tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC November 14, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PST
it is wednesday, november 14th. let's get smarter. >> i want to see how the troops are doing who have been deployed in support of the department of homeland security and the customs and border patrol agents on the border. at the present, i do not anticipate military personnel coming into direct contact with migrants. about 5,900 troops are deployed to support the border patrol. i anticipate, right now, it could go around 7,000. we can estimate costs all we want. i would prefer to give you real costs. right now, i can't give that to you. >> reporter: boy, talk about high drama in the building behind me. melania trump's office throwing down the gauntlet, basically. questioning the job of that national security official. chief of staff john kelly, caught in the crosshairs, too. >> the heated battle in florida just got even more conflimplica. the supervisor of elections for palm beach county says votes counting machines overheated and
stopped working. >> the machines are old and they started overheating and as a result, the tally types are not reconciling properly. >> reporter: mail-in ballots, there's all types of problems. there's rick scott, very senatorial, standing there with the freshman class of other senators, even though officially he has not won the election. >> right now, we have the democrats with a gain of 31 seats, but as you say, there's still more to come. look at this. we have ten uncalled races right here. >> mr. mayor, explain the tax breaks that amazon is getting and do they offset the benefits? >> we're getting a whole lot more tax revenue back than anything that the city or state are putting in. and we're getting a number of jobs that's almost unimaginable. >> secretary of defense, james mattis, down in texas, with homeland security secretary, kirstjen nielsen along the u.s. border. they're visiting the 5,900 troops sent there by president trump ahead of the midterm election. and secretary mattis had some
words of advice for the troops there. >> there's a hundred reasons not to be loyal. you know what i mean? i mean, it's when it's raining and you're cold, it's when you're in a position where people are showing a lack of respect for each other elsewhere. and you and your team are holding strong, you know? nothing can shake you. nothing can shake you. it's whatever you commit each day to what you're doing. this country may not be perfect, but it's still -- you're going to have to go a long way to find a country that's more willing to look itself in the eye and say, we've got to improve here. >> since the midterm election, president trump has tweeted once. one single time, about the migrant caravan that he called a national emergency. but for the 5,900 soldiers already there, the deployment now seemingly on the white house
back burner, is their everyday life. these people are stretched out from california to texas, with camps set up in sight of fast food joints like whattaburger, but for the troops, their meals consist of meals ready to eat, called mres. they come in pouches and they're typically used when dining facilities are not available. they're used in emergency situations, like forward operating sites in iraq or afghanistan, or now, the u.s./mexico border. it makes absolutely no sense. they have been spending time organizing the equipment hauled from bases across the country and stretching out barbed wire and organizing medical supplies, setting up for what the president called an invasion of tired, hungry migrants seeking asylum. meanwhile, "the new york times" reports groups of 20 soldiers are living in one tent. they are allotted seven minutes to shower in another small tent, and have little time to even charge their cell phones with the spare generators. their lifelines to their family, their friends, and the outside
world limited, for what?! the deployment could end up costing taxpayers -- please listen to this number -- $220 million. defense officials tell cnbc, but the times reports that the pentagon has no money set aside for the operation, meaning funds will cost other vital military activities to do essentially the same job as national guard troops. i don't even understand why we're doing this. and unless the president issues a stand down order, u.s. service members will be there through december 15th. you got that right. that's thanksgiving. service members who missed veterans day with their communities, they're also going to massive thanksgiving with their families. and they might -- they might meet -- i can't even get the words out, i think it's so ridiculous. they might miss christmas, according to secretary mattis. i need someone to explain this to me, i find it so baffling. joining me now, retired four-star general, barry mccaffrey. general, i can't even get my words out on this. it's so baffling to me. why is this being done?
