tv Morning Joe MSNBC June 20, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PDT
proposal never sees the light of day. >> to stay ts-- say to your constituents, i'm not going to show you the bill because i know you won't like it. >> why are my constituents not allowed to see the detaste ils what's about to happen to their lives? why are only a select group of americans able to have a voice inside that room? >> the voices of democratic senators doing all they can to try to block republican efforts to make obamacare a thing of the past. right now there's little democrats can do besides talk. republican senators continuing to work behind the scenes to try to get a bill together as they steam roll what they hope will be a vote as early as next week. this morning we'll talk to five senators, democratic whip dick durbin, republican bob corker of tennessee, the vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee, mark warren of new
jersey and sheldon white house and senator roger wicker. good morning. i'm mark halperin of nbc news. joe is battling a case of laryngitis. mika is tending to a family matter and willie is going to join us momentarily. he had a bit of a late night last night. he'll explain that when he gets with us. with us, katty kay. lots going on in the republican's vote on health care. >> the shock and sadness of the death of otto warmbier.
he was convicted in 2016 for attempting to steal a propaganda poster. he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. he was returned with brain damage. they claim he contacted botulism. president trump, who once said it would be an honor to meet kim jong un weighed in on warmbier's passi passing. >> otto warmbier has just passed away. he spent a year and a half in north korea, a lot of bad things happened, but at least we got him home to be with his parents where they were so happy to see him, even though he was in very tough condition. but he just passed away a little while ago. it's a brutal regime and we'll
be able to handle it. >> senator john mccain was more direct in a statement saying in part let us state the facts plainly. otto warmbier, an american citizens was murdered in the kim jong un regime. in the final year of his life he lived the nightmare in which the north korean pple have been trapped for 70 years. the united states of america should not tolerate of murder of its citizens by hostile powers. three other american citizens are held by pyongyang. the tour trip that warmbier was on said it will no longer take americans to north korea. >> "the washington post" wrote a piece prior to warmbier's death entitled "why i can't stop thinking about otto warmbier." it reads in part, we don't know
whether north korean guards beat warmbier into a coma or whether his abuse and malle treatment came in some other form. what we do know is that a healthy young man flew to among yang, was was justly seized and then became lost to the world with no one bothering to inform his parents. the ghouling a of the soviet union, the concentration camp was the nazi germany have been roughly replicated in north korea. the whole world knows it and yet the regime lives on. how can that be? >> it comes at a time when this has been elevated, president obama elevated it, president trump elevated it, said this is maybe the biggest foreign policy crisis and challenge the u.s. crisis. a story of someone can chang the issue and galvanize the issue.
let's bring in gordon chang, is this an opportunity for the administration to change course, to get more leverage os does it complite what was already a complicated situation? >> the answer is probably both. this does galvanize. president trump was said to have given them 100 days to address this. i think that essentially the chinese don't have a hundred days anymore because the american people are going to demand answers. this is not just the brutality of one individual, it's putting the united states at risk with ballistic missile and nuclear weapons. so all of this is coming to a head at the same time and president trump has no way to
run for this. >> gordon, the case of otto warmbier is tragic and also kind of unique. the north koreans in the past treated americans this badly. they tend to have returned them home in good condition. do you think something is changing in north korea, in pyongyang, are they sending a signal or is this a mistake made somewhere? >> we don't know the answer to that question. we know the regime of kim jong un is less stable than it was. we had the minister of state security, one of the most important persons . so there's a lot that i think has gone wrong m pyongyang. although it is surprising they would brutalize an american in this way, it may be a manife
manifestation of the problems in north korea itself. >> switching stories, republicans have been very public about their plan to repeal the affordable care act but how they entire to do it is a different story. they've been doing it entirely behind closed doors. last night on the senate floor chuck schumer and mitch mcconnell went back and forth whether the democrats would have enough time to review it before it goes to vote. >> will we have more than ten hours to review temperature yit. you need time to prepare amendments. >> i think you'll have ample opportunity to read and amend the bill. >> will it be more than ten
hours? >> i think you'll have more than ample opportunity to read and amend the bill. >> i rest my case. >> it has drawn complaints similar to this, quote, it's simply wrong for legislation that will affect 100% of the american people to be negotiated behind closed doors. that was not a democrat. that was now vice president mike pence. he tweeted that in 2010. according to the hill, senate republicans are reportedly considering harsher cuts to medicaid than what the house plan called for. the plan has reportedly been sent to the c.b.o. but no decision has been rendered by the c.b.o. >> there's obviously been a certain benefit, strangely, with all of this chaos that's
happened around president trump, all the focus on the russia investigations, all the folks on everything that's happened that has been a huge problem for this white house. mitch mcconnell has been given, in a weird way, been given cover to get his people in line. i find as a matter of public policy and political reality it's outrageous what he's trying to do but there's a growing consensus on the right that it might just work and concern among democrats which we saw expressed last night that he might be able to sneak this thing through customs. what the holds for the long-term prospects of the bill is a whole other story. i want to ask you what you sense around republicans. i wouldn't call it optimism because this is precarious thing they're about to do because the house bill is so unpopular and what they're doing is so fundamentally at odd of what
they said in the past. do you think it could work? >> it could work. i think the democrats will have somewhat of an advantage because then it becomes officially a republican probably lem. i don't know what's in the bill but this has been a successful campaign issue for three cycles for republicans. it's been a central isssue in ossoff campaign. >> why do -- >> i don't know that she was part of that working group. >> she couldn't pull people from the working group. she spoke out at the beginning and said we need to make this bill more moderate, more acceptable. >> maine is not one of the states that has done medicaid expansion. so that might be unique to that, but it's interesting that this bill has not -- well, as far as i can tell.
again, i'm not sure what's in it. >> they're not sure what's in it either, which might be part of the problem. >> i'm not sure many senators know what's in it. >> democrats do need to capture 24 republican seats to take control of the senate next tall. o -- fall. >> jon ossoff and karen handel are neck and neck. it is a district where republican congressman tom price won 23 points last november, but where president trump had a far tighter margin of victory. the race has broken fund-raising barriers. ossoff pulled in more than $23 million, handel personally raising over $4 million. and with all the outside spending, the final amount could top a whopping $50 million.
that's an historic number by the way. mo e polls have tightened against ossoff in the last couple of days. where are you handicapping it? >> the president cares about this race. he tweeted about it nine minutes ago supporting his candidate, the republican candidate. every special election like this gets interpreted. some things are true, some things are just the interpretation. i think democrats show in this race they can raise a ton of money. democrats say they can't raise this much in every race. let's see if the grass roots mobilization of democrats, which i think next year could be the biggest grass roots mobilization in a mid term, could be, let's see if it allows them to win the seat. the other thing at play, republicans have not accomplished very much. handel has tried to distance herself from the president but they're going to have to accomplish things or many of their seats will be vulnerable this year.
>> with the amount of money they've raised and attention on the race, it's almost more important for democrats to win in race than republicans. >> it's important for both sides but if democrats lose this, they will be demoralized. they could take some heart from it but this district mixed. it was a very strong congressional race seat for the republicans but president trump barely won it. but, john, what happens to the democrats if they lose tonight? >> the reverberations are pretty significant. you'll have a lot of finger pointing and hand wringing over the fact they couldn't pull it off. >> why would they fall short? >> to me one the strangest things about this race is we all talk about this as being a referendum on donald trump's agenda. donald trump has not made this race into that. i think he has various political considerations for why he doesn't think it would work. he has not turned this into a national referendum on trump. he's not talked about trump, he's not talked about handel as a stand-in for trump.
democrats wi say, number one, that they will say this guy was not the ideal candidate for this district. strong in certain ways but that he failed to turn this into as m much of a referendum on trump and his agenda as he could have. >> back in april democrats had opened that ossoff might overperform and win by 50% and avoid runoff. he fell just short and democrats have seen a boost in special elections in republican disabilities around the country. in kansas in april, that's a district that trump won by 27 points against hillary clinton. the republicans won the race but only by 7 points. montana, a 23-point election, faded to just 6 points. today the republicans are expected to hold the other special election in south carolina's fifth district, a
district the president won by 18 and georgia 6, the president won barely by one point, essentially a tie, suggesting this is a great tonight for democrats to pick up a seat as one of the few big opportunities before the mid term. i asked what would be the democratic paerty if they lose, what's the fallout for the republicans if they lose this? >> locally, it's not been run as a referendum. >> she's distanced herself from the president and ossoff, as john said, hasn't made this as much a referendum as he did. >> we will have squeaked by. he's outperforming this district by double digits. tom price won it in the 60s. donald trump underperformed in the district. he didn't get a majority in this district. as i remember in the runoff up to this special election, i think the top seven republicans didn't get 50% of this district.
this is not a trump district. this is not a typical white working class dkt thistrict tha trump would do well in, but democrats do have to start winning seats and these are the kind of seats they think they can win and they're outperforming the seat if they're expected to pick up the house in 2018. >> but here's one reality. from 30,000 feet, this was a seat held by newt gingrich, and by tom price and won by republicans. if republicans lose this seat, there will be panic in the house of representatives and all of the concerns that republicans have about donald trump's falling approval ratings and the cloudy future for him politically will come into sharp relief and sticking with trump will -- >> you can almost write the president's tweet for him, so
much outside money, so much press attention, of course they're going to win this one, it's not representative. >> we'll be back here tomorrow morning to overinterpret the special election in georgia. still ahead here on "morning joe," willie geist is going to take command and we'll show you another example of president trump's hospitality. what he said to the panamanian president when he hosted him yesterday. and we'll speak to dick durbin, bob corker, mark warner and judiciary committee member democrat sheldon whitehouse and roger wicker. >> bill karins has the weather. >> the first things first. let's get to our tropical system developing in the gulf. any time we get a storm in the
gulf, it means business. this is going to be a big, prolific rainmaker for the gulf coast. the national hurricane center takes it as a weak tropical storm along the texas/louisiana border. the other story of course is our extreme heat in the heat dome. i want to show you these pictures yesterday. it got so hot at phoenix sky international airport that they stopped letting planes take off. they were concerned with the tires and hot pavement and asphalt. 39 million people at risk of extreme temperatures. today is the peak of this week-long heat wave. 119 in the fiend, area. we have nice weather from the carolinas back into the mid atlantic. we'll get rid of those storms
early today in areas like boston and new england and clear you out for a decent afternoon. where are we going to go for a shot? ah, washington, d.c. that's what we like, a nice beautiful sunrise after the storm damage yesterday. lower humidity, about 85. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ♪ you better listen to the radio ♪ ♪ ♪ here's to breaking more glass ceilings. in golf and everywhere else. ♪ the kpmg women's pga championship.
