tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC March 17, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT
breathe freely fast wmy congestion's gone. i can breathe again! i can breathe again! vicks sinex... breathe on. next, stinging reaction to the firing of the former fbi deputy director. what impact could it have on the russia investigation? >> it really does feel like the long arm of the white house reaching out at this man. >> it's a chilling impact on individuals who are trying to do their work at the department of justice and at the fbi.
in the stormy daniels saga, new allegations and the possible pursuit of millions of dollars as we hear more tough talk from the porn star's attorney. and march madness extends from the hardwood to the white house. why the mood there reportedly is verg verging on mania. good morning, everyone, i'm alex witt at msnbc world headquarters in new york city. andrew mccabe was fired 26 hours before his expected retirement. democratic senator ben cardin had this to say. >> to fire someone just before his retirement date is very suspicious. it looks like it's politically vindictive. i think there's a lot of questions as to how much the trump administration will try to influence the independence of the department of justice and the fbi. yes, i think there's a chilling
impact on individuals who are trying to do their work at the department of justice and at the fbi. >> and on twitter, former cia director john brennan called mccabe a scapegoat for the trump administration and one democrat on the house intelligence committee warns the president, gloat now but you will soon be fired. meanwhile, attorney general jeff sessions defending the firing, accusing mccabe of lacking candor and making unauthorized disclosures. a new statement coming from the president's personal attorney, john dowd, telling nbc news he hopes deputy attorney rosenstein will end the russia probe in light of recent revelations. democratic leader chuck schumer warning dowd and trump of severe consequences for any attempt to derail the mueller investigation. nbc justice correspondent pete williams and nbc white house correspondent geoff bennett join us. pete, we see more reaction about
the timing of the dismissal of andrew mccabe. many are calling this politically motivated now. what led the attorney general to take this step? >> it started with an investigation by the inspector general, looking into how the fbi handled the entire hillary clinton matter. what the ig said in a report to the fbi is mccabe authorized fbi insiders to talk to a reporter from "the wall street journal" in 2016 about the clinton foundation investigation. the ig said that was improper and that when questioned about it, mccabe wasn't forthright, wasn't candid. that went to the fbi to review. the fbi's office of professional responsibility made the recommendation that he be fired. mccabe appealed that to the justice department as is his right. and late last night, about 10:00, the attorney general decided to accept the fbi's recommendation. so mccabe was fired 26 hours before he was to retire. >> extraordinary timing, to say
the least. mccabe, on his part, says this is part of an ongoing effort, they're trying to undermine the mueller investigation by this. the president's personal attorney responded this morning to all of this. geoff, i want to reach out to you here and have you tell us more about what he had to say. >> reporter: hey there, alex. we have comments from the president's outside personal attorney, john dowd. he's making the case that he wants the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, to be inspired by attorney general jeff sessions' decision to fire mccabe, and he wants rosenstein to shut down special counsel mueller's russia investigation, according to his statement, "on the merits." he says he thinks the russia investigation was manufactured by mccabe's former boss, former fbi director james comey. one thing to point out, john dowd's statement stands in contrast to the comments of those of another trump lawyer, ty cobb, the official white house counsel who has in the past encouraged president trump and the white house staff to cooperate with the special counsel probe. the difference is that john dowd
represents donald trump the man. ty cobb is a government-paid lawyer who represents the office of the presidency. so clearly they have different motivations here. i would add, though, that dowd's comments put him firmly in line with diehard trump supporters who want to see an end to the russia probe while also fueling the point that many trump critics make that, you know, mccabe's dismissal is part of a larger effort by the president and republicans on capitol hill to bring about an end to the overall russia investigation. >> alex, it's important to say this is apples and oranges. what the firing of mccabe is about, according to the words of the attorney general himself, is simply about talking to a reporter and the subsequent interviews by the fbi and the inspector general about those conversations. it had nothing to do with the broader investigation by bob mueller or mccabe's wife or any of the other things, because she was a democratic candidate for public office, or any of the other things that now are being
