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tv   MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle  MSNBC  July 12, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks much, mika. good morning. i'm stephanie ruhle. it is 9:00 a.m. right here in new york and we have a lot to get to this morning including a brand new nbc news poll showing there is a new 2020 democratic contender closing in on joe biden. elizabeth warren now within striking distance of the front-runner. our steve kornacki will join us to dig into that poll and explain what is behind warren's big bounce. but first, as the 2020 democratic field continues to take shape, we are starting to get a glimpse of president trump's 2020 strategy. this hour he'll be departing the white house for milwaukee, where he is set to push for a new trade deal. this is just one of the many ways the president is claiming he will fight for his base at any cost even when those very policies don't pan out. yesterday in a rare retreat the president announced he is now backing down from a 19-month
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battle to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census. instead, he will use federal agencies to collect that information, something he was always allowed to do. and while this seemed to be a concession, the president was quick to frame it as a win. >> i'm proud to be a citizen. you're proud to be a citizen. the only people who are not proud to be citizens are the ones who are fighting us all the way about the word "citizen." today i am here to say we are not backing down in our effort to determine the citizenship status of the united states population. with today's executive order we're aiming to count everyone. ultimately, this will allow us to have an even more complete count of citizens than through asking the single question
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alone. it will be we think far more accurate. >> except of course the president is backing down. in the morning we thought we were getting executive action on getting the census question added and then the president said we're going to do something better and more accurate and that thing that he outlined is something we've already been able to do. so can you please walk us through what actually happened? >> reporter: steph, i will try. this is a rare retreat for president trump, no doubt about that, mr. trump acknowledging during the rose garden event late thursday that essentially he had run out of time and options to try to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. the president said instead that he is going to direct federal agencies to give records they already have to the commerce department to try to more accurately determine how many u.s. citizens live in the united states. so the bottom line about that, he is basically telling his administration to more
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effectively carry out what officials here already have the ability to do. so this retreat comes, for some background, two weeks after the supreme court temporarily blocked the trump administration from including that controversial citizenship question on the census unless it provided a better explanation for why that change was necessary. so the background to all of this, steph, the census determines the number of seats the state gets in the house of representatives. so opponents have been arguing that, look. adding the citizenship question would have resulted in an under count especially in immigrant communities where they were arguing that some immigrants may have been afraid to actually respond. democrats calling this an embarrassing defeat for the president. the aclu sending out a statement overnight, steph, let me read you part of that statement. it says, trump's attempt to weaponize the census ends not with a bang but a whimper. as you pointed out, he is about to depart for milwaukee where he'll try to change the subject. he'll be talking about the
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usmca. we hope he takes some questions from reporters so we can ask him about this retreat. >> kristen welker, thank you very much. joining me now to weigh in an all star cast. the senior political correspondent for the "washington examiner," professor at the university of texas, and an msnbc contributor, former speechwriter for president bush, who also served in both the reagan and george h.w. bush administrations and the author of "the death of politics, how to heal our frayed republic after trump." and democratic strategist and former director of the new york state democratic party. to you first. we know it was a concession but the president is certainly not treating it that way. it is as if he fumbled the ball and then spiked it. help us understand how all of what happened yesterday will be read by the american people. >> well, look. i think this is one of those issues that is going to break down according to how you see the president.
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if you see him as somebody fighting who never backs down you'll look at his pivot on this and say, look. he is still going to try and collect this information. he was thwarted by enemies. that's not his fault. and if you don't like what the president was doing, if you think that he was threatening a constitutional crisis by potentially going around the courts, then you're sort of spiking the ball the other way, to borrow the analogy, and saying to yourself, the guy is all talk. he is a blow hard. he lost. and now he's trying to spin it. i think with president trump, the one thing we've learned is there is no gray area. people either like him or they don't. and that seems to color their opinion of how they see what he does. that doesn't mean there's not a factual basis from which to look at this. it just means that he inspires deep, heart felt opinions one way or the other for most americans. and i think that is why we've seen a very stark divide and also why we've seen his approval ratings generally stay within the range they are, which is
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anywhere from high 30s when he is doing not so well, and up to the mid 40s when he is doing a lot better which these days he seems to be in a decent place at least based on where he has been through the course of his presidency. >> so he wins the spin but do facts matter? based on what david is saying it doesn't seem any of this moves the needle. "the washington post" points out that the executive order, the president calling this a new proposal isn't one. it is what the census bureau told the administration months and months ago. what is your take on how all of this played out? >> i think that's right. it is not going to move the needle because in the trump era the needle doesn't move much at all. there's been an amazing amount of stability as david was saying for the trump presidency. i want to add one element to this, to pull back a little bit, and put this in context. if you read justice roberts' majority opinion, it wasn't that he said the president didn't have a right to put this
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question on. what he argued is that the trump administration lied in their explanation for it. that, in a way, is emblematic of this entire administration. which is it is an administration built on and arrests and perpetrates lie after lie after lie. it is fundamentally dishonest as an administration and that is the reason they got tripped up here. it is good news in this sense as well, which is the supreme court spoke and donald trump didn't challenge it. that has happened before. so a lot of times he is bluster, he hufs and he puffs, but he backs down. he's done it on this issue and others as well. the border wall and a lot of others. that is actually good because it means our institutions are strong enough to check him. >> victoria, what struck you about the way this ended? the president did get our attention and get all of those national news cameras on him and not at the border looking at children in detention centers.
