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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  February 12, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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of domestic violence. but the president also supports due process and i don't have anything else further to add to that. >> the reporter tweetsed out photos of colby holderness black eye at 1:53 a.m. on wednesday. they were published wednesday morning. the white house had a statement at 1:45 wednesday afternoon, 12 hours after all of these photos were already published and out. why is the white house still saying porter was a man of integrity and honor after these photos have circulated? >> the comments that were made by members of the white house were based on our personal experience and we could only speak to the interaction that we had personally had. >> sarah, why are high-level aides allowed to work with classified information without permanent security clearance? >> once again, that is a question that the fbi and other intelligence communities, they
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make that determination. that's not something that's decided by the white house. it's the same way that it has been -- >> classified information, when you have someone like -- >> i'm sorry? >> can you guarantee classified information when you have someone like rob porter who didn't have a permanent security clearance -- >> i think we are taking every step we can to protect classified information. i mean, frankly, if you guys have such concern with classified information, there's plenty of it that's leaked out of the hill, that's leaked out of other communities well beyond the white house walls. if you guys have real concerns about leaking out classified information, look around this room. you guys are the ones that publish classified information and put national security at risk. that doesn't come from this white house. >> we take every precaution possible to protect classified information and certainly to protect national security. it is the president's number one priority, protecting the citizens of this country. it is why we spend every single day doing everything we can to do that.
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and i think if anyone is publishing or putting out publicly classified information, it's members of the press, not the white house. >> at the end of last week the white house said there are things everyone could have done a better job in the situation. have you identified anything specific other than -- i know you mentioned law enforcement agencies and the fbi and their process. what about your process, has the white house identified anything it could have done better in this situation to prevent something like this from happening? >> we are looking at that internally and agree there are things we could have done better and we're going to continue to look at the process and the role we all played and how we can do better. not just this. every day we come to work and hope we can do a better jonathan we did the day before. every single morning we come to work, we're going to do our best to make this day better than the last and make this country better than the way it was before. that's our goal. and what we want to do in every situation. there are things we could have done better and we are going to
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look at every single instance and every single thing we do, how we can do better than the day before. >> tuesday night when the initial story came out, the white house praised rob porter. wednesday morning photos come out, they stand by the statement. wednesday afternoon, continue to praise porter. john kelly said he acted 45 minutes of the allegation. can you explain that? >> as i said, and i'm going to repeat what i said earlier, that we learned of the situation involving rob porter last tuesday evening and within 24 hours his resignation had been accepted and announced. we announced a transition was going to happen and within hours it did. and in terms of time line, i don't have anything else to add. >> why not? >> i can tell you that a conversation took place within 40 minutes and beyond that i really don't have anything else to add, josh. >> we reported that don mcgahn over, you know, a period of months was told repeatedly by the fbi, by others in the white
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house of these accusations and didn't do anything. can you explain why no action was taken by don mcgahn, the chief white house lawyer? >> those allegations that have been reported are not accurate. april? >> you keep saying the president said you take domestic violence very seriously. moving forward, how seriously will he take it? what will he do to raise awareness about it, combat against it, particularly as, again, i asked this last week of raj, as the administration ending the violence against women office as well as closing down the women and girls office. what will be new and different as it relates to combatting this? >> i believe there is an individual that is in the nomination process to run an office specific to domestic violence. and when we have that process completed, we'll make that personnel announcement, but we are in process of doing that. >> on infrastructure, infrastructure is about jobs, job creation. and you're talking about rural
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america. when you're talking about these jobs, are there going to be guidelines as to who can and who won't be hired? >> not that i'm aware of anything to that nature. >> a lot of the infrastructure projects during the obama years were held up by the labor secretary. >> hi, everyone. day six and there still is no agreed upon fact pattern for the crisis engulfing the trump white house over who knew what when about a credibly accused domestic abuser who had no security clearance. he had the greatest proximity to classified information of everyone in the west wing staff. is john kelly's job security is in question is no surprise. the fact the white house is careening from crisis to crisis with serious questions about their handling of classified information is a damning indictment that the competence and character of the individuals assembled at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. "the new york times" reporting, quote, aides to the president said they remained confused and upset over the handling of the
