tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC November 15, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST
with my partner, ali velshi, and all day on twitter. >> give baby o a break, lady. let him get to two weeks old. >> hallie, it is never too soon to start with a good habit. >> thank you, stephanie. and congratulations. we are looking forward to seeing more pictures of baby owen. i'm hallie jackson in washington. we're seeing this season's first snow and an avalanche of anger from the president of the united states, going after robert mueller, calling the russia investigation a total mess but insisting his white house is not. new reporting on why he might be so mad today. an exclusive interview, too, with the vice president on exactly this. the special counsel investigation. and on russia? facebook is under fire for what it new and when about 2016 election interference. the extraordinary steps the company took to beat back scandal after scandal. we're talking with one of the journalists who spent more than a year working on that bombshell
report. plus, americans living like this. look at this. mold, mice, bugs, rats. apartments literally falling apart and you are paying for those landlords to make bank. think that's outrageous? wait till you see the rest of our exclusive investigation of the state of hud under ben carson. a lot to get through on this thursday. let's start with my colleague, peter alexander, over at the white house. we know what's on the president's mind this morning. it's russia, russia, russia. >> hallie, you're right. excuse me for looking down at my phone. even as you're introducing this segment, we are hearing from the president. you see the snow, the freezing rain. a storm perhaps brewing inside the white house, certainly one in his head as he escalate this is war with robert mueller. most recent tweets in the last couple of minutes. universities will some day study what highly conflicted and not senate approved bob mueller and his gang of democrat thugs have
done to destroy people. robert mueller was, in fact, senate confirmed to be fbi director in 2001 by a 98-0 margin. he was not senate confirmed to be special counsel because that is not required for that post. describing the investigation as a total mess. he says it's gone absolutely nuts. he writes the following, the inner workings are a total mess, have found no collusion, gone absolutely nuts. he writes they are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with answers. they are a disgrace to our nation and don't care how many lives they ruin. a week after he forced his attorney general jeff sessions out, he named matt whitaker as acting ag. and it comes after mike pence had a different take on the mueller investigation when he spoke exclusively to nbc news at the summit taking place in
singapore. >> should the american public not be concerned about the special counsel investigation? >> the american people can be very confident that the right steps will be taken. look, this administration has fully cooperated with the special counsel. we literally provided over a million documents to the special counsel. i think the american people can be confident that we'll continue to cooperate. but they can also be confident we're going to continue to focus on the issues that matter most to them. >> the president in the last couple of moments tweeting again, the only collusion is that of the democrats with russia and many others. here your takeaway, hallie. it's obvious there's something on the president's mind as it relates to this investigation. he hasn't said much about it the last couple of months. certainly the two key months before the midterms. why he's saying anything about it now, at least for the moment, is still unclear. >> peter, thank you, on the white house north lawn. see you in a bit, pal. couple of things that may be on the president's mind related to this and why it may be sparking tweets, new twist, new
threat from republican lawmakers, at least one, to try to protect robert mueller. kasie hunt is on capitol hill with the latest. discussion about what members of congress might do to set up a shield basically around the special counsel. >> hallie, there is bipartisan support for these efforts. senator jeff flake threatening to stand in the way of moving any additional judicial nominees through the end of the year if, in fact, they don't do something to protect mueller. there's not a lot that flake can do by himself. there's some tools at his disoppodi disposal. you're looking at flake standing next to senator coons, who has been a voice on this. the decision rests with mitch mcconnell as to whether legislation would move forward on the floor. so far he has said he doesn't think it's necessary.
my question is what harm would it do? he says sorry, we just don't need this right now. being backed up by our republicans in this conference. see what john kennedy had to say about this. >> i don't thiching it's necessary. i've seen no overacts by anyone to try to either fire mr. mueller or interfere with his investigation. i don't think he should be fire fired. >> you have kennedy, backing up what mitch mcconnell said. there has been some conversations among democrats about trying to attach this to a must pass spending bill.
