tv MSNBC Live MSNBC November 18, 2018 4:00am-4:30am PST
that's all for this edition of dateline. i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. good morning, i'm dara brown in new york. it is 7:00 in the east. 4 out west. here's what's happening. president trump visiting the damage left by the wildfires in california and pointing a familiar finger of blame. leadership fight, this morning new insight into whether anyone wants to get in nancy pelosi's way. plus questions about robert mueller's next move. answers could lie in dozens of sealed indictments. president trump now back in washington from california. he toured the surreal devastation caused by the deadliest wildfire in california history. the president pledged federal
resources and funding to help the recovery. he again blamed in the part the wildfires on forest management. >> just seeing this devastation change your opinion at all on climate change. >> no. i have a strong opinion. we are going to have forests that are very safe. we can't go through this every year. we go through this. and we're going to have safe forests. >> we'll have more on the deadly california wildfires and president's reaction in just a few minutes. also new this morning democrats now picking up 38 house seats. the latest in the one of the nation's conservative republican districts. democrats now control all house seats in orange county california. nations largest swing state. last hope to win the senate seat reach as deadline in five hours. by noon today the hand recount of the senate race is due. governor rick scott is leading by just 12,000 votes. and the fight for florida
governor has reached it's end after machine recount. trump ally ron desantis kept narrow lead. andrew gillum came less than a percent point. he conceded yesterday. >> we wanted to take a moment to congratulate mr. desantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of florida. we're going to do everything that we can to make sure that over the coming weeks, over the coming months, that we do what we can to perfect our electoral system. we need to update florida's election system and bring it into the 21st century. >> joining me now, white house correspondent with time magazine and jonathan allen and nbc news political reporter. let's get right to it. you were there in florida the final deadline is noon and i would like to get an early postscript from all that's happened in light of gillum now conceding and senate nearing an end. what have you learned. >> this recount wasn't really
about 2018. this was really about 2020. democrats coming to florida. interested in seeing if they can turn the election results. based on court challenges and recounts state mandated recounts. nobody has won it with more than the point since 1988. carries the huge electoral vo votes -- you wrote about the
president's post midterm news conference. where he declared victory sectly. what your sense now. >> i think orange county and california certainly is a victory for democrats. it has been a republican stronghold. it's the site of richard nixon's presidential library. you said now democrats have swept and have control, but on the other hand, california as a state overall has already been a democratic fortress. i think more than being predictive of the rest of the country, it's more just cementing that democratic stronghold in the state. and can't necessarily be taken outside of that because trump is already deeply unpopular in many other parts of california. >> tes isis there a sense of frustration with the president and inside the white house as it became clear in the days and weeks and later at the house, is it a blue wave. >> of course you know trump lost control of the house so they're
not happy about that, but i think there are plenty of other victories for them to point to in the senate. you were just talking about desantis in florida. that's a place trump really flexed muscle in the days leading up to the election. >> is there a consensus on whether this election cycle was a clear repudiation of trump or did the democrats find a voice, not just in california and orange county. >> there was a clear wave. biggest since watergate. republicans were able to win a handful of senate seats in clearly republican states. as well now as in the state of florida. this particular state is the one outlier where you see a republican takeover of a democratic held state with a republican president in his
first midterms. so big night for the democrats on election night. it's continued to be since then. our margins have not moved a whole lot. looks even politically across the board. >> just over the midterms. hard to get to 2020. i want to turn to the president. he kept bringing up the forest management issue. how did he perform given that he was flanked by governor elect. he talked about what a sad day it was and how hard it was to see the devastation in the state. he had been blaming forest management which experts say is not the cause of the fires. we've seen this over and over from president trump where in moments of national tragedy, whether it be a shooting or a natural disaster. instead of comforting the nation
and becoming a unifying figure, he seeks to divide and cast blame and so again, i think he was more conciliatory yesterday and didn't say anything as inflammatory as what he had been tweeting before, but his general mode in times like this is to divide rather than unite. >> which adviser advised president trump on forest management. how did he learn about that? that, i don't know, but he said yesterday in the clip you just played that he has very strong views of climate change and i think he is looking for a way to talk about this issue without talking about it in terms of climate change. >> and the situation. the president yesterday suggest thad final word was not in whether the saudi prince was involved. meanwhile reports including nbc that the cia said he was he doesn't want to damage
relationship with saudi crowned prince. they have a mutually beneficial relationship in many ways. heading towards another example promotionally of the president at least in public refusing to acknowledge or refuting his intelligence community's assessment of what happened. we saw this with russian interference in the 2016 election. this will not be the first time that president trump for political reasons or otherwise has refused to accept the conclusions of the united states intelligence committee. let's turn to the race for the house speakership. and jonathan, you wrote some house democrats may not want to stop the leader. instead they simply want to appeal to voters. what do you mean by that. >> there are a lot of incoming freshman who campaigned during 2018. and said that they wouldn't vote for nancy pelosi for speaker because she was an issue in their elections, republicans ran ads all across the country saying stop nancy pelosi from becoming speaker.
