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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  July 12, 2017 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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others like charles krauthammer agreed. we have not yet seen that from our elected officials. the question is, what will precipitate them doing that? donald trump, maybe he was prophet tick. maybe it will take him shooting someone on fifth avenue before they decide to leave his side. >> we were just going to get david frum's answer to what it would take. we are now out of time. ned price and david frum, thank you both for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> that is "the last word." the 11th hour" are brian williams starts now. tonight, donald trump takes off for paris leaving behind a world of problems. tonight, he did comment on russia prior to leaving. and on his son's meeting with the russian lawyer. the next man up may be paul man for the as the senate judiciary chairman says they have some questions for former trump campaign chairman. and trump's pick to head the fbi says the russia investigation is no witch hunt. we have all of it tonight as "the eleventh hour" gets under
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way. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 174 of the trump administration. and the president is airborne right now en route to paris and with this traveling white house, not all the baggage is in the cargo hold as the "associated press" puts it tonight, this president heads overseas trailing questions. the latest round coming from the revelation that his eldest son was eager to welcome russian help in the campaign to elect donald trump and tweet hillary clinton. quoting from the a.p., in private, trump has ranled against the latest russia development. with most of his ire directed at the media, not his son while staffers have grown accustomed to a good news cycle being overshadowed by the russia investigations, trump aides and outside advisers privately acknowledge that this week's developments felt more serious. from politico, one trump adviser
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said the white house is essentially helpless because the conduct happened during an anything goes campaign that had few rules. in a predeparture interview with reuters today, the president defended his son don junior saying, "i think many people would have held that meeting." yesterday he called his eldest son "a high quality person." the president today also talked about his own meeting at the g-20 in germany with vladimir putin. he told reuters he spent at least 20 minutes asking putin about russia's election hacks. quoting the president, said did you do it? he said no, i did not, absolutely not. i then asked him a second time in a totally different way, he said absolutely not. on the suggestion his campaign colluded with russia, he said, "it's the dumbest thing i've ever heard." in the president's other interview of the day with pat robertson of the christian broadcasting network, he
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suggested there was no way putin wanted him to win the 2016 election. >> if hillary had won, our military would be decimated. our energy would be much more expensive. that's what putin doesn't like about me. and that's why i say, why would he want me because from day one i wanted a strong military. he doesn't want to see that. from day one, i want fracking and everything else to get energy prices low and to create tremendous energy. he doesn't want that. he would like hillary. she wants to have windmills. okay? he would much rather have that. there are many things i do that are the exact opposite of what he would want. when i hear he would have rather had trump, i think probably not. >> in fact, the president told reuters he had one regret about an omission when he sat down to meet with putin. "it's really the one question i wish i would have asked putin. were you actually supporting me? . the today at the house they
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continued to support don junior's contention that his father didn't know the about that russian meeting in trump tower last june. they contend he only learned about it recently. but in the face of that, there's this is. donald trump speaking on june 7th, the very same day his son agreed to the russia meeting. >> i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. >> trump did give a major speech on that monday focusing instead on national security. let's at this point bring in tonight's starting panel. four of our veterans on this broadcast. philip rucker, white house bureau chief for the "washington post," jeremy peters political reporter for the "new york times" ] shannon petty piece from bloomberg and michael crowley, senior affairs correspondent for
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politico. mr. rucker, you contributed to a piece in the "washington post" tonight by abby philip, the headline a million miles an hour. inside trump's campaign when trump junior met with russian lawyer. because it's still the story, because it has changed the direction and scope of the investigation and it's still germane, take us back as a result of your reporting. what was going on at that time that week, that day? >> yeah, so this was a really critical moment in the campaign. it was as the primaries were transitioning into the general election. donald trump had become effectively the republican nominee but had not yet secured the nomination. there was all this talk about a delegate fight at the upcoming convention. but he was behind hillary clinton in the polls. he was getting hit by her. he was underfunded. he didn't have the political organization in place. he didn't have any kind of a research team in place. and so he was his campaign was desperate for any advantage that they could seize against hillary
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clinton. and that is one of the reasons people who worked on the campaign explained why don junior was so eager to take that meeting to potentially get some opposition research about hillary clinton even if it came from the russian government. >> and michael, you did some important writing this week that got a good long ride for you about donald trump jr. and the take away was his love of all things russia and especially all things moscow. >> yeah, brian, we've spent a lot of time in the last many months talking about president trump's relationship with russia and his handful of trips there. but actually, when you zero in on donald junior, he's the one who's been to russia nearly ten times by my count. i was able to be establish eight or nine trips based on his public remarks over the years and even his social media. there are great tweets from a trip he took in 2011 where he's bragging about buzzing the tree tops outside moscow flying under the radar in closed air space.
