tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC July 25, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 187 of the trump administration. and the president spent his evening in youngstown, ohio in a state that helped deliver trump the presidency. the white house called tonight's speech a salute to american heros. the president called obamacare a nightmare, took a jab at congress not getting much done and joked about his possible future on mt. rushmore along with what he would -- he thought we would say about it. >> sometimes they say, he doesn't act presidential. and i say hey, look, great
schools. smart guy. it's so easy to act presidential. but that's not going to get it done. in fact, i said it's much easier by the way, to act presidential than what we're doing here tonight. believe me. and i said -- and i said, with the exception of the late great abraham lincoln, i can be more presidential than any president that's ever held this office. that i can tell you. it's real easy. every single president on mt. rushmore, now here's what i'd do. i'd ask whether or not you think i will some day be on mt. rushmore, but, no?
but here's the problem. if i did it, joking, totally joking, having fun, the fake news media will say, he believes he should be on mt. rushmore. so i won't say it, okay? >> again, as you heard there, trump did say tonight with the exception of the late great abraham lincoln, he can be more presidential than any president that's ever head the office. tonight's speech came as senate republicans voted to start the debate on a bill or bills of some sort to repeal and replace obamacare. the vote was close. vice president mike pence had to break the tie. the dramatic entrance of the day belonged to this man, senator john mccain who was flown to washington to cast his vote just 12 days after surgery and, of course, a subsequent diagnosis of malignant brain cancer. after voting yes, he made a passionate plea to his colleagues, his friends for a return to bipartisanship and
civility. >> our deliberations can still be important and useful. but i think we'd all agree, they haven't been overburdened by greatness lately. and right now, they aren't producing much for the american people. both sides have let this happen. i hope we can again rely on humility on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to, learn how to trust each other again and by so doing people, be the people who elected us. we've been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle. that's an approach that's been employed by both sides mandating legislation from the top down without any support from the other side with all the parliamentary maneuvers that requires. we are getting nothing done, my friends. we're getting nothing done. >> with the exception of that moment and the vote on health care, russia continues to dominate so many of the
conversations on capitol hill and in washington. tonight the senate judiciary committee dropped its subpoena of former trump campaign chairman paul manafort. they say after they issued it manafort started cooperating. it comes after he met with staffers from the senate intelligence committee today. and trump's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner spent his second day with lawmakers this time in the house intelligence committee. as for the president after a morning attack on twitter, he continued his open rebuke of his own attorney general jeff sessions from the rose garden. >> i am disappointed in the attorney general. he should not have recused himself. almost immediately after he took office. and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office. and i would have quite simply picked somebody else. so i think that's a bad thing not for the president but for the presidency. i think it's unfair to the
presidency. and that's the way i feel. thank you. i want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies. i told you before i'm very disappointed with the attorney general but we will see what happens. time will tell. time will tell. >> let's bring in tonight's starting panel, three terrific reporters all posting relevant stories just tonight. white house bureau chief for the "washington post" philip rucker, his latest is this, trump famously said you're fired. but he tends to demean rather than dismiss. watch this space for more. white house correspondent for mcclachly newspapers, anita kumar. her work tonight trump is losing on tv. scaramucci plans to turn it around and white house reporter for the "associated press" jonathan la mere here with us in new york. his latest, trump cranks up heat on sessions says time will tell fate as we just heard. good evening and welcome to you all. mr. rucker, i'll start with you
because your headline got a lot of interest especially among tv folks. the first genuine tv star president, first president who had a catch phrase from television. but executing on that catch phrase your point is is turning out to be problematic. >> that's exactly right. before donald trump was a politician, of course, he had a reality tv show. we all remember he would say you're fired when he fired contestants on the "apprentice" but he doesn't seem to be able to utter those words now in the oval office again and again. he's deciding to belittle aides that he becomes disenchanted with to demean them and make fun of them, to criticize them publicly, humiliate them even but won't actually fire them. what you have here with jeff sessions is a decision that trump's going to have to make in the next couple of days whether he's going to take that step and fire him or just continue to demean him till maybe he resigns. but there's no indication from the sources i'm talking to that
sessions is going to do that. jonathan, i don't mean to call for judgment on your part. as an observation, is it clear to you the president understands the mechanism of recusal that it's a considered legal judgment after you arrive in a job like sessions and a job like sessions is not just a job trump gave to someone, it is the custodian of our laws and the nation's, he works for us, the nation's chief law enforcement officer. >> the president's primary concern remains the russian investigation. a number of people think the attorney general did the right thing. just yesterday, rudy guiliani who has been floated as a possible replacement for sessions were he to leave his post said he would have done the same thing. but in the president's mind, this is about loyalty. and even though jeff sessions was the first u.s. senator to back his candidacy, even though he lent him great credibility among the far right especially on issues like immigration in the president's mind, as soon as
