tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC October 21, 2019 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
that'll wrap things up for me this hour. chris jansing picks it up. chris. >> a seek krcret twitter life. i barely have a public twitter life but i try. katy tur, thank you very much. i am chris jansing. only chris jansing. i'm in for ali velshi. it is monday, october 21st. today, the gop divide. republicans increasingly nervous about a series of presidential missteps. the g7 back track and pulling troops out of syria. as one conservative republican put it, we just don't need this. and just hours ago, the president firing back. demanding republicans get tougher and fight against the impeachment inquiry. >> democrats fight dirty. i think the democrats are lousy politicians with lousy policy. two things they have. they're vicious. and they stick together. they don't have mitt romney in their midst. they don't have people like that.
they stick together. you never see them break off. you never see somebody go out and -- that's why i respect it so much. republicans have to get tougher and fight. we have some that are great fighters but they have to get tougher and fight because the democrats are trying to hurt the republican party for the election. >> the president struggling to reset the narrative while saying it's quote a foregone conclusion he will be impeached. clearly, there's a line for republicans who have found it harder, in some cases, to defend the president. nbc news reporting, for example, that during a saturday meeting with moderate house republicans, trump was told that the majority of the room felt it was best for him to reverse himself on having the g7 at doral. and then he did that. "the new york times" reports that republicans were not eager to have to defend the appropriateness of the president's decision. but today, he wasn't backing down that the g7 should have been at his own property. >> it would have been great. but the democrats went crazy.
even though i would have done it free. save the country a lot of money. then they say, oh, but you'll get promotion. who cares? you don't think i get enough promotion? i get more promotion than any human being that's ever lived i think. i think i would have that -- i think i can say that fairly safely. but i was willing to do this for free. and it would have been the greatest g7 ever. >> today's defense coming after his acting chief of staff did it again. giving a controversial interview. this time, to fox news. admitting that at the end of the day, the president of the united states quote, still considers himself to be in the hospitality business. all this against the backdrop of what's coming. a week that will be full of testimony on capitol hill. including, a crucial witness who will be appearing in less than 24 hours. his name is bill taylor. he's the top career diplomat on ukraine who raised the possibility of a quid pro quo in those now infamous text exchanges. he'll testify before house investigators leading the
impeachment inquiry. and we have breaking news on that impeachment inquiry coming to us out of washington where we are just learning that house democrats are honing in on the framework for their impeachment case against president trump. nbc news correspondent heidi joins me now with more. i know you have been intensively working this story for some time now. what can you tell us? >> reporter: that's right, chris. democrats who are very close to the process and individuals involved tell me that they are really narrowing the case on this impeachment framework to a simple abuse of power case against the president, chris. this is the framework under which everything that the president has done with regards to ukraine falls under. whether it is pushing out the ambassador, marie yovanovitch, or it is the president's phone call, or the quid pro quo on the military aid. this is the framework they plan to use. now, it's important to note, chris, that no actual drafting of the article has begun.
that the legal discussions are ongoing. and that they are still collecting all of the evidence. however, in speaking with constitutional experts, chris, i am told that this is also likely to be the impeachment vehicle because if you look at history, this is the same way that they drew up the case against richard nixon. there were three articles of impeachment for abuse of power, for contempt of congress, and obstruction. what is still up in the air at this point is not this overall umbrella of abuse of power but the obstruction argument. the individuals who i spoke with, chris, believe that they have a very powerful case on obstruction and intent to obstruct with that october 8th letter that came from white house counsel and when she said that the white house would not be complying with any of the ukraine investigation. however, there are other stakeholders in this process, chris. there are a lot of committees that have been working for a long time on their oversight and investigations and they, too,
want to see their work reflected in this. however, it is the speaker's opinion and those close to the process that this has to be very targeted. the overall point here and the tak takeaway, chris, is that contrary to the mueller investigation where democrats felt they had very compelling evidence but the narrative got too fuzzed up. it was hard to communicate to the american people. they want to keep this very simple. >> so very simple means ukraine, only ukraine, nothing else. >> at this point, under that abuse of power umbrella, ukraine and nothing else. the question right now is on the obstruction and whether they also bring in the mueller charges. they have not ruled out a third article. there is still a heated debate within the caucus on whether some of these other investigations, such as on the emoluments clause, and whether the president is using the office to benefit personally should go into there.
