Skip to main content

tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  May 18, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PDT

1:00 am
ill but not capable of behaving achieving a baseline of responsibility. >> ross is saying he's sane of sane mind and in an essential way not up to the task. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. over and raises the stakes for donald trump as president. "the 11th hour" begins right now. good evening once again from our headquarters in new york. today was day 118 of the trump administration. the mang choson for the job is not just any lawyer.
1:01 am
he is robert mueller. maybe the foremost law enforcement offerings in this country today. he is the former head of the firb where he took over just before 9/11 and was kept on by president barack obama. he's something of a hero figure at the justice department and within the fbi which he ran for 12 years. in all of american history, only j. edger hoover served longer as head of the fbi. he was selected by the deputy attorney general. remember the attorney general took himself out of this case because of previous relations with russians and it was rosenstein who put out the false covery story for why the white house fired the head of the fbi, james comey. the future just got brighter for president donald trump and all the people in his orbit.
1:02 am
no administration wants to see what happened to this administration today. before we bring in our panel to start our broadcast tonight, just a little more on the life and times of robert mueller. he was born in new york, raised outside philadelphia, he went to a prestige private school called st. pauls, graduated from princeton. served in combat, earned a bronze star and a purple heart. back to nyu for a master was degree and uva law school. he's been a u.s. attorney twice, in and out of the justice department in senior roles and private practice. he has served his country on and off for much of his life. so with that, let's bring in tonight's panel. chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. chief chief of staff and former kouns thool house intel
1:03 am
committee. matt miller, former chief spokesman for the justice department and a security analyst, and here in new york, nicole wallace, former white house communications director for bush 43. al welcome to you all. matthew, because of your experience at doj, i'm going to begin with you. most importantly, what does this do to the investigation? >> i think first of all it's a sign that there's going to be robust investigation that looks at every possible act of wrong doing. one of the things he about mueller is he has both investigative experience by leading the fbi and prosecutorial experience as a attorney and leader in the criminal division. he won't be testifying about it before congress.
1:04 am
it will be less leaky than the investigation has been up until now but very aggressive and will move as quickly and as far as he can possibly justify. >> you've work would him. in bearing and demeanor and even his physical height, he could be comey's father. in addition to the way he is viewed within fbi and justice. >> and i like the paternal notion because he is someone -- i was thinking about him when i came out here. if you locked all the republicans in one room and all the democrats in another room which isn't too dissimilar in how they function and they'd both -- >> if you did a talent search. >> -- both lists would have him at the top. they actually pick someone revered by democrats and republicans. i first met him because after 9/11 george w. bush took all of his briefings in person.
1:05 am
so they were often in that little room right outside the oval office before any of the other staffers came in. so we would cross in the hallways and he had us keeping this country safe after 9/11 and he had in his mind the integrity and the min the m and women ofhe fbi. he is of the men and women of the fbi. he has never acted above them. this to me lands perfectly. >> so far today everyone i've talked to with the kind of experience nicole has, you have says the same thing. an organic talent search. if you asked me to name one person ideally to name this investigation, everyone would have come out add bob mueller. you could feel some of the pressure go out of this today as people knew it was going to be in good hands but at the same time it landed like an anvil.
1:06 am
>> you said it's a darker hour for the trump administration. i think it's a brighter hour for the united states and the rule of law. if you read the order, and this was clearly the right decision by the deputy attorney general who signed as the acting attorney general because the a. good. is recused. and it's broad. it sets no time limits on the mueller investigation. it basically says he can investigate any matter he wants to that arises into the russia matter and the trump campaign and third in his sole discretion he can prosecute federal crimes. it basically makes him the united states attorney for the district of donald j. trump. >> so he can say what is related to russia, what is not. does that me he can impanel a grand jury? does that mean he can recommend or further bring charges? >> yes, and yes.
