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because mollie didn't get that chance. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. good morning. i'm dara brown in new york at msnbc world headquarters. it is 7:00 in the east, 4:00 out west, and here's what's happening. new concerns about north korea increasing nuclear production at secret sites. what nbc news has learned about kim jong-un's efforts to keep his program alive. a call for change at a nationwide protest, but will demanding the abolishment of i.c.e. backfire on democrats? and the change coming to the supreme court and what it means for abortion. how chief justice john roberts could play a key role in an unexpected way. new this morning, growing concerns over evidence that north korea is ramping up its nuclear program. multiple experts exclusively tell nbc news that north korea
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is deceiving the u.s., despite president trump's claim that kim jong-un agreed to denuclearization. nbc's janis mackey frayer has details. >> reporter: it was a remarkable moment. the leaders of the u.s. and north korea standing shoulder to shoulder, pledging to denuclearize the korean peninsula. but now, more than a dozen u.s. intelligence officials tell nbc news that despite this month's historic summit, north korea appears to be pushing ahead with its nuclear program, stepping up production of enriched uranium in recent months at multiple secret sites. one official saying of the north koreans, there's no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles or that they've stopped their production. >> what's clear here is that the u.s. believes, in fact, they are being deceptive about the actual size of their program. >> that north korea is growing its nuclear arsenal and conce concealing it appears to
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contradict president trump's view. >> we're going to have a great discussion and i think tremendous success. we'll be tremendously successful. >> reporter: that the summit was a success and north korea is no longer a nuclear threat. the north did stop missile and nuclear tests and said it would destroy an engine testing site, but just days ago, satellite imagery showed rapid upgrades at yongbong, its main nuclear site. analysts sta s it's not unexpec that north korea has these sites, but that they would reveal it. the white house has declined to comment on the intelligence assessment and how it might affect what president trump has called a special bond. janis mackey frayer, nbc news, beijing. >> let's bring in melanie nona with the hill and jonathan with nbc news digital. great to have you both here on this sunday morning.
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jonathan, based on our reporting, is there any indication whether secretary pompeo and the president's advisers were aware of this apparent deception as the president was getting ready to meet with kim jong-un last month? >> i'm not sure the degree that they were aware of the deception. i think that, you know, as our colleagues reported, this is ongoing and i think the big question coming out of this, dara, is, you know, the left, the critics of the president say this was something that we should have expected, that the president was naive in meeting with kim jong-un. and yet at the same time, if this is used as a justification for the united states using force against north korea or threatening to use force against north korea, i think those same critics are going to be pretty upset about it. >> and melanie, even if president trump continues to call his meeting with kim jong-un a major foreign policy achievement, i mean, how much does this change the course of these negotiations? >> look, i think this really underscores the fact that it's going to be incredibly difficult to ultimately get a deal with
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north korea. this meeting was a huge propaganda victory for north korea, if nothing else comes out of it. and i think the united states has to ask itself what other concessions do they need to see before moving forward with any further talks or meetings, including whether they should have to declare all of these secret test sites that have now been revealed by some of the nbc reporting. so, look, i just think that the president has an uphill battle. he was naive to think this could be easily solved. and certainly this new reporting undercuts the idea that the nuclear threat is no longer in north korea. >> and also new today, a behind the scenes look at how president trump is narrowing down his choices for justice kennedy's replacement. an adviser to the president tells "the washington post" that he plans to use the same playbook that led to the relatively swift confirmation of neil gorsuch last year. among the qualities he's looking for, someone who is not weak, meaning someone with independent judgment and the current to buck the political and social fashions of the day. also new today, republican senator lindsey graham is weighing in on the renewed concerns over roe v. wade being
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overturned. here's what he told my colleague chuck todd in an interview airing later this morning. >> one of the concepts that really means a lot in america is story decsis, which means you don't overturn precedent unless there's a good reason. roe v. wade in many different ways has been affirmed over the years. >> jonathan, your takeaways from "the washington post" article on this so-called gorsuch playbook. president trump is using it to pick the next supreme court justice. >> well, first of all, because neil gorsuch got confirmed, if i were at the white house, i would also be talking about using the gorsuch playbook. i think you've got different dynamics now. we've obviously seen the president in office for a lot longer at this point. we've seen gorsuch on the bench. you've got republican moderates who are very concerned about the possible change, not only on roe v. wade, but on other issues,
