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tv   MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi  MSNBC  February 8, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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we're just nine hours away from another government shutdown and congress still hasn't voted on the budget deal that leaders announced yesterday. we've got to get votes through by tonight. what's holding it up? third, the story that won't go away, stock markets continue to drop. markets are tanking again today, about a 2.5% loss, moderated in the last few minutes. we are getting much more of this in the day. i want to talk to you first about the markets. in the last few days, the last hour has been the most serious. look at this chart up here. that's the chart of the day. it has all been in the red. it's been negative all day. the issue, however -- and i'm going to push over here a little bit nks it has gone down and up and down and up and down and up. these little krags are what you want to see in a market. that's a functioning market. people are selling stock to get out of this. they think the rally has gone on for too long. people buy and it goes up. then people sell. that's the normal functioning of the market. what we want to be careful about
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is the last down leg from about 2:15 to now. we don't want to see that continue until 4:00. p the market ends on a downtick as we've seen the last several days, it means the selling is not finished, goes into europe and asia the next day and it comes back. that's what i'm going to be looking forward to over the next hour, what happens in this last hour. does it have this krag giness to it or does it end up selling off heavily. why? you're asking why. the short answer is the same answer it's been since friday, the economy is showing some good signs of growth. unemployment is low. it's at a 17-year low. job creation is good. this has been going on for a few years, we've seen those trends. at some point, and it happened on friday, strong economic news starts to worry investors because they believe that, if the economy is strong enough to withstand interest rate hikes, that's what's going to start happening. if you've been shopping for a mortgage or you have a variable rate mortgage, you'll know
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mortgage rates fed by the bond market have been going up already. now we think the federal reserve is going to continue on its path of increasing interest rates. that's what's got investors worried. i don't think this is anything serious right now. but i've got my eyes on it all the time. now, let's switch gears to the controversy surrounding white house secretary rob porter, erupting after accusations of physical and verbal abuse from two ex-wives. despite his resignation, he hasn't left the job. fierce reaction is pouring in from capitol hill including from fellow republicans. >> you cannot beat the hell out of your spouse. it is illegal and it is immoral, and stepping aside in my judgment was the right decision by mr. porter. >> this comes after one of porter's e wives says she disclosed the abuse during interviews with fbi acts conducting a background check on
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porter as part of his application to obtain a security clearance. here is some of her interview with "the washington post." >> i told them all of the details of my marriage including verbal and emotional abuse and including the incident when he pulled me out of the shower. they were also made aware of the protective order that i signed in june of 2010, and they were also made aware of another time when i had called the police to our home after a domestic disturbance. >> rob porter has issued a statement saying in part, these outrageous allegations are simply false. i've been transparent and truthful about these vial claims but i will not further engage publicly with a coordinated spear campaign. pet pete alexander is in the briefing room. peter, the weirdness here is that john kelly, it seems, may have known about this beforehand, and yet on wednesday he issued a very supportive press release -- statement supporting porter. then that all changed this
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morning. >> reporter: i think you're exactly right, ali. the initial statement put out by john kelly, by this white house on his behalf said he described rob porter as a man of integrity and honor. a matter of hours later after the photo of one of his ex-wives became public with that black eye, the story changed. porter forcing the white house to put out a new round of statements, one from john kelly to say he was, in his words, shocked by the allegations. the question is whether these allegations should have been new to the chief of staff. rob porter worked at his side for most of the time that john kelly has been here as the staff secretary. porter was not someone you frequently saw, but he was integral in that inner circle working at the president's side and john kelly's side for months. i'm told by a white house official that this is expected to be rob porter's final day. the questions we'll be posing to sarah sanders' deputy, a man by the name of raj shah that americans will likely meet for the first time, this will be his
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debut, will focus on when the president knew about these allegations, when did john kelly know about these allegations. as we understand it the white house was informed by the fbi at least as early as last november. why were they not aware of it sooner and why wasn't more done if rob porter didn't have top security clearance, why weren't there questions asked about why that was the case. these were all the things we've been focusing. we expect to hear from raj shah. there's talk act what has been a relentless news cycle of tough news for this white house already since the year began. this week, a story about spousal abuse. last week the memo. before that, reporting about how the president moved to try to fire robert mueller, the special counsel. before that, the shutdown. before that the s word, the back and forth over the language the president used privately. then the "fire and fury"
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scandal, that book and steve bannon's comments. before that, the beginning of the year. >> peter, we'll stay close to you through the press conference that's supposed to start at about 3:15. it's delayed. you'll see a new face -- >> chris whipple, author of "the gatekeepers, how the white house chiefs of staff define every presidency." i think people are starting to wonder about who he is. he was supposed to be the steadying hand. october 19th he falsely accused florida representative fredrica wilson of grandstanding at a public event. on october 30th he said a lock of ability to compromise led to the civil war. on this tuesday he said some dreamers were too afraid or too lazy to sign up for daca. seemed to be representing views
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of others. the lays difficult immigrant is a trope that gets stuck with us. on wednesday he stood by his statement of porter as a man of integrity and honor. this is a guy who is supposed to bring order, certainly in the last few weeks, he seemed to have jettisoned. he doesn't seem to be the order guy. >> almost enough to make you nostalgic for reince priebus. >> he was supposed to be the grown up in the room, the moderating form, smoothed the rough edges off donald trump. the problem is he's doubled down and reinforced all of donald trump's worst instincts. politically inept as the litany you just recited shows. it's really. it's not that he hasn't helped him to govern. there's an arrogance and a sense these guys are above the rules.