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you find quotes from him saying, for instance, that moscow might be his favorite city in the entire world. he's going over there again and again looking for business to find revenues for trump organization and clearly developed this affinity for the place. he even tweeted about how saint basil's cathedral in red square was his favorite landmark and he never missed a chance to see it in the city. this guy had a relationship with the city and clearly people in it and russians who saw him i think as someone they could approach, it made him a natural target, if you will, brian, for outreach like this. >> jeremy, about the president, you heard the man. he asked putin not once but twice and yet, as president, he's not willing to be as unequivocal as the defense intelligence agencies. >> that's exactly right. i think the white house had a tremendous credibility problem going into this week and its denials if they didn't mean much before "the new york times"
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started reporting on this meeting with donald trump jr., they mean almost nothing now. it's a problem because in order to believe that donald trump knew nothing about of this meeting, you kind of have to disregard everything we know about the dynamics of the trump family, how close they are and how closely trump relies on the counsel of the people who have been with him the longest. it's also to kind of defies belief because you would have to believe that donald trump jr. who felt this meeting was so important that he included paul man for the, the campaign manager and jared kushner, the senior adviser in it in the first place didn't believe it was important enough to tell his father about. i think there are a lot of questions and they all kind of culminate with whether or not you can trust donald trump at his word when he says something didn't happen when his word has been proven wrong time and time
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again. >> shannon, you've written what this story has done in terms of a hit to the president's clout. >> right. and i feel like i've written this story a number of times now. just when you think his credibility or standing with members of congress couldn't go any lower, there's another scandal. i'm back to the story of how the president is losing any sort of political capital, any leverage he had in congress to get things done. on the big issues that people vote ford him on, on their health care being too expensive, not having good jobs, worrying about paying for their kids' college. the reason who vote ford him put him in the white house, those efforts are being harmed by this constant scandal machine this constant distraction that they create themselves for not being transparent or making misleading statements. the west wing only has so much bandwidth and so much political capital. each month that goes by, each
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negative story they spend more and more and more of that. >> and philip, to shannon's point a lot of journalists feel like they have an f7 key for the parts of this story that come up again and again and again. our mutual friend maggie haberman at the types" published a piece on the effect of this story on members of the trump family at large about jared kushner trying to diminish the importance of this meeting, having had to circle back and report this meeting in the first place. and this kind of cycle goes on. >> it sure does. i feel like every time i sit down write one of these inside the white house stories, i'm going straight to the source to look up a word for chaos or disorder or expass prayed or fuming or watching television. it repeats itself and that's what we've seen again this week where the president has been watching a lot of television. he's been following the scandal closely. he's been reacting. he's angry about the headlines
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dominating it. he's frustrated that his son, his namesake son is now dragged into it. he feels like it's all a conspiracy by the media and by the democrats. >> michael crowley two words, policy agenda. what's left of it and what to make of it in the president taking off saying he'll be very angry if health care doesn't get through the under mitch mcconnell's command. saying that prior to leaving the country. >> brian, you know, republicans after this election were in heaven. obviously they had concerns about donald trump and they knew he was a loose cannon but had the strong majorities in congress and basically thought trump is going to trump and kind of do his performance art, reality show stuff and we're going to pass a bunch of bills and he's going to sign them and it's going to be great. they haven't passed anything. by this time in george w. bush's presidency, he had many weeks since passed an enormous tax cut of over $1 trillion if i recall
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correctly over ten years. they were on their way to getting other things done. and so that agenda is not happening. you know what is happening though, which is really amazing to me, is he's pushing forward with a good relationship with vladimir putin's russia. you would think that any other politician in this situation would be going out of his way to say puff out his chest against russia, i'm going to stand up to russia. this putin guy, i don't trust him or like the looks of him. trump is full speed ahead trying to improve relations with russia. you see he continues to resist saying anything critical about him as recently as an interview today, he was asked whether he trusts putin pep wouldn't give a direct answer. reading between the lines of his answer, he basically said yes. that's the most remarkable thing about his policy to me right now, brian. >> shannon, this story, the donald junior e-mail story was a punch to the gut admittedly and now all this video is surfacing all over the place showing trump
