tv MSNBC Live MSNBC January 31, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PST
lawmakers facing off on the confirmation of six of the president's picks for his cabinet. will they be blocked? and meet the press, white house press secretary sean spicer getting ready to face off with reporters once again, he'll be holding that daily briefing which is about to start any moment, we're told. we will start with the latest episode from an already chaotic is 1 days of the trump administration, just moments ago the newly installed secretary of homeland security defended president trump's controversial immigration ban. here's retired general john kelly. >> this is not i repeat not a ban on muslims. this is a temporary pause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa vetting system. extreme vetting we're looking at various options right now. it might be certainly an accounting of what websites they visit, it might be telephone contact information so that we can see who they're talking to,
but again all of this is under development but those are the kind of things we're looking at, social media. >> the intelligence and national security reporter for nbc news, ken, what else did we get from the secretary? >> well craig, the secretary spent a lot of time answering questions about when specifically he was informed about this executive order, because as you know it's been a lot of reporting, including by nbc news, that the department of homeland security was not completely ready to implement this. he pushed back on that, he suggested that he'd known for a long time that this was coming. he didn't specifically answer though when exactly he was informed that it was signed. he did say that though they were ready to implement it, dhs was. he also tried to push back on the idea that this is a travel ban. he portrayed it as a temporary pause, and he discussed what extreme vetting, this term we've heard a lot about, might look like and he said that would include social media analysis of
incoming travelers. craig? >> ken delaney starting us off from washington, thank you. democrats trying to slow down process to fill out president trump's cabinet. four committees met today to hold votes on a total of six nominees. however, democrats on the finance committee decided to boycott votes for two of trump's crucial nominees, their absence forcing republicans to push back votes for treasury and for health and human services as well. that move as you might imagine outraging republicans in particular committee chairman orin hatch. he called democrats stupid. >> this is the most pathetic thing i've seen in my whole time in the united states senate. i think my colleagues, once they really think it through, may very well say yeah, that was stupid of us, because it really is stupid. amazingly stupid. >> let's bring in kristen welker live from the white house briefing room, where again any
moment we're told white house press secretary sean spicer will take to the podium. kristen, a lot on this president's plate once again today. let's start with the announcement about tonight's supreme court pick. any idea at this point who can we expect? >> reporter: we're tracking two front-runners, neil gorsuch and thomas hardiman, both are federal appeals court judges who were appointed by former president george w. bush and they have something else in common, craig. they both are conservative without being lightning rods, but you do have democrats on the hill threatening to filibuster the picks so we'll get sean spicer's reaction to that, when he steps before the podium here just a few minutes from now and of course this all comes as there's ongoing fallout over president trump's travel ban to seven countries, muslim majority countries, last night a major shakeup here at the white house, the president effectively firing sally yates as acting attorney
general, replacing her. of course she was an obama administration pick, and he has made the point that his attorney general pick, jeff sessions, has been held up by democrats, so tensions mounting between this white house, between the democratic party, and sean spicer undoubtedly going to address all of it, but you're right, craig, it is a busy day here. the president going to make really one of the most consequential announcements of his administration thus far and also hope to turn the page on what has been a rocky couple of days here at the white house. craig? >> also, kristen, while i have you here let's talk about the confirmation hearings if we can. at this point, who is moving forward, who is being held up? >> reporter: well it looks like jeff sessions is going to move forward. the white house would argue that democrats have sort of slow walked that but he has a committee vote today, but democrats threatening to boycot steve mnuchin and tom price.
so i think we're going to get a fiery response from sean spicer today about all of that today and again we're seeing this ongoing war really developing between this democrats days after the administration has gotten under way. >> kristen welker in the white house briefing room, stand by we'll likely be coming back to you at any moment. sean spicer expected to take to the podium any moment. kristen, thank you. let's turn now to our capitol hill correspondent, is kelly standing there for us? kelly, are you there? all right, we'll go tote kelly in a moment. matt miller right now, former justice department spokesman, former aide to former attorney general eric holder as well. let's start with the sally yates controversy here, first of all your general take on what transpired last night.
