tv Meet the Press MSNBC October 6, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
parkinson's, he's still moving around the h country. they saw much worse than what i saw. and what you see, and kept fighting, and kept moving, and that's why weov were able to ma some progress. we should never forget, it may be dark, but it's been darker than this. hold yourth light up and take ay the darkness. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here next saturday, 5:00 p.m. eastern. up next, "meet the press" with chuck todd. this sunday, a democracy in crisis. >> i have an actual obligation. >> a president trump says out ld what democrats have been accusinge him of doing, pressuring ukraine to conduct investigations that would help him politically. >> i would think if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into thema bidens. >> and then says china should, too. >> slikewise, china should sta an investigation into the bidens. >> there's no evidence of
wrongdoing by biden, and he pushes back.bi >> all this talk of the president about corruption comes fromt the most corrupt preside we have had in modern history. >> asod democrats move forward with their impeachment inquiry. >> we're not fooling around here. >> most republicans defend mr. trump. >>an nothing criminal about it, nothing impeachable about it. >> while some remain cautious. >> the president isin going to y what the president p is going t do. >> my guest this morning, the bipartisan senate pair who were leading advocates of aid to ukraine. republican ron johnson of wisconsin and democrat chrisoh murphysi of connecticut. >> also, former cia director john brennan. plus, the bernie sanders heartlu attack. his health, how it could impact the race, and it's a reminder that all of the leading candidates are in their 70s. joining me for insight and analysis are nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker, rich lowry, editor of national review, o. kaye henderson, director of the iowa
radio network, and rick stengel. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." >> from nbc news in washington, the longestc running show in television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. >> good sunday morning. i made the point earlier this week thatoi a national nightmar is upon us. it's not something i said lightly or say it now. but the stability of our democracy is at stake. it's ay moment that so many people, t including donald trums republican primary opponents, predicted would happen, and now it's upon us. in less than threew weeks we movedee from a simple "washingt post" story in which a complaint by a whistleblower said president trump was pressuring ukraine to investigate joe biden. to oethursday, when president trump said himself out loud, yes, ukraine, and for that matter, china, should investigatein biden. in other words, you're darn right i didin it, there's nothi wrong it, and i'm doing it again. what are you, i' going to do ab it? this is where we t are.
the president of thes united states calling on foreign governments, plural, to help him in nextl, year's election. house democratsar are now all b certain to impeach himent. senate republicans perhaps are all butli certain to acquit him. a country more divided against itself than any at point in our lifetime. perhaps every member of congress would do well to heed the words of kurt volker. here's what he said in his opening statement. at some stage found myself faced with a choice, to be aware of aho problem and to ignore itr rather to accept it was my responsibility to try to fix it. >> what exactly did you hope zelensky would do?d >> i would think that if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the bidens. >> the president repeating his unprecedented request of a foreign h power to investigate politicalto opponent. this time inl public. >> inlikewise, china should sta an investigation into the
bidens. because what happened to china is just about as bad as what happened with ukraine. >> the evidence that the president has solicited foreign help to discredit his political opponents and directed his attorney general to do soan as well is piling up. >> president has confessed to his violation of his oath of office. right there, then and there. >> explosive newly released text messages made clear that military aid for ukraine and a trip to washington were conditioned on ukraine's commitment to investigate biden and the origins of am mueller probe. july 19th, kurt volker texts gordon sondland, a top trump donor. had breakfast with rudy this morning. most important is for zelensky to say he will help investigation. july 25th,ll minute before that trump/zelensky phone call, volcker texts a zelensky aide. heard from the white house.
