tv Morning Joe MSNBC May 2, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PDT
candidate, should they say i love it, let's meet -- >> a foreign intelligence service, yes. >> and that says it all. when asked if they need to report dirt offered on a competitor. good morning and welcome to "morning joe." along with joe, willie and me we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle, former u.s. attorney for the northern district of al bam -- alabama, now an msnbc contributor joyce vance, msnbc analyst jeremy bash and chief white house correspondent for the "new york times," peter baker. we have a lot to get to this morning. a big day yesterday in
washington. we want to start with this exchange between attorney general william bar and kamala harris, which encapsulate, barr's performance at yesterday's hearing. >> attorney general barr, has the president or anyone at the white house suggested or asked that you open an investigation of anyone? >> i wouldn't -- i wouldn't -- >> yes or no? >> could you repeat that question? >> i will repeat it. has the president or anyone at the white house ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? yes or no, please, sir. >> the president or anybody else. >> seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us. >>yeah, but i'm trying to grapple with the word suggest. there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open an investigation but -- >> perhaps they've suggested?
>> i wouldn't say suggest. >> hinted? >> i don't know. >> inferred? you don't know? okay. >> he doesn't know. >> so, joyce vance, why doesn't we start right there. in in the opening question, he's asked by chris coons of delaware whether their approach about dirt from the other side, he sits there and acts dumb struck that such a question would be asked and makes it seem like a very, very tough question to answer when other than donald trump and the people surrounding him, i don't think there's anybody in politics that would think twice about that but barr is in there. and now you have the kamala harris question about anybody in the white house, whether the president has asked him to open
and he's this mix between a 5-year-old kid who got his hand caught in the cookie jar and it's still in there when he's caught and basically being asked whether to lie or not, a little bit of eddie haskell thrown in there and of course the main character that we see is roy cohn. i mean, this was a great encapsulation of an absolutely dreadful performance and, once again, you have mr. barr, it sounds like, considering whether he should commit perjury, as he already has done before the house of representatives, whether he should commit perjury again or try to walk past it delicately. >> you know, the easy questions seem to be the tough ones for this attorney general yesterday. he had difficulty with, as you point out, this really easy question. is it okay for foreign countries, foreign intelligence services to interfere with campaigns? every campaign knows that you pick up the phone and call the fbi in that situation, but it
was difficult for bill barr to say that. and again with senator harris and with others, he had difficulty responding to questions about whether or not the white house was interfering with operations at the justice department, operations involving criminal cases that should be independent. so by the end of the day, i felt like i was watching the president's defense lawyer, not the attorney general of the united states. >> he was his defense lawyer, willie, from the beginning to the end. it was pathetic, it was shameful. he was wretching words from their proper context. he took on the trumpian task of throwing an insult at robert mueller, one of the most successful and beloved fbi directors in the history of this republic, a war hero, a man who has served his country ably his entire adult life, called him
snity. if you had asked any attorney general before yesterday if a foreign adversary offers you campaign dirt on your opponent, do you accept it? every preceding attorney general including nixon's john mitchell would have said, hell yes you report it immediately. >> every campaign manager would have said the same thing, too, i'm going to call the fbi. bill barr was defensive, he literally defensive of the president, acting like a defense attorney. he repeatedly excused president trump's actions pertaining to the mueller investigation and those instances that bob mueller lays out in volume two of obstruction. barr said a president can shut down an investigation if that president thinks he's being falsely accused. >> you think he's fully cooperating to instruct a former aide to tell the attorney
general to unrepublcuse himself shut down the investigation and dove claire the preside declare the president did nothing wrong? >> well, obviously since i didn't find it was obstruction, i found the evidence did not support obstruction. >> i'm asking you is that fully cooperating? >> he fully cooperated. there is a distinction between saying to someone go fire him, go fire mueller and saying have him removed based on conflict. if in fact a proceeding was not well founded, if it was a groundless proceeding, if it was based on false allegations, the president does not have to sit there constitutionally and allow it to run its course. the president could terminate that proceeding and it would not be a corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused.
>> so, joyce, if you go through the list of the obstruction -- >> that's unbelievable. >> -- the obstruction cases put out by mueller in volume two, you had an attorney general wiggling his way through the question of asking don mcgahn to fire bob mueller, dangling pardons, he excused that and asking jeff sessions, the attorney general, to unrecuse himself. he said that's not trying to end the investigation, that's just getting yourself a new special counsel. i saw you shake your head as you heard the attorney general excuse that behavior and act as a defense attorney for the president. >> i would hate to see a presidency reshaped along the lines of bill barr's views that he discussed yesterday, this notion that the president can decide that allegations being made against him are inappropriate and the president can shut down any sort of an investigation into him,
presumably into others. bill barr's notion of a presidency is a presidency gone off the rails and we're seeing it in practice right now. the president, of course, goes on record last night saying that his attorney general was doing a good job and why wouldn't he be pleased with that performance. >> you know, it's so shocked at william barr and there are so few things that shock me these days from trump's washington, but, peter baker, we actually heard the attorney general of the united states say that the president of the united states could shut down an investigation if he thought that he was wrongly accused. this is richard nixon saying the law is what the president says the law is. and it really, that is as dumbfounding of a quote as many of the others yesterday from
barr. giv again, the president can do what the president wants to do and if he doesn't like an investigation being run against him, he can just shut it down. >> as a matter of the constitution, what you're hearing from people on that side is the executive power is untrammelled by restrictions like it's not independent laws, it's not a separate body, this is somebody subordinate to the president of the united states, he is therefore under the power of the executive branch. as a matter of common sense, i haven't heard too many people under investigation who didn't say they were falsely accused. if that's the standard, any president can presumably shut down an investigation against him or her. that's when it comes to congress. in this case you got the house of representatives in the hands of the opposition democrats, but they're wary of using their power of impeachment because they don't seem to have any kind
of bipartisan consensus. you saw yesterday two different realities, the democrats living in a reality in which donald trump is in their mind corrupt and the republicans living in their reality in which donald trump is the victim of a deep state coup. >> mike barnicle, you look at this testimony yesterday and, again, when barr is saying a president, if he doesn't like an investigation, if he thinks he's wrongly accused he can shut it down, that's how ougautocrats think, you look at everything else that barr did yesterday, stumbling and hesitating, the lies that he told in front of everybody. i understand it doesn't make political sense to impeach donald trump, but for the life of me i don't know why democrats would not start gathering evidence to impeach this man. he is as dangerous in the position of attorney general as
donald trump is as president of the united states and he's unfit and unworthy to be there. if you ask any judge these questions, they would not answer them the way that donald trump's defense lawyer did. barr is not an attorney general of the united states, he is donald trump's defense attorney. >> lackey. >> he's his lackey. he's his stooge. >> joe, i think we played one of the key moments of yesterday's hearing right at the top of this show when chris coons asked the attorney general a specific question about russia, about what russia was involved in in 2016, is involved in today and will be involved in in 2020 and that's the corruption of our electoral system. and the first line of the attorney general "i will defend and protect the constitution of the united states against all enemies foreign and domestic."
and yesterday we had a sitting attorney general of the united states who clearly had not even read the full mueller report. he had not looked at the underlying evidence within the mueller report. he went out of his way to disparage members of the federal bureau of investigation who work for this country to protect this country. he went out of his way to damage and disparage bob mueller and his effort. and he ended the day really at the end of the day, he made jeff sessions look like justice brandeis. >> absolutely. and let's go to that and see it with our own ices because theye is where the attorney general reveals himself to be a complete and utter farce, a total joke. he makes this proclamation, remember this four-page summary
when the mueller report was released, he exonerates the president and yet he read nothing. take a listen. >> we have a document that shows over 200 connections between a presidential campaign and a foreign adversary sharing information that would be illegal if you did it with a super pac, we know that. >> what information was shared? >> polling data was shared. i can cite you the page. >> with who? >> you accepted the report as the evidence? >> yes. >> you did not question or look at the underlying evidence that supports the conclusions in the report? >> no. >> so, jeremy bash, how do you make a proclamation, the one that this attorney general did, sort of turning the page for the president, exonerating him when it's not an exoneration when obstruction is wreaking out of this report, just out of the 448
pages gives you the sense there was a lot of obstruction happening there and you don't read any. you're the attorney general of the united states -- >> none of the underlying evidence. >> you don't read any of the underlying evidence. you literally testify in public before the american people and admit that you didn't do any of the work, that you just went rogue on this and did what you needed to do for the president. what do you we make of this? >> we saw this coming a mile away, mika. he decided this case long before he was asked to become tornatto general, he auditioned with in a 19-page, single-spaced general. shame on all of us for not seeing it more clearly. it not just our opinion that he was horrific yesterday, the president pulled him from the game at halftime. he's not even showing up for the second half, for day two. you know he was so ineffective for his own client, his pulled
him out of there and said i can't have you on tv not one more hour, not one more minute. >> as we take a bigger view of this from 30,000 feet, throughout the day, attorney general barr leaned on the phone call between himself and bob mueller and not on the letter, which is a matter of public record, which we could see. so the interpretation of bob mueller being upset came through a phone call about which we don't really know anything and he said, barr again and again, he was just upset about the media, this was two old buddies bitching about the media coverage of this. we have a letter in front of us that says nothing about the media whatsoever, it says he failed to capture the context, the nature and the substance and it did not represent the mueller report in the way mueller thought was appropriate. barr wants to us think about a phone call we didn't hear and don't know anything about. we have the letter in front of us which clearly outlines bob mueller's complaint. >> he's giving us his version.
