tv Morning Joe MSNBC January 31, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PST
vossoughian, alongside ayman mohyeldin and louis bergdorf. with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the american people. >> maybe that was overlooked in the larger speech, but president trump wants to fire federal workers who aren't seen as trustworthy by his administration. i don't know, sally yates comes to mind, jim comey, bob mueller. the president prepped his state of the union top officials at the white house were reportedly pleading with the white house to stop republicans from releasing a classified memo. at 5:00 p.m. yesterday the white house said the president has not seen or been briefed on the memo or reviewed its contents. five hours later the president -- >> no plans, that's good to know. >> five hours
later the president said this --
>> don't worry. 100%. don't get too angry. >> well, there's, there's that. a trump off
teleprompter. welcome back to "morning joe." it's wednesday, january 31st, with us we have national affairs analyst for nbc news and msnbc, john heilemann, former aide to the george w. bush white house and state departments, elise jordan is here. former treasury official and "morning joe" economic analyst, the recovering steve rattner, massive injury. >> really? >> a ski accident. and kasie hunt will be joining us shortly so get the lightning rod ready. i think we ought to try to put at least the state of the union itself in its own place. could you put that into perspective? >> i think it was a good night for donald trump, but remember, voters always grade this man on
the curve. donald trump has taught americans lower expectations when viewing the reality show president. he had "american carnage" that was an inspiring speech, through charlottesville, from slandering the entire continent of africa, donald trump has earned the first-year distinction of carrying the lowest approval rating in history. but last night the "washington post" said he was on his best behavior. true. that doesn't mean he didn't deliver a divisive speech. he did while it may have polled lower according to cnn than any state of the union address in 20 years almost half of americans thought it was quote pretty good. in trump world that's a big win. never mind that his boasts about the economy were mostly hollow. job growth, wage growth, even the stock market performed as well or better under barack obama. check the numbers. but you know, democrats did nothing to show that they have a better deal for america. five responses.
on five different platforms from five different speakers is not where the opposition party needs to be at such an historical moment in time. last night was a good night for donald trump and it should hold him in good standing with supporters and independents at least until his first tweet today which willie, when that is going to come in? >> give it a couple hours. >> i think though, again, grading on a curve, understanding that a lot of people were saying great things about his speech last year, and three days later he said barack obama wiretap was going around wiretapping his phones in trump tower. so again, everything is relative. that said, you look at the numbers, his base loved it. and a lot of independents who were starting to move his direction slightly over the past couple of weeks, in some polls, liked what they heard last night. >> if you took that speech last
night in a vacuum. having known nothing previously about donald trump, it had a lot of conservative notes, he touched on the base, hit immigration hard, which he knows his voters are worried about. but we can't take it in a vacuum. it's totally divorced from the presidency he's had over the last year. when he talks about a message of unity, there's been no unity in this country for the last year and that's been driven by him. so again this is rhetoric. he gave a good speech off a teleprompter. let's see what he does today and tomorrow and let's remember what he's done over the last couple of years. >> let's hear him talk about unity and what he calls a new american moment. >> i call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people, this is really a key. these are the people we were elected to serve.
>> this in fact is our new american moment. there has never been a better time to start living the american dream. so to every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you've been or where you've come from, this is your time. if you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in america, then you can dream anything. you can be anything. and together we can achieve absolutely anything. >> as we've been trying to say, for most of the presidency, context matters. and you look at the context of that speech was given in, that those words were given in, it's a context of a constitutional crisis, about to erupt. if donald trump moves forward with firing bob mueller or firing rod rosenstein. or even, even exposing a memo
that the fbi director and the deputy attorney general rushed to the white house and they begged him not to release. >> there's a reasonable argument that we're already in the middle of a constitutional crisis. it's a rolling saturday night massacre. the ongoing war against the fbi and the justice department. what has happened yesterday, over the last couple of days with chairman nunes and this memo controversy. >> we're in the middle of it. and paul ryan, yes. >> one of the biggest developments, john, yesterday was that the speaker of the house had the deputy attorney general, as well as the fbi director begging him not to pass along classified information to an intel chairman who had already proven himself unworthy of having that sort of
information and the speaker of the house -- >> he chose sides. >> he chose sides. and yesterday will be a day that will be remembered for paul ryan deciding that a respected house intel committee and a bipartisan intel committee is a quaint notion of the past. >> history looks kindly on mitt romney in 2012 pointing out that russia was america's greatest geopolitical foe. the left, many democrats laughed at mitt romney for that paul ryan was on that ticket. the paul ryan of 2012 who stood proudly with mitt romney and said russia is our main political adversary, and said russis now behaving in this way. >> i've known him since he's 22, it's despicable. i say that as a guy i like and i've liked since he was 22 years old. his actions yesterday were
despicable and i couldn't be more disappointed. >> we're in the midst of a rolling, i think rolling constitutional crisis. and it's the reality that unlike richard nixon in 1974 when he gave his state of the union, a year into the watergate investigations, this investigation has more breadth. no one claimed richard nixon was a traitor. no one claimed richard was aiding a foreign government. or he was guilty of gross domestic abuses, this is a two-pronged investigation, you've got all of the obstructionist stuff. and the foreign policy scandal. national security scandal. that's the context in which this speech takes place. >> we'll have the reporter on from the "washington post" who devlin barrett on the controversy over the release of the memos. which is one part of this rolling constitutional crisis to build on your term. and elise, add to that, russia
sanctions, this presidency, if you look outside the teleprompter box of the state of the union, it's almost like we're desensitized to how serious things are and i'm concerned this president will move to fire mueller. and we have to talk about that. >> well and it's not exactly reassuring when the treasury department apparently just copy and pasted the "forbes" list of the wealthiest russians to build the list of people to bring up for possible sanctions. i'm also i'm struck last night just that cuba and venezuela were singled out for sanctions. what about russia? i think in terms of foreign policy in this speech, even more alarming than whatever the relationship is with russia, whatever the investigation going on stateside is, is the language on north korea. because there was some bombast there. but it wasn't very vague in terms of what that actual policy would be. and coming on the heels of the news that we still do not have
an ambassador to south korea, that victor cha, who was rejected by the administration after having been approved by the south korean government, that he was no longer, because he wasn't hawkish enough and he didn't support the idea of the so-called bloody no strike, it's very, it's very disturbing that we have this call for more action in north korea. but this was a speech of generalities. >> people should check out his op-ed in the "washington post" this morning. >> we'll go back to paul ryan in a minute. he said yesterday the fbi had to be cleansed. we have to cleanse the organization. which is a terminology i was shocked to hear from paul ryan. >> incredible we have also people on the right talking about purges. purges, cleansing, they have adopted the language of tyrants. they've adopted the, undemocratic autocratic language. this, again, there are people
who have known paul since he was 22, like me, who respect him as a person. who are stunned that he would take his dedication to donald trump this far. especially as john pointed out, since he was mitt romney's running mate. and they were clear on russia. >> people look to paul ryan as a guy who would do the right thing at the right time. who would stand up for honor and duty. and love of country. like of all the people in the republican party. he seemed like the one who you could turn to in times of trouble and woe do the right thing come what may. and this is simple. and he can't. >> always been viewed as a principled guy. we're seeing a lot of it right now. people acting in the service of
donald trump. there's all this dear leader language going on. the head of the epa scott pruitt yesterday correcting something he had said a couple of years ago when he said this is the most accomplished president we've ever had. on and on. kasie hunt you were in the chamber. there were beautiful moments up in the gallery. we should point that out. ♪ >> we'll go through some of those in a bit. what was the feeling in the hall? what did it look like? on tv it looked like a lot of democrats sitting on their hands, even at moments where it looked like they might be expected to cheer for ideas they agree with. >> the perspective of how democrats approached this and the mood in the room generally, there was no real, there's no faith on capitol hill. they are, it is completely utterly divided and i think when the president even when he was hitting on themes of national unity and using you know words about the american dream and
what that means, i think the frame that they felt in the room was one that inflames the cultural divides that have existed and were very sharpened in the 2016 erection. the kind of divide we've seen over kneeling at nfl football games during the national ant m anthem. you saw rhetoric about that from republicans as the speech unfolded. even during the speech's loftier moments, i think democrats and opponents of the president read in something very different and then he turned to the section on immigration. which was -- most definitely inflammatory for democrats and you saw some of them start to boo or his or seem to make side comments about it. so you know, i just -- it is impossible to overstate the division and the cynicism right now on capitol hill about this president. and about the future. and i think that includes, joe, to your point, paul ryan, who was somebody who was viewed as
kind of the quote-unquote balance at in the ship of state when this all started. when we were talking about this speech. and now he is at the point where he wants to put out this memo, behind closed doors, urging his members, don't tie this memo to bob mueller. they're not related, they don't have anything to do with each other. but that will clearly strain cred utility in the public's eye. >> the president's hollow boasts about the economy, take a look. >> since the election we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including -- including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. >> after years and years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.
unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. since we passed tax cuts, roughly three million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses. many of them, thousands and thousands of dollars per worker. and it's getting more every month, every week. >> steve, this is what i find most remarkable about this. is that i was actually watching this network. and somebody was trying to dismiss something that donald trump said. of course the economy is roaring and doing better than it's done and i sat there and was going, how incredible that his cheerleading has even got people
on this network taking it -- as an established fact that the economy is roaring forward this year in a way that it didn't for the past seven years, just let's put this in context, some of the things he said were true, some of them were flat-out lies. job growth was faster under barack obama over seven years, after the seven years after the collapse. than it was last year under donald trump's first year. wage growth, was faster under barack obama, if you adjust for inflation or maybe about the same. even the stock market, the s&p grew faster under barack obama than it did under donald trump. again i'm not saying the economy is bad. we're in a pretty good spell right now. but this is after seven years of climbing out of a bad situation. and again, there aren't a lot of areas, are there, where donald trump has a record that exceeds barack obama's. >> now look first of all, it's
too early for any president to say, this president himself is responsible for what happened over the past year. i think if the economy hadn't done well, donald trump would have gotten up there and blamed barack obama. he wouldn't have said i had a bad first year. he would have said i inherted this mess and it's still going on. he happened to have inherited a an economy that is doing well. the gdp grew faster under barack obama than it did under donald trump. this is a continuation of a trend that's been going on for a while. >> it's important for people that are watching the show that support donald trump that are republicans, are members of my family, if you -- my friends from the first baptist church in pensacola, if you look at -- it's all in the charts, it is all hard numbers. it's all you can look at every
chart. i think, i think one of the few things, there's no doubt that, that huge corporations are thrilled with the tax cuts they've gotten. there's no doubt that consumer confidence is higher than it's been. in part because as glen hubbard said, economist to republican presidents, his quote to the "new york times" is that donald trump is a better cheerleader than barack obama. >> we needed a corporate tax reform. barack obama proposed a corporate tax reform but this corporate tax reform was paid for in large part by high income residents of the blue states, whose state and local tax deductions the republicans took away to pay for it it was paid for by regressive tax cuts that help the rich more than they help the poor. so it's not something that you can look at and say this is great. having a high stock market is good for america, there's no question about that. and donald trump has played a role in that. but it principally benefits the wealthy and we shouldn't get
around that. >> the "washington post" reports citing people briefed on the meeting that top justice department officials, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and fbi director chris wray appealed to trump's chief of staff, john kelly, to stop the release of a classified memo by house republicans on the intel committee. the "post" reports on monday shortly before a vote to make the document public, rosenstein warned kelly that the memo could jeopardize classified information and implored the preds to reconsider his support for making it public. rosenstein who supervising the mueller investigation, said the justice department was he said it would set a dangerous precedent. let's bring one of the reporters behind that story, "washington post" reporter covering national security, devlin barrett. you've got a couple of scoops this morning. christopher wray and rod rosenstein go to see chief of staff john kelly. and they say what to him
exactly? >> they say that releasing this memo will be bad for national security. it will be bad for the entire issue of how the government tries to protect classified information. you know, this is a very strange area to be in. where a basically a house committee has just decided that it's going to release classified information. that's not how this normally works. and so the argument they made was classified information will get out, that could, that could set a precedent that would be bad down the road, not just for the facts of this, but for the long term. and frankly, their argument was also that the way the fbi's comment was described here is inaccurate. >> we heard president trump last night after his speech going out and saying to a congressman who was on the aisle, is 00%, i'll release the memo 100%. was that the feeling they got, wray and rosenstein when they visited john kelly? >> yeah. absolutely. one of the oddities of this whole debate is everyone pretty much knows where they are on this issue.
but everyone is still also being fairly polite and in how they describe these discussions, a key point being when these two officials, the fbi director and the deputy attorney general go to the white house, the house committee at that point hadn't even voted. but everyone basically knew what the vote was going to be. the writing is on the wall here as to how this is going to play out. but it's going to be painful and it's going to further alienate the white house from the fbi and the white house from the justice department. >> john heilemann. >> devlin, there's been a lot of speculation recently, in recent hours, about the where rod rosenstein stands and how secure the ground underneath his feet is. just give us a general sense of where you think that, that story is at this hour. >> right. look, i think the ice has been getting thinner for him for a while. you know and i think everyone sort of aware of the danger here. because we've reported before that you know, trump has talked about privately the notion that well maybe the release of the
nunes memo could justify the dismissal of rosenstein in some way. that's a really alarming prospect for a lot of folks who think the mueller investigation needs to be protected and insulated from you know, the political efforts to attack it. so i do think that rosen stein is in a precarious position. he's never been in a super safe position to begin with. now is one of those times where i think everyone is watching and waiting to see, is something going to happen now? is this going to be a final straw in some sense for some of the folks engaged in this work. >> as we close out here -- >> by the way, thank you so much, devlin. >> how remarkable that we're actually talking a matter of factually about a russia investigation that was launched and the republicans have effectively turned the investigation on the investigators after the investigation has found that the national security adviser committed a crime.
and is now, pled guilty to committing a crime. the national security adviser. committed one crime, and they actually charged him with a lesser offense of other offenses that would send him to jail for life if they proved it. and -- and you can go down the list. of the four people that have been charged with crimes. two who are cooperating, and the republican party on what's today -- 31st. the 31st of january, 2018, now -- are investigating the investigators who were in hot pursuit of people in the administration, four of whom they have already charged. you can look at that side of it. you can also look at the side of this, that this president has blown through every stop sign. every norm. every appropriate way of treating people.
i mean you can go right down the list. and then i have to ask you -- what's going on with general kelly? he was warned, he was warned, what's happening there? and haven't we all looking at the potential of mueller getting fired? what's the stop sign for that? there's not one. >> i'll go to you, john, first i want to say quickly about general kelly. it's shocking that a guy who served this country in uniform for as long as he did, got a warning from the intel agencies, the top of the intel agencies that this was a national security problem. he ignored it like paul ryan he ignored it. the republicans are now regardless of their past, regardless of their reputations, regardless of their biography, they are now bowing and scraping to donald trump. mika and i caught grief from democrats for a year and a half, for criticizing hillary
clinton's sloppy management of, of emails and possible classified material. republicans feasted on it for a year and a half. for clinton supporters who say that wasn't a big deal -- shut up on your twitter feed, okay? just stop if you think that because donald trump is a bad president that justifies hillary clinton handling classified information or the emails that way? please, talk to yourself because we aren't listening. but clinton -- the only thing that hillary clinton has to do with donald trump right now is the same republicans that were cas castigating hillary for being reckless classified information, are being more recless for ignoring and paul ryan is doing things that hillary clinton never approached. >> general kelly was the head of the department of homeland security before he became white house chief of staff. it boggles the mind that he would hear this warning and not
heed it, number one. number two, as devlin was laying out, rod rosenstein was on a suicide mission yesterday. this is a guy who, the ice who he said is thin beneath his feet. in the interest of trying to protect this classified material, he knows how politically vulnerable he is. he knows donald trump probably wants to fire him. yet he still goes to the white house chief of staff and says hey, look, you got to stop the release of this memo. knowing it will increase his own vulnerability. in the long arc of history we'll look back on ron rosenstein and say he exhibited an extraordinary amount of personal and political courage to put himself in that position. and look, the fbi is not perfect. there's an inspector general's investigation that's been going on since january of 2017. the democrats, the clinton campaign, across the board when that investigation got announced, said there's some stuff we have to look at from 2016. comey's behavior, mccabe's
behavior. on trump, on clinton, we should get to the bottom of it. >> for trumpists right now, who are pretending that the media didn't say there was a problem -- it's all we talked about. we criticized comey. we criticized mccabe. we criticized them all. i criticized them. always brought up an abc poll that said 53% thought hillary clinton should be indicted. we didn't understand a lot of things they did. >> and so now -- >> that doesn't mean you blow up an investigation when they're hotten the trail of finding out corruption in the executive branch. >> and so now on the eve of the i.g. report that we've been waiting for for a year, both sides, we want to know what happened at the fbi, we're waiting for the ig report, now the house intel committee led by devin nunes says forget about that, we're going to launch our own partisan investigation of the fbi.
it's disgraceful. we're just getting started here. we'll talk more about what the president said and didn't say during his state of the union. richard haas weighs in -- >> seriously, this is so mind-boggling, this is just so mind-boggling what the republicans are doing and -- >> disheartening. >> why are republicans trusting devin nunes to be their oracle of truth? a former dairy farmer who house intel staffers refer to as secret agent man. because he has no idea what's going on. >> they've already busted him, elise, lying. they've already busted him being a courier, he's nothing but a courier for donald trump. holding that press conference, going down, grabbing the papers, coming back up. they've already busted him. it's not like mike rodgers saying hey we need to look into it. someone who is respected on both
sides of the aisle. this is devin nunes that republicans are staking their credibility on a guy that i'm sorry, i wouldn't trust as far as i could throw him. >> we will be right -- >> there's nothing wrong with dairy farmers. i like them. i think they're great. ack seat? why give it every feature you could want, along with a few you didn't know you needed? it's simple. you can build a car, or you can build a cadillac. come in now for this exceptional offer on the cadillac ct6. get this low-mileage lease on this 2018 cadillac ct6 from around $549 per month. visit your local cadillac dealer. what can a president f[ do in thirty seconds?th.
he can fire an fbi director who won't pledge his loyalty. he can order the deportation of a million immigrant children. he can threaten an unstable dictator armed with nuclear weapons. he can go into a rage and enter the nuclear launch codes. how bad does it have to get before congress does something?
america has turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals. that sacrificed our prosperity and chipped away our companies, our jobs, and our wealth. our nation has lost its wealth but we're getting it back so fast. the era of economic surrender is totally over. from now on we expect trading relationships to be fair and very importantly, reciprocal. >> i absolutely love. that's my favorite jimmy kimmel bit. when they slow down the thing -- that was hilarious. >> that was the reel.
>> really? >> yes. >> let's bring richard haus. we're talk about russia, we talk about north korea, we talk about nuclear war. i want to zone in on trade. because i believe ten years from now you and other foreign policy leaders are going to look back at this past year, and say -- that was the year that donald trump tilted the advantage to china in a way that we never recovered from. china is sweeping up trade deals all across the planet and we're retreating. it's -- an underreported story. i think it's going to be one of the most significant historical facts of this trump presidency. what do you think? >> unfortunately i agree. >> so much more -- >> richard, thank you.
