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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  September 6, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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>> i was very honored when without my even knowing about it statements were put out by general mattis. general mattis is an intellect and when i read his statement not only is it not true, i would like to write a statement. i said thank you very much, that's nice. president trump first told reporters he didn't know that jim mattis was going to write a letter defending him. 90 minutes later he said the opposite. heck of a way to push back on allegations that you're either confused or lying. and that's just the tip of the iceberg this morning. good morning, everybody. >> it's the least of the problems. >> the least of the problems. >> what did you think about the letter? >> incredible. incredible move by "new york times" and incredible letter and not the way the white house is supposed to work. not normal. it is thursday, september 6th. >> john meacham is with us.
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you just want to introduce him. >> can't get to him. >> hey, meacham, we always ask you historical precedence and actually a few here and obviously yesterday was a historical day. lined up with the woodwood book. the very public unraveling of this administration as told by members of this administration. what are the parallels? what are the historical preceden precedence? >> they're revealing in terms of when they came out. if you look at the pentagon papers and the johnson administration, that came out after the johnson administration. if you look at the remarkable details about richard nixon's last days in the white house where he's talking to the portraits and hoping the portraits don't talk back and he's asking henry kissinger to pray with him on the floor of the lincoln sitting room and
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having one drink or so and becoming incoherent and telling senators in 25 minutes i could kill 75 million people with a nuclear strike, which led the secretary of defense to say that any military order had to be countersigned by him. here's -- and then you move ahead to president reagan during the days of iran contra and baker's people were researching the 25th amendment the weekend before they wernt in to take ovr because they were hearing stories that ronald reagan was essentially gaga. they find him immense lly charmg and totally in control. here's the distinction of that catalog of moments of potential white house chaos. we learned about those after the fact. we learned about those in books. we learned about those after the crisis to which they were
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speaking had passed. the remarkable thing about yesterday is this is a real-time historical trove. it is not simply a matter of interest. it's a cause for action. >> you know, mika, what's the most, well, i mean, it's just not a secret. this is -- i think what is most telling about the woodward book and most telling about this op-ed is that we have not only been saying this since he was president of the united states, we said that kellyanne conway would come on this show throughout donald trump's campaign, attack him, say my god, i can't wait for this campaign to be over and, you know, sean spicer will deny it, but saying the guy was going to lose and their only goal was to make sure that he didn't lose by
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eight or nine because then they would lose the house and the senate. but there was no way he was going to win. by the way, i just called out those two names. it was everybody up and down the line on the campaign and everybody up and down on the line in the white house. when they deny it, they prove themselves to be total liars. >> i can see in some ways it is almost for us and you speak to so many white house insiders and national security foreign policy leaders in office that you're like, well, of course. but this is a dangerous precedent that you have a group of people working, especially after what we heard from bob woodward's book. as a newspaper guy for "new york ti times" and willie has the piece. what was your reaction when you read this? >> i was stunned. i was absolutely stunned. >> by what? >> stunned, "a," that they ran an anonymous op-ed piece.
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i was stunned that constant of the piece and the descriptions of the ongoing crisis in the oval office. >> can we start with the first one? you were stunned they ran the piece. this is, obviously, newsworthy. if they haven't run it. >> because of the anonymity. because of running it anonymously by an anonymous offer. that's what stunned me. but the larger, the context of it is the crisis in the oval office. where a sitting president is described assed av ed sed ed sa my conclusion, my take on it i don't care who the author was, i would rather they be named, he or sheer, but the larger context is finally people like paul ryan and mitch mcconnell reading this, knowing what they know.
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knowing what so many around this presidency do know is their larger obligation not to the country rather than to the party? >> they have known this all along, willie. they have known that donald trump is not well. they know. everything that was in the woodward book. everything they've seen first hand. everything in this article they've heard first hand for a year and a half now and they have chosen to smile and go along with it. >> many of them have said those things to us privately. this is a white house. and it's something senator bob corker said yesterday publicly. he said, yeah, this is exactly what i'm hearing from people off the record when i speak privately. they have to work to contain this guy. if you haven't read the op-ed. it's no surprise which article is a top trending piece on "new york times" the column that has shaken.
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a senior white house official claims to be part of the resistance on the inside. the official claims in the op-ed. president trump is a moral and that many senior administration officials are quote, working diligently from within. meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails. he engages in repetitive rants and half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back. americans should know there are adults in the room. we fully recognize what is happening and we're trying to do what's right, even when donald trump won't. >> let me ask you, willie, i guess maybe that's the news. >> yes. >> that there are adlults. we have always known there were adults in the room. is that the headline of this? not that donald trump is unfit for office and he's a danger to this country and the constitutional norms and our
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national security, but is the headline of this article the assurance that there are adults in the room that are working to contain it? >> i think the headline for me is that the adults in the room are subverting his policy. they say we're actively working to push back against the president's policy initiatives. that is pretty extraordinary and this person suggests that he or she is not alone in this effort. there is a group of them on the inside. i am interested in who the person is. i think it's different if it's jim mattis. i'm not suggesting it's jim mattis, someone at his level. or a staffer at the economic council. >> that's what we heard, mike, from some former clinton alumni. based on their experiences, it could be a lower level staffer at the nec. i do think that the "new york
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times" owes a responsibility to its leaders and owed a responsibility to its readers before publishing this anonymous letter to give us a better understanding of the level of this person. one of his top advisors, a cabinet level official. you know, a high-ranking official could be one of 1,000 people in the government. >> you wouldn't have had the piece in the paper. i'm sure, i'm sure the deal that was cut was, you have to protect me. whoever wrote it. whoever wrote it needs to step up and claim ownership here. i think the root of this piece that everyone is reading is in this one, two sentences. the root of the problem is, anybody who works with him first principles that guide his
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decisionmaking. this is the description of a sitting president of the united states. >> by the way the description in "new york times" gives the author a senior official in the trump administration. that could be an awful lot of people. it doesn't say white house, it says trump administration. let's go to the white house, peter alexander is there. peter, good morning. take us inside the building yesterday. how the white house learned about this piece. how it's reacting and what it's doing to find out who the author is. >> willie, it's clear the white house was caught off guard by this op-ed. literally the moment it came out it was flagged to me and printed a copy and ran inside the west wing and went into bill shine, the top communication of the president's office and handed him a copy and asked him if he had any response. i asked him if he had seen it and asked if he could read it himself. that was the first time the white house was aware of it it
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after they came out. they were already reeling from a series of other headlines, most notably the new details coming out of bob woodward's books and reporting from "washington post" that they are looking for replacement from jim mattis and this that landed with a thud inside the west wing. his reaction was, in their words, an eruption. in their words, volcanic. about an hour or so later he was scheduled to be in the east room where he was hosting some sheriffs from around the country and i was the pooler and you see the back of my head right there. at the end of his remarks i tried to pull him aside, as you can see, he was lured in when i brought this up. initially he said he didn't understand what i was talking about and then i read the headline of it to him saying that i am the resistance inside the trump administration and he appeared to know about it at that point. you can see he pulled out some
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notes from his pocket. here is the president's real-time reaction from yesterday afternoon. >> we have somebody in what i call the failing "new york times" talking about he is part of the resistance within the trump administration. this is really a disgrace. i will say this, nobody has done what this administration has done in terms of getting things passed. and getting things through. when you talk about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who's failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons. and "new york times" is failing. if i weren't here, i believe "new york times" probably wouldn't even exist. >> the president would tweet about this, as well. let me show you the tweet he wrote and i want to contrast that with what sarah sanders says, as well. does the senior administration official exist or "new york times" with another phony
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source. the "times" must turn him or her over to government at once. he also wrote as you see, treason, questionmark. the president questioned that this person even existed because sarah sanders, the press secretary in a statement only moments before that effectively said they believe this exists by saying this coward needs to resign immediately. the bottom line here inside this westwi wing. filled with mistrust and the president describing this as a treasonous act of disloyalty. and this is like those horror movies when you get the phone call and you find out that the bad guy is inside the house. this was first reported by "washington post." a source told similar language to me last night. the bottom line right now is nobody knows who to trust and it's only getting worse. >> could be the whole house. peter lexander, thank you very
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much for getting up early. >> john meacham, have we ever been here before? is the closest we've come to this woodrow wilson? where are we here? >> in terms of disability, you know, wilson's stroke in the last year and a half or so of his term which had incredibly important effects on the life of the nation and it was covered up. his second wife effectively ran the government. we had some questions about disability, episodic disability with franklin roosevelt at the end of his term. we see photographs now and it's extraordinary that he got through it. eisenhower had his two heart attacks in the 1950s all of which led to the creation and the passage 1965 and '65 and '67
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of the ameandment, which i'm sue we'll get to, is a weapon on the table. let me say one thing about the author here as we inevitably try to guess. henry adams wrote a novel, "democracy" about washington in the 19th century which was an anonymo anonymous. joe cline. here is something particularly important about who this author is and willie was talking about the process of it. it would be fascinating to know exactly when the conversations with the "new york times" and the author or the author's representatives began. because this reads to me as though there are really two elements to it. one is about donald trump. but the other is, hey, we're trying. and it's a defense of the people who are publicly associated with the administration and i can't help but believe that the death
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of john mccain, a week ago saturday and the eulogies of someone who put country first, who stood up to donald trump did not have some atmospheric effect here. i don't know that this. and, so, this is purely speculative. stipulate that. but this reads to me like it was written by someone who was either in the national cathedral or watching it and thinking, what are they going to say about me? >> mike, you're agreeing with that. i think all talking to each other on that day said that this is, this is a moment in time and this is something that's going to -- i think we're seeing part of that impact now. >> my understanding is that this piece, "the times" has had this piece for several day negotiating various elements of the piece, whether it would be run anonymously.
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they had it for several days. i agree with john meacham. i think they had it it in hand and maybe prior to last weekend. >> couple notes on what the president said and we have been talking about who the person is. first of all, "new york times" talking about how horrible "new york times" is failing. "new york times" are enjoying glory days. their glory days of the 21st century. you look at all the numbers. "washington post" doing as well as anyone could have imagined. it is extraordinary the turn around at "washington post." also, this is inest the interes. we were talking before about who this person was. if you take everything add face value. they are a republican and they support the tax cuts and reg
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regulatory reforms and what is interesting they brought up john mccain. now the tribe from which i came if you were trying to prove y, u would talk about what an honorable man john mccain was, but you would not bring him into the discussion. if you were a military man or woman, you would do that. but not if you grew up in movement conservatism because john mccain was another part of that. it's very interesting of the person saying i'm a republican, i love the tax cuts, i love the regulatory reform and love the judicial nominees but then bringing in john mccain beyond the service aspect of john mccain and what a hero he was.
