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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  February 19, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PST

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monday morning. "morning joe" starts right now. well, it was a busy weekend for the president of the united states. >> very busy. >> very busy. he attacked the fbi and his own national security adviser. he fixated on hillary clinton and the size of a congressman. he plugged a nascar race. and called oprah insecure. he offered curious praise for the kremlin. and blamed the florida mass shooting on the russia investigation. yes, on this president's day. >> wow. >> it was a busy weekend for americans. >> some of those tweets more offensive than others. >> unbelievably offensive. >> it showed and you can see it in realtime that really started to the weight of the mueller investigation more so than ever before really started to weigh down on him because one of his most important escape routes had been cut off. that this was fake.
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this was a phony. this was a 400-pound guy in new jersey. this had -- the russians didn't do it. well, it's now thoofb the russians were trying to interfere in our election. he actually by the end had to back up. >> well, it appears the stress might be getting to him. that was the tweet storm. welcome to "morning joe." we're live in washington on this monday, february 19th. with us we have david ignatius. matt miller. carol lee. and jon meacham who is criminal chully obligated to work on president's day and wear his rugged boots. >> jon meacham, they're duck boots. they're not rugged boots. >> he doesn't really need to wear them. >> it's a fashion statement i like to say. >> exactly. >> it is. it is.
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so, jon meacham, my favorite president's day story is bill clinton gathering foreign contributors in the white house and announcing to them, this is the day in america that we call president's day. i thought that was sort of a laugh because, of course, he's getting money from people that did not know what president's day was. but you put some pretty interesting quotes out this weekend about the importance that past president's say in electing the right type of president. i thought it was very timely. >> yeah. john adams said -- and this is obviously in the very beginning -- that it's absolutely crucial who the people send to the presidency. and that sort of blows up this myth that in the early days that the presidency didn't matter as much. it was article 2, not article 1.
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the founders understood most of them that the office was as a historian would later say one of the oldest in human kind, an elective kingship. that's what this is. the president has incredible force over not only a country's politics but its culture. and that's what makes this weekend and the last however long america has been held hostage since january of '17 so remarkable. fdr said in 1932 that the presidency is not merely an office of efficiency, it's not an engineering job that was to take a shot at herbert hoover who was an engineer, it was a place of moral leadership. and what he or ultimately she does matters. and what's happened here is pretty clearly in the last 14
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mofrlgds xz 13 mofrlnths we hav president who is in desperate need of being told that hope should matter more than fear. >> right. george washington also said that our republic only worked and that office only worked if the occupants were virchuous people. you were over in munich this weekend, david. obviously our national security adviser made news by telling the truth, by saying what everybody else in washington was saying and everybody else in the trump administration had been saying. but talk about the unease that you picked up in munich. >> munich is a symbol, annual munich security conference of the continuity in u.s. alliances and policies. mika's dad would go there year after year and speak with
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others. senator mccain has been a regular. and the point of this conference every year is to reassert the things that really make a difference in keeping america a steady leader in its alliances and partnerships. i actually thought that continued. it continued despite this president. h.r. mcmaster speaking as national security adviser in a president trump said direct contradiction to what the president was saying back in the white house. you had dan coates the director of national intelligence calling the russian foreign minister a liar before the audience and saying i would like to take him to the c.i.a. where it says on the wall you shall see the truth and the truth shall set you free. >> the former senator from indiana? >> you have the number two guy at the state department saying to the europeans, despite what you may see in the tweets, we're
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committed to the joint iran nuclear deal, despite what you may read in the tweets, our strategy for north korea is diplomatic. what a contrast. you had a president flailing back home wildly and you had an effort to say to our allies, there's continuity here outside the person of the president. >> so with all that in mind, the number two official at the department of justice personally unveiled indictments against 13 russians brought by special counsel robert mueller. it accuses them of a three-year program to subvert american democracy, forming an organization that sought in part to conduct what it called, quote, information warfare against the united states of america. through fictitious u.s. personas on social media platforms and other internet based media. the indictment claims that during the presidential primaries and general elections, quote, they engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory
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information about hillary clinton to denigrate other candidates such as ted cruz or marco rubio and to support bernie sanders and then candidate donald trump. allegedly instructing specialists in february of 2016, quote, to use any opportunity to criticize hillary and the rest, except sanders and trump, we support them. in all, it claims the organization employed hundreds of individuals for its online operations with an annual budget that totalled the equivalent of millions of u.s. dollars. on friday, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein signaled that the justice department was filly behind the findings. >> the indictment alleges that the russian conspirators want to promote discord in the united states and undermine public confidence in democracy. we must not allow them to succeed. >> so, matt, here is what's
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fascinating. you have the president still railing against all of these people, including a national security adviser who told the truth in munich. but let's think about this for a second. we have an fbi director appointed by trump who said the russians were trying to rig our election. you had a c.i.a. director appointed by trump who said the russians were trying to rig our elections. you have an fbi director appointed by trump, the national director of intelligence, saying the same thing -- the russians were trying to rig this election. the justice department, donald trump's justice department, is saying the russians were trying to rig the national elections. he literally is the last major figure in america, the justice department, the fbi, we have it on the screen, the c.i.a., the dni, the national security agency, h.r. mcmaster, the senate intel committee, chuck
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grassley. i would go down the list of republicans, ben sasse, go down the list, james lankford. there aren't many people left except for really sad and pathetic spokes people for donald trump and donald trump himself who are denying this. only people who disagree are donald trump and russia. >> right. >> what are we to make of this? >> and rod rosenstein delivering that press conference. >> another republican. >> been a republican longer than donald trump has. >> they're all republicans. bob mueller has been a republican. james comey has been a republican a lot longer than donald trump has. >> right. i think this indictment obviously blew a hole in one of the president's favorite narratives which is this was a hoax. he retreated over the weekend a little bit. he tries to claim it's not the russian interference that's a hoax. it's collusion between my campaign and the russians. he's clinging to these two lines that rod rosenstein delivered in
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his press conference. one, there's no allegation in this indictment that americans cooperated and, two, there's no allegation that it changed the outcome of the election. two things about that. on the first point, the keyword is in this indictment. this is an investigation that's on going. if anything, this indictment established a platform for future charges by laying out a conspiracy. the second thing, it is beyond the per view of the justice department to ever find if the outcome of the election was swayed. they'll never deliver that finding. the president now seizing in a misleading way on these two little nuggets from rod rosenstein's press conference which are really the only thing left, his life raft in this storm. >> three things first of all you need to say about these indictments. one, we don't know what bob mueller knows. he proves that to us time and time again. we have no idea how much more there is. anybody on either side suggesting this proves a president is going to be indicted or a president is off the hook, they're whistling past
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graveyards. they have no idea what this guy has in mind. second thing this did, though, was it also was robert mueller job protection plan. not that he gives a damn. but all the little republicans that were running around the back pinchers saying that this is much a due about nothing, you now have four major trump people in the inner circle that indicted, three are now pleading guilty and going to be cooperating with the investigation. you have 13 russian entities. and when donald trump is saying no interference, no interference, max boot puts some great numbers together for one of his columns. he said that the russia -- the russian release of democratic party documents was mentioned 137 times by donald trump on the campaign trail the last month of the campaign. so donald trump is saying, there's nothing here. they had no impact.
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>> right. >> donald trump himself mentioned the release of these russian documents 137 times the last month of the campaign. the russian propaganda we know now reached over 126 million americans. in an election that was decided by less than 80,000 votes over three states. that's a pretty damning numbers. >> they are. you make a great point about the release of the e-mails in the wikileaks and the documents because this indictment while it's really detailed and we learned things that even if you talk to former obama administration officials they didn't even know when they left office were taking place at that time, it's very narrow in the sense that it's only about this specific social media operation and how the russians infiltrated our right to organize politically and weaponize that against us. it has nothing to do with wikileaks or collusion or has
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nothing to do with all other aspects that as you mention we don't even know robert mueller is probably looking into. >> and you could really feel the president's stress over this. >> right. >> or maybe a sense of oh my gosh this actually has gravity. >> it's like a buildup. >> you could see it in his tweets over the weekend. >> well, that is because it proves, it shows that the russians were actively involved. they were trying to rig the election. and they were working with donald trump. maybe they weren't colluding directly behind the scenes, but when donald trump in a press conference talks directly to the russians and says, you need to find those 33,000 missing e-mails of hillary clinton's that we can't find, i don't know what you call it, but that's almost like the lester holt obstruction of justice confession. i fired him. >> the tapes. we have the tapes on national television.
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>> i fired him because i wanted to end this investigation. >> this added a new phase on friday. it will not be the same going forward. and nobody knows that better than donald trump. you had this dramatic kind of inner person screaming at where he is now. he is now in the sights of robert mueller who described this conspiracy. he named the russians who did it, the people and events now continue to gather around this allegation of conspiracy. so he knows it's different. the other thing that we learn is we know how vladimir putin operates. >> right. >> the person he got to run this attack through the internet research agency is a nasty character as you can find. this is the person who runs their mercenary armies in ukraine and syria. this was a person who was convicted felon in russia. he started a hot dog stand and
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became vladimir putin's best buddy. it's a crazy picture of this russian state that donald trump keeps defending. >> mika, this sounds like a david ignatius made for movie thriller. >> wouldn't believe these details. if you wrote them, you would say come on. >> you said nobody says more than donald trump except he shared with the nation and the world over the weekend president trump sent out more tweets than he had sent out all week. it's his stress building up perhaps that tweet storm included 13 about russian interference in the 2016 campaign. posted at all hours from early in the morning to shortly before midnight. the white house said that the president was glad with the charges. and trump emphasized is that the russians began in 2014 before he announced his campaign and the results of the election were not impacted. the trump campaign did nothing wrong. no collusion. >> keep saying it. >> but as the weekend wore on,
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his irritation seemed to grow. tweeting, if it was the goal of russia to create disruption, chaos within the u.s. then with all the committee hearing investigation and party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. they are laughing -- this is the president -- their asses off in moscow. i never said russia didn't meddle in the election. i said it may be russia or china or another country or group or may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer. the russian hoax was that the trump campaign colluded with russia. it never did. >> all of those actually statements were false. matt, most of them were false because he did constantly say no collusion, no impact. the russians did nothing that would have impacted this campaign whatsoever. >> yeah. it was a meltdown we saw by the
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president over the weekend. and it was a meltdown that came after an indictment that isn't even over the russian involvement that might have had the most effect. one of the things that was left out of this indictment that was really telling, there's nothing about the hacking in this indictment. there's nothing about the hacking of the dnc which was later released over the summer right before the democratic convention. there was nothing about the hacking of john podesta's e-mails. you want to think about where bob mueller is going and good way to end up with egg on your face. as you say, no one really knows. but he made a decision last week that russians are not beyond his reach. he's willing to indictment russian officials for what they did in the election. i think we ought to draw conclusion from that that the russians who hacked into those i mails and helped release them were not beyond his reach. we should look for future charges. that's where you get to real promise. >> the russians were indicted
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over the trump officials who were involved in that process. >> right. >> you're right. i do personally think that's coming. but, you know, jon meacham, you look at the tweet storm this weekend and you can see in realtime and i guess we all are getting used to it. especially because the president is so isolated that nobody in his own cabinet believes anymore what he is saying, what he is tweeting. they are actively going out and they are, again, whether it's the justice department or the c.i.a. or the nsa or you go down the list. trump officials in washington all are admitting what is all very obvious. and they're all republicans admitting it, too. i would ask if there's any historical parallel but the only historical parallel i could think of is the story my mother mentioned when "the washington
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post" gave margaret truman a poor review in their paper for a concert. america was shocked that harry scribbled off a tough letter to "the washington post" critic. that shows you how far we've dropped. there is no precedent for this, is there? >> no. and i was about to say, this is as though king leer had a twitter account. that's unfair to king leer. strike that. this is like remember those old things they used to sell in the back of economic books, the x-ray glasses. this is as though we have a pair of x-ray glasses at what goes on in the brain and the gut because it's more gut i think than brain of the president of the united states. it's as though the tapes were being live streamed in 73, 74 to some extent.
