tv MSNBC Live MSNBC February 1, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
that will do it for me this hour. kate snow picks things up right now. >> we'll pick it up right there, on a very, very busy afternoon. just a few moments ago, that confirmation of rex tillerson. also just a short time ago, the white house officially putting iran on notice. president trump's national security adviser taking the podium at today's press briefing with a pointed statement and a warning. >> the recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of u.n. security council resolution 2231. which calls upon iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology. the trump administration condemns such actions by iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the middle east and place -- which places american lives at risk. >> also you need a scorecard on capitol hill right now. moments ago rex tillerson
confirmed as secretary of state by the full senate but the president's pick for education secretary, betsy devos at this hour, she's in jeopardy. what exactly happened in the past hour to make that so? coming up. mr. gorsuch goes to washington. president trump's pick for supreme court making the rounds on capitol hill. will he be confirmed? democrats ready for a battle. president trump suggesting mitch mcconnell should go nuclear. what that means, we'll explain coming up. let's get right to capitol hill, though. kasie hunt has been covering all these fast-movingevelopments today on the varying confirmation processes. kasie, tillerson confirmed. devos, not so much. >> reporter: it's been a very busy day, kate, on this front. the headline at this hour is betsy devos' nomination to be secretary of education is in serious jeopardy right now on capitol hill. we haven't been able to say that yet about any of donald trump's cabinet nominees, despite
democrats' best efforts. the reason why betsy devos is in trouble, because there are suddenly republicans who are saying that they cannot support her. senator susan collins of main and lisa murkowski of alaska, both republicans, both have come under incredible pressure from, in some cases, teachers unions, to oppose betsy devos. she is not someone who has extensive experience with public schools. she didn't attend public schools herself. and the senators both voiced concerns about whether she would be supportive of public schools in the face of debate over charter schools, vouchers and other alternatives. both senators went to the senate floor today to announce their opposition to devos. take a look at what they had to say. >> i believe that she is a good person. i know she cares deeply about
the children of this nation but for reasons explained, i simply cannot support her confirmation. >> i conclude my remarks to make clear that my colleagues know firmly that i do not intend to vote on final passage to support mrs. devos to be secretary of education. >> reporter: so, now i'm going to have to do a little math for you. what this means is the 52 senator -- republicans in the senate, you subtract two. they have 50 it seems right now. that means there is effectively a tie in the senate. know that all democrats plan to oppose betsy devos. senator joe manchin of wecame o with a statement saying he will ouls oppose devos. that means the white house might have to be willing to go to the mat to get devos concerned. they might have to send mike
pence, the vice president, up here to senate to break the tie. that's only possible if no other republican senators break away from this. there are other moderate republican senators under immense pressure. dean heller of nevada. the state of nevada where unions are very important, hold a lot of sway. senator shelly moore caputo can expect a conversation with joe manchin, her colleague. west virginia does not have charter schools, according to joe manchin, so his concern has been, he says, with public schools. he's arguing that she should be concerned with that as well. so, we're going to be watching very closely to see if there's one more republican senator willing to break ranks here. either way, betsy devos, her nomination teerting right now in the senate. >> let me -- forgive me if you said this. let me make sure i understand one other little part of this, which is jeff sessions, a senator right now but wants to
be attorney general and about to be confirmed to be attorney general. they can't do that yet, right? >> reporter: essentially, yes. there are questions about how jeff sessions' seat once vacant wou would be filled. meaning he would remain a senator. at the end of the day, you need a simple majority if you -- if you have 99 people in the senate because you've lost jeff sessions, you still need 50 for a majority here. so, yes. he walked by one of my colleagues in the senate earlier, was asked, hey, are you going to be here? he flashed a thumbs up. so, it seems as though that's the track that they're on right now. but all of a sudden, much more confusion about how this is all going to go. they wanted to do jeff sessions' nomination next. doesn't seem like they can. >> right, because they need him to be a senator, not an attorney general. understood. thank you for tracking all that.