>> well, i'm not going to explain it to you either. >> then i guess we're going to be tongue tied for the next hour, america. >> mattis is a remarkable guy. he's a defense intellectual. he's most importantly, respectful of the constitution. he's got to be loyal to the president of the united states. for background, this deployment is not outside the president's authoriti authority. both obama and bush before him have had similar deployments. i think what we would underscore in what's going on right now is that it was clearly a political gesture for the midterms. >> and did you see those similar deployments for a political gesture with obama or bush? >> less so. look, if you put 5,000 troops on the border, it's helpful to customs and border protection. they've got a big job. there's 20,000 of them. there's a 3,000-mile frontier they're trying to control. there's no question we need sensible immigration policy. >> for sure. >> which we don't have. i spent a lot of time in central america and mexico. there's a humanitarian disaster
in central america. poverty and violence, corruption, injustice. that's the problem. it's not a national security issue. >> all right. well, "the washington post" is reporting, on congressional commission that found that the u.s. military might either have trouble winning or even possibly losing a war against russia or china. when i read this, i thought i had to be seeing this wrong. could that be true? >> probably not. 15 years from now, maybe so. the problem is, we spent the last 15 years fighting counterinsurgency operations in iraq and afghanistan and the chinese in particular have been investing in modernization to build a global navy and the air power to go with it. i think that's the problem. the russians are in a separate category. >> what's their category? >> they're a second-tier strategic military power. they're gdp is less than that of italy or california. the guy is running a
kleptocracy. they're a huge threat to their immediate neighbors, but except for -- >> what about a first-tier cyber threat? >> i think cyber is now the next weapon of mass destruction. and we've got to take it -- >> and are we positioned for it? >> well, i think there's a lot of work going on where the armed forces are probably much better prepared than we now believe to fight in a cyber operation, but not the civil infrastructure. so we need new policy, new thinking, new legislation and better investments in that area, also. >> do you think we're getting that? >> no. i think congress has been dysfunction dysfunctional for the last ten years. it's just astonishing. they can't get an appropriations bill. the budget, the blueprint on what happens to national security. and we end up with a budget six months into the budget year. we end up with continuing resolutions. we have sequestration. no one could run a medium-sized
company like congress is funding the federal government. it's not just defense, either. it's domestic programs. >> then what fixes that? >> well, i think some of the new people being elected to congress are very encouraging. we have a lot of women, a lot of first-time people in politics. people with a sense of patriotism and commitment to finding common sense, pragmatic solutions. which has been sadly lacking for several years. >> you got a big problem, it's a good thing you just brought in the girls. general, thank you so much. general barry mccaffrey. when we come back, at least 13 of america's biggest names in the news industry, including nbc news, are standing in solidarity with cnn and its reporter, jim acosta. these organizations all say they will file briefs with the u.s. district court in support of cnn and acosta. that's the associated press, bloomberg, first look media works, fox news, gannet national press club, journalism institute, nbc news, "the new york times," politico, press
freedom, defense fund, the ew scripps company, "usa today" network, and "the washington post." jim acosta lost his white house press credentials last week, after a tense exchange with president trump. cnn and acosta filed a yesterday, suing president trump and top aides for pulling acosta's hard pass. nbc news chief white house correspondent who knows that press room, who knows jim acosta, and who certainly knows what it's like going head-to-head with president trump, my dear friend and colleague, hallie jackson joins me now. all right, hallie, what is the impact these briefs are going to have? >> reporter: yeah, they're friend of the court briefs, essentially, steph. and they don't make any of what you just mentioned a party to the lawsuit. that's between cnn and the six defendants named in this suit, including sarah sanders, among others. but what it does, it's symbolic. it has the impact of saying, we, as always of these news organizations together, stand in respect of and in support of
first amendment freedoms. and we believe in the constitutionality of that. so it is significant. and obviously, as the chief white house correspondent for nbc news, it is good to see nbc news represented on that screen. i will say that i think one of the most important and notable outlets that has come out now, filing an amicus brief is fox news. why? well, obviously, steph, this is a news organization that has been traditionally extremely friendly to president trump. we know he watches it, because he talks about it, he tweets about it, sometimes live tweeting about it. two people who work for fox in the prime-time hours, which is different from the daytime news shows, came out and campaigned for donald trump during the midterms. so that fox news is coming out and filing this amicus brief, this friend of the court brief is significant, steph, in a symbolic way. it sends a message to the court and frankly to the white house, because you know that the white house, of course, is paying attention to this. >> what's the department of justice saying? because it appears that the justice department is defending the white house in this?