used as reasons to shut down the investigation. so you can't find support for what john dowd is saying in what the attorney general says. >> okay. but pete, to that end, in terms of how this is all perceived, and if this is an effort to undermine any potential testimony that andrew mccabe might give in this investigation overall, he was privy to so much with regard to what james comey was doing, the notes he was taking. we're just hearing from the associated press right now, pete, ap has learned that fired fbi deputy director andrew mccabe maintained personal memos regarding president donald trump. add all of this into the equation. how do you read this development? >> well, this is what mccabe himself says. he thinks it's an attempt to undercut his ability to be a credible witness. but i suspect that he's already talked to the special counsel about -- they've already gotten
his testimony. whether it would ever come to his testimony being in court or somewhere else, i just don't know. but that's certainly the way mccabe ceasees it. >> pete, does this investigation go forward in terms of how partisan it is? is there anything you see that can derail it? >> well, i don't think it's any more partisan today than it was yesterday or the day before in terms of all the things being said about it. so no, i don't think this is going to have a big effect on the mueller investigation. i think they're well aware of all the events that we're now hearing about. to the extent that mccabe has notes and things that he can say, i'm sure he's already said them to the special counsel. i would be very surprised if he hasn't. >> of course, geoff, the president praising this decision on twitter to fire mccabe. any sense of the mood in the white house right now? >> reporter: well, folks in the west wing are referring to all questions about this to the president's outside counsel. we of course heard from john dowd. but the mood in the west wing
this past week has really been marked by talk of staff shake-ups. of course we ended the day yesterday with the thinking that something might happen with h.r. mcmaster, given all the talk about his fate. of course we come to find out it was actually andy mccabe who d ended up being on the chopping block. >> thank you, geoff and pete. betsy woodruff joins me, politics reporter for the daily beast, and johnathan lamere, an msnbc political analyst. both of your entities have pretty big breaking news including you specifically, betsy, you were the first to break this story. so walk us through your own reporting and what did john dowd tell you. >> i reached out to john dowd as soon as the news broke involving andy mccabe being fired from the fbi. dowd responded over e-mail and told me -- he basically gave me two pieces of information. first he told me that he believed the decision that the attorney general had made to fire andy mccabe was brilliant
and courageous, unequivocal praise for sessions on that front. second, i said he hopes rod rosenstein would follow suit and shut down the mueller probe. as pete williams pointed out, there is not a causal link between the reasons for mccabe's firing and the reasons for the mueller probe. mccabe's firing had to do with the investigation of hillary clinton, not the way the special counsel came together. that's a ling, howevk, however, john dowd claims exists. dowd made reference to the play "cat on a hot tin roof," suggesting a room filled with mendacity and corruption in the fbi. he suggested there is serious amounts of corruption in high levels of the fbi, something we hear frequently from conservative activists, anchors on fox news.
it's not something we've heard yet from someone in dowd's position. so it's significant he was willing to go that far and draw that comparison. >> were you at all taken aback by the language that he used? he seemed to not hold back himself at all. >> you know, dowd is a very candid person. and unlike a lot of folks who i talk to over the course of reporting in washington, i rarely have to puzzle myself much to figure out what he thinks about things. he's very open. there's never any mystery of what his view of certain matters is. i was a bit surprised to see the "cat on a hot tin roof" quote, it's not something i normally deal with in my reporting. hopefully more people i talk to will quote from 20th industry plays. >> your company, johnathan, associated press, put out this information, saying fired fbi director andrew mccabe has
maintained personal memos regarding president donald trump. that's probably not surprising, given the position he was in when he had to ascend to the interim director of the fbi. we know that james comey kept his personal memos. but is there any indication that he has already shared this information potentially with robert mueller? pete was under the impression that he hwould be surprised if andrew mccabe had not been interviewed by robert mueller. >> if he hasn't, i'm sure he will be soon. it's not surprising he would keep these contemporaneous memos like james comey did, they're a key piece of bob mueller's investigation into the president and potential ties to russia, and now of course potential obstruction of justice charges. mccabe of course, yes, was one of the first investigators to be looking at potential ties
between trump and russian officials. let's remember the story which he has become tripped up on and lead to his dismissal was the hillary clinton foundation investigation. president trump has seized upon him as part of this sort of deep state conspiracy, the secret society in the fbi that a number of people on the right, particularly in conservative media, have seized upon suggesting a bias in the department of justice against this president. he's looked at the fact that mccabe's wife ran for office as a democrat, that mccabe's wife had ties to terry mcauliffe, a long time clinton adviser. mccabe was not dismissed for anything connected to trump and the russia probe, but it comes amid this highly politicized backdrop that the president himself whips up on a daily basis including on twitter this morning.
