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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  October 20, 2016 11:00pm-11:31pm PDT

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williams". that is next. "the 11th hour" begins now. good evening. with 18 days to go until we elect our next president, this is indeed an unusual night in american politics because of this -- clinton and trump eating dinner separated only by a cardinal. tonight was the night of the alfred e. smith memorial foundation dinner. and because of this it's weird. the last time they saw each other 24 hours earlier, snarling
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and jabbing in las vegas. the dinner is an enormous annual gathering at the waldorf astoria hotel here in new york. it raises a fortune for catholic charities for needy children. al smith, the first catholic presidential candidate was known as the happy warrior, despite losing to herbert hoover and losing out to fdr. he was a four-term governor who later presided over the construction of the empire state building in just the space of 13 months. traditionally every four years both candidates attend and both speak making fun of themselves and each other in that order. and this is what happened at the al smith dinner tonight. donald trump to start off got some laughs early, then seemed to badly misread the room in the tradition of self-deprication. >> they say when you do this type of meeting that you start out with some sort of
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self-deprecating joke. the truth is i'm very modest. it's true. many people tell me that modesty is perhaps my best quality. even better than my temperament. we have proven that we can actually be civil to each other. in fact, just before taking the microphone, hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very civilly said "pardon me." and i very politely replied,
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"let me talk to you about that after i get into office." michelle obama gives a speech and everyone loves it, it's fantastic. they think she's absolutely great. my wife, melania, gives the exact same speech and people get on her case! and i don't get it! i don't know why. we've learned so much. for example, hillary believes that it's vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different
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policy in private. [ crowd boos ] that's okay, i don't know who they're angry at, you or i. for example, here she is tonight in public, pretend being not to hate catholics. thank you very much. god bless you and god bless america. thank you. thank you very much. >> this is such a special event that i took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here. and as you've already heard, it's a treat for all of you, too, because usually i charge a lot for speeches like this. there are a lot of friendly faces here in this room, people that i've been privileged to know and to work with. i just want to put you all in a basket of adorables. and you look so good in your
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tuxes, or as i refer to them, formal pant suits. and because this is a friendly dinner for such a great cause, donald, if at any time you don't like what i'm saying, feel free to stand up and shout "wrong" while i'm talking. you know, come to think of it, it's amazing i'm up here after donald. i didn't think he'd be okay with a peaceful transition of power. people look at the statue of liberty and they see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants, a beacon of hope for people around the world. donald looks at the statue of liberty and sees a four. maybe a five if she loses 20
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pounds. and it's a it's very and so many other wonderful elected officials, and we have rudy giuliani. now, many don't know this but rudy actually got his start as a prosecutor. going after weatlhy new yorkers who avoided paying taxes. but as the saying goes, "if you can't beat them, go on to fox news and call them a genius." so tonight let's embrace the spirit of the evening. let's come together, remember what unites us and just rip on ted cruz.
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>> it was a tension convention, there were some death ray stares being cast across that dias tonight. the two candidates did make physical contact. trump patted clinton's shoulder on route to and from the he helped her with her chair at one point. then they finally shared a brief cursory handshake. let's bring in our initial guests here tonight. nbc news correspondent andrea mitchell who has just arrived the three blocks from the al smith dinner at the waldorf. and our friend the washington post national political reporter robert costa, who remains, and this raises a whole bunch of questions about mr. costa, remains in las vegas. like there were no east bound flights today. mr. costa i'll deal with you in just a moment. andrea a couple of disclosures. first of all, i'm thinking of tim russert our friend to whom this was new years eve and christmas day all wrapped up into one. he lived for this night every year, you and i have both gone a couple of times. they were nice enough to have me as dinner speaker a few years back.
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al smith the fourth and his wife nan are friends of ours. having said that there's a bunch of rules about this dinner. if you want to see it done beautifully look up on youtube barack obama, john mccain, barack obama mitt romney. lovely evenings actually. not tonight. >> not tonight. they are supposed to trade punch lines, and at least on his part they were trading punches. i mean this was mean stuff. he should've stopped at the melania joke, which was a great line. and then all of a sudden talking about her being corrupt and talking about he hates catholics. an allusion to aides trading advice on what to do about the catholic vote on wikileaks. >> yeah. >> things that are very painful, in which the cardinal is known to not be very happy about. so this is, these are sore spots and you know coming after the most vicious debate that any of
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us can remember. they could both have really benefitted, especially donald trump could have benefitted. with some light hearted self depricating humor, not trashing his opponent. >> and these also, these people came into that room tonight hillary clinton and donald trump are two new yorkers. trump spoke of going to the dinner when he was young with his dad. >> and so he should know the game. know the drill, it just tells you how sour this campaign season has become. not only is the debate poisonous but this dinner which is supposed to raise money for needy children and for the archdiocese and raise $6 million and you mentioned al smith the fourth and his wife. they've done extraordinary work. his speech was very very funny, his introductions were wonderful. >> robert costa somebody said on twitter tonight that a speech writer was getting thrown off a tall building in midtown manhattan. i think it was trump tower.