let's turn over to the white house now. a lot of news there as well. my colleague kristen welker is outside the white house. she was at the briefing that just wrapped up. an eventually press briefing. the big headline, sort of unexpected, right, kristen, that the white house is putting iran, as they said, on notice. >> reporter: right, those words from president trump's national security adviser, michael flynn. the headline could not be more significant, kate, in a surprise appearance at the briefing room, flynn said that they're putting iran on notice because of recent provocations, including a missile test. condemning those actions. saying they are going to be much tougher on iran than the former administration was. now, of course, just a little bit of background and context here. this comes after president obama had brokered the iran nuclear deal, an agreement aimed at making sure iran is not able to develop a nuclear weapon. so, i pressed press secretary sean spicer on what specifically it meant that now iran is on
notice and whether or not this was an attempt to build the case to undo the iran nuclear deal. take a listen to a little bit of that exchange. >> as i mentioned, i think general flynn and the nsc staff will have a briefing at 4:00. they can go forward. we wanted to make very clear we felt as though that -- their actions were both provocative and a violation. and making sure that they understood that we weren't going to sit by and not act on those actions. >> are you building a case -- >> i'm not going to go any further than that, kristen. >> reporter: now, of course, not a complete surprise that we're seeing this administration talk tough when it comes to iran. trump, as a candidate, was very strong, saying he was going to rip up the iran nuclear deal. is w the tweet, though, that just came out from former president obama's former deputy national security adviser, ben rhodes. let me read you what he said. he said, agreement wasn't meant to make iran thankful to the u.s. it was intended to peacefully
roll back iran's nuclear program, which it did. now, iran has said that the united states can't just unilaterally tear up the iran nuclear deal because this is a multination agreement. but we'll have to see if this administration agrees with that thinking and what specifically they mean by putting iran on notice. we're going to have a fuller briefing coming up in about an hour from now, kate. >> kristen welker at the white house, thanks so much. joining me from washington, nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell who covers the state department, among many other things she does so well. let's talk about rex tillerson, because that headline is getting buried with all this other news. he's now u.s. secretary of state. what challenges face him in terms of foreign affairs, immediate -- things he has to deal with day one? >> right away, iran. and the fact that mike flynn went out into the briefing room and set this -- set up this confrontation with iran, which we hope is going to be explained
at 4:00 when they brief again as to whether they are now triggering a six-month withdrawal period from that iran nuclear agreement or are they just talking about the ballistic missile launch, the test that they say violates the u.n. resolution. what steps are they taking because it was a very -- a very tough warning from mike flynn in the briefing room, as you've been reporting. this as general mattis, defense secretary, is on a plane for his first trip to asia as defense secretary. as tillerson was being voted so you don't have a secretary of state in place when it first took place. tillerson had been at the white house earlier today having lunch with the president, so presumably they talked about the fact this this was brewing. also ukraine, white house trying to downplay it today, but there is growing fight, hostility going on between ukraine, russian-baed forces against the ukrainians. that is of grave concern in europe. all the other trouble spots. and then here at home. the workforce is really in a
state of disarray. you've had top people fired, other people moved aside and resigning. you've got a growing number of people signing a dissent letter that is supposed to go to top management. there hasn't been any top management. a very unusual record of people where it's in the past only been a few dozen during previous periods, most recently syria. before that, bosnia and iraq, going all the way back to vietnam. this is supposed to be a very privileged, secret channel of dissent for foreign policy and civilian people, the workforce at the state department to the top management, to the secretary of state. he's going to have to deal with that because they have already been warned by sean spicer, if you don't like it, get out. that's not the posture in the past of secretaries of state. people don't know whether rex tillerson is going to be more understanding of this kind of dissent. i interviewed one of those fired, a top former diplomat, 35-year veteran said, we're just waiting and hoping for him to be
confirmed today because we need leadership and we're hoping that he is the right man. he was actually praising him. there's a lot of expectation that rex tillerson is the man to do the job internally to restore morale at the state department. >> andrea mitchell, thanks so much. always appreciate your time. last hour the trump administration made that international news on iran, saying they're putting them on notice. iran has said, by the way, that the test was not a violation of the nuclear deal signed by seven countries, including the u.s. national security adviser general mike flynn, though, came to that white house briefing. let's just listen to another portion of what he said. >> the trump administration con democrats such actions by iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the middle east and place -- which places american lives at risk. president trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between iran and the obama administration as well as the united nations as being weak and ineffective. instead of being thankful to the
united states in these agreements, iran is now feeling emboldened. as of today, we are officially putting iran on notice. >> joining me now, msnbc national security analyst kevin barren, executive editor at defense one. i understand it you were at the pentagon watching the briefing when this happened. nobody was really expecting this kind of a blunt announcement from the white house. >> zero warning whatsoever. it was pin drop silence at the pentagon. just unbelievably unusual to have a white house official, national security adviser and, you know, retired general that we know well, to walk out, make a threat to iran and walk away and tell everybody there will be background later. so for a couple houshz -- hour and change, the entire world has no idea what the white house's intention is toward iran and what response they're thinking of to that icbm test. >> how different is the language we just heard out of this white house compared to the obama language or treatment of its