>> johnathan, i'm going to keep new the hot seat, regarding your own associated press reporting, it comes out as you have been sitting here talking. another aspect we're getting in further disclosure from this report is that this person, whomever they've gotten word that andrew mccabe kept these personal memos, the person says the memos are similar to the ones maintained by former fbi director james comey who trump fired last may. so can we, based on what we know, what little we know or presume to know about james comey's memos, can we presume it's going to the same kind of thing? it would appear that james comey wrote and had lots of questions when he talked to the president, he talked about putting question marks on things and speculating. is that you're going to assume andrew mccabe has as well? >> it's possible, first, credit to my colleagues at the ap for doing great work on this. comey put together those memos
because he testified that he was unnerved by some things president trump talked to him about, including this idea of perhaps going easy on michael flynn, his former national security adviser who was dismissed a year ago february for misleading the fbi, you know, and the vice president on, you know, his contacts with russian officials. and that's why comey wanted to memorialize these conversations, because they were so unusual, because he found them in some ways if not disturbing, at least puzzling. it is entirely possible that mccabe did the same thing, that he wanted to also have a record of his interactions with the president in case he himself would be caught up in the maelstrom like he now has, and that these certainly would be turned over to the special counsel. >> betsy, is there any indication that the reports about the special counsel's subpoena of the trump organization's corporate records, that that may have caused some sort of a turning point in the president's mind on
this whole mueller probe? >> i can't speak to that. i don't have reporting to that effect. one thing that the trump organization has said is that they've been cooperating with federal investigators for quite some time. the fact that the trump organization's immediate response to that news was to call it old news seems like something that would be perhaps music to mueller's ears. they're downplaying the significance of this report and suggesting it doesn't have a major impact on the president. rather clearly what has been more of a standout news item for him is the fact of mccabe's firing. on top of that, the fact that mccabe kept memos is really significant. i can tell you one other federal law enforcement official who famously kept detailed memos is bob mueller himself. during the bush administration, he was witness to a dramatic hospital bedside encounter between then attorney general john ashcroft and then justice department official james comey. that meeting and other white house players who showed up to
that meeting ended up being very consequential. years down the line it became publicly litigated. when it was opened to the public the fact that mueller had kept contemporaneous memos was absolutely key. so it's not surprising that mccabe would have absorbed that lesson and taken notes on potentially explosive conversations that he had with president trump. >> look, the president is weighing in himself on twitter, this coming just moments ago while we've been talking. the most recent tweet from the president, "as the house intelligence committee included, there was no collusion between russia and the trump campaign. as many are now finding out, however, there was tremendous leaking, lying, and corruption at the highest levels of the fbi, justice and state. drain the swamp, the hashtag there. i want to ask you, jonathan, if this is going to sync up with recent polling by the pew research center, which has a
full 61% of those probed believe the mueller probe is going to be either very or somewhat fair. how much does this cut into the president's efforts to try to cast a cloud over the investigation, do you think? >> bob mueller is someone who has had a tremendous career and is looked upon favorably by both sides of the aisle. when he was first appointed, that choice was praised by republicans too, although of course the white house and some allies on the right have tried to vilify him. we've seen this is a pattern for months in which they have tried to chip away at the integrity of the special counsel. but as that polling suggests, they haven't been successful. the american people want to see this investigation conducted fairly. the house of course ended theirs earlier this week, which feels, mind you, like a month ago. >> doesn't it? >> and that, you know, that's sharply broken down on party
lines. the democrats on the committee are very upset with that decision. we're seeing here tougher talk from the president about this probe, about the special counsel, but the fbi and the doj, where people have been in his ear for a while. as was said earlier in the program, the official stance of the lawyers in the white house, his legal team, has been to cooperate with bob mueller, suggesting this even will be over soon, perhaps it's ramping up, they're even doing some sort of negotiation to see what appearance trump might make in front of the special counsel. a number of other people, trump allies, including steve bannon, have been saying you have to fight back, this this probe endangers the existence of your presidency and you have to fight it tooth and nail. woe a we all have to watch it to see if we're heading in that direction. >> betsy woodruff, jonathan, thank you guys so much for being here, especially today.
