tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 11, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PST
the speech was about him basically testifying in a personal way, i'm more optimistic, confident in the power and potential of american civic involvement and american citizenship and the american democracy than i was when i was a young naive kid that didn't have gray hair and burst on the scene. i now have the battle scars. i have been there and i can testify to you firsthand, i've watched this guy -- he didn't say this, i've watched this guy question my citizenship and now secede me -- be that was the sub text, right but your faith in people will be disappointed but more often than not rewarded. >> the quote i just read, the
way it finished is sometimes you'll win, sometimes lose, presuming the reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk and there's times when the process will disappoint you but for those fortunate to be a part of this work to see it up close it can energize, inspire your faith in america and in americans will be confirmed. >> did he talk about congress tonight? >> little bit. >> he talked about public service. >> he talked about congress being dysfunctional. >> this was not a salute to the work of congress. we know mitch mcconnell dedicated his life to destroying this man's chance of getting re-elected. >> jesse jackson there. >> i remember him crying the night in grant park eight years ago. i think that is an interesting omission. i think it was purposeful. i think the congress has not been good, or great the last eight years. they should have dealt with immigration. they had a chance. they had a good bill passed in a bipartisan fashion in the senate. boehner i hold responsible.
they didn't lead their people. >> one of the ways in which the democratic party was outmaneuvered by the republican party to the point it bamboozled and now destroyed them in terms of their ability to form any governing majority anytime soon is the issue of redistricting and how congressleal districts are drawn. i think there was skepticism when it was announced a few weeks ago that eric holder and barack obama would form a political project to work on that issue for democrats. the fact that that's kind of the one forth going, the one look ahead presidential policy level policy he raised here. he talked about other things he cares about but he talked about gerrymandering. maybe a sign he will work on that in his post presidency. >> i think so. while the speech is optimistic, it is also a sounding of the
alarm about what the threats are to the basic -- not just american domestic liberal democratic order be but the entirety of the post world war ii order that was constructed in the ruin of holocaust and global war. >> i think indecency will be the biggest challenge, the failure to be civil with each other. i spend two weeks with my family in india. you can call it a developing country but they treat each other with civility. i think trump will bring down that level in our country in the next couple of years, unfortunately. >> obama said protecting our way of life requires more than our military. mocraccan buckles we give we zits citizens must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.
let's be vigilant but not afraid. our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. again, all couch in what ended up being the end of the arc of this speech, which is that democracy -- the constitution is paper without us. that democracy needs you, not just when there's an election, not just when you want something but as a lifetime project of everybody in this country. >> what i like -- i watched the speech and it got me thrilled as everybody laughed at me, because it did get me thrilled physically. but the speech in 2008 where he was soaring. it was as good of a speech as this but it was before and this is after. it is much harder to do it after. you have been thru the wars, the scar tissue and the fighting and failures. he's able to give a speech this soaring at the end of a term. that's pretty amazing. after eight years. >> i thought about the people in that room, the family reunion. one is my brother who gave 5 1/2 years of his life working for obama campaigns and my wife who
walked in to the old executive office building january january 20th, 2009 to figure out how phones worked. there's a generation of people in democratic party politics and center left politics that much the way reagan generation was legendary and still commands incredible influence in the republican party. they will very much shape the direction of the democratic party. entire generation of operatives and people who ran for office and political organizers, who are going to be sort of -- or will they leave? there's -- i would have believed you, as an article of faith, up until 63 days ago. now that the successor to president obama will be somebody who represents and who embodies such manifest rejection of obamaism in politics, does that change the direction of the obama generation of "politico"s,
not just him himself. >> part of the speech is urging folks not to do that. and not just narrow casting to folks that are in the obama work and work in the administration. >> he was speaking to them. >> to them and more broadly. he shouted out that a stranger was taken in to the house when campaign order shows up. >> a lot of the presidential legacy building has been after the fact. reagan, the greatest president in history. he did a lot and was successful politically, popular. but reagan airport, the reagan building. >> it was a campaign. >> after wards. >> jimmy carter, good man. pretty good presidency, had no rear guard. nixon had none. even his family wouldn't. you need a rear guard. it has to be organized. the kennedys are fabulous at this. ted kennedy has more people in this town, they are all over waiting for a book to come out against kennedy.