relationship with iran? >> well, it's -- you would expect the white house to issue warnings or to push back or to condemn or, you know, make other kinds of complaints but not in this open-ended threat without kind of a background. often it would be the other way around. we wouldn't have heard from an nsc member at the podium. there would have been a white house organized background call, reporters, then followed by some statements, very carefully, methodically chosen language. this was clear language. this was the same tough sabre rattling stuff we heard on the campaign. they said they were going to act this way. this is the first test they've had. and the white house is acting that way. again, no one knows what this means. does this mean there's going to be retaliatory military strikes or sanctions or just complaining about this -- the first chance to complain about the nuke deal? it's so unusual. there's instant need for clarification. >> we'll get some. in terms of the substance of what they're saying, the complaint about this missile test, can you give us some
welcome ba background there. what happened? iran is saying this was fully in compliance with the nuclear deal. what's the background. >> a couple things. generically trump said they would be tough other iran than the previous administration. any move iran does is considered provocative. now a chance for them to respond. they walk out, make this statement. we'll find out more in 45 minutes or so about what they really mean by it. i think hans was on air earlier from the pentagon making a good point that there's also been a conflating going on. the icbm test are not part of the nuclear deal. they do violate some u.n. rules. there have been ships fired upon by houthi, and icbm is also believed to be another version -- another icbm created with north korean technology. it even wraps in how tough is the u.s. going to be against north korea? against that regime?
already the pentagon has said foa month, including obama's pentagon, that any icbm test fired in the direction of a u.s. territory or its friends and allies would possibly be shot down. the north koreans said that would be an act of war if it happened. it just sets up a lot of questions that are involved. all of them dangerous. >> msnbc national security and military analyst for us, thanks so much for getting in front of a camera for us very quickly on this breaking news. more on the breaking news when we come back. much more on judge neil gorsuch, president trump's pick to replace justice antonin scalia. we'll talk to people who know him. we'll take a close look at some of his past rulings and what they tell us about how he might act on the supreme court. boost it's about moving forward not back. it's looking up not down. it's feeling up thinking up living up. it's being in motion... in body in spirit in the now. boost. it's not just nutrition.
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trump, who has said he would be for the working man and woman, has not chosen someone who routinely sides with the average american. instead, it seems he has selected a nominee to the supreme court who sides with ceos over citizens. >> senate minority leader chuck schumer this afternoon voicing some of his concerns about president trump's supreme court nominee, neil gorsuch. so, who is the judge from colorado? what are his positions? i'm joined by melissa hart, a professor at university of colorado law school, who knows justice -- judge gorsuch, excuse me. also with me is yale law school professor akil lamar. thank you. melissa, let me start with you. you're out in colorado. he was born there, lives there. he has close ties to washington as well, though. people might not know he worked there for a time, justice
department. his mother was head of the epa for a time during the reagan administration. talk about his background and how you see that shaping his actions as a judge. >>, yeah i mean, as you point out, he's very inside the beltway in terms of wide range of experience in washington and also a coloradan. i don't know exactly how that will shape his role as a judge or justice on the court. i do think he has an understanding of some of the issues that affect western land that justice who is have lived on the east coast all of their lives may not. and i think it's an openness and engaged nature of coloradans, we like to say that we're open and engaged in any event, that is something that neil shares with many people. >> having lived in new mexico for a while, i get there is a difference between that sort of western aesthetic and the east coast, for sure. i want to ask you about some of the cases we know about that he's most famous for. the hobby lobby case is one of them. he joined an opinion issued by the tenth circuit court of
appeals that said stores like hobby lobby cannot be compelled to provide contraception to employees under the affordable care act. he wrote, it is not for secular courts to reitehe religious complaints of aaithful adhere rent or decide whether a religious teaching about complicity imposes too much moral disapproval on those only indirectly assisting wrongful conduct. we might need a little bit of a legal translation there. he's basically siding with hobby lobby. he sided with the it is sisters of the poor in another case. what does that tell us about his record as a judge? >> well, that's -- that was a statutory case under the religious freedom restoration act. and his position is pretty much in line with majority of the supreme court in similar litigation. so, even -- those who may be skeptical of him have to think about, who else would they get
instead? i tend to think he's a very careful, thoughtful judge. melissa is right that he brings a measure of geographic diversity to the court. all the other justices basically have their homes on the coast, on or near the coast. america was divided in the last election between coastal elites and the heartland. i voted with the coastal elites. i was a hillary clinton supporter. but i think neil gorsuch is a very distinguished person whose rulings are careful. he's smart. and that particular decision, the media is very interested in it because people on both the left and right like to fight about a certain religious issues. each appealing to the base, religious traditionalists and women's rights advocates. >> where would you put him on the spectrum? >> the ruling is more narrow than the press has played it up to be. >> well, explain that, though, for those who aren't lawyers. what did you mean it's narrow.