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>> stephanie, what stood out most to me yesterday was what was unspoken, which is the voting rights act. for 18 months this whole charade has been about needing to include the citizenship question in order to properly enforce the voting rights act. nothing of that was said. so i'm a little more pessimistic this morning in terms of the count and in terms of immigrant rights because i think the damage has been done. the citizenship question is not going to be on the actual census but within the community, the immigrant community, the minority community, there is this pervasive fear of if i answer this question, maybe they'll come after me. so i think we're still going to see a sizable under count. and put this in the context of what's likely to happen this weekend. we see that there is likely to be large scale ice raids across the country so there is already a pervasive fear. it kicked off in january, 2017, with all of the executive orders, it leads up to today.
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so i think the end result is a severe undercount. it was a lose-lose frankly for the republican administration and for the census count more generally. >> what is your take? was the president successful in his ongoing agenda to deter and strike fear in those immigrant communities? >> i absolutely agree with what was just said. in my community, upper manhattan, a large immigrant population, there have been flyers up for weeks telling residents about their rights if ice comes to their door. >> wow. >> there has been a lot of activity and mobilization around this. i think the citizenship question certainly adds to that. and the president's motives are clear to make these districts older and whiter. that is the kind of legislature in these states that he wants to see and the kind of legislature he is trying to build in congress. i wonder if there was another motive as well. if evangelicals and republicans who went to him and said, look. we got you elected in part to put certain types of judges in
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these seats. >> and he did that. >> and he did that. and by trying to push the census question he is going against the supreme court and some of his supporters are saying, well look. we want you to put certain types of judges in these chairs. you can't then go against them because we need them to be there. we need their credibility to be in place. so i wonder if some of these folks didn't go to him and say, look. you can't do this because it undermines all of our efforts. i wouldn't be surprised that that's part of this equation, to be honest, this question has come up since the war of 1812. presidents have been trying to put this question on the census. i don't think it actually stops here. >> if we're talking judges, david, we must talk about attorney general bill barr. so many scratching their heads today. he blamed, of all people, the media for the confusion surrounding this executive order. i want to share what he said. >> some in the media have been
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suggesting in the hysterical mode of the day. that the administration has been planning to add the citizenship question to the census by executive fiat without regard to contrary court orders or what the supreme court might say. this has been based on rank speculation and nothing more. >> rank speculation and nothing more. on monday of this week, in an interview with the associated press, that man right there, william barr, said that in the coming days the trump administration will, quote, take action he believes will allow the government to add the controversial census question. so what in the world is bill barr talking about, blaming speculation and hysterical media? those were his words on monday. >> right. we're a convenient punching bag because a lot of people especially among president trump supporters don't trust us one bit. that's fine. >> then don't believe us. believe him.