sessions recused himself and again, revived the russia story that this white house cannot shed that meant it was disloyal and he's been fuming in private ever since in the last few days, we have seen that burst into the public sphere. >> and are you on the frontlines of some of the reporting tonight from inside the sessions camp. what are they saying about the public pressure from the boss? >> the attorney general is displayed by all that's happened the last week or so but he has no plans to quit. this is a job that he loves. this is a job that he has said publicly he wants to do. he feels like he's getting a lot of things done. he's confiding with people saying i'm not going to go. he's also received some support today from his fellow former senators a number of them spoke out. but also among the conservative base and the conservative media from rush limbaugh from breitbart which is interesting since what a key role they play in the trump white house. they used to be run by steve
bannon, now trump's chief strategist. these are folks who say all these places are supporting sessions and seem to be picking his side over the president's side perhaps endangering trump's hold on parts of his base. >> anita kumar, it is so interesting the different stories laced through this. the senators who are kind of supporting their friend and former colleague. think of jeff session who's left a senate seat in alabama, virtually for life, one of the safer seats in the country. new guys in the senate now, that's done and dusted. can't go back to that. so it's an interesting let's see who your friends are in washington kind of game we're watching. >> yeah, it really is. actually, we've written, i've written stories these last six months about what will it take for republicans to really go against their president? and you see that you know seen a couple issues. one went against him on health care, some on ravel ban he
announced early on, the first version of that, but none of them have en masse this whole huge group of senators republican senators or republican lawmakers have not really gone against him. i wonder if this is going to be really the break, the first big break depending what happens here if he does decide to fire jeff sessions if this will be the breaking point. >> and anita, as you know, a piece in "the wall street journal," an interview they did with the president, he kind of questioned the story line of sessions' loyalty. saying that in effect, trump's crowds were the bandwagon jeff sessions wanted to leave the u.s. senate to hop on. "he looks at the 40,000 people and he probably says what do i have to lose, mr. trump said so it's not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement." anita for good reason this president has been called transaction actional. >> you should tell yef sessions that. i'm sure months ago last year when he came out and endorsed
him and was the first endorsement in the senate, it felt like he was going out on a leap. he was taking a leap there. it did probably feel like a big deal at the time. >> phil, we've all seen the elaborate setups on youtube of a game of knock the dominos over. they will go through an entire building upstairs down into the parking lot. it's fascinating to watch. it's not unlike what might happen if the president actually fires the attorney general, what might happen inside the justice department, what might happen with mr. mueller. you're opening up to mix my metaphors a huge can of worms there. >> you certainly are. and part of the problem here that president trump is in is he doesn't really as far as i understand, have a plan, have a plan for execution. so if he were to fire sessions, what happens next? does rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who by the way the president also criticized publicly, does he become the
acting attorney general? does the third person in command become an acting attorney general? would there be an attempt at potentially a recess appointment which would be an explosive development on capitol hill i believe or would something else happen? it's not clear. and the white house advisers are still trying to sort of walk the president through this. he's not thinking three steps ahead of the game here. >> i have a scaramucci question for each of you. so i'll come to you in order. mr. rucker, starting with you. you could draw a line with the most trumpian twitter behavior and vocal behavior and trace it really to the arrival of the new communications director, donald trump is living like someone left the gate open. he's been freed up if anything. and that's part of what scaramucci is telling us he's there to do. >> that's exactly right. it's part of his strategy. he came in friday at his announcement last week saying
look, i think the president's the best communicator we've ever had in this office. let's free him up and let trump be trump. it's sort of the mantra of the campaign throughout the first six months of this presidency, there have been efforts to retrain trump. i think scaramucci is trying to let him say what he wants, let him travel around the country, speak to his people and then manage it after the fact. that's what we're seeing play out here in realtime. >> jonathan, is it fair to characterize your reaction to the hiring of scare muchy as journalist full employment act of 2017? >> he certainly gives good copy. and he certainly seems to at this point to want to engage with the press corps. remember, i believe his official start date isn't till august 15th. >> can't wait for that. >> yet we had the 37-minute charm offensive on friday. he was there at the white house today. he helped talked about reshuffling the press shop, the communications department. if to crack down on leaks and