you will find yourself assaulted in the review pages. i'm not sure it is reorganized but i expect people like podesta and the rest of them i would think would be around to sing the guy's praises after the fact. his mistake as president, there was one, he would do the stimulus and not sell why it worked and why it was important to the economic development. he would sell health care but not the after sell. reagan never stopped saying "our program." even though he did it only in '81. it is an ongoing dynamic. you can't just sell the car, you have to sell it to the people driving it. isn't it a great car? >> he tried to sell it but it didn't sink in. you tell people about his economic record and what happened with jobs and growth and unemployment and all of those things over the course of eight years and people don't believe it. people that voted against him don't believe it.
even though he spent the last year talking about the things he accomplished. >> they are not going to praise what they voted against. stimulus was a big argument. >> there is one thing to be against the stimulus and another to deny it worked. >> the -- >> economic inequality, race, division and the -- >> disintegration of fact. >> of fact. >> of the basic -- of basic communal framework for making rational decisions. >> as we watch this remarkable visual that we are still watching, the likes of this visual scene itself newsworthy. he finished before 10:00 eastern time. the president continuing now to do an extraordinarily long -- >> this is un usual. he is usually aloof. this is bill clinton stuff, going door to door. >> you see it is him and vice president biden a enother people staying, i want to bring in reverend al sharpton.
it is great to have you with us. thank you for joining us, my friend. >> thank you. >> what did you think of this -- of this speech as a speech, as a man who has a reputation as an orator yourself but what did you think of this as a closing note from this presidency? >> i thought it was way beyond the expectations of even those of us that have known this president because in many ways, he was today, tonight, the same kind of person he is in private. i was at the farewell the other night at the white house. the mixture of his being one that is lofty and poetic but pragmatic. i smile when i heard him talking about his mom says reality will catch up with you because he says that all the time when he meets with civil rights leaders. you have to go beyond the
boundaries of what's comfortable. reality will catch up with you. reach out but keep protesting. i think he said that to the american people tonight. whether you are protesting, whether you are not, whatever side you are on, you have to reach beyond your comfort zone and you have to breathe in something bigger than yourself, at the same time, you have to deal with reality. it was a perfect balance between dreamer and pragmatist. i think that's the person that barack obama is and the president that he became. i think his closing statement tonight really capsulized that better than any of us could have expected. >> al, as we have been talking, we have been watching the president continuing this sort of remarkable rope line he's doing. this is not typical president obama. we saw him have a long conversation with his former spokesman robert gibbs who we know from his line in this business.
i wonder from your experience in talking with the president in the closing days, going to the closing party on friday night, watching him tonight, do you feel you have a clear image of what president obama will make of the next political chapter in his life? what he's going to do with his post presidency and how political it will be? >> i think he's going to be firm on broad policies, but he's going to apply it in a direct political way. i think you must remember at his core he believes in himself as an organizer. whether it is a political organizer or on the ground organizer. he's very committed to doing something about young people. he's very committed about preserving democracy in terms of voting and he's very committed about economic equality. i think he will be very involved. i don't think he will be aggressive in terms of trying to attack the incoming president,
in terms of personal exchange, but i think he will be very aggressive about the things he believes in, the things he fought for and defending what he has put in place. i think that if people think he's just going to disappear he won't, but he will not be out there leading parades or marches or things like we will, but he's going to be very much effective, weighing in on the broad issues that he really fought for and made some achievements on. i have mean, he named many of them tonight, from health care to criminal justice reform to climate change, and i don't think he will, in any way, shrink from pushing them as a citizen and the ultimate citizen in ten days. >> great to have you with us tonight on this big night. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> it's interesting what the rev was saying in terms of president obama and his relationship to his successor.