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trump respects no constitutional norms, a human wrecking ball. kelly reenforces that. he likes to blow stuff up. how you can put somebody in the position of staff secretary without having a security clearance -- >> this person sees everything that goes to the president. i spoke to a former staff secretary that said he saw more stuff at the white house than when he went to the nsa. they're supposed to see everything the presidencies. >> it's just mind-boggling. i spoke to a former republican white house chief of staff this morning who was quoting another chief, jim baker saying this isn't just a firing offense, this is a hanging offense. it won't be in the trump white house but he reminds me a little bit of donald truof ronald reagd chief of staff. no coincidence the iran contra scandal erupted on his watch. i see a lot of it in kelly.
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you saw from day one when he took the podium to attack representative wilson based on a made-up story. you see it with him calling everybody in congress idiots, attacking dreamers and on and on. >> nbc has reporting that john kelly was aware of the allegations of abuse before the story broke on tuesday which has to make sense. because the fbi or their contractors did interview these people. they knew of it. so the bottom line is, either he knew and didn't think it was important or his statement today where he said i was shocked by the new allegations released to day against rob porter. there's no place for domestic violence in our society. if he didn't know, that's also a problem. >> we don't know exactly how much he knew. apparently he was supposedly told in november. again, here is the trouble. kelly defined his job as managing an information flow to the president. he said, i'm not here to manage the president. i'm just here to do this limited thing. well, by his own limited definition, he has failed
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clearly. this is the latest example of it. it's not enough just to make the trains run on time in the west wing, to be a good chief of staff, you also have to be able to walk into the oval office, close the door and tell the president what he doesn't want to hear. he should have had that conversation with donald trump about rob porter. >> chris, good to see you. the book is the gatekeepers, how the white house chiefs of staff define every presidency. always an important book. probably more important than you read it now. tomorrow marks the deadline for donald trump to authorize the release of the democrat's response to the devin nunes memo. trump supporters claim the nunes memo proves the existence of a deep state. that's an underground group that exists within a country's government to undermine its leaders. i want to take you through this. the concept of a deep state is something that has existed in countries like egypt, turkey and pakistan for decades. these are countries, by the way, that have experienced coups and revolts from within and have had
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unstable governments. blindly loyal trump supporters point to the top brass at the fbi, cia and department of justice as being part of this deep state. here's the problem. almost everyone who would be part of that deep state is either a republican, a trump appointee or both. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, the guy who would have to sign the subpoena if robert mueller wanted one from the president, is a republican, first appointed by bush, appointed to his current post by president trump. chris wray trump nominated after he fired comey. comey himself, people often miss this, a registered republican. served as a u.s. attorney during the bush administration. robert mueller the special counsel investigating russian interference, nominated to the fbi as director by president george w. bush. there's no concrete evidence of this deep state. there is evidence, however, of russia's meddling, interfering in american democracy. disappointed with the government's response to this fact, former intel and pentagon
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officials are joining together in the committee to investigate russia. a claim film director rob reiner helped form the committee. he sat down with james clapper and john brennan to talk about the threat of moscow. >> i don't recall anything that gave me this early in the pit of my stomach a more uncomfortable, uneasy feeling than when i realized what the russians were doing. >> we new from experience they had methods of influencing elections. >> never this direct or multidimensional. i believe his first reaction to it was that this caused question about the legitimacy of his election. >> as long as the occupant of the oval office continues to refute the unanimous assessment of cia, fbi and nsa about what they did, it undercuts any effort to try and deal with this
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issue comprehensively, strategically and thoughtfully. >> rob reiner joins me now. good to see you. >> thanks for having me, ali. >> i want to be clear about the work this committee is doing. you are not obsessed with the collusion aspect. you're trying to make sure people have sort of almost a clearinghouse of information when it comes to what we should and do and don't know about russia and its involvement in the elections. >> that's right. this is the first time in american history where we've been attacked by a foreign enemy power that we haven't come together as a country, whether it was 9/11 or pearl harbor. weave always united. this is the first time when russia attacked our democracy in the election and we are divided and we do not have a response. so we formed this committee to try to shed light on this. when you hear james clapper and john brennan talk about this,