but the main messaging and the narrative and the overarching article that they are discussing now on abuse of power, that is very much in play and very much formulat formulated. these other debates are still taking place. i believe the speaker wants to show that she is taking in all input from all different members. but they are also very, very concerned about having this stray very much beyond ukraine. and, therefore, as to abuse of power right now, it really is just ukraine. and you can see that also in a polling memo, chris, that went out this past week from sherry bustos, who is in charge of the house democrats re-election efforts. and they actually pulled this already in battleground districts. in 57 battleground districts, a majority of individuals they found believed this. they believe that it is either -- and i'm going to read to you the exact language -- very or totally convincing that
trump is quote abusing his authority and that lawmakers need to quote uphold the rule of law. therefore, even in that memo, abuse of power, again, is the very first bullet in terms of the talking points that have been distributed to the entire democratic caucus. >> so let me make sure i understand this because if they -- if the idea is that they're looking at this polling and -- and people agree with the basic premise. and nancy pelosi has been incredibly consistent on this, right? she has said from the beginning we have to keep this clear, sharp, and focused. it has to be a case that we can make simply and clearly to the american people. well, i understand the polling that sherry bustos did, there's another new yonew york times sienna college survey that looked at six key battle ground states. in arizona, florida, michigan, pennsylvania, and wisconsin support the impeachment inquiry. 50 to 45% but at the same time,
it finds those same voters opposed to moving trump from office are 49% as opposed to 43%. how much are they depending on the politics of this, the american people, what they can -- they believe that they can sell and in particular sell in battleground states? >> it is very important, chris, that you made that distinction because, of course, this internal polling is consistent with that because it's showing that people believe that what the president was engaged in was wrong. but then when you ask them should he, therefore, be impeached? you see the level of support go down. and so the calculus by the speaker and by democrats who are running these investigations are that we are in the beginning stages of this process and also according to my reporting, chris, what is going to happen is that while they're conducting a very private deposition process right now where they believe they're collecting the best evidence.
the next phase of this will be where transcripts are released. the public is -- will have access to more information. you will see people testify and they will also point you to some of the movement that we have seen among, for instance, moderate republicans. like francis rooney, who over the weekend said, look, i have to at the end answer to my grandchildren. i'm going to be looking at them a lot longer than i'm going to be looking at the people around here. that was in response to mick mulvaney essentially acknowledging in the white house briefing room that there was a quid pro quo. so, yes, chris, to answer your question. they're very much banking that those numbers will begin to move and they have got to also be reaching out to people like roonye, like will hurd in texas. like some of these retiring moderate republicans so this really can be seen as a bipartisan process. >> heidi with the remarkable reporting that is just posted on nbc news.com. heidi, thank you for that.
i want to bring in nbc's hans nickels at the white house. garrett is on capitol hill. hans, this literally just broke moments ago so i'm sure it's too soon to get any official white house reaction. having said that, the president was already talking impeachment today and he had plenty to say about it. >> well, the president appears to be heading towards the realization that he's going to be impeached. that's what clearly he's indicating. he indicated earlier today. now, that means something different than being removed and you start -- you're starting to see the white house prepare potentially for a senate trial as they slowly accept the fact that impeachment is heading in the direction that they think it's heading in. you know, we did hear from the president on his resort today and his decision to change where he'd be hosting the g7. what we heard today was the on-camera version of what the president said over twitter over the last 24 or 48 hours. and that is, this is an excellent location.
this was all teed up to be perfect. it would save taxpayers money and it was the best place they could have thought of. have a listen to what the president had to say. >> doral was a very simple situation. i own a property in florida. i was going to do it at no cost. give it free if i got a ruling because there's a question as to whether or not you're allowed to give it. you people with this phony emoluments clause. and by the way, i would say it's cost me anywhere from 2 to 5 billion dollars to be president. and that's okay between what i lose and what i could have made. i would have made a fortune if i just ran my business. i was doing it really well. i have -- i have a great business. i have the best properties. >> so it's clear the president made his decision not based on the fundamentals of it or any constitutional challenges or problems. he didn't like the optics and that's the -- that's the realm that he's fighting in now is trying to win the optical battle. chris. >> all right. thanks very much for that. garrett, let's talk about what's been going on and what is going
to happen on capitol hill now because the president clearly has been following the impeachment inquiry. today, what we heard from him is that very clearly and not surprisingly he doesn't have much use for it. let me play that. >> they're interviewing ambassadors who i've never heard of. i don't know who these people are. i never heard of them. those people might be worse than the democrats. the good news is they're dying off fast. they're on artificial respiration i think. but no, impeachment, they want to impeach and they want to do it as quick as possible. >> so clearly, what we have, garrett, is two things going on simultaneously. one is this preparation for more testimony. they're very methodically building this case and this blockbuster reporting i think from heidi prisballa that they're zeroing in on a framework for impeachment that they are very clearly focused now on where they would want that to go if indeed articles of