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but we've got the get tdigital tools to help. now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily, so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to xfinity.com/myaccount joe." president trump hosted pan mania president varela at the white house. here's how he welcomed him. >> it's our great honor to have president and mrs. varela from panama. we have many things to discuss. we're going to spend quite a bit
of time today. the panama canal is doing quite well. i think we did a good job building it, right? things are going well in panama. the relationship has been very strong. we are developing new things to do and only getting stronger. >> president trump praising america's role in constructing the panama canal. in case you didn't catch it, the panamanian president's response was "100 years ago." >> it's one of the things that works. >> and has worked that way for a hundred years. >> top five. >> and two top democrats in the house are seeking more information about why the retired general did not list extensive contacts in saudi arabia and other countries. it follows an investigative report in "newsweek" about
flynn's consulting firm to build nuclear power plants in the middle east financed by saudi arabia. donald trump's one-time campaign chairman paul manafort reportedly met with a business associate with close ties to russia back in august. the white house says that dinner, also not disclosed, happened as tensions mounted over russia's role in the u.s. campaign. he added, identiti"it's not sur they would chat." >> these are pieces that will be sussed out, we hope, by bob m e muell mueller. >> part of the problem for the white house right along if they on day one had a total clean sweep, full disclosure of every
official of a russian counterpart, we wouldn't be in a position now in june where we're finding out about new meetings. there may be nothing nefarious about this but every time we hear about this we didn't know about, it raises the suspicion the white house is trying to hide something or why wouldn't we have heard about it earlier? >> new revelation about new revelati revelation, michael flynn seems to be always there when these stories pop up. >> one of the great mysteries that continues to be at the center of this entire story, upon which the future of the entire presidency may hang is what is it that donald trump fears about michael flynn. he exposes himself to enoous political and legal risk,
putting flynn in that job and keeping him in that job. what is it that michael flynn knows about donald trump that has donald trump acting so afraid of what could befall him. that is at the core of this entire story. >> or it could be donald trump feels fantastically loyal to one person who stuck by him and there is nothing that he has over him -- >> i'd like to point to the historical evidence of donald trump behaving that way over anyone in his life. >> but in the case with michael flynn, he stuck with him and donald trump doesn't want to be seen to be wrong so he doesn't want to back down on this. >> at the root of the obstruction of justice question, there's no evidence of that yet, but when people wonder about obstruction of justice, where donald trump said to director comey, i hope you can see your
way clear of dropping the investigation on michael flynn. >> there seems to be something he does not want disclosed. an investigation may get to it. we've never seen his tax returns. he owes money. at one point one of his sons said they had leveraged and financed money from the russians. so it seems to me whatever he doesn't want disclosed is probably financial and precedes the presidential election. >> the investigation by the special counsel is going to proceed and the pace of that is unclear and a lot of what they do we'll never see. if they don't indict people, we may never see anything. it's a congressional investigation for the white house to worry about. they can attack mueller for being partisan as allies start to do, but even now there are bipartisan, intense investigations going on and how
do you discredit those investigations in republicans in congress are part of them? >> coming up, a looming question going on at the white house, can the president be charged with obstruction? jonathan turley says yes. and we'll ask him about a case to take out the election process. how the outcome to fundamentally change american politics. professor turley is next. ♪ coming down like an armageddon flame ♪ when this bell rings... ...it starts a chain reaction... ...that's heard throughout the connected business world. at&t network security helps protect business, from the largest financial markets to the smallest transactions, by sensing cyber-attacks in near real time
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technically the president of the united states cannot obstruct justice. if he wants to fire the fbi director, all he has to do is fire him. >> that was former speaker of the house newt gingrich attempting to make the case that any investigation of president trump obstructing justice would be pointless. but professor jonathan turley writes "i do not agree that a president as a categorical matter could never be criminally charged with obstruction of justice. it would mean that a massive immunity provision is part of the constitution without a single express word of intent in the constitution.
president trump would be far better off contesting the fact of the crime rather than the ability of anyone to prosecute him for it. professor turley joins us now. professor, it's good to see you. newt gingrich has obviously made the case as we said back in the 1990 that bill clinton had obstructed justice. in that case he thought a president could obstruct justice. in simple terms for the rest of us who didn't spend a day in law school, why can president trump be tried for obstruction of justice? >> first of all, i love waking up and hearing you read my work. i think we should do that every morning. it's riveting. there are arguments on both sides of this. what gingrich is referring to is a position held by a number of faculty members around the country, that because the president is the head of the executive branch, he can't obstruct the executive branch.
it's like the branch is obstructing itself. it's an extension of lou ris xiiii's statement. i don't see how it possibly fit the way that he states in our framework. you can't, for example, say that the esident can be charged with bribery but can't be charged with bribery for the purpose of on instructing. it just proves too much. and so i think that what you're going to see is that the president's team going to make this argument, it's a reasonable argument to make. i just don't think that it's likely to succeed. >> so in your reading of it, professor turley, does president trump or any president have immunity in anything? specifically does president trump have some form of immunity along the way? >> i don't believe he does. know, police officers are given
a limited form of immunity for discretionary acts. but that doesn't mean they can take any act for any purpose. if they use that authority to commit crimes, that was not something left to their discreti discretion. the president takes an oath of office to uphold our laws. i don't believe that gives him the absolute right to use any discretionary power to pursue a criminal purpose. i say this even though i don't believe there's compelling evidence that the president has obstructed justice. i actually think it still favors him. so i think it's better for the white house to focus on federal court of obstruction of justice, as opposed to saying nobody could possibly prosecute me for obstruction of justice. >> so you still believe that at the moment there isn't an abcase against the president. what would itack fro bob
mueller for to you star revising that opinion? what would you look at? >> i wish i could say when burnham woods comes to dardsinnel, it would happen. can you see i saw "macbeth" last night. the fact is trump had some very strong defenses. i think part of the confusion by spacker gingrich is the difference between a very strong defense and an immunity -- and absolute immunity. trump can in fact say i can fire for any reason -- i would add any lawful reason. comey said that. so he has those reasons. trump has a good defense in another way. he can say, look, i was told privately that comey told congress there was no evidence of collusion. i was told by my high ranking people there was no evidence of
clol use. i was trying to get people to make that public because this is having a del tear on my administration. that's a applause now, as you say, what will it take? i supported the special counsel once comey was fired. i this i there is a basis to investigate obstruction of justice, but you could have to show something far stronger. you need to show that he had an intent to corruptly influence this investigation. that's a high standard. and when you have someone with this degree of discretion, it's even higher. >> i want to get your take, jonathan, on another story in the courts the supreme court has agreed to consider a landmark legal case on whether or not political parties gain partisan advantage by manipulating districts.
this would be the high court's first partisan gerrymandering case in a decade. the court has never rejected a legislative map because of partisan manipulation. what are the implications, a court determining what unlawful gerrymandering is. >> this is as big as you can possibly state. and i think many people are clamoring for election reform. this would do that in a very significant way. both parties, democrats and republicans, have been manipulating elections for decades. this started around 1810, wiand there is no moral high ground here.
i mean, the democrats have violated this as much as republicans. in terms of how the public meals about it. >> if the property was if the sport said we're going to look at partisan relations the way we look at racial, it would have a sformative effect. >> let's say it's 4 and they say partisanship cannot be part of redistricting what happens? and i think courts could look at these districts that are oddly shaped, say you have to have
some basis for the shape of these districts based on something other than the outcome. that would change court review across the country and it would substantially change these districts. people are often confused, am i in the 19th or 20th district, it would mack life a lot easier for people and voters in this country, but it would also mean that party would have to convince voters, not shove them around like so many pawns in a chess game. >> professor jonathan turley, we'll talk to you tomorrow morning as we read your own work back to you. >> tank you. >> reports say the hunt is on for a new white house press secretary. the man leading the search? the current white house secretary. we break down sean spicer's political future. that plus the must-read op-eds.
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joe." white house press secretary sean spicer reportedly is leading a search for his replacement as part of a bigger plan to shake up the white house communication office. spicer and reince priebus have reached out to laura ingram and david martosco. spicer would move into a more senior role. the talks are still preliminary. politico noted that president trump has yet to approve any plans for that communications overhaul. spi when questioned spice why it wot
be public, he required there are days i'll decide that the president's voice should be the one that speaks and it rate his priorities. what is the point exactly and how long will that stand with the press? >> that and all the numerous times that spicer has said, i don't know, i haven't asked the president, i haven't had that conversation, i need to find out. to be fair, press conferences, they get haired and we've been playing them live because think be been. it just adds a lot of layers to the coverage. it appears donald trump doesn't like how much attention the press conferences get and how he believes it takes him off -- takes his administration off
message. >> katty, without the audio or video record, it does allow the white house to manipulate the contacts and manipulate what was said in the room in their own way and not for us, for example, to be able to show it to our viewers. >> rick's right. there's something about watching it and feeling where the rouse white house is looking or sounding defensive. what is it they're pushed at by the press at that moment and how do they respond to being pushed by the press? all of that is useful as a read about how the white house is feeling about something. but putting this behind closed doors, it's going to be a break with tradition or maybe if the president has somebody here who he feels more confident and i.
>> as jay sekulow found out, he said the president wasn't under investigation and chris wallace said "we'll review the tape." >> there's been so much speculation about whether trump look the he's certainly is ten ter of that communications -- who is out there for you? >> hoose basically had both jobs for most of the administration. if they need a cooks the
president is going to be running his own communications operations and with a single tweet can do more to create news than anything else. they have to have accomplishments. i say this all the time. if they accomplishments in the press office has something to sell. until they start passing major pieces of legislation, it's hard to recruit anybody in the white house and it makes it harder. >> let's look at a must read op ed. in the washington post what they call the gop's hard messy options for destroying trumpism. michael writes theed in that an alliance with trump will end anywhere but disaster is a delusion. both individuals and the republican party are being corrupted and stained by their embrace of trump. the end game of acome bags is to be morally and politically discredited. those are practically assisting it. what is the proper objective for the republicans and
conservatives? to defeat the trumpism without thdestructn of the gop. how does that happen? whatever option is chosen, it will not be easy. it will not be pretty. john and michael, a republican himself. wrote as a speech writer. that's a tough line to walk. how do you destroy trumpism while maintaining conservativism and republicanism. are they not now one in the same? >> michael ge rssin has been making arguments for more than a year like this. and people from former elected officials like mitt romney to a columnist of this time. the thing they were when they first coming out in the middle of the fight, they striking for their moral force and clarity. and yet, they had basically no effect whatsoever on the behavior of republican electeds, on the behavior of republican voters. i find them -- i find them, fun
to read the columns. they're kind of clarity to them that we don't find in this kind of muddy mess of our politics. they're addressed to republicans. they're written from one to another and they have not found much audience or seem to have any sway over what is driving the behavior. and it seems to me republicans will only change their behavior when they feel there's political cost in their own individual cases. and they're making appeals to the purity of conservativism, the long-term project. the republicans and congress will break with donald trump when they start to realize -- when it becomes true for them it will cost them more to stick with them than run away. >> you get indications from senators that they agree with what was said. on the senate said, there are republicans, you could name them, the ones that read that and think yes. >> but they do nothing.