>> so talk about it. because we, americans don't talk about this, china is absolutely destroying us right now. every single day on trade deals. >> the president, when he talks about trade as economic surrender, trade was one of the engines of american economic success for the last 70 years. it's strategically strengthened our allies and our friends, it constrained our foes and it helped the american economy. >> we also set the rules. we also -- it was our framework. it was our rules. it was our advantage. >> then we negotiate most recently the trans-pacific partnership. the idea was to lash together 40% of the world's economies, again, we set the rules. working with 11 other countries. the only problem is, in the first week of mr. trump's presidency a year ago, he took the united states out of it. now these other 11 countries have a trade agreement so it's more difficult for the united
states so sell goods and services to these countries, who is the biggest beneficiary? china. this is the country that's going to have its own alternative set of trade rules. instead of having a race to the top, according to our references, we more likely now have something like a race to the middle or bottom where china is in a better position to set rules and china as the president correctly says, has forced people to transfer technology. stolen technology. china is not acting in ways that we want. but rather than setting up a stand thard forces them to raise their game, we're essentially leaving, we're leaving the arena. >> but china is going to every country from, from actually every country is coming to china from canada to pakistan. and every country in between. and they're buying in on this one belt one road framework. and again, you look at china daily. every day, all they're doing is it was great to meet the canadian p.m., we're opening two
weeks -- they are looking outward. they are being aggressive, they are looking to 2050 and we have a president that's looking back to 1950. >> china is the most formidable economic force of our lifetime and it has disproven all the pessimists and is growing fast. it is expanding. the one belt one road is going to tie them together. with much of asia and europe. and increase their influence. and they, and we took the ball and we were like on the ten yard line and we walked off the playing field and said here, it's all yours. one other thing on trade while we're on it. trump is starting to put tariffs on products, he put tariffs on washing machines. he'll save some jobs perhaps. everyone is going to pay more for washing machines because of what he just did. >> and solar panels, this was the fastest growing job, which is solar panel installers,
20,000 to 20 25,000 americans are likely to not have jobs because of these tariffs. >> and you go in, hold a press conference, you threaten people. the jobs just leave a year later. it's a losing proposition. but elise, what struck me last night about the speech was more than anything, being a conservative and knowing there's so few conservatives left in washington, d.c., everything we fought for and stood for in the '94 revolution, everything reagan fought for is dead. we saw -- a guy that talked about more spending on infrastructure. fine. a lot more spending on defense. fine. a lot more spending on everything. tax cuts, i mean i wrote about this in a book in 2004 saying -- any one of these things would be fine for george w. bush. he made no choices. this was -- this was, this was
the antithesis of conservative doctrine and free trade is at the heart of this he's turned his back on free trade. turned his back on balanced budgets, turned his back on balanced spending. he is the liberal democrat on spending that we said he would be for a year and a half. >> he's the embodiment of big government. that's what he cares about. he doesn't mind debt clearly as his entire business record demonstrates. but he is going to spend more and not one mention i believe of the deficit in last night's remarks. you look at also the free trade component. whereas china after we withdrew from the tpp, they rushed into action and they have their new deal, they have their new alliances going. what have we done? donald trump promised all of these bilateral trade relationships. i i hear nothing about what kind of other deal, what better deal
has been struck. instead, we're just ceding our place at the table. >> richard, the president last night mentioned north korea seven times, talked about quote the depraved character of that regime there. hot rhetoric, which kind of flies in the face of some of the negotiation that's been allegedly happening behind the scenes between north korea and south korea and us. where are we? what's the message? what is he trying to say about north korea? >> still no diplomatic dimension, saying we can't live with this. implying the use of force. interestingly enough in the last 24 hours the person who had been test nag nate e designated to be the new u.s. ambassador to seoul has been undesignated because he questioned the wisdom of a nuclear strike against north korea. the biggest thing on national security is north korea and we still don't have an ambassador in seoul. >> if you wanted an ambassador that actually lined up with what
the country he represented -- he lines up with what the south koreans are doing. with the outlook the -- i mean the south koreans are going to move closer to the north koreans if they think they have a president that's pushing towards a war that's going to cost the lives of half a million people. >> the only diplomatic game in town is a north/south dialogue, who's going to be at the table to represent our interests, which are not identical with those of south korea. you're right. i hate to say it twice in one show. south korea comes to think that we're the biggest threat to order and stability on the korean peninsula, guess what you'll start seeing a space open up between washington and seoul that can't be good. but it's consistent. also last night you never heard the word ally. this is a very, this is a radical departure from much of our policy. >> said, i made a mistake, i said donald trump is taking us back to 1950. while the chinese are looking at 2050.
no, in 1950 that was america reaching out to the world. we were starting the american century. this is taking us back to 1930s. >> this is preworld war ii, not post world war ii. >> trade, protectionism, everything. he is herbert hoover. >> guess what -- >> hoover doesn't like spending the way he does. >> america first. >> and hoover also liked to say refugees. >> okay. >> richard haas, thank you very much. digging deep back into history and it's not pretty. still ahead, one of the most polarizing topics for the president's state of the union speech, immigration. another shutdown deadline is just over a week away. did the president last night help or hurt the chances of reaching a bipartisan deal on daca? "morning joe" will be right back with that.
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have never, not once, in the history of our united states managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future. politicians -- have faith. have faith. the state of our union is hopeful, resilient and enduring. god bless you. god bless your families. and may god bless the united states of america. thank you. >> and that was part of the official democratic response to president trump's state of the union address delivered by our next guest, joe kennedy iii of massachusetts joining us now. great to have you with us. bad ass muscle car behind you. i enjoyed that thoroughly. >> thank you. >> what did you want to say? what did you view as your mission last night? >> i thought it was really important to take the past year, the actions and inactions of this administration, and try to
put them in context. there's been an awful lot of hyperventilating day by day by day by some of the headlines what they have and haven't done and how they handled various circumstances. what's critically important if you take a step back and try to connect the dots. what i tried to do last night is lay out and articulate what type of vision i interpret from this administration and then paint what i think is a strong, historically consistent pathway forward that isn't actually a part of someone, that is one that unifies americans and has throughout our history and is actually literally who we are. >> steve ratner? >> congressman, first of all, i saw your statement before the speech and congratulations on managing your hydration successfully during the speech. but more -- >> if only the lip gloss was as successful, it would have been a great night. >> that's right. >> happens to me all the time. >> as you know, democrats are
concerned about what our message is going to be in 2018, 2020. at this moment in time, 71% of americans think the economy is doing well. you and i can agree on why that is and that it's not donald trump but nonetheless it's out there and he's taking credit for it. so how do you, as a leading democrat, how do the other democrats position yourselves for 2018 with an economic message that will make americans go your way rather than saying, oh, trump had a pretty good first couple years. >> steve, i was probably not surprising right before i got here i was at dunkin' donuts trying to get some extra caffeine in my system and the guy bind me said, hey, great speech last night. do you really think the economy is going as well as he says? look, the bottom line is we have set stock market records and that's true. as you know, better than anybody, 50% of americans don't own a single stock and 80% of all stocks are controlled by about 10% of american families.
when we sit there and look at the stock market and try to use that as a barometer of economic success, undoubtedly we all love a strong stock market, as i said last night, there's more to it than that. we have to recognize there's parts of our economy and country that are doing really well as there were under obama administration. there's parts that are still struggling to try to find their footing. and that's bigger than just a tax cut that is tilted dramatically towards the wealthy. this means trying to restructure some of the larger systems in place. that's part of what i was trying to get at last night. >> in our final moments, i'm curious, there were five democratic responses, is that constructive at this time? seems like a time of great opportunity for the democratic party? >> mika, look, i think democratic party at our best, we're a big 10 party. to be able to have other leading voices out there that are going to put forward what they think is an important and compelling situation for constituents they speak to, right now particularly as we are trying to unify is not
a bad thing at all. i would encourage it. i think as we get tighter and tighter into this mid-term election and clearly building to 2020 i think you'll see those folks unify behind certainly these mid-term elections and behind a nominee. >> congressman joe kennedy iii, thank you very much. i suggest the medium turbo at dunkin' donuts. >> very good. thank you so much, joe. greatly appreciate it. elise, that is a problem. we are in such a historically critical time. the democratic party not only doesn't have an opposition voice, they don't have an opposition speech. five people. they've got to manage that better. i don't know how you do it. >> well, last night, of course, it would have been best if they had one person coming out with the democratic party message, but, you know, historically this is a speech that kills careers, so maybe better to divide the pain across a couple of people. look at the only people, the only president to previously had
given one of those rebuttals and did it in groups, george h.w. bush, bill clinton and ford. they weren't alone for it. >> it is a rough one. >> elise jordan, thank you. steve ratner thank you. >> you're welcome. >> good luck with your recovery. >> thank you. >> my brother and sister-in-law are at the hospital. >> okay. >> all right. still ahead, president trump was picked up on a hot mike -- oh, no. already? overheard telling lawmakers he is 100% in favor of releasing -- oh, right, the controversial memo. alleging abuses by the fbi. meanwhile, house intel committee chairman devin nunes now isn't answering questions about his memo his staffers wrote, but it was a much different scene last march. we'll show you the difference a year makes. stay with us. mountain coffee roasters dark magic told in the time it takes to brew your cup.
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their right to the american dream because americans are dreamers, too. >> whoever said they weren't? did somebody say americans weren't dreamers. i'm just curious. i missed that. >> for a long time there's been this sort of phrase the american dream and that kind of implies that americans are dreamers. >> we have been dreamers for 240 years. wait, who is he speaking of? i don't get it. >> he's throwing an elbow at the democrats. >> i don't understand. >> they're embrace of the dreamers. >> you don't have to explain. i understand. >> i thought you were running slow this morning. >> i got it. actually, i think everybody else at this table understood it. you were the one running slow. >> it must be the fake news media that made it up. >> put your glasses back on. pull yourself together. >> he explained it to me. >> stop instigating.
>> he is not instigating. i can tell. >> keep up. >> i'll try. >> with us, we have hyalman, president of the council on relations. he has nowhere to go. >> you been to any good concerts lately? >> give me a minute. we'll get back in the third hour. >> third hour? >> there's a third hour of the show. >> and kasie hunt, host of kasie d.c. she looks sleepy this morning. i wonder why. >> editor of the washington post, eugene washington. and professor of history at tulane university, the great tulane. >> yes. >> oh, wow. walter. ceo of the aspen institute walter isaacson. >> great to see you. >> i love tulane. >> we love tulane. >> thank you.