obviously president obama had a lot of gray hair but still leaving office as a young man. it was interesting to see the reaction from the crowd tonight. his only words about his successor, explicitly were kind. when people starting booing, when he talked about his successor coming in to office in ten years he said no, no, no and he talked about what he is hoping from president trump, he rebuked what are expected to be policy positions of his successor, the discrimination against muslims. talking about wanting to close guantanamo. huge cheers in terms of the number, tens of millions of americans who received health coverage through the affordable care act and the implicit argument there to defend those gains. so even if the president elect is not somebody -- who former president obama calls out by
name, i think he can see the hunger for that by the people in the room tonight at mccormick place in chicago. i'm joined in new york by the great tom brokaw who's been watching the speech with us tonight. thank you for coming in. >> glad to be here. >> this is an unusual format and unusual approach to a farewell address. they are usually not this big of a deal when presidents give their farewells, at least not in the modern era. >> this is the kind of speech that got him elected president. and this is the kind of speech during in the kerry convention. he is one of the most eloquent presidents we have had in a long time. when you look at michelle and the daughter and how they conducted themselves in the white house it should give everyone a good feeling about their family values.
he's been scandal free nominee the white house. we haven'ted that what for a while. there's been some issues around his campaign but not settled on him. having said that, i want to add, have to let a presidency marinate for a while. the fact is that he's been the head of the party. they lost control of the congress, 75% of the state houses are in the hands of republicans with governors and attorneys general out there and he he's got a congress now that is senate and republican in the house, as well. and so from a political point of view, there's a lot of redoes from the obama era of eight years. not all entirely his fault. republicans helped by getting out against him and saying we're not going to do anything. they played stall ball for eight years. no question about that. the other issue that is troubling to a lot of people and his national security circles are the fact that he stood back
with syria, and that this he kept moving the red line and what happened is putin saw that, moved in and we have had a terrible human rights tragedy going on in aleppo, syria and there's almost no response from this white house on that. so it's a mix of all of these things that people will have to digest for a while, ruminate on it and make some conclusions about the legacy of president obama. >> we have also -- raising the issue of russia from a different angle, this is also happening. this president is saying good-bye in this emotional, eloquent way he did tonight, at one point crying, wiping away a tear as he talked about his wife and his love for his family. at the same time within the last 48 hours we have been talking about what we have learned about a phenomenal international attack on our election and an effort, a multi-facetted effort to try to affect the outcome of
our presidential election, which is something we have never con templated before as a country. this almost impossible to believe news about what happened in the last election. how much does that change the assessment of the presidency? >> i think it is hard to know until you talk to the individual voters. it looks like the voters are saying we don't care about it. i'm stunned there's not more outrage, in fact from the new president elect himself saying i want a report on that, i want it now and i want a complete read out on what is going on. we cannot allow another country to come in, whether it is russia, iran or one of the islamic states and interfere with our election process. but he's been dismissive of it. i have been doing this a long time.
