tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC June 16, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
and again, there are seven sailors unaccounted for. as for what we know right now, the commanding officer of the "fitzgerald" is at the naval hospital in japan reportedly in stable condition. he was removed from the ship after the collision by helicopter. so serious situation off the coast of japan tonight. we will continue to monitor it through the evening. that does it for us tonight. for this hour. we'll see you again on monday. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> rachel, i watched a watergate documentary today. and soy just want to apologize through you to the audience for possibly wrapping too many of my possibly wrapping too many of my questions tonight in watergate stuff. because it is amazing, the parallels are just amazing. and eerie. >> until you start doing fred thompson accent, you are forbidden you. are forbidden for apologizing for these things because the parallels are real, in real life. >> it's amazing. they keep going on and on and on.
and you think of okay, what is the cancer on this presidency? and i have a theory about that. what the cancer on this presidency is. which i will be announcing in the next hour. >> and therefore we will all watch. >> thanks, rachel. >> thanks, lawrence. well, president trump lashes out. well all know that. and he has been doing that for a very long time. probably since childhood. he started lashing out at me personally six years ago when i called him a liar as soon as he opened his mouth about president obama's birth certificate. when he became a presidential candidate, he lashed out at mexicans, at muslims, and of course every day at the news media. he has continued lashing out at the news media, relentlessly. and he has continued the trump principle of lashing out at anyone who gets in his way. anyone who causes him a problem. and that tendency to lash out at his opponents as become the cancer on the trump presidency. that is what i think the cancer on the trump presidency is. the president has taken that to the point where he began today by lashing out at the person who he chose as his deputy attorney general, president trump nominated rod rosenstein to be deputy attorney general. and then the republican senate confirmed rosenstein because the
president asked them to confirm him. today the president attacked rod rosenstein. and so as we approach the sixth month of the trump presidency, donald trump's impulse, his need to lash out has done nothing but leave his presidency with self-inflicted wounds. >> i am so thrilled to be back here with all of my friends in little havana. >> what is the president doing tweeting this morning about the investigation? >> i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director. witch-hunt. >> i can just see the special investigator say make sure we got a copy of that one. >> he confirms he is under investigation and he seems to be threatening rod rosenstein. >> what he really seems to be
doing is throwing gasoline on the fire. >> i don't mind that's it 110 degrees up here. >> obstruction of justice, potential financial crimes, and wrongdoing. the list keeps going and going. >> the vice president just got a lawyer. the president's own lawyer got a lawyer. >> it's very routine. >> very routine. >> it suggests a world of hurt for the president. >> dianne feinstein is increasingly concerned that the president is going to try to fire not only robert mueller, but rosenstein. >> of course, that would be almost exactly what nixon did in watergate saturday night massacre. so in a way, very presidential. >> for the second morning in a row, the president confirmed via twitter of course that he is under investigation for obstruction of justice. but this time he decided it was all the fault of the person who the president chose to be deputy
attorney general. president tweeted i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director! witch hunt. here is who president trump says told him to fire the fbi director. >> regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey. knowing there was no good time to do it. and, in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. >> this russia thing. so the president testified to lester holt not under oath that the decision to fire james comey was donald trump's own decision. he didn't need anyone to tell him to do it. but he did ask rod rosenstein to write a memo outlining what was wrong with the way director comey handled the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. and so what the president is now saying in that tweet is that rod rosenstein through that memo told him to fire the fbi director, that it was all rod
rosenstein's idea. the white house has not refuted any of the multiple reports saying the president's son-in-law jared kushner, who the president believes is truly brilliant, told him to fire james comey. reports indicate that jared kushner made the colossal political mistake of telling the president that the democrats would love it if the president fired fbi director james comey. if the president can now see that firing the fbi director is what provoked the special prosecutor's investigation of the president, it's understandable that the president would be dissatisfied with anyone who told him to fire the fbi director. so why isn't the president firing jared kushner, his beloved son-in-law, who told him to fire the fbi director? why isn't the president firing everyone else in the white house who told him to fire the fbi director?
with every congressional hearing during this year of investigation, there have been two kinds of questions. the questions that are clearly important in the moment that they are asked on that day of the hearing. questions and answers that everyone recognized instantly are very important. and then there is the other kind. the other kind of question is the question that suddenly becomes important some time after the hearing, days after the hearing sometimes, like this question that senator joe manchin asked of rod rosenstein on tuesday. >> mr. rosenstein, could you be terminated without cause? >> yes.