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they really express the gravity of what's going on. they have been doing this for 90 years between the two of them, for many administrations, republican and democrat, and they have never, ever seen anything like what the russians have been able to do. they're quite frightened by the fact that we have not responded at all. >> a couple days ago, whenever it was, the president mused that he might like a parade. the defense apparatus of this country is now working toward organizing a parade. to deal with this russian interference, tillerson said yesterday or the day before, they're doing it, they're up to it and we're not even sure we can stop them. we or not stopping them until the president decides this is a priority. >> 100% correct. if you remember 9/11, george bush was hesitant about forming a commission. he was maybe nervous about the fact that it would look like he was negligent or he wasn't on
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the ball enough for preventing it, but at the end of the day he said, it's more important that our country stay secure than it is about my own personal political gains, and we had a 9/11 commission that allowed us to understand this new form of warfare, terrorism. now we have cyber warfare which is much more insidious and ultimately more damaging, and we are doing absolutely nothing to develop protocols for how to respond to it or certainly what we need to do in order to make ourselves safe. >> rob, what does success look like for you and the people on your committee. what do you want to happen? what is the ultimate goal, that trump finally acknowledges something that all our intelligence agencies acknowledge, that world leaders elsewhere acknowledge, his own secretary of state acknowledge, or is it something else? can we fix this without trump getting involved? >> i don't think we can. the old express, a fish stinks from the head. we need our president to say
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this happened to us. now, he may be concerned about how it delegitimizes his election. i don't really care about that. i care about america being safe. the only way that's going the happen is if the president puts a priority on it and says, congress, let's form a bipartis bipartisan, non-partisan commission and figure out this new cyber warfare world we're in, how do we deal with it? what are the protocols we need to adopt? >> i want to play you this clip going around that omerosa was taped in, talking about these tweets. let's listen to it. >> i was haunted by tweets every day. what's he going to tweet next? >> does anybody say to him, what are you doing? >> i tried to be that person, and then all of the people around him attacked me. it was like keep her away, don't give her access, don't let her talk to him. ivanka is there, jared is there.
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>> who has that power to say what's going on? >> i don't know. i'm not there. it's not my -- it's not my circus, not my monkeys. i'd like to say not my problem, but i can't say that because it's bad. >> there's a whole lot of stuff weird about that, "celebrity big brother." it was overly dramatic, true. but a little truth there if people are saying not my circus, not my monkeys. for people expressing this inside the white house, please, pull a fire alarm, it's your problem. >> it is your problem. you tend to discount somebody like omerosa who came from a reality television show, but our president came from a reality television show. we're in that crazy reality now. we better figure out what we're
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going to do because this cyber warfare is much more insidious than you think. >> let me ask you one thing about this deep state nonsense. you've stalked to these guys, interviewed these people who are theoretically part of this deep state that steve bannon perpetuates, the president perpetuates. there is a real danger to this. this is the kind of stuff dictators do. we saw it in world war ii. we've seen it in every genocide. people get mad when we make these employer comparisons when you undermine the courts, the media, the apparatus of the bureaucracy, you're telling people trust nobody but me. >> that's right. we are many, many steps towards authoritarianism. we're hoping that the pillars of our democracy will hold and i hope it does. according to clapper and brennan, the longer we go on denigrating the law enforcement community, the more difficult it's going to be to repair this,
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and i'm afraid. >> we're seeing it in the polling numbers. it is starting -- people's faith in these institutions is starting to deteriorate. rob, thanks for the work you're doing. >> thanks for having me ali. >> i don't give the introduction you should have because everybody knows rob reiner. up next, an nbc exclusive outlining how russia successfully penetrated state voter rolls between the 2016 presidential election. we'll keep monitoring the mashts and bring you updates as we need. roit now the dow is up 2 2/3%. i'll keep an eye on it for you. regularly with our ameriprise advisor. we plan for everything from retirement to college savings. giving us the ability to add on for an important member of our family. welcome home mom. with the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant.
