tv MSNBC Live MSNBC February 10, 2018 5:30am-6:00am PST
a very good morning to all of you. i'm al, wit here at msnbc world headquarters in new york at the half hour. here's what we're watching for you. a live picture of capitol hill where house intel democrats are pushing back after the president refused to authorize the rehe lease of their memo. it's a move one democrat on the on committee is meant to ends the investigation. >> this has nothing to do with transparency, with a seven for truth. it has everything to do with this week's installment coming either out of the chairman of the committee or ron johnson, a secret society fame or the white house to erode confidence in the fbi and bob mueller's
investigation. >> the house intel chair devin nunes released this statement, i had warned that the democratic memo contains many sources and methods, and it's no surprise that these agencies recommended against publishing the memo without redactions. let's go now to new insight. this to the internal strive within the white house, this following the resignation of rob porter. porter resigned wednesday amid allegations he physically abused his ex-wives. he said these outrageous allegations are false. and the president spoke about them on friday. >> he says he's innocent. and i think you have to remember that. we absolutely wish him well. >> also on friday, the white house confirming speech writer david sorenson has resigned. his ex-wife says he was violent during their marriage. sorenson denies the allegations. a white house spokesperson said his position did not require a security clearance, but there was an ongoing background check.
joining me now is zerlina maxwell of progressive media for the clinton campaign, rick tyler msnbc political analyst and republican strategist, and joe watkins former white house aide to george h.w. bush. good to see you. joe, i want to ask you about the whole background check process. i will get to that in a moment. bull i want your reaction to the president's comments. because he said something about the ex-wives of rob porter. >> well, he should have said something about the ex-wives. at the end of the day, he should have said domestic violence is not going to be tolerated under any circumstances by anybody on my staff. that would be the right thing to say. this is a time when certainly all americans, and especially men, have on to be is sensitive to the fact that domestic violence is absolutely unacceptable. and there's no reason ever, no good reason ever for a man hitting his wife.
and the photos we saw this week of rob porter's ex-wife with a blackened eye were just horrible photographs. porter did the right thing by stepping aside. but these are things that should have been divulged to the fbi when he was undergoing his background check. we can talk about that whenever you're ready, alex. >> we are going to the get to that. rick, you know the moniker teflon don. this will be yet another controversy with no fallout for the president. why is it he receives to suffer no blowback on any controversy? >> the only explanation i have is he continues to run this white house like he ran "the apprentice", like a reality show. pretty color character from anthony scaramucci -- you know, it's just an amazing thing. but the fact is this white house is failing at the most fundamental level, the staffing level. the president likes to think that he can get everything done. maybe he ran his own business
that way. you can't do the business of the country this way. >> several reports, zerlina that said the president was upset with communications director hope hicks over her handling of this situation. last night we saw the statement to the "new york times". hope is absolutely fantastic. she was with the campaign from the beginning. and i could not ask for anything more. hope is smart, very talented and respected by all. why did the president need to send this out? >> because there's a lot of reporting that contradicts that assessment. and essentially there are sources in the "washington post" saying the president is very upset with hope and thinks her and john kelly made a number of missteps which are putting bad press on trump's head and the white house. you know donald trumpcares about not much more than press and his own press. and so when his aides are getting more attention than him and certainly getting negative attention, which is what's happening here, he's very upset about that. but i do think this is two scandals in one.
essentially you have covering up domestic abuse and hiring that person and putting them in place despite the allegations. but you also have someone working with highly classified information that doesn't have the proper clearance. it is two wrapped up in a nice little bow. but it is also i think essentially what this trump white house is about. they put a domestic abuser in there because the fish rots on the head, as they say. >> so, rick, what is happening to john kelly's credibility? how are the dominoes falling internally? >> well, look, john kelly has an extremely difficult job. we have known that from the beginning. he is chief of staff. sit ultimately his responsibility to make sure that people who are working in the white house, and particularly the oval office, are properly vetted. second, that they have the proper clearances, as zerlina just pointed out. it is very dangerous for people not to have proper clearances. the reason we go through the whole clearance process.
