tv MSNBC Live MSNBC March 17, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
you can join me again tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. the news continues right now with my d.c.-based friend aaron gilchrist. >> good afternoon, everyone. it's 4:00 on the east, 1:00 on the west. i'm aaron gilchrist. the latest coming from the "associated press" reporting that mccabe kept personal memos regarding president trump. the a.p. reports the notes are similar to the ones kept by former fbi director james comey detailing interactions with the president and "the wall street journal" reports those memos are now in the hands of federal
investigators. it's, quote, on the merits in light of recent revelations. a lot of this playing out on twitter t president's favorite means of communication, the president tweeting the fake news is beside themselves that mccabe was caught, called out, and fired. how many hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to wife's campaign by crooked h. friender to terry m. who was under investigation? how many lies? how many leaks? comby knew it all and much more. nbc's pete williams and jeff bennett are tracking these for us. eric, let's start with you. how significant is it that mccabe kept those memos a la
james comey. >> if you wind the clock you'd learn about the memos he had kept with his own personal interactions with president trump and those essentially form the basis of the obstruction of justice. it's now being conducted by special counsel robert mueller. so to the extent the memos by andrew mccabe are similar, one can imagine they have quite a degree of high import. >> let's flov that thinking then. they turned over those memos to the special counsel robert mueller. they sort of describe what he told mccabe about his own interactions with the president too. what specifically do you think this might mean for the investigation as we move forward or learn about what's in the muller investigation? >> what we know is special counsel robert mueller is interested in trying to figure out did donald trump take any
steps to thwart the ongoing investigation and to the extent they chronicle or describe or elaborate on those efforts by president trump, one can imagine may would be very significant to special counsel mueller. one of the big key moments that's taken place is the one from last february in which president trump said -- i'm sorry -- in which robber earth mueller said to end the investigation into michael flynn, the white house national security adviser, that's such a critical moment in mueller's investigation. so it would be very curious to see what comby said to mccabe about that. >> to clarify, eric, the memo details it. >> that's correct. >> the former doj inspector michael bromwich is representing mccabe at this point. he says that he's never seen this type of rush to judgment before in the statement he released earlier today.
is the timing of this unusual? >> well, it is because of the compressed time frame here. only earlier this week was there a meeting of the justice department between andrew mccabe, his lawyer, and the staff members of the deputy attorney general to talk about this recommendation from the fbi's own office of responsibility that mccabe be fired for lack of candor is the term they use at the fbi, and that meeting happened on thursday, and then on friday the attorney general who had been out of town the day before finally got to look at this, we're told, and didn't sign off on accepting the fbi's recommendation until 10:00 last night and, of course, that was just 26 hours before mccabe was due to retire on his 50th birthday after stepping down as deputy direct never late january. there's a lot about this that is unusual. >> one of the elements is andrew
mccabe's pension. do we know exactly what happens to his pension now? >> we don't know, and i suspect he doesn't know either. this is complicated. i've talked to government officials who know the personnel system and what they say is that he does have some options. they are limited. but i don't know how this is going to work out and he doesn't either. interestingly the former solicitor general was tweeting that he hopes supporters for andrew mccabe will contribute to a fund to support mccabe and his family. >> jeff, we mentioned, too, that the president's personal attorney john dowd said -- he spoke and he also sort of walked back telling nbc news that he's speaking on this issue in a personal capacity as opposed to for the president. what do we make from that? >> left to stand, john dowd's comments shift away from the
trump team to robert mueller the special counsel to clarify that he speaks for himself only and not on behalf of the president means we're returning to the official white house line on all of this. although, i would point out dowd's comments set off alarms on some congressional lawmakers. both issues statements calling on members of both parties to defend the importance of the special investigation, aaron. >> the president has been outspoken on his feelings on andrew mccabe. we saw the tweets from him last night and this morning. is the white house worried about whether the president's comments might come back to hurt him? >> look. if any white house officials harbor concerns about the president's comments, they're not making those concerns known publicly. in fact, it's just the on sichlt remember sarah huckabee sanders characterized as andrew mccabe as a, quote, bad actor without any evidence at the time to