did she do the right thing? >> i think she did do the right thing. what we look for in attorneys general they will make independent judgments based on the facts, based on the law and make those judgments really without pressure from the president and without being worried about what the president will think about that and she clearly did that and instructed the department of justice to follow suit and i think what we saw after that was a really inappropriate breach of longstanding traditions, when the president rather than accept the attorney general's interpretation of law chose to fire her, and it sets a very dangerous precedent when you have a president who right now has campaign associates of his under federal investigation by the fbi, by the department of justice. it sets a bad precedent if he doesn't like what the department of justice does he'll fire an attorney general and pick a new one. >> this is what you wrote in "the washington post" this morning, this is just an excerpt "the attorney general is charged with enforcing the law free from political interference from the white house. the standard of independence unique among cabinet members is
designed to insulate questions of law, questions of law, excuse me, questions of law from inappropriate political pressure, and presidents and attorneysenrahle who have violated that standard have typically paid a grave price for doing so." do we think that president trump is going to pay any sort of price at all, and if so, why? >> well he absolutely ought to. look, when attorney general gonzalez crossed the line and fired u.s. attorneys based on political pressure from the white house, he ultimately had to resign over it. i think it's something that senators on capitol hill need to look at with respect to senator sessions and his conffirmation. he said he would be independent but at the same time refused to say he'll recuse himself from investigation into the trump campaign despite the fact he had an official position on that campaign. it's something department of justice rules clearly require and so if he won't take that minimal step it's hard to see how he can be an independent attorney general and let's remember, this isn't the first
time that trump has crossed the line during the campaign he talked about prosecuting hillary clinton if he was elected, and then once he was elected he said i've changed my mind, i'm not going to prosecute her now. the point is it's not his decision. he's supposed to leave those things to the department of justice. he showed last night we can't count on him to uphold that basic democratic norm. >> matt, 2015 sally yates confirmation hearing questions about senator sessions here is the exchange. >> like any ceo with a law firm, sometimes the lawyers have to tell the ceo, mr. ceo, you can't do that. don't do that. we'll get us sued. it's going to be in violation of the law. you'll regret it, please, no matter how headstrong they might be. do you feel like that's the duty on the attorney general's office? >> i do believe that that's the duty of the attorney general's office to fairly and impartially evaluate the law and to provide the president and the administration with impartial legal advice.
>> perhaps some irony there. now we have the confirmation of senator sessions here. he says he's not going to be recusing himself, at least won't commit to recus himse from my doj investigation involving the presidential campaign. this is what you tweeted. "doj ethics rules make it crystal clear" hold that thought, matt, sean spicer at the podium. we'll pick it up on the other side. >> great. >> i know you're looking forward to what promises to be a very historic night for the nation and for this president. the president is very excited to make his announcement of the next associate justice of the supreme court later this evening. according to some polls and you know we love polls around here, for 70% of the voters, president's choice for supreme court was an important factor in their choice of the ballot box in november. for more than one in five, it was the most important factor. tonight he will formally present his nominee to the american people and i can assure you that this individual will make those
voters and every american very, very proud. this particular choice is one that the president takes very seriously. he knows it will impact the course of our country's jurisprudence for generations to come. as such, he has taken careful steps to ensure this process has been transparent and inclusive. he has been speaking about the list of individuals that he may nominate since may of this year, and after consulting with several influential groups released a definitive list of 21 in september, pledging that his nominee will solely come from that list. he sought the advice and consent of both republicans and democrats senators throughout this process. the president recognizes the gravity of his choice to fill the seat left by justice scalia, one of the most steadfast protectors of our liberty and devotees of our constitution that ever graced the bench. whomever the president selects will be a worthy successor to the brilliant legal mind and constitutional dedication of justice scalia.
it's our intention to start promptly tonight in the east room at 8:02 p.m., preset will begin at 6:30. the east room will be available for live shots approximately 20 minutes following the announcements, and both the briefing room and pebble beach outside have extended hours tonight to accommodate any additional journalistic needs. we'll have further guidance on tonight's plans as the day evolves. moving to the news of the day, i know that secretary kelly alongside other dhs officials just recently concluded a briefing on the operational implementation of the president's executive order. i think it's pretty clear from the secretary's press conference that this executive order was enacted with the proper preparation and coordination between the white house and dhs, and that implementation will continue and proceed as planned. we also have a few updates on the leadership of some of the most critical government agencies. last night as you know the president relieved sally yates of her duties as acting attorney general and named dana boente as
the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia to serve as the acting attorney general until democratic senators finally quit their obstruction and confirm the unquestionably qualified senator jeff sessions as our next attorney general. miss yates failed to enforce a legal order approved by the department of justices office of legal counsel, and designed to protect the citizens of the united states. calling for tougher vetting from individuals from travelers of several nations is not extreme. it is reasonable and necessary to protect our country. around 9:00 p.m. last night the president signed an affidavit of nomination for mr. boente as one of his first official actions in new post as acting as attorney general. he signed a memorandum rescinding sally yates' guidance regarding the executive order to ensure its full implementation. last night the president announced the appointment of thomas homan as acting assistant secretary of homeland security
