tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC August 9, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
pleasure to have you here tonight. thank you for your time. >> thanks. >> that does it for us tonight. i will tell you one of the things people are watching in terms of this manafort fbi raid news is the possibility that it was related in terms of the timing with the -- related to the fact that manafort had been testifying on capitol hill just that morning, less than 24 hours before the raid. we talked about that a couple different times tonight on this show. all of the talk about that is speculation. there's nothing in the reporting about that, and there's nothing from anybody, even source near to the investigation who tells us anything specific about whether that testimony to congress and that raid were connected. that is speculation entirely at this point, but someday i expect we will get that answer. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> rachel, i'm going to be asking mieke eoyang about that. she's a former committee staffer who has familiarity with that kind of interaction that could go on between the committee staff investigating these same
territory that a special prosecutor is investigating. but, wow, the timing is absolutely fascinating. >> the timing is fascinating. we know that mueller and the committees have been what they call deconflicting, making sure they don't step on each other's work or preempt any of the other investigations' work. it's hard to know how the deconfliction process might have sprung this timing in terms of the fbi agents getting there before he was due back on capitol hill. but a committee staffer is a right person to ask about that. >> text me your questions for mieke eoyang. >> will do. thanks lawrence. well, paul manafort is not the only one who should be very, very, very worried that the fbi raided manafort's house in the middle of the night in search of evidence of a crime. >> the fbi surprised paul manafort in a pre-dawn raid of his home in july. >> to get a search warrant, mueller had to convince a job that there was probable cause a
crime has been committed. >> it's a highly significant, even stunning development. >> did you ever execute a search warrant raid like this? >> never. never. >> in all of watergate? >> in all of watergate. no, this is absolutely extraordinary. >> it's also a message to other witnesses that if they don't produce everything that is expected and requested, that they too may face this kind of a raid on their home. >> they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> what the president's doing is sending a strong message to north korea in language that kim jong-un would understand. >> i think he's ended up frightening allies more than adversaries here. >> in the cuban missile crisis, the hinge between war and peace was carefully chosen words from the president of the united states, and we have no illusion that in this situation, we will hear carefully chosen, carefully vetted, appropriate words from the president of the united states. >> so the american people should sleep well at night.
>> probable cause. those are the most important words of the day today. probable cause. we have now publicly reached the state of probable cause in the special prosecutor's investigation of donald trump and his family and his campaign associates. special prosecutor robert mueller has found probable cause that a crime has been committed, and special prosecutor robert mueller believes that paul manafort cannot be trusted to hand over evidence in the special prosecutor's investigation. those are the two things that the special prosecutor had to establish for a federal judge in order to convince that federal judge to sign a search warrant for one of paul manafort's homes in alexandria, virginia. the special prosecutor had to show the judge that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed and had to convince the judge that paul manafort cannot be trusted to not commit the crime of destroying or hiding evidence
subpoenaed by the special prosecutor. just issuing a standard subpoena to paul manafort is typically the way evidence is collected by prosecutors in so-called white collar criminal cases like this. raiding a home in the middle of the night is an indication of a very serious criminal case and criminal investigation. "the washington post" reported this morning that the fbi executed that raid on wednesday, july 26th. one former federal prosecutor told "the washington post" that the raid, quote, adds a shock and awe enforcement component to what until now has followed a natural path for a white-collar investigation. the raid occurred the day after paul manafort met with senate intelligence committee staff. we don't know when president trump found out about the raid, but it is entirely possible that paul manafort's lawyers told the president's lawyers about the raid basically as soon as it happened. and president trump's lawyers