appoint that assertion. but based on conversation i had, there are some concerns that the president's repeated attacks on mccabe could provide yet another data point in the ongoing probe into whether or not the president tried to obstruct justice in the ongoing russia investigation, aaron. >> all right, eric. thank you for your insight. let's bring in our panel now to break this down a bit more. kimberly atkins, chief washington reporter for the "boston herald" and nbc contributor. huffi"huffington post's" lauren. i'll start with you. should the president be worried about this? >> possibly so. we don't know exactly what's in all of this information, we don't know what andrew mccabe has told the special counsel or what he will tell the special
counsel if he continues to talk to them. but it draws a clear line between his cooperation and now him being fired. andrew mccabe is insisting that this is retribution for his cooperation with this ongoing probe by robert mueller, and if that is found to be true, that could add a lot of trouble to president trump if mueller believes that that's an additional effort to obstruct justice, of course. the president is saying this is a crackdown on wrongdoing within the fbi that he's been decrying for a long time. so i think right now only robert mueller knows the full answer to that. >> laura, we've seen several democrats come out calling for an end to the russia investigation as a result of mccabe's firing. the senate minority leader chuck schumer said this in a statement, quote, mr. dowd's comments are yet another indication that the first instinct of the president and his legal team is not to cooperate with the special
counsel mueller but to undermine him at every term. dowd has sort of walked back the comments a little bit here, but could the white house use this to call on the attorney general to end the investigation? >> i would be really surprised if he did. a lot of people saare saying th would be grounds for impeachment. all along president trump said he was going to cooperate with the investigation. i think that's interestinging on his part to wage war against the fbi and fisa and fire someone and kick him in the shins on the way out? i think it's pretty clear that mccabe is going to sue trump and who knows what's going to come out in discovery. i think trump is not acting like an innocent man right now. if you didn't collude with russia, why are you trying to shut down the investigation? it doesn't make sense. >> i want to bring in charlie savage. charlie, i mentioned the tweet.
is the president risking a deepening war with the fbi and intelligence at large against him? >> risky is one word. i think he seems to be inviting it and welcoming it. i this i the strategy here is if he can make it look like a fight between two factions are out for themselves, it makes any eventual findings of the law enforcement investigation against them look like, oh, this is just partisan or provides groundwork for the eventual firing of mueller if that's what he eventually brings himself to do. either way, it's an attack on the independence of the justice department and law enforcement apparatus as a neutral body that's trying to find out the facts every time he does something like this. >> and, chris, as you look at this, the investigation, the back and forth, everything that we've been seeing today, is there a valid reason?
do you see this as a valid reason to end the investigation? the mueller investigation? >> no. of course, not. and this is the latest example of the white house being off the rails. you know, the firing of mccabe was petty, it was vindictive, and it was, frankly, politically stupid. it was the best way to create an enthusiastic prosecution witness. and what it shows also is more than a year into the trump presidency, this is not just on donald trump. it's on sessions, but it's also on john kelly, the chief of staff. i think what it shows is there are no grown-ups in the room. >> that's a strong statement there. aisle co i'll come back to that. the president has not been shy about his feelings on andrew mccabe. your thoughts on whether these comments will come back to haunt the president at some point? >> the taunting of andrew mccabe after he's been firing in the framing of this, as we said
before, here's my partisan enemy, i'm so glad it happen ed undercuts the notion that this was purely a bureaucratic examination over the candor of the inspector general and so forth. it's reminiscent of a year ago with the story that jim comby was fired when they found a memo on the hillary clinton investigation which was totally destroyed by trump himself a day or two later when he made it clear he had gotten the memo and was thinking about russia when he made the firing. all of that said, though, i want to add the voice to the substance behind what happened here. it is the case that the inspector general of the justice department michael horwitz is not at all a trump figure. he was appointed by president obama. he has a long history as an independent neutral career law
enforcement official and i do not see him as someone based on anything i've known about him for years as someone who would do the president's bidding for any reason at all. so his presence in this still murky chain of events makes me not want to leap to any conclusion about whether this was unjustified. >> okay. i want to switch gears here. what's really behind all the changes in the white house and the cabinet. is this as simple as not enough people agrees with the perspectives? >> i think what we're seeing is the president 14 months into his presidency growing more confident that he knows -- that he believes he knows what he's doing and he wants to put the team around him, that he trusted, he believes is going to back his policies. and he did not see that, in, say, secretary rex tillerson, now outgoing secretary of state rex tillerson.