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that's the only rough analogy. but i think at this point it's unfair to nixon. and the thing that really you try not to get overly emotional about this, one tries not to, but the one where he blames essentially the fbi's failure in the florida case on their, quote unquote, obsession with the russian investigation was the most chilling. >> yeah. >> of the tweets this weekend. because he has now singularly and historically failed the test of a commander in chief and a president as moral leader to reassure the country in times of stress and strain. >> there were a lot of children -- >> really great point. >> there were a lot of children, john, in that school who lost friends in the shooting who this weekend talked about just how deeply offended they were that the president would try to
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escape responsibility in an fbi investigation by blaming that shooting -- >> massacre of their friends. >> yeah, a massacre of their friends with a gun that has been used in every other massacre and that the president continues to embrace. >> and so you think about ronald and nancy reagan greeting the families of the marines after the bombings in beirut. and george h.w. bush resigning from the nra after oklahoma city. you think of bill clinton at oklahoma city at one of the lowest points of his presidency, he just asserted the president is relevant, sort of desperately. and then he goes to oklahoma city. he talks about healing. you think about president obama breaking into the ancient hymn "amazing grace" in charleston. that's the tradition in which we should expect presidents to work in moments like this, not
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defensive, self-serving, incorrect defenses of what's probably indefensible. >> well, we'll continue this conversation. still ahead on "morning joe" -- we'll hear from some of the students whose school was attacked last week by a mass shooter, how they are reacting to the president trying to tie that shooting to the russia probe. plus, we'll bring in former secretary of homeland security jeh johnson. chris van holland and former u.s. ambassador to russia michael mcfaul and nicholas burns. but first, bill karins with a check on the forecast. bill? >> well, good morning. we have a wild week coming your way. temperatures, record highs, serious flooding and some areas getting a ton of snow. let's get into it. today's forecast 1 in billings today and 87 in tampa. wester weather extremes. south dakota gets hit, minnesota
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and northern wisconsin that's the snowy travel over the next two days. as far as the flooding will go, the flood threat is arkansas up through mississippi, ohio. ber muda will pump the warm air. we will get significant rain. some areas will pick up four, five inches of rain this week. that's incredible. st. louis possibly five inches. we get that on the wet soil. we're going to have trouble out there locally someone could get 8 to 10 inches of rain. that will be a big story. the week ahead, the incredible warmth and record highs, d.c. should be in the 70s on tuesday and wednesday. new york city could get there, too. then we'll get the rain kicking through and then things will return to normal. but again, if you're traveling this week, we have a lot of issues at the airports because of rain and the snow. washington, d.c., warm today, temperatures in the 50s, but that's nothing. 70 to 75 for tuesday afternoon. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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okay. so in another weekend tweet, president trump attacked the fbi for missing warning signs about the alleged florida school shooter and managed to connect it to the russia probe. he wrote, very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals send out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there is no collusion. get back to basics and make us all proud. that's incredible. students who survived the shooting at marjorie joy stonem douglas high school reacted to the tweet. oh my god. 17 of my classmates and friends are gone and you have the
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audacity to make this about russia? have a damn heart. you can keep all of your fake and meaningless thoughts and prayers. senior tweeted, you know what isn't acceptable, blaming everyone but the shooter and lack of gun control in our country. you even blamed the students. we did report him. we tried. but how were we supposed to know what would happen. your lack of sympathy proves how pitiful of a person you are. a senior wrote, my friends were brutally murdered and you have the nerve to make this about russia? i cannot believe this. another senior wrote, 17 of my classmates are gone. that's 17 futures, 17 children, 17 friends stolen. but you're right, it always has to be about you. how silly of me to forget. >> another senior had this advice yesterday -- >> i think the best way to deal with this is to ignore him.
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he's not being -- i think we can all agree the things that president trump tweets is nothing really has a lasting impact unless it's a negative lasting impact on the people around us. at this point especially the things that he mentions when he brings up talk of the fbi, he's trying to blame somebody. and we can't let him do that. so the best thing for us to do is to ignore him and to continue fighting our fight. >> the president's reference to missed signals by the fbi was a reference to this news, the fbi says on january 5th a person close to nicholas cruz called the agency's tip line to report information about cruz's gun ownership, desire to kill, erratic behavior social media posts as well as a potential to conduct a school shooting. however the fbi says established protocols were not followed and that the information never made it to the miami field office where it could be investigated. the fbi director released a statement saying, quote, we are still investigating the facts.
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i am committed to getting to the bottom of what happened in this particular matter. as well as reviewing our processes for responding to information that we receive from the public. he also said, we've spoke on the the victims and families and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by the horrific tragedy. the response from florida governor rick scott is this -- the families spent a life time wondering how this could happen and an apology will never give them answers they desperately need. the fbi director needs to resign. how interesting that one of the president's lackies, a guy who has embarrassed himself repeatedly defending the indefensible for the president uses a school shooting in his state to try to get rid of one of the president's -- well, somebody that the president appointed but one of the people who had been a target of the presidents over the past several weeks a guy who spoke in truth to power.
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and it's also just not smart for rick scott to do that because when he did it i knew this story would be coming up. the fbi wasn't the only agency that allowed cruz to slip through the cracks. according to "the new york times," rick scott's own florida social services agency made a visit to cruz's home. after being alerted of disturbing social media posts, siting a state report the "times" says that he was questioned and then rick scott's agency determined that he was at low risk of harming himself or others. >> gosh. >> so if rick scott is going to apply that cynical standard to all public officials, then i guess rick scott needs to resign at once. carol, this is happening with so much going on right now. the president of the white house understands that gun issue is a real problem. they also understand that more
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school shootings will be coming. if you look, this is now a national epidemic. so they've got to worry about that. they've got to worry about mueller. and they have to worry about something else that you've been looking into and that has to do with security clearances. it appears that john kelly angered quite a few people in the west wing because he's applying a new standard that most likely is going to keep people like jared kushner from being able to get the security -- get their hands to the security documents they've had in the past, but it will apply to a lot of other people. >> yeah. what's not clear about that is whether john kelly was in a tenuous position in terms of his job security and it's not clear that this new memo, five-page memo he released last week to outline new procedures for security clearances is going to help him or it's going to hurt him because it puts some folks like jared kushner right in the -- as "the washington post"
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reported there's a bullseye on him. >> i wonder, is this kelly knowing he's isolated and taking a final shot at jared kushner. >> he's very isolated in the white house. one of three things is going to happen, by friday, according to john kelly's memo, all interim security clearances that were issued people's whose cases who started before last summer, which includes jared kushner and others, they are either going to lose their security clearance -- interim security clearances or their cases will have to be finalized and they'll get a permanent security clearance. jared kushner will have his case revolved and get a permanent security clearance or lose his security clearance or you'll have a situation where this president could step in and say i want him to have a security clearance. but either way, based on this memo, this issue we've all been talking about for some time is going to come to a head on friday. >> lot of people in washington are asking the question, is john kelly going to survive?
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a lot of people asking who is will take his place? >> it still remains to be seen. they got for better or worse attention shifted both because of the shooting and because of the russia indictments and so there's been i think they felt much more like somebody needed to go and that they would need to do something. and then they started to not feel as much in that way. >> one final question i heard from several people last night that no people inside the white house that the president wants to make a statement on gun violence on legislation, whether it's background checks, bump stocks, the banning of certain assault-style weapons or all three, which obviously you talk about something that would cause a political shift and not just obviously the base would be angry, but where else will they go?
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>> we've seen this before where the president gets a little tugged in terms of where his policy positions are and where his supporters are and where when it comes to kids how he views things like that. the thing although i have to say he's kind of lost the ground here in terms of when you look at this what happened with this shooting, he's not the one who is leading the nation in terms of comfortable the country and people. it's these kids. and that to me has been the most striking thing is that all of us are looking for leadership and it's not to the elected officials, it's not the president. it's these young people who have this incredible emotional maturity. at this point as you showed in the clips earlier, he lost those people. >> can you imagine, mika, if he called in and say he called in the parents. he called in the parents who lost children in other shootings. he called in the parents from newtown and he talked to them. and then he moved forward with,
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again, these issues that are 90% issues. >> yeah. >> it would have -- i think it would have a really significant impact on people that have been aching for some sort of legislation to move forward since newtown. >> i think there's a really easy path to doing something heroic here. and i would be stunned if even this president couldn't see it. carol lee, thank you very much for having you on. coming up next, our next guest, directly questioned one of russia's top diplomats over the new charges levelled by bob mueller against 13 russians. former u.s. ambassador nicholas burns explains that exchange straight ahead. >> by the way, this was like diplomatic wrestling here. you had dan coates going after the foreign minister of russia, a guy who i would be scared of. that guy is tough, right? >> wait until you hear. >> and nick burns just leans in. >> they might have had a
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slingshot going after sergey -- >> he just kept pounding. it really does seem, again, like our a-team went over to berlin and said, we're here. sort of a political avengers. we're standing here. we don't know what you think you're going to get out of america. >> they said donald trump is not the united states all by himself. >> right. >> we are a big country. we represent many powerful parts of it. listen to us. >> all right. we'll talk to him straight ahead on "morning joe." we'll be right back. everyone has a thing. that binge watch over the weekend thing. more checking-in or checking out things. that triple-double thing doing it yourself or tagging a friend thing. more revolutions in the making thing. that play like a girl thing. that four-legged friends thing.