>> reporter: so let me read you a statement here. the justice department saying, with respect to their first amendment claim, the president and his staff have absolute discretion over which journalists they grant interviews to, as well as over which journalists they acknowledge at press events, meaning who the president calls on, right? no journalist has a first amendment right, the statement continues, to enter the white house and the president need not survive first amendment scrutiny wherever he exercises his discretion to deny an individual journalists one of the many hundreds of passes granting on-demand access to the white house complex. so that is from -- >> but here's what i'm missing. all of that, we get to pick who he doesn't interview with, we get to pick who's in the press room. let's take that at face value. what happened to the white house claims last week that there's an assault? what happened to that video that sarah sanders pushed out that was sped up, altered, doctored, whatever word you want to use? they're no longer saying that's the case? >> reporter: so the white house in the most recent statement that sarah sanders put out, the
one, i think it was yesterday now, after the lawsuit was first revealed and when theresponded,s doj brief here, does not mention the reporter in this instance, jim acosta, as was said in the original statement, putting his hands on a young woman, on this intern. instead, the concern from sanders in the response from the white house initially after the suit was filed was a sense of disrespect and a lack of decorum in the room by this reporter not handing over the microphone when asked repeatedly to do so, which obviously is a shift. which it is a different argument than the white house was originally making. >> hallie jackson, thank you so much. this is going to be interesting to see how this all plays out, because we're all in this together. thanks, hallie. next, new reports that president trump is spiralling and the white house is in chaos. we've heard reports like this before. why they're different this time. we're going to dig into his attacks on world leaders and even his own staff. and which top officials
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we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. welcome back. you're watching "velshi & ruhle." and today, like many others, the white house is in chaos. but the question is why. president trump angrily lashing out at world leaders, while tensions in the west wing are boiling over. several staffers apparently, and we've heard this before, on the verge of being fired.
that includes homeland security secretary, kirstjen nielsen, chief of staff john kelly, commerce secretary wilbur ross, and a woman you've never heard of, merera ricardel. she's deputy to the national security adviser, john bolton. in a very, very rare public rebuke, first lady melania trump is demanding ricardel's firing. sources telling nbc news that she infuriated the first lady by interfering with her plans for her first solo overseas trip last month. the hostility in the white house is so remarkable that one former trump aide described it to politico like this. "it ismaury, the only thing that is missing is a paternity test." i mean, that's not a nice thing to say about our white house. i want to bring in ana palmer and ely sokels. remember that person that was saving us from trump, that wrote
the anonymous op-ed in "the new york times"? where are they now? you wrote, "trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment." that's an aggressive statement. where are you getting that? >> i've heard from a lot of people that the president recent days has been sort of walling himself off. and when people come in, get in his way, he lashes out at them, whether he's snapping at low-level aides or world leaders who are calling him while he's on air force one. the president east in a foul mood from every conversation i've had with people in the white house, people who have been speaking with him since the election. and you're seeing that. you've seen him really pull back, not be nearly as public or as enthusiastic as he had been in weeks leading up to the election. and there are other reports that he is considering a lot of changes. and there are so many personnel problems inside the white house, so many people that this president would like to see gone, that it's almost difficult for him to figure out, it seems, where to start. >> okay, where there's a lot of people in the white house, ana,
cabinet members, for example, whose names we know. mira ricardel, until yesterday, i had never heard of this woman in my life. now, she is one of the highest ranking women in the trump administration, but she's never even met first lady melania trump. why on earth would there be a public statement from the first lady who rarely makes public statements calling for mira ricardel's resignation. >> this is surprising. his wife is very private, low profile, even for a first lady. this all goes back to the foreign trip where mira ricardel clashed about funding and seating arrangements on the plane. and it goes to show these kind of disputes, trying to get in front of -- or when you get into the family issues, the staff
usually loses. and unfortunately, this president and this first lady weren't able to, it doesn't appear, come to an agreement over dinner and are doing this kind of fight in public. >> but why would they? eli, take me inside the white house. when ali velshi and i get into arguments, we don't then wait until we're on live tv and tell the world. why would she do this? first lady melania trump could just turn to her husband and say, let's get that lady out. >> well, there's a good chance she's made those comments privately. perhaps felt like they weren't being heard. but it's hard to speculate. it's also hard to just ask that question why, why are these things happening, when it comes to this white house. they happen because there's no process, there's a lot of disfnkdi dysfuncti dysfunction, there's a lot of backstabbing. those are generally the reasons why we see things that we wouldn't see in better-functioning organizations, administrations, businesses. you wouldn't see all of these things leak out. not only did this happen yesterday, it came as there were a lot of leaks as the president
