tv MSNBC Live MSNBC May 18, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
jansing. right now on msnbc, trump on defense. this morning, the president tweets that the new department of justice investigation marks, quote, the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in american history. we'll have reaction from both sides. >> i've been worst treated than president trump has. let's make sure we know about that. >> common ground. republicans and democrats backing the man who will lead the doj probe. former fbi director bob mueller. we'll descri his role and why he is admired on the hill. >> i think it was a good choice when i first heard it. i think we can move forward. breaking news. former fox news chief roger ailes has died. we'll look at the legacy of a man who changed news in america for years to come. good morning, everyone. i'm chris jansing at our msnbc headquarters in new york. right now, president trump this morning seeming to contradict
himself, calling the newly announced investigation into his campaign's possible ties to russia not just the single greatest witch hunt of any politician in american history, but adding, with all of the illegal acts that took place in the clinton campaign and obama administration, there was never a special council appointed. tweeted that before 8:00 eastern time this morning after releasing a measured statement last night. saying he, quote, looks forward to this matter concluding quickly. his scathing new criticism unleashed even as something highly unusual is unfolding in washington this morning. bipartisan agreement. praise for former fbi director robert mueller as special council to oversee the russia investigation. >> all of us are -- that know director mueller are very happy he's there. >> it couldn't be a better choice. >> i have a lot of respect for ko counsel mueller. it was a good point when i first heard it.
>> everything we know about his portfolio thus far gives us confidence he may be able to get to where the facts lead him. >> the surprising announcement at 6:00 last night. not the only headache for the white house this morning. the "new york times" is reporting that president trump's transition team was told michael flynn was under investigation but the president made him his national security adviser anyway. reuters is reporting this morning that flynn and other advisers to the trump campaign had at least 18 previously undisclosed contacts with russian officials, including ambassador kislyak, during the last seven months of the presidential campaign. a lot to cover and discuss this morning. let's start with kelly o'donnell who is at the white house this morning. let's start with the naming of robert mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation. white house was blindsided. from his tweets this morning, the president isn't happy about it. >> well, chris, good morning. you do get the sense the president's first reaction in a printed statement was in his name but not really in his
voice. his voice comes through on twitter, where you get the sense of his anger over this. the suspicion he feels about how he's been treated with the reference to a witch hunt. so the first wave of response was almost bracing for what would come next, knowing they would have to treat this with a seriousness. there is an opportunity here for the white house to see some of the daily, even hourly, even minute by minute, drum beat about questions about the russia investigation, the partisan nature of all of this. turning that down now with bipartisan respect for robert mueller, who led the fbi for a dozen years, was responsible for very important investigations, and holds so much credibility. so if they can sort of see where the facts go with a bit of a pause, at least from the daily rhetoric of the questions and answers, that might actually allow the president to turn to some of his agenda items. his anger over this, the sort of turmoil inside the white house, not easy to contain or calm any of that.
the president also has this opportunity with a foreign trip that prior to the events of the last 48 hours, advisers and staffers here were saying that they were so focused on wanting that to a success, a chance for the president to be on the global stage with key partners, and to have some reboot moments that could effect kind of a change of energy and momentum for this trump white house. since that time, the very big news stories have intervened. how it will affect the foreign travel, the first trip by the president, remains to be seen. part of it is his own emotions. if his anger continues, we may see it come out today with the news conference that is scheduled this afternoon, chris. >> all right. thank you so much. nbc's kelly o'donnell at the white house. nbc's chief legal correspondent ari melber joins us live now. let's talk about robert mueller. his history, second longest serving fbi director. obviously, from what we've heard this morning, a stellar reputation. >> his reputation based on his law enforcement history is
second to none. politically, because everything is parsed that way, he was appointed by president bush but asked to stay on by president obama. he was there, his tenure spanning 9/11, when obviously there was tremendous spekeptici of the government. why didn't the cia pick up the clues? yet he handled the period well. obama continued his previous history as a prosecutor, the previous head of the doj. it'd be hard to find someone who knows their way better around the two challenges in play, chris. challenge number one, a complex national security and criminal inquiry. number two, an inquiry that may or may not -- and we've got to be careful because we don't know where the inquiry ends -- but may or may not involve politicall tinged prosecutions. these are tw thinge knows well and handled with distinction. >> tell us about the role he'll play. leading up to this, there was talk about should there be a commission, a special counsel.
