we have, but i can say that they made a mess of this.
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and often times i learned as a former prosecutor that the way that someone acts after an investigation is launched tells you if you're investigating the right person. this is continued obstructive behavior by the white house. >> and that aside, the makeup of the committee. >> as i understand it. we hope that as we have to take votes, subpoena witnesses that we do that. thank you so much, congressman, thank you. there is turmoil on the hill and the white house been try trying to steve steve bannon out there. the natural evolution. instead of a demion.
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they are investigationing turmoil. joining me now is chris. the gate keeper. trying to find every presidency. your book could not be more timely. they said going in there was too more power centers this this white house and you didn't have reince priebus as a chief of staff. it is more complicated. what is your take away? >> it's a formula for failure. one of the things that i learned in talking to the living chiefs of staff is that every president learns that you cannot govern effecti effective. to tell the president what he doesn't want to hear. and they are clear, he fey mosly
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is called a dunce unfairly, but i think reagan intuitive something that carter didn't understand. he found one in jim bak toun things and to makehings work. and it is just a critical job and history shows that unless you have that structure and that chain of command, and an effective white house chief, you're asking for failure. >> in fact you see right now they're having a vote on the nuclear option, you can honor -- i covered eight years of ronald reagan, that when you hearing aid jim baker and later, you know, others in that chief of staff position, howard baker, they knew to speak to someone on
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the hill, they would not have gone for a list, they would have talked to a judiciary committee. >> as you remember, jim baker created the legislative strategy group. it had brilliant people on it. those guys knew how to count votes. >> and while we talk about counting votes, our ex-pert counter frank thorpe is calling in off of the senate floor where the nuclear option is being voted on. >> yeah, they're currently voting on the nuclear option. and what we're expecting here is for them to vote no on this motion. what they vote on is whether or not the chair is correct in assessing that a 60 vote session is needed. they want to change the tl threshold to 51 to change what democrats did earlier today.
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they voted 55 to 45 to filibuster the nonation. now they're trying to change the rule this is obviously highly contentious, it is someone that republicans accepted that if -- our phone coverage there is not as good as it needs to be. i know you will be standing by with a update on that. it's clear they're voting and the republicans will be voting no to change the rules. this is another history making moment that another white house might have been able to avoid perhaps with better leadership. >> ronald reagan at his very first initiative wanted to go to capitol baker was smart enough to know that is the third level of politics. he was able to change ronald
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reagan's course, and the rest was history. i think, you know, i can't think of any examples of the current white house chief of staff as gone in and spoken truth to power with donald trump. and the bigger problem, of course, is that you have to have a president that wants to have a grown up in the room. who is willing to listen to news that he does not want to hear. it is not at all clear that we have that. >> just very briefly, when you have the son-in-law going to baghdad, and at the summit, doesn't that tell you something is awry here? >> is it the most dysfunctional white house in modern history i think. and i think that if -- one way of putting it is that if donald trumpments to be jimmy carter, a one term president, he should
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continue to run his white house and administration the way he has. >> thank you very much, chris whiple, good luck with the new book. right now by the way we see a very rainy day, a motorcade arrival because marine one will not fly in weather like this. you see him arrive at joint base andrews in maryland. white house traffic down to the air base, and he is flying towards sunnier weather, we presume, in palm beach. we'll be right back.
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see how invisalign® treatment can shape your smile up to 50% faster today at so we go back to the senate and kacie hunt. on the senate side, the vote in play now for the rule change that is basically a no vote by republicans and they need 51 nos to change the rule. am i correct on the order? >> that's right. it is very complicated procedural motion here where they say is this within the rules and the chairman says it's not within the rules, and they say there is subsequently a vote to say is the ruling of the chair correct? so republicans are voting no, that ruling was not correct. we should be able to proceed with a simple majority vote
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which will mean they only need 51 votes to confirm neil gorsuch. that official vote still won't happen until tomorrow. this is still technically a vote to cut off debate. they're saying we can cut off debate with this simple majority. it looks very arcane and complicated, this is a huge deal you're seeing unfold right now on the floor. >> as a former senate correspondent, i know what you're going through, but i never saw this before. now back to the horror of the apparent chemical attack. no doubt that what happened in syria was a chemical gas attack and that technically is a war crime. the horror continu for the families, le this brief stricken father, cradling his
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twin 9 month old children, before they are take ton a mass grave where 22 family members of his are buried. inconsolable. the last u.s. ambassador to syria is joining us, by skype. ambassador, what should the president do.
