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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  August 27, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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>> indicate katy tur /* katy tur is here. >> happy monday. >> looking forward to pending every monday with you now. >> i am looking forward to seeing you on mondays. see you later. it's 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in washington with the president announced a preliminary trade deal with mexico that he hopes will blow up nafta. while the president is focused on what he can declare a political win, much of the country is focused on the passing of john mccain and the political consequences of an america without its maverick. as msnbc put it, it goes out saying that mccain's loss is particularly poignant at a
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moment in history when the grip of political partisanship seems more permanent and personal than ever. take, for example, this view of the white house right now where flags are at full-staff. and "the washington post" reporting over the weekend that the president of the united states vetoed a white house statement calling john mccain a war hero or a hero, period. over on capitol hill where flags are still at half-staff, and will remain there until mccain is buried this weekend, lawmakers begin the week without one of their most prolific and respected colleagues. senator mccain's congressional career spanned more than three decades. he was a prisoner of war, a national hero, a political giant, a republican who didn't always toe the party line but sought to build bridges and find common ground on some of today's most contentious issue. mccain teamed up with democratic
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russ feingold on legislation to regulate campaign finance. he believed in global warming and reached across the aisle to author legislation on emissions. he cast the deciding vote to save obamacare. mccain would be the first to tell you he was not perfect, and there are a lot of folks out there who would rightly criticize him for his support of the iraq war, but no one denies he was one of the few lawmakers willing to defy his own party when he felt the larger good of the country was at stake. a philosophy of compromise and optimism that mccain wanted to leave the country with from beyond the grave. here is senator mccain's long-time political ally and campaign manager rick davis reading john mccain's final message to america. >> we are 325 million opinionated, vo sifrous individuals. we argue and compete and sometimes vilify each other in
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our raucous public debates. but we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. if only we remember that and give each over the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. >> at a time when washington is more divided than ever, hit has lost a unifying voice. without john mccain, who will put country before party? joining me is kelly o'donnell, who covered senator mccain for years. associated editor of "the washington post," david ignatius, michael steele, and contributing editor of the "weekly standard" and host of the daily standard podcast charlie sykes. all three are mbs politicsnbc p
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analysts and contributors. those comments, words from rick davis reading senator mccain's own words were heartfelt. it was clearly difficult for him to get them out, but talk to me about the lasting message that mccain wanted to -- lasting mark mccain wanted to leave on the country and his final message. >> in some case, katy, the grave diagnosis gave him a chance to sort of plan his own farewell, which is something that given the fact we have just heard his own words, is a gift in the sense that he is able to try to extend beyond his life of service with a message that others may look to, others may take up. we'll see how it is received over time. one of the things that was also a part of john mccain's final words was this sentence. we weaken our grateness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries. and so what was really striking here today, rick davis who has -- he made the hotel
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california reference. you have to be of a certain age and have liked the eagles to know how powerful that is, in the building here behind me, which is the state capitol, there were veterans of campaigns past, state and his federal raise for president in 2000 and 2008. people coming back to serve the man that was their principal, their senator, their candidate over this week of remembrance. so that speaks loudly about the kind of loyally he engendered among his own team. of course, the governor will have a responsibility to choose a successor and the governor has made it possible for the people of arizona this week to pay their respects in person at the capitol. the church that has been the faithful home of the mccain family, phoenix baptist church, will be a place of celebration of his life and memorial, including joe biden, who was a friend in the senate, then was the vice presidential candidate on the democratic team that defeated senator mccain and a
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friend enduring in all the years since, since his presidential run, and most particularly for the mccain family because bo biden, we recall, died of glioblastoma, the same form of brain cancer that ended the life of john mccain. that friendship has been enduring and the support of understanding what that has been like for these families, any family that is dealing with illness of that nature. so john mccain had a theatrical streak and a sense of history. he was a reader. he believed that he had a small place in a big american story. so his farewell message is something i'm sure he gave a great deal of thought to and wanted to emphasize ideals that would expand beyond the political fights of this moment. but some of those issues that were touched on by rick davis speak to this moment and may speak to us again down the line. >> you know, when he went back to congress after being diagnosed with this brain
