tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC February 7, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PST
the first time a sitting vice president decides the confirmation of a cabinet nominee. we'll bring that vote to you live. appeals court compromise. the white house signaling a possible fallback position in its brief to the appeals court on that travel ban. only hours before the three-judge panel hears arguments from both sides, pete williams will have details. just now the president arguing what's at stake. >> if you remember, isis said, we are going to infiltrate the united states and other countries through the migration. and then we're not allowed to be tough on the people coming in? explain that one. so, we'll see what happens. we have a big court case. we're well represented and we'll see what happens. >> is it going to go to the supreme court, you think? >> it could. we'll see. it's common sense. you know, sop things are law, and i'm all in favor of that, and some things are common sense. this is common sense.
good day, everyone, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we're expecting an historic senate roll call at any minute. this will be the first test of the democratic minority's ability to block a trump cabinet nominee. right now looks as though the democrats will fall one vote short. let's go right to nbc's kristen welker at the white house and nbc's kasie hunt on capitol hill. kasie, first to you where all the action is. no change in the whip count so far. it still looks like 50-50. we saw the vice president arriving just a short time ago. >> reporter: it seems that's the case right now, andrea. we've had a bit of back and forth because debbie stab naw of michigan said someone else might be willing to jump ship, another republican who would come out and oppose devos. all of our sources telling us this vote count stands at 50-50.
right now we are expecting betsy devos to be confirmed. again, just with 51 votes, including the vice president of the united states, which as you rightfully point out, would be the first time that that's ever happened for a cabinet nominee, according to the senate historian's office. so, this is -- we're focused on this, though, because this is the only case, really, so far where we have sick republican opposition to a trump nominee. enough to throw it into question. and it's a combination of factors. yes, it's for her ideology and background. she's been very focused on school choice o vouchers. there, of course, is a lot of opposition to that from teachers' unions. frankly, she also didn't perform at her hearing the way that it's often expected. and you have had bipartisan criticism of that. and there was some very difficult moments. she, of course, talked about guns in schools, talked about grizzly bears being a reason why you might have guns in schools. i think more importantly, it's
not quite viral of a moment, if you will. but what she talked about, the programs that fund disability education is something that she didn't appear to know how those mechanisms worked. that's something that really board senators on both sides of the aisle. >> and kristen welker, we just saw the senate chaplain with the morning prayer after a 24-hour talk-a-thon, an all-night version from the democrats. now it goes to a roll call vote very shortly. let's talk about the president. you were in the roosevelt room and got to ask him a question today. they are defiant. >> reporter: they're defiant, andrea, on two points. one, on his cabinet nominations. he again today called on the senators to confirm his nominees. he, of course, blamed this all on politics, as you just heard kasie map out the case there. you would have a lot of
democrats. also defiance on the supreme court -- not the supreme court case. i'm sorry, the legal case, trying to block the appeals court, which essentially halted his ban on travelers coming from seven predominantly muslim countries as well as all refugees. i asked him how far he was willing to take this fight. he said, we're willing to take it through the system. then i said, do you think it's going to go all the way to the supreme court? and he said, it could, but then you also heard him say there he hopes that doesn't happen. it's a matter of common sense. what's significant about this, andrea, the administration right now doesn't seem to be changing tactic. they don't seem to be moving toward passing this through congress. they're holding firm to this executive order, which could go to the supreme court, andrea. >> thanks to both of you. i know you'll be standing by as we go through this roll call vote. new hampshire democrat maggie hassen joins me now, also the former governor of new
hampshire. senator, thank you very much. know you're going to have to go and vote very shortly. we want to make sure we get your views in. first of all, it looks as though you don't have the vote. do you know any differently? as far as our count it's 50-50 and mike pence, of course, would break the tie and she would be confirmed. >> well, thanks for having me, andrea. right now we just continue to be focused on the fact that our country was founded on a strong public education system. we need a secretary of education who's committed to that principle. and betsy devos proved herself to be unprepared and unqualified to lead our education system in our country and also was unable to answer really critical questions about conflicts of interest. i'm still hoping that at least one more republican will dot right thing and oppose this nomination. >> you got very personal as well in your questioning. what are your concerns about special education and how they may be affected by public charters who do not comply with federal mandates and take care
of all children who need special ed, including, i gather, your own child? >> yeah, my husband tom and i have two terrific kids. our oldest, ben, is now 28. he was educated in our public school system because of the i.d.e.a., the law that protects students with disabilities and makes sure all our children have ak es to a free and public education. when we asked ms. devos about protecting the i.d.e.a. and kids with disabilities. she was unfamiliar with the law and more concerning is some of the voucher systems she supported make kids sign away their civil rights under i.d.e.a. to get a voucher and sometimes they go to a school with that voucher and the school turns out doesn't have the resources to educate complex kids and then they're stuck because they don't have the legal rights to get the services they need. it was a very concerning series of answers. overall, i think all of us, and this is a bipartisan concern.