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where, you know, when you saw gorsuch come in for scalia, that didn't change the balance of the court. what you're looking at now is a potential change of the balance of the court, becoming a more conservative court with the president's pick. and it could be a tough battle. >> melanie, you heard senator graham a minute ago on how roe v. wade will likely factor during this confirmation process. what signals will you be looking for from the left and the right for how this will play out? >> well, on the right, all eyes are going to be on lisa murkowski and susan collins, two republicans who support women's rights and they do not want to see this precedent of roe v. wade overturned. so it's going to be on them. democrats are going to lobby them. they're also going to try to raise fears about abortion rights being overturned and made illegal if a conservative justice is appointed. and on the other side, we're going to see republicans really ramp up their focus on some of these red state democrats, including the three that voted for gorsuch last time. so it's going to be a long,
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messy fight on capitol hill, it's going to be a long summer. luckily or not so luckily, mitch mcconnell canceled august recess, so they'll have some hopes of getting this done before the october new term starts for the supreme court. >> we'll see if that actually happens. jonathan, before we go to break, i want to get your reaction on the growing calls for some democrats to abolish i.c.e. take a listen to what senator gillibrand told my colleague at a rally to unite families yesterday. let's listen. >> i think the mission of i.c.e. is no longer being accomplished. unfortunately, i.c.e. is becoming a deportation force. immigration should be dealt, immigration is a humanitarian issue. and the criminal issues, the border security issues should be dealt with differently. >> jonathan, what are you hearing from other democrats about this strategy? are they at all concerned that it might backfire? >> well it, largely depends on if like senator gillibrand, they're running for president in 2020. senator gillibrand has obviously not announced a campaign, but is somebody who is considered a
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possible 2020 contender. she's somebody who used to have a much different view on immigration than she does now. so she is moving to the left to try to satisfy the base and that's not to say the doesn't believe in what she's saying, but certainly politically, that's what's going on here. i think what you're hearing from the others not necessarily running for president, i think they understand that abolishing i.c.e. is a politically difficult, tricky thing to do, and something that allows their opponents to kind of characterize them as the president does, as being for open borders and not believing in any immigration enforcement. it's a battle that's going on within the democratic party right now. but it sounds for the moment like more of a talking point, like when ted cruz on the right talks about abolishing the irs. obviously, somebody would have to collect taxes. obviously, you're going to have to have some group doing immigration and customs enforcement in the united states. so whether or not you'll abolish that agency, the functions would
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stay there. >> and melanie, president trump is now claiming that he never pushed republicans to pass their immigration bills, but what are you hearing from republicans on their strategy moving forward, if their constantly trying to gauge the president's thinking on immigration. >> yeah, first of all, i think it's a little bit of revisionist history here. he tweeted three days earlier in all caps locks for republicans to support this bill. i also talked to republicans who were personal lobbied by the president, thrown on buses and taken to the white house to go ahead and support this thing. so look, i think it's going to be a problem. and i've heard this from a lot of republicans on capitol hill. they're scared to vote for things when they think the president could walk back his support, even after they've already voted. so when they return to washington this week, they'll have to -- next week, they'll have to deal with this family separation issue, as well as speaker ryan has promised a stand-alone vote on some agricultural provisions with e-verify and a new agricultural guest worker program. but it's going to be an uphill battle. >> and how is this immigration issue going to play out in the midterms? a win for the democrats,
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republicans, or possibly nobody? >> all of the above plus everybody. i think, look, the president put out that tweet and melanie has done some great reporting on immigration over the course of the past couple of months, but, you know, the president put out that tweet and it really underscores the degree to which he's trying to convince his base that they should be up in arms about immigration for this midterm election. certainly democrats are enthusiastic going into this election in general. they are upset about what's going on at the border. the president is trying to make sure republicans show upping with particularly trump-supporting republicans who aren't typically, necessarily -- people who didn't typically, necessarily vote before the trump wave, trying to get them out there, talking about immigration as though he were not on the side of passing that bill. i think we'll do that. we're still some months away. it's a little early to determine how any individual issue plays on election day. >> that time will fly.
