tv Deadline White House MSNBC October 23, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
the late congressman will lie in state in the capitol's statutory hall tomorrow from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. thank you for watching. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace begins right now. ♪ hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. today a moment of choosing for republicans in congress as washington still reels from the aftershocks of yesterday's explosive testimony from america's top diplomat in ukraine. a man hand-picked by secretary of state mike pompeo who has erased any room for objective minds to doubt that donald trump conditioned military aid for ukraine on a commitment to investigate his political rivals. the unimpeachable testimony of diplomat bill taylor has cut the final cord from trump's feeble defenses and denials of a quid pro quo with ukraine.
claims first brought to light by a whistle-blower complaint made public just a few weeks ago. taylor's testimony delivered behind closed doors painting a devastating picture of corruption of u.s. foreign policy at the highest levels of the executive branch of government. from today's "washington post," quote, taylor repeatedly expressed his shock and bewilderment as he watched u.s. policy toward ukraine get overtaken by trump's demand. everything was dependent on such an announcement including security assistance, taylor said he was told, by gordon sondland, u.s. ambassador to the e.u. and donald trump today in a tweet seemed to be trying to argue that, neh, even if he had tied the aid to the investigations it couldn't be a quid pro quo because the ukrainians didn't know about it. and even that absurd defense fell apart hours before the
president tweet birthday it. quote, ukraine knew of aid freeze in august undermining trump defense. quote, word of the aid freeze had gotten to high-level ukrainian officials by the first week in august. that's according to interviews and documents obtained by the w bureaucratic glitch, the ukrainians were told then to address i out to mick mulvaney. remember him? the acting white house chief of staff. that's according to interviews and records. so the most incriminating testimony to date on capitol hill now collides with growing public support for donald trump's impeachment. a whopping 55% of americans now support the impeachment probe. that's according to a brand-new quinnipiac poll which leads us to today's political state of play. best summed up by "the washington post" dan balz who writes, quote, it is no longer a question of whether this happened. it is now a question of how the president explains it and how
lawmakers especially republicans choose to respond to it. and speaking of gop responses, here's how the gop responded today resembling a scene from "animal house." republicans storming the security briefing room where a department of defense official was scheduled to testify on how the military aid to ukraine was held up. democratic congressman ted liu on the chaos inside the capitol hill today. >> bill taylor gave a devastating opening statement today. they are freaked out, they don't want to hear from witness cooper today. they know more facts are ghana be delivered that are actually damning to the president of the united states so they are just trying to disrupt the process and it's going to fail. >> and that is where we start today with some of our favorite reporters and friends. on capitol hill msnbc correspondent garrett haake. from "the washington post" national political reporter bob costa. and chuck rosenberg who is a former u.s. attorney and senior fbi official with us at the
table. eli stokels, plus nbc and msnbc national analyst john heilemann. garrett, let me start with you. just when you think the republican party, the pa party that i used to belong to can't debase themselves anymore, they do what they did today. >> reporter: well, look. they wanted the spotlight on this issue of transparency and they got it for at least a few hours but the question is at what cost. and i don't mean to load that word with any additional meaning. it was clearly a stunt to try to force their way into this secure room, disrupt proceedings, make a point about transparency, okay, done. but what are their arguments about the actual probe so far? to me the most interesting thing that republicans did today was what they didn't do. i didn't hear a single republican today not one follow president trump's lead into criticizing these witnesses themselves. i didn't hear anybody call bill taylor a radical unelected bureaucrat.