i'm hearing it from constituents throughout new hampshire. i know my fellow senators are hearing from theirs, too, this is a bipartisan concern about making sure that we have a secretary of education who's committed to a strong public education system. mrs. devos has really dedicated her work to undermining that education system. >> you know, of course, that on the president's preliminary schedule, the swearing-in for the vice president, swearing in mrs. devos as education secretary, so they are counting on having the votes. i want to ask you about one other nominee that would come before your committee, and that's andy puzner in labor. reports overnight he's had a number of issues regarding his ethics and conflict of interest declarations and the clearances. now that he is acknowledging that for quite a while, apparently, he and his wife hired an undocumented immigrant
as a housekeeper and paid back taxes, did what they needed to do to make it good with the irs, but now the question is whether that should be disqualifying? in the past, that has been but that goes back to 1993 and bill clinton's nominees for attorney general, two of whom were eventually disqualified for nomination and had to withdraw. do you think this should be an issue given the fact he has paid up and acknowledged it? >> well, i'm certainly concerned about this nominee as overall record. mr. puzder is head of a fast food chain that has a terrible record in terms of labor violations. here he's nominated to be charge of our country's efforts to make sure our workplaces are safe and fair. one, i'm very concerned about the record as it's been presented to me. we certainly, should he go forward with this nomination, we certainly will be questioning him about his overall record as a business person on labor issues. but also the fact that a nominee
for secretary of labor would have hired somebody who wasn't documented and who arguably shouldn't have been working. again, really calls into question his had understanding of basic labor law and his willingness on a personal level to comply with that law. that's just not acceptable. >> senator, thank you very much. i know you have to go vote. thanks for stopping by and talking to us first. >> andrea, thank you for having me. take care. >> you, too. meanwhile, president trump's controversial immigration ban facing its first big legal test today. oral arguments tonight before a three-judge panel in the ninth circuit court of appeals. in its brief the administration for the first time signaling a fallback position possibly. nbc's pete williams is here to explain it all. pete? >> andrea. here's what they said in their reply brief, we think you should lift the judge's order entirely, let us enforce the entire trump executive order. but at the very least, if you're
inclined to rule for the states -- i should say at the very most, the most you should do is give an exemption and let us enforce the order for everybody but people who, in essence, have already come into this country. people who got visas, came in here, were scholars, people worked for companies. then went overseas and want to come back. or people who were here and now are stuck overseas and worried they can't come back if the trump order goes back into effect. so, they raised that for the first time as a potential fallback. they say, this is the people the states were most concerned about, university, faculty, students, people who work for high-tech companies. so, if you have to do something for the states, limit it that way. >> and would they in their brief permanently put these people in a special category, so that students and faculty and employees could go home for visits and know they could get back in, or just those who are actually in-transit? >> what they say is -- no, the people who -- in other words,
limit the -- let us enforce the executive order for people who have never come here, is basically what they're saying. people who are in these seven countries. by the way, john kelly, secretary of homeland security, repeatedly told a house committee today why they chose those seven committees. what he said is, these are either countries that have been declared state sponsors of terrorism or have terrible record keeping. if someone comes and says he's pete williams from syria, how do we know that? we can't exactly go to the dmv in damascus and get his records. we can't go to the dmv in mogadishu -- or, rather, in libya and make sure that we've got the right records. so, it's failed states. that's why they chose these seven countries. >> in the past they said these were the seven countries identified by the obama administration also as failed states that need special attention. >> yes. >> slightly different context, but arguably and also approved by congress. at same time, this is going to be -- tell everyone because it's
pretty interesting. this three-judge panel of the ninth circuit court of appeals is going to be hearing this in a telephone conference call. >> right. >> i hope they have better telephone communications than we sometimes do on our conference calls. >> well, the reason for this is two-fold. one, it's an emergency -- it's an emergency appeal and everybody's in a different place. the judges aren't all together. this won't happen in a courtroom. the judges will each be in their three chambers. the lawyers will be -- >> and it's live streamed. >> it will be live streamed on the web so you can listen to it. presumably it will be robert ferguson, the attorney general from washington state, somebody here from the justice department on the phone with the three judges all over california. >> the acting solicitor general? >> could be. not the acting solicitor general but the ranking person in that office right now. >> as the president goes forward, he's made a number of different arguments on twitter and different context but the argument they're now making is a much more refined and boiled