my question to the democrats would you shut down parts of the government over this issue, hallie? >> thank you, kasie. there's a new development in the special counsel investigation itself. listen carefully here. nbc news has obtained exclusive text messages that show trump associate roger stone and his pal, radio host talking about wikileaks plans during the 2016 election. on august 27th, 2016, credico wrote to stone, has kryptonite on hillary. then another text to stone, big news wednesday. now pretend you don't know me. going on to say hillary's campaign will die this week. nothing happened on that wednesday. on that tuesday, julian assange announced that his publication would publish e-mails related to the 2016 campaign. three days later on october 7th, the now infamous grab them by the "p" word convo between
donald trump and tv host billy bush. and first dump of e-mail released by john podesta. you know what happened after that. justice and security analyst and glenn kurshner joining me now. yore reaction to our reporting here, matt? >> i think these are -- a number of people often have legal jeopardy. roger stone is a target of this investigation. his attorney, again, in this story, says they still haven't been contacted by the special counsel. randy credico also has legal jeopardy and another associate of roger stone's, jerome corsey, who has been told he has been indicted -- he has been told by special counsel he will be indicted. >> an indicted could drop any minute. >> i don't think it's a coincidence that that's why the president is showing his anxiety on twitter, as he often does. the president appeared to have
some inside knowledge about the inner workings of the mueller team. that could be because of reports that matt whitaker has given him, if he has been briefed on the mueller investigation. we don't know that he has, or because subjects of the investigation have a joint defense agreement with the president and telling him, jerome corsey expects to be indicted, roger stone expects to be indicted or other associates of the president. >> all the news reports out there this week related to a possible inindictment dropping. >> always possible. media matters take on the tough task of watching fox & friends this morning, which often gives us the answer as to why the president was tweeting this morning. they haven't talked about it. so who knows? >> these text messages prove beyond dispute that randy credico was the source who told me the significance of the material that julian assange
told cnn he had and if he said anything different to the grand jury he perjured himself under oath. does that take him off the hook or put him in hot water? >> any time roger stone says he can prove something beyond dispute, i would bet it will never be proved. stone, credico, corsey, here is what i can tease out of these e-mails reported out by adam schecter yesterday. stone is too cute for his own good. he releases these e-mails and he wants us to believe these select e-mails and texts show that credico is really the one who is a closer associate to assange. what stone ends up doing is shooting himself in the foot. if i could just read one of the e-mails that stone offers in his own defense, he says that credico texted him saying,
quote, why can't you get trump to come out and say that he would give julian assange asylum, close quote? what does that show us? at least in credico's mind, stone is the one connected with trump and engaging with trump on the assange matter. >> based on all our reporting there's obviously a focus on mr. roger stone, right? that is being reported out publicly. democrats on the hill and some republicans are saying we have to protect this guy with this new acting attorney general, including one democrat, richard blumenthal, who spoke with our cameras on the hill in the last 30 seconds or so. roll it. >> the american people want this investigation to be completed fully, accurately and we have to play hard ball. the greater danger is stifling and starving the investigation.
>> even if this bill doesn't pass it's important to send a political message to the new acting attorney general and to the president that they won't stand for any interference in the probe. we've seen challenges to matt whitaker, questions about whether he should recuse or whether his appointment is constitution. all of those are imperfect. there's a political check on the president in normal circumstances. no president would dream of skipping over the usual line of succession to put in an acting general who is clearly biased against the investigation. that's why it's critical to see this bill move to send a signal to doj that no one on the hill will stand for it. unfortunately, republicans don't seem to be there. >> we'll be talking about it with our next guest in a second. matt, glenn, thank you for coming on with this intricate, detailed and important story. thank you very much. democrats are back on capitol hill with a pep in their
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the president fired off a new missile at mueller today, one day after senate majority leader mitch mcconnell suffocated a move to force a bill that would help shield the investigation. joe manchin, newly elected to his second full term in the senate. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me, hallie. >> let me start with that bill. you support a bill to protect robert mueller. senator kamala harris said mad respect he's coming out and joining democrats but senator kennedy, as you heard, thinks it's unconstitutional. why is he wrong? >> hallie, the only thing that bill does, it basically says there has to be cause. you have to show cause to get rid of mueller. you can't just do it for political reasons. and then he has ten days to basically challenge the cause, to show it's valid or not valid. that's all the bill does. people keep saying protecting, protecting. all we're saying is show us cause why you want to get rid of
