tv Deadline White House MSNBC December 20, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
regular investor who rebalances every now and then but largely doesn't trade the market, you are up 28% for the year so far. there are a couple more trading days left in this year. that is by all standards a very, very big game. there are lots of reasons for that. we can talk about that another time. that wraps it up for me. i will see you right back here 10:00 p.m. eastern. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. ♪ hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york on the last day of a week that saw donald j. trump become only the third american president ever to be impeached, something that the "new york times" today reports has left donald trump shell shocked. and there is more, stunning new reporting in today's "washington post" about the origins of the president's belief in a russian conspiracy theory about the 2016 attack on the u.s. elections. donald trump rejecting the conclusions of his entire intelligence apparatus, his
personal national security advisers, and his sitting fbi director because, quote, putin told him it was ukraine. from that blockbuster new report, quote, after meeting privately in july 2017 with russian president vladimir putin at the group of 20 summit in hamburg, trump grew more insistent that ukraine worked to defeat him. that's according to multiple familiar officials. the president's intense resistance to the assessment of u.s. intelligence agencies that russia systematically interfered in the 2016 campaign and the blame he cast led to think that that putin himself helped spur the idea of ukraine's culpability. trump even stated so explicitly at one point saying he knew ukraine was the real culprit because, quote, putin told me. that remarkable piece of
reporting from "the washington post" mirroring some of what we learned in public comments from former trump adviser tom bossert and in a warning and testimony from former nsc official fiona hill. >> this is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the russian security services themselves. i refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the ukrainian government is the u.s. adversary and that ukraine, not russia, attacked us in 2016. >> the details are both convoelutted and false. and during your time in the white house you explained that to the president, right? >> i did. it's not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked for clarity here, george, let me just, again, repeat that it has no validity. if he continues to focus on that white whale, it's going to bring him down enough. >> comments that turned out to be prescient there. the alarm from donald trump's former advisers over trump's belief in the ukraine conspiracy theory underscored in comments made last week from trump's
hand-picked fbi director. >> did the government of ukraine directly interfere in the 2016 election on the scale that the russians did? >> we have no information that indicates that ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election. >> no evidence of the ukraine conspiracy theory that according to "the washington post" has for years preoccupied the president. it's the kind of reporting that just might impact deliberations in the senate over testimony from witnesses like john bolton, witnesses who 71% of americans would like to hear from in a senate trial and who could certainly offer first hand testimony about trump's conversations with putin and his willing acceptance of russian propaganda about ukraine. a u.s. ally, a russian adversary that russia somehow managed to get donald trump to turn on. that's where we start today. with us at the table former democratic congresswoman donna edwards. "new york times" editorial board member mara gay. plus, "new york times" political
reporter nick confessori. with us from washington, former
chief of staff at the cia and the department of defense jeremy bash. and from "the washington post" national security correspondent greg miller. greg, that story, if i read the whole thing on the air, i would have. take us through some of what "the post" is reporting today about trump, not just his belief in this russian conspiracy theory but have dug in he remains. >> i think the biggest revelation in this story and the newest piece of information is that, you know, trump explicitly told very senior advisers in his white house that his basis for suspecting ukraine had interfered in attempting to pin the blame for the interference in 2016 on ukraine came in part according to trump from something putin had told him. now i have to say that there is some sort of, you know, there is disagreement about whether putin ever actually said this. i have talked to some former
administration officials who believe that trump made
this up because of his own inability to accept the reality of what actually happened in 2016, which is that russia interfered. >> so, trump sometimes benefits, in my view, from the volume of news he makes on these topics. but one of the stories that you broke that seems to have an echo in this conversation is about what happened to any records from all the meetings and conversations between donald trump and vladimir putin. if you could just remind us of that reporting and if those records existed, this would be an easier circle to square, wouldn't it? >> yeah. i mean, this was a story from very early this year that i wrote that trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal even from his own aides, the details of his conversations with putin, including at one time in one meeting confiscating the notes of his own interpreter
to prevent that person from then being able to provide an accurate and detailed read-out from other administration officials who, understandably, would've wanted to know what trump was talking about behind closed doors with the russian president. >> jeremy bash, a former law enforcement official said to me today that the russians have come so far from dropping leaflets from the sky with their propaganda, directly to the president out his mouth and into the ears and belief system of the media that supports him and his supporters. how dangerous is that? >> well, imagine, nicole, the meeting inside the kremlin when russian intelligence agencies are briefing vladimir putin on their plan, on their active measures, covert action plan to infiltrate the united states and advance this bogus theory that ukraine was responsible for the 2016 meddling. they say to vladimir putin, you know, we're going to do this through our traditional secret