would, of course, immediately tell their client about the raid. and so by 8:55 a.m. when the president issued some of his first tweets of the day, the president might have been trying to shift attention away from the special prosecutor's investigation that day onto an entirely new story. and that is exactly what the president's first tweets did. that is the morning that the president tweeted his announcement that the united states government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the u.s. military. if the president was trying to change the subject, it worked. the defense department was caught off guard by the president's announcement and had no comment on it. and we later discovered that the president decided to fire off those tweets even though he had been told by white house lawyers and defense department lawyers that there were serious legal implications involved in a policy announcement like that, and that everyone the president had consult the on this issue in the white house and the state department was still working on it when the president surprised
them all by issuing that tweet. so if you're donald trump and you know about the raid of paul manafort's home early that morning, what do you do? and, remember, when you consider that question of what do you do if you're donald trump, as far as we know, this president only knows how to do one thing -- tweet. that's the only thing he actually knows how to do. thisme this president's first reaction to everything is to tweet. up to now, there were indications that the president had just grown impatient with the advice he was getting from the defense department lawyers and the white house lawyers about a transgender ban in the military, so he decided to break the logjam by tweeting. the defense department immediately made it clear that they do not create new policies by tweet and that nothing had changed in our military because of that tweet. if something was going to change, there would have to be a carefully written legal directive from the president to begin even thinking about how to
execute that change in the defense department. so those tweets about a transgender ban that is not happening entered the suspicion zone of trump behavior involving the russia investigation. of course, trying to change the subject in the news media has absolutely no effect on the investigation, which is something that this president might not completely understand. the news media can go off on to any story it wants to all day for days on end, and that has nothing to do with the russia investigation. the russia investigation will proceed no matter what the news media is talking about. and we now know that it will proceed with subpoenas and with fbi raids in the middle of the night whenever necessary because robert mueller has found probable cause, and a federal judge believes robert mueller has found probable cause. about an hour after the president tweeted about his desire to ban transgender people from the military, a desire that has no legal effect whatsoever,
he tweeted this. why didn't a.g. sessions replace acting fbi director andrew mccabe, a comey friend who was in charge of clinton investigation but got big dollars, $700,000 for his wife's political run from hillary clinton and her representatives. drain the swamp. maybe the president found out about the fbi raid after he successfully changed the subject to the transgender ban, or maybe he just couldn't contain himself from taking a shot at the leader of the fbi, the law enforcement agency that just raided his former campaign chairman's home. an hour after "the washington post" broke the story about the fbi raid of paul manafort's home today, the "national enquirer" broke a different story about paul manafort. under the headline, trump adviser paul manafort caught up in sick sex scandal. now, it might be what qualifies
as a sex scandal in america. it certainly isn't what qualifies as a sex scandal in france, but there seems to be nothing sick about it in anyone's definition of sick. it's a story alleging that paul manafort had an affair with a younger woman, which we all know is a life specialty of donald trump's. but the "national enquirer" is a trump tool. when it comes to trump's stories, the "national enquirer" is simply another version of donald trump's tweets. the "national enquirer" does not publish anything that donald trump does not want the "national enquirer" to accomplish. so paul manafort has every right to read the "national enquirer" today as an attack on him authorized by donald trump. it may be the most unwise attack donald trump has ever launched because as the special prosecutor closes in on paul manafort, paul manafort will be facing the possibility of five years in federal prison on possible tax evasion charges for what could be tens of millions of dollars in cash that was paid for activities paul manafort performed involving the country