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prior visits with the russian pop star, the russian pop star's father, the british pr guy. all of it is kind of out there establishing a prior relationship. what has this done, i'll ask the obvious, to morale remorse and kind of employee regret? >> i mean, it's another one of those stories that seems to be just when you think it can't get worse, inside the white house, it gets worse and phil's great reporting on it today or yesterday, you look at the mood inside the white house and there's a real sense inside the white house of concern. that top officials acknowledge this shouldn't have happened. they are concerned particularly i hear a lot of concern about jared kushner. he is one of the few people from the campaign that went inside the white house at a very high level concern about whether he can sustain this or not. but to this foint point we were talking about earlier on the campaign, there's also a sense of people involved in the
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campaign that for over a year, that was a white knuckled ride of constant chaos, constant controversy and they got through. and that this is just going to be another four to eight years of that. so get ready. get on board. that's just the way things are and get used to it. >> jeremy, you heard that the train is leaving. i want to give you a few seconds to tell us about that hearing in the senate today. was the man whose live testimony we all covered the next director of the fbi and did he carve out an independence enough path for himself? >> i think so. he probably did so without providing the kinds of answers that would make his boss to be believe that he could be somehow disloyal. i do think that one of the most notable points in this whole hearing was some of the toughest questioning came from a republican, lindsey graham. graham is certainly no friend of
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donald trump's, but it shows kind of where the party is in its head about this problem now. this latest problem, russia and donald trump. and it's not a good place, brian. >> we'll take our first break. panel's going to stick with us. when we come back, it was almost two months ago you may recall, minutes after the president was wheels up on his first overseas trip, bad news dropped on russia back home. tonight with the president airborne again, there are staff concerns about what could break while the boss is away. more on that when we continue. once upon a time a girl with golden locks broke into a house owned by three bears. she ate some porridge, broke the baby bear's chair, and stole some jewelry, a flat-screen tv, and a laptop. luckily the geico insurance agency had helped the bears with homeowners insurance. they were able to replace all their items... ...including a new chair from crate and barrel.
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welcome back. no one expects you to remember this and there won't be a test, but it was may 19th, 2:30 in the afternoon, air force one was wheels up on president trump's first overseas trip as president. and then within minutes, a slew of damaging stories dropped including the now infamous revelation that he told the russia's -- the russians that were visiting the oval office that james comey was a nutjob and that firing him took the pressure off of him in the investigation. well, tonight, white house staffers are worried another overseas trip could be hit with bad headlines back home. politico is report "top west wing aides are exasperated by their limited ability to steer the daniel control and the risk that more damaging news has yet to emerge." philip, jeremy, shannon, smikle, remain with us.
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philip, i'll start with you. this is the president who said paris isn't paris anymore. flying to paris to meet with the new french leader, same age as donald trump jr. macron who got the better of trump in the famous unending handshake. trump is a man who appreciates manual tests of strength and skill. a fraught relationship already. what was in it for trump wanting to go on the trip to mark the french revolution and the entrance of the u.s. into world war i? >> yeah, so a couple things. you mentioned that handshake. i was actually the white house pool reporter in the room for that handshake. it was a really interesting moment. >> i think it's still going on actually. >> the big picture here, you've got the new french president. he has a reason to want to meet with r with trump. he just survived his own bruising campaign where he beat rather a candidate who was very much like a trump. france. so he's trying to win over some
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of her supporters domestically. president trump is drawn to this moment in part because of all the pomp and circumstance he's going to have in france, in paris on bastille day. they're promising a military flyover, a mirkt parade, flags, horses, the kind of show that he wanted to have here in washington for his own inauguration. once macron told him what this event would really be like, trump got excited and decided he wanted to go. >> there you have it for the benefit of mr. kite, it has all those ingredients. this might be a foreign trip to watch. >> yeah, it's going to be fascinating. you know, trump has been very derisive about france as phil pointed out. there's a great line, france isn't france anymore. he describes a sort of dystopia in paris where sharia law has run amok and there are portions of paris you can't go into because it's too dangerous and it's sharia martial law so forth. he seems to detest modern france but the feeling is quite mutual.