wow, it's terrible. >> he's already mischaracterized two years of robert mueller's life and distorted and twisted it in such a way as the american people would be confused. what robert mueller said in that letter is you have undermined a central purpose of the justice department appointing me as special counsel. now that we have that letter, now he's going to phone conversations and he's following what donald trump's most desperate right-wing hacks have been clinging to over the past days and they are hacks, they are sad, pathetic human beings, sad, pathetic human beings, some of them once actually respected in immediaamerican media and am politics but they're trading in their reputations to defend a clown that shouldn't even be defended. but in the midst of all of this
clutter and nonsense, you actually have fox news' chris wallace, who actually spoke to the lies being told by many people at his own network, that actually spoke to the lies of what robert barr or william barr was saying yesterday, that when in doubt, when donald trump's attorney general is caught lying, when donald trump's attorney general is caught stretching the truth, when donald trump's lawyer is caught playing the role of roy cohn, we'll just blame the media. you see, because i know a lot of you, it's a lot easier for you to just blame the media when your president is caught lying. you don't like the facts. so you cuddle up in your fetal position and you plug in to
whatever channel or whatever talk radio show makes you feel better. well, listen, if you plugged into fox news, you may have heard this -- >> people who don't think that this march 27th letter is a big deal and, you know, some opinion people, some opinion people who appear on this network who may be pushing a political agenda but, you know, we have to deal in facts. and the fact that this letter from the special counsel and it was one of at least three contacts with the attorney general between march 25th and march 27th, was a clear indication that the attorney general was upset, very upset with the letter that had been sent out by the attorney general or wanted it changed or at least added to and the attorney general refused to do so. >> and there it is, willie. the special counsel, the special
counsel was very upset by what the attorney general had done. and so there's no twisting or turning this. it's straight forward. >> and there's no question now that we have to hear from bob mueller himself. we can't trust the interpretation obviously at this point of the attorney general or any partisans, we have to hear from mueller and i expect that day will come. the full report is out there but it clear from yesterday's performance that there's an attorney general sitting there who hopes to shape the narrative and what happened in the 2016 le election toward the version when the president wants us to hear. >> when robert mueller comes, he's going to be asked questions like, this mr. director, do you believe that a president can shut down and close an investigation where he feels like he was wrongly accused? and we know what the answer to that will be. mr. director, do you believe
that a campaign should accept information from a foreign country, a foreign adversary. we know -- again, every question that was asked yesterday where william barr humiliated himself, destroyed his reputation yet again, that question will be asked of robert mueller, who will answer it quickly, succinctly and like every actually government official who takes their oath of office far, far more seriously than william barr did. william barr showed yesterday he didn't pledge an oath to uphold the constitution of the united states, he pledged an oath to donald trump. and that's what we have now. that's what democrats have to consider. when they really want that -- to figure out whether that man is a man that is worthy of deciding what cases are brought against
trump adversaries and what cases are sheffield, are buried by those who support donald trump. these are dangerous, dangerous times. and democrats need to move. >> there's no question yesterday was a dark day. and we've got a lot more to get to. coming up, we showed you that striking moment from senator kamala harris yesterday. the presidential candidate joins us live in just a little while on this show. plus, william barr said he had a big problem with the wait a minute jim comey handled the clinton kacase and said so at t time, never minority that op-ed he wrote insisting james comey did the write thing. we'll discuss that. and the chairman of the house intel committee congressman adam schiff joins us and we'll talk poll tex with congressman r ro khanna, who is backing bernie
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comcast business. beyond fast. the way comey handled the clinton e-mail investigation? >> yes, i said so at the time. >> did you have a problem with the way comey handled the clinton case? >> oh, did he? no, he didn't. >> ahead of the election, he aid james comey did the right contrary to justice department policy. >> i think that last week comey had no choice but to issue the statement he did. indeed it would have violated policy had he not done so. this man does not know how to tell the truth. >> it's actually dramatic reading that we did. i went into jefferson davis -- >> you did go back into that
jefferson davis. >> peter baker, voice acting aside, it does seem that once again we have an attorney general who, again, like donald trump is a day trader and will say what suits him at the time regardless of what he said five, ten, 20 minutes ago. >> there are several instances where he seemed at variance with his past statements. particularly the idea that mueller was complaining about the press as compared to actually bill barr's letters, mueller's letter was clear was he didn't say anything in there about media coverage. they also point out to him his statement to charlie crist, at the house hearing earlier last month, when he was asked if he had been asked about the concerns and reported to the press about members of mueller's staff having concerns about bill barr's original letter, he says
i don't know. that's coming of course after he already had mueller's letter in hand, already had a phone conversation with mueller. so clearly he did have some understanding of what those concerns were but he fell back on a legal very word parsing kind of defense. i talked to bob mueller, not his sub o subordinates, not what his subordinates were thinking. >> there was also a resumption in yesterday's hearing in a conversation about spying. democratic senator sheldon whitehouse questioned william barr over himself use of the word spying in surveillance of the trump campaign in 2016. >> in the entirety of your previous career including as attorney general, have you ever referred to authorized department vinvestigative
activities officially or publicly as spying? i'm not asking for private conversations. >> i'm not going to abdure the use of the word spying. my first job was in the cia and i don't think spying has any pejorative meaning at all. the question is whether it's authorized and predicated, spying. i think spying is a good english word that doesn't have synonyms because it is the broadest word incorporating all forms of covert intelligence collection. so i'm not going to back off the word spying. up until all the outrage a couple weeks ago, it's commonly used by the press to refer to authorized activity. >> it's not commonly used by the department. >> it's commonly used by me. >> against the conversation we
had about a month ago is fisa court performance. >> the use of the word spying in the context here is totally inappropriate, misleading, incomplete and false. what happened during the 2016 campaign is that there was court-authoriz court-authorized surveillance. it's lawful, it's predicated, it's based on probable cause that they are agents of a foreign power. spying is outside the united states, foreign adversaries is what the cia does outside the u.s. borders. bill barr knows better. when he was general counsel of verizon, i was one of the staffers he lobbied personally and he said many times the surveillance that we did on behalf of president bush after 9/11 was lawful surveillance, it wasn't spying.
he knows the difference. >> he knows the difference. the guy's past comments, like donald trump, prove him to be a liar. he has just lied time and time again. you know, if the republicans are going to continue to defend this man and it looks like they're going to, if i were a democrat, i would constantly just stay in their face and make them defend the indefensible. and at some point, i'm sorry, at some point the democrats have to figure out whether this is really the man that they want to continue to decide who gets -- who gets charged with crimes and who doesn't get charged with crimes. he's just terribly political and it's embarrassing. there is one thing we have, though, willie going for us today. >> what's that? >> take a look. >> oh. ♪ happy birthday, mika ♪ happy birthday, mika
♪ happy birthday ♪ happy birthday, mika ♪ happy birthday, mika ♪ happy birthday >> wow! oh, my god. that was good! roz and taneisha nailing it. and what a group. the band. thank you. that was night. >> willie and i were going to do that ourselves. >> no, it's good you didn't. >> mika, happy birthday and only on "morning joe" can you drop a birthday wish in the middle of a conversation about fisa surveillance. >> i was wondering where this was going and i had no control over it. your birthday is tomorrow, right? >> i'm 52. how old are you, willie?
>> i'll be 42 tomorrow. >> oh, my god, joe, we're so old! >> i like it. >> tomorrow we'll have the oak ridge boys come in and sing for him. we need to find somebody to sing willie a happy birthbirthday. if you or your friend are a popular musician -- >> maybe if it's solo. >> happy birthday, mika. >> thank you. >> coming up, the must-read opinion pages, including former fbi director's james comey about president trump corrupts those who work for him like william barr. we saw it all laid out for us yesterday before our eyes. "morning joe" will be right back. ♪ happy birthday, mika ♪ happy birthday, mika ♪ happy birthday
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bar barr. james comey says people can't resist the compromises necessary to survive this president. he writes in part this, "accomplished people lacking inner strength cannot resist the compromises necessary to survive mr. trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. it takes character to avoid the damage because mr. trump eats your soul in small bites. his outrageous conduct convinces you that you simply must stay to preserve and protect the people and institutions and values you hold dear. you tell yourself you are too important for this nation to lose, especially now. you can't say this out loud, maybe not even to your family, but in a time of emergency with the nation led by a deeply unethical person, this will your contribution, your personal sacrifice for america.
you are smarter than donald trump and you are playing a long game for your country so you can pull it off where lesser leaders have failed and got i don't know fired by tweet. of course to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. you use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values. then you are lost. he has eaten your soul. >> well, you see that happening, willie, sooner rather than later with many people. you can look at elaine chao, who stood behind donald trump after charlottesville, somebody who had a respected career before that but was used as a prop for donald trump to clean up his mess after charlottesville. we've seen it happen time and again. it always ends badly for every single person and yet they continue doing it.
with barr i don't think he's weak, i don't think he's corrupt. we do at some point just have to face it that some people don't have dementia, some people are just bad people. >> we heard these guardrail people that good people need to stay there to prevent bad things from happening, general kelly, rex maddux, we've been asking this question about bill barr. why? you've already been attorney general. you know what goes into the job, you know what that role is supposed to be. why is he able to sit and defend the things he defends in open hearings. what's in it for him other than keeping a job and staying in the game?