today we had the reig nation of someone in the press shop who has ties to the rnc and sean spicer and reince priebus. he also flew to ohio with the president. >> anita, you have done reporting on him specifically. >> uh-huh. >> and tell us about what you've been able to learn about his rollout, the plan he has. >> right. well it is interesting that he doesn't start till next month but he was there's today. and he was walk around and we could see him and talk to him. and it's interesting. i've been talking to republicans supporters of the president people who are in close contact with the white house who for months have been very frustrated, not with the part that you hear more about that sean spicer, you know, you know, he didn't perform well at a briefing or he got a little bit snippy. not that, but that president trump isn't doing everything he needs to do to get his message out. and if you talk to people in the obama administration and the
george w. bush administration, they had these huge or not huge, small but very effective teams that worked to get people on tv shows like yours and other shows and the sunday shows where they were talking about what the president was doing, policy initiatives. they feel like that has been lacking. scaramucci does not have any experience running a communication shop. what he does have experience doing is appearing on tv. he is a trump surrogate and trump likes that. one of the things that people hope he will do, some of these supporters is get other people out there to give the president's message. obviously, that's a vet tall task when we have russia investigations and jeff sessions and all these other things. but they feel like he needs to try harder. they feel like he's the guy to do that. >> three of the most active by lines in modern day journalism right here. we're fortunate to have all three of them tonight. philip rucker, anita kumar,
jonathan lamire. when "the 11th hour" continues, jared kushner back on the hill today as we said under oath but behind closed doors. up next, we are joined by one republican who was in the room where it happened. ch! new band-aid® brand skin-flex™ bandages. our best bandage yet! it dries almost instantly. better? yeah. good thing because stopping never crosses your mind. band-aid® brand. stick with it™
no, you're not jimmy. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. xfinity gives you more to stream to more screens. we just finished an almost a little bit better than three-hour interview with mr. kushner. found him to be straightforward, forthcoming. i wanted to answer every question that we had and was willing to follow up on any questions that we think of later that we didn't get to ask this
morning. >> we had a good opportunity to ask mr. kushner questions this morning. he expressed and his counsel receipt activity to coming back for further questions. but it was a very productive session. >> once again, it was a busy day as we said on capitol hill. that was congressman mike conway and adam schiff of the house intel committee following a meeting with jared kushner today. the president's son-in-law and senior adviser appeared back on capitol hill flanks by his lawyer abby lowell for a second day in a row. congressman chris stewart republican of the state of utah has been kind enough to hang out with us tonight. he is a house member of intel and was in the meeting with jared kushner today. congressman, i get the restrictions on you. you can't talk about what you heard in that room today. you can talk perhaps about how it was delivered so i'm interested in your characterization of the witness, your description of what you heard and where on the plain of things between put him in a
minimum security federal facility and nothing to see here did what you witness today fall into well, good evening, brian. it's good to be with you. i would think it's more towards the second option that you presented. i think he was a very credible witness. he was obviously very sincere. we could see he was really trying to answer every question as completely and fully as possible. i think republicans and democrats kind of walked away with that impression. i will say this. if you're someone who goes to bed at might and dreams of donald trump being impeached, jared kushner just isn't the guy who is going to get you there. i think he was very honest and at the end of the day, there wasn't much there that we could really grab hold of and say this is something that's concerning to us or this is something that leads to the collusion narrative. just wasn't there today. >> do you ever take a step back and reflect on the fact that the president has called what you're
looking into a hoax? >> yeah. well, i mean, i disagree with the president on that. i think there's legitimate questions that need to be asked. there's answers that we need to provide the american people. my heavens, one way or another, the american people deserve an answer to this. if there's nothing to this, we need to tell them. if there's something there, once again we need to investigate that and to tell them. it's far better for the president not to have this hanging over his head. let us complete the investigation. if there's 2340g there, we're serving him by telling people that. if some people need to be held accountable, that's the way the process and the system is set up to serve the american people. either way it's a win-win. >> you say jared kushner isn't going to get folks there, it the folks cheering actively or passively for impeachment. this is line riz za in a new new yorker piece about michael hayden. ? >> michael hayden the former head of the national security agency told me that he was convinced the meeting, this is at trump tower, was a classic
soft approach by russian intelligence. while kushner claimed that the meeting was irrelevant, from a russian intelligence perspective, it would have been seen as a clear signal. at the end they have established that these guys are willing, hayden said, pausing, how do i put this, they did not reject a relationship." so congressman, you can see how maybe through ignorance or innocence or naivete, mr. kushner could have gotten caught up in something bigger than him. >> i think what mr. hayden said in that scenario is true. i think mr. kushner has said he regrets that this meeting took place under the auspices that he thought it was. the. the reality is again if something had come from this meeting or materials passed or subsequent meetings had been requested and if they had followed up in any way, we would be talking about something very, very different. the reality is them did this have one meeting. it was fairly short. he left early.