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the bottom line is, our position, joy, has always been the same. it has not wavered. she should be permitted to speak to the american people and the american people should decide who is telling the truth. >> that is michael avenatti, the attorney for stormy daniels, in regards to his client who may now be facing a $20 million
lawsuit for violating her agreement with president trump's lawyer michael cohen. now one of the four people listed in the secret agreement is revealing details about stormy's fling with the president. the columnist who landed this is with me now. we'll use the word "alleged" because it is an alleged fling, the president has declared he had no relationship with her whatsoever. but tell me what you know about this man. his name is keith munion. and why he was included in this agreement between stormy daniels and donald trump. >> keith munion was included because he's a long time friend of stormy daniels. they met in 2005 during a photo shoot. he's been a long time friend of hers for years. in fact she even calls him "dad." keith munion was present for at least half a dozen phone calls where president trump called stormy and she ended up putting him on speakerphone. so keith munion is somebody who
can corroborate a lot of this alleged relationship between the president and stormy daniels. >> was he forthcoming with you in terms of what he thinks, what his assessment of the relationship between the two was? >> well, he talked about what he observed back in 2006, which was seemingly professional relationship between stormy and the president. when trump called, he offered to get her a condominium in new york. she declined. he then offered to get her a condominium in tampa, florida, at a trump tower, a building that was actually never completed. and he also overheard stormy talking to trump about a possible spot on "the apprentice," trump allegedly promised to get stormy daniels on his tv show. >> did he talk at all about the frequency of the phone calls? >> keith said that trump would call her all the time, that he would just call and they would talk and talk and talk, and that
trump just couldn't be quiet. but according to keith, he had only overheard maybe half a dozen, six or seven of these phone calls. >> could he face any legal ramifications for speaking with you, kate? >> that's unclear. it doesn't appear that keith ever signed any sort of nondisclosure agreement. he was simply one of four people listed in the agreement as having knowledge or confidential information about this alleged relationship between stormy and the president. >> i'm curious, when he says that he overheard talk about a condominium in new york or a condominium at a trump facility in tampa, was that just to stay for a night, or to provide this as a place of residence? did he distinguish in that regard? >> yes. keith suggested that trump was offering her a place to live. >> hmm. has munion maintained contact with stormy daniels since all of this whirlwind began? >> yes, definitely. they're so close, they're like family.
he checks in on her constantly. right now she's on her tour, perfect at different exotic dancing venues. he keeps in constant contact with her, he's worried about her. to him, you know, stormy daniels is like a daughter. >> so in your article, you quote munion as saying the reason stormy signed the nda was because she wanted to protect her family, she signed it because she felt intimidated, and that earlier this week, her lawyer had said she was physically threatened to stay quiet. if these threats are real, why speak out now? why put her family at risk if that's what she believes? >> you know, i don't know. it seems that stormy just -- there's so much that's been said about stormy, and she hasn't been able to speak her own truth, and to come forward and tell her own story. and i think now that the story is out, now that the story about the nondisclosure agreement is out, she wants to come forward and give her side. >> you know, it's extraordinary,
because when this payment was made in october, shortly before the election of 2016, $130,000, that is a lot of money to be sure. that said, given how this has exploded, one would assume that she could make a lot more money now. is there a sense that one of the reasons she may be speaking up about this now is for financial gain? >> i can't comment on that personally. but stormy has said publicly, she said it online, that this isn't about the money, that she's also raising money for her legal fund on a website called crowd justice. she claims none of that money will actually go to her, that it will pay for legal expenses. but what stormy has said is that she is not in this for the money. >> all right. kate, an extraordinary article, an exclusive for the daily beast, thank you for your time. >> thank you so much. and unique perspective on the timing of andrew mccabe's firing that you'll want to hear. well, like most of you, i just bought a house.