what kind of power does he have? >> put aside all the legal talk, this thing that's happened last night is the most independent and strongest thing that could have happened. this special counsel is a more independent, subpoena-driven investigation than anything else that was on the table. the talk about a 9/11 style committee would have been much more of a fact-finding thing. you get a report. maybe the public learns things. that's not bad. but this is stronger. so he is now going to be overseeing the same fbi line agents. that doesn't change. but he will make the calls of whether to issue more subpoenas or look for certain documents or not. he will make ultimately the main charging recommendation out of the doj, meaning if they find the facts and say, we want to go after x, y or z person, he might say, yup, i see the case, or no, i don't. the fact he has, i think, a lot of credibility will help the country here say, okay, maybe that case was made in a factual way and not any other way. the other point i'll make, we have this banner across the screen, that the president is
trashing this as a, quote, witch hunt. that banner is accurataccurate, sense the president said it. i also have to report, chris, it's pretty hard to understand. this so-called witch hunt in the president's words is a decision that was made by the person he just picked to be deputy attorney general, rosenstein, who he only picked a few weeks ago. it is far less likely this is a witch hunt designed to somehow get someone. that's how we think of a witch hunt. far more likely, i think, at this juncture, the deputy attorney general looked tat facts, looked at the appearance of conflicts, that's what his job is supposed to be when you look for a special counsel, and decided not that he wants to catch a witch but this is the best way to make sure the system is working and independent. it is another case where we have words from the president. we report on them. i think for viewers, we should give the context, this is his deputy attorney general that made this decision. the system, chris, appears to be working. >> msnbc's chief legal correspondent, ari melber, thank you for that.
this morning, the investigation into ties between the trump campaign and russia grows. beyond the appointment of robert mueller to lead the independent investigation, there are at least three congressional committees that have invited james comey to testif all the congressional investigations continue, including on both intelgenc committees. joining me is a member of the the committee on the congress side. i want to get to what your committee is doing. let me start with the obvious question. are you happy about this? is mueller the right man for the job? >> he is absolutely the right person for the job. the fact that we have got a straight shooter, that rod rosenstein made this choice, is profound and should be applauded. it is -- >> i want to bring you to the other side. jason chaffetz praised mueller but said he didn't think a
special counsel was needed. >> i don't know i'd necessary done that. i have not seen evidence of actual collusion. it begs the question, why did they need a special prosecutor? what are they trying to prosecute? >> what are this they actually g to prosecute? >> i don't think jason is on the mark on this issue. we already know the u.s. attorney in virginia has sought information about both manafort and flynn. i think that there are issues around tax evasion that could be brought against particular persons. i think that there is a great question as to whether or not there were references to trump personnel during his campaign that were in collusion with the russian government's intervention into the election. there is a lot that can be and will be investigated by the special counsel that looks at criminality. criminal conduct by americans. that is very important.
>> does this in any way affect the investigation you folks are doing on the intelligence committee? >> so our review is going on because we have an oversight responsibility over the intelligence community. so it is important for us to evaluate the strength of our intel on russia, to look into the intervention by the russian government and to our elections, and what steps we need to take moving forward in terms of making sure the integrity of our electoral process, that our voter registration machinations and our actual election tallying machines are above any kind of hacking or subject to any infiltration. >> you'r, i believe, your committee also wants james comey to appear, is that right? >> that's true. >> what is the critical question you have for him? >> i think we all want to know what was said in those memos and what was said by the president that were, as a result, turned
into memos by james comey. he has been, you know, very focused on the infiltration of the russians intour election and the extent to which the trump campaign was engaged with the russians, in trying to mess with our election process. >> are you a little concerned, congresswoman, and i'm out of time, but a lot of these meetings happen private i will. does it become a case of he said/he said, one versus the other, who has more credibility? >> well, i think just if history serves, as well, documents by fbi agents or attorneys that put down what was said carry a lot of weight and have been used, particularly memos by fbi agents, in court proceedings as being relevant and factual. >> congresswoman, thanks so you. we have assembled a
distinguished panel. lee was vice chairman of the 9/11 commission. now a member of the president's homeland security advisory ko counc council. 34 years in congress, served as chairman of the house intelligence and foreign affairs committees. morgan is a former analyst at the treasury department. liz, a prominent member of house judiciary that voted to impeach nixon. and nick, a special watergate prosecutor as well as serving as a u.s. attorney here in new york. lee, i'll start with you as vice chair of the commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks, so somebody who knows a little about investigations, mueller took over as fbi director just before 9/11. i know you know him. you have worked with him. what do you think he'll do in terms of this investigation? >> i think mr. mueller is a highly skilled prosecutor. very led in the prosecutorial arts. he is a truth seeker. will do after the facts, come
