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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  March 21, 2017 8:00pm-8:31pm PDT

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quietly saying, you know, we believe in europe and you don't seem to be supporting that idea, you want bilateral negotiations. >> christopher dickey, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. it. "the 11th hour" with brian willia starts now. tonight, the hard sell. president trump facing a critical test and opposition from his own party. can he deliver if vothe votes f health care or is a bad week about to get even worse? the president's nominee for the supreme court at one point tries to distance himself from the white house, but did he win over any democrats? we'll ask one member of the powerful judiciary committee. here tonight "the 11th hour" begins now. well, good evening once again from our headquarters here in new york where we were on the air all day with the confirmation hearings for the
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president's nominee for supreme court after yesterday's day long coverage over a hearing on unfounded wiretapping claims and an investigation into russian ties, but day 61 saw the president fighting to get the republican health care bill through congress. the first real piece of business for the new president. the promise to repeal and replace obamacare, a fixture on the campaign trail, has come down to this and the vote is almost upon us. tonight at a republican fundraiser in d.c., the president was making his final push to rally enough support to get the bill passed. >> it's time to get busy, get to work, and to get the job done. that legislative effort begins with thursday's crucial vote and it really is a crucial vote for the republican party and for the people of our country. to finally repeal and replace
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the disaster known as obamacare. it's what it is. a disaster. >> ts morning the president took the short trip down pennsylvania avenue to the capital meeting behind closed doors. he told members, i'm going to come after you, but i know i won't have to because i know you'll vote yes. that's according to several lawmakers in the room. the president added, obviously a loss is not acceptable folks. a yes vote for the republican health care bill said this of the president's remarks. quote, oh, he was kidding around. he then added, i think. later at the white house sean spicer was asked about all of it. >> is the president going to hold republicans vote against health care against them? are they going to pay a price? >> i think they'll pay a price at home, meaning you can't go
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promise over and over again since 2010 -- for those who have been there that long and even the new ones. yeah, i think there's going to be a price to be paid, but it is with their own voters. >> with a vote scheduled on thursday, things aren't looking good right now. 27 house republicans say they are voting no or leaning no. it would only take 22 republicans voting no in the house to kill it. over in the senate at least five republicans are in the no column. susan collins, tom cotton, dean heller, mike lee, rand paul. top republicans in the senate and house are trying to rally the troops. today mitch mcconnell told the associate e ed press, quote, i d hate to be a. whose vote prevented us from keeping the promise that we have held to the american people for almost tenears now. paul ryan was sounding more grandiose. >> preside trump was here to
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do what he does best and that is to close the deal. he is all in and we are all in to end this obamacare nightmare. the president just came here and knocked the ball out of the park. he knocked the cover off the ball and explained to our members how it is important to unify, how it is important to work together, how we're advancing our principles and we're doing what we told the american people we would do. this is our chance and this is our moment. it's a big moment, and i think our members are beginning to appreciate what kind of a rendezvous with destiny we have right here. >> let's bring in our panel tonight starting in washington, white house correspondent kristen welker, here in new york, biana, and the host of "in"i "in "indivisible," charlie sykes. this is not how lyndon johnson
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did it. it's not how barack obama did it, but it is possible they're going to get to the finish line without them being able to pass this. >> it is very possible, and officials on capitol hill acknowledge that tonight, so the strategy right now is it's all hands on deck. i am told they are working the phones. everyone from leaders to aides to committee chairs to officials at the white house trying to swap some of those no votes to yes, but it's going to be a tough sell because some of those lawmakers say they want to see big changes. they're still not satisfied despite the fact that gop lawmakers did make some changes last night to the legislation, so what happens if this fails? i've been putting that question to the white house and to lawmakers on capitol hill throughout the day. well, the reality is it's going to jeopardize some of the president's other key agenda items, things like tax reform as as renegotiating trade deals like nafta. last night president trump was in kentucky talking about the
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necessity of renegotiating those trade deals, but he said first we have to get health care done, so this is a critical priority. the white house not ready to say that all of that would be put on the line if health care doesn't pass the house. however, that is the political reality that's going to make every other agenda item a lot more difficult. so what you are seeing tonight, public displays of confidence from the white house, from house speaker paul ryan, but behind the scenes a real scramble to swap some of those votes. >> bianca, it is great to have you. i want you to read this "new york times" headline with all of us. fewer americans would be insured with gop plan than with simple repeal. in other words, if obamacare were allowed to collapse of its own weight, at the heart of this is a piece of legislation let's not forget attached to actual living breathing americans. >> yes. and don't forget these lawmakers have their voters at home to answer to. >> there's that. >> we've seen these town halls and these rallies.