as far as his sflangs while he was there, they were only talking about this russian orphanage and this adoption issue which he had no interest in at the time. it may have been an attempt by russian agents or russian government to seek influence. i don't think that it is evidence certainly doesn't indicate that it was, but let's say for the sake of the conversation that they were trying to do that, the ralt is that it didn't go anywhere. and now here we are. we had our meeting with mr. kushner today. that seems to be kind of where we are. >> all of this will be looked over and poured over and examined and duplicate investigations going on from mr. mueller's office and on the hill. all we ask is along the way a couple times please join us and be as kind with your time as you have tonight. >> thank you, brian. >> congressman chris stewart who happens to be among the greatest air force pilots of the modern era joining us tonight from capitol hill. another break for us and coming
above the law. if bob mueller did go forward, i know these are a lot of ifs, it's also repossible that i court would decide to defer the prosecution until after the presidency. >> truly a lot of ifs. top democrat on the house intelligence committee adam schiff of california on whether indicting a sitting u.s. president is constitutional. the president's continued attacks on attorney general sessions prompted a former justice department official for george w. bush to write this piece for law fare blog. the headline "how to deal with a kamikaze president." "the president can fire sessions and rosenstein and mccabe, the acting fbi director if he likes. but he cannot fire everyone. and he cannot stop an investigation that now has a relentless logic that is only reinforced every time he attacks department of justice independence." joining us tonight, two form ter federal prosecutors, georgetown
law professor paul butler back with us, a long time veteran of the justice department and here in new york nick ackerman is back with us, among the watergate prosecutors. and nick i'm going to start with you as a matter of law. is it at all clear to you the president knows the definition, the mechanism of recusal? not even the amazing it kreskin could have said okay, mr. president, i'll take your job as ag but warning, when i get there an inquiry is going to be starred, i'm going to need to recuse. that's question number one. do you think he knows the ag job among cabinet jobs is different and brings different responsibilities? >> i don't think he has a clue. he doesn't even care, never mind have a clue. all he cares about is trying to stop this whole russian investigation. the fact of the matter is, jeff sessions properly recused himself from any involvement in the russian investigation. >> after considered legal judgment, correct? >> absolutely. i mean, this is an ethic call
standard that guides all of the lawyers in the department of justice. it guides the judge who's sit on the bench. this is a very important legal right. the problem with this president is, he has no regard for the rule of law. for him, the law is to be manipulated, it's to get him more power. and it's to get him more money. he couldn't care less what the law is as long as he can manipulate it. >> paul butler, i know you're of the belief that the whole notion of maybe firing jeff sessions is a trial balloon on the part of the president. can you explain to our audience how that might be? >> so i think he's sending this message explicitly to senate and house republicans because they control the impeachment process. so if the result of his threats to fire sessions were from the republicans over my dead body,
then that would mean that he wouldn't do it. but we're mot hearing that from people like paul ryan and the majority leader mcconnell. their response has been muted which suggests trump might take that as a sign that it's okay to go forward. that wouldn't be grounds for impeachment. and brian, frankly if that's not grounds for impeachment, for obstruction of justice and abuse of office, i don't know what is. >> nick, what do you think is going on in the office or the head of mr. mueller? do you think he's accelerating his work at all? because of any outside forces he may be witnesses? do you think he is witnessing the behavior of an innocent man? >> he certainly isn't witnessing the behavior of an innocent man. everything this president has done cries out guilt. i don't think he's doing anything more than he's been doing all along. >> slow and steady wins the race. >> slow and steady wins the race. he's investigating.