1:07 am
he can prosecute the case. he is in effect the chief prosecutor. he's not merely the top fbi official. he is standing in the shoes of the attorney general tonight. >> balance this in all you've seen in washington. i feel compelled to remind everybody this is day 118 of a new presidency and oh, by the way the first foreign trip is leaving either way friday night. >> and they had thought these two weeks were going to be, as they themselves put it, a graduate seminar on the foreign trip which is fraught with peril for even an experienced foreign policy commander in chief and this is one of our first modern day presidents with no political experience, military. they've laid it out for him with a very friendly venue in the first spot surrounded by 50 arab leaders who are singing their praises.
1:08 am
but there's still so many things. this is a president who blurted out information to the russians that had not been precleared by israel. this is a president whose team whose top officials, including the national security advisor refused to acknowledge that the western wall, the holiest place in all of judaism is in the confines of the borders of israel. confusing the dispute over different parts of jerusalem as a final status negotiating simpuation with the western wall. i mean the kinds of insults that have been levelled and the absolutely substantive violation of international security agreements, intelligence agreements with israel, just
1:09 am
infuriating the friendliest government that netanyahu has ever had, which is donald trump. this is already a difficult trip. and you and i both remember in 1994, when under very different circumstances, bill clinton out of town heading to moscow had the final decision to agree to a special prosecutor back when that was still the law. that which hillary clinton had fought against and he did it while overseas and the entire white house changed from then on because it takes it out of their control. >> the press shop is always looking for silver lining. you're the department of good news ideally. is sean spicer walking in late today saying boss, here's the good new you have an auto deflect, an excuse not to answer until this thing is over. is that likely to be happening
1:10 am
and is the question about the boss's discipline? >> i did lot of reporting on the white house staff the last 48 hours. so here's where they are. more than gone from tense to nearly morose. in terms of their inability to control and sort of boost the spirits of the president and the spirits are important and relevant because when he's low is when he's dangerous and reckless. they're sort of careening from self inflicted calamity to self inflicted calamity is happening with one thing, the head space of the president. there's no one there that can sort of reel him back in and mump has been made of jared kushner's role. i understand him to be actively engaged in trying to get him to a less reckless place via twitter and the comments he makes but as andrea points out
1:11 am
this job may be bigger than what he's capable of at this moment. >> jeremy bash, you and i discussed it last night and almost hate to raise it. what if the reality of the presidency from any corner of our globe or domestic state comes crashing down on this president and the mechanism around him? >> and the reason you need a well functioning national security team and he's got great professionals. the reason you need them firing on all cylinders and he needs to heed their advice is because if a crisis does erupt. you need the president to use all levers of power to defend the american people. back to the mueller issue, brian. this is a good decision. they should see this as a way to put this matter to the side so they can focus on their agenda. mueller knows the russia file though.
1:12 am
and he will be a formidable prosecutor. he brought to trial the russians living in the united states among americans. he basically outed them. he knows this file. he is going to be a very tough special counsel in this case. >> matthew miller, in the meantime, how do we explain the story that came out on the new york times tonight, the headline "trump team knew flynn was under investigation before he came to white house." who do we see about this and how do we process this? >> it's stunning. i can tell you in the obama administration, someone under active criminal investigation by the fbi couldn't even get hired for a staff position, let alone the most important secrets. the first questis about the white house counsel. did he take it to the president? and if so was he over ruled by
1:13 am
the president? and this question that is really behind a lot of the strange decisions by president trump. why has he always been soeger to protect michael flynn? that's the question that has led him to potentially cross lines with his behavior towards james comey and we just don't know the answer. we don't know if it's out of loyalty, friendship or if it's something darker. if he's worried mike flynn would have something he would tell investigators if he ever felt he was in jeopardy. >> i was told early on that mike flynn was vetted and his attorney was in touch with don mcgen early in january. that's what they called a vet. they knew of his representation of turkey at the time and they still said it was okay for him to become national security
1:14 am
advisor, even though he'd written a column on election day urging that the cleric be returned to erdogan without disclosing that he was lobbying for turkey, working for turkey. and he ruled against raqqa because it involved syrian kurds and erdogan was not hammy about that. so he was taking policy positions while being paid secretly as a lobbyist for turkey and he knew this and it raises serious questions about what they considered a vet. i think they considered it vetting him to know what his problems were rather than to disqualify him and it's similar to the fact they were sending nominations of people who had not been given fbi clearance. they took this all so casually and it's all because the big man
