tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC March 17, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PDT
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kept me on track. and through it all, my retirement never got left behind. so today, i'm prepared for anything we may want tomorrow to be. every someday needs a plan. let's talk about your old 401(k) today. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," supreme politics. the nominee heads to capitol hill today and republican senators refuse to meet with him. >> this is not rocket science here. the play book for this one is the constitution. >> we made a decision that we're not going to confirm any nominee by president obama. >> genocide. the house is unanimous in demanding accused isis against
christians and other religious groups. today, the state department complies. >> naming these crimes is important, but what is essential is to stop them. >> and scorched earth. gearing up for a possible november match-up. donald trump prepares to do battle with hillary clinton. >> i think i'd rather not say now. it's early. we'll see what happens, but i'll do what i have to do. >> and good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in new york. we start with the battle for the bench. as supreme court nominee garland goes to start the traditional round of courtesy calls on senate judiciary members. in this hotly contested campaign year, he's getting the cold shoulder. majority leader mitch mcconnell said he will not schedule hearings. >> republicans, democrats simply disagree. we simply disagree.
republicans think that people deserve a voice in this critical decision. but the president does not. we'll continue our work in the senate as the american people make their voices heard on this important national conversation. >> on wednesday, vermont senator, leahy, the top democrat on the issue said it's a question of courage for his republican colleagues. >> stop these games. we get paid every single day, whether we do our job or not. i think the american people kind of like to see us do our job. we 100 senators took a solemn to uphold the constitution. have the guts, the guts to vote yes or no. but they want to vote maybe. that is a gutless dereliction of the constitution. >> kelly o'donnell and luke russert. kelly, do you see any give? the white house is hopeful at least some of the senators, especially those republicans up
for reelection in blue states are at least agreeing to meet with judge garland, not to schedule a hearing, but at least to meet him. >> reporter: it is some positive progress but probably mostly related to those individual senators who face these tough reelection battles and this issue will be definitely in their home states and playing out with their democratic rivals. and so we'll definitely see a lot of that tension going forward. the hard part, andrea, is that when leadership decides that it is not going to go forward, it is very difficult to see how even senators who are vulnerable in the party would be able to convince mitch mcconnell to act differently. one key person to watch is chuck grassley of iowa. he visits all 99 counties in iowa. he has a real grassroots approach to his home state, and if he hears a lot of pushback, perhaps he would have some sway
with mitch mcconnell. some of the republicans who have been quoted saying they would be willing to consider a garland nomination, should hillary clinton be the victor in november, they're responding to questions and those who have said that they might be open to that. jeff flight of arizona is often a more moderate, willing to reach across the aisle kind of republican. that is different than what would be sanctioned from the republican leadership. and that's the key here. individual senators will maybe open the door. leadership is what we have to watch. >> orrin hatch said he would consider a lame duck hearing. luke russert, this is a classic battle. this confirmation battle in an election year, no less, and in fact, a lame duck session might be something they would consider on lame duck hearings not just hillary clinton but what if donald trump were the victor?
some republicans might want to see judge garland on the court rather than thinking about what might happen. >> reporter: that's not a crazy idea, by any means, and certainly something we've heard. because there are republicans on the hill that do have questions about donald trump's ability to select a judge for the supreme court. i will throw a bit of cold water. i talked to a few democrats. if hillary clinton were to win, especially if her win was overwhelming, expect at least the liberal side of the democratic party to say, you know what? we would rather have somebody younger or from one of the minority groups to make up our coalition and don't necessarily have to give judge garland forward and withdraw the nomination. one thing the senate republicans have said all along, the next president makes your decision and what's the harm in allowing president hillary clinton to make the decision the next year? you could see a blockade that year if the republicans were to filibuster it. it's an interesting thing to keep an eye on.
one thing to say about the whole back and forth i found quite fascinating, mitch mcconnell was so quick to say it just a few hours after justice scalia's death there would be no procedural movement on a supreme court nominee this year. the reason being, they fear conservative backlash more than they fear the backlash of the overall electorate. it shows you the republican party right now. >> more worried about primaries and republican conservatives. and quickly, luke, you talked to paul ryan, the speaker, creating unintentional news when he did not shut the door on being a possible compromised choice, contested republican convention in his interview with john harwood. what did he say after john boehner seemed to be endorsing him? >> reporter: i said, will you disavow that you would ever be a nominee for president of the united states? he said, listen, i got to put this to rest. it's not me.