coming from wanting to replace chief of staff john kelly, coming from the opposite sides of the west wing, behind the people who would like that job, whether it's nick ayers or mick mulvaney. there's so much of this going on, problem with the interior secretary facing ethics proebes considerations about replacing him at some point. there's a lot of problems inside the west wing right now. >> but my question is, why the leaks all of a sudden? the three of us all talk to the white house. we know when operation chaos is underway, they're often looking to distract us. could this be that there are coming indictments in the next few days? the president would get the heads up. it seems odd that every which window in the white house is leaking information right now. >> i think it's probably two things. one, i think the midterm election didn't go as well as the president had hoped it would. yes, he was able to get some victory in the senate, but really in the house, obviously, we are learning more and more about this pblue wave as the races come in. and certainly, there's a lot of rumblings that robert mueller is going to be handing down
indictments. that that kind of quiet period around the election is now over. you saw that right away when he fired his attorney general, trying to put in an appointee that is going to be much more, probably in line with his thinking and kind of do his political bidding for him. and so, yeah, i mean, i think this is really -- you're totally right, wherever there is something that the president doesn't want to focus on, there's usually a trial balloon or some other kind of drama that comes out of this white house. >> well, we'll soon find out. only time will tell. in the meantime, there's a whole lot of headlines for the three of us. ana, eli, thank you both so much. we'll leave it there. next, president trump has been promising a middle class tax cut, what i'm going to do every single day now that congress is back in session. i'm going to ask where they are. we're going to look into who is getting the tax breaks from last year's big cut. how they have fallen and what's coming next. and speaking of mega-comedies, becausion it was corporate america that won. we're going to talk about amazon
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welcome back. congress is back in session this week and they got a packed schedule. you know what's missing, though? one thing. that big tax cut for the middle class. and despite president trump's promise that this thing was going to get done before midterms, here we are, post-election, and we still don't see it. and remember, the president warned you, if you didn't vote republican in the midterms and democrats won, they would vote down the tax cut. well, mr. president, they can't vote it down if they don't see it, so show us what you got. joining us now, scott galloway, founder of market research firm, gartner l2. okay, i want to start on the tax cut. >> yep. >> any chance we're going to see it, given that the corporate tax cut hasn't resulted -- yes, a ton of money got repatriated here. we knew that would happen. obama actually wanted to do that. but we haven't seen this boom that's trickled down. >> yeah, we were all hoping. so there was definitely some
unnatural acts being performed by corporations because our tax rate was higher than other nations -- >> we needed it to go down. >> the question is, could we have done some sort of revenue neutral reformulation by getting rid of the loopholes. because what we all hoping were happen, capex, more employment has just resulted in share buybacks, which has inflated the marketplace. who owns stocks, the lower half of u.s. population only owns 8% of the stocks. so at the end of the day, the greater source of good and prosperity in the history of mankind is the u.s. middle class. and the u.s. middle class wages are stagnated, and we keep giving more and more goodies0.1. so was this really something to help the middle class? absolutely we afford another tax cut? you know, record deficits. so, look, it feels as if -- >> and to afford it, we would cut programs that would hurt the people on the bottom. >> look, it -- i hate to quote marx, but marx said the problem with capitalism is you end up --
poverty in a world of plenty. we have actually a lot of prosperity in this nation, but you would argue that there isn't a lot of progress. and when the engine of growth, the people who fight our wars, the people who cure polio, the american middle class haven't seen a wage increase in 30 years and it keeps threatening to go up, but so far it hasn'te happened. so it really feels like the rich are getting richer and the top 1% keep running away -- >> all right, let's talk about the rich and the richest city. let's talk about amazon. we've spent the last year with this faux beauty pageant, all of these cities offering tax breaks hoping that amazon would come and reinvigorate lost cities. instead, they choose the two prettiest girls in school. d.c. in washington and new york. you told us this would happen. >> i said it would either be d.c. or new york, and i was wrong, it was both. this wasn't a contest, it was a con. there's only one criteria every time in retrospect, where the ceo wanted to spend more time. where he was chairman of the
golf club, where his next wife was living. the bezos now have three houses and each is within 6.7 miles of the new headquarters. this was a reduce, it w-- ruse, the commonwealth, nothing but an elegant transfer of wealth to the shareholders of amazon. this was a con, not a contest. >> okay, let's say he wanted headquarters near where his new houses are, let's say i buy that. >> yep? >> he has the opportunity to do something great for the american people. and we want to go to cities where there's talent, he could have come to new york and gone to newark, new jersey, not long island city, where there is cheaper real estate, where you're not going to jack up an already compromised housing situation. you could have gone to the city of baltimore, which is desperate, desperate to have some soul brought back to it. >> but there's generally a g gepschalt where we keep hoping that someone will show up.