and director of i.c.e. mr. homan recently served as executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations, having a professional in place like this to serve as the acting director is critical to ensuring the efficient administration of the president's agenda. one other update from a story yesterday i hope you all saw the statement put out from the joint chiefs of staff, chairman dunford discussed the reorganization of the national security council, and he made it clear that he continues to fully participate in the inner agency process and provide the best possible military advice to the president and members of the nfc. i really hope that that statement closes book on the misleading narrative and hoflly be the final time we have to address what was in the national security directive. had, excuse me, the president also had a very somber and lengthy conversation with the family of chief petty officer william ryan owens. the president offered his
sincerest condolences to officer owens' wife father and three children. he was on his 12th deployment from what i understand. we could never repay the debt of gratitude we owe him, the freedom that he fought for and the sacrifice that he made as well as the other members of his unit who were injured in this operation. today in the senate, two of the president's nominees advanced out of the committee, the energy and natural resources committee approved the nominations of both congressman ryan zince as the next interior secretary and former texas governor rick perry as the next secretary of energy. elaine chao grately received the approval of the full senate to become the next secretary of transportation. i expect further guidance on her official swearing in to come soon. the senate democrats have done everything in their power to slow the work of the senate while the president continues to take decisive action. just like he promised during --
it's unfortunate the senate democrats remain so out of touch with the message that the american people sent this past november. the people want change, president trump is delivering that change and the only response from senate democrats is to try to stall the core functions of our government. i know that i've repeated this every day but honestly it's getting a bit ridiculous, the idea these highly qualified nominees have the votes for their nominations to be endorsed out of committee and get a full vote are stalled because dchls are boycotting the votes is outramgious. the mere idea they're not showing up to hearings is truly outrangious. shout out to the folks at c-span for making sure all of the embarrassing actions by senate democrats get the wall-to-wall coverage they deserve. voters are going to remember what senator stood in the way of by president trump trying to install his agency and department heads the next time their name is on a ballot. the numbers don't lie. 16 of president trump's nominees to head major department
agencies are still waiting to be confirmed. at the same time in 2009, president obama only had seven of these people waiting confirmation in 2001, president bush had all but two. moving on, here at the white house this morning we reiterated the president's intention to continue to enforce the executive order protecting employees from the anti-lgbtq discrimination while working for the federal government or contractors. also this morning the president had a breakfast and listening session with major pharmaceutical company executives in the roosevelt room, merck, johnson & johnson, eli lilly, chairman of the house committee on energy and commerce participated. the president commanded progress in lowering drug prices but also reiterated his insistence there's more work to be done. he promised to continue reducing the burdensome regulations that raise the cost of doing business in america. he was pleased to hear that the
chairman of amgen robert bradeway discussed how 1600 american jobs will be added. this administration will continue to prioritize jobs and make it easier for businesses around the country to hire more americans. the. the had lunch with mayor giuliani just a short time ago who serves as the ceo of an international security firm giuliani partners and was tapped by the president to lend his expertise to the administration's cyber efforts. mayor giuliani was asked to initiate the process because of his long and very successful government career in law enforcement in his 15 years in private sector security providing solutions for the challenges that we face in the cyber world. during the transition, the president announced that he intended to host a series of meetings with senior corporate executives from companies facing challenges such as hacking, intrusions, disruptions, ma nip places, theft of data and identities and securing information from technological infrastructures. these are the same challenges facing the government that are facing public entities and businesses, and the president
believes that solutions to these issues will often come from the private sector. following the lunch with mayor giuliani, the president will host a listening session with the cyber security experts and mayor giuliani. no conken success or advice on the recommendations resulting from the group are widely expected, but we do expect a spirited wide ranging discussion regarding the growing cyber security threats that our nation is facing. later this afternoon, the president will sign an executive order or potentially sign one that the federal government cyber security efforts and give leaders the tools they need to keep the country safe from cyber attacks. the order does three main things. it secures the federal networks we operate on behalf of the american people t will work with industry to protect critical infrom structure and maintain our way of life and will advance the cause of internet freedom. more information will be available later this afternoon, but the executive order is the first step in the president taking the address of new security challenges in the 21st century.
the vice president today participated in the republican policy lunch in the senate. he'll hold several meetings with members on capitol hill, the beginning of extensive outreach by our legislative affairs team on the president's supreme court choice. tonight the vice president will swear in elaine chao and further updates we expect it to be at 5:00 in the ceremonial office across the way in the old executive office building. secretary chao is one of the most successful cabinet officials in american history, the longest ten toured secretary of labor since world war ii and serving as the deputy secretary of transportation under george h. wmplt bush's administration. she's the perfect choice to lead the department of transportation into what promises to be a significant period of modernization and improvement. the last thing on our schedule is the president's announce. the next associate justice for the supreme court. tomorrow is the kickoff for black history month and the white house is excited to host a series of events this month in recognition of it. in particular, the u.s. post office will hold a ceremony tomorrow celebrating the
official issuance of the dorothy hite national american stand and is a true pioneer in the civil rights movement. on friday the president will depart from this white house to the winter white house at mar-a-lago where he'll spend the weekend and hold meetings. further guidance willment could out throughout the week. follow up on our announcement of expanding the prays briefing room to skype seats we'll be officially launching the briefing room tomorrow. the inaugural panelists natalie her have an vic, lars larsen, and jeff from jobi but lishing in south central kentucky and kimberly calhounian from wpri in rhode island, not sure how she snuck into that. with that some questions. john roberts? >> the removal last night of ms.