>> we were all asking our questions. barnicle thinks it's this sense of being back in the game and being relevant. it's hard to find another explanation because here's the reality for bill barr. every time he goes and shills for the president. it's not long after he does that people pretty quickly realize he's off key. it's hard to know what he hopes to gain from this. >> mike barnicle, i had many people tell me barr was a good guy. chris christie vouched for him, said what a wonderful guy he was, he was all about the rule of law. that's a lie. i know chris wouldn't lie to me and i can't believe chris would be so stupid, stupid. he'd have to be a total idiot now to believe the same thing about barr, how corrupt he is and we both know chris is not a stupid idiot. this take that howard fineman
had yesterday -- i hope chris christie is not a stupid idiot. he seems like a smart guy to me so he must have been fooled by william barr. i'd like to hear him say that. the beltway take is he's a good man. actually, he's always been a ruthless, untrammelled shill made to look decent by a light dusting of poppy bush ties. what do you think of that? >> bill barr's performance yesterday, past performance i'm not that familiar with, he's one of a long line of people who have been in the employ of donald j. trump, president of the united states, who have willingly checked their conscience, their character and their career in service of this president, and they operate as if they are not aware that history is a constant
stenographer. history is going to record -- they're going to be called into account for their, quote unquote, services for this president, which employ lies, which employ mischaracterization of facts, which employ duplicity at every level, which employ dropping their oath to the united states. the attorney general of the united states took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. he's not doing it but he's not alone. it's a mystery that comey -- that we've talked about today, what is it about donald trump that causes these people to lose their minds and lose their souls? >> you know, it happens often inside the white house, willie. one of my favorite stories because the person showed i thought so much character is i was attacking george w. bush in 2005 and one of my friends who
worked inside the bush white house called me up yelling and was attacking me and basically taking the company line for bush. and i just stopped and said, hey listen, i know this is hard for you to believe because you're inside the gates right now, but george bush will not be around forever. he's got a couple more years. i will. i need you to tell me today whether you're my friend or not. and this person said i'm your friend, joe. apologized, hung up, we remain great friends and i'll do whatever is asked of me on that front. but here with donald trump, this guy is going to be out of office in a year and a half, two years, and these people are going to have to live with their scarred and tarnished and damaged reputation for the rest of their lives. when donald trump leaves town and goes to mar-a-lago for
retirement, washington is going to close in on these people and devour them for all of their lies, for all of their misdeeds, for all of their untruths. some will be charged. i mean, he will not be there to protect them and that day is coming soon and for the life of me i don't understand why they are being such fools and trading in their reputations for something that will pass in a blink of an eye. >> and, by the way, he may not be there for them in a week if they say or do the wrong thing. he doesn't have the loyalty that they're showing back too him. you could understand as white houses go, loyalty from staff, why rudy giuliani wanted to be back in the game and does what he does. but we have to draw a line between white house staff, kellyanne conway, sarah sanders, and the attorney general of the
united states whose job it is not to go out and defend the president and his reputation and spin for him. there's a column in "the washington post" called "how conservatives rationalize their service to trump." he writes, the fear of economic edification is a powerful advancement to see trump in the best possible light. the more trump misconduct you defend, the more you feel compelled to defend. in for a penny, in for a pound. you're convinced you're too valuable to america in your position to risk losing it and whoever replaces you will be far more of a trump enabler than you are. you end up excusing the most blaise ant salt on the ru-- blan
the rule of law since watergate and saying that trump is the best president ever. we've seen people at the white house and off camera with a wink and a nod and understand what's happening at the white house is crazy but they're along for the ride. >> this is his presidency. there's nothing now newaboew ab. you have to be ready for the fact you can be on the wrong side of a tweet at any moment. you can be ready for the fact that you think a decision is made one day and in the morning it's the opposite. if you're not ready to handle it, there's no point being there. people around him have come to accept the way things is. if you look at mick mulvaney, he not trying to contain trump or
control trump, he's like let trump be trump. the last two chief of staffs weren't able to control or contain trump and it became a fool's errand. they're looking at it on how to -- they're not trying to change him because he's a 72-year-old man who is not going to change. >> thank you very much. we still have a jam packed show ahead including bob woodward, claire mccaskill and andrea mitchell all joining the discussion. "morning joe" is back in a moment. "morning joe" is back in a moment
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because he's the attorney general afraid to take questions from lawyers, just think about that for a second and let's let it breathe. >> blaise ford -- >> not a lawyer. this guy, quite a show yesterday. i think people can walk away with their own opinions of what went down and also the lack of facts that he brought to the table. what do you think was the most important concern that he raised yesterday throughout the whole process? >> well, i think the most important thing is that he mischaracterized mueller's report and he got caught. and he got caught not only mischaracterizing it but he got caught lying to congress about it. make no mistake, mika, he got benched. whether he wanted to be there today or not, the president said i can't have him out there, he is doing such horrific my case, and i think inadvertently he breathed a lot of new life into russiagate and
the contracts will contemplate a c contempt vote in the house of representatives and it will go on and on and on. >> it is. >> and what do you do now with an attorney general that is out of control and a danger to the fair enforcement of the united states constitution? >> we heard from the president's defense lawyer. democrats would do well to bring some of the evidence to the country. it's time for to us have the opportunity to hear some of the fact witnesses who were involved in the mueller report so that the country can judge for itself and that i think will give the democrats the best path forward on both this attorney general and this president. >> jeremy bash, joyce vance, thank you very much. still ahead on the heels of his fiery senate testimony yesterday, attorney general bill barr is refusing to come back to capitol hill for more questioning. senator kamala harris will be our guest following her tough
exchange with barr yesterday. plus house intel committee chairman adam schiff will join the conversation. as we go to break, there was another name that colored yesterday's questioning as it so often does. >> the fbi decided to put its better on hillary clinton. >> there was another investigation of hillary clinton. >> hillary, or as we say affectionately crooked hillary. >> i'm living rent free inside of donald trump's brain and it's not a very nice place to be, i can tell you that. place to be, i can tell you that. like.. pnc easy lock, so you can easily lock your credit card when its maximum limit differs from its vertical limit. and clover flex, for when you need to take credit cards when no one carries cash. or requesting a call to help get a new credit card-
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where you go, i can't believe that just happened. >> they think the american people are really stupid. >> a little flash back to richard nixon and flash forward to how the trump administration sees the rule of law. we are just getting going on our special coverage this morning. we're going to see kamala harris join us and we're staying on the air after 9 a.m. as the house gaffels in a session that is supposed to feature william barr answering more questions. but he has weaseled out. he says he can't handle it and says he has no intention of being there. we have along with joe and willie and me, we have mike barnicle, national affairs analyst john heilemann, former u.s. senator now at nbc news and msnbc political analyst claire mccaskill is with us and pulitzer prize winning editor
pore "the washington post" bob woodward. >> i have so many questions for you. >> i have some for you. >> let me get my question out first. and that is what do you think after being three tloough all ye been through saying the president of the united states can end an investigation against him if he thinks he's been unfairly charged. >> this is the new standard, which is i feel innocent, therefore the investigation has to go away. it's preposterous and it is contrary to the rules that set up the special counsel, which say a sitting president can be investigated. so if you're going to have this kind of footnote to that rule,
it says presidents who are sitting can't be investigated if they feel innocent. and i'm trying to assemble and trying to think having spent some time listening to stories of people in the trump administration, cabinet level, all kinds of levels, and this is my word, but it is a vortex. and attorney general barr has gone into this world of tweets and untruths and contradictions and shifting explanations and i guess it would be great if you could get him on the show and say, bill, what do you really think? this is not like it was 25 years ago when he was attorney general under bush sr. >> well, i was going to ask you that. i wanted to get your reaction to
yesterday's hearing, but i also wanted to ask you as somebody who has been the preeminent journalist, the preemeinent reporter in washington, d.c. in our lifetimes, to give us a view of william barr. was he always corrupt? was he always in defensive the unfettered power of the presidency and just had the light dusting, as howard fineman said, of being surrounded by poppy bush? >> i don't know the answer to that, but the other thing he said yesterday when senator harris questioned him, i think very directly, did you get any suggestion from the president or anyone in the white house that you ought to open an investigation? and barr stumbled through it and said, well, he's focusing on the word suggest and then kind of
waved his hands and said there are things out there in the air. and it is -- i was incredulous that somebody who had gone to law school didn't have the answer when that came in, namely, a request to open an investigation from the white house, the answer is, no, that would be inprappropriate. >> the answer is either no or yes and he seemed to have a yes there he couldn't really get out of his mouth. watch his answer, watch miss face. it appalling. take a look. >> attorney general barr, has the president or anyone at the white house ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? >> um, i wouldn't -- i wouldn't -- >> yes or no. >> could you repeat that
question? >> i'll repeat it. has the president or anyone at the white house ever asked or requested that you open an investigation on anyone. yes or no, sir. >> the president or anybody else. >> seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us. >> i'm trying to grapple with the word of suggest. there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open an investigati investigation. to say suggest -- >> hinted? inferred? you don't know. okay. >> bob woodward, you have the attorney general of the united states playing semantic games and twisting himself in knots to defend the instance of obstruction, asking don mcgahn to fire the special counsel, dangling pardons, for example. are you surprised by this or should we be surprised anymore based on past performance that we've seen from attorney general
barr that even in his position as attorney general he appeared more like a defense attorney? >> it's not that he's a defense attorney, it's that something happened. a line clearly was crossed because he didn't say no. there was some suggestion or whatever you want to say, something kind of out there and that somehow the ether out there will direct investigations. and if he -- he's a man who traditionally has had a lot of spine. if that happened, he said he should have told whoever it was in the white house that's inappropriate. and so when he's questioned -- that's one of the great moments of interrogation by senator harris because the body language, the hesitation, the
telegraphing, you know you're asking me about something i really don't want to talk about. >> so, bob, yesterday we not only had the attorney general of the united states acting on behalf of donald trump as if he were his defense lawyer, you also had an entire half of that panel, the republican senators, acting in the same manmanner. so my question to you is after having been inside the white house, writing the book on the trump white house, having been in past white houses, what has happened in your mind to an entire political party seemingly and to the attorney general of the united states that they drop their character, their conscience and in some cases tainted their careers for the rest of their lives in loyalty to one guy. what is it? what's going on? >> what's going on is politics and survival, but as we saw in the nixon case, as happens when
evidence mounts, people are going to break off and people are going to say, joe, all of you know this, if you talk to these people in private, they are nodding their heads in the same way and saying can you believe what's going on. >> i know. >> and again, this really is a vortex which government is not working very well. in fact, we have a governing crisis because there are issues like north korea, china, the middle east, taxes, immigration that are really important, are not getting the consistent attention, so we live in a world where the trump administration on many of these matters has no policy, no coherence, and as we know on the personnel level,
there's no team working together. there's no kind of -- i found in two years working on the trump white house, he has no to do list. everyone has a to do list, if it's only in their head. but there is a kind of randomness and chaos and we shouldn't go to sleep on this because it's dangerous. something bad can happen. >> so dangerous. >> that's why i think it's time for people to stand up for the rule of law and stand up for what needs to be done to push back against what we're seeing. i want to get claire in and john heilemann. we now know that the special counsel's office complained at least four times in the days immediately following attorney general william barr's march 24th summary letter on the mueller report. according to robert mueller's march 27th to barr released yesterday after its disclosure
in the "washington post," mueller's team communicated its concern on the morning of march 259, followed up with a letter to d.o.j., suggesting redactions for immediate public release, two days later mueller sent another letter to barr and followed by a phone call with barr on march 28th. and while it is unknown what else was communicated in the time that followed, this all occurred before barr's testimony three weeks ago where he said he did not know of any concerns from mueller's team. >> that's a lie. that's a lie. and i'm sorry, but a lot of federal judges would consider that to are perjury. >> that lie was something democrats pressed him on yesterday. >> why did you say you were not aware of concerns when weeks before your testimony mr. mueller had expressed concerns to you? that's a fairly simple -- >> i answered a question. and the question was relating to
unidentified members who were expressing frustration over the accuracy relating to findings. i don't know what that refers to at all. i talked directly to bob mueller, not members of his team. i talked directly to bob and bob told me that he did not have objections to the accuracy -- >> attorneys don't put things in writing unless they're pretty serious about them. you couldn't recall that when congressman crist asked you that question a few days later? >> no, i'm saying that this was -- the -- the march 24th letter stated that bob mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction. and it had the language in there about not exonerating the president. my view of events was that there was a lot of criticism of the special counsel for the ensuing few days and on thursday i got
this letter. you know, the letter's a bit snitty and i think it was probably written by one of his staff people. >> would you concede that you had an opportunity to make this letter public on april 4th when representative crist asked you a very related question? >> i don't know what you mean by related question. it seems to me it would be a very different question. >> i can't even follow that down the road. i mean, boy. that's a masterful hair splitting. >> did anyone, either you or anyone on your staff memorialize your conversation with robert mueller? >> yes. >> who did that? >> there were notes taken of the call. >> may we have those notes? >> no. >> why not? >> why should you have them? >> oh, my god.
