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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  March 21, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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arms, we can discuss the arms race. as you know he made a statement that being in an arms race is not a great thing and that was right after the election, one of the first statements he made. we had a very good call and i suspect that we'll probably be meeting in the not too distant future to discuss the arms race which is getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have and also to discuss ukraine and syria and north korea and various other things, so i think probably we'll be seeing president putin in the not too distant future. >> president trump facing bipartisan criticism for congratulating vladimir putin on an election that much of the world sees as a sham. perhaps he missed the specific and stern warnings from top members of trump's national security team not to do so. officials familiar with the call tell the washington post that included in the president's briefing materials was in all
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caps, quote, do not congratulate. though the president does seem to know about the use of all caps. oh, yeah. also this morning the president under legal siege. battles with the porn star and a reality show contestant, we have new developments with all three cases against the president of the united states. also breaking news this morning from austin, texas, police are holding a news conference right now. they say the suspect believed to be responsible for the string of bombings in austin is dead following a confrontation on shooting with police. officials are not identifying him yet. reports indicate the suspect was in a vehicle when it occurred and the suspect detonated a bomb inside that vehicle during the confrontation. it follows a string of bombings which terrorized the area beginning on march 2nd and which officials say was the work of a serial bomber that left two people dead, several more
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wounded and a community on edge. we're going to go live to austin this morning for the very latest on that story and we are also tracking another noreaster that will hit the northeast today. d.c. and new york city schools already closed as the region braces for the fourth noreaster in just the past three weeks. bill karins will tell us what we need to know about the storm that is bringing heavy snow, high winds and storm surges our way. so it's wednesday, hump day, welcome to morning joe on a very busy news morning. it's march 21st. with us here in washington we have former white house press secretary to president obama, now a political analyst josh ernest. washington anchor for bbc world news america. law professor and michael steele along with our willie geist in new york. willie, i -- the dualing leads
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this morning believe it or not are the women and russia. the question is where to begin because these legal challenges against president trump are really building up. >> they are. as you mentioned there's now a former playboy bunny, there's a former contestant from the apprentice, but what you started with, that washington post story where you have members of the president's security advisors leaking to the washington post that said we told president trump to confront the russian president and he did not do that. covering themselves to say we know what should have been done. >> we'll go there because that story has international ramifications but jonathan, on the legal claims against the president, pertaining to the playboy bunny and to stormy daniels, why do they matter? why is that even in the running for a lead this morning? >> well, there's a couple of perils out there in terms of
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these cases for the president. one is this campaign finance problem that is you have the payment of $150,000 to the -- to ms. mcdougal that essentially is portrayed as a catch and kill. you have a friend of the president who gave that money and then they buried the story in 2016. you have a payment of 130,000 to stormy daniels by the president's close friend, an attorney. both of those smack of a -- a type of finance violation that got john edwards into trouble. >> or harvey weinstein. >> right. the other problem is whether the president has to address this. you can take a john edwards problem and turn it into a bill clinton problem if you lie about it under oath. so there are considerable dangers here and it's getting worse. the problem when you have these types of cases you try to catch them before they start to spread throughout the white house.
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we're past metastasis now. this is now spreading and they're all in court and the lawyers are using these court filings to get a lot of information out. you know, so they're putting in exhibits that would normally have been barred from disclosure, but those agreements can't really bar their talking to the court which of course is talking to a wider audience. >> and it appears the evidence is building up. all we need is a few more of these and we do have a harvey weinstein problem which brought him down. >> pictures speak a lot. this story will be told through pictures. whether it's the pictures of stormy daniels having the polygraph taken. there will be the legal case and also the pr case surrounding the president. >> and michael steele, you've probably got a clipboard of all the republicans who have an embarrassment because they stand
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for family values. >> everybody is signing up and lining up to say this is not good behavior, mr. president. no, the republicans are basically running and scattering themselves on this and a number of other issues related to the president and again, that ekr creates a space for the president to say i'm doing okay. this president doesn't feel he has a problem. and to the professor's point, that's the danger for him. that's what he gets in the space where he gets cocky and he starts tweeting and running off at the mouth and the lawyers for these women are just sitting will going, keep it coming. keep it coming. >> stormy daniels tweeted. we'll get to all of this. the bottom line is the legal experts i'm talking to as well as the sources i'm talking to are chuckling over the fact that this could be what actually breaks president trump. all the while we're waiting what's coming out of the mueller
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investigation. >> we also have our eyes on that news conference in austin. the situation according to authorities in terms of the serial bomber that they were tracking is neutralized though at this hour meaning it's over and the suspect is dead. president trump spoke with russia's leader yesterday morning, two days after putin was re-elected to a fourth term as president, and amid rapidly escalating tensions with the midwest after moscow tried to assassinate an ex- spy in the uk. here is that sound again. >> i had a call with president putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory. the call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not too distant future so that we can discuss arms. we can discuss the arms race. as you know he made a statement that being in an arms race is not a great thing. that was rieght after the
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election, one of the first statements he made. we had a very good call and i suspect that we'll be meeting to discuss the arms race which is getting out of control, but we will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have. and also to discuss ukraine and syria, and north korea and various other things, so i think probably we'll be seeing president putin in the not too distant future. >> we learned that the call came despite specific and stern warnings not to congratulate putin from top members of trump's national security team. officials familiar with the call tell the washington post that included in the briefing materials was in all capitals the quote, do not congratulate. also reportedly includes talking points of how he could condemn the poisons of a former spy. russian election interference
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relating to the 2016 presidential election or the upcoming midterm elections also was not discussed. never theless, the white house says the call was quote, very good. >> look, we're going to continue to maintain the position that we've had and be tough when necessary. at the same time we want to continue to have dialog so that we can work on some of the issues that concern both countries. >> does the white house believe that the election in russia was free and fair? >> look, in terms of the election there, we're focused on our elections. what we do know is that putin has been elected in their country and that's not something that we can dictate to them how they operate. we can only focus on the freeness and the fairness of our elections. >> why does the president in the white house believe that's something they should be discussing with the russian leader.
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>> i didn't say we couldn't discuss it. i'm saying it didn't come up on today's call. >> that's crazy. >> the president had made similar congratulatory calls to other world leaders including to our closest allies. >> did the president make a similar call to angela merkel who has just assumed her fourth mandate in berlin? >> i know he spoke with the chancell chancellor, i believe it was last week. i'd have to look back at the specific details of their conversation but i know they spoke within the last week. >> you've stood at that very podium over the years. >> that is painful. >> if you go back to sarah sanders first sound byte when she was twisting herself in knots suggesting that russian election was maybe fair, president obama made a phone call to president putin in march of 2012. he also congratulated president
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putin. we didn't have the backdrop of russians interfering with a presidential election. why do you think this time was different? >> it was remarkable to see a spokes person from the president of the united states in a position where she's actually putting herself in a position where she's trying to defend the conduct of elections in russia. it's extraordinary and the attention that this sound byte has received is warranted in this case. there are a couple of things that are different about mr. trump's -- about president trump's call to vladimir putin that were different than 2012. you obviously point out it doesn't come against the backdrop of the election meddling. you also don't have a president of the united states, president obama was somebody interested in strengthening nato. president trump has gone around criticizing our nato allies and in some cases putting distance between us and our allies including with regard to this specific poisoning of a russian spy in britain.