down argument in this brief to the appeals court. >> in the appeals court, of course, there's -- one of the reasons we don't know exactly how this is unfolding is we don't know how deeply the appeals court is going to want to go into the constitutional and legal challenges that the states have claimed in their lawsuit or whether this is strictly going to be about, does this order preserve the status quo? if so, who's hurt the most? it just depends on how deeply the court wants to get into it. basically the government is saying the president has the authority to do this. the courts need to bug out. this is a national security issue. what he's doing is authorized by the law and the constitution. >> is the administration also arguing that -- that the washington state attorney general is -- and this judge that ruled in his favor on the immediate stay is too broad to make this a national decision rather than state by state? >> yeah, they say that if you're just concerned about the concerns of universities in washington and high-tech industries, it shouldn't be nationwide. they say it's way too broad and
that's -- and they also claim that the states really don't have the standing to bring this in the first place. that this is not -- this is not an executive order aimed at the states so they don't really have the legal standing to bring this lawsuit. >> pete williams, i don't envy you. a 6:00 p.m. east coast oral argument. not to say that we have a few deadlines, constant deadlines, but obviously the evening newscast on the east coast as well. >> it's a living, andrea. >> it's a living, no complaints. thanks. we're watching the senate floor as the vote to confirm betsy devos for education secretary is under way. we expect to see history being made. vice president pence is there to cast the tie-breaking vote. stay with us. the future of business in new york state is already in motion. companies across the state are growing the economy, with the help of the lowest taxes in decades, a talented workforce, and world-class innovations. like in plattsburgh, where the most advanced transportation is already en route.
right now you're looking at the senate. the senate is busy voting. so far divide the vote. we believe it will be a 50-50 split with the vice president shortly breaking that tie and confirming betsy devos as education secretary. meanwhile, this morning president trump telling a meeting of sheriffs why the court needs to uphold his had travel ban and what's at stake. >> we need this court case. it would be very helpful to keeping the wrong people out of our country. you understand that better than anybody. >> i do. >> i think we're going to have some good results. it may take a little while. this is a very dangerous time. because while everybody is
talking and dealing, a lot of bad people are thinking about, hey, let's go in right now. >> as ten high-ranking officials and democrats say it's damaging national security and one is here. former deputy director of the cia, former white house director joining me now. why did you sign that affidavit for the appeals court? >> i think largely to reflect what our experience has been, which is to say we've seen how the vetting process works, both for immigrants and nonimmigrant visas coming in and for refugee potential immigrants as well. frankly, we think it works very well. it's something that's consistently re-evaluated. the way this executive order was done, a ban on non-visa immigrants and ban on refugee program in our mind undermines national security more broadly. we wanted to reflect that in our declaration. >> the white house is now saying
that it's basing their argument on seven countries identified by the obama administration as the countries that required more vetting, more danger for travelers coming from those countries. >> sure. so, the executive order refers to an amendment that was made to the immigration and nationality act in 2015. and that piece of legislation effectively identified in the legislation iraq and syria. and then also referred to other state sponsors of terrorism. it's actually congress that identified four of the states. and then it said basically that the department of homeland security in consultation with the secretary of state would have to consult and determine, a aaccording to certain criteria, additional countries and that was yemen, somalia and libya. it's basically a congressional list, a consequence through which the obama administration participated in determining. it wasn't about a ban for travel.
instead, it was about whether or not those countries essentially with folks traveling through them, should be exempted from the visa waiver program. from our perspective, first of all, it's entirely fine to say there should be additional vetting. that's something we've participated in trying to ensure that we have the best possible vetting of travelers coming into the united states. but if you just do a blanket ban, you actually are undermining the partnerships that we rely on for counterterrorism. you actually undermine the partnerships we rely on of individuals, like translators in iraq that you've heard about, who work with our troops, who help to protect our troops who ultimately are in danger as a consequence of doing that and see the special immigrant visa process as one they can rely on, so we don't then have that offer to give them. and it also affects partners in the united states where we have immigrant who is come in who are some of our best voices for essentially koirnting the propaganda that groups like isil put out that we're at war with
islam. as a national security point we wanted to put that down and make sure people understood there's a real downside to what's being done in this space. moreover, the declaration reflects, this we also see the value from a prosperity perspective, which the states have done in the courts, demonstrating how concerning this is from their view. and i think also it's a values issue. it's part of what makes me so proud to be an american, frankly, the ideals we represent, human quaulty and dignity and the things i see refugees bringing to this country. >> let me ask you about the yemen raid which they say was a success despite the terrible loss of a navy s.e.a.l. they say it was the obama plan that was turned over to the national security council. was that a plan green lighted by the white house and nsc? >> no, that particular plan was not discussed, that concept of operation was not discussed.