means, and putin says don't, no need, i'm going to tell trump directly myself. and he is going to repeat it. and of course what that essentially makes the president is a co-conspirator as almost off the wall as this sounds, with putin, in a russian active measures campaign. this isn't some mere nutty conspiracy theory. this is a russian informations operations campaign that the president is himself advancing. >> and if that's so clear to you and if that's so clearly the warning that fiona hill and her public testimony was trying to sound and if that's clearly what state department official george kent alluded to when he talked about sort of interspersed with donald trump's trying to extort ukraine was a call from putin and a call from orbin, a putin ally, why are the republicans so dug in and co-signed not just to
trump but to putin's propaganda? >> this is highly puzzling especially when the entire congress received warnings from somebody like dr. hill. remember, fiona hill is not a democrat. she is a trump appointee in his own white house. she is a career professional scholar, intelligence officer. she served as the national intelligence officer overseeing russia and eurasia for the national intelligence council. she's written literally the book on vladimir putin. so, i think you are getting, you know, the only people who disagree with this thesis are people who don't want to face the truth. >> greg, what is your reporting suggest in terms of all the calls from inside the house? we've seen fiona hill because she was subpoenaed to testify in the impeachment. we've heard from george kent for the same reason. but they both testified to john bolton's alarm. are there more fiona hills, george kents, and john boltons inside the government? or is there anybody else who
believes the russian propaganda that comes out of trump's mouth? >> are there others into i.d.? i'm not quite following. >> is trump isolated or are there people like fiona hill and tom bossert who are still trying to pull him toward the u.s. intelligence agency's belief that it was indeed russia? or have they thrown up their hands? do you understand this to be active? >> i mean, look. so those people who have sought to convince trump that his view of this is without merit, that the evidence, all of the evidence points the other way. they still exist, but they are fewer in this administration, it seems with every passing year or if not every passing month. they just don't last very long. there is no russia adviser, top adviser on russia in the white house at the moment at all. the only senior adviser on ukraine, lieutenant colonel alexander vindman, is presumably
pretty marginalized after being publicly taunted and dismissed by the president. i mean, he isolates himself. he walls himself off from the expertise of the national intelligence community and u.s. intelligence agencies. >> nick confessori, that's just a remarkable statement. just mull that for a minute. there is no adviser on russia for this white house. and greg's right. colonel vindman was attacked by the president's allies on fox news and other places, by his son. where does this leave us in terms of sort of preparing for what robert mueller testified to was an ongoing attempt from the russians to interfere in the 2020 election? >> we are horribly unprepared. and we have a leader who doesn't want to admit that it's happened before, so it can happen again. as i was reading greg's article, i was struck by the all the people who had said something to
him, all the people who had went to his office, all of these officials over time tell him it's not true, it's wrong. and all it took to get past a multitrillion dollars defense intelligence apparatus employing tens of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands in the country, was a call or a conversation between putin and trump. that's all it took. >> for which there are no notes? >> yes. it's actually totally astonishing. it's amazing to me. >> and it also explains. i think it was puzzling when there was that testimony about this insecure call that putin could've heard. well, of course that's not a security concern to this president, right? >> this is also a president who's been known to use an unsecure phone to have conversations. so in intelligence sense, it's a very unsecure white house. but i am just struck at how defenseless the president has left himself and the country if he will not listen to the advice
of his own appointees who, over and over and over again, and i think one conclusion you can draw is he cannot let go of the idea that he did not win election and a fair fight for himself. and that's what gets at him. >> donna, what stops the house intel committee which maintains as its mandate foreign interference. from looking at an article like this and taking the dates and calling in the people that were in the room at the time? it wasn't john bolton, it was hr mcmaster, dina powell, rex tillerson. what stops him from subpoenaing those witnesses? did anyone hear putin say these things to him? did anyone hear him say it was ukraine? because it seems that his disbelief in the u.s. intelligence product is an ongoing threat to this country. >> well, nothing should stop them. and that's why i've said that i know that impeachment moves the process in one direction for the president of the united states, but the job of the united states
