tv Morning Joe MSNBC May 24, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PDT
steve mnuchin and nick mulvaney testify on capitol hill. >> that does it for us on this jam packed wednesday morning. i'm yasmin vossoughian alongside ayman mohyeldin and louis burgdorf. "morning joe" starts right now. >> this week he's met with muslim leaders, jewish politicians and now the head of the catholic church. president trump will soon wrap up his quick visit to the vatican where he and pope francis met for the first time after publicly sparring on a number of issues, but there is no salvation from washington where the former cia chief gave the most compelling testimony today on russia's potential influence on the trump campaign. all of it coming as the terrorist attack in england raises threat levels dwide. we'll go live to manchester. welcome to "morning joe" on this wednesday, may 24th. along with joe, willie and me, we have veteran columnist and msnbc contributor mike barnicle.
washington anchor for "bbc world news america," katty kay, and co-founder and ceo of axios, jim vandehei with us. we're going to begin with the testimony from the former director of the central intelligence agency john brennan. speaking yesterday before the house intelligence committee, he said under his watch investigators have uncovered troubling information about contacts between russian officials and americans in the trump campaign. >> by the time i left office on january 20th, i had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the russians had been successful in getting u.s. persons involved in the campaign or not to work in their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting nafashion. >> did evidence exist of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between the trump campaign and russian state actors at the time you learned
of 2016 efforts? >> i encountered and am aware of information intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between russian officials and u.s. persons involved in the trumpcampaign. i don't kn whether or not such collusion -- and that's your term, such collusion existed. i don't know. but i know there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not u.s. persons were actively conspireing, colluding with russian officials. >> i've studied russian intelligence activities over the years and have seen it manifest in many of our counterintelligence cases and how they have been able to get people, including cia to become treasonous, frequently
individuals who go along a treasonous path don't realize they're along that path until it gets to be a bit too late. >> very carefully, what dots can we connect? >> first of all, trey gowdy. first of all, if somebody could get him a little powder, to put it across the top. the shine is unbelievable. i speak actually for america, because that's all people notice when you're on tv. now we'll go a little deeper. secondly, here is the deal -- trey gowdy should know this. wasn't trump talking about name him intel god or something like that. he's in line to be like -- whatever. the cia, the collect intel. that's their job. they get intel and figure out -- they get the information usually to presidents who aren't
insulting them and they work together. the fbi, trey, they gather evidence. so please do not ask an fbi director when he or she is before your committee about what's happening in pakistan, on the pakistan-afghanistan border. don't ask a cia director about, quote, evidence. not his job and you know that. bush league stuff. why are republicans making fools of themselves like this? i will say that trey gowdy knows better. there's always a distraction. there's always something to try to say look over here -- like james carville, look at the bird, look over here, look over there. i saw that yesterday. i was so frustrated. he knows that. >> he was intent on getting john brennan, the former director of the cia to say there was not
collusion between the trump campaign and russian government. he's not going to say that. >> it's not his job. just like it's not my job to solve physics problems on this set. >> fortunately. >> fortunately. >> and you've tried. >> i have. it's not his job. it's so stupid. >> not his job to say it, and even if he suspected there was collusion, he's not going to talk about that in an open hearing time and time again. what they did get yesterday is that russia interfered, us. officials did communicate with russians. he's not going to connect the dots for congress. that's up to the people prosecuting the case. >> there was a bit of chilling testimony, mike barnicle, when he talked about people who betrayed their country and sometimes did it unwittingly because they were so far down the road that they unwittingly betrayed their country. >> brennan had a very good day. trey gowdy did not have a good day.
he had his big boy prosecutor pants on but it backfired on him for the reasons you alluded to. brennan did point out that the russians are expert at en vagaling you, involving you as a potential source and you wouldn't know it. you would be unaware of it. >> donald trump and republicans had a terrible day. i think it's just more evidence that you're in for probably months if not years of investigation. what he's hitting on is this idea -- it's largely flynn he seems to be talking about, these contacts. there are only one of four big things that get picked out the next four months. the firing, the one-on-one conversation with the fbi director, all the activities with russia and the turkish government and flynn. we have republicans saying they think they'll come back from september from the recess wh no a single legislative accomplishment. >> that's what's really at the end of the day, that's what
republicans are going to be judged on. we're sitting here worried about little things, the distractions. we're worried about the constitution, worried about the rule of law. we're worried about separations of powers. we're worried about somebody going to the office and bumbling around and doing grave violence to a constitution that has held this republic together for 240 years. these are distractions. what people in middle america are focused on are jobs and the performance of this president and the performance of this republican congress. of course, people in america care about all that. i say at the end of the day, somebody is not going to go to a voting booth and go, hmm, let's see, he said something bad about a judge in hawaii. they're going to say what have they done to get me back to work. trump's biggest figure, what will hurt republicans most, is
getting nothing done. he's a rank amateur. >> and creates so much chaos that there's just absolute dysfunction. you have a candidate that promised to make america great again, to rebuild the military -- >> are you tired of wting so much? i'm exhausted by what's going on. he said he'd get so tired of winning, we'd be exhausted. i speak for america when i say we're exhausted. >> it's exhausting. i think everybody, americans who really are hurting out there were expecting more from this president and probably are feeling a bit uneasy, whether they're ready to say it or not. if you listen to what happened on capitol hill yesterday, it doesn't make things better. former cia director brennan had an interesting reaction when questioned about possible reasons for individuals from the trump campaign hiding their contacts with russia. >> director, there is what is referred to as consciousness of
guilt evidence. that's when somebody lies about a material fact and that fact -- the fact of them lying can be used against that person because it would be, in essence, an effort to cover up what happened. if you were telling the truth, you wouldn't have anything to cover up. with respect to some of the contacts that you referred to between russia and trump campaign officials, are you aware of any of those u.s. persons who had contact with russia either making false statements about those contacts or failing to disclose those contacts? >> i think that's something that you can pursue in closed session. >> let's add to the conversation "the washington post" reporter covering national security, devlin barrett. what was your headline from yesterday regarding brennan. >> the headline is basically
brennan fills in a lot of the gaps of the early stages of this investigation. the dance that keeps going on with the white house and a lot of republicans is, there's nothing to see here, there's nothing to see here, just move on. what you keep getting from the intel community, both current and former officials is actually there's a lot to look at here. we don't want to tell you everything we found and we aren't ready to reach a conclusion about it yet, but there's a lot of pushback to the notion that there's nothing to see here. you saw brennan sort of underline that over and over in the things he said yesterday. >> we haven't really spoken about coates' testimony and coates who is close to the testimony declining to take the opportunity to say the president did not put pressure on him in any way to back off from the investigation. i thought that was a pretty stunning stand for independence from dan coates and not one that will win him very many favors from the president who prides loyalty above all it seems from
the people around him. >> right. this is an interesting test for all the people who still work in this business and work for the president. how much are you willing or unwilling to publicly contradict him when the facts are what they are? obviously we've reported that the president reached out to him and asked him to publicly say there was no collusion, and he wouldn't do that. he didn't want to talk about it yesterday under oath, and it's obviously a difficult political situation for him to be in, but the reality is, these questions are going to get answered publicly eventually, and i think it just creates more problems from the administration. >> devlin barrett, thanks so much for doing a lot of good reporting on national security in the past few weeks. >> katty, what about the drip, drip, drip impact this is having on the republicans every single day? >> that has to be the big -- to what jim was saying about not getting anything done, and i've
spoken to senior republicans who have said what are the president's approval ratings? the gallup poll back down at 37%. he's fallen back down again. i reckon if the president falls to 35, 36%, you'll see more voices coming out certainly in the senate critical of the president. you'll see more republicans who are looking more vulnerable. ed gillespie is one of them in virginia, saying we have nothing to show. we can't go to people and say look what we have achieved in the last two years because we haven't achieved anything except signing a bill which is deeply unpopular. >> ed gillespie is down double dts. you go to georgia, ossoff is down several points. there are a lot of republicans looking at those numbers and talking saying this guy is taking us down. i'm in a swing district.
i'm only one by 5% last time. i'm going to lose next time. >> yes, their numbers individually are worse than they were before, but his numbers, he never drops below 36 or 37, never goes above 42 or 43. that's been true for more than a year regardless of what he does. when they look at the polls and they say the percent tam of trump voters would vote for them again, and the polling shows most of the base is still with trump, it's going to take a lot more. they're going to keep doing this rationalization. they're going to say this is sloppy in a way that looks shady as opposed to shady that looks impeachable. that's how they keep rationalizing this. >> do you find it striking that a lot of republican senators, at least to my view, and a lot of members of the house, there's no striking defense of the president? >> they don't like him.
very few of these members have any relationship with them. almost none of them would describe themselves as trump republicans. they feel like he is the head of the repubcan party and they're not ready to throw him overboard because they know there would be a mad backlash from the far right. >> there are two republican caucuses though. we talked about this on the show yesterday. there's two-thirds of the caucus that comes from rural areas, and they're still pretty much in trump's background. mika, there's one-third that's suburban, and they're scared every single day. by the way, one-third of the republicans who talk about these budgets, when trump puts out a budget that is hateful. >> dead on arrival. >> as mean spirited as this one is, you don't need nancy pelosi talking about it out front without one-third of the republican caution in the suburban areas. i heard from a couple of them yesterday, scared at hell.
that sort of budget where you're slashing health care, you're slashing education, slashing funding for cancer, you're slashing funding for research and development, that actually has a huge -- more than what brennan says on capitol hill, that has an impact back in their districts. >> you have republicans in charge and the president is sending them, and i'll coin a phrase from a popular morning show prognosticator, a steamin pilef -- yeah, something like that. >> a steaming pile of garbage. that's finnish to. to take you kids back that are too young, that was my interpretation of the president's stimulus bill. >> vintage '09. >> that's even kind for this
budget. nbc news learned that president trump will retain his long-time -- >> did we get a trademark on that? alex? >> we asked trump's lawyer to issue us one. >> that's great. >> he won't get it done. >> do we have somebody that speaks russian? >> you can ask trump's lawyer to do it. >> i think they're the number one law firm in russia. if you or a friend of yours has money laundered with russian oligarchs over the last 20 years, call the law firm -- tell us who it is, mika. >> you're not going to get it done if you look at the track record. nbc news learned president trump will retain marc kasowitz as his private counsel on matters related to the russia investigation. kasowitz is mostly known as a litigator and his website lists white collar defense as an area of practice. when the president threatened to sue "the new york times" for
like bell over an article that featured two women of accusing him of inappropriately touching them, it was kasowitz demanding a retraction. the retraction never happened. when "the times" published trump's 1995 tax records last year it was kasowitz who threatened, quote, prompt initiation of appropriate legal action. ing in ever happened. joe lieberman who is in contention to be fbi director has been with that firm since 2013. the attorney's most recent high-profile case, defending russia's largest state-run bank. >> i love this stuff. >> in a civil lawsuit. >> what's so great about this, trump makes it so hard to connect to dots. he really does. seriously. you dig through all of this stuff and wait for a smoking gun, and it's kind of like the end of oliver stone's jfk where garrison goes in and cries. it's all connected, honey.
it's all connected. it takes us forever -- this is trump right here. hold on one second. >> it's so sad. >> trump here, russia over here. >> he makes it unnecessarily hard on himself. >> didn't he get some other firm that was like the number one raided law firm in russia, something like that. >> even the lieberman element of it. >> do we have that tweet? let me see if we have that twee we're not on tv here. >> don't do it. what are you doing? >> i've got three hours. >> don't tweet. >> i'm not tweeting right now. i have to show you this picture that jack did of lbj giving the pope a bust of himself. look at that. can you do that?