him. >> do you think the president's tweet storms, for lack of a better word this morning could help build momentum for this bill, in your view? >> i don't know. before we never thought it was needed. there was no movement at all. boom, as soon as the election is over, jeff sessions is gone, hallie. now we do have concerns. i think on behalf of the administration, the president and everybody else involved, let this thing finish. let the mueller investigation finish. give us some ability to say, we know it was done. maybe it took longer than what people wanted, but it has been thorough, and completed by the most respected person from both sides of the aisle. >> let me ask you about the midterms. obviously you won your re-election, despite the president campaigning pretty hardily against you. >> very hard. my campaign -- >> go ahead. >> go ahead. >> i was going to ask you this. i have a couple of questions on that. number one, have you spoken with the president since your victory? what messages have you conveyed to him? do you think you are somebody who, early on, the president
thought he could work with, and then he went up against you in your re-elect? can you find common ground? >> i can always find common ground. yes, we have spoken. yes, we are going to get together. the bottom line i told the president i want to work with you. you've done everything you can to defeat me. you came in many times to my state. you sent the vice president many times to my state. you sent your family in many times and in my speech, my victory speech the night of the election shall i just said, hallie, mr. president the people of west virginia spoke loud and clear. they want their senator, not yours. and that's it, in a nutshell. me being the senator for the people of west virginia, supporting them 100% of the time is finding some common ground that we can work with our president. so i'm still reaching out. >> you are still reaching out. the vice president was sending signals in that new exclusive interview that nbc news obtained with him. you look more broadly at the democratic landscape in the house, for example, you have
wins, new jersey, andy kim the apparent winner there, california, rudy, the apparent winner there. two other california races are looking good for the democrats. positive news for the dems. here is what mike pence had to say, to downplay some of those results. >> we made history by expanding our majority in the senate. we won some great elections in governors' offices around the country. we didn't really see that blue wave in the house of representatives come our way. i think it's because the american people see the results. >> so, he seems to be downplaying these gains the democrats made. are you worried that's a signal that this administration will not play ball next year? >> the only thing i hope, sooner or later they come to the realization -- and vice president pence should know it well because he was a member of congress. republicans are no longer the majority in the house of representatives. they still have the senate. but there's going to have to be compromise working back and forth. once they realize if they want to get something accomplished we can work with them.
i can forge that partnership between and try to help broker deals i think is good for my state of west virginia but good for america. and that's what happs to be don. they have to work with those of us who want to work in the middle. i am still there and will say that when i speak with the president. let's work with the house. if the house is going overreach -- i hope they don't -- we can fix, basically, health care. we'll call it trump repair care. he is the one person who can put his stamp of approval on what's been laying on mitch mcconnell's desk for 15 months and we can start fixing, bringing the rates down, making sure people with pre-existing conditions are protected and not by the threat of a court. that's the things that he can do. also, he can do is looking at this tax, we have to look at tatab -- taxes to the point of what we're doing to the next generation. immigration, he wants border security. i want border security. i voted for over $42 billion in the 2013 bill.
he could make it his premier legacy. >> you're identifying topics there. let me ask you this. would you be willing, going back to this mueller bill -- that's the other issue on the table. would you be willing to vote to shut down the government if republicans don't come on board and vote for the bill to protect robert mueller? >> when i know i can stay here and work through my differences, why do we even talk about shutting it down? keep us here seven days, 24/7 until we fix it. >> okay. senator joe manchin of west virginia, love to have you back on the show. >> any time, hallie. good to be back. thank you. the final countdown in florida, four hours to go right now until the deadline for counties to finish machine recounts. will they mac it? what happens if they don't? news on the late court appeal from the republican senate candidate. we're talking to a lawyer for the florida gop after the break. the florida gop after the break. ♪
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there's no way that's going to happen for them. democratic senator bill nelson is suing to try to extend that, to give the state more time to recount ballots. he trails his opponent, florida governor rick scott, by just about 12,500 votes. kerry sanders is in riviera beach, florida, in palm beach county. it's been a stop and go conversation, deadline, they want to have it extended. fill us in on the latest. >> hallie, of course, the big question is whether florida will make its deadline. we can now report at this particular location, which is in palm beach county, that we know they are not going to make the deadline. the deadline will not be reached. what that means for the deadline of 3:00 p.m. today, for all 67 counties to deliver their vote totals is that right here, what they're going to wind up doing is they're going to wind up delivering the old results.