congress and particularly the intelligence committee is to continue the work because -- i think as nick said, this really is ongoing. it's not as though we had an investigation. there was an election and it stopped. we are in the middle of a 2020 election, and that interference continues. and it continues vis-a-vis putin to donald trump to the american public. and i think that it's incumbent on legislators to look at this and to say this is not about the 2016 election, this is about what is happening right now in this election, and we run the risk that putin will have had his hand not just in one election but in another one. that undermines everything that we understand. and, you know, nicole, what troubles me is that republicans are not asking the question of what's going on and how can we stop it. >> you know, it also the case
that was made for trump's impeachment. it suggests that the extortion of zelensky was part of -- it just widens the timeline. the story is about people believing putin told him it was ukraine in 2017. >> it's true. i think, to donna's point though, that really this is about containment at this point and only congress can do that until the american people get a chance to vote. the problem here underlying all of this is that in the backdrop a wide swath of americans who make up trump's base either aren't listening or just don't care. and they trust anything that comes out of this president's mouth. and we do have a major problem with that because they're not accepting reality. and i think that's what's driving these senators and members of congress on the republican side to not hold the white house's feet to the fire on this issue. really it's up to them right now not just in the impeachment hearings but on this issue of
security, of national security, to stand up and do their jobs. >> you know, jeremy, i don't want to put you on the spot, but i'm going to do it anyway. at the cia and at the pentagon you obviously were in contact with democrats and republicans. those are agencies with a whole lot of bipartisan support for their missions and their funds. what do you think chairman burr thinks when he sees not just -- i mean, what's remarkable here is we've passed pro trump propaganda. we are now trafficking in this country pro-putin propaganda. do you think the chairman feels any responsibility to stand up for this country? >> i got to believe that every member of congress on both sides of the aisle who cares about protecting our country, who cares about strengthening our intelligence is horrified by the idea that we would be advancing a russian active measures campaign by members of our own government. i think that is no incongruous with what the mission of the intelligence community is, what the mission of the intelligence oversight function in congress
is. and i can only just offer you this, which is intelligence is not meant to drive policy in one way or another. it's meant to establish a common set of facts. what's happening here, nicole, is that people are questioning the basic facts, and they're undermining the basic facts. the facts are not in dispute. russia interfered, ukraine did not. and nothing anybody says, no matter how loud, no matter how much they wave their arms is going to change those basic facts. >> greg miller, i want to go back to a piece of robert mueller's conclusions here on the trump/russia coordination or connection or shared objectives. mueller report says this. the investigation established that a russian -- that the russian government perceived it would benefit from a trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from the information stolen from russian efforts. i don't know how else to say this, and i won't ask you to weigh in on it, but it seems like a pretty wide-scale failure
to communicate that conclusion if we have everyone sort of shrugging or digging into their partisan camps on the question of ongoing foreign interference in the context of impeachment. do you, in sort of covering this national security piece of the political climate in washington, do you see any cracks in that hardened partisanship around these questions of russian interference or ukraine being a victim of being accused of doing something that everyone who's looking at the facts knows russia did? >> i mean, i think you make a fair point that i think one of the criticisms of mueller and his investigation was that it didn't do enough that it could've done more to communicate these findings in a compelling way, commensurate with their significance to the stakes for the united states. and i'd have to say that, you
know, the impeachment process that we've lived through in the past several months does not really suggest a softening or any cracking in a kind of partisan way that facts and evidence are being treated and interpreted in our national discourse. i mean, we just saw a completely partisan vote on impeachment on the question of what trump's call with the leader of ukraine was designed to do. i mean, and that's related, of course, to the russia story, to the russia saga. there is a reason that trump calls zelensky on the day after robert mueller testifies and says i need you to do us a favor, though. it is all a continuation as some of your other guests have said this afternoon of an effort to deny the reality of 2016. >> it's an unbelievable, ongoing story, as you say. and we are grateful for you and
your colleagues and the report today. thanks for spending some time with us to talk it through. after the bra ick a member of the house judiciary committee and the house intelligence committee joins us to discuss the president's twitter tirade today demanding a speedy trial in the senate, something he won't get until speaker pelosi releases those articles of impeachment against him. attorney general william barr, it seems he may be carrying out the president's stated goal of investigating trump's political adversaries. new reporting in the "new york times" about brennan. and who's in that wine cave and what is a wine cave? why are democrats attacking each other the day after donald trump was impeached anyway? we go inside last night's fiery democratic debate. all those stories coming up. cologuard: colon cancer screening for people 50