what was discussed and i think collin call, national security adviser for the vice president during the obama administration reflected as well widely is that we looked at essentially in the deputy's discussion that they referred to, that sean spicer referred to, a sort of general proposition of increased support to coalition allies in the context of yemen. in that context we made it very clear that the president was not going to be green lighting this or doing anything along those lines but, rather, we would start the process and really try to go through the issues, do those sort of deliberate work we do when we look at those types of issues, surface what some of the issues might be that the next administration would want to look at. we handed that over. we expected them to run their own process. i don't think it's fair to say that that was a specific operation that the obama administration green lighted. >> and now we've reported, cynthia mcfadden, my colleague, has reported exclusively that the real target was not cell phones and computers but a particular -- you know, one of the most wanted terrorist.
was he the original target of the expanded program in yemen? >> well, as i said, we didn't look at a specific concept of operation. he was not mentioned as part of it. it was, rather -- >> part of reporting was also that general dunford and the defense secretary mattis told the president that this was something that the obama white house would never have done because the white house was not aggressive enough in going after terrorists. >> it's hard -- since, obviously, i didn't hear what they had to say to the president under the context and, in fact, i don't know what it is exactly that president trump approved, so i can't speak with real authority. >> apparently, it was aprooufld without consultation with either the secretary of state or other members of the national security council. it was done with the -- the pentagon was very much in favor of it. >> i've heard that, too. during the obama administration
you saw us engaged in a the love raids, whether targeting particular individuals we believed were combatants we believed were attacking the u.s. or getting cite exploitation or things along those lines. it's hard to say, you know, whether or not we would have approved it under the circumstances. i think you need to know a lot more detail to understand what the circumstances were. >> well, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> as we watch the senate vote right now, it appears they have 50 votes, 45-49 is the count right now. i'm hearing there may be 50 votes. let's go to kasie hunt at the capitol. kasie? >> reporter: hi, andrea. we're right outside the senate chamber where that vote is taking place up. heard that current tally, 49-45, so edging toward that 50-50 tie we expect. while i was just around the corner, i was told mike pence,
the vice president, is here at capitol. he was in the ceremonial office he holds. it's an office for whoever is the sitting vice president. of course, was joe biden's office before it was vice president pence's. he's there now meeting with members, talking before he'll ultimately go out on the floor. and we expect cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of betsy devos. that will, we expect, approve her nomination as secretary of education. it's expected this is going to be one of the, if not the most -- the closest of these votes on a trump cabinet nominee. at this point we haven't seen republicans break ranks on these other nominees. and in this case, you had two. lisa murkowski of alaska and susan collins of maine, who said they just couldn't support betsy devos. so, the hunt has been on since then for a third republican, that would put them at 51 votes against, but so far it just has not materialized. so, here we are in this tied situation. there was a little bit of a
scramble this morning because senator debbie stabanau said democrats might have had this third person but all sources point to that tie. we'll see that on the floor in a few minutes. >> right now the roll call is 47 against and 50 in favor. nbc news correspondent rehema ellis, who covers education, joins us now. we're waiting for the final roll call, of course, as the final votes come in. but, rehema, what's at stake here in terms of education policy and the issues you've been covering? >> well, that's what a lot of parents are wondering, exactly what is at stake and whether or not federal dollars that go to assist the states and local areas for their education programs are some of those federal dollars at stake? we should make it very clear that the majority of funding for traditional public schools comes from state houses and local governments. the federal government only contributes about 10% of that overall budget of about $600
billion. people are concerned about the impact that the federal government can have on local schools. i've talked to parents all over the country. we specifically went to michigan to talk with some parents there because that is the home state of betsy devos, where she has been a tireless advocate for school choice, pushing for charters and for vouchers. we met parents there who were delighted about the prospect that there could be more opportunities for choice because that's what they wanted. they wanted an opportunity to escape from what they saw as failing schools. >> let me just interrupt. it's now 50-50. with the final vote by republican steve daines of montana, it's now 50 against, 50 in favor. we're about to hear the vice president obviously stepping in and breaking that tie. interrupted you. you were talking about some of the parents you spoke to in michigan on both sides of this issue. >> certainly. some are very much in favor of the opportunity or the possibility that there might be an opportunity for more choice.