we love it, too. >> gene, let me ask you, grading on a scale for the president, i said earlier last hour, grading on a scale, it was a good performance for him, like last year's was a good performance for him. >> yeah. >> three days before he accused barack obama of crawling through trump towers and tapping all of his telephones. >> exactly. >> but cnn said it was the lowest rated state of the union in 20 years but said that 48% of americans said it was very good, which in trump world. >> in trump world that's great. good ratings. the ratings were off the charts. >> what did you think about the speech? what's the take away? >> again, number one, everyone noticed it was extremely long. it was extremely delivered in a very slow cay dance. i thought it was a perfectly normal state of the union speech except for the demagoguery around the immigration, stirring
the immigration section with ms-13. that was a bit much. if you were going to mention them and you were going to propose saving the dreamers, gee, you might have told a nice personal story about a dreamer, for example. >> right. >> but also all sorts of weird little things in the speech. like at one point, i don't know if anyone noticed, he came out in favor of prison reform. does anyone know what he was talking about? prison reform. we want prison reform. >> it sounds like maybe he's actually talking to people that have been behind the coke initiative? >> maybe. maybe he's trying to get things ready for mike flynn. i don't know. but the unreal thing about the speech is that it's unreal. it was like the sort of --
donald trump reads the teleprompter and gives these speeches and then goes away, poof, and two days later, three days later, 12 hours later the real donald trump comes back. and so it's hard to take it sort of as real. >> willie, do you know why gene's won a pulitzer prize? >> are you googling the word i'm googling. >> i did use that on joey but did with andrew. less colicky. really was. richard, your take away. >> look, immigration was the most interesting part of the speech. you're right. he set it up with the harshness. he put on the table a four-part proposal that had something in it for people, also some things to bother people across the political spectrum. that's probably the one part of the speech that has policy consequences and legs. >> why don't we look at it. >> really quickly, richard, a
great point. there were a lot of people looking at that asking what gene asked and i certainly understand that it made democrats defensive, but that's your opening round salvo to tell your base i haven't gone soft. look at all these horrible things that immigrants have done and then he follows up by saying, i'm going to give almost 2 million dreamers amnesty. >> a path to citizenship. >> and citizenship. >> which i must say is even beyond what many conservatives want, so there was something for both sides to hate and both sides did hate what he said last night. i'm talking about the extremes on both sides. >> exactly. interestingly enough, he didn't completely rule out family unification. he wanted a more narrow version of it, which again is of some substance. he talked about skills based immigration. he teed it up in a way to only talk to one side of the debate but i thought in a week or month
that might be the one part of this speech that actually has consequences. >> it's the same policy he announced several days ago. that's the really amazing thing. i mean, it's he's been consistent on immigration for a whole week. >> i always said, mika, in the media in my 13 or 14 years in the media, the one issue that i thought members of the media were the most isolated on was abortion, which is in many ways a 50/50 split depending on how you ask the question or has been in some past gallup polls. in the media, my experience is like a 95/5 pro choice to pro life. immigration now has become the issue that the media has the biggest blind spot on because if people in the media do not believe that most of americans want to limit immigration, family reunification immigration to the immediate family, they
don't understand where a lot of americans are in immigration. yes, they want the dreamers to be able to stay here, but at the same time, they are far more conservative on immigration than 95% of the people in the media. >> the president has said so many different things on this issue and then has left it up to people in the room. if you remember that, is it worth looking at exactly what his words were last night? >> i think so. yeah. i mean, his words mean nothing. >> i know. i have to be -- >> on immigration in the past, but i do think that last night was written -- if it was written by stephen miller, he obviously is listening to stephen miller. so, words matter in this case. >> all right. then let's take a look at the words of the president last night. >> the first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age. the second pillar fully secures
the border. that means building a great wall on the southern border and it means hiring more heroes like c.j. to keep our communities safe. the third pillar ends the visa lottery, a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit or the safety of american people. the fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. >> you heard the boos and hiss in the room because that's not true. you can't bring in unlimited children. and there is a serious vetting
process that goes into family reunification. walter isaacson, let me ask you about this. mitch mcconnell made a comment when he said we're waiting to hear what the president believes before we start negotiating on immigration. in other words, he says one thing one day and another thing the next day. nobody quite knows where he stands. if you're dick durbin and lindsey graham, say we'll be at the white house in an hour and a half with a plan. when you arrive at the white house, the president's position has changed. how do you negotiate when he laid out in explicit terms what he believes whose positions aren't always clear. >> he made it clear in the state of the union and it's about time i think people start taking yes for an answer. i agree with richard haase. this is actually a pretty sensible approach. the four pillars, where the most important thing for people like myself is the moral imperative for these dreamers, these kids who were brought here, when they were very young who are stuck in the shadows.
if you're actually going to give them a path for citizenship, that to me seems worth saying, all right, we'll do money to secure the border, we'll do money to beef up immigration and cut out the visa lottery which is not that morally important compared to the dreamers path to citizenship and finally, you know, we're going to take chain immigration and try to limit it more. this is a good compromise. the problem with donald trump is he's able to make a call for unity seem divisive. i mean, we should just say, this is the outline to the plan. let's get on with it. >> it is. john hyalman, the one problem that democrats have, the biggest problem with, is cutting legal immigration in half. again though, an issue that i suspect many americans would not be disappointed in. it seems to me if democrats have the outlines of a deal, the
biggest mistake they can make today is to walk away petulantly and say this doesn't work because of a, b, c, d. >> yeah, think i that's right. look, even the legal immigration a lot of the d-h-1 b thing is not great. you're bringing in high skill immigrants. we all think again this is 1% thing, if you're a coastal elite, you think, great, let's bring in all these ph.d.s from india, china and help the high-tech economy. that doesn't help the base of the democratic party which is working class democrats who are worried about depressed wages. again, in theory on paper this is -- there's something to head towards here. the problem for most democrats as the point that eugene made which is that it's framed in the lead into it is the ice gangs, the i.c.e. enforcements and
gangs and so much demagoguic rhetoric around it that it's hard to get to the outlines of what an actual deal will be and whether trump will stick in any consistent way. democrats should not poo-poo this and walk away in a huff today. it's not the right strategic thing in the long run. >> yet, kasie, you have a president who began his campaign talking about mexicans who were rapists. and actually built his campaign on xenophobia, on i would say blatant racism, but it was out and out racism whether you want to talk about what he said before super tuesday and not knowing who david duke and the kkk was or the indiana judge who said he couldn't be trusted because his parents were from mexico, charlottesville. context does matter. how do democrats go back to their base and say, okay, we don't like all of this but we
need to make this deal. >> that's exactly the challenge, joe. i don't think you're wrong that there are a lot of americans who are concerned about immigration in the way that you laid out and that, you know, there may be a disconnect about just how worried people are about it, but the language that the president has been using throughout the campaign but also specifically last night made it so that these democrats were sitting in the audience watching him, dripping with disdain. i'm trying to come up with a good comparison, almost like dragging a teenager to church and making them sit through it when they don't want to. i think that just is going to make it really hard to get this deal done. to a certain extent, the president needed to talk to conservative hard liners in his own party who have decided they think this proposal is amnesty. he needed to lay down some of those markers for them, but you know, it's not lost on democrats that, you know, david duke and richard spencer are seizing on that line, americans are
dreamers, too. saying thank you. they are reading the context -- you guys were eluding to at the top of the show very seriously. and i just right now i came away from the speech thinking, okay, tonight a daca deal is harder than it was when we walked into the chamber. >> yeah, david duke, of course, thanking the president on twitter. let's move from that richard, foreign policy. take aways from the president's speech on foreign policy. how does the world look at that speech? >> it took about an hour into the speech to get to foreign policy which in and of itself is a statement what a low priority it has become. singling out interesting north korea and iran for repressing their people, no mention of russia given what's going on in the streets no mention of turkey or the philippines, this selective principle doesn't wash. but no mention of europe or no mention of climate change and talked about beautiful clean coal but not climate change. this was very much again a
narrow speech about the issues he wanted to touch on, but no sense of america's role in the world, its leadership in the world. very little that's positive but rather just pointing out a couple of the issues to give us pause. >> and to be clear, one mention of russia. >> yeah. richard haase, thank you very much. walter, stay with us if you can. still ahead on "morning joe," as the washington examiner frames it, quote, only one democrat appeared happy with the vast majority of trump's speech senator joe man chin and the conservative democrats joins us live straight ahead. ♪ ♪
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pocahontas, lien' ted, owner of the exquisite mar-a-lago resort, the most stable genius in the history of the world, his exlensy, he of most enormous hands, president of the united states and like really smart person, donald j. trump! >> joining us now msnbc contributor mike barnacle and frank lunce. good to have you on board. >> mike, what's your take away on the speech last night? >> you know, i'm probably going to be -- i'm certainly not going to be in frank's corner on this. there was a level of disbelief in nearly everything he said. that was my take away. >> yeah.
>> give me an example. >> well, where do you want to start? let's have more bipartisanship, let's bring the country together. he's the principal, divisive figure in this nation right now. >> so frank, you have been critical of the president and certainly the language he has used over the past couple months. you mentioned that last night in a tweet but it's also the case. i followed you and you've been critical at times, but you said last night you had one word for the speech and it was wow. tell us -- >> i was not expecting it. >> tell us why. we are just as shocked at your response as you were at the president's speech. wow. >> i had to be in the hall and i chose not to because i was not optimistic. and i tend to come from that side of the political aisle that i've been very frustrated about the language. and i listened word for word to what he said yesterday and i am shocked. even here at how negative the response is. the first criticism is that he read from the teleprompter.
well, what president hasn't read from a teleprompter? >> nobody criticized him for that. >> all you have to do is take a look at twitter and that's what you said. >> you said response here. we weren't critical of him reading from the teleprompter. we don't listen to twitter. >> okay. second is that he offered an agreement on immigration that is actually achievable. and i'm wondering whether the democrats will now come forward and make the agreement. third, is that he gave specifics about the economy and how it's changed over the last 12 months, specific numbers. and the democrats did not applaud the fact that we have better employment numbers, that people have higher wages, that companies are reinvesting in the country. >> he was taking credit for all that he was taking credit for it which is insulting. >> barack obama does deserve credit, but why is it that everything he says drives the left nuts? why can't you just as
republicans -- just because republicans criticized barack obama. >> yeah. >> we all agree that it went too much. it was hyperpartisanship. we have that right now from the donald trump speech and that's wrong. >> couple things, first of all, i think we around the table first of all didn't criticize him for the teleprompter. secondly, we said democrats shouldn't walk away in a huff because he actually did present at least something that he could start on immigration. third, the economic numbers, what i find remarkable is and this would be a great study, the sort of thing you do, glen hubbard said, there's not a big difference between obama and trump on the economy except for the fact that he says donald trump is a much better cheerleader. it's incredible you go out and hammer everyday i'm doing this, i'm doing that. wages, new jobs added, they're roughly the same. even the s&p grew at roughly the same pace under obama as trump.