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maybe suggests to me, at least, if there is a tell and if you can take everything at face value that this is a republican. but it's a republican, let's just say from the military sort of military faction of the trump administration. >> and there's a pig fobig focu further your argument a little bit. but definitely a conservative. an entire graph here the president showing free mind, free markets. talking about how he attacks those things. saying this guy is not one of us, effectively. the question for me is, does this piece as an american make you feel better or worse? better that there are people on the inside pushing back or worse when you put this together with bob woodward's book? >> i think it's both. what is coming out of the
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president's mouth is just the people who work for him he is at times consistent and cruel in his language and in his tweets. but we're watching. you know, we talked to people on the inside and we've seen them for quite some time being visibly uncomfortable with this president and talking quietly. now, and i think inspired by john mccain's legacy and his funeral, people are becoming openly hostile towards this president and they show they're not following his orders and hiding things from him. while that might be helpful given how disappointing this president is, i think it sets an incredible dangerous precedent. >> john, perhaps the most dangerous precedent is you have military leaders ignoring the recommendations of the civilian head of the armed forces. even if it is an illegal order,
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it is one thing for the president of the united states to say, assassinate assad and then mattis to say, okay and then hang up the phone and ignore him. another thing to go over there and say, mr. president, you can't do that. that's illegal. this would happen and that would happen. it seems you have people who are just brushing his orders aside. while we celebrate that in the age of trump, it sets a very dangerous precedent for, let's say, the 46th president or 47th president who tells the military leader, don't assassinate the leader. don't cross that boundary. don't fire that missile. >> exactly. that's a great point. and as we've said before we know that the presidency has not changed donald trump. the question is to what extent has he changed the presidency? the chain of command and the
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civilian military control of our projections of force is a huge part of this. now, it is true that henry kissinger spent most of his time and bob halderman spent most of his time ignoring late-night orders from richard nixon like go bomb brookings or, you know, let's go take out cronkitekrocr boat and there's a great theory about watergate, in fact, that somebody screwed up and did what he might have said. never in the particular file. never do that. >> the next morning nixon is like you broke into what? >> no, no, i meant -- i was just kidding. so, we can sort of chuckle about it. but we've all heard this off the
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air and i think that given the stakes, it's safe to repeat. it is pretty clear to me from people who are in a position to know that there has been a shift in the presidential change of command on military orders in a way that is reminiscent of what jim did in 1974. if you talked to sober-minded lawmakers and you say in a concerned voice, you know, i'm just really worried this guy might try to do something in a way, the reason i sleep at night is i know that is not going to happen. that means, i think, i think, that the secretary of defense has assured everyone that there are checks and balances in place. you're right. you're right, though. that is reassuring today, might
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not be so reassuring tomorrow. >> correct. >> we are all -- >> exactly. i'm in charge. still ahead, by the way, trump denied the claims. still ahead on "morning joe" joined by former secretary of state, john kerry. former cia director john brennan and angus king. plus, we'll play some of the key exchanges from the brett kavanaugh hearing including he has not put into much thought if whether a president can pardon himself. check out this exchange when she pressed the supreme court nominee on whether he had discussed mueller's investigation at the law firm that wuronce represented trump the law firm. >> how can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about robert mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm?
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this investigation has only been going on for so long. >> i am just trying to think, do i know anyone that works at that firm. >> that's not my question. my question is, have you had a conversation with anyone at that firm about that investigation? >> i would like to know the person you're thinking of. >> i think you're thinking of someone and you don't want to tell us. tell us. making my dreams a reality takes more than just investment advice. from insurance to savings to retirement, it takes someone with experience and knowledge
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all right. joining us now former cia director john brennan. senior national security analyst for nbc news and formernato supreme allied commander james is chief international security and diplomacy analyst for nbc news and msnbc. counsel on foreign relations and
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author of the book. we'll talk about that in just a moment. >> let me begin with you. all that is new, all that is old is new again. i mean, if you talked to george w. bush they were leaking about me at the cia around the clock, the state department always leaked. this does happen, but perhaps in not such a dramatic manner. is this a new chapter or have we seen it before? >> i will take issue with your premise. i don't think they said it was leaking around the clock. they were concerned about it but "new york times" editorial is not a leak. it is deep concern and worry. what people have been saying over the last year that donald trump has not fulfilled his responsibilities. so so, i think a lot of people within the government that are
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quite frustrate would the situation and now taking extreme measures to try to reassure the american people that there are people within the administration who are trying to counter what donald trump is doing. >> admiral, there have been reports that military leaders have been ignoring some of the president's more outrageous orders and while i celebrate that in 2017/2018 that we didn't make an effort. civilians controlling the military. what dangerous precedents set here? >> dysfunction ality in a chain of command. that should worry all of us. regardless of who sits at the top you want a functioning
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military branch. >> admiral, may i ask you a pointed question? >> sure. >> if you were in a position where somebody gave you the order to assassinate a foreign leader, to do something that you believed was illegal or dangerous, would you ignore that oorder? confront the person in the chain of command or would you retire and tell the world about it? >> i'd take door number three. and i think at the end of the day, there is a spectrum of what the order is. but assassinating somebody, killing their family, deliberate collateral damage. those kind of things, i think, scream for not only will i not do it and not only will i confront, but you have an obligation as a senior leader to step up and make that public. >> and not simply ignore the order. >> that would be my view. >> wouldn't that be the view of most of the men and women you served with in the navy?
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>> i think so. again, there is a spectrum here. but at the end of the day any leader in any position has the responsibility to illuminate a situation when things are going off the rails. and i would argue doing so in a public way does a great service to the country. >> i think it's much more complicated. that to me is not the hard case. imagine tomorrow president trump calls his senior people and gave them the order to attack north korea. he could say that kim has violated his commitments he made at the sumt and he believes a preventive military strike. you might think it's a really bad idea. it's not illegal. it's within the spectrum of foreign policy possibilities. that seems to me the more not unrealistic scenario that we could be facing. he wants to do something big, consequential that you may think is bad for the interest of the
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united states. it is not illegal, though, and not off the foreign policy spectrum. we could face something like that. >> what are you suggesting that admirals and generals make decisions unilaterally? isn't that is what is happening right now, insubordination up and down the chain of command. >> people are saying we are willing to work with this but what you are talking about is exactly right. it's not a dangerous precedent and unlike nixon, when people would do things about nixon. we found out later. we now have a feedback loop where this president knows that people around him are actively . >> doing a disservice to no one except the person who wrote the op-ed so they could write a book
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or article later. >> heightened all the characteristic s described in this book. director brennan, given this conversation right here. let me ask you the question i posed at the beginning of the show. does this anonymous op-ed put together with the woodward book make you feel better or worse about the state of the white house and the state of the country? are you terrified that we have a president like this sitting in the oval office or somehow reassured that there are enough people around him performing an act of being guard rails, effectively. >> i suspected that things were going to get worse before they get better and, indeed, we're in the worsening point. where some senior administration official, according to "new york times," took this extraordinary step and i do have great concerns about it and donald trump continues to be in the
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oval office and sit atop of an administration that is not following some of his orders and reckle recklessness. we are in extraordinary times. i think the mccain funeral that really underscored to the nation the importance of the american values not being followed by donald trump and the woodward book and now this. it may reach the tipping point. what the tipping point is, i don't know. should be a wake-up call to the administration and the congress that this is not a sustainable situation especially for a country like the united states that has such global responsibilities. >> that is what i would take it. how does this look in moscow and beijing? this looks really good. how does this look in brussels for the nato alliance? this is a disaster. it's just exactly as john says. this is that cumulative effect that is poisoning our domestic well, but it's seeping into the
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ground of the international system. >> even robert mueller is concerned about the impact of having donald trump's testimony before him go public because it would so damage the united states' reputation across the board. mika, i remember about six months ago you said privately and then you talked about it on the show. you're very concerned about trump's, but in response to trump either from the intel community or the military community or from the media that the overreach that would come in response to donald trump's behavior would actually create a greater crisis. is this an example of that? >> it is far more dangerous than it might feel right now. as you said, director brennan, the worse is coming. and the admiral pointed out that door three would be the option. quit, speak out as a service to
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america. nobody is choosing door three. >> nobody. >> and i think while you think you're doing the right thing, what you're actually doing is helping president trump do what madeline albright thinks he's doing which is breaking down the presidency and creating something far different that we've seen in other countries and we don't want here in the united states of america. mike barnicle is with us and he has a question. mike. >> well, these past few minutes of this discussion have been, again, stunning to me, we're talking about the presidency. we're talking about a sitting president who has been described as a moral, petty, ineffective and john brennan would seem now that we're at a point where public servants, you were at the cia for years and nsa for years conscious might take precedence over the oath of office you take and others might take when
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you're surrounded by a president that might take the country right off the rails. >> well, it's against the law to follow an order that you know is illegal. and, so, i think this is an obligation on all administration officials to resist something like that. may have a disastrous future to it in terms of impacting the united states. i think it does require individuals of conscious to be able to push back against such an order and to try to resist it. i think we have seen examples of jim mattis and others doing exactly that. but then if you feel that you cannot make headway against donald trump in terms of turning him around, an obligation to go to congress. this is why it's so, so important for the congress. to put the interest of the country observe the interest of the party. the congress is supposed to be a check on the chief executive. if the chief executive is going to be giving orders that are going to lead us down a
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disastrous path, we need to get the congress involved and need to be able to stop such actions. >> you know, willie, i mean, in this case, he's been the hedmg hog, it only takes two republicans, it only takes two republicans, it only takes one republican, it only takes one republican and says repeatedly all these republican senators will go on the floor and deliver eloquent speeches about constitutional norms being trashed or donald trump's behavior. it only takes one of you to say, i'm going to bring this to an end right now. i'm going to caucus with the democrats or i'm going to vote against the president's legislation until he puts something in place that assures a, b, c.