>> and who would appoint your replacement as your position now, deputy attorney general? >> the president. >> so that's a possibility. >> anything is possible, senator. >> i understand. >> anything is possible. it looks like rod rosenstein really knows that anything is possible in the job he has now. rod rosenstein might terminate himself from supervising the trump investigation. it was ari melber, let's all remember this now that it has become the subject of the day. but it was ari melber two nights ago, two whole nights ago with rachel maddow who first raised the issue that could force rod rosenstein to recuse himself from the investigation. >> rod rosenstein is according to the evidence we have very likely a witness to what we can confirm tonight, what we're being seen reported tonight in the firing. he may have to recuse. >> so -- i'm sorry to interrupt
you there with my exclamation of surprise. but you're saying if mueller's investigating trump for potential obstruction of justice in his firing of comey, if rosenstein should reasonably expected to be called as a witness for that part of the investigation, he can't oversee the mueller investigation at all. he would have to recuse. that would put rachel brand in charge of overseeing the investigation? number three person at doj? >> exactly. >> the lesson there is that if you watch "the rachel maddow show" you are generally at least two days ahead of the rest of the general media. today abc news is reporting that rod rosenstein privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from the matter. the report says that rod rosenstein raised the possibility of his recusal during a recent meeting with rachel brand, the justice department's new associate attorney general, who would be next in line to supervise the trump investigation. the associated press is reporting tonight that the president's tweets might be his most civilized form of lashing out. the associated press reports trump advisers and confidantes
describe the president as increasingly over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the white house carrying coverage, and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit and potentially end his presidency. the daily beast reports he is furious at rosenstein, but the list of his people who enrage him is ever growing. he has no qualms about throwing rosenstein under a bus. joining us now, eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winning opinion righter. and eugene, news like this tonight, the president yelling at televisions in the west wing of the white house, just when we think we have a reasonably clear understanding of what's going on inside that building, we get these new details that frequently hearken back to what were nixon's final days in the white house where apparently he was railing at the portraits in the white house. >> yeah. it's awfully early to be getting to the final days sort of stage of the president's state of mind. but we seem to have been there for a while. it's been clear for a while, lawrence, from his tweets and from what we hear from his
incredibly leaky inner circle, the president is -- i think the technical term is totally freaked out by this investigation. and so, you know, it makes everyone wonder exactly why. which element of this investigation is he so exercise about. is it the question of collusion? is it perhaps the question of obstruction of justice, or is it the financial aspect, the
investigation of potential financial shenanigans ordeals, who knows, with russians. that means maybe we would -- maybe the -- mueller will have to look at the books of the trump organization. and the kushner companies and so maybe that's what he is so worried about. it's kind of unclear. but we're there. final days. >> and david -- >> spiritual. >> one way we got here is the president took the advice of the person whose considered just the smartest person in the trump family, jared kushner. he took his advice, this completely inexperienced child in white house terms who is advising a president that he should fire an fbi director. he actually took that advice. and if you're going to fire anyone now, as a result of all the problems you've had because you fired the fbi director, why wouldn't you start with jared
kushner? >> well, you know, i think jared kushner was -- i'm not sure he came up with the idea. i'm not sure he had to come up with the idea. during the campaign, i went back and looked at lots of videos of donald trump giving these success seminar lectures when people would pay $100 to come and see him and learn how to make billions whether he made billions or not. and he said this again and again and again. it was kind of how he started the talk. he said i'll tell you something they don't teach you at wharton or harvard business school. and this is my number one rule. if someone screws you, you screw them back. but you don't just screw them back, you screw them back five times worse 10 times worse, 15 times worse. so he has always lashed out. as a guy who runs his own business, a family owned business, he can do that and get away wit. he has been getting away with stuff all the time. i think his big conceptual failure since becoming
president, that he didn't understand that he does not own the u.s. government. he is the caretaker. so he can't do anything he wants with the u.s. government the way he could with his own business. so i do think he may be thinking about firing rosenstein, the way he said i don't like comey, i want to get rid of him. but you know what? there are checks and balances, even in a donald trump administration. >> david, where would we be tonight if donald trump had simply stopped lashing out. let's say he stopped lashing out on election day and just followed everybody's advice. i'm not tweeting anymore. that's not presidential. and we had had none of the lashing out tweets at all. because pretty much all of the public lashing out has been through twitter. imagine if there was none of that. would we have a special prosecutor tonight? >> well, if he had fired james comey the way he did, we may still have that.