>> i saw boehner last night and i told him to knock it off. i used slightly different words. i used his own words that he used to use against us to knock things off. it's not going to be me. it should be somebody running for president. let's put this thing to rest and move on. >> reporter: what is different today though, andrea, paul ryan acknowledged for the first time that the convention could be open in cleveland and that as chair of the convention, usually a ceremonial role, he acknowledged he's now looking at the rules themselves. he is brushing up on that. those are two very big developments. i don't think paul ryan is going to run. trying to close the door, but certainly knows he might have to preside over the convention. what would that be? >> russert and o'donnell.
an all-irish duo. thank you both so much. joining me for more on the merritt garland nomination. form former attorney general, eric holder. first interview since leaving the justice department. i want your thoughts on judge garland. you know him well and the possibility that he may not even get a hearing on this nomination. >> well, hi, andrea. thanks for having me. merritt is a guy i've known for years. he's a careful, thoughtful judge, who bases his decisions on the facts and the law. he's in the main street of american political and judicial thought. he's a guy who i think is imminently qualified and no one has taken any shots at him. viewed in a vacuum, i think everybody, republican and democrat, would say he's more than qualified to be on the supreme court. this is really all about the
political battle that exists between republicans and democrats. and i would say, transitive of republican leadership to bring to the floor a very qualified nominee. >> we are hearing some pushback from liberal groups also because he is not a liberal progressive as they would like. he's not a minority. he's not too old. what do you say to that as someone who pushed for more diversity on the court? >> you know, he's a person, i think, who has worked hard to keep communities safety. keeping dangerous criminals to justice. it's also a person who showed compassion. he comes from humble beginnings. he's a person who left a prestigious partnership here in washington, dc to work in the u.s. attorney's office that i ultimately headed and got down here, worked with people in this community to make them, to keep them safe. and he has, you know, a history of showing compassion and being concerned about the average guy.
and so i understand the concerns that people have. the president had to make some strategic decisions, and i think he's put before the senate a person who i think is without question unqualified and should be confirmed. people are talking about meetings and things like that. i'm beyond that. i think those should happen as a matter of course. i think the focus should be on a confirmation of a qualified judge. >> what does it say about our politics? if you can't get a hearing on this judge. judge who many of the same republicans voted for before who is widely regarded as a consensus candidate. what does it just say about how politics in this day and age have evolved? >> when people talk about this anger that we see in the american people, a large part of it is fueled by the dysfunction that we see here in washington, dc, and this is a prime example of that.
as luke was saying, even before we knew who the nominee was, the majority leader was saying that person was not going to get a hearing. wasn't going to get a chance to meet with people. this is before we knew who it was. and now the president has come forward with somebody who is imminently qualified, supported by republicans and by democrats, and he's stuck in the middle of this dysfunction. people in the united states see this. they understand that a supreme court that only has eight members, given all the important decisions the supreme court has to make and what might be under strength if we don't get a vote relatively soon. people see and understand that. that is what makes people mad and what people play political games at the expense at our system of government. >> what about a lame duck session after the november election? >> if you can do a lame duck after the election, why expect you do it now and put merritt on
the bench before the first monday in october so that the court would be up and running with a full compliment of justices then? i don't understand what the magic is of a lame duck as opposed to something. you can schedule a hearing within, let's say, the next 60 days, vote on it within 30 days after that. that's something the senate is entirely capable of doing. they can put aside the naming of post offices and focus on something that's extremely important. the confirmation of a supreme court justice. >> eric holder. former attorney general, thank you very much. good to talk to you. thanks for joining us today. >> thanks for having me. coming up, justice denied. more on the supreme court judicial committee coming up next. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. vo: know you have a dedicated advisor and team who understand where you come from. we didn't really have anything, you know. but, we made do. vo: know you can craft an investment plan as strong as your values.
