July 22, 2017

AM Joy led off with a conversation about the news that Jeff Sessions had another undisclosed meeting with Russians. Joy Reid called it "a very big deal."

"This is twice there have been information released in the news media that we call 'crown jewels,' Holy Grail type intelligence that absolutely, positively just should not be in the hands of the media, and if this story is true -- and let's give it a grain of salt -- it's going to leak out from the Russians or from one of the top eight people who have authorization to see raw intelligence like this," Malcolm Nance said. "I notice the Post said it came from current and former officials."

Reid asked if former officials would have access to that information.

"Mike Flynn would have had access to information like this, absolutely," Nance said.

"He was the national security adviser at the time but current? You're talking one of the Gang of Eight, the people who are cleared for this level of information, and to be quite honest, i come from the signals intelligence world. I don't like to talk about this. this should not be seeing the light of day for 75 years. And if it's true, it makes me wonder: Do we have a Valerie Plame-style leak that's coming from the White House itself to put the final nail into Jeff Sessions' coffin, or do we have a Russian game that's being played against us, and trying to confuse and create chaos in the White House?

The other big question, Reid said, was why?

"The reason I found the timing sort of odd, it seems clear that Donald Trump would love for Jeff Sessions to just walk away and resign," she said.

"He didn't do it, surprising many people in the White House that, after Donald Trump gave that New York Times interview and really gave him a vote of no confidence and he didn't quit... if the purpose of a leak like this is to induce him or encourage him to quit, it's a lot worse, right?"

"It is worse and you're asking the question from The Godfather: cui bono, who benefits?" Ari Melber said.

"As you said in the top of your setup, this comes at a time that Donald Trump is putting pressure on Jeff Sessions -- not for immigration or policy issues, but how his tenure may be affecting Donald Trump. And so there is that question -- I think a fair one -- about whether this current official is trying to help the president or match the president's criticism of Jeff Sessions.

"Of course, the ultimate irony there, there, would obviously be a White House that says there's nothing wrong with any contacts with Russia, now the problem is that Jeff Sessions had a meeting on Russia, so obviously there's no internal logic there."

But Melber also brought up another political point.

"Donald Trump ran on saying he was really good at firing people, his reality show and his brand promise were supposedly matched," he said.

"We've seen he struggles to get the job done. We know he doesn't hold loyalty for everyone, but when it came to Mike Flynn, the actual firing was hard for him. When it comes to Jeff Sessions, if he lost confidence, the president does have the authority so he could remove him and when it came to the most controversial example, Jim Comey, the president didn't stand up and say 'I know how to do this, you're fired.' He pulled the Justice Department into that odd letter that hasn't stood the test of time, so this seems to be a problem for the president: When he doesn't like how someone's doing, he doesn't actually know how to pull the trigger cleanly and appropriately."

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