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jonathan allen, melanie, stick around. we've got more to talk about, stick around. the future of roe v. wade with justice kennedy leaving the supreme court. the role chief justice john roberts would have, up next. and before the break, the earth-shattering retirement of justice anthony kennedy reverberates in the realm of late-night tv. justice anthony kennedy met with trump for half an hour. actually, he wasn't planning to retire, but after 30 minutes with trump, he's like, i've got to get out of this town. i've had enough. i'm going to retire, i'm good. >> justice kennedy, wlhat are yu doing retiring, man? you barely work, you get to wear a robe all day and give your opinions on stuff. that basically is retirement. >> he's 81 years old, so he'll go from sitting around in a robe all day to sitting around in a robe all day. so it's going to be very difficult. >> i never thought i'd say this, but you're only 81! discover card.
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welcome back. president trump is in bed minhster, new jersey, where he is said to be preparing to interview candidates to fill the supreme court vacancy. and now the president's evangelical adviser, johnny moore, says there's a high level of confidence to overturn roe v. wade. the president says he'll announce his court choice july 9th. joining me now, is msnbc legal analyst, danny cevallos. let's start with roe v. wade. what would happen for the supreme court to overturn such a landmark case? >> roe v. wade is not really in as immediate danger as many are saying. procedurally, what would have to happen is an actual case addressiaddress ing roe v. wade would have to work its way through the courts. even if it got to the supreme court, the supreme court would have to vote to hear it. and even if it heard it, recall now, if you want to call somebody a swing vote, that
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swing vote would be justice roberts. and when you think about roe v. wade, yes, it stands on very flimsy legal justification, but on the other hand, it's also been part of jurisprudence for decades. and the supreme court, prudent to what they call stare decisis, is likely to let something as old as roe v. wade stand, simply because it's been around so long that everybody accepts it as a constitutional right, even though it's built on a flimsy house of cards. >> and danny, you've written about this, that chief justice roberts would want to avoid the controversy of overturning roe v. wade. why is that? >> justice roberts is a staunch defender of the sort of the, of the respect of the supreme court. and for that reason, he would be really, really cognizant of the fact that this would create, an overturning of roe v. wade, a huge controversy. and that may be something he would want to avoid.
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but he can hang his hat on strong legal justification, again, because roe v. wade has been law for so long, even though it original aly may have been decided based on no real legal justification, it still has been around forever and everybody accepts it as a right. >> and president trump is now interviewing finalists for the vacancy in the supreme court. in these interviews, what is it that the president would usually ask? and is there anything off-limits? >> what would the president usually ask? that's a different question from what this president will be asking. to get into the mind of president trump, to me, there are two or three nominees that jump out. i think president trump likes bullet points and professor amy coney barrett, i should say judge amy coney barrett, ticks off a lot of those bullet points. he's very young, she's 46, a very good thing for a supreme court justice. she also could be a great
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political move. because if during confirmation, as cardiolo as the senate questioned her about her religious faith, that could become a political advantage to trump going into the elections. judge barrett was confirmed by some 60 plus votes. there really isn't a strong reason to not confirm her only several months later. and if senators grill her about her religious faith, then that could backfire on them when it comes to the november elections. >> and danny, talking about the votes, the republicans currently have the majority in the senate, and since the deployment of the nuclear option, a justice only needs 51 votes to be confirmed. if the democrats oppose the president's nomination, what are their options? >> there are a couple of options. there are at least two pro-choice senators that could be turned, that's the prevailing theory right now. but it's true that, you know, that democrats are going to be fighting from behind to try to block this nomination, if they choose to block it. and then that reverts back to
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why i think judge barrett is a front-runner, because if they do, if they attack this potential female nominee bauds on her religious faith, this could backfire against them and they may lose some of the votes they were actually counting on from other democrats. >> and real quick, i want to play what senator booker said this week. let's take a listen. >> i do want to point out one thing that hasn't been mentioned by my colleagues that we all should know and be aware of, which is to me, what i think is clearly a potential conflict of interest. one that has a profound reach. the president of the united states right now is a subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, an investigation that every member of this committee knows could end up before the supreme court. >> danny, real quick, do you agree with senator booker here zw. >> that he shouldn't be able to nominate a supreme court justice because he's under investigation? absolutely not, because i don't