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♪ time now for the latest from the winter olympics in pyeongchang. after suffering a 2-1 loss to team canada, the u.s. women's hockey team bounced back, crushing finland, 5-0 in the semifinals thanks to two goals from danny cameranesi. team usa last won the gold in the 1998 games. meanwhile, two-time medalist lindsey vonn is playing mind games in the downhill training runs. purposefully putting on the brakes towards the end. she, said, quote, she didn't
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want to win. she likes to think other people they're faster. she still clocked for the third best time. the medal race will take place tomorrow. >> that's my tactic. i like to make other people think they're smarter than me and i have succeeded in 34 years. madison huble and zachary donahue were the top pair for team usa while the shibutanis finished fourth in the team dance. team usa fallen out of the top five in the medal race with olympic athletes from russia eclipsing the usa. norway still leads 26 overall. >> damn norwegians. >> the americans currently have 10 including five golds. other news not concerning team usa, russian curling athlete failed a doping test. he won a bronze medal with his wife in the mixed doubles curling. according to "the new york times," the curler had traces of
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maldonium. >> most of the world is absolutely shocked by this news that anybody -- >> why do you need to dope for that? >> that anybody would feel the need to dope for curling. >> you're just -- like that. you're just sliding along. why do you need to dope? >> i don't know. >> the audience needs to dope to wake up to watch it. >> please. give the audience some adderall. up next, when asked last year how many trump officials he met with, former russian ambassador sar guy kislyak couldn't answer saying the list was too long. nick burns also asked kislyak a question, one he could answer but refused. >> boy, that was a tough moment. we'll talk about it when ambassador burns joins us next.
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all right. joining us now former u.s. ambassador to nato and former state department spokesman nicholas burns. he is professor of diplomacy and international relations at the harvard kennedy school of government. also with us, former d.o.d. official and former executive director of wmd commission now seen yore fellow at the atlantic council and msnbc national security analyst evelyn farkus. >> part of the diplomatic avengers team that landed in munich and took no prisoners. >> the boys are very excited by what you did. >> yeah. and also, it's so exciting, david, what you told me about what director coates did. dan coates has always been soft spoken. >> mild mannered dan coates
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calleder is va lavrov the russian a liar. the truth will make you free. the high point of this event was ambassador nick burns. one of the most diplomatic i just want to set this up by noting that we all watched nikon front a former russian ambassador to washington and ask him point blank the most serious question imaginable and then ask it again. i'll let nick explain what he just -- what he said. but the whole audience, me and evelyn included -- thought, wow, that's taking it right to him. >> tell us the story. >> well, you know, i was moderated a panel in munich and tehe esteemable sergey kislyak was there and i felt we had to confront the russians with facts that their government launched a
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massive conspiracy to undermine our elections and i pointed out this extraordinary scene last week when all the heads of intelligence agencies of the u.s. testified in public that the russians not only did that but that they're doing it again in the 2018 elections. i wanted to communicate to him that we're not going to back down from this, that we're going to defend our democracy. and obviously the elephant in the room is that our president is not defending our democracy. that the russians launched this attack. that every prior president would have formed a national commission, would have raised our defenses and would have helped the europeans fend off similar attacks and that kislyak and the russian government should expect this from the united states, that we're going fight back and defend our elections. and, of course, i asked him, i said, you know, this happened on your watch, you must have known about this or must have been involved and, of course, he filibustered and prevaricated and lied about it, but that's what soviet-trained diplomats like kislyak do.
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>> nick, the amazing thing was you asked him the question, he didn't answer it and you asked it again. you asked it even more directly. my take away, tell me if this was yours, was that the russians were really on their back foot. kislyak as you questioned him, lavrov as he gave the speech. did you have that same feeling? >> i sure did. it was really painful, and i mean that, and almost shocking for the americans -- and there were hundreds of us there -- is that both kislyak and his boss the russian foreign minister sergei lavrov, they fell back on the statements of the trump administration. lavrov quoted vice president pence and the department of homeland security in saying it's fake news, it never happened, look what the trump administration is saying, the russians never interfered with our elections. and to see the russians hiding behind the trump administration and to see the trump administration and russians have the same pathetic explanation, i thought that was the low point and david, i mean, it was such a
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striking and in many ways disappointing weekend to see how far from grace the united states has fallen in the eyes of europe. they see donald trump as weak, weak confronting russia. they respect jim mattis, the secretary of defense, they respect h.r. mcmaster, they respect john sullivan, the deputy secretary of state who did a very good job this weekend but they think the president is failing the west and not leading the west. and for me, that was disappointing. >> and the houhow sad and pa tte vice president apologizing for donald trump became the talking points for russia. you had a presidential spokesperson this weekend go out and say that democrats and the media were actually causing more damage. that was actual ly -- rt put tht message out. so you have the few remaining
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russian -- sorry trump apologists in america, including the vice president of the united states, being used as russian propaganda because, evelyn, it's very important to say and if we can put up the chart to show it, now even trump officials that are running the fbi, the cia, the nsa, the national director of intelligence, the justice department, our national security adviser, chuck grassley, you can go down the list, ben sasse, i could name you one republican after another in the senate who are now saying the president is wrong, russia is wrong, they did try to interfere in the election and they did try to change the outcome. how incredible. put the chart up again. america, 2018, the only two people that disagree with everything national intelligence agency in america are the president of the united states
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and vladimir putin. >> right. one of the things, joe, you know, i noticed, was that even though the russians quoted back to us our officials, they actually didn't -- they didn't actually use their own words to say "we didn't do this." they didn't actually issue their own denial, which i thought was interesting. all along they've kind of wanted the world to know they were capable of doing this and in a way they wanted us to know they did -- they meddled in our elections, this is the way the russians operate. but i found it interesting that they found themselves unable to really defend themselves effectively. and even lavrov's words where he was quoting back u.s. officials, it was very weak for lavrov. usually he's up there spewing fire and brimstone, he's being sarcast sarcastic, he's trying to make people look foolish and he had a very short statement compared to other years and he just didn't have the energy there. it was sort of like he was phoning it in. we are just getting to the top of the hour, we have much more to cover straight ahead.
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> why didn't you deny calling the president a moron? >> you know, that's a really old question. >> you understand by not answering the question some people thought you were confirming the story? >> i think i've answered the question. >> you think you answered the question. >> i've answered the question. >> did you call the president a moron? >> i'm not going to dignify the question. we've got many bigger issues
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that we could be talking about. i'm not from this town, i understand this town likes to talk about a lot of things that are really not important. >> well, i kind of think it's important. >> i think it's very good answers. welcome back to "morning joe." >> you're not going to answer that question. you know, my mama taught me a long time ago, a tumble weed only goes in one direction. just say something like that with that voice and it works. >> but what does she think he's going to go "yes, he's a moron, i said it." >> you know, a dog only bites from one bone. i mean, he can make anything up but it's good. i'm not from this town. did you shoot the assailant? well, i mean -- >> on set we have columnist and associate editor for the "washington post" david ignatius. former justice department spokesperson matt miller. former u.s. ambassador and former state department spokesman nicholas burns. former d.o.d. official evelyn
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farkas, pulitzer prize winning historian jon meacham and joining us, staff writer at the "atlantic" natasha beartrend and former a.g. for the district of alabama, joyce vance. >> jon meacham, mika gets on to me for being optimistic. i'm sorry, i love this country, mika, and i won't apologize for it. how about that? she always thinks i'm too optimistic about things but if you look back over the last seven days, you see an intel community that has stood in the gap, has said things that they knew would make their boss angry, they've told the truth about russia, they've told the truth about russia trying to rig the elections. you look at what happened in munich, this dan coats story calling the russian foreign
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minister a liar and saying come to our cia headquarters and look at the sign on the wall, know the truth and the truth will set you free, you look at what robert mueller has done and i was reminded by a friend last nig night. she said we always talk about how republicans aren't standing up for bob mueller enough. compare how republicans treated bob mueller with how democrats treated ken starr where you actually had the democrats and the national media and everybody working around the clock to undermine ken starr and actually make ken starr's name something dirty in washington, d.c. while he was conducting an investigation. that's not happening here. there are a lot of things for us to be upset about, but can we not just stop and look back over the last seven days and say over
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the last seven days, despite the horrors of florida and despite a lot of other things that upset us that the center has held, the institutions have held -- at least for this week. >> and i think that -- not that mika's not always right, let's stipulate that. >> mika's always right. >> in the nuance of the matter i think this has been a victory for rule of law. there's been a lot of very serious-minded folks worrying about the erosion, as you say, of democratic -- lower case d -- institutions. a free press, rule of law and what i've heard and folks around the table know better than i do is that one of the remarkable things about director mueller's investigation is it's almost entirely leak-proof. talked to a journalist the other day at one of the major outlets
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who said that in 30 years of doing this she'd never seen an operation that was as tightly held as this so honestly we just don't know what he has and i think there's been basic support for what he's done. i think a lot of it has to do with the respect he earned through the years and on the basic question of optimism, i'm with churchill, we can always count on the americans to do the right thing after we exhaust every other possibility and i think we're testing that. this is we are living through arguably the greatest stress test of our democracy certainly since the early 1930s. when there was a real question about whether democratic capitalism could make it. >> so matt, i'll ask you the same thing, the two things that have concerned me the most over the past year and a half have been first the president's racially inflammatory tweets
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that just send a horrific message to people who are not white in america and across the globe but secondly i've been most concerned about these attacks on the rule of law, attacks on federal judges, attacks on the fbi, attacks on the cia, attacks on the independent counsel and yet over the past seven days all of these people appointed by donald trump have stood up for their agencies, stood up for the constitution, stood up for the independence of the rule of law. i think once in a while we should stop and say god, we live in a pretty damn great country, it's enduring a stress test right now but so far we're -- we have the men and women pushing back. >> i think one of the things people who haven't worked in the justice department don't understand about that institution is how ingrain it had culture of independence is
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in everyone that works there. they know it's deeply important to that department's ability to do its mission, that it remain independent. because if the president -- this president or any other president -- were to be able to do what donald trump wants to do, which is take over the justice department and turn it into a police force that he can use to investigate and prosecute his enemies and look the other way against potential crimes by himself, that's the last thing standing in terms of an institution that is fundamental to our democracy. and a president that was able to weaken that institution and take it over would really be on the w way to tyranny, actually. so i think what you saw on friday was not just burrell by himself but the deputy attorney general stepping forward and saying this department will remain independent and do this work without fear of the president. >> it is, though, a stress test and not -- not to be the wet blanket, i understand your optimism, i think you always have to be in america but i think we have to look at the reality here and when you have -- i'll just give you one
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little example of what we've seen over this weekend as you can see this president clearly, some would argue, melting down under the pressure. but you have a president linking the failure of the fbi to find the florida shooter before he could act to the russia obsession. >> and all i will say is going back to what i've said before, our founders anticipated having this type of person as president of the united states, someone who would have autocratic tendencies, they never anticipated a compliant congress. but look at congress. how many people followed up donald trump's calling if the firing of the director of the fbi? i didn't see it. maybe they did. i didn't see it. how many people were chirping on the television this week end that burrell was churning out fake news? . even the backbenchers that humiliated themselves time and again, i didn't see it. it seems to me that what bob
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mueller did, and natasha, let's bring you in here, bob mueller connected a lot of dots and proved that far from being fake news we had an aggressive ongoing active attempt by the russian government, by vladimir putin's government, to impact the outcome of our election. it was significant enough that, again, we showed this chart, you have all of the agencies in the u.s. government that matter, the justice department, the fbi, the cia h.r. mcmaster, the senate intel committee, chuck grassley all agreeing and a lot of republican senators that the russians meddled in the 2016 election and tried to affect the outcome. only donald trump and vladimir putin disagree. that's significant isn't it? >> absolutely. and this was an incredibly smart move by mueller for a number of
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reasons. firstly, it leaves the ground work for potential further indictments because it establishes that a crime occurred. it establishes that the russians interfered in the election and that that was a criminal act it forced trump to say that the russians started in twau2014. but he was forced to acknowledge that this was a long ongoing campaign by the russians. another reason why this was so important is timing. this is right before a lot of places actually are going to start their primaries, as early as next month, so the fact that the midterm elections are under threat, the fact that this came a few days after the top intelligence officials in the country testified before congress and said that the russians were actively planning to target the midterms put more weight behind this indictment
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that dropped on friday. it quiets the critics. it says robert mueller is not just going on a witch-hunt to perhaps get donald trump or manafort or gates for the sake of just getting them, he is actually interfering -- actually investigating his original mandate which was to investigate russia's interference in the election. >> and we have names, entities, we have agencies, we have russian thugs turned hot dog makers, turned thugs again by vladimir putin, we have bank records. we have -- it's all in black and white which stops republicans and primaries from going out there running against somebody else saying this is fake news. no, it's all there. joyce vance, talk about the legal impact. when this indictment dropped, when these indictments dropped on friday what was your first thought? what's mueller doing?