claire mccaskill. >> the contempt, just the utter contempt that man has for any oversight whatsoever. he is a dictator's lawyer. that guy could go to turkey right now or to russia and would fit right in. it's incredible, mika. >> claire, how would you characterize what you just saw? >> first of all, he played rope a dope all day. you know, he was wiggling, he was zigging, he was zagging. it was so obvious. i just wish a jury was listening to this guy all day because whatever he was charged with, they would have convicted him. he was clearly evasive, clearly as sheldon said splitting hairs. but the thing i got to get off my chest because my hair's on fire about this. you've got harvard and yale-educated republican lawyers on the u.s. senate judiciary committee and they sat there and listened to the attorney general of the united states say that
any president if he feels an investigation is unfair can shut it down. that's banana republic stuff. that is north korea. that is russia. that is china. what separates us from the rest of the world and those guys know it, is our respect for the rule of law. and this guy is trampling all over it. >> it doesn't appear to be america right now. >> it's just amazing to me. remember all the brouhaha about bill clinton getting on the attorney general's plane for 15 minutes? this guy clearly is being told by the white house who to investigate, this guy clearly thinks it's okay for the president of the united states to fire special counsel. it is crazy! and the fact in a none of those republican senators, none of them had the courage to say, wait a minute, now wait a minute, aren't we going too far here? it's disgusting.
>> it really is. and, john heilemann, you could tell the republican senators that were up for election, they tried to talk about russia, they tried to stay away from just how corrupt this attorney general was. but claire wlings up a great poi -- brings up a great thing. they went to some of the best law schools and looking at one obvious abuse over another and remained quiet and instead of talking about texts between two fbi agents, as if they have never texted stuff between themselves that they would not want publicized all across america. so the question is, what do democrats do about this? what does nancy pelosi do about it? what does the house of representatives do about william barr? >> to start with you've got a number of cases here where it
appears, as you pointed out yesterday, that the attorney general perjured himself in front of congress in his previous testimony. the revelation of the mueller letter makes that clear. it appears yesterday he perjured himself again on those questions and it does lead back to this matter of the notes related to his call with bob mueller. the answer of the question of why he hud turn over those records, i believe the federal records act of 1952 about those now being public property and they should be turned over. >> let me cut to the chase here. i understand and i have suggested that it would be a. >> i'm getting there. >> and he will be elected or picked out by the people in a year and a half or so. >> yeah. >> william barr was not elected
by the people. he was chosen by donald trump for kupt purposes. why can't begin what would be proper impeachment proceedings against him after they get all the evidence together, all when that might actually show that the rule of law still matters for at least one chamber on capitol hill. >> i think that's one place that it had been. you have grounds now once you start to accumulate that evidence, which is what i think the house senate should try to do. i think that's a thing to your point about the politics of it, where democrats -- democrats are rightly concerned about what the political assets and liabilities are pursuing impeachment against donald trump would be. i think in the cases of the
attorney general, they could go ahead goad on think something and they need to make a full court press to get bob mueller in front of congress. i would say the house and senator there's not nor environment in which it would anything any can so bring him up to lie, on fuss skate, split hairs and not present any information of value doesn't seem to be a valuable endeavor anymore. move on the american people need to hear from bob mueller. and the attorney general yesterday again said that he had no objections to bob mueller, who remains still an employee of
the justice department. for i got to say turning up the political fresh to hear his side of things is paramount for the. >> for all the reasons you just laid out -- what would you recommend if you were still up on the hill, claire, what would you tell your democratic colleagues at this point? barr has made his testimony, he's not going to show up before the house judiciary committee today. jerre about and we'll go to that. >> i think barr is going to have to show up to testify again, not just in the house but in the
senate the attorney general has to come before congress for a variety of things during the course of his service, and i want nem athem all to take a le in cross-examination. we know he's not going to say what you want him to say. we know he's going to be evasive, so you've got to do what kamala harris did yesterday, you got to really get a courtroom cross-examination where you ask him very pointed questions that he can't wiggle out of. it's really important that they prepare that way because the american people need to see very clearly that this guy thinks the president can shut down any investigation with impunity, and that question needs to be asked over and over again. i agree with john, it certainly needs to be asked of bob mueller. bob mueller needs to be asked do you believe the president of the united states has the right to shut down any investigation if he feels it's unfair. >> so bob woodward, you gave americans perhaps the best look inside that vortex that you
describe. does it appear that the situation inside that vortex has actually gotten worse since your book has been released? does donald trump now have even more people around him that are willing to cede to his worst instincts and his worst demands? >> yes. and i think trump feel empowered that, okay, now he's got all these who are on a string that he can cut at any moment. of course he can do that anyway. you go to the issues. i'm sorry, maybe i spent too many time on the north korean issue, but if you excavate what's goingin, you have this leader kim jong un, who has really stiffed trump earlier this year in the summer they had and you've got a very volatile
situation. you have a young leader in north korea who has all these nuclear weapons and it takes traditionally a leader of a country with nuclear weapons to kind of learn about, gee, you have these weapons as a deterrent, not something to use. and it's not clear that this thing is -- i put it at the top of the worry list. and so you have this environment with barr, with other cabinet members. it is a governing crisis. you can't step around that, though lots of people are, not just republicans but i think there is a sense of exhaustion in the public, oh, trump's doing this and that's what he is or
who he is but he has got extraordinary power as president and somebody's got to come up with some sort of fix or some sort of reform. can we go through this for another 20 months? >> no. >> wow, yeah, mika's -- >> every day that goes by, we lose a little bit of what this country is built on. and at some point for the system to hold, it's going to require people to step up and say no when something is wrong, when you see evil, you push back with good. and we're at the level right now where we're seeing things, you know, ripple down to other members of the administration and now the attorney general making a complete farce of the process. and not showing up today, by the way. too scared to take the questions. bob woodward, thank you very much. still ahead on "morning joe,"
presidential candidate kamala harris is building quite the highlight reel on capitol hill. she joins us. plus the top member on the house committee, adam schiff is our guest. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. welcome to fowler, indiana. one of the windiest places in america. and home to three bp wind farms. in the off-chance the wind ever stops blowing here... the lights can keep on shining. thanks to our natural gas. a smart partner to renewable energy. it's always ready when needed. or... not. at bp, we see possibilities everywhere. to help the world keep advancing. i'm and i'm an emt.erer when i get a migraine at work, it's debilitating. if i call out with a migraine,
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declaring the matter over in all caps. joining us now nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of "andrea mitchell reports" andrea mitchell. and white house correspondent yamiche alcindor. what's next for democrats in terps of the terms of their actions? >> i was struck whether he was faking this or it was a fact, he did not seem to have read the report. when he said to chris coons, "what did they share?" what did they share? it was paul manafort sharing polling data on the three battleground states -- actually, four battleground states with a known russian g.r.u.-connected intelligence official. that was one of the key moments or key sections of the first
volume of the mueller report. and that he didn't go back to the evidence and he did not stand up and give testimony. i've just never seen an attorney general in that posture in a hearing and it just seems as though he was way too dismissive of the report and i was shocked, frankly, by the criticisms of mueller. >> yamiche, your beat is the white house. president trump was happy because of the relationship he views between the attorney general and the president. do they feel in the white house like this is over, that the president has his headline, that there was no conspiracy established in volume one of the mueller report and that they can turn the page? >> well, the white house and the president feel like the narrative is over. they really do feel like attorney general barr was critical in setting that narrative early on before the
mueller report was even released and making sure the words no collusion and no obstruction was part of the conversation from the beginning. william barr, one of the things that was so striking is this idea he wouldn't talk about his specific relationship with the white house. he wouldn't say whether he was talking about criminal investigation, whether he's open to white house investigations. you saw someone willing to put his reputation on the line in order to be loyal to president trump, which is of course what the president wants to see. >> and what we saw, claire mccaskill, yesterday was a lot of vintage trump speak, a lot of sort of equivocating, not understanding, casting things off as not as important when they were and lying. i would argue that some would say he flat out lied during his testimony or at least hedged away from things.