i never seen our traditional political practices as scrambled as they are right now on the democratic and republican side. >> excellent way to put it. they are scrambled. it makes it hard to anticipate what will happen next and hard to feel where the the center of gravity is in terms of from where power can be exerted. for example, you are talking about the difficulties in the democratic party under the obama era. he was a political phenomenon. elected in 2008 electionst against all odds, re-elected in twafl 2012 and he had. in that environment, even if you just talk about that slice of it, does that open up an unprecedented space for him as a former president to play a role in democratic party politics, or do a you will former presidents
have to disappear? >> this is a debate going on within the democratic party, not necessarily in congress which just re-elected nancy pelosi as speaker even though they lost everything under her leadership at this point. but out there, among democrats, there is an agonizing discussion about how to we reconstitute the party and bring in the millennials in to what we are doing. we have had an elitist group for a long time. a lot of white working class, veterans that should have been democrats have rejected that idea. the country has come apart politically and said we're not going to put up with the way business has been forever and we are going to take ahold of it in our own way and they had the perfect instrument in donald trump to do that. i think it is a seismic time, if that's the word about all the plates are moving in different directions and it's not a guarantee that trump will be there forever but the democratic
party has to figure out what is our part in this? we have to reconstitute ourselves in some fashion to reconnect with what has been our traditional constituency. >> their students may change as the new administration comes in. >> no question. >> talk about there being almost no scandal footprint from the obama administraon, you can't see a scandal coming before it arrives, but i think it is fair to say it will be a controversial administration in the way they are they are treating issues of veting cabinet nominees is already controversial. we see the president and his wife walking off stage after that incredibly long rope line they did there. if the trump administration is going to be controversial and dealing with scandal,er controversial personnel picks. the incoming president the lowest rating of any president of our modern era. that itself offers new
opportunities for the democratic party. being an opposition party the way they haven't been in a long time if they have the leadership to capitalize on it and the vision. >> the problem is, for the democrats,er in two years he may not have a 37% approval rating it may be higher. if he kick starts the economy and reaches out to the white working class and gets them on his side it could triple up. we don't know. i remember when john f. kennedy got elected, the best and brightest, right, could have been the best team we had in washington, first thing that happened, bay of pigs, next thing, they appointed the secretary of defense. the put us deep in vietnam and we lost 50,000 people. you can't say exactly what will happen whoever is president. there is a big debate within the trump team going on right now and they are trying to figure out their role and how they talk
to them and how he responds to things. they are working it out. on january 21st, he will sit down in that oval office and it won't be a campaign again. stuff will be coming in and he will have to respond to it. it won't be a tweet. he will have to deal with something that is going to have consequences around the world. that's what i hope he gets at this point, at some point, and that i think his team is concerned about that, as well. >> and you feel it implicitly a sobriety the outgoing president is talking about the humility to say the this is my chance to say thank you. the digny ty and sobriety is a reminder of what the challenges are for the new guy about to take over. tom brokaw it is always an honor when you are on the set. >> i have been watching. you have a lot of work ahead of you. we all do, by the way, i think it will be -- wopt i don't want
to use the word exciting but interesting and it will require the best involvement of all of the citizens in this country to decide who we are, where we want to go and how we get there, whoever the president and the president right now is donald trump and he will be for the foreseeable future. people have to decide how do we deal with that reality. it is not enough to sit back and mock him or hold your head. you have to figure out how to deal with it. that includes us as well. >> there's never been a better time to have a job like this. i've -- >> tom brooe brokaw, thank you for being here, my friend. >> back to mccormick place, the site of president obama's speech. chris jansing is joining us now. i know you have been there tonight in that remarkable hall. we have had the visual on the whole night watching the president and vice president and their families do this rope line, the kind of which we haven't seen from these guys in a long time.
what's it been like in the room there? >> i have been to scores of speeches with president obama,s formal speeches, campaign rallies here and abroad and never felt anything quite like this. it kind of started when i was out in the crowd before he came. a lot of people use the phrase "mixed emotions." when he came out on stage, this is a cavernous hall and there was a rolling thunder of applause and quickly they settled in and they were quiet and respectful and they seemed to be hanging on every word. several times i looked at the expanse of people, 20,000 of them and didn't see a single person holding up a cell phone. think of that. it is remarkable. the only time i have seen that, frankly, is when pope francis came to town and actually was with the president at andrews air force base. like all great speeches, it seemed to build an he really got in to the kinds of issues that
brought these people to him in the first place. there were, at least, five standing ovations and the first is all about the issues, about equality for all, about marriage equality, about saying with have to reject discrimination against muslims,er that we have to make it easier to vote. and then he only had to say one word, michelle and there were women in front of me going wooh >> these folks are waving american flags. i have seen them hugging. this is like a reunion. it's clear from what we are seeing, they don't want to leave this room. they don't want this moment to end. they don't want this presidency to end. rachel?