>> hold on. here we go. lieberman. >> i'm not sure what's your point here. >> this is advertisement, they're at the same firm. he's got the same guy defending him, the same guy with joe lieberman, working at the same law firm since '13. >> what is it? is it just consistent loyalty above -- >> yes. >> you always go for the guy who has been with you even if everybody else told you this is not a good idea because it's going to raise red flags over two issues, lieberman and russia. >> in the words of aristotle, this is just a whole lot of dumb -- or was it stupid. a whole lot of stupid. you look at the things he's done and everybody is he's so evil. i don't know.
maybe he's evil. i don't see it. i s a guy who is glueless. he's like mr. magoo, but mr. magoo trying to shred the u.s. constitution. we can go back over what he's done the past couple days. i did not mention israel. i did not mention israel. i just revealed the fact that i did screw israel but i did not mention israel. then he's in israel. i just got to tell you guys, i just got back from the middle east. t it was lovely. >> poor ron dermer. >> it happens every day. choices like this. >> that's his defense? >> stupidity? >> ignorance. >> since he started his campaign almost two years ago he has enjoyed and gotten off in some ways on pissing everybody off.
there are people who said joe lieberman, a guy you mentioned might be a pick to be the fbi director is a partner here, that might not look good, and that might be a problem. >> it may be comfort and he may want to stay in his little cocoon he was in. here is the problem, he's facing legal jeopardy now, and he's been told by everybody around him, you better get a good lawyer. you're in legal jeopardy. people very close to you are in legal jeopardy. >> are you told he's been told this by people around him? >> yes. >> the group around him looks kind of -- who are you talking about? jared, ivanka, steve bann? are you talking abo spaicy? >> everybody in there knows that things got a lot more serious last week and they're getting
lawyers. >> i don't think so. i honestly don't think they'd be posting instagrams of themselves modeling, honestly. if they knew they were in really big trouble they wouldn't be walking around blowing bubbles. they don't look like they think they're in any trouble. >> jared looks pretty good. >> yes, they're saying that. there's nobody that listens to in his life. that's why he goes back to that's comfort foods. >> do you think he -- >> he openly talks to staff about how he'd like to get flynn back. comfort. >> jim, do you not think that he understands -- have you not heard reporting that he understands he could be in legal jeopardy? >> he understands it for a second and then he moves on, gets filled with grievance and he can't be controlled. there's nobody around him, not a single person, not jared, not ivanka who can sit him down and get him to be consistently --
>> he won against all our conventional wisdom. i think he still believes, despite the chaos of the last four months, that he should defy conventional wisdom if he's going to be successful because it was doing that that got him the presidency. when he says you should do things properly and systematized, he feels that's not what works for him. he likes doing things differently. the last four months don't seem so far to have told him a certain amount of conventional wisdom might produce -- >> the only thing is, when you have bob mueller going to his desk every morning and doing what bob mueller is doing every morning, getting information, turning over every single stone, you better realize the game has changed. if he doesn't, he'll end up -- he or people close to him will end up in as tenuous a situation as general flynn is in right now
because general flynn -- i don't think they're going to give him immunity. i think they're going to squeeze him and squeeze him and squeeze him. somebody was on hardball last night said don't give him immunity, don't do an ollie north deal. squeeze him. there's a lot of squeezing to be had with general flynn when it comes to legal issues, he's like charmin, you keep squeezing and you don't know what's going to come out. >> you know donald trump genuinely feels there's no collusion between himself and russia, so he feels liberated to say bring it on. that's what he's doing. let's get to the story making headlines. england under elevated terror alert as new information emerges about the man that carried out the attack that killed 22 people.
police say salman abedi was the man behind the bombing. u.s. officials tells nbc news the 23-year-old taken into custody yesterday was his brother. amid a raid and search of abedi's home. british prime minister theresa may announced she's raising the terror level from severe to critical. joining us now, nbc's keir simmons. what's the latest on the investigation there? >> reporter: good morning. we know from manchester police they made three more arrests overnight. that is crucial because the hunt is urgent to establish exactly what connections the suspected suicide bomber who attacked the arena behind me here has to others, principally because they want to ensure there isn't another attack planned or one instigated because of this security search around the country. i think there were two things that will be really worrying
intelligence services here in britain and the u.s. the first is that very question of who else is there out there. and the second question is, because we're now learning about a potential connection of salman abedi to libya, it's reported through u.s. intelligence officials telling nbc news that he traveled to libya. there are al qaeda connections there potentially. we, willie, were in the area where he grew up in manchester overnight. there i can tell you there were young teens recruited to join isis in syria. a group of them went there in recent years, and it does appear that salman abedi went to a mosque that they had also been attendi attending. so some really important questions there and a potential link between isis and al qaeda within a community of young jihadists. >> nbc's keir simmons, thanks so much. meanwhile, mika, we're getting
more on those who died in the tack including now a -year-old girl who was attended the ariana grande concert. >> much more ahead this morning. among our guests, senator chris coons and senator chris van hollen on why he says the president's budget proposal is, quote, fraudulent accounting. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. got it. rumor confirmed. they're playing. -what? -we gotta go. -where? -san francisco. -when? -friday. we gotta go. [ tires screech ] any airline. any hotel. any time. go where you want, when you want with no blackout dates. [ muffled music coming from club. "blue monday" by new order. cheers. ] [ music and cheers get louder ] the travel rewards credit card from bank of america. it's travel, better connected. what's going on? oh hey!dit card from bank of america.
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trade drooet craft which is to identify individuals who you think are influential or rising stars and you will try to develop relationship with them and the russians frequently will do that through cutouts for through false flag operations. they won't identify themselves as russians or members of the russian government. they will try to develop that personal relationship and over time they will try to get individuals to do things on their behalf. that's why again having been involved in a lot of counterintelligence cases over the years and seeing this pattern over and over again, my radar goes up when i see that the russians are actively involved in a particular intelligence operation or campaign, and that u.s. persons are being contacted by russian officials. >> former cia director brennan. when you hear them talking, joe, i totally understand what you're saying about stupidity potentially being the worst crime here. when you think about the campaign and think aut paul
manafort, the questions surrounding him, general flynn, the questions that have arisen about him, the revelations, even financial ties and meetings jared had along the way, gosh, can they be that stupid? i'm not sure. >> you just talked about several different people. when you talk about manafort, manafort has been going right up to the edge his entire life, even his daughters have said as much. >> he ran the campaign. >> you talk about general flynn, again, you just wonder whether he's bumbling around or not. it just doesn't seem like the smartest guy in the world. it's no defense. but again, here is another example, katty, brennan is saying, well, we traced these people and they have cutouts. it's like the americans and they sit at the end of the bar and they're wearing a wig and then they go through a 12-step process. then we have to go to their
rural home in virginia and have meatloaf and sit for 45 minutes. no, here it's like putin can we pay you money and you come over and sit next to me in russia? okay. >> amazing. >> just amazing. that's stupidity. >> 57 years after the end of the cold war and what brennan is describing there could have been classic cold war tradecraft. stunning to hear brennan say that, get on the road to treon without realizing it and the russians have always been so good at it and they're still doing it. >> they're such easy targets. >> money. >> such easy targets. as katty pointed out and as brennan pointed out in his testimony which is fascinating, the russians are very, very good at this. they pick out people who are very influential or rising star, they marry them for months, years and it works for them. >> the amazing thing about general flynn sitting next to
putin is, i've had more than one high level person in the united states government tell me he was the greatest intelligence officer of his generation. i saw an admiral who said i don't recognize the man i'm hearing about in these stories. he was simply the best at what he did. >> something happened. i had someone tell me that flynn from the very beginning embarrassed trump. he would be screaming and yelling and disrespectful in every meeting with intel people. every meeting he went to, like something happened with this guy. he became extraordinarily bitter. maybe it was when he was fired. i don't know exactly what it was. but if you want to trace one individual back that has planted a lot of the seeds for this, whatever you want to call it, this rising scandal. it's general flynn with his
contacts with russia and constantly sitting next to trump on the plane talking down the cia, talking down the nsa, talking down the intel agencies, and trump just absorbed it. and started attacking the intel agencies in a way that, again, we knew in realtime was destructive. >> it's the one thing that jared would not hear, would not listen. if you talk to him about it and you expressed concern about flynn and gave a grave warning about flynn, absolutely to deaf ears. >> flynn is the greatest guy in the world. flynn mod rates donald. flynn is great. flynn is great. that's all we heard from everybody around trump and from trump himself, how great general flynn was. when literally everybody in the world was telling them -- chris christie was telling them, you can't find somebody that knew
donald trump in that group that weren't saying the same thing, that general flynn does not belong in the white house, and he will bring you trouble. they were too smart. they were smarter than everybody else. >> coming up, they didn't actually see e to eye during the presidential mpai. so what happened during donald trump's meeting today with pope francis? we'll go through that and what drove them apart in the first place straight ahead on "morning joe."