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so you know, this backdrop and the circumstances always matter. i'll tell you, willie, i remember that phone call from 2012 and this was some internal nashing of teeth about the fact that president obama did call to congratulate him, but you had a statement from the state department raising legitimate concerns about the way that that -- that election was conducted and about the broader human rights situation inside of russia. so the president of the united states in 2012 in a very different circumstance, we still found a channel. we did find a mechanism for raising concerns about that election. the trump administration has for whatever reason not done that and the still what you've had is you've got senior officials taking matters into their own hands to raise their own concerns even over apparently the objections of the president. >> so what you don't see is me
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smiling mockingly because you are the most polite person. you call it remarkable. that was the most painful press briefing i've ever seen in my life. >> can if you had given that press briefing -- >> josh. >> she wouldn't answer the question as to whether the russia election was free and fair and what you saw was edited for television because we don't have a lot of time. she actually asked -- she asked the reporter to repeat the question so she could spend some time to think about how to bs her way out of it so she could please her boss and not the country. think about it this way. take a look. >> is it the president's attention to meet with vladimir putin before he sees kim jong-un or makes a decision on the iran nuclear deal? >> we don't have any specific plans laid out at this time. >> did the president not raise the issue of russian meddling on
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that call? >> i don't believe it came up in this call. >> did the topic of religious liberty come up with the crown prince today? did the president bring that up at all. >> i don't believe that came up but i'd have to check on the last half of the meeting to be sure. i wasn't there. >>. >> okay. head exploding aside, this is a serious time when you have a press secretary averting the truth. so clearly doing so many things that i mean, it was painful to watch, painful for the country. >> yeah. we have a number of incidents between russia and the west at the moment and between saudi arabia and the crown prince was also will and there was a reference to that meeting too and the west at the moment, none of which it seems the president thought were important issues to raise during the course of a phone call with vladimir putin
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and a meeting with the crown prince of saudi arabia. the situation in yemen, the situation in syria, the situation in the uk with the spy who has been poisoned and that small issue of the fact that russia meddled in the american election for donald trump. none of that the president seems to have thought was worth raising which leaves the question, what did he talk about? >> it's baffling. >> what did they talk about? >> it's really at this point -- >> president trump apparently prioritizes his personal rapport with world leaders over everything else including the basic fundamental policy, national interests of the united states. >> but there's something special with putin here. >> even with the saudis he's in a situation where he's uncomfortable criticizing them in private face to face. >> that does not always reap rewards because he did that with ping. there was a huge big lovefest and actually now he's turned against the chinese on tariffs and you might think that in the
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context of that relationship he might think actually making pals would not be good because they have interests different than our own. >> he's saying these things about north korea, but i don't think he raises them in personal conversation. this is a function of somebody who does not have any experience in managing these kind of relationships. he doesn't have the experience to defend us to these other world leaders. it's very troubling. >> there you go. willie, jump? . >> yeah, i wanted to point out to josh's earlier point that the state department did come out yesterday and stated in much tougher language says it's no surprise that vladimir putin wanted to talk about state controlled media and the suppression of other candidates so the state department did come out and say it was no surprise. but to me, this idea that the national security, the closest
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national security advisors would walk away from that phone call, pick up the phone and call the washington post and explain in great detail what we were in the briefing notes, we told him to condemn the poisoning of a former russia spy in the uk and he didn't do it. that tells you so much of what's happening in the white house right now. >> not just the morale, but the way people do their jobs and how they must do their jobs to protect themselves in those jobs is paramount. there is this sense of being alone on an island a lot of times. you go to the president, the president has limited the way he's briefed, the kind of information he's getting, so they're not even really able to sort of lay out the back story, the intraka sis and the nuances of these relationships and why we're telling the president not to communicate a certain way, why we're telling the president
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not to congratulate putin at this time. he doesn't care about any of that. so for these civil servants and these men and women in these roles, they then want to make sure that the rest of us know we did what we're supposed to do. we know what was supposed to have happened and so we want to make it very clear, but it also speaks i think, willie, to an underlying issue that is pervasive throughout the administration is that it is an every man or woman for himself and that environment is one quite frankly that the president has stoked, fermented and accelerated. he likes that continue of conflict. he gets annoyed when people leak, but you create the environment for leaking, what do you expect? >> we've got still so much news to cover. top senate republicans are warning that president trump could be impeached if he fires bob mueller. we haven't even gotten to that. we're following the breaking news out of austin, texas, the serial bomber has been killed by
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authorities. we'll be monitoring what's going on there and bring you the latest developments. also the noreaster that's headed our way. also, the three women who are ramping up legal pressure against donald trump, why they're sex stories matter. we'll be right back. liberty mutual stood with me when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night, so he got home safe. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
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yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. a lot to get to this morning. we're monitoring the weather and the situation in austin, texas. we also want to clarify something we reported yesterday concerning president trump's newly hired long time washington lawyer joseph di genova. he was not a signed contributor of that net work. just a clarification. also this big story this morning, the senate majority leader and house speaker continue to say there is no need for legislation to protect the special counsel investigation. they're also sending a message to president trump to leave bob mueller alone.
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>> are you prepared to take any action to protect the special counsel? >> i just don't think it's necessary. i don't think bob mueller is going anywhere. i think there's widespread feeling and the present lawyers obviously agree that he ought to be allowed to finish the job. >> special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely. i am confident that he'll be able to do that. i've received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration. >> all right. meanwhile top senate republicans are warning president trump that he could be impeached if he fires mueller. senator jeff flake tweeted quote, we are begging the president not to fire the special counsel. don't create a constitutional crisis. congress cannot pre-empt such a firing our only constitutional remedy is after the fact through impeachment.
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no one wants that outcome, mr. president, please don't go there and here is senator lindsay graham. >> if the president fired robert mueller do you think that would be an impeachable offense? >> probably so if he did it without cause, yeah. i think what the president will have done is stopped an investigation into whether or not his campaign colluded with the russians, what effect the russians had on the 2016 campaign. i can't see it being anything other than a corrupt purpose to stop the investigation without cause. i think it would be a constitutional crisis. >> michael steele, it's good to hear this from republican senators but i have to wonder where their confidence comes from when it comes to this president of the united states. do they believe he would fire jim comey before he fired jim comey? i wonder if they're being too presumptuous when it comes to bob mueller and the president of the united states. >> i think they are. i think they're being way too
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optimistic. the president's behavior belies that reality that the president won't go there and to say that the president's lawyers they want him to complete it now, other wise, shut it down. this is not -- it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out exactly where the president's team is on robert mueller but for republicans and i think our friend and colleague rick tyler said it best. the truth of the matter is, if it comes to that, those very men that you just saw standing there talking about oh, i don't think this is going to happen, it's not going to be necessary to worry about protecting mueller will do nothing if -- if mueller is fired. that's the truth of it. because what will they do? what exactly will they do? they have not -- they have not put the course correction in place for this president up to this point to talk about constitutional crisis and all
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that will be something of their own doing, not just the president if it come to that point. >> at least we see republicans warning him showing a concern. also a lot of people telling me that the new attorney on trump's team will definitely urge him to fire mueller. that will be his approach as opposed to the other attorneys on trump's team. also senator john mccain came out with a really searing statement against president trump in regards to his russia lack of -- lack of act to bilito the right thing with putin. but now we're going to turn to the three women ramping up the legal pressure on donald trump. the former porn star, the former play mate and the apprentice contesta contestant. news broke on all three of these yesterday. let's start with karen mcdougal. sued the national enquirer for the right to share her story about an alleged affair with donald trump. mcdougal went public last month with what she says was a nine
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month affair with trump beginning in 2006. there's also the lawsuit brought by the former apprentice contestant. a judge ruled yesterday that it could move forward. she claims trump defamed her when he ridiculed the groping and kissing allegations that she made against him. she says that trump kissed her against her will when she visited him at trump tower in december of 2007 after she left his reality show and later groebed her when they met for dinner later that month. and then there's the latest from stormy daniels. and a lie detector test. this photo from a video of a may 2011 polygraph exam that indicates stefani clifford was truthful when she said she had an affair with donald trump in 2006 and a warning, the questions we're about to share with you are a bit explicit. she was asked this.
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>> it's early in the morning. >> did you have -- yeah, you can see it. that's the first question. and then there's the second question. and then there's the third question. we'll put that up now. and she said yes to all three. she answered the first and second questions truthly. the second by a 99% probability. there was no determination on her answer to the third question. it was deemed inconclusive. stephanie clifford took the lie detector test as part of an agreement to sell her story to life and style magazine. the story never ran and people familiar with the matter tell the wall street general that the former porn star was never paid. here is our lawyer explaining why he paid $25,000 to buy the video from the polygraph examiner. >> we caught wind of the fact that there were a number of third parties, some in the main stream media that were attem
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attempting to purchase the video and the file for use in what i will describe as nefarious activities. >> on top of all of this, stormy is now tweeting about trump. yesterday responding to a random and disparaging tweet she replied, technically i didn't sleep with the potus 12 years ago. there was no sleeping and he was just a goofy reality tv star, but i digress, people do care that he lied about it. had me bullied, broke laws to cover it up, et cetera and ps, i'm not going anywhere. donald trump has repeatedly denied any and all of the allegations against him. jonathan, is this just sort of a salacious story or are there concerns here? is there reason for the president to be really nervous this morning? >> well, when you have a witness ending a tweet with a series of x cea
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x's and o's you're in a by czar place. >> you also know her attorney. >> i do. he's a former student, but this is obviously spinning out of control, but one -- some of the more important aspects is the reference to being bullied. there were suggests that there were physical threats made against her. those will weigh heavily in all of this because when you look at these agreements did you knowingly and voluntarily sign that agreement. if there's elements of fraud or coercion those are classic reasons not to enforce an agreement. they are now in federal court. trump's attorney moved them into federal court but these cases are beginning to merge in a dangerous way. you know, in the mcdougal filing, she is -- her counsel has tied the president's personal lawyer, mr. cohen, to that deal as well. and so you have the sort of usual suspects coming up where
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they allege that the original attorney who by the way was also involved, this is the attorney for the woman, was also involved with stormy daniels. and so there's this cross poll lynnization across these cases. >> i say this carefully, but the allegations against the president that came up during the campaign, i think -- i think the voter out there would say well, the timing is so suspicious, and where is the proof and what exactly, you know, is the motive here? now we're looking at a few cases that may have -- may have something tangible behind them. a nondisclosure agreement. a contract, perhaps texts, perhaps evidence. this could be different. >> i think it could be different as well in the timing because we are now a year beyond the election and what have we seen has happened on opinion polls on a fairly regular basis. the most striking thing about donald trump's approval is how
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it has plummeted amongst women, against college educated white women in particular. so if his approval rating is declining already amongst suburban women and on top of that you have these stories about multiple affairs and look at the timing of this. 2006, 2007, it was shortly after his son was born. just after melania had been pregnant with their child together. i can't imagine there are some female voters who look at that and say that's not very nice. it's a kind of no go zone. >> do not cohas been --
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>> if he shows tangible proof of this it may have a difference especially with women voters who voted for trump, but i do think and i wonder because you would know, not necessarily the sex, but the threats and the treatment of these women after, if that is proven to be abusive, i think that could be actually something that has legs. >> yeah, i mean, there's a pattern here, particularly all these connections with michael cohen who's sort of trump's fix it guy and he doesn't have the best reputation, but also there's some real costs here. the loss in new york is going to bind future presidents. back in april i wrote a column saying don't do this. don't use presidential privileges and defenses in this case because if you lose it will bind other presidents and past presidents have been circumspect about using these because these are used through the court
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through interpretation. that's very different with trump. he has a lot of local counsel in all these cases that are throwing out these privileges and immunities and they just lost in new york and this is the first time in history that a judge is saying, you have to go into a state proceeding. so with clinton it was a federal proceeding and they argued there was a difference there. so precedence being made here and the cost is not going to be born by trump but his successors. >> what do you think? >> it's like every little quagmire created by the president, this story line along with the others just -- it just seeps throughout the problems the president's having in his -- in his white house and now to professor turley's point he's making it more difficult for future presidents in these areas as well. at the end of the day, the question becomes and i think
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avenue gn stormy daniels' attorney said it best, how many things is he going to fall into that takes him down this rabbit hole that is not of his making. >> and you don't have to comment on this. >> stay tuned for my thoughts on stormy daniels. >> oh, my god. okay, we will be waiting. >> thank you so much. great to see you. coming up the latest developments from austin, texas, where the man accused of killing two people with explosives, used his own to end his life. and the company at the center of the data mining scandal has sent its ceo packing but that will not be the end of it. we'll break down the development surrounding cambridge analytica including a new batch of hidden camera footage. we'll be right back.