i didn't hear anyone say he was a never trumper. the republican argument is based now 100% on process. and today they delivered a big shiny object to try to make thag the information that's coming out here or presenting any kind of counter narrative for whyng taylor's opening statement yesterday isn't true and isn't damning. that's what i saw today. >> garrett, reporting that the trump white house had advance knowledge of and supported this stunt. and i agree with your description. any sort of -- you know, there have been ties. i mean, i think devin nunes was essentially run by this white house during the mueller probe. also there is a lot of history of the white house going all the way up to the president running his allies and freedom caucus as they collide with government officials and government investigations. >> reporter: i cannot match bloomberg's excellent reporting
just yet. but i can tell you that there was some anxiety among republicans about how to do more. we also know that several freedom caucus members went and met at the white house with the president just yesterday. the fact that steve skal louise who is the number two republican in the house was one of the leaders of this protest stunt today tells you pretty much everything you need to know. this was coordinated at least into the highest level of white house republican leadership. this was certainly not a surprise to the white house and not a tactic i imagine them being unhappy with. i can't imagine a scenario in which the number two house republican freelances in this way without some notice given to the white house. >> and, rob costa, it would seem that the house might be the only thing that donald trump can count on right now.how you sena thune, republican of south dakota saying it doesn't look good, the picture coming out of it based on the reporting we
seen is, yeah, i would say it's not a good one. and here is lindsey graham a few weeks ago saying it would be -- he'd be disappointed in trump if he saw evidence trump threatened aid. let's listen to that. >> tomorrow when we read the transcript, is there any evidence at all that president trump threatened to take aid away from the ukraine unless they investigate biden or do his political bidden. >> the answer i hear is no, senator. what do you hear? >> well, i don't know. but i'll tell you this. if the answer is yes, i will be on your show very disappointed with our president. >> are you open minded that you could support impeachment if more comes out? >> sure. show me something that is a crime. if you could show me that, you know, trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing. >> so i am going to turn quid pro quo in the voice of all those republicans into my ringer one of these days. but there is the quid pro quo in black and white in billtaylor's
sworn testimony yesterday. >> for now the who us is focused on house republicans. they see the cracks in the house gop just a few days ago moderate house republicans told president trump they were unhappy with his decision on the g7 and located at a trump property. so the white house knows they are speaking out not only on syria but on the g7 issue. and on impeachment there is an emphasis on the process in making the process and the inquiry by house democrats the focus. but for now it's leader mccarthy, mark meadows and other trump allies trying to just keep the house together sometimes with these stunts, sometimes with private meetings because they know if they can come out of the house with only a few republican defections, it will help the president in the senate. but a number of those defections is very fluid right now. and house republicans are deciding not only whether to support president trump but about their own future. and, eli, it would seem to me that the harder it gets to sort
of defend the conduct, colliding with the really steady uptick, i'd say it's been about four weeks. every week public support for impeachment has gone up about 2%. i think donald trump has a history of tweeting out quinnipiac polls. so we know at least when they serve his purposes are credible, even among some elements of his base. where do you see sort of a breaking point for the senate republicans? >> well, i think they are trying to figure that out. if mitch mcconnell believes that at some point he can save the senate and that will require him to dump donald trump and his members in the tougher races will be better served without trump, then they make make that change. i think they are starting to maybe a few indications or whispers that that message may be being delivered to this president. but if you step back from this and you look at the public defense that we've seen from the republican responses, the reason it's focused on process is because they can't grapple, they
don't have an answer with these brikz that are being stacked on top of each other every day with these depositions and the information that is coming out. this case is very clear-cut. and the president can say no quid pro quo, but that doesn't make it true. when the evidence of these sworn depositions are out there basically painting a very clear picture of a quid pro quo. and that's why they are talking about process. that's why they are upset that the hearings are closed even though republicans back when they were doing the benghazi hearings when they were in charge, they had the hearings closed. the president actually tweeted in support of that. so this is ludicrous on its face if you want to apply logic. >> we sometimes do that for old-time's sake. >> you heard senator thune say this looks bad, but until it's more clear, it's hard to really say. he is buying time. maybe matt gaetz is all in for the president but i don't think that is representative in the house or the senate certainly.