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>> it's a tremendous indictment. the level of detail in these 37 pages of what prosecutors like to call a speaking indictment because it tells a story as much as identifying charges that are brought against a defendant the level of detail is cautionary tail for the 2016 election and what we might expect going forward and it's an interesting question. natasha talks about the timing. we've talked a lot over the last few days about the fact that it's unlikely mueller will get jurisdiction over these russian individuals and companies. they won't be brought to the united states to face trial so people ask why do you go through the exercise and in some sense it's naming and shaming. it's letting the russians know we're fully aware of what happened with this immaculate level of detail but it also begins to socialize people in
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our country to understand that a crime was committed and that we are, in fact, the victims of that crime. whether it actually impacted the outcome of the election or not, there was an effort made by russians to subvert our thinking about our candidates. >> and joyce, the timing of it also very important for americans that are watching because they will see that donald trump's intel -- the heads of these intel agencies appointed by donald trump all said the russians tried to med unt meddle in the 2016 and are going to try to med untdle in the 201 election and three or four days later bob mueller said "here's your proof." right? >> that's right. and everyone in the u.s. intelligence community agrees russia was responsible. >> ambassador, nick burns, i want to ask you to offer a thought about whether we're out
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of the woods here in terms of perceptions of our allies in europe and around the world about the united states. i know you feel that there is still a lot of uneasiness among our allies that you picked up in munich. >> david, it was palpable over the weekend. you can't be at this extraordinary conference, thousands of people there, and not feel how disappointed the germans, the french, the spaniards, the italians are with president trump and here's what's striking, david, there's huge respect for jim mattis, he's the person they believe in. they see the president's denials and what's happening in their own continent where the russians are going after them and the europeans are accustomed to an american president -- think ronald reagan, john f. kennedy, george w. bush -- who will identify with them and defend them in a common cause like nato and they see the president so ambivalent about nato, so
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sarcastic and critical of the european union, this is an important moment in the transatlantic relationship. there's a lot going right that jim mattis is putting forward. more nato allies spending money, that's positive but you need that presidential leadership and we don't have it and i think the europeans feel -- i certainly o do -- there's a crisis of leadership? the west. he is no longer leading the west. how sad is that for an american to reflect on that? >> evelyn, you were in munich over the weekend. i'd like to hear the reaction from european officials when they see the detail in this indictment that robert mueller released friday. a lot of european countries struggle with the same kind of russian interference and after reading that indictment, the reaction they see is these tweets from the president roll in over the weekend while you're there with so many colleagues from europe. >> i think that the europeans are -- they're still aghast at the divide between the president
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and the normal -- the professional leadership we have in the cabinet and in our bureaucracies, the people who were the experts and they don't know what to make of this. on the one hand they'll say well, we can ignore the president but on the other hand it's the president so i think the europeans are really -- they feel a sense of drift and what i noticed most of all in munich was that because the u.s. isn't leading, we didn't have a cabinet official speaking from the podium in munich for the first time in a while. sure we had the national security adviser, but he's not a cabinet official. second, the u.s., because there was no clear message of leadership, you saw the europeans arguing more amongst themselves so that will use this the way they want to use it for their own domestic reasons and to fight one another about the russia policy because we're not articulating a clear transatlantic russia policy and it bleeds into everything. we have a huge crisis in syria, the war in the middle east is broadening and expanding,
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threatening to get bigger because of israel's engagement now. we didn't talk at the conference very much about north korea but that's another huge potential interstate crisis or conflict on the horizon so without u.s. leadership, the europeans don't even know how to approach these problems. we need to set clear policies but if we have a divide between the president and the cabinet, it's hard to do. >> and a half that, i picked up from david and also from the ambassador that sergei lavrov, a foreign minister that just usually goes into these settings and dominates, such a force and he's always been such a force but that he was flattened and that he was not his old self. who knows, maybe he was in a bad mood that weekend because his soccer team lost. we don't want to overread it.
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at the same time, these have to be very difficult times for people like lavrov who dedicated their entire life to first the soviet union and then russia following the collapse of the soviet union where things seem to be in a worse position now than they were before putin decided to interfere in the 2016 election. we talk about russia as the boogie man, they could be a critical partner in a lot of different areas, obviously. but how bleak do things look from moscow's advantage point right knew? >> i think you hear a lot of talk about russia having buyer's remorse, about how they regret helping to elect donald trump because donald trump hasn't been the partner they could have wanted or hoped for. but you have to remember that donald trump has not chosen to
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implement sanctions, he's not exactly been a hypercritical leader on the world stage of vosh in that sense russia lucked out but if you take, for example, the steele dossier at face value or take that as any kind of guide, there was internal dissent within the russian government about whether or not and to what extent the russians should interfere in the u.s. election and coordinate with donald trump and there were some saying that it was too ambitious, they were going get caught, it was just not a good idea and apparently putin was very, very set on this project. but i think to say knew there is this buyer's remorse among the kremlin and in the russian government broadly for helping to elect donald trump kind of ignores the entire context of what they got in return which is no more sanctions and a
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president -- a u.s. president that will not criticize putin on the world stage. >> and yet, david, they have to know, the hostility that's been generated in the united states here makes it difficult for a lot of things to happen. like the chinese. it's almost like you look at the china example. donald trump. unbelievably critical of the chinese throughout the campaign but the chinese, they didn't care. they ignored it, they said we can work with this guy. >> they road throude through it >> they rode through it. they frustrated reporters because they would never criticize donald trump and this is the best of times for the chinese because of donald trump. can't say that for the russians, though, can you? >> you can't. the very word "russia" has become toxic in our politics and if you're sitting in moscow you're thinking this is our comeback, we now read in the indictment that people learning
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how to have -- army of jesus supporting positions, all that machination and manipulation and here they are, the details of their plot are exposed, putin's own closest most dubious henchman is identified in a justice department indictment as having organized this. if you're a professional russian diplomat, if you're say gergei lavrov, no wonder you look deflated. your world back home is turning into a swamp. that's what they tried to get away from. my sense has been, just to conclude this, russia after communism wanted normal life. they wanted to be a real country. and putin promised that. and that's slipping a bit this year. >> so as we end this block, joyce vance, i just kind of have a primal gut instinct question for you as you help us walk through this entire process watching the mueller probe through the mind-set of a prosecutor or investigator or
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someone gathering information, what do you make of the president's tweets over the weekend, all of them? >> i'm certain that they're being closely watched by mueller's team, but i don't think that they're influenced by the president's tweets in any wa way. this is an interesting prosecution. we watched them start in the united states and work up the chain, like you would prosecute a crime family going from the least culpable people up to the leaders. now we're seeing mueller work from the outside in. he started in russia with one piece, with this troll farm piece of russian manipulation. trump clearly feels that pressure. like it's pinschers closing in on him from all directions because of what the special counsel has so successfully done over the last few months. >> our thanks to a great panel -- nick burns, natasgnana evelyn and jon meacham, thank
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you all. >> jon, a story on presidents' day? tell us a really, really boring story -- >> no! th . >> that will make me regret opening the floor to you. jon meacham, pulitzer prize winning historian. go. >> ronald reagan was once asked "being an actor, how could you ever be president?" he said "i don't know how you can be president without being an actor." i think the theatricality of power is hugely important, playing the role, what we're missing right now is someone who can play the role of consoler in chief and he's lashing out in a very destructive way. and if you want to know anything about james k. polk, call me later. >> was fdr perhaps -- >> we will be on the phone! >> -- the most effective president other than ronald reagan, fdr, at understanding the role that he played for the american? >> well, one of the things that
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prove this is point is a lot of constitutional framers were willing to leave ambiguity because they were confident that washington was going to be the -- in the phrase of the time, and this is telling -- the first character. and what we see again and again is that character is destiny. >> alex is yelling that we have to go but i have to finish with one question. >> oh, no. >> greatest president. i know it's very hard for you, but if you had to pick one president, who would it be. i'll ask everybody around the table. >> i think the existential test is if someone had not been president would the country have survived so therefore it's washington and lincoln as a tie. >> matt? >> lincoln. >> yeah, lincoln but i'm going to say harry truman is the great surprise success. >> mika? >> what do you think? >> you know, i never really focused on not only greatness but genius of abraham lincoln until the last five years. i seemed focused on everybody else whether it was jefferson or
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ike or whomever but there is no answer for me but abraham lincoln. >> same here. evelyn? >> i say lincoln for the existential reasons, what he did. but i want to put a little footnote, for a foreign policy president who very professionally handled world change, george h.w. bush. >> george h.w. bush, incredible on the foreign policy stage and you can't say enough, though, i want to go back to what you said. what a shock, harry truman, my parents worshiped fdr, my mom said when he died it was like the king died and they didn't know how america could exist. harry truman, what he did in 1948, 1949 shaped the world that we live in. >> he stepped up and he was the leader of our country and that's what we need right now. >> i always -- you know, mika, i talk about how churchill saved civilization in 1940. well in 1948 harry truman helped save western europe from
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communism. it's a remarkable story. >> still ahead on this presidents' day, does president trump have a john edwards/bill clinton problem? law professor jonathan turley says some of the greatest threats to a presidency have come from the outer edges. he explains that next on "morning joe."