of ukraine, where a ledger was found indicating that paul manafort was paid $17 million in cash by the then pro-putin political party in ukraine. special prosecutor robert mueller may have probable cause of some other crimes committed by paul manafort, all of which can turn out to be reasons paul manafort might want to cooperate with the special prosecutor and provide testimony of crimes committed by others in order to save himself from prison, including the possibility of paul manafort testifying against people named trump or the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. paul manafort is not the only one who should have been terrified to discover that robert mueller now has probable cause. joining us now, john heilemann, national affairs analyst for nbc news and msnbc. moc
moc mocha -- mieke eoyang, and jim cavanaugh, retired atf special agent. he has participated in executing several federal search warrants and worked with robert mueller when robert mueller was director of the fbi. jim cavanaugh, i want to go straight to you. on the nature of this kind of raid, people are calling it pre-dawn. we don't know what that is. is that 3:00 a.m.? is that 4:00 a.m.? it's certainly in the fbi's judgment before anyone in the paul manafort household would be awake. tell us what that kind of raid is like when you're inside the home. what do you hear? does the doorbell ring? is the door just knocked in? what happens in that home? >> right, lawrence. well, most likely it's a 6:00 a.m. raid. the federal rules of criminal procedure only allow search warrants to be served -- forbid search warrants to be served between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. it's extremely unusual in the
federal service to get a warrant before 6:00 a.m. or in the night. we only got them on very violent offenders, and we have to convince the judge there's a reason. now, what happens on a case like this, once it's 6:00 a.m., the warrant can be served. it's a white-collar case. there's no real danger of violence, but you have certain procedures. but it's a knock and announce. you bang loudly on the door. it's not a tactical teams. agents in suits and ties. you bang loudly on the door, and you must announce your authority and purpose. bang bang bang, fbi with a search warrant. bang bang bang, fbi with a search warrant. usually we would have a marked radio car out front. if the occupants looked outside, they would see it's a police vehicle. agents may have jackets that say "fbi" some in coat and tie with their badge out. if someone in the home opens the door, lawrence, they're going to go in like they're flooding in on a fast break at the basketball game. they're going in really fast. that's how they might have got to mr. manafort's bedroom door.
in some other occupant responded to the knock and opened the door, they would then flood in. they just flood in and sweep all those rooms. upstairs, they're looking for the occupants. and the house is now under the custody of the court. that search warrant is issued by a judge, and during the pendency of that, the agents occupy it, and the court controls it until they find the items that they particularly described in the warrant. and as you correctly said, there must be an offense lined in the search warrant, a particular criminal offend has to be outlined, or usually multiple ones. then you have to particularly describe the items to be seized. now, the words probable cause come from the constitution, the fourth amendment. no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. i mean we knew the fourth amendment by heart in the federal service. we lived it every day, and we could recite it word for word. and that's what happened. they had a criminal violation,
particularly things they were searching for. they knocked and announce. my guess is 6:00 a.m. it would be highly unusual if this would be before 6:00 a.m. >> in a white-collar situation like this, in your experience, how quickly does the suspect in that home pick up the phone and call the lawyer? >> yeah. in a white-collar case, it's quick. probably when the agents are present he's calling his attorney. then we often would be on the phone with the attorney ourselves. they would talk to the agent in charge. listen, you know, we know you got a warrant. we're going to cooperate. they have no choice but to cooperate. they can't obstruct you. i mean we'd arrest them if they did. so they're going to cooperate. lawyers know how this works. they're going to fight that in a suppression hearing in the court. >> mieke eoyang, there's this question of sequence where paul manafort had just met with committee staffers the day before, and then, bang, there's the raid at dawn the next day.