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trump moved on to israel with the first lady melania trump. maybe they're just not used to spending this much time together. watch melania's reaction when trump tries to take her hand. she fully lebron'd him. i wish there was better audio so we could hear her say "get that week [ bleep ] out of here." >> here is what happened today in italy. they get off the plane. they're waving, zombie-like to
the crowd. he goes pour the hand. no, but i'll go there -- it is italy. there's something going on there and i demand a special investigator to find out what. >> up next, the only person who might go off script more than president trump, pope francis. the two outspoken leaders came face-to-face this morning after sharp disagreement over the previous year. we'll talk with father james marten who helps advise the vatican communications team next on "morning joe." it's time for the "your business" entrepreneur of the week. michael dorf is a frustrated musician turned urban wine maker. he started city winery to put together all his loves. it's a restaurant, a winery and
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religious leader should have the right to question another man's religion faith. >> ahead of today's meeting, it's been a contentious relationship bween the president and the pope. during the campaign the pope said, quote, a person who thinks about building walls wherever they may be and not building bridges is not a christian. trump responded at a campaign rally and on facebook suggesting if isis attacked the vatican, the pope would be relieved that the u.s. had a strong president. >> joining us, jon meacham. gentlemen, good morning. father, let me begin with you. what do you make of the relationship, not the past. we can talk about that during the campaign, but just today, the two of them getting together. what do you think both of them want out of this meeting? >> it's a little warmer than it was before. the pope was pretty pointed about giving him a copy of the encyclical on the i represent voo and a sculpture of an olive
tree, saying i'd like you to be an instrument of peace. president trump was court y'all. we'll see if he changes his tone on the environment and the poor as a result of this meeting. we'll see. >> father, we're concerned at times how donald trump is going to carry himself on international stage. he gave -- i understand he gave the pope first edition book -- signed books of martin luther king, junior. this is what he should have done, lbj 50 years ago giving the pope a bust of himself. trumpid not invent -- >> that would be a graven image. >> talk about the irony of these two people coming together today, the day donald trump's budget comes out and slashes health care for the poorest among us by hundreds of billions of dollars.
>> i don't think you can have two people with more different backgrounds. a new york real estate mogul who talks about the importance of money and really touted his flam mo glam mauer and success. you have a jesuit who spent his time working with the poor, among the poor and for the poor. >> describe, if you would -- these are two men who understand very different ways, very different contexts the nature of power. because the first shall be last and last shall be first, but he's pope now, he's first now. are there comparisons and contrasts to be made between this man's unlikely journey to the papacy and donald trump's rise? >> i think you can say that. you can say they're disrupters in their own way. i think the pope understands particularly the importance of what you might call soft power. the famous comment, how many
divisions does the pope have? the pope has a lot of symbolism. in his gifts in particular, he's saying what he thinks is important. he thinks peace is important. he said to donald trump, he thinks passes is important. he said i give you this gift so you may be an instrument of peace. i think president trump responded i want peace, we all want peace. in the space of 30 minutes, the pope was pretty direct about what he wants from the meeng and what he would like from president trump. >> you know, you've got two men here, the pope and the president, both pulling their individual institutions in different ways. the pope pulling the catholic church even further with the least among us. third world and united states everywhere. the president of the united states pulling a portion of his political party even further to the right. in direct opposition to what the pope believes. how does that work out in a conversation? >> well, i think the pope is used to meeting religious leaders. a friend of mine who worked in
the vatican said we're used to meeting leaders. we've done it since charl main's time. i think take time where they are. that's one of the pope's great strengths, culture of encounter. this is the portfolio you come from. i will meet you where you are, meet you with respect and dignity but also make my point. i thought he did a great job. >> he knows his audience, meacham all the way. let the record show, charlemagne. >> it's been difficult. >> what is the pope's view of political power as he attempts to take his catholic theologically-driven agenda and put it into action.
is he put not tst in princes as the psalms taught us figure. is he someone who thinks we can take the things that belong to caesar and use them? where does he fall on that spectrum. >> he's someone who knows the political world well. he was coming from the middle of a difficult political situation in argentina. i think that the pope's approach is basically i will preach the gospel in season and out f this has political implications so be it. i will talk about refugees and migrants because this is part of catholic social teaching. if people see that as politically minded, fine. i don't think he's uncomfortable with the political ramifications of preaching the gospel. >> what is father, as we wrap up here, the power of the pope? we think about world war ii, cold war, influence on world leaders. what influence can the pope have on donald trump. >> the power of the papacy, 1 billion catholics and one person. also jorge himself, a person seen as this great moral leader of our time and someone who
really stands for the poor. i think that's what you see when you see pope francis. >> where is the church right now? >> we had the pope come in and certainly show the world a different side of the vatican, a kinder spirit, a more accepting spirit. but theologically, it is, for the most part, the church is where it was when he entered. right? >> we haven't forgotten the goes pell and things like that i think as you're saying, it's a much kinder tone. i think there's a great sense of reinvigoration in the catholic church because of pope francis and what he is and how he is. i think you're seeing a lot of opposition in the vatican, in particular about his reforms. like any reformer, he's going to face some strong pushback. >> father james martin, appreciate your perspective this morning. >> john, are you leaving, too? >> no. >> you're staying.
>> charlemagne is going to be on later. >> did we get to set down? we got to sit down. the mother is really fascinating. >> john brennan's testimony, russians may have recruited members of the trump campaign to meddle in the election. senate committee keeps going after michael flynn despite pleading the fifth on documents about russia. what they are doing to com bell him. chris van hollen will be a guest, but not charlemagne. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ i'm dr. kelsey mcneely and some day you might be calling me an energy farmer.
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. it should be clear to everyone that russia brazenly interfered in our 2016 presidential election process and they undertook these activities despite our strong protests and kpliexplicit warnio not do so. >> what was donald trump going to do for them, or is it they just dependent like hillary? >> they felt mr. trump being a bit of an outsider, that they have in the past had good relations with businessmen who elevate into positions of government authority. our ability to choose our elected leaders as we see fit is, i believe, an inalienable right we must protect with resources and authority and power. and the fact the russians tried
to influence that election so that the will of the american people was not going to be realized by that election, i find outrageous and something that we need to with every last ounce of devotion to this country resist. >> that's the former cia director john brennan sounding the alarm about russian influence in the presidential campaign. it follows revelations that president trump personally pressed the i, nsa, and director of national intelligence to bk away from the federal investigations into the kremlin and his associates. welcome back to "morning joe." it's the top of the hour, wednesday may 24th. with us we have co-founder and c ceo, pulitzer prize winning husan john mooch am and joung the information fbi special agent clint watts and political reporter for "the washington post" robert costa. mike barnicle is with us as well.
>> that was sort of an afterthought, mika. >> i'm sorry, mike. >> in the corner there's the potted plant. pay no attention. >> we love mike. okay. in washington. >> you're about to talk about brennan quickly. i want to underline something, though, willie, that we brought up last hour. yes, brennan's testimony sold the headlines. but mika was just going through the line of all the people the president of the united states inappropriately tried to influence to kill an investigation against him, possibly criminal investigation. sort of a subtext yesterday, underlying all of it was dan coats refusing -- refusing to defend the president of the united states when pressed as to whether he was pressured to drop the investigation. he could have said something bland to make it do away. but you got the sense he wanted
people to know the truth. he wasn't like rod rosen steros he wasn't going to be donald trump's patsy for the week. >> he could have done something else, at no time did he pressure me to put this investigation away. by not saying that and leaving it out there, he leaves suspicions open. these days one after another, john brennan and dan coats testifying on the same day. this just the beginning. we don't have the investigation details out yet. we haven't heard from comb yet. mueller hasn't started. this is going to be a long process and difficult days for the president. >> don't you think one of the things we're watching in fascinating realtime is the classic political tension between the glory of being in office and the terror of dishonor about being too close to this president. these two competing imperatives playing themselves out particularly in these -- i'm not talking about the spicer world,
i think that story is over. but somebody like coats. >> coats, rod rosenstein, general mcmaster. they want to serve their country. they want to try to temper this man. they want to try to do a good j job, to help this republic. yet every single day their own retations they have fought every day of their life, day in and day out, meticulously from the time they targeted at school could be thrown away in one day by donald trump, this reckless, reckless president. i'm sorry, we always joke about this. but have you to go back to tom and daisy buchanan. >> smashes up lives. >> he smashes up lives. he wrecks things. like tom and daisy buchanan in the great gatsby, they drive back to the mansion and they
just don't give a damn about who they hurt, who gets shot in the pool at the end. i'm not talking about donald tru trump. >> i think also often we're talking about the people around donald trump when ultimately you know where it ends. it starts and ends with donald trump. i know it is a terrible thing to question someone's patriotism. you wonder what he cares about. you really do. i do. i think there are others who are wondering what is driving him. >> donald trump cares about -- he's made it perfectly obvious. i think a lot of people that have known him in the past knew he was self-involved. but to the degree that he cares only about himself. >> i don't think anyone could predicth. >> to the degree heares only about himself above his country, it has been pretty surprising.
somebody yesterday asked the question, i don't get this. why is he cozying up to a thug and tyrant in the philippines. he doesn't even know about north korea. i responded, that's not about north korea, it's about trump tower in manila. everything they do, he's cozying up to a turkish leader, came over here, had a security detail, beat up people, american citizens, and didn't say a word because he's got trump tower in istanbul. >> i know he came into the office with limitations. i wondered because the presidency does stepped to sweep over. you watch a lot of presidents who may be seen in history as great presidents, you see the job sweeping over them, and them rising up to the moment, getting a sense of the history, the sacrifices that so many americans have made, of our
veterans, to be inspired to perhaps really dig deep and be driven by patriotism. i haven't seen it. >> john, you know -- >> never seen anything like this. >> we've heard through the years where there's a rite of passage. a governor from a small state goes to a convention. they come out of a convention and you can seehe wind in their sails. you can seehem grow. they move through that process to the general election and you can see them. it's happened time and time again. they get elected and then go into the white house. you can see again and even saw it -- you see it with most every president. they rise -- seem to rise to a new level. that never happened here. it never came close to happening here. >> something missing. >> in fact, i would suggest he got even worse once he got inside there. talk about a revealing character, revealed the worst of his character.