those new members are going to have to find a way to appease their constituents. that doesn't mean all of them don't want nancy pelosi to be speak speaker. they can vote for another candidate if there's no other candidate, the democratic party might decide to do an up or down vote. which would allow no votes there. publicise those. on the house floor when the whole house votes if some of the freshman vote present. they basically aren't counted in the vote. makes it easier for nancy pelosi to get to majority of the house. if she is going to become speaker. every one of the incumbents is taking up a slot to be used by a freshman to vote against her
without preventing her from becoming speaker. they're going to face a lot of pressure if the colleagues. the overwhelming majority of support for nancy pelosi. certainly a lot of eyes are going to be watching that. here is what the president said about nancy pelosi yesterday. take a listen. >> i would help nancy pelosi if she needs some votes. she may need votes. i will perform a wonderful service for her. i like her. can you believe it? i like nancy pelosi. she is tough, she's smart, but she demserves to be speaker. now they're playing games with her just like they'll be playing with me. >> how unusual is this endorsement of sorts and why. >> definitely unusual in the sense that it's coming off trump vilifying her for months. republicans all over the country ran we see from the president
now, a few reasons he could be doing this. one he could be continuing to sew division. he has to know endorsement is not going to be welcome. is not going to help her from those in the democratic party that are waivers. he as he just said, i think the words perform a great service are telling too. . trump is a deal maker. he also feels if he were to help deliver her this victory, she would owe him when she becomes speaker. >> please stick around. we have more to discuss. up next, the reports about dozens of seals indictments on the dc docket. what they could mean for the russia probe. y could mean for te russia probe s were coming, a little bit of water, it really- it rocked our world. i had no idea the amount of damage that water could do. we called usaa. and they greeted me as they always do. sergeant baker, how are you? they were on it. it was unbelievable. having insurance is something everyone needs, but having usaa-
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paul butler says there may be a reason behind that. take a listen. >> the court where mueller has brought most of the prosecutions is the federal court in d.c. there are 36 sealed indictments pending right now in that federal court now. they may be for mueller's team. they may not be. they're secret. we don't know. we do know they 18 sealed indictments have been filed since august. everybody knew that after the midterm elections, attorney general sessions was on the way out. he may have anticipated this. and filed all of these sealed indictments in this event. an event that trump might install in act acting attorney general. >> joining me now is criminal defense attorney. great to have you here this morning. we know the special counsel went silent for august.
went silent before the midterms. he was able to anticipate the move. filed the indictments before sessions was fired. >> he anticipated and planned for it. he has issued all of these indictments and filed them now they're pending and they can't go away. they can't be quieted. they can only go to court and be opened in an open court. so the public knows about them. key point here. only a judge can dismiss them at this point. they've got to be known to the public. nothing can happen to make them go away. >> mueller can only indictment someone with approval of attorney general. how likely is this matthew whittaker could challenge the indictment >> matthew whittaker can the not challenge them once they're filed. they're filed so they can't just be quieted at this point in time. they're already actually filed in court. they just are under seal.