those are the ones from the night of the election. we know that all of this, at the end of the day, probably won't be that important because the separation between the two candidates here, governor rick scott and senator bill nelson, is less than 2.5%. it's .15%. less than a quarter percent. in state law, that means they have to do a hand recount. you can see some of the tables over here that they've set up. these tables will be used for the hand recount. that's where they will begin going through all of the ballots and ultimately, hallie, the big question is, who is the senator from florida? and today, right now, i can tell you that is not answered. >> kerry sanders, stay on top of that one for us. thank you. peter dunbar, lead counsel for the republican party. peter, thank you for being on the show. >> good morning, hallie. >> you have a long history with
recounts. we're happy to have your perspective here. you spoke with fox news, i believe, a couple of minutes ago. >> yes. >> and said in your view, you don't think that the numbers will change, the republicans will be in good shape. why the rush? bill nelson wants to extend the deadline. if you're so confident, why not let the deadline be extended and let this play out? >> federal district court judge has, in fact, allowed two additional days in that process and i do think it's important that every legal vote be counted. that process will be completed. as was just pointed out, the deadline today is really a soft deadline. the hard deadline in florida will be when the state canvassing board meets on tuesday. and at that point, that's when we would recertify as final. if you look at the global number of ball ougots that are out the still to go through the counting process, there aren't enough to change the results in any of the
races. we had six different ones where we're facing this recount, three in the state legislative seats and there are three statewide. and there are simply not enough out there to flip the results in any fashion. >> so, let me ask you this then, peter. there have been concerns. people have raised concerns about vetter fraud, for example, including the president. he made remarks on this. have you seen evidence, as the president suggests, that people in florida have voted, gone to their cars, changed their hat and shirt and come back in and voted again? >> hallie, you make a great point. two things are going on here. >> actually, i didn't make a point. i'm just asking, have you seen evidence of that? >> the only allegations that we have seen so far, and they are being looked into, is that there were allegations that there were -- people had marked incorrectly official voting
ballots in the process. >> so nobody is changing their clothes, voting twice, putting on a hat and coming back in, to your knowledge? >> that's not what we've seen. the allegations here is that there was an intention to delay past the appropriate deadline of absentee ballots. >> would you recommend that everybody here tone down the rhetoric, chill a little bit on people trying to steal the election and such? >> you have skirmishes in the world of public opinion and then you have the court proceedings. in the statutory deadlines and court proceedings are going to make sure that we have certified and completed this election properly. we have a pretty good idea where those results are and we don't expect there will be any changes, hallie. >> appreciate you coming on and talking about a pretty big issue in your state. >> you bet. >> appreciate it. democrat stacey abrams is
refusing to give up the fight as a federal judge rules absentee ballots with missing or incorrect birth dates must still be counted. let me bring in stacey abrams campaign manager. thank you so much for being on with us. let me start with this. there are more ballots to be counted. on tuesday, earlier this week, you said you need a net gain of 17,000 votes to get close enough to try to get a run-off. that's a goal here for your campaign. is that going to be enough? kemp's campaign says the math is the same here. >> thank you so much for having me, hallie. what i would say is our position has remained the same, which is count every vote. this is much bigger than stacey abrams. our campaign over the past year and a half has gone all over the state, telling voters, in particular voters who hadn't been participating, that your vote matters, cast your ballot, trust the system. in contrast, our opponent, brian kemp, as secretary of state, did everything in his power to make it harder to vote, to purge
voters from the roles, to provide old, 16-year-old machines that were breaking down, and not provide the counties with equipment to execute this election. we're 17,000 vote as way from a runoff but again with the large-scale irregularities and problems we saw throughout the three weeks of early voting and on election day, our mission has been very simple, which is slow down the process, count as many of those absentees and provisionals as possible and count every vote. and we are thrilled that a fourth federal judge agreed with us last night. i mean, this is kind of extraordinary. i think something that hasn't quite been covered yet that i wanted to mention about this is that kemp had said the whole time, don't worry about me overseeing my own election. the counties do this work. but what happened last night in this court order is we now have a second federal judge saying that it's actually on the
secretary of state's office to ensure and correct any of these counting errors coming out of the county. so that goes to the point we made the whole time, that he had a real conflict overseeing this election. >> you're raising some points and concerns that your campaign believe are valid and need addressed. that's sort of one bucket. the other bucket, though, is the way people around this have been talking about this. you, yourself, called kemp the secretary of suppression. senator brown said if stacey abrams doesn't win it's because republicans stole the election. i'll ask you the same question just asked the republican lawyer who was just on this show, do you think that kind of rhetoric is helpful or do you think people need to take a step back with the tone of which they're talking about all of this? >> what we have attempted to do with this whole campaign and the past week and now two days since the election is to be as honest as we possibly can be and to use the courts and our campaign to get to the bottom of counting