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a majority of americans say russia will interfere again in the united states. that's from an nbc news/survey monkey poll that says 57% of americans believe they'll try to influence the elections. 55% say they're not confident the american government is doing enough to prevent foreign interference. that comes after an nbc news exclusive report that russians successfully hacked into voter registration rolls of several states prior to the 2016 presidential election. >> i can't talk about classified information publicly. for the visibility we did have, we saw targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of that 21 were actually successfully penetrated. >> joining me now, nbc news intelligence and national security reporter ken dilanian. this is a step farther than many
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people knew. they knew there had been attempts. >> in 21 states the burglars were rattling the locks on the doors and windows. in a handful of states they actually got in. that's the first time the government is acknowledging that. what's disturbing is it's not clear this couldn't happen again. that story showed there are efforts under way to help the states patch up these systems. it's an incremental small scale response to a national problem. there's no leadership on this from the oval office. >> what's the issue here? do we know or believe that voter roles were affected. if not, what's the implication? >> there's no evidence any vote was tampered with. in illinois the voter registration rolls were exposed. in theory they could make it so when those people showed up and they were turned away. >> former dhs secretary jeh johnson spoke with cynthia
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mcfadden about what states have done. these federal elections are run by the states. let's listen to what he told her. >> my worry is that since that time a lot of states have done little to nothing to actually harden their cyber security. >> i would not agree with that assessment. i would say they have all taken it very seriously. >> you heard me talking to rob reiner. the issue is in order to solve this, it means an all government response. state, local, everybody involved. part of the problem is we don't have the president on board for some of this stuff. we're also hearing that some states don't want the federal help? >> those two problems are linked. the states don't want the feds messing in their business. when you don't have the president saying, guys, this is a national crisis, the russians are attacking us. that allows state governments to be lax on this. some states insist they weren't hacked even when the government says, yes, you were. >> they may not have the same
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resources to figure it out. >> yes. there are bills in congress to punl for money to states for this. none of them have passed. >> ken dilanian, thank you very much. joining me is charles sole, the former national service intelligence officer at the director of national intelligence. someone else who knows this stuff was happening. charles, we've had people who have written books about it, talked about it. it seems fascinating to me when two days ago i hear secretary of state rex tillerson talking about, the russians might be trying to hack us, not sure there's anything we can do about it. >> i think there's pretty good agreement between the fbi, department of homeland security, the intelligence community that there was clearly russian involvement in the election. >> former vice president joe biden was talking to andrea mitchell earlier today. he actually said that -- let's listen to him. he said it might be negligence to ignore this.
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let's his en. >> what we do know is their attempts are continuing. what we do know and what i'm told is there has not been an n inner agency, bringing all the agencies together at one time in one meeting to focus on how do we stop them. to the best of my knowledge, there's not been an interagency meeting to do something about this. it's negligence. it's absolutely negligence. here you're talking about secretary of state. we know they're still doing this, we can't stop them. what have you done? have you brought together the cia, bought together all the agencies of the federal government that have the capacity at least to be able to stop and thwart what they're doing? haven't even done that. >> charles, whose job would it be to bring those people together, those agencies together? is that where you used to work,
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the dni? >> sure. you had my former boss jim clapper on. that would have been his job and under his purview. you know, i'd also point out, ali, it's not just the political system that's under threat. cleared industry is being attacked by russian cyber groups like fancy bear. that's a problem for us as well. >> clapper raises the alarm every time we talk to him about this. i wouldn't have guessed that sort of position is political and the next person doesn't have the same general set of priorities and russian interference in the election wouldn't be priority one, two or three. >> you're absolutely right. the intel community prides itself on being apolitical. it's not our job to take political sides. we do our best to take an honest approach, an honest approach to all issues like that. >> charles, thank you for joining us, former senior adviser to the director of
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national intelligence. back to the markets. we've improved a little bit. it is a volatile day on wall street. the dow falling about 577 points right now. we are going to keep an eye on this for you. i will tell you, the thing i was worried about at the top of the hour, was a constant decline over the course of this hour where some velocity goes into it. we're actually not seeing that right now. half an hour is a long time for the stock market. the countdown to the shutdown is back on. a new complication. nbc news confirmed senator rand paul is holding up the budget vote. we don't have a lot of time. this happens at midnight eastern tonight. lawmakers have until midnight to avoid the shutdown. even though we're hearing word of a deal, it does no good if there isn't actually a vote. if they can get this thing to the floor, senate leaders expected to pass a two-year budget deal -- imagine that, won't have to talk about it for two years. it's been negotiated by both
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parties achb then the measure goes to the house where there's republican opposition. here is the outline of the bill, increases spending by $300 billion over the next two years. includes $131 billion in domestic spending, $165 billion in military spending, increases the debt ceiling until march of 2019. the major issue left out, immigration reform. a solution for dreamers. garrett hait joins me from capitol hill. let's start with whether or not this actually gets done. why is rand paul holding it up and what does it mean? >> reporter: ali, this is something we're used to seeing from rand paul. any individual senator has a lot of power in the senate to slow things down. so much of what happens in the senate happens by consensus. rand paul is taking advantage of the rules here where he can essentially force the next vote on this deal to happen after midnight which could affect a government shutdown if it went through. he wants specifically to stop this deal or stop the spending part of it.