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has the president voted for a woman for president? >> the president casted in the democratic primary in illinois. voted absentee. but the president has chosen to keep the names on the ballot that he checked private. >> no hints? >> no hints. >> josh earnest trying not to give away whether his boss voted for hillary clinton. off the trail today but looking ahead to next week's contest in arizona. former arizona congresswoman gabbie giffords backs clinton and appears in her home
state for her. >> we have a gun violence problem. so i'm voting for hillary
clinton. she's tough. she will stand up to the gun lobby. she will fight to make our families safer. it matters. >> gabby giffords appearing really stronger than we've seen her recently. joining me now for the daily fix, chris cillizza and "washington post"
political correspondent, ann gearan. first, hillary clinton looking to arizona but what we heard from tad devine, they think they can accumulate enough delegates coming up in alaska and ohio and washington state. these caucus states. idaho, utah, arizona's primary and then move on towards wisconsin. they've got a whole scenario laid out even through new york and california going all the way to the convention. >> they do. and they see the next two weeks or so as very, very preticious
for them. and he expects sanders to win the call kiss states at least and some other states, but then in the end, it won't make a difference because she's too far ahead already in the delegate count. and it would be sort of improbable beyond measure to catch up. however, as you say, the sanders campaign has laid out a series of states that they think they can pick up and if everything went right for them, all the way through june, it is mathematically possible. the hillary clinton argument is just, yeah, but that's not going to happen. >> sanders is going to continue to try to raise money and big test will be how much money keeps coming in despite all of
the buzz about hillary clinton's sweep on tuesday. sanders is going to be campaigning in arizona tonight. still, donald trump, chris cillizza, clearly thinks this is going to be a general election match-up with hillary clinton and he's been talking about, first of all, clinton, going after clinton in a contested convention saying there would be trouble with riots if his supporters are denied, if he is denied the nomination. paul ryan, the speaker, was asked about that today. >> the question of the nomination going to somebody actually running for president, do you agree there would be riots? >> to address or hint to violence sis unacceptable. >> with the talk of republicans, mitch mcconnell and others and
calling out to him, trying to o coales coalesce, you have paul ryan saying donald trump should not be saying what he said yesterday. >> and paul ryan said it multiple times on various things including the kkk comments or lack of comments by donald trump that this is not acceptable behavior. the thing i keep coming back to that's really tough is the establishment of the party clearly does not want. but there's meetings here, meetings there, groups here, but there doesn't seem to be a single unified effort. why doesn't every senator, i think it's possible, get all the republican senators all endorse john kasich or i think more probably ted cruz who has a mathematical chance still to be the nominee. you see these quotes, quotes. that's all well and good. at the same time, it is not going to stop donald trump. make no mistake. he had a very good night on
tuesday night. it was eclipsed by how great of a night hillary clinton had but he had a very good night vis-a-vis ted cruz. win or takes all, likely he's going to win there. it's going to reach a point where these quotes and condemnations, they have to be done in a unified concerted way or it's going to be too late if it's not already too late. >> if it does become trump versus clinton, if they, being the front runners end up being the nominees, ann gearan, the clinton team is saying we're going to go after him on policy and saw what she had to say on tuesday in her victory speech and we're going to see it. the interesting comparison. both of them are going to be speaking to the pro israel lo y lobbying group on monday and hillary clinton, this is her wheelhouse. it's talking about the middle east. donald trump giving a foreign policy speech, the first real speech on foreign policy that i know of in this campaign. >> it's going to be actually
very interesting day. chris is also addressing apac on monday. it's the first time she's addressed them since the nuclear deal was signed. she was a big proponent of it. she now has reservations about it but still a supporter. she'll be on the spot to say how she would change it as president and whether these ballistic missile tests figure in it. she said they're potential for sanctions, but that there's question as to whether that's actually the case. >> anne gearan, chris cillizza, thank you both very much. coming up, supreme showdowns. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. the place for politics. ♪ in new york state, we believe tomorrow starts today. all across the state, the economy is growing, with creative new business incentives, the lowest taxes in decades, and new infrastructure for a new generation