the issue is, you know, people always say the cover-up is worse than the crime that came out of watergate. a reference to the documentary you saw earlier. but sometimes the crime is actually bigger than the cover-up. we don't know still what happened during the campaign and whether donald trump and his people were egging on or encouraging the russians. they at least didn't say anything to stop them. i'm not talking about collusion. i'm talking about aiding and abetting. that's something that he clearly cannot acknowledge. he can't even acknowledge that the russians did this. the poisoned fruit, the original sin of donald trump is not being able to criticize the russian covert operation against american democracy. and everything kind of follows from that. >> gene, quickly before we go to the commercial, if we were to just eliminate all of donald trump's tweets from election night to now, would we, would we have a special prosecutor, do you think? would we have a health care bill that had passed already?
>> well, i think we may well have a health care bill. i think we -- i agree with david. well probably have a special prosecutor if he suddenly fired comey without tweeting. we would have a travel ban probably. because i believe when the full court hearings of the travel ban wouldn't have had the tweets to take into account. and we might have a more -- well, maybe a more orderly administration. maybe that's wishful thinking. but the tweets, not only upset the country, they also upset the staff of the white house. and they make it impossible to communicate any idea or even any news from the white house because the president can just say the opposite. >> well, all of that staff knew exactly what they were signing up for. we're going have to take a break here. david corn, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, now the lawyers are getting lawyers.
that's how lawyered up the trump administration is. and later, the 45th anniversary of the watergate break-in is upon us this very weekend. and the comparisons of nixon and trump are irresistible and deeply disturbing. some watergate experts who have become trump experts will join us and do those comparisons.
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a lawyer. michael cohen, donald trump's long-time personal lawyer has hired a lawyer to represent him in the ongoing investigation of the trump campaign's connections to russia. and president trump has finally found a criminal lawyer with washington experience who is at least willing to try to work with him. donald trump has been turned down by major washington law firms because they believe he is an unimaginable client and doesn't pay his bills. 76-year-old john dowd has decided to take his chances with representing donald trump. this means john dowd will have to find a way to get along with both donald trump and donald trump's lawyer marc kasowitz, who is now himself in well-deserved legal trouble. marc kasowitz violated legal ethics rules by telling white house staff that they did not need lawyers. marc kasowitz was already representing president trump in the russia investigation when he said that. he knew that some of the people he was talking to would become witnesses in the case.