that said, he is conditioning people constantly. >> i said in our coverage last night during our coverage last night on this network as a matter of fact that it is definitely true that if you can make people think the economy is getting better, then the economy gets better, right? so that is a contribution i think to economic well being in that if you talk it up successfully, you get people to spend money. >> it is actually better. unemployment has come down. >> it's part of a five or six-year trend, yes. >> this tax cut will put money into people's pockets. let viewers know the two statistics that matter most, if you're a family of four and you make $55,000, you won't pay a dime on income taxes. family of four, making 75,000, you'll save $2,000 on taxes. the president did an outstanding
job, and you know, joe, how critical i've been. he did an outstanding jb inin g laying out the facts. >> i have to say, frank, just again to be a fact checker before going to mike barnacle, but many of the facts that you have even stated this morning repeati ining facts are not accurate. wage growth is about the same as it was for barack obama. the job growth, you actually barack obama over seven years doing slightly better than -- >> over seven years. this is one year. >> again, frank -- >> consumer confidence is up. >> hold on. stop. don't change the subject. don't change the subject. >> okay. let me correct you and correct the president, it does matter. so you said over seven years. yes. over barack obama's presidency coming out of the worst recession in ages. so, job growth actually was
higher under barack obama over his term than it was donald trump's first term. am i saying the economy is bad? no. i'm saying the economy is good. we should be happy that the economy is good. we remember what it was like in '08 and '09, but donald trump cannot say that the economy is roaring forward and better than it was in 2015 and '16 because it's not. >> he can say there's more money in people's pockets because of this tax package and that's going to have a significant impact. he just took credit. >> what we said here is he can say that the tax cuts and the regulatory reform and certainly made businesses more optimistic and big corporations more optimistic and consumer confidence is up. it's higher than it's been in 25 years. again, part of that is what glen hubbard said the cheer leading, the constant cheer leading. you tell people the economy is good often enough in ways that barack obama was not comfortable saying the economy was good
because of income disparity, then people will start believing that and it can have a positive impact. >> yeah. the big thing about business and the economy is the regulatory effect, stripping the regulations away. that has had an enormous and positive effect in american business. but frank, you know, in your really well done and interesting focus groups that you do, do you think that if you probe deeply enough and maybe not that deeply you would find that a lot of people have faith in donald trump as a salesman? he sells products. last night he was selling, you know, a new moment in america, a nation that needs bipartisanship. and yet the big sales pitch that he's been involved in for many, many months now is dividing, disrupting and destroying institutions of government, the justice department and the fbi specifically, that have been so effective in keeping this country safe and protected for generations. >> i think you have a fair
point. and yet why can't people give him credit for what has happened? why can't they give him credit for his speech that went -- that people had a chance to see if you were a democrat, there was something there for you. if you're a republican, there's something there for you, that it has specifics. >> i think because he's literally screwed everybody in that room over a few times too many. he's been vulgar and racist and accused one of the senators in that room of giving sexual favors for money. he's insulted the wife of a republican senator in that room in the worst way possible. >> what about the speech? >> your job, what you do, frank, is you read rooms. you tell me that that room is supposed to respond like to the great dictator? >> no, but they're not supposed to sit on their hands. >> really? i'm not sure. >> but using a phrase great dictator is not appropriate. >> that's how he feels of himself. >> this is my challenge which is i am willing to speak truth to power. i'm willing to challenge him but
i'm not willing to dismiss everything in him. that's the problem. >> so walter isaacson, let me bring you in here. i think the democrat's great challenge, which they failed to deliver last night, is actually putting forward an optimistic vision for an america. i will say to frank's point, when they look like they are at a funeral procession while he's talking about how the economy is getting better, when most americans believe the economy is getting better, that doesn't help their cause. when they have five people responding to one speech. that doesn't help their cause. and if they go out today talking about donald trump being the great dictator when 48% of americans said the speech was very good, well, democrats will seem tone deaf. so how do they balance the reality that donald trump right now is committing a slow motion saturday night massacre at the same time he delivered a speech.
>> there they are politely clapping, frank. >> 48% of americans liked, said was very good. how do they do that? >> i think first of all you grab on to the two big bipartisan and nonpartisan things that he suggested and that i incorrectly thought he would lead with last year. one we've already talked about. he gave four pillars of an immigration strategy that actually are the foundation for an agreement, especially since the most important moral issue for most people is figuring out what to do with the dreamers brought here as kids. that's a package that the democrats could say, let's work on that. that's acceptable. secondly is infrastructure. this is desperately needed by this country. he talked a while back about a trillion dollar infrastructure program. he popped it up to $1.5 trillion last night, but if you got a program that helped bring airports, air traffic control, roads, bridges you would be
putting people back to work in this country more so and you would be rebuilding what is a crumbling infrastructure and you could even be use that to help make the tax code more fair again. instead of looking so sour, i would have barrelled ahead and said, okay, let's work with you on those two major issues. >> one point i have to make, though. i mean, have we forgotten the way republicans reacted to barack obama's state of the union address? >> i was going to say that. by the way, gene. >> that was not state of the union. >> republicans do the same thing to democrats. democrats do the same thing to republicans. >> let's agree they should stop. let's agree they should stop. >> that was my point. my point is that this is by now a rich tradition. >> let's stop. >> the people from the party in power jump up and clap and the others sit down and look stony faced. and believe me, i would put --
mitch mcconnell stony face and other stony face up against any jim clyburn's stony face. i have one very quick question for you, though. you're a word guy. you have been brilliant with words for the republican side over the years. you phrase pithy sort of condensations. is there anything you heard from the president? >> i thought when he talked about this is the time that this is a moment. he was trying to draw a bookend. and by the way, i recognize that let's see what he says today and tomorrow. i acknowledge that. >> if you're kirsten jill brand, you're really wondering what he's going to say tomorrow. >> what i hear from the left is people who want the president to fail. you criticize republicans who said the same thing against barack obama. it's the same thing that's happening right now. we should hope that our economy moves ahead. we should want people to have
more money in their pockets. we should want more freedom and less regulation. these are things that every american on the left and right should want. that's not what's coming out during the speech. that's not what i hear this morning. and in terms of that language, i did think that his immigration platform was very effective and i hope that it is met with a handshake from the democratic side. >> frank n our media political culture where everything is sky writing. if you believe this was a good speech and you poll it and talk to people, does it have a lasting impact? does it change anything or was it just a moment in time? >> that's the saddest thing of all. i don't believe it changes anything. i think we've all gone to our camps and made a decision even before he spoke and that is why our democracy is so sick that we're not listening to people we disagree with. in fact, we're dismissing them. somehow we need to get back to the point that not everything is perfect, that we make mistakes and that we need to be humble. a thought last night was a good first step. i'm hoping we take a second step
today. >> humble is a word for the president to embrace. walter, thank you. >> frank, appreciate it. >> and by the way, mika, just to end up the segment, i think you have agreed all along and one of your concerns last night was the democrats still haven't figured out how to put their best foot forward. >> yes, i think that's true in terms of finding someone to really galvanize the party, but i really don't care if someone clapped or not. it's so beyond what we're really dealing with, which is probably preserving the foundations of our democracy which this president is stretching and pushing the boundaries and blowing through stop signs. i'm worried he's going to fire mueller. >> we have to find consensus. we have to be willing that we make mistakes and we have to be willing to work together. >> all right. >> that will save the democracy. >> all right. coming up, is president trump stepping on his own message again? he was overheard telling a
lawmaker last night he was 100% planning to release the controversial gop memo, but that's not what the white house was saying just hours earlier. we'll talk to the ranking democrat on the house intel committee, congressman adam schiff about the possible consequences of releasing that memo. "morning joe" will be right back. liberty mutual stood with me when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night. hold on dad... liberty did what? yeah, liberty mutual 24-hour roadside assistance helped him to fix his flat so he could get home safely. my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. don't worry - i know what a lug wrench is, dad. is this a lug wrench? maybe? you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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what the president also part of that incidental collection, his communications? >> yes. >> they were? >> the president needs to know that these intelligence reports are out there, and i have the duty to tell him that. >> chairman nunes? >> i somewhat do. i must tell you i somewhat do. i very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found. >> chairman nunes, can we ask you about the release of the memo? >> let's talk to the democrats. they talk to you. i don't. >> what a difference a few months make. congressman devin nunes ignored reporters yesterday, a far cry from his eager response to questions last march. the white house appears poised to release his controversial classified memo despite repeated warnings from the justice department. joining us now from capitol hill, the ranking member of the house intelligence committee
democratic congressman adam schiff of california. is there something we're missing, congressman, about devin nunes that would make him qualified, i guess, compared to the justice department and the intel community to know that this -- >> head of the fbi. >> memo is something that should be released? >> put it another way, why would paul ryan listen to devin nunes instead of the director of the fbi and the deputy attorney general? >> well, those are very good questions. first of all, it's all the more absurd when you consider that chairman nunes hasn't even read the underlying materials that are characterized in the memo. >> i want you to repeat that again because we had eric repeat that yesterday. >> well, the department of justice -- >> explain that. explain that. >> the memo characterizes underlying classified information, but the chairman never bothered to take the time to go read the underlying information. so how does he know whether the
memo written by his staff is even accurate? >> i'm sorry. is that like doing a book review for the new york times for a book you every even read? >> well, it's like having someone else do the book review for you and vouching to the whole house and to the whole country that it's accurate. now, here you're absolutely right. the fbi director, the deputy attorney general expressed their strong concerns about this. when i spoke with the fbi director, he asked to have the bureau come before our committee and explain their concerns about it. i raised that with the committee. i made a motion to allow the bureau and department of justice to brief all house members and share their concerns. that was voted down. >> why was that voted down? i don't understand. so, you're trying to give the republicans on the committee more information, more insight, more perspective, more context and they refuse. please cut through this for americans. why would republicans refuse to be better informed about the
information? >> because that's really not the goal. the goal is to put out a document that will set a narrative that helps the president. and that narrative is the fbi is corrupt. what they're doing is corrupt. the whole investigation is corrupt. bob mueller is corrupt. you should bring an end to this investigation. and that is, i think, singly destructive. it only encourages the white house to engage in conduct that could bring about a constitutional crisis. i think you began this segment at the right point and that is showing the chairman's ill-fated trip to the white house to present them evidence of a conspiracy of unmasking in the obama administration and we later learned that was information he had actually gotten from the white house. but what we're seeing today is a continuation of that same kind of strategy in concert with the white house that obviously doesn't tell us anything about what the russians did or anything about what the trump campaign did but isn't designed to. it's designed to distract and undermine the special counsel.
>> and to show what bad faith he's op right under. that was also information that when he spoke to the press he did not have himself. >> no. >> he was lying. and just making it up as he went along and this is who paul ryan is trusting instead of the fbi director and the deputy attorney general. >> it's disappointing to say the least. >> to your question on that, joe, why is the speaker doing this? one of the jobs of the speaker frankly is when necessary to reign in your own chairman, to make sure you're looking out for the country, for the institution. and here unfortunately and many respects not just with this chairman, the speaker has not shown the strength of will, the courage or backbone to do that. and what i find so shocking about this presidency is not what a poor president donald trump has been, which i think many of us anticipated but rather how willing leadership in congress would be to roll over in the face of these attacks on
our institutions. >> well, let's add to that list, congressman, unfortunately a man who served proudly in the uniform of the united states for years, general kelly, who chose yesterday to ignore the warnings on intelligence from the fbi director, the deputy attorney general regarding classified information and america's national security. congressman adam schiff, thank you very much. >> thank you, congressman. >> thank you. still ahead this hour -- >> we have ended the war on american energy and we have ended the war on beautiful, clean coal. senator joe manchin was on his feet after that line from the president. the west virginia democrat joins the conversation next on "morning joe."
