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During the conversation about President Donald J. Trump’s ongoing troubles within the West Wing, Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle explains: “It’s interesting when you think about the role that Republicans – Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Bob Corker, other respected Republicans in the Senate and House – might well have to play as this continues. They might well have to go to The White House to tell the President: ‘Mr. President you’re not only playing with fire – you are on fire. And you’ve got to stay away from Bob Mueller’.” Hear more of the discussion with Nicolle Wallace, John Heilemann, Steve Rattner and Eddie Glaude Jr. only on MSNBC.

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Sink or Swim

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“His problem, the country’s problem, the world’s problem is: The president is the communications director. He’s his own communications director,” explains Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during a panel discussion with The New York Times correspondent Michael Schmidt about President Donald Trump’s convoluted interview with the paper and news that a new communications director is about to be named. Watch the exchange here. Only on MSNBC.

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Barnicle: POTUS is his own communications director

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“Admiral, paying attention to events…under this administration, are we not in effect building a freeway from Tehran right into Damascus? Isn't Syria going to end up an Iranian state?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis during a conversation about the Trump Administration’s foreign policy as it applies to Iran and Syria. Listen to Stavridis’ response about the precarious status of foreign policy today.

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Foreign Policy Update

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“Richard Haass, let's start with Syria. A long held understated policy of arming the rebels in the south of Syria has apparently now ended. What does this mean for any strategy going forward?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard N. Haass during a conversation about the Washington Post reporting that President Donald J. Trump has ended the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, which is a move long sought by Russia. Listen to Haass’ response and the strong words of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on the topic. Read The Post’s story here: http://wapo.st/2txlXyd

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The Latest in Syria

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“Jeremy used the phrase ‘palpable sense,’ and I would pose this to you: That you get a palpable sense that everybody out there this morning gassing up their automobiles on their way to work or grocery shopping or whatever -- they don't care that the Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the presidency. What they do care about, then you get a palpable sense of this, is that the entire system is broken, and it poses a threat to people of both parties. Any incumbent, I think, is in dire danger going up into the election year of next year because of the sense that the system is fractured and people on both sides of the aisle do very little to heal it,” comments Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during a conversation with The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters about conservative groups pushing a campaign for tax reform. Listen to more of the discussion here.

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Barnicle: The System is Fractured

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During the continuing conversation of the triumphs and trials of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), just diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, says Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle: “He's earned every ounce of respect that has been attributed to him….He is a man of character, a man of honor, in an age when we see far too (few) people in public life with the same type of character and honor.” Listen in on the discussion here and host and former Congressman Joe Scarborough’s personal experiences with Sen. McCain. Only on MSNBC.

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Sen. McCain: He’s Earned Every Ounce of Respect

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“What do you do about the whole rationale for the interview? The interview is like mind boggling, really, when you listen to it — it’s such a winding road. But, Michael Schmidt, you were there in the room and (President Trump) started talking at one point about (French) President (Emmanuel) Macron loves to hold his hand. What do you do when you're sitting there in front of the President of the United States and he starts talking about that stuff?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt, who with two colleagues interviewed President Donald Trump this week. Hear Schmidt describe his sit-down with POTUS.

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I Want to Hold Your Hand

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“I don't think I've read an interview with a sitting President of the United States as incredible as this is, given the tentacles of what he said….If you’re listening to the President in the context of everything that’s going on in this White House and has been for six months now, it seems as if the President of the United States is almost a man alone without any real friendships, other than his family,” comments Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during a conversation about POTUS’ stunning interview with The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt, Peter Baker, and Maggie Haberman. Listen to more of the discussion here.

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“Incredible” NYT Interview with POTUS

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“John McCain has always symbolized character and honor. And I have been fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time with him over the course of the years. I have actually been to the Hanoi Hilton and stood in the small sheltered six-by-six area where he spent seven years as a prisoner of war. My memories of covering politics and political campaign stretches a long ways back, but it’d be hard to top the late fall, early winter of 1999, 2000 in New Hampshire when John McCain was running in the presidential primary up there. He electrified audiences. He became a cult figure. It was the most open and honest campaign in terms of access to the candidate that I have ever encountered, and today…our thoughts and prayers are with him. He is an American nobleman. He is unlike anybody we have on the political scene,” comments Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle as the panel discusses Sen. John McCain’s important contributions, following the breaking news that Sen. McCain (R-AZ) has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Listen to more of the panel’s thoughts on Sen. McCain here.

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Sen. McCain: 'An American Nobleman'

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“How about hanging a banner in the Senate with the words of (Sen.) Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia: `I did not come to Washington to hurt people’,” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, during a conversation about whether Republican Senators have attempted to engage in a bipartisanship effort to get their GOP health care bill passed. Listen to what Kaine has to say here.