every vote. that means we've literally deployed our staff to all 59 cou counts. we've had folks from dan rather, joe scarborough and many others nationally, and folks calling our hotline saying they are very concerned. count every vote. i think part of what i always want to emphasize, especially in these national conversations, is what we experienced here on the ground during early vote and on election day with these extraordinarily long lines and then people finally getting to the front of the line and then being told that they weren't on the roles or that they had to vote a provisional ballot or we literally had husband/wife pairs who finally made it to the front only to be told they only had one provisional, which who wanted to vote? they were so ill equipped to do
this election. this is on kemp. and kemp used his secretary of state's office as an arm of the campaign. it's really not in dispute. >> to be clear here, you're talking about your concerns. i did ask about the rhetoric and the language being used around this. is it fair, based on that answer, to say you're comfortable with the rhetoric and where the tone is on this? yes, no? >> i'm comfortable with what our campaign is doing. >> okay. >> that is a very clear effort, really exposing these issues. >> okay. >> because here is the deal. whatever happens with our campaign, we've got to fix the system here in georgia. >> thank you so much for coming on. appreciate t. we want to get to some breaking news. u.s. treasury department is sanctioning 17 people for their roles in the killing of jamal khashoggi. this is significant. peter alexander has jumped back in front of a camera for us. this is all developing in the past couple of minutes. >> reporter: that's right, hallie, the official announcement coming from the
treasury department, secretary minneapolis mnuchin adds the government of saudi arabia must take steps to end the targeting of political dissidents or journalists. after six weeks after khashoggi's death, the saudi arabian top prosecutor said he would be seeking the death penalty for five suspects, announced 11 saudis had been indicted. three key points from this news statement we are receiving from the treasury department with a hat tip to my friend ayman mohyeld mohyeldin, reading through this right now. saying he doesn't do anything without the approval of the crown prince directly. this means he is very much in the inner circle. it is interesting to see that the u.s. is willing to draw a firewall between he and mbs.
saying so far they don't believe there say connection to mohammed bin salman. and the deputy head of intelligence is not among the 17 names of those sanctioned, even though the saudis, in their statement earlier, said that he was operational, he was an operational mastermind of this killing here. and then the third one that's important, it's clear that the saudis and americans are now sort of working in conjunction -- they're effectively coordinating in terms of charges, punishments, sanctions, to show that they are trying to bring justice in this case. the takeaway, the most important headline right now is that the trump administration has now announced sanctions against 17 saudis in connection with the killing of jamal khashoggi. hallie? >> peter alexander, thank you for that update. coming up next, we're talking about facebook. bombshell report says the social media network knew a lot more about russia's interference in the election than they let on with one of the most
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public apology tour in the last year, ms. sandberg has overseen an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat facebook's critics, shift public anger toward rival companies and ward off damaging regulation. facebook employed a republican opposition research firm to des credit activist protest rs in part by linking them to george soros. joining me now, to discuss what is a significant story for you, can you tell me what you found most noteworthy as you were conducting this reporting? >> as you mentioned this was a very long investigation and there were a lot of things we discovered. this is a company that is very secretive for a company that really part of its mission is to
be open and connect the world it's one of the most impenetrable companies in the country. what we found is a lot of insights into how its top executive, sheryl sandberg, chief operating officer, and number one executive, mark zuckerberg, what they were doing and what they were thinking. in two years of cascading crises. and what we discovered can be summed up in three different buckets. they made many mistakes, screwed up, frankly. they covered up and then, in washington, they lawyered up or lobbied up. and there are many examples of how the top leadership actually were not paying attention and not prioritizing a lot of the things that were happening in terms of the abuse on their platform as well as the policy questions and the implications of what was happening on their platform. >> ben, you say this piece, this story left you aghast. can you explain why? you reported on facebook before. you have talked with people there. why did you find this so
shocking? >> it's the -- i would say the idea that they are publicly repetant and yet doing all of this stuff in the background. we have new reporting this morning, too. we talked to an ex-employee of this firm that they hired. and he said they have an in-house fake news shop. that's what they call it. it's a separate thing called ntk news network that pushes out stuff against the clients -- sorry, for their clients, that sort of models not fake news but stuff that is, you know -- bends the truth a little bit to help out their clients and one of their clients is facebook. they said they didn't use this service but they have a lot of positive facebook coverage on this news site. >> so the company facebook, that's been talking about its fight against fake news contracted out with a company whose arm works on fake news. >> that's correct. that is exactly what happened.
