tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 31, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PST
tonight for this special live midnight hour. we will see you again tomorrow when we will have a supreme court nominee to talk about, we think. our continuing coverage of the president's firing of his acting attorney general continues >> there is breaking news tonight. the president fires the acting attorney general hours after she said the justice department would not defend president trump's immigration ban. the 11th hour begins now. and good evening once again from our headquarters here in new york. the trump administration is only eight days old and already tonight there has been a showdown between the president and the justice department. donald trump tonight has fired the interim attorney general because of her ruling earlier this evening that the justice department would not defend the trump administration's travel ban that was in that executive order.
sally yates who served under president obama and was asked to stay on in the interim sent a memo to justice department lawyers ordering them not to defend trump's order to block refugees and citizens from seven mostly muslim countries. that memo said in part, quote, my responsibility is to ensure that the position of the department of justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. that memo tonight led to her dismissal. the white house just put out a statement saying, quote, the acting attorney general, sally yates, has betrayed the department of justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the united states. ms. yates is an obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration, close quote. the new acting attorney general is dana bente who was serving as
u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia. and just tonight, another development. we know not what to make of it, involving the head of immigration and customs enforcement. as you saw briefly, our panel is here ready to weigh in on our breaking news. but first we start with nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker who joins us by telephone. kristen, what more have you been able to add to the record tonight? >> well, brian, fast moving developments tonight. you're right, this replacement of sally yates came after a really bitter back and forth. she said that she directed d.o.j. not to uphold the president's travel ban, saying that she wasn't clear that it was going to be lawful. and then the news came that president trump was, in fact, replacing her with dana bente. and we really have fire works ever since then on both sides.
republicans and democrats weighing in, really using it as a chance to express their feelings about this immigration order. chuck schumer, for example, saying the a.g. should pledge fidelity to the law and the constitution, not the white house. the fact that this administration doesn't understand that is chilling. and then this from ted cruz just moments ago. it is fitting and sad that the very last act of the obama d.o.j. is for the acting a.g. to defy the newly elected potus. both pouncing in that regard and using it to hammer home their political points. here's one of the big take aways, brian. mrs. yates, because she was the top senate confirmed official at the department of justice, has the authorization to sign foreign surveillance warrants, which is a critical function to the d.o.j. and it's not clear that dana bente has that same authorization. he was signed in tonight.
he what sworn in tonight at 9:00 p.m., we are told, and so he is official. but, again, because he doesn't come with that senate confirmation, he doesn't have that ability to authorize and to sign foreign surveillance warrants. that is a concern when it comes to national security. that is going to put the pressure on the confirmation hearings with senator sessions. he's supposed to have a committee vote tomorrow. and i think just looking forward to that vote, it's really going to become more of a symbol of this incredibly controversial immigration order. and, brian, obviously the fall out of that continues. we saw more protests tonight with opponents saying that it's not lawful and that, you know, it's effectively a muslim ban by another name. the trump administration denying that vigorously. but, again, it all came to a head with this replacement of sally yates tonight. >> and, kristen, while we have you, the dismissal tonight of
the head of ice, the more muscular title for immigration and customs enforcement, obviously new presidents name new department heads. was this timed or scheduled or subtle? >> those are the questions we're trying to answer, brian. here's what i can tell you. i have a number of calls and e-mails out trying to determine that. the tone of this announcement was incredibly different. it didn't come with an explanation, unlike the replaceme replaceme replacement of sally yates. this was very matter of fact. this administration is, in fact, replacing daniel with thomas homan, someone who served as the executive associate director of ice. and he's 33-year veteran of law enforcement, he has 30 years of immigration experience according to the statement that was put out by the trump administration. so, what we can tell you at this hour is that the tone of this
announcement very different and this may just be about the president wanting to bring in his own people. but, again, that official announcement didn't come with any explanation for why he was making this decision. of course, it comes on the -- on a night when there has been a lot of twists and turns. so, we're still tracking this and trying to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. >> white house correspondent kristen welker, at the end of a long day, they seem to bleed into the next day these days. kristen, thank you for joining us by telephone. also live with us by telephone is a law professor and constitutional scholar at yale university. his experience includes clerking for supreme court justice briar. and, professor, i've heard it proffered tonight that the acting attorney general needlessly left out legal underpinnings from her opinion in saying the justice department
wouldn't enforce this refugee ban. is there anything else she could have said in that document, or was she destined for dismissal? >> well, the constitution, the end vests the executive power of the united states in the president. if people within the executive branch feel that in good faith they can't defend the president's policies, they have a freedom of speech. they can articulate their view. and at the end of the day, they serve at the president's pleasure and he can fire them. and she chose to very dramatically express the disagreement. there i think are probably other elements in the justice department that may be more willing to try to defend the legality of the trump order. i've heard reports that the
president believes that the office of legal counsel has -- supports certain elements of the executive order that was issued. so, she -- this is one aspect, basically, of the transition. the new attorney general isn't yet in place. he hasn't been confirmed, jeff sessions. presumably that will happen very quickly. and personally, i actually supported the obama administration, but we had an election and it's out with the old and in with the new. and this is just some particular drama because of the details of the transition. jeff sessions isn't yet fully in place so we have a few hold-over officials. and the obama administration -- excuse me, the trump administration as promised wants to hit the ground running with a whole bunch of new policies.