>> he wasn't saying hobby lobby deserves to win. he was saying under statute it's awkward for judges to say that's not your rjsz view. given you believe this and this and this, you can't believe this other thg. well f you're in a religion, often you have views people outside that religious faith tradition might find odd. he was saying, at least at the threshold of litigation, under this religious freedom restoration act, we should take people at their word when they say they actually have a religious province. doesn't mean they should win but it does mean judges should not be too light to basically say, oh, that's not really a religious objections. you're not affected by that. your religious views aren't impacted by the government practice that you're objecting to. instead, let's come to court and then we can evaluate your claim against the cost that's imposing on others, on society, on, perhaps, nonreligious adherence, people of other faits. >> can i jump in here? >> go ahead.
>> might i say something about that? i think it's really important -- i think people are trying to read the tea leaves on what a justice gorsuch would feel about times when one person's religious liberty comes in conflict with another person's values/claims, such as in the context of a business owner who says he doesn't have to serve gays getting married, but those questions, which might well be evaluated under the first amendment would be be evaluated under a really different standard than that set out in the religious freedom restoration act. >> yes. >> i think when you look at judge gorsuch's writings, he's very careful to apply the standards set out about the law set in front of him. there's room to hope that his views on rifra are not the views on the first amendment because those are laws that are interpreted differently. >> yeah, you -- define rifra, please. >> sorry. religious freedom restoration act. >> thank you. so interesting. we could talk forever. melissa hart, akhil amare, yale
law school. as we've been reporting with two republican senators now announcing they will not vote for betsy devos, trump's pick to lead the education department, her confirmation looking like it could be in ardy. wel hear from parents who are concerned about the future of public education here in the u.s. to folks everywhere whose diabetic... ...nerve pain shoots and burns its way into your day... ...i hear you. when that pain makes simple errands simply unbearable...
that just tastes better. fresher. more flavorful. delicious. with more great nutrition. and 25% less saturated fat. only eggland's best. better taste. better nutrition. better eggs. just within the past hour here's what we've learned. republican senators susan collins of maine and lisa murkowski of alaska saying they will not vote for betsy devos as education secretary. that means devos has just 50 votes right now in the u.s. senate. vice president mike pence would have to break the tie if no one else changes their vote. all of this comes as we've been reporting on the public outcry against devos. for more on that, i want to revisit with my colleague rehema ellis. she's been covering this all
week. you were here yesterday and we were talking about how we're hearing and senators and congress people are hearing from the public on this one. there's been a bit of an outcry about her. >> absolutely. very unusual outcry regarding a nominee for the secretary of education. the largest teachers union, national education association, says they've had more than a million people send in e-mails to senators across the country voicing their discontent for this nomination. and it's very unusual, but it speaks to what people have learned about betsy devos. those who support her call her an enormously wonderful person in terms of education reform for children and parents for xhois. and other people say they is unfit for the job. so, that kind of sentiment is being expressed now on capitol hill. >> had you a chance to go out and talk with actual parent, right, people who are living this every day. >> we did. we had the pleasure of going to the spirit charter school.