what do you make of that? >> so we don't know for sure how long the fbi had been planning this raid. but you have to remember when paul manafort appeared before the senate intelligence committee, that was the first time he's appearing before a government agency where he's going to give testimony that's going to be part of the public record. so if he's concerned about his personal legal liability, he may have done something like assert the right -- or taking the fifth. that would have said to the law enforcement agents and the committee, he's not really a cooperating witness. he's not going to tell you fully what he's been about. he may assert the fifth again when it comes to producing documents, and that may have tipped the fbi over the edge to saying, if he's not going to give it to us voluntarily, we're going to go get it. >> john heilemann, the politics of what is now probable cause day, this is the day where the story publicly enters the zone of probable cause. you have republican senators trying to figure out their relationship to this president, their distance from this
president, republican house members. what does this do to the politics of this story? >> it makes it a lot uglier for donald trump and all the people around him. i want to say having been the subject of a fair number of pre-dawn raids myself, it is no fun. it's worse than jim cavanaugh said. i won't go into details, but it's not pretty. look, i have said from the very beginning of this entire thing that the big fallacies about how people understand bob mueller has been that this is an investigation, that there's an investigation going on here about collusion or about obstruction of justice. no. robert mueller is a prosecutor. he's the propsecutor's prosecutor. what prosecutors do is make case i. what robert mueller is doing right now is turning up the crank on what's necessary to make a case. there are two guys who could be the prime people who could flip on donald trump, on the trump family. paul manafort and michael flynn. michael flynn's already said he wants to flip. >> yes. >> paul manafort's another guy who is a prime flipable witness
for someone above him, and i think that if you look at the team that mueller has put together, you look at the way this investigation is going, they are moving full steam ahead, and they are looking to put equal amounts of pressure on those two guys to get one or both of them to flip as soon as possible. this move is extraordinary on a variety of levels, but that is what it signals to me. we are now moving into the next phase, which is we see what the case is. we're now going to try to go in and lock this case down. they're moving faster than i think anybody thought they would move. >> mieke, what we see now is there was a pre-existing investigation of manafort himself that mueller has taken over, and the range of possible investigative avenues with manafort are enormous, including this possibility of laundering cash through the purchase of new york city apartments. it's just a wide-ranging set of possibilities with him. and in this kind of investigation with somebody who has been living in this -- in
these arenas for this long, for decades, it seems the likelihood of a federal investigation making him uncomfortable to the point where he might want to help them out with some kind of other information to go in other direction, it seems like he's a strong candidate for that. >> that's right. paul manafort has in his entire contrary dealing with shady characters. a lot of places where a lot of money has disappeared. there's this case for potential fraud in new york. manafort has got a lot of legal liability and a lot of exposure that the fbi could use to put pressure on him. it makes you wonder for donald trump, why hire a guy like this who has got so many vulnerabilities and he could flip on you? so i think it's a real problem, and mueller has got a lot of evidence that he can look at and a lot of potential cases to make. >> jim cavanaugh, what does it tell you about the techniques that we can expect to see in this investigation going
forward? >> lots of subpoenas. you know, when the grand jury was impaneled, particularly on this russian probe a few weeks back, that's when i said, oh, this thing is really going to start moving now because when you have a grand jury particularly focused on a case, on a group of people, on a certain what they believe is a criminal conspiracy maybe to obstruct or launder money or tax evasion, that thing really has the power now of the courts, the subpoena power, the power to issue target letters, subpoena witnesses, grab documents. of course they can always get search warrants like they did. and no doubt director mueller -- and you know i've just been acquainted with him, and we were both in the federal service, and i have the highest regard for him. he is a top guy, honest man. he's going to do the right thing all the time. he'll bring in the financial irs investigators. nobody's better than them on the money. if there's any money shenanigans, those guys will dig it out. >> before we break, john heilema
heilemann, trump versus manafort today. "national enquirer" comes out with a slam on paul manafort. that strikes me as the same thing as a trump tweet. >> i think that's probably right. i think you made the point earlier it could be counterproductive because why do you want manafort to be alienated from you and potentially want to flip. we've never seen anything like this before. you asked before about the politics of it. if you're sitting in the white house right now, washington has seen a lot of special prosecutors. a lot of special independent counsels. never in the reagan era, in the bush era, in the clinton era, we've never seen dawn raids with search warrants. never before. so if you're in the white house where there's already a lot of pressure and everybody has started to lawyer up or is already lawyered up, this again in terms of the political pressure on those people in that building, extraordinarily greater. >> robert mueller surely knows that he's the first special prosecutor to authorize a raid like this. he surely knows in the pre precedence, it's never been
needed before now. we're going to take a break here. jim cavanaugh, thank you for joining us with those details about how these raids work. appreciate it. coming up, today the "national enquirer," as i said, revealed that donald trump is apparently going to war with paul manafort. this is an amaziing development also. as the president threatens new york with nuclear war, we discovered that everything he learned about nuclear weapons, he learned from his uncle 35 years ago. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. now i can start relaxing even before the vacation begins. your vacation is very important. that's why booking.com makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy. visit booking.com now to find out why we're booking.yeah!