impeachment were to be drafted. tell us what you are hearing from where you are. >> well, the president's at least half right. they, being the democrats, do want to impeach and they do want to move quickly. that's in part intention to what heidi a heidi's reporting. democrats want to keep their impeachment inquiry as streamlined as possible, as focused as possible and they want to move it as quickly as possible. as one house democrat said to me last week, their problem as he saw it is the president is a one-man crime wave who keeps committing offenses that could be considered impeachable. so every time the president opens his mouth to add something like perhaps china should investigate the bidens as well, that creates some other data point house democrats feel they have to look into. look. the bottom line here is we do not know how long this process will go. they have this week scheduled for more closed door hearings. adam schiff has said he wants open hearings. the judiciary committee will
have to be involved do draft articles of impeachment. so democrats are trying to stay narrowly focused, move quickly, but also be as thorough as possible. it is a challenging task up against really about 30 working days left in the year for the u.s. congress. not a lot of time to get this and literally anything else done. >> nancy, as you well know, senior white house staff gave mick mulvaney a round of applause at this morning's staff meeting. but you've been reporting that in the past week, white house aides have felt under siege. that's got to only increase with this new reporting. nancy? okay. so we're having audio problems. so if we can, we will go back to her. but danny sovalos is here with me and carole lamb as well to talk about the legal aspects of this. so, danny, i'm very curious to hear what you think about heidi
prisballa's reporting about the way that they're focusing this. it is like building a case. it is like putting something together for a trial. except your jury is the american people. >> abuse of power is the easiest avenue to achieve impeachment. it is not a crime but crimes are not necessarily all impeachable and the converse is that not all impeachable offenses must be crimes. so we have abuse of power and we do have precedent in the case of richard nixon but we also have precedent in the form of no less than three federal judges who have been impeached for abuse of contempt power and then just straight-up abuse of power. so there is precedent for the abuse of power as an impeachable offense and arguably because it is not itself a crime that exists in the crime code, it is an easier case to make. however, if that is the easier case to make, then that's something that can be made now. it could be made later in their view. now, they're thinking about the more difficult cases to make, such as obstruction of justice.
or any other arguable creative applications of, say, bribery or the emoluments clause or something else. but at its core, abuse of power is the safest avenue for the house. >> carol lam, former u.s. attorney for the southern district of california. carol, what will you be watching for and listening for as they go forward? it seems like every day we've had a major witness and, again, we have one tomorrow. key parts of that testimony get out. what are you going to be watching for that will help you to determine how you think this case is going to come together? >> yeah. i think one of the reasons why they want to move quickly is because they don't want so much to leak out that the -- the public and the senators become sort of immune to the -- to the shocking nature of what's transpired. i think that with respect to the obstruction of justice charges, which they are apparently considering whether to include in the articles of impeachment, they are probably thinking that
if they actually include them, then there's no question that a lot of evidence should be presented on them. if they don't include them, then people might say, well, why are you bringing that up again? because you know, we've already heard about that. you know, we decided that or bill barr decided that no action should be taken on it and that's over. but if they include them along with the abuse of power article of impeachment, then they will definitely be bringing all of those -- all of those actions back into the impeachment. >> carol, it occurs to me obviously we're in a very different world than any other impeachment we've been through before. first of all, obviously, you have social media. you have more cable news hours than you've ever had before. you have an electorate frankly that is incredibly engaged at this point, a very early point. and there's just been this saturation every time there is a story, anyone who is paying attention knows about it. so how does that change an equation when you are building a case?
it's almost like, you know, your -- you go into voir dire in a regular criminal case and you want to know who's heard about it. it's almost like this is your biggest example of everyone already seems to know everything. so it's about how you put it together? >> well, that's right. but, you know, you'd be surprised. even though things are in the press a lot, a lot of people really don't know the details and really don't get into the facts, which is a problem of course because what we're hearing is a lot of very opinionated presentation of the facts. but, again, this is not going in front of a jury. this is going in front of senators and it's their job to actually have known what is going on. so we have a different audience. but senators are responsive, of course, to their constituents. so it is -- it's a very different game, as you said, and i think that may be why congress may want to include more -- more
allegations so that they can actually go back and bring the actual facts back in. as opposed to just opinions that people have heard. >> and nancy, before we lost you, we were talking about how senior white house staff gave mick mulvaney a round of applause at this morning's staff meeting. but you have been writing about how white house aides have felt under siege. this can only add to the growing concern there. >> absolutely. and i think that there is -- has just been a sense for weeks that there is very little coordination among these different factions in the white house over how to fight impeachment. there's very little strategy. i'm hearing from republican lawmakers and conservatives outside the white house that they're very frustrated by that. and they've had a few weeks now to get their act together on it and they still really haven't come up with a total plan on it. they are studying past impeachments, particularly president bill clinton's and president richard nixon's for clues about how to handle it. and i think the white house lawyers have a sense of how, legally, they'll fight it.