hell or high water, and let the chips fall where they may. i've been very pleased with the almost unanimous support given his appointment. i think it is an excellent choice. this is a very serious investigation. you needed someone who is independent, highly skilled, very knowledgeable, very focused, who will not be deabstrad distracted by the political noise that will attend all of this, and will do his very best to get to the bottom. this is likely his last chapter as a public servant and a superb one. he will not want to tarnish his reputation by failing to get to the bottom of what happened here. it's a good appointment. >> liz, are you convinced he is the right guy to get to the
bottom of it? we heard arhee melbeari melber about how complex this inquiry is. as someone who found themselves in the middle of watergate and knows as a lawyer what it is to get to the bottom of something, how complicated is it? how long could it take? where do you think the focus will start? >> i think he is an excellent choice. he's got an excellent reputation for integrity. you saw response from both sides of the aisles. that makes -- should make the country feel that this is not a partisan appointment. this is somebody who has got a solid reputation, built up not overnight but ov years and years and years. at really important. what concerns me is his independence here. he did not get the same charter that patrick fitzgerald got when he was looking into the matter. so his level of autonomy should be, in my opinion, the highest
you can get. >> he can be fired. >> not only can he be fired but his rulings or his decisions can be second guessed by the deputy attorney general or the attorney general. >> what are the chances, nick, that something like that happens? i mean, we're in such a very different situation, even than valerie plain, in the amount of attention and media out there? >> i think there's that concern, but i don't think it is a major concern. i think what we're going to see is mr. mooueller is going to go ahead aggressively with subpoenas. bring people into the grand jury. do all of the things you'd expect the prosecutor to do. he's going to put together the facts. he's going to have it all together. if it is his recommendation to indict x, y or z, it is going to be almost impossible to buck that. i think that if he felt strongly that a particular person should
be indicted, and somebody interfered with that, that would cause total havoc over this thing. i think the politics wouldn't permit it, particularly since everybody universally believes that he is the right guy to do this investigation. so i think we feel pretty comfortable that this is going to be done properly, right. and what's really comfortable here is that the charter he's been given doesn't just say, you're only going to investigate the connection between russia's collusion, alleged collusion, and the trump campaign, but it is also other matters relating to that and where that may take him. in other words, this whole business about whether or not donald trump endeavored to obstruct the investigation by telling comey to stop the inquiry into flynn is part of his mandate, which i think is extremely significant and comforting to most people who want to make sure this thing gets thoroughly investigated. >> i want to get back to where this may take him.
morgan, i wonder what you think about this whole concept of, again, in this environment, something the president talks a lot about, leaks. he seems to be determined, from everything we've heard, he is somebody who keeps things close to the vest. he is somebody who doesn't want this to take any kind of partisan tinge. how do you keep something from leaking when you have this many tentacles, this many people involved? >> well, as we've seen, it's almost impossible to stop people from leaking in washington. we saw the obama administration were actually very aggressive against leakers. i would imagine that the trump administration would like to be, as well. i think that it is difficult because you have so many people in washington running to the press with breaking news. i think what you will see though as your distinguished panelists have said, you'll see the to isg
down. the investigations never end well for the target of the investigation, but perhaps it'll give the president and congressional republicans some breathing room to focus on policy and try to get their message out. there's no way they can get their message out right now on health care, tax cuts, on the president's very important coming trip to saudi arabia and israel. that can't be discussed when all of this is in the news. i think the president, his team, should have message discipline here. try to let the investigation play out without any political tinge. and try to focus on policy and focus on the foreign trip. turn the page as best as they can. >> obviously hard to do when they put out a very measured statement at night and then he starts tweeting in the morning. let's go back, if we can, to where this might go. you heard a couple of suggestions from congresswoman speier. a lot of people saying, will he get his hands on the tax returns? where doou see thisoing in terms of those actual details of e investnvestigation, liz? >> some of the recent
revelations, for example, jared kushner met with head of a bank that he needed to help him finance some deals -- a hotel deal in toronto. we're talking about -- i don't know the tax returns will be critical, but the financial transactions involving the russians could be a huge area that could involve conflicts of interest, could involve other kinds of potential criminal problems here. >> this reuters report this morning, that there were far more people that may have had contact with russian officials -- >> of course. >> -- than previously reported. >> that's a concern, right. while we're concerned, it is going back to the point i made earlier. even though i have no question that mueller will do the right thing and try to go ahead, but the deputy attorney general could be removed. we've seen head of the fbi be removed. to me, i look down the road and say, if this president gets really angry, he sees it as a witch hunt, what could happen in the future? that's why i want to make sure this investigation has really the safeguards it needs.