yates from her position has raised questions as to how this president will deal with dissent in the ranks currently and in the future. does he see what she said yesterday as a difference of opinion, active insubordination? how will he act on similar things in the future? >> there's a big difference, john, between listening and sharing ideas and executing lawful orders. it is the right of every american to express their idea and opinion and frankly that's what you've seen the president do today. we're talking about leaving, at the 2:00 hour sitting down with cyber experts to get ideas on how to protect our int intrastructures. she is not only responsible but required to execute lawful orders and defiantly says no, as someone who is chosen to lead a department, she was rightfully removed. that is a position of leadership
that is given to somebody who is supposed to execute orders that are handed down to them properly, of which that executive order was 100% done. ironically it went through their offices the department of justice office of legal compliance. so the idea that it went through the entire process of which they were part of, and then she chooses not to execute it actually is bewildering as well as defiant. >> sir, a follow-up with that. is the president laying down a marker now to all of his cabinet secretaries and all of his other officials to say if i give you a directive and do you not follow t you're gone? >> i think that comes with the job, right? if you don't believe in the president's agenda and i think every one of the cabinet members, every one of at poin e pointees understand they serve at pleasure of the president we talked about this at length during the position. this isn't joining the government to exercise your ideas or initiatives. the president was clear during
the campaign, economic or national security that he has an agenda he articulated very clearly to the american people and that -- hold on, thank you. and that it is his job to lay that vision out and that the people that he visioned out and nominates staff members, cabinet level members or agency heads their job is to fulfill it. if they don't like it, they shouldn't take the job. it is the president's agenda we are fulfilling. trey? >> as it relates to the executive order how will the trump administration ensure the digital privacy of all americans as the president looks to strengthen u.s. cyber security? >> just to be clear on the executive order, i think one of the things that the president, the reason the president wants mayor giuliani and some cyber experts to come in is to get their ideas to make sure that where we're headed in cyber security is fulfilling the intent that ensures critical inf infrastructures throughout the government and frankly throughout business to the extent the government can be helpful on that are protected and secured, so i just want to
caution what we may or may not do today. i think the president's got a good idea where he's going to go but he wants to hear from mayor giuliani and some other experts have to say about the steps we can take in terms of executive action that will help secure further these critical infrastructures. >> sean, i have a couple of questions. >> april? >> i want to go back to the issue of the travel ban. >> first of all it's not a travel ban. you heard secretary kelly, i apologize, i want to make sure i get this straight. i think secretary kelly or one of the other individuals got it from dhs mentioned 1 million people have now come into this country. that's not a ban. what it is, to make sure that the people who are coming in are vetted properly from seven countries that were identified by the obama administration. ban would mean people can't get in. we've clearly seen hundreds of thousands of people come into our country from other countries. sorry. >> okay, but mind you i have with two-questions. >> i know, of course. >> super tuesday. >> with all of this happening
and as you're trying to give specifics about what's happening, what is the concern about the fallout from other countries who are viewing this still in a certain way? have you looked at the fallout and how to counter it, and how to work with these other countries that may be allies or not be allies in order to prevent something from happening? >> i think, april, one of the things that we're doing is trying to make sure that people understand what actually happened. i saw reporting today that secretary kelly was out of the loop and he was on a plane and flying, and then it was reported on one of the networks and major institutions about what happened. secretary kelly comes out and says i was briefed on this time and talked to on this time, the edit came from my staff. i don't know how, i don't want to spend each of these briefings talking about misinformation but at the end of the day, a major newspaper and a major network reported today that they were kept out of the loop. the secretary detailed multiple
occasions in which he was briefed on it, his staff made edits to it. i don't know how much more, and so i think part of what we're trying to do is make sure that people actually understand what happened, what the process was and what the order does. when we use words like travel ban it misrepresents what it is. it's seven countries previously identified by the obama administration where frankly we don't get the information we need for people coming into this country. what this isn't about is not just the people. it's about the information that another country provides us. so we work with other countries, and we have systems in place to ensure that when you travel from our country to, from their country to our country and vice versa that we are sharing information about passengers and citizens going in and out. these seven countries in particular we don't have the information that is necessarily required to make an accurate determination at the time of entry into our country. so we are going to make sure that because that country doesn't have maybe either the systems in place or in some
cases the willingness to provide us the information necessary to ensure that the people that are coming into this country are properly vetted, this isn't about refugees. it's about travelers, and that's what this is about and so part of what we're doing is frankly making sure that other countries understand exactly what was in the order, how it applies, what it means to visas and waivers and all this kind of stuff, but for the most part, you've seen a lot of panic and people actually stopping, reading the order and realizing oh, that's it? and i think that's where we've tried to make sure that people have the facts. we're not just doing outreach. we're doing as many briefings, secretary kelly going out there a little while ago with the head of i.c. and cvp is trying to make sure people understand the process is working correctly, eight working very well, that the government is doing what it's supposed to, to protect its people. that's the number one thing we can do. >> the president met with the