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he wants to force a vote on an amendment about which we don't know specifics because he has not been talking about this personally. he represents what we've heard from a lot of conservatives which is this bill, this deal is too expensive. here was jeff flake a little while ago. >> it's a bad deal. it spends too much money, $300 billion over the next year. i don't think we shut down but we've got to have a better deal than this. i love bipartisanship. it seems like the only bipartisan measures we can do is when we spend and spread enough money around where everybody is okay. >> >> reporter: if senate readers can come around a plan to get around rand paul's objections, this bill is likely to pass the senate. in the house, it has a chance to pass the house where conservatives say it's too expensive and democrats who say this is an opportunity missed. they're giving up leverage. there's not anything in this
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bill on daca or on immigration. you've seen this weird dance from democratic leaders all day long where they eve said we've liked this bill, we're opposed to the way it's being done. nancy pelosi said i'm not going to vote for it, but she didn't go out of her way to tell other democrats to vet against it. >> what is does the math say on this one? can rand paul hold it up or do they just want to not have rand paul vote against it? >> i think senate leaders don't want to see a shutdown over this. it would be embarrassing to say the least, if the government were to shut down even for an hour or two because they were unable to accommodate one senator's concerns. i think ultimately we will see this worked out sometime over the next couple hours. ali, it means another late, down to the wire, last-minute vote to keep the government open. >> just means garrett haake's
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dinner's plans canceled again. up neblt, what happened to the fiscal conservatism president trump tries to drill home. we have a countdown to a shut down and we have the down which is now down 2 2/3 percent. i'll keep an eye on it. you're watching msnbc. it's time for the 'ultimate sleep number event'
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the market is at its low right now. down about 710, 24,180. they look bad. they're hard to see. they are the lowtion of the session. the important number is to the left. the dow off all most 3%. i start paying attention when they're off 2.5%. at 3% and accelerating, i keep my eye on this a lot. i'm going to ask my producers to keep the corner on the screen. let's go the peter alexander standing by right now for raj shaw shah's press briefing. what do you expect to hear
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about, rob porter? >> reporter: this has been an extended delay. it was supposed to be 1:00, then 2:30, then 3:15. about five minutes ago we got a two-minute warning. they're clearly having a challenge putting their message together. a lot of the questions will focus on rob porter and particularly chief of staff john kelly, what he knew of these allegations, nbc news has heard from multiple officials that the white house was aware of some of these allegations against rob porter dating back at least as long ago as november, if not before then. so the questions today will be focused on, if you knew this information about rob porter, why was he able to remain in the job, working alongside chief of staff john kelly, alongside the president as well. he did not have the highest level of clearance here which is another one of the questions we'll be focusing on today. you would think that would be a red flag inside, that the chief of staff might have noticed, saying why does this person not have the top clearance, something they would have
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reviewed, another item we'll be focusing on when we hear from raj shah making his debut in the briefing room, expected to start two hours and 40 minutes ago. >> let me ask you about the wisdom of that. you all no raj sham, the american public generally doesn't. this is going to be a tough day for the white house. any way you cut it. i'll keep an eye over your shoulder, too and i'll tell you. why have a new guy out there today? >> we're told sarah sanders is off today. we got that indication early. this was not a last-minute trade. but a lot of pressure on raj as he comes before the group. he's a person we speak to routinely here. he has briefed reporters before on air force one and often in the press quarters in the west wing. a lot of eyes on this briefing, on raj, what he's able to say to create a little better clarity for americans and for all of us about the circumstances here. he is officially the principal deputy press secretary. he's going to be in the hot seat
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today. >> peter, we are also less than 12 hours away from a potential government shutdown which looked like we were going to be -- nine hours actually. we were looking like we could dodge that. now complications. that's another topic. >> we will focus on that as well. we saw the president's tweet saying he was very satisfied with the senate deal struck by the top democrat and republican on the senate side. obviously now a lot has to happen in the next nine or so hours to ensure there isn't a shutdown, what would be the second shutdown in as many months. you'll remember within the last 48 hours, the president himself repeatedly insisted let's have a shutdown. there should be a shutdown if he didn't get his way on immigration. remember, immigration is not a part of this current deal right now for the president, even after saying that yesterday, insisted he wants democrats and republicans to vote in support. i'll sit down. here they come. >> there's white house deputy press secretary raj shah. let's listen. >> good afternoon everyone. i want to start with a statement
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and then we'll take your questions. our normal policy consistent with the policies of past administrations is to not comment on background checks and security clearances. given the unusual nature of these circumstances, when a number of false reports floating around, we wanted to try to explain as best we can within our security limitations how the background investigation process works and talk a little bit about rob porter and how his situation fits within that process. background investigation process is the process for evaluating allegations about a white house staffer's conduct prior to injoing the white house. it's run by the federal law enforcement and intelligence communities i.'s used throughout the u.s. government. it's thorough. it's complex and it takes time. it takes time because we want to get it right. it's also costly, but it's
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absolutely worth it. over the course of any investigation, some information may arise that seems troubling or complicated and requires additional investigating. it's important to allow that process to continue in order for a fulsome understanding. the whole u.s. government takes this process seriously. it's not politicized or interfered with, but we do push to obtain accurate fulsome information as quickly as possible. now let me talk about rob porter. the allegations made against rob porter as we understand them involve incidents long before he joined the white house. therefore, they are best evaluated through the background check process. it's important to remember that rob porter has repeatedly denied these allegations and done so publicly. that doesn't change how serious and disturbing these allegations are. they're upsetting.