cecilia put this into the piece, too. everyone should read that "new york times" expose. it's incredible. >> thank you. >> i want to get to this letter addressed to sheryl sandberg from the open society foundation, funded by george soros. you talk about this idea that facebook was trying to tie soros to these activists. these efforts appear to have been part of a deliberate strategy to distract from the very real accountability problems your company continues to grapple with, adding at the bottom this is not about george soros and the foundations, your methods threaten the very values underpinning our very democracy. this really seems to be striking a nerve. >> it has definitely struck a nerve. it is an example of how facebook, in many ways, behind the scenes, turned to what is known as sort of the dark arts of lobbying. and beyond the dark arts of lobbying in the most aggressive ways, hiring an opposition firm.
as you know, the links to linking funding, particularly what we call astroturf groups in washington, what people refer to as sort of fake influence groups in washington is sort of a long trope, sort of a long-worn strategy to link this to george soros. you see this many times with far-right groups doing that. the implication is sort of what's not said but the undercurrent is that george soros, who is part of a global leftist, jewish elite, is funding these things. that's a trope that's stirred up quite a bit among the far right and that's frustrating for people who are watching this. because at the same time, as we note in our story, facebook will also turn to organizations like the adl, anti-defamation league, to try to push back on opposition groups with the tag with that and show that there's
maybe potentially anti-semitism toward the company's top leaders. so, in some ways they're playing both sides in their lobbying tactics. >> right. >> this is frankly not completely new in washington. you see this. >> right. >> but it is for a company that preaches a much more benevolent motto and preaches -- >> right. >> -- and promises to connect the world in ways that would be good for democracy. it's very unsavory. >> cecilia kang, ben collins, thank you for coming on. an exclusive investigation that will make you mad. do you know why? people living in unsafe, unsanitized housing, the numbers have spiked all as landlords rake in mega bucks paid by you, taxpayers. it's an addition of swamp watch like you've never seen. stormy daniels' lawyer and one of the most high-profile attorneys, michael avenotti out on $50 billion after being
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we often do a segment on this show we like to call swamp watch. this is a swamp watch like we have never done. it's an nbc news investigation that shows under the trump administration and hud secretary ben carson the number of families living in disgusting conditions has spiked. at the same time landlords are pocketing millions of dollars of your taxpayer money. sit down, look at your screen, and watch nbc's stephanie gosk. >> the rain's coming from the roof down through here and dripping into these buckets. >> these walls are the only things standing between walter thomas, his wife sarah, and homelessness, but the entire apartment complex in hartford, connecticut is falling apart leaving families to deal with mold, roaches, rodents, even a
collapsed ceiling. erica pierre is getting her college degree and lives here with her daughter. >> i don't want her to become an adult and live her life like this. >> last february this property failed a federal inspection by hud. the landlord was supposed to make repairs, but in the months since, the city of hartford has found dozens more violations, yet every month a check for $1,120 for each three-bedroom unit, most of it paid by u.s. taxpayers goes to a company run by this man, eli fish. in the past two years, nearly a million and a half dollars. the problem is nationwide and growing. nbc news analysis of hud records has found more than 1,000 properties currently with failing grades. that's more than 40,000 families living in substandard conditions. and then there are properties like this one, which passed hud inspection, even though it was
infested with mice. resident terry morrison said her landlord never made the repairs, and instead of taking action, hud kept giving him more time. >> and then after that, then we give him an extension. >> and another extension. >> and then his lawyers will get involved, and then there will be another extension. >> and that's how the months started to -- >> pile up to years. >> after a year and a half of persistent problems and pressure from tenants hud canceled the contract. when residents in this hartford building complained about holes in the ceiling, hud officials agreed to meet, then vented their own frustrations. the tenants recorded it. >> the system is broken. we just don't have the staff. >> there's 432 properties in connecticut alone. >> under housing secretary ben carson, hud has shed more than 480 staff out of 8,000. >> there's no accountability in the process. >> local activists say hud does not have a firm grip on what's happening on the ground. >> for an unethical landlord,