they invited us in. we got to speak with four parents. let me set the sustacene for yo. one had child in public school, two in charter schools and one in a religious school. they feel enormously passionate about what's happening in our education environment right now. listen to what they had to say about what they think is going on as far as education is concerned. >> a show of hands, are you optimistic that something new and better is on the horizon for public education in this country? >> no. >> not one of you would raise your hand? >> the federal government? >> yes. >> no. >> no. >> you don't think whoever the new secretary of education is going to be is going to come with a package of new ideas and new prospects of hope? >> it's always a promise that it will change and that things will get better. yet, it stays the same. >> when you hear the name betsy devos, claudia, what do you
think? >> what is she going to do for education for our schools? how is she going to make this better for our school systems? >> i think of vouchers. i know she is a school choice proponent. and i am frightened because she doesn't seem to have very much experience with schools or education. >> and you said you're frightened. >> yes. >> why? >> because she's terribly inexperienced. she has a track record in michigan of supporting voucher schools. which have not improved things for people in michigan. >> and your child is in public school? >> yes. >> even with children in the private sector, i'm skill concerned because in the state of illinois and across the country, education has not been the top priority. so, i'm wondering what she will bring to the table. >> i think beyond the nomination for the secretary of education position, what i find incredibly
startling and disheartening is the overall gop platform. the fact there's an executive order that we are going to build a wall between our country and mexico at a projected cost of tens of billions of dollars, but we will not take that tens of billions of dollars and invest it in education. i find that reprehensible. >> i have to say thank you to those parents who sat down with us. wehouldoint out that president trump has proposed spending $20 billion in a federal block grant to promote charters and vouchers. those would be tax-funded vouchers that children could take and go to a private school. bottom line what all of these parents were saying, they have a passion for improving education for all children across this country. their big concern is they just didn't hear that coming from betsy devos. >> we'll see what happens on capitol hill now. it's changing by the moment. rehema, thank you so much. great to have you here. for more on all the battles
brewing on capitol hill and also the white house statement on iran, i want to bring in republican senator john barrasso of wyoming. thank you for taking time for us. i know it's a crazy, busy afternoon there. >> kate, great to be with you. thanks for having me. >> can i start with the breaking news this afternoon, and that is over at the white house, i'm sure you've heard by now, the national security adviser general mike flynn, came out and delivered what he called putting iran on notice. president trump said that when he was campaigning that they would dismantle the iran nuclear deal. are we seeing the beginnings, the first steps of that today? >> well, i hope we are because i will tell you, iran with a nuclear weapon makes the world less safe, less stable, less secure. and after president obama went around congress, ignored the will of the american people to do this iran deal, of great concern, and this is a deal iran basically has refused to comply with, and president obama refused to enforce.
so, i'm happy to see and now today as you know, we just got rex tillerson confirmed to be secretary of state. bipartisan vote. you had republicans and democrats alike voting to confirm him. i think we're heading in the right direction. >> it doesn't concern you -- some critics have said that the way it was handled, going out and saying something very publicly in a statement at a podium in the press briefing room was sort of too forward or too -- getting ahead of yourself. >> well, people wil say what they will, but i will tell you that this iran deal, when the president decided to go to the unitedations instead of the united states senate, that was basically ignoring the will of the american people. i think this is a bad deal from the beginning. i'm opposed to it. i'm glad to see rex tillerson con fired with a bipartisan vote. >> betsy devos might be in a bit
of trouble. first, you support her, you plan to vote for her? >> absolutely. i support local control of education, having parents and students and teachers working closely together. all kids learn differently. and i think the more opportunities can you make for children instead of a one size fits all with washington making the decision, i think the better it is for education in this country. >> senator, are you concerned at this hour that she may not have the votes from your colleagues? >> each senator gets to vote and speak for themselves. so, we're going to have a vote on friday. and i'm looking forward to having her as the next secretary of education. >> friday is yourening the vote will move to friday? >> my understanding is that the next -- the next vote coming up on her is friday. >> let's talk about neil gorsuch, please, the supreme court nominee that we learned of last night. will you have the 60 votes needed, do you think? will republicans have those 60 votes to get him through? >> well, he is an excellent choice. he's an all-star choice to
follow justice scalia on the supreme court. when you talk about somebody who is just so well qualified, he will get confirmed to be the next member of the united states supreme court. i can assure you of that. >> with the help of democrats, with some of your democratic colleagues, or not? >> when you look at statements previously democrats have made, ken salazar from colorado, he's had lots of praise heaped on him over the years from republicans and democrats alike because of how good of a job he has done as a judge. he was -- you know, he got to this tenth circuit with a unanimous vote in the united states senate. no one opposed him. so, i think he is eminently well qualified for this position and he will be confirmed. >> as you know, a lot of your fellow democrats are saying they respect him and they might even like him, but they're concerned and angry about what happened during president obama's term and his choice for the supreme