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just kidding of course, in keeping with tonight's theme. this may among people, among those of us who think about things like this too much, be the lack of a structure around donald trump. >> that's the way trump likes it. there's a misconception out there about donald trump that he's winking and nodding his way through a presidential campaign. that when it comes to settings like tonight he's going to follow the protocol. he follows the way, these things are supposed to run. with a certain type of decorum. but what this campaign has revealed, and my reporting has revealed, over the past two years is that at his core, trump is the person we saw tonight. he is someone who is incendiary he's anti establishment, he does not care for the protocol s. and he doesn't care frankly about being part of the crowd, being part of this audience. that's part of his appeal to the space within the republican party and it's also why some moderates in the suburbs of north carolina and pennsylvania
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are rubbed the wrong way by his approach. >> robert after what you witnessed there, last night after what you witnessed electronically here in new york tonight. and your read of the country, your conversations with campaign types. where do you put this race right now tonight? >> in the last 19 days of this campaign you have donald trump his speech writer steven miller. who based in my reporting was participating in some informal role in tonight's speech. he's a populist, comes out of jeff session's office, you've got steven bannon the former head of breitbart at trump's side. this is a fire and brimstone populist campaign, not really part of the republican party. very against the democrats against secretary clinton. and trump's belief is, and i've spoken to him about this, is that there are many voters out there who are so angry, perhaps quietly at the political establishment that they will come out for him on november 8th. he sees the polls he doesn't believe the polls, democrats expect a landslide, some of them, at this point.
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and trump believes that there is this kind of quiet really unkown core of voters out there for him. >> richard nixon, andrea called it the silent majority. you and i between us have covered a lot of campaigns. no we haven't seen anything like this, and certainly we haven't seen anything like this with this few days remaining. >> and it's very dangerous,perilous this year, to predict anything. >> that's right. >> but i know from having flown home, as you know, last night with the clinton team.
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days and drove away the nasty woman from the debate last night which to me became a rile today. that got me in all categories. they don't want to be. >> robert, we can all list a name of things. god forbid and wiki leaks playing a roll in this election and things that can still change it even though every moment that goes by early vote is in and being tabulated. >> one of the most interesting things to watch today brian is how senate republicans across the country ree acted. for not picking up on this wiki leaks point and the things that are coming out and they're
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alarmed by the comments. >> and having flown back with the clinton campaign and we last saw her 23 hours ago. i don't think that she has had a lick of sleep since. >> he may not accept the outcome of the election. the man that fought for al gore the other way and ended with the concession. tonight he will weigh in and barack and michelle making the case for clinton today. what the president and first
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lady had to say about trump following last night's debate. this is the 11th hour on msnbc.
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gentlemen, i want to make a major announcement today. i would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the united states that i will totally accept the
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results of this great and historic presidential election if i win. >> that's how the day got under way, donald trump in ohio today, pushing this talk about the results of the election even further. it comes after telling over 70 million americans watching last night's debate he may not accept the results. >> do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely -- sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election? >> i will look at it at the time. i'm not looking at anything now. i'm looking at it at the time. >> but, sir, there is a tradition in this country, in fact one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power. >> what i'm saying is i will tell you at the time. i'll keep you in suspense. >> in defending donald trump, we have heard his surrogates saying
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this is no different from al gore's decision to ask for a recount in florida back in the year 2000. but listen to what gore said in his concession speech after that election. >> just moments ago i spoke with george w. bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the united states and i promised him that i wouldn't call him back this time. neither he nor i anticipated this long and difficult road. certainly neither of us wanted it to happen, yet it came and now it has ended, resolved as it must be resolved through the honored institutions of our democracy. >> the man behind that year 2000 legal battle was david boyes. he argued gore's case, as they say, all the way from florida to the supreme court. and he is with us tonight, he is one of the leading trial lawyers of our time. he's with us from los angeles.