assuming he will help investigate, quote, get to the bottom of what happened, end quote, in the bottom of 2016, we will nail down date for trip to washington. after aid is frozen, bill taylor, the top diplomat to ukraine objects. as i said on the phone, i think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. a few hours later, sondland respond in a much more formal manner. i believe you are incorrect about president trump's intentions. the president has been crystale clear. no quid pro quos of any kind. when a key republican senator, ron johnson, heard from sondland that the money's release was contingent on an investigation, he says he called president trump on c august 31st who told him expletive, no way, i would never do that. who told you that? >> all this talk of the president about corruption comes frompr the most corrupt preside we have had in modern history. he's the definition of corruption. >> most congressional republicans sore far have been supportive f of the president, been silent, or simply
deflected. >> i don't mpknow. that's a real request or him just needling the press knowing you were goingdl to get out rag by it. >> i can say yea, nae, the president is going to say what he's going to do. >> mitt's romney spoke out, tweeting bymn all appearances, e president's brazen and unprecedented appeal to china andap ukraine to investigate jo biden is wrong and appalling. i'm now joined by two members of the senate foreign relations committee who have spent a lot of time working on military aid to ukraine. i'm going to begin our discussion with senator ron johnson.it welcome back to "meet the press," sir. >> good morning, chuck. >> let me start with something you told the "wall street journal" late last week. you had said when mr. sondland, gordon sondland seemed to imply that the frozen military aid was connected to a promise by zelensky for investigations, you said at that suggestion, i winced. my reaction was, oh, god. i don't want to see those two
things combined. why did you witness? and what did you mean by those two things combined? >> well, first of all, your centerpiece was typically very unbiased. letve me first, before i start answering all the detailed questions, let me talk about why i'm pretty sympathetic with what president trump has goneet through. i am 64 years old. i have never seen a president after being elected having some measure of well wishes from his opponents. i never saw an administration be sabotaged from the day after the election. iay have never seen no measure honeymoon whatsoever. and so what president trump has had to endure, a false accusation, by the way, you have john brennan on. you ought to ask director brennan, what did peter strzok mean when he texted lisa page -- >> senator -- >> no, chuck. let me finish. >> what does this have to do with ukraine -- scorned and -- >> what does this have to do
with ukraine? >> it has everything to do with ukrai ukraine. listen. our sisters have begun leaking like mad. they're kicking into overdrive. that was december 15th, six days before that is when you first started hearing the w cia leaki about russia supporting the trump campaign. there's -- that why trump was so upset. he had this false narrative that resulted in him being set up by james comey on january 16th. then, he has the special house appointed that has hampered his entire -- his entire administration. and now, once he's been -- that was proven false, he would like to know, and i would like to know, and i know his supporters would like to h know, where did this all come from? who planted that false story? >> senator -- >> i have -- i have my third letter into the inspector general -- >> senator -- >> asking to just confirm, just to confirm are you investigating those leaks that peter strzok talked about in the text messages to lisa page. >> i have no idea -- >> that's a setup.
it's entirely relevant to this point. >> why a fox news conspiracy propaganda stuff is popping up on here, i have no idea. i have no idea why we're going here. senator, i'mng asking about -- >> underlining exactly why president trump is upset and his supporters are upset at the news media. >> this is not aboutth the medi. senator johnson, senator johnson, please, can we please answer the question that i asked you instead of trying to make donald trump feel better here that you're not criticizing him. i'm just trying to ask you a simple question of what made you wince? what is -- i'm asking a simple question about you clearly were upset that somehow there was an implication that military aid wasat being frozen because the president wanted an investigation. why did you wince? >> because i didn't want those connected. and i was supporting the aid, as is senator murphy, as is everybody who went to the initial inauguration.
here's the salient point of why i cameoi forward, when i asked e president about enthat, he completely denied it, adamantly, angrily denied it, said i would never do that. that's the piecei of the puzzl i'm here to report today, that unlike the narrative of the press, that president trump wants to dig up dirt on his 2020 opponent, what he wants is he wants an accounting of what happened in 2016. who set him up? did things spring from ukraine? there's a good piece we have an oversight letter on from politico in 2017. let me quote the article. it says ukrainian government officials tried to help hillary clinton and undermine trump. they did so by disseminating documents implicated a top trump aide in corruption suggesting they were investigating the matter. they alsost helped clinton alli research damaging information on trump and his allies. there's potential intervention. that's what trump wants tont ge to theth bottom of, but the pre doesn't want to. >> ambassador -- >> people in this article are being pillories, i'm being
called a conspiracy theorist. john salmon is being called a conspiracy theorist because the press isns horribly biased and trump and his supporters clearly understand that. >> i understand that a way to avoid answering a question is to attack us in the press. i'm well u aware of that, and that's how it works. let me ask you something that ambassador volker said. he said under oath, and krm curious if you share this concern. ambassador volker said this -- i explained that i believe that mayor giuliani continues to have a negative view of ukraine based on assertions of actions that happened in t2016 and this viewpoint is likely making its way to the president. were youy concerned that rudy giuliani's disinformation campaign, sort of ukrainian propaganda campaign, was negatively iginfluencing the president's views of the current ukrainian president? >> well, the reports, not only from giuliani, but from politico and john f salmon doing good investigative reporting, now "the washington post" is attacking him, e undermining hi
all that information we have never got the answers to those questions. chuck, i want toho get to the truth. i'm not here defending the president. i'm not here to denounce him, either. what i'm here is telling you my piece of this puzzle here. giving you my honest assessment of what i heard, how the president told me repeatedly in the may 23rd oval office visit, on the phone on the 31st, the reason he had very legitimate concerns and reservations about ukraine is first corruption, generalized. it's endemic, we all know that. >> you think paul manafort was framed? >> you think paul manafort was framed? >> no. obviously, he was convicted, but there's a lot of other stuff going on back then, too. hillary clinton's campaign was searching for dirt. maybe not only on paul manafort, but trying to keep vice president biden out of the primary for the democratic campaign. so again -- chuck, the bottom line is there are so many questions unanswered.