>> you know, chuck rosenberg, one thing i keep thinking about is that with the mueller investigation we often talked about the prosecutions of manafort and flynn being part of a pyramid investigation and what you would learn from the guys lower down the food chain would perhaps incriminate the people at the top. that's happened in such warp speed. you have bill taylor yesterday and fiona hill last week pointing fingers directly at donald trump. not a single person since the whistle-blower complaint became public has tried to remove donald trump not just from awareness of the quid pro quo but responsibility for conceiving of it, executing it, and enforcing it. if this were a criminal investigation, would he look guilty to you? >> you know, he would, nicole. and by the way i think it's a good analogy. and i am going to make the same mistake eli made. i am going to apply some lodger here. the mueller report, the mueller
investigation was a classic case in which you build on -- start with people you don't want to prosecute, go to lower level and work your way up. you are not really building up a chain from low-level drug dealers to the high-level cartel leaders. you are talking to lots and lots and lots of people who are standing in the bank lobby when the bank got robbed and so they all have a different perspective on what they saw. some may have seen the weapons. some may have seen the getaway car. some may have been able to identify the bank robber. so taylor and fiona hill and sondland and volker and many, many more people i am certain have pieces of this. that's what makes it compelling. and by the way when we do investigations, we expect lots of different people to come in and tell the truth and to often have slightly different perspectives. and that's actually a healthy sign, not an unhealthy one. if everyone came in with the exact same story, it would smell like they are trying to get
their stories together. so this is a slightly different type of investigation. but talking to lots and lots of people is precisely the way to do it. >> i want to talk to you, heilemann, and i can't believe it's taken me until 4:12 to get to bill taylor. bill taylor will not be processed by the mesh publameri public. you've already got 55% who are in support of the impeachment. he was pulled back into service by mike pompeo, who, to my knowledge hasn't uttered a single word in defense of this man. he spent time yesterday, and i haven't heard from any republicans who heard him speak any questions about the voracity of his testimony or the trouble it may paint for donald trump. have you? >> no. no, i don't think so. and i'll say this morning i was in washington, d.c. and i was spending some time with steve bannon who has just launched a
new radio show/podcast that's called "war room impeachment." >> if they are not going to have one, they may as well talk about it in a podcast. >> it's like they are trying to set up an outside war room precisely because they are looking at the white house and saying you guys are losing. you have been diluted, donald trump and the people around him that fake news witch hunt, all that stuff is not working and that a new approach is required. now, what their approach is, is a lot of the folks on process because they recognize, but it's clear they recognize that the facts are bad and that the only real game to play here is to banning said today we need some chop blocks. we need to slow this thing down if we can push this thing past thanksgiving, past christmas, into the 2020, it gets better for trump. so if it's on a fast track and they are very admiring at the level of pure political practitioner skill level, right, of what pelosi is doing. they are like in awe about the democrats who are running this
right now to come back to taylor. just you heard them basically like they saw that thing come out from the white house last night that stephanie grisham put out last night. and steve bannon sitting in front of me was like that's not going to work. it's not going to work on bill taylor. bill taylor, west point, appointed to this job by george w. bush, and reupped into this job by mike pompeo and donald j. trump to portray that guy, and this is steve bannon, one of the great avatars of the bureaucratic state, the professional bureaucrats who are trying to stop and thwart donald trump, he looks at bill taylor and goes that argument isn't going to work with bill taylor. so they are not arguing the facts and they can't even argue the credibility of the witness. all they can talk about is the stuff these guys got spun up about today.
why is it in the skif? that's the sign of a losing argument and they know it. >> when i think of bill taylor were to come back and testify publicly, they might not like it. i talked to somebody who was in the hearing room yesterday and they didn't go into the specifics about what he said beyond the opening statement. but they said it was so compelling because this guy is meticulous, he had notes. this is a serious person with a lifetime of expertise here. and when he spoke, they knew he was speaking from not just his memory, but from copious notes that he had taken. >> chuck rosenberg, i saw your hand go up. go ahead. >> i want to follow up on something john just said. this is not a perfect analogy, nicole, but it's a reasonable analogy. impeachment in the house is much like a grand jury investigation for us federal prosecutors. and we do those in secret. the trial in the senate, right, whether or not a president is convicted is much like the public trial that follows a federal grand jury investigation