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the state of donald trump's impeachment today an apparent deadlock between senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and house speaker nancy pelosi over what happens next. pelosi refusing to blank, insisting that she won't take steps until mcconnell shows signs that he will be fair and call key witnesses. in a swift seven-words telling politico, quote, i'm never afraid and i'm rarely surprised. contrast her steeliness against the president whose apparent frustration, exasperation and
sadness boiled on twitter where he demanded an immediate trial. joining our conversation democratic congressman eric swalwell. congressman, what is happening with donald trump's impeachment? >> he wants an immediate trial, but he wants to be assured of the outcome and he wants to be assured that no witnesses will come forward. that's just not how it works in america. there's been a lot of polls, you know, thrown around in the last few weeks, and, you know, impeachment and removal is around 50%. the one that is so striking is that 70% of americans believe that the president should allow the witnesses he is blocking to come forward and testify. that's because they know these witnesses are critical to this investigation. and i think that's a lot of what this is going to center around in the next coming days. >> and that number includes 64% of republicans who would like the president and mitch mcconnell to clear the way for first hand witnesses. could you imagine sort of somebody who's a vulnerable
republican, say smrenator gardn or senator collins. how would you like to say i would like to get to acquittal but i can't do so without a first hand witness. how could you not get john bolton up there in a chair and hear his first-hand account which has already been testified to, by colonel vindman, by fiona hill. are there efforts underway to get him up there? >> well, we believe the case we sent over is powerful enough. but we recognize that, you know, some republican senators, considering that this is not just the impeachment, it's the removal, may want more in the senate trial. and that's why i think senator schumer laying out those witnesses is quite wise. because if you have any gaps, and by the way the gaps only exist because the president has blocked the witnesses or buried the evidence. then let's bring those witnesses in. and you're right, nicole, that i don't know how you could tell
your constituents you made a decision on this and you didn't hear from any witnesses. and if the state of the record, by the way, is only what we sent over, that's powerful. and so if you want to hear from witnesses, that should be either to exonerate the president or to further, i would say, corroborate what the house has already heard. not hearing from them does neither. >> what do you make of the fact that republicans are really now saying all the dirty things out loud? mcconnell went on tv i think before the vote and said i'm totally partial, we are getting to a certain acquittal of donald trump, and we're doing it in regular phone calls with the white house counsel's office. next question. i mean, their statements in their roles as public servants have now become indecipherable for things said at maga rallies. how do you combat that? >> well, it's a power play. and senator mcconnell is certainly in the position to make that play, and he's a
shrewd leader. i think he has seriously misjudged, though, the politics of this in that the american people have all been called for jury duty before. no one's happy when they're called for jury duty. but they know that it's serious and that when they show up that the proceedings are supposed to be fair and that they themselves are supposed to be impartial. and so for the majority leader and so many others to stand up there and just flagrantly say we are not going to be fair, we are not going to be impartial, and to invoke mick mulvaney, get over it, americans know that washington is political, but they still expect that we will call on our better angels in moments of seriousness like this, especially when so much is at stake. i don't think it's going to be received well. >> i want to get to on the record on the story that we led with, "the washington post" scoop that donald trump believes in the ukrainian conspiracy theory because, quote, putin told him. that's based on, i think,
interviews with more than a dozen former officials and that particular recollection based on conversations with three former advisers. is that something that you would have a separate hearing to try to understand that putin told him and hardwired his faith in this conspiracy theory? >> we want to understand exactly the leverage that vladimir putin has over the president going back to the helsinki meeting and why the president destroyed the notes from that meeting, kicked other people out. but, nicole, i think the american people need to understand that donald trump is not accepting vladimir putin's word because there's any validity to it or that donald trump has, you know, signed up for russian propaganda because he believes in it. like, that would be wrong, but that at least would be something that you could understand. donald trump accepts vladimir putin's belief of ukraine doing this because that benefits donald trump. because all the evidence shows that russia sought to help and
did help donald trump in the last election. if you can essentially take russia off the hook and put it on ukraine, then donald trump thinks that gives more validity and more affirmation to his election. it's always, always, always about donald trump. it just happens to be that vladimir putin is one of his biggest supporters. >> donna, i want to get you in on this conversation. the idea that the leverage that the democrats have is being used for something that 71% of the public wants. seems like, you know, especially in today's washington, the most noble use of political leverage. >> well, my good friend eric swalwell not only have people been called to jury duty, but all of us have watched "law and order." trials mean you call witnesses and people present their cases fairly, and then a jury gets to decide. and a judge is there as a referee. and so we understand that, which is why i'm not surprised by the 71% number. and i think it ups the ante.