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that throughout his first year in office, president trump enjoyed his highest approval rating in west virginia, the only rating where trump was above 60%. democratic good to have you on board this morning. >> joe and the whole gang. >> how was the speech last night? >> i thought it was good. i'm an optimist, i'm looking at everything i can, basically will lift us up and work together. clean coal technology talked about the shout out to coal and work on pensions for my miners, they need the pension because they'll be losing it. i need his help for that. he talked about oepiapiate addin and infrastruck tour, i never saw a pothole with a democrat or republicans name on it. we have to have infrastructure and we're all in support of the military. >> that's a good line. can i use that one? >> that's the one thing that
should bring us -- >> i've always said that. >> start with infrastructure. >> i totally agree. >> senator, gene robinson here. >> how are you? >> good. how are you? >> good buddy. >> a big part of the president's popularity, he does talk about coal all time and calls it beautiful clean coal but there's an err of unreality to that. you know what has happened to the coal market internationally and know that demand isn't what it used to be and isn't going to be what he used to be. is this wise? is this right to speak to things don't go back to what they were 50 years ago, which we know will not happen. >> let's go back to when i was governor, from 2005 to 2011, when i was governor, we were mining a little over 150 million tons of coal a year in west virginia for the energy for our nation needs. we want clear down to 75 million
tons. we're back up and stabilized. what the president was able to do and give him credit for this and i've told president obama, you're overreaching to the point you're doubling down and shut down the financial markets which choked off the coal industry and people lost their jobs right and left and destroyed almost all southern west virginia. so i said, the president is basically stabilized, president trump and by some of the regulations we're overreaching. we want to balance between the economy and environment. there's not a west virginian that wants to drink dirty water. we're not going to. we need more research and development and coal will be needed for quite some time as far as the oil and energy policy. >> senator, we've been talking about immigration here at the table this morning and you got a proposal sort of on the table from the president that might be something democrats can work with but draped in this rhetoric that a lot of democrats find offensive. so just give us a sense of whether you think there's some
tangible here and plausible to be built on to get to a deal. >> first of all, john, you know that he's managed with his proposal right now, he's managed to pit -- i'm sorry. >> you can say it. >> go right ahead, senator. >> speak the plain truth. >> way too early. >> he's managed to tee off both the far left and right -- >> that's what you were going to say. >> exactly, you read my mind, wouldn't you. >> i would never hear you say the other words. >> i would not. i'm so sorry. >> anyway, real quick, so we got something to work with. he's going to 1.8. he's base he cically said we're to find a pathway to citizenship for those that know no other home than america. that's a positive. the family reunification, which is really got a lot of the democrats really upset about, and we're trying to work through that, not changing the entire immigration policy -- legal
immigration policy, also securing the borders, 25 billion, we're trying to work through that because you know the technicians, the people who know on home lapd security had a total briefing for an hour and a half yesterday morning. they told us, this is what we need. we're going to build a wall. the wall will not be a wall you might think of, not going to be the china wall. it's going to be gates very sturdy see through gates that secure our borders where we need it, technology, more agents, high speed boats in areas we need to intercept, drones, we're talking about a total overhaul of our security system north and south. >> kasie. >> i couldn't help -- i was in the chamber last night watching you sitting over on the democratic side and felt like you kept popping up to applaud and kind of a man alone. there were a lot of your colleagues sitting down. do you think that that was a disrespectful way to approach the president or do you have
sympathy for their position? >> the respects and civility we should have, i was very upset when i saw the republicans never ever stood up with barack obama and there was things i didn't agree about president obama in his speech, but i was taught in west virginia there's a little bit of respect and you should show that. i did that then and i did it last night. i thought the democrats were wrong in not showing respect. that's just me, old fashioned me. i just -- that's who i am. >> senator manchin, before we let you go, it's willie geist. the president stopped to talk to one of your republican colleagues in the house and said 100% i'm going to aproffer the release of the devin nunes memo. >> i think it's the wrong idea and i would plead him not to do that. >> i talked to adam briefly, that's not what we're taught to to do. i'm on intel on the senate side
and devin nunes, we're taught that we have nine different intelligence agencies that we gather all of the information to make sure they all check out. that's our sources before we go ahead with something. with any credibility. he won't even reveal his sources yet alone allow the fbi to talk to them. that's so wrong and not what we do and not what we're supposed to do or how we do our job. why he's doing this, i have no idea whatsoever. i respect the fbi. i respect the cia and all of the agents, these are the best of the best. we need to make sure we pro tektd ttekt the judicial system if you want the democracy to work, three branches equal powers, do it right. >> mr. president, don't release it. don't release it. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> mike, do you think donald
trump is trying to -- undermine him so much if he's a could con spir tore and bad news comes down the pike, he can say that he's got no credibility. >> i think he's doing both. he's undermining them every single day but climbing the ladder towards firing them. that's the behavioral pattern is clear. i mean, we don't study history well in this country, our own history, we have never historically been in a position that this country is in today with a president of the united states actively undermining established agencies of government, actively -- >> with the speaker, unfortunately. >> and compliant republican house. >> still ahead, the russia story seems to follow the president everywhere. he was in davos when the news broke he tried to fire bob mueller and just about to deliver his state of the union speech when the "washington
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and make sure you protect your investment. office depot® officemax. officedepot.com ♪ taking care of business i'll see ya. banquet pot pie is the meal that lets you get back to the basics. easy to prepare, and made with tender cuts of meat, nice! sweet veggies, and rich, savory gravy. banquet pot pies. made for the moments that matter most. tonight i call on congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the american people. >> maybe that was overlooked in the larger speech but president trump wants to fire federal workers who aren't seen as trust worthy by his administration. >> well, sally yates comes to
mind, jim comey, bob mueller. >> rod rosenstein. here we go. the president prepped his state of the union, top officials at the white house were reportedly pleading with the white house to stop republicans from releasing a classified memo. at 5:00 p.m. yesterday, the president has not seen or been briefed on the memo or reviewed its contents five hours later. >> no plans, there are no plans. that's good to know. >> five hours later the president said this. >> release the memo. don't worry. 100%. >> can you imagine that? >> yes, sir. >> be too angry. >> welcome back to "morning joe", it's wednesday, january 31st. with us, we have national affairs analyst and msnbc john heilemann, former aide to the bush white house elise jordan is here and former treasury official and "morning joe"
economic analyst, the recovering steve -- has a massive injury. >> really? >> didn't hear about that. >> that's right. >> kasie hunt will be joining us shortly. get the lightning rod ready. i think we ought to try to put at least the state of the union itself in its own place. could you put that into perspective? >> i think it was a good night for donald trump but voters always grade this man on the curve. donald trump has taught americans lower expectations when viewing the reality show president, yet american carnage, remember that was really inspiring speech through charlottesville and slanderring the entire continent of africa, donald trump has earned the first year distinction of carrying the low environmentest rating in american history. but last night they said he was on his best behavior. true. that doesn't mean he didn't deliver a divisive speech. while it may have polled lower than any state of the union
address in 20 years, almost half of americans thought it was quote, very good. again, we're grading on a curve and in trump world, that's a big win. never mind posts about the economy were mostly hollow, job growth, wage growth and even the stock market performed as well or better under barack obama. check the numbers. you know, democrats did nothing to show they have a better deal for america. five responses, on five different platforms from five different speakers is not where the opposition party needs to be at such a historical moment in time. last night was a good night from donald trump and should hold him in good standing with supporters and independents at least until his first tweet today. i do think though again, grading on a curve, understanding that a lot of people were saying great things about his speech last year, and three days later, of course he said barack obama
wiretap was going around wiretapping his phones in trump tower. again, everything is relative. that said, you look at the numbers and his base loved it and a lot of independents, who were starting to move his direction slightly over the past couple of weeks in some polls liked what they heard last night. >> if you took that speech last night in a vacuum, having known nothing previously about donald trump, it would have been a pretty conventional president's speech, a lot of conservative notes and he touched on the base and hit immigration hard which he knows his voters are worried about. but we can't take it in a vacuum. it's divorced from the presidency he's had for the last year. when he talks about a message of unity, there's been no unity in this country for the last year and that's been driven by him. so again, this is rhetoric. he gave a good speech on a teleprompter but let's see what he does today and tomorrow and remember what he's done over the last couple of years. >> let's hear him talk about unity and what he calls a new
american moment. >> i call upon all of us to set aside our differences to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people. this is really the key. these are the people we were elected to serve. >> this in fact is our new american moment. there has never been a better time to start living the american dream. so to every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you've been or where you've come from, this is your time. if you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in america. you can dream anything and be anything. together we can achieve absolutely anything. >> john, as we've been trying to
say for most of this presidency, context matters and you look at the context of that speech was given in that those words were given in. it's a context of a constitutional crisis, about to erupt. if donald trump moves forward with firing bob mueller or firing rod rosenstein or even exposing a memo that the fbi director and the deputy attorney general rushed to the white house and beg him not to release. >> there's a reasonable argument we're already in the middle of a constitutional crisis and it's a rolling saturday night massacre what we're seeing, in terms of how the ongoing war against the justice department and fbi by the trump administration, to discredit those institutions and what has happened yesterday with what happened over the last couple of days with chairman nunes and this memo controversy. >> also, paul ryan, one -- sfwl and paul ryan, yes, 100%. >> one of the biggest
developments yesterday was that the speaker of the house -- >> yes. >> had the deputy attorney general as well as the fbi director begging him not to pass along classified information to an intel chairman who had already proven himself unworthy of having that sort of information. and the speaker of the house -- >> chose sides. >> he chose sides and yesterday will be a day that will be remembered for paul ryan deciding that a respected house intel committee and a bipartisan intel committee is a quaint notion in the past. >> history looks kindly in mitt romney in 2012 pointing out that russia was america's greatest political foe and many laughed at met romney for that. paul ryan who stood proudly with mitt romney and said russia is
the main political adversary is behaving this way. there are people great add mirrors of paul ryan who find this totally baffling. back to your original point -- >> i've known him since he was 22, it's despicable, i say that as a guy i've liked, since he was 22. >> that's why you're disappointed. >> i couldn't be more disappointed. >> we're in the midst of a rolling constitutional crisis and the reality unlike nixon when he gate his state a union a year in the watergate investigations, this investigation is in some respects has more breadth, because nixon -- no one claimed richard nixon was a traitor or richard nixon was aiding a foreign government. this is a two-prong investigation in which you've got all of that domestic stuff on the obstruction of justice side and plus maybe the greatest foreign policy security in the
history of the country. >> absolutely. >> ee lesiolielise, add to that sanctions. this presidency, if you look outside the teleprompter box of the state of the union, it is almost like we're desensitized i think to how serious things are. i'm concerned this president will move to fire mueller. i think we have to talk about that. >> it's not exactly reassuring when the treasury department apparently just copy and pasted the forbes list of the wealthiest russians to build the list of people to bring up for possible sanctions. i am also struck last night just that cuba and venezuela were singled out but what about russia? in terms of foreign policy in this speech though, more alarming than whatever the relationship is with russia, whatever the investigation going on stateside is, the language on north korea. there was some bombast there but
it was very vague in terms of what the actual policy would be. coming on the heels of the news that we still do not have an ambassador to south korea, that victor cha was rejected by the administration after being approved by south korean government that he was no longer -- because he wasn't hawkish enough and didn't support the idea of the so-called bloody nose strike, it's very -- it's very disturbing that we have this call for more action in north korea but this was a speech of generalities. >> and people should check out by the way his op-ed in the "washington post" this morning. >> we'll go back to paul ryan in a minute. what he said yesterday, the fbi had to quote be cleansed, we need to cleanse the organization. >> this is incredible. >> shocked to hear from paul ryan. >> in cleansing, we have also people on the right talking about purges. so you have purges and cleansing. they have adopted the language
of tyrants undemocratic au autocratic language. there are people who have known paul like me since he was 22, who respect him and like him as a person, who are absolutely stunned that he would take his dedication to donald trump this far. especially, as john pointed out, since he was mitt romney's running mate and they were very clear on russia. >> they look to paul ryan as a guy who to do the right thing at the right time and stand up for honor and duty and love the country, like of all of the people in the republican party, he seemed like the one who you could turn to in times of trouble and he would do the right thing come what may. this is simple. and he can't, which is stunning. >> always been viewed as a principle guy, principle
conservative whether or not you agreed with his position. >> exactly. >> we're seeing a lot of it right now, people acts acting in the service of donald trump, all of this dear leader language going on and head of the epa scott pruitt correcting something he said years ago, this is the most accomplished president we've ever had. on and on. let's go back to the speech. kasie you were in the chamber, there were beautifueautiful mom the gally, we'll go to those in a bit. what was the feeling in the hall? on tv it looked like a lot of democrats sitting on their hands even at moments where they might be expected to stand and cheer not for donald trump but an idea they agree with? >> i think from the perspective of house democrats approached this and the mood in the room generally, there was no real -- there's just no faith on capitol hill. they are -- it is completely utterly divided and i think when
the president -- even when he was hitting on themes of national unity and using words about the american dream and what that means, i think the frame that they felt in the room was one that inflames the cultural divides that have existed and were very sharpened in the 2016 election, kind of divide we've seen over kneeling at nfl football games during the national anthem. and you saw rhetoric as the speech unfolded. even during the more lofty optimistic moments, i think opponents of the president read into something different. then turned on the section on immigration, which was most definitely inflammatory for democrats and you saw some of them start to boo or hiss or make side comments about it. i just -- it is impossible to overstate kind of the division and cynicism right now on capitol hill about this
president and about the future. i think that includes joe, to your point, paul ryan, who was somebody who was viewed as the kind of the quote/unquote ballast in the ship of state when this started last year, when we were talking about this speech. and now he's at the point where he wants to put out this memo, he's behind closed doors urging members don't tie this memo to bob mueller. they are not related, don't have anything to do with each other. clearly that will strain kred you'llty in the public eye. >> top officials at the justice department are pleading with the white house not to let politics rewrite the rules when it comes to keeping america secrets safe. the "washington post" reporter who broke the story is here next. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ( ♪ ) ♪ one is the only number ♪ that you'll ever need ♪ staying ahead isn't about waiting for a chance.