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joining us now, law professor at george washington university, jonathan turley. he's out with a new column that asks "does trump have an edwards/clinton problem?" he'll explain that in a moment. also former gop council member of the house ethics committee now an msnbc contributor, sylvia nelson joins us. first impressions, people are overthinking it now but when
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you saw what mueller did on friday, what was your gut? >> it's historic, this is the largest indictment of anyone trying to interfere with our elections so on that part it clearly is very significant. i think you also have to admit it's very significant that there is no collusion nexus established in the indictment. there's been a lot of indictments, a lot of pleas. >> in this one. >> yeah, and we still have seen that nexus. i've been skeptical about the obstruction and collusion aspects as likely criminal charges against the president. those are not the only things he's being investigated for but i do think it's significant after a year we haven't seen that type of nexus. >> at the same time, we don't know what's coming next with bob mueller, we never know. >> that's right. clearly the investigation on collusion and other issues are going forward. but each of these indictments gives us a little peek at the hand and that card isn't in there at the moment. >> so let's talk about the bill clint clinton/john edwards problem you're talking about. >> there's an excerpt we'll read
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right now because you write -- you discuss the possibility of another legal threat to president trump and this time coming from payments to a former porn star and playboy bunny and you write in part this "some of the greatest threats to a presidency come from the outer edges. that was the legacy of bill clinton whose adultery led to public dishonesty and ultimately perjury. the $130,000 payment to clifford and the $150,000 payment to mcdm mcdougal could present a serious legal threat to trump. the confirmation of this money coming from his lawyer and friend could be viewed as a circumvention of campaign finance laws. just ask john edwards. given the edwards prosecution and the pending common cause lawsuit, there is an obvious basis for alleging a possible crime related to these payments under the campaign finance laws. for a white house known for self-inflicted wounds, the situation could not be more
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precarious as the white house issues categorical denials." >> just to remind those that don't remember, john edwards was -- got in trouble legally for paying somebody he was having a relationship with, i think to be a videographer, used it out of campaign funds. >> it's very similar in a lot of respects because edwards had two people who participated in getting money as third parties to his mistress and the mother of what turned out to be his child. that was treated as a criminal campaign finance violation. so mueller could easily view this as within his mandate, it deals with a campaign finance violation, he's gone pretty far to go after paul manafort, this would not be as far as he's gone in that direction. and so he could investigate it. the problem for the president is that the white house has been issuing these categorical denials and that's where you get into trouble, that's where bill clinton got into trouble. >> on obstruction. >> so you've got false statement potential here, the campaign
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finance issues, you also have his attorney, cohen, who said look, this was my money not the campaign's money which i wrote, you know, a week ago, actually it adds to the problem. there's now a serious ethical issue as well as legal issue. >> so there's confirmation that the payments happened. is there any confirmation on what the payments were for? >> that's the issue that is -- mueller very well could ask, he could say look, i want to know was there steering here? was there an agreement with the campaign? was this an effort to silence or bury these stories. those would be within his mandate. >> and just for people that are listening, the problem with the cohen payment is if it didn't come from the campaign than that's an in-kind contribution and would probably be seen as an in-kind contribution to silence a critic of the final stretch of the campaign and then, of course, that becomes, as you said, a bigger problem. so when you talk about this being a problem, obviously we're
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not talking about the moral side of it because that's baked into the cake with donald trump. i remember us saying after the "access hollywood" tape when people were saying it was the end we were like no, it's not. this is a guy who said he wanted to have sex with princess diana after she was dead, after she had died because he liked her skin. i think most americans have baked it into the cake. so not a moral problem but more of a legal problem. >> it should be a moral problem. >> that's the clinton aspect. >> i'm saying you're not here saying that voters are going to be shocked by a man who said "i can shoot somebody on fifth avenue." you're talking about prosecutors. >> look, i voted for bill clinton but i testified at the impeachment hearings and i said he could be impeached for lying under oath, i didn't care what the subject is. i don't care what a president lies about. when you go under oath, it's a crime. and it will put republicans in a tough position if he trips that wire. it doesn't mean that he will. he can thread this needle but with all the attention at collusion, the more serious
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threats may, in fact, be on the edges. things like campaign financing, these types of campaign finance violations alleged by groups like common cause. those are the things that get you as a president if you look historically. >> i'd like to agree with you, because i worked on the government reform committee at the time we were investigating the chinese money with clinton. what got him was the moral stuff that you're talking about, the lying under oath so you're right, the outer edges, what the republicans wanted to get him on they couldn't get him on. >> it's funny you say that. people always talk about monica lewinsky. i said that's not the scandal. the scandal is the biggest dnc contributor was abled to send advanced missile technology to china and he couldn't get a single defense agency or a single intel agency to approve it so he got ron brown at commerce to approve it. >> yup. >> that was the scandal but it was the lying about the personal at the end that caused that. so where does mueller -- where do you think mueller goes next?
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>> that's the question is whether he has the intestinal fortitude to get into this type of issue with a former playboy bunny and a foreign star. mueller is the tied down type of guy. i don't know if he wants to go in that direction, he could. i mean, particularly with this lawsuit, with the edwards case, there is case precedent there. i actually disagree with the interpretation of campaign financing that came out of this last indictment. i think there's a free speech issue that has to be addressed. it goes way too far on that. this would not be as much of a stretch. there's precedent here for that type of allegation. >> now wasn't edwards ultimately released? >> actually, he was acquitted on one count and they ended up deadlocking on i believe five counts and they didn't go back and go after him. i was critical of the edwards prosecution. >> i was, too. >> i thought it was a weak prosecution. >> i thought it was a weak prosecution and we've had, though -- we've had the justice department over the past ten years, you can look at the john edwards prosecution, i think that was excessive.
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you can see what happened to ted stevens, you can see what happened to all of these people around abramoff. i knew several young people on the hill whose political lives were ruined by overaggressive prosecutors, they got in front of judges and the judges were like "why are you even here?" you have to be careful being too aggressive on this. >> joe, i think in this case -- on friday what mueller's team was brilliant in my opinion. first he has to deal with the misinformation campaign. that is that the president has been saying this is a hoax. we now have h.r. mcmaster and others saying no, it's real and i think the first thing they did was lay the foundation, as any good prosecutor does. he's laying the foundation for what i believe is going to come next and i believe we don't know, that could be broad or narrow but i don't think he'll go in a direction of sexual misconduct. he might but he has good stuff with the russia situation. it's a cyber attack against our sovereignty. i don't know why we're not talking about that and it's appalling that the president of the united states continues to
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not say a word about "i'm appalled." >> it's soulless. jonathan turley and sophia nelson, thank you very much for being on. still ahead, in his tweem storm ov -- tweet storm over the weekend, president trump tried to blame president obama for the shooting over the weekend. we'll have jeh johnson weigh in on that on "morning joe." presidg over the weekend. we'll have jeh johnson weigh in on that on "morning joe." 7 days ago, karen wasn't thinking about joining her daughter's yoga class. she was thinking about her joints. but now that she's taking osteo bi-flex, she's noticing a real difference in her joint comfort. with continued use, it supports increased flexibility over time. karen: "she's single." it also supports wonderfully high levels of humiliation in her daughter. karen: "she's a little bit shy."
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>> i do think in fairness some of the responsibility is also attributed to the obama administration for not establishing a more forceful deterrent. i think it goes back to the korean hack of sony in which there was a minimal response. i think that others around the world watch that and determined that cyber is a cost-free intervention. >> president trump wasn't the only person pointing blame at the obama administration for not doing enough to stop russian meddling in the elections. you heard there ranking member of the house intelligence committee adam schiff speaking on friday morning before the mueller indictments came down. joining us now in new york,
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former secretary of homeland security under president obama jeh johnson. good to have you on board. >> jeh, always great to have you on board. obviously a lot of democrats and republicans keep asking the same question -- why didn't president obama act more aggressively when he had information on the russians trying to interfere in our elections? what's the answer to that. >> well, joe, mika, you have to really put yourself back in the situation room in 2016 with what we knew at the time. and this is a debate, frankly, i've been having with adam for the last eight months and so -- and you have to also put things in various different buckets, the hacking became clear and it became clear this was something personally ordered by vladimir putin by late summer, 2016. the priority then was to tell the american people, we were dealing with a variety of cross considerations about whether to inject ourselves into a very heated political campaign and
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whether the national security apparatus of our government should put itself in a position where we could be accused of taking sides but nevertheless we did tell the american public on october 7, that was a statement jim clapper and i issued. it didn't get the attention it should have, frankly, on october. then also there was the scanning and probing of voter registration databases which really, really concerned me. and i probably issued no less than five public statements to state election officials warning them about the threat and the good news there was 33 states actually did come in, 36 cities and counties came in to the department of homeland security, we established a number of vulnerabilities and then, of course, on december 29 we issued the sanctions against the russian government. turns out now that it appears that general flynn was having back-channel communications with the russians about that and it was three weeks before we left office so it's really on the current administration and the
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current president to carry forward with those efforts and see that there's a response. >> but mr. secretary, it seems to me that president obama didn't want to interfere in part because he thought hillary clinton was going to win. so why get involved with something, get attacked as being partisan when you think hillary clinton is going to win anyway? >> i won't argue with that, joe. hindsight is twenty twenty and i'm quite sure at that time there were people looking at the polls -- you recall october 7 is the same day as the "access hollywood" video and all the talk that weekend after our statement is "when is trump going to withdraw from the race? how much longer does he have?" so that was clearly a backdrop. but please understand we were very concerned about -- in a campaign where one of the candidates is saying the outcome is going to be rigged, doing something that would be perceived as taking sides in that election.