>> marc benioff. >> okay, good, there's one. we have management at facebook that doesn't seem to put up safeguards such that our elections aren't weaponized. and the wealthiest man in the world running around looking for a handout. and this is the problem, we keep waiting for them to show up and they don't. and who's at fault here? it's our fault. we want elected officials that hold these companies to to the same standards that we hold every other country. when the wealthiest man in the world runs around looking for handouts and we have short-term-minded officials willing to pay $50,000 per job, we immediate different elected officials. but waiting -- waiting for the good guys to show up is a bad strategy. >> but why does it even make sense for a crowded, congested new york, $100,000 jobs. imagine if $100,000 jobs went to cities where $100,000 got you a proper apartment or school or lifestyle? it's not going to get you that here. it's just going to get you chaos and commotion. >> i would push back a little bit on that.
i think with the introduction of a third world-class university with cornell tech, i think this is a good move for amazon. and time will tell whether it was a good move for new york city taxpayers, paying $50,000 for jobs that average $150. the real travesty here is 238 cities that are desperate for resources being teased, being given the notion that they had a chance. if you're the wealthiest man in the world, that means you have the most options in the world. the only option you don't have is additional life. so if you're the wealthiest man in the world, are you going to spend 12 minutes, much less 12 days a year in indianapolis? if your family suffers through ten months a year in rainy seattle, are you going to spend more time in toronto? this was an absolute con. and to go to 238 cities and ask them to take valuable resources and planning from the police, for school, for fire and to spend money on this ridiculous con is an abuse of the commonwealth. it shows two things. that jeff bezos and the board of
amazon lack character and they lack code. how do you want to live your life at work? how do you want to live your life personally? and they decided, we are going to live to people, we're going to lie to municipalities, because we want our share price to go up. >> so does anyone call them out on the fact, that all of those municipalities, the amount of data they had to collect and provide to amazon, that's the most valuable thing to them. now amazon for over 200 cities knows every bit of demographic information about every possible consumer and they got it for free. >> and it's worse than that. have you ever been to a charity auction where they say, already, determine with the principle and two families get into a fancy bidding and at the last minute, they say, we're going to give out two dinners and double the revenue. query me this. when amazon went to d.c. and new york and said, already, you can either be tide for first or come in last. but by the way, we're only bringing half the jobs there, do you think they said, you can cut your incentives in half? they doubled their take and gave half of what -- by the way, hq2 in itself, the nomenclature is a
lie. what if they had branded this thing, we're opening two more offices? would the media have obsessed over it for 18 months. would mayors and governors pulled out checkbooks with $1 billion. >> no, we show up for the circus. google will have as many employees in new york as amazon. the difference is, the ceo and the board there have a sense of personal code and ethics and aren't running around with their hand out. >> all right, we have to leave it there and then i have a final question. could this be solved? obviously, jeff bezos isn't going to change his mind. what if he wakes up tomorrow and says, i'm going to donate 1 billion to improve new york city infrastructure? >> well, there's been a lot of transparency around his giving, but he doesn't want to provide any transparency around his ndas and this information he's gotten? the answer is very simple. we need to break up amazon. we need to break them up into smaller companies. powers corrupt. they have a greater market cap
than the gdp of germany. it's time to break these guys up into smaller companies. we have a proud industry of smaller trust. when the railroads got too powerful, we moved in. for some reason, we've decided we've lost the script here and don't have the backbone to move in and break up these guys. power corrupts, these companies are corrupted, stephanie. >> all right, scott galloway is asking for a lot. i'm asking for a little. a mere suggestion, why don't you decide tomorrow when you're welcoming hq2 to new york skand washington, you could give each of these cities $1 billion to improve our infrastructure. i think this suggestion far easier than scott's. i invite you to take my idea and you can take credit for it, sir. scott, always, thank you. thank you. >> thanks, stephanie. we'll leave it there. one full week after midterms, and we still do not know who is winning the senate and governors' races in the state of florida. next, new developments in the very confusing and chaotic recount that is underway right now. you're watching "velshi & ruhle." my hot water heater fai, she was pregnant, in-laws were coming,
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or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis, the number one cardiologist-prescribed blood thinner. ask your doctor if eliquis is what's next for you. welcome back. i'm stephanie ruhle. right now florida's election drama, it's intensifying. is that even possible? lawyers are in federal court in tallahassee over a number of issues. they include extending tomorrow's 3:00 p.m. deadline to complete a machine recount in the senate and governors' races that are still undecided. this as aging recount equipment in heavily democratic palm beach county broke down, setting back the recount effort there.