>> red flags dually noted. nick, where does this investigation go? what does it look at? >> the tax returns are a key item here. i don't see how anybody could investigate trump's connections with russia without looking at the tax returns. we did get a letter last week from two of his tax lawyers that claimed they lood at certain years and there was nothing about russia. what they didn't do was look at all the various companies, all of the different organizations -- >> and no supporting documents. it was one page covering ten years of tax returns. >> right. exactly. i mean, if you're a prosecutor, you're going to dig into that. you're going to look at what's behind all of the numbers. what are the companies that were used? who put the money into those companies? follow that money and determine whether or not that goes back to russia. you do have that statement made by trump's own son, saying they had lots of dealings in russia. well, where are those reflected on the tax returns? what numbers, what lines, can take you to those positions that
relate to russia? >> i'm trying to remember, where did i hear that before, follow the money? >> lee, morgan, nick and liz, thanks to all of you very much. up next, what do democrats want from this doj investigation and special counsel mueller? i'll be talking with gary peters of michigan on the homeland security committees. he called for a special prosecutor after james comey was fired. new reaction to the sudden death of roger ailes. how the fox news founder changed the game in media, politics and culture. we'll speak with a reporter who literally wrote the book on roger ailes.
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in a few hours, deputy torney general rod rosenstein is heading to capitol hill to pre brief each member on the senate of comey's firing. it's many lawmakers first face-to-face meeting with an administration official since the firing. a lot has happened since then. senators will have a chance to ask questions. i'd like to bring in democratic senator gary peters of michigan who serves on the homeland security and armed services committee. good to see you, senator. good morning. >> great to be with us. >> you'll be at the briefing today. what questions do you have for rod rosenstein and what are you hoping to hear? >> well, i think we all have lots of questions. it'll be interesting to hear my colleagues. some of the things i'm
interested in, first off, is what is the timeline that he was working under in making that recommendation as to whether or not to fire mr. comey? what influence, what input came from political folks within the administration? i think that's very important, to know to what extent was there political influence in crafting that letter. but i also want to know, now that we've got a special prosecutor that has been appointed, what does he see as the scope of that investigation? it is very important for us to get an understanding of the contours of what he will be looking at and how he sees those contours perhaps changing or evolving over time. >> so does that suggest -- i don't want to read too much into what you said -- but does it suggest you're not 100% comfortable with where this is now? you're happy that he was appointed, but you're not clear about the parameters? >> well, yes. i think this is a very -- let me be clear, this is a vy important ep forward.
i think it is a good step. it's something i've been calling for for some time. many of my colleagues have been calling for it. i believe mr. mueller has credentials that speak to his integri integrity, and he is tenacious in an investigation. all of that is good. i think we want to make sure we understand what the parameters are for the investigation, what the scope is going to be. i'm going to wait to see what i hear. i have no reason to be uncomfortable at this point. i think those are important questions that need to be asked a and answered. >> your colleague said on "morning joe" the senate investigation will continue. this is what she said about why. >> we have two very different missions. the special counsel is going to focus on whether or not criminal charges are appropriate. we're focused on counterintelligence policy. and we can impose sanctions on russia. the special counsel can't impose sanctions on russia.
so we still have an extremely important role to play. >> do you still believe -- do you believe as senator collins just said that the senate does have an extremely important role to play? if so, do you believe, given you're in the minority, that it can be counted on by the american people to do things expeditiously, fairly and to get to the bottom of what they need to investigate? >> well, and i think i want to applaud senator collins for her comments. she's absolutely right. i think we can't lose focus on what this is really all about. this is about national security. this is about making sure that we never let a foreign power intervene in an unprecedented way, as the russians appeared to have intervened in our election. we have to stand up, be strong. if it is sanctions or other types of activities that we need to take against the russians, to send a clear signal this is unacceptable. it is not acceptable in the united states. it's not acceptable in european democracies anywhere. we've got to make a strong
statement. that's why these two tracks of investigation are so important. it's about getting to the facts. letting the facts drive this. this can't be about politics. this can't be about re-litigating an election. this is about making sure that, one, the rule of law is being followed, but also that we are being very clear that this is not about party, this is about country. thiss about national security. something i worry about every day as a member of the homeland security committee and the armed services committee. the united states needs to be strong. we need to send a strong signal. it has to be based on facts, and we have to do this quickly. there's such a cloud over everything that's happening here in washington right now. we have got to get through that. we've got to get these facts. we've got to do it quickly so we can get to the very important business of the american people. >> i'm sure you watched yesterday, the dow going down. worst day of the year yesterday in the wake of the news about the comey memo. before coming to congress, you were an investment adviser. we're seeing today that the dow is back up.