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accusations against rob porter, the staff secretary who stepped down. on sunday, legislative affairs director mark short made clear that the white house staff didn't even try to nail down the facts of the porter debacle before they fanned out for their sunday show appearances. >> it's a fair question, chuck. i don't know who knew what when. >> why don't you know? why does everyone in the white house speaking in the room, get with don mcgahn, white house communication director hope hicks and former staff secretary rob porter? sarah huckabee sanders today defending the white house response to the allegations, and relaying what she describes as the president's words and the president's condemnation of domestic violence. >> the president and the entire administration take domestic violence very seriously and believe all allegations need to be investigated thoroughly. above all, the president supports the victims of domestic violence and believes everyone
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should be treated fairly and with due process. we have addressed this situation extensively and we have nothing more to add. >> why haven't we heard the president say exactly what you said right there, he takes domestic violence very seriously? a >> i spoke with the president directly. those are the words he gave me. >> why hasn't he said that? he had the opportunity -- >> it is my job to speak on behalf of the president. he relayed that message directly to me and i'm relaying it directly to you. >> does he believe rob porter's accusers are lying? >> i said the president along with the add entire administration take domestic violence seriously and believe allegations need to be thoroughly investigated and above all the president supports the victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process. >> that doesn't answer the question. >> as i just said, i'm not going to go beyond that. >> the president views domestic violence becoming the only inside thought this president
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has. but the president weighed in on twitter over the weekend with a message that suggested he was deeply distressed for the real victim in the situation, the alleged abuser, treating this, quote, people's lives are being shattered and destroyed by mere allegations. some are true, some are false, some are old, some are new. there is no recovery for someone falsely accused. life and career gone. is there no such thing as due process? let's get right to our reporters and guests. with us from "the new york times," peter baker, washington post national political reporter robert cost adjoins us. boston herald chief washington reporter kimberly atkins is also here. peter baker, you and your colleague maggie haberman had an unbelievable piece. i read a little bit of it. take me inside, i think your story on the front page of the paper this morning, foo days of this, today is day six. sarah huckabee sanders' approach seems to be to limit the amount of what you say but not a lot of
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clarity added this morning. >> no, they haven't answered a lot of key questions. particularly about the security clearance, which is, you know, obviously goes beyond the simple case of rob porter involved actually -- we understand a number of people in the white house still don't have permanent security clearance. why is that the case, what did john kelly know, when did he know, all that. not just the reporters asking the questions. other white house officials are asking the question. it's interesting to hear people inside the building express discomfort over what's happening the last few days. skepticism about whether john kelly is telling the full story or why he said the things he said. even skepticism about the president and why he's been saying the things he says. so, it's caused a real unrest inside the staff of the president. hasn't done anything at this point to settle. >> your colleague phil rucker was on our air friday. he posted a story that detailed a pretty stunning account even
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for this white house. john kelly had said something in a meeting some of the participants exited that meeting and within minutes basically said what he described was a lie. if i listen to sarah huckabee sanders describe accurately, she describes a 24-hour period the white house was in possession and knowledge before it took action. the kelly story is that within 40 minutes of receiving this information he took action. do you have any clarity or do your colleagues -- i know josh is in the room right now, still in that briefing. he sought some clarity today on that question, the discrepancy between kelly's version of the 40-minute window between knowledge and action and what sarah huckabee sanders just said from the podium, what other communicators have said, at a minimum, a 24-hour window, which is still very distant from the truth, which is that the fbi would have flagged allegations like this months ago. >> to build on peter's point, we are all still seeking clarity as reporters about what the information the white house is actually specifying when sarah
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huckabee sanders talks about the information. most people we talk to in the west wing assume that it's the pictures that were provided by rob porter's former wives about the alleged abuse. but that doesn't also pertain to the information more broadly about rob porter's problems with past relationships that may have been mentioned to the white house, much further back than last week. there still needs to be a completed time line about what was told to the white house in specificity in terms of photos, information, statements from former wives, back in early 2017 throughout the year as the fbi background check continued, and then what really was the precipitating event. perhaps it was the daily mail report that included the photographs. but what else was part of this decision-making process that suddenly swept it forward last week? >> kimberly atkins, there is so much revealed in the instincts of donald trump. i think the value of his tweets as we see his instincts.