for us prosecutors. and so the notion that you would do the grand jury portion in secret or in private which sounds less nefarious is precisely the way investigations run. so, again, not a perfect analogy. but i think a fair and reasonable one. >> garrett, if you could pick that up, i saw the daily caller called around all 53 senate republicans who said that they don't need a trial, they have seen enough. seven republican senators said they have ruled out considering impeachment. the only one i was really shocked to see on the list was rob portman who served as the head of omb who knows exactly how foreign aid is distributed and dispensed to american allies. and that's exactly where military aid goes. do you have any insight into these seven members who have ruled out according to the daily callers call through impeachment. and are you hearing anything different, and sort of what is
sort of the public facing statement from those republican senate offices right now? >> well, i think a lot of those folks who have ruled it out are with the exception of portman, much more committed trump allies or folks who are running for re-election or perhaps folks who are just tired of being asked. not everyone on that list, not everyone in the republican senate conference is as skillful as a john thune as deflecting questions and kicking the can down the road. i think it was eli's point that these guys are bunchiying time. that's all they can do for the main reason is they don't know what's coming next. they don't know what other mistakes or steps the president might take. they don't know whether he will come out onto the lawn tomorrow and call for another investigation by another foreign country or whether the white house will shift them out. the vast majority of republicans
is to say i'm a juror, i am not touching this yet. it's the safest thing. it has the benefit of being true and making them look a little bit more statesman esque to say i am not touching this yet. there are too many potential shoes waiting to drop. >> let me ask you too, garrett, right before we came on the air that deposition became underway, it's with pentagon official laura cooper it was delayed because of the shenanigans there behind you. are you hearing anything about what the sort of focus will be for her deposition today? she is there under subpoena. >> reporter: she is there under subpoena. i'll come back to that. democrats wanted to get her in because she is the last link of the chain here. she knows where those dollars were programmed to go, when they were supposed to get there. and she can testify as to why they didn't move in a timely
fashion. the fact that she showed up here at all and waited throughout the day and is in fact still testifying should be as scary to republicans and the allies of the president as anything that comes out of her mouth. she is the first nonstate department, nonout of government person. she is an active employee of the department of defense, essentially under subpoena granted. but thumbing her nose at the white house's guidance here and appearing to testify. that should make the white house nervous that others may follow. >> bob costa, let me ask you to button this up with whatever version of rest in peace the white house stonewalling strategy is experiencing today as a parade of administration officials make their way up to capitol hill day after day after day. >> here's the reality. i spent the last 24 hours talking to top republicans at the capitol and they look at that pat cipollone letter trying to block some of these officials from testifying and they know it's not preventing any of these officials from complying with a subpoena. to john's point they are looking
at a white house and they see a one-man war room and president trump who is now in pittsburg talking about a witch hunt and they see stephen bannon on the outside with a podcast, corey lewandowski all on the outside, soap lo cippolone on the inside. and they are nervous. they are not ready to publicly break with this president when they look at somebody like senator portman from a state president trump won. they still want his political capital. but the most telling scene to me yesterday was when senator alexander pressed him on what he thought about this. he said i am a juror. if there is a trial in the senate i have no further comment. >> wow, garrett haake, bob costa, you both have cameras near you. anything that happens in the next 39 minutes, please let us know. after the break, mike pompeo who hand-picked ambassador bill taylor from the post defend him
or align himself with the attack otay lore. it's mike pompeo's time of choosing. after buttin declared victory in syria, trump follows we will as his envoy to syria f almost a hundred of them have gone missing. and lawyers representing a corrupt ukrainian oligarchy have a face-to-face sit down with the current a.g. while the last a.g. takes to fox news prime time saying that abuse of power really isn't against the law. has donald trump takeover of the rule of law corrupted the justice department? all those stories coming up. how do you make red lobster's
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amid the republican panic playing out on capitol hill today as the impeachment inquiry appears to endanger donald trump now more than ever, it's worth pausing to remember the life or death stakes of the conduct described yesterday in testimony from the current acting ambassador to ukraine bill taylor. as peter baker recounts in today's "new york times," quote, he stood on one side of a war-damaged bridge in ukraine staring across at russian-backed forces and saw the railroad consequences. more ukrainians he said would undoubtedly die. peter baker also puts in context the extraordinary nature of this moment in america's impeachment history writing this, quote, mr. taylor's vivid depiction