53 points, almost 54 right as we speak. given your experience with the markets, how closely are you watching this, and how concerned should people be as this moves forward, their retirement and 401(k)s? >> the market has recovered some, hasn't recovered all its loss. it basically goes to the fact that the markets hate uncertainty. they like to have some sense of where the country is going, where our policies are going. what to anticipate in terms of economic policy, in terms of tax policy. and the fact that all of that is now in the backseat, we've got an administration that seems to be in chaos. we've got a president that continues to tweet out all sorts of information and contradicts what his press people are saying. the administration seems to be focused on this internal confusion and chaos and not focused on what's very important to the american people, which is making sure we have manufacturing policy, we have an economic policy that allows us to grow. the markets are naturally very
nervous about that. >> senator peters, we appreciate your time. thank you for coming on. >> thank you. we have that other breaking news this morning. the death of former fox news chairman, ceond founder roger ailes. the 77-year-old was a pioneer in television and politics. he turned fox news into a ratings and financial powerhouse. then resigned last summer amid allegations of sexual harassment. nbc's stephanie gosk has more on his legacy and the scandal. >> reporter: roger ailes, former chairman and ceo of fox news, dead at 77 years old. ailes founded the cable network that would go on to change the media landscape in 1996. coining the now infamous motto, fair and balanced. the broadcast pioneer brought together a lineup of conservative cable hosts, including bill o'reilly and sean hannity, that many say provided a conservative voice lacking in television news. in the last year, sexual harassment allegations surfaced against ailes but ended in him being removed as head of the
network. while he denied the accusations, the scandal cast a shadow on fox to this day. ailes was born in ohio in 1940. he began his television career in cleveland. his first foray into politics came in the '60s when nixon asked for him help in navigating the new world of television. his political consulting career continued with both republican presidents ronald reagan and george h.w. bush. in 2016, former fox news host gretchen carlson accused ailes of firing her for rejecting his sexual advances. the allegation led to others. within a month, he was removed from 21st century fox. ailes denied the charges. throughout his life, he suffered from poor health. his wife released a statement saying in part, during a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment and politics and in news affected the lives of many millions. so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life. >> that was nbc's stephanie gosk
reporting. joining me now is gabe sherman, national affairs editor at new york magazine and a contributor. also author of "the loudest choice in the room." a look at how roger ailes built fox news. couldn't have a better guest here. thank you for coming in. >> yeah. >> a lot of people shocked, happening less than a year after he resigned from fox news. you have new information about the days leading up to his death. what can you tell us? >> i've been reporting all morning. this is shocking and, unfortunately, not shocking, because roger ailes had been suffering with health problems his whole life. this chapter of his life has been tragic. he's been isolated and alone. he relocated to palm beach. a friend he spoke to in recent days recalled ailes joked about committing suicide. he said he's not suicidal but the invocation of that showed he was not doing well. and other sources close to the family tell me he suffered a fall at his house in palm beach. suffered a blood clot. complications from that condition led to his death that
was announced this morning. >> we talk about him being in poor health, but anybody who knows anything about the business, or knows anyone who worked at fox news, hard to overstate what he did in building that empire. >> yeah. it was really a revolution in communications and politics in america. in my book, in the reporting, i lay out that he tilled the ground and he made american politics ripe for a candidate like donald trump. that he transformed politics into entertainment. that's what trump exploited in the 2016 campaign. without roger ailes's legacy, i don't think we'd have donald trump in the white housetoday. that's one part of the legacy. the other part, wt led to him resigning. >> yeah. >> so in the end, as it is being reported in obituaries and people are talking about it, you cannot stay away from what was really a horrible situation that was created for a lot of people at fox news. >> exactly. part of ailes's legacy will be defined by the fact he ruined so many lives, especially women's lives who worked at fox news.