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the rule of law is respected. our foreign policy is handled in a responsible way. not one republican will stand up and do that. not one republican. >> well, we've heard some republicans speak out. most of them were leaving town in two months. their senate careers are over. the proposal was put out to protect bob mueller through legislation. that was shot down by the majority leader. no appetite for that type of thing in the senate. john meacham, to me, the extraordinary thing as you pointed out earlier is that we are 20 months into the administration and we're seeing this kind of meltdown around the president and now from a senior administration official, we don't know who or from what part of the government. this is not some book written five years or ten years after. this is happening in realtime a year and a half into the first term of this presidency. >> it's as though we have a kind of virtual web cam inside the oval office. you know, if the final days had played out as reality tv and,
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so, we don't have the perspective. and i think the good news about this is we have the information, registered voters have this information as they head into november and then as we head into 2020. quick question for director brennan, sir, you were in the business for a long time of preparing psychological profiles of foreign leaders. if you were preparing -- you could see where this is going. if you were briefing an american president on this american president, what would be the top line of your psychological profile? >> that as we anticipated, this individual is going to be facing increasing pressure from within. and that the walls are collapsing around and his
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reckless nature might lead him to do something rash and distract attention from his problems, his domestic problems. we've seen this behavior before who will continue to oppress and suppress and remove any threats that he or she sees that are rising on the political scene. but i wouldn't rule out that there is going to be some type of effort to engage in some type of action that will distract attention from his political problems. >>better when he says it. >> i think what is also missing is donald trump has now been publicly challenged about his ability to execute his office. that's what this op-ed is. we are basically saying we're undermining your presidency from within. the question now is whether he can resist the temptation or what he might see as the need to
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reassert presidential authority against people from within that are working against him. that's why this op-ed is dangerous. puts public pressure on this president to respond and say, almost, hey, i am in charge here. >> and the people around him have got to ask themselves, when do i stop being a guardrail and become an enabler. that is the gut question for a lot of people in the white house this morning. >> the wounded line is very dangerous and he is very wounded. >> and what donald trump still doesn't understand is that presidents aren't dictators. i remember during the campaign he would say, i'm going to make paul ryan's life very difficult. i'm going to do this. i'm going to do that. we would laugh and say, you do understand that paul ryan has a checkbook. saying that judges don't have the legitimate authority to question his presidential
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orders. so-called judges. he does not understand that when he starts firing james mattis and when he starts firing jeff sessions and when he starts firing anybody that he can fire in retribution to thissa articl and woodward book that the senate is not going to confirm an attorney general to his liking. and this, at the end of the day, director brennan, it's the ignorance. it is the ignorance of not only the office he holds, but of government. he has no, he had no idea what he was stepping in to and from everybody that has been close to him, that has tried to help him along to explain to him how the united states federal government works, how checks and balances work. it's just completely
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disinterested. >> it's all those things combined in one. we are at a dangerous point in our history and how this plays out in the coming days, weeks and months, i think, will determine just how much harm is done to this country before we get back on the right course. >> former cia director john brennan, thank you very much. >> thank you so much, mr. director. still ahead, richard haas was -- >> they all fell asleep. >> i was watching with bated breath on cspan. i had two monsteritors going. okay, so, while he was doing that talking about the importance of nato, president trump was questioning the cost in an interview with "daily
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but it's a lot like our first day. how much more does congress need to see? donald trump has now been implicated in two felony crimes, and he's all but confessed to them on fox news. no one is above the law, so we have to make sure this president doesn't use pardons to cover up crimes. if you agree that a president should not be allowed to pardon himself or his associates, join us at needtoimpeach.com. the washington establishment doesn't have the courage to act, but the american people can.
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i'm shocked by that. >> well president trump opened up on a variety of topics in a
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wide ranging interview with the daily caller conducted on tuesday. on his view that america's allies should fully reimburse the united states for what he calls protection. trump says that he's quote amazingly alone, amazingly. a lot of generals don't understand it. okay. you hear that? the president said i'll be honest, you got to reimburse us. first they don't tuned question. within five minutes they agree. when asked if he could give an example trump responded quote actually no. but you'll be seeing things come out. >> 2019 weeks. >> yeah. >> in two weeks. >> i mean, do you ask a supreme ally, do you really have this conversation >> how are you doing admiral. >> let's do it. >> notice that he said generals not admirals. >> this has been an isolationists have long argued,
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go back to '47, '48 that the united states was wasting millions of dollars, billions of dollars on the marshal plan and spending money for purposes of containment. you look at our gdp is in 1947. you look how it skyrocketed up. we're at 19 trillion. we keep going up in large part because of those investments we made from 1947 on ward. >> absolutely. you know, let's do the numbers in kind two of ways. first of all, we don't pay that for their protection, we pay that to meet our interest. these are not the cold war bases. these are the forward operating stations in the 20th century. >> to be harsh about that. let's say the harsh truth. i've always said this. i said it in my campaigns. i'm not doing this for luxemborg
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or france or montenegro which by the way -- >> could start a war. >> if they are in nato we defend them. we do it for our own selfish purposes. we do it because we're selfish and we want the united states to be the most powerful country on earth. >> exactly. let's do the numbers in a different way which is that we spend $600 billion a year on defense, which is a lot of money. but these european free loaders spend $300 billion a year on defense. that's more than russia. that's more than china. so, should they spend 2% of gdp yes? they should bump it up to do that. that's a goal they've set. but it's the second largest defense budget in the world after the united states. together we are undefascinatable. we're a trillion dollars of defense spending. >> larger than china. >> richard, you were testifying about this on capitol hill. joe and i were watching on espn.
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>> barnacle was there. >> but this is a case and a point the president has made again and again. he said i finally got these guys to pay up. to which french president macron walked up to the mike as the next speaker and said known of that happened. in laymen's terms for us and for people watching what's the value to americans of this investment in nato? >> well, as the admiral was saying, we do it not as an act of philanthropy, we do it as an extension of american self-interest. what we're spending now is roughly half the level as a percentage of our gdp that we spent during the cold war so we can afford this. whatever problems we have here at home because we're not addressing them not because of this. we learned the hard way in the 20th century war in europe is not something he can insulate ourselves from. ever since we had nato, guess what? for seven years we haven't had a
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war against any nato partner. these are foreign operating bases. if we want to go elsewhere we do it out of europe. look at afghanistan. over 1 enthusia,000 allied sold their lives. they are not free loaders. they are partners and allies. say that again. >> over 1,000 allied soldiers from these countries that the president said -- >> over 1,000 sons and daughters from europe -- >> that's right. >> -- from nato, from the eu, they've given their lives. >> i signed the letters of condolence to every one of them, under my command. i signed for a couple of thousand americans and a thousand europeans. they are in this in blood and treasure. >> one of the great advantages, china and russia do not have allies. we have allies.
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whether dealing with military challenges or dealing with global challenges, trade, climate, you name it. guess what? we have partners. we can pick up telephones and say work with us. this is the greatest force multiplier in history. we have to stop talking about burden sharing. got start talking about benefit sharing. these are people who are working with us. >> also, just to make a point, it's not just nato to the east, look to the west. it's japan, australia, new zealand, the philippines. little difficult at the moment but thailand. singapore. indonesia. these are friends, allies and partners. it is an enormous advantage for us both ways. >> you look at australia, mika, where the president, the prime minister of australia early on, this is a country who have scene their sons and daughters to fight alongside, shoulder to shoulder in every single war we've entered that we have entered. that the united states of
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america has entered over the past century. steadfast allies. and i am confident that there's nothing donald trump can do to change that. with t when the 46th president comes into office. >> coming up, former secretary of state john kerry joins us on set. plus much more on the explosive op-ed in the "new york times" and new reporting that there are dozens of officials who are part of the resistance inside the trump administration. also why the senate could learn a thing or two from the house about how to handle an interruption during a congressional hearing. >> please help us, mr. president, before it is too late because jack dorsey is trying to influence the election, to sway the election. >> what?
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>> $35, two hands, $300. three and a quarter. for you and a quarter. cell phone there. for you and a half five and half. i yield back. >> that was congressman billy long during testimony from twitter ceo jack dorsey. >> that is the way to do it. >> he's good at that. we'll talk to senator king who questioned dorsey on the senate side. >> we'll ask him to do that. we'll be right back. book now at choicehotels.com
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the poll numbers are through the roof. our poll numbers are great. guess what? nobody is going to come close to beating me in 2020 because of what we've done. >> you know why nobody will come close to beating him in 20? >> why? >> because he's not running for president. >> did you hear the poll numbers. they are great? >> he said they are awesome. >> survey says otherwise. abc news and "the washington post" puts the president's approval rating at 36%. >> that's not great. >> same as investors business daily, a kaiser foundation poll gives trump an approval rating of 37%. >> can we look at those for a second. >> 36, 36, 37. >> he stayed, i'm not good at
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this politics thing, mike barnacle but he says 36% and "the washington post" and -- 36% from investors business daily and 37% in the kaiser -- that's below the mendoza line for baseball. that's like hitting .187. >> fake polls. >> those are pretty massive drops for the president. it declined to its lowest level since april. >> welcome back morning joe. it's thursday, september 6th, 2018. along with joe, willie and me we have mike barnacle. president of the council on foreign relations richard haas. nbc news national political reporter heidi and historian author of "soul of america" and an msnbc contributor, john meacham. >> let's look at those numbers
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quickly. >> again? >> willie, the president was riding pretty high in the spring. he was getting up to 42, 43, 44%. immediately did two things. almost as if they were acts of self-sabotage. one was child separation policy which we're now finding out from the woodward book everyone in the white house was freaked out about and he was warned by paul ryan and warned by majority leader mitch mcconnell you're going down. this policy is going to take you down. then the second thing, he had the disastrous press conference at helsinki that only his most loyal hacks dare to defend. >> several moments and i would even add john mccain's funeral to that that were sort of
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transpolitical. they defied partisanship which is separating parents and children and the helsinki moment where on the world stage he was given an opportunity to stick up on a gut level, stick up for your country against somebody who subverted our election and democracy. he didn't do it. last weekend and last week during the celebration of john mccain's wife when he looked small and petty and wouldn't join in that celebration, of course he wasn't invited to the funeral but wouldn't say kind words about john mccain and the life he had. if you look inside that "the washington post" abc poll of the mueller investigation when the majority of americans six in ten believe mull certificate doing the right thing investigating, he should be allowed to go about his business a majority six in ten don't believe paul manafort should be pardoned. people are not buying his subversion of the fbi, the subversion of mueller, and even his subversion of the media. >> mike, if you look at those numbers, there's a lot of lazy punditry going around. of course, i won that award for
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the past 11 years. >> no, you haven't. >> so i know what i speak. but there's a ton of lazy punditry going on. rudy giuliani crazy, or crazy like a fox? i'm still hearing people say well, you know, giuliani stuff is working because robert mueller's numbers are going -- no they are not. you look at the polls, you look at the "the washington post," abc news poll, americans believe robert mueller. americans don't believe donald trump. americans believe robert mueller should continue his investigation. americans believe donald trump's attempts to stop that investigation are wrongheaded and dangerous. americans say, like only 18% of americans say paul manafort should be pardoned. overwhelming majority of americans i think it's in the high 60s say he should not. rudy giuliani has lost. he's not only lost his reputation.