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we all know what donald trump thinks of the most respected newspapers in the country, "the new york times," "the washington post." he never has a good word to say about those newspapers. but there is one publication that he has nothing but good things to say about. >> i've always said, why didn't the "national enquirer" get the pulitzer prize for edwards and o.j. simpson and all of these things? >> no pulitzer prize for the "national enquirer." it is an outrage. today the "national enquirer," which never, ever, ever dares to run stories that donald trump does not want the "national enquirer" to run, published a story about paul manafort in which the "national enquirer" accuses paul manafort of engaging in sick scandalous behavior without ever mentioning that donald trump has spent his life doing exactly the same thing. perhaps the more accurate headline that the "national enquirer" could have used for its story today is the war between donald trump and paul manafort is officially under way.
joining us now, david k. johnston, pulitzer prize winning journalist, and back with us, mieke eoyang. david, the "national enquirer" obviously for years now has been very, very friendly to donald trump. i've already said in the show that this article today strikes me as the equivalent of a trump tweet. what do you make of it? >> well, there's two aspects to this relationship. this case is dirtying up paul manafort. trump knows about this raid, and he is now taking steps to solidify with his base. he can't believe anything about paul manafort. he's a terrible person. he's having an affair with a woman younger than his daughter. the other side of this is the "national enquirer" has hushed up stories for trump, including making a settlement with a former playmate of the year to make sure she said nothing about her alleged affair with donald trump a year after his marriage to now first lady melania.
and she agreed not to write columns for them, which we never saw, and she also agrees forever to never speak of any relationship she had with any married men. "the wall street journal" dug this stuff up and saw the documents a few months ago. you have this two-sided relationship. the "national enquirer" is his attack dog, and the "national enquirer" is also his silencer of those who might get in the way of donald's ambitions. >> and just for the record, the woman you're referring to in that story is younger than donald trump's daughter, fitting the story that they did today on paul manafort completely. and, mieke, it seems if there's any logic, trump logic to this, it could be to extend what david's saying, is that donald trump wants to do whatever he can to hurt paul manafort's credibility so that when and if paul manafort were to reveal negative information about
donald trump, this is part of what donald trump will point to when he says, you can't believe this person. >> that's right. i think that's one of the objectives that donald trump is saying here, is trying to make people think that paul manafort is a bad guy. the other thing that he's doing is sending a warning shot across the bow to manafort, saying, look, i can really hurt you here. the problem is, as you noted earlier, that could really backfire on trump. the second thing that donald trump is really trying to do with this manafort story is distract the american people with sordid sex scandals instead of focusing on what the really issue is in this investigation -- potential collusion with the russians. and paul manafort is the strongest link to that. $17 million from a russian-backed ukrainian party that money has gone missing. the head of that party has fled to moscow, is sheltered by putin. he is the strongest link between trump and russia. it's not really about these
scandals, which as you've noted, lawrence, are not crimes. they're not pretty, but they're not crimes in comparison to potential treason and cooperating with a foreign adversary to win an election. >> david, talk about the various avenues that the prosecutors have on paul manafort. it is an amazing map of possibilities. >> well, as your earlier guest went into, it is very significant the way they did this raid. it wasn't done without thinking about it. but manafort is vulnerable in a number of areas. first of all he didn't register as a foreign agency. there's a criminal penalty, but he also can be skrtripped of evy single dollar the u.s. government showed came to him from an unregistered foreign client, including money he may have given to his family or friends or even a mistress. secondly, manafort likely is being looked at for tax evasion, for money laundering, and perhaps other crimes that deal with national security matters.