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cancer, he also had a message to the american people then, and it came again at a time when the country is gripped in political partisanship, where everybody has gone to their respective corners. do we have that sound bite? can we play it? hold on. i think it's coming. >> i hope we can again rely on humility on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other, to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us. stop listening to the bombastic loud mouths on the radio and television and the internet. to hell with them. [ applause ] they don't want anything done for the public good. our incapacity is their livelihood. let's trust each other. let's return to regular order. we've been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a
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way to win without help from across the aisle. we are getting nothing done, my friends. we are getting nothing done. >> we are still not getting much done, michael steele. without john mccain, who is going to take up that mantle? is there anybody? >> i don't see anyone on the horizon so far. you would have thought that in the years since the senator gave that speech, that very emphatic call to arms for the senate to return to regular order, to return to a sense of working together, that there would be certainly on my side of the aisle, republicans' side, those who stand with the senator. as we've seen, katy, that was not the case. they shrunk away from the moment, and that is so unfortunate because john mccain gave them a path forward. i think certainly in the passages that we have been playing on this air from his
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book and from his other comments, he has created those footsteps for those very senators and members of congress, elected officials around the country, to walk in the light that he was holding up that showed a way forward for the nation not along partisan lines, but along the lines in which we could actually get something done. unfortunately, no one has decided to put those shoes on yet. >> in your column you write it's important not to gild the lily. no doubt, mccain made some controversial decisions. one of those was who he chose to one with this 2008, sarah palin. and you wrote this in your column. the anti-washington rage embodied by palin came back to haunt mccain in the person of president trump. my guess is mccain was one of the many millions of decent republicans and democrats who could never imagine that the gop and then the american electorate, or at least the electoral college, would vote for someone with such low moral
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character. i guess there are some out there who could argue that the choosing of palin andy legitimate mizing that voice, legitimizing that grand of politics, that reality show brand of politics, you could draw a straight line from that to the election of donald trump. >> i wrote, katy, that i think that choice of sarah palin was probably the biggest political mistake that john mccain made in his career. i think what he was trying to do was to connect as an older establishment republican with the energy that he understood rightly was out there. there is an insurgency in the republican party. sarah palin was an early example of it, this kind of, you know, unprepared in the normal sense ex-governor of alaska. spoke out sharp, funny, and mccain wanted to have that as part of his presidential
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campaign. it was a poor choice. she was so unprepared for the office. but i think it shows that mccain saw something changing in his party, this party that would spawn the tea party movement that really existed to trash washington, the world that john mccain grew up in. so i think he was caught in this. it's part of what makes him, to me, such a poignant person. as we play these tapes of senator mccain, i just think about the basics for him. love your country. tell the truth. you know, don't sell out your principles. those are the things that he always, always said and tried to do. >> and it's such a stark contrast to the moment that we are living in right now where, again, we are so gripped by partisan ship. so much so that the flags at the white house are at full-staff. they are not even at half-staff like they traditionally are until somebody of john mccain's
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stature is buried. the president over the weekend vetoed a statement from the white house talking about john mccain's life, honoring his life and kwaulg him a hero. not calling john mccain a hero. a moment ago the reporters were with the president at the white house and they were asked -- they asked the president multiple times i guess in the oval office, was john mccain a hero? and the president responded with silence. charlie? >> the contrast is so stark. john mccain's tradition of service and his personal courage and donald trump's incredible pettiness, even at this midnight. he can't rise to the responsibility of his office or acknowledge the heroism of john mccain, even as president of the united states. my guess is we haven't necessarily hit bottom. anyone who is really shocked by donald trump's response really hasn't been paying attention. you know, you think about this
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contrast america will see over the next several days between john mccain's vision of service and patriotism versus donald trump's ideas about service and patriotism. the very real contrast between donald trump's america first and john mccain's putting country before party. they may sound similar, but they are very, very, very different visions. >> and the open question, the question that will remain unanswered, i assume, for quite some time, where do we go next? thank you everyone. and later we will focus on tomorrow's prime ministary in a. plus, behind closed doors republicans in congress are scared about what is going to happen in november. first, after the break, did president trump just kill nafta?