pharmaceutical heads. >> yes. >> when is this meeting scheduled for congressmen elijah cummings and president trump after the call? >> congressman cummings was invited to this meeting. he had a scheduling conflict and we're looking at setting it back up. but he was invited to the meeting today. he informed us he had a scheduling conflict. >> one on one? >> i expect at this point it will be one on one. >> sean? thanks a lot, sean. does the president anticipate a difficult fight for his confirmation whoever that is? >> no. i think we've proven so far the democrats can try to obstruct but at the end of the day the will of the american people is going to overcome that. and if again what i mentioned at the outset of this is the advice and consent piece of this. he and our team have met with senators from both sides of the aisle to make sure that we understand the qualities that they are looking for in the next associate justice and i think we've done a very, very good job
of getting a nominee in place that will be announced tonight that meets the criteria that they set forth. they may not like their political or philosophical background but i think the criteria, academia background, time on the bench, the expertise and criteria meets the intent of both republicans and democrats. john? >> do you believe you can get nine democrats to support this nominee? >> i do, absolutely. because i think at the end of the day, one of the things that's been a time honored tradition in the country we recognize that the confirmation process is, if the default is if you're qualified for the position, then you should be confirm, not the other way around and i think most democrats realize that at some point, having a court that is not fully operational is not the way, is not the political fight to have. >> follow-up, sean? >> john? >> let me ask you the obvious follow-up question then. at least one republican senator
has said democrats have removed the filibuster from just about every other appointment aside from the supreme court, and he said several republicans say they would have no hesitation about moving for another nuclear option if democrats attempt a filibuster of any of the possible nominees. is this something the president would support, and has he discussed it with member of the senate? >> i think first and foremost, taking a step to the last question i think we'll get the nine senators regardless and i wouldn't be surprised if we get more, when you look at and i'll be able to shed more light on this tomorrow in terms of the background but i think we've got an individual that i think is hopefully going to garner widespread bipartisan support. i think this individual has the qualifications and the experience and the judicial philosophy that should win bipartisan support. that being said beyond that i would suggest senator mcconnell has done a te nominal job of
moving things along in the senate to the extent the democrat also let him and i'll leave further questions on how the senate operates then. blake? >> we know the list of 21 was put out during the campaign. >> right. >> at 8:02 tonight the president is going to reveal his selection. can you fill the gap in between as to how often the president might have spoken with this person, whether there were any meetings here at the white house, just any of the, how he got there and then the last hour or last days here really who has he leaned on to kind of narrow this down and then a follow-up if you don't mind. >> i will say i think i probably shed a lot more light on this tomorrow. i appreciate the effort to try to head that off, but tomorrow i think we might be able to have a little bit more of a discussion as to how the president came to this choice. he may touch on it a little tonight. i'll leave it to him, but i appreciate that. >> let me ask you about the news of the day, prescription drug prices the president met with
the harma leaders earlier today. what makes him so confident that he can drive down drug prices where administrations past tried to dot same but haven't to. >> i think the story of his entire administration. he's a successful businessman and top notch negotiator. several people tried to get the cost of planes down. the cost of the f35 and the cost of the air force one and through couple conversations he did it. shaved billions off of the cost of both, excuse me off the f-35 and significant off the next generation in air force one. i think he has a track record so far just during the transition, but also as a businessman, he knows how to negotiate and i think's getting to sit down with the individuals in the same way he's getting people to understand the agenda, and the regulatory and tax climate he wants to institute bringing jobs home. people are making a commitment to bring jobs and manufacturing back based on his track record as a businessman and his word. they understand he's going to create a climate that supports the american worker and american
manufacturing. so i think you know, you look over and over again the number of companies that want to come back and say we want to be part of this agenda to grow the economy and to create jobs, or to help you fight on behalf of taxpayers. i think you'll see that. he understands the challenges of the pubureaucracy allowing the prescription drug prices to drop other get the best deal for the government, cases medicare or medicaid large buyers of the vs you've got such purchasing power not being utilized to the full exte extent. hunter walker? >> thank you, sean. the president is meeting with mayor giuliani today. what do you think of the mayor's claim the executive orderen the seven countries evolved from the muslim ban the president proposed during the campaign. is that accurate? >> i think the president talked about extreme vetting and the need to keep america safe for a very long time. he also made clear this is not a
mulls limb ban. it's not a travel ban. it's a vetting system to keep america safe. that's it, plain and simple and all of the facts and the reading of it clearly show that that's what it is. >> but mayor giuliani stressed that, too, but he said that it came out of the desire for a muslim ban. >> you should ask mayor giuliani. that's his opinion. i'm telling you what the president has said and done has been to focus on making sure we keep the country avenue and the executive order drafted does just that. it is to make sure and ensure people coming in from seven countries identified by the obamaed amrgs that ed ed aadmi didn't know who was coming into our country was put in place and a 90-day period granted to further address vetting situation of the future. zeke? >> thanks, sean. just following up about the strike over the weekend in yemen. can you confirm that reports of an 8-year-old daughter of awlaki
was killed in the strike and address the killing of an american citizen in this same terrorist operation? >> i'm not going to go any further than what the department of defense has released. obviously we recovered a tremendous amount of information and we killed an estimated 14 members of al qaeda, aqap individuals, and then we suffered the loss of life of the servicemember and four people were injured. that's as far as i'm willing to go at this time. kristen? >> sean you're saying this was not a ban. this was president's trump tweet "if the ban were announced with a one-week notice the bad would rush into our country." >> he's using the words the media is using. >> those were his words. >> jonathan, thanks, i'll let kristen talk. it can't be a ban if you're letting 1 million people. if 325,000 people from another country can't come in, that is by nature not a ban. >> the president himself called it a ban. >> i understand that.