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Sen. Kaine: “Facts Strike Back"

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ICYMI: Hear the Morning Joe conversation with Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle and Wendy Sherman about President Donald Trump's second, undisclosed private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit, where a Kremlin interpreter translated for both presidents, according to Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group and editor-at-large for Time magazine.

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POTUS and Russia: Ongoing

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“Prior to his assuming the presidency, a lot of people thought and would say that the presidency will certainly change Donald Trump. Well, it hasn't. It hasn't changed Donald Trump. And now we have an Administration with the Russia stuff, with the meeting with Putin — who (Trump) clearly has an attraction to, maybe because of Putin's strength as a leader — we have the health care debacle, and we have the fact that this Administration is so far a mix of incompetence and indifference to almost everything before it,” says Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during the conversation about the revelation that President Donald Trump had a second, private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit, where a Kremlin interpreter translated for both presidents and was the only witness to the exchange. Listen in on more of the conversation.

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POTUS: Unchanged

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“Senator, one of your colleagues, John McCain, beloved by many people, is ill. He is in the hospital. Another one of your colleagues on the House side, Congressman Steve Scalise, who was shot basically because he was a Republican, nearly died, is suffering now from a series of operations because of infections, which are critically and perhaps sometimes really lethally dangerous in terms of gunshot victims. Everyone hopes that both these men succeed, gain great health, and prosper. OK….Do you think most of the people in West Virginia would go for a health insurance policy similar to the ones that Senator McCain and Congressman Scalise have? Why not put that together?” asks Morning Joe senior contributor Mike Barnicle of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) during a conversation about the uneven access to health care that plagues the United States. What will it take to balance the scales? Listen to Manchin’s response here.

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Uneven Health Care Access

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“Could the President of the United States issue a security clearance for me, individually? Is it up to him alone?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of Ned Price, former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama during a conversation about whether the White House is bending the rules on security clearances as they apply to Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a senior advisor, in light of his meeting last summer with a Russian lawyer that has since become the focus of allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Hear Price’s response and explanation of how security clearances work.

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Are Security Clearances Secure?

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“Josh, help me out here. This is the most extensive portrait of Steve Bannon that we’ve had thus far, your book: ‘Devil's Bargain.’ Given his background, given the way he was raised, given what he's done with his life; he's had a lot of success, a lot of opportunity, and yet, everything he seems to speak to, or about, or try to influence people with, is resentment. Where does this resentment come from?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle of Bloomberg Businessweek senior national correspondent Joshua Green during a conversation about his new book, which contains extensive reporting on White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Listen to Green’s take on Bannon here.

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The Source of Bannon’s Resentment

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“You pick up the feeling out in the ordinary America where most Americans do in fact live, work, breathe, and hope for a better life…that the only people paying attention to Donald Trump and Sean Spicer are lawyers and members of the media. Other than that, people are going through their lives each and every day,” comments Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during the ongoing conversation about the White House’s shifting reasons for the Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer during the election process after being promised damaging information on then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Listen to the latest on the topic here.

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Do Americans Care?

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“You get to the point where you wish that we in the media and the United States Senators – all 100 of them – ought to be forced to answer the simple question: Do you believe in effective and affordable health insurance coverage for every American: Yes or no?” asks Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during a conversation about the uncertain future of health care for Americans after the failure of the Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

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GOP Health Care Failure

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“The level of sophistication in many of these campaigns, especially at the presidential level, is astounding. Targeting voters down to a single block — where they live, what their habits are, what they like, what they dislike. And it's always been a wonderment that the Russians were able to so skillfully hone in on specific areas of this country,” says Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during the panel conversation on the latest developments in the investigation into the Trump campaigns alleged involvement with Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Listen to more of the discussion here.

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Fake News from Russia

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In the ongoing discussion of the President’s son - Donald Trump Jr. - and his now-public emails about a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the election process to receive damaging information on then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle asks MSNBC justice and security analyst Matthew Miller: “With regard to this one young man who is an employee of the federal government working at the White House, Jared Kushner. He has as high a security clearance as you can have, and yet he did not have the judgment after receiving those emails to realize that this was just wrong — that Russia is not our friend; Russia is our enemy. So, what would be the process now of revoking that security clearance?” Hear Miller’s response about the preferential treatment being afforded POTUS’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

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Special Treatment for Kushner?

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“I don't know what the exact definition of collusion is. I’m not a lawyer. But I do know what the exact definition of right and wrong is, and this was wrong,” says Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle during a panel conversion about recently uncovered emails that show that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer during the election process after being promised damaging information on then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. "I also know that the emails prove beyond a shadow of the doubt when the President of the United States said in Europe that nobody really knows whether Russia was involved. Well, we now know for sure that Russia was involved, and we now know for sure that Donald Trump Jr. sat there and was willing to participate with Russia.” Listen to more of the discussion here.

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Trump Jr.: Right v. Wrong