>> yes. >> that's the thing. you talk privately to some republican and they roll their eyes about donald trump. they can't believe the tweets and all the rest of it, but they step out and support him at a micropho microphone. >> they could lose in the 2018 election. that's -- >> not until then this. >> then it's about winning. people talk to me, because i like to -- i'm a conservative. i like to think i'm principled. i criticize the administration when i think they deserve it and praise them when i think they deserve it. it seems to be about winning. my question is win at? okay, we win, but what? we have a supreme court justice. that's good. are we moving toward tax reform? is the health care form bill affordable? what's the agenda. you need political currency. >> is there a time when a
republican steps forward and says i'm breaking on issue x, y, and z. >> if they get to the end of the year and haven't passed major legislation, there will be a lot of soul searching. second is the midterms and how to run. in the georgia race today, there's a nominee not particularly close to the president. she brought in a couple cabinet members. she's not talked about the president much. and finally, look at, at some point a republican is going to think out challenging trump. whenhe democratic fight begins, you can imagine some republican stepping forward to say i am going to lay out an agenda and say we need to go back to being the real republican party. all those things loom, particularly, again, if the president can't find a way to get health care and tax reform moving. >> that's a tough trick to pull if you've walked in lock step with him and then suddenly you're the candidate. >> there are some who haven't walked lock still.
>> still head on "morning joe." >> now she's being investigated by the department of justice. he's being investigated for taking the action that the deputy attorney general recommended him to take. >> you've said he's being investigated after -- >> no. >> you said he's being investigated. >> it was a pretty rough performance for jay sekulow. we look at the newest member of donald trump's legal defense team. plus polls set to open just minutes from now in georgia as the most expensive house race in u.s. history comes to a head today. and days after being released from north korea, 22-year-old otto warmbier has died. senator john mccain says north korea murdered him and president trump says his administration will be able to handle the brutal regime. those are his words. "morning joe" is coming right back. utz
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[...rumors of the new discovery...] what if we lived in a world like that? (crowd applauding) ♪ we know a place that's already working on it. ♪ i will do everything legally possible to make sure this horrendous piece of lislation which will be close to what the house passed never sees the light of day. this is the house passed bill. it's the worst piece of legislation by far that i have seen in my lifetime. and i will do everything i can. i think i speak for a numb of other people in the democratic caucus to make sure that legislation like this never ever sees the light of day. >> that is senator bernie sanders saying the republican
health care bill should not see the light of day. so far it hasn't. republicans have kept their plan behind closed doors refusing to post it publicly. it's building toward a somehowdown in the senate where a vote could come as early as next week. we have five leading senators joining the conversation from both sides of the political divide coming up in a few minutes on "morning joe." welcome back. it's tuesday, june 20th. with us we have senior political analysts for msnbc, national affairs news, washington anchor for bbc world news, former communications for ted cruz's campaign, and now joining the conversation, a former treasury official. and national security and legal reporter at "the new york times." welcome, everybody. good to see you. let's start with the shock, outraej and sadness surrounding
the death of otto warmbier. a 22-year-old college student released last week from a north korean prison camp in a coma nature he was being treated at a cincinnati hospital where he died yesterday. he was convicted by north korea in march 2016 of attempting to steal a propaganda poster. he was sentenced to 15 years hard labor. he was evacuat evacuate and arrk in ohio with brain damage. he was unable to speak or see. north korea claims he contracted botulism. american doctors reject that. president trump said it was be an honor to meet kim jong-un but weighed in on warmbier's death. >> he spent a year and a half in north korea. a lot of bad things happened. but at least we got him home to be with his parents where they were so happy to see him even
though he was in very tough condition, but he just passed away a little while ago. it's a brutal regime. and we'll be able to handle it. >> that was just moments after the news broke of warmbier's death. senator john mccain more direct saying let us state the facts plainly. otto warmbier was murdered by the kim jong-un regime. in the final year of his life he lived the nightmare north korean people live every day. the united states of america cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers. three other americans are currently detained by pong i don't think. the chinese tour company that held the trip says it will no longer take americans to north korea. in a statement said the way warmbier was detained was,
quote, appalling. we'll talk about wt senators say. we've had former ambassadors saying something must be done here. what does that mean, exactly? what more can be done about north korea in response to the death? >> when john mccain says we should not tolerate the death of otto warmbier, what are we going to do? what's our retaliation? a military strike against thort korea? i doubt that's on the table, and it wouldn't be effective. we've tried sanctions. they're not effective. the regime is getting more erratic, and there was some hope when the president met the president of china there would be an impact. through at the moment, it's not. it's unclear to me, this is a tragic i said dent. it's unclear to me how it changes long-term policy for the united states in a way that could be effective. charlie, you cover these issues. do you see some significant difference coming out of otto
warmbier's death, something that could be tried that hasn't been tried before that might actually have an impact on north korea? >> no. i think you put your finger on it. north korea is maybe the number one dilemma in the world, meaning a terrible situation for which all the options are bad. and it has nuclear weapons. it could destroy south korea or japan in the event of any nuclear sort of any conventional strike by american forces and sanctions haven't worked. we've tried sab talking their mysterprogram. it's not satisfying because it's covert and obviously what you want here is something that feels good that's overt but there's no option on the table that seems to make any sense that would make things better rather than worse. so when you see president trump say we can handle it, we're going to handle it, it sounds hollow. it's the sort of thing that two or three years ago when he was
just tweeting and running for president from the sidelines, he would say this is because of weak leadership. it's entrinteresting now it's h responsibility to choose to do a bad option or more likely let it slip away under the water. >> steve, the argument in putting pressure on north korea has always been you have to go through china. they are the ones who pull the levers with north korea. as senator mccain said, this has been going on for 70 years and north korea hasn't changed the behavior. is there a way through china to compel china? why would china step up to put the clamps on north korea? >> first of all, sanctions have had limited success. there's another case in the news recently, cuba. we've had sanctions since 1959 or 1960, and what has it tone in terms of dr north korea is more complicated because of the nuclear weapons. our policy really has not been
regime change or human rights or any of this. it's been trying to contain their nuclear weapons program. people believe the more pressure you put on the regime to change, the more likely it is they will work harder to develop and use their nuclear weapons. this is a very different case than a lot of other human rights cases around the world. china could do more, but what are they willing to do because of their security is questionable. >> we've seen any number of tests of missiles since donald trump took office. some more successful than others but they continue unabated as of right now. republicans have been public about their desire to appeal obamacare, how they plan to do it is unclear. the process behind closed doors with republican leaders racing to preparing legislation for a vote as early as next week. democrats are vowing to fight that. >> we're rushing something through that fundamentally
affects life, and we're pushing it to the floor with an insult to our history or insult to our values. >> our job right now is to make sure it's disastrous proposal never sees the light of day. >> to say i'm not going to show you the bibill, because i know won't like it. i'm going to bring it out last minute. >> why are any constituents not allowed to see the details about what's going to happen to their lives? why are only a select group of americans able to have a voice inside that room? >> will it be available to us and the public more than ten hours before we have to vote for it? since our leader has said, our republican leader, there will be plenty of time for a process where you make amendments. you need time for that. >> i think we'll have ample opportunity to read and amend a
bill? >> more than ten years? >> i think we'll have ample opportunity to read an amendment bill. >> i rest my case. >> there's been no public hearings. that drew complaints similar to this. it's wrong for legislation that will affect 100% of the american people to be negotiated behind closed doors. that statement was from now vice president mike pence tweeting in january of 2010 about the obamacare talks. according to hill senator republicans considering harsher cuts to medicaid. no final heen made. you can go down t list. here's 2009, ts bill is a mess. americans are outraged by the closed door sweet heart deals. that was senator mitch mcconnell speaking about the process back then. conducts himself in a similar way now. >> and it was open compared to
now. >> it lasted movants. >> a lot of floor debate. >> and months to attempt to negotiate with the republicans. this is different republicans are still producing a product that there's no reason to think it's going to be popular. part of the drawback, one of the many of doing it in secret is they're not getting a sense of what people think of they're doing. when they give this vote without much debate, they're taking a big political risk. >> steve, we like you to speak for the entire business community here. how does business feel about the status quo? how will markets and businesses react if this fails and the affordable care act stays on the books? >> i don't think business is focussed on it in terms of stock market or things like that. i think business is comfortable with the affordable care act. this is crazy to overgeneralize, probably generally in favor of
keeping it because it's in place. it does take some of the burden of insurance off the companies. but i don't think one way or another this is something the markets are looking at as a life or death type of thing. >> if the senate fails, we have the affordable care act on the boo books administered by the group that wants it to die. >> on the one hand they tweet it's going to die. it was a study yesterday by a consulting firm that two-thirds of the premium increases announced for next year are due to uncertainty created by this administration. on the other hand, these cost sharing subs byes, the co-payments and deductibles, the administration has kept playing. it's not clear how they want it to unfold. there's one other point related to the bernie sanders clip. the democrats have almost no influbs on the outcome. they can give all the speeches.