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the recent pew global attitudes poll show trump has a 14% approval rating in france. so some of those le pen voters do like him but overall the french people don't. macron in many ways has styled himself as a kind of anti-trump. he defeated marine le pen who was sort of in the vanguard of this populist movement in europe echoing a lot of the trump impulses and macron has been a strong champion of things like internationalism, the nato alliance and, of course, the paris climate accords. he's going to be convening a meeting in paris on the anniversary of those accords which trump has withdrawn from and has made the u.s. a global holdout on. i think they'll be friendly as they stand next to each other. there's a lot of underlying friction. >> jeremy as we bring it backing to this country, about that building behind you, you are always our truth teller about congress. are we really going to see a new
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senate or any kind of health care plan and how much work is going to be done on it while the president's away? >> i think, brian, at this point, you have republicans in the senate basically going through the motions. mitch mcconnell delayed the august recess by a couple of weeks yesterday. i don't think that was anything other than a symbolic gesture. right now, the republican base is quite irritated. i don't think as angry as they would have been if a couple months ago or that they were a couple months ago when the house initially failed to pass its health care reform bill, but they needed to -- republicans needed to do something to kind of signal, okay, we're at least trying here. now, that's kind of an empty gesture. once this fails to get out of the senate which would be my bet, i don't think that the votes rethere to pass this. you move quickly to tax reform. that's something that is much more doable than a health care
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bill because the differences among republicans on tax reform, while many, are not nearly as vast as those on health care. >> and shannon, the president's going to come home from paris and what does a good news cycle look like for this white house right about now? a boring trip to paris? >> i think a boring trip to paris. one where they don't step on any international landmines. this should be easy. this is the u.s. president meeting with the french president. this should be easy breezy. but as we've seen in the past, particularly his first international trip, the area you would have traditionally was fraught with turmoil, the middle east, israel, he breezed right through. it was europe that tripped him up, germany where he struggled. he was just in poland, did a bit better there. i think that this could be a fraught meeting and i do also
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think too that he's going to be on macron's turf. french knew had he just been in europe for the g-20. they invited him to go back to washington, turn right back around. i think maybe there's a little bit of needling there. oh, you just got home. why don't you come back with this invite. it's hard to turn it down. there might it be some games the french are playing with this, too. i think it could be an interesting meeting. > i heard someone ask tonight, what is the french expression for be careful what you wish for. i know we'll hear it now from several sharp eared french speaking viewers. our great thanks to our panel after a long day at work to fit in our broadcast at night. once again, philip rucker, zwrarmy peters, shannon pettypiece, michael crowley. coming up after a break, and the former u.s. ambassador to russia weighs in on all of these latest headlines. ♪ ♪
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met for the first time face-to-face with vladimir putin. and george bush once said he stared into his soul and came away satisfied. what do you think? can we trust him? >> well, look, we had a good meeting. i think we had an excellent meeting. i do believe it's important to have a dialogue. if you don't have a dialogue, it's a lot of problems for our
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country and for their country. i think we need dialogue with everybody. >> sure. >> -- it was a great g-20. 20 countries. i got along i think fantastically with the head of every country. >> that was president trump earlier today in his interview with pat robertson talking about his meeting with putin at the g-20. now that we know donald trump jr. welcomed russian help in defeating hillary clinton, the question is being posed, did the russians have the upper hand even before trump walked in and extended his hand to putin in their first official meeting? we are joined tonight by two veterans in this field, jeremy bash, former chief of staff at cia and department of defense, former chief counsel for house intel, and the former u.s. ambassador to russia during the obama administration, veteran diplomat mike mcfaul. gentlemen, welcome to you both. jeremy, i'll put the question to you more directly.
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was the president in any way compromised prior to when americans saw him go in and have what was the first official sit down with putin. >> long-standing business ties, brian, i believe have played a role in giving russia tremendous leverage over the trump organization and over donald trump. and really in every utter rans during the campaign, the president went out of his way to praise vladimir putin to, speak highly of him. when asked why, he said putin has said nice things about me. it's more complicated than that. these long-standing business ties some of which we saw now coming into fruition in the e-mail traffic with donald trump jr. with the real estate moguls in moscow who wanted to provide that dirt on hillary clinton, those are the same people who had long-standing business ties with trump. and i think the trump came into office predisposed to be very pro-russian and pro-putin.