1:15 am
wanted him and that was good enough for them. and they have a lot of answering to do, the legal team, for how they let these kind of people get into that high position. >> the washington post reports an anonymous source saying they're go through stages of brief. i want you to imagine the following. your son or daughter is graduate from the coast guard academy. you've gathered for graduation. the president is the key note speaker but as one reporter instantly labelled it, instead gave the me know speech. >> over the course of your life you will find things are not always fair. you will find things happen to you that you do not deserve and that there not always warranted. but you have to put your head
1:16 am
down and fight, fight, fight. look at the way i've been treated lately. especially by the media. no politician in history and i say th with great surety, has beenreated worse or more unfairly. you can't let them get you down. >> yeah. so it's just what you want your 22-year-old to hear. surety and complaints from the most important man in the world. he's complaining about the scrutiny he gets as the most powerful person in the world. there was no one loyal to donald trump than rudy giuliani, chris christie took plenty of lumps for him. they got nothing. the michael flynn explanation
1:17 am
cannot be loyalty to a man he met the summer before he became president. >> you want to take a wack at that one? >> flynn was his conduit to russia and it does raise the specter as to why that relationship was so significant to the president. it doesn't mean necessarily that flynn held something over the president, although he is requesting immunity and if there is a investigation by a credible special counsel, you better believe flynn and his attorney are going to be first in line to get immunity out of that one. >> the president's supposed to have a bilateral appearance and take two questions from an overseas press core, two questions from you. what do you counsel the president to say or not say? >> whatever i say he'll do the opposite i think that what he has an opportunity to do -- let's answer it that way -- is to say
1:18 am
we now know we will get to the bottom of russia and i want that to happen. his justice department has put a revered figure in charge of getting to the bottom of the russia question. >> and from a lawyer's point of view, what should he say? >> he should say exactly what nicole said and taken this as a political opportunity to never talk about this again and that's something he should do publicly and privately. if he has personal legal problems in this, it's not just because of what happened in the campaign. i always thought would be very unlikely he participated in collusion during the campaign. but if he has any liability, he's be smart to stop talking privately and publicly. leave it to the justice department to get to the bottom of it. >> good advice from a smart, learned lawyer. i heard a college professor say
1:19 am
on television, the president needs to get a lawyer because the white house counsel is there for the white house. >> and he may not understand that but the white house counsel is the white house's law y the white house as an institution. and we shouldn't be surprised if he has a lawyer by the end of the week. >> what about other staff positions? there's got to be a reexamination of the people around him i'm guessing? >> listen, that runs on a loop. what i've heard is that the volume is up aittle build higher. that he attributes the comey firing to a botched. and i think the chief of staff is probably in a pretty vulnerable position right now. >> paint a picture for our viewers. the overseas trip.
1:20 am
on air force 1, as we said last night, obviously the president, the close staff around him, a tight pool of news media who get to see what they can see. there is a full press plane going, accompanying the trip and obviously support aircraft. what's it likely to be on air force 1 going across the oceaning? >> awkward indeed. you're going to have steve bannon there, reince priebus and sean spicer and kushner and ivanka. you're going to have the different jockying for positions. i believe gary cone and there are a lot of internal jealousies and differences of opinion. i mean steve bannon having been demoted from foreign policy is going on a major foreign policy trip and the first stop is the arab world and this president who spoke about the muslim ban and echoed bannon's theories of the case is going to be quoting
1:21 am
with the arab world with a lautd of money as well as the antiiran sunni versus shiite or antiteran sition, even as iran is hold an election and they might hold sw because he did the nuclear deal with the west. but again today has agreed to continue upholding. there's so mump going on there and then on to israel. with all the intelligence with the crown jewel of israel's having a human agent in syria embedded with isis. having disclosed that to russia who is ally to iran and assad in syria, israel's enemies is just extraordinary and to brussels to
1:22 am
nato, now he's coming round that it's not obsolete. now they're paying up, which they always were paying up. and the leaders have been told to keep their interventions short and to the point because he has a very short attention span. in london, berlin and paris with all of these governments, they just don't know what to make of this president. i was with foreign visitors tonight. they don't know what to make of nald trump and they don't know very frankly in our closest allies, they don't know how, in british intelligence, how to trust him anymore. >> and this investigation is about to be led by robert mueller who famously hates leaks.