illustrated the difference between the impeachment inquiry against mr. trump. while the watergate and monica lewinsky cover-ups involved the integrity of america's democracy and system of justice. joining our conversation "new york times" editorial board member mara gay. chuck rosenberg is also still with us. i think what peter does is so important. this is not about small stuff. we spend a lot of time talking about donald trump's stupidity, the way he's debased the office, access hollywood tapes. but other than babies in cages and the slaughter of kurds, i guess there is a pretty long list of life and death consequences but this is certainly among them. >> it is. one of the challenges we have as journalists is trying to explain to readers and the american public the cost of corruption. and i think something that my colleague did pretty well today
was kind of really lay that out in stark terms for the american visited. but if you really can tell the story in human terms of what's at sttle bit easier for people to see what the crime is and how our interests would've been harmed but also real human beings who we call our allies. >> you know, john, you and i sort of straddle the lunacy of american politics. you have a foreign policy title in your name here. but i think if you talk to the kinds of people that have been involved in politics over the last 20 years, most of the alarm and really i find people to be almost bereft at this moment in terms of the trump presidency between the ukrainian foreign policy and the syrian move. it is, as peter baker describes it, lives are on the line. >> one of the things, we were
talking about taylor a second ago. if you read those 14 pages, 15 pages, it's powerful and detailed and vivid in a lot of ways. but here is a thing that we don't see that much and that people outside washington i don't think really understand. when we talk about the deep state or these unelected bureaucrats. here's a guy who's been doing this for 50 years and when he writes about ur, he writes about ukraine with emotion. it was important to america's strategic interest. but also i care about this country. how much did he care about it? he cared about it so much that having left essentially during the obama administration kind of going to way from government for a period of time, he's asked to come back. >> i think to the institute of peace is still working. >> and his wife is telling him don't go. he's seen his predecessor get chewed up and spit out by donald trump. he's got mike pompeo saying please go back. and this guy who has no reason to take this job, again, in my
wife said don't take the job, i am not taking the job. his wife says don't take the job, and just because he cares so much about the fate of that country and the importance of it to america, he decides to go and do this thing, knowing that he could be walking into a woodchipper, which is of course what he ended up walking into. and you realize that there is the human cost and the possible death of ukrainians, but it also makes you realize that the people who are doing this testimony who are coming forward and defying pat cipollone's letter, they are doing it because they have some deep profound emotional altruistic attachment to the work they've done and to these countries that are thousands of mile as way that 99% of people in this country have no idea where they are. >> i keep thinking about your former agency, the fbi and the justice department while donald trump smeared and maligned so
many agents for the mueller probe. it would seem to me that that's exactly what's happening to the state department with the white house press secretary smear of bill taylor yesterday. are you surprised that mike pompeo, other than a debacle of an appearance on a sunday show with the most uncomfortable pause in modern sunday show television history has had nothing to say about the parade of diplomats whose real objection wasn't even to donald trump's inane for policy. >> it was to the corruption and its execution. >> so, nicole, surprised, no, disappointed, deeply. as a leader an agency of a cabinet department, i think this is the order of your obligation, number one, the public, number two the men and women and the department that you serve, and last and frankly deadliest would be the president.
and so i was really disappoint when did bill barr didn't stand up for bob mueller and the fbi. i am still waiting for that one. >> me too. >> so i guess i am not terribly surprised and don't hold your breath. so i guess i am not terribly surprised that mike pompeo wouldn't do this for the state department. i can tell you this. the foreign service officers, the analysts in the state department, the support personnel are all waiting to hear whether or not their leader is going to stand up for the men and women of the department or continue to remain silent. i hate this cliche but the silence speaks volumes. >> can i just press you and ask you what the silence tells you? because it would seem to me. you know me, i have watched enough crime show and read about it to be dangerous. does the silence suggest he may have some criminal, legal, or political exposure himself? >> well, so criminal legal or political exposure are three very different things. it could just be simpler than that, nicole it. >> could just be cowardice.