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what's disappointing is the president didn't mention the two people poisoned or the
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interfering in our election. every time you give putin a pass, it's clear to me we're not sending the right message to putin about his behavior in our own backyard and we had a chance to reenforce an ally and we missed that opportunity. >> when i look at a russian election what i see is the lack of credibility and tallying the results always reminded of the elections they used to have in almost every communist country where whoever the dictator was at the moment always got huge percentage of the vote. so calling him wouldn't have been high on my list. >>. >> speechless in the senate.
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that was some of the reaction on capitol hill to president's call to vladimir putin. in a statement senator john mccain said an american president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. president trump insulted every russian citizen who is denied the right to vote in a free and fair election. >> thank you. >> and joining us now here in new york, former nato allied commander, retired four star navy admiral, he is chief international security and diplomacy analyst for nbc news. always great to have you with us. >> good to see you. >> your reaction to the phone call. president obama called president putin in 2012, congratulated him on the election. why is this different to you and what should the president have
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said to president putin? it's hard to cap john mccain's comment, but to me this would be like j. edgar hoover calling al capone to congratulate him on a bank robbery. i think our allies start to think, is this president really going to have the kind of relationship with vladimir putin that could undermine us, so there are international consequences here and then domestically as you see the entire senate across both parties condemning this, it's a bad morning in america. >> so would you have rather seen no phone call at all or just a stronger phone call to putin? >> i think in the immediate aftermath of the election, no phone call and then a week from now, give that some space, sort of accept the fact that he is the president of russia, then
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call him and read him the riot act about the poisoning. that's a big deal. chemical weapons against a nato ally, that crosses every red line you want to think about. >> and we know because it's splashed on the front page of the woug post that his national security team did tell him to confront him about the poisoning. you know a lot of the players involved here. what does it say to you that within a couple of hours it was posted to the front of the washington post, details, very specific details of what was inside those notes? >> two reactions, willie, and in the course of my long misspent youth in the navy i spent plenty of time preparing those kind of talking points for very civilian leaders. those are the closest held of intelligence activities. this is what you want your president to be communicating at the very highest level, so the fact that somebody would leak
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those says everything negatively about discipline in the white house. >> and what are they doing? are they protecting their own reputations? >> bang. and that's the second point. it screams people saying you may want to trash your reputation, mr. president, but you're not taking me down with you and it's a means for people on the staff in close to say we told him to do the right thing and he's not doing it. that really speaks to an unraveling in the white house. >> and maybe mika, so people who were already planning to head out the door signaling that they're doing the right thing as they leave. >> dove tailing on senator mccain's strong statement republicans really looked embarrassed and speechless, really. then you -- it goes down the line, the white house press secretary was asked a simple question in the briefing yesterday, were the elections in russia free and fair? it was clear as a bell and she says come again? and you can see her thinking
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about how she doesn't want to answer this question. the reporter repeats the question and she has no answer. so i guess my question to you is, overall in its totality, is it going too far to say that the white house is failing america on the world stage? >> i think without question the white house is failing america on the world stage and it's -- you're absolutely right. it's not just this election. it's -- it's the failure to understand the value of our alliance systems around the world. the failure to be part of the climate accord, every other nation on the planet earth is part of that. it's a failure to think coherently about how we use trade as a positive element in our relationships, the diplomatic failures are stacking up here, but this one is a tactical failure. it's a self-induced error and it's truly hard to understand. >> you know, talking about our
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alliances my father and i had a lot of conversations before he passed about the damage to our strategic alliances that have been built over the course of decades by many great men and the help of women as well. i'm thinking of secretary of state albright. the impact here publicly with the utter stupidity of how the president even characterizes the conversation, i can't even imagine what is happening privately to our strategic alliances around the world. >> there was a very sad moment in the press conference. we played the clip where sanders said we have no right to comment on how other people's elections and how they run them effectively. you did have that right. you did have that role. this was a leadership built on the ideals of human rights and democracy and she blew that away. i want to ask you whether you think america's allies who -- many of whom have come to washington and think they have
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got concessions from the president, we've seen theresa may here, xi ping has been here. theresa may thought she had president trump move on russia over the poisoning of the former spy in the uk. and then it seems like what he says to them is meaningless. because a few days later he totally changes his tune. are people starting to think there's no point making that trek to the white house, because he may say something very nice, but it doesn't actually mean very much. >> yeah, that's a wonderful point. and let's face it. the two touch stones of diplomacy are capacity, your ability to really operate in the world power. you have to have that, but it's also credibility and consistency. and we certainly have that power to operate in the world. and our problem today is consistency. and so a classic example would be north korea where we go in a matter of a couple of months
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from fire and fury, i'm going to destroy north korea to i'm going to sit down and cut the greatest deal in the world. if you're in japan your head is -- it's not whip sawing, it's simply circling around. it's just impossible to follow the examples you gave are equally germane. we have got to get more coherency to our policy to put alongside our immense capacity. >> i'm afraid we're out of time because i know you wanted to address the questionnaire in this stormy daniels story but we'll have to save that for next time. thanks so much. >> still ahead, more on the backlash over hud secretary ben carson's expensive office furniture. he's found an uncomfortable place to lay the blame. >> my god. >> plus, former cia director john brennan joins our table when we come back in just a moment.
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an update now on the breaking news out of texas. police say that the suspect believed to be responsible for the string of bombings in austin is dead following a confrontation with police. officials say the unnamed suspect is a 24-year-old white male. moments ago austin police chief updated the public on exactly how they captured the suspect overnight. >> we had surveillance teams looking for this suspect, and we ultimately located the vehicle that this suspect was known to be driving and witnesses told us he was driving and, in fact, we found that at a hotel right up the road here in round rock. we had multiple officers from both the police department and our federal partners that took up positions around the hotel awaiting the arrival of our
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tactical teams because we wanted to have ballistic vehicles here so we could attempt to take this suspect in custody as safely as possible. while we were waiting for those vehicles to get here, much time had passed and the vehicle started to drive away. we began following the vehicle, again waiting to get the tactical vehicles here so we could take this -- make a stop. however, the vehicle ended up stopping in the ditch on the side of the road behind us. as members of the austin police department s.w.a.t. team approached the vehicle, the suspect detonated a bomb inside the vehicle, knocking one of our s.w.a.t. officers back and one of our s.w.a.t. officers fired at the suspect as well. the suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from
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detonating a bomb inside his vehicle. >> this dramatic outcome comes after a string of bombings which began on march 2nd and which officials say was the work of a serial bomber that left two people dead and several more wounded and also obviously a community on edge. up next, former c.i.a. director john brennan joins the table. "morning joe" is coming right back. today, big thinking in the finger lakes is pushing the new new york forward. we're the number one dairy and apple producers in the eastern united states supported by innovative packaging that extends the shelf life of foods and infrastructure upgrades that help us share our produce with the world. all across new york state, we're building the new new york. to grow your business with us in new york state, visit esd.ny.gov
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believe the election in russia was free and fair? >> i'm sorry. >> does the white house believe the election in russia was free and fair? >> in terms of the election, they were focussed on our elections. we don't get to dictate how other country's operate. >> there's a series of major stories unfolding right now that has the president's diplomatic legal and national security teams scrambling. on russia, the president congratulated vladimir putin on his dubious election win, even though top advisers reportedly begged him not to, putting it in caps on his notes, do not congratulate. he congratulated. the porn star in a lawsuit with the president is getting some company from a former playboy model who says she also has a
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story to tell and a contract. and in austin, police are putting together the pieces from a serial bombing spree that ended with the death this morning of the suspected attacker. we have updates on all of that. welcome to "morning joe" the top of the hour. it's wednesday, march 21st. with us here in washington, we have former white house press secretary to president obama josh earnest. we're making him very uncomfortable this morning because he's so polite. washington anchor for bbc world america caddy cay. michael steele, working the phones. there's so many republicans stepping up. they're kind of actually. and in new york, along with our willie geist, msnbc contributor mike barnacle. we're happy to have with us former c.i.a. director john brennan who is now an nbc news senior national security and intelligence analyst. director brennan, it's really good to have you on this
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morning. you have been increasingly vocal against president trump. on february 20th, the president tweeted i have been much tougher on russia than obama. just look at the facts. total fake news. and you replied, it never ceases to amaze me how successful you have been making yourself so small, petty and beal with your tweets. your insecurity is well deserved as is your concern over russia investigation. thomas paine was right when he said these are the times that try men's souls. earlier this month, trump tweeted -- it was a bad result -- it was a result of bad policies and leadership. you countered with -- you show an amazing, albeit unsurprising ignorance of how technology, automation and the evolution of economics and societies have transformed the world. your simple minded policies
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imposition of tariffs have the potential to seriously damage our future prosperity. just last saturday trump tweeted about the firing of andrew mccabe, writing in part, sanctimonious james comey was his boss and made mccabe look like a choir boy. he knew all about the lice and corruption going on at the highest levels of fbi and you replied -- when the full extent of your vernalty, moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dust bin of history. you may scapegoat andy mccabe, but you will not destroy america, america will triumph over you. is america being tried in terms of its place in this world? is this president letting our country down? >> well, i think the president has shown a lack of understanding of international affairs as well as a real