i'm really looking forward to the day we get to see the search warrant and what was said about why they needed to act so swiftly to secure whatever documents he had that may well include, by the way, ways to get at documents he hasn't produced. after all, if you have hidden money, for example, you need to have records to know how to get at it when you need it. and manafort is also the person who along with general flynn and potentially jared kushner is most in a position to do damage to donald trump. so the fbi has -- mueller's prosecutors have a number of ways to go at him on national security, financial crimes, undisclosed clients. >> mieke, quickly before we go, on david's point of what that search warrant actually says, assuming it doesn't leak, when would we have our first opportunity to see it? would it be necessary for there to be an actual criminal case prosecution for that search
warrant to come into evidence for us to see it publicly? >> that may be. it may also be that mueller may produce a report to the department of justice making a recommendation about whether or not to prosecute and which crimes. and some of this information may come forward at that point. >> david kcay johnston and miek eoyang, thank you. coming up, president trump tells us everything he learned about nuclear weapons he learned from his uncle 35 years ago. and live tv. the channels you love. your favorite shows and movies. making your iphone into more of a... oh my tv is ringing. hey...i'm in the middle of a...a second iphone from at&t? okay! right now when you buy a new iphone 7 from at&t you'll get a second iphone 7 on us. and power both with unlimited data and live tv. you're searching for something. whoooo.
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concerned about what president trump says about north korea. >> nothing that i have seen and nothing that i know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours. i think americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days. >> according to a "new york times" report today, donald trump's ominous warning to pyongyang was entirely improvised. among those taken by surprise was john f. kelly, donald trump's chief of staff. today north korean state media issued a new response to president trump. it called his statement, quote, a load of nonsense, end quote, but again threatened, quote, historic enveloping fire at guam, end quote, and said it will develop a plan to carry it out by mid august. donald trump thinks he knows something about nuclear weapons that we don't know because 35 years ago, his uncle, the m.i.t. professor, told him all about it. >> look, having nuclear -- my
uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, dr. john trump at m.i.t. good genes. very good genes, okay? very smart. the wharton school of finance, very good. very smart. >> we're just going to cut that right here because you've heard the next minute several times. it's the part where donald trump compliments himself about how smart he is and the schools he went to and all of that. he goes on for at least a minute with that. then he comes back in and says this. >> nuclear is so powerful. my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power. that was 35 years ago. he would explain the power of what was going to happen, and he was right. who would have thought? >> who would have thought that nuclear weapons were powerful. everyone in the world, including people who didn't know donald trump's uncle. joining us now, david rackof.
david, it has been possibly the most troubling week in our last decades of tension with north korea. >> well, i don't think there's been anything quite like it since the cuban missile crisis in terms of sort of the palpable tension in the air. i think in terms of north korea, you'd have to go back to 1994. the clinton administration, real standoff at a moment where we thought this might happen. the problem is we're really close to a critical red-line moment when they have the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon that could hit the united states, and we have in office the least competent, least experienced, most temperamentally unsuited person for this kind of a crisis who has ever held the job. >> and the message we've been getting today from the white house and from unnamed aides in the white house is, you can ignore the president. don't worry about what president trump says in situations like this. >> it's like the scene in the
wizard of oz, you know. ignore the man behind the curtain, you know. but the problem is donald trump's uncle may have taught him about the power of nuclear weapons. what he didn't teach him about was about the power of tweets and words in crises like this because the things he makes up off the cuff, the flamboyant, ridiculous, dangerous statements he makes have a consequence in north korea and in china, and for children across america who are looking at this and wondering what's going to happen next. and he's not recognizing that more measured, thoughtful words, perhaps processed by experienced hands in his administration might actually help us. >> he's not the first president to create the image that he might be capable of anything. richard nixon deliberately wanted the north vietnamese to think, as he put it, that he might be crazy enough to go nuclear or something like that.