if you want to find the reason that people do base and nefarious things, often just evolves to cowardice. i don't know what the answer is, but i do know that a leader has an obligation to theyou believe and to the men and women of the department that he or she serves. i've heard nothing from mike pompeo to suggest to me that he's a real leader. >> so i'll take cowardice for 500. but i want to put criminal and political exposure back on the table. mike pompeo was the link, right? he sat on the syria call or whatever erdogan said. donald trump said, yeah, if it's what you say it is, i love it, go get him where they started military incursion that threatened, still threatens our allies, the kurds. and he sat on the call with zelensky that was so alarming that the whistle-blower went to the general counsel of the cia and ultimately to the dni/i.g. to file a complaint about it. pompeo was on both of them and to our knowledge did nothing. >> correct. and now we have a report that mick mulvaney was somebody who they were saying you want the
money you got to talk to mulvaney. everybody in the president's inner circle at this white house seems to have knowledge of what happened here. and so whether they are trying to step back and shield themselves for mostly political reasons to stay in the president's good graces that, may be what is happening here. but in terms of their legal jeopardy, that i don't know, but i can tell you that it's a small circle of people, it's increasingly small at the white house. the president doesn't rely on that many people. he is also the one driving these things. and he's never had people to be able to say don't do that. anybody who tells him not to do something, they are gone. so he's left with a bunch of people who are enabling his behavior and who are witnesses then to bad behavior. now when all of these things come home to roost, they are potentially vulnerable themselves. and i think just to john's point in terms of the reason that bill taylor came back to this job, it was value. value used to drive our foreign policy. trump has always had a values-free foreign policy.
and i think his people will tell you, look, we've been transparent about that, it's america first, it's a mercantilist view of the world. i think the question we are seeing here is the degree to which the president promised or where he crosses the line into abusing the oath of his office. >> that's a great point. after the break, donald trump publicly declares victory and celebrates cutting and running on u.s. allies in the fight against isis as one of his top officials testifies on capitol hill at the very same moment that more than 100 isis fighters have gone missing. that stunning story next. cut. liberty mu... line? cut. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. cut. liberty m... am i allowed to riff? what if i come out of the water? liberty biberty... cut. we'll dub it. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need.
ambassador james jeffrey speaking on capitol hill earlier today. >> how many other isis detainees have escaped? does the u.s. have an idea where these individuals are, and is the u.s. able to monitor or effectively operate against isis given the withdrawal of u.s. forces? >> again, as secretary esper said, we would say that the number is now over a hundred. we do not know where they are. almost all of the prisons that the sdf were guarding are still secured. the sdf still has people there. we are monitoring that as best we can. >> so in cased you missed that more than 100 isis detainees have escaped and we do not have any idea where they are. so when that was happening in a split-screen moment we saw completely different spin on events from the president about an hour later. >> general mozloum has assured
me that isis is under very, very strict lock and key and the detention facilities are being strongly maintained. there were a few that got out a small number relatively speaking, and they have been largely recaptured. >> it's my pleasure to bring in retired four-star general barry mccaffrey. i worked in the post-9-1-1 white house. so maybe this is some political ptsd on my part. but i remember all of the counter terror and intel law folks saying we have to be right 100% of the time. terrorists only need to be right one time and you only need one of them. how many isis fighters are now in locations unknown to the u.s. government? >> nicole, look, i have worked in three administrations dealing directly with the president of the united states in the oval office and the national security council and the national
security council senior adviser. i have never seen anything like this. there is an orwellian fantasy quality to what's coming out of the white house. obviously the kurds are fleeing by the tens of thousands. about. way those isis fighters, if assad gets to him first he is going to kill them. if the turkish army get to them first, and the kurds will eventually let them go, they will be free to revive the isis insurrection. so it's hard to know what's going on inside the u.s. government. the security process is gone, it's broken. this is mr. trump home alone impulsively making decisions. >> what would you surmise? i mean, we understand that the pretense given for secretary mattis' resignation as secretary of defense was a disagreement over this policy in syria. we have learned through news reports that john bolton was very opposed to donald trump doing this.