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when you have history on our side that every single nominee since we started having these hearings with the judiciary committee has had a hearing. when you have the words of the constitution that say, advise and consent, and then finally when you have this amazing nominee who received the support the last time he was up for judge from not just senator hauf but hatch and mccain and collins and cochran and koets and roberts, a number of senators were there when he was up for judge years ago. and you have many statements from even the last two days, ken star, roberta gonzalez, republicans leaders in the legal field saying that they are favorable about this candidate and just standing there as he stood there in the rose garden and you heard his story from going from a public high school in the chicago area. in fact, senator durbin told me today they actually had the school stopped all of their classes to watch the nomination
because they were so proud of having their valedictorian nominated to the supreme court. they were so proud of the work he did seeing the two biggest prosecutions in the last decade, the unabomber and the oklahoma city bomber. someone of great merit. a consensus candidate. fine public servant who deserves a hearing. >> we have a picture now of what was clearly a job interview. the oval office from the white house, the photo of president obama getting to know judge garland, but i think he was considered twice before and was not nominated when justices sotomayor and kagen. you said some republicans said to you during the previous confirmations during the two democratic nominees, obama nominees that republican senators would have preferred judge garland back then. >> reporter: i do. and i think proof of that in
what you see in the public comments, many of the senators made in the past, but i remember a number of them struggling with their votes over sotomayor and kagen. if it was judge garland, then it would be a different thing and he's a consensus candidate. and i think you see that kind of sentiment reflected in what some of the senators have said. i don't think anyone could say that he wasn't someone that wasn't respected by republicans. in fact, those were senator hatch's views when he was on the floor in the past. so i just think at some point when you've got the american public saying you need a process, you need to have a hearing, you don't have to vote for him. i'm sure you can find reasons not to vote for him, but this man deserves a hearing and an up and down vote. >> what do you say to women's groups or minority groups who say, why a white man? why not have president obama in these remaining months use his opportunity to fill the court with someone more diverse? >> reporter: i think, first of
all, president obama has more than proven his commitment to diversity, first of all, being the first african-american president, second, so many members of his cabinet, like attorney general lynch, third, the people he put on the court. he put two women on the court. first time in the history of the land we had three women on the court and one was hispanic. i think he's more than established his street kreds on diversity. he made the decision what was best for the court, who he thought at this moment was best for the job and of course had many qualified people to choose from but there was a reason that judge garland's name has been on the list over an over again. that's because he has such respect not just across the aisle but other law enforcement and people he's worked with in the past. >> amy klobuchur. secretary kerry declares
if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. where are you? it's very loud there. are you taking a zumba class? secretary of state john kerry said isis is guilty of committing genocide against christians and other religious minorities in iraq and syria. there's pressure to do this from congress by a deadline of today. >> naming these crimes is important. but what is essential is to stop them. that will require unity in this country and within the countries directly involved. and the determination to act against genocide. against ethnic cleansing. against tohe other crimes againt humanity must be pronounced amongst decent people across the
globe. >> i'm joined by john kirby. thank you for being with us. what is the practical effect of this designation? how will this change anything we do in the war against isis? >> a couple of things here. we've intensified our efforts here in the united states against this particular group, even from a military perspective and that intensification will continue. we've been very clear and a leader in this coalition to degrade and defeat this group but this lays out for history's sake what we believe in the united states to have occurred against so many innocent people in iraq and syria and formally recognizing the suffering of these victims and galvanizes, it galvanizes the perspective of the real suffering and the atrocities that have been visited upon all of these people and then what we hope it will do is to continue the effort which we have very much started to collect the evidence and analyze it and to keep that information
flow going to make sure that future victims and future suffering can be averted and if not, certainly documented for history's sake. >> in addition to documenting this, is there ever a possibility that you would have isis leaders brought to justice? i know the united states is not a member of the international criminal court but could you imagine action that would be taken against isis leaders or is that really farfetched? >> as the secretary said, a decision for other people to make and certainly we defer to the international legal vehicles available to make those kinds of decisions and determinations. what he was talking about today was our view in stating it clearly as u.s. policy this is genocide and the other thing i would say is that we have been acting as if these are general sigh d, genocide acts.