this is a boom dog l. you're going to get that check every month, and hud's not there to stop you. >> it's not only possible, but it's considered legal and passable and acceptable by hud. >> so what do landlords like eli fish have to say? >> mr. fish, i'm with nbc news. can i talk to you about the -- >> not right now. >> -- the position of the -- >> i'm going to call you later, okay? >> i've been trying to get in touch with you for quite some time. i know you said you were going to call me back. >> secretary carson declined to be interviewed, but a spokesperson said he has launched a review of the inspection process, and quote, the secretary believes very deeply that families should not be forced to live in housing that's unsafe, and taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing it. >> i feel like i'm stuck, stagnated, can't get out. i don't have any control at all
over any of this. >> nbc's stephanie gosk reporting there. hud says the number of failed properties has gone up because they've been doing tougher inspections. it doesn't explain why these landlords are allowed it keep these multimillion dollars contracts. let's met bring in donna edwards, white house reporter for bloomberg news who's covered with me the ins and outs of this administration. we're sort of all watching that with our jaws on the set here. >> you see people living in the most deplorable conditions, and you know, hud actually has the tools to stop this. they can sanction and penalize, fine the landlord. they can revoke the contract. there are a lot of tools that they have, and instead what they've done is pass off one inspection to the next inspection, and what you have as a result is people living with roaches, rodents, and mold. mold growing up on furniture, and with kids with asthma.
this is really disgusting, and this is where an important democratic congress comes into play because in the house of representatives they can call ben carson forward and make him explain what's happening and require him to fix the problem. >> do you expect that will happen? there's a lot of discussion about other things like the mueller investigation, the tax returns, things that may seem a little flashier. >> every committee is not doing all of those things, and so there's an appropriate role for the committee that oversees hud to call ben carson in front of them and to make an explanation and get them fixed. congress actually changed the regulations on housing, but hud is not following the law, and so i think this is really important for the congress and for 40,000 families across the country that are living in horrible conditions. >> and one of the most striking moments in that piece was listening to those hud officials on that recording by those tenants say i have a ton of buildings and not a lot of staffers when hud has cut the
number of staff members that they've had over carson's tenure as secretary here. our reporting is that there's not a lot of urgency it seems inside the white house to do something about this? >> that's sort of a theme across this administration, this anti-big government. agencies from the hud to the state department just not filling positions either because the people in charge think that, you know, they don't want this large expanded big government, and so there's this effort to pull it back. but of course you still need physical people to do things, and the urgency out of the administration, the number of crises in this white house, it would be hard to see how this ever gets to the top of the president's agenda. i mean, even within his cabinet at the moment, you know, there's a controversy around ryan zinke at the interior department. we've seen controversies at hhs previously, at epa. i mean, there's now talk about the dhs secretary being replaced, potentially the commerce secretary being replaced. >> you're saying hud's too low
on the list? >> it seems that way. it's never really gotten any attention. the only thing i would say is i know the president would like to improve his standing with african-american voters. >> i was going to say, communities of color. >> this could be an issue that resonates with them. if he's looking for an opportunity with them, this could be one of them. >> thank you for walking through all of that. i want to wrap up with today's big picture. this comes from kind of close to home, d.c., a huge congratulations to our capitol hill team celebrating their well-deserved award for their coverage of sexual harassment on capitol hill is a gang busters team, gang busters coverage. we are so proud of them here at nbc news. leanne cold well, garrett haake, alex thorpe, congratulations to you. that does it for me. i'm out for this hour of msnbc live. i'll see you at the white house, craig melvin take it away. that's a great picture, con
gr g grats to our friends and colleagues. always good to see you. craig melvin msnbc headquarters deflect, a rare inside look at facebook and how it handled crisis after crisis involving russian trolls and hackers. i'll talk to one of the reporters behind the story about the fallout at the highest levels of the social media giants skpnch giants. and trump attacks, he's getting closer to turning over answers to robert mueller's questions, the president's now going after mueller calling his investigation a mess right as it starts to heat up again. and race, gender and power. democrat just pulled off that big win taking control of the house, but as they should be celebrating in unity, some are tearing each other down with accusations of racism and sexism wi in the fight for party leadership. we'll get to that in just a moment. we start with major facebook fatigue online and in washington. a