1:23 am
will he have the power to look at trump's tax returns? >> if he has good cause to believe that the tax returns provide an evidentiary trail, then the answer is yes. >> if it comes down to a case -- we've been talking about the learning curve. about donald trump being new to all things presidential. if it comes down to something like what we witnessed, you can't reference the russia investigation and fire the director of the fbi. the first time i heard the expression ignorance is a law of no defense, i was a young driver and i've never forgotten it since then. is there any defense for a president in front of a special counsel who didn't know the rules of the road?
1:24 am
>> i don't think so. although i do think at the end of the day bob mueller will have to interview the president and that's going to be a critical moment. i think the likelihood the president would face criminal charges is low. there is justice department policy, opinions, that state you would not indict a president if you found criminal wrong doing, you would turn that over to congress and let them handle it under their article one powers. >> and that's a juicy question. what does this do to republicans? we're going to talk more later in the hour. >> so this is where the white house is right now. i know they're on the eve of this really important trip but all their eyes are on the republicans in congress. not the mccains and the grahams who were the first to voice their concerns. but they're watching the next level under them. they're watching that next level and if they see republicans
1:25 am
running from the senate and the microphone, i think they know they have a real problem on their hand. i think decision to appoint mueller was to keep them from running away from this white house. >> our thanks to andrea mitchell. sharp eyed viewers will note we have limited commercial interruptions tonight because of the breaking news we continue to cover and coming up after our first break what more could james comey be holding on to? what else have we yet to learn? we're right back after this. finding time to get things done isn't easy.
1:26 am
1:27 am
1:28 am
but we've got the digital tools to help. now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily,
1:29 am
so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to director comey come testify before us. >> we haven't heard from comey. >> the real thing that that american public wants to hear is from james comey. they want to hear from him in an open hearing. >> the calls for james comey to testify before congress are only getting louder. right now he has standing invites from three congressional committees but what will we say and what will he say and what more does he know? will we ever see him before these committees? with us as well charley savage,
1:30 am
msnbc contributor and legal reporter for the new york times. you've seen his biline out front twice in the last 12 hours. his latest is a deep dive into the mechanics of tonight's story. why it's hard to have an independent russia investigation. welcome to the broadcast. matt, we'll begin with you. number one, what's the chance comey can avoid congressional testimony and number two talk about his personal habit, his meticulous note taking and why there's likely more than what we've already seen. >> before today it was very likely we were going to hear from jim comey very soon. obviously they've called him. he has leaked out through associates that he wants to testify.
1:31 am
but that might change rather quickly. one of the first conversations he's going to have is with bob mueller. they've worked together. he's going to call and ask jim comey for a briefing on the investigation. and one of the things he'll do is make a decision as to whether james comey would testify or not. apparently one of every conversation he had with the president, memos. and if bob mueller decides early on by looking at these memos and talking to jim comey that he wants to look at potential obstruction by the president or whoever else, he may not want james comey testifying because he's going to want the element of surprise or puts in a new grand jury. >> you've had your hand in two explainers.