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he was hinting for the first time yesterday that this horror has changed his view. and certainly there wasicator t take some action. but wlont ouldn't he get right against the russians hdoes. >> there is no risk free option. they have to determine if it is possible to eliminate the chemical weapons. they issued a report in november that lielted three other instances where they definitely used chemical weapons. we need to think about whether or not it is important to deter assad from doing this again. >> just one final moment, there
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is no question in your mind that the mistakes that were made in the last couple of years by the obama administration might have encouraged assad to think he could get away with it? >> there is no question he feels like he can actimpunity, he has never faced a real sanction. he ignores them, he goes around them. so i'm afraid it is with military force, those are not risk free if we hit a syrian air force base where there are russian personnel statemented, we risk injurying or killing personnel th has a whole series oftherrisks, and that is why this is not an easy choice for the trump
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administration. >> had anyone reached out to you as the last american that was a diplomat in syria. >> not recently, no. thank you for your insights. joining me now, robert acosta, washington postnational political reporter, new york times political reporter and msnbc contributor and our own kacie hunt on capitol hill. first to you, a update that first nuclear option has passed by 51. >> yes, it was 48 yeses and 52 nos reminding everything that the nos were the critical part of that vote. so they have voted to change the rules on supreme court nomination filibusters. so now what you're seeing unfold are the votes that usually require 60 senators, but now it
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will original take 51. so what we are wnesses now is a second vote. this one if they get 51 votes, it will cloese debate and set u a final nomination for neil gorsuch tomorrow on friday. the nuclear option has been invoked for spriem couupreme co nominations. a relatively small group of people that served together for long periods of times. john mccain said anyone that thinks this is good for the senate is a "numb skull" and a "stupid idiot." so clearly some republicans feel this is not a good idea.
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but every republican voted to make this rules change, drawing a line in the sand saying they will not take 60 votes, they will just do it with a majority threshold. before he left, he did step asaid. you were on the phone with chairman nuneunes today. he said he was stepping down, what did he tell you? >> the chairman told me that he is going to remain chairman, but he and his attorneys are dealing with this ethics complaint about how he handled classified information. and while he is handling that he will step away from the russia probe. this comes amississippi concerns from rank and file republicans about chairman nunes.
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his relationship with the white house, and from all sides, he is seen as quite cozy with president trump. as the investigation moves forward, there is a reluctance to have a independent informati investigation, a special prosecutor, but having nunes move away from the probe. >> there does seem for what he said to us earlier to be a prospect of better relations. what happened before in this committee is bipartisan. they would generally work things out. >> the fact is that chairman nunes' actions compromised not only himself, but the credibility. and they compromised the speaker of the house. so whoever's decision it was,
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weeks ago it became clear that he could not continue in this investigation. they brought up bill o riley out of the blue, t there is no evidence that he knows anything about the sponsors, where do you want to start? >> it is reflexive on the o rilooi o'riley part. you see aides nudging him back to the touch, and talking about the second avenue -- it reflects his own protectiveness of fox news, his favorite network, and a big defendive of his in a lot
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of cases, bill o riley. >> and just going after susan rice. the president of the united states saying that susan rice broke the law. >> correct, and there was something he decided to go with on the spur of the moment. it got him back into the house. >> they tried to spin them to step down -- he never missed one of those meetings or the press conferences with the foreign leader. there is an expectation for where he fits into this. >> my colleague bob costa has
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done amazing reporting on this. i really in the number of white houses that i have seen, i have never seen one in which the factional warfare in a white house gets so quickly into the domain. we have a lot of people who are very insecurity about their own positions. >> you know these players better than anyone who seems to be more concerned with what anyone was saying. >> it is factional warfare in the white house, and the lines are getting deeper between these two main blocks. whatever you want to call it, steve bannon, steve miller, all of the allies in the administration like peter navarro. two former hardcharging goldman