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his instinct on twitter was to bemoan the absence of due process. last week no one said rob porter should be convicted of a crime. they simply suggested because he would never receive a full security clearance, maybe he shouldn't sit in the job that is usually held by the person with the access to the most sensitive classified information. so, can you talk about what we've learned about the president's impulses? john kelly's impulse, whether hope hicks wrote that first statement or not, he acquiesced to releasing a statement where his instinct was to defend the accused abuser. can you speak about what you learned about the impulses and the instincts of john kelly and donald trump? and what you make of the fact that it's been largely women out there saying, oh, no, we're very worried about domestic violence. >> yeah, i mean, i think if you look at the initial reactions, both on twitter and in his own comments from the president after this, and also look at how he has reacted to other
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situations, roy moore, his support that he gave for him and others, there is a pattern here where the president has a tendency to want to believe and stick by the people who he supports against allegations from women of impropriety. i think there's a lot of things going on here, in part, the fact that the president himself has been accused of sexual i am propriety among women. he himself has denied those charges. so, i think he feels, for lack of a better word, a brotherhood here with these other people who have been accused of this. i think it's also difficult for him to say, hey, look, i was backing somebody who turns out is doing these bad things and he's a bad guy. it's tough for him to say that publicly. it's easier to try to defend him, to defend them. so, i think that is what we are seeing here manifest itself. it does not align with what sarah huckabee sanders was saying today, saying that the due process comment was meant
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for all sides. he didn't mention the women who accused him at all. right. >> let me ask you, peter baker, because your reporting with maggie haberman ends with what i think is the kind of anecdote we're going to be talking about for a very long time. you have some reporting that suggests that without john kelly's trusted advisor, kristin kneel son who has gone on to serve as the secretary of homeland security, he is described by someone as, i don't want to put words into your reporting, but you depict an almost befuddled john kelly. he doesn't remember who said what to him last. can you describe the current state of tension between john kelly and his detractors inside this white house staff? >> it is much deeper than you would think. there is an i am prelgs john kelly came in last summer to restore order to an otherwise chaotic and disorganized white house. he put on a more organized structure.
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he definitely helped move out some people who had been most involved in the feuding within the white house. but in the last few weeks you heard more and more complaining about john kelly even before the rob porter incident that things were not going the way they thought that they should be, that he in fact, you know, in their view, peremptory or not listening to them. you know, no question kristin neil son was a player, did blocking and tackling, she's not there any more. while we had the impression rob porter was a close aide to him, what we're hearing, maybe not quite as much as we understood that he in fact didn't trust rob porter quite as much. whether this is after the fact justification or not, it's a little hard to determine. but there's no question you hear a lot more grousing about john kelly that stems even before this -- sorry, this rob porter situation. >> robert costa, another man
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under harsh scrutiny for what he knew and when he knew it, white house counsel don mcgahn. let's watch and talk on the other side. >> don mcgahn over a period of months was told repeatedly by the ex-girlfriend, by the fbi, by others in the white house of all these accusations and didn't do anything. can you explain why no action was taken by don mcgahn, the chief white house lawyer? >> those allegations that have been reported are not accurate. >> not accurate. i mean, here's what happens in every normal white house. jim mussina is here so i can speak for him, too, how it worked in the clinton white house. when something comes up in a background check, the fbi flags it to the white house counsel's office. white house counsel usually flags the manager. white house communications director would get the word from the white house counselor chief of staff would be in the loop. but they're just flat out saying that's not true. it seems like for all the holes
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in the time line, for all the holes in the fact pattern, that was a comment that she might live to regret. >> we'll have to see. she didn't say much there. she said that's not accurate. we're going to need to have some more information from the white house. what does that mean? it's not accurate. what i'm trying to figure out today in my reporting is what did the fbi tell the white house throughout the past year? what was the extent of what the fbi said with regard to porter's status and his background check, because once we can figure that out as a press core, then we'll understand did the white house act -- when presented with certain information or not. but it's still somewhat vague and the white house seems to be living in this hazy space about what exactly was told to the white house, what they knew about rob porter's status. >> kimberly, let me read you a time line we put together about 2018 so far. january 3rd, the first excerpts