i hope they succeed, but this is within the republican party and the question of whether the senate can come up with a bill the house will accept. it's not obvious that can happen. >> the business part aspect is stable. it's really the individual market that's been difficult for people. i think part of the problem of not being transparent about the bill is your opposition gets to defieb it any way they like. the democrats have this huge opportunity to just spill out what they think is in the bill based on what the house bill was which has a 17% approval rating. if you're trying to pass large scale public policy, you have to have public support, or you pay the consequences. if they pass something, then they have to go back to the house. if they actually pass something, democrats can have something to run on in all likelihood. >> the republicans need only republican support inside the senate, and there's a fear when you talk to democrats right now that could happen. even though the house bill had 17% support, and it was believed
it would never make it through the senate, now the senate version, democrats say, could become law if they're not careful. t's turn to georgia. it's the most eve house race in u.s. history. minutes o the polls officially opened in the special run off election for georgia's sixth congressional district. jon ossoff and karen handel are neck and neck in the polls. ossoff ahead by a tenth of a percent in a poll while karen handel has a lead in the clear poll average. tom price won by 23 points last november. but trump had a tighter margin of victory, one point. the race that has broken fund raising barriers with ossoff pulling in more than $23 million and karen handel raising more than $4 million. the final amount could top $50 million. that's an historic figure.
more than 40,300 early ballots have been cast. take a snapshot. why is this an important race to look at today? >> the first thing is it is, i think, potentially the most politically consequential election in some time. the amount of money and the figures are a little bit, they're a little bit misleading in the sense that autooff has raised a ton of money and spent it personally. she's had a ton of outside support from outside groups. both sides are spending tons of money. they're basically on par. this is the political moment. on the other ha, you have two candidates in various ways who are not idea jon ossoff has made few mistakes but is not a guy who is well suited to that district.
karen handel is probably better suited to the district but has not been nearly as strong a candidate. at the same time as this is a referendum on trump and will be seen as such depending on who wins, it's not going to run that way. jon ossoff has not put trump front and center and neither has karen handel. it's a funny race in the sense that the outcome will be seen as a referendum on trump, but it's not been a race on those terms. if jon ossoff wins, i will say because of the history of the district, if he wins, there will be widespread panic in the republican party and the impact of that will be bigger than if the opposite occurs. >> maybe a referendum mark on trump but not trump country when you look at the poll. he won by one point in the presidential election. i wouldn't say the trump train rolled through that district.
he won, but it wouldn't be a stunner if it flipped by a couple points. >> it is a republican district. you can pick variables that say this isn't a normal race, this doesn't foretell anything. the capacity of democrats to raise money for an untested candidate is staggering. you can imagine a world in which small dollar donors in the midterms are unlike anything we've seen in either party raising money across the point. and second, you can imagine the president who is clearly invested in the outcome feeling under siege after this. if his candidate loses it's going -- the president is going to have to rethink what does he do to try to help candidates next year? traditionally presidents can help a lot, but he was not brought into this race. >> and among democratic activists who i spend a fair
amount of time with, this has taken on important symbolic meaning. because the democratic base is energized. incredibly determined to win the 2018 mid terms in the house and push back on the president. and losing here, i think would be a setback for morale among the activists, the democrats i spent time with. >> and with congressional republicans watching this, if they watch this -- >> it's being able to define from going forward not necessarily what happened in the race but being able to say you won and why. >> just remember the main thing here is tom price won this race last -- eight months ago by 20 points. for democrats who need to close a gap, that's a big gap. that's a big change in fortunes and this district and for democrats it will look like if we can close a 20-point gap in the south, we can win in a lot of districts across the country snmplt new questions surro d
surrounding nikel flynn and whether he flieled to disclose additional russian contacts. they're seeking mor information about why he did not list extensive contacts in other companies. there's a joint effort by u.s. and russian companies to build nuclear power plants in the middle east financed by middle east. paul manafort met with a ukraine yan associate in russia. they say that dinner happened as tensions mounted over russia's role in the u.s. race. the ukrainian official was a long-time business associate. it's not surprising that they would cheat. >> i'm focussed on the michael flynn one, the sort of further allegations that he may be
facing some serious legal trouble for making false statements on his security clearance form. each of those counts would be a five-year potential prison penalty exposure. we haven't heard much from him lately. there's some chatter maybe he's deciding to become a cooperating witness. but this sort of ties together with the broader issue over the weekend with jay sekulow trying to go on programs and say that notwithstanding the fact that the president said on twitter he was not under investigation for obstruction of justice, that he was under investigation, actually, he was just riffing on new reports and he's not been told he's under investigation for that and then sekulow went onto make an argument that firing james comey as fbi director could not be obstruction of justice under the constitutional theory that the president can fire anyone for any on. the framing of what this is
likely about strikes me as wrong. i don't think it's about the comey firing specifically. i think it's more likely that prosecutors are focussed on michael flynn and jim comey's allegation that trump improperly pressured him to drop the criminal investigation into all these different legal troubles that michael flynn has gotten himself into. which does not have much to do with the president's constitutional authorities, and so as these further revelations come out about apparent false statements by the former national security adviser on officials on forms, think think it ramps up the pressure. >> you are thinking about jay sekulow. a lot of people watched the interview and said who is this guy and how does he fit into donald trump's world. what more can you tell us about him? >> he's a smart lawyer. that impression may not have been left by his somewhat stumbling performance on sunday, especially that clip from fox news sunday that went viral
where chris wallace was pointing out he said the opposite of what he was trying to say. he denied it but the tape shows it was the case. notwithstanding that, it's articulate. he has a reputation of being an effective advocate both in court and in the court of public opinion. he has a talk radio show. he's a frequent guest on conservative cable and news programs, especially the sean hannity program on fox news. we think his job as part of trump's outside legal team is not going to be crafting legal arguments so much as being the ce of the defense going on programs and making those arguments. of course, he, and i'm sure the president has seen him, do that on programs like sean hannity's. that's a friendly environment where he gets to agree with the host who is defending trump. now he's been thrown into a fiery cauldron of facing
journalists poking holes in the case he's making. he's going to have to up his game. >> charlie, thank you. still ahead, michael flirn has not been granted immunity, but is he cooperating with the fbi? a member of the senate judiciary committee has thoughts on that, and he joins us next. my business was built with passion... but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on all of my purchasing. and that unlimited 2% cash back from spark means thousands of dollars each year going back into my business... which adds fuel to my bottom line. what's in your wallet?
welcome back to "morning joe." we have senator shelton joining us and first nicole wallace. just crushing it. you having fun? >> it's fun. >> you have a good show. >> thank you. >> let's talk about north korea. president trump was pretty measured yesterday in his statements. the white house statement like you'd see from any white house. there have been calls from john
mccain and others to do something. >> and rubio, yeah. >> what does that mean? >> i'm told the foreign policy morass which dominates the time and energy of thi president's white house national security council is north korea. they work on it seven days a week and to draw a parallel to the human tragedy in syria that focussed his attention and led to an inner agency policy process and ultimately to a strike is a fair analogy to how this focussed him. he's profoundly saddened by the death of otto warmbier that he's more focussed than ever before on the heinousness of that regime, and that george w. bush saw the world in some ways of evil and good, and i don't want to draw a parallel to this president, because i don't know his sort of inner thoughts about
these dictators or foreign policy issues but there was a focusing moment for him. >> in syria, in that case it was the children suffocating on gas. >> he doesn't have an inner monologue. we'll hear from him if this is his process. >> a member of the judiciary committee, democrat of rhode island, senator to have you with us. let's pick up the conversation right here. you called for tightened sanctions in the wake of the death of 22-year-old otto warmbier. what more can be done? there have been sanctions on north korea for many year this ree jetstream has been conducting itself the way it is today for about 70 years. what more can happen from the united states point of view. >> the country with the most leverage is china, and to the extent that we could prevail upon china to crank up itself economic pressure, i think that would probably be the most effective way to do something on
the sanction side. i'm glad the president is evaluating various options to have a college kid be imprisoned for 18 months and come back brutalized and he's in a coma and dies is not acceptable behavior in the civilized world. >> the frustration is we've tried to put pressure through china on north korea in the past, and it hasn't done anything. how do increased sanctions hurt a country that doesn't seem to care about itself own people without food or electricity. is there anything else to be done and do you expect president trump to do something that hasn't been done? >> the pressure through the chinese has been moderated by the chinese worry that you pull out one card from north korea and the house of cards come down and suddenly they have tens of millions of starving north koreans coming over their border. thi i think they are being cautious, but there are ways to send signa signals.
i think this is something where we ought to work together with the world community to further isolate north korea. this is disgusting conduct. >> i want to ask you about miken flynn's 2015 trip to the middle east that hadn't been disclosed. democrats asked for documents on the trip. what are you looking for and what's the status of the investigation? >> well, that's over on the house side. i'm not sure what the status is of that investigation. i think there's a fairly good chance just reading the tea leaves here as a former u.s. attorney, that michael flynn is already cooperating with the fbi. it would be consistent with first all they have him dead to rights on the statement he gave to the fbi and the white house but the business of cleaning up his foreign agent registration act, filing retroactively, his silence for months. the subpoenas all being koind of one hop away from michael flynn. that all suggests he's already in play. so i think we need to be careful
in congress about not getting into conflict with an ongoing investigation at the executive branch. we need to deconflict with one another. >> senator, i heard you say yesterday something on television i.d. heard privately but i'd never seen anybody of your stature say on television. you asserted they have him dead to rights on a felony false statement. is that going back to when they first talked to him about contact with the russians? >> that's exactly. it has to do with his discussion with the fbi on the kislyak conversations when the fbi went and believe it or not, did a criminal interview of the sitting national security adviser in the white house in all the craziness it's sometimes hard to remember that something like that happened. it's pretty astounding,
actually. yes, that was the occasion. i think virtually every way in which anybody close to that has discussed that episode including sally yates and others is consistent with no other theory than that he lied to the fbi at that point. >> steve rattner? >> turning to jared kushner, there are a couple of reports, one, he's hiring lawyers, but also the continuing discorrect between what trump is saying he's had no involvement with russian money and his children have been saying there is involvement. what do you think is going on there and what do you think we're going to learn about that? >> well, you also have the conflict between trump and his own lawyer about whether he's being investigated. you have a lot of people speaking in a forum where
there's no penalty for not telling the truth. the sooner people can be put before a grand jury or interviewed by fbi agents or put into a place where there's an actual penalty for not telling the truth, then i think the truth will begin to emerge. there's a reason we ask people questions under oath. there's a reason that we penalize lies under oath as perjury or as federal felony false statemen. if people are talking on television, they can say whatever they please. that's what we're see right now. >> white house democrat of rhode island, senator, thank you for being with us. coming up, much more perspective from the united states senate informal we'll speak with bob corker and vice chair of the intel committee mark warner. first, senator roger wicker joins the conversation. has he seen his party's plan to repeal and replace obamacare? "morning joe" is coming right
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it will treat u.s. coalition planes a drones as targets and will shoot them down west of the frau euphrates. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said yesterday this is a delicate couple of hours. adding the u.s. will work diplomatically and militarily to reestablish the deconfliction channels. he adds he's confident u.s. troops can take care of itself. they will continue air strikes against isis in syria. this has always been dicey. russia and who we are backing and not backing inside syria. shoot down a syrian plane, that sets off a lot of alarms about what happens next? >> it did in russia. i spoke to someone who said yesterday we don't want a war with russia. the very fact that you have a
former american defense secretary saying that wasn't reassuring. you have the turks, the americans, and iranians firing missiles, the syrians and the russians is a chances for miscalulation grow. americans have shot down unmanned syrian aircraft before. this is the first one with a pilot in it. that adds to the chances for some kind of retaliation. the russians have stepped up the rhetoric. they've said the hot line is shot down for the moment. that probably will be reopened, but clearly the russians aren't happy about it. the russians don't want a war with america. the reality is nobody wants this to escalate, but you get into a situation like this where there are a lot of countries involved and different lines of interest where mistakes can happen. >> let's go up to capitol hill. we have a member of the armed services committee, republican senator roger wicker of mississippi. thank you for being with us. good to see you this morning. let's pick up this conversation
right here. what do you think americans should know about the shooting down to the syrian jet and what it means for our troops and people abroad? >> well, what do i think americans should know? i think we'll be briefed on that. it is a very serious situation, no question about it. and i've had a chance to ask the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff about this. and he expressed concern about going to war with russia over the syrian question. so it's clearly something that needs to be handled delicately. but let me say this. i have called for months now, if not for over a year, and senator john mccain has called for some way to have safe spaces, and safe areas where there's a no-fly zone where innocent syrian civilians, children, can be free from these barrel bombs.