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he's lost the argument before the american people. donald trump has once again chewed up and spit out somebody who previously had a good reputation and the big loser in the end is donald trump. >> well, i would submit part of that laez lazy punditry is rud giuliani and constant reference to donald trump's base. which i feel personally is much smaller than people talk about in this country. but if you look at those poll numbers, maybe john meacham can help me out here. i think what happens when you have an administration involved in literally kidnapping children at the border, i think many americans pause. they pay attention and think to themselves is that who we really are as a country? that helps, i think diminish his poll numbers. i don't know about you, meacham,
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but i think people think about these things much more than we give people credit for. >> i agree. i think there's a seep effect. we all reacted as tennessee williams way like a cat on a hot tin roof because we follow it so closely. for a lot of people the cumulative effect of public actions actually take a while to shape their personal opinions and that's totally understandable. but i don't think there's any doubt that when we look back at this, the child separation policy, the heading into the past couple of weeks where you had the rule of law, you had the cohen and manafort news, the cfo beginning to cooperate, you had senator mccain, which was kind of this enormous reminder of who we would prefer to be if we're not always that, and then you have both the woodward book and the op-ed which provide this
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real-time intel on how chaotic things are inside. and the wise guy thing to say is well we always knew that. okay, fine. but politics is not, you know, a clinical business. it takes time for these moments to congeal and i don't know if this is one but certainly feels that way as we head into a clear referendum in the mid-term and then whatever director mueller ends up with. >> we have breaking news now. let's go to our -- >> just a tweet. >> trump twitter desk. i'll put on my -- going to hong kong. willie is on a satellite phone with samsung 7. let's talk to him. really you have a new tweet out. >> greetings from hong kong. richard haas this is for you. a tweet moments ago.
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north and south korea met yesterday, talk about decnuclearization. here's a tweet from president trump. kim jong-un, north korea proclaims quote unwavering faith in president trump. thank you to chairman kim writes the president. we will get it done together. >> so his own administration -- >> that's not real. >> that's real. >> that's it. >> that's not real. >> that's as real as it gets from the president of the united states. misquoted kim jong-un but i'm splitting hairs. >> so he's being, taken apart by people inside the same room but he draws comfort from one of the most blood thirsty tyrants on the globe. >> totally consistent something woodward wrote in his book where the president saw the entire run up to the singapore summit in totally personal terms. the two would sit down. the fact that nothing is happening in the direction of decnuclearization, let's put
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that aside. south korea has decided the only way they can protect themselves is by them gaining control of this process to create facts on the ground that we can't overcome. >> his friend are despots. >> there's a pattern here. whether it's putin, whether it's xi jinping. again, the north korea thing we should just remind ourselves this is not succeeding diplomacy. the president is moving forward on his schemes claiming he solved it, he hasn't. the dave reckoning is coming. i don't know when. but the day of reckoning will come when it's so obvious that even the president has to recognize the decnuclearization this great accomplishment s-in fact, not an accomplishment and that will be one of the days of
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reckoning. >> this backs up our top story which we're finally getting to because that tweet is incredible. recapping of the column that shaken the white house. a senior white house official writing anonymously claims to be part of the resistance on the inside. the official claims that op-ed that the president trump is amoral and many senior administration officials quote are work daily gently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails. he engages in repetitive rants and impulsive half baked, ill-informed reckless decisions that have to be walked back. the official says quote americans should know that there are adults in the room. we fully recognize what is happening and we are trying to do what's right even when donald trump won't. >> let's bring in right now from capitol hill a member of the intelligence committee,
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independent senator angus king of maine who in his first race for governor had bumper stickers who said thank you chairman kim. that went over very well in maine's second congressional district. they love kim in bangor. yesterday you talked to jack dorsey and sheryl sandberg. what's your response to the president's tweet. he says thank you to chairman kim, we will get it done together. >> well, i think it points out one of the real problems is a linebacker of historical knowledge and grounding. this is the fifth time we've been around this dance with north korea, every time they talk about decnuclearization we make some concessions, they get something going and then back away from it. so the idea of declaring victory or even progress at the thin
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level that we're at now is dangerous in the sense and i think one of your guests just mentioned this, it sets up expectations that i don't think can be met. what worries me is what happens when the president realizes that this is, indeed, not going to work and i hope it does, by the way. i want to emphasize that. i hope it does. it might. kim might be a different guy than his father and grandfather. if it doesn't then where are we and do we get a lurch from maybe too much optimism to some kind of military strike which would be, you know, incredibly dangerous if you talk to anybody, anybody in the pentagon. so that's what is worrisome about this is this high expectation, and then inevitably at least based on history there's a let down. >> yep. if you were watching the show earlier, former cia director
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brennan was talking about not just about the president tweeting something like this but a massive deflection in light of this op-ed that came out in the "new york times". heidi, i want to ask you a question and then you can take it to the senator. is there any reaction on capitol hill to the op-ed in the "new york times"? >> reached out to sources on both sides of the aisle last night, mika. democrats were happy to let the op-ed speak for itself. republicans very quiet with one notable exception, senator bob corker who i think really summarized what the issue has been all along on capitol hill with the reaction or lack of reaction to trump. this is what all of us understood from day one and why we've encouraged the good people like mattis to stay and that i thank him every time i see him. but in a way this also encapsulates the problem, mika, right? no one including this author is willing to speak out on the
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record. i was thinking about this last night. the fact that none of us can really name a signaturele administration official who is either resign in protest or been pushed out and then spoken out and give information on the record put their name and reputation out there for the american people to see. and to the extent, those that this is shifting point on capitol hill, i do think it reflects the same sentiment and emotion that a lot of republicans are having right now ahead of the mid-terms as they look at these plummeting numbers and start to get this gut sense that perhaps this is really going to hurt and in a way that may be worse than just losing the house. >> senator king, you've said as we talked about this op-ed that was published by the "new york times" when you vote on trump appointees you consider the adult factor in the trial.
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what's your reaction to what you read in the new york time yesterday? >> well, i've taken some flack for voting for some of those nominees particularly on the foreign policy side. that was the driving piece of my decision. i wanted to be sure there were people who could provide some rational argument, some resistance, some as they say resistance to what otherwise might be impulsive acts. if this person came forward and said who they were they would be fired immediately and would have lost a restraint, a rail if you will guardrail. i think some of they people in this administration, particularly at the upper levels are, they are making a very difficult career decision. they are saying i'm going to be tainted by this. i don't like being involved with what's going on. on the other hand, if i leave, what's going to be the guardrail? and where do we go from here?
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and i think whoever this person is and i don't know who sirkts but they've made a very difficult choice thus far to try to be protective of the national interest. >> senator, on another topic yesterday jack dorsey and sheryl sandberg appeared before the senate, twitter, facebook, talk about difficult choices. twitter is doing something to the culture that has been unheard of, obviously. i mean people on their phones looking at it. what's going to happen? will it be regulated? where are you going on this? >> i don't think. i hope not. if we start regulating the internet, i don't know where that stops. i would much rather -- and i think the hearing yesterday was a really kind of interesting one from the point of view of what goes on up here. if you were watching from the audience you couldn't tell who were republicans and who were democrats on the committee. it was more like a work group trying to jointly confront and
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solve a problem which is the misuse of social media, particularly by foreign adversaries. i think a lot of it -- this is unchartered territory. this is new technology. we have to try to figure out how to prevent it from being misused particularly as i say by adversaries from around the world. at the same time we don't want to create constraints on the vigorous debate about issues. by the way, before i forget, i just want to tell john meacham i'm just finishing "soul of america" i think it's one of the most important books that's been published in this country in the last few years. john, thank you, it's a real contribution to what's going on now and putting it in historical perspective. i couldn't resist having this opportunity. >> that's nice. >> his official photographer snapped a picture. >> just now. >> senator, i'll be voting
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absentee in maine as often as possible for you. >> there you go. i got one. >> senator angus king, thank you very much for being on the show this morning. coming up, former secretary of state john kerry is standing by. he joins the table next on "morning joe". ". you could fix it with a pen. how about using that pen to sign up for new insurance instead? for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ we distributeus, i'm the owner environmentally-friendly packaging for restaurants. and we've grown substantially. so i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. and last year, i earned $36,000 in cash back. that's right, $36,000. which i used to offer health insurance to my employees. my unlimited 2% cash back is more than just a perk, it's our healthcare. can i say it? what's in your wallet? let's do an ad of a man
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secretary of state john kerry. he's out with a sweeping new memoir entitled "every day is extra." couldn't help as i was looking through the book and looking at some of the pictures of some of the more important moments in your life, there, of course, is a picture of you with ted kennedy and a picture with another senator, a man who you had some strong disagreements with because everybody had strong disagreements with him but you guys ended up being friends and doing some great things together, john mccain. what are your thoughts? >> well, miss him already, but the example is extraordinary.