he sees that more in people like mike pompeo who he tapped to replace tillerson at the top. he sort of is at a point where he's trusting his own gut politically, whether it's moving forward and having talked with kim jong-un, something that sort of took the entire foreign policy world by surprise or his move on tariffs. he's looking for people to back him up and see his sort of america first view. he's not really looking for people who are giving contrary views or trying to get them to see the other side of things, and that's why the people who are rumored to be on the outs, people like h.r. mcmaster or even john kelly, his chief of staff, are rumored to be perhaps on their way out because they found themselves often on the side of trying to talk the president down. >> chris, when we look at john kelly, when he took over, there was thinking that he would sort of bring order to chaos in the white house with all the upheaval. is the business in the white house happening? >> no.
this white house is completely broken and the really troubling thing about the notion that donald trump has somehow learned to govern is it's the opposite. he's thinking he's the smartest guy in the room. most presidents get over that. most presidents learn there's a difference between campaigning and governing. trump knows how to do one thing and one thing only and that's divide, demonize, ace disrupt. trump has learned nothing about that. >> where then do you think all this goes next? >> i think it keeps devolving. i think now what we're seeing is trump is going back into campaign mode, which should be terrifying for everyone. we saw what it was like the first time around. i think he's getting rid of checks and balances. he's making jokes about the president of china getting to rule for life and saying maybe
we should rule over here. he's firing witnesses. i think he's acting like a tyrant, like a gangster, and i'm starting to wonder about his entire presidency. >> definite food for thought there. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up, major developments in the saga of porn star stormy daniels including how president trump is getting directly involved in the case for the first-time. and later this hour, an exclusive interview with the whistle-blower who's exposing stunning allegations. and in our next hour, russian roulette. what that book reveals about the russian investigation and what they learned about why president trump wanted andrew mccabe fired. or painted in luxurious strokes.
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. new accusations today in the stormy daniels case, and president trump is getting directly involved in the controversy for the first time, joining a lawsuit to stop the porn star from speaking publicly about an alleged affair more than a decade ago. he's suing daniels for $20 million for breaching the alleged hush agreement and on friday daniels' lawyer dropped this bombshell on msnbc morning
joe. >> did he threaten her in any way? >> yes. >> will you deny that the president of the united states threatened that? >> i will not confirm nor deny. >> joining me now -- danny, aisle start with you. it seems like we're moving into uncharted territory here, the notion that a sitting president would call a private citizen into court. is that something new, uncharted, and what's the endgame here? >> it's a risky endgame and it can ultimately result in the end of an administration. here's why. there's been reports the president is joining in this lawsuit. that's kind of the risk they took. when a defendant files a notice, they have to get it out of state court and up to federal court, so as the price of getting this case in federal court, donald
trump had to put his name on the case, whereas prior to this, the angle was that, look, this is e.c. and michael cohen enforcing this contract and donald trump never signed it. he may not have known anything about it. but now he's in the case in the sense that he's joined his consent to move the case up to federal court. it's unprecedent but it's also incredibly risky. every day this case stays in state or federal court, the president and his team could be subjected to the incredibly broad rules of discovery. depositions, document discovery, all things that can bring down a presidency. why do i say that? it almost brought down a prior presidency. >> we learned about this "60 minutes" interview that stormty daniels did that's going to air in a week ago. do you think the filing could
stop that interview from airing? >> the chances are 0.0. the reason is it goes back to the pentagon papers and a host of cases that hold that prior restraints, restrictions on an individual speech in advance of them speaking are highly disfavored by the courts. it's very difficult to get these and courts hate granting them. so the likelihood is very low that any of them would be able to stop the "60 minutes" piece from publishing. >> noel, this is what daniels' lawyer told my colleague earlier today. >> we have been contacted by six women who have strikingly similar events as my client that i want to stress and i've been very, very clear and i'm going to continue to be clear about this. we have not vetted these allegations. we have not vetted these stories. >> noel, does this complicate