and our administration over the last several years seems to have been and i believe to negotiate that sort of thing. >> that makes sense to a lot of people. >> it's not a terrible reach with the court of international opinion, to negotiate something that protects people not only from chemical weapons as we've now done but also from the barrel bomb. >> the safe zones, the idea of them have been out there for many years since the civil war started in syria. what's standing in the way of creating them? >> well, i don't think our administration under the obama administration was very serious about that. and frankly, of course, we still have the same chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who has been very cautious about this. and i'm mindful of the pushback. i'm mindful of the situation that he's worried about.
but also we have had hundreds of thousands of fatalities of innocent people, and it seems to me that this needs to have been elevated to a much more serious level of discussion. >> senator, on health care, what is the senate considering that's different from what's in the house bill? >> well, the senate is considering making 50 experiments in medicaid so medicaid works while also preserving a system that was meant to protect poor children and disabled people so we want to move away from the all-encompassing single payer act obama was moving them and try 50 experiments to make
medicaid better y. and to give counties choices again and then make good on the promises that the obamacare advocates were not able to do. we want you to choose your own doctor and have choices. and we certainly want to address this situation where the premiums have been skyrocketing. i mean, just almost every promise the president solemnly made in a joint speech to congress has either been violated or he's not -- he was not able to fulfill those promises. >> what's the argument for doing the meetings largely in secret? >> i'm really confused with my friends on the democratic side of the aisle. senator schumer said we'll have no part of these discussions. and famously president obama on the way out of office said don't participate in this. let the republicans own it all. and don't be part of something that dismantles obamacare. >> that doesn't lead to you all
having your conversations among republicans in secret. why do it in secret? >> well, actually, i think you'll find that when delicate negotiations are going on, whether it's been done on the democratic side or the republican side, details have to be ironed out. i have not seen a final proposal. i think i see the direction it's going in. and let me say this. there is going to be a full discussion, and there's going to be a score available to the american people before we ask the final version to be voted on. >> it could happen as early as next week if you believe leader mcconnell. senator, thank you. coming up next, the other side of the conversation. we'll bring in dick durbin. "morning joe" is coming right back.
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joe." joins us now dick durbin of illinois. senator, always good to see you. >> how you doing, willie geist of evanston, illinois? >> that's right. good research there. let me ask you first about this special election in georgia g today. we've been talking about the significance and what it means if ossoff wins the democrat. do you think it's as important as some people are saying? >> well, it would be historic. for almost 40 year republicans held the seat. tom price won by 23 points. it's a strong republican district, but we have a powerful district, and we've never seen money spent like this in any congressional race. >> given the money he's raised if he can't win this race, what will it tell you? >> it's an up hill balg.
the district is not democratic. we have a great candidate. he's focussed on local issue. he almost won it in the first round, and we're hoping he can pull it off in this important election today. >> good morning, senator. we've been showing some eloquent clips by people like cory booker about the health care bill and a lot of things going on in secret that people don't like. at the end of the day, what can the democrats really do to effect the outcome of this bill? the republicans are obviously trying to pass it through reconciliation without a single democratic vote. for all the eloquent speeches, what can you do to either prevent this from being repealed and replaced or to change the nature of the final bill? >> steve, the imagine irk number is three. three republican senators can stop what looks like an effort to push through and steam roll a bill that could change health care all across america.
a bill that has not been read or seen by the members of the united states senate. if three republican senators say this is the wrong way to pass legislation, it should be done on a more open basis as thefrp talking most about process. in terms of substance, who do you think should get off the bill? >> no one on the democratic side knows anything about the substance of this bill. all we know is that it's being pushed through without hearing, without even being read, without being scored. at the very last minute it's a take it or leave it on a process called reconciliation.
>> you're a member of the judiciary committee, and a watcher of the trump investigation on russia matters. we left last week with rumors flying around about the possibility the president might fire both rod rosenstein as a way to firing the special prosecutor, bob mueller. if that were to happen, what would then happen? >> we would be knocking on the door of a constitutional crisis, period. the notion that we could have another saturday night massacre as we did under president nixon and have business as usual afterwards is unacceptable. at that point we have to stand for principle. principle is this. no person in the united states, including the president, is above the law. this president and this administration have to be held accountable as every president would be. >> senator, just to follow-up, i know most democrats agree with everything you said. as a practical matter, wouldn't it take a whole bunch of republicans to agree with you of anything of actual practical consequence to flow from that? >> yes, it would.
i hope it never reaches that point, but if it does, i'm hoping a number of republicans will remember the verdict of history. back in the nixon era, there were a handful of extraordinary people on the republican side that stood up and finally said to president nixon, enough is enough. we are hoping that there will be that kind of leadership if this situation emerges on the republican side today. >> senator, let me ask you. it's nicole wallace. i don't know how far-fetched it is. it's been widely reported that the president is dissatisfied with the attorney general for recusing himself in the first place and that he is fixated and obsessed at personnel at doj. i think to talk about a constitutional crisis without having -- i'm not aware of any republicans who are coming around to what you are describing. are you having private conversations with republicans who have suggested to you that should he fire sessions and rosenstein, they would be with you in describing this as a constitutional crisis? >> a lot of my republican senators start looking at their shoes when they talk about this
white house and this president. >> do they say anything, or do they just look at their shoes? none of them have said anything publical publically. i guess i think it's destabilizing to talk about a constitutional crisis if you haven't laid the ground work with your republican colleagues who are still at least publically suggesting that the investigation, you you know, may or may not reveal anything. >> listen, we've laid the ground work when we took an oath of office to uphold this constitution. as far as i'm concerned, many of these republicans realize that what the president has done, what he has said, the things that have transpired are really troublesome. if it reaches the point when they step out, i can't answer that. many of them are still fearful of the republican base back home. that seems to be standing by this president hell or high water. >> right. senator, it's cathy kay. you must be having private conversations with your republican colleagues that would give you some indication of what it would take for them to step up and do something against the president. if it's not rosenstein, would it be firing mueller, for example? they must have run this sncenaro
by you? >> we haven't gone into detail. what we talked about is the approach of this president and how divisive it's been. take a look at the record on capitol hill of what we have achieved or failed to achieve in the last five or six months. take a look at the health care bill. the ordinary process we follow with the affordable care act. we are proceefrozen in place he because of the situation between the white house and capitol hill. the republicans know that. they're in the majority. >> all right. senator dick durbin of east st. louis, illinois. good to see you. thanks so much. >> thanks a lot, willie. two more senators will join the conversation. bob corker and the vice chairman of the vice intel economy mike warner. the polls opened about an hour ago for georgia's special election. we'll be watching the results as they roll in. and the white house said its patience with north korea is over, but that was before
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tripadvisor. excuse me, are you aware of what's happening right now? we're facing 20 billion security events every day. ddos campaigns, ransomware, malware attacks... actually, we just handled all the priority threats. you did that? we did that. really. we analyzed millions of articles and reports. we can identify threats 50% faster. you can do that? we can do that. then do that. can we do that? we can do that. >> it's our great honor to have the president of panama. we have many things to discuss. we're going to spend quite a bit of time today. the panama canal is doing quite well. i think we did a good job building it, right? >> yeah. >> very good job. but things are going well in
panama. the relationship has been very strong. we are developing new things to do, and only getting stronger. welcome back to "morning joe" as we come up on 8:00 on the east coast. president trump there praising america's role in constructing the panama canal. as well he should. in case you didn't catch it, the p panamaian president said, yeah, 100 years ago. with us we have senior political analyst for nbc news and msnbc mark halperin, national affairs analyst for nbc news and msnbc john hallman, former director for ted cruz's presidential campaign and msnbc political contributor rick tyler, and the host of "deadline white house" 4:00 eastern time right here on msnbc former communications director for president george w. bush nicole wallace. let's begin right away with a new poll from cbs just this morning that gives president donald trump his lowest job approval since he took office in
january. the poll finds 36% of americans approve of the job president trump is doing. 57% disapprove. a 21 point negative rating down ab additional nine points since the 100 days mark. broken down by part trump has dropped 11 points to 72% among republicans. 35% among independents, and 9% among democrats. asked whose oval office story they believe more, trump's or comey's, 57% of those who responded believe comey's story while only 31% believe trump's. when asked about special counsel robert mueller's investigation, 56% say he will be impartial. 30% say he will not be. polled on whether trump should try to stop mueller's investigation, only 15% said yes. 81% said no. nicole, let's go back to the top line number. 36%. he has been floating in that area. 36% to 40%. how about the republican number,
though? down double digits since the 100 days mark. >> even republicans hate all this losing, and when you've got a guy who promised so much winning, who all of a sudden is shooting himself in the foot. i mean, his numbers aren't down because democrats are going after him. democrats have never been with him. his numbers are down because of all the self-inflicted political carnage, to borrow a word from his own inaugural address, that he is inflicting upon himself and the people around him. >> rick, what do you think when you look at these numbers? >> you see the peeling away is happening now. he is being abouting a liability to his own party. if republicans continue to peel off, and, again, as i talked about earlier in the show, the currency of a legislative agenda is political capital and his approval ratings. if you don't have them, you can't move anything. georgia six is the kind of district who like to see a republican agenda done, but they're not seeing it done. >> guys, let's look at some of the top issues here. president trump's job approval rating also low. only his handling of the recent shooting at a congressional baseball practice gets positive
marks. 46% approve. 36% disapprove. on terrorism 50% approve. on the economy, 51% disapprove. 42% approve. on the russia investigation, only 28% approve of president trump while 63% disapprove. mark, take all those numbers in total and go back to the top, if you like, what does that picture paint? >> a presidency that is at best in deep peril and maybe worse in terms of crisis. when presidents are in crisis, they have to dig deep. they usually make some personnel changes, and they start to say what are the first principles of my administration? i need to go back to them. we hear talk about all three of those things. we don't hear any -- we don't see any actual change, and the clock is ticking. the number of congressional work days that are left actually to get anything done, people talk about how important health care and tax reform is. they can't do those if they don't get the debt ceiling done, if they don't get a budget done. though those are four big things, two of which must happen, and, again, you don't see any actual change eminating from the white