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and also led the justice department investigation between possible ties between the trump campaign and russia until may of last year. mary, a big welcome to you. i know you are a supporter of andrew mccabe. would you expect that he kept these memos? i'm curious relative to your experience working with him. what did you observe? >> i'm just hearing about this right before coming on your show. and thank you for having me. so i don't have any details about them. certainly i never spoke with andy about the keeping of personal memos. i will say that, having been in the job like andy's that was a very demanding job, high stress, it was an 18-hour-a-day job that may take you in the course of any day from responding to a potential terrorism threat to attending multiple high level meetings at the white house on policy issues in the situation room to dealing with domestic law enforcement and many things in between, that it wouldn't be surprising to me to keep some notes or records of what is
happening on a day to day basis so that in the future, you can reflect back on those and try to remember when things occurred and what occurred. the days certainly when i was the acting assistant attorney general and even the principal deputy before that, days and times sometimes really moved very quickly, and conflate together. so it's helpful sometimes to have notes or memos to remind one of what has taken place and when. >> absolutely. i perfectly well understand that. would it be out of the ordinary had james comey suggested to him or at least said, this is what i have done to help me structure my days? >> i certainly can't speak to that. i mean, that wouldn't surprise me. but i have no personal knowledge about that. >> let's take a look at how attorney general sessions explained mccabe's dismissal. both the oig and the fbi reports concluded that mr. mccabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked
candor, including under oath on multiple occasions. what is your reaction, mary, to that? does that give some credence to the ag's move? >> certainly this inspector general is highly regarded and well-respected. i think both within the department of justice and outside of the department. i of course along with the rest of the public have not seen that inspector general report. certainly career officials would have been involved with its drafting. and so i think there will be a time when this is made public and we're all able to make an assessment of what exactly the allegations are about andy, whether they really do appear to be a lack of candor, whether there's any other explanation. i can't answer that now, other people really can't answer that at this point. >> and to that point, mary, the fact is we do not have a complete picture yet. that has not been released publicly. i know you're questioning the timing of this release of this partial report, right? >> yeah, i don't really know
historically whether there's any sort of precedent for sort of carving out one piece of an inspector general's investigation to move at a different pace than the rest of the investigation, the rest of the report. we know this report is expected this spring. it's not available yet, as i just indicated. yet this piece involving andy was apparently carved out at some earlier point in time, referred over to the department and to the fbi for further investigation. that strikes me as odd timing. it may have precedent, i don't know, i haven't scoured, you know, history to see if that's ever happened before. but particularly in light of the really constant and incessant attacks against andy by the president and by others, you know, dating back to early last year, it just comes together in a way that certainly doesn't look great for the independence of the department of justice, the independence of the fbi from
presidential influence. i'm not saying that occurred. again, career justice department officials -- >> but there is an appearance and we can interpret. you're not the first person on this broadcast, even earlier today, that suggested it just seems like it has been rushed. but to what end? to either embarrass andrew mccabe, embarrass the fbi? 26 hours before the start of his retirement, scheduled for sunday on his 50th birthday i might add, and the loss of a pension. what does that mean, and does he have recourse where he can try to fight to get this back, to your knowledge? >> i know andy is represented by fine lawyers, in fact a former inspector general himself who should know the answers to the questions i'm raising, and i'm sure will provide great representation to andy. i think it's extremely unfortunate that the timing of this happens just 26 hours before his retirement. and although certainly lack of candor is a fireable offense
under fbi regulations, again, the sort of haste with which this investigation and the carve-out of this particular investigation seems to have taken place -- again, i can't say that i know every detail about it, but just based on public reporting, it seems like a very unfortunate push to try to obtain this result right before andy's retirement. and, you know, andy is somebody who has spent two decades in the bureau and who i've worked with for years very closely. when i was at the national security division we talked every day for almost three years. i have utmost respect for him, he's honest, he has integrity. we didn't always agree on everything, it would be surprising if the bureau and the doj agreed on every single thing. but we always worked productively toward reaching a solution. he always took very seriously
all of our discussions. and i couldn't have asked for really a better colleague to work with when we were doing important things like protecting the nation's security. >> mary, before i let you go, in the course of our conversation, the
president has tweeted again, i'm just going to put it up and read it for our viewers here. he says, the fake news is beside themselves that mccabe was caught, called out and fired. how many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife's campaign by crooked h friend terry m. who is also under investigation, how many lies, how many leaks? comey knew it all and much more, of course talking about terry mcauliffe and andrew mccabe's wife who ran unsuccessfully for office in the state of the virginia. what is your reaction to the president's tweet? >> it's really unfortunate that the president involves himself in these personal attacks. his tweets on these subjects and others have not been good for the country, have not been good for the career civil servants at the department of justice and fbi and those in the
intelligence community. this is sort of a continuation of that pattern. and it's just -- it doesn't bring anything productive to the dialogue. >> mary mccord, your insights are very much appreciated on this breaking news day, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. next, the special counsel's subpoena of trump organization business documents. what is robert mueller looking for there? captivating exteriors dynamic lighting elevated comfort powerfully efficient and one more thing the world comes with it ♪you can go your own way... the 2019 jeep cherokee take 5, guys. tired of your bladder always cutting into your day? you may have overactive bladder, or oab.