>> so far he disproves -- >> true. >> mika, i agree with you. one nuance within this is that i think they become in a character sense more like they were on the front end. circumstances give a new context for it. but the george w. bush who stood in the rubble of ground zero was the george w. bush, and this sounds trivial, perhaps, who ran the andover stickball league, who under to do people, who understood how to bring people around him. he was not the brightest student in the world, not the sharpest knife in the chandelier as we say but he knew -- he had a certain kind of charisma. he was able to become a certain kind of leader but it was more of the character he already had. billlinton was a chameleon from the beginning, a guy from hot springs who went to church on sunday morning. when he got to the white house,
he did both. i think if we're looking for trump to change his character we're wrong. the hope is that mika is right and the circumstances produce some borders by which he becomes -- >> i agree. the isolation of the office freezes them and reinforces the original intent of how they got there. the tragedy of the trump presidency so far, first of all, this is day 125 of his presidency, 125, and there are 60 million people out there who for various reasons, fear, anxiety, anger, whatever, voted for them, invested their fears, their hopes, their dreams in his presidency in the hope of getting something done that would improve their lives, and that appears not going to be able to happen. >> the tragedy of it is he actually did have a great opportunity to actually do something that hasn't happened in a long time, that's work
across the aisle. he's not a republican. he's not a democrat. he's a trumpist. that's what he is. he knows -- >> that's true. >> he knows nancy pelosi, he likes nancy pelosi. he knows chuck schumer, he's liked chum schumer. in 10 they -- he's more socily comfortable with them than paul ryan and mitch mcconnell. you know, while we are talking about his person and his character, bob costa, i don't know if you're comfortable talking about this, but i think he can certainly report on it. i don't think we can overstate that a guy who is almost 71 years old, and who has worked in the same building for over four decades lived in the same apartment for four decades and his day consisted of waking up in the morning, walking to an elevator, doing down 20 or 30 floors and walking straight into
his office every day of his life, at 70 that is disrupted. he goes down to washington, d.c. he's inside the white house. he's isolated. his family is still up in new york. you know, i don't want to go too deep into what everybody has been talking about, but obviously he seems at this point to be isolated from his wife and his family. they are still in new york. and if ever a president has been isolated personally, it is donald trump inside the white house. that has to have an impact on this man. >> the portions of that routine that remain, watching television, keeping an eye on cable news. he spends hours into the night
making calls to longtime friends talking about sports and old stories but also politics. his family is partly in the white house. some of his aides tell me he seems to spend more time now with jared and ivanka than he ever has. this is someone new york-based for years. he had a routine, a life he followed every day. when i'm talking republicans on capitol hill, they aren't spending a lot of time thinking about trump or his habits. they just say, can he be helpful to us with health care and with taxes. can he gets something done. we don't care if he watches tv. we don't actually care if he tweets. we don't care about the grand idea of the presidency, we care about action. >> that's the thing there, i didn't mean, he was supposed to be the dealmaker. donald trump for all his flaws and even people who voted for him who had problems with his character said he makes deals. he's going to washington to change things.
he got something through the house that's not doing to pass the senate on health care but where are the deals? we've been embroiled in this russia story but where is the piece of legislation? where is those 60 million voters who cast a vote for donald trump? what can they point to and say here is what he's done or here is what it looks like he'll do in the next year or so. >> it's political malpractice to have sustained rules and get nothing from it. talk to republicans on capitol hill costa says the same thing. they think they could end up in the fall with zero legislative accomplishments. they think it's possible, if not likely, to end the year with zero legislative accomplishments. you're now in for months and months of hearings, investigations. what you saw yesterday with the testimony is the reality for the remainder of the year. so maybe he is a dealmaker but showing none of those tendencies. he has no relationships with any democrats of significance. for all his talk of being a different type of republican, his budget proposal made the
freedom caucus flinch. they thought it was radical. these are guys who want to gut the federal government. maybe his instinct is to be a centrist democrat, but he's not. he's governing like a conventional conservative and in some cases more conservative than conservatives want to be. >> so let's show you more of the testimony yesterday. here is more of former cia director john brennan's testimony yesterday before the house intelligence committee. take a look. >> by the time i left office onnion i january 20th i had unresolved questions in my mind whether or not russians had been successful getting u.s. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf. again, either in a witnessiing unwiting fashion. i've studied, counter-intelligence how they have been able to get people,
including inside cia, to become treasonous. a lot of people who go along that treasonous path have no idea they are on that path until it's too late. >> this is a lengthy process that goes way over our heads. a lot asking along the way,hy not give general flynn immunity and perhaps more information can be brought to the fore. >> i think there's probably some of that deal brokering going on behind the scenes and we just don't know it yet. you've got a lot of different connects in the trump campaign. the most important thing with the brennan testimony, there's three levels to this russia meddling. trump denies the hacks but 17, 18 intel agencies confirm it. overtly my colleagues and i watched it for three years build up to the election. now brennan saying it wasn't just online, we're talking on the ground, physical connections. he says in july that's when he did some notifications.
you've got carter page showing up on stage. that was someone who had been targeted by russian intelligence. paul manafort. >> didn't they call him the dupe, dumb guy, easy target. >> as soon as any of these connections are found out they try and distance themselves and play dumb to it. this person -- they did the same with manafort during this time period. i'm sure director brennan had also seen flynn show up in rt. you've got roger stone confirming tweets coming out with the releases of wikileaks right when the democratic national convention is happening. >> what was that? i'm sorry, what was that? >> roger stone confirming, i've had contacts with wikileaks throughout this. i know about these releases coming out. you're talking about four to five different connects all hitting in july and you've seen now that brennan actually coacterussian fsb and said you need to knock it off. we're not going to put up with this. that was happening in july and august. this is well documented and out there. that was really, i think, the
powder keg kicking off. >> of course, mike, also in the summer, talking about the summer. they change the plank and rnc platform to a russia plank to basically abandon our allies in ukraine. >> is it that the russians are so skillful or intended targets are such dupes. >> i think a combination of both and long run strategy. they don't do it like we do. we're americans, we hurry, we rush. they take three, four, five years to develop contacts. carter page showed up in a case in 2013 in new york city. you look at paul manafort, he'd been working in ukraine years before. general flynn, that was 2015 he shows up to dinner. now in '16 he's become a confidante. they have a deliberate strategy of parrying around financial, business. >> what's the objective. >> actually to try and shape policy objectives around two big things.
one, they want the breakup of eu and the second is nato. if they can break these up russia can go one to one with european countries and do their bidding. they can't go against those alliances very well. >> what does it mean to have former fbi director and now cia director liberated. they are out. they can say things they couldn't say before. they can indicate to people what actually happened. what does it
mean for donald trump to have this in play. >> it's dangerous phenomena. you see his reaction. clapper, gates, brennan. every time one of these officials come out they can add their opinion into it. normally if you're going in to testify in government, have you to write out scripts, talking points have to be crisp. that's what we saw with dni coats. he was trying to be careful about his language when he was talking about these things. >> brennan, except for the weird camera angle and napoleon in the corner you look at him over there was incredibly effective. it was like a graduate seminar
the grim task of identifying the 22 victims carries on with the last of their bodies taken out of the venue just last night. among those slain gorge eorgina callan der. two years ago she met ariana grande posting this photo to instagram. olivia campbell, 15 years old. her mother made a desperate appeal to find her after her friend she went to the concert with was located and treated at a nearby hospital. her daughter olivia was later found dead. saffie roussos just 8 years old, a victim going to the ariana grande concert. joining us live from manchester, england, chief foreign correspondent richard engel. richard, good morning, what's the latest there? >> good morning. there's a hunt on right now for anyone who may have been connected to this bomber. the uk has raised its threat
level. there's a concern there could be another follow on attack. by raising threat level there's an indication there could be an imminent attack coming. just today, police say they arrested three more people. they arrested them in the same neighborhood where the bomber lived. yesterday they arrestedis 23-year-old brother. i'm told by u.s. intligence source briefed on the matter that he had a third brother whose whereabouts are unknown. this bomber, the more we learn about him, does not appear to have been just an angry person who was sitting in his home mixing chemicals, that he traveled abroad numerous times to libya in the last 12 months. the french interior minister today said he traveled to syria as well, was believed to have traveled to syria and had, quote, proven ties to isis. i'm also told that he had connections to al qaeda as well. this competing series of connections that he had is one
thing that has officials really concerned. they want to know how far did his network reach. who exactly was he connected with. particularly there's a lot of focus on the bomb itself. it was big, it was sophisticated, and he may have had help making it, i'm told by u.s. intelligence official. >> all right. nbc's richard engel. thanks so much. >> so this was a british born bomber, right? >> of libyan decent. >> not british born. so again -- once again -- by the way, i'm all for tightening up borders. i've been very critical of the eu, so i'm not making political statement here about making it tougher for people to get across borders, i'm actually on the side of doithat. but thi just shows again, willie, how difficulthis is. you can't shut down the borders and expect terrorism to go away. here is a disturbing line. i don't know exactly how we take
care of this. every time we have this sort of bombing, we have somebody that the police and intel agencies are looking at, that they are concerned about. yet they always seem to slip through, from nbc report. members of his own family informed on him in the past telling british authorities he was dangerous. >> europeans have got a capacity problem. they have way too many foreign fighters who have traveled overseas and come back. they have way too many recruits at home to actually track down all of them. they could not surveil probably a tenth of the people who might be potential bombers like this. >> what does it say going forward in terms of this investigation, what just happened in manchester, that this was clearly not a target of opportunity. this was an intended target. children, concert. >> what's interesting in this new -- if you remember last summer, i think i was here talking about the isis ramadan campaign where they were targeting locally. rather than doing big buildups like you see 9/11, they go to targets they know really well.
they don't do reconnaissance. those used to be indicators and intel to thwart a plot. they consistently keep following them. the one thing also what curious, though, is connections between the headquarters and actual operatives out there. this person is ultimately doing to have both al qaeda and isis sort of connections. it will be who is in charge. the picking of this location is on by al qaeda standards. they know from past mistakes killing women and children peloblows back on you in terms of support. >> i talked about 2005 jordanian bombing when zachary set off three bombs in a mine. there was a couple of a couple about to get married. there was massive blowback. osama bin laden even condemned it, wrote a letter to him saying you're over the line here. this would be very unusual, would it not, for al qaeda to be
targeting little girls. that's more of an isis -- >> this situation that happened with zawahiri in egypt when he was part of egyptian islamic jihad. they killed a young girl named shama. this caused belowback, no one supported it, really brought their ouster. you notice over the years, bin laden but zawahiri have been more measured about their targets and what they hit. they may hit a symbolic target like world trade center but generally not go into a public space and target women or children. they know it's a pr disaster. same point with this. isis doesn't seem like they really knew the details of this plot at all and were not in sync at all with the investigation. their announcement yesterday didn't make sense. >> chattanooga, tennessee, two julys ago, a radicalized teenager who shot marine recruiters in the act of terrorism in the middle of the american south. isis inspired. >> the age of the lone wolf.
>> mika. >> clint watts, thank you very much. still ahead on "morning joe," inside the jaw dropping transcript of president trump and rodrigo duterte in the middle of bloody crackdown on drugs in his country. also ahead -- >> senator, can i ask you about the president's budget. is it dead on arrival? >> yes. and the commitment to rebuilding the military cannot be fulfilled with this level of spending. >> yes, definitely dead on arrival. this budget fully implemented would require us to retreat from the world diplomatically or put people at risk. you have a lot of benghazis in the making if this came along. >> with his party in charge, the president, his budget falls flat across party lines. we'll talk to senators chris coons and chris van hollen ahead. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. my business was built with passion... but i keep it growing by making every dollar count.