house. at least not so far. >> john, the president has pointed and will point again today at the positives. senator gorsuch named to the supreme court. economic numbers, low unemployment, trade regulations relaxing of burdensome regulations, as he would say, but he needs something bigger, as mark points out. he needs this health care to get through the senate, for example. >> he needs something. look, if the economic numbers were much morrow bust, you know, they basically have been solid, but they were solid for the last two years of barack obama's presidency. they've been essentially consistent with that trend line. it's not like he has moved the neelgtsds e needle even on that front, at least so far, and he has not notched a legislative accomplishment. not a single one. he has done some things through executive order that some business people like, but in terms of the kind of transformational presidency that he promised, it's want been there for imhad, ahim, and if y at the numbers, going back to the top line, president obama won the presidency by half of the trump base. then he got another 20% of
normal republicans and some kind of independents. you don't know what they are. he got them to come. he is down to 36% now. he has lost probably 10%, about half, of his normal republican independent support. the other thing that's happening in that trump base that's not reflected in these numbers but is reflected in others is that some of the enthusiasm of the trump base, the strong approval numbers are starting to fade. he is still probably got another ten points that he could drop over the course of this year, and on the trajectory he is on, 36 is bad, but not catastrophic. there's not a clear sense of what the thing will be that he will stop the movement he is headed towards unless he gets big legislative accomplishments. if he doesn't get anything done in a major way, there's no real break point. there's no way to kind of foresee a scenario by which he doesn't continue to gradually fall, and that's where to rick's point you start to see, again, we'll talk about the congressional race, that's where you see republicans saying, you know, i stuck with him because i
was afraid of him. now i'm afraid to stick with him, and that's where things could change dramatically for him. >> to mark's point, he is not capable of doing any of those things because he is the problem. when you make personnel changes, it's often because the president is in denial that a change needs to be made. they have an afint ishty or an affection for a chief of staff that's no longer effective in running their white house. he is the problem. it's not like you can walk in and suggest a new slate of staff. they're not the reason he is in this situation. he is. >> so in the communications shop, you have two people. you have comps director who is thinking positive long-term, how do we have that great press day a year from now? the press secretary puts out dumpster fires. this president is a dumpster fire president because he is just -- except he starts the fires and then goes and puts them out, and there's no sense that there's a long-term objective plan, where are we going to be in five years? what are we going to accomplish after this? how is the average american's life or voter get better? none of that exists here.
>> that's normal stuff. just fundamentally he told gene perot that his staff can't keep up with him because his mind is so active. if you can't communicate with the people that work for you in terms of what you are doing, not just a message a year from now or a week from now, but if he can't even start the day with his spokes people and his staff and tell them what he is trying to do, and he would rather take to twitter to undermine all of them, the problems are not fixable. >> he has tweeted twice today. both tweets about this race in georgia. six congressional district where the polls are now open. it will go down as the most expensive house race in u.s. history in a special election at that. john ossoff and karen handel are neck and neck in the special runoff election for georgia's sixth congressional district. it's a district that republican tom price won just in november by 23 points, but where president trump had a far tighter margin of victory. the race has crushed fundraising records with ossoff pulling in more than $23 million. much of it from outside the state. handel personally raising over
$4 million. with all the outside spending, the final amount could top $50 million. $50 million. that's an historic figure. more than 140,000 early ballots have been cast. up 150% from the first round of voting. welcome mcgern writes in "the "wall street journal"" about democrats' march on georgia. get ready for an outbreak of headlines about how donald trump pourtends to crack up the republican party. many of the stories have already been written. they wait only a successful effort by democrat john ossoff to take the seat for georgia's sixth coast guardal district. in a special election that has spawned 1,000 lessons for our politics, the most obvious goes unmentioned. you can make any house seat competitive if you are willing to make the race for it the most expensive in american history. if if he pulls it out on tuesday, mr. ossoff's victory no doubt will be celebrated from coast-to-coast as the first clear sign that republicans are in real danger of losing their house majority in 2018. if mr. ossoff with all his
millions, with all his volunteers, with all the free media still manages to lose, will all those telling us the race is a harbinger of things to come ask what that means for the democratic party? is this really a bellweather, or is it one race on one day, a special election where the entire country is focused, where all the resources of the republican party and all the resources of the democratic party are poured into one place? is that really a bellweather, or is this a special election? >> it's not a perfect task. there never is. this is a test of whether democrats can win with more centrist candidates bringing the democratic party together and massive fundraising. republicans are trying to take comfort in the notion of, well, they can't raise this much money in every race. i'm not sure that's true. if democrats are really energized next year with small dollars, finding candidates they can get excited about, and the democratic party nationally has got excited about ossoff, he probably has more name recognition nationally within the democratic party than any candidate ever in a special house election. his ability to galvanize is based somewhat on him, but it's
lar largely based on democrats saying this is winnable, let's put in money. the high turn-out so far in the early voting, again, suggests to me the democrats are energized now and are dedicated, if he wins, to staying energized all through next november. >> nicole, we pointed out there was a split district on donald trump. he won by one point here. if ossoff does win, will it say what we think it says about donald trump? is this really a referendum on him? >> it doesn't matter because people will say -- people always use special elections. i remember when scott brown won in 2010 -- or 2009 in the heat of the obama care debate. it was projected to tell a national story. it did portend disastrous outcomes tore democrats in midterm elections. we overread our mandate when we win, and we downplay them when we lose. both sides are guilty of doing it. it's undeniable that democrats will use this as the data point
in the story we started the hour talking about. this presidency is in deep trouble, that the crisis is having a destabilizing impact among the kind of voters, independents and moderates, that typically in a district like this want to vote for a republican, but may feel like a check on a republican white house and a republican congress is a good thing for the country. i think it portends, you know, not just trouble for republicans, but a desire to have somebody that could subpoena the white house or just to have more checks and balances in our government. >> so trump won by only one point, but tom price won by 23 points. in that sense it would be a big flip if ossoff wins. >> he also didn't win a majority. ossoff is outperforming the majority by double digits. probably 13%. the delta between the two. look, this is about post-election bragging rights. whoever wins this race will be able to define what happened and going forward.
i think democrats would be very much demoralized. i don't know how republicans could get very excited. they should be winning this seat handily. they're not. mark pointed out the money in this race is astonishing, but it's interesting how it's going to this candidate. yet, the republican national committee is far outraising the democratic party that people are contributing directly to candidates. if that trend were to continue, they could have some real challenging races. >> here's a thing worth thinking about. this is statistics that gets cited somewhat. democrats need to take 24 seats in 2018 to take back control of the house. there are 23 seats where hillary clinton won the district but republicans hold the seat. that's sort of like what this seat looks like. even though trump won this seat, only won it by one point, it's a toss-up. for democrats and for people on the left and donors, if they -- one way in which this looks like a model for 2018, you say there is an example of we got a good
palettable candidate. we poured money in and poured energy in. if we could do that 24 more times, that's all we need to do. now, that's not all. i don't mean to minimize it. but this looks like it becomes a model for what we need to replicate in 2018. you know that if they win this race, that is exactly how the party and the larger democratic infrastructure will see it, where they'll say that's all we got to do. let's go out and do that again 23 more times, 24 more times next november. >> other thing is ossoff is not in the elizabeth warren, bernie sanders camp. he is progressive on some things and more centrist in his rhetoric like deficit reduction. what democrats need, because a lot of those 23 districts, you're not going to win with a liberal. >> right. >> what they need is for candidates to win primaries who are like ossoff who can take the aents trump energy on the far left of the party, be palettable to those people, have them enthusiastic, but ulcer be more of a centrist in some ways. >> that's all recruitment. >> yeah. >> he came on our show yesterday and is a supporter of this
president's syria policy. he has made foreign policy and not being part of that extreme wing of his own party a centerpiece, even in the closing hours of his candidacy. >> by the way, ossoff will join stephanie in a few minutes coming up at the top of the hour here on msnbc. interesting too that although this is being billed as a referendum ol donald trump, karen handel hasn't exactly thrown her arms around donald trump. she has not campaigned on his agenda. >> ossoff has not spent most of his time attacking donald trump. he is closing on government waste. and health care on both. there's a trump connection, but it's not i'm a full-throated fire breathing attacker of donald trump. >> coming up next, we will be joined by two senators from opposite sides of the aisle. bob corker and mooark warner. plus, a protest over the health care secrecy. that might be all they can do. eugene robinson joins us. we'll bring in kristen welker with her latest reporting from the white house. first, bill karins has a look at
the forecast. >> weather continues to make headlines across the country. tropical storm warnings now issued along a louisiana coastline, and this is going to be tropical storm cindy or subtropical cindy. it's kind of asymmetrical, so it's not a pure entity. we are watching a lot of heavy rain heading up to the northern coast. here's the forecast path from the hurricane center. they have taken on shore. i'm not going to say landfall. this is through wednesday night, thursday morning. around along the texas-louisiana border. the big issue will be heavy rains. three to six inches wide. i want to show you the pictures yesterday. the extreme heat continues in the southwest. they had to cancel some of the flights to phoenix sky harbor airport. some of the smaller jets like you have seen there are unsafe to fly whenment temperature hits 118 degrees which it did for three hours. the bigger jets, they're unsafe to fly at 128. we're not going to get to with this heat wave. back to the maps we go. all-time record high 122 in phoenix. today we're expecting 120.
vegas will be 116 dote. it doesn't even cool off much tomorrow. 115 in vegas. about 112 in tucson. even towards the end of the week it's not going to be much better. the enjoyable weather today is in the great lakes and up through new england. this is where the rain and thunderstorms hit yesterday. a much less humid air mass today. we're still hot in dallas too. you're just not getting the headlines because your friends in the southwest are baking out there. the temperatures above 110. new york city saw those thunderstorms roll through last night. today you get your reward. lower humidity, low 80s. beautiful late spring day. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back.