there are lots of computers to be examined. this whole kushner statement raises zillions of questions ha have to be tracked down. lots of leads to be tracked down. i mean, i think what you have to put this in context. this is no different than what happened in watergate. the whole investigation and what's going on here and the statements being made by the white house people kushner, don junior, the president, it's all being orchestrated by the president. it's not being driven by the lawyers. this is different than a normal criminal investigation. when i come in and i advise a client not to talk to the authorities, assert his fifth amendment privilege, at least i know what's going on. it's done in the context of you know that nothing helpful can come out by talking to the authorities. here, these people are caught between a rock and a hard place in the sense that if they come out and at the they will the truth and say actually what
happened, they're going to lose their positions of power and influence. this is the same thing that happened with the nixon white house and the people on top exactly the same way. that despite what advice they got from their lawyers, they all went into grand juries they testified in grand juries. they testified before congress. and if you look at the statements, that kushner made and the statement that don junior made, what you can see is a very clever setup. whereby donyear is taking the fall. he had no choice because he was the one that was on these e-mails. he loved it when he heard about all of this information coming in on hillary clinton. but yet, he says nothing happened out of that. then you've got jared kushner who minimizes his involvement by saying he came in after they were talking about these incriminating documents. and left before anything else was said even though he knew he was in a meeting with a bunch of people speaking russian with a russian interpreter. >> you put it that way. >> on top of an all that, look
at what happened before and after. it just doesn't make sense. >> paul butler, you get the last word. and your reaction to the fact that over at doj as attorney general, jeff sessions' genuine conservative republican has been making liberals perspire this whole time by doing the job that donald trump appointed him to do at the justice department. >> you know, that's the irony of this whole thing, brian. attorney general sessions is actually doing a better job at carrying out the president's very conservative law and order agenda better than other cabinet officials who trump's trying not to fire. if we look at sessions he wants to bring back the failed war on drugs. he did a big speech last week about asset forfeiture which allows the justice department to seize the assets of people who haven't been convicted of crimes and wants to bring back draconian sentences. this all is in step with what trump promised during the campaign. so ironically, he wants to get
rid of them. apparently they love law and order when it applies to poor people and young black men but when it applies to people the subject of collusion investigation, not such big fans of law enforcement. >> two terrific lawyers to have of counsel to us tonight, paul butler, nick aker pan. thank you very much. when we come back, lawmakers gave john mccain a standing "o" when he returned to the senate floor. he returned with a message not just for them but for all of us. "the 11th hour" back right after this. . ...positively radiant® 60 second in shower facial. works with steam to reveal... ...glowing skin in just one minute. aveeno® "naturally beautiful results®" whuuuuuat?rtgage offer from the bank today. you never just get one offer. go to lendingtree.com and shop multiple loan offers for free! free? yeah. could save thousands. you should probably buy me dinner.
welcome back. senator john mccain as we mentioned earlier in the broadcast took to the senate floor today with an impassioned plea to his colleagues. he came back to washington to do what his party need and he ended up saying what the democrats wanted. he actually said they should start over with health care with actual public hearings. can you imagine that?