>> chris, if you have a second, the moment you were referencing about when he started talking to his wife, the first lady, it was such a remarkable moment. i was sitting here with chris mathieus hayes and he said other presidents don't do this. they don't talk about other people in their lives. they don't talk about -- they may shout out their families but don't bring everybody else in to it. it is a remarkable thing but also an emotional moment. he ad libbed a little bit. his eldest daughter wiped away a tear and the president wiped away a tear. if you can tell me what that was like in the moment the way it is usually. >> michelle. [ cheers and applause ]
[ cheers and applause ] michelle levan robinson, girl of the south side, for the past 25 years, you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. you took on a role you didn't ask for, and you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style and good humor. [ cheers and applause ]
[ cheers and applause ] you made the white house a place that belongs to everybody and a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. you have made me proud. you have made the country proud. >> that was very personal moment, obviously very emotional moment for the obama family, chris. that's rare for them to show that to the public, isn't it? >> you know, it's so interesting
when you hear people who are close to them and who have been close to them for 20, 25 years or longer. i've been talking to a lot of them over the course of the last couple of days, and they talk about the strength this family has found in each other. in fact, they said to me over the last couple of days, that they thought that if he decided to put this in the speech and the speech was being written up in this last minute if he decided to reference his family that's when they thought he would indeed get caught up in it. they have been in a situation that nobody else but them can describe, being the first african-american president, the first african-american first lady, the expectations that were put on them, the criticism that they faced, and both the president and first lady talking about their fears for raising two young daughters. remember when michelle obama said the first day she put her kids in the limousine with armed men she thought, what have i done?
and this is a family that people are close to them say have, in fact, thrived. if you want to see what this is about, go to pete sousa and the white house instagram and see those sort of private moments that are suddenly not so private where he has caught the first family or the caught the president and first lady in an embrace or just a laugh, and you can't fake that. you can't make that up. i was waiting for that moment. i'm not surprised that all that happened and people said he was feelings no nostalgic. >> i want to bring in a couple of people, the extended obama
family that had this ginormous family reunion around the president's farewell address. there were about 20,000 people in that room, a lot of them included veterans of this administration, people who were involved with campaigns and in governing. joining us somebody who watched with us tonight, the normer white house communications director for the obama administration and we will talk to bill burton, former deputy white house communications director for the obama administration. jen and bill, i want to thank you both for being here. jen, let me start with you. obviously the last couple of years of your life has been 100,000% devoted to trying to elect hillary clinton to secede barack obama, setting aside that mission,er how did you feel about this closing note from president obama tonight? >> i felt he was trying to give us a road map. by us, i think the country and
also specifically obama supporters and the people that voted for hillary. has not just our party's leader but the leader of the country and i think he wants to give people a way to think of the trump presidency and how his supporters and americans everywhere can continue to make progress. i know that he's really concerned about people feeling deflated or that the gains that were made under this presidency could be lost or what is possible under this president isn't possible again in america. i think what he wanted to lay out for all of us is why it comes down to the citizen and continuing to be involved and that it is within your power to make a difference and that you were always the change. it was never about me. i was the vessel in which you invested, rg but you were the
one that did the work. i know the worked on the speech for a long time, but i think at some level it probably wasn't hard to write because the themes that were in it -- you know, as reverend al was saying, this is how he talks behind closed doors. this is how he governed the whole time. he would always talk about how the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. maybe two steps up and one step back but that's the way that progress is made and i think he is trying to show us all to not be disheartened but understand we still have a role to play while this president is in office and that people should be running for office and preparing to do that, as well. >> i can tell you heard and understood him in that argument, but having just helped run hillary clinton for president, in that campaign that you just went through, winning the popular vote but not the presidency, do you believe him?