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the background check investigates whboth the allegations and denials. the investigation does not stop when allegations come to light. it continues to determine the truth. we should not short-circuit an investigation just because allegations are made unless they could compromise national security or interfere with operations of the white house. the truth must be determined. and that is what was going on with rob porter. his background investigation was ongoing. he was operating on an interim security clearance. his clearance was never denied and he resigned. so summarize, the allegations against rob porter are serious and deeply troubling. he did deny them. the incidents took place long before he joined the white house. therefore, they were investigated as part of the background check as this process is meant for such allegations. it was not completed, and rob porter has since resigned.
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during his time at the white house, rob received no waivers and no special treatment. this is the tried and true process. it was followed meticulously. we hopes this helps explain how seriously these matters are taken and how the ro ses works to investigate such allegations. with that, i'll take your questions. john. >> can you tell us when the white house first became aware of these allegations? >> there's been reports about the chief of staff. he became fully aware about these allegations yesterday. i'm not going to get into the specifics regarding who may have known what pieces of investigation because it was part of a background investigation. >> was he partially aware. >> we all became aware of the news reports on wednesday morning and the graphic images. >> did he know any of this back in november? >> again, i'm not going to get into the specifics. peter? >> the statement changed from john kelly yesterday morning to
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the statement yesterday evening. he said based on new allegations. but what changed yesterday absent photographs in terms of new allegations? >> i think what i just referenced. the reports had additional allegations, they had more information. >> you're saying the initial reports were two former wives accused him of violence, both physical and verbal abuse, was not sufficient for him to say -- >> there were a number of statements from the press secretary, from the chief of staff, from others, that reflected the rob porter that we've come to know working here for over a year, and the chief of staff for about the last six months. but the reports are troubling, and i think the statement from wednesday night reflects the rob porter that we had seen in these news reports and some of these credible allegations. >> to be clear, what was so shocking that had changed. what was so shocking? >> the full nature of the allegations, particularly the images. >> just to answer one more thing. you talked about the fact there weren't any concerns that could
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compromise national security or interfere with operations here at the white house. we've spoken to one of porter's ex-wives who said she warned the fbi that he could be susceptible to blackmail because of the allegations -- >> i'm not going to get into the specifics of the investigation itself. i think that's a question for the fbi and others. this is not our process. this is the process the u.s. government uses across agencies and has existed over numerous administrations. >> i want to clarify what you're saying here. are you saying that the chief of staff of this white house had no idea rob porter's two ex-wives had domestic violence allegations against them when they made those claims to the fbi, that john kelly did not know that? how is that possible that the chief of staff did not know that? >> again, this is part of an ongoing investigation. we trust the background check process. the chief of staff does not get detailed updates about what may or may not have been alleged. this is a process that involves thorough investigation. as i went through the process,
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it involves looking at not just accusations but denials. >> the white house said yesterday that porter's decision to leave was a personal one, that he wasn't pressured to do so. would rob porter still be on the job had he not decided to resign. >> he was terminated yesterday -- his last day was yesterday. he came earlier to clear out his desk. >> would he still be on the job? >> he offered his resignation and it was accepted. jim. >> in terms of the chief of staff's handling of all this, no regre regrets? >> i think the second statement that he sent out reflected his thoughts, which is that these allegations are deeply troubling. they are shocking, and i think the first statement reflected the rob porter that we have known. >> if i can follow up on that. as you were coming out here yesterday or sarah sanders was coming out here yesterday, you were releasing a statement from
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rob porter saying he took those photographs. that appears to be an acknowledgment that that abuse took place, that he helped document it. how can the white house chief of staff, how can the press secretary, how can this white house still be standing behind him when mr. porter appeared to be acknowledging that he had -- >> i think it's fair to say that we all could have done better over the last few hours, last few days in dealing with this situation. but this was a rob porter that i and many others have dealt with, that sarah had dealt with, other officials including the chief of staff had dealt with. the emerging reports were not reflective of the individual whom we had come to know. jeff. >> raj, did the president know that rob was working on a temporary clearance? >> no. the president wu the news report on tuesday night and was informed of the resignation on wednesday. he was saddened by it.