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voters are angry. they don't want their health care taken away from them. they'll appreciate what's taken away from them more than what they appreciate what they have now, and they're going to blame the administration for them. kristen is why. the reason why we've seen the worst wall street day this year is wall street traders are starting to question whether or not the president will go through with his promises, specifically tax reform. >> charlie, when you widen out the picture, you realize what we have just witnessed in the past 48 hours. this is an administration under investigation trying to get a signature piece of legislation through, and it's coming down to this week. >> it is, and i think you have to almost see the trump presidency as a jenga tower. which of the pieces is going to make it fall apart? my assumption at this point is he will win on thursday. they will get the votes. it would be too catastrophic for
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trump. it would be too catastrophic for speaker ryan. the implications for the whole trump agenda would be pretty troubling. the stock market has now begun to realize if you do not get this obamacare legislation through, then the tax reform bill cannot get through. a lot of this obamacare legislation is about health care, but a lot of it is about setting the stage for health care. when you say all hands on deck, the pressure will be absolutely intense. i talked to a conservative republican in congress today. he said, you know what? it's going to require a tremendous amount of courage to cast that no vote. and you do not want to be the congressman that brings down this presidency, this agenda, that causes the stock market to tank. >> and kristen welker, yet this is what a let's call it 39% popularity polling number looks like when you take it out for a spin. i want to show you a moment
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between our fen and colleague katy tur and congressman dave brat, republican of virginia, that took place on our air earlier this evening. >> do you believe this vote is going to happen on thursday? >> right now we're aiming for it. >> aiming for it sounds like you're not very confident that you're going to have it. >> i'm not sure. i don't think there are the votes. i think there's 20 or 30 conservatives. there's 10 or 20 moderates and focuses in tough races in the northeast corridor. >> so no. >> right. it's a problem right now. >> did you hear that phrase, coverage issues? he's talking about actual health care. and kristen, congressman charlie sykes here that the studio has an optimism about this vote that is not shared by dave. you have conservatives and moderates against this because of regional issues, local issues, and as biana was saying, the folks back home.
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>> something striking has happened, brian, which is obamacare is more popular than it ever was under president obama, so the republicans are having to contend with that. there's a real concern that some lawmakers feel they may pay the price if they do repeal and replace obamacare and if folks aren't happy with that replacement, with the result. you're sensing the trepidation from someone like dave brat saying we're not sure we're going to be able to vote on thursday. i think it underscores the uncertainty right now, brian, that's really permeating both sides of pennsylvania avenue. >> biana, this is also a test of a new president pulling the levers of power. everyone has their own style. his today was to go down and make a lot of noise and talk it up on the hill. he's going to have to turn around and see who's behind him real soon. >> that'right. he's known for the art of the deal he's the deal maker. he seems pretty confident right now. that could all just be rhetoric.