in other words, he knew that they would need lawyers. ethics complaints have now been filed in washington, d.c. and in new york contending that marc kasowitz violated ethics rules by giving legal advice to people who could be witnesses in his client's case. the complaint in washington, d.c. includes an allegation that marc kasowitz is practicing law without a license in washington, d.c. since he is only admitted to the bar in new york state. marc kasowitz has no experience in criminal law, and has been on the losing side of many of donald trump's civil case, including the trump university fraud case where donald trump was forced to pay $25 million to trump university victims of his fraud. joining us now, david cay johnston, a pulitzer prize winning journalist who founded a nonprofit news organization that covers the trump mission. and max boot, and a former defense policy adviser to romney 2012 campaign. david, i want to go to you for what you believe is now going
through donald trump's mind. because you know him. you've written books about him. you spent time talking to him. you know how he thinks. all of this lawyering up this week, mike pence lawyering up, and mike pence getting a lawyer who is best friends with james comey, all of the things that donald trump would find in all of that, in his thinking about tonight. >> oh, he is terribly frustrated. donald is used to being a king and having no one question what he does. and in his mind, although i'm sure he doesn't know the story, will no one rid me of this meddlesome prosecutor. donald doesn't understand because he has never read the constitution what the duties and powers are of being the president. it's pretty clear the family is facing serious difficulties that will come to haunt them in the months ahead and may become quite important. >> like, what david? what are those? >> well, this whole fiasco over the 666 fifth avenue building
where jared kushner got his family to put all their money into it. grossly overpaid for it. we've had stories in the paper about their efforts to find some way out of this building. and it leads to a related problem. you can't -- when you're working in the white house, negotiating normal work out of a troubled loan because it raises all sorts of ethical questions. and yet apparently during the period from the financial disclosure today when trump was president-elect, he arranged two loans that cut his interest rates on more than $50 million of debt by a third. and that certainly is an interesting arrangement to occur right then. >> because those are people, max, who knew they were doing business with the next president
of the united states, president-elect. and so they have plenty of incentives. we've seen united states senators get in trouble because they were getting a mortgage interest rate that looked maybe a quarter percent better than their neighbors. >> right. >> the striking thing to me, lawrence, as you are highlighting is president trump has been in full melt-down mode the last couple of days. and why is that? obviously part of it is that he understands that in bob mueller he is facing the new untouchables. a guy who is not going to be influenced, who is not going to be intimidated and who is looking at him personally for obstruction of justice. but not just nor that to me the most striking news that has come out this week is the extent to which mueller is looking into reported, quote/unquote financial crimes involving trump and his associates, which has been reported by both "the new york times" and "the washington post."
and that put me to mind to stories like this one which usa today ran in march and which has not gotten the attention it deserves that says to expand his real estate developments over the years, donald trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy russians and oligarchs from former soviet republic, several closely connected to organized crime. this is the kind of thing that donald trump has been involved in the past. and it's no wonder that he is having a meltdown when he realized that mueller is going to overturn every single rock, look under every single rock and find out about every financial deal that trump and his associates have been involved in. i don't think they can withstand the scrutiny. >> it can be particularly maddening to him if in his mind, he firmly believes that his campaign in no way colluded with the russians on the campaign interference. but he knows that at the same time, he has done that kind of business with russians, and if you go looking in the russian direction with the word "trump," you're going to find that. >> right. and we've seen that with every single special counsel investigation. rabie how the white water wound up with real estate development in arkansas and ended up with perjury. they completely morph because you're unleashing this investigative squad to look into any possible crimes committed by the subject. and in this case donald trump is in the crosshairs of bob mueller. that's why he is talking about wanting to fire bob mueller. >> david, translate this for news the mind of donald trump.