so again, ask john brennan what was peter strzok -- what did peter strzok mean when the sisters began leaking like mad. what was the cia worried about? what were they kicking into overdrive? there's a key question i want answered among about 100 others. >> do youbo not believe the russiansu interfered in the presidentialia elections to benefit donald trump? >> theyns absolutely did. they absolutely did. i don't know what to extent the ukrainians did. i don'txt know what extent the c and the hillary clinton campaign were involved in juicing up the ukrainian involvement. there are a lot of unanswered questions. i just want the truth. >> do you not trust the fbi, you don't trust the cia. >> trno, i don't. absolutely not. after peter strzok and lisa page. >> okokay. >> afterge james comey. >> you believe the fbi and cia, these government agencies -- >> i don't trust any of these guys in the obama administration. >> you don't trust them now? >> no, and i didn't trust them back then. >> i and you don't trust them n? >> i't do not trust john brenna.
>> do youus trust the cia and f now? because none of them have come to any of the conclusions you're trying to come to. i'm curious, do you trust them now? >> now, who are you talking about? >> the cia and fbi? >>ia i don't trust andrew mccab. i don'tw trust james comey. i don't trust peter strzok. i don't trust john brennan. >> let me ask you this. one of the things you came on here to do -- so would i. >> i want the truth. >> you set this thing up. totally biased. i could never get into the full narrative. we don't have enough time to go through all the things i can talk about in terms of -- >> a you're right, because you came here and chose to bring up something about lisa page and peter strzok. >> you started the piece with something incredibly biased that i would never be able to get the truth beout. >> senator, i don't know why you just came on here to personally attack the press and avoid answering questions about -- >> your set-up piece. >> it's pretty clear, we're only dealing with the facts that we have. not the factswe that you wish tm
to be. >> i can't get the answers. the answers. thet american people can't get the answers. something pretty fishyth happen during the 2016 campaign, and in the transition, the early part of theth trump presidency, and still don't know. robertkn mueller -- >> we do know the answers. you're choosing -- you're making a choice -- you're making a choice not to believe. >> hopefully we'll get to the bottom. >> you're t making a choice noto believe the investigations that have taken place, multiple. >> i'm trying to get to the truth. i want toin look at the entire truth. the heed yeah doesn't. >> the truth is only when it benefits -- when you believe it's politically comfortable with you? don't understand what truth are you looking for? >> i want the complete truth. >> so do we. i'm s sorry that you chose to ce on this way, senator. w thanks very much. >> joining me now -- >> i'm sorry you started the piece that way. >> chris murphy of connecticut. senator murphy, thanks for coming on. a question i was going to try to get to senator johnson had to do with theat fact, if he shared h concerns about the linkage of military aid and the president's
decision to want an investigation. did you ever hear senator johnson nawince? did he talk about it with you? you were traveling a lot together. >> first of all, ron is a good friend, but i'm deeply scared by the positioning that republicans have chosen to take. that interview was just a giant green lightus to the president the united states to continue to solicit foreign interference in u.s. elections. he telegraphed that he's going to ask china to do the same thing that hena asked the ukrainians to do thise week republicans are allowing him to do it. and this entire country should be scared that at a moment when we need patriots, what we're getting is blind partisan loyalty. listen, the texts make it clear that there was a quid pro quo on the table, that the state department, the white house, the president's personal lawyers, were allpe working to try to ge the ukrainians to interfere in the 2020 election in exchange for access to the white house
and likely the resumption of aid. now, i didn't hear senator johnsonen make that connection ukraine, and as i have said previously, neither did i hear president zelensky make that connection. >> senator johnson, he implied and he talked about he had heard about tthis. so again, you were working pretty closely in the same situation. did gordon sondland make this clear to you that the issues wereha connected? >> no, when we went to meet with the president early september, no one from the white house or gordon sondland had told us the two were connected. of course, it stood to reason that the two were connected in ukraine, there were many people who were under the impression that they u must be because thi aid had been b suddenly cut off withy no process, with no bipartisan notification. and there wasrt an outstanding request to zelensky to interfere in the united states election that zelensky was not aseeding to. so of course, it stood to reason to people into the ukraine that these are connected.