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michael flynn businesses we're aware of, frin llc and flynn, inc. with a specific list of documents. while we disagree with general flynn's lawyers interpretation of taking the fifth, it is even more clear that a business does not have a right to take the fifth if it's a corporation. >> if, in fact, this is not a response, we'll seek additional counsel advice on how to proceed forward. at the end of that option is a contempt charge. i've said that everything is on the table. that's not our preference today. we would like t hear from general flynn. we'd like to see his documents. we'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said i've got a story to tell. >> you just heard, the senate intelligence committee has issued new subpoenas for records from former national security adviser michael flynn.
the bipartisan leadership said the retired general could be held in contempt of congress if he continues to resist. joining me now nbc news senior correspondent, the great tom brokaw. good morning. >> good morning. >> where are we in this? there's so much flying around. we've got brennan testifying yesterday, dan coats, threat of subpoenas for michael flynn. help people sort of clear the smoky. where are we? >> i think when you clear the smoky we're at the beginning of something, thought at the end of something. we're kind of at the end of the beginning. we're now moving into a serious state what we just saw, could be held in contempt of congress, for example. fbi director brennan saying he was very concerned. oddly enough richard engel and i went to him in september of last fall because i had gotten a tip there were connections between trump and the russians. it was fairly detailed. it came from a democratic operative. so we went to brennan, and he said, i can't help you with
that. i don't know of any connection between presidential candidate. that's what we're talking about presidential candidate of the republican party and the russians, and then added, but i wouldn't be surprised. that's as much as he would give us at that point. whether he knew something and holding it back or from that int he went on to get more information, i don't know at this point. but there's so much out there at this point in the water and in the air. we owe it to the country to track it down. it's a huge distraction. there's a war on social media going on right now, the likes of which i have never seen. i've been getting information from both sides. an old friend of mine is a big trump supporter. he sent me a lot of people's being circulated thane crowd. it's very vicious and it's been widely distributed at this point. so everybody has gone to the ramp arts and dpuns are out and there's a fight going on and the country has critical issues to
deal w we're now talking about adding more troops in afghanistan, for example, the war in its 18th year. we have an economy stuck at 1.5%. we need to get some resolution of this at some point and i would hope we could move along. >> bob costa, picking up on what tom said, everybody needs to go to their sides. certainly looks like that in the house. in the senate we showed several clips saying donald trump's budget is dead on arrival. you have chairman burr aggressively -- seemingly aggressively working along with his democratic counterpart. are things different in the senate than there are in the house? is the patience for donald trump a bit less vigorous in the senate than it is in the house of representatives? >> well, joe, every since chairman nunes stepped away from house committee you've really
seen senate intelligence committee take charge when it comes to the russia interference investigation. even on capitol hill there's an acknowledgement that now -- that mueller is running the special counsel, is the special counsel, that will be the probe where most of the witnesses, most of the main investigation will remain. investigative committees will bring paem to testify. that special counsel that really matters. when it toss come bipartisanship, there's a sense this trump budget is going nowhere. most presidential presidents do not go pretty far with congress. but there's still a sense because the president started with health care and tax reform, he hasn't given a lot of bait to the democrats to come over to the other side. >> so imagine then, tom, a parallel universe where president trump started with infrastructure, which people talk about, built relationships. we'd still have russia in the back ground to be sure. conversations about issues
facing people you just mentioned. there would be progress as well running alongside the russia investigation. >> this is a mirror reflection of what happened at the beginning of the obama administration. everybody got polarized right away and couldn't find middle ground. i think you're quite right, willie, if he had done that. he was so eager to extend his campaign spot oval office, pull a trigger on all these things thinking that's how you govern. it's much, much more complicated than that and everyone knows that. in the senate everybody is holding their breath at this point. how much can we do. one of the senate leadership saying a day without a tweet is a good day for us here. that's what we're dling with. >> i think he's said plenty. bob, we now think we're going to hear from jim comey in two weeks pretty much. what do you think is going to be the real focus in the senate intelligence committee in those
hearings. what are they trying to get to the bottom of, if they have onover riding issue they want answered? >> they know that based on their own conversations with comey's network that he definitely -- he wants to clear his name. he wants to explain himself publicly. that's why he's agreed to testify. he wants it to be in a public session, not behind closed doors. at the same time i'm told that mueller and his investigation are moving forward on the comey aspect. they really want to make sure that the congressional testimony does not meddle with their own probe. i think there's going to be some private discussions among congressional leaders and mueller and his team on how to move forward with witnesses and testimony because they want to make sure they aren't clouding up each other's spaces. >> this is not the first president of the united states you've seen mired in controversy and scandal at home and using a foreign trip abroad to enhance his prestige and make him feel
better about himself and his administration. what happens when donald trump returns home. >> reality steps back in. it's hard to shake what he's been through fro purple point of view. i was covering watergate and richard nixon, got a call the over night saying the president is going to paris, the president has died. i'm a pool reporter. that's how you create a distraction. so we flew through the night to paris. president at the american embassy next day. there's a huge crowd out there cheering him on. it uplifted him. one guy said, mr. president, mr. president, i'm from ohio, i'm an american. richard nixon said to him as only he can, you're an american? so am i. everyone blue up with laughter. we went on to the funeral, he was treated in a prominent place at notre dame. i won't forget that moment, i was way up in the eaves looking down on the parade and he came back and watergate had not gone
away. you can do across a lot of time zones. when you get back, reality kicks back in again. this has moved along since he's been gone. now he's got flynn in play. frontline did a very good report on the place of steve bannon in the place of all this. the conclusion is he's back in the saddle again. so what does that mean for advancing their agenda? a lot of things are being pushed off, michael, until next year that he promised would get done in the first year. >> that was my conclusion in the frontline documentary. so what i'm seeing with the president and his team right now, tom,n he ces back he's going to have to have a legal team. he's assembling a legal time, outside counsel to help him navigate thorny issues in the special investigation. he's goes to turn to one of his longtime lawyers from new york and white shoe law firm attorneys from washington because he knows that the white house counsel do not mcgann can no longer, in a sense, be
continued to be focused on these russian investigations each and every day. it's it's going to be a new dynamic in washington having the president with outside lawyers working on these issues. >> what are you hearing about the shake-up in the staff? we know bannon and priebus came back early. are they securing their jobs or still in that kind of never neverland not knowing if they are going to survive or not. >> they did come back early. there's a lot of pressure on bannon and priebus to make sure that this budget, taxes and health care move forward in the senate and again in the house on other issues. if something doesn't start to happen on policy soon, they could be under real pressure with the president. communication, there are always rumors inside of the west wing and outside of it about some kind of shake-up in the communication strategy. most people who work for the president and his friends say the problem is not always the staff. he said the president himself is his own communicator for better
and for worse. >> all right. bob costa. >> in this case for worse and for worse. >> keeps going that way. bob, tom, thank you so much. >> see you guys. >> coming up next president erdogan,t sisi, erdogan, crackdowns in their country and the president praised them all. can you love wearing powerful sunscreen? yes!
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show that will not die, "dancing with the stars" came to a close again. i have to say in the hundreds of years they have been doing this show, this season's winner, this is the most surprising and controversial winner yet. >> donald an peta. >> i didn't know that show was still on the air, but apparently it is. >> who was responsible for that staging. see bannon in the middle. don't touch me. >> it's a comedy but it's just not. >> wow. >> all right.
coming up, democratic senator chris coons says this is a moment of great peril for our democracy. he's going to give us his take on the trump presidency from his seat on the foreign relations committee. "morning joe" is coming right back. dear predictable, there's no other way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced, our senses awake,
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and judiciary committees chris coons from delaware. senator, great to have you back on the show. >> thank you. >> you are quoted as saying this is a time of great peril for our democracy. what concern amid all the questions raised so far is at the top of your list? >> mika, what the president is doing is undermining both his credibility and the credibility of the presidency. if you think about all the different folks who have reported that he's inappropriately tried to
pressure them to back off the russia investigation or investigating mike flynn, the former fbi director who he fired, the nsa director, the director of national intelligence all have reportedly said the president engaged in completely inappropriate conversations. he either doesn't understand how these relationships work between the presidency, law enforcement and the intelligence community or he just doesn't care. that makes all of us less safe. >> senator, trump supporters would say, yeah, but the fact is you have a witch hunt here without an underlying crime. nobody is proving collusn. if there's no collusion and no underlying crime, how can you have obstruction of justice? that's basically what we hear every day from supporters of the president. what's your response to that? >> i think the investigations here in the senate and in the house need to move forward. when the former cia director testifies as he did yesterday the ongoing investigation is
well founded. when he left the office he had seen evidence that gave him pause and real concern. i think there's a lot of smoke here. i think it deserves a thorough and fair investigation. i'm encouraged republicans inte are cooperating coordinating well, i'm encouraged bob mueller has been named special counsel to move forward with the fbi counterintelligence and potentially criminal investigation and it means we're on a good path to getting to the bottom of this. i think it's important for the country that we get to bottom of this and i think it's important that the president stop doing things that could be misunderstood as either interfering in this investigation or raising more questions. the recent episode where he allegedly shared highly classified secrets with the russian foreign minister in the oval office, continues to raise serious questions about whether he understands the consequences of his actions. >> katy. >> i wanted to ask you a question about manchester. there's a story coming out of
london that the btish home secretary has cplained tha intelligence that was shared from british officials to american officials was then linked to the american press, the name for example of the attacker which american reporters got before british officials wanted them to get it. link that to what you were saying about the president sharing information with russian officials in the oval office. how many concernry hearing from america's allies at the moment that america is not a very safe place at the moment to share your intelligence with? >> katy, first, our alliance with the people of great britain is one of our closest, strongest, oldest and our prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones in manchester. we continue to care for and hope for recovery for those victims of this terrible attack. we've got a very close intelligence and defense partnership with the uk. and that news is troubling. and it suggests that we have even more close allies who are
questioning whether we can be trusted with vital intelligence. this is a key part of what keeps us safe is a global network of allies with whom we share intelligence and strategic planning and defense resources. i'm about to go to a regional conference in asia on security with republican senators and i think it's important that on a bipartisan basis, we continue to sustain those partnerships but i'm hearing real questions raised whether this administration in particular, whether president trump, understand what it means to treat highly classified intelligence carully and responsibly. >> it's willie geist. staying on manchester for a mont if i could. there are a lot of parents, american parents who woke up yesterday and thought i don't know if i can send my kids to an ariana grande concert now. we heard about the terrorist who carried out the attack, he was well known to authorities and traveled to libya and had ties to both isis and al qaeda and now according to richard engel this morning. what can you do about something
like that? what is the answer for those parents? how do you keep the kids safe? >> this is part of what makes combatting terrorism in our modern environment so difficult. this is someone who was probably difficult to stop but if he was known to law enforcement, it means we need to act in a stronger way to ensure that america's counterintelligence and law enforcement communities are led in responsible and nonpartisan ways. when the president returns from his trip he'll likely name the next fbi director and it's my hope it will be someone who has a long career in federal law enforcement, someone who hasn't stood for partisan political office and someone who can command a broad bipartisan vote in the senate. because the fbi in our country plays a very central role in investigating leads of the sort that might have led law enforcement in the uk to anticipate or stop this particular attack. >> senator, different topic. secretary mattis and general dunford are scheduled any day
now to provide the president with a recommendation for inserting maybe as many as 5,000 more troops into afghanistan, 16 years after that war began. what is the objective and would you be in favor of additional troops? >> well, the core challenge is understanding what the strategy is. president trump has pushed down to the commander level combatant commander level decisions about things like troop levels and deployment. the major strike that was carried out a few weeks ago where we used the largest nonnuclear piece of order nainan american history was approved by a combatant commander. this is decision about levels is made by combatant dema anant cot it is the president's responsibility as commander in chief to articulate to the senate his strategy for afghanistan that would justify reengaging and raising our troop levels. as a means to stabilize
afghanistan, i think he can make an argument for the strategy. my personal concern is under president obama we had as many as 100,000 american troops and not able to defeat the taliban with that troop presence. i'm not sure how 5,000 would make a difference. >> what's your definition of stability in afghanistan? >> to not have the government that was duly elected that we support and sustaining what stability in the country fall. i think there's real concern it is not a long term stable and sustainable government. >> all right, senator chris coons, thank you so much. >> senator, thank you, we want to apologize, john meachum had a question that will have to wait. >> the south has lost to the north because barnicle took over. tragedy. >> of course, it's biased. yankee bias. >> historian jokes, okay. still ahead, president trump is set to leave rome for brussels
and settled on a private attorney to represent him in the russia investigation here at home. his pick doesn't have a lot of washington experience but there's a russia connection. plus, senator chris van holen of the budget committee, why the president's spending plan must be fake. ♪ ♪ ♪ i'm dr. kelsey mcneely and some day you might be calling me an energy farmer. ♪ energy lives here. what's the story behind green mountain coffee and fair trade? let's take a flight to colombia. this is boris calvo. boris grows mind-blowing coffee. and because we pay him a fair price, he improves his farm and invest in his community to make even better coffee. all for a smoother tasting cup.