so what will happen is once the person is actually arrested and brought forward, they will unsealed by a judge. so as soon as the arrests are made, they'll be made public. now whittaker could take actions to make the indictments go away after that happens, but that's got to involve a judge. the public will at least know about the indictments which is going to be huge in this case. that's what we want to know. we want to know who has been indictmented we want to know the contents of the investigation. his efforts to quiet these indictments are significantly hindered because they're already filed in open court. >> one law expert told abc news 60% of criminal cases remain under saeal. how unusual is this practice. >> it's not unusual in federal court. it's very unusual in state court. state court an indictment is returned in open court so everybody knows once the indictment is rendered. in federal court it's different. filed under seal until the person is arrested. not abnormal for them to be
under seal. always under seal at the very beginning of the case. once a person is arrested and arraigned on the charges which means they're brought in front of a judge, that's when everything becomes open and gets out from under that court seal. not abnormal, but it is abnormal to see these sitting for so long. because normally once an indictment is issued an arrest is made relatively quickly and then it is not under seal anymore. >> is there anything that points to whom these indictments are for? >> i mean, they definitely could. we don't know at this point. that's why we want them to be out from under the seal so badly. we don't know, but the volume of them says that there's -- there's definitely a lot of them at this point. at least a dozen or so we think are linked to the russia investigation. some key players have to be named in these indictments. >> yesterday, the president said his team hasn't looked at the possibility of sitting down with mueller. you're a defense attorney. is that a move his legal team
will sign off on. >> i would not let him sit down with mueller. there's no way. he has answered interrogatories. he's been given written questions. that's the smart move to answer written questions. can't be cross-examed. your lawyers can carefully craft responses to those written questions. the smart move as a defense lawyer is just to submit to these written questions and not let my client sit down and actually be interrogated. as much adds president trump has said if you sit down with someone, your words can be twisted. i would not let my client sit down and be questioned. i would be concerned those words and statements made would somehow be turned against my client.
he insisted on that. i am certain his counsel has very much tightened what he says. i don't think he's just written them down. it's not just a situation where he's been given a list of questions and he just writes out the answers. this is something where he sat with his lawyers. his lawyers advised him how to answer. he may be able to say that he has answered these questions. he has answered these questions with his advice of counsel. counsel has really answered them. it's just the president may have given his own words not like he has gone on and answered these without advise of counsel. reporter who interviewed kellyanne conway husband. why he is calling the white house a dumpster fire. nd why he is calling the white house a dumpster fire.
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kellyanne conway's husband is taking a shot at trump. this time is he not holding back. >> i told you ting republican party has become something of a personality cult. and, you know, it's like the administration is like a [ bleep ] show in a dumpster fire. i'm like, oh, don't want to do that. i don't know. >> how is this going -- how is all your activity, anti-trump administration going down with kelly an. >> i don't think she likes it. i've told her, i don't like, the administration. so it's even. >> we're back with panel. does anyone inside the white house care. when he was asked about it the other day. i think it's more george conway, trump referred to him as mr. kellyanne conway and george sort
of jokingly adopted that in this interview. i think it's more that george conway now has a nice platform for views. in a way he might not have had better for george to be using this moment, but i don't think it's a serious problem. for anyone in the white house. maybe more of just a distraction more than anything else. >> and conway also said he's forming a group of lawyering to warn about. he says, it's not enough that we get the judge's. it's not enough that we get tax cuts and regulatories reform. there are sort of fundamental principles at stake here.
and he -- what he said to fellow conservatives are you cannot stay silent when those principles are being under attack. are there more conservatives who share his view. >> is conway on an island here or more conservatives who share his view. >> they're certainly more conservatives who their his view. there are -- look, about 90% of support for trump. there are some places in this country where republican registration is shrinking a little bit. party is getting a little smaller. certainly more trump. that's one of the points that george conway is makininmaking. the the interesting thing about this battle between kelly an and her husband is really the politics for trump versus the rule of law.
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