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>> they used to call it nafta. we are going to call it the united states/mexico agreement. the united states was hurt badly by nafta for many years, and now it's a really good deal for both countries. >> president trump hopes he killed nafta today. when he got the president of mexico on the speakerphone during an oval office meeting with reporters, enrique pena nieto seemed to contradict his american counterpart.
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>> hello. it would be helpful. >> the reason for this call, mr. president, is first of all to celebrate the understanding we have had between both negotiating teams on nafta. >> is it a new agreement or a reworked nafta? if it's the latter, what about canada? nbc's hans nichols is at the white house. joining me is ali velshi. so, hans, the president today had a bit of a problem getting the president of mexico on the phone and that does highlight that there did seem to be a little bit of a disconnect with the leaders at least when it comes to what they are going to call the deal. the president wanted to rename the whole thing to take
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ownership of it. but enrique pena nieto was calling it nafta? >> yeah. if they are having a debate about the semantics, that's an indication that there could be more difficult negotiations around the corner when canada gets involved. here is the thing. president trump can say that nafta is dead. nafta is not dead until there is a superceding trade authority. to have that you need not only the approval of the united states congress, you need the approval of the legislatures in canada. that's up from 62%. there need to be a certain number of employees that make $16 an hour. that doesn't though factor into all of the labor and health care and retirement costs that a lot of u.s. companies end up paying. so there are some changes around the edges, but until canada agrees and until you have an agreement from the united states congress, this is really an opening bid and isn't really a final agreement.
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you heard pena nieto he called it an understanding, not an agreement. >> i think the point, ali, is to underscore this is not the president renegotiating nafta. this is a preliminary agreement that they will take to the canadians? >> yeah, it's not terrible. the canadians are back at the table. donald trump doesn't like to negotiate with multiple parties at the same time. he went to mexico. he knew mexico was in a more vulnerable position than canada in this discussion. he cut a deal he'd like and he would like canada to mirror that. i think it might happen. this is not a terrible deal. the president botched the delivery of it this morning and the president of mexico must have said five or six times this is nafta and we are looking for the canadians being involved. as far as mexico is concerned, this is an improvement to nafta. as far as america is concerned, as far as donald trump is concerned, he ripped nafta apart. he said we are going to call it the u.s./mexico trade treatment, and that's not going to happen.
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there are improvements that hans just laid out. >> and when i was reading about these i thought to myself, who is going to argue with this? 75% of the auto parts must be made in the u.s. and mexico. >> it's important to understand there are no mexican or canadian auto companies. they are mostly american companies and some japanese companies that assemble their cars between these three countries. >> 40% to 45% of auto parts must be made by people making $16 an hour. >> when car companies say i can send it to mexico for less money, they will have a cap of workers who can do that and that might force them to make more car parts. cars are assembled between the three countries. they go from u.s. to canada to mexico or vice versa. >> what is going to be the sticking point for canada? >> donald trump continuing to insult their prime minister and canadians hate donald trump. they don't want to see a deal
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that donald trump wanted. ultimately, if canada doesn't lose auto jobs as a result of this, i think the canadians will, generally speaking, go along. >> the president has been railing against canada for dairy for quite some time. will this affect that? >> if this deal goes through, and it congress on friday -- >> if canada signs on by friday? >> yeah. if that happens and these counter valg duties and tariffs come back up, the dairy one existed during nafta. that's a tricky political situation for canada because they protect dairy farmers in certain areas. so that's a sticky one. but canada and the u.s. have been debating certain trade issues for 200 years. >> and let's just be clear about why it needs to happen by friday. >> because on december 1st, mexico gets a new president. and the new president may not be as keen on this deal as the outgoing president. it needs 90 days in congress. if it doesn't get introduced by friday, they run out the clock
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and you get into a new mexican president who may want to renegotiate this. >> all eyes to justin trudeau. >> i guess so. >> gentlemen, thank you very much. >> and up next, why robert mueller may not be donald trump's biggest threat. you might take something for your heart... or joints. but do you take something for your brain. with an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish, prevagen has been shown in clinical trials to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. about the colonial penn program. here to tell you if you're age 50 to 85 and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three p's. what are the three p's? the three p's of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price.