others are concerned that in creating more choice, having some children leave the traditional public school system, it means that some very precious dollars would be going with them. and they're concerned about what happens, then, to their neighborhood traditional school. everyone seems to agree that america's public schools need some help. when you look at what the nation's report card s it says that only about a third of our eighth graders are proficient in reading and math. that means the country has a lot of work to do. so, they're trying to figure out how do you reform the system? some say, get in the system and reform it that way. others -- >> rehema, let's go to the podium. >> is confirmed. >> majority leader? >> i move to reconsider the vote on the nomination. >> the question is on the motion to reconsider. >> i move to table the motion to reconsider. >> the question is on the motion to table. all in favor, say aye. all opposed.
the ayes appear to have it. the motion to table is agreed to. >> mandatory quorum call be waived? >> without objection. >> and with that the vice president leaves the podium. you see the confirmation 51-50. betsy devos is confirmed. that was a moment of history. the first time the vice president has actually used his vote to break a tie on the confirmation of a cabinet secretary. the first time in american history. joining me now is democratic senator ben cardin, ranking member of the foreign relations committee. senator cardin, a lot at stake on foreign policy, but let me ask you first about -- you had an all-night talk-a-thon. you tried to get one more vote.
you only got two republicans to defect. so, this was a textbook case of how the majority rules and the democrats could not persuade another defector to come over and betsy devos is the education secretary. >> andrea, we used every process we could to bring attention to the american people that we should have, as the secretary of education, a person who's going to promote public education. in maryland i have 880,000 students attending public schools and they are worried about money being taken away from our public schools for voice. the vote is over. now she'll be secretary of education. we hope she'll promote education for all of our children. >> we understand there will be a swearing-in ceremony with the vice president officiating this afternoon at the white house. let me ask you about the executive orders because there is, of course, this hearing at 6:00 tonight, 6:00 eastern, a telephone conference call with the three-judge panel of the appeals court of the ninth circuit. and arguments on both sides.
how do you rebutt the president's argument, the justice department's argument, that the president has broad powers in national security and that this is not a ban, not a muslim ban, that it is selectively restricting travel from seven countries that were identified, in fact, by the previous administration and by congress itself? >> what we do know is this ban will make us less safe than more safe. we just finished a hearing in senate foreign relations committee on fighting isis. it was clear in that hearing that this ban the president put in effect will be used apropaganda and recruitment for terrorist organizationings. we know muslim countries will be less likely to work with us in our war against terror. we know americans abroad will be more at risk. we know it adds to self-radicalization in our own country. this ban is counterproductive to keeping america safe. the president has used language in this that makes it a religious test. a religious test is against the
core values of america. it's against who we stand for as a nation. it's against our leadership globally. it's something that has to have no place in american policy. so, we need to do everything we can. i hope the courts strike it down. if not, congress needs to act to make it clear that this nation won't tolerate imposing a religious test on who can come to america. >> do you have any concerns about the way the white house is managing national security, the decision to go into yemen, they say it was a success, the fact that other agencies were not consulted, the fact that john kelly has testified on the house side today that he had seen the earlier drafts of the executive order, but the indications are that he did not see the final cut. >> well, i think it's very important that we don't use tweets to announce foreign policy. that the president work with his national security team, works with the experts that we have in the state department, department of defense and other agencies, before announcing our policy on foreign policy, and then work
with our partners around the world. work with our partners in europe. work with our partners in the middle east so that we have a coordinated policy that can succeed. to date it's only been less than three weeks. we'll see how he deals with this review of the isis policy. but we have certainly been disappointed by the manner in which he's proceeded to date. >> well, you spoke of tweets. there was a tweet today, i don't know, putin have no deals in russia and the haters are going crazy, yet obama can make a deal with iran, number one in terror, no problem. your comments? >> well, clearly, we can't conduct foreign policy through tweets. and russia is not our friend. they're our enemy. they attacked us. they attacked our free democratic system on our elections. they are committing war crimes in syria. they are occupying ukraine today. we got to remain tough. and u.s. leadership is vitally important for the rest of the world to join us in saying to russia, we won't tolerate that type of behavior. >> there is reporting that