he got on the phone with erdogan. you and i have now talked about it over the last few weeks. what in your mind explains this action which has no defenders, no enthusiasts, no one supporting it except donald trump, vladimir putin, and erdogan? >> hard to know. normally, if you throw your allies under the bus, if you turn your back on somebody that protected u.s. national security issues, in this case it's only the personal relationship between mr. trump, erdogan, and putin which benefitted by the way, assad and his iranian backers. so there is no logical explanation except some unknown interpersonal reason for mr. trump to want to please these people. so now you've got u.s. military pulling out in shameful disgrace and russian military units occupying our bases. how could this be right? how could he get there to this
kind of a decision? >> you know, general hayden says that one of the reasons he speaks out and took the job at cnn was to give voice to the people in the intelligence agencies who are very reluctant to do that. i imagine a lot of people in the military feel that way when they see you. what do you imagine they feel? active duty military and generals of the bepentagon stationed all over the world when they watch this president on a day like today? >> since i am in contact with most of the millry leadership would never try to characterize their viewpoint. they will loyally support the commander in chief unless he gives them an illegal order. if the senate asks them for their personal opinions in closed session or opened session, they will hear. but i think what we got right now is any normal intelligent experienced senior official in the government is looking at this mess going on simply appalled at what's happening. there is no way to understand
it. i never thought i'd see america reacting in this fashion. >> john heilemann, "the washington post" writes it like this. trump took credit for the ceasefire and suggested the agreement would save tens of thousands of kurdish lives in the region even though one day earlier russia and turkey agreed to a plan to push syrian/kurdish fighters cementing russian president vladimir putin's preeminent role in syria as american troops depart and u.s. influence wanes. just pick up on general mccaffrey's point about how bizarre it is to see such an orwellian paint spread and smeared all over our military. >> orwellian, literally that is exactly what i was reading as you are reading that piece of text. it is so obvious that the history of this will be written as president trump decided to give a gift to vladimir putin and assad.
and that that is the only way you could interpret it. all the rest of this is just -- window-dressing makes it sound too pleasant. it's just the worst kind of propagandistic smears of lies and b.s. because if you describe it for what it clearly obviously is and how it was precooked to be from the very beginning, the only obvious outcome with the obvious intentions that you strip it away to that, you couldn't come out and say that. pretty that up. the only way to deal with it if you described it for what it is, the only thing therefore is left to do since you can't spin that is just to paint a fantasy world on it, just put the ultimate lip stick on the ultimate pig. and again we have been talking in various ways about the deep state. we talked a little bit about it
in the enforcement and the law enforcement world and the state department. what must the people who are in the pentagon people who have served the pentagon, people who have done this for years, for decades and generations to be serving a commander in chief who says these kinds of things, they must just all be walking around with a nauseous pit in their stomach because it is really just, it's befouling the job of the commander in chief. >> we have a system of checks and balances in this country to provide a check on a president in exactly this situation. and the thing that's really disturbing to me is that it's not working right now. it's not worked and that's what led us to this point because the republican members of congress will not do their jobs. so to them i would say do your job, do your job. the american people did not elect you to just follow the polls to stay in a job forever. this is not a lifetime
appointment. and you should really put truly put country over party and over your individual job. i mean, it has reached the point where if you do not provide a check on this president, nobody knows where he's going to go next. and i think that -- you know, i wouldn't frankly want to serve in congress if it meant not doing my job. >> general mccaffrey, there is a famous tape, i have watched it multiple times of general mattis when he was secretary of defense with some troops where he said things are bad at home, but you are the best of us. what would you say to our active duty military right now about this moment? >> folks, watch your own lane, do not take any illegal actions, if you do refuse them and report it. but there's 2.1 men and women wounded defending the american people. i have considerable conference
so far in secretary esper. i think the chairman are first-rate experience courageous people. we've got to keep the military out of this. this is a job for the media, for the american voter, for congress, and for the judicial system to hedge in a rogue presidency. >> general mccaffrey, i am always grateful to you for making time for us. >> good to be with you. when we come back, we will bring you blockbuster new reporting on the criminal investigation into rudy's friends and the face -to-face meeting that william barr had with the big bad ukrainian oligarch tied to them. that story next. cologuard: colon cancer screening for people 50