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>> the problem is that with the southern district, there are no constitutional defenses. these are business investigations. and of course the president can't be indicted, but his businesses can be indicted. they can look into loans that he may have secured, foreign investments, foreign involvements, and he has fewer defenses. that's why from day one i have said, we never needed a special prosecutor or a special counsel. the u.s. attorney's office can do all the investigations that are necessary, and if i were trump's lawyers i would be focusing all of my defense efforts on the southern district and let the mueller probe go. >> that was harvard professor and trump defender alan dershowitz arguing the real threat for the president does not come from special counsel robert mueller's investigation, but what can be dug up by prosecutors in the southern district of new york. with me now staff writer for
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"the atlantic" natasha bertrand and ben wittes, they are both msnbc contributors. and white house correspondent for "the l.a. times," eli stokols. let's look at who the sdny has got to cooperate at least a little bit with them. there is david pecker, "the national enquirer" publisher. allen weisselberger, the cfo of the trump organization. the money man. then you have special counsel, flynn and george papadopoulos and rick gates. if you look on the sdny, natasha, you wrote that what prosecutors seem to be doing is setting this up the same way they prosecute mob bosses, organized crime cases? >> right, federal prosecutors who worked in the southern district told me it's known as the sovereign district of new york. it got that nickname from the time prosecuting all of these high-profile mob and mafia cases. it has a little more leeway than
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the mueller investigation does because mueller is being directly overseen by rod rosenstein. it also has something to do with the president's so-called red line. we saw last year he said that his financial history would be a cutoff for him in terms of whether or not he would allow investigators to actually look into that. clearly, that's a point of extreme sensitivity for him. now we see that that is exactly the southern district is going after. not just prosecutors there, but also the manhattan district attorney's office now is investigating the trump organization and considering bringing charges in relation to these campaign finance violations. we also saw that the new york attorney general has launched an investigation into the trump foundation that may ultimately wrap up the president's children and give them a lot of legal exposure that we may not have seen in the past. so this is definitely an area where the president has always been more concerned, it seems, than the mueller investigation. if you talk to the people around the president, they will say
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pretty much uniformly that michael cohen and the possibility that he would flip against the president has always been one of his biggest fears. >> what we have in the special counsel investigation is a man who has wide latitude to investigate whatever he comes to find, and this includes all of the donald trump campaign associates, including paul manafort, who has just been found guilty. you have other associates of donald trump during the campaign that have already pled guilty. foreign ministers, michael flynn, his national security advisor. they are looking at not just whether or not the president conspired, colluded, cooperated, whatever you want to call it, coordinated with russia to influence the election, but whether or not the president tried to object instruct the investigation by doing a number of things while in the white house. ben, when that is so grave and so serious, why does someone like alan dershowitz argue that is not as big after threat as what is happening at the sdny? >> first of all, i think dershowitz is wildly
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everystating the point -- overstating the point, and it is not the case that the southern district of new york can do everything that the mueller investigation is doing or that there is, you know, this is not an either/or proposition. in fact, the cohen investigation was referred by mueller to the southern district, right? so there is some degree of interplay between the investigations. but there are aspects of the southern district investigation that are different and more protected than the mueller investigation. so mueller can, under the regs, be removed by rod rosenstein if rosenstein were to conclude that he committed some significant misconduct. you can't remove the southern district of new york, right? and so this is, you know, a problem that develops in that context, is one that you are not
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going to be able to fire your way out of, and it's really not clear what the mechanism for shutting it down would be. so one of the clever things i believe that mueller spun this investigation off, because it didn't directly relate to the core russia investigation, and he is disciplined on focusing on the mandate that rod rosenstein gave him, but one of the effects of giving it to the southern district is that you really reduce the find of ft. knox problem where everything is concentrated in the hands of bob mueller. it makes it very difficult for the president to get rid of his legal problems in general. >> and i wonder if it makes it more difficult to claim the whole thing is a conspiracy if multiple different offices are finding corruption or wrongdoing or crimes committed either with the campaign or with the organization? >> we'll see how quickly he