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ignorance of what it takes to be president of the united states. that's what prompted my tweets. he is mean spirited. he is dishonest. he has shown a lack of integrity. and he has continued to, i think, demean the office of the presidency. so i decided to put my silence aside and speak up and speak out because i do think our future is in jeopardy while mr. trump continues his antics. >> let me follow up on that, are we on the verge of a constitutional crisis? >> well, i think many of the senators and members of congress have said that if trump decides to sack mueller, that we are going to be in a constitutional crisis. i have great confidence in bob mueller. he is a tremendous american and he's going to get to the bottom of this investigation. but if mr. trump, who i think is increasingly feeling the pressure and feeling very anxious and nervous about what's going on, if he decides to remove bob mueller, i do think then we'll be at that crisis point. >> mr. director, you just said
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our future is in jeopardy. that's a chilling statement from someone who knows the things you know about the way our government works and what's happening around the world. what do you mean specifically by that? >> i think he's mishandled so many matters. just look at what happened yesterday with his call to vladimir putin. vladimir putin was the person who authorized interference on our election. vladimir putin was involved in directing the poisoning of an individual on british soil. and to congratulate him and treat him so nicely while he treats americans with such disdain, i think it just demonstrates he looks at the world through a prism of what is going to help and protect donald trump. that is not what presidents are supposed to do. i worked for six presidents. i didn't agree with some of their policies, but all of them, all of them were trying to do what they thought was best for the united states. that's not mr. trump. he is self absorbed and trying to protect his flanks and promote his own interests. >> is it a war with north korea. when you say our future is in
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jeopardy, what long-term damage can happen to the country because of one man? >> i don't know what he's going to do with north korea. the fact that he opted to have a summit meeting with kim jong-un before really any preparation has been done, it shows his impetuousness, the fact he is not looking at issues with the type of depth and sophistication that is needed. he totally ignored the briefing cards given to him with his call to putin. in caption said do not congratulate. the united states plays an important role around the globe. i don't know what mr. trump is going to do, but he is not somebody who is going to study these issues, he is not going to take his time to think of what's in the best interest of the united states. i am concerned about our future and our national security. >> wow. >> what do you chalk it up to? why won't the president read the cards and say the things that you say need to be said to vladimir putn? do you believe he is some how in debt to the president of russia? >> i think he is afraid of the
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russian president. they may have something on him personally to roll out and make his life more difficult. clearly i think it's important for us to improve relations with russia, but the fact that he has had this fawning attitude toward mr. putin, not said anything negative about him, i think continues to say to me that he does have something to fear and something very serious to fear. >> you believe russia has something on him? >> i believe that the russians would not -- they would opt for things to do if they believe that it was in their interest and the russians, i think, have had long experience with mr. trump and may have things that they could expose and reveal. >> something personal perhaps. >> perhaps. perhaps. >> what does it tell you about the white house staff, the national security staff, their thoughts about the sitting president of the united states when it's leaked within two hours something so sensitive about a topic so sensitive, as
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is yesterday. >> i think it reflects their frustration and also their disgust that the president of the united states who is going to be talking to mr. putin refuses to follow the advice of the russian experts from the national security staff. that is something that i think they feel what's the sense of doing their job if he's just going to countermand what they are recommending. somebody called the washington post and gave detailed information about it, i think it shows the level of frustration has reached fever pitch right now in the white house. >> so yesterday the crown prince of saudi arabia was in washington, d.c. what does this presidency, the way it's been conducted, do to our allieallies, but france, ge, great britain, great britain suffering through someone being poisoned on its own soil, does the president of the united states today, does his word mean
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anything to our allies? >> well, they're asking themselves questions about does this mean that the united states has changed from its fundamental position of being a leader of the free world? and can we trust anything that comes out of the mouth of the incumbent in the oval office? because he has demonstrated he changes his views, changes his position, changes his words. so i think there's a real sense of unsettlement around the globe among our partners and allies. i think it is playing into mr. putin's hands because the united states is not seen as that reliable partner and ally that's going to be supportive, particularly of our european partners. i think angela merkel and others are really scratching their heads trying to figure out what can she count on the united states for these days given that mr. trump is in the oval office. >> i want to read a statement, senator john mccain responded to yesterday's developments saying, an american president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections and by doing so with vladimir putin.
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president trump insulted every russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country's future. including the countless russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist putin's regime. very strong words from senator mccain. >> senator mccain is ill and frail but he is not holding back when it comes to speaking out about this president and what he sees as egregious behavior. john brennan, i want to ask you a couple quick questions. first of all, you thought it was possible that the russians had something on donald trump. director of the c.i.a. until 2017, is that speculation or are you talking with information? >> no. i'm saying that perhaps the russians have something and that's why mr. trump is concerned. mr. trump knows better than any one of us whether or not the russians may have something on him. so, i think it's very difficult to try to explain his behavior and why he has taken this
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position vis-a-vis vladimir putin personally, so one can again speculate that maybe there's something there. >> you've worked for six american presidents, both republican and democrat. have you ever spoken out in the way that you are doing now against one of your former bosses? >> no. this is the second time that i've retired. the first time i didn't speak out at all. i said some things in terms of policies, but never about the person. and this is a very different person who inhabits the oval office. again, he lacks integrity. he is dishonest, mean spirited and not taking into account what really needs to be done as far as the united states national security interests are concerned. so i am very concerned about the direction that we're heading in and that's why i have chosen to spoke out like other former intelligence officials. it's lamentable that we have to, but this isn't about politics. i'm not a republican or a democrat. this is about the future of our country, our national security, our future prosperity and mr. trump i think is failing on so many fronts.
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what i'm most frustrated about is that he has hoodwinked so many individuals who have legitimate concerns about their state in terms of economics, about their future employment prospects. he has hoodwinked them. i use that in one of my tweets the term charlton. i think he is masterful in terms of putting out messages that are deceptive and lead people to believe he has solutions to very complicated problems. so those are the people i feel most badly about. the ones that have been misled by mr. trump. >> we've heard, mr. director, from dan coats head of dni and mike rodgers that still today knowing what we know about russia's interference in the 2016 election, not enough is being done to counteract it from happening again. it's on going and will happen in 2018 and again in 2020. in your assessment, why isn't more being done? why aren't we going all out to fight it if we've identified the problem?
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>> that's a good question. i'm interested in looking at the senate's recommendations in detail. but this is a real challenge as far as dealing with the digital domain and the cyber environment. i think russian interference in 2016 election was very symptomatic of the vulnerabilities that exist, the opportunities for trouble making there. i have long argued that there needs to be an independence commission to deal with the challenges in the cyber domain, just like we had after the 9/11 attacks we had a 9/11 commission that looked at what we needed to do as a country. the cyber environment is much more challenging as an issue than counterterrorism and yet we are still taking these very limited steps in terms of what it is we need to do. >> why is that, though? if you know what you have to do, why aren't the full steps being taken? >> it's up to congress to initiate an independent commission to bring together the individuals, the digital domain is owned and operated 80% by the
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private sector. also i think there needs to be more of a national consensus of what the role of government will be in that environment. what should the fbi, nsa, c.i.a. to help with the attacks that are taking place there. >> we're looking at tweets from president trump in the past ten minutes with misspellings and i'll try to read them. special counsel told to find crimes whether crimes exist or not. i was opposed to the selection of muler to be special counsel. i guess he is quoting somebody. he is quoting alan dershowitz. i think president trump was right when he said there never should have been a special counsel appointed because there was no probable cause for crime, collusion or otherwise or obstruction of justice so stated by harvard law professor alan dershowitz. in a series of two tweets
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including misspellings by mr. trump, with that in mind, mr. director, you were talking about your worry about the vulnerability that exist given that this president has such terrible character, spell out for our viewers, if you could, with some examples of what you're most worried about, what might happen given these latest tweets where he is pushing back and pushing back against mueller by name. >> well, i think you have concerns on the international front as well as domestic front. i hope we don't see a wag the dog scenario he will try to distract the attention here domestically and politically on him and engage in some type of international initiative that is going to really put our nation at risk. military action against north korea, they're doing something vis-a-vis iran. tearing up the iranian nuclear agreement and pushing for some confrontation in the gulf. on the domestic front, sacks rod
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rosenstein or bob mueller, that really is going to bring this country to the brink of crisis. that's when i think the members of congress, particularly republicans in congress, are going to step up and do what is necessary to protect this country. thank goodness we have individuals like senator john mccain who is a national treasurer and will speak up forcefully when he sees this country is being wronged and when he is very concerned about what mr. putin is going to do to take advantage of us. so whether it be with one of our adversaries, north korea or iran, whether it is going to be one of our partners and allies that will have less confidence in the united states and start to move toward russia and china, again, hurting us on the international field, these are things that i think all of us should be worried about. and i do believe there are individuals within the white house, the national security staff and also within congress that are looking at mr. trump seeing that he's acting more and more like a cornered animal and lashing out in whatever way he
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can. who knows what that cornered animal will do once they really see the threat to their survival. >> mike barnacle? >> mr. director, we've already had one assault, perhaps an act of war against the united states by russia on our electoral system. and you talked about the difficulty of dealing with cyber warfare. do you think today we are less safe today in terms of cyber war against our electric grids, financial systems than we were two or three years ago? are we not paying enough attention? >> i think everyday the individuals responsible for the security of those different types of infrastructure are doing their best to try to prevent all the intrusions that's taking place. but the fact that this country has such a wide array of critical infrastructure, there are tremendous opportunities for adversaries to get into the system, navigate, deploy malware and maybe leave it there so at some point they can activate it.