we now know from the text messages that they absolutely were connected. they werey telling zelensky if you want toin see the president if t you want to normalize relations with the united states, you need to start investigating the president's political opponents and now republicans are basically inviting the president to dobl that over and over again. >> when did you find out the aid wasnd frozen? >> i found out the aid was frozen when it was reported in the press. >> did the -- when do you get the sense- ukrainians knew it s beinguk frozen? know at the time of the phone call it appears it was technically frozen. >> i do not know when the ukrainians found out about it. but what we now know is that there were extensive conversations e happening betwe kurt volker,en gordon sondland, ambassador taylor, and the ukrainians. so clearly, the ukrainians had a long period of time in which they knew they had to provide what was called in those text messages a deliverable, interference in the 2020 election, or they weren't going to see the president and likely weren't going to get p their ai.
it's interesting what time they found outt about it, but they found out about it in time to make itab perfectly clear to zelensky he needed to do trump's political bidding if he was going to get back on good footing with the white house. >> this is obviously, it's pretty clear that republicans are fearful of even criticizing the idea of what the president is being accused of doing. fearful of even criticizing the concept of it. a whole world is going to rain down on them, based on senator johnson's not one that usually is a conspiracy theorist who usually goes down these rabbit holes, how fearful are senate republicans of the president's wrath? >> oflisten, i don't know what senator johnson was talking about getting toto the bottom o. i mean, is he doubting that russia interfered in the 2016 election? does he think that paul manafort wasau framed? i mean, this is wild, the lengths to which republicans are going to try to avoid being criticized by this president. listen, you have a responsibility to the constitution of the united states, right? our democracy isn't the piece of paper it's written n'on.
it's theri decisions that we ma, the actions that we take, and the difference between the united states of america and tin pot dictatorships is we don't lett presidents of the united states do this. we don't let them take their official office and merge it with their re-election arm. if they vote to get rid of him, there's nothing they can do to hurte' them. >> let's be realistic, the president is going to do this. we have a major problem here. i mean, the comfort level that the senator had to character assassinate the show and us and this bizarre personal way, i think, shows you where we're headed. what do we do? >>ad listen, i think our only choice now is to take this to the american public, and ultimately, these members of the senate want to getti re-elected. as you have seen public opinion shift very quickly, as you see more republicans going to the bunker like that, and the president go deeper into trying to get more countries to interfere in our elections, i think public opinion will change. it is true,k the president seemingly can shoot somebody in
the middle ofn fifth avenue an republicans won't care. >> do you feel powerless? >> no, i don't feel powerless. i feel like this is a moment where patriots need to step up and try to save this country. and i think there are a lot of regular citizens out there that are goingti to demand that thei members of congress look at the facts, make a decision onon the facts, not make a decision based on their loyalty to the cult of donald trump. >> democratic senator chris murphy, thanks forem coming on d sharing your views. >> when we come back, president trump'sba war with his own intelligence agencies and the man who has been one of his favorite targets, former cia director john brennan. director . so many great storiesctor . from amazing people. makes me wanna be better. to connect with stories that i'm listening to- that's inspiration. with audible originals, there's something for almost every taste in there. everything you ever wanted to hear. our ability to empathize through these stories can be transformational. it's my own thing that i can do for me. download audible and start listening today.