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>> ambassador mcfaul, same question. >> i would add to in that that was his choice to present putin with the questions that he did, right? i think he could have played it very differently had he had more confidence in the legitimacy of his own election. but because in his head, the president thinks that somehow the russian violation of our sovereignty, the russian meddling in our election delegitimate mates his presidency, he doesn't want to talk about it. so instead of a declaratory sentence with an exclamation point, i know what you did, president putin. in our elections and under my presidency, it will never happen again, he lobbed it up as a question. did you hack our elections? did you do that? and that made it very easily for president putin to say no. what else would he say to that question. >> ambassador, while i have you, i'm sitting here in the newsroom
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this morning, opening up my "washington post." i see a picture of you but of note is the woman behind you. you're testifying clearly at a congressional hearing. there she is, the now infamous russian lawyer natalia vesselskaya. what were the circumstances? she's becoming the zelig of our current news. >> sitting right next to my sons is, by the way, just so you know. i was testifying. it was june, 2016. with ambassador matlock and leon aaron, typical testimony. i had no idea who she was. i never heard her name till 48 hours ago. i know now she was in town to show a film or be part of a team, i don't exactly know an anti-magnitsky film because she has been lobbying for years now to try to lift those sanctions that were put in place in 2012
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by the obama administration to pun tisch human rights offenders those that helped to killer is guy magnitsky, a lawyer who was being held in prison at the time. and you know, that sounds like the reason she tried to meet with donald trump jr., as well to try to get those sanctions lifted. >> but more importantly for the purposes of that hearing, we all know you got to game those seats in the front row. you've got to know somebody. how do you think she finagled a seat in what effectively the mcfaul family section. >> you need to ask the staffers there at the house foreign affairs committee. i have no idea. >> some unwelcome publicity for mike mcfaul in this morning's "washington post." hey, jeremy, i want to run a portion of trump's interview having to doing with another topic but also related to russia and putin. it was about the cease-fire agreed to at the g-20 in syria. we'll run the snippet and talk
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about it on the other side. >> one thing we did is we have a cease-fire in a major part of syria where there was tremendous bedlam and tremendous killing. and by the way, this is now four days, the cease-fire has held for four days. those cease fires haven't held at all. that's because president putin and president trump made the deal. and it's held. i don't know what's going to happen. maybe as we're speaking they start shooting again, but this has held unlike all of the other cease fires that didn't mean anything. >> jeremy, sounds great. syria is a complicated place. what's the reality check on this. >> a cessation of violence is welcome but the president has to be careful not to exaggerate the benefits here. there was first of all a cease-fire in the february, march time frame nationwide, reduced violence about 80%. it's fair to say regime spoilers took that cease fire and made it new and void in effect. and here really the concerning
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violence is in the north region and with the civil war and then obviously in the east region against isis. so fast a very limited cease fire in the southwest really is not all that. i think the president is making it out to be. >> ambassador, elsewhere on cable, i continue to see segments on the following question. could russia and the united states collaborate working together to defeat i.c.e.? can you -- once and for all, tell our viewers the potential solution there, the problem with such an equation? >> well, in general, i actually agree with president trump when he says we need to have dialogue with the russians to talk about our national interests. and most certainly, it is of interest to the united states to defeat isis. i remind everybody, we've been fighting isis for several years now without the russians. russians are perfectly happy to watch us do that. number two, fighting terrorism
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in general they have a different tactic. just go and look at the videos of what happened to aleppo where they carpet bombed that city. they have a different attitude about civilians than we did. signing up with them means we sign up to that tactic. number three, they have a very different definition of terrorists than we do. a much wider definition. and number four, remember, if you're signing up to the russia team, you're also signing up to their other allies. mr. assad who has killed hundreds of thousands of people, iranians, they're their al lines terrorist organization hezbollah. when you say we're going to do business and join that team to fight isis, remember all the other players that come with it. >> our thanks to both gentlemen. terrific discussion tonight. jeremy bash and the man who hereafter be known as the guy sitting in front of natalia veselnitskaya at the hearing. >> that's my fate. >> produced product of the state of month upon the.
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thanks to you both. when we continue after another break, how big a deal is russia in non-washington actual america? and measuring the president's ongoing support. we're back with that right after this. it's ok that everybody ignores me when i drive. it's fine. because i get a safe driving bonus check every six months i'm accident free. because i don't use my cellphone when i'm driving. even though my family does, and leaves me all alone. here's something else... i don't share it with mom. i don't. right, mom? i have a brand new putter you don't even know about! it's awesome. safe driving bonus checks, only from allstate. sometimes i leave the seat up on purpose. switching to allstate is worth it. going somewhere? whoooo. here's some advice. tripadvisor now searches more than 200 booking sites to find the hotel you want and save you up to 30%. trust this bird's words. tripadvisor.