>> is he confused or you confuelsed? >> i'm not confewed. the words being used to describe it derive from what the media is calling this. he's been clear it is extreme vetting >> sean, paul ryan said "i think it's regrettable there was some confusion on the rollout of this" the house speaker saying that. what do you say to republicans who argue that this is a part of a broader issue with the president not enacting this policy smoothly? >> first of all i think we've addressed that, that we could have either telegraphed this days in advance in which people could have got. on planes and come over here, which would have undermined the exact nature of what this sought to prevent or done it in a way that inconvenienced some folks for a little while. >> do you dispute -- shall. >> can i answer the request he? there's clearly some confusion but part of it, your network was one of the people that just hours ago told people general kelly was unaware of what's going on and moment later he gets on air saying here's how many times i've been briefed. with all due respect i think you
have been part of the confusion. you have helped cause this, despite claims to whatever you claim you have sources that tell us general kelly stands up and says this is how many times i've been briefed, this is how many people were involved and yet you were out there -- >> i think it was a "new york times" report was cited. >> a tole jiz nbc news reporting is based on the "new york times" also reporting. how can it be accurate reporting, glenn, if -- >> it can be untrue that -- >> the secretary of homeland security stood up and you're calling him a liar? glenn, i'm talking to -- you said that the report in the "new york times" said that he was unaware of the ban. >> sean let me ask you a question -- >> no, no, answer the question. you just called -- >> a couple of minutes ago you stood at the podium and you reiterated something you said yesterday about anyone who doesn't agree in terms of the bureaucracy should hit the road, i'm paraphrasing. >> of course. >> you had a statement that president trump made where he accused the acting attorney general of betraying her own
department by expressing a counter opinion. don't you think that kind of language has a chilling effect on the public statements that your official is making? >> i think there's a big difference. think about the process at work here. the department of justice office of legal compliance vetted the executive order, sent it back to us saying it was completely compliant. then the acting attorney general goes out and says i'm not going to enforce it. you tell me how that jives, because at the end of the day, if the acting attorney general has an office under her jurisdiction that says that something is legal and complaint, and then she get out there and says i'm not going to enforce it, that doesn't sound like an attorney general that is upholding the duty she swore to uphold. >> she says it's illegal. >> then she should step down. at the end of the day, the attorney general either had a problem with her own division approving something but it wasn't the president she had a problem with. the president followed the process, sought feedback, went
through the inner agency review, had other departments sign off despite the reporting that said it was otherwise. >> but is this a betrayal? >> david, let me answer glenn so we can be polite now, huh? what the answer is that we went through the process. the office of legal compliance came back and said this say compliant executive order, it's fully legal and it can be executed. so then for the attorney general to turn around and say i'm not going to uphold this lawful executive order is clearly a dereliction of duty and she should have been removed and she was. it is odd to me that we're having a discussion about somebody whose job it is to execute lawful orders, who chose not to do it, hold on, who chose not to do t and then we're questioning whether or not we were right to remove her. that's the right thing to do. if you looked at the folks from the right and the left constitutional scholars said we might not agree with some of the policies or the political or the party of the president, but he was right to do this. he had every right.
>> why is the word "betrayal" -- >> because the department's job is to execute, they're the department of justice, and if you have a legally executed order and the attorney general says i'm not going to execute it, that truly, clearly is a betrayal what have she's -- >> define the word. >> i'm not going to define the word, xwlen. yes? >> sean, i any think the "new york times" report said the secretary did not receive a full briefing until the executive order was being signed. so my question is, can we expect that secretaries, agency heads in future executive orders or changes of policy may not receive full briefings? >> look, the secretary was briefed on multiple occasions with the language of the order. i don't know how you can say this any other way. >> just talking about full briefing which is what the "new york times" reported. >> i'm tell you that i don't believe the new york times reporting is accurate. i'm telling you the secretary on multiple occasions was briefed. his senior officials were
briefed, not just briefed, they were part of the drafting process. it went through not only that, just back up, so they get consulted and briefed. is goes through the office of legal compliance and shift out to the nfc and the homeland security council. this went through an extensive staffing process. the idea whether or not he got fully briefed he was briefed multiple times, saw the language, his staff made edits. i'm not sure how much more briefing you can do. >> zoe daniel from australian broadcasting. the australian government made a deal with the obama administration whereby the u.s. would take refugees from australia's offshore detention centers. most people from iran and some from iraq and somalia. can you confirm this deal is still on? are those refugees exempt from what you describe as the strong vetting or will that be changed or delayed? >> the deal deals with 1,250