and that's the reason that when speaker pelosi is using her power and her leverage, it's because she knows that the american public understands this, and the longer that that is held open, then the more pressure there is on mitch mcconnell to set the rules straight, whether he's going to play by them or not, americans know that we need to call witnesses. >> congressman swalwell, nancy pelosi doesn't blink, but neither does mitch mcconnell. how do you think this ends? >> well, again, the american people happen to be on the side of speaker pelosi. that's the great leverage that she has here. of course, she can name the managers and send over the articles. and there is the collateral issue of, yes, donald trump is spoiling for a senate shower, so to speak. but the speaker knows that the american people understand the president abused his office, it jeopardized national security and our election integrity. and to hold the president accountable, they want a fair trial. that is very, very strong
leverage, and it's also reasonable. >> congressman swalwell, thank you for spending some time with us at the end of a long and historic week. after the break the investigation into the origins of the russia investigation has its sights set now on former cia director john brennan. there is brand-new reporting in the "new york times" today about it. we will show it to you, next. i wish i could shake your hand. granted. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
i'm supposedly going to be interviewed by mr. durham as part of this noninvestigation. i remember william barr, you know, when he was testifying in front of congress, he said he didn't understand the predication of the counter intelligence investigation that was launched into russia's interference in the 2016 election. i don't understand the predication of this worldwide effort to try to uncover dirt, either real or imagined, that would discredit that investigation in 2016 into the russian interference. >> predication among the questions that were answered
with doj inspector general michael horowitz's report into the russia investigation. it's complete and clear on the fact that there was no political bias and that the russia investigation was predicated or opened properly. there are no questions though about what information attorney general barr's hand-picked prosecutor john durham could possibly turn up. and today's news make it harder to deny that durham's probe could be interpreted as inherently more political. the "new york times" is reporting that durham is scrutinizing the actions of former cia director john brennan, a man who had his security clearance stripped by donald trump. from "the times" report, quote, durham has requested mr. brennan's emails, call logs, and other documents from the cia according to a person briefed on his inquiry. he wants to learn what mr. brennan told other officials including the former fbi director jim comey about his and the cia's views of a notorious dossier of assertions about
russia and trump associates. mr. durham is also examining whether mr. brennan privately contradicted his public comments including may 2017 testimony to congress about both the dossier and about any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on russia's interference. but "the times" also notes, quote, cia analyst wanted to lead the dossier out of the assessment as it was not vetted. mr. brennan's allies have said he was among the officials who wanted to omit the dossier from the assessment. jeremy and the table are back. jeremy, can you take us through this pretty stunning and revealing in-depth report into the "new york times" today? >> this is unmistakable, nicole. this is a message to the current cia and the current intelligence community. don't analyze russian efforts to affect the 2020 election, because if you do, you might find yourselves in the crosshairs of a criminal investigation. that's the implication here. the cia's job is to analyze
russian foreign policy, to assess it, to bring forth the community intelligence analysis, and let the chips fall where they may. i've been in many discussions where it's kind of uncomfortable because you have to brief a public official, a president or a national leader and say, hey, this foreign government is trying to influence you, we as a country have to know, have our eyes wide open about what's happening. it's uncomfortable, it is not a criminal act to do that, and i think it's shameful and dangerous for the department of justice to think of this as a criminal act. >> i know a lot of people like you are protective in your public statements about pompeo's successor who is brennan's successor. but is it time for her to say something in defense of her agency and its products? >> i don't know because i don't know what she's been asked to talk about, and i don't exactly know how the intelligence community has been asked to participate in this durham investigation. but i would be concerned if the
intelligence community and the office of director of national intelligence were asked somehow to provide information to the durham investigation that would undermine the role, as i referenced, of the intelligence community today and going forward. >> is it your understanding though that what durham is looking at is how the intelligence product is put together? and i think anyone that's been in government both understands this and his struggle to explain to the public that an intelligence product is a whole bunch of tips that are run down and then put into an analysis where sometimes there is a dissenting piece of information, and it is the role and the job of the intelligence community to make their best judgments. it seems that durham is reaching into an agency in which he did not serve in trying to investigate not just the people that put together the products but the process itself. >> that's right. the january 2017 intelligence community assessment, the ica, that was published that said that vladimir putin interfered in the 2016 election, he did so