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even as optimistic about this vote on thursday, remember you have the senate which is much more of an uphill battle for the president. >> it's not there. what do you do then? >> this is the short-term thinking that's going on. you get past thursday. if you're paul ryan, at least you've taken the hill that you needed to take. then you need to do with the whole issue of the senate. the senate is getting worse almost by the day. ron johnson, very conservative republican from my home state of wisconsin, very close to paul ryan makes it clear he is extremely skeptical he's not on board. that tells me this thing is almost dead on rivarrival when gets to the senate. some congressmen may say i'm going to push it on. a lot of short-term thinking here. >> kristen, restore icalhetoric president has never mentioned the words obamacare without the
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words disaster coming behind it. headlines in "the new york times" showing if it were allowed to just be, to die on its own, to do whatever it is doing in states across the country, it would insure more people than so far the gop fix. >> and the congressional budget office essentially finding that millions of americans could lose their health care if the republican plan is enacted, and i think that's a real challenge rhetorically for this white house, for house speaker paul ryan, picking up on biana's point, which is such a good one. the president wrote "the art of the deal." he is the closer. that's being put to the test right now. will he be able to close out this deal? it is perhaps his biggest test yet, brian. >> kristen welker, thank you very much for joining us. panel stays with us. coming up after our first break, that cloud hanging over the
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administration continued questions over the trump campaign's ties to russia when "the 11th hour continues." >> mr. president, you're under fbi investigation. >> president trump, what's your response to the fbi investigating campaign ties to russia? >> president trump? distracting you? doctors recommend taking non-drowsy claritin every day of your allergy season for continuous relief. with claritin, you get powerful, non-drowsy relief, 24-hours a day. day after day. and with fewer symptoms to distract you, you can focus on the extraordinary things you do every single day. live claritin clear. every day. you foundi'm a robot! rawr yeti and found a place to service it, too. ♪ jingle bells now when you're ready, you can sell your old car and find your new one all on you know us for shopping, and now we're there for every turn.
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welcome back. the white house again today tried to distance the president and his administration from the ongoing investigations into russia's interference with the u.s. election. here is press secretary sean spicer. >> at some point, there is a
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distinction between an investigation that it goes into russia's involvement in 2016 and this continued narrative that falsely tries to link the trump -- the president or the white house into any of it. they continue to see that there is nothing there. >> now contrast that with when fbi director james comey told the house intelligence committee yesterday. >> i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. >> joining our conversation now is jeremy bash, who served as the chief of staff to the director of the cia and
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secretary of defense. bianna and charlie remain with us here in new york. charlie, perhaps the pace of news because we have to be here broadcasting it during the day has been too frenetic, but i don't think the impact of comey's comment really landed until -- at least for me until this evening. this is an administration, and if not an administration, certainly a campaign effort under active and open investigation, and that is kind of the original sin which weights them down every day. >> i'm with you, brian. in ohistory, we've had counterintelligence investigations. we've even had presidents under fbi investigation. we've never had a commander and chief under a counterintelligence investigation. if you think about the way forward here, the three federal bodies investigating the president and his inner circle, the house intelligence committee, the senate intelligence committee, and the fbi, have the number of
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investigative tools in their arsenal. they can issue subpoenas. they can compel witness testimony under oath, and they can even grant immunity to witnesses to turn state's evidence against the principal targets, but think about this, brian. here's something i don't think people have fully realized. the president also has a nuclear option, if you will, in this investigation. he could preemptively pardon members of his inner circle under investigation, and that i think would lead to a full blown constitutional crisis, because he would essentially extinguish the fbi investigation in one fell swoop. >> charlie, you just had a physical reaction to that last comment. >> he's right about that. david fromm wrote about this in "the atlantic." our constitutional system assumes that you have people who
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abide by certain norms and limits. that's absolutely true. we've used the term normalize. it is hard to get your head aroundhat we are seeing here, and also that moment yesterday where donald trump began yesterday by tweeting out attacks on the whole possibility that there was any sort of collusion in effect putting his thumb on the scale. an interesting constitutional moment when the fbi director and the justice department announcing yes, they are going to take this serious and the president saying there's nothing here, there's nothing here. we've never seen anything like this even going back into the watergate era. >> paul manafort was just a bit player throughout this. this president and those around him seem to know more russians than i do, and i know a lot of russians, believe me. it baffles the mind that not only so many meetings have taken place that this administration denies taking place with certain people, but this president has