>> i do. i do believe him. he has -- every president if you look at the farewell addresses, everyone says i leave this office more idealistic than i came in to it. and prush said that, president clinton said that and i have had the privilege to work in the white house for president clinton and president obama and you do see the ability that the american people can make this change. i am -- obviously if it was a devastating result, the fact that hillary won the popular vote by so much is frustrating, but ultimately empowering because you understand there are enough people in america that want to, that affirm the way this president approached his job and that these people are part of our country. we're still all here, and he's giving us marching orders for how to be productive.
that doesn't mean -- i disagree -- i heard some people saying earlier this is a speech about how to have a rear guard action. i don't think that is what he is trying to do. he is showing everyone in a democracy it only works because we agree to live by a certain set of rules and implicit in that is we are engaging with each other and trying to live by the set of rule and encouraging people to break down barriers that have let us live in silos so you don't have the country that resulted in the election that we had. >> jen, thank you for watching this with us tonight. thank you for joining us. it's really good to have you part of this. >> thank you, rachel. >> bring to the conversation bill burton, former deputy communications director. tell me what it meant to you to
be there tonight. why you wanted to be there and what it felt like to be in the room. >> first time i came to chicago for barack obama is ten years ago to this day. we got to work on senator obama's announcement. to have a part of the experience at the end of the first campaign, he won re-election, we were part of that and of the fights he had in the white house it is meaningfulful. a lot of people came here ready to be sad and ready to mourn the end of something that was special. not just in this moment but in american history. but what happened is the president came out and said we have a new mission now and the room was full of -- some of the folks i was working with the last ten years and some people who were supporters and old
people like me and even older but it had a great energy. the young folks, the bleachers were full, folks were fired up and ready to get in the fight. you know, we have a whole new set of challenges, but the same ones are still there in terms of environment, education, health care and, you know, i think these folks will help to figure it out. it's time for a new set of leadership and that's what the president talked about. not sitting around and moping doing the work, running for office, organizing. it was great. >> doing the work, organizing, running for office, that happens in the donald trump era. ten days from now starts the new administration. one of the things i was talking about earlier,s with my friend chris hayes is the idea of what happens to the obama generation of politicos? at a time like this, before we
knew that donald trump was going to be the successor, i think we had a good idea who what was going to be the talent. in the trump era, i'm not sure i know what the obama generation does. do people disperse and work in non-government organizations, do they work outside of politics, are people turned off by electoral politics because of what happened thp the presidential election. do people form an anti-trump movement? >> well, i will be honest with you, i think there's a lot of people who are despondent about the fact that donald trump will be the president in the next ten days. as bad as we feel now it gets worse before it gets better. everything is theoretical right
now. once he is in office and actually doing the things he's promised it will be hard times. a lot of people will get despondent, turned off and not engage. when i looked around this room today, it wasn't a lot of depressed folks looking to get out of the fight. i think a lot of people will go to the private sector but a lot of us will stay in it. the talent will be refreshed. that's the thing about losing elections. as much as we want hillary clinton to win, this is a time of reflection and a time the democratic party and progressive movement really being interspecktive about where we are and where with are going and refreshing the energy and taking on the new fights in new ways. like i said before, i think it's the young folks who will figure this out and the old folks will follow their lead. >> weird to hear you talking about "the young folks," get off your lawn. you are not that old.
>> in this room i feel old. i don't have old enough to be involved in something for ten years. >> trust me, we have the records. thank you for joining us. appreciate your time this evening. thank you. >> thank you, rachel all right. he was just talking about the solid days of the transition and look backening a long for these days. today is one of of the salad days. it is the kind of salad bars that ought to have an visit from the inspectors. it was incredible day for the trump transition and not in a good way. that is up next, stay with us.
>> if the sitting president or any other high federal official is accused of committing what the president elect described in a context in which it could be federally prosecuted, would you be able to prosecute and investigate? >> the president is subject to certain lawful restrictions and they would be required to be applied by the appropriate law enforcement official if appropriate, yes. >> and the conduct described, based on the description, would be sexual assault? >> well, the confusion about the question was a hypothetical question. it related to what was said on the tape. i did not remember at the time whether this was suggested to be an unaccepted, unwanted, would certainly meet the definition if
that is what the tape said than that would be -- >> my question is very simple, is grabbing a woman by her genitals without consent, is that sexual assault? >>y . >> thank you. >> we know what confirmation hearings are like,er they are not usually like that. but today was a confirmation hearing for a donald trump senator who had previously said that it would be, in his words, a stretch to call it sexual assault if mr. trump really did just grab women by the crotch, which is something he bragged about on tape. today was a marathon and at times surreal day of the jeff sessions confirmation hearing. i was mark by protesters sitting in at session's office and getting yanked out of the hearing itself. one after the other all day long. the nominee at his hearing changed positions on a few key issues.