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starts tweeting "witch hunts" in the plural. >> good point. eli stokols, how much are the president's lawyers focused on the sdny? are all eyes and all hands on the mueller investigation? >> i think they are giving it much thought. it depends on which lawyers you are talking about. the actual lawyers or the tv lawyers. i think the tv lawyers, rudy giuliani and jay sekulow, have spent time going on television and mounting a public defense that is a political defense to this in trying to trash mueller, to trash, as the president does in his tweets, the 13 or 17 angry democrats to the special counsel's probe. as ben points out, they can't do that quite as easily and claim this is the deep state when talking about the southern district of new york. it's troubling to mount a public defense, the same public defense against that investigation and to say that these things are off limits and that they have trashed comey, that they've
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talked about strzok. all these people in the justice department, this is something else. i think right now, at least in terms of the public argument, they are not really sure what to say about it or how to defend it, although his other lawyers are very concerned about what's going on in the southern district. >> eli, from your conversations with those in the white house, what are they more worried about? the mueller investigation or the sdny and news that someone like allen weisselberger has been given immunity to testify to what he knows about what happened in the trump organization? >> i think the president himself is very concerned about weisselberg. you don't give somebody immunity if they are not criminally exposed. there is no need for it if they are not. so if he is criminally exposed, i think the sense is, what can he tell them about what the president perhaps has done in his private businesses, you know, for a long time.
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and everybody who knows trump world knows that he is a notorious micro-manager, that he would have to approve every check that went out. it's not really likely that donald trump didn't know certain things that were having that may have been illegal inside trump tower. i think in terms of the aides you talked to, they are not so much worried about the material of the investigation. they are worried about the president and the day-to-day, his reactions in real time, what he may tweet or say or do that's going to make their day-to-day operations more difficult. >> we are looking at the cohen plea agreement. there is a note about executive number two at the trump organization. still not clear who executive number two is. we know executive number one is allen weisselberger. executive number two could end up being the president. we will see what happens next. thank you, guys. and up ahead, the list that may keep congressional republicans up at night. come here, babe.
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ok. nasty nighttime heartburn? try new alka-seltzer pm gummies. the only fast, powerful heartburn relief plus melatonin so you can fall asleep quickly. ♪ oh, what a relief it is! . >> president trump has boasted about a so-called red wave in the november midterms, but behind the scenes congressional republicans are not so sure. elite documents circulating among the house gop and obtained by axios details a number of potential investigations into president trump and his inner circle. investigations that congressional democrats would likely open should they gain control of the house later this year. to say nothing of the more than
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100 formal requests for investigations that democrats have already submitted. with me daily columnist for "new york" magazine jonathan shat and president of brilliant corners research and an msnbc political analyst cornell belcher. let's put up the document that axios obtained. it shows what republicans are worried about in terms of investigations. subpoenaing donald trump's tax returns number one. trump family businesses. trump's dealings with russia. the payment to stephanie clifford aka stormy daniels. james comey's firing. trump's firing of u.s. attorneys. trump's proposed transgender ban for the military. treasury secretary steve mnuchin's business dealings. white house staff's personal email use. cabinet secretary travel. office expenses and other misused perks. the fact that they put donald trump's tax returns at the top of the list is pretty telling considering donald trump himself
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has often said he would release his tax returns if they just weren't under audit any longer. >> he used to say that. i think they have given up the ruse. what's interesting, one of the things that's interesting, is that republicans don't really defend their position that trump shouldn't have to release his tax returns. they blocked votes to make those tax returns come out in the house. democrats tried to bring those out and the republicans stopped them. they haven't said that his tax returns should be secret. here they are kind of saying that. they are putting their name on the document asserting that as a principle. >> it's interesting these are things that republicans don't want to know more about. when you look at the white house staff's personal email use, considering that republicans ran against hillary clinton with this, the whole platform of the gop was centered around during the presidential election how hillary clinton couldn't be trusted with the presidential office because she couldn't
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control her personal email use and what a violation and breach of national security that was, yet there are questions about white house staff using their own personal email? >> right. the whole thing is a really damning list of trump scanned us. the republicans aren't using this list to say he has done bad stuff. instead they are saying he has done bad stuff and you need us to prevent any of it from being investigated or overseen or limited in any way from the congress. they are accepting as a fact that their job is to cover up all of these incidents and prevent any investigations and stop the democrats from really prying it open. >> here is what you write today. republicans have so completely internalized their role as handmadeens to trump's corruption that they have evidence of incompetence and guilt into an argument for maintaining power to cover it up. why are they emphasizing this point? some republican voters are unenthusiastic about the midterm elections and fail to grasp the stakes.