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that's why xfinity mobile lets you design your own data. you can share 1, 3, or 10 gigs of data between lines, mix in lines of unlimited, and switch it up at any time. all with millions of secure wifi hotspots and the best lte everywhere else. it's a different kind of wireless network, designed to save you money. switch and save up to $400 a year on your wireless bill. plus, get $250 back when you buy an eligible phone. that's simple. easy. awesome. call, click, or visit a store today. welcome back. virtually from the moment he was elected, donald trump has been in a low-grade war with the intelligent community. most notable was the moment in helsinki when president trump said he didn't believe russia interfered in the 2016 election. one aspect of the fight has been the extent to which mr. trump and his allies have questioned the credibility of his critics
in the intel community, which you saw first-hand yourself this morning. among them, john brennan, who was president obama's intelligence director for four years. mr. brennan joins me now. welcome back to "meet the press." >> good morning, chuck. >> look, i was going to save the focus on you to the second half of our interview, but obviously, i have to bring this up right away. the importance of creating you as the boogie man, as the person, as the whatever it is, your mere mentioned to be on the show triggered senator johnson in this. do you understand how we got here? and how would you explain to somebody, you have been completely character assassinated, eviscerated, doesn't matter whether people like you or hate you, everybody can agree, you have been put through this. you understand how you got here? >> well, i think it all goes back to mr. trump and his dishonesty and his complete obliteration of the norms of honesty in terms of his public statements. he was the one who started the
birther conspiracy as far as barack obama was concerned. he has continued to fabricate information, and clearly, senator johnson is running scared of donald trump, as are the other republican senators. because if they say anything against him, he comes after them with a vengeance. so he is the typical bully, and so now i have become, you know, being pilloried as an example of the deep state. >> people are criticizing you for speaking out now, and for defending yourself. i have seen other intelligence officials who i think are well meaning in their criticism of you, and frankly, i think i have asked you questions about this, are you worried that you're impacting the perception of the intelligence community? at this point, it's a campaign to destroy the credibility of the intelligence community. even now, senator johnson would not affirm he trusted the cia and fbi right now. what does that say about those two agencies right now and their ability to conduct the work of protecting america? >> yeah, i struggle with what my public posture should be. what i don't want to do is put the cia in a difficult position, but i feel an obligation as a
former senior u.s. official to call out mr. trump when he lies to the american public. when he totally fabricates information just to advance his own political agenda. so i am going to continue to do it because people at this time i think really need to speak out and speak up. and it's clear that the republicans in the senate are just going along. i have had many issues with the democrats over the years, but i have never had seen anything like the republicans right now as far as just misrepresentations of the truth because of what donald trump has done. >> here's why we're here, because there is a disinformation -- we have two sets of realities that live here. there is a 40% of the country that is only getting fed one reality, arguably 60% are getting what i would argue is reality. but this is a huge problem. and it's clear that whether it doesn't matter if your voters are only hearing this one thing, are we capable of governing ourselves with a disinformation campaign that's happening like
this? >> well, until the senior officials of the republican party push back against trump, i think this is going to be a very, very long and difficult fight. because this dishonesty, this disinformation now is just overwhelming and inundating the airwaves. whether it be social media platforms or a lot of the news networks, they continue just to put out false information, and it gains traction. and i can understand how so many americans then are confused. >> many americans are going to send me emails saying how could you put a traitor like john brennan on television. >> i worked 33 years in national security, and i feel good about my record. and there's a lot of false information out there that now people take as gospel. >> one of the things i used to do when i had to travel overseas professionally is read those cia, the public facts sheets and cia descriptions of the politics and what's happening in that country. how would the cia assess the stability of the american government right now? >> oh -- >> if assessing america as if it
was another country? >> we would look at it as a very corrupt government that is under the sway right now of this powerful individual who has been able to just corrupt the institutions and the laws of that country. >> what would you say about the stability of the democracy? >> i think it's no longer a democracy if an autocrat has it in his hands. people like johnson and others are putty in his hands, which means the democratic principles upon which this country are founded are eroding right now. >> the cia would not assess america as a stable democracy? >> given the pluralization of the country as well, tremendous political instability here, which is consuming the government now, and it's not able to take care of the issues it needs to address, whether it be on the domestic front or the foreign palmacy front. there's a real question about the stability. >> the president is trying to make a big deal at the whistleblower is a member of the cia. as if that is somehow damages
the whistleblower that they work for that entity of the government as opposed to another entity of the government. do you sense a chill in the intel community that fear of speaking out? >> well, i think that certainly is the intention of mr. trump, but i'm glad to see that the whistleblower did come forward. now i understand there's a second one also. so a chill, yes, but the women and men of the cia and the intelligence community are among the most patriotic and dedicated americans the country has, and i think it's outrageous that someone like donald trump denigrates their work. they're doing their best to keep their fellow citizens safe, so somebody of mr. trump's ilk is not going to be able to undermine and undercut their contributions to this country ever. >> john brennan, former director of the cia, thanks for coming on and sharing your views. i know that it means more attacks. >> when we come back, the impeachment inquiry, the text messages and what republicans are saying. the panel is next. more texts.