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>> don't believe your lying eyes, believe your lying eyes, something like that. stephanie, it is very easy when you get caught in a pickle on the right or left and this happens quite a bit on both sides these days, just in different ways. to blame the media for getting it wrong, saying it wrong, or flat out making things up, this is not only a way to deflect some of the obviously internal struggles the administration has had in terms of trying to figure out what to do about this but also a way to tell voters that matter in 2020 and just about every action taken right now needs to be seen in that context at least in part that it's not really the president who is the problem here. it's the people making stuff up about the president. it's also, for bill barr, who has figured out a way to gain trump's trust, a way to continue that because the way you do that is to shield the president, let him know very publicly right next to him that he's great and everybody else is the problem. it's simplistic but that's how it works and that's if you want the trust and the belief in what
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you're doing by the president, if you want him to let you act, then you make sure you sort of keep him in the loop that way. i think twa is nothing more than that and barr knows it is very effective at doing that. quite frankly, nobody is going to cry when the media is getting beat up. so it is an easy out. >> nobody crying, but facts are facts. somebody who is not in the -- or who the president is not currently a fan of is paul ryan. peter, in an excerpt from the new book released in "the washington post" this week, he details some criticisms none other than republican paul ryan had about president trump. ryan telling him this. i told myself, i got to have a relationship with this guy to help him get his mind right. because i'm telling you, he didn't know anything about government. i wanted to scold him all the time. well, no surprise president trump did not like this, hitting paul ryan in a series of late
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night tweets, calling ryan a lame duck failure with poor leadership. what is your take here, peter? >> well, i think what paul ryan is saying is no state secret. he's giving voice to what everybody virtually knows. i know paul. he is a friend of mine. i wish paul had said this while he was speaker of the house and had resigned in principle having made that argument. i understand what he was trying to do which is work behind the scenes trying to keep donald trump from making worse mistakes than he otherwise made. >> but does trashing the president now make up for that? >> i don't think so. i don't think so. i mean, i'm fine. it's giving -- telling what really happened is better late than never. but, you know, my critique of the republican party, which is in real time, there haven't been enough republicans who have stood up to the president. and i think that's done tremendous damage to the country. i think it's done damage to the party. and doing it after the fact is
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not ideal. but probably the biggest picture here that we have to keep in mind is that, you know, 85% of people in congress who deal with donald trump would essentially say the same thing. i've had conversations privately. they should say it publicly. but they will say it privately. and what it means is that you have a man who is president who is emotionally and psychologically and in terms of his intellect not fit to be president. but he is and that's what we're dealing with. >> if you say one thing publicly and another privately what does it say about you? everyone stick around. we have a lot to cover this morning. right now, hurricane warnings are in effect and evacuations already under way for parts of the gulf coast. tropical storm barry churning through the gulf of mexico threatening as much as 20 inches of rain and dangerous storm surges along the louisiana coast line. nbc's kerry sanders is on the ground in new orleans at the
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levee. what can you tell us? i've spoken to people who already left town. >> reporter: the airlines made it easy for those here on holiday vacationsing because they can change airline tickets without a fee. that is still in place. the airport has a plan to keep things running up until the moment that airlines decide they don't want to come in anymore. it is not as if the airport is going to close. wind speeds expected now of 50 miles an hour. >> they may pick up a little bit but certainly not a horn force wind expected at this point. i'm standing on the levee to demonstrate the real problem here. you can see the mississippi. you see the ship in the background. if you see these trees in the foreground there, that is where the banks of the mississippi are. but of course you see all this water right up here lapping on the levee. that's because there was so much rain and snow this winter that there has been so much water coming down the mississippi it's eight feet higher than it normally is. the fear is that the tropical storm comes in, we have 20 plus inches of rain, plus a storm
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surge, maybe 5 feet of a storm surge, and then the wind can push it and cause it to go over the levee here. the levee goes on for miles here. it is the barrier that keeps the mississippi away from people's homes. but if the water comes over there, that is where the flooding happens. the real concern is especially down in plaquemines parish, in jefferson parish, that's why they had people evacuate because the fear is the mississippi is going to come over the levees. a lot of lines. people getting gas. a lot of people going to grocery stores getting what they can. some of the shelves are empty. stephanie, bottom line is people are taking this seriously, paying attention, recognizing that there is going to be some problem in the next 24 hours, one that they need to be prepared to deal with. >> all right. kerry sanders, thank you so much. please stay safe where you are. >> reporter: sure. coming up, we have to talk more about the new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. the one and only steve kornacki will be here. nobody can explain a poll better and exactly what it shows. a unique divide in the
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democratic party. next, r. kelly arrested overnight facing federal charges. federal charges. but we're also a company that controls hiv, fights cancer, repairs shattered bones, relieves depression, restores heart rhythms, helps you back from strokes, and keeps you healthy your whole life. from the day you're born we never stop taking care of you. i'veand still goingazed from thebfor my best,t.n even though i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin... i want that too. eliquis. eliquis is proven to reduce stroke risk better than warfarin. plus has significantly less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis is fda-approved and has both. what's next? reeling in a nice one.