and with a plan for the people of the united states. mccain spoke with the heft and credibility of a 30-year veteran of the u.s. senate and a p.o.w. before that. asking his senate colleagues to work together bridge the partisan divide and in his words, return to the regular order. his tone was serious but his message was hopeful and sunny and optimistic and as always, patriotic. a message that is stark when held up alongside what we heard during the campaign and at various times over these past six months of this administration. >> this country, this big boisterous sprawling intemperate restless striving daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave good and magnificent country needs us to help it thrive. >> the american dream is dead. >> what greater cause could we hope to serve than helping keep america the strong aspiring
inspirational beacon of liberty and defender of the dignity of all human beings and their right to freedom and equal justice. that is the cause that binds us and is so much more powerful and worthy than the small differences that divide us. >> i am your voice. i alone can fix it. >> with us tonight, pulitzer prize winning historian and author and biographer of jefferson, jackson, fkdr churchill and most recently bush 41, jon meacham. congressional reporter from the "washington post" kelly snell and jonathan lag mere has agreed to stay with us under threat. thank you all of you for coming on. john, i saw what you said on social media last night about the president's speech to the boy scouts of america. and i realized you may think for what happened there a red meat
political speech to 30,000 boy scouts might have been its own kind of low point for speech making and discourse. >> well, what hess tas to mark a low point given the passage of time. i guess for the next hour or so because he may be in bed. but it's as daniel patrick moynihan another great senator since we're talking about great senators tonight, once said it defines deviancy down. donald trump is defining the presidency down. i think one of the things that i found so fascinating about senator mccain's speech today which i think should be taught in schools actually, is he talked about the most ancient, the most perennial of struggles in the country which is that between passion and reason. it's the oldest dichotomy. it's what the framers were concerned about. and before them, the ancients. and right now, passioning is
winning. and i think that it's incumbent on all of us, whatever our particular views on particular issues to try to reintroduce reason into the arena. >> john, thanks for loving that speech so much. i feel the same. i heard hints of mcarthur in there and while old soldiers never die, they only fadeaway, a, john mccain is a sailor with no plans for either dying or fadeaway. >> right. that's exactly right. and it's the kind of thing that we hope the senate does. you know, aaron burr who ended fairly poorly, but he once said that if that the last stand against a demagogue or a usurper would be on the floor of the united states senate. and you saw some of that today. >> kelsey, we navigate toward some of the poetry in john mccain's speech today. a thoroughly emotional moment. but to the pros, he was a revolutionary because he went onto the floor of the senate and kind of discounted the
underpinning argument for everything we've witnesses and said can you imagine calling for open hearings in the actual senate committee where such a thing should originate? that's not going to do well at all. >> well, he called for it but then he voted to start debate on the bill and then voted for first amendment that came up. so there's a little bit of mixing of messaging that happened there. i think that he was speaking to his ideal version of what would have happened in the senate. i think that he was speaking to a greater cause for the senate. i think one of the things that struck a lot of people was later on in the speech, he made the comment that the senate is not subordinate to the president. it is their job to be a check on the president. >> yeah. >> and that was -- that was a very forceful statement that i heard people repeating over and over and over again was wondering you know, how he was going to follow through on that statement in his time in the senate and what that will -- how that will manifest in his conversations with his colleagues because it's not something that we've seen a lot
of in the past six months. >> and jonathan, the way they're going about this now in the senate means kind of minutia and incremes for the remainder of the summer maybe into the fall. guess who is not into minute shah and inkremts. >> are you suggesting that the president is not a patient man? >> i only ask the questions. >> this is going to be slow. obviously today was a win for the white house what they wanted to see and republicans there's a motion to proceed. but this is going to take time. there are going to be many, many votes in many days going forward and if this is slow, the president and his advisers have suggested they really want to get health care done first before they move on to other parts of their agenda. tax reform is supposed to be next. if this is slow, does it bog that down? there's also this grand plan of infrastructure which to this point the president and his team haven't really moved on at all. there's still many people around there who have second-guessed that decision that perhaps infrastructure should have been first. it's the one item on the agenda
that could have drawn bipartisan support. it would have been very hard for democrats to stand against a measure to repair crumbling bridges and decaying airports and so on and the blue collar pace base that so supported the president in many parts of this country in the election they would probably be in favor of it and put pressure on the democratic lawmakers to go along with it. >> yeah, they work hard. good jobs. we get new airports an then some as a result. we'll just pause the conversation here. when we come back, the broader topic of loyalty and this president when "the 11th hour" continues.