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>> i'm not going to show you the bill because i know you won't like it. i'm going to keep it secret, and i'm going to bring it out the last minute. >> why are my constituents not to allowed to see the details of what's about to happen to their lives? why respect only a select group of americans able to have a voice inside that room? >> nbc white house correspondent kristen welker. good morning. the president looking, as we said earlier, for a political win with health care reform. you have some new information regarding that push to get it done. >> hi, willie. good morning to you. well, that's right. i just got off the phone with the senior administration official who tells me while the president hasn't been taking a public role in pushing for the health care bill as the senate works behind closed doors, he has been in fairly regular contact with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell.
mitch mcconnell also talking frequently to the vice president as well as the legislative team here. there are a number of hurdles. you just laid out one of them. willie, the fact that you have democrats who held that overnight talk-a-thon, pushing for the health care talks to be made public and effectively threatening to put up procedural hurdles if that doesn't happen. the reality, of course, is that republicans have control of both chambers. there's only so much democrats can do. they can put up some procedural hurdles, but republicans can move forward with this legislation. if they get something done. what is their timeline looking like? well, we are being told that according to sources on capitol hill, they want to try to get a blueprint a proposal going by the end of this week with a possible vote set for next week. that is an ambitious timeline. there's still a number of sticking points. among them, over medicaid. conservatives want to spend less on medicaid expansion. moderates want to spend more. also, for those obama care
taxes, how much of them, how many, will be scaled back? of course, the big issue preexisting conditions. how much coverage will there be for those with preexisting conditions. now, adding to all of this drama, willie, we reported a couple of weeks ago that the president said behind closed doors two senate republicans that the house version of this bill was mean because it didn't have enough coverage. that's giving some democrats a little bit more fodder as they try to get a deal done. still, a number of sticking points, but they're pushing through and they say it is very possible they could have a vote on this by next week. willie. >> that quote "mean bill" was the same one the president touted in a rose garden ceremony a few weeks earlier. kristen welker at the white house. thank you as always. joining us now pulitzer prize winning columnist, associate editor of "the washington post" eugene robinson. eugene, good to see you. >> good morning, willie. >> we've been talking about the hypocrisy of republicans conducting themselves on health
care behind closed doors. we've read a series of tweets, including one from senator mitch mcconnell in 2009 condemning democrats for after months and months and months of open negotiation over finishing the bill in secrecy, are they really going to have a vote on this next week? >> you could make this a series. every day you could bring up tweets from 2009 and contrast them with what's being said today. they could. you know, the real question is not what democrats do. it's do they have those four or five republicans who are kind of on the fence, who are reportedly demanding more out of the bill so they can go home to their constituents and maybe survive? that's kind of unclear. emmoo, it is possible for the senate to go ahead and have a vote on a measure that satisfies the likes of lisa murkowsky and others, but they can't get through the house. both chambers can go home.
republicans. they can say we did what we were sent here to do. we video to repeal obama care, but they won't have actually come together on a bill. that's one possible outcome of this whole thing. >> nicole, senator durbin saying all we need is three. we have to find three republicans to peel off and we get through this without it passing. >> yeah. i think it's possible. you've got john kasich, ohio governor, who has been the loudest republican critic of not just the process, but the substance of the house bill, and i think you think about the president calling the bill mean. it's opened the door, i think, to senate republicans letting some democrats into the process. maybe not leadership. i know chuck schumer had no interest in working with him. it's a missed opportunity in my mind to not have created at least the illusion of bipartisanship because the branding on this is already terrible, and it hasn't even passed. the president called it mean. i mean, the ads write themselves. >> how does he call it mean after that press conference? >> because words don't mean anything. >> i know.
i'm sorry. >> you talk to white house reporters about covering this white house. words don't mean anything to them. that he stood in the rose garden and had a beer party, celebrated the passage of the bill, and then a month later called it mean, that's not even -- i mean, that would be a huge event in a normal white house, but to this president he just says what he thinks -- in the moment he felt like it was a win, and two weeks later maybe someone told him what was in the bill, and he said, oh, that's mean. do a better one. who knows how it came to be? >> gene, stay with us. . more gene robinson up ahead. did the death of a u.s. college student just change america's calculus on north korea? senator bob corker who chaired the foreign relations committee reacts to the death of otto warmbier who died just days after being released by north korea. keep it on "morning joe."
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were so happy to see him even though he was in very tough condition, but he just passed away a little while ago. that's a brutal regime, and we'll be able to handle it. >> that's president trump reacting yesterday to the death of otto warmbier. the honor student that died after being released from north korea after a year of being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. senator john mccain was more direct than the president saying in part "let us state the facts plainly. ot on warmbier was murdered by the kim jong un regime. in the final year of his life he lived the nightmare in which the north korean people have been trapped for 70 years. forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture, and murder. the united states of america cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers. gene, there's been a lot of talk this morning. there was a lot of talk yesterday after the news of the death of otto warmbier about
doing more about north korea. the question is what does that mean exactly? >> what does that mean? what has that meant for the last 30 or 40 years? you know, north korea is not only kind of the most insane regime on earth. unspeakable cruelty towards its citizens and, of course, towards mr. warmbier. you can't imagine what he went through the last year of his life. by the same token, they're a nuclear power. they have nuclear weapons. they have just huge arsenals of conventional weapons that can reach the huge metropolis of seoul within minutes. what do you do about north korea, and no one has come up with an answer? there's always been a lot of tough talk, but in the end they went ahead with their nuclear program. they're going ahead with their missile program, and you know,
military attack on north korea -- can't figure out how to do it. although i'm sure aussive administrations have wanted to figure that out. theyent have a. >> coming up next, we're going to bring the chair of the senate foreign relations committee bob corker to talk more about this. also ahead, special counsel bob mueller set to meet with the top two members of the senate judiciary committee amid the investigation on all things relating to russia. we'll talk to senator mark warner, whose intel committee is conducting an investigation of its own. "morning joe" is coming right back. just imagine if all the machines at work
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welcome back to "morning joe." the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, b senator bob corker. otto warmbier went to north korea about a year and a half ago, and he came back yesterday in a coma and died shortly thereafter. what are the implications of that for the united states policy toward north korea? what has to be done and does
something different have to be done than we're doing now? >> obviously, you know, you cannot be more saddened for the parents. at the same time it just stirs up this anger towards north korea. it's obviously incredibly sad. as it relates to, you know, we do have people who go there, and we should look at policies regarding that. we end up we still have three americans there that we're trying to get out. i talked privately with secretary tillerson about it. i know they're doing everything they can to get them out, but, look, this is a country that's a rogue -- absolutely rogue nation that is intent on getting a nuclear weapon, and this is indicative of how they treat citizens of even their own citizens. >> i think everybody agrees on that, senator corker, that it's a rogue nation, but is there a new policy the united states should put in place based on what happened to otto warmbier?
>> i think, you know, again, examining the travel implications and the fact that americans do end up caught up in this situation, and should there be a travel ban for surs citizens going there relative to this? that's something we're looking at. you know, i can't answer that this morning, but, you p, americans end up being there. we got three there today that have trumped up chashlgz against them, and we have to figure out whether it's best to allow people to do that, and then end up in a situation where we're doing everything we can as a nation to get them out. >> do more sanctions affect north korea? >> look, the only sanctions that really -- i mean, we could do more, i suppose, but the only sanctions that matter are the ones coming from china and, you know, it's -- we all know that. it's almost becoming a cliche. they've got to step up to the table. >> senator, it's nicole wallace. how are you? >> hey, nicole. doing great. thank you. >> your sanctions bill passed the senate 98-2, putting much tougher sanctions on russia and
in some people's view, boxing in the trump white house. 61% of the public thinks that this president is impeding the investigation into russia's role in the 2016 presidential campaign. what does the republican party need to do to protect itself from numbers like that when it comes to what people think? i mean, i can't imagine a time in my political career when the republican party was associated with america getting to the bottom of what an adds versary like russia did to our democracy. >> well, nicole, we need to keep supporting what's happening through the intel committee. i think they -- >> what about bob mueller? do the republicans have to make abundantly clear and get on the record that they support mueller? >> i can't imagine, nicole, you have been around this city for a lodge time. i cannot possibly imagine the president terminating bob mueller. i mean, it's not even -- it's ridiculous to even consider or talk about.
if they even have ever discussed that, which i would doubt they have, but mueller aside, his investigation is going to go on. the intel committee, i think, is handling itself exceptionally well, and we need to continue to support their efforts. i think they've acted in a dignified manner, and i think their leadership should be held up for that. from the standpoint of foreign policy, i mean, we're doing what the senate should be doing. for 40 years we've let our role dissipate. it's been my goal as chairman to reclaim our role in foreign policy, and i think what you saw last week where rand paul on one end and bernie sanders on the other end were the only two that didn't support an incredibly strong piece of legislation. it speaks to where the senate is on foreign policy, and i think it was a great moment for us. >> gene robinson? >> senator, the other day we saw u.s. forces shoot down a syrian war plane. we've heard the russians threaten to shoot down u.s. war planes.