1:32 am
the first one was the definition of obstruction of justice. and does this fit? the second one why a special counsel's going to be tough in this matter. please free associate. they're helpful to all of us in the audience who read them. can you answer both questions? >> absolutely. can i do it in a way that makes it all make sense? i'll try. and you forgot a third one of how the mechanics of impeachment would work although it's quite premature. this investigation is hard because it's very awkward to try to get to a place where you have a sense of genuine independence when you're investigating the president of the united states. we used to have, after watergate, a special prosecutor law. you continue to hear members of congress calling for that. either they don't understand or are in denial about the fact
1:33 am
that congress in 1999 let lapse the law that created a special prosecutor that could not be fired by the president. a reform put in place after the saturday night massacre of watergate fame. we, as a country now, simply lack a criminal investigative mechanism that does not suckject to the president's direction and control. so the appointment of a special counsel, not an independent counsel, but a special counsel and especially this one, bob mueller who seems to be a man very hard to intimidate or push around should give us a measure of independence. but at the end of the day if president trump wants to direct him to be fired, he can do so. so that's going to be looming over this investigation that was not looming over independent counsel investigations in the '80s and the '90s and an investigation of -- a fact finding investigation from
1:34 am
congress it itself would still be in some sense a partisan exercise made up of republicans or democrats and appointees of those parties. into helping your team or trying to get the other team which is not always conducive to finding out information. i'll pause there. >> let me ask a follow up. haven't they chosen the one guy who is physically almost the giant comey is and is a looming presence over american law, justice and the fbi? >> well, you know before the president fired comey, i didn't expect that to happen either. we are sort of in uncharted territory here and the sense of things that could happen in theory but we don't think will happen because it would be
1:35 am
strange, a violation of norms and traditions and the way things are done and optics, that does not seem to be a particularly good guide to how things happen in 2017. and so i think the fact something is possible is something that we should not look away from as we embark on watching bob mueller try to make sense of this incredible mess. >> speaking of the incredible mess, am i correct that the congressional investigations -- i thought it would be put in a wheel barrow and brought over to where mueller rents office space. they're going to continue concurrently. so we're going to have that news and stress and leakage? >> they're going to continue concurrently but i think you'll see bob mueller try to deconflict the investigations, to make sure the senate and house investigations don't do anything that would possibly interfere with his ability to
1:36 am
eventually bring criminal charges. if we see the justice department not turn over these memos jim comey wrote and it's at mueller's request, it's because he thinks that's something he needs to look very strongly at. one of the things he i think can be unsatisfying is at the end of this investigation, bob mueller will bring charges or he won't. what we shouldn't expect is a big public report. it won't be the kind of report you see from a committee or an inspector general or a commission and that's why it is appropriate for these committees to proceed separately so they can have public testimony, reach conclusions outside of criminal law. there's still things deeply inappropriate, deeply in conflict with our values. they can let the american
1:37 am
publicing decide on their own. >> terrific informed conversation. we'll be calling on both of you gentleman many times. thank you for staying up late with us. up next after our next break, congressional investigators not slowing down, as we've been saying, in the wake of this bomb shell news. when you're close to the people you love, does psoriasis ever get in the way of a touching moment? if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you can embrace the chance of completely clear skin with taltz. taltz is proven to give you a chance at completely clear skin. with taltz, up to 90% of patients had a significant improvement of their psoriasis plaques. in fact, 4 out of 10 even achieved completely clear skin. do not use if you are allergic to taltz. before starting you should be checked for tuberculosis.
1:38 am
taltz may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. tell your doctor if you are being treated for an infection or have symptoms. or if you have received a vaccine or plan to. inflammatory bowel disease can happenith taltz. including worsening of symptoms. serious allergic reactions can occur. now's your chance at completely clear skin. just ask your doctor about taltz.