they believe they were elected on change mandate and they're not even waiting till the team is in place before moving forward. and this is a very dramatic little episode, but it's one of the larger drama of profound transition from obama to trump. >> professor, yale university, thank you very much for being with us tonight. again, this is all unfolding. let's formally and officially bring in our panel, shall we? former white house communications director campaign veteran and msnbc political analyst nicole wallace. we also welcome ed roland inches tonight. he's what you call a political veteran, having worked for, oh, four presidents, chief among them ronald reagan where he served as deputy chief of staff and political director. most recently ran a pro-donald trump political action committee. and jeremy bash is back with us, former chief of staff at cia and pentagon. nicole, you've been absent for several days.
>> oh, no. >> lead us off. what is happening? >> okay. so, we're focused on yates appropriately so. but she's not the only one who had problems with the executive order. notably, president trump's new secretary of defense had to send over a list of iraqis. they were on the list of seven countries that were targeted by this executive order, who have helped american soldiers on the battle field, who have been in combat and who have served as translators with american soldiers. i can't think of anything more unamerican than forgetting to do that on the front end. the other person who had a palomino problem wi problem with pieces of this executive order is president trump's secretary of home land security who posited leaving out green card holders was also problematic. so, i think that acting attorney general yates obviously pushed this white house too far, but she was far from the only policy critic. and the only one questioning its legality, its morality, and its
implementation. >> what does it mean? >> well, it means that we have a white house that is now rolling out policy that dramatically affects the lives of people. over 100 people detained in airports, keeping families separate. elections have consequences, and one consequence could have been president trump reevaluated the visa process, put in place new vetting. however, leaving out or not thinking about iraqis who are helping americans on the battle field, leaving out and not thinking about green card holders who are some of the most extremely vetted people to walk around american soil is not just an error in judgment, it's almost criminal incompetence. when we talk about donald trump's brand and our law professor gave a stunningly insightful political analysis.
he was elected on this wave of change, appetite for dramatic change. his brand is closely tie today being a competent businessman. everyone i met that i went out there to understand the trump voter, especially folks who voted for president obama twice, why pick donald trump? they think he can bring a business acumen which has at its core the ability to run things. he has not displayed the ability to competently run a policy process around the first national security policy he's sort of taken a swing at. >> ed rollins, your friend david gerg en said, i think they want to create this kind of chaos. >> i think they've had an aggressive seven, eight days here. some miss steps along the way. as nicole will tell you, david gergen, my old friend, those of us who have been in the white house, it's a learning process. it's a brand-new team, brand-new
president. people with any kind of experience, and they have a very aggressive agenda. these things that he promised, he feels very important to get out there. i think the attorney general, the acting attorney general knew what she was doing. obviously it was cleared by the office of legal counsel. the office of legal counsel is the government's lawyer, it's in the justice department. if they signed off on this, they say they didn't find any fault with it as far as the law, she clearly understood what she was doing when she waved the red flag and she got speared. to a certain extent the story will be a terrible story a day or two until we have a new justice tomorrow night, the story goes to the next round. this is a very aggressive team. they want to get things done. this is an active president. to a certain extent a week from now, we won't be paying much attention to this story. >> let me run something by you. republican congressman said on the lawrence o'donnell show, by the end of this year we may see
this president toward an impeachable moment. another good friend wrote, in two headlines today, in days, trump up ends america's enduring image, and with little regard for basic governance. unleashed global chaos. that's not reading well. >> well, you don't get to write the headlines for the new york times unfortunately we all have tried to do that in past lives. i think this is a president who basically feels he has a mandate from the american public. i don't think he's going to care very much about his poll numbers or any of the rest of it. he's basically going to be an action guy. he may over long term care about these things. but he truly is an independent guy. he's not going to be republican or democrat all the time. he promised these things to the american public. he's going to try and implement them. he's been very aggressive so far. >> jeremy bash, when asked from the podium today why the president moved his announcement of a supreme court nominee from thursday to tuesday, sean spicer said, because he wanted to.