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of "fire and fury" are released. donald trump excommunicates steve bannon. january 11 s-hole country. january 12, report of payment to stormy daniels. i get flustered reading that. january 19, government shuts down. january 25, first report trump tried to fire mueller. february 2nd, trump releases gop memo, devin nunes memo. february 8 rob porter resigns, domestic abuse. february 9 government briefly shuts down again. february 9 rebuttal memo. second white house official resigns amid allegations of domestic abuse. where are we heading, kimberly? >> it's infrastructure week, nicolle. >> i didn't make my list. >> this is what we're supposed to be talking about, that and the president's budget which i was talking to another reporter saying, remember when the president released his budget and we would go through it with highlighters and, you know, be talking about what the
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president's priorities are? all that stuff is taking a back seat because of this constant, just constant set of events happening coming out of the white house that is undercutting everything that the president should be wanting to focus on and should be wanting to talk about. this has become the new normal here in washington. >> it sure has. robert costa, peter baker, thank you for starting us off. stay with us. when we come back, how donald trump's defense of alleged abusers sounds to the ears of those abused. also ahead, he wanted to lock up hillary clinton for her handling of classified information. now there are more and more questions about how this white house is handling the nation's top secrets. and the woman who would oversee the mueller probe if donald trump were to carry out his wish to replace the attorney general, his deputy leaves for a job at wal-mart. just how bad is it at d.o.j. and is anyone left? two, one, fadeaway. that was awful.
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as you probably know, he says he's innocent and i think you have to remember that. he said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent. so, you'll have to talk to him about that. >> president trump's public comments about allegations of abuse have centered on one concern, the man accused. for jenny, the second wife and victim of rob porter, the statement is shocking. she writes in time, quote, when donald trump repeated twice that rob declared his innocence, i was floored. what was his intent in
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emphasizing that point? my friend turned to me and said, the president of the united states just called you a liar. so, when the president warned this weekend that lives are being shattered and destroyed by mere allegations, willoughby was barely surprised. she writes, there it is again. the words "mere allegation" and "falsely accused" meant to imply i am a liar. that colby is a liar. that the work rob is doing in the white house was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical well-being. that his professional contributions are worth more than the truth. that abuse is something to be questioned and doubted. but willoughby points out the unsettling truth, that the president's opinion reflects what many, even at the height of me too, believe. she writes, we are at a critical moment in history and there are flee things i know to be true. where there is anger there is underlying pain. where there is denial, there is underlying fear. where there is abuse, there is cover up. we're going to bring in our panel now. joining us at the table, a.b.
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stott ard, columnist for real clear politics. donnie deutsche, brett stevens, op-ed columnist and msnbc contributor and elise jordan, form former aide in the w. bush white house. kim is still with us. a.b., what do you think? >> i think that we have to in the end find out what actually was going on, who lied, or what the fbi might have withheld. we doubt that they did withhold anything. when people learned what, just for some sense of accountability, but it's clear that this administration, this white house, this west wing, they play by their own rules, and partial security clearances are fine because the president's son-in-law has one. and there's no more glaring example than the fact that president trump never separated himself from his businesses. they have their own set of rules. so, it's unfortunate to a lot of
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people to find out general kelsey asking people to l kelsey -- general kelly is asking people to lie. i think the verdict is out, you know. someone is lying and there is a lack of accountability that doesn't really matter to the people who hold the most power in the white house. >> i think one issue is credibility, which is to say that the man who called for the death penalty for the central park five doesn't have a lot of credibility when he says, the accused have rights, there should be such a thing as due process. of course, if president obama or any number of other people had made a similar comment, not mere allegations, but underlying the fact there is a difference between the allegations and the truth, that would be one thing. but part of the problem with trump is that there is no credibility in this white house. he defends judge moore and he