1:39 am
1:40 am
we know you keep secrets at the intelligence committee but did either of you know this was coming? >> no. >> in the first moments after we got the story of the mueller appointment, that reaction from two members of the house intelligence committee says everything you need know about what the folks knew about this appointment before it happened. that was congressman mike
1:41 am
quickly and a republican on the right. tonight the senate intel committee chairman has made clear this new development about robert mueller will not stop its investigation but it will rather continue and we have two former members of congress with us tonight. both of them recovering. donna edwards a democrat from maryland and david jolly republican from the state of florida. we're going to begin with you. what must it be like to be one of your old colleagues, an elected representative in the house or senate, with the "r" after your name? >> it is remarkable, bri, tonight, how many republicans support a special counsel once the decision has been made and i think we've watched that. this is a win/win. democrats get the investigation they think is right for the country. republicans have an opportunity to put this over here and now we
1:42 am
get back to legislating but in the long lens. donald trump's done. director comey makes memos of every interaction he had with the president of the united states. today rosenstein comes out and says we need a special counsel. that is historic in terms of 100 days of a new president. >> so if this doesn't end with the ejection of a sitting president, you mean effectively the business of the presidency. >> the legislative agenda, they have an opportunity if they can right the ship on this but if not we're looking at 18 months before democrats likely will take control of the house and then you have a sitting
1:43 am
president who last we saw. if trump decides to run for reelection -- >> same question. >> i tell you i don't think it's over for republicans. in fact i thin republicans in the house and the senate can breathe a sigh of relief because there's been the appointment of a special counsel but it doesn't relieve them of their response lkt and i think it's now going to be incumbent on the republicans to get together with democrats and appoint an independent commissions to look broadly at this so there can be some sort of public record for the medaling that took place in the 2016 election and for the ongoing activities of this very brief presidency. but it's not over and as mucas republicans would like to set this aside, it's not going to be set aside by the public. the criminal investigation will
1:44 am
go on with robert mueller but there's still an investigation that needs to take place independently in the house of representatives in the united states enist and that has to be done by an independent commission. >> he's saying you can forget about progress legislatively, you're saying we need to be following a commissions which will take up all the air left in the room of the house of representatives? >> what i'm saying is all of this really has to be put together in an independent commission. it's really clear the political process and the partisan process is not going to be ample to deal with what has to be i think a public investigation. i mean robert mueller, when he finishes at the end of the day, he may make criminal referrals or he may provide a report to the acting attorney general and
1:45 am
it may not become public. so it's incumbent on the congress to exercise its response lkt as well and not just pass it over to the special counsel. that's one process but the other has to be a fully independent investigation and just like the 9/11 commission, all of those efforts can be brought under one house. and that would be deconflicting. there must be an independent commission. so the republicans' work is not done. >> i think donna and i are trying to get to the same place. based on my 20 years in capitol hill, i've never seen an independent committee lead to anything. it was replaced by the special counsel. listen, robert mueller's getting bipartisan praise and rightfully
1:46 am
so. his report should be submitted to the doj but submitted to congress and threat judiciary committee do their work. ken starr did his work, submitted it to congress and you saw the judiciary committee ultimately pass articles of impeachment if you agree or not. >> i keep asking rhetorically which coal minors went back to work, which americans got better health care, which seniors got better tax plan? that is to say there's no work product and tonight there's this. washington post house majority leader kevin mccarthy made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation that trump could be the ben fishiary of payments and this would have been our lead story tonight.
1:47 am
"there's two people i think putin pays, congressman hor balker and trump." al according to the exchange stened tand verified by the washingtoning post and a congressman who is a california republican. house speaker ryan stopping the conversation from further exploring mccarthy's assertion. he quickly added swear to god. your party. what do we do about this? >> i've had every job in the house of representatives. every staff job up to being a member of congress. i've never been more disenchanted than when i actually served in congress. the leadership of both parties neglect their responsibility to the peepmal and what you're
1:48 am
seeing is a carelessness of house leadership on the republican side but i believe personally it exists on both. the detachment the american people is reflected in what mccarthy joked about. he offended the job he holds and thumarecon people who interest him to serve asthma jort leader of the house of representatives. >> what is one deliverable that at the end of 20 skaen 17, both parties will be able to say to the folks at home we worked on this. we worked on this together. we voted, passed it, and signed by the president. >> i'm not sure what that is and i thought one of the mt explosive parts of the transcript was that they were joking about the fact that the
1:49 am
democratic national committee had been hacked by the russians. and that they didn't see any need to do that. and that was before we knew all of what we know now and so i'm not quite sure what's going to be delivered. i know the american people must be greatly disint poed that they put all their eggs in a basket of a republican house, senate and president who is letting them down. today the democrats introduced legislation to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. we could work on infrastructure if the republicans would come to the table. but my fear is they're going to go back to tax cuts, back to repealing the affordable care act, taking health care away from 24 million americans and that is just not going to cut it anymore. i think it's really time for republicans to realize why it is that they were elected and to get down to the business of
1:50 am
people. >> it almost sounds like you're still in congress. >> it doesn't really ever leave you. >> democrat of the state of maryland. i know that the american people 34us be greatly disappointed that they put all their eggs in the basket of a republican house and republican senate and republican president who are letting them down when it comes to creating jobs.