that's when the united states started conducting air strikes to try to prevent that act. from almost the beginning, we've been acting in every way. certainly militarily, as if these were acts of genocide. >> there was a congressional mandate to do this by today but only yesterday 24 hours ago, the united states department said more legal examination was required and suggested that there would not be a designation today. what happened? >> we didn't think yesterday afternoon we were able to meet the deadline and be open and honest about that. we didn't want to look like we were hiding anything. with our best estimate at the time, we wanted to be honest about the fact we didn't think we were going to get there. he made the staff stay at it and worked through the remaining issues yesterday we respect the
deadline but i want to stress that considering the issue of genocide by dash is something that has been going on for months. as i said, even back to august of 2014, we acted like this was genocide. it's not like we weren't focused on this or teams of people looking at this month fors but did want to respect the deadline. >> when you refer to as dash, it's isis. a different name for the same terror group. i want to ask about north korea, speaking of terror states. and 21-year-old american student from the university of virginia convicted of subversion and sentenced to 15 years prison and hard labor. what can you tell us about the efforts to try to get him out? >> i have to tell you, we threw our protecting power there. we've been able to establish contact with him, which we're grateful for and tracking this case closely. sadly, we've seen this sort of unjust procedure in the past
with other citizens of other countries to include u.s. citizens. all i can tell you is we're focused keenly on this and do everything we can to help. >> what was he doing there? >> i don't want to talk about the specifics too much of his case. but i can just tell you, again, through our protecting power there, we're in touch with him. we established a consular aspect and keep that going as best as possible and continue to follow this as closely as we can. this is just unfortunately and regrettably, we've seen this before where people are detained for no good reason. and then, you know, we have to try to do what we can to get them home and i can tell you we're focused on this keenly. >> thank you, john kirby from the state department. >> my pleasure. thank you. coming up, court clashes as the standoff escalates over the president's nominee. lessons learned from another dramatic chapter in the supreme court's history. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc.
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give him a hearing. a vote, fill the vacancy. >> dennis on the show with matt lauer on the uphill battle to confirm supreme court nominee merritt garland. strong arming over the supreme court is not unprecedented. in 1937, fdr tried to pack the court with as many as six additional justices after the nine member court had overturned many of his new deal programs. rice university professor. he writes about the life and legacy of fdr in his new book, "rightful heritage." more in a moment. but let's talk about the court.
the court then upheld some of the new deal programs and congress was not going to add six more justices. >> fdr wanted such a big election and thought he was the kingpin and what frustrated me was the conservative justices. it can control the supreme court by adding them and said, they're too old. i need to get a younger blood. well, everybody went crazy. >> was he going to do legislatively? >> yes, he thought he had the power and could go ahead and do it. he didn't. he thought he had the coalition of democrats backing him and many democrats started saying that's a bridge too far. some thought he was a lame duck in '37 but i write about, no. he took that and later, the great supreme court, william of douglas, he got douglas on the court and douglas became the leading environmentalist in u.s. history because by '37, fdr,
started signing executive orders and could do that like president obama did using the national monuments. fdr started the cape hatteras and the channel islands and joshua tree, just signing executive orders saying while america because congress couldn't stop him. >> william o. douglas and lindon johnson, thought those two would be president some day.
fdr had this history in high park of being a tree farmer. >> he would say he grew trees during world war ii. winston churchill got a tree from franklin roosevelt. smelling christmas trees, but it was all to push for our station. we talk about the stock market crash. oh, gosh. it was awful in the great depression and denuded. it's the system created. he quadrupled it and saved the
ha heirlooms in wyoming and big ben in texas. roosevelt creates an on d-day. after the invasion, he establishes the big park on the mexican border and then set up a wall on the border. >> doug brinkley. i love talking to you. franklin d. roosevelt and the land of america. thank you so much. >> thank you. coming up, testing the waters. congress reeling michigan governor rick snider today. who is to blame for the flint water crisis. >> plausible deniability only works when it's plausible and i'm not buying that you didn't know about this until october 2015. you are not in a medically induced coma for a year.