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that fired former fbi director andrew mccabe kept personal memos about his interactions with the president. we should say he was an interim director. joining us is jill wine-banks. jill, what could these memos mean for the russia investigation? >> contemporaneous memos are very persuasive in any court case. it really shows the accuracy of someone's later testimony and captures their memory of the time. so they are very, very good documents. comey's contemporaneous memos are important and mccabe's are. and this attack on mccabe really reminds me of something from a movie i watched last night called "suddenly last summer" in which the truth was trying to be suppressed by giving elizabeth taylor a lobotomy. she said, you can't cut the truth out of me by giving me a lobotomy. and you can't cut the truth out by firing mccabe or anyone else.
>> interesting about the firing, the president's lawyer john dowd has embraced for the firing, and is calling for the doj to take this a step further and end the mueller investigation. what do you make of that? >> i don't know he has any basis for saying that. the investigation must be allowed to continue to its natural conclusion which will happen when the special prosecutor says that he has done all that he can possibly do. john dowd does not have a copy of the ig report so he has no facts on which to say there is any linkage. and to the best of what i have heard, the relationship between the investigation of mueller and -- there is none. the firing had to do with something to do with the hillary clinton investigation, her e-mails and what he said or allowed someone to say to the press and then what he said to an internal investigator. it has nothing to do with anything that could relate to the steele dossier or to the
investigation of the russian relationship with trump or his team. >> okay. what about "the new york times" reporting that the mueller team has subpoenaed the trump organization, looking for documents related to the russia investigation? could this ensnare the members of the president's family? >> absolutely. it could also involve michael cohen, who was working on trump tower in moscow. it could involve many people, felix sater, ivanka trump, jared, the president himself. there's a lot to be learned from the business records of it trump organization, and the tax returns and the loan documents, and while you can get some loan documents from, for example, deutsche bank i know has been subpoenaed, and we want to know what happened to the loans he got from there. were they laid off on russian banks? and what happened to his
knowledge of that? so there's a lot of evidence that can come out of these business records that could show a motivae for his cooperation with putin, why he continues to defend him and protect him when we know they've hacked into our electric grid, the election system, they hacked into the dnc and affected the outcome of the election. they need to be punished and we need to know why the president is not taking the steps he needs to take to make sure the upcoming elections are not interfered with by the russians. >> jill wine-banks, thank you very much. we're just hearing from james comey via twitter, "mr. president, the american people will hear my story very soon and they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not." in just a moment, the potential political ripple effect of the mccabe firing. and in the next hour, new york congressman gregory meeks will
weigh in on the mccabe firing and the new sanctions against russia. are they tough enough? up to a gillette shave. and at our factory in boston, more than a thousand workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get.