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so i think everyday we have to be looking at how we can further strengthen these systems because everyday our adversaries are developing new techniques, new technologies, new ways to assault whether it be critical infrastructure or other parts of our economic and political system. so, it's hard for me to say right now whether or not we're less safe than we were before, i just think there are more actors out there, and not just the nation states and security and intelligence services it's these various companies that have the capabilities to do this. >> former c.i.a. director and nbc news senior national security and intelligence analyst, john brennan, thank you so much for being here with us this morning. >> thank you. still ahead on "morning joe," from the foreign relations committee, senator chris coons reacts to the president's latest overture to russia and his latest tweets against bob mueller and what we just heard from the former c.i.a. director. plus the top house
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congressman adam schiff joins the conversation. and we go life to the white house where nbc's peter alexander is tracking the administration's reaction to the increasing number of women involved in legal action against the president. but first, bill karins with a check on the nor'easter hitting right now. bill? >> mika, we have thousands of flights cancelled about 4,000 in total. we'll have a difficult evening commute in the east coast and tonight we could have destruction and devastation on the west coast with more heavy rain. the nor'easter, we've had overachieving snow in ohio, indiana and kentucky. a lot of shoveling to be done in cleveland, too and pittsburgh and now the snow breaking out across central pennsylvania. we're still waiting for it to develop on the i-95 corridor. 74 million people impacted by this storm. winter storm warnings from boston all the way down to the mountains in north carolina. let's time it out for you. this is where we're at right as we go throughout the morning, we'll watch the heavier bands of snow beginning on the eastern sea board, especially from i-95 from d.c. to philly to new york. so the peak of the storm from
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d.c. to baltimore and philadelphia around noon today. the peak of it from new york city to connecticut, long island, the evening commute 5:00 p.m. so many people stayed home from work and kids have been cancelled at school. the snow totals, the 6 is the purple, that's 6 inches of snow and pink that's 9. new york city has the chance for the highest totals. we're at 3 to 5 for d.c., 6 to 10 for philadelphia. new york city 6 to 10, boston right around 4 to 8 inches. as far as the rain is concerned on the west coast, the worst of that will be this evening and the burn areas very concerned what could happen and what that will look like. as far as washington, d.c. goes, we've lowered your snow totals just a little bit, now looking 2 to 4 and 3 to 5 inch range. more accumulations later half of the morning. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. it's time for the 'sleep number spring clearance event'
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the number of women ramping
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up legal pressure on president trump continues to grow. joining us from the white house, nbc news national correspondent peter alexander with the very latest. peter. >> reporter: mika, good morning to you. so you have a former porn star, a former play mate and a former contestant on "the apprentice" those are the three women now putting the legal pressure on president trump. all of their accusations of affairs and misconduct dating back to before the president took office. but it previews what could be long legal battles ahead and returning the spotlight to allegations about donald trump's personal conduct. this morning, another woman, another alleged affair with donald trump and another lawsuit. the latest accuser to come forward, former playboy model karen mcdougal, her lawyer speaking out this morning for the first time. >> karen mcdougal had a sexual relationship with donald trump for ten months. it was a romantic relationship. they were together very often. >> reporter: the alleged affair
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was more than ten years ago. mcdugle says in 2016 she was paid $150,000 by the national inquirer's parent company to keep her story secret. now she's suing the company, american media ink whose ceo is a friend of president trump. her lawyer claims the agreement is invalid because the media company and her attorney misled her about the deal. >> they own her partial life story. and this contract needs to be voided. and it's not a question of money. >> reporter: mcdugle now the second woman this month taking legal action to tell her story following stormy daniels. >> do you have a nondisclosure agreement. >> do? >> daniels attorney posting this photo tuesday taking a lie detector test in 2011. the polygraph report obtained by nbc news shows the examiner found daniels to be truthful when she said she had unprotected sex with donald trump. her attorney, speaking with savannah, earlier this month. >> did she have a sexual
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relationship with the president? >> yes. >> reporter: the white house has repeatedly called those claims false. >> he's denied all of these allegations. >> reporter: overnight daniels tweeted, technically i didn't sleep 12 years ago. there was no sleeping. adding, i'm not going anywhere. on tuesday, a new york judge ruled in favor of former apprentice contestant summer zervos, saying her case can go forward. denying the president's request for immunity because he's commander in chief. donald trump groped her in 2007. as a candidate, mr. trump denied her claims and those of other women who accused him of misconduct. >> they are all false. they're totally invented, fiction. all 100% totally and completely fabricated. >> still silent on all of the accusations first lady melania trump. instead, she is speaking out about her anti-cyber bullying campaign. despite fierce criticism of her
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social media habits and his frequent attacks on twitter. >> i'm well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic. but it will not stop me from doing what i know is right. >> the first lady says she has one goal that's helping children and the next generation. as for those other women, karen mcdougal plans to speak up publicly we're told later this week in an interview with stormy daniels could air this weekend. >> wow. nbc's peter alexander, thank you very much. michael steele, do these cases matter in the grand scheme of things? >> they do. they do. and for very interesting and somewhat odd reason. harvey weinstein, i think the whole field of discussion now has pivoted and changed. women feel much more empowered now to stake their claim. going back to the 2016 election what happened? there was a bifurcated conversation. one was largely focussed on
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hillary clinton. when these claims came up, it got diffused near the end of the campaign. it bubbled but didn't really boil. >> wow. >> now with harvey weinstein's story and all the others that have emerged, you're in a whole new area and the president's defense will prove probably not to be a defense going forward. >> and just to clarify, there's some differences with harvey weinstein where there was assault, rape involved. >> it's the general attitude about these issues. >> multiple contracts. multiple agreements for silence. i mean, that -- josh, why don't you chime in. that's where i think if we look at a situation where there is proof of multiple women who have been forced to stay silent about a sexual relationship and threats and potentially lawyers abusing their power, which there is the potential for that in each of these situations and involvement of the inquirer, let me just tell you i know for personal reasons that that
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sounds very possible that there was some collusion there. this could be really damaging to this presidency. >> yeah, look. there is clearly a pattern that has emerged in terms of the ways these kinds of situations are handled, drawing up these agreements, making payments, using friends at the national inquirer to try to keep these problems from bubbling up into the public. this is why the trump team is going to the map, threatening $20 million fines to try to prevent the 60 minutes interview from stormy daniels interview airing. if she goes forward with that interview, it's likely and they certainly are concerned that the dam will break. all these other women who are under the same kind of contract that had previously silenced stormy daniels also feel like they don't have to be silenced any longer either. whether it's because they want to tell their story to get it off their conscientious or seeking the limelight. they think to themselves, i would like to be featured in a national televised interview as well. i think we're going to see more people coming forward. the other thing that is striking
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about this, and somebody eluded before, john brennan talked about this before asked by willie geist whether or not he was concerned that russia had something on him or that vladimir putin had something on him in the context of why president trump was so reluctant to criticize vladimir putin. there's one other person president trump has been reluctant to criticize, that's stormy daniels and it leads me to conclude that she may have something over him as well. >> that's the weakness. whether this president was abusive and whether he used his attorneys and stooges to be abusive. coming up, josh just mentioned it, it's one of the critical questions hanging over the presidency and the entire russia investigation. does vladimir putin have something on donald trump? we'll play for you how former c.i.a. director john brennan answered that question just moments ago right here on "morning joe." we'll be right back. bp's natural gas teams use smart app technology
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do you believe russia has something on him? >> i believe that the russians would not -- they would opt for things to do if they believe
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that it was in their interest and the russians, i think, have had long experience with mr. trump and may have things that they could expose and reveal. >> something personal perhaps? >> perhaps. perhaps. >> you just said you thought it was possible that the russians had something on donald trump. director of the c.i.a. until 2017. is that speculation, or are you talking with information? >> i'm saying that perhaps the russians have something and that's why mr. trump is concerned. mr. trump knows better than any one of us whether or not the russians may have something on him. so, i think it's very difficult to try to explain his behavior and why he has adopted this position vis-a-vis vladimir putin personally and one can speculate that maybe there's something there. >> former c.i.a. director and nbc news senior national security and intelligence analyst, john brennan, speaking with us earlier this hour. pretty stunning interview.
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joining us now a member of the foreign relations committee democratic senator chris coons of delaware. senator, first of all, just respond to that interview. a former c.i.a. director who has worked for presidents on both sides of the isle is deeply concerned about this country's future. your thoughts. >> i'm also deeply concerned and think many of my colleagues republicans and democrats see clearly that there is no good answer. there's no good reason why time and time again when our president is in a position to confront vladimir putin either on the assassination in the united kingdom, interference in our elections, ways he's undermining our he wants putin win. he called president putin and congratulate him on his election and make no mention of the pressing national security concerns of this country. there is no good explanation for that. >> also, not -- the white house
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not able to articulate this was not a free and fair election. >> right. >> so there is really a concern about russia. >> yep. >> that the president must be in some ways sort of passing on to the people who work for him perhaps one might argue too weak will protect the president and his concern about russia rather than what's right. >> they're following his lead and sadly he's not leading. he's not leading our country in a way that defends our values. we are a significantly more powerful country than russia and we need to lead with our values if we're going to be respected around the world as the great country we've been. he's not making america great again. he's taking us back to the isolationism of 70 years ago. >> you could hear it from john brennan and we hear it from many others, there's a concern he will fire mueller. there's a concern that this new lawyer on his team will push him in that direction as well and say what he wants to hear. if he does that, will your republican colleagues step up? and what can you do?