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attacks al franken. so, there is never a single standard. >> let me put up for you, donnie, all the men, all the accused men president trump has defended. rob porter, roy moore, bill o'reilly, roger moore. he didn't defend al franken. >> he spoke up about steve wynn. let's frame this in the me too movement. it had to happen. i don't know if it would have happened if he didn't get elected president. i think a big part of the me too movement, women saw, that guy got elected. why does he continually double down on an issue that should be a nonissue? i think are we against or for domestic violence? >> that was hard for them. i mean, let's just stop right there because last week john kelly didn't have answers. i mean, their first statement about rob porter's credible
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allegations of domestic abuse was that he was a man of integrity. and it took -- it was many hours later the same night that they came out against domestic violence. >> i keep trying -- there is something that's scaring me a little bit. i know in the polls now women now, 10% of women have shifted from the election whether -- white women who voted for him or women overall. i just wonder if there is a thesis that he plays on. beyond the fact he doesn't want to apologize about anything, there is part of this country, both women and men to think there is an overreaction. you know, you know, what's the big deal kind of thing. i think that he preys into that very ignorant frightening thought that both a lot of men and women in parts of this -- they're not at this table and most of them are not in this city, most of them are not watching news, but that are not as evolved -- i don't know evolved, or not as sane as us when it comes to these issues. i think part of him that plays into his testosterone and his strong man image, yeah, if
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there's a couple collateral damage of women along the way, as sick as that sounds, because i can't reason it out. it's a very primal and a very disgusting point of view. but maybe that's underneath because it doesn't make any sense why he plays any other way. >> elise, so, steve bannon said something -- i don't want to use your word but i'm going to steal it, rather evolved for steve bannon. he said, you watch, the time has come. women are going to take charge of society and they couldn't juxtapose a better villain that trump. the culture will never be the same going forward. i saw that and i pulled out this quote from "fire and fury" that i underlined the day it came out. we didn't spend enough time on it. but in "fire and fury," steve bannon is quoted on this question of donald trump's problem with women as saying, look, trump's lawyer for a time, has known him for 25 years. he has gotten him out of all kinds of jams. was witnesses on the campaign, we had 100 women. he took care of them all.
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you have steve bannon who is sort of, i don't know, my favorite villain, speaking what feels like the truth. that donald trump is a man who has gotten out of all kinds of jams by his lawyer. what did we have, 100 women. bannon was on the campaign for the summer. 100 women, good grief. but saying women are going to take charge of society. is bannon finally right? >> i think this is worse than a political problem for donald trump because there is a unifying moral problem. before we went on set, i was telling you how i was home last week, in my small hometown holly springs, went to the library and had a talk with a bunch of lovely southern ladies about politics. and they -- my goal was to not have my mother ostracized afterwards because i would sound like radical anti-trumper. >> communist. >> i was pretty measured, but i was actually so surprised by how it really has seeped down
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everywhere, even in the strongest base of support for donald trump, just how terrible he is with women. and everyone is horrified that a wife beater was allowed to stay on staff at the white house. >> does it change -- >> it does if the candidate going up against him isn't hillary clinton. >> it's wearing away, donny. you get a pass at the beginning when you're politically fresh and you're flavor of the month. but this is over and over and over. >> he's trying to frighten people. you think that's him being evolved. that's the opposite. >> evolve -- >> a lot of men and women in this country don't want that to happen, don't want the women to take control. that's a scary, scary thing. >> kim atkins is with us. i want you to weigh in. when i've gone back to the supporters of trump, they are unphased by the russia investigation, by ties to russia, but they do feel that if
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you stitch all these things together, the access hollywood tape, the allegations that sort of were renewed after the me too movement had a lot of steam -- i haven't talked to them since the firing last week over domestic violence, but just where do you place the woman problem in terms of donald trump's many, many political problems? >> i think it's a significant one, especially moving into the midterms when you look specifically at things like the couple dozen house seats that are in districts that hillary clinton won, but that are currently held by republicans. a lot of those places have a lot of suburban women voters that we see from recent polling that support that president trump had in 2016 starting to erode away. that could work against republicans in the midterms, also in some senate races and beyond. but at the same time you see president trump -- i mean, i was struck by an axios report today