1:51 am
1:52 am
1:53 am
1:54 am
one week ago trump visits. images beamed around the world. thursday trump says he was going to fire comey no matter what. friday trump suggests he has tapes of private conversations with comey. saturday potential fbi candidates are paraded in front of the cameras. trump met with four candidates today. sunday golf. monday trump it turns out shared highly classified intel with russians. yesterday the comey memo saying the president asked him to make the flynn investigation go away. and tonight we have been covering the reaction to the department of justice appointment of a special counsel. in short, this will decide the future of the trump presidency. that has been made clear by our guests so far tonight. we have one more. john meacham is here to put all of this into perspective as
1:55 am
smart guys do. he is a pulitzer prize winning presidential historian and author. his terrific recent biography of president bush 41. it is good to have you here. >> used to be water gate took from june 17, 1972 until august 9, 1974. and cox had 14 months. and i remember you read the books, you read the sam dash's memoir and it was rapid but not like this. we haven't gotten to the underlying infrastructure of the entire question of whether someone associated with the president of the united states or perhaps the president of the united states committed treason by constitutional definition giving aid and comfort to the enemy. these have been process points. it's been the question of a
1:56 am
cover up and dropping an investigation. we haven't begun to get to what that investigation might actually produce. to me that is the most remarkable thing about tonight. if anyone can do it it is robert mueller. >> what he said about himself today at the commencement, i have heard others say it, was reminiscent of nixon's tearful wide ranging is he growing to be okay my mother was a saint speech. it was a woe is me content. >> the difference with that is that was august 9 right before he went out to get on the helicopter. he read a book, read a letter that the occasion was tr writing about the death of his wife which i'm sure made mrs. nixon feel better that day. one thing about that tearful farewell is that nixon appeared self aware for the first time.
1:57 am
he said never let your enemies get under your skin or they will destroy you and then you will destroy yourself. i didn't hear that today. i heard institutionalized self pity from the president. and yes jfk said life is unfair and yes all presidents have kind of enforced solecism. but we expect particularly in nuclear age, the man is given a card every morning with the codes to actually unleash armageddon if he believes the national security interests requires it. we expect them to have a temperamental balance, a sense of character, a sense of self that is healthier than what we are seeing. the greek said character is destiny. and the donald trump who is president today is the donald trump who ran for president. so we can be surprised perhaps by the pace of events, but i
1:58 am
think a reasonable person could have assessed his character last year and not been too far off in predicting what is hpening. >> is there a chance that the ultimate irony will be that the clinton presidency model becomes the rule of the road now as in how to conduct a presidency, do your job every day, pursue initiatives and big ideas, small ideas while being under active investigation? >> bill clinton had a remarkable capacity to compartmentalize. it got him in trouble in some ways but it did in fact save him in the end because his approval ratings throughout impeachment were quite high relatively speaking. and i remember you and i were covering this. people like us were saying as soon as america hears x, as soon as they see the video tape of the grand jury testimony then they will turn on him. they wouldn't because they were able to compartmentalize that
1:59 am
clinton was good for the country and not particularly good for his marriage or personal relationships. they hired him to do a job and that is in an interesting way what americans do. they hired donald trump. they rolled the dice because fewer than three out of four americans trust the government. 17% trust washington to do the right thing some or most of the time. we have a $72,000 gap in household income between what it requires to lead a middle class life and what household income is. from 1980 until this year a bush or a clinton was on every national ticket. this was an elemental cry to undo the establishment and try to reverse some of those numbers. the tragedy of the last 100 or something days if anything trust is going down. >> we will find out about that. what a pleasure. thank you so much at the end of another unbelievable day. thoughtfulness. that is our broadcast again on
2:00 am
busier than average wednesday night in may. thank you for being here with us. good night for all of us here in new york. so, the new man of the hour is robert mueller, right, who actually ran the fbi before comey. and he had been enjoying himself in private law practice. i can only imagine him sitting at home watching all this comeyt part of this anymore. i'm just like, la, la, la, hello, oh, for god's sake. what it help if i said i'm too old for this [ bleep ]? see you in an hour. the justice department names former fbi director robert mueller as special counsel overseeing investigation into


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on