he'll leave behind a trail of dozens of allegations of sexual harassment. he's denied it. the flood of allegations are such that it paints the picture of a man who dominated the culture of fox news and ruled through fear and women who worked for him felt if they did not give in to his advances, their career would be over. this is a man who was consumed by ambition. consumed by his desire for power. fox news became the place he could ultimately express his power. we see that ultimately, at the end of the day, that led to his downfall. >> gabe, thank you so much for coming in. so we want to go to capitol hill now. we see that the speaker is walking out. let's take a listen. >> progress on our agenda for the american people. today, the house continues to act on legislation to make sure that our law enforcement agencies have the support and the tools they need to keep us safe. this week, of course, coincides with national police week, when we honor the sacrifices made by
our police and their families. yesterday, the house acted on a new round of sanctions against the syrian regime in order to cut off resources for assad's war machine. also this week, the house approved landmark federal i.t. reform legislation that will reduce wasteful spending and enhance the government's information security. will hurd has tak thed on this and he's trying to bring our government into the era of cloud computing. this is a big, big mark forward in bipartisan progress in getting waste out of government. as we speak, the ways and means committee is holding major hearing today on examinie ining pro-growth tax reform. pro-growth means growth of wages, growth of jobs, growth of opportunity and growth of our economy. also this week, the education and work force committee approved bipartisan legislation to improve career and technical education. this will make it easier to connect people with the skills
they need to get good paying, in demand jobs. wherever i go, in wisconsin last week, we have a real skills gap between the skills people need to get good jobs and the good jobs that are out there being offered. this is something we really have to address. i'm very pleased that the education work force committee is moving forward on this legislation. later today, armed services committee chairman thorn berry will unveil the third installment in his effort to streamline the pentagon's bureaucracy and improve the way we develop weapon systems. this is an essential part of our efforts to rebuild our military for the 21st century. ahead of memorial day, the veterans affairs committee approved 11 bills, including bipartisan legislation to fix the va's broken appeals process. this is a problem we've been working on tackling for years. under the secretary, the va is already taking strides to get our veterans better care, shorter lines and more peace of
mind. over in the senate, our colleagues continue to discuss the path forward on keeping our promise to repeal and replace obamaca obamacare. lastly, yestery, the president signed the 14th congressional review act resolution to stop president obama's last regulatory onslaught he did last year. up until this year, congress had successfully repealed just one regulation under this law. now, just this year already, we've done it 14 times in a matter of months. we have much more to do to end washington's culture of overreach and overregulation, but this is a big promise kept as we work to protect jobs and grow our economy. i know it is a long list. it is by no means complete. every day here, we are working to advance our agenda and to address the problems that americans face in their everyday lives. questions? phil? >> mr. speaker, earlier this week, senator mcconnell said, quote, we could do with a little less drama from the white house on a lot of things. saying basically it could undercut or hamper your agenda.
do you agree with the assessment? >> yeah, it is nice to have less drama. but the point i'm trying to make, and i tried to make this the other day at my press conference, people in the country need to know that we are busy at work trying to solve their problems. so i realize that there's a lot in the media these days. that doesn't seize up congress. that doesn't stop us from doing our jobs, to work on people's problems. one of the reasons i just read you the list of just what we've done this week on closing the skill gap, streamlining i.t. to get waste out of government, make the pentagon more efficient, get tax reform moving, these are things that really affect people in their daily lives. we're working on this. i just think it is very important that people know that we can walk and chewum at the same time. sure, drama is not helpful in getting things done, but we're still getting things done. that's the important point. yeah? >> a number of congressional leaders met with the deputy attorney general, rosenstein, here at the capitol last night.
were you tat the meeting? what is your understanding of why doj took this step? >> i was at the meeting. i don't comment on such meetings that are classified. as i said before, i believe that the professionals of the justice department need to do their jobs independently, objectively and thoroughly. i believe the special counsel, which is robert mueller now, helps them do that. >> does it interfere with the congressional investigation? >> it doesn't. we'll keep the investigations going here. as i always said, the intelligence committees are the right place to do that. this is an investigation involving russia. involving another country interfering with our elections. the intelligence committee, in my opinion, is the best place for that. these bipartisan investigations, house intelligence committee, senate intelligence committee, will continue their investigations. >> you didn't mention oversight there. do you think oversight should continue? another follow up on that.