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welcome back. the panel is here. former undersecretary of state, rick sengal. he's the author of the new book, information wars. kind of timely. o. kay henderson, and rich lowry, the authder of the book, the case for nationalism, how it made us powerful, united, and free. rich, i'm going to start with you. senator johnson on friday was part of the even senator ron johnson seemed to have an issue with quid pro quo. perhaps it was something that he was sensitive to and he wanted to make it clear this morning, i'm on the president's side. the demand for loyalty from this
president is pretty strong. >> well, so it's been fraught and perilous dissenting from a president of your own party. what's new is the grip that trump has on the party and the fact he can destroy your career possibly with a couple tweets. everyone is aware of that. chuck, i do think there are distinctions there and multiple things that debe true. there is nothing inappropriate about a president urging a foreign leader to cooperate with his attorney general on a dually constituted probe of the sources of the russia investigation. what's improper and inappropriate is the focus on the bidens. it seems to me the best position for republicans would be one i happen to agree and think it's true. improper to focus on the bidens, but the level and magnitude of this offense does not justify impeaching and possibly removing a president 12 months before an election. >> what's interesting is that seems to be tucker carlson's signal of a similar daily caller here with what he said, essentially saying he should not have done that phone call at all. donald trump should not have
been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, joe biden. some republicans are trying but there's no way to spin this as a good idea. once those in control of our government use this to advance their political goals, we become one of another corrupt country. the founders would say let the election happen. but does the president allow for that middle ground? >> well, he doesn't because look at his attacks against mitt romney. obviously, mitt romney, on the other side of the spectrum. tucker carlson is trying to walk a fine line here. i thought it was pretty remarkable, because tucker carlson has been a pretty reliable ally of this president, so i'm curious to see what tweets he receives, because this is still criticism. to be sure. it's also reminiscent of how democrats defended bill clinton during his impeachment. we disagree with what he did implicitly. at the same time, it's not impeachable. the question is, does that argument work? and chuck, i think we can't
underscore this enough. there seems to be a second whistleblower who is poised to come forward. does this whistleblower change the conversation in any way? >> kay, this -- you're the iowan here, the red stater in that you're seeing -- you see the people that get the two different realities. and some people live in one reality, some people live in another reality. what ron johnson said to some people is going to sound like chuck's the crazy one, and others are going to say johnson's the crazy one. >> what i find interesting is when i'm talking to republicans and democrats, they're not paying attention to the drip, drip, drip of this. they couldn't name the cast of characters. number one. number two, republicans see this, at least in iowa, as an extension of mueller. they say this again? and they have come to the conclusion that the president will not be convicted. on the democratic side, you go to democratic presidential
candidate events, they're not getting asked about impeachment because everybody knows where the candidates stand, number one. and democrats have largely moved on. they're choosing someone to run against donald trump, and they don't think the senate will convict. >> you know, this seems to be the struggle, rick. is, and i think everybody has this, is that people are searching for a guardrail. right? and i think republicans would be up for some consequence if it weren't impeachment. yet, nothing seems -- because you have to do something to tell him to stop doing it. so far, he has no consequences on any of this. i think there are some people saying could you put up a guardrail? doesn't have to be impeachment, but people are frustrated there's no guardrails. >> there are no guardrails anymore. that's part of the problem of the rise in disinformation. anybody can do it. social media platforms are open to everyone. in fact, just to go back to what senator johnson started with, it's a classic russian disinformation technique called
what about-ism, to not answer the question but to point to something else, from the cold war, the russians would say, but you lynched black people, when we say you don't have freedom in your country. so part of the reason there are no guardrails is donald trump himself is the disinformationist in chief. the promulgator of false narratives like no one else. what that does is give s permission to people to do that. once upon a time, the president's words were golden, and basically now it's open season. >> that is a problem, right? the president's words lack power. >> again, i would make some distinctions. the ideas that the dnc server is in ukraine is wacky. >> the president of the united states is believing this. >> but to kay's point, to false narratives, republican voters were told for two and a half years, there's this dastardly treacherous conspiracy tweens the president and russia. it would never seem plausible. it wasn't true, and then as they see this, well, it's just all never mind and two months later
on to something else. and that's why there's a lot of skepticism ungt that, and that's why a lot of republicans will like what ron johnson did. >> i don't -- >> there was that relationship between trump and russia, which i talk about in my book. russia said, i'm going to help you. he said i welcome that help, and it happened. that's collusion. i just -- and the reason ukraine comes back into this now and is so important is that ukraine is that hinge point between russia and the rest of the world, between the east and west. what russia is fighting over is to have control over ukraine. what we used to fight for is a democratic and free ukraine, which trump betrayed in that phone call. >> the idea that there's any deep conspiracy between the trump campaign and the president in russia was false. we had a huge report over it. it took two and a half years. hundreds of pages. that was wrong. and just very few people just admitted, well, i thought that might be true. i was wrong, i was miscued by all sorlts of things and now we're on to an interpretation of
this. >> one thing is remarkable about this moment, is that he doubled and tripled down on this all week long. called on china to investigate joe biden, and i think that's the president's strategy, to effectively say, look, if i say it out loud, there is nothing wrong with it. inside the white house, though, chuck, they have been scrambling to get a more coherent strategy going. >> the other part about my reporting in iowa, though, is republicans will say let trump be trump, and trump will be trump. democrats are now saying the same thing. trump is being trump. >> right. joni ernst may have summed it up best when she says i can say this or that and he's going to say whatever the heck he wants. >> everyone can agree, trump is going to be trump. >> when we come back, unemployment is at a 50-year low, so why is the income gap growing? motor? nope. not motor?