things for the white house? >> well, you another, your previous guest gave a legal analysis of the potential fallout for all this, and i'll give you a political analysis, and i think that this is bad for the president. i think this is bad for our agenda. i think this is a huge distractor because we have a lot of things that we're trying to get through. you know, if there are more and more allegations through this is incidents through his attorney to get them to pay off people not to testify, it's a problem, but politically it's a problem that distracts from many things going on like infrastructure, like there's going to be another round of tax cuts. so this takes away. it takes away and takes our focus away from important issues, so politically it's bad. >> doug, how do you interpret those remarks about physical
threats? >> i mean i don't know. i'm not entirely sure what that means. what we know is there are 12 women over the last year or couple of years who have alleged the president has ma rased them, assaulted them. we obviously have the excel hollywood videotape where he brags about assaulting women. so i think you put all of that together and it's not a good picture. it's the seedy underbelly of the trump campaign we all knew about. particularly evangelicals and born again christians have decided to look past this characteristic of the president. he won those folks by 80 points. he got 80 percentage votes from them. and they're still standing by him. i think at some point, you know, maybe that support goes.
but i've been surprised about how he's been able to maintain the support of particularly the evangelicals and born again christians. >> given that support, democrats looking at the midterm elections, do they use this as part of their strategy to win or stay away from it? >> i think we proved in pennsylvania 18 we don't need to use this. we'll see what develops. i think there are a number of other reliabilities and vulnerabilities that the president has that will help in the midterm. i don't think we need this. but it could potentially erode support of voters if it keeps going. >> noelle, you have the same read thon? >> actually it's a little different. the way he's been able to keep some of the evangelical votes is some of the surrogates who are
diehard trump fans, they're on the stump, and a lot of voters, a lot of people have a lot of respect for a lot of these surrogates that are pastors or preachers or someone very high in there who are voting for trump. vote for trump, i know him, he's a good guy, pro-life and he's going to stand on issues important to evangelicals, this may be some of the reason why he's been able to capture and continue to capture those voters. >> all right. #eelle nikpour, doug thornell, and danny sa val lowe, thank you. how does russia retaliate against the new sanctions handed down this week by the trump administration? we'll dive into that next. come on dad!
firing, his personal lawyer is calling on rod rosenstein to end the russian investigation. he told nbc news the russian probe was, quote, manufactured by james comey. he's suggesting that his comments were made in a personal capacity only. this week the special counsel issued a subpoena to the trump administration. the trump administration finally took action against russia for meddling in the 2016 election issuing sanctions against intelligence operatives as well as 13 russians and three companies named in the mueller indictment. >> joining me now is our panel. joyce, this week the trump
administration seemed to validate the mueller investigation with those sinces against the 13 russians he indicted. today dowd said the investigation is fraudulent and should be ended. what do we make of these conflicting messages? >> the conflicting messages add up to one conclusion, which is that this white house does not want any investigation of the president. they're willing to be forced into steps they may have to take. after all, congress passed sanctions and there have been a lot focus was on the white house's failure to impose them. they put sanction only on people named in the indictment, not going very far beyond that and certainly not created the list of oligarchs that the white house asked them to do. dowd's comment this morning are deeply troubling, suggesting that somehow the investigation should be shut down when mueller is clearly making progress and
there are a lot of questions clearly unanswered that whether the outcome, whether trudge p is cleared or he's charge order people close to him are, the investigation needs to move forward until those questions are fully answered. >> and, joyce, assuming that it does move forward, mccabe said his firing was part of the ongoing war against the fbi and special counsel. now "the wall street journal" is saying he's turned over the notes, those notes on trump to mueller. how does mccabe's firing impact the investigation, do you think? >> so you can envision ultimately a trial and if mccabe were to take the witness stand, mccabe would be one of the most ideal witnesses to back up the testimony of former fbi director jim comey about the efforts to shut down the investigation to get comby to shut it down because comey and mccabe were talking contemporaneously. you can put mccabe on the witness stand and the