elliott abrams is up for possible nomination as deputy to rex tillerson at the state department. i've been told there's a lot of support inside the state department for this experienced former assistant secretary of state. it was also at the white house in the nsc, worked under several administrations. there's been an objection, we understand, from rand paul on the republican side, probably because of iran contra, because of the fact he was convicted of withholding information in 1991 from congress on that, and then pardoned by bush 41. going into this, would you have any objection to elliott abrams? >> there was a lot of rumors about who he would nominate for secretary of state and mr. tillerson was not on that original list and now tillerson is secretary of state. i think we'll wait until the president speaks as to who the number two person in the state department and then we'll do our normal vetting and we'll number a position to respond. >> thank you very much. thanks, senator cardin,
appreciate you coming in today. kristen welker is right now at the white house, which is certainly celebrating the victory by the narrowest of margins has gotten betsy devos confirmed as secretary of education. >> reporter: no doubt about that. we are awaiting official reaction from the white house. secretary sean spicer will hold his briefing a little later on this afternoon. i anticipate he'll open his remarks by commenting on what we have just witnessed. as underscored, it was an historic moment because vice president mike pence hand down the tie-breaking vote. because she was such a controversial cabinet pick. now, of course, we are seeing the senate move on to another controversial cabinet pick, the president's pick for attorney general jeff sessions. i was in the roosevelt room with the president earlier today when he called upon the senate to pass this confirmation and emphasized the importance of this position. of course, this comes, andrea,
after he essentially dismissed the acting attorney general because she said she was not going to uphold his travel ban. now you have that fight unraveling in the courts. but, again, you really have a white house that is at war with congress, to some extent, over these cabinet picks. by all accounts, jeff sessions will likely be confirmed. as kasie was talking about earlier, the real fireworks likely came with betsy devos where you had that split vote. no indication we're going to see that with senator jeff sessions as his nomination moves forward in the senate. >> any comment at all from the white house on the new problems with andy puzder, now acknowledging there was an undocumented immigrant as their housekeeper for whom they did not originally pay taxes, although they did pay the back taxes? >> i've been talking to sources here at the white house late into the night and early today. they stress a couple of things. one, in his statement, he says once he became aware of the issue, that this worker was
undocumented, that he essentially dismissed the person effective immediately and then paid back taxes. as you point out. and i asked if there was any concern here at the white house. if that's going to complicate his confirmation process. they said, no, ultimately they think he is a qualified candidate who is going to get through the nominating process. now, there's been so much focus on betsy devos and what we witnessed today, but still, there doesn't seem to be a real wave against him at this point in time. know kasie will be tracking that on capitol hill. kelly o'donnell as well. but the bottom line is, the white house feels very confident. they say ultimately he's going to get confirmed, andrea. >> kristen welker. more ahead on "andrea mitchell reports." just moments ago, the senate confirmed betsy devos as education secretary. it was an historic move. vice president pence breaking that tie. >> the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion to table is agreed
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>> white house press secretary sean spicer not mincing words going after "the new york times" yesterday for its detailed reporting about disarray behind the scenes in the trump white house. "new york times" white house correspondent glenn thrush, one of the authors, co-authors of "the new york times" report joining me now. we wanted to give you time to rebutt, unless you've apologized. >> it's in the mail, andrea. >> yeah, apology's in the mail. let's go over some of the -- the big headlines out of your story. i'm not sure what the white house is rebutting, but they're just painting this with a broad brush. >> yeah. well, i think one of -- my main conclusion, my co-author and i spent weeks on this, spoke to 40, 50 people associated with mr. trump in the white house and campaign, congressional sources, and our basic conclusion is, to use a metaphor, they started carpet-bombing the nation, washington and the world with