he is denying he called the naacp un-american. he changed his support of water boarding to saying he thinks it is illegal. he was pinned too the wall by al franken for having claimed credit for working on civil rights cases, even though senator sessions never actually did real work on those cases. tomorrow, we now know things will be rougher for senator sessions. testimony against his nomination from the hero of the civil rights movement beaten nearly to death by police officers in his home state of alabama. jeff sessions will make history tomorrow when cory booker testifies against his nomination. in the history of his country, all of all the nors nominated for a job like this, no sitting senator testified against a sitting senator at their confirmation hearing, ever. but cory booker will do that against jeff sessions tomorrow.
the hits keep coming. at noontime today, buzzfeed, published an article that the widow of martin luther king jr., coretta scott king. sessions was seen as too racist to be a federal judge. coretta scott king wrote to the senate and pleaded with the senate to not elevate him to the federal bench. the committee chairman at the time, clong time segregationist strom thurmond never submitted her letter to the congressional record. buzz feed posted this piece about the missing letter from martin luther king's wids doe. by 6:00 p.m. tonight the "washington post" had gotten ahold of the letter. it is devastating.
"anyone who has used the power of his office as united states attorney intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by free citizens should not be elevated to our courts. for this reprehensible conduct he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship. a person that exhibited to much hostility to the enforcement laws and the exercise of those rights by black people should not be elevated to the federal bench. jeff sessions sought to punish activists, adviser and columnists of my husbands who had been key figures of the civil rights movement in the '60s. the only sin they committed is being too successful in gaining votes. the irony of jeff sessions nomination is if confirmed he will be given life tenure for doing what a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished 20 years ago with clubs and cattle prods.
that from coretta scott king, the widow of martin luther king jr. writing to the senate in 1986 to stop him from being judge. who knows why strom thurmond decided not to put it in to the congressional record and now the "washington post" has found it. we have posted the letter on-line. so you can read it yourself. honestly if you haven't you should. just discovered and published for the first time tonight. it's incredible and that's going to make an interesting day two of the jeff sessions toerl confirmation hearing tomorrow. tomorrow will be a nuts day for confirmation hearings any way. there are a zillion hearings over the next nine days, nine this week and five for tomorrow. democrats have been howling in
protest. protesters have been howling in protest. some of the small scale protests and direct actions, some pictures have sprung up the last few days. most through the indivisible movement. in the face of these protests starting up. in this face of the democrats complaining, in the face of the announcements from the trump nominees that don't have their paperwork in yet let alone ethics checks in, the republican leadership had dug in their heels on this. this was the headline, we won't delay hearings. stop complaining about this, democrats and protesters. we will not delay the hearings. that was two days ago and now they are delaying the hearings. they are delaying for the cia chief, education secretary, commerce, labor secretary, they have all been put off. given pronouncements like this a couple of days ago, things seem wobbly.
now we know it will be three hearings tomorrow, not five. democrats aren't supposed to get anything in this congress, right? when they say they have to slow down the hearings, they got what they demanded. a flurry of head snapping today when robert f. kennedy jr. said he accepted an offer from the incoming president to head up a vaccines commission. robert f. kennedy jr. is an interesting guy, he's done work on environmental issues, particularly on protecting american rivers. i used to work with him at air america radio. on vaccines, he's a conspiracy theorists. he says they are a secret holocaust. so this really was a say what moment at trump tower today. >> you guys talk about you having an official role in the administration. >> on vaccine and scientific
integrity. >> what did you say? >> i said i would. >> thank you, sir. >> new president is of course famously himself a conspiracy theorists on vaccines. maybe we should have seen something like this coming. it appears even the trump transition didn't see it coming. a couple of hours after jfk jr. came out and announced to reporters he would be running a vaccine commission at the white house because the president elect asked him to, they said never mind, scratch that. monica crawley on tap to be the national security adviser, one blemish on her record, in '99 she was dinged for plagiarizing a column she wrote for the "washington post." -- "wall street journal." it was a long time ago, no big deal.