but just in terms of the political response and the communications response, that's something they haven't been able to sort out yet. and i think that puts them at a disadvantage. >> nancy, thank you so much. we appreciate you hanging in there as we got the technical problems resolved. danny, carol lam, hans nickels, and garrett responding to the breaking news that house democrats have now zeroed in on a framework for their impeachment case against president trump that will center on a simple abuse of power. of course, this comes in the wake of big controversies last week. including, his decision, which he then reversed about the g7. and then there's that controversial decision to withdrawal from northeast syria. well, now defense secretary marc esper says those troops will, in fact, be redeployed to iraq. that's different than trump's promise to get out of foreign wars and this afternoon, the president was unclear about just how long it would take to get the troops home. >> they're going to be sent
initially to different parts. get prepared. then ultimately, we're bringing them home. yeah. we're bringing our troops back home. i got elected on bringing our soldiers back home. >> joining me now from northern syria is nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel. richard, the political implications are one thing with the president not bringing home those troops immediately. but what are the on the ground implications of this redeployment to iraq? >> well, on the ground implications are very simple. the ethnic cleansing, the mass expulsion of the kurdish population from northern syria. that is what the kurds say they are already facing. they say it is still going on even though there is a ceasefire. a ceasefire that expires in just about 24 hours. but they say once the ceasefire expires, turkey will resume its full-on military offensive. and then the ethnic cleansing will continue only at a much
accelerat accelerated rate. they think the kurds here in northern syria that they have been abandoned by the united states. abandoned specifically by president trump and the white house. and they say they are facing mass expulsion and it is just a matter of time before they are wiped off this part of the country. >> we heard again about all of this from the president today who said the u.s. never agreed to protect the kurds for the rest of their lives. and secretary of state mike pompeo in the meantime was talking to cnbc. here's what he said. >> the country that turkey invaded that conducted an incursion into is syria. a sovereign nation. we worked with kurdish friends, the sdf, up and down the y euphrates river. it was to the benefit of the sdf. it was to the benefit of the united states of america. indeed, to the benefit of the world. the commitment we made to work alongside them, we completely
fulfilled. we continue to fulfill. >> is that the feeling there? completely fulfilled and continue to fulfill? >> i don't know how we can possibly even say that. that this is to the benefit of the sdf. that means the kurdish forces. that is to the benefit of the kurdish people. hundreds of thousands of those kurdish people who are supposed to be protected by the sdf are now fleeing their homes. they are heading to iraq. they are dying in the hundreds. no. they do not feel like the united states has fulfilled its commitment to them. if you look, we saw today i think some of the worst images that will -- that will resonate throughout history. we saw them earlier today. u.s. troops leaving this country. they were being pelted with rotten fruit. rotten tomatoes. rotten potatoes. some stones. as they were leaving this country with kurds holding up signs saying to the u.s. troops, don't leave us. tell your children that kurdish children are dying while you,
the soldiers, didn't do anything to protect them. the soldiers in this country who are being ordered to leave feel absolutely horrible. there might not be a formal deal, a written treaty, with the kurds. but there is a bond that these troops formed. a bond of blood, a bond of honor, that they think they are breaking right now and that the commander in chief has ordered them to do something immoral by leaving the kurdish people and their kurdish allies behind to die. so, no, they do not feel like they are -- have had their end of the agreement fulfilled. >> richard engel in northern syria for us. thank you for that. the president's reversal on pulling troops out of syria not only creating this terrible situation on the ground but retired four-star army general barry mccaffrey believes it's also putting american soldiers' lives in jeopardy. >> makes my skin crawl every time i hear 200 troops are staying someplace and 1,000 moving to iraq.