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saddened for all the individuals involved. >> is that something he was concerned about, not that -- >> he was not concerned about the specifics regarding rob porter's security clearance. danielle? >> do you have any information on how many senior white house staffers are currently working under an interim security clearance? >> i got into the security clearance process as much as i'm allowed to discuss it. i'm not going to go further. >> what is the white house's reaction to comments made by former white house aide omerosa on "celebrity big brother" where she said, quote, she's haunted by the president's tweets, she described the situation inside the white house as bad and said it is not going to be okay? >> not very seriously. omarosa was fired three times on "the apprentice." this is the fourth time we let her go. she had limited contact with the president while here. she has no contact now. peter? >> raj, we initially were told that rob porter was going to stay on a while and oversee a
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transition period. now you're telling us he was terminated yesterday. what changed? >> i think that we've looked at the things that are necessary to ensure a smooth transition. there will be a new acting stafr on, and operations can continue smoothly. la lee. >> thank you. [ inaudible ]. over the last one week [ inaudible ] was speaking, a limit on [ inaudible ]. everyone has been talking about illegal immigrants. they have been talking about legal immigrants. what is the position on this? >> well, i think the president wants to see legal immigration reform, wants to see it move from a process that currently exists in law of extended family chain migration toward merit-based immigration reforms. we want to ensure that people coming into the country are the best and the brightest regardless of nationality, creed, religion, or anything else in between.
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we want to look at educational backgrounds, ability to contribute to the work force in a way that helps american workers. so, president wants to see reforms that improve america's economy. noah. >> normally when you hire people, do you wait for the investigation to come back before hiring them? is the burden of proof not on the people seeking the job to prove that they are qualified and don't have any skeletons in their closet or do they get to come aboard and you wait and see what happens in the process? >> it tends to be a little bit different with the white house because there are a lot of officials coming in with the new administration. a lot of individuals coming in have an interim clearance. >> also, what about women who don't have photographs, do you trust their stories? because a lot of times you haven't been at the podium, but sarah said allegations weren't credible from other people. do you need a photograph? and how should you feel if they don't have a photograph? >> standards apply.
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we do take allegations of misconduct, of domestic violence, other issues like that, very seriously. we are very concerned about them. in this instance, in the case of rob porter, we relied on the background check investigative process. that process hadn't been completed so we were relying on the information that we had. anita. >> follow-up on a few questions from peter. i want to understand, you used the term fully aware. i don't understand what that means. what does that mean, john kelly knew or didn't know? >> i do know, for instance, he had not seen images prior to his -- the statement on tuesday night. >> did he know of the allegations? >> sorry, say that again? >> did he know about allegations -- >> i'm not going to get into specifics that emerge from the investigation. i understand. i'm saying specifically on images. i don't have every single detail. i'm not going to get into specific. we rely on a process, it is a process used by the u.s. government, every agency seeking
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a security cloorns, rob porter was never denied a security clearance. he was never given any special treatment. the process was still ongoing. we relied upon it. yes. >> raj, on capitol hill, members and their staffs are saying that because the court case regarding daca is now -- meaning that the administration is now accepting daca applications again, that they feel that there is breathing room and march 5th is no longer the deadline. >> march 5th is the deadline. >> what happens if they haven't done anything by then? >> when you say they haven't done anything, what do you mean? >> if congress hasn't acted since march 5th, what is going to happen? >> we expect that they will take effect on immigration reform. >> i want to follow-up. you said the president takes the iss issue of violence against women seriously. why did the investigation close the violence against women office when he became president
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last year? also, he shut down the women and girls office as well. and i have another question. >> i don't know specifically why those specific offices may have been closed, but, look, i did talk to the president earlier today. he told me he was very saddened by these reports and by the information that he saw, by the images that he saw. we do take violence against women and these types of allegations very seriously. your second question. >> the interim security clearance, does that allow rob porter to be able to touch, at the time when he was an employee, to be able to touch and see classified material? >> it would, yes. wait. >> let me turn your attention back to the hill where there is a spending bill going on. republicans for years have said there needs to be fiscal restraint, years and years and years. now we know that the deficit for the fiscal year, this fiscal year is potentially going to reach a trillion dollars. we have the freedom caucus