court, merritt garland and republicans would not even give him a hearing. oregon senator merkley said in a statement, quote, the most fundamental thing that must be understood about last night's announcement, this is a stolen seat. this is the first time in american history that a party has block aided a nominee. if this tactic is rewarded rather than resisted it will set a dangerous new precedent in american governance. can you understand why democrats are upset? >> no, i can't because joe biden said he would have done essentially the same thing and said that on the floor when he was a senator near the end of a president's term. we know chuck schumer said the same thing, harry reid the same thing. when you're in the middle of a presidential election, i think it's only appropriate and right that the next president should be the one to select the new member of the supreme court when a vacancy occurred the way it had here. that's what we said. donald trump put out a name of
21 different jurists, each were superb. ly tell you, i'm so proud president trump chose mr. gorsuch, judge gorsuch. he is terrific. he has the right temperament. he is just so well qualified for this position and he will be confirmed to the supreme court. >> senator john barrasso, joining us in between votes and lots of activity on capitol hill. appreciate your time. >> thanks for having me. back to our top story now. a couple things to tell you. as we've been talking here, i'm told that the president, president trump, boarded marine one and took off from the white house. this was kind of a surprise to us. we didn't have that on his schedu today. but we're understanding now that he is en route to dover air base with his daughter, ivanka trump. that's all the information we have right now. the trump administration, as we've been saying, making this statement about iran this afternoon, saying they're putting them on notice for their recent ballistic missile test. no other details given at the press briefing about what on
notice means. but in about 20 minutes the national security council says they'll provide background details to reporters. let me bring in pentagon correspondent hans nichols. hans, do you have any idea why the president would be giving to dover? >> dover is where the remains of fallen u.s. soldiers typically return when they're repat rated to this country. as we know, a navy s.e.a.l., chief petty officer on owens perished in a raid that went bad over the weekend. president obama did this frequently. president bush did this frequently. they go out there, they receive the casket, receive the remains. sometimes they're there with the family. it's a very sacred and somber experience. that's likely where the president is headed if he's leaving the white house to dover. >> that would make sense. and then let's turn to the other news on iran. what's happening where you sit at the pentagon? how is that notice received there? did pentagon officials know that was coming? >> well, secretary mattis is in
the plane. is he flying in the e-4b from d.c. on his way to south korea. we haven't gotten a readout on whether malt tis wttis was brie. mr. flynn's statement, number one, it was bold. coming out to the white house podium in a surprise visit is bold. we don't know if it's bellicose. we don't know what the follow-up will be. we know iran launched a missile. it was very clear. they saw it happen on sunday. they have satellites, eyes in the sky that see these things. they weren't overly kerpd. they saw it when it traveled 500 miles to the south, point out over the ean. it was a violation, likely, i should say likely, of u.n. security council resolution 2231. it doesn't violate the joint comprehensive plan of action. that is the so-called nuclear deal. one thing about the nuclear deal is secretary mattis is on record as saying, it's done, it's dusted.
in some ways you can't put it back in the bottle. so many thing, so many aspects of that iran nuclear deal is done. iran has gotten the money released from u.s. accounts. remember those cart loads, truckloads of cash flown over. they're allowed to enrich some urani uranium. sanctions have been lifted. one final point on sanctions, if you'll recall at the end of the obama administration, congress passed -- i think it passed 99-0 in the senate the iran sanctions act. that gives the president, any president, broad latitude to impose new sanctions, to tweak the sanctions regime. we saw with president obama is he let that become law. he didn't sign it. he just let it become law because he didn't want to trigger any additional sanctions. but those tools are available to president trump. kate? >> hans nichols, the pentagon. if we learn any more about that trip, you'll bring it to us. can i ask one thing? i recall that those are -- those are typically very private affairs, those are private ceremonies and not televised. >> they're private and they
don't always -- it depends on what time of day they happen. i remember seeing photographs of them before and colleagues of mine when bush -- excuse me, when obama would go out to dover. obama would leave in the middle of the night sometimes because that just happened to be when the caskets were returning. in some ways the president's schedule needs to match the schedule of the casket, the coffin, that he is receiving and honoring. kate? >> hans, as you were speaking, my producer was just telling me in my ear that we do have confirmation it is exactly as we suspected, that president trump is going to dover to be with that family and receive the remains of the navy s.e.a.l. who was killed in that raid in yemen on sunday. ryan owens of peoria, illinois. we will expect tear more about that and take a quick break.