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or decided in a locked room outside the purview of the public so they won't learn about the facts of what really happened here. they are trying to hide the facts and the truth from the public. it is clear as day. >> new legal action from president trump against porn star stormy daniels, attempting to move the lawsuit to federal court that claims $20 million for daniels' alleged violations of a hush agreement. conservative commentator kierstin haglin. stormy daniels' attorney, is he right? does this legal action prove that the president is trying to hide his history with stormy daniels? the president's legal team repeatedly has deny ned allegations of a sexual relationship with stormy daniels. >> it's not necessarily about wanting to hide the truth of what happened. it's how the story negatively effects him. it's the press coverage he
doesn't like. he wants to be universal lay dored and doesn't want these things sullying what he's trying to do coming out of the white house. it's more about the messaging that he doesn't want out there. also, there is a lot that we have yet to know. i mean, we understand there's no way that you're paying someone $130,000 if it didn't happen, right? so there's that obvious nature of this. there's also the fact that now we're hearing there may be videos. there may be text messages. there may be photographs. this could be potentially another very, very toxic thing. wouldn't it be fascinating if, in fact it wasn't the mueller investigation, but a woman who ended up really being the biggest threat to the trump presidency? >> i'm curious, peter, what is wrong with keeping this out of the public discourse? why can't they just do it in a conference room somewhere? does this need for publicity? does it bring stormy daniels' motives at all into question? >> it's important that the public have access to all the facts because, quite simply, we're talking about the president of the united states who we now discover has an
alias, davis dennisson and we don't know what other women, what other circumstances behind stormy daniels there are that could be potential blackmail. so behind a closed conference room, of course, is where the trump people would like it. but america and just the due process and the judicial system demand it be in the public. >> kierstin, we heard it here on "morning joe," michael avenatti, stormy daniels' attorney, saying she was threatened to keep silent but wouldn't specify who threatened her. he does say that these are part of the lawsuit. how damaging could this be for the white house? >> it's hard to say honestly. i'm sad i have to say this but it's hard to say because there have been so many other things throughout the campaign when he was just in the primaries as well as when he was the republican nominee when he came out that everyone thought that would finally be the death nail
of the campaign and people would lift their hands up and say we can't support this man anymore. that has not happened. for a lot of observers, critics as well as supporters, don't believe whatever has come out. he has been like teflon so far. that's very difficult. at the end of the day, her story deserves to be heard. i cannot imagine how frustrating it must be to have to be asked to do interviews and have this narrative go on in the national media about you when you're not able to share your own story. legally but also as a country that we purport to have integrity, let this woman speak. >> peter, i'm curious how you interpret their remarks about physical activity. to kirstin's point, where is the bar? has it been lowered so much as to what we find shocking, appalling, disconcerting, disturbing? a lot of things slip right by these days it seems. >> there is no bar.
keirstin is exactly right. these allegations against the lawyer -- in fact, there was a reporter this morning earlier on this network that said she had been threatened by the president's attorney to what presses did to one of msnbc's own, katy tur, where the secret service had to walk her out because donald trump so whipped up the crowd to threaten her life. it starts at the head. as we've always learned the buck stops in the oval office. in this case, quite rightly, kierstin points out, if you follow the money, we'll get to the end of this and it may be that donald trump has engaged in much more than russian activities. it could be far worse. >> i'm out of time but want to ask you with regard to the andrew mccabe firing 26 hours before he's supposed to start
his retirement, does it feel vindictive to you? >> yes, absolutely. is it surprising? no. his true story will come out. those memos indicate that as well as the tweet you showed. the truth will will out. >> peter, your thoughts? >> not only vindictive but incredibly cruel and reflective of roy cohen who, with joe mccarthy, ruined hundreds if not thousands of american lives in the '50s. it's roy cohen smiling from hell in this matter. >> peter emerson and kerstin haglin, thank you as always. ♪ a wealth of information. a wealth of perspective. ♪ a wealth of opportunities. that's the clarity you get from fidelity wealth management.
>> that's it for me. my advice for you for the next couple of hours, david, buckle up. i'm be broadcasting from los angeles because i'm flying there to see my father. it's his birthday. >> safe travels. >> thank you so much. see you tomorrow. >> i'm david gura at msnbc headquarters in new york. president trump's personal lawyer, the alleged russia collusion investigation shut down? you're fired. that's what andrew mccabe was told late last night but we're told mccabe kept personal memo s about the president, according to the associated