i think people are trying to put this on john kelly. i actually think that ivanka and jared would like to see john kelly go because he has been somewhat successful in initialing their role and influence and their access to their father and father-in-law for things that they would like to get done on their agenda. >> so then the porter resignation, the sorenson resignation, two of them now, is this kelly's waterloo? >> i think so. i don't like to make predictions when it comes to the trump white house. last week we were talking about a memo. this week we're talking about serial domestic abuse. but i think, you know, we have to get to a point where we can acknowledge that we're in a different moment that we might have been pre-trump. we're in the me too era. women are saying sexual abuse, sexual harassment in the workplace, they are not okay. we will not tolerate them any
more. we will not normalize it anymore. donald trump on "access hollywood" tape gave us all a moment to make a choice, whether or not we support this behavior or we don't. the white house is tolerant of this behavior. they covered it up over a year. and people in there have a lot of explaining to do because they are not in line with where the rest of the country is at this point. >> you know, the comment that rick said about ivanka and jared being the ones that may be, first of all, increasing their power with the ouster of john kelly. but also they will be talking about who should potentially replace him. is that surprising to you? >> yes. it is surprising to me. i think -- they don't have any experience in government. there's also concerning reports that jared kushner is the one reading the presidential daily briefing when giving oral briefings to the president. it is alarming and a national security issue. it is very frustrating to see ivanka and jared when they don't
have the experience to do either. >> he doesn't have security clearance either. he was in the same place rob porter was. he has like this interim security clearance. but he won't pass a background check. and he won't be able to pass a background check. >> should he be reading the president's intelligence briefings? >> no. >> no. this is a red flag. the red flag is if someone has been around that long and they haven't gotten their clearance, there is an issue or several issues. you're supposed to know this. this is the whole deal with the white house background checks. >> joe, wait. i want to know how they get done. because in several articles i've read about this, you have the fbi that conducts them. you have the white house counsel that will conduct them as well. there's some finger pointing from white house counsel going back to rob porter, saying the fbi would have tools to better investigate rob porter than we might be able to.
how is it typically done? >> every staffer in the white house, certainly the senior staffers, undergo an fbi background check. i know i did. i think my daughter did too when she worked at the white house. my wife when she worked for george w. bush at that agency. i went through a fairly expense background check. and my boss, held of communications, told us, be candid. just tell the truth because they're going to find out. so you get a temporary pass, a temporary badge when you first start the white house. once you get cleared, once the fbi has concluded its background check of you, you get your permanent badge because you have been cleared by the fbi. 80s a red flag if someone has been around that long and they don't have their fbi clearance. >> rob porter's case, certainly allegations made by ex-wives may not have come to light in any background check, didn't he have an order of protection against him to stay away from one of them? that would have been found. joe, sorry. >> oh, yeah, yeah. absolutelily.
that would have been found. this is the whole thing about being candid. the fbi doesn't just go on your word. they talk to your neighbors, friends, the people you don't want them to talk to and eventually it is uncovered. i can understand white house counsel pointing the finger at the fbi. at the end of the day, porter should have been up front in the fbi interview and said i have domestic violence issues. is that going to be an issue? this whole thing could have been avoid avoided. >> rick, you mentioned colorful characters. we will talk about omarosa in a little bit. sit tight. coming up, the possible perils president trump could confront if he goes face-to-face with robert mueller. next, steve wynn's money. why are they refusing to give back $375,000 in wynn donations? i will talk to the rnc spokesperson in our 9:00 a.m. hour.
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new developments in the russia investigation after the president said he is unable to declassify a rebuttal of last week's gop memo. this may look like obstruction. >> i'm skeptical as one should be with the president around this investigation. it looks obstructive, but i'm willing to give the department of justice the benefit of the doubt and hear if they are going to come in on tuesday and explain to us what their concerns are and that those concerns are not from any pressure that the president has put on them. and if they are legitimate, then we should still release the memo that correct the records but is free from any a little bit al omissions that the president may have. >> former new jersey general and with a big welcome to you. you heard mr. swalwell there.
could it be viewed as obstruction? >> i think it is "way too early" to talk about that. remember, we know that the fbi raised concerns about the first memo as well. >> right. >> so this is what the fbi has done from the beginning the department of justice has done from the beginning because they don't want these things out. i think the question when it comes to thinking about whether the president is obstructing justice in any way, really the department of justice and the fbi has to be given the opportunity to sit with the committee and to go through the areas that they have marked as problematic. i think that's step one. and there's nothing inconsistent about what the department of justice or the bureau is saying. what is inconsistent is what the president has decided. >> what the republican memo, he wanted the doj and the fbi to look at all of it and, you know, did not want it to be released. he had all of these concerns. and now he says, well, let's look at redactions. let's look at this. with this rebuttal.