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>> well, there were some strong statements from a number of republican senators. jeff flake in particular. john mccain put out a very strong statement. the leaders both speaker ryan and majority leader mcconnell said robert mueller should be allowed to complete his investigation unhindered but i think we need to do more. anyone who thinks the special counsel robert mueller isn't in imminent danger of being fired isn't paying attention. just look at your phones. the tweets coming out from president trump this morning make it clear that he is rattling the cage and threatening to fire him. we should take up and pass the special counsel bill that senator tillis and i introduced months ago. i think we should be moving forward on a protection bill for the special counsel. >> in terms of your conversations we've seen them nudging your republican colleagues, could you see them moving to a position in any scenario they are prepared to say, okay, we actually need to do action now to protect the special counsel, once he's been fired it's too late? >> you must be talking about
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this behind the scenes. >> it's been frustrating difficult. yes, it would be horrible for robert mueller to be fired. it would undermine rule of law. it's a red line the president shouldn't cross. co-sponsor this bill, make a public statement. that's not going to happen. i've gotten reassurances from the white house it's not going to happen. my mom used to say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. >> i wouldn't believe it for a second. >> this is a train rolling right at us. the easiest way to stop it is through action now. >> how many examples do we have in the last month of him blustering, threatening in one way and reverses course immediately. you can't know exactly where he's going to go, but he drew a red line. he communicated to robert mueller through the press months ago if you start investigating my finances, that's a red line and that's what he's doing. >> he basically said it, josh. >> this week democrats have probably one of the last points of leverage that they're going to have over the course of the year legislatively because we
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know that democratic votes will be required to pass the budget bill and keep the government open before the end of the week. why not use that lenverage? what do your democratic colleagues say to the case why shouldn't the democrats insist that this kind of protection, this kind of prevention as you described it be inserted into the bill in order to get the democratic votes it needs to pass? >> we explored every option to find a way to move forward with the special counsel bill. at this point, i think moving forward in the senate with it legislatively not through the omnibus is the only path open. >> thank you very much senator chris coons. hope your back feels better. >> thanks. up next in hidden camera footage, executives from cambridge analytica boasted about their role in donald trump's win. now that company is facing serious questions about its activities. we'll have that story straight ahead on "morning joe."
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you know what's not awesome? gig-speed internet. when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. have you met mr. trump? >> many times. >> snuff. >> we did all the data, all the
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analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, television campaign and our data performed all the strategy. i went to speak to him. >> yeah. >> and the republicans asked three questions. five minutes. done. democrats asked two hours. >> and you -- >> no. it's voluntary but i did because i'm trying to help him. >> right. >> we have no secrets. >> right. >> and they're politicians. they're not technical. they don't understand how it works. they don't understand the candidate is never involved. he's told what to do by the campaign team. >> through candidates the public? >> always. >> that is the latest batch of undercover recordings from nbc news uk partner itn channel 4 news involving the ceo of cambridge analytica.
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cambridge ceo alexander nix who could be heard there talking about the company's word for the trump campaign belittling the intel committee in those recordings have been suspended. cambridge analytica released a statement that reads in part, cambridge analytica never claimed it won the election for president trump. this is patentedly absurd. we are proud of the work we did on that campaign and have spoken in many public forums about what we consider to be our contribution to the campaign. the statement goes on, as one of the companies that played a prominent role in the 2016 election campaign, cambridge analytica is committed to supporting and assisting the house intelligence committee investigation into russian interference in the election in any way that we can. joining us now is kylie morris, washington correspondent with the uk channel 4 news. which conducted that undercover investigation of cambridge analytica. also the top democrat on the house intelligence committee congressman adam schiff of california. congressman, let me start with
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you, is cambridge analytica helping the intel committee with the investigation? >> well, if it does, it will be fairly new. certainly we have alexander nix testify and now this was done at majority insistence by video conference, even though mr. nix told us he was willing to come in in person. and nonetheless, we didn't get the information that we needed. and in light of these whistle blower allegations, there are serious questions about the truthfulness of mr. mix testimony. so, we have invited christopher wylie to come in. he'll be testifying before us. we're also inviting alexander cogan to come in and we ought to bring alexander nix back and frankly the other cambridge analytica witnesses that had been on our witness list. still a lot of questions, how did they get this data? what did facebook know about this method in which they got the data? did they bring on this researcher for the purpose of obtaining it inappropriately? these are important questions as well as the links to luke oil
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and alexander cogan's links to st. petersburg university. >> we can try to put some of those questions to kylie. what are the key revelations that come out of this undercover video and great reporting? >> first of all, we've had a number of films. this was undercovering reporting that a couple of our team members went along and pretended to be skri lan kaen. cambridge analytica, we had four meetings with them. for the final meeting, alexander nix himself turns up. they talked about a whole series of dirty tricks about sending ukrainian women around to rooms where potential opponents could be filmed and that could be put out on the internet. they talked about bribery. they talked about how information doesn't necessarily need to be true. it just needs to be believable. and the way that you use the internet i think is really revealing. they talked about just putting things into the bloodstream of the internet that was kind of
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untrackable and untraceable. they described a world of using -- >> chilling. >> yeah. it's absolutely chilling. >> mike barnacle? >> congressman schiff, the technologically where is facebook in all of this and are they cooperating? >> well, i think the analytics firm acquired 15 million users information private data. they kwused it to figure out ho would they be vulnerable to different messages? should they appeal to fear or hatred? how could they tailor make specific services for the trump campaign. they would not have known their private data is effectively used against them.
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i think among the questions we need from facebook are why did it take until now to suspend cambridge analytica. are there counter indications now. so a it lo lot of i think very important questions. i'm sure they will have questions whether they that required disclosure of the privacy of their users data. so a lot for facebook to answer. we don't know what impact it had on the election. we do know that steve bannon was the vice president on the board.
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so connect the dots on what they were trying to do with cambridge analytica. huh much did they know? >> steve bannon was involved at cambridge analytica. they get involved, put money behind the company. steve bannon is there looking for ways and an approach that might deliver that. that is what they are working on. in 2014 they were involved on a couple of senate races. coming into 2016 initially they are working with the cruz campaign and all of that data gets mover gets moved to the trump
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campaign. we know it was used to better target in the final months. the campaign says cambridge analytica says the facebook data wasn't instrew mental in tument time. >> i want to close to the big story of the morning which is the developments on the part of the white house involving the president's call with putin, how it was handled, the information that was leaked, that he should not congratulate him and then how the white house handled answering questions about that. how would you characterize where we stand as it pertains to trump and russia.
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>> it is from the days we would bear any burden, pay any price to the sarah sanders explanation. i think john mccane is -- john mccain is abchutesolutely right. >> okay. thank you. coming up she dodged on whether putin is friend or foe. yesterday she was idea whether
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russia's elections were free and fair. her answer was far from definitive. we'll play that exchange. it's staggering straight ahead on morning joe. a golf clubthat only hits it straight... is that some kind of magic wand? not quite... just the result of dell emc working with callaway to gather data - and design best-in-class clubs, transforming the player into a bonafide golfer. oh! maybe it is a magic wand. magic can't make digital transformation happen... but we can. that's the power dell emc, part of dell technologies.
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>> i had a call with putin and
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congratulated him on the victory, the electoral victory. we will probably get together in the not too distant future to discuss the arms race. as you know he knemade a statem that being in an arms race is not a great thing. we had a very good call. i suspect we'll probably be meeting in the not too distant future to discuss the arms race which is getting out of control. we will never allow anybody to have anything cloe to what we have and also to discuss you careen and north korea and various other things. i think we'll be seeing him in the not too disat that particular time future. >> blast disappointing is apparently he didn't mention the poisoning of the two people in britain or the continued interference in our election.
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every time you talk to putin and you give him a pass it is clear to me we are not sending the right message about his behaifr gr -- behaifr yvior in our own backyard. >> what i see is lack of credibility and tallying the results. i'm always reminded of the elections i had in every communist country so they always got huge percentage of the vote. so calling him wouldn't have been. >> reporter: you kmecomment on idea that if president called putin to congratulate him on winning the election? >> wow. this morning president trump is
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getting bipartisan push back for his call with putin. he is also under legal siege. battles with a porn star and reality contestant. we'll go live in a few minutes for the very latest on that. we have also been following the breaking news this morning out of austin, texas. a serial bombing suspect is dead after a showdown with the city's s.w.a.t. team. as if it weren't enough we're tracking another massive winter storm. we'll have the very latest update on the heavy snow and high winds. welcome back. it is just the top of the hour.
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she got the answer with along with willie, take it away. there we learned he spoke not from a white house readout but rather from a kremlin. it was specific and stern warnings not to congratulate him. included was in all capitols do not congratulate also reportedly indeluded talking points on how the president should condemn the poisoning of a russian spy which president trump also decided not to do.
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the white house says the call was quote very good. >> look, we are going to continue to maintain the position that we have had and be tough when necessary. at the same time we want to continue to have dialogue to work on some of the issues that concerned both countries. >> does the white house believe the election was free and fair? >> in terms of the election we focused on our elections. we don't get to dictate how other countries operate. what we do know is that putin has been elected in their country and that's not something that we can dictate to them how they operate. we can only focus on the freeness of our elections. w i didn't say we couldn't discuss it. i said it didn't come up on
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today's call. >> did the president make a similar call to merkle in. >> i believe he spoke with the chance l chancellor last week. >> jonathan, you cover this white house briefing. it was extraordinary to watch her do back flips to suggest that some how it was a free and fair election. we should point out the state department did bring up all of the concerns you would have expected to hear about the way it was conducted and everything else. what is going on right now? if you can capture it some how where they still even in a situation where it seems to be an easy thing to address cannot
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brimg itself of to say things that cross putin or the russian governme government? >> that's right. how many times have we use them use it to promote free and fair values. that didn't happen yesterday. the press secretary saying that's not how other countries should handle their affairs. this is a president that time and time again seems to have a blind spot with russia. he seems to be unwilling to criticize putin. it is one of the greatest threats to our democracy we have ever seen. it is in the sidelines and said that putin said to him they weren't involved. he said i think putin believes that. it took a while to know president trump himself didn't believe that. so yesterday to not only not
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bring up the poisoning of a russian spy on british soil which has been so forcefully condemned, it seems another moment where president trump was unwilling to hit put itin. >> yeah. and that was an astounding leak about his refusal to adhere to the advice. it is my understanding, maybe mistakenly that the call was placed not from the oval office. is that accurate? >> that's right. they say it was done from the residence. he hadn't come over to the west wing just yet. there was a report that he is not seeing all of the briefing materials. taking you back to inside the
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oval office he wasn't there with the crown princess. details have not been revealed just yet. the one question he ignored was did you, in fact bring up this poisoning of the british spy on he ignored me. >> you know, jonathan, the point that he didn't see the material his national security advisers put before him fits a pattern joe and i have seen in trump, that is that he does not read the material that's put in front of him. it possibly could be a problem. they put it in all caps.