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david, you are the person in law, politics and/or television who has yet to weigh in on just what it is you've seen transpire over these past few days. i'm mostly curious to hear how you disagree, with you disagree when we hear use of the bush/gore precedent on this issue. >> one thing i think everybody's got to remember is that in the 2000 election, vice president gore and president bush both said they would accept the results. election, whatever that vote count was. there were disagreements over how long the vote count should have gone on, there were disagreements over a number of standards to be used, but everybody agreed that when the vote count was over, when the candidacy boards were through and the courts were through, that each side would accept the result. that's been a tradition for more
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than 200 years in this country. i think that's a good tradition. i think that donald trump surrogates who are suggesting that there is some kind of analogy to 2000 are just wrong. >> what is the danger to you and american society having for the first time a major party candidate call into question the results of the election before the election is held? >> if it happened after the election, i think it would be very destructive to our traditions. one of the most important aspects of the rule of law in our democratic tradition is the acceptance of the peaceful transfer of power. we fight very, very hard, aggressively during the election. once that election is over, we accept those results. and i frankly think donald trump will, too. i think a lot of these comments are trying to rev up his base. it's a hard-fought election.
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but i think when the election is over, whether donald trump wins or hillary clinton wins, i think whoever loses is going to do what al gore does. i think he's going to graciously or she's going to graciously concede and support the winner. because whoever the winner is is going to be the president of all americans, not just the republicans, not just the democrats, not just conservatives, not just liberals. that person is going to be the president of the entire country and the entire country has got to come together behind that president. and that president has got to address the needs of the entire country. and i think that's critical to our country. it's critical to democracy. and i actually think that's what's going to happen. >> counselor, a hypothetical, i know you love them so much. let's just say for the sake of this conversation donald trump suffers a loss but is aggravated at the election and chooses not to concede.
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how legally constitutionally will we continue from there? >> it doesn't really make any difference whether somebody can see it or not. somebody can continue to contest the election, but once the electoral college votes, the winner becomes the president. so a concession is a formalistic acceptance of the will of the voters. i think it's very important. i think it helps bring the country together but it's not legally required. >> what about the danger of the whiff, or in this case, the stench of illegitimacy surrounding our elections process with this language flying around that it's rigged and the language flying around, the quote is rampant voter fraud? fraud. everybody who looks at this knows that. i think that to make those kind of assertions, i think is irresponsible.
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i think it's damaging to our confidence in our democratic system. i think it has a danger of discouraging people from participating. remember most of election officials across this country that are responsible for counting the votes and making sure all the votes are counted fairly are republicans right now. there are democrats, the republicans, majority of them right now happen to be republicans. but whether they're republicans or democrats, i think every one of them will tell you that in their precinct, in their state, in the area where they're responsible, they're going to make sure that the votes are counted fairly and without fraud. that's whether they're democrats, republicans, they're going to tell you exactly the same thing. and you've seen around the country today people saying that. so i think the idea that there is kind of rampant voter fraud or any significant vote are fraud that could possibly affect this elect is simply wrong. there's no evidence to that.
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i think all the evidence is to the contrary. i frankly think that it would be better for both sides if people concentrated on the issues and getting people out to vote, telling them how important their vote is and that their vote will be counted. that's the hall mark of our democracy. >> how do you view this vacancy on the supreme court post the death of justice scalia? we heard talk on the points. merrick garland has been nominated. what are your thoughts?
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>> the reason there are nine justices, an odd number of justices, sometimes historically it's been seven as opposed to nine, but the reason you have an odd number of justices is so that you don't get a tie. and there have been a number of ties recently where the supreme court has not been able to make a decision because it's lacking that ninth justice. and that's not good for anybody. it's not good for litigants, it's not good for the rule of law, it's not good for this country. and i think this is very unfortunate that the senate has done what i think is their duty to advise and consent on the nomination. now, they can vote him down. i think that would be a mistake. i think judge garland is one of the preeminent judges in this country. he's respected by republicans and democrats alike. i've had numerous republican senators tell me privately how much they respect judge garland. so i think if they were given a
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chance to vote, they would approve him. but whether they approve him or disapprove him isn't the question. the question is the senate has an obligation to vote on him, and it's that failure to vote on him over the last several months that i think has been very unfortunate. >> david boies, thank you for joining us. coming up, hillary clinton and donald trump share the stage during this election season and they weren't afraid to go there. more from al smith's dinner in new york. this is "the 11th hour."
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