the associated press is reporting that donald trump has told associates that he has the legal authority to fire mueller. now i've read the statute. i'm sure donald trump hasn't. but the law says very clear i will only the attorney general has that power. and if the attorney general is recused, whoever has he rest placed him in that role has that power. the president doesn't have the power. but he appears to be walking around the white house, believing that he does. >> or he believes he can reach down to some number of level of people to find a robert oreck who will throw away their future by doing his bidding. max is correct about the developments here there will be a court hearing monday in brooklyn in which henry kaufman, also representing the bbc and others are trying to unseal the efforts of felix seder's dealings. this is the man who travelled with trump for years, who has
involved in major felonies and is very closely associated with donald, though donald claims he wouldn't recognize anymore he knew he. he travelled with him all over the place. we're trying get the records of his criminal matters unsealed. and we think there is a lot in there that donald doesn't want to have come out about his connections to the russians. and always keep in mind when donald says he has nothing to do with russia, that if you create an entity here in the u.s. or you do it through another place you don't have to say it's russia, even if it is. >> david cay johnston, max boot, thank you both for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. coming up, what donald trump did today to try to pretend that his presidency is not collapsing in scandal. way to say this. it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced. our senses awake. our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say...if you love something
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here is what donald trump did today to pretend that his presidency is not collapsing in scandal. >> effective immediately, i am cancelling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with cuba. >> that was, of course, not true. i mean, he was speaking. so how could it be true? the president is making a few relatively minor changes in the obama policy with cuba. that's it. americans who want to go to cuba will still be able to go just about as easily as they do now. american cruise ships will still be going to cuba. direct flights between the united states and cuba that the obama administration started will continue. what you were seeing in miami today was donald trump clinging to the wreckage of his presidency, pretending to do something big for that very small group of cuban-americans
in south florida who want to completely reverse the obama policy. senator marco rubio wanted that complete reversal of the obama cuba policy, which he did not get today from this president. and so today he said this about the president. >> what we are dealing with here, my friends, is a con artist. we have a con artist as the front-runner in the republican party. a guy, a guy who has made a career out of telling people lies so they come in and buy his product or whatever he does. we cannot allow the conservative movement to be taken over by a con artist. because the stakes are too high. >> oops. okay. that was back when marco rubio was telling the truth about donald trump. here is what senator rubio said about the president today.
>> the cooperation, the hard work, the commitment that this white house and president trump has shown to this cause i believe has no precedent. >> back with us, eugene robinson. he is also the author of "last dance in havana." gene, the way i saw this when i really looked at what they were doing, at first i thought oh, boy, here is the big reversal of the obama policy there is not much reversed here. it changes a little bit about who can do business with who. but everyone is still going to have a very easy time going down to havana. and what it looked like was donald trump pretending to deliver on a promise when he was really delivering on just the shell of a promise. >> well, that's totally what it was, lawrence. at least the way i read it now. typically with this administration, there is no finished executive order there is no finished regulation. there is some -- some words on
paper. but what they intend to do is basically leave in place the fundamental elements of the obama rapprochement with cuba. so diplomatic relations will continue. americans will still be able to travel to cuba. there is one category of travel, the so-called people to people travel that basically allowed under the obama rules americans just to go as tourists, essentially. so that's changed a bit. they can now go just as tourists, but as a group of people to people visitors. but they can find other ways to go as well. there are apparently going -- there is going to be some rules that seek to keep americans from spending money in cuban military owned hotels. the military is involved in tourism. but, again, this is kind of on the margins. it's not like there are a whole
lot of five-star hotels in cuba where people can stay anyhow. many americans will stay with cubans in the equivalent of airbnb. and that's tonal totally unaffected. >> and gene, this frees up marco rubio, as i see it from this point forward in the investigations, because when you see what happened today, i think people can now understand why rubio was being as friendly as he could be to the president in these hearings because there was something he needed from him. he wanted to get as much of a reversal as he could on cuba. after today, it looks like marco rubio's needs from president trump are over. and he can now freelance in these hearings. and this could be worse for donald trump with marco rubio now. >> well, how cynical of you, lawrence, to think that marco rubio would have his own self-interests in mind and not that of the great american president trump. you're absolutely right. i think it friesz up marco rubio that could be a problem for president.
the president, he loves to go to the base, doesn't he? >> no matter how small it is. >> that's what he's got. >> yep. no matter how tiny that base was, and today it was pretty tine anymore. eugene robinson, thank you very much for joining us. i really appreciate it. >> great to be here, lawrence. coming up, it has been 45 years this weekend since the watergate break-in. the break-in that changed american history and changed the way we see the presidency. nixon and trump will be the consideration when we come back. earning your cash back shouldn't be this complicated.