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the "washington post" report that rod rosenstein and chris wray, appealed to kelly to stop the release of a memo to house republicans on the intel committee. the post reports shortly before a vote to make the document public, rosenstein warned kelly it could jeopardize classified information and implored the president to reconsider the support tore making it public. rosenstein who supervises the mueller investigation said the justice department was not convinced the moem mow accurately describes its investigative practices. making the document public could set a dangerous precedent, according to a person familiar with that discussion. let's bring in "washington post" reporter covering national security, devin, you have a couple of scoops this morning. christopher wray and rod rosenstein go to see john kelly and say what exactly? >> they say that releasing this
memo will be bad for national security. it will be bad for the entire issue of how the government tries to protect classified information. this was a very strange area to be in where a house committee has just decided that it's going to release classified information. that's not how this normally works. and so the argument that they made was classified information will get out and that could set a precedent that would be bad down the road, not just for the facts of this but for the long term. and frankly, their argument was also, the way the fbi's conduct is described here is inaccurate. >> we just heard president trump after the speech going out and saying to a congressman on the aisle, 100%, i'll release it 100%. was that the feeling that they got w rayand rosen stein when they visited john kelly? >> everyone pretty much knows where they are on this issue but everyone is still also being fairly polite in how they
describe these discussions. you know, a key point being when these two officials the fbi director and deputy attorney general go to the white house, the house committee at that point hadn't even voted. but everyone basically knew what the vote was going to be. so the writing is on the wall here as to how this is going to play out but it's going to be painful and going to further alienate the white house from the fbi and the white house from the justice department. >> john heilemann? >> so there's been a lot of speculation recently in recent days, recent hours about the -- about where rod rosenstein stands and how secure the ground underneath his feet is. just give us a general sense of where you think that story is at this hour? >> right, look, i think the ice has been getting thinner for him for a while. you know, and i think everyone is sort of aware of the danger here because we've reported before that you know, trump has talked about privately the notion that well maybe the release the nunes memo could
justify the dismissal of rosenstein in some way. that's an alarming prospect for a lot of folks who think the mueller investigation needs to be protected and insulated from the political efforts to attack it. so i do think that rosenstein is in a precarious position, never been in a super safe position to begin with. you about now everyone is watching and waiting to see is this going to be the final straw in some sense for folks who are engaged in this work. >> thank you. coming up on "morning joe." a big portion of the president's speech focused on the economy, from the unemployment rate to the tax cuts passed by congress last month. but do the president's claims hold up? steve ratn ecer has thoughts on that. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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manufacturing alone tremendous numbers. after years and years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages. [ applause ] >> unemployment claims have hit a 45 year low. since we passed tax cuts, roughly 3 million workers have already gotten tax cut bonuses, many of them thousands and thousands of dollars per worker and it's getting more every month, every week. >> steve, this is what i find most remarkable about this, that
i was actually watching this network and somebody was trying to dismiss something that donald trump said. said, of course, the economy is roaring and it's doing better than it's done. and i sat there going, how incredible that his cheer leading has even got people on this network taking it as an established fact that the economy is roaring forward this year in a way it didn't for the past several years. let's put this in context. some of the things there were true and some were false. some were flat-out lies, job growth was faster under barack obama over seven years. after seven years after the collapse, then it was last -- wage growth was faster under barack obama if you adjust for inflation or maybe about the same. even the stock market, the s&p grew faster under barack obama than it did under donald trump. again, i'm not saying the economy is bad, we're -- in a
pretty good spell right now but this is after seven years of climbing out of a bad situation and again, there aren't a lot of areas, are there, where donald trump has a record that exceeds barack obama's. >> first of all, it's too early in any president to say that the president -- this president himself is responsible for what happened over the past year. i think if the economy hadn't done well, donald trump would have gotten up there and blamed barack obama, not that i had a bad first year and inherited this mess and it's still going on. gdp grew faster in the last three years of obama and your other facts are of course right as well. the declining unemployment rates and low rates for african-americans, this has nothing to do with donald trump. this is the continuation of a trend that's been going on for a while. >> it is important for people that are watching the show that support donald trump that are republicans, members of my family, if you look -- are my
friends from first baptist church in pensacola and all of my friends in pensacola. if you look at -- it's all in charts. it's all hard numbers. it's all it is -- it is all you can look at every chart and look -- i think one of the few things -- there's no doubt that huge corporations are thrilled with the tax cuts they've gotten. there's no doubt that consumer confidence is higher than it's been. but in part because as glennhubbard said, his quote is donald trump is just a better che cheerleader than barack obama. >> i we needed a corporate tax reform. barack obama proposed a corporate tax reform. but this was paid for by the high income residents of the blue states whose state and
local reductions they took away to pay for it but regressive tax cuts that helped the rich more than they help the poor. it's not something that you can look at and say this is great. there's no question about that and donald trump has played a role in thatprinciplely benefits the wealthy. >> michael beschloss put last night's night in perspective and veterans from the past two administrations weigh in, former chief of staff andy card and former white house press secretary to president obama, josh earnest. [ click, keyboard clacking ]
conclude his investigations. >> for 11 months they've had this phony cloud over this administration, over our government. >> one year of watergate is enough. [ applause ] so we'll see what happens. >> with us now, nbc news presidential historian michael beschloss and bureau chief for "usa today", susan page. i don't need to tell anybody the importance of having michael beschloss, he just confirmed that jetblue is now coming out of the marine terminal, barnicle says it and you confirm it. >> and historically marine terminal is where joe kennedy returned in 1940 from his time as ambassador in london. >> historically cares. >> moderate levels of the world. people who don't live in the new york area, marine terminal is
the one place to go in new york city where you don't have to put up with the bs of new york city airports, you get in and fly and it's the only -- >> oasis of sanity, jfk and laguardia. >> that's the main reason we had you on. >> thank you. i've enjoyed my appearance. >> and you were talking yesterday about parallels between what rip ard nixon was saying and throws of watergate and what donald trump is saying now that four people that worked from him have been arrested and charged by the independent counsel. >> right, you show the clip of richard nixon 44 years ago last night and his state of the union saying and the investigation one year watergate is enough. and have the investigations special prosecutor, which was leon jaworski ended, three weeks later in february of 1974, a grand jury named nixon as an
unindicted co-con spir tore. wouldn't have been a great time to end that investigation. >> some people are saying what we're watching is actually a slow motion saturday night massacre. and you know, very interesting, everybody talks about how stupid donald trump's advisers are. you may have brought this up. it seems like they have gone to school on nixon and watergate and they are actually doing the slow burn instead of firing everybody in one night. >> well, it sure looks like that. we know in his entourage he has people involved at the time. robert stone worked for richard nixon for decades. i thnk he has said in public it would be a mistake for the president to talk to robert mueller and presumably he would be in favor of this. so i think it probably is a slow motion effort to fire mueller. and that's what the context i think of last night will be in history because if all of that
happens and we're talking about a state of the union of address of 2018, probably we'll think of it as a prelude to trumps efforts to close down this investigation, that turns out to be less slow motion so fast as you were saying earlier. he can't get out of the house chamber without telling a member of congress that he's 100% behind releasing that report that related to the firing of rosenstein. >> susan stage, with that as a backdrop, what did you think of the president's speech? >> he did not follow the nixon script in terms of talking about the elephant in the room during the state of the union. he did not mention the russia investigation. i think it's possible that when we look back on this speech, that aside, that spontaneous comment took jeff duncan as he was leaving, may turn out to be more important if the president in the next few days moves ahead and approves the release of this controversial memo from the house intelligence committee.
that is going to ignite one more firestorm and if he reaches an agreement with the special counsel in the next few days for his own testimony, that is going to wash away everything we're talking about in terms of the content of the speech that he read off the teleprompter last night. >> john, it's kind of an extraordinary thing. going back and looking at nixon's speech in 74 when he says one year of watergate is enough and we know nine months later he's resigned, right? the big difference -- you compare the two investigations, domestic abuse of power and in trump's case the difference with the russia collusion thing is a different dimension. the fundamental difference is, you have republicans in 1974 who were willing to go down to the white house and say to richard nixon, time to go. look at the republicans now and to just talk a little bit about the difference between republicans now and then and why there's so much difference between the republicans and what they see as their institutional responsibilities or lack ever responsibilities today than 40
years ago. >> what the constitution basically says is that if a president misbehaves, members of congress have to go above party and above self-interest and in the house decide whether this person should be put on trial and later on if there's a trial, see if he is committed high crimes and misdemeanors. and there was a lot of that in 1974. there hadn't been an impeachment since 1868, andrew johnson and they took this seriously. democrats on the judiciary committee after they voted for nixon's impeachment july of 1974, including the chairman, peter rodeno, they went back stage and cried. this was not just a show. they real rised how important this was and there were in the minority at that point, mainly moderate republicans but not only moderate republicans who said with a heavy heart i love richard nixon and supported him for years but cannot bring myself to vote against his impeachment.