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since the base likes trump much more than his congressional allies, it makes sense for the purposes of base mobilization to emphasize their role as trump's legal bodyguards. here is a devil's advocate question for you, cornell. in 1998 republicans held all sorts of congressional investigations into bill clinton and it backfired on them. is there a risk for democrats if they come into power in november that if they end up sending subpoena after subpoena after subpoena to the white house and overflowing the white house with work in terms of answering those subpoenas and stopping the white house from doing the work of actually governing, that voters in america will say, hey listen, what do you want more to get things running again or take down this president in any way you can? >> when you look at how you have a majority of americans right now saying they want to send someone to congress to be a check on president trump and you see the sort of double-digit swing from republican to
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democrat candidates in the suburbs, you are looking at a lot of suburban voters that are going to determine the outcome of this election saying that, quite frankly, we want congress to be a check on the president. we actually want a congress that won't be a handmaden to the president on that. so i think there is a call for congress to do its job. now, that said, you have a valid point. if it looks like it's for political purposes, democrats are trying to go after the president for political purposes. but in that list you have a lot of really legit meant issues of corruption and sort of government acting in unethical ways. republican or democrat, congress, it's their job to look into these things and make sure that the president is not breaking the law. >> i'm old enough to remember a time when republicans wanted to see donald trump's tax returns, too. oh, how times have changed. gentlemen, thank you very much. and up next, to trump or not to trump?
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medicare supplement plan. get your groove on with one a day 50+. ♪ get ready for the wild life ♪ complete multivitamins with key nutrients that address 6 concerns of aging, including heart health, supported by b-vitamins. your one a day is showing. >> with the death of senator john mccain there are two open seats in the state of arizona. arizona's republican governor doug ducey must choose a replacement to fill mccain's seat until 2020. he will not name the successor until after mccain's funeral. this as folks in arizona head to the polls tomorrow for the state's primary elections where they will decide who will face off in november to replace
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outgoing republican senator jeff flake. joining me is national politics editor for the "arizona republic," and political correspondent steve kornacki. there are now two seats open. we have known for a while flake's seat were opening up and a number of republican candidates who are not trying to run into the mold of jeff flake. he said he couldn't win by being outspoken against trump. we have republicans that look nothing like trump or john mccain? >> an interesting test because tomorrow in this primary for the flake seat, martha mcsally, congresswoman combat veteran, redruted her into this kras. the great fear of the republicans, the establishment class in washington was that kelli ward, remember she ran against mccain in the primaries, she had some nasty things to say about hip, great fear she would win that primary, joe arpaio
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would somehow win it. the polling we have seen suggests that mcsally looks to be in a descent position heading into this thing. so many of the votes in arizona are cast long this is the most recent polling we've seen. we'll see if this is what happens when they start counting the votes tomorrow but for the republican establishment this is their best-case scenario is mcsally is able to win tomorrow. but even then arizona is one of those states we talk so much about, those democrats in trump states playing defense in 2018. arizona is the state where it's the republicans playing defense. this is one hillary clinton came within three points of winning in 2016. you see again, the initial polling, ker stinirstin sinema
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running ahead of mcsally. on the mccain seat, you mentioned it, it's a republican governor. we know he'll appoint a republican. the governor must appoint somebody from mccain's party. that person would serve through 2020. who are the names being mentioned here? jon kyl, former republican senator is getting a lot of attention, john shadegg, matt salmon. cindy mccain. there is an older tradition in the senate, you've got to go back when this happened a lot more but we have had spouses, widows appointed to succeed. generally it's always been their husbands but cindy mccain's name is out there and there could always be a wild card. >> dan, who do arizonans want to have them represent them in congress? both flake and mccain were outspoken critics of the president. mccain was -- you covered him for years and you write it's not so cut and dried to call him a maverick because at some times
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he would very much toe the party line but republicans wanted someone who's a more independent thinker. with the rise of kelli ward and the way martha mcsally has turned sharply towards the president, is that changing or is there a move in arizona to, if they're not going to find a republican who's going to find that mold, to find the democrat who will do that? after all, as steve just said, sinema is up over four points over mcsally. >> right. there is a fear here that a long tradition is coming to andy that maybe died with senator mccain which is that kind of independent thinking u.s. senator. john mccain definitely was a maverick at times, straight shooter, straight talker, but he took a lot of that from his predecessors, who was barry goldwater who had the same reputation as just kind of an honest broker in politics who you didn't always agree with him but knew where he was coming from. he wouldn't steer you wrong.