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that said that the president was intending to continue to stoke cultural divisions over things like nfl protests, headsing into the mid terms because he thinks that helps republicans. i think in a way he sees this as the same thing. he sees that these attacks, you know, he wants to stick with his base which he sees as largely white men and he thinks that these claims of abuse by women are some ways read by his base as political correctness run amuck. and i think he will be -- his intinkt will i instinct will be to push against that. he's going to see a lot of republicans running away from that as the mid terms come up given the me too movement, given how things have changed in the last year. >> look, i think kimberly's analysis is dead on. i'm not sure i agree with the conclusion. and this is why. i think -- and this is sad to say -- trump's analysis of politics may be right. and the analysis is
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shamelessness works. you can't shame a person who is unwilling to be shamed. just say i don't care. that was the billy tape. everything you have read that has happened in the, what, last five weekends, six weeks? gee, i don't even remember these things, what should have been like epic explosions. we have a presidency that is like a marvel comics movie where you, within five minutes, you've forgotten they just blew up a planet or whatever tragic event took place because it's happening at this extraordinary rate. so, what we have is a form of a kind of sordid entertainment, but not exactly a moral scandal and that's i think trump's political thesis and it might be right. >> i disagree in that this is the moral scandal that it's easy to be cynical and say it doesn't matter. it does matter to american men
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and women who are decent at their core, and this is sunk into the narrative that donald trump really has a problem with women, that he to rates mistreatment against women and men and women of political persuasions don't like it, they've proven it by the language. i believe the tide is starting to shift. look at roy moore in alabama. yes, he was uniquely horrible. at the end of the day, he lost at the end of the day. >> a pedophile nearlily won. >> she predicted, he went out on a limb, you predicted roy moore would lose and he did. are you willing to, i don't want to put you on the spot but i'm going to anyway. are you going to make a prediction that this is sort of the beginning of something that actually -- let's just assert it, the russia investigation has not done donald trump much political harm. do you think that defending men who abuse women and men accused of sexual misconduct is going to be the thing that starts to eat away even at his 35%? >> i think it's been chipping
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away at him since the hollywood access video. the sexual a soy sauce coming from his own language and voice. it is coming to the stormy daniels pay out. >> i know that. i disagree, but -- my husband needs a job, but. >> you can tell from melania and the way she publicly is handling herself in the white house, that she's not happy. this marriage is sunken. >> i hope you're right. >> kimberly atkins, thank you so much. when we come back, irony alert. mike flynn who led the lock her up chant at the gop convention has pleaded guilty to a felony and is cooperating with the mueller investigation while the trump white house scrambles to explain its handling of classified information. from aides without full security clearances.
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thank you all very much.
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i appreciate it. >> mr. president, why are high levels staffer with sensitive information without security clearance? >> mr. president, do you have a vetting problem? >> that was nbc's kristen welker shouting the questions on many people's minds this afternoon. after revelations rob porter never received a full security clearance and white house senior staffers had known never would, in a post handling more classified information than any other position in the west wing. the washington post reporting jared kushner doesn't have a permanent clearance either and yet is able to read sensitive materials. that you may have missed that is because washington post columnist karen points out, on page 1, the washington post reports the president doesn't reeled his daily intel brief. on page 4 it reports his son-in-law who hasn't been able to get a permanent clearance does. she wills writes, given trump's background, the many lawsuits he has filed and has been lodged against him, the credible
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allegations that he has mistreated women, it's hard to imagine he would be a slam dunk for a security clearance if he wasn't president, that is, but he is. you may recall donald trump weaponized an and attempted to criminalize hillary clinton's use of a personal e-mail server during the campaign. >> some bad things came out today. you know, those classified, you know the word classified. she sent vast amounts of classified information, including information classified as top secret, top secret, okay. and this is where they said that she was extremely careless and frankly i say grossly incompetent. she will be such a lousy president, folks. we can't have someone in the oval office who doesn't understand the meaning of the word confidential or classified. and maybe classified at the highest, highest level, how sad.