executive orders, challenges to foreign leaders, at a time when really nobody in the white house knew how to fly the plane. they wear that as a badge of pride, i should say. this is a group of outsiders, a small group that the president holds very close to himself. and i think what it is as a matter of growing paints accent rated by the fact they were so ambitious in the first two weeks. >> what about the focus on the bathrobe? sean spicer saying -- i mean, you described the president home alone, you know, melania and their son are in new york and he's sitting in his bathrobe watching cable news and tweeting. it's an image. sean spicer saying he doesn't even have a bathrobe or doesn't wear a bathrobe. i'm not sure what the issue is there. >> i think we -- we reported that out. we have two sources who discussed that with us. but the largest issue is not the bathrobe and the larger issue
isn't necessarily his nocturnal habits. what we were trying to get at in a discussion is this notion that the president is dislocated from his home base in new york. we have some really vivid report being what he's done with the oval office, what he says to visitors who come to the oval office, the fact he has a framed photograph of his father is really the only piece of personal memorabilia he has in the oval office. this is a guy who has spent his entire life being his own boss, except for the time he worked for his dad, and he's now working for the american people. i think the adjustment of being away from his family and new city and new set of paradigms is difficult for him. it's funny sean and those guys pushed back as hard because i think this is an intensely humanizing portrait of the president, sympathetic portrait of a president trying to adjust. i think it's a natural adjustment period he's going through. again, the question that we have, and the really substantial reporting in here, is aboutle
difficulty they've had doing it without understanding the levers of power. the president wasn't happy with the level of briefing he's gotten on some executive orders, especially the one elevating steve bannon to the principals committee of the national security council. >> that was the big headline that the president was unaware of exactly what that meant. that he signed off on something without being properly briefed on how unusual it was for steve bannon to have a seat at the table. not to be an adviser wandering in and out. >> exactly. andrea, as somebody such as yourself who has institutional knowledge in washington, d.c., it's not necessarily a matter of the president not reading it or even being briefed on the details. it's noting the historical context. it's understanding that this was highly unusual to have a political adviser on the principals committee and unusual
the joint chiefs of staff put in a position subordinate to that. i think when he learned that, and other cabinet officials, including rex tillerson, learned that, they weren't as happy about it. and i think the president subsequently -- another thing we reported, perhaps the most important part of this story is that chief of staff reince priebus instituted a ten-step checklist that -- for things to go before the staff secretary rob porter and also the communications department before any executive order, any large executive action is undertaken from now on. i think those kinds of changes kind of normalizing the structure of the white house is what we'll see more of in the coming days. >> of course, there is the "snl" parody which goes after sean spicer and also, of course, the press corps and their interactions. let me play a little bit of that for you. >> glenn thrush, "new york times," boo! go ahead.
>> yeah. i wanted to ask about the travel ban on muslims. >> yeah it's not a ban. >> i'm sorry? >> it's not a ban. the travel ban is not a ban, which makes it not a ban. >> but you just called it a ban. >> because i'm using your words. you said ban. you said ban. now, i'm saying -- >> the president tweeted, and i quote, if the ban were announced with a one-week notice -- >> yeah, exactly up. just said that. >> glenn, i've got to tell you, you're in much better shape than bobby moynihan. >> no comment on that one, andrea. i will say, they definitely got the goatee right. >> the coat and the goatee. just to ask, is it imitating to have the president tweeting, the failing "new york times." i don't see any sign of you and maggie backing down? >> it's our role.
the "snl" skit aside, i'm somewhat uncomfortable with that because our job is to call people up, talk to them, write stories and we're going to continue to do that. >> thank you very much. just the fact that you're in the spotlight is not where i know you want to be, but thank you very much. thank you for coming on. much more ahead right here. we'll be right back. it's never been easier. except when it comes to your retirement plan. but at fidelity, we're making retirement planning clearer. and it all starts with getting your fidelity retirement score. in 60 seconds, you'll know where you stand. and together, we'll help you make decisions for your plan... to keep you on track. ♪ time to think of your future it's your retirement. know where you stand. ♪ time to think of your future only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief.