cross-examination after the firing last night would go something like this. well, mr. mccabe, you were fired for lying to the fbi, weren't you, and he would have to answer yes. this rush to judgment really looks political and it looks like it's intended to hamstring the mueller investigation. >> what's really the point of the sanction this week? all the sanctions are russian operatives and spies. will they ever actually be impacted by these sanctions? >> no, quite the opposite. in fact, i guarantee you in russia they're all high-fiving people. they were working together. by putting them on the sanctions list, we basically gave them a medal. there's no impact on russia proper or their ability to conduct these. that means you're successful. if the russians sanctioned me i would print it out and frame it and be proud of it, and i assure
you that's exactly what the people are doing today. >> the obama administration issued sanctions late in 2016 that are sort of repeated in a move this week and the military agency giu was highlighted again. what can you tell us about that agency and how does it compare to the fsb? >> that's a good question. he was here underdiplomatic cover. he was intelligence. my job was to spy for him. there's the giu, as you said, military intelligence and fsb, the federal intelligence agency. the question is are these intelligen intelligence. it would be a terribly frightening development.
>> joyce, what about the understanding that it had been complying voluntarily at this point? >> the subpoena likely signals that robert mueller was not getting the compliance he expected. it could be the investigation has take an new turn or documents he knew existed weren't turned over in discovery. >> all right. naveed javali, thank you. >> thank you. >> next up we'll learn from the "insider" who blew the whistle and claimed to have helped trump win the white house. the shocking allegations of how they tracked millions of voters without them knowing it when we come back. in fact, more than half of our community have discovered their irish roots... which means your smiling eyes might be irish too. order ancestrydna and find the surprises in you.
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the british data firm was behind helping to get data profiles of facebook users. that's according to a whistle-blower who gave an interview to nbc. he said most of this data was taken without users' consent and he said his former company cambridge analytical helped steve bannon wage a culture war in america. >> if you look at what he did online, it coerced them. people don't know it's being done. >> it's time says wylie that we
learn more about cambridge analytica. >> the computer is better at understanding you better than even your friends. >> he said social media is the battle ground and you are the target. >> it weighs on me that i played a pivotal role in setting up a company and it's done a lot of harm to the democratic protests in a lot of countries. we begin this story in cambridge. it's 2013 and at the university psych metric center, they're deving into the field of facebook and sigh kol jichlt what glimpsings into the soul of your facebook might reveal. cutting edge research which chris wylie was quick to start and now helps explain. >> on social media you cure rate yourself. you put so much information about who you are in one single
place. so whenever you go and you like something, you are giving me a clue as to who you are as a person. and so all of this can be captured very easily and run through an algorithm that learns who you are. when you go to work, right, your co-workers see only one side of you. your friends see one side of you, but your computer sees all siesd of you. we can get better at human level accuracy at predicting your behavior. >> can we? >> yes, absolutely. >> some dispute that. chris wylie, then just 23, the notion was seductive as it was potentially lucrative. the company he worked for, scl, specialized in psychological operations for the military, and for him facebook was now the richest of canvases on which to not only read mienlsd but change them, which is what brought
chris wylie to the attention of scl steve bannon. they took donald trump's chief strategist. >> what did steve bannon want? >> steve wanted to start a culture war. that's what he wanted. we offered him a way to accomplish what he wanted to do, which was change the culture of america. >> bannon's big idea was this. could they replicate profile work on people's personalities on facebook on a massive scale across the american electorate. >> if you look here in the underlying source code sthoos which i wouldn't normally see. >> no, you wouldn't normally see. >> it wrote like this. thousands of facebook users were paid to download an app to fill out a personality vary which their consent which in turn let them capture the use 'eers