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a lot of people suggested we may not see the likes of a john mccain again, perhaps in the context of war, prisoner of war, but we need to see senators and congressman standing up today. i mean i can't think of a moment where it is more important for people to do their duty, which they have not been doing. everybody in washington, joe, knows what's going on. and it's the chatter i've heard. you guys have talked about how you have heard these things. what bob woodward's book has done is confirm. but i think our books are actually complimentary. bob lays out the problem. but this book shows you how america came through really tough times and how we can solve the problem by doing our jobs. >> that's what i want to ask you about again. followup on you, your relationship with john mccain. it seems that that is an example of where this country needs to go because for those who didn't
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go to vietnam, you certainly went through it and john mccain went through it more personally than almost everybody else, you guys were on the opposite sides in that debate. he came back thinking that you had undermined america's effort. you thought that the war was wrongheaded in many ways. and yet, again, on the most divisive issue of our time, you guys forged a consensus, went over together and helped normalize relations with vietnam. >> that's why i think what i've tried to write is it's not a policy tone. it's a personal journey, personal story about america, about a young guy who grew up in the cold war. and who felt as the son of the greatest generation, you have to go serve. john mccain and i came came to the war from the same place, and
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in an epic flight we had together, where we weirdly didn't know each oh, didn't trust each other, we talked into the night. everybody else is sleeping and we talked on that plane and we agreed the country is still divided over vietnam. we haven't made peace here at home let alone in vietnam. we decided to work on it together. we really got to know each other. we traveled back to vietnam together. in a moment i describe in the book i stood in john mccain's cell with john mccain alone. just the two of us. and i thought about the journey we had made together where we said we'll make peace with vietnam, we'll make peace in america. there we were these two guys who did come from completely different polar opposites but we found common ground and there we were in hanoi of all places in his cell sharing that common ground. it was a very, very moving moment and inspirational to me. >> i want to ask you about the op-ed in the "new york times,"
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having served in an administration, you know well how these things work. but we have a president who is breaking norms by the day. aren't there consequences to hearing reports like we're hearing in bob woodward's book like we're raged in the "new york times," members of the administration breaking norms in return? >> no. it's really part of our constitutional process and part of the right of any american to speak out and you take the consequences when you do. go back, again, this is part of the history, daniel ellsberg people who saw a higher responsibility to country. what bothers me about this moment right now is everybody in washington does know this. all the republicans know this. they know donald trump is not competent. not capable of performing the responsibilities of president. and it has enormous consequences. richard knows what leaders in other countries are sitting around talking to each other about now. if you're a putin or a xi you're
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engaged in one belt one road project with a trillion dollars being spent in 68 countries. you look at the united states boy this is our opportunity, let's drive it to the hilt. we have an opportunity lost cause in what's happening now. nobody is reckoning that in washington. members of the united states senate, this is what the senate was defined for this moment. and it is a moment that calls on them to do things that are necessary to stop gap what donald trump is either not doing or not capable ever doing, and there are a whole bunch of things, i think. but the biggest single opportunity we have right now, i think, is 2018. we can have a course correction in our own democracy that actually revitalizes our democracy again i write about that in the book. go back to 1971, '27. '71 is when i protested war. richard nixon was very popular
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then. he carried 49 states in '72. one year later he was gone. why? because people did their jobs. the institutions that were there stood up and resisted. when i look at this memo, when the "new york times" says senior, they mean senior. and they would not have published this because they know the consequences. if they didn't have confidence. they know who it is. and i think we have to, therefore, understand the implications of what this person has done. would i prefer as others here would that it were public, sure but it doesn't diminish the consequence of it. >> what ought to be secretary kerry the message of democrats. 2018 you saw presley winning in massachusetts. >> worked for me for 15 years. great lady. >> knocked off a 20 year incumbent there. i know it's district by district but what's the message if it's not just anti-donald trump what's the democrats message?
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>> the message shouldn't be just donald trump. everybody understands this. we're wasting too much time on tweets and daily things. we need to talk about america's agenda. we need to offer a better way of meeting the needs of the american people. citizens on the right, citizens on the left are equally angry at their lot in life because their needs are not being met. when you have 52% of america's income going to 1% of americans, you have an unsustainable political equation. everybody in america knows the. and the reason you went from gingrich revolution to tea party to freedom caucus to donald trump and hostile takeover of the republican party was frustration with the lack of adequate response. so we have in two months a referendum on donald trump, on all of this. but it won't work if we're not offering america a way to show the institutions can work, how
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they work and, again, i come back to the book. i show in the book again and again how the senate could work. what it was like when i came there in the 1980s, when it was functioning and able to get things done. we balanced the budget in the 1980s, folks opinion here we are with a completely dysfunctional washington that also is living in a kind of insidious corruption that comes from money in american politics and unwillingness of people to perform their constitutional responsibility. >> let's talk about what happens when you disagree with the executive, when you disagree with the president of the united states. let's talk about syria, and you gave a speech in the summer of -- two, three summers ago about the need to take on syria, the red line. that evening, the day that you gave the speech the president of the united states walks around the south lawn with the chief of staff and they change the direction that you were taking.
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what happens internally when you disagree with a decision made by the president? >> well, michael, i think it depends on what the consequence of the decision is. on occasion you may feel you have to resign as vance did when a decision was made in desert one when they tried make a rescues of the hostages and it failed. different moments, different consequences. in this case it wasn't a reversal of the direction we were going. it was a decision by the president to try to get congress to participate in it. and that was a fair decision by any president to make, particularly one or two days after the prime minister of england had gone to parliament for that very reason and it failed in parliament. so that augmented the need to say whoa if it failed there there's all the more reason to feel you have to have the support of the american people. we believed, joe biden believed, i believed, the president believed, most of us believed,
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susan rice was the only one that got it right congress wouldn't do something. we thought congress would support it rapidly and we were wrong. we miscalculated that. what happens, i think, you do your best to implement a legitimate policy and the president of the united states, one mat made sense in that moment but, obviously, cost us, ultimately, because of the way it played out. >> i want to raise syria and when you were secretary of state because here we are meeting today and two and a half, three million syrians are living on death's fdoor. we're about to see the final offensive and quite possibly crush the opposition remaining and millions of innocent people their lives are at risk. when you look back at the last seven or eight years what lessons should we take about what the united states did and the consequences of what we didn't do? >> syria is the, is one of the few greatest scars that exists
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in the world today in term of the international community's failure to step up together to find a solution. i think there is a solution. i think we put it on the table in u.n. resolution 2254 which all countries including iran, russia and including the countries who are neighbors, turkey, et cetera, all agree on a way to resolve syria by letting people of sir elect a new president under a very accountedable election, run by the international community, which would bring the opposition in to participate. i mean everybody accepted that. the problem is we didn't have any leverage to be able to deal with assad himself. the russians didn't stand up and hold him accountable. what's the less snon i wrote how i believe we needed to step in and exercise authority to show we're willing to hold him accountable.
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>> including the use of force? >> if he was going to fly his airplanes and drop bombs on aleppo, we had back up those norms of behavior. >> mr. secretary, in "every day is extra" you detail how you came back from vietnam a disillusioned young man and i just wonder what you believe the message is from this book to young americans today who may be disillusioned in politic, whether they are liberals who can't believe what happened in 2016, or young conservatives who can't believe what happened in 2016, or young independents who look at both sides and say no thanks i'm checking out of the system. earlier you talked about how quickly things changed between november '72 and august '74. >> my message is, you know, they
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hear the words from politicians but don't always believe them. that each individual can really make a difference. that's exactly what happened back then. earth day, 20 million people come out, translate it into a movement that made the issue a voting issue and targeted the 12 worst votes in congress labelled them the dirty dozen. seven of the 12 lost their seats. clean air passed. safe drinking water. coastal zone management. epa signed into law by richard nixon. young people made that happen. that happened because people took a semester off from college. all of it came from this energy for the peace movement, for women, for equal rights amendment. these things were happening. once some of those things were accomplished people went to sleep and backed off. we have to rejuvenate,
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re-energize our democracy. here's the magic number. 54.2. 54.2% of the eligible americans voted in 2016. when i ran in '04, the eligible vote was 60.4%. when barack obama was elected in '08 it was 62.3%. and then it dropped down in the re-elect to 58%. last time it was 52.4%, al gore. so the lesson it's not the people who did vote who elected donald trump it's people who didn't vote. young people need to understand the importance of the vote. historically they don't always turn out. we have to motivate people. climate change. i can't think of an issue that will motivate, here heading to four degrees scecentigrade in t century. hottest ten years in recorded history. last year the hottest year in
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history. the ten years before that, the second hottest ten years. the ten years before that, the third hottest ten years. isn't there a message from that somewhere when president xi, president putin, all these people areed a hearing to the paris agreement and only donald trump without a shred of evidence, without a shred of fantastic fact pulls out. these are the issues i believe will motivate people and over the next two months, whether it's health care or education or opportunity or fair wages, we have a message. and we need to take that out and get young information organize around it. >> the memoir is titled "every day is extra." former secretary of state john kerry. thank you very much. and richard haas thank you as well. >> we'll be replaying your testimony today. >> the ratings will -- >> that's right. >> yes. all right. still ahead -- thank you very much. still ahead former vice
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president joe biden hits the campaign trail and appears to take a shot at hillary clinton. we'll show you that moment ahead on "morning joe". making my dreams a reality
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it's beginning to fade. a lot of people are scared. and they are not deplorables. they are simple people. they are people i grew up with. they are not stupid. they understand. we're in the midst of a fundamental industrial change. >> okay, former vice president joe biden speaking during a mid-term rally yesterday in new jersey with perhaps, perhaps, heidi, a swipe at hillary clinton's basket of deplorables comment from the 2016 campaign. is it possible, or could that just be coincidence? >> it's possible. joe biden speaks his mind and that is something that in the past was considered a negative, but in this environment, not so much. obviously there has been some personal tensions there based on my own reporting. i covered the hillary clinton kpai campaign and remember vividly that period of tension between bidens and clintons when he was
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really unclear what he was going to do. but i think it also just reflects a sense by many in the democratic party that if the nominee had been joe biden, if the nominee had been joe from scranton, there would never have been a deplorable comment and most likely the democratic party would not have lost those critical midwestern states and would not have had a president trump. at the same time based on my own reporting this week, joe and mika, i've spoken with people who are close to biden and say he's truly undecided at this point. hasn't made up his mind yet. >> regardless of what joe biden says there, you looked at numbers. there were number out. i know you saw some of them that compared joe biden's popularity in industrial midwest states like pennsylvania, ohio,
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wisconsin and that of hillary clinton from the numbers i saw wasn't close. joe biden was extraordinarily popular in part because that's how he spoke. that's what he believed. he under stood people in scranton, pennsylvania who were frustrated after eight years of george bush and eight years of barack obama. >> no doubt. there's no doubt that there's a lingering rear sentiment not only among former vice president biden but other democrats with the estrangement between regular democrats like biden and the clinton campaign during the last two, three months of the campaign in 2016. they didn't want to interact with joe biden, they didn't want to listen to people. >> by the way, they didn't want to listen to joe biden, they didn't want to listen to bill clinton, they didn't want to listen to the people best how to win states like pennsylvania, ohio, wisconsin and michigan.