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you on a perfect car,rch then smash it into a tree. your insurance company raises your rates... maybe you should've done more research on them. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. liberty mutual insurance. tha...oh, burnt-on gravy?ie. ...gotta rinse that. nope. no way. nada. really? dish issues? throw it all in. new cascade platinum powers through... even burnt-on gravy. nice. cascade. when america went to sleep on this very night in 1972, friday, june 16th, no one knew that we were going to wake up the next day to a new era in our political history. a two-year period that would be called the watergate investigation. in the middle of the night, on friday night, 24-year-old night watchman frank wills noticed something wrong on one of the doors in the watergate office complex in washington, d.c. he called the police. the police searched the building and found five burglars inside the office of the democratic
national committee in the watergate building. everything that followed is the model for what has become the top story of 2017, the investigation of russia's interference in the presidential election to help the trump campaign, an investigation that has already now morphed into a direct investigation of the president himself for possible obstruction of justice for firing the fbi director. when president trump fired james comey, we all talked about the parallels to what was called the saturday night massacre during the watergate investigation when the president fired the special prosecutor who was investigating him. with every knew turn in the trump investigation, we look for the parallels to watergate, and we usually find them. >> media outlets like cnn and msnbc are fake news. fake news. >> i don't respect the type of
journalism the shabby journalism that is being practiced by the "washington post." that was president nixon's press secretary john ziegler talking about carl bernstein leading the way. they were subsequently portrayed by robert redford and dustin hoffman in "all the president's men" which was based on their book. >> every day bob and i would go have a cup of coffee together in the morning in a little vending machine off the newsroom. >> it sure is quiet in here. >> and on this particular day, not that long after the break-in, i put a dime in the coffee machine, which is what it cost then.
and i literally felt this chill go down my neck. i mean literally, made my hair stick up, i think. and i turned to woodward and said oh my god, this president is going to be impeached. and woodward looked at me and said oh my god, you're right. that is carl bernstein in the documentary "all the president's men revisited" which includes the perspective of some people who did not live through watergate themselves like our own rachel maddow. when we come back, a journalist who covered watergate and one of the watergate prosecutors will join news a discussion on how the investigation of president nixon resembles the investigation of president trump. even a coupe soup. [woman] so beautiful. [man] beautiful just like you. [woman] oh, why thank you. [burke] and we covered it, november sixth, two-thousand-nine.
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>> that was rachel maddow in the documentary all the president's men revisited. joining us now, nick akerman, and former special prosecutor for the watergate. and author of washington journal reporting watergate and richard noykts's downfall. elizabeth, i want to take you back to a moment that carl bernstein described there in the documentary a moment ago where fairly early on in their investigation when he was having a cup of coffee with bob woodward, he turned to him and said the president is going to be impeached that was the reporter's gut. that wasn't based on the information he had at this point. when was that -- when did that happen for you? and when did it happen for most reporters covering the story? >> the first reaction which i thought was what carl was talking about what was this weird thing? it was buried in "the washington post," the first story. nobody knew what it was.
a lot of people didn't even notice it. somebody was caught burgling the democratic national committee. we thought well, what's that about? it might be about something big. but it didn't really break into a widely accepted idea that there might be impeachment because impeachment, there hadn't been any since andrew johnson after the civil war. so that didn't really happen until after that famous saturday night massacre when nixon wanted to get -- fire his special prosecutor. notice that donald has made the same mistake. and then the word "impeachment" really did come into the vocabulary. are a few people were talking about it, but it was not a mainstream idea at all. >> let's listen to one of the biggest moments in the watergate event when there was way of corroborating testimony that was incriminating to a president that we wouldn't be stuck with two people in a room arguing over what was said, for example, in the oval office.
let's listen to alexander butterfield's testimony. >> without going into details, don't lie to them and say this is a comedy of errors and called the fbi in and said don't go further into this case, period. >> those words clearly led to an obstruction of justice. >> and i was always amazed at the president's nonchal lance. he didn't seem to care. do you care what you just said? do you know those tapes are rolling? >> nick, what we were going going to show is that is alexander butterfield, of course. but the moment in the hearing where he reveals there are tapes. what we just saw there was what you know to be the smoking gun. >> exactly. the testimony that butterfield gave was absolutely electric because he testified after john dean spent a number of days
before that committee detailing various meetings he had with president nixon. and it always, everybody was saying at that point it's really his word against the president's. john dean was an excellent witness. he was very detailed. but it was really his word against president nixon. >> in the hearing, is that when the prosecutors discovered that there were tapes? >> that was the first time the prosecutors knew about the tapes. everyone was learning it at the same time. >> on that suspense point, we're going to take break here, when he come back, you're going to hear what jon stewart thought of richard nixon.