is there a difference between the to memos in. >> there is a little bit of a difference. remember, none of us knew when it first came out what was going to be in it. i assumed there would be a lot of facts and a lot of sources and potentially methods that were compromised. that memo wasn't that. there were very few facts. it is problematic to release a memo like that because that is part of our national intelligence and security. just releasing anything, in my view, is the wrong thing to do. now that one has been released, the other should go out. it is not a consensus memo. fisas are this big, hundreds of pages. the first page is a three-page summary. what i will say on the democratic memo, be we know it is ten pages. we are led to believe it has a lot more facts. it is plausible there is information in there that the department and the fbi really wants to change the language or figure out how to take a few pieces out. none of us should want anything to go out that compromises
american national security. >> this is something coming from the house intelligence committee. it's not coming from an agriculture committee. they are fully aware of the kind of information and sensitivity they are dealing with. do you think they would put things into a memo to be released that would compromise national security or those working in the field by being that specific? >> you and i would hope that the answer to that is no. you know, i'm very hopeful. and i actually believe we will see the memo, that it will come out after this process. what you and i don't know is the letter from the white house counsel and from the deputy attorney general that says there are red boxes. so there are red boxes that show the areas we're concerned about. what you and i don't know is are there 2 or 200? i do agree with you at the end of the day the intelligence committee voted for it to come out. i still think that the
intelligence committee, congress is a political body. the department of justice and the fbi are law enforcement agencies. so i know we live in a somewhat strange world. but that is still a process that i think is valid and really critical. >> is there anything that implies to you that the president has something to hide with this behavior? >> you know, i think the bigger issue i would raise is that the first memo to me, you know, the fbi said themselves they had grave concerns over omissions. but the first memo, even on its face, just struck me as incredibly misleading and conclusory. they don't in any way seem substantiated to me. so i think it is the most full-throated attack on law enforcement and on really the career men and women who are doing the national security intelligence work that i have seen in my career. so, you know, i question all of that. or i should say i have deep concerns for the institutions
and the rule of law and we are playing politics on things we shouldn't be playing politics with. >> and the bob mueller investigation, shouldn't the president be interviewed by him? >> certainly if i were bob mueller i would want to interview the president. i think the president should be interviewed. i understand the concerns that have been raised about the president being somewhat off the cuff at times. but there are a couple points to that. first of all, i've read through some of the depositions and i have seen that the president is incredibly controlled in those depositions. it is not fair to assume he would go in unprepared. i think he would go in prepared. second of all, he said he wants to talk to special counsel. i anticipate the end result of the special counsel investigation will be a report to congress. if the president doesn't talk, then there's no -- we have no idea what the -- it will just be filled with we believe the president did x with no statement from the president. so we would be missing -- the american people i think want that. they want to know through the
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some new drama from omarosa this week. she suggested on a reality show that america will not be okay under the trump administration. >> i felt like it was like a call to duty. i felt like i was serving my country, not serving him. accepting a political appointment. it was always about the country. i was haunted by tweets every single day. like what is 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. it's like -- >> 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, you know, i'd like to say not my problem. but i can't say that. because it's bad. >> should we be worried? [ nodding ] >> don't say that because we are worried, but i knee you to say it's going to be okay. >> new york city it's not going to be okay, it's not. >> the team is back, sirlena, rick and joe. joe, you were smiling when you were watching this clip. your take from what you just saw and heard? it's quite unbelievable. we've got a former white house staffer in this particular situation. but yet this is reality show, so
it kind of fits. >> she's trying to sale book of course and she's quite ak actress. omarosa is trying to get back at trump, because donald trump let general kelly fire her. general kelly took the job of chief of staff with the understanding that he could fire staffers that he felt weren't productive for the president. sew fired omarosa. this is her effort to get back at general kelly and certainly at president trump. and so it's a performance that's also meant to sell a book. so -- stay tuned. >> so then sirlena what omarosa said there, can it be taken at face value? >> sure, we're all watching the white house and we come here every monday morning and talk about the chaos that we witnessed the week prior. so what she's saying rings true and it's in line with what was in michael wolff's book. it's hilarious sha she's on a
television show, on cam remarks micced up and whispering. i don't understand that that's bizarre to me. >> we've got this. lots of criticism, rick, aimed at omarosa. is it fair? >> no, alex, look, the country is in real trouble. it's not going to be okay. >> no, no, no. look, it's a wonderful country when you can make a living at redefining who you are. this is as simple to figure out as checkers. omarosa had no constituency in the white house. nobody liked her. she said she lost 100 friends, i don't think she had 100 friends to begin with far be it for me to say, i don't think she spoke for the black community. >> she did not. >> now she's back on "big brother" and this audience doesn't like trump so she's got to play to this audience and they love it when she dishes on trump. she'll get ratings that way and it's the best she's ever going to do. >> you think the criticism of her is fair? >> yes, i think it's fair.
we talked a few months back about a conference i went to in new orleans, the national association of black journalists. and essentially the question that the audience wanted to know from omarosa, because she was there coming to represent the white house is what do you do? what do you actually do in the white house? your title is made up. your position in the white house is essentially made up. we don't see you reaching out to the different constituencies that they say that you're supposed to be working with. i think the criticism of her is fair, it was always unclear why she is there, what she brings to the table it made it a circus that we're watching. we had reality stars in the white house, as staffers and they went right back to reality television upon exiting. because we're living in the upside-down, i think. >> all right, you guys, i can't tell you how much i look forward to your saturday morning chats, so thank all three of you for being here. >> she's just doing what trump does every day. new scandal hits the white house, we're not talking about the resignation of staff secretary rob porter. those details next.
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