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what if we treated great female scientists like they were stars? ♪ yasss queen! what if millie dresselhaus, the first woman to win the national medal of science in engineering, were as famous as any celebrity? [millie dresselhaus was seen having lunch today...] ♪ [...rumors of the new discovery...] what if we lived in a world like that? (crowd applauding) ♪ we know a place that's already working on it. ♪ ♪ >> welcome to "morning joe" on this wednesday, may 24th.
along with joe and willie and me, we have veteran cumnist mike barnicle. washington an choer for bbc world news america, katy kay and ceo of axe yus, jim van dehigh with us. we'll begin with the testimony of john brennan speaking yesterday before the house intelligence committee, he said under his watch, investigators had uncovered troubling information about contacts between russian officials and americans in the trump campaign. >> by the time i left office on january 20th, i had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the russians had been auk successful in getting u.s. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf, again either in a witting or unwitting fashion. >> did evidence exist of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between the trump
campaign and russian state actors at the time you learned of 2016 efforts? >> i encountered and aware of information intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between russian officials and u.s. persons involved in the trump campaign. i don't know whether or not such collusion -- that's your term -- collusion existed. i don't know. i know tre a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not u.s. persons wore actively conspireing, ckol lewuding with russian officials. >> i have seen it manifest in foreign intelligence cases and how they have been able to get
people, including inside cia to become treasonous and frequently individuals who go along the treasonous path do not realize they are along the path until it gets to be a bit too late. >> joe, how do we connect the dots here? what dots can we connect? >> first of all, trey gowdy, if somebody can get him some powder, a little powder to put it across the top. the shine is unbelievable. i speak actually for america because that's all people notice when you're on tv. now we'll go a little deeper, no, you actually very nice there. secondly, here's the deal, trey gowdy should know this, right, trump was talking about naming him intel god or something like that, in line to be like whatever. the cia, they collect intel.
that's their job. they get intel and they figure out and they get the information usually to presidents who weren't insulting them, them together, the fbi, trey, they gather evidence. so please do not ask an fbi director when he or she is before your committee about what's happening in pakistan on the pakistan afghanistan border. don't ask a cia director about, quote, evidence. not his job and you know that. bush league, stop. willie, why are republicans making fools of themselves like this? i will say that trey gowdy knows better. there's always a distraction, always something to say look over here, like about james carville, look at the bird over there. don't look what's happening right here. i saw that yesterday. so frustrated. he knows better than that.
>> he was intent on getting john brennan to say there was collusion or there was not collusion between the trump campaign and russian government. he's not going to say that. >> it's not his job. >> it's not his job. >> just like it's not my job to solve physics problems on this set. fortunately or we'd all be in trouble. >> i have -- >> it's so stupid. >> it's not his job to say it. even if he suspected there was collusion, he's not going to talk about that in an open hearing as you said time and time again. what they did get yesterday, was that russia interfered and u.s. individuals as they called them did communicate with russians but he's not going to connect the dots completely for congress. >> there was chilling testimony, mike barnicle, when he talked about people who betrayed their country and sometimes did it unwittingly because they were so far down the road that they unwittingly betrayed their country. >> brennan was -- had a very
good day, trey gowdy did not have a good day. he had big boy prosecutor's pants on but backfire d on him for reasons you alluded to. brennan did point out that the russians are expert at involving you as a potential source and you wouldn't be -- you wouldn't know it. you would be unaware of it. >> donald trump and republicans had a terrible day. it's more evidence that you're in for probably months if not years of investigation. because what he's hitting on, this idea, it's largely flynn he seems to be talking about, these contacts, they are only one of four big things that are going to get picked at over the next four months. the firing, the one on one conversation with the fbi director, all of the activities flynn with the russians and turkish government. there's no escaping this. we now have republicans saying they think they are going to come back in september from the august recess with not a single legislative accomplishment and
probably lots of scar damage from the special elections, if not outright losses. >> mika, at the end of the day that's what republicans are going to be judged on. we're sitting here and worried about little things, like the distractions, worried about the constitution. we're worried about the rule of law. we're worried about separations of powers. we're worried about somebody going to the office and bum bling around and do grave violence to a constitution that has held this country, this republic together for 240 years. these are distractions. what people in middle america are focused on are jobs and the performance of this president and the performance of this republican congress. of course, people in america care about all of that. at the end of the day, somebody is not going to go to a voting booth and go, let's see, he said something bad about a judge in hawaii. they are going to say, what have they done to get me back to work? and trump's biggest failure,
politically, what will hurt republicans the most, what jim just talked about, getting nothing done. he's a rank amateur who refuses to bring in anybody that knows what the hell they are doing. >> and creates so much chaos that there's absolute dysfunction. you have a candidate who promised to make america great again and rebuild the military -- >> can i ask everybody, mika, are you tired of winning so much, i'm exhausted what's going on here. he said we would get so tired of winning we would be exhausted. i think i speak for america, when i say we're exhausted. >> it's exhausting and i think everybody -- americans who really are hurting out there were expecting more from this president and probably are feeling a bit uneasy, whether they are ready to say it or not. but if you listen to what happened on capitol hill yesterday, it doesn't make things better. former cia director brennan had an interesting reaction when questioned about possible reasons for individuals from the trump campaign hiding their
contacts with russia. >> director, there's what is referred to as consciousness of guilt evidence, when somebody lies about a material fact and that fact -- the fact of them lying can be used against that person because it would be in essence an effort to cover up what happened, meaning if you're telling the truth, you wouldn't have anything to cover up. with respect to some of the contacts that you referred to with russia and trump campaign officials. are you aware of any those persons making false statements about those contacts or failing to disclose those contacts? >> i think that's something that you can pursue in closed session. >> let's add to the conversation "washington post" reporter covering national security in this story, devlin barrett. what was your reaction from the
testimony from director brennan? >> i think the headline is basically brennan fills in a lot of the gaps of the early stages of this investigation. and you know the dance that keeps going on with both the white house and a lot of republicans is, there's nothing to see here. there's nothing to see here. just move on. and what you keep getting from the intel community, both current and former officials is actually there's a lot to look at here. we don't want to tell you everything we've found and we don't -- we aren't ready to reach a conclusion about yet. there's pushback to the notion there's nothing to see here. you saw brennan underline that over and over again in the things he said yesterday. >> devlin, we haven't spoken about the coates testimony and coates who's clearly close to the president declining to take the opportunity to say that the president did not put pressure on him in any way to back off from the investigation. i thought that was a pretty stunning stand for independence from dan coates and not one that
will win him very many favors from the president who wants loyally above all it seems from the people around him. >> right. and this is an interesting test for all of the people who still work in this business and work for the president. how much are you willing or unwilling to publicly contradict him when you know, actually we've reported that the president reached out to him and asked him to publicly say there was no collusion. and he wouldn't do that. he didn't want to talk about it yesterday under oath and it's obviously a difficult political situation to be in but the reality is these questions are going to get answered publicly eventually. and i think it just creates more problems for the administration. >> devlin barrett, a lot of good reporting. >> president trump lawyers up. we'll tell you interesting details about the firm he's
chosen. and later chris van hollen joins us with his thoughts on the president's budget. first, bill karins with a check on the forecast and what could be another day of severe weather. >> yesterday we had more tornadoes than expected and some in georgia and mobile home got rolled. in north carolina, a fire station got destroyed, splintered it. thankfully everyone was out of the structure when that occurred. let's take you to today. already starting early this morning with a tornado watch for the northern half of florida from tallahassee to jacksonville, fljacksonville flag dxts ler county area. 38 million people affected. this is all of the carolinas and back into mountainous regions. a few tornadoes are possible. if we get them, most plikly they are going to be somewhere around south carolina and north carolina. keep an eye on the forecast through the day.
the cool temperatures behind this storm system, probably the coolest they are going to be until the end of next fall or beginning of next winter. 69 in memphis, 61 chicago. we are going to warm it. holiday weekend soon approaching. by the time we get to saturday, cincinnati near 80 and new york city mid-70s. the worst of the weather on the eastern seaboard is the next two days and weather i am proves and friends waking up in the west, the warmth has been with you, we'll cool it off a little bit in the days ahead but a lot dry, warm weather to be found from the pacific northwest to the desert southwest. new york city, one of the spots that was dodging showers this morning improving forecast this afternoon and the rain is back again tomorrow. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. who's the new guy? they call him the whisperer. the whisperer? why do they call him the whisperer? he talks to planes. he talks to planes. watch this.