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welcome back. i'm stephanie ruhle. r & b singer r. kelly has been arrested, again in chicago, on new federal sex crime charges. a senior law enforcement official tells nbc news that in addition to charges in chicago separate indictments have been filed against kelly in brooklyn, new york.
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let's go to stephanie gosk for more on this. tell us about the new charges. >> reporter: r. kelly was out walking his dog this morning when arrested by federal agents. we know from "usa today" that a spokesperson for the u.s. attorney's office in chicago said he was arrested on charges that including child pornography, enticement of a minor, and obstruction of justice. we are expecting to learn more about the indictment later today when it is unsealed. the brooklyn indictment will be unsealed at a later date. this is his second arrest this year. he was arrested by state law enforcement earlier in the year in february and now faces 21 sex related charges just in the state of illinois. this is on top of that. his mountain of legal troubles continue. he has pled not guilty to those state charges earlier this year. steph? >> all right. stephanie gosk, thank you so much. now let's turn to jeffrey
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epstein. his attorneys are now asking a federal judge to release the accused sexual predator from jail in exchange for a $77 million bail package. epstein's lawyers proposing his bond be secured by a mortgage on his manhattan mansion and his private jet as collateral. as you can imagine, federal prosecutors want the registered sex offender to replain behind bars without bond. epstein pleaded not guilty this week to charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy. the charges came more than a decade after he signed a controversial nonprosecution agreement overseen by the current labor secretary alexander acosta. the plea deal allowed epstein to dodge a federal indictment. that allegedly he abused multiple under age girls and instead served just 13 months in a county jail where he could leave six days a week on a work release program to his own private office. my guest is a former u.s.
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assistant attorney for the southern district of new york. any chance the judge is going to go for this? >> i would be very surprised if he grants bail especially because one of the arguments defense counsel is making is the precise argument this particular judge has rejected in the past. they're arguing in essence i can be trusted not to flee because i will create my own prison outside of prison. they are proposing epstein hires private security forces and sets up a whole monitoring system to essentially turn his mansion in manhattan into a secure facility. that type of argument has sometimes been allowed by other courts but not by this judge, judge berman because he views it as essentially allowing a defendant to buy his way out of jail. >> what about the fact that prosecutors say he -- he does own two private aircrafts of his own, his own private island in
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the virgin islands. even if those two are on watch the amount of international ties and powerful ties he has are the reason we even know this person. >> that is exactly right. he is an extraordinary flight risk. i expect the judge will agree. there are three things the judge will focus on here. first, this is a presumption case. typically there is a presumption in favor of pretrial release. here because of the severity of charges there is a presumption in favor of detention. that is going to be very difficult to overcome especially because as you point out the extraordinary flight risk and amount of resources, the international connections he has. and the judge is going to look at whether he presents a danger to the community. obviously prosecutors have argued hard that he does. this is a very serious charge. they just executed a search warrant and among other things found a cd with the label "new girl picks." those three words i think will be most damaging at the bail hearing. >> after this man went to jail he has a cd in his house
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labeled "nude girl picks." thank you so much. up next we are digging into the numbers from a brand new nbc news poll with the one and only poll reader steve kornacki. before we go, in a tweet president trump went after china saying they were letting us down not buying enough agricultural products. this morning we learned u.s. exports to china dropped in fact over 31% from last year. this despite the president's chief economic adviser saying the opposite yesterday. >> i know that our side expects china very soon to start purchasing american agriculture commodities, crops, goods, and services. i think that is a very key point.
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a dramatic new snap shot of the 2020 race for president with the brand new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll revealing where the democratic candidates currently stand and where they get their support from. let's get the details now from the one and only steve kornacki our national political correspondent. steve, walk us through this. >> so look.
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the headline is you say biden in first but only 26% there for the former vice president. elizabeth warren the other big surprise in this poll, second place within seven points of joe biden. harris, sanders, buttigieg the only ones really registering above 5% in this poll. you say where are they getting their support from? what are the key divides that are defining this democratic race? we'll give you three. first let's look at race. among white voters in the democratic party you got biden and warren tied for first place right there in the low 20s. take a look when you look at black voters, biden's support rockets up, more than doubles. 46% among african-americans for joe biden. kamala harris moving into a distant second place nearly 30 points behind him. this is a key point to keep an eye on as the race progresses. remember one out of every four votes cast in the democratic primaries across the country next year are going to come from black voters.