perhaps it was in light of so much bad publicity over this weekend. >> i'm reminded of that old movie, brian, wag the dog. you create one distraction to distract from another distraction. look, the new team does believe they have a mandate, but where they are the least experienced is in national security affairs. so, and what private citizen would be experienced in national security affairs? the new team comes in and between priebus, conway, kushner and ban an, they have precisely zero days in federal government service and now they're asked to weigh and opine on big national security issues. not just this immigration issue, but there is ballistic missile tests from iran going on. there is a special command raid going on in yemen. they have crises left, right and center. that's why they need it rely on expertise, expertise from national security professionals.
it's why it's so dangerous to blow fast balls past the secretary of defense, past the home land security secretary, passed the intelligence community. it is going to catch up with them and i think this weekend shows that it already is. >> jeremy, how do you think this is going over in your old shops in the pentagon and over in langley, virginia at cia? >> well, look, i think for the most part, national security professionals believe that this immigration order is a very short sighted and counterproductive counter terrorism tool. if you put an entire civilian population under surveillance and under scrutiny, you're not going to be actually able to chase specific intelligence leads and penetrate specific plots. and it also hands an enormous propaganda weapon to isis. it's just about the last thing you want if you're charged with protecting the country. >> ed rollins has literally raised his hands -- >> he doesn't know the rules. just jump in. >> mr. bannon had seven years in
the navy, extraordinary career in which he ended up being chief of staff to a major admiral. i don't say that makes him a national security expert, but his government experience, hasn't been in the pentagon, he knows a lot. >> the counter point to that is mr. ban an is a lightning rod for the partisan elements and the more sort of troubling and alienating aspects of donald trump's -- >> i would argue this. president trump would not be there as elected president if he couldn't run his camp. >> i think it cuts both ways. >> we're going to take a brief break. we're getting started in our special hour long edition of the broadcast tonight. we're back with more after this. if your sneezes are a force to be reckoned with... you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® for powerful allergy relief. and zyrtec® is different than claritin®. because it starts working faster on the first day you take it. try zyrtec®. muddle no more®.
hour" as we cover tonight's breaking news. the firing by the president of the interim attorney general, a hold over from the obama administration. democrats were on the hill late tonight after holding a protest of the president's executive action on immigration at the heart of all this. here is new york democrat senate minority leader chuck schumer just a short time ago on the president firing the acting a.g. >> sally yates, a person of great integrity who follows the law, was fired by the president. she was fired because she would not enact, pursue the executive order on the belief that it was illegal, perhaps unconstitutional. it was a profile in courage. it was a brave act. and a right act. and i hope the president and his people who are in the white house learn something from this.