we deploy units to carry out missions, not individuals. why don't they put gps locaters on their heads and tell the turkish forces, assad forces, precisely where they are. this is just utter nonsense. it's incoherent. it doesn't make any sense. and i think the president, at the end of the day, is going to put our people at risk. >> i want to bring in former director for syria and lebanon at the national security council under president obama and former spokesperson for terrorism at the treasury department. do you agree with the general? >> thanks, chris. yes, completely. i mean, we're not just putting our troops at risk, which we are by moving them to iraq which completely undermines what president trump said. but we're certainly putting the kurds at risk. we are putting -- we are taking a situation that was previously stable in the northern part of
syria and reversing it on its head by making it a violent, chaotic area. right? i mean, by allowing the turks in there, which we are. i mean, we know from u.s. officials that have told the press over the weekend that the skirmishes have not stopped. that the ceasefire is not holding up despite what president trump has tweeted. meaning, you're leaving a situation to become chaotic. you're talking about number of tribes. a number of different religions. and the kurds have now aligned themselves with the syrian government. so now, they've put themselves at risk by aligning themselves with a murderer like president assad. the whole thing is just -- is a disaster. >> you know, the president has been talking today about his decision to spread u.s. troops between oil fields and iraq and he also said earlier that when it comes to keeping u.s. troops in syria, he doesn't think it's necessary. other than to secure that oil. here's what he said. >> i don't want to leave troops there. it's very dangerous. you know, we had 28 troops as it turned out. people said 50.
it was 28. i don't think it's necessary other than that we secure the oil. little different section but we need to secure the oil. and the other region where we've been asked by israel and jordan to leave a small number of troops is a totally different section of syria near jordan. and close to israel. and that's a totally different section. that's a totally different mindset. so we have a small group there and we've secured the oil. >> what's your takeaway from that? >> the administration doesn't know what it's doing and unfortunately now the messages that are coming out are completely convoluted. so, first, to say that we don't need to be in northern syria and we have fulfilled our commitment to the sdf and to the kurds in that region is a complete fabrication. i mean, i don't even know if they believe what they're saying. i certainly know from my friends in the government whom i have spoken with, they've told me there is a sense of chaos. that there is a sense of
desperation to walk back what trump did to try and address what he did. that's why you saw sanctions hastily put together last week. that's why you saw vice president pence and secretary pompeo dispatched to ankara for a meeting with the turks steamrolled us again. and now, to put our troops, first to deploy some of them to iraq to fight isis on the ground, number one, makes no sense. and undermines trump's message about getting out of endless wars and not putting our troops in harm's way. and number two, to deploy the remainder of them at the oil fields undermines, again, his argument that's saying we don't need to be in the area. that the mission there is done. unfortunately, we're going to be paying for this mistake that he made. and the administration is just -- they're chaotic inside. they don't know what to do. >> thank you so much. it's good to see you. appreciate it. >> thanks. >> up next, after initially fighting charges brought against them in the college admissions scam, four parents are now flipping their pleas to guilty.
two of them were in court in just the last hour. now, we've got these new photos that show actress felicity huffman in a prison jumpsuit as she serves out her 13-day sentence for her involvement in the cheating scandal. you're watching msnbc. scandal you're watching msnbc. when you shop with wayfair, you spend less and get way more. so you can bring your vision to life and save in more ways than one. for small prices, you can build big dreams, spend less, get way more. shop everything home at wayfair.com doprevagen is the number oneild mempharmacist-recommendeding? memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere.
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new developments this afternoon in the college admissions scandal where four more parents are pleading guilty after facing allegations they paid hefty bribes to get their kids into some of the nation's top schools. today, we saw guilty pleas from a former investment firm ceo, a food executive, a former ceo of a finance firm. all of them, accused of paying six figure bribes to get their kids admitted as recruits for university sports teams. the court appearances come as we got these new images of actress felicity huffman in a green prison jumpsuit. she is serving a 14-day sentence in a low-security federal prison after charges related to a scheme to cheat on her daughter's s.a.t. test scores. miguel, so they're flipping, huh? they've decided we're just going
to bite the bullet and get this over with? >> prosecutors are clearly applying pressure here. the move is to let these parents know if they don't plead guilty, they'll face additional charges, perhaps a bribery charge. which if convicted, would lengthen their prison sentence. so do i plead guilty and go for the smaller sentence? or do i fight this and perhaps get an even longer sentence? >> yeah. it's got to be sobering when you see someone like this who was an a-list star in a green prison jumpsuit. that's no fun. having said that, the other probably most high profile defendant here is lori loughlin. do we know what this means for her? >> right now, she is keeping the not guilty plea. her attorneys will be back in court in january. she is headed in that direction. if she is faced with an additional count on perhaps a bribery charge, that would mean if convicted, she's certain to spend months behind bars. so she is certainly taking a high-risk gamble here. >> do we know how much, if any,
negotiations are going on? if i remember correctly, they have her on tape. >> they do. prosecutors say they have wire taps. so they would have phone conversations with her and the alleged ring leader who's admitted to running the scam. william singer. so she's certainly looking at some very serious evidence against her if what prosecutors say holds true. >> so when the folks who plead guilty get sentenced, when will that be and what's the possible sentence range? >> a couple weeks from now, they will be having their formal sentencing hearings and they are all likely to get weeks, if not months, in prison. >> good to see you. >> good to be with you. >> up next, mayor pete buttigieg surges in the latest poll out of iowa unseating senator bernie sanders and lending himself a spot on the list of presidential front-runners. plus, four major drug companies accused much fueling the opioid crisis have reached a last-minute $260 million settlement just hours before the federal opioid trial was set to begin. you're watching msnbc. trial wa begin. you're watching msnbc.