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>> natasha bertrand add today our merry gang. she coffers national skpurt and russia investigation for the atlantic. obviously he doesn't know the difference between any of those classifications, but to hear him read them from what i understood to be his own notes is pretty entertaining in light of the fact that he's now the president and his white house is full of people without full security clearances. >> yeah, one of the most alarming things that i read this weekend came out of politico, which reported that john kelly actually knew weeks, if not months ago, that many aides in the white house would not qualify for a full permanent security clearance and that the ones -- many of the ones working on interim security clearances such as rob porter would never get a permanent security clearance. that, of course, indicates that there was serious red flags in their background that the fbi determined would not qualify them for a permanent clearance and yet kelly did not push porter out. and porter, of course, is the one who is really controlling
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what gets to the president's desk. that's really concerning for a number of reasons. the first, of course, is that you have people who are potentially susceptible to blackmail. and the second and equally as concerning is that it really makes foreign partners, foreign intelligence partners more reluctant to share classified information with the united states knowing that the people who are handling it and potentiallyi potentially giving it to the president could be vulnerable. >> the president has revealed classified information. he revealed classified information when he met with kislyak and lavrov last spring. released the nunes memo and redacted the fbi and justice department warnings. what we've been talking about all hour, letting people with interim clearances look at something as sensitive as the pdb is unprecedented. >> the president would say on advice from counsel that he gets to declassify anything that he chooses to. so, whatever he says is there by
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declassified, so, it's fine. that aside, i'm trying to conjure what it would be like for all of us to just digest a hillary clinton administration where chelsea clinton's husband was handling mid east and all these different hot spots around the world with a partial security clearance, and she had a wife beater who also had a partial security clearance. what that would be doing to donald trump somewhere or the rest of the republican party. >> exploited by now. donny, i want to ask you a serious question. we talk about how abnormal this is. one thing that makes it abnormal, i was in the bush white house. the democrats ran oversight. as it pertained to enron. this is one of the places where having a congress that essentially functions as a lap dog to this president is covering up for unprecedented sort of exploitations of norms,
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of rule of law. what natasha just laid out, clearance isn't there for formality or tradition. it's to protect the u.s. government from blackmail. >> you know, trump, one thing you have to give trump, he comes as advertised. he is who he is. you can hate him, you can love him. to me the republicans in leadership, i find more detestable than him because there is a cowardice. that's not who they are. they have always run on the moral high road, national defense, are so corrupt in their core and their behavior to allow what goes on, to me that is even more sickening than the president himself because that's who we got. >> i couldn't agree more. the other person to donnie's point who doesn't come as advertised, is john kelly. they're basically two types of chiefs of staff. there are schmoozers with
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connections in congress who can help you pass legislation, and then there are disciplinarians who make the ship run. you can have a james baker type or rahm emanuel, one or the other. those are acceptable forms. kelly came advertised as the ultimate disciplinarian. the fact is you have a chief of staff who appears to have told an untruth about a florida congresswoman -- >> frederica wilson. >> and who does president seem to have a handle on -- you would think as basic to him, operational security, when it comes to handling top secret information. this is ail form former four-st general. it's staggering. trump does need a competent manager in the white house, but it's just not him. maybe it's mrs. doubt fire. >> it's a six-month job,
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impossible. >> natasha, let me ask you a question about security clearance. do you see any scenario where this white house has to account for who does and does not have full clearances and who does and does not handle classified information? >> well, there have been efforts by democratic members of congress to get more information about the white house's security clearance process. i mean, i know that the house oversight ranking member, the house oversight committee, elijah cummings has asked for information, for example, about how michael flynn and michael flynn, jr., got full security clearance. that requires some kind of cooperation from republicans on the committee because it would require a subpoena. and so far trey gowdy, the chair of the oversight committee has not wanted to issue that subpoena. now, of course, security clearances are a function entirely of the executive branch. the fbi does not even make recommendations to the white house about who should get a security clearance and who should be denied one. so, it's really at the discretion of the white house.