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so i think there's a lot of fear that no matter who the next senator is, not likely to be in the sort of mccain, goldwater or even jeff flake tradition that arizonans have known for many, many years. martha mcsally, the front-runner in the republican race, you know, maybe she can kind of stake out that kind of independent ground, but in the primary race, it's just sort of like something she has to do, she really has been trying to curry favor with president trump and the trump voters. you know, how successful she's been remains to be seen. certainly kelli ward and joe arpaio try to paint her as a rino, as an establishment figure, rtry to link her with mccain and flake and mcconnell. but it seems like the voters are sorting it out. it seems like she's taken a strong position here in the final days before the primary. >> steve, really quickly, you're writing a whole book about partisanship and the rise of it. what happens now with john mccain?
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is partisanship here to stay? >> i mean really john mccain in so many ways, he was a throwback even before the trump era he was a throwback because we've seen this move towards polarization the last 20 years. remember where that maverick reputation came from nationally, a lot of that was in 2000 when he teamed up with russ feingold on campaign finance reform. the republican establishment back then had no use for john mccain and that was long before donald trump was on the scene. >> we'll see. gentlemen, thank you very much. a reminder that tomorrow msnbc is your place for primary coverage. from arizona to florida and oklahoma, our teams will be all over it here and online. n
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one more thing before we go. kansas state officials reportedly allowed hundreds of residents near wichita to drink contaminated water for years and never told them about it. reporters at "the wichita eagle" dug through records at 2011 when survey officials surveyed for a gas service expansion. they found chemicals known as pce had spilled. it can damage your nervous and reproductive systems as well as your liver and kidneys. it's also been linked to cancer. but the officials did nothing about it, didn't tell anyone for six years. according to "the eagle" officials thought it would just
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float past nearby homes. well, it actually flowed into a nearby lake, seeping into water wells used to drink, cook and shower. here's the more disturbing part about this. those officials were just following the law. a law passed in 1995 backed by the dry cleaning lobby to protect laundromats from federal regulations. lawmakers are looking at a fix for that since that same law, surprisingly, bans the state from even testing for pce. you heard me right, they're not even allowed to test for it. makes you wonder what other sites might pop up in that area. that will wrap it up for me this hour. in the meantime, ali velshi picks things up. >> that's incredible. >> i think that's why you don't let the industries that are being regulated regulate themselves. >> particularly on environmental concerns because history -- look, i'm a capital is, i'm a business reporter, i think business is great. but experience has showed us when you let companies regulate
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themselves when it comes to the environment, they will make bad choices. >> whose interest do they have in hand? >> their shareholders and their own. good afternoon, everyone. i'm ali velshi. silence. that's the president's public response to the death of decorated war hero, senator john mccain. this is president trump's response just last hour. >> thank you very much, very much. thank you. >> do you have any thoughts on john mccain? do you have any thoughts at all on john mccain? do you think john mccain is a hero? >> let's go, keep moving. >> nothing at all about john mccain? >> keep moving, let's go, we're finished. >> thank you very much. >> silence. thank you very much. this was his response just a few hours earlier when asked about mccain. >> mr. president, any thoughts on john mccain? mr. president, any thoughts on john mccain, sir? >>


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