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- when you're volunteering, "it's not my job."r that's because right where you live, there's a need for your time and skills and effort and talent. please consider volunteering and feeling that feeling that you helped someone today. welcome back. data download time. friday brought mixed economic news for president trump. unemployment hit a 50-year low, but the number of new jobs was lackluster. the nationwide unemployment rate is down to 3.5%. and the economy added 136,000 new jobs in the month of september. but at the same time that the economy is doing pretty well, income inequality is actually growing in this country. reaching a new high in 2018. and that could be because of some problematic trends. especially problematic for president trump. president trump promised to bring back manufacturing jobs to levels we haven't seen in decades. and while the number of people working those jobs is up
slightly from 2016, it is not nearly to the point that it was in 1980. the same is true about coal mining jobs. a key voting bloc for mr. trump in 2016. those jobs are up slightly since his inauguration, but certainly not enough to make up for the trend. only 53,000 people work in coal mining today, versus almost 80,000 a decade ago. and this week, we heard a bit of a reality check from president trump's own agricultural secretary, sonny perdue, who told reporters bluntly that in american farmer, quote, the big get bigger and the small go out. sounded harsh. but he's right. when we look at how farms fare based upon their size. large farms are doing well. in the last 30 years, we have actually seen an increase in those that are 2,000 acres or bigger. but smaller farms, the family farm, they are on the decline. there's been around a 23% decrease in the number of farms that are between 50 acres and 2,000 acres large.
so what does all this mean for the president? no one can wave a wand and bring back middle-class jobs or stop technological advances that are making old jobs obsolete, the kinds of reversals that could slow the growing gap between the rich and the poor in this country. while president trump has made some gains for the people he promised to help, success could remain a really hard thing to run on. when we come back, end game and the big story in the presidential race that didn't get the attention it deserves. a lot may have just changed. if you live with diabetes,
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back now with "end game." and joe biden. and the debate about is joe biden fighting back hard enough, is he handling this moment the way he should be handling it. this morning, here's an op-ed from him in "the washington post." he write our first president george washington famously could not tell a lie. president trump seemingly cannot tell the truth about anyone. he slandered anyone he sees as a threat. that's why he's pushing flat out lies, conspiracy theories and smears about my cantacy. this op-ed has come as many democrats are hand wringing a little bit. in fact, i think "the new york times" captures it pretty well today when they write, now mr. biden looks more vulnerable than at any point since he
entered the campaign. he's not fully protected his family's prieskacy and taking the moral high road against mr. trump. >> the biden campaign appropriately and in a presidential way giving the facts, taking on trump, sticking to the issues. if you talk to the former vice president's allies, they say he's not responding forcefully enough. he's giving sort of the conventional response to this type of moment, and he's dealing with obviously as we have said over and over again, an unconventional president and unconventional candidate. one of his allies said to me, look, he needs to be talking about this three times a day, not once which he did thursday night very forcefully. but it was at night. and of course got lost to some extent in the news cycle on friday. so i think a number of his allies want to see a more robust, a more forceful response from him. >> he is sort of scratching his head you're being gift-wrapped
an opportunity here. it clearly has to do with his struggles to deal with hunter. >> yeah. and the hunter thing is just going to stick. everyone stands $50,000 a month thrown at you basically for nothing because you're the vice president's son. and just in general biden's been sagging. i think he's no longer the frontrunner in this race. unless he finds some way to excite people which he hasn't yet and find a rationale beyond just being the most likeable guy. i would expect him to continue to descend. >> rick, you're sort of nodding there. >> well, i think the opportunity he has been handed is to basically say, hey, i'm the de facto nominee, the president of the united states that we're all running against who we want to topple more than anything else has made me the nominee. i should capitalize on that. i should act like i'm the nominee. i think that would help him. and i think, you know, fighting back forcefully. look, if people always don't know how to fight back against trump. but i actually think he has to show that kind of fire that people want to see from him.