first, that we are a nation that's a rule of law. and you just can't sit down, twitter something out, then think, okay, let's enact it. this is a complicated country. and when you do something as major as what the president proposed in his executive order, you've got to think it through. >> back now with our panel, nicole wallace, ed rollins, jeremy bash. nicole, we say interim attorney general because she was waiting until the swearing in after the hoped for confirmation of jeff sessions. what does this do now to the notion of jeff sessions, to the hearings, to his confirmation vote? >> well, listen, the reason -- i think it's strong medicine to suggest that the trump white house has engaged in criminal incompetence. but the reason i said that is because what they have done is
to hand the democrats the weapons of the words of john mccain and lindsey graham and republican senator jeff plake, republican senator general sas s, who all came out by sunday morning, maybe some spoke out by saturday night, and said just what jeremy bash said. that this is handing isis recruitment material. this is handing fodder to the enemy to do us harm. so, you have to accept that the trump white house's goal was to protect the country. i give them that benefit of the doubt. but if you have john mccain and lindsey graham saying that the effect is the complete opposite, what you have done is handed the democrats an unimpeachable source and an unimpeachable charge against someone in their own party and now all of the confirmation hearings, not just senator sessions, i think every appointee, every sort of nominee is going to have to answer questions about whether they see this as john mccain and lindsey graham see it or whether they
see it as the white house sees it. and i add, we have talked night after night about the important role john mccain and lindsey graham will have. this is what it looks like in motion when a republican white house goes to war over national security policies with john mccain and lindsey graham. it doesn't end well for the rookie white house. >> ed, you will agree this is historic. we're eight days in. the president has already had a de facto run-in with a federal judge on a saturday night who vacated a large portion of this, and now with the departing interim attorney general, say nothing of the fact that the folks that gallop remind us today, he has now gone to a majority disapproval rating. he is under water in record time of eight days. >> well, he came in with record numbers. >> true. >> my sense, again, i go back to the point i don't think he's ever going to have high numbers. i think this is a president who basically is always going to have a very polarized society against him. we are very divided nation.
i think these kinds of events like the women's march and what have you just basically shows you there's a lot of opposition out there as it wasn't a very close election. i think he has to move forward as he has with his agenda and live up to the promises he made to his people. i think if he does that, they will stay with him. if he loses that -- and i think john mccain and lindsey graham are always going to be kind of a couple gad flies, both of whom ran for president, one was a nominee who got clobbered and a candidate who got clobbered. we have to worry about them, 53 senators, you have to make sure none defect and that is the key thing. >> i think nicole takes exception with the gad fly. >> if i was in a republican white house and we had john mccain as a serious detractor of our then secretary of defense don rumsfeld. and he was far more than a gad fly. he was able to drive the national conversation about what was going wrong in the -- and i would have to say i don't think
it's an overstatement to suggest john mccain's critique led to a war policy process that turned the surge around. he is a very influential voice on foreign policy the world over. and even more importantly, i think jeremy mentioned that russia's neighbors are under increasing threat. this is going to be a flash point time and time again because donald trump has set a tone the world over that he's going to tolerate more monkey business from vladimir putin than past american presidents of both parties. and john mccain will be able to draw the world's attention to what putin is up to and hold the white house's feet to the fire. and i would never under estimate his ability -- >> gad fly may be inappropriate. he is chair of the arms committee. he has been a constant critic of your president, my president. >> my point is he changed policy. it was his critique that led to the policy process that led to this hearing.
>> i don't think trump is going to basically let him set policy. again, two senators, very important, three senators basically make -- >> you have ten republicans now who have taken issue, ten republicans who have taken issue with this order. and i think if for every policy there are ten republican detracters, i don't think the trump white house is going to ever -- it matters to donald trump. he cares very much about his approval ratings. he cares about his press. >> he's going to have to get over that because he's not going to have -- >> from your lips. >> jeremy -- >> he does have to worry about losing ten senators or three senators, but i think at the end of the day he better get used to bad numbers because they're going to be there for a period. >> jeremy, here is another number, 100, chicago tribune reporting 100 career folks at the state department are signing onto a letter disagreeing with this direction. and it also seems to me the names we've been discussing and add to that schumer, mcconnell, graham, mccain, they are