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we're more than 100 days out from the iowa caucuses but it's increasingly looking like a three way race. according to a poll, former vice president joe biden remains in the lead with 18% from iowa democrats. but elizabeth warren is just a point behind. and here's the big news maybe out of this poll. south bend mayor pete buttigieg passing bernie sanders. 13% compared to sanders '9%. and check this out. the number of caucus goers who
say they're undecided has spiked eight points since june. it's now at 29%. for more on this, i'm joined by nbc senior political editor and ali vitali who is on the ground in des moines, iowa. so, mark, buttigieg jumping seven points since june. sanders holding steady with 9% support. how do you analyze this? >> yeah. chris, to me, there's a top three now in iowa according to this one poll. where really it's kind of almost up for grabs. and i've always been convinced that the person who ends up winning iowa, chris, probably ends up having a leg up in getting the democratic nomination. and, again, you pointed out that number 29% undecided is still very striking. but if the people who are not in the top three, bernie sanders as you mentioned at 9%, remember he just came within a hair of winning the iowa caucuses in 2016. he's underperforming. also, kamala harris is down 13 points from the last time this poll was done. but as you did mention, pete
buttigieg, this poll came. was in the field right after last week's debate and he does seem to be overperforming in iowa more than his national polls, which puts him in a position to be able, if somebody's not elizabeth warren or joe biden able to win the iowa caucuses, pete buttigieg might make a name for himself. >> it's so easy when you get these bumps. the question is can he sustain it? in the meantime, ali, interesting new piece about how the cost of implementing medicare for all might be elizabeth warren's greatest weakness and that it was exposed at last week's debate. here's part of what he writes. warren painted herself into this corner by making an elementary mistake. she outsourced her policy position to a rival candidate. sanders doesn't care if he takes positions that poll horribly among the electorate as a whole. now, i know warren has said they'll release her own plan for funding. all of this in the coming weeks. but what's the campaign saying
about the delay and how much pressure are they feeling? >> well, look. i think this is a campaign that largely tries to stay above the ebb and the flow of news cycles and polls. so that's sort of what they're trying to do with this. but it is really one of the first moments that elizabeth warren and the idea that she's the candidate with a plan for that has come under scrutiny. we watched that it sort of became a double-edged sword on the debate stage when all the other contenders up there were trying to get her to be deliberate and specific about medicare for all and how she was going to pay for that. on the ground here in iowa both yesterday and today, she says this is something she's been looking at for a long time and that she's going to be putting out a plan on how to pay for this soon. but here's the thing is that it's hard to say how you're going to pay for something when you don't exactly know what the cost of it is going to be. so in that plan of hers, she's going to have to put out what her estimate for how much medicare for all will cost in there, as well as how she's going to pay for it. so two things that can be scrutinized further by the rest of the field. but she also talks about this in
a very deliberate way. when she's asked about what the impact on middle class taxes will be, she often pivots to what it means for overall cost for households, for american household cost. i asked her why she does that and why it's an important distinction for her to make. listen to what she said. >> i spent most of my adult life working on one central question. what's happening to america's middle class? why is it being hollowed out? why are families who work hard and play by the rules going bankrupt? and a big part of the answer to that question is the cost of healthcare. we live in a country right now where the costs of healthcare just keep going up and up and up. >> and, look, mark knows this well too because he's been on the ground in iowa. these are voters who when they ask questions, they like answers. it's one of the first places where i was traveling where the idea of warren having a plan for that really felt like it was picking up steam. and so i'm interested, especially as we see these polls that show that iowa voters still remain undecided, they're still
kind of kicking the tires and seeing which of these candidates is the right one for them. i'm interested to see if this does end up manifesting or when elizabeth warren does put out what her plan is, iowa voters do the same. >> that's kind of the same answer she gave you is the same answer she gave on the debate stage and she was widely criticized for her lack of specificity. mark, let's talk about bernie sanders and actually elizabeth warren too because we saw alexandr alexandria ocasio-cortez she already announced she was endorsing him. but here's what she had to say when she was asked about one of his major opponents at the rally. >> did you meet with other ka candidates before making your decision? >> i did. yes. >> senator warren? >> yes. >> what was that conversation like? >> you know, i think she's a fabulous candidate. so, frankly, senator sanders, senator warren, and myself are all on the same team in the party. >> but, mark, she's giving an