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sac sacks. ku kushner has been in there the pags but -- past, but he is gro closer. >> kacie, keep your running shoes on. the president taking off for the high stakes face to face meeting. his first with china's president xi. >> it is time for the your business entrepreneur of the week. daniella romanetti will never sell online. she wants to connect with
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northrop grumman stealth bombers give america an advantage in a turbulent world. and we're looking for a few dreamers to join us. if they're working the korean peninsula, i'm confident we would win. but it is an intensity of l violence that the war has not seen. many, many civilians would be killed in the process. it is not someone that you could
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deal with lightly. on the dangers of taking military action. north korea's nuclear threat will with at the top of the list of the meeting with president xi. bo bonnie chen is a research fellow at the hoover newsom. and manuel is joining us, nationnation n national -- he is the author of "this brave now world" india, china, and the united states. first of all, this meeting with
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china, arguably on the economic issues the most important meeting he has hold or will hold. this is the most important set up? jared kushner just back from a trip to baghdad. i was told that the obama white house spent six months planning for their first summit with president xi. how is this white house functioning? >> well, there's no question this relationship between trump and xi is incredibly important to the future of both the united states and china and it traditionally takes time to set these meetings up because optics are incredibly important for the chinese where they are meeting, how they are meeting, who's meeting, how they're standing. these are remarkably important things. so hopefully it's the case that leg work was being done by others in the state department and white house leading up to this meeting. proof is in the pudding when these leaders get together and
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discuss thorny topics. you mentioned north korea. clearly the economic issues and all of the issues regarding the one china policy and the dust up over the relationship between the u.s., taiwan and china trgered by the phone call between president of taiwan and president-elect trump then in december. this is going to be a very crucial meeting. >> and just to brief everyone and bring us up to date, 55-45 republicans have led the vote to invoke cloture no longer requiring 60 votes for cloture. they cut off the filibuster and debate setting up the final passage of the confirmation of -- there's about 30 hours of debate on that vote. sometime on friday afternoon. bottom line is that they are now well past this rule change and history made on the senate floor today. that brings you in on just what's at stake for this president. there's a different set of rules for the senate. he is, after this vote tomorrow,
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presumably going to have as of monday a full complement of nine supreme court justices but heading into a summit with a divided white house staff and challenges from syria to north korea. >> he is. this is the first big national security test for this presidency and everything is hitting at once. you had syria with chemical weapons attacked by assad. you have north korea testing medium-range missile and you have the biggest summit of his young presidency. i think i agree that he shouldn't be looking for deliverables in this particular summit. this is a get to know you session to see if president president trump and president xi can work together and that's very, very important. i'm happy that they're doing it early. north korea will be high on the agenda. i do think it's right that president trump put thehinese on notice that our patience is running t. north korea used to be an asia problem. it's now very much a united
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states problem as well, now that they're developing these long-range missiles. >> thank you both so very much. here we have so much news so continuing on the breaking news on the senate, joining me to break that down is mark murray and kasie hunt still on capitol hill. bring us up to date. they head toward final confirmation tomorrow. >> that's right. cloture has been invoked so filibuster has been broken. the vote was 55 in favor of moving on and ending debate here. now that, of course, is short of the 60 votes that have traditionalneeded to make a move like this. technically you can filibuster a supreme court nominee but only take the same number as the majority, 51 votes, to end that filibuster. that's really an historic change for the supreme court.