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he either willfully to congratulate putin or he didn't read it. john mccain says an american president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on sham elections. by doing so president trump to determine their country's future including the could wantless russian patriots who have risked so much to pro test and resist putin's regime. we saw sort of a speechlessness happening there. >> that was a pretty remarkable moment with basically the entire senate committee saying we don't have anything to say about this. i think we talked to much on the show about what point do
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republicans say enough? yesterday i feel like we made a significant steph closer to that. it's partly this call but it's also the president's tweets ability bob mueller over the weekend. rich came out and made a statement. he said what he just said was an active statements man ship. it should tell you everything. he represents -- you know, he is very good at representing where his conference is. he is not going to be ton far left or forright of it. the fact that he said that tells you how upset republicans are. >> so this is a major signal? >> i get being upset. we are upset abiliout a lot of things. how we communicate and convey to the president the seriousness of this, i really appreciate reporting on this. it gives you a back sense there
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is this kind of movement. the question is will they pull the trigger with this president? will someone go in and say mr. president this is as far as you will get to go on this. if you step over this line we will shut it down. we will stand in unison to block any attempt. it will up end your presidency. >> you used the word impeachment. >> exactly. >> the word impeachment did come up. there is legislation that could respect mueller. republicans are not stepping up for it. i think chris said this train is coming right for us. this is obvious. >> i think that's an important point. that's a step they can take to send it to the white house. they can pass the legislation that says this particular investigation is under our protection.
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>> look at the lawyer he hired. look at the words he has in his tweets. there is an indication he will fire bob mueller. he is renewing his attacks on bob mueller this morning in a series of misspelled tweets. it should tell you something about state of mind. special council is told to find crimes, whether crimes exist or not. i was opposed to be special council. i am still opposed to it. i think president trump was right when he said there never should have been because there was no probably cause for believing that there was any crime, collusion or otherwise or obstruction of justice, so stated by harvard law professor. he has continued presumably still quoting someone. special council told to find crimes, whether a crime exists or not. i was opposed this election to
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be special council. i am still opposed i think president trump was right when he said there never should have been a special council appointed because the president has yet to finish that second thought. he has got to still be tweeting right now. >> he corrected whether but he still missed on councisel. >> it seems to be untwinged to be tweelting about the special council. am i stelipping out of line her? >> no. you're at least making the case for an auto correct function on twitter. >> it is a correct word but not correctly used. >> we have been saying for months now this idea repeated by
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senate republicans there is some red line. there is no way he would fire bob mueller because it would set off a constitutional crisis. he would pt n't do anything hoe could go do to clear out all of the people that may threaten his competency. i don't know where this is coming from. >> it is a mystery to me too. i wupt that long ago he said there was no way president trump would fire jim comey. he would never consider a step like that. sure nenough four months in that's how we found ourselves in this position and how mueller has the position too. he that republicans assure us he won't cross. the other thing that's interesting about it is not that we have seen these in the past. it's that we have seen president
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trump violate reassurances on a variety of topics in the past. you know, one of the problems, if you're willing to frequently say things you know are not true, it means you don't have any credibility. i don't know why anybody would believe these. it's why i would like to see more aggressive forceful action in both parties to provide protection for bob mueller. >> thiey dismised that. >> we hear something like that every day. michael steel, we hear something like that every day, as we just said. but we have had two truly sobering discussions. and they both are quite concerned given their level of knowledge and internal intelligence in this country. my question to you, are you
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worried about the seemingly lack after character or courage within the republican party you don't hear anyone other than john mccain speaking out about what's going on? >> i have been worried for quite some time. the trump campaign basically rewrote the platform to more favorably dispose itself twowars russia. i think there has always been a reason to be concerned or question what are the motivations in the intent with respect to russia. the lack of inquiry by republicans on capitol hill, lack of restatement around those principals that we have articulated from the days of the
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evil empire is and should be concerning. i'll be honest, i'm tired of the conversation. >> all of the time. >> oh, this is so awful. i don't foe what know what we a to do and then stand in front f microphones and say nothing. >> if you want to consider what is at stake please play for yourself the interview with john brennan on morning joe today. play that for yourself. listen to his words. he's worked for five presidents on both side of the aisle. he is extremely disturbed and frightened about the future of this nation exactly because of this president, because of his corruption, because of his lack of car oharacter and because of mean he is. he used these words.
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that we have someone in the white house ho is goi-- who is rogue on america. >> this story matters too, the former porn star, former play mate and the apprentice contestant. that's where we are at. news broke on all three of these cases yesterday. you're covering the story. i don't think trump's base will be surprised about hearing about multiple consensual affairs. suspect is issue here -- i mean he even said on access hollywood tape he can use his celebrity to mistreat women. will the walls close in if it comes out, if there is evidence that he threatened these women, that he used legal means to perhaps frighten them and he had multiple nda's?
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>> i think it really sort of demonstrates the me too movement has come to the doorstep of the west wing. let's walk you through the three women and the latest details on this. first on stormy daniels. nbc news obtaining the polygraph which shows daniels to be truthful when he said he had sex with donald trump. this is what daniels tweeted. she said there was no sleeping. he because goofy reality tv star. she writes i digress, she adds ps, i am not going any where. the latest accuser to come forward is a former playboy mopd l. her lawyer speaking out for the it's time. alemgedly they had a relationship for ten months
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beginning back in 2006. she says in 2016 before the election she was paid 150 tow dolla thousand dollars to keep that story secret. now she is suing the company. she a friend of president p trump's. her lawyer says the media company mislead her about the deal. she says they were all in in cahoots. the lawyer says she just wants her story out there and then to return to her life as a more private citizen. full-timely is a new york jucdg ruling in favor. this one is important. the judge saying her case can go por ward. the judge ruling no one is above to law.
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she alleged that donald trump groped her in 2007 as a candidate. mr. trump blasted all of the claims of misconduct apnd said th they were not. >> it will be interesting to' what comes out. >> in austin the suspected serial bomber is dead this morning. why the mayor is urging residents to remain vigilant. plus a recap of our interview with john brennan. his comments are very revealing. you're watching morning joe. we'll be right back. hands go here... feet go here... you know what goes here... and your approval rating...
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>> welcome back. two students were shot after another. authorities say the 17-year-old gunman walked into the school and began firing rounds at 16-year-old jay lynn willi ere. another student was struck. the gunman was engaged by the school's resource officer. the teen and officer fired their weapons. the shooter was injured and taken to a near by hospital where he later died. according to sheriff tim come ran and female victim had a prior relationship. the officer cannot yet confirm the motive for the shooting. they say willie remains in intensive care.
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joining us now is the president of the u.s. conference. it is good to see you. >> great to see you too. >> we were just talking about the speech you made that had so many people talking about the decision to take down some of this confederate statues. they were part of new orleans history. have you been surprised to hear the words you spoke that day? >> complete and totally. the speech was for the files to tell people why we did what we did and what it was we were trying to do. i was sprieurprised the speech viral. it is something people are interested in. i broke this book as really a book for everybody especially for those who feel threatened by black lives mat other or hear no
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justice, no peace as a threat to help them work through there is no threat at a all. >> you know much better than i, but i did live in the south many years of my life, the tension that exists. there's a lot of pride about it and rightfully so and that's lot that has to be reckoned with. >> first of all i'm obviously white and i'm from the south. i love the south. we have a lot of things. they left the south. great doctors, lawyers and how much we have lost because we have not been able to come together. this is not only a southern problem. that's one of the reasons we have a chip on our shoulder. this is something that the
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nation feels and nation practices from time to time. it is not a condemnation about how we can think differently and why it's important for us to come together and how much more poorly we are. >> so the theme of the speech was reconciliation. >> correct. >> why is it that you're engagement nearly on an every day basis, why is it -- i mean that's lot going on, the them of reconciliation, why don't more pub like people speak to this more often? >> i think it's hard to say i'm sorry and equally hard to say i forgive you. germany tried to reconcile their past. we in the south have never really walked through this issue. you can want go around a race. you have to go through it. we have been walking through it
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since the beginning of our time. i thought it was important to come out of a white mouth that the confederacy was on the wrong side of history. they did it so that people could say can we mover to the next thingment some times people hear this as an assault. if you're in the oil patch and you're humping every day and you lose your job and somebody says you're better than me. we know from 1970 through today they tried to separate white working class people from african american working class people. we are trying to say don't be pull aid par pulled apart. >> you have 48 days left. they watch how about hower officer for you. i'm curious how you see the
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country right now. does it feel like we are as di slided as we have ever been? >> we see the dysfunction in washington and how they can't even get in the same room and same page to figure out imcongratulations or infrastructure. you have been to new orleans. thousands of people of different races are on the streets all of the time. there is a weird disconnect that's gone on from washington and the rest of the world. i reck can go noiognized that bo fix problems. we have to resolve con flick. i think in this country we don't resolve conflict well. i think that's why the public is frustrated because the as seem to be fairly eeasy.