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votes in the affirmative and the nomination is confirmed. the question is on the motion to table. all in favor say aye. all opposed? the eayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. >> the mandatory quorum call be waived? >> without objection. >> you saw vice president mike pence in an historic vote this hour, casting his vote as breaking that tie, confirming betsy devos as education secretary. moments later devos tweeted, quote, i appreciate the senate's diligence and i am very honored to serve as education secretary. let's improve options and outcomes for all u.s. students. joining me for "the daily fix," "new york times" reporter. they proceeded immediately to the sessions' confirmation and they had a cloture vote so
that's cleared for floor action in probably another day. that had been held up because they wanted jeff sessions, the senator, to vote for betsy devos. they had not a single vote to spare. >> i was going to say, not just wanted, needed. needed him to vote for it because it was 50-50. look, i think what you learned here in the immediate aftermath of susan collins of maine and lisa murkowski of alaska coming out last week within hours of one another and saying they were not going to vote for devos is that mitch mcconnell, senate majority leader, knew what he had. and that those two, i think, sort of were -- he said, go ahead and come out with that because there was no further drip, drip, drip. there was no further movement. all the other republican senators relatively quickly said, yes, i'm going to be for her. would they have liked to do it a different way and get 58, 59, 60 votes for her? sure. at the end of the day, while this is a history-making moment,
andrea, the average person is not going to look back at this and say, wow, remember when betsy devos was confirmed? this is going to be a blip on the radar. you know, to mitch mcconnell's credit, the guy knows how to count votes. >> the other thing we were just looking at is barack obama post-presiden post-presidency, we'll take a look at him in a moment, but first donald trump talking to bill o'reilly. well, there you go. what happens when you are out of the white house and no longer worrying about national security and a lot of other things? richard branson is host on that private island. former president of the united states enjoying water sports. meanwhile, president trump talking to bill o'reilly in that other part of the interview that was just released last night about their relationship, the two presidents. let's watch. >> fascinating to watch you at the inauguration with barack
obama. you guys seem to get along, all right. would that be accurate? >> it's a very strange phenomena. we get along. i don't know if he'll admit this, but he likes me. >> how do you know? >> i like him. i can feel it. that's what i do in life, it's called, like, i understand. we had a rough campaign. he was fighting better than she did. he was vicious during the campaign toward me. and i was vicious toward him. we said horrible things about each other. and then we hop into the car and we drive down pennsylvania avenue together. we don't even talk about it. politics is amazing. >> politics is amazing. >> i expect former president barack obama to really come out forcefully against donald trump, even though there are pictures of him skiing and kind of hanging out and kind of doing all these things. he also endorsed someone today in california. he's also been putting out
statements about the idea of the immigration ban. so, while, yes, we do see -- we do see barack obama kind of taking a pause here, at the end of the day he said he would be a citizen fighting alongside people and progressives need a leader. they need someone to look back and say, look, this is a person carrying our message because the democrats are in disarray. while we have bernie sanders and al franken and elizabeth warren doing stuff, they really do need barack obama and his energy to continue the movement. >> and also the -- donald trump's white house, we've been talking about the concerns of this new white house. one of the concerns that's certainly cropped up is the "time" magazine cover. what is your reporting first to you, chris, about the way the president is reacting to the "time" magazine cover of his top strategist, steve bannen? >> donald trump is like, to borrow a line from "dirty dancing," no one puts baby in a
corner. donald trump likes to be front and center. that's who he was in his whole life. that's who he was in his business life. it's who he was in his reality tv. it's who he was in this campaign. no one gets bigger than the boss. i think donald trump has set up a fascinating dynamic between his top four advisers, of which steve bannon appears to be the most ascendant at the moment. how he handles the fact that these people, steve bannon, sean spicer, these people are going to be very, very famous. sean spicer spoofed by melissa mccarthy on "saturday night life," just took sean spicer's profile up 50 times. how does he deal with the fact that this administration his presidency is going to create other celebrity-type people, some of whom may get credit for things that he wants to get credit for? obviously, "saturday night live" had the same thing. steve bannon as the grim reaper playing being the actual president and donald trump sitting at a small desk next to
him. my guess is, based on what we know of donald trump's past, those sorts of things will not sit terribly well with him. the question is, what, if anything, does he do about it? >> his tweets kind of tell you that. >> i was just going to say, we know from donald trump at the cia, talking about how many "time" covers he had compared to tom braid y he cares about his "time" magazine covers. >> he completely cares about these covers. also, he's tweeting about this idea that he's the one that's in charge. he's the person that's making the decisions he did tell the public is looking at him and saying he's a puppet. i think it's getting under his skin. >> thank you very much. we have breaking news from louisiana. cal perry is -- apparently it's very, very -- craig melvin, why don't you take over and you have got latest on that tornado. >> andrea, thank you so much. craig melvin here in new york city. we're following breaking news
right now. in louisiana, that is where a tornado warning is now in effect. this is northwest of new orleans. these are pictures that we are just getting in. likely tornadoes here. s you can see, the damage already devastating. this is just one area. this is one neighborhood, as you can see these tornadoes touching down, maybe 20, 30 minutes ago. this is new orleans east, just north of st. john parish. our cal perry has been watching closely. cal, what have you been able to find out? >> you're looking there at pictures from wdsu. they are our affiliate in new orleans. that's the neighborhood, as you mentioned, new orleans east. that does not mean eastern new orleans for folks who are not familiar with new orleans. new orleans east is its own neighborhood. this from the national weather service five minutes ago. dangerous tornado on the ground in new orleans east. take shelter immediately. that warning is still going on. that has not been expired. you're seeing damage from at least one tornado. there are reports