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president trump will maintain his long time manhattan attorney. kaz wits has represented trump for more than 15 years. mostly known as a litigator and his website lists white collar defense as an area of practice. when the president threat rneneo sue the "new york times," that featured two women of inappropriately touching them, it was kas o wits who demanded the retraction and the retraction never happened. when the times published the 1995 tax returns last year, it was kas wits that threatened prompt initiation of appropriate legal action. joe lieberman has been with that firm since 2013 and then there's this. the attorney's most recent high profile case, defending russia's largest state run bank.
>> what's so great about this, trump makes it so hard to connect the dots. he really does. seriously, it's like you dig through all of this stuff and wait for a smoking gun and it's kind of like the end of oliver stone's jfk where garrison goes in and cries because with his wife -- as all connected, honey. i mean, it takes us forever, this is trump right here. >> hold on a second. >> trump, russia over here. >> it's sad. >> you look at the things he's done, he's so evil. i don't know, maybe he's evil. i don't see it. i just see a guy that is clueless. he's like mr. magoo but mr. magoo trying to shred the united states constitution. >> we could go back over what he's done over the past couple of days. >> i know. >> it's dumb. >> did not mention israel. i did not mention israel.
just revealed the exchange -- that i did screw israel but did not mention israel. then he's in israel and he goes, i just got to tell you guys, i just got back from the middle east, it was lovely. saudis are lovely. ron -- he's like i'm working with this guy? what? that happens every day. and choices like this -- >> that's his defense. >> what? stupidity? >> yeah. >> i thought ignorance wasn't a defense. >> i think since he started his campaign almost two years ago, he enjoyed and gotten off in some ways on pissing everybody off. joe lieberman might be your pick to be the fbi director as a partener, that might not look good and represented russia, i think there's an element of trump still that says screw all them. >> here's the problem, though. it may be comfort and he may want to stay in his cocoon he's
in. here's the problem. he's facing legal jeopardy now. he's been told by everyone around him, he better get a good lawyer. you're in legal jeopardy. people very close to you are in legal jeopardy. >> are you sure he's being told this by people around him? >> yes. >> the group around him looks kind of -- who are you talking about? jared, ivanka? steve bannon? are you talking about spicy? i don't think these people know -- >> i'm telling you everybody -- everybody in there knows that things got more serious last week and they are getting lawyers. >> i don't think so. i honestly don't think they would be posting instagrams of themselves modeling, honestly. if they knew they were in really big trouble, they wouldn't be walking around like blowing bubbles. they don't look like they think they are in any trouble. >> jared looks pretty good. >> yes, they are saying that but
there's nobody that he listens to in his life. that's why he keeps going back to these comfort foods -- >> do you not think he knows? >> mcmaster national security adviser doesn't like the discipline he put in the national security process and openly talks to staff how he would like to get flynn back. >> jim, do you not think that he understands? have you not heard reporting that he understands he could be in legal jeopardy? >> he understands it for a second then he moves on. then he gets fill with grievance and can't be controlled. there's nobody around him, not a single person, jared, ivanka that can sit him down -- >> thank you. >> he won against all conventional wisdom and i think he still believes despite the chaos of the last four months that he should defy conventional wisdom if he's going to be successful because it was doing that that got him the presidency. when he's told you should do things properly, should be
systemized, he feels that's not works for him. he likes doing things differently. >> coming up, the president and pope, why wednesday might not have been the best day for a meeting. we'll get a report from rome as the president wraps up the audience with the pontiff who cracked jokes with the first lady. "morning joe" is coming right back. i didn't know where i was from ethnically. so we sent that sample off to ancestry. my ancestry dna results are that i am 26% nigerian. i am just trying to learn as much as i can about my culture. i put the gele on my head and i looked into the mirror and i was trying not to cry. because it's a hat, but it's like the most important hat i've ever owned. discover the story only your dna can tell.
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i have studied russian intelligence activities over the years and have seen it, again, manifest in many different in l intelligence indications and how they have been able to get people to become treasonous and frequently individuals who go along the treasonous path do not even realize they are along that path until it gets to be a bit too late. >> it is traditional intelligence collection trade craft in terms of -- to identify individuals that you think are very influential or rising stars and you will try to develop relationship with them and the russians frequently will do that through cutouts or through false flag operations. they won't identify themselves as russians or members of the russian government. they will try to develop that personal relationship and over time they will try to get
individuals to do things on their behalf. that's why again, having been involved in a lot of counterintelligence cases over the years and seeing this pattern over and over again, my radar goes up when i see that the russians are actively involved in a particular intelligence operation or campaign and that u.s. persons are being contacted by russian officials. >> former cia director brennan. when you hear him talking, joe, i totally understand what you're saying about stupidity, potentially being the worst crime here. but when you think about the campaign and think about paul manafort and questions surrounding him and general flynn, the questions that have arisen around him and revelations, even financial ties and meetings that jared had along the way. can they be that stupid? i'm not sure. >> you know, you just talked about several different people. >> i know. >> when you talk about manafort,
i mean, manafort has been going right up to the edge his entire life, even his daughters have said as much. >> you run the campaign. >> you talk about general flynn again, you just wonder whether he was bumbling around or not. it just doesn't seem like the smartest guy in the world. it's no defense but here's another example katy, brennan says we chased these people and they have cutouts and sit at the end of the bar and wearing a wig and get somebody -- then go through a 12-step process then have to go to their home in rural virginia and have meatloaf and sit there for 45 minutes and then three weeks -- no, it's like putin is like, can we pay you money and you come over and sit next to me in russia? okay. i mean, it's just -- >> amazing. >> amazing, that stupidity. >> after the end of the cold war, what brennan was describing there could have been classic
cold war trade -- it was stunning to hear brennan stay that and say people that get on the path to treason without realizing it and russians are so good at this they've always been so good at this and still doing it. >> they were such easy targets, mike. that's the thing, trump and his -- such easy targets. >> that's it. as katy pointed out and brennan pointed out in the testimony, which was fascinating, the russians are very, very good at this. they pick out people who are very influential or rising stars. they marry them for months, years and it works for them. >> but the amazing thing about general flynn who you're talking about, i've had more than one high level person in the united states government telling me he was the greatest intelligence officer of his generation. two weeks ago i was -- saw an admiral we all know, i don't recognize the man i'm reading about in the newspapers and don't recognize the man i'm reading about. he was the best at what he did. >> something happened. i had somebody tell me, a source
a couple of days ago, that flynn from the very beginning embarrassed trump. he would be screaming and yelling and disrespectful in every meeting with intel people. >> i remember that story. >> but it's like every meeting he went to, like something happened with this guy and he became extraordinarily and bitter. maybe it was when he was fired. i don't know exactly what it was. but if you want to trace one individual back that has planted a lot of seeds for this -- this whatever you want to call it, this rising scandal, it's general flynn with his contacts with russia and constantly sitting next to trump on the plane talking down the cia, talking down the nsa, talking down the intel agencies and trump just absorbed it and started attacking the intel agencies in a way that again, we
knew in real time was destructive. >> coming up on "morning joe." england cancels the iconic change of the guard at buckingham palace as they fan out police and military across the country with the united kingdom and world on heightened alert, we'll talk to former counterintelligence expert, richard clark. hey, the future, what's her problem? apparently, i kept her up all night. she said the future freaks her out. how come no one likes me, jim? intel does! just think of everything intel's doing right now with artificial intelligence. and pretty soon ai is going to help executives
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the president released his budget for the upcoming year and the budget has very little chance of getting passed to republicans in the house but to be fair to trump, there's no chance he ratted and his goal is to cut spending. i mean, this is -- look at his life. he's a modest man. if there's one thing about donald trump, he likes to live simply, he doesn't waste money on unnecessary things. and his family is the same way. they live what can only be described as a spartan almost monk-like lifestyle and that's
what they want for the rest of us to live, to live like normal every day billionaires with horrible taste. is that so wrong? >> that's unkind. it's unkind. you never see meachum's mansion. >> the mirrors. >> can i say the gold is gold trim. >> the portraits. >> stealing a line from meachum, i mean he makes saddam hussein's palaces look understated. portraits of himself, you know, rebel rebellion, outside springfield, massachusetts. >> artist rendition of what it would be like if he were having dini dinner with charlamagne. >> we apologize to our next guest, member of the budget appropriations and banking committees, chris van hollen of
maryland. how are you doing today? >> i'm good, joe, how are you? >> i'm doing well. chris, i'm a fiscal conservative. i went to washington and my goal was to balance the budget, work with people that wanted to balance the budget and cut federal spending. fight for entitlement reform, do a lot of things that are pretty unpopular. i set that up just to say when i look at this budget, the blue print that the president has proposed, it is nothing less than hateful. it guts basic services and slashes cancer reresearch and slashes health care for the poor and slashes money for rural hospitals. it slashes money for rural hospice care and anything involving health care in rural
america. my part of america, middle america. is this -- is there a chance this budget is going to pass and health care is going to be decimated in rural america? >> joe, we're going to fight this tooth and nail. you and i have seen a lot of budgets from democratic and republican presidents. i've never seen anything as hateful and abom nibble of this. except of course folks who are very well off, it does include a tax cut for millionaires, if you're a millionaire you're going to get an average annual tax cut of at least $50,000 a year. so if you can jet off to mar-a-lago every weekend, you're just fine. but everybody else, gets hit and as you said, it's old people, it's kids, it's working people.
it's a total violation of sort of the trust to the american people. i should say betrayal of so many of donald trump's own promises from the campaign trail. >> senator, it's willie geist. let me read the defense from mik m mulvaney. puts taxpayers first, he writes if congress follows the plan the military will be modernized and borders will be secure and laws will be enforced. patients will have more options at schools and chance to stay home with newborns and budget can still be balanced within the next ten years. for years we focused on how we can help americans receive taxpayer funded assistance under trump's leadership we're looking how to resbekt both those who require assistance and taxpayers who fund that support. we're putting taxpayers first, taking money from someone without an intention to pay it back is not debt, it is theft.