endorsement. she didn't make the case that sand sanders is definitively the stronger candidate against trump and i'm wondering what you think about endorsements. i mean, historically there is a very strong argument to be made that they don't really matter. >> they've become validaters, chris, and you know sometimes for someone like bernie sanders who coming into last week's debate and after his health scare certainly needed some good news to be able to show a vibrant kind of candidacy and getting that kind of endorsement, as well as having 20,000 people show up to a rally. i think achieves that. to me, the alexandria ocasio other tez cortez's endorsement wasn't super surprising. she ended up working for bernie sanders in 2016. she's always been on that side of the democratic socialist left. but also, i think the clip was really interesting in that if the nominee becomes someone like elizabeth warren, i don't think she would be all that opposed. but the challenge for any
democratic nominee is going to be able to hold up a party that stretches from bernie sanders and alexandria to the joe manchins. have to be able to unite a party that is pretty diverse. >> mark, always great having you. ali vitali, continuing her road warrior status. thanks to both of you. if you have a question by the way for the 2020 democratic candidates, what would you want to ask at the next democratic debate? just go to msnbc.com/debate questions and you can submit yours. we might ask it leave at the november 20th debate in georgia co-hosted by msnbc and the washington pon washington post. we've got some breaking news. brush fire in pacific palisades. officials say so far no reports of injuries. we're going to keep our eye on this and bring you any developments as we get them. but up next, four drug companies
reach a $260 million settlement over their alleged role in the opio opioid crisis. we're looking at how legal battles against drug companies actually might leave more conflict than resolution in their wake. bringing little help to communities reeling from this crisis. plus, nbc news exclusive. lester holt sitting down with mark zuckerberg who defends the social media platform's policies. you're watching msnbc. policies you're watching msnbc. with fidelity wealth management you get straightforward advice,
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at the very last minute four major drug companies reached a $260 million settlement in their role in the opioid epidemic. the first federal trial over the crisis was set to begin today. now it's delayed. as the lone company not to settle, walgreen's, decides how they'll proceed. the settlement ends lawsuits from two counties in ohio against ame richltsource bergen, cardinal health, mckesson and pharmaceutical. it's a test case of the 2600 lawsuits from other counties, other states, other groups. late last week we reported on talks of a $48 billion settlement that would have ended
all of these cases. those talks collapsed. according to the cdc, nearly 400,000 people in the u.s. died between 1999 and 2017. the result of the opioid crisis. as we learn more about these settlements, we want to take a moment to talk about what happens next. where will the settlement money go? to do that we want to take a look at one previous case. there's a new report from the "washington post" focusing on west virginia's settlement with the oxycontin maker purdue pharma back in 2001, which was the beginning of this crisis. it takes an in-depth look at the real human consequences of the opioid crisis in the state. thousands of children orphaned when their parents o.d.ed are now in foster care. west virginia was the very first state to take one of these settlements. purdue pharma was ordered to pay $10 million over the course of four years. the money went to a variety of things including lawyers and treatment facilities. but child advocates say not enough was invested in the child
welfare system. the report reads, "nearly 6, 900 children are in state care, double the number from a decade ago." officials estimate that more than 80% have been impacted by the drug epidemic. joining me dr. rahul gupta who was quoted in that story, former commissioner for the west virginia bureau of public health, now chief medical and health officer for the march of dimes. this is so important. i appreciate you coming in. during your time as health commissioner you laid out a response plan that was developed by experts at three different universities and it urged officials to direct the settlement money to foster care, to babies born exposed to opioids. where did officials fall short here? >> well, thanks for having me. i think it was very important for us to focus or on where the need is the most. we really didn't see the amount of money, in fact almost any
money, from settlements going to foster care, especially when every four out of five babies that is going into the foster care system in west virginia is due to the opioid crisis. >> i mean, you can't say that enough. four out of every five of the children who go into foster care is because of the opioid crisis. talk about some of the challenges you saw firsthand in west virginia in caring for these children. >> so one of the biggest challenges to top that is we were having difficulty finding foster families that did not have a felony or did not have a -- could pass the drug test. so on top of even worse, that was we were not able to get enough foster families to pass a drug test. so we found ourselves in the position of finding -- figuring out where to put these kids. oftentimes it would be in emergency camps, hotels, and sometimes our staff would keep them with them in their offices
oftentimes overnight just to take care of these kids and keep them in a safe environment until we could find a safe foster family for them. >> what you told the "washington post" was so sobering, doctor. you said we're in the midst of losing an entire generation. "let's not make the same mistakes that west virginia did." well, in may of this year west virginia resolved its fourth lawsuit against mckesson corporation for $37 million. what should state officials do with that differently and what should other states and localities who find themselves in this same position do? >> i think one of the most important factors is to make sure we don't make those mistakes, for example, for the worst case in the country in west virginia the high overdose deaths, we've had a settlement altogether of less than $100 million. that's knowing that the state's losing about $8 billion a year in the opioid crisis.