>> susan page, by trump's standards, it was a more uplifting speech than his previous speeches. if you look at his inaugural, he talked about unity. but i said earlier, you can't take what he says for an hour and 15 minutes or so in a vacuum, as if the previous year and 11 days hadn't happened. this has not been a unifying president in any respect. do you think there were people in the room who took heart in what he said or too calloused by what they know he's been about for the last year? >> i think things are pretty set with president trump. one of the things we talked about, his approval rating is the lowest of any modern presidency and his aprofproval rating is more stable than any other modern president. people last march made up their minds in large part about president trump and we have 37% of americans sticking with him, we have about 55% of americans who have decided they disapprove
of him and that has not been shaken by just about anything that's happened. americans are watching i think what the president does, not what he says. that is one of the factors that makes the big speeches less influential than they might have been at another time. >> we spoke about the parallels between the nixon investigation and impeachment in 1974 and what's ongoing today and yet it seems the one striking difference between the two eras and presidencies in peril, would be the fact that this president, this administration is operating with basically a foreign power, russia, having declared war on us in one form or another. >> absolutely. >> this president's allies include the bulk of his own party, the republican party and specific clally a republican speaker of the house. >> that's exactly right. i thought that was a horrifying
part of that speech last night, the fact that the president and this goes way beyond what richard nixon did if this turns out to be true, suspected of having in some way collaborated with a hostile foreign power that attacked our election in 2016 and our democracy may do so this fall in the mid-term elections, god forbid. there was one line in the speech last night, he said something like, you know, russia and china are powers that do not share our values and our economic rivals. i mean it was wall paper. this was not something that suggested the magnitude of this. one other thing, i think the scariest thing he said yesterday, he had the standard launch with the network anchors yesterday before the speech. peter baker's piece in the "new york times," he says i'd like to unify the country according to peter baker, wonderful source,s about it's very hard to do trump said without a unifying event
and baker says he was referring to -- the catastrophic event like a terrorist attack. he wasn't saying he was going to do that but that was a terrible mind diagnose set to be in, the best way to unify the country is wait for a terrorist attack or only way. it's something that most other presidents would not have even said in private. >> chilling. >> >> vevery chilling. >> susan page, you and i and everyone around the table have sat through quite a few of these. can you think of one that's had any lasting impact? will this have any lasting impact? it's 8:45 and i don't think the president has tweeted yet and that's pretty spectacular in and of itself. >> some states of the union had some lifting impact. i'm thinking about president reagan, citing lenny xut nick in the house gallery and starting
this whole series of people in the gallery with the first lady. and those were moments i thought were pretty compelling last night about the police officer and his spouse who adopted that baby from a mother who had been an addict or north korean refugee holding up his crutches. those were real moments but in terms of presidential rhetoric, proposals, initiatives that this president wants to pursue this year, i thought the impact of that is not going to be great. i think these things get washed away by the events that we'goino consume us tomorrow morning and next morning. one side of that, the president is not doing what his modern predecessors have done by going on the road and trying to sell the proposals he's made. that's a sign that he himself does not see this as something with continuing resonance. >> the words rarely resonate into policy. i remember bill clinton saying the era of big government is over. i think the national debt was about $4 trillion then and over
$20 trillion right now. i remember, john, republicans, we were sitting there, clinton droned on and on -- >> yes. >> and we mocked him. we mocked him and we were laughing at him and shocked as he always shocked us, ended up helping him. >> that is the state of the union that i think of as having been most sequential. in political terms after the 94, clinton gave an incredibly long speech that pundits and republicans hated and the country loved it. it was a laundry list of small proposals -- >> school uniforms. >> that became the template for the '96 re-election and the country was like, we love that stuff. that sounds great and clinton campaigned on it in '96. >> in '98, exactly 20 years after ago after the monica lewinsky thing began. didn't mention the scandal speech that was long like these, didn't mention it. but just the fact that that long speech people heard proposals
they liked, his gallup number went from 59 to 69 against all expectations. >> useful. >> last night trump's speech polled well. >> polled well last night and i will say -- >> please for the love of god don't tweet. >> right. >> i will say also, i think one thing that has been lost, i think often gets lost in the churn afterwards, donald trump, you've got to give him credit. he has a message directed to his base, to fox news, to the intense 31, 33 president, that was a moment when you go beyond the base and you've got the reality tv size audience looking at you and he delivered a less threatening less offensive message for that audience. i wouldn't be surprised if the poll numbers went up.
>> all right, michael beschloss and susan page -- >> great news about jetblue. >> historic event. >> it is historic. >> john kelly has been an ally of the intel community serving as secretary of homeland security but in his new role as chief of staff he seems to be siding with the president and against the fbi. we'll talk about that with a former white house chief of staff, andy card. keep it right here on "morning joe." hold on dad... liberty did what? yeah, liberty mutual 24-hour roadside assistance helped him to fix his flat so he could get home safely. my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. don't worry - i know what a lug wrench is, dad. is this a lug wrench? maybe? you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. luckily, office depot®not officemax® is hereeart. to take care of you.
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one of the big stories of the day is a last ditch effort by officials at the justice department to head off the release of a classified memo written by republicans. "the washington post" reports on monday, shortly before a vote to make the document public, white house chief of staff john kelly was warned that the memo could jeopardize classified information. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein implored the president to reconsider his support for making it public. meanwhile, bloomberg recently reported that kelly was a point person for the president when it came to those reports about missing text messages between two fbi agents who had expressed anti-trump views. according to the report, kelly held separate meetings or phone calls with senior justice department officials last monday, tuesday, and wednesday to convey trump's displeasure and lecture them on the white house's expectations. >> wow. >> kelly has taken to ending such conversations with a
disclaimer that the white house isn't expecting officials to do anything illegal or unethical. >> the justice department declined bloomberg's request for comment. let's bring in former white house chief of staff under president bush andy card, also white house secretary to president obama, josh earnest. they're both political analysts for msnbc news. andy card, how many conversations did you have with the fbi or justice department telling them what you expected them to do and what george w. bush expected them to do in investigations regarding your administration? >> that would be zero. >> andy, can i ask you -- andy, i want to follow up with that question. i'm serious. this is important for people to have context. are you aware, in your vast knowledge of government service, of any chief of staff or president ever directly
expressing displeasure with the fbi or justice department on an investigation and ordering them to take certain actions that were self-interested? >> well, there were several parts to your question, but no, i'm not aware of any chief of staff or significant white house official calling the fbi to try to limit their ability to do their job or to suggest how they should be doing their job. i think they were very definiti deferential to them. the culture at the fbi wasn't what i thought it should be so i did have concerns about that. i would never have called to put my thumb on the scale. >> what about robert mueller?
do you have any -- as somebody that worked closely with him, that knows him, do you have any reason to believe he would ever do anything that even came close to the line of improper? >> i have known robert mueller for a long time. i have the greatest respect for him. i have no expectation that he would be doing anything other than what should be done. i think he is honorable, honest, hard working, dedicated, and wants to do the right thing. i do think that he may have had a blind spot about some of the perceived biases that people of my that he brought in to work on the investigation. i wish that he had paid a little more attention to the perception of some of the ramifications or biases that people might have around him. i do think that has compromised a little bit the expectation that others have that he would be objective in how he does the job. i have great confidence in him and know that he will do the job. >> hey, josh, it's willie. having been in the white house just over a year ago and having helped run that communications
shop, as you've seen how this white house has operated for the first year and 11 days now, especially recently in terms of the russia investigation, contacts with the doj, contacts with the fbi, what do you think as you sit and watch this? >> well, just to pick up on where andy and joe left off, willie, we actually do have a pretty direct historical precedent for us to consult. you recall in the midst of the 2016 presidential election, fbi director jim comey and the department of justice took several steps that were outside protocols in terms of how they handled the investigation of hillary clinton. fbi director comey held a news conference to detail the list of concerns he had about secretary clinton's use of e-mail. he testified before congress to discuss those issues. he wrote a letter ten days before the election that said that the investigation would say reopened.
because our administration was so conscientious to make sure there wasn't even the appearance of political influence on an ongoing law enforcement investigation, neither publicly nor privately did we raise concerns or express our objection to the fbi's handling our case, even though everyone else had concerns about the way they were handling the case and even though president obama's preferred political candidate was the one who was bearing the burden of the fbi's conduct. >> mike barnicle. >> andy, you just said some aspects of the fbi culture bothered you lately. what did you mean by that? >> well, i mean, i don't like this -- i haven't seen the e-mails so i don't know what they are, but i don't like the perception that people were back and forth about the election
results. i hope it's not a deep cultural problem in the fbi. i want america to have confidence in the fbi. >> but andy, you have people inside the fbi and cia that were hostile to george w. bush and were leaking nonstop. they picked him apart bit by bit over eight years. george w. bush never turned his rhetorical guns on the fbi or cia. despite the stream of likes. >> lookit, first of all, i have great respect for the work done by our intelligence communities including the fbi. i have great respect for the secrecy that is needed for them to be able to do their job. i'm upset that we are talking about leaked documents in the first place. i think it's absurd that we have leaked documents that we're trying to get permission to leak. it is what it is today. i don't like that nature of culture. and i want to get back to letting the intelligence community do its job without interference. they have a hard job.
and they are supposed to be presenting information that's important for the president to be able to do his job. this is beyond investigations. just do the job. >> josh earnest, final thoughts. >> the final thought here is the context is important. in the 2016 election, the vast majority of the leaks from the department of justice and the fbi were actually intended to hurt secretary clinton, even though we now know, we didn't even know at the time there was an ongoing investigation of donald trump. it continues to be beyond my imagination how anybody can credibly claim that somehow the fbi or department of justice was biased against donald trump. there's no evidence for it. >> just to wrap it up, we're over and i apologize, but really quickly, it's important to remember that the fbi released a letter ten days before the election that did more than anything else to help elect donald trump, to keep him in the game. they will even tell you that. so the fact that republicans are