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nevertheless, we told the american people, we took a number of steps that we believed were appropriate at the time. now most important is what we're going to do now. this president haas a very good ability to draw our attention backwards so that we have these debates about two years ago. the question is what are we doing to harden our election cyber security in this midterm. the intelligence community warned us last week of an ongoing attack and an ongoing threat so the question we need to ask the current administration is what are you doing about it? >> david, some democrats will say mitch mcconnell refused to sign a statement, people on both sides, about this hacking. i think that's disgraceful for him to do. we only have one president. we only have one commander-in-chief, we only have one person that can get this
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message out. >> we do. and i want to ask secretary johnson, we do have a midterm election coming up in november. there's concern about hacking of that. how do we -- how does the government; how does the president or people who work for him get the message to the american people to use better hygiene in our politics? reading the indictments, there are a lot of unwitting unindicted co-conspirators who jumped into these blogs and hashtags. how do we do that? >> well, you're right, david that education of our voters about being more scrutinizing when it comes to information in the information marketplace, there's no a plethora of wage in which somebody with a keyboard can push out information using social media tools but also state election officials have a role in this and increasingly so they are more engaged, there are a group on this topic but it has
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to start with the public educating the public and that is something the president down has to do. >> jeh, a question about the state of our voter roles. it's one thing for individuals to exercise better judgment about what they see on line, it's another thing about whether the russians can hack into the voter roles and prevent people from voting or change the outcomes. where do we stand and what needs to be done in that regard? >> great question. there was a report issued two weeks ago by the center for american progress, a 50-state survey which literally grades every state on their election infrastructure cyber security. nobody got an a. a lot of states got bs, cs and ds. so we need to to the full extent possible get voter registration data off the internet. this was my biggest concern in 2016 that the russians could somehow alter voter registration
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data or delete it together. >> former homeland security secretary jeh johnson. thank you for being on this morning. >> thank you. still ahead, new pressure on former trump campaign chair paul manafort. another report his co-defendant and deputy on the trump campaign rick gates is in the process of flipping on him. "morning joe" is coming right back. whoooo.
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we would love to have auto cyber dialogue when russia is sincere about curtailing its sophisticated form the of espionage. what you might call this modern day sort of form of moskorovka, enabled by modern technology. and i think that day will be coming. because we're becoming more and more adept as traiting the origi tracing the espionage. as you can see with the fbi indictment, the evidence is now incontrovertible and available in the public domain. >> national security adviser hmp r. mcmast h.r. mcmaster saying at a conference it is undeniable. >> this past week, we had every
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head of every intel agency in had this country go before capitol hill and say the same thing. >> just making it clear. >> yeah. rod rosenen stein saying the same thing on friday. you have all of donald trump's appointees and in all of these agencies saying the same thing, that russia tried to interfere in the election. it ended up not being a 400-pound fat dude in a basement in new jersey. >> apparently that is an option. hours after mcmaster's remarks, president trump took to twitter to rebuke his own security adviser's comments. quote, general mcmaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the russians and that the only collusion was between russia and crooked h, the dnc and the dems. remember the dirty dossier, uranium, speeches, e-mails and the podesta company. wow. >> it really is unbelievable
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that he is still tuchurning up conspiracy theories. >> you could see the pressure as the tweets continued over the weekend. you could see the squeeze churning inside the president's head. >> david, i actually tweeted this weekend at some point as they kept going. somebody, anybody, call the lawyers and get the phone taken away from him. >> no, you know what? let him have the phone. it's fine. we're good. >> it was so obvious that more than ever this president is feeling the pressure of an investigation that is producing real results and that producing indictments that at some point may lead if not to his front door, but to the front door of his campaign. you have the sense of a person flailing, struggling to deal with this. h.r. mcmaster, speaking before the most prominent foreign
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policy gathering in the world. and then being rebuked after stating the obvious by the president as if you've done something wrong by saying -- you know, if you're h.r. mcmaster, you just have to -- you either have to swallow hard and go back to work or say, mr. president, that just can't happen. >> we'll set the table on this presidents' day. with us on set, we have washington bureau chief for usa today susan page, editor chief of law fair from the brookings institution and an msnbc analyst ben ya minute whittle, aide to both james comey and james k collier chuck rosenburg, host of "the beat" on msnbc -- >> i was going to say, if i run into legal trouble, we've got
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the panel right here to take care. >> right here. >> and professor of political science and director of the institute for international studies at stanford university, pormer u. former u.s. ambassador to russia, michael mcfall. >> mr. mcfall, i don't know if you're a lawyer or not -- >> no, i'm not a lawyer. >> you may be the only one on the panel not a lawyer. we're surrounded by lawyers. >> you're a lawyer. >> i am. but as i promised everybody on the campaign trail, not a good one. so that helped. that helped. so, mr. ambassador, just got to ask you before we go to news, what your reaction is to munich. you had, i thought, really, if you look at what ambassador burns did, if you look at what director coats did, calling sergei lavrov a liar and saying come to the cia, as david was telling us, and look up on the wall.
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know the truth and the truth will set you free. combine that with what happened here this past week. it seems that our intel chiefs are finally -- they're getting their footing against this president. >> well, i agree with that. i was in munich myself. i just got back a few hours ago. and i was in the hall when hr spoke, when national security adviser mcmaster spoke. i would say two things that were striking to me. first, about us and then about the russians. about us, i admire the fact that hr mcmaster said that we've all admitted and what all the intelligence agencies said. he didn't say it in his opening remarks, by the way. he said it in a question and answer, by the way, to a russian senator. but admiring the problem is not enough. just to say that we know that they did it, we need to have a response to it. and in the clip you just played now, i've known hr for decades.
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he didn't talk about other enemies that way when he was a captain fighting in iraq or fighting isis. they have not trained this as a threat to the united states and they haven't done anything, i think, important. others have. u.s. congress has. and mr. mueller has. and i guess that gets me to the second observation. he's the guy making russian foreign policy right now. i saw several russians in in munich. i can't go to moscow because i'm on the sanctions list. it's a good time for me to see some old colleagues. and that indictment got their attention because it means that they can be accused of crimes and, yes, vladimir putin is not going to put them on a plane and fly them to new york or washington, but this makes it very dangerous for them to spend a weekend in london or a summer holiday in the french riviera. that is what all the russians were talking about over the weekend. >> that's ghastly. >> let's move on. the number two official at the
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department of justice personally unveiled indictments against 13 russians brought by special counsel robert mueller. it accused them of a three-year program to subvert american democracy, forming an organization that sought in in part to conduct what it called, quote, information warfare against the united states of america through fictitious with u.s. personas on social media platforms and other internet based media. the indictment claims that during the presidential primaries and general election, quote, they engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about hillary clinton to denigrate other candidates such as ted cruz and marko rubio and to support bernie sanders and candidate donald trump. allegedly instructing specialists in february of 2016, quote, to use any opportunity to criticize hillary and the rest except sanders and trump. we support them.
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>> so, benjamin, it appears that the russians had the same campaign platform as lamar alexander had in 1996 when he ran against becky quick, abc, anybody but clinton. they were helping jill stein, they were helping bernie sanders, they were helping -- so the indictments come down on friday. i'm curious, can you tell our audience, what is your initial reaction to them? what's the significance? >> all right. so i think, first of all, the importance of the indictments, since we're likely never to get personal jurisdiction over any of the defendants, right, the purpose of the indictment is to tell a story to the public. and that story is part, not the whole, because it's not about
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the hacking, it's not about the -- anything on the u.s. side. it is the story that there really was russian interference in the 2016 election, that it really wasn't a hoax or a witch-hunt, and here is what it looked like. and, you know, it was designed both as a negative matter to -- you know, to do as much damage to hillary clinton as possible. and as a positive matter to sow discord in the american society and ultimately, yes, the to advance the candidacy of donald trump. >> why did robert mueller -- and this is all guesswork because he holds his cards so tightly to his chest, but why did robert mueller.drop those indictments when he did? what's the import of it? >> so i don't know what is behind the timing, right? but i think the importance of it is the reason pore the indictment is, first of all, to
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say loudly and clearly that this happened. and secondly, and this is really important, to say that it's illegal. right? you know, the way the u.s. government has of saying that certain activity violates criminal laws of the united states is to bring charges against people on the basis of that activity. so what they have said here is the if you are a foreign actor and you commit fraudulent acts in order to deprive the government of its authority to regulate political activity of the united states or if you help a foreign actor do that, that is a violation of the law. and that is a really important statement for the u.s. government to be making. >> so, susan, sure, bob mueller wasn't thinking about the political implications of this when he dropped it. he's setting a legal case and going down its list one by one. but the political impact felt on
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the hill from this is going to be significant. you can no longer say this is fake muss. you c news. you can no longer say the russian investigation is a wirch hunt. sometimes in witch-hunts, you find witches. and by the way, here are the enemies these witches are attached to. here are the bank accounts. it's all there in black and white. even donald trump finally admitted this past weekend, yes, the russians were trying to impact the election. that's significant, isn't it? >> yes. you spoke in the last hour about the way some american institutions are stepping up at a time of historic stress for our democracy and i think that you see that increasingly being the case now that you have the intelligence chiefs being united and saying that this happened and it was serious and the special counsel weighing in on that. and it seems important to me that not only the courts and the fbi are now laying the groundwork for americans to
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understand what happened in the 2016 election, but president trump's own appointees are doing so. and that requires some courage. and this is, we know, not the biggest challenge we're going to face. we know that in coming months with the additional actions that we expect from the special counsel, this challenge is going to get bigger, not smaller, and more serious for everyone from intelligence chiefs to the news media. >> so president trump reacted to these indictments with a tweet storm that included 13 tweets about russian interference in the 2016 campaign. they ranged from insisting there was no collusion between his campaign and the russians to blaming the obama administration. but it was his tweet that connected the russia probe with the alleged florida school shooter that was perhaps the most offensive. he wrote, very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable.
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they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there is no collusion. get back to basics and make us all proud. students who survived the shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school reacted to the sweet. morgan williams, a 16-year-old junior tweeted oh, my god. 17 of my classmates and friends aren gone and you have the audacity to make this about russia. have a -- heart. you can keep all your fake and meaningless thoughts and prayers. senior carlie novell tweeted, you know what isn't acceptable? blaming everyone but the shooter and the lack of gun control in our country. you even blamed the students. we did report him. we tried. but how were we supposed to know what would happen? your lack of sympathy proves how pitiful of a person you are. kyra, a senior, wrote my friends were all brutally murdered and you have the nerve to make this about russia. i cannot believe this. senior alley sheehy wrote, 17 of
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my classmates are gone. that's 17 futures, 17 children, 17 friends stolen. but you're right, it always has to be about you. how silly of me to forget. and senior emma gonzalez had this simple advice yesterday. >> i think the best way to deal with this is to ignore him. he's not -- he's not being -- i think we can all agree that things that president trump tweets is nothing -- nothing really has a lasting impact unless it's a negative lasting impact on the people around us. at this point especially, the things that he mentioned when he brings up talk of the fbi, he's trying to blame somebody and we can't let him do that. so the best thing for us to do is to ignore him and to continue fighting our fight. >> david, i've spoken about the republican party's generational challenges, millennials are breaking against the party in record numbers. young voters.