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let me be blunt. this was a failure of government on all levels. local, state, and federal officials. we all failed the families of flint. not a day or night goes by that this tragedy doesn't weigh on my mind. >> michigan governor rick sno snyder. democrats on the house oversight committee want the resignation. republicans are laying the blame on the federal epa administrator, gina mccarthy. >> i am asking the questions. in february is when you first arrived on the scene. it wasn't until january that you actually did something. that's the fundamental problem. don't look around like you're
mystified. that's what happened. miguel showed up in february. you didn't take action. you didn't. and you could have pulled that switch. >> we consistently took action from that point forward. >> if you want to do the courageous thing like you said susan hedman did, you should resign. nobody is going to believe you have the opportunity, you had the presence, you had the authority, you had the backing of the federal government and you did not act when you had the chance and if you were going to do the courageous thing, you too should step down. >> stephanie covering the flint crisis from the beginning. today from capitol hill. stephanie, you've got some of the people from flint michigan who watched all of this. >> reporter: that's right. outside of that hearing room and getting hammered, down for a press conference. they took a bus overnight. left flint at 7:00. they said beyond what happens in the hearing room, they have a
message. and it's people like yvonne, lived in flint on and off for 60 years. what do you think? >> i think they need to see our faces and put a picture to the people that these atrocities are happening to and that we would take the time to get on a bus and drive 12 hours to come to washington, dc and let them know we care. we're concerned. >> reporter: do you feel like you've been heard up to this point? >> i think so. we've been on "time" magazine and a lot of people are hearing our story. >> reporter: but more needs to be done. >> right. >> reporter: you are a mom. how many? >> two. >> reporter: how old are your kids? >> 15 and 5. >> reporter: what's it like for you as a mom living in flint? >> it's horrible. i can't go nowhere without my kids hurting constantly. my kids is like the behavior
issues and i know it wasn't like that at the beginning. what's going on now? is it the water? you know what i'm saying? what can i do to change snit. >> reporter: what about your lifestyle, what you have to do to get by on any given day? >> getting water every day. who says we can't -- we're not going to run out of bottled water? we can't support -- we've got to buy bottle water with either food stamps. i don't have an income. >> reporter: you're worried about that. it's a daily worry for you. andrea, that's really a reminder here. when you talk about who's to blame and everyone wants to get to the bottom of that blame game, that the people of flint are still dealing with this crisis on a daily basis and as attention shifts tharks still have this problem on their hands. >> stephanie, thanks so much. that is a really important reminder that this is well beyond politics and the blame game and who's responsible. it's the lives of these people every day and their children. thank you, stephanie on the hill
who continues to cover this crisis. we end with this photo. president obama writing a letter to a 76-year-old woman in cuba. what's interesting about this, she had written him a letter about the upcoming visit to cuba on sunday. it was sent yesterday in the very first batch of u.s. direct mail to the country in 50 years. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." remember, follow the show online on facebook and twitter at @mitchellreports. governor john kasich joining chris matthews and kate snow picking up our coverage next live out of tucson, arizona, with the big primary contest out there. welcome to the world 2116, you can fly across town in minutes or across the globe in under an hour. whole communities are living on mars and solar satellites provide earth with unlimited clean power. in less than a century, boeing took the world from seaplanes to space planes, across the universe and beyond.
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that roughly translates as desert corner. this corner of the world we all watch on tuesday when they hold their primary here. it could be a critical state for ted cruz who's headed here now and bernie sanders who's already in the state and now it's also the first day, as you know, of march madness today. folks here reminded me that the university of arizona is playing later on today. maybe put some money down on a bracket or just doing one for fun, right. the gop is actually making two big bets itself today. the first bet, republican senators once again making it very clear they will not support confirmation hearings for president obama's supreme court pick. many of them going a step further, refusing to even meet with merritt garland. here's why that's a gamble. he's a relative centrist. if a conservative wins the white house, it's a gamble that would surely nominate a more conservative justice to take antonin scalia's spot. what if hillary clinton wins?