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that's a photo of 30-year-old william ryan owens, navy s.e.a.l. who was killed in a raid in yemen over the weekend. sunday morning, early. on the right side you see president trump departing the white house with ivanka trump, his daughter, getting on marine one. they are flying to dover air base where they'll be with the family of william ryan owens as the remains are received back at the air base there. we'll continue to follow that. i'm joined, meantime, by msnbc political analyst michael steele, former chairman of the republican national commission and carmel executive vice president for policy at center for american progress. thank you for being with us. >> hi. >> part of the reason we asked you to -- we obviously didn't know it would be happening this hour with the president making this visit to dover, but we wanted to talk about some of the things -- the news cycle is changing so quickly. it's by the hour, right? it's not even by the day right now. so, first let's talk about the supreme court and the
president's nominee chosen last night. president trump earlier today urging the leader of the senate, the republican leader, to go nuclear if he needs to. not sure everybody knows what that means, but change the rules. >> change the rules, yeah. >> so they can force it through with a simple majority vote rather than 60. republican strategy right now, talk to me about what republicans need to do on capitol hill and at the white house to get the best possible result. >> i think that this isn't anything for the republicans to do. they've got the nominee. they got the best guy possible. i think gorsuch's nomination is top of the line. it's aces for -- i really do. you go, you look at his yours prudence, you look at all those things that go into making up a justice for the court. he meets that. now, can you have the philosophical disagreements and ideological perspective but i think as a straight-up jist, he's a great pick. so from that standpoint,
republicans need to just tell that story. i think america will like this guy. i think they will like him the way they look garland merritt, to be honest about it. the politics are different now. and i think the -- >> wait a minute. the politics are different now. >> no, no. >> four months ago wouldn't give a hearing. >> that's not what i mean. i'm saying the politics are different now because the table has shifted. so, the politics are different in terms of how democrats respond to this and how republicans respond to this. it's one thing to be at the end of a presidential term and have this happen, and it's another thing to be at the beginning of a new presidential term and have this happen. so, the politics are different. you've got to recognize for what it is. my advice, if any democrat cares to listen, is this ain't your fight. this is -- this changes nothing on the court. at the end of the day. you can stake all your cards and play all your cards on this if you want to, but i don't think it's going to gain you anything. the fight to come is the one you need to be prepared for.
and i think even a number of democrats have already come out and said that really throwing down hard on this nomination is -- may not be the best move for the democrats to make. i'm not saying that from a partisan perspective. it's political strategy. >> yet we're hearing from some democrats that that they will f. that's exactly what they intend to do, what do you think the best democratic strategy is here? because this is tricky. he is -- he is someone who's as nominees go, probably more mainstream than a lot of others might have been. >> i think this is just wrong. i don't think he's mainstream. look at his juris prudence, you look at the taking down the regulatory state of the government. this is not a mainstream nominee. this is someone from the far right of the ideological spectrum. i also think you have to take into consideration the context here, trump has only been president for a 11 days and engaged in this extraordinary exercise and executive power, violating the constitution by
issuing a muslim ban which goes against one of the fundamental principles of our country. the supreme court is one of the only checks we have left to ensure that the administration doesn't violate the constitution. so this pick needs to be someone who has bipartisan support which is what president trump put forth with his nominee. he didn't do it at the end of his presidency, he did it -- >> you mean obama. >> sorry, obama did it a year before he left office. he put forth a candidate that had bipartisan support, and i think that that's what president trump should also be doing -- >> given the cards you're got now. given that this is the nominee, what would you urge democrats to do? >> i think they have to point out that he is not -- east not a middle of the road candidate. that he is someone who's likely to engage in judicial activism. to pursue an ideological agenda. that's not appropriate. we need a supreme court justice to be independent from the
executive branch, and that's not the person put forth right now. >> there's nothing in this just in this judges record that would demonstrate anything you just said. there's nothing that shows judicial activism, there's nothing that shows that he, you know, makes decisions on id logical outcome -- >> i disagree, the hobby lobby decision, that is not a mainstream decision. >> mainstream for a lot of americans it is who believe that there is a limited space for the government when it comes to private decisions and how people exercise their faith and so forth, and so i think that, you know, how you define mainstream may be different from how i've defined it, but we look to these judges to try to find that sweet spot and again, i have to say that there's nothing you can point maybe to that and say that's an outlier, but there's nothing else in his writings that show that this guy is somehow held bent on an activism. >> michael steele, former rnc