>> the machines overheated. they didn't properly reconcile the ballot count. and so, we had to pull the early voting ballot count out and recount them. >> this blows my mind. amid all of this, rick scott, he's actually in d.c. right now, forging ahead, where he attended an orientation on capitol hill this morning for freshman senators, even though he has not been declared the winner of his race against democrat, bill nelson. nbc's ali vitali joins me now in tallahassee. okay, before i get to what's going on in federal court, how does rick scott get to go to washington -- yes, anybody can get on a plane. but how does he get to go and show up for freshman orientation? i can't show up at harvard this fall and say, i'm here for freshman orientation if i don't have an acceptance letter? >> so from the scott campaign's perspective, he is the senator-elect from florida. and of course, bill nelson, the current incumbent senator from
florida might take, that, but that's actually why we have everything going on behind us right here, because there are several court cases that have been filed in florida, including the one that's going on today. this has to do with signature matching. how you deal with those vote-by-mail plballots that you send in, the absentee ballots, the provisional ballots, how you count those. so when you send in your ballot, you sign it and it goes to the board of elections and say, this signature matches with what's in the dmv vifile or voter registration file. and it goes through. the person that's testifying right now is the guy who we spent all day with yesterday in leon county, the supervisor of elections there. and what he showed me yesterday was some signatures that didn't match at all. and it was very clear cut as to why those signatures didn't match and why they couldn't be counted -- >> why. >> reporter: so what's at issue here is that they're standardized -- >> i love that you just told me this, because i wondered. so when they say the signatures don't match, i want to know what
it looks like. if they said, stephanie ruhle, your signature needs to match what it looks like on your driver's license, there's zero chance that would be the case. so what does it actually look like? >> reporter: so they go through steps for that. and they say the tie goes to the voter. there are some instances where they can look into somebody and one of the judges on the canvassing board was explaining this to me yesterday. they say, this person's last name has changed, so they reach out to them. but they go through other methods to see if this person was married, or did this person get a little bit older so their signature might be a little shakier. what's at stake in this case is basically who is making those determinations when you look at the signatures. the nelson campaign and the democrats who filed this suit are basically arguing that although these staffers at the elections offices are very good, they're not well trained in handwriting. they're not handwriting experts. so that's what's at stake here. >> i'm just informing harvard right now, come september, i'm showing up with all three of my kids.
because in my opinion, they should be harvard freshman next year, so good luck. rick scott and his campaign believe he's the incoming senator, sweet. i'm glad that they believe that. how about the people in charge? ali, thank you so much. enjoy your new home of tallahassee, where i said it yesterday, she's never leaving. she's like, please! next, the russia investigation and mounting pressure on president trump. he's reportedly finalizing his written answers for bob mueller, while waiting for new indictments to drop. that could happen any moment. maybe that's why things are so chaotic in the white house. you're watching "velshi & ruhle" on msnbc. g "velshi & ruhle" on msnbc ypical bank. ypical bank. capital one is anything but typical. that's why we designed capital one cafes. you can get savings and checking accounts with no fees or minimums. and one of america's best savings rates. to top it off, you can open one from anywhere in 5 minutes. this isn't a typical bank. this is banking reimagined. what's in your wallet?