institutionalists as well. it's tough to be an institutionalist with an incoming administration as ed correctly points out, that was designed to break furniture. >> and we have a pattern here emerging, even though it's just nine days in, which is the president versus expertise. the president versus professional state department foreign service officers. the president versus professional cia officers. the president sewiowing chaos ag those for border patrol. if you don't accept facts and you don't accept expertise, you're not going to be able to manage national security crises, real national security crises when they come and hit you over the forehead like a 2 by 4. just as we reached for historical precedence, i was thinking a little bit about the mid 2000s when president bush, nicole's old boss had a run-in with an attorney general over warpted surveillance. this is the famous bedside scene
where somebody named jim comey had to go to the white house, chief of staff saying we're not going to sign off on this order. what did president bush do? he brought everybody to the volvo office. he talked everybody down, he worked it out. they made modifications to the program. it wasn't acceptable to everybody. we were able to protect the country and keep america safe. but he had the temperament to bring people together. that's what i think is necessary when you have a crisis like we're seeing unfold tonight. >> and he sided with the career professionals. he ultimately sided with fbi director bob muller and i think it was deputy attorney general comey. >> yes. >> i don't think you're going to change a 70-year-old man who ran going to be a change agent. and the constiff wentuents won' him to alter his behavior. they'll be pleased he fired the acting attorney general tonight. i'm trying to tell you what i sense. and i think to a certain extent he promised he's going to be different and clearly in the
first eight, nine days -- >> do you think they care about competent -- i agree with everything you said. i think they thought they were hiring an effective businessman who was good at running thing. >> we have to make a judgment down the road whether he's competent. i think he is competent. i think his team is competent. it's a learning curve. i'd hate to think i had to make these decisions. >> we've reached the bottom of the hour, end time for this broadcast. we are going long because of the amount of breaking news we have to cover. another break for us. when we come back, among the topics yet to cover, mr. bannon and his oversized presence in this still eight-day-old administration.
warra we are back covering this breaking news of president trump firing the acting attorney general over at the justice department tonight. earlier tonight, neil cavuto gingrich, former house speaker, said this on twitter. there you go. trump practiced "you're fired" for years. today he applied it to an insubordinate acting attorney general. congratulations. let's bring in ucla law professor adam winkler as we continue to look at what happened tonight vis-a-vis the law. and, professor, do you think anyone bumped up against the law, either the acting now former a.g., or the president?
>> i think actually both of them followed the law. sally yates was obligated to follow the constitution, not trump's unconstitutional immigration order. and some people are saying she should have resigned instead. she took an oath to preserve and defend the constitution, not to cut and run at the first sign of trouble. in this instance she apparently felt defending the constitution required her to stop defending the immigration order. we know the president has the power to fire the attorney general as he has done in this case. >> now, professor, didn't she also do a de facto huge favor to all the immigration lawyers who are going to be arguing for refugees who can now say, your honor, i submit the wording of the now former attorney general on behalf of the justice department containing her underpinnings as to why this shouldn't be argued? >> absolutely. and you can expect good lawyers to use that argument. if there is any challenge those lawyers face, however, it's, of
course, that there will be department of justice lawyers in court arguing against them and against that point of view. and one problem with yates' letter that she used to explain her decision not to enforce the law was that it didn't provide with any clarity any clear statements of objections based on the law. she said that the law was unjust and unwise, but didn't make clear exactly what its constitutional problems were. so, that makes it a little more difficult to use her statements in court. >> so, you're saying she should have cited like a court opinion would, the underpinnings as to how and why she reached the decision she did? >> well, in fact, she didn't offer anything really but a series of conclusions. i think that she was right to disobey the immigration orders. she felt that they were unconstitutional and there are serious constitutional problems with them. however, she did not bother to identify those constitutional problems in the letter itself. >> professor adam winkler, thank
you for joining us out on the west coast. professioner winkler teaches law at ucla. another quick break for us. when we come back, our panel is back with us. johnathan alter, the veteran journalist will also be with us to discuss what we're covering here tonight. liberty mutual stood with me when i was too busy with the kids to get a repair estimate. liberty did what? yeah, with liberty mutual all i needed to do to get an estimate was snap a photo of the damage and voila! voila! (sigh) i wish my insurance company had that...