to advance donald trump's campaign. and that assessment which was, again, a community assessment, was a finished intelligence product, the product of many professional analysts looking at all of the information. i think criminal investigations of agency analysis is a very dangerous road to go down. i opposed criminal investigations during the obama administration, which i served under attorney general then holder of cia actions in certain circumstances. i think it's wrong today. if you want to have a look at the analysis, have an inspector general or an outside panel do that. we use to do that all the time. we want to get the assessments right. and if there are mistakes, we want to correct them. we don't want to have criminal investigations of professional intelligence analysis. >> what do you think it's like if you are a man or a woman who works at the cia and maybe you're an analyst who worked on the russia assessment and you read this story in the "new york times" and you're now being scrubbed or investigated or
examined by someone who's running a criminal investigation if something's uncovered, perhaps a criminal prosecution, your sidekick is attorney general barr who came out and said that the independent watchdog who did a very similar investigation, they disagreed with it, didn't believe it, has traveled around to foreign capitals with mr. durham, whether he finds durham to be culpable or not, it's undeniable that donald trump has targeted him as an enemy and suggested investigating him. how does that land for the men and women in charge of our national security at the cia? >> they are not only in charge of national security, they are on the front lines defending us at this hour in some very austere corners of the globe. but i think it sends a signal to them of be risk, don't take risks and pull your punches if you want to bring forth some uncomfortable truths. i just got to say that is a dangerous mode for the intelligence community to be in. so administration should want that.
no citizen should want that. >> jeremy bash, thank you for spending some time with us. after the break, another break in donald trump's firewall, christianity "today" calling for impeachment. donald trump is immoral, the editorial that's wedged deep under donald trump's skin today, when we come back. k.th wayfair, you spend less and get way more. so you can bring your vision to life and save in more ways than one. for small prices, you can build big dreams, spend less, get way more. shop everything home at wayfair.com i need all the breaks, that i can get. at liberty butchumal- cut. liberty biberty- cut. we'll dub it. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. only pay for what you need.
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for the removal from office. quote, we believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear in a way the mueller investigation did not, that president trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. the impeachment hearings have illuminated the president's moral deficiencies for all to see. this damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and daniels both the spirit and the future of our people. none of the president's positives can balance
the moral and political danger we face under a leader with such grossly immoral character. wow. trump has already responded just a few times on twitter. he called them a far left magazine and insists they know nothing about perfect transcript, and blah, blah, blah, insisting he won't be reading "e.t." again. i don't think that's right. the publication's initials are
"c.t.." joining our conversation is the rev al sharpton. >> he has done a lot for religion. he calls us all to pray a lot. [ laughter ] >> what is the story about? i get what they're talking about. what is he talking about? >> well, i think he's still in total disarray since the impeachment. you've got to remember he has always fought for legitimacy. and now the big legitimate prize he did get is tarnished. but this is a big blow. as you know, i've been a minister most of my life. "christianity today" founded by billy graham, is a major respected magazine in the evangelical world. and for them to come out and say this, and not just say it in an indirect way but come with chapter and verse on why he should be removed and to say his character, it does two things.
one, it's a major blow because it is a graham-founded magazine. and, two, it gives cover to a lot of conservatives and evangelicals that maybe i can start inching away here because now it may be a debate in some circles on whether or not we can stand with it. he does not need anyone that could possibly give cover to those that have been secretly doubting it but never expressed it when you have this declaration coming from "christianity today." >> i think it also strips away any sort of, you know, ruse or any sort of facade from the idea that there's any consistency for evangelicals to support him. it's a transaction. they supported the most immoral president in this country's history because all presidents, all men and women, have failures. you don't get the support of this community. this is a vote i know very well, having worked for george w. bush. you get their support and their real emotional connection and their advocacy.
but you get them by being sorry when you fail. this rips away any notion that they have any common value set with it because he's never sorry and he's not sorry about this. >> repentance is the foundation of the religion. repent is not in his vocabulary. but the other problem you get is if you're an evangelical minister, and i have preached for many, how do you argue against what the point is about is moral character? the one thing we talked about the other day is that no one in the congress could talk about he was an honest man. how does anybody come out and say you're wrong about his character? you will notice william graham and others who have come back to clap back at this, none of them say, but he does have an outstanding moral character. you can't refute the point. that is why this is such a very, very serious editorial. >> three years as president, no one is on the record saying he is a good man or a good leader of this country.