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and, man, i had my nixon down, so years old walk around the house, hi, i'm not a crook. now i have a much more complex view of the man and his presidency. >> we're back with nick a ackerman and elizabeth true. maybe every 10-year-old boy did have a nixon impression when jon stewart was a kid. but as you have had time to look back on him, nixon the man, how do you see these complexities and how do youompare them to donald trump? >> they're very different, or they were or are very different. nixon was a very smart man. nixon had a lot of government experience, he had been in the house, he had been in the senate, he had been vice president for eight years. he knew the matchations of
government. we had a fear during the watergate period that nixon would use government against who nixon considered his enemies, because they had spoken out against university presidents. we don't think that about trump. we think that donald trump is going to do something -- nixon grew up thinking he had been picked on and he was the nerd who wanted to read and he just felt that people were wealthier than he was. and there was a discussion of his psychological, if not his psychiatric problems may be. and nixon was not a narcissist, trump is a narcissist on a grand scale. >> when you're approaching a subject like nixon, usually it's a notion of people you don't get to meet. you might meet them in a courtroom, you'll never hear their voices really. who do you think was developing before your eyes as you were developing richard nixon and how does it compare to the trump character that's arising in the news now.
>> nixon was a much more careful person. in terms of crooks, he was much better than trump. trump trump has admitted to obstructing justice in the whole investigation into russia. >> it would be comparable to nixon stepping up to the microphone saying, yes, i fired the special prosecutor because he was investigating me. >> and i don't want him to know about all the bad things i did, including the break in at the watergate hotel. >> washington certainly had a notion of richard nixon before he was inaugurated for the first time. as you say, he had been vice president. you had all kind of lived around him for years, what happens to the image of nixon in that time in that presidency, and did he -- he also had a history of being labelled tricky dick and being a guy who would be suspect of dirty tricks and so was there a -- was there a lag time in washington catching up with
comprehending what richard nixon was capable of? >> no, tricky dick goes back to when he ran for the house of representatives in california. one of the things he did was he accused his opponent of being a pinko, a commie, and he put out theivoting record on pink paper. he did things like that. i don't want people to go away
from this thinking that the watergate break in was what watergate was about. it was one understand didn't and carl and bob's reporting was magnificent. but there was a worse break in of daniel ellsberg's psychiatrist's file. they were using government instruments to harass private citizens. it was a very scary large set of events. nixon was more worried by the elsberg psychiatrist office, that name being found out than the watergate break in found out. all the president's men simplifies what the condition was, which was much broader than just the watergate break in.
>> this was an assault on liberties on a broad scale. people were being wiretapped, there's an enemies list. the white house has an enemies list. they were forcing irs audits on people. just ordering audits from the white house. >> it was a much broader assault. i think you have to put all of this in context to what we have now. in terms of the presidential election, i think what you do have trump is much more dangerous and much scarier because we're dealing with a foreign power, russia eventually being involved in our presidential election. >> we're going to have to leave it there for tonight. thank you for joining us. we appreciate it. you can watch nbc's special presentation of "all the president's men revisited" it weaves firsthand accounts and scenes from robert redford's movie "all the president's men" that's saturday night only on msnbc.
"is 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. tonight, president trump expanding his personal legal team after acknowledging for the first time he is under investigation. also tonight, growing concern for the only person at the justice department who can fire robert mueller. and who takes his place if rod rosenstein is out of the picture? what a long, strange trip it's been, two years from that escalator ride from trump tower, to the white house, to being under federal investigation. "the 11th hour" gets under way right now. and on a friday night, good evening once again from our headquarters in new york, day 148 of the trump administration, an m