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secret. >> abuse of power is not a crime. so that guy, matt whittaker, he was our country's acting attorney general for four months. increasingly, the upper echelons of the justice department have mutated into donald trump's personal defense force. adding to that perception today, new reporting from "the washington post" laying out a connection between the lawyers representing rudy giuliani's ukrainian pals. they were arraigned today in new york on campaign finance charges. washington post reports a ukrainian gas executive at the r recommendation of one of those giuliani associates hired two attorneys to represent him in a separate case. now, these two attorneys aren't just any two attorneys. they're a pair of fox news favorites and informal advisors to trump's legal team. their names are joe degeneva. remember him? and victoria tensing. here's where it gets super fishy. secured a rare face to face meeting with attorney general
william barr and other justice department officials to argue ge against the charges. now, barr declined to intervene but the fact that the meeting happened at all raises serious questions. how and why were lawyers representing a ukrainian oligarch able to secure a face to face with the current attorney general? chuck rosenberg is back with us. chuck, you want to take a stab at it? >> sure, why not, nicolle. so i noticed in your introduction, you emphasized the word perception. so it may well be that attorney general barr didn't concede anything to his visitors. he didn't give them what he wanted. he just had a meeting. but perceptions matter a lot and having had the privilege of working in the department for a long time, including for one deputy attorney general and one attorney general, i don't remember a meeting anything like this. and that's because the attorney general not only runs the department but also sets the tone for the department. and because we're talking about
it on television, i would say it's a bad day for the department of justice when the attorney general takes such a meeting. he doesn't have to. he's certainly not required to. and if there's a legitimate issue to be raised, and maybe there is, we don't know that here. that's what the deputy attorney general is for. that's what the head of the criminal division is for. that's what your u.s. attorney is for. and so i worry, like you do, about perception here, nicolle. >> you know, i want to ask you. you mentioned the head of the criminal division. the head of the criminal division put out a statement over the weekend distancing himself from another fishy meeting that if you are talking perception looked really bad. rudy giuliani was in there meeting with the head of the justice department's criminal division on a bribery case of all things while he himself is under federal investigation in the southern district of new york. and maybe someone should get a handle on that because the perception is that they have become donald trump's lawless department of roy cohn fixers.
>> it seems like they just come and go as they please. but again to that point. perception matters a lot and i know from having served there that there are lots of ways to be heard or to hear a defense attorney if she has a legitimate complaint or a gripe or concern about a case that you're pursuing. and so there are avenues for this. and before the attorney general wades into a case, in this case, he has to be really careful about setting a -- sending a signal to the men and women of the department that certain people get certain treatment under certain conditions. that is not the department of justice that i know and that i love. >> eli, i remember saying a very long time ago that bill barr was going to miss his credibility when it was gone. it would seem that moment is upon us. >> well, i mean, you know, it starts from donald trump and it starts at the top. constitution? you know,e ople who are in this and this is a person who, you know, if you're nice to him, you get what you want. when he talks about the country's interest, he sees no government who have survived who difference between the national have maintained some sort of influence with this president, interest and his own interest it is because they have when he talks about the generals, it's my generals. demonstrated loyalty above all
when he talks about the justice to him. >> and that's the mystery to me department, it's my lawyers. because why him? that's the way he views all of why the guy in the access hollywood tape? government. and that has trickled down and why the guy that left our the people who have survived, we kurdish allies to die? talked about the yes-men and the why him? why mike pompeo? and why bill barr pick him to be enablers that are in the white house. it's all throughout the loyal to is a mystery i haven't government. so for bill barr to serve at the solved yet. jack rosenberg, thank you for re this is almost what is required of him. spending time with us. we have to sneak in our last break. you ask to the we'll be right back. to sneak int break. we'll be right back. where people go to learn about their medicare options before they're on medicare. come on in. you're turning 65 soon? yep. and you're retiring at 67? that's the plan!
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i could talk to these friends forever but we're out of time. my thanks to eli, john, and most of all thanks to you for watching. that does it for our hour. "mtp daily" with chuck todd starts now. welcome to wednesday. "meet the press daily." good evening. i'm chuck todd. in washington, the theatrics from house republicans today. the silence from senate republicans.
the president's latest rants. crumbling denials. it all suggests there is a real fear on the right that testimony may have been a tipping point in the house's impeachment inquiry because in the wake of that testimony yesterday, house republicans literally stormed the impeachment hearing room today almost blocking testimony from a top pentagon official while complaining about the process. not talking about facts. the president signalled his alarm