what does all this mean in ermz it of our involvement in syria and the relationship with russia? >> great question. gene, we're today, you know, taking out the aumf, and we're beginning hearings. it's my goal to actually take action on this at some point. we want to make sure we do it in the appropriate way, but we're right on the fringes, aren't we, where in essence we have u.s. troops there that are helping facilitate the svc go into raka, and we've got the syrian forces who are infringing upon that, and we took them out as we should and so we're right on the edge of that, aren't we, where we actually have a brewing conflict that could spill over into actions between us and the syrian regime. that definitely is not authorized, and, again, it's my hope that this is going to simmer -- or cool down and not lead to any further conflict, but look, i support what the u.s. has done to protect the
sdc, which is going in against raka, people that vef we have armed, people that we have helped train and, yet, we're in a place that, again, i hope will cool down before it gets into further complications. >> senator john heilman here. sticking with that, you're talking about actions against the syrian regime. in the last 24 hours, the words have been spoken war with russia over this issue. >> aircraft flying in the same area, you know, and, john, you know this was, again, you're going to pile on i think when i say this, but when we allowed this vacuum to exist and russia step into an area where we've got interest, that's when this became complicated. now as we move towards actually routing out isis and assad has consolidated gains in the western part of the country,
look, this could get out of hand. i don't think that russia wants a conflict for the united states. i know we do not want it with them. my understanding, our channels are still open and we're still doing what we can to deconflict regardless of the rhetoric that came out of russia in the last couple of days. we need to do everything we can to keep this from becoming a conflict between the two countries. i know that tillerson, one of the reasons i waited until this work period to deal with the russian legislation that nicole was talking about was to give him some time to try to change the trajectory with russia. has not occurred. what we don't want it to do, obviously, is -- it to escalate into a situation where we have a hot war. i think both sides are very cautious and don't want that to happen. >> good morning, senator. rick tyler. have you seen the republican health care bill? >> i have not. have you? have you? >> i have not. are you concerned about it?
are you concerned about it for tennessee? >> you know, being loo, i am going to vote for this bill or vote against this bill determined based on how it affects people in tennessee, and actually how it affects our nation. my understanding is i'm going to see it on thursday. i have, rick, attended the last seven meetings, so i have a sense of where this is going and understand the rubs that exist. i'm going to do some preliminary work prior to the thursday. i think we have an all senators meeting, all republican senators meeting tomorrow to begin talking about it a little more deeply. look, i have a sense of where this is going, and i know that, you know, the leadership is having various aspects of this scored, and it should be out there it looks like about a week before a vote takes place. i think it's planned to be out language and all on thursday. >> you think that's enough time for the american public to review it, for you to review it, and to get a vote? >> well, that's -- it looks like the time that's going to be athe
-- allotted. you know, rick, i'll tell you this. we will work around the clock to make sure that we understand what's in it and we'll just see. again, i don't want to prejudge, and, you know, i would have liked, as you already know, for this to be a more open process and have committee hearings, but that's not what we're doing. at the end of the day, that doesn't preclude my responsibilities as a senator to either vote yes or no based on the substance that's in it, and i certainly look forward to diving into that substance. >> all right. senator bob corker, republican of tennessee. senator, thanks for your time, as always. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> let's go now to the new york stock exchange and cnbc's sarah eisen. good morning. u.s. markets ending jed on a strong note. what's it looking like today? >> good morning, willie. we could push into further record territory for the stock market, and if you are keeping score at home, the s&p 500 broader market index actually notched its 24th record close of 2017 for the dow jones industrial average. 22nd record close.
guess what, it's technology stocks that are back on top. that's what's fueling the rise after a bit of a wobble in the last few weeks over concerns that they were getting too expensive and it was looking a little bubble-licious. one thing to watch today, house speaker paul ryan actually delivering remarks at 12:45 on tax reform. this is the key issue for wall street as part of the trump agenda and why there's been optimism. speaking of optimism, president trump meeting with some of technology's biggest leaders at the white house yesterday. interestingly, the president went back to his common refrain about being responsible for the market rising saying $3.5 trillion of market value in this room, of technology, which amounted to almost the exact number we've created since my election. guess what, guys, while the president likes to take credit for the confidence in him as part of the stock market's rise, at this point in the rally, it may be due more to credit for competence in the technology sector because the tech-heavy
nasdaq index is up 20% since the election outperforming all of the other major indexes. as far as other highlights from that meeting inside the white house, seemed like pretty much agreement from technology and from the administration that these big companies -- apple, microsoft, and alphabet -- can work with the administration to modernize government, add more coding in schools, get more systems on the cloud, and prevent the u.s. government from cyber attacks. guys, playing down some of the differences between big tech on positions like climate and immigration and other issues. back to you. >> all right. cnbc sarah eisen at the new york stock exchange. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> up next, russia's hacking last year went far deeper than spreading fake news on-line. the vice chair of the senate intel committee, mark warner, joins us next with new details on the kremlin's untryings into america's state and local electoral boards. senator warner is next.
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morning to dhs, homeland security, asking secretary jon kelly to disclose additional information on attempts to interfere in the 2016 elections by hacking into state and local election systems. what are the questions you want answered specifically about a state and local election? >> first of all, let me make clear, i don't believe the russians affected any vote totals in 2016. but there have been lots of published reports that have said that literally dozens of states the russians attempted to hack into. so far, only two states have come forward, illinois and arizona, and acknowledged the russians hacked into them. i'm not trying to embarrass any state. what i'd like more information to get out into the public showing how extensive this russian attempt to interfere was not to, again, embarrass the state but to make sure that we're ready for 2018 and my home state of virginia, we have elections this year in 2017, to
make sure that states are sharing information, that they have best practices. one thing that secretary kelly did do that i strongly commend is he said our election infrastructure is critical infrastructure so, we just need more cooperation and to be on guard. >> based on the information you have, you believe russia did hack into state electoral systems but somehow did not affect the vote totals? >> what i think they did is certain places they attempted to hack in, they identified and caught, certain places they were just probing the system. what i got out of dhs is they feel states were in effect victims and it's up to the states to come forward with that information. i don't believe we're made safer by keeping this information in secret. i can only say a lot more than two states that have publicly come forward, the russians attempted to get into in 2016 and the more we can be aware, the better we can prepare for future elections. >> senator, what issues,
documents or witnesses is the independent counsel, mr. mueller's investigation, most likely to run into some conflict or need for coordination with congressional inquiries? >> well, senator burr and i met with the special counsel mueller last week. we set up a process so we can deconflict in case we want to talk to some more witnesses. obviously there's a lot been in the press recently about obstruction of justice. that would be something that would be criminal, that the special counsel would look into. we're still looking into patterns where it appears that the president may have tried to interfere and politicize some of our top intelligence officials. i'm particularly concerned about some of the conversations he had with former director comey, where comey was so worried that the president might frankly lie about those conversations that director comey had to memorialize him in separate memoranda. because we still haven't got on the core issue, which is we know the russians interveeped. what we don't know is was their level of communication or
collaboration between officials of the trump campaign and the russians. that is something we still have to look at. on the overall question of intervention, the one thing that really bothers me is, you know, we've got unanimous consensus from the intelligence community that the russians intervened. i don't know a single senator, democrat or republican, that doesn't believe the russians intervened. the one person that still refuses to acknowledge this by calling it a fake news and a witch-hunt is the president. why doesn't he accept the unanimous conclusion of the intelligence community? it really bothers me a great deal. >> senator, it's nicole wallace. earlier in our program, senator whitehouse said something he said yesterday that he knew or had information that mike flynn is already cooperating with the fbi and may have been for some time. he suggested it was over false statements he delivered when federal investigators, the fbi, came to talk to him about contacts with russia during the transition. have you been briefed by law enforcement on what crimes mike flynn has actually committed or
is suspected to have committed? >> i'm not going to comment on any specific briefings we have and we've had. the one thing i do know is that general flynn was willing to testify but he wanted immunity and there does seem to be a continuing series of stories, one it appears almost every other week or so, where there were either further contacts with russians, further payments by turkish business leaders. now there's more reports about other trips to the middle east. so i hope that -- and i don't know whether general flynn is cooperating with the fbi or not. but clearly there's a lot of area there of concern. >> senator joe howman op the same topic, there's been a lot of concerns since the end of last week about the president and the possibility they might try to fire either rod rosenstein or bob mueller or both. tell me what your level of concern is about that at this point and if he were to make
that attempt of either/or both of those, what would happen in your body? >> well, first of all, i didn't think this administration, this president, could surprise me any more, but then he went off and fired comey. so the idea he would potentially fire mueller or fire rosenstein would be just remarkable and i think the senate would then set up a separate independent inquiry because we just cannot allow this kind of action to go unaddressed. one of things that also surprised me when we had the attorney general in front of us last week, i thought i gave him a softball question and i asked him, you know, please just assure us that there's not at least been discussions in the white house about potential presidential pardons. and instead of getting a straight-up answer saying, of course, we have not discussed that, we again got a punt answer from the attorney general. so again, the idea that the president might fire mueller, might fire rosenstein or might be discussing pardons is really
all very troubling. but we don't know because this white house seems to give us a different answer every day. >> senator, different topic before i let you go. i want to ask you about this negotiation, this discussion about the health care in the united states senate. the plan seems to be according to most reports for mitch mcconnell to get a bill together, get a score by the ceo to vote on it by the end of next week. how does that strike you? >> pretty wacky. we're talking about affecting one-sixth of our whole economy, the health care industry, for all the flaws that obamacare had, there were hundreds of amendments that were offered, many of them offered and accepted by republicans. the idea that one party is going to do this entirely in secret and then try to jam it down the throat of the american public i think would be a political disaster and a substantive disaster for it looks anything like the house bill that took 21 million-plus americans would lose their health insurance and one of the things as a former governor, $800 billion cost transfer from the federal government responsibility to the states. i'm glad to see a number of
republican governors starting to scream about that because as former governor that's just a fiscal flimflam. >> all right. senator mark warner from virginia, thanks for your time. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> one final note. we talked earlier about white house press secretary sean spicer holding yet another off-camera press briefing yesterday in place of the usual publicly broadcast briefings and now there's this. according to the "atlantic," asked why the briefings are now routinely held off camera, white house chief strategist steve bannon said in a text message, "sean got fatter." bannon did not respond to a follow-up question. >> is that real? >> may have been joking. >> let me just say, it's hard to battle the bulge inside the white house. a lot of sitting. i'm serious. i worked in the white house. it's hard. >> bowls of m&ms. >> how would you m react to that? >> we didn't leak so it would have stayed inside. >> on that note, that does it for us this morning.
stephanie ruhle picks up our coverage including an interview with jon ossoff. >> on that note, i'm going to guess steve bannon doesn't have a mirror in his office. i'm stephanie ruhle. happening right now, the polls are open. the most expensive house race ever comes to a vote. democrats trying to steal that republican seat, this being the first big referendum on pruch. >> how have the last 24 hours been? >> exciting. there's huge e energy here. >> democratic candidate jon ossoff joins us live. and murdered in north korea. those words from senator john mccain as the president vows to do more after the american student returned from north korea dies. >> it's a brutal regime. we'll be able to handle it. plus, flynn flip. new details on the russia investigation. is