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welcome back to the 11th hour". scandals, controversies bombshell headlines. this white house has faced its share of challenges. none of it seems to put a dent in the president's support among republicans. latest quinnipiac university poll shows 84% of republicans approving the job the president is doing. 12% disapproval. let's talk about this had. with us to talk about how this russia scandal is resonating in the heartland, we have a trio of pulitzer prize winners with us tonight. "washington post" columnist
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eugene robinson whose latest column is headlines "donned junior's meeting is a legal game-changer." presidential historian, author of jefferson jackson fdr church il and most recently bush 41. jon meacham. we continue to welcome to the broadcast connie schultz, nationally syndicated columnist who joins us from her hometown of cleveland, ohio. normally they don't let pleat pulitzer winners appear together. because they're geographically separated they allowed it just this once. connie, you get to start off in a state with interesting politics and interesting republican governor, a no show at the gop convention that cleveland hosted, a never trumper who is pushing his own agenda and very involved in health care. how deep, how resilient as you see it is the trump base in ohio? >> well, it depends on in my experience, my recent experience it depends how to talk to trump
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supporters. the one thing they don't want to be ashamed or embarrassed for their support for him. i find the quinnipiac numbers kind of interesting because i am talking to more of them than i ever have before. i think maybe because they think i want to hear it. there's a certain percentage that have base that trump is never going to lose. most of the anxiety i see in ohio certainly there's a lot of conversation about russia, but there is so much anxiety about health care. that is everywhere. if aim oat the drugstore, at the grocery store. i had a loved one in the hospital recently and talked to a lot of medical providers and patients. there is such a heightened is anxiety about what is going to happen to health care that seems to be overwhelming them. doctors are getting more patients coming in with anxiety and with depression. i don't know what to make of these trump supporters but i'll tell you that i'm not going to sit here and mock them for their support. i wrote a column a few months ago saying i wish they would try to understand people like me who didn't vote for him.
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a man said you get a forum every week in my newspaper and nobody's listening to me. i've been listening and learning a lot more since i got that letter. >> eugene, imagine the dynamic connie's talking about an uptick in the need for health care because of the anxiety caused by the uncertain future of health care. is there a ceiling or a floor for their trump support? is there a tipping point, do you think? i know you're asked this all time. >> do you want me to say what i think in terms of the normal laws of political physics. >> you're the pulitzer winner. >> those don't seem to apply anymore. so i'm actually not sure. i mean, i think connie is right that there is a certain percentage that donald trump may never lose. and it's been remarkably consistent. and it's not just that those people want to annoy the likes
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of me. and those of us who supposedly live inside the unreal bubble although you know, his overall approval ratings are fluctuating between 36% and 40%. his disapproval overall including democrats and independents is about 55 to 5%. so that's a big bubble. what's inside the bubble is bigger than what's outside the bubble. that's not to minimize the fact that a lot of people vote ford donald trump. a lot of people put a lot of hopes in him. and are going to bait to see if those hopes can be fulfilled. >> john, i asked to see you this evening because like millions of americans, i follow you on twitter. there you were yesterday with a little extra snap on your tennessee fastball. you wrote this. wondering if vice president pence has ever heard of robert hartman. he's the guy who handled the richard nixon ford transition wrote our long national
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nightmare speech. go into some detail. john, what possessed to you grab your phone and put out that? >> well, first of all, i think you get credit for not making a joke if you have three pulitzer winners and one light bulb to screw in, what happens. i want to thank you on behalf of the panel. i think that when the president's son is -- puts out a trail of e-mails that refers to a russian effort to help the trump campaign as a kind of natural part of an e-mail, it's a moment that if i were the vice president, i might start thinking a little bit about the end dramana ma here. think about we may be in act two, but there's probably going to be an act five. so i did want to mention bob martman and his great book "palace politics," which is a great washington memoir. connie said she didn't want to make fun of people who support trump.