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can harris keep moving up here? is biden, is this strength he has going to last with black voters? that is a key question. also the ideological divide among liberals, it is now warren in first place, warren in first place and running away, an 11-point advantage over bernie sanders among liberals. you see biden behind him. the other end of the party, moderates and conservatives, there is the big source of strength for joe biden. 35% more than doubling up his nearest competitor. then there is the new most gaping divide right now in this democratic race. it is on age. look at this. among democratic voters under 50 years old, there is bernie sanders actually in first place. 25% for bernie sanders. just ahead of elizabeth warren. joe biden barely breaking into double digits among voters under 50. and yet as we showed you biden is the front-runner. why? because look at this. over 50 he is suddenly up, biden at nearly 40%. and bernie sanders, who is leading under 50 with 25%,
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crashes to just 3% among voters -- it is the irony, one of the ironies of this race, stephanie, bernie sanders, the oldest candidate in the race. why is he not doing better? because the oldest voters seem to have the strongest aversion to him. >> that is interesting. steve, we are looking at democrat versus democrat here but voters across the board in the democratic party would say, they are most looking for a candidate who can defeat donald trump. what does this polling tell you about that? >> there is an interesting number here in the polling and it's 45. given a choice between the -- what is your priority we ask democratic voters? is it more getting somebody who is in alignment with you on the issues or is it more somebody who can go out there you think and beat donald trump? 45% shows pragelectability. somebody who can beat donald trump. that speaks to the overall mood of the party. i can tease this. this is not the full poll.
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we have more results that i think will come out over the weekend that might get more into that question of, okay. democratic voters say electability matters. okay. let's match up some of these democrats against president trump and see who looks like it. we may have more information on that in the coming days. >> stay with us. let's broaden out the conversation. back with us my guests. victoria, let's talk elizabeth warren. within striking distance of joe biden, now at 19%. he is at 26%. what do you think? >> so after the first night of debate i knew elizabeth warren was going to skyrocket. i am not surprised at all. in the second night of the debate when i saw bernie sanders kind of refried, same old schtick as in 2016 i knew e-elizabeth warren was really going to cinch it. not surprising in terms of elizabeth warren. for me what was surprising was to see kamala harris remain in the third place. i think her support should have been a little bit higher.
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but that being said, she is consistently the second choice. if you dig down into the details of that survey, across the board when people are asked what is your second choice, kamala harris keeps coming up as a second choice. same thing in surveys from the last couple months. so i think that fact that she is still in the top two or three is very good for her. but elizabeth warren, no surprise. i think she is on an upward trajectory. >> david, does donald trump like to see elizabeth warren move up in the polls? she does not identify herself as a democratic social iflt. but the republican party and specifically the president love to label her as one. we know from the monmouth poll that a majority of americans, 57%, say that socialism is not compatible with american values. does the president like seeing elizabeth warren move up the ranks so he can pin her as just that? >> well, yeah. i really do think he does like that. i think republicans would prefer
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to run against elizabeth warren. look, i think you're right in describing her sort of political persona. i think of her as a left wing popu list on the other side of the coin from donald trump. >> you think elizabeth warren is the other side of the coin of donald trump? >> when you're looking at the issue of populism and how they position themselves. are they different in terms of how they behave and comport themselves? sure. but when you look at how elizabeth warren has talked about economic policy, has talked about foreign policy, has talked about trade policy, there are a lot of similarities between her and president trump. there are obviously a lot of differences. but i think that the president and the republican party would like to run against her because particularly on issues like healthcare and some other key issues that will affect the general election population,
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they think this gives them the upper hand and a way for president trump to hold on to disaffected republicans in the suburbs, who want to vote against him but will only go so far in doing so. i think what was interesting about the polling was the grouping here, right? because you have a lot of democratic voters that want somebody bold and progressive and you see these numbers for bernie and warren combined. then you see kamala harris and joe biden with the sort of main stream, democratic voter. even though a lot of people tend to look at primaries as strictly the base vote, especially in a high turnout election which is baja we can expect from the democratic 2020 primaries you'll have a lot of voters who are not as far left as some of the others and i think this could affect the outcome of the race. >> let's talk about another significant voting bloc, black voters. we know joe biden has a significant lead, 46%. there is also a fox news poll
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out showing him having a massive lead in south carolina. which other candidates could stand the best chance of closing this gap? >> well, certainly kamala harris because she did so well in the debates. i do think she is, in all of the polls she is in sort of the top four or five. i definitely think she has a shot at it. so does elizabeth warren who, you know, we were just talking about. because they actually have policy solutions. i think voters are really looking for that african-american voter, and we are as a community not monolithic but certainly a little more conservative on some issues than a lot of candidates will like to acknowledge. and you need to come to it's not just this criminal justice reform. you don't just need to go to church on sunday with us. you also need to talk to us about economic empowerment as well. and, you know, elizabeth warren just with her name in here, she has a plan for that. she has a plan for everything. she's got policy. that is very attractive for a
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voter. we also are very loyal as a constituency for the democratic party. i think a lot of what you see in joe biden's vote is a reflection of that. the older voter who has a lot of history with joe biden and the loyal democratic party voter who has history with joe biden who brings political capital because of his relationship to barack obama is what you're seeing reflected. having said all of that, there are still three states to go before south carolina where you see a lot of african-american votes. that can change the narrative. when barack ran in 2008 a lot of black voters didn't think he was electable. iowa changed that when he won. so maybe kamala has her breakout moment in iowa. who knows? but when you get to iowa and new hampshire the narrative can change in terms of electability and that may impact those numbers. >> we know elizabeth warren has a massively strong ground game in iowa. she has hired a lot of people from obama's former team. i don't want to pour cold water on the poll. it's wildly interesting. we are 480 days out.