>> the interesting thing about "christianity today" is that trump cannot afford to lose any of his base. his win in 2016 was extremely narrow, and obviously he lost the popular vote. so if you lose any of those voters, if he loses them in his coalition, he's done. there are some voters, and i know some of them, who vote purely on judicial appointments, they are conservatives who are anti-abortion, and that is the only issue they vote on. but i think that the problem here is the impact is going to be limited because, let's be honest, when you go to a trump rally, you might hear some talk about abortion, but really this is a much larger cultural phenomenon that i believe is more centered around culture and race. let's remember, too, there are lots of black evangelicals. black people are very religious. you don't see them going to the polls for trump. so this has always been about much more than that, regardless of what christian conservatives may say. >> and, nick, this seems to fall in the category of impeachment, it's another scab, it's another
wound, it doesn't mean the entire evangelical support for him is going to fall out, nothing close to that looks to be underway, at least at this point, impeachment and removal remain it bothers him and it's scar now that lets everyone point to a crack. >> i mean, four or five tweets. it's a lot. it kind of just shows this is not a president who can let anything go. any opposition or criticism is automatically framed by the president, and his surrogates, as a source of bias. or, you know, someone's on the take. so this is a far-left publication suddenly. if you're republican, it's never-trump republican. but there's no ever any good-faith criticism that he will ever accept. he's got to counterpunch back as hard as he can. but i was reading that whole editorial and i thought this is a person who was waiting to write those words for a long time. >> yeah. no, it was. it's very well-structured. very well-crafted and very
pent-up feeling. i agree with you. after the break, wine caves and purity tests. last night's democratic debates. highlights next. c debates. highlights next. important right, because if he could beat america's biggest gun lobby, helping pass background check laws and defeat nra backed politicians across this country, beat big coal, helping shut down hundreds of polluting plants and beat big tobacco, helping pass laws to save the next generation from addiction. all against big odds you can beat him. i'm mike bloomberg and i approve this message. idoprevagen is the number oneild apmempharmacist-recommendeding? memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. before we talk about tax-s-audrey's expecting... new? -twins! ♪ we'd be closer to the twins. change in plans.
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fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900 a bottle wine. think about who comes to that. >> this is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot, yourself, pass. if i pledge -- if i pledge never to be in the company of a progressive, democratic donor, i couldn't be up here. senator, your net worth is 100 times mine. >> here's what i don't understand. why are democrats attacking each other over regulated, disclosed, legal, political donations 24 hours after donald trump's impeached? >> i couldn't believe it. i was there in l.a. last night for the debate. we were 24 hours away from impeaching a president and you're talking about wine caves. >> no, you're talking about donations that are legal, disclosed. the answer is when i win, i'll change the laws but right now, i'm going to try to -- >> but i think that you're
trying to get voters. and you should be capitalizing on the fact that this president, his corruption, what he did. and taking shots at each other is such inside baseball and an issue removed from what voters wanted to hear. if i'm a voter and i'm sitting in the midwest and they just impeached the president. and i might, this time, vote for a democrat, and i'm going to watch this is what you're going to give me? i thought it was a missed opportunity. >> donna. >> you know, when i was watch it, i thought the issue of money and politics in the relation to policy. prescription drugs. the financial services industry. is really an important one. >> and it's a mess. >> the question is like pivoting to answering the question about how you're going to change the system and why the system impacts regular people. and i thought that's what was missing from the -- from the conversation. but i think that you're right. i think democrats need to double down on continuing to tell this story about this president's corruption. and what he did and what he
continues to do in this election. and that's not happening. >> i'm glad to know that you feel that way because i know they listen to you on this show. so thank you for saying that out loud. we're going to sneak in a break. we'll be right back. we'll be right back. it's tough to quit smoking cold turkey. so chantix can help you quit slow turkey. along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit.
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my thanks to the rev, donna, nick. most of all to you for watching today and all week long. that does it for us. "mtp daily" with chuck todd starts now. welcome to friday. it is "meet the press daily." good evening. i'm chuck todd here in washington. capping off quite the week. where impeachment and the 2020 race are starting to collide. the day after the house's historic vote to impeach president trump, the seven top democratic presidential candidates clashed on stage in los angeles. and it turned out to be a pretty revealing and contentious portrait of a party that is trying to orient itself amid the bitterness, the partisanship,