of light." doesn't it feel that way? think of it, we are basically reporting the aftermath from the immigration ban. we are eight days into a new administration. we are also tracking another fast-moving story tonight. the addition of white house aide steve bannon to the national security council. of bannon tonight, the new york times editorial board wrote this. a new executive order politicizing the process for national security decisions suggests mr. bannon is positioning himself, not merely as a svengali, but as the de facto president. let's bring in jeremy bash whose background is in national security. after all, he remains with us, as do nicole wallace and ed rollins. jeremy, how unsettling, again, to career men and women at the pentagon in langley, is mr. bannon's presence in that
room at that table? >> i think that times editorial is overstated, brian. let me breakdown for you what is of concern. inside the national security council be there are multiple layers of meetings that occur. the most important one is called the principles committee or the pc in government parlance. that's all of the cabinet secretaries and the national security advisor, and they tee up the big decisions for the president. and when the president walks in the room, it converts into a nsc, national security council meeting. what the trump administration did was they said with regard to this pc, the principles committee, at the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff have to get a particular invitation to attend the meeting. but that the chief strategist, mr. bannon, is automatically entitled to be there. and, so, they upgraded him as a permanent member of this group and they downgraded the chairman. i just want people to think about this tonight.
and i love ed's perspective on this. imagine if obama had said the chairman of the joint chiefs will come when i ask him to come in the room, but i'm putting the editor of buzz feed on the principles committee. would republicans be -- have a blind blowing experience or what? >> i have no problem putting steve bannon on whatever the president wants him to. ed meeks was a counselor to the president. he served this in a similar role. i think the key thing is the points you made earlier. the joint chiefs chairman is the advisor to the president and to the secretary of defense by statute. the whole patriot act to set up the dci, that is a important -- by statue again, what difference does it make if there are two more seats at the table? those are very valuable people. that's my objection. bannon is totally relevant, the president is entitled to have whoever he wants. those two people being put out was foolish. >> nicole, remember what puts us here, the immigration ban from
mostly muslim nations. i asked you on the break, what is the status of green card holders? do we know? >> we don't know they've all been let in. our newly sworn in, newly confirmed secretary of home land security has said that they should be. i want to go back to the bannon for a second because carl rove, really no one closer to bush than carl rove. remember him. our old friend carl rove was explicitly excluded from this principles committee level meeting that jeremy correctly describes because there was a feeling that obviously president can get advice from whomever they want. george w. bush believed when the campaign ended, the business of government was deadly serious. you shouldn't have even the appearance of a political advisor in the room. steve bannon isn't just any political advisor. he's the one that made donald trump answer questions about the alt right.
he's the one who is the reason we know what the alt right is. he may be a honey bunch, i have no idea. as a political persona, esthhe terrifying to donald trump's -- you don't want somebody at the table who tear identify people. >> 70-year-old ideologues more malleable to this kind of thing? >> i have not seen anything that suggests donald trump is malleable in terms of wanting his way. he's not idea logical. i think on policy he's probably very malleable, but steve bannon is -- it has been reported by people with multiple sources, he is to get the credit, if you're a fan, and the blame if you're a detractor for all the sort of pop liz many we heard in the inaugural address, speaking directly to the for bought enman and woman, which was the closing message that got donald trump
elected. whether you love that message or hate it, it was central to -- i agree, donald trump would not have won if it weren't for steve bannon. but putting him in the room with career public servants, the people -- watching military operations, never mind that he was in the military. i don't know that gives you right to advise the president on military operations -- is shocking. >> the only thing i would say is this is a president who got elected who didn't have a whole bunch of political people around him, didn't have a whole bunch much long-time advisors, bush did, reagan did, everybody else did. bannon is the closest advisor. bannon is the person he trusts the most. he sees bannon as a pier. his son-in-law is a son-in-law. everybody else is new to his game. everybody else is kind of a staff person. bannon is a pier. basically at the end of the day, what bannon says, the president is going to listen to although i do think this is a president with strong opinions of his own. >> i would have flipped it there and i would have put the chairman of the joint chiefs in
the room in every meeting and said steve bannon, we'll invite you if we need your advice. >> i want it talk about the b another aspect of drum fonald t for just a moment here. it starts with chuck schumer has a news conference every weekend and it is basically food to local media who find it slow during weekends and whatever issue chuck schumer talks about usually makes it into new york local news. this weekend was different. he was talking about the immigration ban, and chuck schumer's middle name happens to be ellis, came from the name of a beloved relative who was named after ellis island where the family entered the united states. chuck schumer became highly emotional on this topic. we'll show you that, and then we'll show you how donald trump reacted. >> this executive order was mean
spirited and unamerican. >> i noticed chuck schumer yesterday with fake tears. i'm going to ask him who is his acting coach because i know him very well. i don't see him as a cryer. if he is, he's a different man. he's about a 5% chance it was real, but i think they were fake tears. >> fake tears. >> i'm going to say what i'm thinking and it's not always a good idea special at 11:48. the first time donald trump gets a hug from a mom or dad whose son died, they say, god bless you, mr. president, he's going to cry and be ashamed of those comments. >> ed? >> you know, obviously following harry reid made me cry, we never made him cry. i think schumer is in a tough role. he's now the leader of that party and he basically, i think he's a guy who always thought he was going to be the majority leader for life.