on saturday, cnn was reporting that she plagiarized portions of her book. the publisher yanked it and said they wouldn't sell it anymore. last night "politico" said she plagiarized portions of her phd thesis from colombia. they haven't responded as to whether they will review her degree. today, cnn published more evidence she plagiarized seven other columns she wrote for the washington times. so far the trump transition said they are fine with monica crowley being deputy national security adviser. they have called it just a politically motivated attack on monica crowley. that was a funny response when i was two allegations of plagiarism. now it is ten, including her phd,er is it still politically motivated attack? is there a numerical cut off where it starts to be a real thing? listen, there's ongoing drama
over whether the president will have to defy overt nepotism laws in order to hire his son-in-law as a senior adviser. or to have a president with zero days of governing experience. to have an adviser with no governing experience. amidst that, there was news broken by cnn and bolstered by buzz feed this evening about russia. on the surface this looks like red-hot stuff. i will tell you the amount verified by u.s. intelligence agencies or nbc news is very thin. president obama and the incoming president and the gang of eight, leadership of house and senate, intelligence committees,er they were given a dossier of alleged dirt the russians allegedly say they allegedly have on donald trump.
alleged dirt they allegedly used to allegedly cultivate him is basically a russian asset who would do what they want because they knew what embarrassing stuff they had on him and buzz feed published the 35 pages of raw material from which this dossier was built. we have no way of knowing if it is true or if it is a plant or dirty trick but basic claim here is all of these top officials, including the president elect have been given a summary. whether it is true we don't know. whether it is believed to be true by our intelligence agencies we don't yet know but i bet we find out. if it is true, of course, and donald trump is a russian agent and knows he is one that's the story of the century. if it isn't true, it's nevertheless the biggest distraction at a time when things are wobbly for the incoming administration and this unpopular president elect. joining us is richard engel. richard? >> good to talk to you.
>> might be the story of the century. might be. we don't know. >> it is very, very strange. this has been bouncing around for several months now. there have been a lot of allegations. i wouldn't even call them rumors at this stage that the russians put together a file on donald trump, compromising material, compromising him financially, personally -- >> stuff that he did that was bad they had documentation of? >> that they caught him on tripps to russia and neighboring states doing nefarious things and they have evidence to back it up and that he effectively fell victim to a russian trap. this is the allegation. and they have assembled this file of compromising information on him and they are just waiting at any moment to either use it or use it to blackmail him so he is a sort of puppet.
i have heard these allegations for a long time. i have heard very specific allegations, times, places, amounts of money, specific activity, i haven't been able to prove any of it. >> you have been chasing the story. >> i have called people in russia, called leading experts, i have tried to chase it down in this country and i'm not the only one. other reporters have been given this material and have been looking in to at this time and haven't been able to prove it. i called some of the sources that were sending this my way and said, okay, you have this material, you say it is compromising as it is, show me the proof, show me the tapes that supposedly exist and the records of the money supposedly paid. all of these allegations that if true would be incredibly compromising. so far i haven't been able to find anything. what's interesting -- >> why is this coming out now? >> that's the interesting thing. there's a lot of rumors. they have been circulating for months. why would you intelligence
community then today boil it down to two pages and drop it like a bomb on president elect trump, on many senior leaders in washington and on the president himself's lap? why right now? that's the question. i was told by a senior intelligence source the reason they did it is the intelligence community is angry, the intelligence community wants to put him on notice saying, look, you are saying a you will of these things about russia. be careful. there are all of these allegations out there. are any of them true? and i was told, quote, we can't help you, mr. trump, unless you tell us more. >> these allegations are there and we need to know more if we are going to take care of this. >> and lastly concern these allegations could be a distraction and make it difficult to govern. >> doesn't have to be true for
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