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do not identify with donald trump, do not identify with the republicans. so much of that has to do with race and the president's racial overtones. i would say his racism. but you have other issues like gu guns where children are dealing with this every day, where kids back in the 50s and the 60s dealt with the threat of nuclear we also weapons and the society union. but this is actually a more immediate threat. you never knew if a bomb was coming. but you know there will be another high school shooting unfortunately sometime soon. >> these kids don't know the political rules that say you can't go after the nra and gun control issues. they are living this. listening to mika read the statements from those kids were so powerful because you sense that these kids are -- you know, even if you don't have a shooting, you have lockdowns. every school in america has to practice through this nightmare. and the kids that are going
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through this are just saying, we don't want to do this any more. why this happening? and that's powerful. it's an explosion out in real america that i don't think mr politicians anticipated. it's going to be powerful. >> i'm starting to hear reporters who cover the white house discussing the possibility of the president actually with coming forward and doing something that hasn't been done since newtown and talking abouting background checks more seriously, talking about expanding them, talking about a ban of bump stocks and even right now trying to figure out what sort of assault weapons ban could be implemented. that would obviously cause a lot of problems with his base, but it would be very popular with most americans. when you look at this issue, what do you think some of the -- some of the things that could get in the way of that other than the nra would be? would the republicans go along with that on the hill? >> legally, there are a range of things you can do that don't
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remove guns from people's homes. you mentioned a couple of them. obviously, the background checks, the really ridiculous nonsecurity rationale moves that were made by the trump administration in the congress to make it easier for people on the terror list to get guns, people to use gun loopholes. none of that involves gun confiscation. i also mentioned something that's a little more esoteric that you said earlier in the show that we are surrounded by many lawyers, there's a very important legal thing that i will mention both parties did, which was immunize the gun manufacturers from even being taken to court for irresponsible and potentially neglect conduct with regard to the distribution of guns and assault-style guns in this conference. it was the lawful commerce in arms act. it was an nra republican bill. so it was more republican than dem, but prominent democrats supported it like max bombus and others and it was only
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democratic votes that got it through the senate. that is something that congress could repeal today and it would not touch a single gun owner. by that, i mean it was focus on the gun manufacturers and when they are irresponsible and allowing some of the brave students you just showed -- i agree, mika hearing their statements, i hadn't heard some ofs those over the weekend. it would allow those students and their families, if will is a potential negligence or other violations to take the manufacturers to court. and so, to your question, there are things that can be done that don't even go into dianne feinstein style of weapons ban which has a security rationale that we know is also widely opposed. and the last point i'd make is that this is a president who has long bragged that he wants to make deals. i don't know, maybe i sound silly, but yes, i think it would be possible to imagine a world where a the president, any president, comes out after this and says, let's make a big deal for the safety of our children and we all pause for a minute
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and try to come together as a country on that. i think that would be an important thing. >> i think it would be an important thing. susan, obviously, people that have been around this city would be skeptical about it. at the same time, this is the sort of thing that donald trump could do. we'll see it again, nixon goes to china, trump on daca, he says he's going to do it, then he decides not to do it. so we've been sort of pushed back and forth. for instance, i just want to say the nra weekend, there have been people on some far right -- well, they're not right wing websites. i'm right wing and i'm conservative. in the traditional sense of the word. but people have been arguing the ar-15 is a civilian weapon and it's such a popular weapon, everybody should be able to buy it even at 18. this weapon, if you go back and read in the atlanta article that james falla wrote, this weapon was a weapon that the military was trying to use in vietnam because it was more lethal than the m-16. and falla wrote an article for
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"the atlantic" saying a lot of soldiers died because they used the m-16 instead of the ar-15. you've seen all the stock footage of soldiers trying to carry that around. it is a more efficient killing weapon than what our on folks used in vietnam. >> call me skeptical that donald trump will go to china on this issue. i think the thing we've discovered is that while on the issue of daca, for instance, he sometimes talks in a constellatory way. but with when push comes to shove, he thinks about his base and his base would be opposed to him taking on a gun control issue. that said, i'm struck by the conventional wisdom is nothing is going to happen in this town and that has changed because of these individual students speaking out. it reminds me the in some ways
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of "me too" movement is that individuals can have a profound effect on issues. >> and at a time of national tragedy, to have the president try and somehow connect this shooting in florida to the russia probe, i think only reveals just how stressed out he is about the russia probe closing in on him. >> he feels that chuck rosenburg, the president obviously, if you look at the tweets this weekend, that he felt the walls were closing in on him. i'm wondering from your reading of the indictments on friday and seeing where this investigation has gone, does the president have a reason to be concerned? >> yes. and i don't think it's just this indictment on friday, but -- that tells that story, joe. i think there are many more chapters to be written. this piece has been, what was pointed out earlier, is only about russian actors in russia on the social media interference
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portion. there is a lot more to come. >> and, ben, how significant -- well, the new york the post is calling new york city cops fat. i'm not holding that up. but "the daily news," talking about gates. looks like he is going to follow in the foot steps and the president's former national security director and plead. then they're going to go after manafort. how significant is that? >> the short answer is we don't know and we can't know because we don't know what gates knows. >> what if i were to tell you that rick gates knows a lot about paul manafort? >> then it's very significant for the paul manafort trial, which presumably they have the goods to prosecute without him. anytime you can get somebody to plead without a trial, that is a win. i think the broader question about rick gates is what does he
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know about people other than paul manafort? >> so would the goal be to flip manafort now, now that you have gates who could put manafort away for life with what he knows about what manafort has done through the years? >> i think anytime you can get a defendant in a cooperative posture when you are building a complex multi defendant, multi target criminal case, you want to do that. paul manafort is a significant target the in and of himself. so the question of what you're willing to give up in the way of charges or prison time in order to get him in a cooperative positive the temperatuposture i you would have to know a lot about about what mueller thinks he can get from him to know the answer to that. >> this queen for a day concept, because i read about it in this case and it was absolutely fascinating. so gates apparently had queen for a day. explain what that is.
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>> so chuck can probably answer this in better detail than i can. but here is the broad idea. if you're going to give somebody a significant break in terms of what -- you know, what charges you're going to drop against him and what you're going to make him plead to, you want to know what he's going to say. so you create an opportunity in which he can tell you what he knows in a fashion that you can't use. it's sort of a form of profer. >> so he puts it out there. whatever he puts out there, he can't be prosecuted for unless he lies. >> exactly. >> chuck, how did ben do? >> ben did really well. two things here. i give ben an a, but i usually give ben an afor his analysis. two things here. the person who is proferring,
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the queen for a day, gates, has a accepts to tell everything he knows. the more stuff he tells, the more chance there is of using it against him. should negotiations break down and should there end up being a trial. ben is right. he can't lie. if he lies, they could use that against him. but there's another important perception. they can use whatever he says in the profer session for leads. so if he tells us about joe or mika or ben or susan page or anyone else for that matter, they can go out and track down that information. it's not being used against gates. it's being used against everyone else. then, you can, if he gets on the stand at his own trial, they can use it against him in that way, too. >> wow. >> i just want to ask you, you have lived in moscow, you know about the regime as well as anybody. what does this indictment tell us about the underside of vladimir putin's -- the
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background, what is revealed in this indictment that struck you? >> well, percosion is very close to putin. the idea that this whole operation coming into america under false presense and infiltration, what happened without the kremlin is absolutely crazy. nothing happens in crush ya without putin signing off on it. i think it shows how aggressive he is that he would do all of these things. putin would give the green light forrer this operation. this is a pretty risky operation and i was like, yeah, let's go for it. let's see what happens. and i would predict it's going to continue to happen unless we push back. the other thing is the incredible detail that we have from sources in russia. when we're reading e-mails from
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some young woman to her mom saying i'm going to be late for dinner because of something happening at work, that's a shot across the bow to everybody about what we might know. and the thing that ben said about ten minutes ago about this criminalizes conspiracy now, right? so if you get stuck in any way, tied in any way to this operation, that's now criminal. and we have the means to go after those criminals. that was what was very striking to me. so i give an aplus to mr. mueller. as a professor. >> very good. ari, you said one of the important things about the indictments put down on friday by mueller had to do with mueller's view of campaign finance laws that could have been violated. that's the second time we've talked about campaign finance laws. the first time as related to porn stars and strippers. this time as it relates to vladimir putin. tell us about the latter. that's right. as you mentioned, joe, it seems
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like we're building towards all the characters in a bond film. but the actual legal issue is so significant the because mueller has laid down a very clear aggressive approach to these types of violations. so we saw this in the foreign agents registration act where some people said, well, this is rarely charged and are you going to hang a case on it? and bob mueller said, yes, and if i can find it in the law, i'm now going hard. and that is important because, whether or not as your panel expertly put it, russians violate our laws. we would come to expect that. but because this is now a criminal conspiracy as alleged in federal court, he is saying on the one hand here is what these russians did, they violated these campaign laws. a conspiracy against our election structure. now if you add more americans to that, then you have the international conspiritsacy.
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i think if the facts only show this was russians on the way in, maybe a few unwitting people who got caught up and it stops there. fine. we'll report those facts and keep an eye on it. but this friday filing shows if there are americans who want to get involved in that way, bob mueller is ready to prosecute them on those allegations. there are some people who may think that is aggressive or overly aggressive, but that to me is the key line that he is looking inside america for anyone who got involved in this. and the last point i would make, donald trump said he would hire the best people. we're a year plus into his administration, and it's almost the most felonious people. you have a national campaign manager and a national security adviser pleading guilty to felonies. it's a lot. >> then, of course, with his
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campaign manager who was -- donald trump said i'm bringing in because he will help me get the delegates i feed to be the republican national county. >> we'll be watching "the beat" at 6:00 p.m. ambassador michael mcfall and benjamin wittis, thank you all very much. last hour, we went around the table for our picks for america's greatest the president. a presidential historian joins us next with his thoughts on who tops the list and why. you've tried moisturizer but there's one... that blows them all out of the water. hydro boost water gel from neutrogena®. with hyaluronic acid it goes beneath the surface to plump skin cells from within and lock in hydration leaving skin so supple, it actually bounces back. the results will blow you away! hydro boost and our gentle exfoliating cleanser
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he said once, i am the single greatest president in his lifetime. he's a young man, so it's not that much. and he actually once said i'm the greatest history in the president of our country. he said does that include lincoln and washington? he said yes. i said i love this guy. >> that was president trump earlier this month speaking about praise from senator orrin
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hatch. after that, hatch's office clarified that hatch said that trump could be as great as washington or lincoln. joining us now, that is a clarification. nbc news presidential historian michael beshlach. last month, senator marco rubio and ben oren schmidted a preview. >> i come from illinois, so if i don't sound like -- >> i know. >> lincoln, everyone, remember i said that. i would say washington, too. if you didn't have george washington, you would not have a country and also, you know, the founders basically said we're not going to be too dell tailed about what a president does because we know the first president is going to be george
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washington. >> is there a certain president in the 20th century that you think has been overwhelmed? >> i love eisenhower. i think he did not do enough for civil rights and he wasn't tough enough, but this is a kie who kept t guy would kept the balance for at least 7 1/2 years, kept us out of vietnam, and also at the last moment as you and i have talked about warned about the industrial complex, warned that our democracy is always fragile, we always have to watch out for it. >> in office for eight years after korea. >> yes. >> after korea. not a single american in uniform died. >> yes. >> by that time until the the time he left office. >> absolutely. and in 1961 when he left office, that didn't seem like a big accomplishment. nowadays, sadly in retrospect, it really does. >> over the next eight years, we don't want to count the number of people that died in veet many na.