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but usually and just for reference, if you're on a fast track to gain a security clearance, the process should take about four to six weeks. ni anything over a year is extremely rare. there was one instance in the obama administration where an official had to wait a year but it was an anomaly. >> she's absolutely right. these things get flagged almost immediately because most people tell the truth on their forms. i don't know for a fact whether mr. porter did or did not. but these things get flagged. >> his wives told the truth. >> they went to the press. they were interviewed by the fbi. do you think that in the end, someone goes down because a lie is uncovered or do you think we continue to stagger along like this? >> i wonder how much of this process is still -- it just goes back to norms. if the president can ultimately at the end of the day give someone a clearance that the fbi would not approve, you know, in
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disagreement with the fbi, then nothing really matters. i remember during the bush white house that to be able to circulate freely in the west wing you had to have a badge. you had to have a certain level of clearance. certainly the staff secretary had the highest level of clearance and would not have been in that role on some kind of temporary -- >> right. they wouldn't place that person until the full clearance. >> if you're the ceo of a public company, hiring would be through a process, an hr. think about how he fired and hired. he doesn't have to answer to anybody. why would he behave any differently? >> all right. when we come back, the number three at d.o.j. is out, brand-new nbc news reporting on the departure of the woman who would have overseen the mueller investigation if trump were to fire mueller and his deputy. make something for dinner.
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washington. why exactly did rachel brand who was until recently the number three attorney at the department of justice decide to abruptly quit late friday afternoon. sources tell our colleague that brand grew frustrated with the vacancies at the department and feared she would oversee the russia investigation, something she would have to do if rod rosenstein was fired, resigned or recused himself. here is the response. it is clear these anonymous sources have never met rachel brand let alone know her thinking. all of this is false and frankly ridiculous. and there was discontent. she was not happy at d.o.j. i heard from a d.o.j. official she was struggling to find her lane and from a walmart official that talks had been underway for a while. >> right. you don't leave the job after nine months if you are not
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unhappy. and it is telling that she left because she was worried that she would have to oversee the mueller investigation. that seems like it is an indication that she had heard or that she -- that she suggested that rod rosenstein would be fired as many media reports have suggested that trump has thought about doing in terms of perhaps hiring someone or putting someone in that spot who could fire mueller which we found out a few weeks ago, he was also considering to be a possibility. so being thrust into the -- the spotlight and then if rod rosenstein was fired and then having been -- pressure put on her by trump to perhaps fire mueller would have been too much for her to handle. she probably didn't want to deal with that, understandably. >> a.b., this is a mueller story, this is a who is home at the justice department story. this is also a brain drain story. she really is -- when you talk about the best and the brightest in the republican party, we talk about the best and the bright eflt and sort of conservative
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legal circles, she's exhibit a. >> i know. but those people don't want to work in the state department and d.o.j. they don't want to work in these jobs. and that fear was real. there is a real chance that rod rosenstein loses his job and that probe would be dumped in her lap. and although it was funny on friday night when it broke, i contacted someone who had known rosenstein a long time and the person did not know yet of this news. and their first response was she should have stayed so there was pressure for her to stay if something bad happens to rosenstein. this is a very difficult decision for her. not wanting to take that on but having a chore he is of people like matt miller today saying we need patriots now, she should have stepped up. >> this is a fundamental point, that bad money drives out good, bad people drive out good. people understand that lengthy tenures in this administration carry reputational risks and everyone thought at least trump will surround himself with good
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people. they shouldn't be so sure. >> answer this. so she walked out because it was so bad and for the reasons you said, why hasn't anyone in the white house left? >> some have. some people in the white house have left. slowly trickled away and jeremy katz let the economic counsel and dina powell left. with rachel brand in particular, just in terms of your personal life, knowing you could be the next person in the line of fire for the kind of vitriol personal attacks that come from this president and then up the threat level, not just to you but to your entire family. >> the rationalization -- i could do more good there. if i go -- that is the rationalize is, they want to stay close to power. >> do you think it is falling apart -- >> i think dina powell left and gary cohn. >> do you think he's next. >> highest staff turnover of any white house. >> thank you for being with us.
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it is never enough time when you are here. my thanks to. that does it for the hour. i'm nicolle wallace, "mtp daily" starts right now with katy. >> and the white house security clearance is still a massive story. 2 -- no 370 days and they still don't have a permanent clearance for him. >> he reads the pdb without a full clearance is so staggering for anyone that worked in the white house. that is the most sensitive document. i don't know what is more shocking, that he reads it or that trump doesn't. >> you listed off the things that donald trump has done with classified information and this is not classified but unsecured cell phone use for the first few months of the white house. >> and i'm guessing like a teenager he has some stuff under his bed for when he wants to be naughty. >> i'm sending you donnie. >> we want him. my e.p. said


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