oversight chairman chaffetz told people he'll probably be leaving around june 30th. does that present a conflict -- >> i have not spoken to jason about that. i don't know -- he has not told me that. i've not spoken with the chairman about that. >> he is leaving, do you think he should step aside? >> i will find out from chairman chaffetz what he is or isn't doing. i'm not going to comment on somebody that's in the media. i'd rather hear from him myself as to what his plans are. as far as the oversight committee, they made documentary requests. that's the oversight committee's responsibility. that's what they do. that's why it is called the oversight committee. it is appropriate they make these document requests. but as i said, especially with response to intelligence, that's where i think the intelligence committee should do their jobs. >> obviously, you've been very close over the years with vice president pence. you talked about trying to continue to move this agenda, and he's here often working on these issues here. but considering what we've dealt with with trump and russia the
past few days, some members said, we might be better with vice president pence. >> oh, good grief. >> what is your take? >> we shouldn't even -- i'm not going to comment on that. >> it's your members saying that. there are members saying that. >> i'm not even -- there's not a point making a comment on that. >> does the appointment of a special counsel, you think, give you some breathing roomir jobs and thoroughly, which is what we've called for all along. so i think it was perfectly appropriate to do that. in the meantime, we're going to keep doing our jobs. we're gointo kp our russia investigations going with our intelligence committees, and look what i just described, energy and -- not the energy -- the education work force committee, closing the skills gap, getting the armed services committee, streamline the way the pentagon procures weapons. let's get ways and means working on tax reform. let's fix people's problem prob. all of our committees are still doing that. as i said, i know that people get consumed with the news of
the day. but we are here working on people's problems every day. and we have all these different committees that do different jobs. our job is to make sure that we still make progress for the american people and we're doing that. you want to ask about tax reform? go ahead. mike emmanuel. >> mr. speaker, thank you. regarding tax reform, there's some folks who think it could splip slip beyond this year. >> i don't think that's the case. i feel confident, calendar year 2017 for tax reform. we're making progress. does bloomberg have a tax reform question? >> i do, actually. mitch mcconnell has said that he thinks that prospects for the border adjustment part of the plan are rather bleak in the senate. if he still says it, it should be revenue neutral. that are the alternatives discussed? is there a way that the border
adjustment could either have a transition that would make it more palatable or some kind of half border adjustment? >> i think you can say yes to a just said. what we have to do, and as an old tax writer, i would say this, you have to weigh alternatives off one another. it is obvious that you can and should have some kind of an adjustment and phase in period if you're going to have a border adjustment. i think it is the smart way to go. i think it makes the tax code the most internationally competitive of any other version we're looking at. i think it removes all tax incentives for a firm to move overseas or move their production overseas. but if you're not going to do border adjustment, then you have to look at the alternatives to that. there's always upsides and downsides to alternatives. that's the process we're going through right now. we're going through the process of looking at what is the best way to reform the tax code and to lower tax rates for businesses and to make the american tax system
internationally competitive? right now, it is literally one of the worst tax systems in the industrialized world. we're losing companies, becoming foreign companies. we have an incentive that tells companies, outsource your manufacturing. why on earth are we doing that? we really believe -- we're working on this -- fixing people's problems. that is why tax reform is so critical. i do believe that there are very serious and legitimate concerns to any version of tax reform. we'll have to accommodate those concerns as we move to a new tax system. >> the speaker of the house. we'll continue to listen in and let you know if anything comes up. a former military intelligence officer, a prosecutor and military magistrate, congressman, good morning. >> thanks for having me. >> let's start with what we were hearing from the speaker, talking about how important tax reform is. he was asked whether or not the appointment of the special prosecutor -- special counsel
gives a little breathing room. he said, it helps assure people, and it is perfectly appropriate. i know you weren't in favor of this, but do you agree with th speaker? >> well, once the department of justice concludes that they believe that they need to appoint a special counsel, i have a tremendous amount of respect for our justice department, for our law enforcement, our intel community. so it's a different analysis, when you have the department of justice saying that they need to make this appointment. so from that respect, i'm looking forward to reviewing whatever type of findings, conclusions, they come up with. i think it is very important that this doesn't act as an investigation that is in search of a crime. almost looking like a witch hunt. that shouldn't be what this is about. it should be about the facts, wherever they may lead. >> given what you know about robert mueller and that
rosenstein, someone appointed by the president, chose him, and there's been almost -- there has been bipartisan praise for him, do you have any doubt that it will be independent? >> no. as a matter of fact, i've had a lot of communications since yesterday evening with people here on capitol hill who know mr. mueller very bewell. there is a tremendous amount of respect for him on capitol hill from people who know him in his prior service to our country. >> why did you bring up the prior comment about a witch hunt, which is what the president said earlier in a tweet. >> whether it is the president or the people most loyal to the president, to people who are the stiffest resisters, opposing his agenda entirely, whether they're in congress or back home in their districts, i think, you know, from the fringes on both sides to everyone in between, it'smportant that we're communicing with everyone so that whatever te of breach of
trust that anyone feels, whether it's on the right related to the investigation of secretary clinton or on the left as it relates to, you know, this investigation that is being discussed, i think at the end of the day, it is very important for all americans, as many americans as possible, to have confidence in those findings and conclusions so we can move on from whatever those findings and conclusions are. >> do you have -- >> that's why i'm saying that. >> -- confidence in robert mueller to say you will commit to accepting whatever the conclusion of his investigation is? >> oh, yes. i have -- i don't know what his conclusion is going to be yet, so it is kind of hard to comment on the merits themselves. good, bad, indifferent. but going into the investigat n investigation, the hypothetical, the answer is absolutely, yes. based off of -- i don't know mr. mueller, but for those i've been talking to since last night, it is amazing just how much strong support he has from conservatives to liberals,
republicans, democrats. people of all stripes here in washington. >> i just want to ask you quickly, this is sort of breaking news that just came in. lawyers for general flynn are refusing to honor subpoenas from the senate intelligence committee. we just heard that from chairman burr. your reaction to that? >> i'm not surprised by it. there is a criminal investigation taking place. if a -- if general flynn is in communications with his attorneys, and they have their own legal strategy that is very personal to their defense, i wouldn't be surprised at all that they are ting this particular approach. now, i not either general flynn or one of his attorneys. as a member of congress, representing one of 435 districts, i will say, it is very important for general flynn to come before congress, to be able to tell the american people and tell congress what he knows so that we can get to the bottom of the investigation and the in.