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senator, you saw the indictments on are friday. i guess that only makes your legislation with marco rubio all the more important, doesn't it? >> i think it does. we knew all along, obviously, that the russians interfered in 2016. the last person on the planet to acknowledge that was, of course, donald trump still havinging difficulty coming to grips with that. but what we also know from the head of the director of national intelligence, coats, from the director of the cia, from secretary tillerson, is that we expect the russians to interfere in the midterm elections. so we need to do everything we can to stop that. and that is what this legislation does. it's called the deter act. very simple. it says if they get caught again, if the director of national intelligence finds that they've interfered in the 2018 election or any elections going forward, that you have a media automatic nonwaivable sanctions that hit russia very hard in the economic sector, the oil sector,
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so if you're vladimir putin and you're thinking of messing around, you're thinking of hiring another 80 people to attack u.s. democracy, you've got to realize that you're going to have a guillotine coming down in terms of the sanctions. >> susan, what do you think of friday's indictments? what do you think of the impact it's going to have on the hill? we've seen republicans tweeting enough, you have to be aggressive. obviously, it seems intel chiefs and at least republican senators are trying to get some distance between donald trump and themselves on this issue. >> you know, i think there is mor more holding of breath than there is -- i'm not sure this is an actual moment. you don't see very minute elected republicans stepping forward to endorse his tweets over the weekend. you also don't see a wave of criticism from republican office holders. so i think there's a sense of waiting for the next shoe to drop. one thing i wonder about, and
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maybe the senator would have thoughts on this, is we know this level is a phenomenal sew the fis sophisticated attempt t affect our elections. >> that's why we feed to take action. that's why it's outrageous that president trump continues to sit back and do absolutely nothing. you can argue about 2016. the fact are pretty clear. but nobody should be sitting back giving what we're facing in 2018 and we should be heartying our systems. but we also need to be taking this deterrent measure. the one thing we know that would have an impact on putin is if he knows for sure he's going to pay a harsh penalty. and if he's going to be punished. and i think we -- you know, rubio and i have spoken to the chairman of the banking committee. that's where this sanctions legislation is. i believe if we all get
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together, we could get a consensus to get this done. >> michael, max food wrote a column and put together some pretty interesting numbers. the russian release of democratic party documents was cited 137 times by donald trump in the final month of the campaign. >> right. >> final month. 137 times. he talked about what the russians were doing. and russian propaganda reached 127 million americans over the course of the campaign. and we had a campaign that was decided by fewer than 80,000 over three states. how likely is it historians are going to look back on this election and wonder whether, in fact, the russians swayed the outcome? >> it was so close almost anything could have tipped it and you just described a big movement that obviously had influence. donald trump has been chilling. we have been waiting to hear if there's hard evidence of interference by the russians, what would he do? any president the last 70 years
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would have given a speech, maybe from the oval office, saying this is my response, this is the american response, the russians were doing this. this is the way i will protect you in the future. donald trump isn't doing that. you combine that with his attacks on the intelligence agencies, fbi, justice department, the state department, we're going to have to start asking some pretty awing questions, is this someone who wants to weak.our democracy and is he doing this bus he's frightened in some way by the russians. >> and of the midterms coming up. senator chris van holen, thank you. still ahead, few people in washington are more closely linked with the russian probe devin nunes. but how is that going back home? that's still to come right here on "morning joe."
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district to find if his role in the russia investigation could put him into unlikely political jeopardy come november. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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home to afton and every other hometown in america. house intelligence committee chair devin nunes says it was gratifying to see russians charged after the special counsel's grand jury.handed up indictments on friday. but what about in his district back home where a well funded midterm opponent is openly challenging him on russia? jacob soberov went to california's central valley to find out and he joins us now. what did you find out? >> kevin nunes's district is considered quite safe.
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but his challenges has raised a lot of eyebrows. watch this. this is california's 22nd congressional district, one of the biggest agricultural regions in the word. there are many as many dairy cows as there are people here. this is devin nunes's district. that is his field office. we're going here to meet his challenger andrew chance because he asked us to meet him there. >> here is another red light coming up. let's see. how are you doing? >> do you think you're going to vote democrat, remember? >> probably remember, but i'm more independent. >> do you vote your congressman, defb nunes? >> neither. do you vote? >> yeah. >> you have to vote for the best person, the person that's going to represent you, i'm hoping that's me. >> i like your sweater, too, by the way. >> 49ers. >> i think people are really
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burnt out with respect to politics. >> janz has been raising money to get his message out by talking about russia, including with this billboard. >> we talk about issues they really care about. >> this district? >> yes, absolutely. >> and those issues? >> water, water is a huge issue. we're an agricultural region. immigration reform is a huge issue here in the central valley. hi, i'm running for congress in 2022. >> can i ask your congressman is obviously at the center of this russian investigation. you follow that at all? >> i do not. >> do you live here? you do? can you come out for a second? very nice to meet you guys. >> what do you know about devin nunes, your congressman? >> he's in the news lately. >> he's the head of the intelligence committee for the republicans so he's in charge of the russia investigation. >> it's hard to know what's real and what's not. >> a lot of fake news. >> a lot of fake news? >> i'm from msnbc.
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you think we're fake news? >> a little bit. >> it's almost as if we're really running, you know, two campaigns. we got to focus on the issues. at the end of the day, that's what the people care about the most. the national attention is good because we're going to need to raise the resources. >> how much have you raised so far? >> $500,000 since the memo dropped. one of the things i've been criticized for is only talking about russia which couldn't be further from the truth. >> why russia? why is everyone talking about andrew janes and russia? >> no offense but you folks in the media only talk about the russian thing so when i'm there talking about water and infrastructure, that's not covered or that's not played on cable news. >> fair enough, not played on cable news. the odds, guys, are still stacked against andrew janes. but running on russia, a message that's getting through to the national democratic base inner its of fund-raising that's for sure. >> very polite, when you said do you think we're fake news, she
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said, a little bit. very kind. we need to do a shout-out to your dad who's doing god's work. he's trying to get people to give input on who the next commissioner should be? >> charlie beck just stepped down after many years, i think how ye 40 year, so a new police commissioner. >> tell him good job and good luck. >> i will. >> thank you, jacob. and we have more morning joe just ahead.
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why didn't you deny calling the president a moron? >> you know, that's a really old question. >> you understand by not answering the question, some people thought you were confi confirming the story? >> i think i've answered the question. >> you think you answered the question? >> i've answered the question. >> did you call the president a moran? >> i'm not going to dignify the question. we got so many bigger issues that we could be talking about. i'm not from this town. i understand this town likes to talk about a lot of things that are really not important. >> i like rex tillerson. >> what can i just say -- >> it's important to know whether they thihe thinks the president's a moron. >> i think everybody knows he called the president a moron. i thought both of them handled themselves very well. >> it was a good interview. >> margaret brennan kept going
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and rex tillerson. >> not since -- a voice like that. rex tillerson. >> i know. the answer was yes. that's what you could decipher from the interview. >> yes, exactly. here we are, near the end of the show. let's have some final thoughts. susan. >> you know what i'm grateful for on this president's day, wisdom from the founders that set up the institutions that endure today. the bravery and voice of a rising generation on various issues including guns. >> yes, absolutely. >> david, you're in munich. final thoughts about what you heard there and what's going on here? >> so it's powerful, spend a weekend abroad, listening to american officials speak out, try to tell the truth, regardless of what the president says, and come back on president's day and be reminded what leadership is, what the absence of leadership is, what the leadership the country needs, and to listen to those kids tell us what they want. they want somebody who will deal
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with this thing. it haunts them every morning. >> those kids really were the most poignant and eloquent words we have heard in a long time. i hope for more. i hope we hear from these children across america and they are children. they are babies. please keep tweeting. keep using your voices. we will hear you. >> and america and the world are hearing them. i think the white house is even hearing them, mika. a lot of people that report from the white house. some people that work there are talking about the president hearing these voices. the president and advisers starting to wonder, well, maybe we can go there on background checks. that seems like an area that 95% of americans support. maybe we should go there on the bump stocks. which i think is going to happen. they're even talking about looking at some of these weapons
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that were even considered more lethal by the pentagon than the weapons we gave our troops in vietnam. and if this president is going to make a turn, this would be a wonderful place to make a turn, show americans that he's with the overwhelming majority of americans on these issues. not on gun rights. not even on carry laws. not on the right to keep and bear arms. not on all the things that i support. i have always support. but just on these small gun issues. >> people are beginning to come out, donors and republican lawmakers are stepping up and saying maybe this isn't a right or left issue. >> al hoffman, who -- one of the largest republican contributors over the past 30 years. said i'm not giving another dime. >> can't do it anymore. >> there are other republican donors across the state of florida who were talking to al and they're just saying enough.
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support gun rights. we support the second amendment. but that doesn't mean that we should sell weapons of war to children. >> more tomorrow. that does it for us this morning. david guru picks up the coverage right now. >> thank you very much, i'm david guru in for stephanie ruhle this morning. social distortion. after friday's bombshell indictment, the 13 russian nationals, president trump spends the weekend on twitter pointing the finger at everyone except vladimir putin and russia. >> what is it we're going to do about the threat posed by the russians? he never talks about that. >> no words leading to even less action with the indictments as the latest confirmation of russian meddling. the white house has still failed to enact any sanctions in response. >> it is inexplicable that the president of the united states continues to sit on sanctions that congress passed. >> and stepping up, grieving students in florida seize control of the gun ba


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