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>> they had an algorithm. >> that wasn't some gaffe by biden yesterday in montclare, new jersey. he sat on the set with us in 2016 at the democratic convention and said on tv, they are not talking to my guys. they aren't talking to my gals. the people that joe biden throws his arm around in pennsylvania working class folks who voted for obama and flipped to donald trump. they knew this. they saw that coming. biden and ed rendell, he was on the set with us. they were deeply concerned about what was about to happen in pennsylvania even when people in the clinton campaign brushed it off. >> nobody was more concerned than bill clinton. >> yeah. >> the first democrat since franklin roast to be re-elected to the white house. and you have bill clinton there and you're not listening to bill clinton. barack obama was concerned about it. this isn't monday morning quarterbacking by democrats,
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this was really -- i do want to point out john kerry brought up something very important. yes, white working class voters in those industrial midwest states, there were people that voted for barack obama twice and then voted for donald trump. but you look at the turn out and how low it was, it wasn't so much who voted for donald trump, but who stayed home and did not vote for hillary clinton. >> exactly. >> and 2018, it all depends on who gets out and vote and will those who stayed home in 2016 understand they have a reason to get off the couch and drive down to their local elementary school and cast a vote for a candidate? >> that's the question. heidi, thank you very much. we'll be reading your new reporting for nbcnews.com how the family separation crisis at the border is now helping fuel a
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new latino voter registration drive. thank you for that. still ahead, denials are beginning to come in from senior trump administration officials after that scathing anonymous op-ed in the "new york times". mike pence puts his name on the yirls and the direct quote from secretary of state mike pompeo this morning, it's not mine. okay. we'll be right back.pompeo this mine. okay. we'll be right back.
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president trump continues to tweet, writing a short time ago thatter their vehicle, the fake news media, are going crazy and they don't know what to do. the economy is booming like never before. jobs are at historic sighs.
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soon, two supreme court justices and maybe declassification to find additional corruption. wow. >> all right. so -- >> wow. >> good point. we've got a really strong economy. and a great second quarter. it looks like third quarter numbers are going to come in very high. the economy has boomed it's been improving for seven years. yet the right track/wrong track is way down and we have poll numbers from the three latest polls that have just come out. and even with this economy booming the way it is, donald trump is mired in the nefarious, historically low numbers. >> that's what he should ask himself. given the numbers, and he's right, some of the numbers, why is he at 36% or 37%? if all that of that is true,
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what should he take from that? he leads with the term "the deep state." one of the dangers of this anonymous op ed is that it allows donald trump to say there is an undercover conspiracy against me. there's a deep state pushing me to make decisions and working against me. >> these are all people he appointed. that's the problem. the people in the woodward book are people that he all appointed. not barack obama. so, mike, i wonder, though, when people do go to the polls and they look around and people, you know, they are very self-interested. and for good reason. they have to worry about paying their mortgage and paying their rent, getting their kids from school. people go to the polls and go, wait a second, the economy is better than it has been in a very long time. don't a lot of voters say, okay,
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i know he's crazy. i know he said some stupid things in his tweet, but, man, my small business is doing better than it ever has, i'm paying less taxes, less regulation. let's get two more years of this. >> the economy is booming. i think we make the mistake sitting here and elsewhere in the country, the stock market is not the economy. it's not the economy. and tax cuts are wearing thing and going away for a lot of people. the pay raise hasn't come that people are looking for. they fight over $15 an hour minimum wage. so the economy is great for a lot of people in this country. but in the subsection of the population of this country, the economy really isn't working well for the way it is working for the top pyramid of the economy. >> all right. still ahead from a bombshell book to an explosive op ed, the president struggles to contain the fire coming from inside his own administration. we'll talk about it all, next on
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"morning joe." orning joe."
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i was very
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that is just the tip of the iceberg this morning. >> what do you think about that letter? >> incredible ble move by the "new york times." incredible letter. and not the way the white house is supposed to work. not normal. lths thursd it is thursday, september 6th. >> john meachum is with us.
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meachum, we always ask you historical precedence. there are a few here, but obviously yesterday was an extraordinary day. a historical day. lined up with the woodward book, a very public unravelling of this administration as told by members of this administration. what are the parallels? what are the historical precedence? >> well, they're pretty thin, but they are revealing in terms of when they came out. if you look at the pentagon papers and the johnson administration, that that came out after the johnson administration. if you look at the remarkable details about richard nixon's last days in the white house where he's talking to the portraits and hoping the portraits don't talk back and he's asking hengry kissinger to pray with him and is having one drink or so and becoming incoherent, telling senators that in 25 minutes, i could kill
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07 million people with a nuclear strike which led the secretary of defense, james slasinger to say that any military order had to be countersigned by him. here is -- and then you move ahead to president reagan during the days of iran contra when howard baker was coming in. baker's people were researching the 25th amendment the weekend before they went in to take over because they were hearing stories that ronald reagan was essentially ga-ga. they get there and they find him immensely charming and totally in control. here is the distinction about that catalog of moments of presidential disability and potential white house chaos. we learned about those after the fact. we learned about those in books. we learned about those after the crisis to which they were speaking had passed. the remarkable thing about
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yesterday is this is a realtime historical trove. and it is not simply a matter of interest, it's a cause for action. >> and, you know, mika, what is the most -- well, i mean, it's just not a secret. i mean, this is -- i think what is most telling about the woodward book, what is most telling about this op ed is that we have not only been saying this since he's been president of the united states. we said, to much consternation, that kellyanne conway would come on this show throughout donald trump's campaign, attack him, say my god, i can't wait for this campaign to be over, and, you know, sean spicer would -- and, of course, they'll all deny it, but sean spiecer was saying the guy was going to lose. their only goal was to make sure he wouldn't lose by eight or
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nine. and by the way, i just called out those two names. it was everybody up and down the line on the campaign and everybody up and down the line in the white house. and when they deny it, they just prove themselves to be total liars. >> i can see how in some ways it's almost like, for us, and especially for you because you speak to so much white house insiders and national security foreign policy leaders in office, that you're like, well, of course. but this is a dangerous precedence. that you have a group of people working and especially after what we heard from bob woodward's book. so first, mike barnacle, and willie has the piece which we're going to get to, but just what you got on it, what was your reaction when you read this? >> i was stunned. >> yes. >> i was absolutely stunned. >> by what.? >> a, that they ran an anonymous op ed piece. i was stunned, obviously, at the content of the piece and the descriptions of the ongoing
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crisis in the oval office. >> can you start with the first one? you were stunned that they ran the piece. why were you stunned that they ran -- because this is obviously news worthy. if they hadn't run it, "the washington post" or "the wall street journal" -- >> because of the anonymity. that's what stunned me. but the context of it is the crisis in the oval office. and where a president, a sitting president, as john meachum just determined, a sitting president in the united states, his behavior is described as erratic, ineffective, adversarial. at least for me, my conclusion, my take on it was i don't care who the author was. i would prefer that the author be named, he or she. but the wider context is finally people like paul ryan and mitch mcconnell, reading this, knowing what they know, is their larger
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obligation not to the country rather than to the party? >> but they've known this all along, willie. they've known that donald trump is not well. they've known. everything that was in the woodward book, they've seen firsthand. everything that was in this anonymo anonymous article, they've heard firsthand for a year and a half now and they've chosen and decided to go along with it. >> and many of them have said things to them privately. they say them off set. but this is the white house. and it's something senator bob corker said yesterday. he said yeah, this is exactly what i'm hearing from people off the record. if you have not read the op ed, let's get into a little of it. it's no surprise which article is the top trending piece in the "new york times" right now. to recap the column that's shaken the white house this morning, a senior white house official writing anonymously claims to be part of a resistance on the inside. the official claims in the open
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he h op ed is that president trump is amoral and many are working diligently to frustrate parts of his agenda. media veer off topic and off the rails. he engages in competitive rants and has half baked, ill informed and occasionally reckless decision that's have toe about walked back. the official goes on, mrns should know there are adults in the room. we fully recognize what is happening and we are trying to do what is right even when donald trump won't. >> wow. >> is that, i guess -- maybe that's the news. >> yeah. >> that there are adults in the room -- we've always known mattis and others, we've always known that there have been adults in the room. but is that the headline of this, not that donald trump is unfit for office and that he's a danger to this country, he's a constitutional norms in our national security, but is the headlines of this article the assurance that there are adults
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in the room that are working to contain him? >> i think the headline, for me, is that the adults in the room are working to contain him by, as the article says, as the opinion piece says, by subverting his policies. so he puts something out, and they say we're actively working to push back against the president's policy initiative. that is extraordinary. and they suggest there is a group of them on the inside. i am interested in who the person is. >> yeah. >> because i think it's different if it's jim mattis. i'm not suggesting it's jim mattis or a staffer at the national economic council, for example, or something like that. >> and that's like what we heard from some former clinton alumni, that based on their experiences, it can be a lower level staffer at the nec. i do think that the new york times owes a responsibility to its leaders and owed a responsibility to its leaders before publishing this anonymous
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letter to give us a better understanding of the level of this person. one of the top advisers, a high ranking official could be one of a thousand people in the government. >> well, you wouldn't have had the piece in the paper. i mean, i'm sure the deal that was cut was, you know, you've got to protect me. whoever wrote it. whoever wrote it ought to step up now and claim authorship because that's the next step here. in answer to your next question, i think the mood of this piece is in one or two sentences. the root of the problem is the president's amorality. anyone who works with him know he is does not have first principles that guide his decision making. >> the description in the "new
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york times," just so we're clear, gives of the author is, quote, a senior official in the trump administration. so that could be an awful lot of people. let's go to the white house. nbc national correspondent peter alexander is there. take us inside the white house yesterday, what it's doing to find out who the author is. >> it's clear the white house was caught off guard by this op ed. the moment it came out, i printed a copy of it and immediately ran upstairs inside the west wing and i went into bill shine and happened him a copy of it and asked him if he had any response to this new and anonymous op ed. it literally appeared that was the first time the white house was aware of it was after it came out and they were already reeling from a series of other
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headlines, most notably the details coming out of bob woodward's books, reporting that they may be looking for a replacement for jim mattis and then this that landed with a thud inside the west wing. based on our conversations with multiple aides and allies of the president, his reaction was an eruption. they said he was, quote, volcanic. it was about an hour or so later that he was scheduled to be in the east room where he was going to host some sheriffs from around the country. i was a pooler meaning i was going in to represent the -- at the end of his remarks, i tried to pull him aside. he was lured in when i brought up this. initially he said he didn't understand what i was talking about. then i read the headline of it to him saying that i am the resistance inside the trump administration. and he appeared to know about it at that point as you'll see he pulled out some notes from his pocket. here is the president's realtime reaction to yesterday afternoon.