and that's what he should be doing. >> isn't that what this democratic primary is about? democrats are trying to figure out which one of you has got the goods to take this guy on. >> in talking with democratic iowans is this is a guy who's run now three times. he didn't enter with this huge juggernaut. he didn't enter with a campaign staff. in fact, he is still hiring full-time staffers in iowa. they're going to come on in the next few weeks. so that has really mistified people. and also they're concerned because, as you mentioned, this is going to be kind of a head-to-head matchup in the news for a while. so how does someone who is trying to break out of that lower tier become part of the campaign conversation when everyone is talking about joe biden versus donald trump? >> by the way, i want to pivot here a little bit because a month ago before ukraine, before all this whistle-blower, this democratic lace looked like it was sorting itself out. we were heading for some sort of
biden/warren showdown with bernie sanders sort of not going away and everybody else good-bye. bernie sanders has a heart attack. we've got the joe biden situation. this is a more unstable race. the bernie sanders heart attack, rick stengel, you were on bill bradley's campaign during 1999/2000. he didn't have a heart attack. he just had a heart arrest riit that. >> -- arrhythmia. >> he had atrial fibrillation i guess is the technical term for it. and he had had a couple of episodes on the campaign trail, and someone asked him about it, and he talked about it for the first time. he hadn't talked about it before. and, remember, part of bill's regimen was that he was a hall of fame basketball player-this incredible vigor. but he hadn't talked about it. and then the "new york times" wrote a story about it. and he really thinks it killed his chances in new hampshire.
>> kate, what is this going to do to bernie in iowa? >> well, one of the things i think folks who aren't from iowa is that in 2016 58% of the people who went to the caucuses were 50 plus. 28% of them were over the age of 25. they know what it's like to be old and those folks tell me they're looking for new blood. then you have other people who know what it's like to be old and they know what it's like to be discriminated against. so they use words like ageism when you talk about is bernie sanders too old. >> i think everyone's going to feel fonder about bernie sanders after this and everyone's going to be glad he's going to be back on his feet. but there's also going to be more skepticism about making him the nominee. that someone below the top three is going to do something to catch on and pete buttigieg has a pulse in iowa. >> he does. and one thing is certain. i've been talking to the campaigns over the weekend. they are not going to make an issue of this. maybe he gets a question about it at the next debate.
but the bottom line is if you're elizabeth warren, every moment that we're spending talking about bernie sanders' health, talking about joe biden how he's handling this latest controversy is a moment that she's surging, and she's not sort of being given the frontrunner treatment yet. >> i was just going to say she continues to surge by staying under the radar. at some point she is not going to be under the radar. >> the february -- i mean, the september 21st iowa poll talked to bernie sanders supporters from '16. elizabeth warren has already locked up 32% of them. only 25% of the people who voted for him last time intend to vote this time. >> i think that says a lot right there. i'm going to pause it here because we are very excited about our next announcement here. before we go we are excited to announce that tonight we are kicking off our third annual "meet the press" film festival with the american film institute. we just wanted to try this once. well, now it's annual. we created this festival to expand our focus beyond what can fit.
it allows us to look at important policy issues in a deeper more extended format. it's called "toxic beauty" which explores the underregulated market for beauty and personal care products. it's an issue with serious health implications and one that has received bipartisan attention here in washington. >> it's hard to imagine that there are rules that limit what chemicals we can spray on food or on crops but not the chemicals we spray on ourselves every day. >> so a large part of my job as a formulator was to constantly do reformulations once a certain dye was thought to be even potentially have toxicities, it wouldn't wait for it to become a regulatory matter. they would be proactive in reformulation. they see vast products in
shampoos and 3-in-1s and a lot of bath type products for kids which i have two nephews and a niece who i love very much when i see their mother soaking them in this product every night for hours on end, it does concern me because they're not just taking a quick shower and washing it off. they're soaking in it and playing in it. all women who wear any kind of deodorant or moisturizer is going to have parabens in their system for the last 50 years. >> a number of our films are available already for streaming for the next month on nbcnews.com and on all of the nbc screaming -- streaming platforms. again, feature length documentary toxic beauty tonight here in washington. that's all we have for today. thank you for watching. we will be back next week. because if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." ♪ that's all we have for today.
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♪ welcome to "kasie dc." i'm geoff bennett. tonight democrats flood the trump administration with more demands and new deadlines. a new whistle-blower steps forward. and is the president looking to offload some of the blame for the ukraine call on a cabinet secretary? plus, the health of the 2020 field. elizabeth warren's polling and donations are on the rise. joe biden's campaign tries to massage its messaging. and bernie sanders recovers from a heart attack. it's a setback
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