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victoria, the -- oh, we have breaking news. alexander acosta is resigning, the labor secretary announcing moments ago he will be resigning from his post. excuse me. president trump making that announcement. of course, alexander acosta has been under major scrutiny over the last week, seeing that he was the u.s. attorney who presided over jeffrey epstein's nonprosecution agreement several years ago, an agreement that people on both sides have said was a sweetheart deal. we are just getting word from the president that he will be stepping down. what's your take? >> i saw that coming. when you're explaining you're losing. that was an extraordinary moment, press conference when he is trying to explain away this horrible decision. and in light of all of what's come out now about epstein and the fact even that over the last few years he is supposed to have
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reported in to the nypd, didn't even do that. 34 times he missed that. so, clearly, this man has flouted his wealth at the system, largely i would think because of this agreement that took place. so not unexpected at all. >> victoria it seems rachel maddow has to get a bigger wall when she lists all of the people with the administration who are no longer employed there. what is your take? >> you know, on the one hand i was thinking, is trump going to stick it out and stand by this guy? because there have been accusations against the president of sexual impropriety, himself. he was going to defend him there. or on the other hand does he want to turn the attention away from that? he doesn't want somebody who can bring that type of attention. so thankfully, we ended on the side of right as a woman, as a mother of a teenage daughter, it makes me very happy to see that justice at least in terms of
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acosta stepping down is going slightly in the right direction. >> your take? >> especially with the president's issues with female voters heading into 2020 i don't think they could afford to have the labor secretary stick around and give democrats the ability to raise a lot of very legitimate questions that would create the epstein affair as a topic of discussion throughout the 2020 campaign. so even if in theory one could argue that alexander acosta is a fall guy, and that is not what i'm saying here, but even if you could make that argument and even if inside the white house some people thought he was getting a raw deal, politically there was no way for him to hang around. i think that's why we have seen a very swift exit here. >> isn't it amazing when we say how this is going to impact female voters, how about human voters who think sex trafficking is an issue? i want to actually bring in congressman sean patrick maloney from new york state. i believe he is with us now from washington. congressman, what is your take?
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i mean, just a day ago your fellow democrats didn't think this was going to happen. >> you took the words out of my mouth. we should all care about this. and this was clear a couple days ago this guy should have been gone. the fact that the president drags his feet on this is another sad example of how he just doesn't get it. i think we ought to point out, by the way, that the only person in this administration who's been able to survive in the face of credible allegations of sexual misconduct and mistreatment of women is the president, himself. i mean, the fact is, mr. acosta was accused of looking the other way or of engaging in misconduct as a prosecutor for someone else's misconduct. the president, himself, has never been held accountable for his own actions with respect to women. that's the thing we ought to be talking about. >> it was called upon i want to say two days ago, congressman, acosta to come testify before congress. now that he is stepping down is that no longer valid? >> well, i am very interested in the circumstances surrounding his failure to properly prosecute this.