people that are mostly i think papa new guinea being held. they have to be vetted in the same manner that we're doing now. there will be extreme vetting applied to all of them. that is part and parcel of the deal that was made, and it was made by the obama administration with the full backing of the united states government. the president in accordance with that deal to honor what had been agreed upon by the united states government, and ensuring that that vetting will take place in the same manner that we're doing it now, will go forward. >> big question, looking at a bigger picture, this president said he was going to gather us all together, that he was going to bring us together, and the actions taken in the first ten days seem to indicate otherwise from people in his own party, the use of the word "betrayal" how is this president going to address the fact that people are looking to him to bring people together, and yet with his own words seems to be driving us apart. >> i think that's a very one-sided way of looking at
this. i think he's brought unions together, business leaders together, republicans, democrats, independents. someone who doesn't carry out an act and using that as a way to describe he's not bringing the country together is not exactly a representation. >> one quick, i apologize. >> the president has done a tremendous amount through both what he has said and done more importantly, to start to bring this country together, and his policies frankly are focused on keeping every american safe and getting every american a higher paying and better paying job. i think that is something that benefits all of us. >> i asked you about a sealed law for journalists last week. you said you'd get back to us? >> real quick on trade, now that notices had been given to the tpp countries are you considering any changes in the roles of your three sort of official trade negotiators, and what area of the globe are you going to start first on negotiations? >> well there's no change in their roles. i'm not entirely sure, i think
as announced -- >> lead negotiator. >> he's got to be confirmed first, but u.s. trade representative is clearly the leader of negotiating trade deals and wilbur ross and peter navarro, a robust brilliant team that has continued to work on behalf of deals and renegotiating. it's a two-step process. number one reexamine all of the current trade deals and figure out if we can improve them but secondly i think we're going to start talking to other countries around the globe including some of those tpp marpartners. of the 11 countries five we have trade deals with. we examine to improve and look at other countries and see if there's a willingness to engage with other countries. >> sean, the president has previously indicated that he would encourage the targeting of families of terror suspects. is that still his current position? >> when did he say that? >> december 3rd on fox he said
the other thing with terrorists you have to take out their families. >> i think he's been very clear when it comes to seeking out isis and other terrorists he's going to lean on director pompeo, general mattis and seek their opinion. >> and the families of terrorist suspects, civilian members of family, sean? >> thank you, i got you. >> sean, thanks for taking this question. i know you've indicated at that podium there would be further action. what does this look like? there are five detainees cleared for transfer that are sitting at guantanamo, would this administration take action in the next coming months on those detainees? >> i think all of those actions are being currently reviewed and we don't have anything further at this time. yes? >> evan layman with "the evening news" thank you for taking the question. the obama administration's find undergirds the clean power plan. does the president plan to revoke the clean power plan and would he perhaps go further and try and revoke the endangerment
finding? >> i think the president's made very clear with respect to energy policy that he wants to review all of the options that we have to use our natural resources to better the country in terms of wind, power, solar, clean coal. we're in the process of reviewing all of our energy policies. i'd go back to note we don't have an energy secretary confirmed right now, because the senate hasn't yet moved forward with that. i hope once that's done we'll have further updates on energy. matt? >> saean, sally yates was an obama appointee holding over through the transition. how many more are there throughout the government at this time as the transition and confirmation process plays out, and do you expect any more problems from any of the other ones? >> in some cases we've held some individuals over because they hold a critical position within government, in some cases we named folks as acting. it's a case by case basis, and again, i think part of it right now is the president wanted to
focus on getting his cabinet up and complete. we'll continue to make nominations both at the deputy, untd and assistant secretary level but in key agencies i.c.e. being one of them, assistant secretary, there are to other agencies named acting heads to ensure as we move through the confirmation process we have somebody in that position to ensure continuity of government. >> sean? >> daniel? >> yesterday you said 109 individuals were affected by this extreme vetting. dhs official said it was over 1,100. >> first of all just to be clear what they're talking about is the number of people who weren't allowed to board a many coming in. they were stopped at their port of entry, had to get additional clearance and then take off. there's a big difference. the numbers that we're talking about with the initial group of people that were in transit at the time the executive order was signed and then there's another group of people in the department of homeland security has the numbers up to date on
their website, where they're talking about people that are stopped at the port of entry to ensure that they're properly vetted before they board a plane. it's a very, very delicate distinction between people who were on the plane coming into this country when the executive order was signed, all of who have been vented and cleared and the people who have been stopped at a port of entry in one of those seven countries to ensure that the proper vetting took place before they were able to move on. >> sean, hallie's question was about civilians being targeted by the administration in anti-terror raids and zeke's question was about awlaki's daughter. let me ask you, is the president willing to kill and target american citizens, even minors, just because their family members of terrorists? >> no american citizen will ever be targeted. >> one more follow-up there. >> i got it. >> go ahead. >> if you're qualified for the position you said earlier you should get confirmed. that's not how merritt garland has treated.