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do you have plans beyond your time in office? >> i think you're right. that's an accurate assessment. i have been serving for 30 years, 16 as a legislate to and 8 as mayor and i will take a breath. they say the same thing to everybody they talk to. it's really not something i can foresee at the moment. i kind of doubt it. >> enjoy your last month or so in office. >> we are celebrating the 300th anniversary. >> i couldn't agree more. it is one of the great cities in the war. a white southerner con fronts history. we'll go live in the serial bomber case in austin. the suspect is dead. we'll get the latest on that
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the vehicle knocking one of our s.w.a.t. officers back and one of the officers fired at the suspect as well. the suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle. >> we continue to follow breaking news where the suspected serial bomber has died after a confrontation with police early this morning. joining us live from austin gabe gutierrez is joining us. >> reporter: parts of i-35 are shut down southbound heading into austin as they continue the investigation behind me. there is still concern because they are not sure if the suspect may have left behind any bombs. they will be look at his
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background, searching for any signs of a motive here as well as searching for any other potential devices he may have had out there. it was a dramatic confrontation when police were able to track the suspect down to this hotel parking lot north of austin. while they waited for tactical vehicles the suspect started to drive away. when the police gave chase he pulled into a ditch and detonated a bomb inside his car. one fired his weapon. right now it's unclear whether it was a gunshot from the officer that killed the suspect. now, this had terrorized austin for the last sever weeks. five explosions leaving two dead and five seriously injured. yesterday a sixth bomb that had been intercepted at a facility before it exploded. certainly even though the suspect is dead this continue as police try to search for a
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motive. >> thank you very much. still ahead, we have a lot of politics to get to if that's what you call it. we'll play for you what former cia director told us earlier this morning. his pointed words about president trump and russia and the future of this country. >> also, the press secretary's staggering answers, the president's call with putin and so called elections. the powerful nor'easter slamming the east coast, the potential for rain, flash floods and mud slides. bill will bring us up to speed on that all ahead on morning joe.
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all right. we are dying to get back to politics here. we'll get back to weather quickly.
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jonathan tells me at the would you say th-- at the white house they cancelled all meets today. >> he probably will meet to -- >> due to the weather. >> yes. >> what does that mean? >> he might have a few private meetings with staff and we he will have a lot of executive time. >> because he'll be watching tv to get his info. >> bill is here with the latest on the nor'easter which is quite serious at this point. what is going on? yes. in d.c. snow is starting to accumulate. the lawn just about getting covered. the snow accumulations will be from now until agebout 1:00 p.m. wafr will happen will fall in the next three to four hours. now the state of pennsylvania is covered.
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74 million people impacted by this storm. millionsov millions of kids and teachers. a lot of people home from work too. this is at 9:00 a.m. this morning. as we go throughout the noon hour notice the cutoff not must have. the heavy bands will be from d.c. at about 1:00 p.m. by the time we track to 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. it sneaks up. that's why the evening commute to long island could be one of the worst. overnight it snows pretty good. as far as the snowfall totals go, d.c. we still om have you at maybe 3 to 5 ifrnches of rain. boston 48. we mentioned what is going on in california. heavy rain. remember the fires that we had? we could target 2 to 4 inches on top of those fire areas.
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30,000 people evacuated. wanting to get those people out of the way in case the worst happens later tonight. >> washington d.c., you're just getting into the bankrurunt of snowstorm. you're watching morning joe. we'll be right back. it's time for the 'sleep number spring clearance event' on the only bed that adjusts on both sides to your ideal comfort, your sleep number setting. does your bed do that? it's the last chance for clearance savings up to $800 on our most popular beds. ends saturday.
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two more questions on the put it
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putin phone call. does the white house believe the election was free and fair? >> i'm sorry? >> does the white house believe the election in russia was free and fair? >> in terms of the election they were focused on our elections. we don't get to dictate how other countries operate. >> reporter: [ inaudible question ] >> again, we don't have any specific plans at this time. rfrmts did he not raise the question of russian meddling? >> i don't believe it came up on that phone call. >> did the topic of religious liberty come occupy with the crown prince today? did the president bring that up a all? >> i don't believe it came up. i would have to check on the last half of the meeting because because i wupt there. >> did the president bring up high civilian casualties today? >> i'm not sure.
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i would have to check on the last half to have the meeting. >> wow. a lot to unpack there and a lot of headlines closing in on washington d.c. this morning. we have porn stars and playboy bunnies. what president trump said to putin, and what he didn't say especially against the advice of his national security team and then of course what you just saw which was the staggering answers put out by sarah huckabee sanders. absolute absolutely staggering. t they put out notes do not congratulate and how he should focus his conversation with putin. he did not heed that advice. what does that tell you that that came out literally hours
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lite later? >> i think you have people ton national security team that are work, hard to salvage their reputations. they anticipated exactly what the public had called to congratulate vladimir putin on his so-called election and they anticipated what the international and public reaction would be when people learned that president trump didn't raise election meddling, human rights violations, the assassination of a former russian spy on british soil. he didn't raise any of that. his advisers were quick to be in a position to say that he did those things against their advice. i think what's striking about this, mika, we did see some leaks, just understanding how the white house works here, we did see some leaks early in president trump's time if office from presidential phone calls. it was apparent those leaks were produced by transcripts of calls produced by the situation room of the president's conversations with other world leaders. and sometimes those transcripts can have a relatively wide
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distribution within the west wing. but in this case, the leaks actually came very shortly after the call was completed. it's unlikely that a transcript had been produced in time. so it's only very senior, very prominent national security officials who are listening in on the phone who would have been in a position to leak the die details of that call so quickly. >> hanging over washington, michael steele, is the question whether the president will make the move to fire mueller. you see the signal of concern this might happen with the new lawyer he's put on his team. and then you heard the concerns of former cia director john brennan on this show this morning, which were chilling. at this point, i ask you why republicans would not move to put legislation in place to protect the special counsel, because they are voicing it. you hear them talking about it,
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some republicans brought the word impeachment. there are steps that need to be taken. >> there are, and it has to do with an unwillingness to get in the president's face as a piece of legislation would, and say to him with clarity, this far and no further. i think the president's addition of joe digenova to his legal team says this president is prepared to go to that space to take out mueller. >> the unwillingness to get in his face, that is an important point that joe has always made about trump. you exactly get in his face. if you want to push him back, you get in his face. he is literally playing them, johnathan lamere. >> and he's newly emboldened here. he forged a war with tariffs despite republican opposition even though it cost him a senior adviser who resigned over it, that he went ahead and agreed to this meeting with kim jong-un of
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north korea, even though a number of people in the national security establishment thought that was a poor idea. he feels like the mueller probe is threatening his legislation and he seems to entertain going it alone. >> kasie? >> frankly i think it's going to take losing for republicans to figure out that they're going to need to get up in this president's face. because right now they're in a no-win situation. they can't win without this president. so how do they attack him? i mean, the political reality of that, i think there are some people who may look back and say, hey, this was a shameful period. up next, back in 2012, donald trump was none too happy with president obama's conversation with venezuela's president following a disputed election there. but now that trump is president, he's apparently warmed up to the idea of talking to leaders following a controversial vote. what former cia director john brennan told us earlier today on
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"morning joe."
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we normally go around the horn for final thoughts of the morning. but this morning, we'll give the last words to former cia director john brennan, who was our guest this morning. and he had some very strong criticism of the president. is this president letting our country down? >> well, i think the president has shown a lack of understanding of international
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affairs, as well as a real ignorance of what it takes to be president of the united states. he is mean-spirited. he is dishonest. he has shown a lack of integrity. and he has continued to i think demean the office of the presidency. he is self-absorbed and he is trying to just promote his own interest and protect his flanks. does this mean the united states has changed from its fundamental position of being the leader of the free world and can we trust anything that comes out of the mouth of the incumbent in the oval office. mr. trump is failing on so much fronts. what i'm most of the frustrated about is he's hoodwinked individuals who have legitimate concerns about their state right now, to use a term i use income one of my tweets, a charlatan. he's masterful at putting out messages that are deceptive and lead people to believe he has solutions to very complicated problems. i do believe there are individuals within the white house, the national security staff, and also the congress
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that are looking at mr. trump, seeing that he's acting more and more like a cornered animal and lashing out whatever way he can. what knows what that cornered animal will do once they see the threat to their survival. >> do you believe russia has something on him? >> i believe the russians would not -- they would opt for things to do if they believed that it was in their interests. and the russians i think have had long experience with mr. trump and may have things that they could expose. >> something personal, perhaps? >> perhaps. perhaps. >> you just said you thought it was possible that the russians had something on donald trump. you were director of the cia until 2017. is that speculation or are you talking with information? >> i'm saying that perhaps the russians have something and that's why mr. trump is concerned. mr. trump knows better than any
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one of us whether or not the russians may have something on him. so i think it's very difficult to try to explain his behavior and why he has taken this position vis-à-vis vladimir putin personally. and so one can, again, speculate that maybe there's something there. >> okay. pretty strong words from former cia director john brennan who worked for five different presidents on both sides of the aisle. and carried pretty deep secrets for this country. i urge republicans to take a look at that interview and think about whether or not that legislation that is out there that could protect the special counsel ought to be considered. and the president is tweeting about bob mueller this morning. so say no more. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. good morning, everyone. i'm stephanie ruhle with a lot of breaking news to cover today, starting with a huge sigh of relief down in the state of texas. the suspect connected to a
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string of package bombs that has terrorized austin blows himself up as s.w.a.t. officials move in. police are urging residents to please stay vigilant. >> we do not know where he has been in the past. if you see something that gives you concern, call 911. >> call 911? how about a different call? calling the kremlin. the president congratulates, that's right, vladimir putin on his reelection despite an all caps warning from security advisers not to. what wasn't on the agenda? russian meddling. or the deadly london poisoning. >> every time you talk with putin and you give him a pass, that emboldens him. and all hands. but no heads. facebook scrambling to contain the fallout over the cambridge analytica breach, holding an all

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