so here's where we are. what should democrats do to try and restore some order, at least some value for the truth and value for our democratic norms and value for the law? because i don't really care about politics right now. i don't care what looks politically motivated or not politically motivated, i care about this country and what can democrats do to push back against what is happening? >> well, i think one of the things they have to do is get the other branch of government involved. they need to carefully look at their options under the law as to production of documents and subpoenaing of witnesses and the use of contempt and they need to get really good lawyers in the room and figure out what is the cleanest path for to us get some backup from the judicial branch that this is not the way the constitution is supposed to operate. there is supposed to be a check and balance. there is supposed to be an ability of congress in this
situation to get documents from the executive branch. i mean, they're not just refusing to testify, they have not produced one piece of paper for the house oversight committee. outrageous. and the courts will involve t m themselves if the case is brought to them with the right evidence under the right statutes. >> john heilemann. >> i'm curious, andrea, looking at the performance on the other side of the aisle, these republicans on the senate judiciary committee, particularly lindsey graham, a lot of people pointing out yesterday that some of the complaints that he raised about text messages isn't by fbi personnel in 2016 had a very close parallel to things that lindsey graham himself was saying about donald trump in 2016. just talk a little bit about the collective performance of the republican side of the senate
judiciary committee yesterday. >> it was pretty shocking also because they completely ignored the issues that were right in front of them and were going back to relitigating hillary clinton and as clinton told rachel maddow last night, she testified for 11 hours about benghazi. whatever you think about all of that, that chapter is closed. for them to ignore -- completely ignore what's sitting in front of them, 448 pages, and give the administration a complete pass, the issue of having russians welcomed into a campaign, all of the things, what struck me is what whatever you think about the prosecution issue or not to prosecute, the norms of the division between the president and the justice department have been completely obliterated. not just with matt whitaker but with a former attorney general who had a very high standing in the past, at least with most of the republican party and itself,
despite what happened on iran-contra and some of the other cases he dealt with, he had overcome those criticisms and now his entire reputation is really on the line and the republicans just completely backed down, didn't even raise it. lindsey graham has a complete conversion, just playing lindsey graham back in 2015 and 2016 and lindsey graham now is pretty striking. >> claire, you are out of washington, d.c., you're back living among average americans in missouri, going to ball game and stuff like that and yesterday during this hearing, the st the sitting attorney general was asked if it's okay for the president of the united states to ask the white house counsel to lie and he really did not answer that question. so my question to you is as you go about your daily life back there at home, do you hear anything about this stuff from people when you're gross riff sh -- gross ricery shopping, putt
gas in your car, do you hear angst about what's going on in washington, d.c.? >> my perspective is little different than the average person because i'm recognized here in missouri and the people who are very upset with what's going on gravitate toward me. they grab me by the arm and say can you believe this is happening? but what you're saying is important. it's important for people to get out of the boubl r bubble and address the -- this is an incompetent administration in terms of getting things done. and congress -- congress is
needing a leader and he's incapable of that. all he wants to do is control a news cycle and have rallies. everyone need to get out of washington where everyone was sure that yesterday was the end and realize it needs to be the beginning of a discipline of message of building towards november of next year. >> well, that makes a lot of sense. i'll go to yamiche to clothes things off this block. especially since today we are looking ahead this morning in washington to william barr's lack of testimony before congress. we're actually going to stay on the air. they're going to gaffel it in. i believe there will be an empty chair because i guess he was so inscreensed or made to look so bad yesterday, who has decided not to show up today today and he doesn't want to take questions from lawyers. i lied to point out that dr. and
she put herself before congress and took questions and she showed up. but this guy can't. he's not showing up today. and that empty children will meat mean a lo and he's going to have to live with that. and history will not be kind. but now to my question, what is next today, yamiche? >> what's next is that we're going to have this hearing without billam bar? sources at the d.o.j. have beening it me as of a now is a hard noy doesn't want to tack in her exchange with william barr to understand why william barr likely wouldn't want to take questions from counsel because they're going to be asking very pointed, legal questions that might throw him off his game and
i think we're also going to see the democrats wanting to bring other players, including robert mueller now of course to the table to talk about that. but william barr's testimony is just a taste of what democrats will get in the house. so in front of the house because of the thanks that he said yesterday. >> "andrea mitchell reports" at 11:30. and two of our guests are calling for kamala harris is standing by and joins us next on "morning joe." d joins us next on "morning joe." all money managers might seem the same,
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illegal if you did it with a super pac, we know that. >> what information was shared? >> polling data was shared. it's in the report. i can cite you the page. >> you accepted the report as the evidence? >> yes. >> you did not question or look at the underlying evidence that supports the conclusions in the report? >> no. >> joining us now, the chairman of the house intelligence committee, adam schiff of california. it's good to have you with us. you called after that hearing for the resignation. attorney general. he's not going to do that i think we can agree, but what did you see in that room that made you call for that resignation? >> frankly what i saw even before the hearing prompting me to call for his resignation is he testified falsely before congress. after misleading people about what was in the robert mueller report, acting as a p.r. person for the president instead of the top law enforcement in the country, he was asked a direct
question by charlie crist and he testified falsely, deliberately and falsely. how can we have confidence in the top law enforcement officer in the land who does that. but if i needed any more reason, i certainly got it during the hearing and i think you have pointed out this morning the most dangerous thing the attorney general had to say and something that makes him every bit as unfit for office as the president and that is he gave content to his view that the president is above the law. if a president under investigation can do away with the investigation because he thinks it's unfair, then no president can be held accountable. any president can claim that any investigation is unfair. and particularly if you can't look into the president's corrupt motive, if you can't call them to account, if you can't subpoena them to answer questions, then they're effectively above the law. and, you know, i have to say if that's the view of the attorney general vis-a-vis the president,
it's probably the view of attorney general as to himself. could the attorney general be taken up on perjury charges for lying to congress? he would probably take the view that he could quash that case because he'd believe it to be unfair. that is a recipe for lawlessness. >> the attorney general saying if the president believes he's falsely accused, he could shut it down. most people always believe they're falsely accused but don't have the power to shut it down. let me ask you just about the top line of the mueller report, which is that in volume one the special counsel could not establish a conspiracy between the trump campaign and the russian government. do you see any reason to challenge that view? because people come out of that hearing yesterday, people defending president trump, many of the republican senators in that room and they say the bottom line here is the attorney general did put out the full report so everyone could see it and effectively the president is right when he says no collusion or to be more concise there was no conspiracy here. >> where the president is wrong and where the attorney general
is wrong is when they make the broader claim that there's no evidence of conspiracy. in fact, bob mueller as senator fine sfieinstein pointed out ma clear that the fact that he couldn't establish conspiracy doesn't mean there wasn't evidence of conspiracy and the most graphic evidence was around that meeting in new york. that is a lot less clear with someone like paul manafort, who is experienced in running presidential campaigns and it's hard to argue they didn't know better. but i do accept this, there is a very high burden to prove the elements of the crime of conspiracy, but what we need to look at still because we don't have any information really about this and this has the greatest potential to warp the policy of the united states in a pro-russia direction or a direction that may not be in our national interests and that is
what about the counterintelligence investigation into whether the president or people around him were compromised, whether it was criminal or not. and of course the most graphic illustration of that is moscow trump tower, which is discussed in the report and the fact that the president sought to make money in the country of a foreign adversary and get the help of the kremlin to do it while concealing it from the public. >> so do you disagree, then, mr. chairman, do you disagree with the special counsel, you do see evidence of a conspiracy? >> i don't think the special counsel would disagree with the fact there was evidence. but he couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt. this he also made clear in the report the justice department policy is not just whether there's evidence of a crime but can they prove beyond a reasonable doubt. and as i was saying before the report came out, that is really a separate question about whether the president's conduct amounts to collusion as most of the country understands it, i think it does but rather can the
prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. i don't question mueller's conclusion there but do i think we need to expose any evidence of compromise that could still affect the direction of the country. >> let's get back to attorney general barr and his testimony yesterday and his prior testimony on several other occasions before the house and the senate. let's stipulate that you are correct in your assessment of the attorney general's testimony that, he perjured himself, that he was misleading or whatever, and your call for impeachment. don't you think that the odds are overwhelmingly against the united states senate voting to convict attorney general barr and, therefore, why would you go forward with this? we have so much going on in terms of the helter skelter nature of the administration, the focus of congress onwhy wou this point? >> well, you know, to be clear, i haven't called for the impeachment of the attorney general. i do think he should step down but whether we should initiate
an impeachment proceeding that we know would be doomed to failure is a different question. i think we need to take the steps now that would lead to potential contempt hearing and vote in the house with respect to not just his failure to appear, but his failure to provide any of the information underlie the mueller report. you know, he may not think it's important to read the report apparently he doesn't. it's staggering that he's not even aware that there's evidence that the trump campaign's chairman was giving polling data to someone linked to russian intelligence and discussing the campaign strategy in the mid western states. no wonder he doesn't think there's evidence of conspiracy. he hasn't paid attention to the report so i do think we need to initiate the proceedings that could lead to holding him in contempt. we can do that without a vote in the senate and you know, we should make the strongest statement that these kind of acts of obstruction of congress, these declarations that the
president is above the law are contemptuous of the rule of law and so i think those are steps that we should begin. >> congressman, adam schiff, thank you very much for being on this morning. >> thank you. and coming up, we are moments away from senator kamala harris joining us live. we're also following a big develop in the the family separation story. the trump administration promised to reunite thousands of separated migrant children and parents at the border last year with the help of a central database, but msnbc got access to e-mails that show those promises to reconnect families were a lie. jacob joins us with that new reporting ahead. reporting ahead. when you rent from national...