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yet to say one slightly critical thing about vladimir putin. it doesn't help the secretary of state is not going to be attending a nato summit in place of going to a meeting in florida obviously with the president of china. >> jeremy bash, having worked for your share of powerful figures in politics, i want to read from you tonight in "the new york times" again maggie haberman and glen thrush are out with a pretty powerful piece of journalism about the trump white house and the weight of what they wake up to every day because of what the president put out on twitter. it reads in part, finally mr. trump hasn't let up because no one can stop him. within the white house, aides describe a nearly paralytic inability to tell mr. trump that he has erred or gone too far on twitter. and that's all of it. it begins and ends right there. >> yeah, and the team members that i really worry about, brian, are not so much the aides in the white house because they
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kind of signed up for this, if you will, but it is the cabinet secretaries, the secretary mattis, the secretary tillerson, the secretary kelly straight down the line, men of honor who have stepped forward after decorated careers in military and business worlds, and their creditability is on the line. they get pushed by counterparts overseas who say, hey, why is your president saying this about the british intelligence service. why is your president embarrassing our ally angela merkel? those are the guys who i really feel for. >> if i could say one more thing that i don't think got enough attention out of the hearing with the fbi director. he said the russians infiltrated the dnc, but the rnc. the russians are committed to infiltrating the 2018 elections twe as well as the 2020 elections. this administration should be focused on preventing that from
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happening. >> this is the man who has the best access to information in the world, and yet he'selying on breitbart and judge th that teeia --. >> in fairness, the australians had it coming to them. jeremy, put on your national security cap just for this one item. we need your expertise. homeland security out of nowhere put some restrictions on incoming flights today on basically anything larger than a phone. laptops, tablets, cameras. restrict eed on flights coming the u.s. from ten different overseas airports from eight
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mostly muslim countries. it affects 50 flights a day. they've been given 96 hours to implement this. there's a report that brits are considering following suit. what's behind this and what should we worry about? >> i've got to believe, brian, that based on the specificity of the devices that were identified the cities of which flights could originate and the specific airlines, to me, that means our intelligence organizations have picked up on very specific and credible intelligence about this threat, obviously an explosive threat that could be implanted in these devices. this is worrisome. the fact that our british allies are going along with it just rei reinforces that conclusion. >> the south koreans report north korea has launched a missile that has ended in failure. part of their round of missile tests, and the journalist who were embedded on tillerson's first overseas trip quotes him as saying this, i didn't want this job.
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i didn't seek this job. he paused to let that sink in a beat or two past before an aide piped up to ask him why he said yes and he said, quote, my wife told me i'm supposed to do this. the secretary of state rex tillerson. thank you, all of you, members of our panel tonight. again, we have more news than the time to cover it and talk about it. when we come back, after more than 11 hours of questioning today, did the president's pick for the supreme court win over any democrats? we'll speak to one when "the 11th hour" returns. because i am cured with harvoni. harvoni is a revolutionary treatment for the most common type of chronic hepatitis c. it's been prescribed to more than a quarter million people. and is proven to cure up to 99% of patients who have had no prior treatment with 12 weeks. certain patients can be cured with just 8 weeks of harvoni.
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when anyone criticized the honesty, the integrity, the motives of a federal judge, well, i find that disheartening. i find that demoralizing because i know the truth. >> anyone including the president of the united states? >> anyone is anyone. >> president trump's nominee to become the next supreme court justice. federal judge neil gorsuch of colorado answering a question about the president's attacks on judges, calling attacks like that disheartening and demoralizing, as you heard. part of a marathon 11-plus hour day of testimony on capitol hill. his confirmation hearings continue tomorrow in the senate judiciary committee. earlier i spoke to democratic senator of hawaii who sits on
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that committee and questioned judge gorsuch late into the evening. i started by asking the senator what she did not hear from the judge, what she is hearing from her constituents back home in hawaii. >> first of all, this is not just about filling a supreme court vacancy because the supreme court will make decisions that will impact all of our lives for decades to come and should judge gorsuch be confirmed, he'll be on that court for 40 years or so, so it is really important to try to get from him what his judicial philosophy would be. it's a judicial fill -- philosophy that ends up in robert's court that defends corporate rights. one, he wouldn't talk about any cases that the supreme court has already decided except to say


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