but president nixon was, in fact, not crazy enough to do that. president nixon knew where the lines were compared to donald trump. is there some value in what has been the white house argument today that whether it was deliberate or not and it wasn't rehearsed apparently, donald trump used language that will be clearly and uniquely understood in north korea in a way that another president's language might not be understood? >> i don't think so. i think you're looking for a silver lining here. the reality is although -- by the way, i just saw something that trump re-tweeted something that somebody had said, that said that his being this erratic was actually a help. so i think he's now embracing that argument. yeah, i'm crazy. this is all part of a plan. it's not part of a plan. it's making our allies nervous. it's causing the north koreans to ratchet this up, and it's what can lead us to accidents. overstatements to lead to
accidents. you know, if there was any sign that donald trump had ever understood this, thought about it, had a strategy, knew what the next move was, this might be encouraging. but he's not playing three dimensional chess. he's barely playing two dimensional checkers, and i don't think he thinks two moves ahead in circumstances like this. he wants to sound tough. he gives you the bluster, and then he's got a bunch of people scrambling around behind him going, oh, my god. what do we do now? >> what's the north korean strategy? are they just working on the assumption that for decades now, the american president has felt incapable of any kind of strike there because any kind of strike would end up, no matter how successful from the american perspective, would end up with a retaliation from north korea in which we would have tens of thousands, possibly millions dead. >> look, i mean the north koreans have seoul, south korea, as a hostage. it's 35 miles from the dmz.
there's no war scenario between north and south that doesn't have hundreds of thousands or even millions of casualties. >> and that's what north korea has always been relying on in their belief that the united states won't do anything militarily. >> i think they're relying on that. i think that's a miscalculation. even during the clinton administration, the department of defense had come to the conclusion that they would go to war if they had to, even if there were that many casualties but the threat of north korea with nuclear weapons was too grievous. >> thanks for joining us tonight. coming up, donald trump's newest political target and, of course, this one's a republican.
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and so part of the reason i think people feel like we're underperforming is because too many kind of artificial deadlines unrelated to the reality of the complexity of legislating may not have been fully understood. >> oh, how exquisitely condescending. our new president hasn't been in this line of work before. today the president tweeted, senator mitch mcconnell said i had excessive expectations,
but i don't think so. after seven years of hearing repeal and replace, why not done, question mark. the president is never going to learn that the best thing to do when you fail to pass a bill in congress is to just shut up about your failure unless you can quietly figure out a new way to pass that bill. otherwise, you are just reminding voters of your failure. democrats are hoping they can count on president trump to
continue to remind voters of republican failures. today rush limbaugh joined the president in reminding voters that they should blame republicans in the house and the senate for failure. >> the reason people are upset here is because of what you've said that you were gonna do. it's not because of artificial timelines or expectations have been raised too high. and if the expectations are raised too high, it's you guys in congress that have actually done that. >> this isn't going to last. by this time next year, donald trump and rush limbaugh will not be criticizing anyone in the republican congress. they will be doing everything they can to elect more republicans to the house and to the senate. but in the meantime, the republicans' circular firing squad is giving new hope to democrats in next year's congressional election. and if they're really, really lucky, mitch mcconnell will soon be getting a nickname from donald trump. up next, another republican
versus republican attack. the republican senator who said john mccain's vote to kill the trump/mcconnell health care bill was because mccain was suffering from brain cancer and wasn't thinking clearly. f. and we covered it, july first, twenty-fifteen. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ i just want to find a used car start at the new carfax.com show me used trucks with one owner. pretty cool. [laughs] ah... ahem... show me the carfax. start your used car search at the all-new carfax.com.