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impression yesterday. >> yeah, you can tell she's been in the courtroom. you know, when you cross examine someone you want to get the point you're making in the question and the answer needs to be a yes or no. and she got that and she was very effective. i hope that others will emulate her going forward as we continue down this path of holding this administration accountable. and i will tell you, i was sad yesterday. i was depressed because as somebody who's spent a lot of time in the criminal justice system, you know, the hallmark of our country is that we have resisted politics being a part of a determination of the evidence in the application of the law in our justice system. our rule of law is the gold standard in the world. it's not perfect and we can always work to make it better, but compared to countries like china where bribery the is rule, compared to places where the december pits tell the judicial system what to do. what happened yesterday was
earth shattering in terms of the standards of this country and i hope that all of the people who are upset about it continue to focus on it and make sure the american people understand really what happened yesterday, that the attorney general of the united states said under oath to the united states senate that the president is above the law. >> well, and you said earth shattering. >> i'd agree. >> there's so much that can be said about what's happened over the past two and a half years, but you are right. there is someone that i know who actually said yesterday was of all the days of the trump administration was the most depressing, the most frightening, because you have now the attorney general of t attorney general of the united states of america who's going to spend the rest of the term to prove the president is above the law. william barr, the attorney
general of the united states does not believe anymore. >> we've got extended coverage of "morning joe" straight ahead. questions from kamala harris stumped william barr but president trump wasn't hearing any of it. >> he performed well today. >> kamala harris -- >> well, she was probably very nasty. >> senator in 2020 candidate kamala harris is standing by. she joins us in one minute. stay she joins us in one minute i did. and i didn't have to come get you. because you didn't have another heart attack. not today. you took our conversation about your chronic coronary artery disease to heart. even with a stent procedure, your condition can get worse over time and keep you at risk of blood clots. so you added xarelto® to help keep you protected. xarelto® - a blood thinner approved by the fda -
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to learn more about cost and how janssen can help, visit xarelto.com if in fact a proceedsing was not well grounded, if it was based on false allegations the president does not have to sit there constitutionally and allow it to run its course. the president could terminate that proceeding and it would not be a corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused. >> attorney general william barr testifying under oath before congress. it sure had a familiar ring to it. >> when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal. >> if in fact a proceeding was not well founded, if it was a groundless proceeding, if it was
based on false allegations, the president does not have to sit there constitutionally and allow it to run its course. the president could terminate that proceeding and it would not be a corrupt intent because he was being falsely accused. >> that means that it is not illegal. >> so what you just heard there, you actually had the attorney general of the united states saying that now this form this form of goovernment that we hav had for years where there's checks and balances, where there's a judiciary and a legislative branch that check it is executive because our founders feared the rise of a tyrant, they feared the rise of a new king, barr just said that the president of the united states could act as judge and as
jury. and if the president decided that an investigation against him was not -- not fair, he could -- he could end that investigation. that is, we need to be careful about using certain terms but that is un-american. and for the editors of conservative journals that are defending barr, i don't have to call you a hypocrite. i don't have to call talk radio carnival barkers hypocrites. i don't have to call certain prime time cable news tv yakkers hypocrites. all i have to do is look at your editorials during the barack obama administration, maybe pull up a couple of clips of you from
the -- other people have done it of course and you look like total fools, by the way. speeches, i can pull up speeches from then. look at poor lindsey graham. like a lot of these carnival workers they're still torn not between barack obama and president but they're torn between donald trump and donald trump. they are saying today what only donald trump and a few sick fans close to him were saying a few years ago but you go back and listen to their talk radio and look at their twitter feeds and listen to their attacks against donald trump. what are they saying? they were saying then what we're saying today and yet we're being hysterical? no. >> it was pretty ominous. >> and trust me, two years from now, you will be saying the same
thing again and please give me a moment of personal privilege here. because i remember from 2005 to 2008, actually from 2003 to 2008, criticizing george w. bush for being a big government republican. criticizing him in his second term for military adventurism. oh, i was cast from the party. i wasn't sufficiently loyal. oh, you're a rhino, joe. and then george bush leaves town and what happens? suddenly, the same jackassas started saying the same thing. well, george bush was in power. so do i have to even complete this thought? because you know where i'm going. because the very things that you said before donald trump was in power, you're going to say when
donald trump is out of power. save the state. i'm an old guy. i'm 56 years old. i've been in washington since i was about 30. i've seen these cycles. i've seen democrats defend bill clinton until they're red in the face and then suddenly, aawakening occurs and suddenly bill clinton, he's a horrible man. while they went to the mat for him when he was in power. same thing with george w. bush. how dare you, you're not a -- i remember a friend of mine who was a preacher having to counsel his friends in northwest florida and his parishioners that you could still believe in the salvation of jesus christ, our lord and savior while still
opposing george w. bush's policies. that was a regular occurrence. george bush is out of power, and suddenly the halo, it's removed from above his head. and just two years later the tea party is running against whom? george w. bush. donald trump goes to south carolina, he runs against whom? george w. bush. so i don't say this because i take this personally when you make a fool of yourself, because i must tell you, i'm holding four as here. doesn't matter what the fifth card is. i'm holding four as. i know that when all the cards are laid in the middle of the table and donald trump is either in jail or back in mar-a-lago, i know what you're going to say. so start hue mimiliating yourse.
there's more on the line than donald trump's year and a half left in the presidency. there's a constitution of the united states. why don't you start focusing more on protecting and defending the constitution of the united states than a life long democrat who switched to being a republican when he figured out racism would help him win the republican nomination. that's all i got to say. >> perfect segway. thank you, honey. let's bring in democratic senator of california and 2020 presidential president kamala harris. joe said a lot right there and i want to bring it down. >> you're a pair, i love it. >> it's okay. i mean, it was pretty painful watching yesterday but you did a great job. but the attorney general does not seem like he's going to resign. i know you think that's what he should do. he's not going anywhere.
he's not even coming to congress today to answer those questions. so what are the implications of this? >> happy birthday, mika. the implications are serious and you know, just to kind of emphasize the points that joe was making, i agree with you, joe. this is a moment that is testing the beauty of the design that our founders created for our democracy. three independent equal branches of government and a free independent press and we're getting beat up a little but i'd say the house is still standing and we're still intact. but this point does highlight the importance of the role of the united states congress for those checks and balances and he must go before not only the united states senate which he did yesterday, barr, but he's got to go to jerry nadler's committee and i support whatever they need to do to get him there, because we designed and the framers designed our
democracy anticipating a day like today when we would need to make sure that each coindependent and coequal and independent branch holds each other accountable and there's still a lot of questions for barr to answer. i support that and i'm calling for the officers inspector general to investigate what's going on in the justice department, because clearly we have an attorney general of the united states who is not conducting himself with the people in mind. he thinks of himself as being the attorney for the president and on an issue such as obstruction of justice, potentially by the president of the united states, if we don't have a neutral actor in the attorney general then somebody else is going to have to act. >> so kamala, my concern is obviously we're all concerned about what happened yesterday. okay? but you understand they're circling the wagons. what i'm actually more concerned about is that we have an attorney general who is -- has
such corrupt interests, who will do anything to protect the president of the united states and i'm not as concerned about how that impacts this investigation. i'm concerned how that impacts the decision whether to move forward with investigations whether it's in the southern district of new york or whether it's in the -- in your former district in northern california, the -- the ability for this corruption to actually be toxic and the entire justice system could be devastating. how do you protect americans from that happening? >> well, joe, for that very reason i'm calling on the office of inspector general to investigate what's going on in the justice department. because we do want to ensure that those various u.s. attorneys and those offices around the country, that they are able to act in the best interest of justice and not be concerned that they may lose their jobs because they have a
biased boss in the attorney general. we have to make sure that those 14 cases are pursued based on the facts and the evidence and not some agenda that this attorney general has to clearly cover up for this president in terms of his misdeeds so that's one -- that is one lever that we have. and the other is, there are very strong and career prosecutors in those offices and i have to believe that -- and i've actually seen it happen that they'll quit before they'll do the bidding of somebody who has something other than the interest of justice in mind. >> good to see you this morning as always. you said yesterday, quote, i feel the attorney general intentionally mischaracterized the report. i believe he's intentionally misleading congress. >> yeah. >> the attorney says look, in my initial summary i laid out the two conspiracies and also that it did not recommend prosecution on the question of obstruction
of justice although it found many instances of it. so where do you see the attorney general misleading intentionally congress and the american public. >> i'd ask you to just look at bob mueller's letter from march 27th and you can see that the person who actually did review the evidence which is bob mueller, not barr is aware that the characterization by this attorney general was not accurate. and so we don't need to go beyond that. there is clear indication that this attorney general is not only biased, not only clearly had a motive to try and spin a story before the american people could see the report, but bob mueller, the characterization of this attorney general was not accurate and was misleading. >> i think most people agree at this point that bob mueller should sit and answer questions. >> yes. >> do you believe that's the case and if so, do you think he'll do it?