so we've got to make sure that the settlement matches the need of the communities. and then comes the thought of how do you use this money? it's very important to make sure that the states have some version of an abatement plan. naenz how much money will go into the health sector, how much of it will go to help babies that are born dependent on opioids and would need immediate help. how much would go into preventi prevention. and included knowing there is a number of criminal justice system including incarcerated individual that would also need the help as well as the education system. so we need to think about a wider multisector prong strategy. >> and think about those children. dr. rahul gupta, thank you so much. we appreciate your time, sir. >> thank you. just this afternoon facebook announced it will remove four networks of fake accounts that are tied to russia and iran just as the company announces changes to prepare for the 2020 election that the company believes will reduce foreign interference and make the source of a post more
transparent. specifically, facebook says it will create an ad tracker to show how much each candidate has spent on facebook ads, label outlets that are state-run or controlled by foreign governments, and include clear fact-check labels to prevent the spread of misinformation. the announcement comes just days before zuckerberg is scheduled to testify on capitol hill about facebook's plans to launch a cryptocurrency. and as democrats and democratic candidates criticize the company for its flat-footed response to russian interference in 2016. the anchor of nbc "nightly news," lester holt, sat down with mark zuckerberg, for an exclusive interview and he joins me now. hey, lester, good to see you. look, zuckerberg acknowledges there's a long way to go as they prepare for 2020. one issue democrats have focused on is that the company will not fact-check ads by politicians. i wonder what he said to you about that. >> well, it's curious because they are talking about fact-checking to a certain extent stuff that's coming from foreign actors or state actors.
but on the issue of candidates, people running for president, his belief is that that's not their job to fact check. and i pushed him on that. here's part of that conversation. >> do you feel like you're giving a green light to politicians? >> no, i feel it's important for people to hear and see what politicians are saying. i think that when they do that that speech will be heavily scrutinized by other journalists, by other people. >> and chris, this is not just an academic conversation. the biden campaign complained to facebook they wanted a trump ad pulled because they said it had falsehoods and facebook pushed back and said no, that's not our job. that's how we got to this position. he was very firm on this idea that that should be left to journalists and others but not as he said a silicon valley company. >> we only have a minute left, lester. give us a sense of what we can look for tonight on "nightly news." what did you find most revelatory about your conversation with zuckerberg?
>> i've got to tell you we sat down and had a conversation about these issues. and he tends to be very on message. but we went for a walk and he got very reflective. one of the things i asked is are you your best messenger? and he kind of paused and said i understand, i can be robotic at times and was very self-aware at that moment of saying he's got to get better at that, better at communicating for his company. he also talked a little about criticism, how he deals with it. and you might be surprised to learn he still has very strong feelings about that movie -- >> "the social network." >> yeah. he does open up in ways i don't think we've seen him before. >> lester holt, fascinating stuff. we're looking for it tonight on nbc "nightly news" with mark zuckerberg and lester holt. thanks, lester, appreciate it. >> you got. >> that's going to wrap up the hour for me. ali velshi will be back in this chair tomorrow at 3:00 eastern and you can always find me on twitter @chrisjansing.
thanks so much for watching. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. >> hi, everyone, it's 4:00 in new york. bracing for impact. donald trump has been told by close associates that at least one outside adviser that he will be impeached and the only thing standing between him and removal from office is those 53 republican senators. that's according to a trump ally and outside adviser in contact with this white house, who describes trump's small inner circle as quietly coming to grips with the reality that impeachment is happening and a majority of americans support it. that may be why donald trump took it upon himself to serve as his own cleanup crew today, trying to do what mick mulvaney, his beleaguered acting chief of staff who last week confessed to the quid pro quo with ukraine that's at the heart of the impeachment proceeding, was supposed to do instead of sending the trump white house into greater crisis than usual. that crisis over the weekend collided with ongoing uproar from withi