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>> we have somebody in what i call the -- "new york times," talking about he's part of the resistance within the trump administration. this person -- this is really a disgrace. i will say this. nobody has done what this administration has done in terms of getting things passed and getting things through. so when you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably it was failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons. now and the "new york times" is failing. if i weren't here, i believe the "new york times" probably wouldn't even exist. >> the president would tweet about this, as well. let me show you the tweet that he wrote. and i'll contrast that with what sarah sanders will say, as well. is it just the faelg "new york times" with another phony source, if the gutless anonymous person does, indeed, exist, they
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must turn him or her over to government at once. it was notable about what the president said or he questioned that this person even existed because sarah sanders, the press secretary in a statement only poemts before that effectively said they believe this exists by saying this coward needs to resign immediately. the bottom line here inside this west wing, this is a place we have witnessed that is filled with mistrust, describing this in effect as a treasonous act of disloyalty. but as some described it last night, this is like those horror movies when you get the phone call and you find out that the bad guy is inside the house. this was first reported by "the washington post," a source told similar language to me last night. the bottom line right now is nobody knows who to trust and it's only getting worse. >> yeah. could be the whole house except for givanca. peter alexander, thank you very, very, very much for getting up early. still ahead on "morning joe," we'll be joined by former cia director john brennen.
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he's been anything but anonymous in his criticism of president trump. "morning joe" is coming right back. "morning joe" is coming right back how can we say when you book direct at choicehotels.com you always get the lowest price on our rooms, guaranteed? let's say it in a really low voice. carl? lowest price, guaranteed. just stick with badda book. badda boom. book now at choicehotels.com woman: where are we taking him? i have no clue. we're just tv doctors. if this was a real emergency, i'd be freaking out. we are the tv doctors of america. together with cigna reminding you to go, know, and take control of your health. schedule your annual check-up today.
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in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. joining us now, john brennen, senior national security and intelligence analyst for nbc news, chief international security and diplomacy analyst for nbc news and ms nbc and also with us, author of the book a world in disarray, richard haas. we'll talk in just a moment. >> all that is old is new again. if you talk to george w. bush,
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he would say, man, they were leaking about me at the cia around the clock. barack obama would say the same thing. the state departments always leak. this does happen, but perhaps not in such a dramatic manner. is this a new.chatter or have we seen it before? >> i don't think george w. bush and barack obama said there was leaking around the clock. they were concerned about it, but this editorial is not a leak. it's an expression of deep concern and reflective of what a lot of people have been saying over the past year, that donald trump has not fulfilled his responsibilities. there are people now taking extreme measures to try to reassure the american people that there are people within the administration who are trying to counter what donald trump is doing. >> and i can ask you a point in
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question? >> sure. >> if you were in a possession position where somebody gave you the order to assassinate a foreign leader, to do something that you believe was illegal or was dangerous, would you ignore thatter order? would you confront the person in the chain of command or would you retire and tell the world about it? >> i take door number three. i think at the etched of the day, there's a spectrum of what the order is. but assassinating somebody, killing their family, deliberate collateral damage, those kinds of things scream for not only will i not do it and not only will it confront, but you have an obligation as a senior leader to step up and make that public. >> and not simply ignore the order. >> that would be my view. >> wouldn't that be the view of most of the men and women you served with in the navy? >> i think so. there's a spectrum here, but at
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the end of the day, i think any leader in any position has the responsibility to illuminate a situation in a public way. >> that, to me, is not the hard case. imagine tomorrow president trump called his senior people and gave them the order to attack north quay. he could say kim jong-un violated the agreements at the summit, it's not illegal, it's within the spectrum of foreign policy possibilities. that seems to me the more -- not unrealistic scenario that we could be facing where he wants to do something big, consequential, that you might think is bad for the interests of the united states. it's not illegal and it's not
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often foreign policy perspective. >> add millers and general toes make the decisions unilaterally on what orders they should follow? >> i don't think you can run a government -- >> not america. >> you're saying that is what's happening right now, insubordination up and down the chain of command? >> it is. and people are quoted as saying this is such an extraordinary man that we're willing to live with it. it's a dangerous precedent and it's not something that's sustainable. unlike nixon, people will do things against nixon, we didn't know about it. this president knows the people around him are actively subverting his orders. >> it's really suggest the op ed is truly a service to no one except the person who wrote the op ed so they can write a book or an article for the atlantic or somebody else later on how they wanted a war.
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>> and likely only heightened all the characteristics described about the president in this book. it makes him more isolated and paranoid about what is happening. director brennen, does this anonymous op ed make you feel better or worse about the state of the white house, about the state of the country? in other words, are you terrified that we have a president like this sitting in the oval office or are you somehow reassured there are enough people around him performing an act of king guardrail, effectively.? >> i expect things will get worse before they get better. we're now at the worsening point where some senior administration official took this extraordinary step and i do have concerns about the insubordination. but also i have concerns that donald trump continues to be in the oval office and to sit atop the administration that is not
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following orders, his recklessness, his irresponsibility, the importance of american values where they're not being valued, the woodward book and now this. there is a cumulative tipping point. what that is, i don't know. but it should be a wake-up call for people within the administration to say this is not a sustainable situation, especially for a country like the united states that has such global responsibilities. >> our panel is staying put. up next, we'll talk about the consequences of all this. if the president was erratic before these stories, what happens now? "morning joe" is coming right back. "morning joe" is coming right back you're headed down the highway
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this wi-fi is fast. i know! i know! i know! i know! when did brian move back in? brian's back? he doesn't get my room. he's only going to be here for like a week. like a month, tops. oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. welcome back. we are joined by john brennen, nbc news analyst. the council on foreign relations, richard haas. mike barnacle has a question.
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mike. >> these past few minutes of this discussion have been, again, stunning to me. we're talking about the presidency. we're talking about a sitting president who has been described as amoral, petty, ineffective and john brennen, it would seem now, we're at a point we're public servants. you were with the cia for years. you were with the nsa for years. what conscious might take place precedence over the oath of office that you have taken and others take when you're surrounded by a president who just might take the country right off the rails. >> right. >> well, it's against the law to follow an order that you know is illegal. so i think it's an obligation on the part of officials to reject something like that. but an order that's given that may have a disastrous future to it in terms of impacting the united states, i think it does require individuals of conscious to be able to push back against such an order and to try to
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resist it. and i think we have seen examples of jim mattis doing exactly that. but then if you feel that you cannot make headway against donald trump in terms of turning him around, i think there's an obligation to go to congress. and this is why it's so, so important for the congress, republicans and democrats alike, to put the interest of the country above the interests of themselves and the party. because the congress is supposed to be a check on the chief executive. and if the chief executive is going to be giving orders that are going to lead us down the disastrous path, we need to get the congress involved and we need to be able to stop such actions. >> you know, willie, in this case, he's been the hedgehog. it only takes two republicans. it only takes one republican. >> wow. >> it only takes one republican. and james falas repeatedly said to all of these republican
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senators, go forward and deliver eloquent speeches about constitutional norms being trashed or donald trump, it only takes one of you to say i'm going to bring this to an end right now. i'm going to caucus with the democrats oregon i'm going to vote against the president's administration until he puts something in place that assures a, b, c. the constitutional norms that followed that the rule of law is respected, that our foreign policy is handled in a responsible way. not one republican will stand up and do that. not one republican. >> well, we've heard some republicans speak out and most of them are leaving town in two months. their careers are over. the proposal was put out to protect bob mueller through legislation. that was shot down by the majority leader. there is no appetite for that
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kind of thing in the senate. coming up on "morning joe" -- >> acknowledge the real world negative consequences of what happens and we take the full responsibility to fix it. >> he's going for weatherman. >> i'm distracted. is twitter poised to change its ways? we'll break down yesterday's hearings on capitol hill. "morning joe" is coming right back. hill "morning joe" is coming right back directv gives you more for your thing. if you've been waiting for a sign to quit cable, then here's some signs. ♪ quit cable
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the capital was quite busy yesterday. it was day two of brett kavanaugh's hearings. we have experts to dig into those former fbi special agent and msnbc contributor clint watts, contributing editor at the atlantic magazine ceo of the national constitution center and
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law professor jeffrey rosen. also with us the director of the alliance for securing democracy. laura rosenberger. she's a former official for both the state department and the national security council. and let's begin with the brett kavanaugh hearing. over 12 hours of questions yesterday from members of the senate judiciary committee where he seems to dodge questions related to the russia investigation. >> president trump doesn't have an absolute right to pardon himself, does he? >> the question of self-pardons is something i have never analyzed. it's a question i have not written about. it's a question, therefore, that's a hypothetical question. >> does the president have the ability to pardon somebody in exchange for a promise from that person they wouldn't testify against him? >> i'm not going to answer
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hypothetical questions of that sort. >> can a sitting president be required to respond to a subpoena? >> so that is a hypothetical question about what would be an elaboration or a difference from u.s. v. nixon's precise holdsing. and i think going with the justice ginsburg principal, which is not the justice ginsburg alone principal, it's everyone's principal on the supreme court and it's a matter of the cannon of judicial precedence. i can't get you an answer on that hypothetical question. >> so you can't give me an answer on whether a president has to respond to a subpoena from a court of law? >> as my -- it's my understanding is that you're asking me to give my view on a potential hypothetical, and that's something that the -- every -- each of the eight
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justices currently sitting on the supreme court when they were sitting in my seat declined to decide potential hypothetical cases. on special counsels, i've said what i've repeatedments here, on investigation and indictment of a seated president, number one, i've never taken a position on it and number two, it's important to underscore the justice department for 45 years. this is the justice department, not me. the justice department for 45 years has taken the position and written opinions that a sitting president may not be indicted while in office, but it has to be deferred, not immunity, but a deferral. >> in his 2009 article for the minnesota law review, kavanaugh row the nation's chief executive should be exempt from time distracting lawsuits and investigations which would ill serve the public interests, especially in times of financial or national security crisis. if the president were truly m l
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malevolent, he could always be impeached. so there is a part of an answer. >> brett kavanaugh has no opinions on that but he's willing to share with the rest of us on whether a president can pardon himself, whether a president can exchange a pardon in return for a positive benefit. it seems to me these are not -- these are not even hypothetical questions. these are just basic tenants of law. i mean, going back to english common law, but any first year law student could answer. >> to the most basic questions involving our law. >> it's an extraordinary moment we find ourselves in. however, no english king and no american president has ever tried to pardon himself. so in that sense, it's never
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been decided because no one has ever tried to do it. and i guess that would be the case in which defense. on the indictment, though, he said unequivocally, as that 2009 article suggested, that sitting presidents shouldn't be indicted, that it is justice department policy, so i could have been able to embrace that directly. he had, when he was in the bush justice department and said maybe this is heresy, but it's policy the president could be subpoenaed, but the case might have been wrongly decided. but the big take away yesterday was he said nixon was one of the great moments of judicial independence. he stands by it. i wouldn't, though, say, okay, can the president be a mean naed to give personal testimony.inspect that's another part the supreme court has not decided. so it's something that might come out this coming year he was questioned about and he did
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dodge it. >> and this causes actually concerns i think for a lot of americans because chances are very good that donald trump selected him. if we just look at donald trump's past because someone let him know about the 2009 law review article that brett kavanaugh wrote saying that sitting president cannot be indicted. >> and i keep coming back to this same point, too, which is how can a president not be indicted or be asking to come in for testimony if they were pursuing some sort of action that helps them get the position of being the president? we're looking at two examples, whether it's russia collusion and then obstruction or what we see going on in new york right now which is these two cases where we saw the stories of women being suppressed. if those stories had come out, maybe he's not president. you know, this changes the play of things. so how can we not go back and look at these things? i don't know what the answer is yet, but i think we need to be looking into these procedures.