will he sit before your panel or one in the house? >> i believe he should. i strongly believe he should because again, we have now seen several displays by barr that suggests to all of us that we cannot trust him to give us the truth in an unbiased way and i believe the only person who actually is equipped and desires to actually pursue justice in this whole deal is bob mueller. you know, willie, the way that i look at it, it was interesting when barr was talking about conflicts of interest. right? the conflict of interest i see is this. the president has an interest in obstructing justice, bob mueller has an interest in pursuing justice. that's the conflict of interest. and every day of the week i think we're going to side with the person who wants to pursue justice as opposed to the one who wants to obstruct justice. >> yesterday watching the hearing i saw the former district attorney of san francisco in the dock questioning a witness, happened to be bill barr, the attorney
general of the united states. i also saw senator asking the same attorney general the following question. do you think it's okay for the white house -- for the president of the united states to ask the white house counsel to lie? so my question to you is in addition to bob mueller coming before the committee, can you get don mcgahn before the committee even though the committee chairman lindsey graham has said, that's it, we're done. >> listen, i mean, here's the sad reality of things. right? we don't control the senate. we are not in the majority and that's why elections matter and i would urge everyone to not only in 2020 pay attention to the race for president, pay attention to the senate races, let's take back the senate. so we don't control the committee, but we can put pressure and we can ask the american public to put pressure on those who lead these committees to say, listen, we as the american public deserve to know the truth and don mcgahn is one of these people who can help
supply the truth and clear up this matter. >> so let me ask you a following question about the pressure. your life as a road warrior running for president of the united states. the names bill barr, don mcgahn, russia, obstruction, how often do they come up in your conversations with american people? >> it does not come up often as a specific matter but i will tell you this. i will tell you that everywhere i go when we talk about the fact that as a general matter most americans are feeling a great level of distrust in their government and it its institutions and leaders, heads nod across the board and this is why one of the reasons why people are failing to trust the integrity of our government when they see displays like this. it may not wake them up in the middle of the night. it may not be what they're worrying about at midnight but it is having an impact on the integrity of our democracy and
people's faith in the integrity of our democracy and i'll add another point. in our country every day of the week people are walking through courthouse doors be it a state court or federal court. people are walking in federal courts every day having been charged, being prosecuted, being sentenced for evidence that is much less than the evidence in this case. and it is also a matter then, what we are facing is a matter of -- the question about the integrity of our criminal justice system and who if they're in power gets leniency and those who are not empowered don't. so there are very real ramifications and i think people are feeling it even if it's not something they're debating you know, at the kitchen table. >> i want to ask you about two specific interactions of yours yesterday that got some attention with the attorney general. one related to where you got him to acknowledge that he had not looked at the underlying evidence in making his assessment of the obstruction
matter, and the second where you had a fascinating exchange with him but ultimately one that didn't yield a lot of clarity on the question of whether he's been asked or whether has been suggestions made to him about investigating particular persons by the white house. tell me about those two exchanges and what you were driving at beyond the obvious and what you feel like you learned from them, what you took away from them and what the meaning of those two things and the significance are of those two exchanges that got so much attention. >> well, as a former prosecutor and a former attorney general of a state of 40 million people, one of the most important things that i took away from it is that this guy doesn't take his job seriously. you cannot be the attorney general of the united states of america where your responsibility is to do the work of justice and you declare in front of television cameras about -- you make statements
about a case and you purport to be familiar with the evidence when you make these statements and guess what? it turns out he didn't even look at the evidence. there is evidence that is about witness testimony. there is evidence that is about fbi interviews. there is testimony about public statements by the president and others. he didn't review any of the evidence because listen, guys, that report, that 400 plus page report, that is a report. it is not evidence. and he bases an opinion on whether the president of the united states obstructed justice based on a report? so what i took away from it is that this guy doesn't take his job seriously or he doesn't appreciate the significance of the job. it is a job that comes with it an incredible amount of power and it should be -- it should be conducted with the highest level of integrity. if we are going to sustain any belief that the american public
much less our allies or enemies around the world have in the strength of our democracy, he has contributed to weakening our standing in the world, but there are so many implications for barr's performance in the -- on this matter. and that's what i took away from his testimony yesterday, but it's what i've been taking away from his performance frankly since his confirmation hearing. >> but you know, that moment where he said he didn't even read the underlying evidence does -- that -- that actually echos around the world as you just mentioned. politics just some breaking news. there were six u.s. senators running for president including you. there are now seven. michael bennett has jumped in officially. strength in numbers but i want to go back. >> the water is warm. >> it is. it's great. i'm glad you're running. i want to go back to the point you were making because our place in the world is being
diminished. i mean, i don't know how anybody walks awa way from yesterday's testimony by the attorney general who's now not showing up today and we will be on the air showing that empty seat symbolically, a man who can't take a couple of questions from a couple of low level lawyers even though for example say, dr. christine ford put herself through all those questions. bill barr can't take it because he couldn't answer basic questions yesterday and you proved him to be an attorney general who does not do his job. who made a pronunciation about the president's so-called innocence or whatever when it comes to collusion and obstruction, he made a pronunciation about that without even reading the underlying evidence. this is like law school 101. >> and his number two -- and i asked him, did your number two. no. did anyone in your executive
staff? no. none of them. >> that's not america. that's a different country. that's a country that we don't want to be a part of and that's the part where i think this does boil down to krumgs corruption highest level of america and the question is how will congress push back? how will congress use the constitution and the boundaries and the guardrails that are supposed to be there? because we keep letting this happen. like the president gets subpoenas and he says no, i won't -- i won't offer the information. what is congress going to do to push back in a meaningful way to show the guardrails exist here in america? >> well, i'm very much looking forward to what's going to happen out of the house judiciary committee. i think that they are clearly not going to lay down on this. i think jerry nadler is going to be very forceful in his pursuit of the truth and his pursuit of what should be appropriate consequences for failure to do
the job that for example the attorney general has failed to do. and so i have some confidence that it's going to happen there. i don't know that it's going to happen in the senate. >> senator, it's willie again. these are important and fundamental questions about our country but unfortunately all the talk about russia and bill yam barr crowds out some policy issues you've been talking about on the campaign trail and i think one that's worth exploring is your idea to raise teacher pay by an average of $13,000 a year. >> that's right. >> on a visceral level most americans would support that. can you talk about your plan and you would implement it? >> i think all could have a similar story. my first grade teacher attended my law school graduation. >> wow. >> i think all of us could have a similar story of some teacher in our life who convinced us we were special. we weren't particularly special but they told us we were and we believed them and it put us on
the path to you know, having this conversation right now. and so what's been going on is this. i've been traveling the country. i can't tell you the number of teachers i've met working two, sometimes three jobs. 94% of the teachers come out of their own pocket to help pay for school supplies. teachers are paid on average 11% less than similarly college educated professionals and it's untenable and it's unconscionable. so i suggest federal investment in teacher pay and the gap is $13,500 a year. it's a year's worth of mortgage payments. it's a year's worth of groceries. it's putting a significant dent in student loan debt which is one of the greatest barriers to our students not pursuing teaching even though that is their dream and passion because they simply can't afford to live on that salary.
so i'm very excited about it and you know, look, i think that we have to speak truths and part of the truth is that we have not been investing in our public education system and it is to our collective demise and i would also say that i think you can judge a society based on how it treats its children. and on this we are not doing the right thing, but we have the opportunity to do it. >> all right. senator kamala harris, it is great to have you on. >> thank you guys. happy birthday, mika, enjoy the day. >> thank you, i will. >> thank you so much. always great to see you. thank you for your service to this country. so a lot to go over right here. yesterday, if you look, it was certainly a day that a lot of people were seeing what kamala harris was made of, cory booker,
cu klobuchar and others. you have mayor on the cover of "time" magazine with his husband this week and you have -- there it is. first family. and you of course have joe biden skyrocketing in the polls and now michael bennett, very impressive senator from colorado jumping into the race. how does he impact this race and the swirl of activity that is the democratic primary field? >> well, look, i mean, michael bennett is an impressive guy. he's a smart guy. he certainly fills in addition to being yet another senator, he's a guy that in the side logical spectrum of the party occupies a place that's more on the moderate part of the party. he's been a pro business, has a business background himself
before his career in public service, someone who brings in an attentiveness to the -- to the business part of the democratic coalition and will be seen as a moderate. there are some things that distinguish him from hickenlooper, but he also got a lot of attention ft we saw that video right now in that piece that we have here of him giving that speech on the senate floor that a lot of progressives who had not been big fans of michael bennett saw and said man, this guy can really uncork a barn burning speech. that was two months ago on the senate floor and a lot of people paid attention to that as a breakout moment for him. there was questions about whether or not he would run. he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. he quickly said his prognosis
seemed pretty good so him getting in is not a huge surprise. i think it's possible this field is not yet fleet. the governor of montana is someone who is still out there and potentially is definitely weighing the race and some say could get in in the middle of this month. that would probably be the last candidate to enter the democratic race and so you'd be close to two dozen which is a whole lot of candidates for a democratic voters to try to sort out, but that -- and the main thing that michael bennett brings to the race is another person who are trying to sort this giant field out yet another person to try to get to grips with as they grapple with what's going to be a very unruly democratic nomination fight. >> well, you know, i wrote a "washington post" column on michael bennett talking about how extraordinarily impressive he was. mika and i both, when we
interviewed steve on set were really impressed with the governor. loved him. i'm surprised he's waited this long to get in. this was always part of his plan to wait for the session to end and -- in montana and then jump into the race and so i suppose that session is coming to an end and perhaps there will be time, but there's a lot of sorting to get through here. >> so many candidates. >> i've got to say a lot of really exceptional candidates on the democratic side and mika, i have no doubt that this will yield the strongest -- strongest candidate to run against donald trump. >> hoping. still ahead on "morning joe," live pictures from capitol hill as the house judiciary committee is set to begin a hearing without the key witness. there is an empty seat with attorney william barr's name on it we'll be covering that live as the democratic chairman, congressman jerry nadler considers whether he'll issue a
subpoena at some point to compel the a.g. to testify. plus, the white house has rejected the house oversight committee's request for security clearance documents. we'll talk to a member of the committee about that ahead on "morning joe." t that ahead on "morning joe." with all that usaa offers why go with anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us. it was an instant savings and i should have changed a long time ago. we're the tenney's and we're usaa members for life. call usaa to start saving on insurance today.
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take control of your wifi with xfinity xfi. let's roll! now that's simple, easy, awesome. xfinity xfi gives you the speed, coverage and control you need. manage your wifi network from anywhere when you download the xfi app today. president trump ended his family separation policy at the southern border on june 20th, 2000 sl and three days later the department of homeland security issued a fact sheet that read, the united states government knows the location of all children in its custody and is working to reunite them with their families. however, according to exclusive e-mails now obtained by nbc news, the administration had only enough information to reunite 60 parents separated from their children. good morning to you both. jacob, let me start with you
because we heard about this quote, central database that homeland security knew exactly where the families were and this shows the opposite was true. >> not only incompetence but untruthfulness when it comes to what was happening behind the scenes at the height of the family separation crisis. this was right after the president signed the executive order. they're assuring everybody there's a database to get everybody back together but the e-mails we obtained basically say that is not the case at all. it was a scrambling panic, but when you think about the fact that you have an official from health and human services e-mails ice and someone says we only have information on 60. i mean, that is a crisis in real
time. i want to read to you a little bit. today he's the acting head of immigration and customs enforcement. back then he was simply the head of their enforcement and removal operations. when he gets this e-mail he writes down saying you don't have the information on the parents? and this is how hhs replies. in short, no. we don't have any linkages to kids, we have a list of parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children. and so again, this just more evidence, documentary evidence, this we're seeing for the first time that the trump administration never had a plan when it took those thousands of children away from their parent to get them back together. >> we have no way to link them to the children. in other words, these kids and their parents were out blowing in the wind and these people in the government had no idea how to get them back together. so what went into the idea of a central database that public spin we heard, jacob?