underlying data and then share it with cambridge analytica. >> you're going into the code behind their i.d., you're putting it into an algorithm and out comes a prediction of how you're likely to vote. >> yes. >> simple and smart because the app didn't just mine the data but crucially their friends, too, those who hadn't adjusted their privacy settings. >> malk if i go to you and say, hey, if i give you a dollar, two dollars, will you fill out a survey for me, i don't just capture what your responses are. i capture all of the information about you from facebook but also this app crawls through your social network and captures all of that social data also. so by you filling out my survey, i capture 300 records on average. so that means all of a sudden i
can engage 50,000, 70,000, 100,000 people to catch a big data set quickly. we were able to get upwards of 60 million plus facebook records in the span of a couple of months. over 50 million records from facebook using this method. >> and how many of those people behind those profiles were aware that their profiles had been used in this way? >> almost none. almost none. >> in a statement a spokesman for cambridge analytical told nbc news, quote, we strongly refute claims by christopher wylie in what is patently a malicious attempt to hurt the company. we were forced to charge him. he has a grudge to bear and is trying to damage the company. facebook responding to the report saying, quote, protecting people's information is at the heart of everything we do and we
require the same from people who operate apps on facebook. if these reports are true, it is a serious abuse of our rules. we'll take whatever steps are required and delete it and take action against all defending parties. up next, a controversy over a murder plot against a former russian spy as vladimir putin is accused of orders a hit. plus, new information on the bridge collapse and dire inform before the bridge gave way. ah. agh. d-d-d... no. hmmm. uh... huh. yeah. uh... huh. in business, there are a lot of ways to say no. thank you so much. thank you. so we're doing it. yes. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we help all types of businesses with money, tools and know-how to get business done. american express open. to get business done. alright, i brought in high protein to help get us moving.
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to britain expelling russian diplomats. >> the cons ult is being closed. russia's -- britain's prime minister saying she is not surprised at today's developments. listen to her remarks. >> russia's response doesn't change the facts of the matter. the attempted assassination of two people on british soil for which there is no conclusion other than the russian state was culpable. as far as that investigation goes that she is referring to, police are asking for the public's help. they are releasing photos of the burgundy bmw driven by the former russian spy. there is a crucial four-hour period investigators say they have no idea where sergei and his daughter were at.
go ahead and take a look at the timeline, what we know. we know that that morning they went to the cemetery where his wife and son are buried. around 1:30 that afternoon, they headed into town in his burgundy bmw, first, to the mill pub, and lunch at a nearby restaurant. less than two hours later they were found slumped over on a park bench. >> i want to ask you, tomorrow, russians are going to head to the polls to vote in the presidential election. it appears for another clear path for putin to win another term? >> yes, it seems even though this cast a harsh spotlight on russia and putin, this will do nothing to detract from his chances. one thing i want to point out, there has been a murder nicklay
busckov, yesterday, it was ruled a murder investigation, he was a russian businessman who sought exile in london. he was a critic of putin, and so, now, one week later, after the attempted assassination of sergie and his daughter, they are looking into this murder of a russian businessman. police are saying there is no connection at this point. obviously, a lot of speculation. aaron. >> tammy, thank you. new information coming to light on the deadly bridge collapse in miami. florida transportation officials say, days before that collapse, one of the engineers on that bridge left a voice mail warning of possible concerns. calling to share with you information about the fiu
pedestrian bridge and some cracking that's been observinged on the north end of the span. we have taken a loot at it, and obviously, some repairs or whatever will have to be done. from a safety perspective we don't see there is any issue there. >> the employee who received that voice mail was out of town and didn't hear the message until friday, a day after the collapse. the n it sb was not given information about that message and crews were trying to strengthen part of that bridge. six people are dead, and others are still missing, the work to recover bodies continues. we are continuing to follow the latest develops of the firing of former fbi debuty director mccabe. and the stormy daniels sag a president trump, directly involved in the legal battle for the first time.
eligibility for pension. he has since lawyered up. chosen attorney and former justice department specialist to represent him. former director comey. >> white house correspondent, jeff bennett and pete williams. how significant are these memos that robert mueller has now? >> the significance is that they will