he's going to be minority. >> on tv more than ever. >> this is a party guess pratt for leadership. i think it was real. i don't think it gives you the impression of a person the country wants as a leader. trump is a bully. he took a shot, i wouldn't have done it. >> jeremy, you were talking about de-institutionalization which is a big word, take down structures of government, fake news, if you believe it, fake tears. >> i think about my mentor leon panetta whose parents immigrated from italy through ellis island. he always said, secretary panetta said they could never have imagined their son would grow up to become cia director and secretary of defense of the most powerful military of the world. part of chuck schumer's tears are not about what is going on today. the fact we may be denying the ability of people to come into
our country who some day will grow up as the son and daughter of immigrants who will protect our own children and grandchildren. that is what i think he's shedding tears about today. >> to jeremy, to ed, to nicole, thank you all. we've gone long tonight. we appreciate having your advice and counsel. we'll take another break. jonathan alter will join us in the next segment. this is "the 11th hour."
welcome back to "the 11th hour." political analyst and vettian journalist jonathan alter. jonathan, we turn to people like you at hours like this one to ask what we are witnessing, what is happening right now. >> well, i don't think we're quite in a constitutional crisis at this point, but we are in a crisis of governance and it's a completely unnecessary crisis. the country is at peace. we have relative prosperity. we are not under attack right now from terrorists or anybody else. and so to inflict this on the public is destabilizing and it sends a message of chaos and disorganization and incompetence. what's striking about it to me, brian, i feel like donald trump, president trump and steve bannon want this. they like the chaos. they like making somebody like
chuck schumer cry. because, as steve bannon said in a now famous interview with the daily beast three years ago, like vladimir len in, i leak to blow up the establishment. that's what they're trying to do now. we're seeing the consequences. >> a couple of points here. number one, the protesters are said to be the tip of the spear in the democratic party these days. that may be true. david gergen said tonight that in addition to scaring millions of americans, president trump is damaging the u.s. reputation. and you tweeted something about a law that may bring mr. bannon to confirmation if he's going to sit in on the nsc? >> the national security council was established in 1947 by federal statutes. that statute has been amend several times, most recently in 2007. and if you read the statute, it says that members of the
national security council include, you know, cabinet members, and then if you want to add somebody else it requires, quote, the advice and consent of the senate. meaning senate confirmation. now, i guess bannon could attend as a guest at the national security council, but if he does it regularly, if he's at every meeting, it raises a question the congress should confront of whether he is a de facto member of the nsc and therefore require senate confirmation. at a minimum you might see somebody like senator mccain who chairs a committee, he could, you know, request bannon to testify on capitol hill about this. and that would be very interesting testimony. i think we will see that. if not, bannon's removal, which is much less likely. >> as i keep saying, mccain and graham may well be the senate firewall on a lot of these things, if not the entire administration. jonathan alter, thank you as always for resetting and letting
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as jonathan alter reminded us, it is south of a constitutional crisis, but to quote eleanor roosevelt about the world war ii era, it is no ordinary time.tim. we can all agree on that. >> to make sure if they are a five-year-old, maybe they're with their parents and they don't pose a threat. but to assume just because of someone's age or gender or whatever that they don't pose a threat would be misguided and wrong. >> this morning the white house is playing defense as nationwide protests continue amid backlash over president trump's immigration order. >> plus new overnight president trump fires the acting attorney general who refused to defend f general who refused to accept his travel ban. and today the president will announce his supreme court nominee. but the congressional democrats are willing to put