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i will just for a second. >> you're not living with them, clearly. >> no, i'm in a state, no, no, i live in a state where 92 out of 95 counties voted for trump. >> okay. i take it back. >> 63%. but not making fun but i do think that the republican party right now the, the only way i can explain that 85% as a rationale matter is they have stockholm syndrome. they sold their souls in many ways for victory with this man who came in and swamped a field of very traditional candidates that included governors and senators. and they are trapped in this really kind of tragic embrace. the question in my mind the answer to the question about the tipping point is there needs to be a two in front of his overall approval rating. i think at that point, the people in that 85% may come down. but we live in two, as you just said, we live in two very
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different countries right now. and you only have to look at these poll numbers for data to support that. >> we're going to fit in a break. the panel will stay with us. when we come back, we'll give out jon meacham's e-mail address. just kidding. our conversation continues right after this. mom, i have to tell you something. dad, one second i was driving and then the next... they just didn't stop and then... i'm really sorry. i wrecked the subaru. i wrecked it. you're ok. that's all that matters. (vo) a lifetime commitment to getting them home safely. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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welcome back to our broadcast. our panel, eugene, and connie, as long as we're doing hometown news. there you are in cleveland, full disclosure, you happen to be married to democratic senator shared brown of ohio. let's talk about ohio and your governor, john kasich. has carved an interesting road for himself, is now partnering with at least one other governor on health care.
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is his -- do you think this is how he's going to carve a run for what remains oh of that slice of the -- used to be the rock rib center of the republican part zbli >> i don't think there's any question. when you see how outspoken he's been and how his message is resonating, and he's getting support from a number of democrats, not just republicans who are wandering in the wilderness about what happened to their party. i don't think of him as a moderate, but i understand how he can appear to be one in contrast to this man who currently resides in the white house. >> john, for your state of tennessee, to connie's first point, the anxiety that the subject of health care, the future of health care is causing. >> absolutely. this is a state that's prosp prosperous in pockets, but not
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in others. very republican over the last 30 years. when i was growing up, it was the congressional delegation was 7-2 democratic. now it's flipped entirely. we have two sane and sensible senators, and they are hearing a lot from a lot of people about worries, about repealing and replacing obamacare. it's a bumper sticker without a plan behind it. and i think it's a real fear around the state and around the south. >> and eugene, because it's germane, you're visiting washington from new york tonight. what does it feel like in the capital city? >> like insanity every day. we feel as if we just take another step into unchartered territory. it feeling -- the white house always feels as if it's the center of things in washington, as it should.
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but it feels as if there's not a functional white house at the center of things. no a white house that can legislate, that can even propose policy, not a white house that on top of things, fortunately the national security apparatus seems to be in tact, especially with general mattis. but there's a sense of vacuum there, frankly. and every report out of the white house is of back biting and chaos and it's -- i've never seen it like this. >> again, our thanks to our team of three pulitzer recipients. eugene robinson, john meacham, connie schultz, thank you for being with us. coming up after our final break, on top of everything else, is the president being accused of having an imaginary friend? when we continue.
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last thing before we go tonight, with the president due to touchdown in paris in a very short time, someone who was with us here last night, our friend vivian salama of the associated press, took this opportunity to write about donald trump's friend named jim. she called it the curious case of his friend jim for a reason. we only have a first name, we have no proof that jim is real. but going back to the campaign trail, when the subject of paris or france came up, trump would often talk about his friend,
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jim, who loved visiting paris until he didn't. >> i have a friend, he used to like france, used to. and he was going to france, and i said, how is your trip going? he goes, i'm not going to france, because france is no longer france. if you look at what's happening in france, it's no longer france. friends of mine that used to love to go to paris that longer go anymore. i have a friend every year he goes to paris. i haven't seen him in a while. for years, he was telling me, paris, paris. i see him like a month ago. how was paris? i don't go to paris, are you kidding me? it's no longer paris. i have a friend, he's a very, very substantial guy. he loves the city of lights. he loves paris. i hadn't seen him in a while, and i said, jim, let me ask you a question, how's paris doing?
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paris? i don't go there anymore. paris is no longer paris. >> you get the gist. that's the short and curious story of jim. vivian adds this in her story of jim "whether jim exists is unclear. trump has never given his last name. the white house has not responded to a request for comment about who jim is or whether he will be on the trip. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being here with us. good night to jim, wherever you are. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. >> we've got a really interesting hour ahead tonight. we've got two really good investigative journalists who are going to be here with us tonight, one from mcclatchy and one from "the wall street journal." both of them have scoops out today, and they're both joining us in person tonight to walk through what they've learned. and what they've just reported.

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