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it stinks to high heaven. both the state prosecutors and the federal prosecutors. there is a lot of money sloshing around in the background when it comes to jeffrey epstein and i think people ought to ask some good questions. this is about accountability. it's about whether we'll believe survivors, whether we're going to demand there be accountability for the perpetrators of sexual violence and harassment, and part of that is understanding the power networks that allow guys like jeffrey epstein and donald trump to do this for years and get away with it. that's why we got to ask some questions about why he threw this prosecution because there may be more to the story. >> let's bring peter wehner back in. what is your take here? >> i'm glad he's gone. i think it was inevitable. he presented his case, acosta, earlier this week, poorly. the facts were against him. but i want to echo what the congressman said. this is i think illustrating the weird moral world in which we live. the president of the united states is a sexual predator. and he is a masogenist and his
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cabinet secretary is getting fired because as a u.s. prosecutor he didn't successfully prosecute jeffrey epstein who is a pedophile and sexual predator. that gives you a sense of the kind of moral swamp we're dealing with. this was such an ugly and grotesque story that there was just no way acosta was going to survive it. but it somehow is fitting that this president and this administration would have to face this kind of an issue. at some point, and some day, donald trump i hope and believe will find some kind of co comuppance because his treatment of other human beings particularly women is atrocious. we know that. and i hope that we now live in a time and a moment where that actually matters.
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>> let's bring kristen welker in live at the white house. krit ten, this is quite the about face. two days ago when acosta had the press conference, many said it was a conference for an audience of one. white house aides told the president acosta did a very good job. sounds like the president changed his mind. >> reporter: sounds like the president changed his mind, steph. and that essentially the pressure just became too great. remember what happened. he did give that press conference essentially defending his decision to broker the 2008 plea deal with accused sex offender jeffrey epstein. and, of course, you had critics, democrats saying that effectively it was a sweetheart deal. ultimately, there was a sense inside the administration that acosta had stopped the bleeding at that point but of course there was this open question. would the pressure continue to mount? and i think that's what happened. particularly when you had that state attorney from palm beach
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come forward and say, look. acosta could have kept investigating the case against epstein if he had wanted to. he could have brought charges to trial. he had a 53-page indictment ready. so i think the backlash continued to be so great that if it became tough for acosta to continue in that role. so, again, the president and acosta just announcing this moments ago as the president was about to depart for milwaukee. this is certainly a significant development. and it's worth noting, steph, there had been some criticism inside the administration of acosta prior to all of this. >> what kind of criticism? >> reporter: there were some who felt as though he wasn't adequately carrying out the president's deregulation agenda. so add this controversy to it, and then the big question, of course, this is a role that oversees human trafficking in the u.s. how could he continue to serve in that role given the criticism that he was facing for that 2008
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plea deal that he brokered with jeffrey epstein? so certainly a significant announcement here at the white house, one more change on a high level position. of course there have been so many more before this. >> thank you. congressman maloney, can you hear me? >> i can hear you fine. >> this jeffrey epstein, the new charges have obviously come up in the last week but the sweetheart deal is from a decade ago. while acosta was questioned about it during his confirmation, he was confirmed. should we be taking a look back again at how that confirmation process went? this isn't new news. >> well, look. he's gone. i don't know that i want to dig into the confirmation process. i really want to dig into the issue of whether there was public corruption. i am very interested in the fact that the federal prosecutors on this are from the public integrity section of the justice department. i think there may be a bigger story here about whether money was involved and why this went down. i mean, you have to ask yourself
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why he -- why acosta let epstein off the hook so gratuitously and his explanations never held up on this. the question for the republicans and the president and mitch mcconnell is why you didn't care. and whether you still care now. and whether you're going to do anything differently. i think mr. wehner's point is very well taken. the president, himself, has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct, even rape more recently, and we need to take those allegations seriously. >> congressman, i am going through north of 20 titles within this administration, vacancies or acting titles. for those of us not in washington who have never been part of an administration, you of course were part of the clinton administration. what does that mean for how the president is able to enact his legislative agenda with so many people simply not in those positions? >> it means he does not take governing seriously. i think that is a very important point. it sounds kind of dry but the fact is, in issue after issue
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the president and mitch mcconnell are taking a walk on doing things that matter for kids at the border, for our environment, for our health care system. and on a bunch of other issues. you cannot take governing seriously when you have no we don't have a secretary of defense for goodness sake when we are toe to toe with the iranians right now in the gulf. i don't think this president takes it seriously. he sees it as a twitter war, public relations game, ratings play or some sort of effort to just put himself in the center of every conversation. but there's an actual job here called president of the united states, and you can't do it by yourself. that's what is going on. hollowing out the mechanism of running the country. if the governing part of the job is what he is not keen on.