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see any legal or constitutional justification for that position. yes, it's true, the merrick garland ordeal has raised all kinds of ideas about how the senate could potentially or congress could potentially obstruct a justice or delay until an election. but the general rule is, this is not supposed to happen. so the mere idea that the president may be under investigation, i mean, the president could be under impeachment proceedings. there's nothing in the constitution that perpetuates him from carrying out his duties while he's under investigation or even being impeached, being tried in the senate. so i don't think this is a very strong argument by senator booker. >> an argument, nonetheless, though. danny cevallos, thank you so much for your time this sunday morning. great to have you. and new insight into the prankster who got president trump to return his call. hear from the comedian, that's up next. and a programming note. coming up in the 9:00 hour, derrick johnson, president and ceo of the naacp will talk to
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we are hearing for the first time from the prankster who allegedly got through the to the white house and impersonated democratic senator bob menendez during a phone call with president trump this week. here's what comedian stuttering john said during an interview with msnbc. >> i go on to the guys that i'm bob menendez's assistant, sean moore. yeah, this is sean moore, sean after connery, moore after roger. and so now i go, okay, i'm -- okay, i'm about to get -- let me just connect you to the senator. they asked me, you know, what's the tsunami of senator bob menendez's wife. they asked me, you know, how many kids does he have? i would not have known anything. they didn't ask me one question. jared kushner, trump's right-hand man, does not know that this is the worst fake english accent in the history of the world and does not -- i mean, how does that happen?
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>> let's bring back melanie and jonathan for this. jonathan, nbc has not confirmed that it is president trump's voice on the audio, but the white house is also not saying that stuttering john's account of the phone call is false. so are you willing to give the white house the benefit of the doubt that this could have happened, possibly in any administration? >> yeah, it could have happened in any administration, but you would like to think that it wouldn't happen in any administration. and it did happen in this administration. and you know, from some of the reporting from other outlets, there was an effort to stop it from happening, and jared kushner pushed the call through. i think what's most notable here is that president trump commiserating with senator menendez about the failed justice department attempt to convict senator menendez, saying he was treated unfairly. i think that would be surprising, not only to a lot of people at the justice department, but also to many
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republicans who thought that bob menendez had done some at least unsavory things, if not illegal things. >> and melanie, president trump says he doesn't exactly know whether reports of hope hicks of possibly coming back is true, but he says that he hopes so. so what do you make of this, particularly the timing of it? >> i think that if hope hicks has a job, she has a job back in the white house. it's not uncommon to see white house officials to come and go in this administration and then come back. and hope hicks, in particular, she left on her own terms. she's also a very close confidant of the president. she's been around since the trump tower days. i think it's a question of whether she does actually want to come back or not. >> and what about the investigation, jonathan? don't you think hope hicks would be worried about this? >> i think she might be worried about it, but i also -- look, it wouldn't be shocking if hope hicks came back. i think there's always an effort by president trump to surround himself with people that he's comfortable. you hear various rumors about people that might come back into
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the fold. there was a longtime rumor that corey lewandowski was going to come back into the white house. >> jonathan allen and melanie a zanona, thanks for being here. at the top of the hour, it's "politics nation." "your business" is up next. hello. the new united explorer card hooks me up. getting more for getting away. rewarded! going new places and tasting new flavors. rewarded! traveling lighter. rewarded! (haha) getting settled. rewarded! learn more at and get... rewarded! and get... (vo) imagine a visibly healthin 28 days. purina one. natural ingredients, plus vitamins and minerals in powerful combinations. for radiant coats, sparkling eyes, and vibrant energy. purina one. 28 days. one visibly healthy pet. directv gives you more for your thing.
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coming up on msnbc's "your business," the owner of virginia's red hen restaurant refuses service to the white house press secretary, sarah huckabee sanders. does it make any business sense for owners to reject customers? this notebook company has taken the element of surprise to new heights, swearing its employees and vendors to secrecy to stop any leaks about upcoming products and designs. and celebrities robby patel and kristen belle along with their cofounders create a snack bar that's helping to save children's lives. when it comes to making choices for your business, we have your back. that is all coming up next on msnbc's "your business."