i'm not surprised, even though i don't accept it, i'm not surprised by this news. >> thank you so much, appreciate it. >> up next, president trump is defending himself, where else? on twitter, we'll break down all of the latest tweets mentioning hillary clinton and witch hunts. usaa gives me the peace of mind and the security just like the marines did. the process through usaa is so effortless, that you feel like you're a part of the family. i love that i can pass the membership to my children.
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we're back to our daily briefing on politics. he said with all of the illegal act there was never a special council selected. he also said this is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in american history. let's talk with mark murray. isaac, i want to start with you because you reacted to the president's tweets with a tweet of your own. predictable unpredictable continued. aides wrote kaffully worded statement last night that he of course blew up in the a.m. with a misspelling. how are staffers reacting to all of this? >> it is just another day in the white house dealing with the incoming from the world around them, the investigationshey're
not in control of an a special appointment they were not given any advance word into. just a few minutes after rod ros rosenstein, he sends them out when he wants to. they tried to make it something that was measured, not picking a fight, not potentially opening other legal avenues, and the president as he tends to do spends time watching tv or coverage that was goings on, stewing about it a little more, and this morning as has happened before when they set a very clear clear statement about things changed his position about it.
they conditioned there was anything to that giving over of information to officials. the president gets on twitter in the morning and says, sorry, i said last week, not last week, that was tuesday morning, that he got on and did. he changed the story last week about the jim comey firing and what happened there. this is what aides have learned to expect. >> one person's witch hunt is another person's investigation. that might kind of give us the opportunity news a run for it's money. >> that is absolutely right, you look back to mcckacarthyism and was bigger.
you have to bring in white water, and the monoka liica lew and the witch hunt that esident trump lead on the birtherism charm and that he may not have been born in the united states. i think a lot of presidential historians say there may have been some bigger ones. >> clearly a lot of what happened to him is the fault of the media. i think what got lost on the reporting on the conversation about the private meeting that he had with comey was a reports with the prosecution of the press, but now your organization is reporting that he is looking at downsiding sean spicer's
role. >> sean spicer has been someone that is the most public face of the at min strags. those briefingings are broadcast on msnbc and other channels live every day, but the president does not seem fully happy with what spicer has been doing for him. despite his protests that he as great ratings and it's great television. they're aware that he is a problem. and my colleagues have reporting that says likely when the president returns from his foreign trip that he returns for tomorrow for 11 days, he might not have any briefings ever again. there may be a pull away from televised briefings. daily televised briefings have been an institution since the clinton presidency. staffers have all complained
about them. the reporters complain about them not always being the most useful. the trump white house scaled them back, but they're considering scaling them back even more and pulling sean spicer. >> part of that decision is for how things go for the president who is on the main stage. >> thank you for watching this hour of msnbc live. right now, at andrea mitchell reports. right now on "andrea mitchell reports." new sheriff in town the president say it's is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in america his tire. a clean sweep welcomed by senators of both parties. >> we're glad that former fbi director muller is addressing the criminal side of it, but we
still need a select committee in my view. >> his choice was the right choice for the job. >> this is a positive thing i think for the american people. >> mull sere a great appointment. >> is this a big deal? >> yes. >> the blind spot, new reports that the trump team new michael flynn was under fbi investigation for his foreign conflicts weeks before they named himational security advisor. >> should he have been hired in the first place. >> you can argue that maybe he shouldn't have been and knowing what we know now, he probably shouldn't have. >> and question time, the attorney general that just appointed the special council on capitol hill today to talk about the fires of james comey from the fbi. >> are you confidence his files