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saying 13% adds to the swamp instead of draining it. this is not what the american people sent us to do. essentially they're saying some within their party are being hypocritical. is the president concerned about all this spending? and what exactly is your plan to pay for it? >> he is concerned about spending in washington. he's expressed that for years. let me say off the bat we do support the two-year spending bill that is being discussed and voted on in the house and senate. it lifts the caps on defense spending which is something that the secretary of defense, the president's generals have told him that they need to ensure that we rebuild our military and protect our national security. with respect to deficits, no, we're going to be releasing a budget on monday. the budget does move us toward a path of restoring fiscal responsibility. it reduces our deficit by trillions of dollars. i'm going to get more specific. you guys will get more on monday. it dozen corporate budget caps, incorporates the tax bill,
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incorporates our other priorities. we do think that budget will outline our path to fiscal responsibility. >> you're still going to be running deficits at that point and now you have this $300 billion cap to raise. is it just economic growth? >> economic growth is essential to cutting deficits and restoring -- the budget will outline a lot more detail. >> raj, what can you tell us about the involvement of the white house communications director crafting statements your office issued yesterday? among them the chief of staff. the statement sarah read from the podium in which rob porter called them vile and outrageous. what can you tell us about crafting those statements? >> i'm not going to get into the specifics, but i would say all the statements were crafted by a number of senior white house officials. margaret? >> one more question. you have repeatedly referred to the denials that rob porter issues. how much weight were those denials given? >> you know, i think you've got
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to take allegations seriously. you've got to take denials seriously. again, the statements reflected are experienced with rob porter and other officials experienced with rob porter. but again, looking at more of the reporting and looking at more facts emerging, you saw the chief of staff statement and the white house did accept his resignation. margaret? >> thanks. a couple more questions about this issue. can you -- the investigation is ongoing, is that right? >> i don't think, now that he's been terminated i don't think it continues. i can get back to you on specifics. >> i guess what i was going to ask is once the investigation is thoroughly completed and we know the answers to the questions, could you elaborate, anyone mentions this to the president -- >> i know that any issues regarding his security clearance weren't made available to the president prior to tuesday. >> i'm sorry, hang on a second, please. so, i guess, does the president retain full confidence
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in his chief of is that of -- >> yes. >> and his white house counsel and communications director? >> yes, absolutely. confidence in the chief of staff counsel. sure. >> questions on the spending plan. as i understand it, and notwithstanding whatever the budget is going to say, do you also have to borrow more than a trillion dollars this year and could in fact market globally, does the president feel confident to do that, does the president feel confident that is the right thing do and it could be mitigated in the budget plan? >> i refer you to treasury on the specifics. those numbers have more to do with the previous administration's accounting than with this administration's policies. i would say we are committed to fiscal discipline and the budget next week will show that in greater detail. ann? >> yes, to get back to mr. porter. >> sure. >> if i understood your description of the background check process correctly, the
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fact the two ex-wives had made statements to the fbi about alleged abuse during that investigation was not a disqualifying factor in his initial hiring, does the white house regret that? and going forward, do you plan to change the way you consider allegations of domestic abuse? >> again, understand that the background investigation was not completed. there was no determination made about rob porter's security clearance. there was not a thumbs up or thumbs down. there was no denial of a security clearance. he was operating off an interim clearance. that is a clearance many vejz have never -- >> i want to break in and let t you know the dow jones industrial average having dropped 3.59% is in correction territory. we are probably about to see 30 seconds left in trading of the dow dipped below a thousand points at 23,954. the dow entered correction
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territory just about a minute ago. the s&p 500 is trading just above its correction territory just as the market closes now. the bell ringing, trading stopped at exactly 5 seconds, that's the end of it for me. i'm going hand it over to nicolle wallace and deadline white house right now. >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york as white house communications director had to fire a brilliant accomplished young white house staffer who didn't pass the fbi background check. i was made aware of the reason why and told by the white house counsel to inform him immediately. his violation isn't something that is illegal in most states any more, but that's how most white house's function when they receive information from the fbi someone hasn't vetted out. it isn't to check the character. the purpose of an fbi background check, one of the key questions put to all potential white house staffers in writing and in person, could you be a target for blackmail? so, the burning questio


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