the president's budget will put our country's budget back into balance. there's a lot point by point you could respond to right there. but what do you make of the general theme of this, that we're giving the money back to the people? >> well, the only taxpayers that are coming first in this budget, willie, are the very wealthy. it actually includes the tax cut from the house health care reform bill that's embedded in that. so you're going to get a windfall tax break if you're very wealthy, but if you're a student trying to pay your bills to go to college, you'll see see loans cut. if you're in rural america, it cuts the whole rural economic development plans that have been put in place. cities same thing, community development block grants, it goes after much of the investment we make to try to empower more of our citizens to help small businesses. so yes, if you're at the very
top of the income scale, top 1%, you're going to get a tax cut. but everybody else will suffer. it actually -- as you dig into this budget, you keep finding things that are worse and worse. they essentially wipe out the programs that are supposed to help women who are victims of domestic violence, the violence against women act programs. they wipe out funding for environmental protection like the chesapeake bay and state of maryland. protecting the bay in its resources has been a bipartisan commitment in maryland. very conservative republicans, democrats have come together to protect the bay. and you find that again and again. social security disability benefits, these are people who have worked all of their lives but become disabled and very low incomes, struggling to get by. many in rural areas. they go after that. so trump tweelted out during the campaign very proudly, he wasn't going to cut social security,
medicaid and medicare. he cuts the social security disability benefits and the medicaid cuts. you've talked about them, they are really atrocious. they are going to hurt so many americans, again, while helping folks like donald trump. >> mike. >> senator, what's your sense of your colleagues on the other side of the aisle? how will they deal with this blatant hypocrisy coming from a republican administration and republican president? >> i hope they'll join with us as we did in round one. congress ignored the trump budget, original budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. we came together. i think we put together a responsible budget. of course, donald trump tweeted out after that that he was looking forward to a quote, good government shutdown in september. i hope he doesn't try and push it to that. i should point out that in addition to doing a lot of harm, this thing is a total accounting
fraud in the sense that, you know, other white houses, democrat and republican, at least accept the congressional budget office projections for economic perimeters. this one assumes 3% economic growth and as a result they claim that it balances in ten years. it doesn't balance. it is something that would make the enron accountants blush. it is a scam. the harm is not a scam, the harm is real but the claim that it comes into balance is a total scam. >> as you point out, violates several of the campaign pledges including not to cut social security and medicaid. chris van hollen of maryland, always good to see you. >> good to be with you, thanks. >> can i say one thing? >> we would love that. >> before mike jumps in. >> he keeps interrupting everyone. >> all of the time. >> like the mike barnicle show. >> we talked on the show about competence from the
administration. we now have republicans from georgia, kansas and texas, not liberal states, coming out and condemning this budget. why does the white house put out a budget like this that's not going to get the support of members of its own party and going to give the democrats incredible ammunition going into the mid-terms? >> it's just another talking point. if i'm a democrat running against a republican in a swing district or rural district, i go to the hospitals and doctors and go to the health care providers and nurses and i go to hos pit care and nursing homes, what do you think the president wants to slash your funding? they know -- by the way they know this morning because they have people in washington, d.c. looking at the budgets and i can guarantee you in pensacola, florida, they are understand it's going to west florida hospital and baptist hospital, what these sort of budget cuts will mean to them and people in my old district. i mean, forget about manhattan
and georgetown. the republican party will win or lose in republican districts in 2018. i say -- it's bad there. but for these republicans, just look at your own district and own backyard and own hospitals and providers and grandparents and mothers and fathers and children. nicu. this is devastating. >> to me what's most disturbing is it seems to be the true fan tassi budget of the right wing budgeteer -- >> even they don't agree with this. i cannot find a single economist who will tell me -- because of this budget. >> no, what i mean is the budget -- one of the great cliche, a budget is a moral document. this is a document that takes apart the last vestages of what's been the driving force since 1965, which is reaction to
the great society. >> i think some conservatives are even horrified by this. >> some people in the freedom caucus -- >> how much of a dialogue do you think mulvaney had with donald trump over this? >> donald trump had none with capitol hill before they put the budget out. i don't know but i'm pretty sure. john meachum, you've been looking into numbers. historical ratings for presidents at this stage. where are we sitting? >> not good. trump is at minus 10 approval/disapproval, 39% -- look at that. he's at 39. obama was 60. george w. bush 54, before the attacks. and bill clinton who had that very rough first year, was at 46. obviously for great reasons george walker bush was up and reagan was where he was. reagan had been shot so that's
an important thing to remember. to me what's so interesting about this. if you look at the clinton number and obama number, they both got wiped out in the next off-year election. that was at 60% and at 46%. he's already at 39. so to go to your point, this is -- i think a really interesting silent phase of the 2018 campaign for districts that we thought were not really swing districts but which the trump effect may in fact put into play. >> and earlier we had somebody on the show saying well, it's going to take a little bit longer -- no, i've been on the house floor when numbers start going this way. been on the house floor when you have congressional ballot swing democrats' way. people start worrying in real time. you have quinnipiac, a historical divide between republicans and democrats and
donald trump's numbers going down. i think montana is tightening up. they notice that. if there's a republican district that republicans won by 22% last year and then they win by 1 or 2% this year, they get that on the floor. >> and i think i'm right in that when congressional candidates poll, they poll both specifically but also generically. would you vote for a democrat or a republican today? and that generic number tends to move faster because it's not specific obviously. and i think that generic number is moving and that's going to -- i think that's going to start peeling people off from the trump base. i would watch the 39% and watch the dow. >> as you have, willie, budgets that disproportionately impact rural hospital providers disproportionately impact trump voters, swing voters, you're
going to have people peeling off. people that voted for barack obama eight years ago thinking that he was going to actually keep his word and give them more coverage and not throw people off health care, there is a consequence to that. >> donald trump as we've said a million times in the show was elected as a middle finger to the establishment, middle finger to washington. but the middle finger was to get him into office. once he got in there the 60 million who voted for him expect him to do things to affect their lives and so far he hasn't been able to do that. >> so far they are by and large sticking with him. even independent trump voters don't yet seem to be peeling away. the question will be whether those numbers, that 39% carries on declining, then you'll start seeing -- >> the problem is the middle finger right now are to a lot of trump voters, the very people that helped elect him president, wisconsin, ohio, pennsylvania, being disproportionately impacted --
>> manchester, england, police are carrying out a search? the central part of the city in connection to the terror attack. police have gathered in the area. eyewitnesses saw officers along with members of army using battering ram. we'll continue to monitor these developments coming out of manchester throughout the morning. up next we'll bring in former counter intelligence advisers for the past three presidents, richard clark, when "morning joe" comes right back. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪ what's the story behind green mountain coffee and fair trade? let's take a flight to colombia. this is boris calvo. boris grows mind-blowing coffee. and because we pay him a fair price, he improves his farm and invest in his community to make even better coffee.
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white house advisor for the past three presidents on cyber security and counterterrorism, richard clarke. richard, always good to see you. >> good morning. >> let's start with you on what we're seeing right now just even over the last couple of weeks. we're going to see former director comey come out, we had former director brennan out yesterday, a special counsel appointed in the russia investigation into the trump campaign. what's been your takeaway over the last couple of weeks? >> i spent enough time in washington, i was in washington during watergate, in the reagan administration during iran contra. this is highly unusual, even in the context, the historical context of washington. but the good news, i think, is that bob mueller is now the special counsel. and he's meticulous. and he's a patriot. and if there is any there, there, he will find it. if he comes out and says there wasn't any, i'll believe him. >> we can all rest. >> finding cassandra is the
title of the book. is there a cassandra in this today fair? >> a cassandra is somebody who sees the future accurately, predicts it accurately, predicts a disaster accurately and is ignored. that's the definition in greek mythology. possibly christopher steele because it does look like everything he said -- or not everything, but the vast majority of the things he said -- >> explain who he is. >> he was a british spy who retired, who had a lot of sources in moscow and was asked by some republican who was running for president to do an investigation of trump's russia connections. and he found a lot of connections, and he also noticed that the russians were trying to manipulate the election in favor of trump. and he tried to get that information in to mainstream media during the campaign and no one would pick it up, because it was just too outlandish. he actually fits the profile of all the 14 case studies in our book. >> let's talk about that,
because your book -- the first half of it looks back at catastrophes like hurricane katrina, the first gulf war, isis, and you go through it and you look and ask could they have been avoided, and the second half looks forward to what we should be concerned about. let's talk about the first half. which of these catastrophes you examined was the most avoidable? >> well, i think the first gulf war, if we had listened to the cassandra, who was the national intelligence officer for warning, that was his title, and he gave a warning two weeks before the war started. if that warning had gotten to the president and president bush had gotten on the phone to saddam hussein and said, i think you're going to invade kuwait and occupy it, don't you dare do that, there will be huge consequences. we now know from the interrogation of saddam hussein that he wouldn't have done it. >> right. >> do we -- have we over the past several years underestimated the russian skill
set at espionage? >> i don't think either the fbi or cia has ever underestimated the russian skill set. they're far better at it than we are. they're probably the best in the world at human intelligence and manipulation of information. you know, we hear about fake news now. but they have been doing this, called disinformation, for years. when putin went to the kgb academy, he took a course in disinformation. he took a course in compromate. that is stealing information and publicizing it. that's what the hacking was on podesta. >> why are they better at human intel than we are? >> i think it's cultural. you know, that may not be a politically correct response, but i think it's cultural. >> so the second half of the book -- >> we're not good spies. we're too honest. >> the second half of the book you talk about case studies of modern day crises and cassandras who may be out there. pandemics, a.i., environmental turmoil, cyber hacking among
them. which of those concerns you most? >> sea level rise. because our cassandra, our possible cassandra, dr. james hanson from columbia, says that if his model is right -- now, he's an outlier like all the other cassandras, but he's an expert. if his model is right, he says within the lifetime of people alive today in manhattan, half of manhattan will disappear. >> but there are people who have heard those warnings before and it hasn't happened so you see why they tune it out at some point. >> so what we've done in the book is a set of 22 criteria to judge, a template to judge when you're looking at someone like this. are they likely to be right? have they been right before? he was. are they an expert in their field? are they data driven? has anyone been able to criticize their data? go through all these criteria, and it works for him. and it's scary. >> rich, i want to ask you about manchester. the president said while he was abroad that we're going to drive
them out. he repeated that several times. we're going to drive these terrorists out. can it be done? >> i don't know how you drive british citizens out of britain or french citizens out of france or german citizens out of germany. so many of the terrorists who have committed these awful atrocities in europe were born there, like this fellow who was born in manchester. we've got to get at the root causes. we can't simply say drive them out, which is code word for police and military action, intelligence action. we've got to do that. >> root cause, though. what is the root cause? >> there are at least two kinds of root cause. one is the ideology, which is very appealing to muslim youth, extraordinary. so we have to counter their message, but we can't do that, muslims have to do that, and they're beginning to. the other said root cause in some cases is socioeconomic. and in europe, not in the middle east so much, many of the middle eastern terrorists are rather well off. but in europe, there are people
who are socially and economically ostracized and disadvantaged. >> all right. thank you so much. we greatly appreciate you being here. the book is "warnings, finding cassandras to stop catastrophes. richard clarke, we appreciate it. hope you'll come back. >> any time. >> that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now, stephanie. >> hi there, i'm stephanie ruhle. this morning, holy meeting. president trump has his first face-to-face with pope francis. talking health care and immigration, trump now wheels up for a nato meeting in brussels where the stakes will be even higher. and we're back to the russia connection. president trump lawyers up. the senate issues two new subpoenas to mike flynn, and the former cia director gives the most damning account yet of russia interference. >> i encountered and am aware o