rediscover our loyalty to each other. >> loyalty can be a wonderful thing. >> just a few examples of the times president trump has invoked the importance he places on loyalty and while it seems to be a quality he values a great deal, he is less stead fast when it comes to his own allegiances. during the elections attorney general jeff sessions was one much his earliest and most vocal supporters but as of late he has fallen out of favor spectacularly so and has been the subject of some very public ridicule. we planned to talk about this subject of loyalty with our panel. they all remain with us. jon meacham, i have searched my memory for times when a sitting president has attacked his own cabinet member even if my memory came up with something, i don't have a pulitzer so it wouldn't matter. it would if you thought -- have you been able to think of any even rough parallel? >> certainly not in public. and really not that much in
private actually. you know, every commander in chief in the loneliness of the office wishes that the world recognized their particular genius better and they wished that their subordinates were even better at what they did. but in this case, no, and i think it goes to the point that the president by all accounts sees russia investigation as an existential threat. and so therefore, he'll use any means necessary to protect himself from this. the only thing -- the only sin i think i'm right in all the tweets, the sin for which sessions is being humiliated like this is basically following procedure and custom and recusing himself from the investigation. >> yes, he did what most lawyers will tell you he should have done. kelsey, i know you always measure this, it's a moving target on the hill where you work. but what are the grounds for separation among most
republicans and this president? would it be something as now conceivable as the firing of sessions or would it be the firing of mueller? >> i think from all evidence that we've seen it would be the firing of mueller. i think that a lot of republicans that my colleagues and i have spoken to they secessions as a step towards mueller. and they're very concerned and very wary but i think that mueller would be that final straw. i think it's interesting. if you talk to the most conservative members in the house particularly, they are some of the people who are coming to sessions' defense in the most powerful way. we're even seeing people like the freedom caucus chairman mark meadows and mo brooks running to replace sessions for his full term, they were some of the people who were coming out and saying they were shocked to see this, that they were surprised that the president would you know, would throw sessions essentially under the bus. and they -- this was very concerning to them pause they view sessions as one of their
own. >> jonathan, we talked about this earlier. sessions has some friends up there who would view this as a take-down. >> no question. he has allies in the senate. he has allies in the conservative media. and this is something that the president, it's remarkably how the public rebuke has been the last few days from his tweets to his interview with the "wall street journal" to the rose garden press conference how disappointed he was in his attorney general. he's been musing allowed to allies about what could i fire jeff sessions? he called one adviser over the weekend who he hadn't spoken to in awhile out of the blue. what do you think would happen? would conservatives be upset if i fired the attorney general. the answer largely is yes. doesn't mean he's not going do it anyway. although at this point it's clear that he hopes enough pressure would force sessions to resign instead. >> john, i'm going to give you all of 30 seconds for the last word. simple question, if you were a stone cutter in south dakota,
should you stay near a phone if the order comes in to add another head on mountain? >> how would you do the hair? i think is a critical question. and i don't know if i would have that level of skill. you know, we all want this president to succeed because if the president succeeds, the country succeeds usually. maybe we've reached a point where those two things depart but i don't think so. so you just keep hoping against hope that thing will get a little bit better. i'm reminded of what churchill said that you can always count on the americans to do the right thing after we've exhausted every other possibility. >> and you can always count on jon meacham to say the right thing in a moment like this, thank you so much as we thank kelsey and jonathan. a terrific panel. our final break. when we come back, what law maeshs on the hill sound like when they think no one else is listening. the latest hot microphone moment when "the 11th hour" continues.
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last thing before we go tonight is what can happen when two senate colleagues are having a casual conversation after an aappropriations subcommittee hearing and later learn that conversation took place within ear shot of an open mike. they are two new englanders, senator susan colins, the republican from maine and senator jack reed, a crat from rhode island. they had just finished a budget
hearing when these twos friends as people do started talking about the president and the state of our politics. >> i think he's crazy. i mean, i don't say that lightly and as a kind of a, you know, goofy guy. >> oh, there's more pop senator reed's office put out a statement saying in part he has said it publicly and privately the trump administration is behaving erratically and irresponsibly and susan collins office has said senator collins is worried about the elimination of transportation and housing programs in the president budget requests that are critically important to local communities across the community. that for now is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being here with us on a tuesday night and good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. tonight on all in, shame, shame,
shame, shame. >> republicans advance health care in the senate. and the final fight begins. >> we're going to try and come up with something that's really spectacular. >> tonight, the historic republican jam job. and >> i don't think that will work in the end and probably shouldn't. >> i'm very disappointed with the attorney general. >> donald trump starts the clock on his own attorney general. >> time will tell. time will tell. >> the latest on the president's human i will yagss of jeff sessions and what it means for the russia investigation. plus, what we learned from jared kushner in a second day on the hill. did paul manafort cut a deal to get out of testifying many public? >> that's what he said. that's what i said. that's what our position is. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'll chris hayes. at this very moment there's a bill on the hill that would