>> there's never been a situation a fourth term someone that late in an election cycle, never occurred before and i think the senate republicans were very clear that we should let the voters have a choice and that's exactly what happened. as i noted at the beginning of this, 70% of people thought that the president's choice for the next supreme court was a major decision. that was something he campaigned on. i think when you're that late in a term, it had never happened before. and the goal was to make sure that the voters had a say in allowing that to happen. clearly it worked. the voters looked at that as a major reason which they voted for the president and i think as we move forward that's why i think we'll get the support we need. >> sean, if the president does get his pick on the bench, what are any specific cases that the administration hopes the court takes up in the near future? >> well, there's a lot of cases that i think are in the queue right now that have the potential before four. the idea is to get this individual confirmed as soon as
possible just to get the docket moving. that's probably the biggest priority right now. thank you guys very much. have a great day, i'll see you tonight. good luck, 8:00. i'll see you tonight at 8:00. >> called it a strict ban. was the president wrong? >> louder. and there you have it. white house press secretary sean spicer making a few statements, taking om questions as well from members of the assembled journalists there in the briefing room. we learned that alain chow who was confirmed a short time ago, 93-6, she will be sworn in as transportation secretary. she was -- she has already been labor secretary. she will be sworn in this afternoon by the vice president. he also at one point, sean spicer calling senate democrats out of touch. we got some information on big pharma, that meeting, and rudy
giuliani, the cyber security exert he has become is going to be meeting with president trump this afternoon. kristen welker remains on duty for us she was in that room. let's start with your question there to the press secretary where you pointed out correctly pointed out that it was the president himself who had used the language, travel ban. >> right. >> mr. spicer there somewhat inexplicably pushing back. but walk us through what happened there. >> well, he initially tried to argue that this is not a travel ban despite the fact that president trump himself tweeted that it was a travel ban just yesterday. and when i pressed him on that, he tried to deflect the question to the media saying well it was a term that the media used. and i pointed out that actually it was a term that his boss used, the president himself. so he tried to push back on that. and then when i brought up the broader issue here, craig, which is that even the house speaker
paul ryan has said that this roll out has been somewhat confusing, does this not put into the broader confusion? he tried to dodge that question as well. it's clear that the white house continues to be in damage control when it comes to this issue which has prompted protests, of course, all across the country and prompted sally yates the acting attorney general, to say she is not going to enforce the kprd. of course that led to her swift removal last night when she was when she was replaced by a pick from president trump until jeff session can be confirmed. it was a bit of a fiery breaching on that point. he was defensive on another matter, the firing itself, when pressed whether this was an indication the white house would not tolerate dissenters. he said look it is the position and the intention of anyone who is appointed by this president to uphold his policies. now, there are some who disagree with that who would say actually
the attorney general is beholden to the law, not to the president. that's how yates testified when she was being pressed by jeff sessions, ironically in her confirmation hearing. so this raised some really thorny questions. and of course, craig, it comes as we are awaiting this incredibly important decision that the president is going the make later tonight, his supreme court pick to replace justice an anyone scalia. >> kristen welker we always appreciate your work inside the briefing room. ari medical better is standing by. we did get some timing on tonight. again that announcement expected to happen right at 8:00 eastern. what do we know at this point about the men that donald trump is considering? >> we know according to source confirmed by nbc's pete williams it is gown to gorsuch and hardiman both federal appeals court judges both considered conservative both we should note already have the blessing of some of the key conservative
legal organizations in the community. we are seeing in that record if it is one of those two individuals people who are in main line republican circles, well regarded, well respected and also confirmed by previous senates. one comment i want to make on the breaking news coming out of the press conference. there is a debate going on over what is lawful in what the administration is doing and there is a debate over whether these are good ideas. let's start with what is lawful. this travel ban, to use president trump's words basically banning travel from seven countries is writ law and it is lawful. the court decisions have only dealt with a small number of people caught in the lurch with the way they chose how to apply it. but suspending the refugees, limiting basically virtually all types of immigration from these
seven countries, the ban on syria-related travel, this is all the law of the land. that's an important backdrop because if the acting attorney general basically in that context says she has reviewed it and come to a professional and personal determination that it is not lawful or not constitutional she is entitled to that judgment and an act of conscience in that judgment. i would say what she did was unusual. i've interviewed sally yates, i followed her career. he has a long and respected career as a non-partisan prosecutor in different administrations. i would make the point here that what she did may have come from her own sense of what is right. that is by the way somewhat rare in washington to see people do that. when you do that, you have to be prepared in this context to do it and resign or be relieved because if it is true that the justice department's legalize and ears the office of legal counsel has blessed this order and there is no court opinion interfering with it.
the second part is whether these are good ideas being implemented well. >> really quickly. likelihood that senate democrats decide to somehow block this nomination all together? >> i don't do predictions. i'm not that smart. i will say this. there is history here. the history according to senate democrats is that a very qualified federal judge -- i described why, the two names on trump's list are qualified federal judges. a federal judge as well from the d.c. circuit similar situation was none nated by the previous president did not get a hearing did not get a vote. what will happen, i don't know. >> anyone's guess. ari medical better, thanks to you and kristen welker in washington as well. delaying the committee's votet on jeff sessions is at the top of the hour here on msnbc. and we'll be right back. americn help you take on a new job,
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hour of msnbc live. my colleague katy tur pick up coverage from here. >> hey there craig. thanks to you at home for sticking with me this hour. any moment we expect to see the president kick off a cyber security meeting at the white house. before signing an executive order to investigate america's cyber vulnerabilities. a contentious few hours in washington. democrats boycotting hearings and debates to confirm trump's cabinet with half a dozen nominees in the focus. as fallout continues from trump's executive action on imoperation and firing the attorney general who quote refused to get in line. responding to this morning's chaos the homeland security secretary sounding off about what he knew and when. moments ago the white house weighed in. >> ms yates failed to enforce a legal order appved by the department of justice's office of legal counsel calling for