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i think the context here, andrea, that's really the most important to focus on is this is another step in many ways kind of the breaking of the institutions here on capitol hill that have traditionally worked together to do big things. in the past when there was opposition to a supreme court nominee, there have been a couple that have gone through narrowly but when there have been filibusters or when one has been stopped, it's been a bipartisan affair. it's been something where senators in both parties essentially say to the president, this isn't going to fly. it has not been, you know, one party over the other. so i think this is another step down that road. i mean, you can sort of pic up on it when you walk around the halls of the senate. there's a lot more anger, a lot more distrust than there had been historically and some of the senate's oldest members or longest serving members, i should say, have been warning this is not a change that makes
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very much sense. john mccain said that anyone that says this is good for the senate is a stupid idiot. if you would like to take the most colorful description of what this might mean going forward here. >> mark murray, when we talk about institutions, the intelligence committee divided in a partisan way the really pressure for devin nunes to step down today. just another example of how institutions are breaking down. >> it's also an example, too, sometimes institutions stepping up and so, yes, the senate right now when it comes to judicial filibuster, that's gone. it was just several days ago where you end up having senator richard burr of north carolina along with mark warner of virginia, republican and democrat, saying we'll have a bipartisan investigation. this is a sign of one of another institutions going down. there's still some vestiges the senate that make it different to the house. one of the fundamental checks
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and balances in this country is you have the legislative branch and executive branch and here seemed to be the legislative branch working with the executive branch on a congressional investigation. i think that's what had so many people up in arms when devin nunes first stepped on that white house lawn. >> there's many people who support donald trump and people inside the whitehoe. steve bannon obviously chief amongst them who say we have to break down these cozy relationships. from my experience in covering the senate, it was a very special place back in the day. and until recently. much less partisan than other institutions. people did reach across the lines as you point out the senate intelligence committee is. that was the way things got done and the way compromises were reached. the tax bill in 1986. if they want a tax bill, they need to have democrats and republicans working together. >> andrea, there needs to be good will. one of the things that president obama in his farewell address
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said the united states constitution is just a piece of paper. it's actually members of congress, citizens, even the press that give it a lot of meaning. one of the things that holds that together is being able to be agreeable to have good will even if you disagree. you are right. when it came to george w. bush's biggest legislative accomplishment outside of his tax cuts it was no child left behind legislation that ted kennedy ended up backing. there needs to be a certain sense of people saying, hey, i might disagree with you on items number one, two, three and four but on number five we can work together and we look back at the last eight to ten years and there's been so little of that where, yes, they can agree on options one, two, three and four but can't come together on item number five. >> and the other thing that we're seeing is the president's use of twitter and these interviews and phone calls to journalists to say things that arguably have no basis in fact. maybe it's working to take the eye off theussia probe, but
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the podium at the white house and the megaphone of the oval office is being used in a way we've never seen before. >> that's right. you end up looking where if you can't have 100% of the country agree on obvious facts like the sky is blue, there are 24 hours in a day and all of a sudden you end up having someone says, you know what? i think the sky is red or there are 22 hours in the day and that person having that bully pulpit and megaphone, you get 20% to 30% of the country who believe the sky might be red. so of course politics is a very tough sport. there are a lot of gray areas where we don't know the truth. i think you hit on something very important. >> to both you and kasie hunt, a real tribute and memory to a very different day especially in the united states senate and in our history. just want to pay tribute now to the internment this morning in a driving rainstorm at arlington
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national cemetery of john glenn. john glenn was buried on what would have been john and annie glenn's 74th wedding anniversary married on april 6th. at the internment today, annie glenn was in a wheelchair. a traditional arlington burial for a korean war veteran. first american to orbit the earth and decades later after his service in the senate, he returned for another final mission to space. the oldest person to fly in space. john glenn died in december and he was beloved both here and around the country and indeed around the world. and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." thank you for being with us. craig melvins up next here on msnbc. craig? >> andrea, thank you. good afternoon. craig melvin here. busy news day in the nation's capital. going nuclear.
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republicans just changed the senate rules to get their nominee on the high court 30 hours of debate on the gorsuch nomination has begun. you are seeing a live look there at the senate floor. what will the fallout be from going nuclear? also, ethics probe for leading an investigation to being investigated. the house ethics committee now looking into devin nunes' behavior as the intel committee chairman agrees to temporarily step aside from leading the russia investigation. where does that leave the house inquiry? and foreign policy test. president trump heading to mar-a-lago right now for his first critical face to face meeting with china's president. we will remind you why this might be an awkward meeting. we start this hour with chaos in both chambers of congress. a live look again here at the u.s. senate where members are in the process of blowing up the last remnants of the judicial filibuster. a series of votes collectively