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david drucker, working through the legislative agenda, how do you get that done with all the people not in the jobs? >> this answers the questions of why you don't see more republicans in congress stand up to the president and say publicly what they say privately. their own voters are very satisfied with the president and the president's numbers with republican voters is very, very good. and i think one of the reasons is that these voters, first of all, want to see -- a lot of them want to see washington broken up into pieces by somebody who is shaking things up in their view because they don't think it was working before. with more traditional presidents that did things in ways that we think are more effective, more traditional, they think it wasn't working for them. i think the other thing you have to look at is for the things the president said he would do on the campaign trail, they have seen him, according to republican voters, delivered, the tax bill is something that
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he delivered. judges is something that he delivered. pulling out of the iranian nuclear deal, something he delivered. jerusalem, something he delivered. i think the congressman makes a very good point. i think the president has hampered his own legislative agenda by trying to run everything like it is the trump organization, no delegation, everything revolving around him. but for voters that are republicans, that are happy with the president, one of the reasons is he is doing what he said that he would do and these are things that they wanted him to do. that, by the way, stephanie, includes the trade issue. it's been very problematic. the president hasn't had much to show for it. but they wanted to see him fight china. he is fighting china. right now that's good enough. >> he's fighting china. let's remind our audience, agricultural sales to china down 31% from where they were last year. so, again, he may be winning a
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p.r. war. hang tight. i must bring into this conversation "miami herald"'s own julie k. brown, whose fearless, tenacious reporting, brought the details of acosta overseeing epstein's plea deal to light. she joins us now by phone. julie, are you surprised? julie, can you hear me? she doesn't hear us yet. so let's wait just a moment. basil, david went through all the reasons why republicans are pleased with the president. do you actually believe that he's executed on so many of those, or he's told quite a story? >> he's told quite a story. i mean, i think to david's point, moving the embassy to jerusalem obviously in the tax bill, those are executable decisions. absolutely he's done that.
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but has it actually had the effect, particularly the tariffs, have they had an effect on helping the workers and voters that he claims to stand up for? no. the problem is i think what voters are waiting for is a democrat to put that narrative together to create the counter narrative, the alternative. in the absence of that thus far we have commander in chief who has a bully pulpit who is able to sort of dig in as deep as he can with the voters that will support him no matter what. but i do think there is an opportunity for us to erode that a bit particularly on this issue of affordability. yes, the metrics of the economy are doing better. but can you afford your car? can you afford your house? what about sending your kids to college? if you are can't afford those things, i think that is an argument we can make >> julie k. brown of the "miami herald" i believe we have on the phone. can you hear me?
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>> yes. i can. >> the news of secretary acosta steplg do stepping down, your reaction? >> i'm surprised it happened this fast. but, you know, that press conference that he gave the other day didn't do him in good, much help. practically everything that he said at that conference was either inaccurate or twisted in some ways to benefit him, make him look good. in reality, there is nothing here that makes him look good. he dropped the ball on this case. we had been preparing to do a fact-check story tomorrow that would essentially use documents to show everything he said was not true. >> was the clearest, biggest inaccuracy from his press conference two days ago? >> well, i think his point, he was blaming the state prosecutor -- you know, the state prosecutor dropped the ball too. that doesn't absolve mr. acosta
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of his role. he is a federal prosecutor. the reason the police chief went to the u.s. prosecutor and the fbi was because he saw that the state prosecutor wasn't going to do his job. so it fell into the hands of mr. acosta to do the right thing. and by blaming the lower person on the law enforcement chain i think 6s -- it didn't look good. >> no one has done more reporting on this than you. obviously this week, i know you have spoken to victims who have come out. given all that's happened in the last few days, and especially right now, do you think we'll be hearing from more victims, some we haven't yet heard from? >> i think definitely. and i know for a fact there's journalists all over the world covering this story now. he had been recruited in other countries. i'm sure there will be more
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information coming out not only about his operation. but there were a lot of employees and other people, big people who, if they weren't involved in the operation, they knew about the operation. it's time for them to come clean on this. i know they were forced to sign nondisclosure agreements. but it is time they step up. >> recruiting women from other countries. and let me just remind the audience. two days ago in the press conference, alexander acosta said it's 10 years later. we view things differently now. not so much. julie, thank you so much for your reporting. thank you for joining me. victoria, congressman, basil, thank you. you don't want to miss this. thank you. you don't want to miss this. but we're also a cancer fighting, hiv controlling, joint replacing, and depression relieving company. from the day you're born
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