chairman, at the center for american progress, i'm going to have to leave it there. please come back another time. thanks so much. >> thank you. we are also following the latest on the battle to repea obamacare this afternoon. late last week, republican lawmakers discussed the repeal and replacement of the affordable care act at their annual retreat in philadelphia. and, according to a recording of that meeting obtained by the washington post. republican members of congress expressed concerns about the process. republican senator lamar alexander of tennessee said, quote, our goal in my opinion should be not a quick fix, we can do it rapidly, but not a quick fix. we want a long-term solution that lowers costs. for more, i want to fwlibring i someone who was at the retreat. jim jordan, republican of ohio. congressman, thanks for being with us. >> you bet, thank you. >> let's talk about what i just mentioned that there was this audio recording that people have debated thousand leaked out, but the point is, but it seems like there was some discussion and
debate about how to handle repeal and replacement at your retreat. are you on the same page or is there a big divide among your colleagues about how to move forward and how close are you to having something that you can replace? >> there is a big debate, but i'm on the page of the american people. they sent us here to repeal it. it's been a huge issue in the past several election cycles, they sent us here to get rid of it, every bit of it, every tax, regulation, mandate, that's what i'm committed to do as i think a lot of my colleagues are as quickly as possible. i start from the premise, i think health care gets better and costs less when obamacare's gone, and if you believe that like i do, then let's do it as quickly as we can. >> what do you replace it with? can you give us a broad sketch? >> yeah, freedom, choice, right now it's washington centered, washington focussed, washington telling families, doctors, how to run and individuals thousand run their health care and how to get their health care. i want to empower people. i want to empower doctors and empower families. so that means expanding health
savings accounts allowing interstate shopping of insurance, getting rid of all the regulations that are put into a basic policy so that you can as a young person, a healthy young person, for example, buy a high deductible plan and have the health savings account, instead young people who are buying in the individual market, you've got them paying 5, $600 a month for the healthiest people in the population. those things will be there once we repeal it and put in free market principles. >> the washington post reports that john fasso from report, warned against using the repeal of the aca to also defund planned parenthood. he said, we are just walking into a gigantic political frap we go down this path of sticking planned parenthood in the health insurance bill. if you want to do it somewhere else, i have no problem, but i think we're creating a political mine field for ourselves, house and senate, that's a republican saying that behind closed doors. i know you sir have been supportive of including a
provision to defund planned parenthood, right? >> of course we should. it was in the bill we put on president obama's desk. >> last year. >> but you're telling me we're going to put something own president trump's desk that's not -- that doesn't go as far, that's ridiculous. of course we have to include that. >> do you worry though that that for democrats is so unpalettable, they absolutely won't go there that it becomes just a complete non-starter? >> well, i don't count on democrats supporting whatever repeal bill we put on the president's desk. i don't count on them frankly helping us with the replacement that's going to empower people and not empower washington. i don't count on them -- >> but you may need them in the senate, no? >> i count on republicans doing what we did just a year and a half ago in the 2015 bill we put on president obama's desk, we should at least be able to put that same legislation on president trump's desk, and frankly we don't need democrats because we're using reconciliation to do this repeal. some of the replacement, we may need democrats, right now on the
reconciliation, the process we're using, simple majority in the senate. >> congressman jim jordan of ohio, thanks so much for being with us. appreciate it. >> you bet, thank you. we will be right back. if you have medicare parts a and b and want more coverage, guess what? you could apply for a medicare supplement insurance plan whenever you want. no enrollment window. no waiting to apply. that means now may be a great time to shop for an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. medicare doesn't cover everything. and like all standardized medicare supplement
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nothing, stops us from doing right by our customers. ally. do it right. whoo! look out. that's going to wrap up this hour for me, a busy hour, i'll see you back here tomorrow afternoon 3:00 eastern noon pacific, snapchat, twitter, instagram, it's all tvkatesnow. up next, steve kornacki is back, hey steve. >> hey kate, thanks. and good afternoon, everybody, i'm steve kornacki live in new york, day 13 of donald trump's first hundred days, topping the agenda right now, a break in the ranks. >> i have heard from thousands, truly thousands of alaskans who have shared their concerns about mrs. devos as secretary of education. >> there are two republican senators who now say they will vote against betsy devos, the question of the hour, will there be a third? also on the