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depend fit-flex underwear is guaranteed to be your best fit. welcome back. as we wait for word of possible indictments in the mueller investigation, the justice department is defending the man who is now overseeing the investigation. the doj said this morning, in a written opinion, president trump's appointment of matthew whitaker as acting attorney general was entirely legal, and the white house was told that beforehand. it comes as we could see movement in the mueller investigation. nbc news has learned president trump's legal team is almost done with written answers to questions from the special counsel and they may be submitted as early as this week. joining me now, nbc news senior
investigative producer, ana schecter and nick ackerman, former assistant special watergate prosecutor. next, to you first. an assistant attorney general, his office told the white house, before they made this appointment, that choosing whitaker was a-okay. the quote is, the president could designate a senior department of justice official, such as whitaker, as acting attorney general. maryland has said that's unconstitutional. i think san francisco has, as well. >> i think it is unconstitutional. we don't know what the question was. if he said he was going to be acting attorney general for three hours or three days, yeah, that probably would be okay. but any period of time where he would be actually making decisions that you would expect to be made by a principle under article viii of the constitution, someone who has to be confirmed by the u.s. senate, cannot be acting attorney general. trump cannot just move people out of these cabinet posts and
just put other people -- >> except, he did. >> he did. and he's not supposed to do that. and hopefully this case in maryland will get some traction. because i've read papers and he's got -- the attorney general has a very good argument. there is a succession statute for the department of justice. and the next person in line is the deputy attorney general, who is rod rosenstein. it's not some assistant to the attorney general who has absolutely no experience in this area, that has no business being attorney general. that's why you have the advice and consent of the u.s. senate, for somebody holding a position that sensitive. and plus, he's under investigation my the very agency he's supposed to be heading. i mean, that is just absurd. >> this is such a tangled web. ana, we've got to talk about jerome corsi. yesterday, you sat in this seat across from me. he had been talk, talk, talking. he publicly said on his radio show he thought he was going to be indicted, he talked about a
perjury trap. hech he was at 30 rock all geeared u to do an interview with you and he disappeared. what happened? >> his lawyer shut it down just as he was about to walk into rockefeller center to tape an interview. he was really excited about saying his piece, discussing fe been wronged by this investigation. >> now he hasn't said his piece. >> his lawyer shut it down. at 1:00 everything was shut down and since then until now it's been a no comment. he did rush off the phone with me yesterday afternoon to get back on the phone with investigators in washington. roger stone and his lawyer are saying it's quiet for them. >> does this seem odds to you? it sounds like i'm talking to my
7th grade son with what the principal may have said. just come clean if you did nothing. >> what he's doing is what any good prosecutor would do is to try to corroborate what manafort has told him. it takes a lot of time to debris somebody and corroborate what they are saying. sure roger stone is part of it.
they go back todays they were in high school. they grew up in same town. they were business partners together. he was there the entire time roger stone was communicating with guccifer 2.0. he's probably inquiring about a dozen other things. >> we'll soon find out. this is a 24 hour news business. we'll be covering it. next, congress back in session today. we're going to go live for a look at this historic class of legislatures and which issues they are planning to tackle first. we think good news rules.
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tlnchts are 49 representatives and 38 hispanic congressmen and women so far. the first latino women to represent texas. along with the first two muslim women in congress for michigan and minnesota. the first two congress representing kansas and new jersey. on the republican side, senator elect marsha blackburn will be the first come woman to went th state. the freshman of the democrats on the left and republicans on the right. it's great to see so many new faces especially so many that reflect the u.s. population and our future.
how are they settling? >> you have your graphic. i have my cheat cheasheet. it's a whole new world. the house democrats are getting a heroes welcome. you hear cheers. you see house democrats excited to see so many reporters paying to attention to house democrats again. something that hasn't really happened over the last couple of years when they have been in the minority. you're seeing bomembers in both chambers being seen and heard. the new member from new york participating in a protest in nancy pelosi's office yesterday. on the senate side, mitt romney, the normer presidential candidate will be a very wanted to speak to man on capitol hill. i tried to interview limb yesterday. he said he's still getting oriented here. all these new members getting
thrown into the deep end right away. >> we have to talk about nancy pe llosi for a moment. i haven't heard a single name of who could go up against her. >> reporter: no and if she's in danger she's not acting like it. the minority leader for the democrats and she pro jeprote p nothing but confidence. they're all saying she is the choice for democrat. she remains the person to beat. her opponents continue to say they have votes to stop her but they don't give a count of those votes and they don't say who they would stop her with. that's the biggest challenge. no democrat wants to pop their
head up and say i will take her own if they are sure she can be beaten because they will be the target of the pelosi machine that's powerful with flexing its muscle. >> all right. everybody is there for work. pencils are sharpened. new ties on. let's see what they're going to do. thank you so much. i'm going to sign off. steve kornacki is picking up coverage. have a great show. it's 11:00 a.m. out west. 2:00 p.m. on the east. are we about to see a staff shake up at the white house? president trump is setting his sights on two high level administration figures. the president quote told advisers over the weekend he