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the trump/mcconnell health care bill, and he was not always in mcconnell's corner. in the end, he voted with mitch mcconnell, but he proposed various versions of the bill, and accused the majority leader of what he called, a quote, real breach of trust, and the senator said that publicly. after making it difficult for mr. mcconnell to get to a vote, he has tried to cover his tracks by attacking the republican senator who cast the decisive vote to kill the bill. >> john mccain, you know, he has a brain tumor right now. that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, and that might have factored in. >> really? he just recovered from getting the brain tumor removed and flew to washington, d.c. do you think that played a factor in his judgment call? >> again. i don't know -- we thought. i thought john was going to say
yes in the conference at 10:30 at night by about 1:00, 1:30, he voted no. >> then senator johnson issued this statement saying, i have nothing but respect for him, and the vote came at the end of a long day for everyone. let's just note that is not an apology. >> when you express it. >> that is not an apology for what he said, and he did not in any way retract the idea that john mccain's brain cancer made him vote in the wrong way. >> this is a case of trumpism run amuck, right? donald trump reads something on breitbart or hears something on "fox and friends", and takes his facts and ron johnson is doing the same thing. they are spreading this about how mccain's screwy in the head because of his tumor, and johnson sees that on twitter or on one of these sites and it's
becoming an epidemic in the republican party that if you see it in the news, you can just go out and say it as if it's fact. if you look at it in a different way, it might even be true in this sense. i think that, you know, john mccain has had moments of great bravery. we all know that, and great political bravery. he has been unreliable, especially in election years. i think there's a chance that mccain's staring mortality in the face and said you know what? i'm going to do the right thing because that's one of things that mortality brings you is moral clarity, where you are not thinking about the next election, and you're thinking about the health care system. >> i was not surprised as senator johnson claims to be that john mccain voted no because i listened to the speech he gave -- >> two days earlier. >> let's listen to a piece of that speech that should have left no one surprised about how john mccain voted. >> let's trust each other.
let's return to regular order. we have 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. i will not vote for this bill as it is today. >> and john, the bill only got worse, and what he did was on the procedural stuff, he voted with the leader, which is an old senate tradition, and then on the actual substance, he voted against the leader's bill. and that made logical sense to what he said in that speech. >> again, we're so used to politicians saying meaningless things on the floor of the senate. >> yes. >> or saying the exact opposite of what they believe, that we actually don't just think, you know what? listen to what mccain said 72 hours earlier. it makes sense. he is being consistent. that is such a rarity we think there must be some other supernatural or suspicious exla
nation going on. >> the health care vote will keep chasing them around. you have rush limbaugh chasing then on this subject, and johnson who was one of the obstacles for mitch mcconnell who is now i think, trying to cover the tracks and not be counted among the people who caused a problem that made this so difficult to get to a vote. >> we get to a conversation we were having off air. it's the case that one of things trump is saying about mcconnell is right in the grandest sense. this republican party spent seven years saying repeal and replace, and then when they finally had the power to do it, they had no idea how to do it because you know what? replacing a bill that affects a sixth of the economy is really hard, and republicans never really meant that they had any intention of replacing it, so they never should have said they wanted to replace it. they deserve every piece of political pain they suffer for this bill. >> trump will continue to
inflict that pain, and someone will grab him, and say, we have congressional elections. try criticizing democrats instead of republicans. >> i don't think that will work. >> thank you for joining us. tonight's last word is next. where, in all of this, is the stuff that matters? the stakes are so high, your finances, your future. how do you solve this? you don't. you partner with a firm that advises governments and the fortune 500, and, can deliver insight person to person, on what matters to you. morgan stanley.
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>> you see. >> that's tonight's last word. "the 11th hour with brian williams" is next. tonight, the fbi raid on paul manafort's home. the dramatic new developments in the russia investigation and the documents seized from the one-time trump campaign chairman by special counsel robert mueller. also that fire and fury talk reportedly, it was off the cuff. the president's own choice of words. tonight north korea has responded to donald trump. and he may be at his best when he is up against an opponent, but has donald trump messed with the wrong senator? "the 11th hour" on a wednesday night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc numbers headquarters here in new york. day 202 of the trump administration, wraps up with the president still in new jersey. the response from north korea to the president'san