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>> rudy giuliani, also, he's on the record saying that if a president subpoenaed, the president has to go and respond to the subpoena. so on charlie rose back when bill clinton was in the cross hairs, the same thing, brett kavanaugh, no one was more aggressive in the pursuit of bill clinton than brett kavanaugh. >> and it's all there in writing in that 2009 article. the closest he got to the an answer yesterday answering a question was, quote, no one is above the law in our constitutional system. presumably, that includes the president of the united states. mike, i go back to the point that jeffrey made which is the fact that we're even considering this question in that a nominee for the supreme court has to recuse himself from answering because that question could come before the supreme court as to whether or not a sitting president has attempted to pardon himself. >> that gets to a larger question and, jeffrey, you can answer this question. you heard about the utility, the usefulness of these hearings. how long has it been since we've
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had a hearing for a potential supreme court justice where the public, including the members of the senate judiciary committee get an answer that gives them some sense of the potential release? >> in one sense, we can learn a lot from the hearings. we found out from the hearings that john roberts was a texturist, justice ginsburg minimally with the plaza. but other than the, he says unlike any supreme court hearing in my 30 years of covering the court, professors, the complete breakdown between the democrats and the republicans and for that reason, you know, the senator said maybe these hearings have lost their utilities. it's time for congress to start doing its job and engaging in oversight of the president and the congress said that then we wouldn't have that partisanship. but those are enriched. the whole thing has broke.en down. >> and you even had brett kavanaugh claiming ignorance
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when he was asked about a conversation he may or may not have had with a member of the law firm that was running the president's legal defense. despite the fact that brett kavanaugh has been in washington, d.c. most of his adult life, has been in this profession most of this adult life. in a conversation that he may have had there? >> that goes back to the main question, the democrats are focussing on what about these documents, 40,000 pages released right before the hearings. so many details that are not going to be available and the hearings are just not well set up to do that. this is where i get to ask the questions for once, not you, and it's clear that these are not a good way of getting answers to factual questions about the historical path. >> so kavanaugh was the headliner, but there were month hearings on capitol hill
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yesterday. facebook's ceo and twitter's president appearing before capitol hill saying their companies are not doing enough in the wake of election interference with both executives acknowledging their own failures. >> let me be clear. we are more determined than our opponents and we will keep fighting. when bad actors try to use our site, we will block them. when content violates our policies, we will take it down. and when our opponents use new techniques, we will share them so we can strengthen our collective efforts. >> if we don't find scalable solutions to the problems we're now seeing, we lose our business and we continue to threaten the original privilege and liberty we were given to create twitter in the first place. >> so laura, you were watching these hearings pretty closely yesterday. did we learn anything from these two executives and were you
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reassured at all that things have improved since the election interference that slipped right past the gpter oaltender at a l these social mead he ya companies? >> that's right. unfortunately, i don't think we learned much new from yesterday. what is important is we learned both of these executives have a willingness and recognition to address the problem, but the problem is we're almost two years past the 2015 election or two months until the midterms. doing better without specifics at this point is not good enough. we have seen some recent actions from facebook and twitter to take down some coordinated offensive behavior. those are positive, welcome steps. but we don't have a sense of whether or not they're able to keep pace with the problem. they need to be more transparent about the scope of things. they need to be better about sharing information with one another, sharing information with law enforcement. and the last thing i would note is sort of a broad point is who
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wasn't in the room? there was an empty chair at that hearing for google who did not send a represent that the committee felt was of a sufficient level to testify to these issues. google is a part of this problem. if they want to be a part of the solution, they need to show up. >> how are they part of the problem? >> so what we see is a manipulation of the entire online information echo system. we hear a lot about the activity that happens on facebook. we hear a lot about the activity that happens on twitter. but the reality is, you know, this is a problem that manifests on every online information platform. and with google in particular, a couple of the things that we see are, one, a manipulation by bad actors of their search algorithms. if you google most geopolitical issues that russia would care about, you would get a heavy dose of russian propaganda outlets being served up in your top results. they have figured out that algorithm. you go to youtube, it is russian
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propaganda served up to users who want to search on various topics. so they are part of the problem. it's one big information ecosystem that gets manipulated by our adversaries. >> so there's an article that says artificial intelligence is transforming social media. can american democracy survive? touch on that and what you saw yesterday from these ceoss and why two years later things don't appear to be a whole lot better. what exactly is the problem? >> yeah. no matter what the social media companies do, they can't change human behavior. if you want to engage a voter, this is the best way to do it in many ways. you can target them. and when technology moves forward, what i see is not the kremlin. the kremlin is always going to be there trying to manipulate people, but it's going to be politicians, political campaigns, pr firms. what you're seeing is a shift. you've heard this from
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conservatives over the last week. maybe we should have our own app. this is the partitioning of social media. if we can bring people's apps, we can control the information they're getting and we can mine their data. we don't need to go through facebook to do that. this is the equivalent of moving people into a bubble. so i think even with these social media companies, no matter what they do with their terms of service, you're going to see manipulators move or change their tactics and eventually we'll get to a point where the social media companies can do all the plugging and playing and trying to remove content they want. they'll always get beat up on both sides and we'll see an erosion of trust on the platform. i want to ask you about the op ed in the "new york times," especially given that you've worked in the government and you understand a lot about how it's supposed to operate and we're in a time of norms being shattered. i would say this is another one. what doing the potential consequences of knowing this
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information and knowing that this is happening are? >> you know, in many ways, i think the op ed didn't really provide any new information. i think a lot of us watching this administration dynamics ar internally. as someone who was a civil servant for ten years and then served as an appointee in the obama administration, you know, my first duty was to the country. my oath was to uphold the constitution of the united states. but the constitution doesn't actually provide for internal resistance of orders from the elected president. i mean, i think what we saw in that op-ed is particularly concerning in the sense that it's talking about extra constitutional mechanisms. extra constitutional behavior. we have constitutional mechanisms to deal with these kinds of challenges and i deeply worry about the implications for our democracy, for the fundamental pillars of how our government functions. if this is the direction that people actually believe is
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healthy. it is simply not. >> laura rosenberg, i couldn't agree more. there's a chain of command. >> yes. >> and if you cannot stay within that chain of command, you need to get out and remove yourself from that chain of command and explain to americans why we're doing it. if you can't live within the chain of command, get out. you don't get to make the decisions on your own. this is extraordinarily dangerous and sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedence. we may be cheering in 2018. we'll be regretting this in 2021. >> laura rosenberg, thank you very much. up next, why the developments of the white house over the last two days are depressing and heartening at the same time. here's the awkward exchange that we mentioned earlier. take a look. >> have you discussed mueller or
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his investigation with anyone at casio wits, benson and torres, the law firm founded by president trump's personal lawyer? >> ah -- >> be sure about your answer, sir. >> well, i'm not remembering but if you have something you want to -- >> are you certain you've not had a conversation with anyone that the law firm? >> kasowitz? >> kasowitz, benson and torres, the law firm founded by mark kasowitz, who is president trump's personal lawyer. have you had any conversation about robert mueller or his investigation with anyone at that firm? yes or no? >> well, is there a person you're talking about? >> i'm asking you a very direct question. yes or no. >> i need to know -- i'm not sure i know everyone who works that the law firm. >> i don't think you need to. i think you need to know who you
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talked with. who did you talk to? >> i'm not remembering, but i'm happy to be refresh order if you want to tell me who you're thinking of. >> sir, are you saying with all that you remember, you have an impeccable memory. you've been speaking for almost eight hours to this committee about all sorts of things you remember. how can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about robert mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm -- >> i don't -- >> -- this investigation has only been going on for so long, sir -- >> right. i'm just trying to think do i know anyone who works at that firm. >> that's not my question. my question is have you had a conversation with anyone at that firm. it's a really specific question. >> i'd like to know the person you're thinking of -- >> i think you're thinking of someone and you don't want to tell us. tell us.
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4 1/2. 5. 5 1/4. 5 1/2. i yield back. >> i love him. oh, my gosh. bravo. >> that's really good. >> we played a clip before of brett kavanaugh pretending he had no idea who's in the firm and he never answered the question. >> you know, it's remarkable that -- you have to go back to -- to think of the supreme court nominee who's been questioned about alleged impropriety. and, you know, tried to dodge the questions like that. usually about judicial philosophy. kavanaugh was not going to respond to it and that was a remarkable moment. >> she did a great job sticking -- staying focus and sticking to the question that he clearly would not answer but looked kind of red faced. >> i suspect the democrats are going to continue that line of questioning today. they certainly should. >> they certainly should. >> because it could be a
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terrible conflict. willie, last thoughts? >> well, what a morning. between edwards book and the op-ed. it paints an administration frankly in meltdown. i think you'll see the president act accordingly. we already have on twitter. >> despite everything we talked about today and everything that has happened in the last ten days to two weeks, the country remains stronger than any one individual, including mr. trump. clint. >> did the institutions hold the line if everything collapses in the center? i'm fascinating if we have a major disaster in the white house, do the institutions just keep going and we carry on? >> looks that way. jeffrey. >> from the national constitution center, i have to say what's going to hold us together is the u.s. constitution. this is the greatest document of human freedom ever written. it is bringing together liberals and conservatives. we saw that in mccain's funeral. the constitution will save us. >> the problem with -- >> and all that said, amen.
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>> the problem with the people in the white house going rogue, whether it's for the right thing or not, i think challenging what you both said actually, whether or not -- >> all right. >> joe's piece in "the washington post," check it out, bob woodward's fear is damning, depressing and heartening. >> willie it will change your life. >> it already has. >> that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> hi there, i'm stephanie ruhle with a lot to cover today. beginning on the cusp of day three of the brett kavanaugh confirmation hearings, but that is taking a back seat this morning to the stunning retch lations th s tharevelations tha officials inside the white house have been working to undermine the president and shield the country from his, quote, reckless decisions. here's our question. who is really running the government? i have a great team. but first, i want to explain what's going on.

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