did donald trump approve it and who came up with it? >> the fact sheet came from the dv department of homeland security but the office of refuge settlement. the department of justice, and the trump administration were all involved in basically putting out this messages. yesterday when i went to the department of homeland security to talk about this they insist there was a database and you know what? that's fine. there very well may have been a database but there is no true database without any data inside that database to make it effect yul and to get these children back together. the reality is, because they systematically separated children in the a way that has never been done before, the system wasn't designed to put them back together. that's something we heard over and over again. the administration denies that the plan was to not put children back together and the new acting head of homeland security said
to lester holt the other day over the weekend that the intent was always to reunite the families. but when you read these e-mails it sure doesn't seem that way. >> they had no way to reunite those families because they didn't know where they were. you've stayed on it right from the beginning. so what is the state right now of family separation? how many kids are out there without their parents? >> very important to remember that 55 kids from this time period, the zero tolerance period are in still some form of government security. and that doesn't include the thousands that were separated before the zero tolerance policy and we don't know who they are or where they are and that's because they did not keep track of the children that they separated and it was more egregious before the policy was put into place. they had 60 that they were keeping records on, but before that point thousands more are
out there and still to this day, they basically have six months. the clock is ticking because the judge ordered that they figure out what happened to them and make sure that they're back together with their families. >> thanks so much for your reporting. we appreciate it. so this is a story that's not going away. the big rush of media attention and political attention may have come and gone, this is still going on. there's still kids without their parents at the border. >> he's done remarkable reporting on it from the beginning. i think when you go back to when the story first broke, the common perception was that part of the reason they couldn't reunite children when they were trying to because of rank incompetence, that they didn't have a place in for it. there is a case and a thinking inside the administration that actually separating children from their parents is a deterrent to immigration. and that there are elements in
the administration that have not only fine with this, but actually for it and i think we could see some of that coming forward, even advocating for continued separation. >> let's turn now to a member of the house oversight committee. democratic congressman r ro khanna. we want to start with what you saw yesterday before the senate judiciary committee with the attorney general testifying on capitol hill about the mueller report and his handling of it. you called for the attorney general to resign. why? >> he's lying to the american people. on the one hand he''s saying that bob mueller is blaming the press. on the other hand he's admitting that bob mueller should have
called him, that bob mueller wrote him a letter because of mischaracterizations on his report. our founders had a word for people like bill barr. they called them people who tried to get to personal gain. we need people in that office who care about the truth. >> yesterday was clearly important, the dialog back and forth, the questions answered, the unanswered questions. but we just had jay sob cob on, talking about human beings here and at least 55 children right now, the united states government is running an orphanage caught at the border and it continues to be really unaddressed. what are we going to do about a situation like that? >> it's unconscionable. we track amazon packages in this country better than the trump
administration has tracked those young kids. the oversight committee is working on getting information because as the reporting has shown, there's still thousands of kids in this country who have not been reunited with their parents. and i agree, people like steven miller and others, this is intentional cruelty. they want to have a quote unquote deterrent impact and they are fine with separating these kids. it's one of the most shameful chapters in our history. >> i want to go back to the question of the attorney general who in addition to his performance yesterday which infuriated a lot of democrats has now taken the step to say he will not appear today in the house. he's defying that subpoena that he appear and defying other subpoenas. the totality of the tone walling on related to the mueller report and related matters is now complete. so what do democrats do in the face of that? what are the next steps and how
can you effectively try to break through that stone wall. >> we need to subpoena him, but let's be clear about why bill barr isn't coming to the committee. he is afraid of a special counsel or a qualified lawyer asking him questions. i'd be afraid too if i were him because he has likely perjured himself. every american remembers that when dr. christine ford was questioned, the republicans had a special expert lawyer asking her questions. no one said that that wasn't allowed. so why should it be not allowed now for the attorney general? he is under serious risk of perjury and that's why he's not appearing but a court is going to order him to appear. >> play this out. if a court orders him to appear and he defies the court order what do you believe the house should do and if he defies their action then, are you for impeaching this man? >> i don't think he can defy a
court order. i mean, literally he would be in contempt of court and then would be subject to law enforcement. i do think if he goes to that extreme we should have impeachment hearings. anyone in his position ordinarily would resign but this is someone who covered up iran can tra, there's no shame there and the real tragedy, our justice department had some extraordinary attorney generals. when i was growing up as a law school student, i used to revere the role of turn general and bill barr is sullying that office. >> all right. democrat of california, thanks for being with us this morning. >> thank you for having me on. >> many people saw nixon parallels in william barr's testimony yesterday. tom brokaw gins us next with that part of the story and we will have live coverage of the judiciary hearings at the top of
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we saw some clear nixon parallels in attorney general barr's testimony yesterday. tom brokaw is standing by for thoughts on that, but first, tom is back from paris and bridges us this first hand looks at the effects of the fire at the notre dame cathedral. >> i wanted to see the damage to notre dame for myself because it's always had a special place in my heart. in the mid-1960s we came to paris for the first time and had dinner at a small cafe near here, but the most memorable trip came in the spring of 1974. the state funeral for french president which brought leaders from around the world and among them richard nixon, president of the united states who was in the midst of watergate.
for instance phillip of great britain. the chancellor of germany, i was taken by a priest to to the very top of notre dame and i had the most striking view you could imagine of that great cathedral and once in a lifetime experience of seeing fellow leaders from around the world mourning the passage of a french president. richard nixon sat in a front pew and we could only imagine what he must have been thinking. >> president nixon began a series of talks shortly after the memorial services by walking to the meeting with the interim president of france. his appearance on the street was a surprise and so were the discussions. this evening his chief of staff, general alexander hague told reporters that it is very difficult for the european leaders that it is very difficu to conceive of impeachment. and if anything came out of the weekend, it is that american leadership and participation in world affairs are vital. nonetheless, richard nixon would
be gone from the white house within four months. but america's values and standing in the world would remain. >> tom, we saw president nixon in your piece there which brings us to yesterday's hearing with attorney general barr. you spoke of america's values surviving the worst of watergate, the worst of richard nixon. what are your thoughts about what you saw yesterday? >> well, there was a sharp difference between what we saw yesterday and what we went through at that time. obviously in the summer before during the water gate hearings, there was a kind of, if you will, very clear case for all that had been done by the nixon men. and he was trying to push back gentsz th against that. but he could do it because we didn't have 24/7 coverage. everyone looking at him wherever he was around the world. there was a time if you will for a little more reflection.
the people who were working for him were a very small core at that point. alexander hague, ron zeigler and others. they thought that they could win with the saturday night massacre and that turned against them. people also forget that richard nixon during the midst of all this saved israel. it was invaded by syria and egy egypt. but it was never possible for him to escape his role in watergate. he would always not confess to it, he would say presidential privilege. my opportunity is to say to the american people we have to protect some things. but eventually of course the court ruled against him and he was gone as i say four months later. the other thing i thought yesterday, by t he way, is that great cathedral took a very hard hit. it will be restored. but at the same time, it is the symbol of catholic church and that church is in great turmoil.
and there is other turmoil around the world. so we are living during chaotic time. >> tom brokaw, thank you. >> thank you so much. we hope you'll come back very soon. we fear, mika, we'll have a lot more to talk about, parallels between what happened in '73 and '74 and what will be happening over the next two years. >> and we're not done yet this morning. the a.p.'s jonathan lemire and kasie hunt both join the conversation ahead of the house judiciary committee's hearing that will have an empty chair. attorney general bill barr choosing not to show up today. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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"wow, maybe i'll glow too if i book direct at choicehotels.com". who glows? just say, badda book. badda boom. book now at choicehotels.com the job of the justice department is now over. everyone can decide for themselves. there is an election in 18 months. it is a very democratic process. but we're out of it and we a to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon. >> complaints with congressional subpoenas is not optional and if good faith negotiations don't result in the 34re7b8g of compliance in the next day or two, the next step is seeking a contempt citation against the attorney general. first thing is forget the unredacted report and we will negotiate on that for another day or two and if necessary -- remember, that was subpoenaed. if necessary, go for a ckoconte
citation shortly thereafter. and we will also start a process to get attorney general barr -- >> usually we give our final thoughts of the morning around this time, but today the news is just getting going. and these are live pictures from capitol hill where william barr will not be showing up to testify before the house judiciary commit tir tee as pla. it follows a bitter standoff over where the a.g. could be questioned by staffers. in addition to members of congress. it sets the stage for house democrats to potentially subpoena him in what could spark a legal battle with the trump administration. >> it is fascinating that the top lawyer in the land, the attorney general, is fearful of taking questions from lawyers. >> after yesterday, he couldn't take questions from democrats in the senate, kamala harris who
obviously has a very great legal background and knowledge. attorney general of the state of california. and she asked him basic questions and he was stumped. he had a lot ss of words and at times he said he didn't know because the answer was clearly yes. >> it would have been much more helpful that he would have said excuse me, i'm trying not to answer your question while avoiding future perjury charges. maybe we should is have just had a flashing light in front of his testimony all day yesterday. let's bring in jonathan lemire. and we have john heilemann and jessica yellin still along with us as well. jonathan lemire, despite what we think of william barr's terrible performance, your reporting even yesterday, that the white house was very pleased as were other
allies of donald trump on the hill. >> that's right. and first of all, happy birthday mika. >> thank you. >> there are tvs throughout the west wing tuned to the hearings. this president's administration is very mindful of immediamedia coverage. one tv in particular in the private dining area we're told was on the hearings all day, the president watched in the residence before coming down to work and between meetings kept it 00. and told people later that he was very pleased. he met with several senators later in the day. he talked to allies on the phone as the day went on. and said a few things in particular, that he really admired his combative stance with democrats, that he thought he gave it back to them when they really pressed. he has told people that finally after being so disappointed with attorney general 1ye6 sessijeff who let's remember was one of his most loyal campaign surrogates but committed the cardinal sichb betrayal by recusing himself from the russia
probe even though he believed he had the legal rate and responsibility to do so. but the president never for gave him and raged against him that sessions never had his back. he longed for those loyal to the president. and now at least he has an attorney general that will have his back that will support him and demonstrated that yesterday in front of the congress and then today by not appearing in front of congress. >> kasie hunt is getting wired up for us right now. of course host of kcdc. set the stage. we're about a minute out we're told from the initial gavel. you have the democratic chairman jerry nadler giving an opening statement first and then interestingly doug collins the ranking republican on that committee of georgia who has
said that will jim bbarr should up, that nadler has tore pea -- torpedoed this session. what will it looks like? >> reporter: yet another example of the shear bipartisan on display and how republicans are essentially defending william barr. normally getting a cabinet official to show up at a hearing would be a bipartisan affair, both sides interested in forcing that person to actually show up and answer questions from congress. not the case today. the argument and officially why william bar is not here today is because they wanted to let lawyers ask him questions, they wanted lawyers from both sides of the aisle, republican and democratic to at the conclusion of members' questioning be able to ask bill barr? questions to try to nail him down on some things. there are a couple theories so why this was not okay with barr. i think it was pete williams or perhaps an analyst used the word that in the view of william
barr, these lawyers are pip squeaks. he's the attorney general, why should he allow these lawyers to be able to question him. but on the other hand i think you saw the effectiveness of having questions from seasoned lawyers who know how to conduct this kind of pressured questioning. kamala harris was a great example. i saw her on the program earlier. she is one who used veteran techniques across examination as a former prosecutor to yield new information and put barr on the spot. so that is also kind of a potential risk for the attorney general. but either