tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC September 1, 2017 1:00am-2:00am PDT
and paul manafort's notes from the scrutinized meeting with donald trump jr. and russians. "the 11th hour" on a thursday night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 224 of the trump administration brings new information about the russia investigation. specifically, what evidence special counsel robert mueller has in front of him, who he is enlisting to help his team of investigators, and how they are working with president trump's lawyers. the "wall street journal" reports trump's legal team has met with mueller several times in recent months and even submitted memos to try to make their case to him. they report one memo, quote outlined why former fbi director james comey would make an
unsuitable witness, calling him prone to exaggeration, unreliable in congressional testimony, and the source of leaks to the news media. another memo laid out the case that trump had the inherent authority under the constitution to hire and fire as he sees fit, therefore do not obstruct justice when he fired comey. trump's attorney says he has great respect for the special counsel and will not be discussing incremental responses. when thes white house first announced the president was firing comey it said he was doing it because the deputy attorney general recommended it. in the following days the president explained himself this way. >> mr. president why did you fire director comey? why did you fire director comey. >> because he waents doing a good job. regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. when i decided to do it i said
to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election that they should have won. >> the daily beast" has a report tonight saying mueller has enlisted the irs for the trump russia investigation. they add the unit at the irs is, quote, one of the federal government's most tight knit specialized and secretive investigative entities. its 2500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. we sls a new report from nbc news about that june 2016 meeting at trump tower involving donald trump jr., jared kushner paul manafort and a small group of russians. that report sheds light on the notes paul manafort took in the meeting. the notes include mention of a political contributions to the republican national committee. two sources briefed on the evidence told that to nbc news.
a spokesman for manafort says it's 100% false to suggest this meeting including any discussion of contributions to the trump campaign or the republican party. when donald trump jr. talked about the meeting he called it nothing and manafort said he was on his phone most of the time. >> the whole contact took how long? 20 minutes or so. >> 20 minutes. and jared left after five or ten. >> yes. >> like she said and paul manafort. >> on his phone. >> the whole time. >> like i said it was pretty apparent this is not what we were in there talking about. >> it does appear manafort was on his phone to take notes. nbc's reporting says manafort'ses notes typed on a smartphone described by one source as cryptic were turned over to the house and senate
intelligence committees and to special counsel robert mueller. the panel starting us off tonight. "new york times" reporter, former chief of staff as the cia and pentagon. as well as former house intelligence committee member jeremy bash and jill wine banks. all three msnbc contributors. jill let's start with you. i want to go back to the "wall street journal" reporting on the memos the trump legal team is the sent to robert mueller. the "wall street journal" report says in giving the memos to mr. mueller the president's lawyers hope to get a swift conclusion to the obstruction of justice piece of the investigation and potentially the exon ration of the president. the people said. what do you make of this offer to mueller's team about their opinion on james comey? >> it's an interesting approach. and it's not uncommon. many times defense lawyers come into the department of justice to give information that they hope will persuade prosecutors
to drop an investigation not to return an indictment, not to ask a grand jury to return indictment. they also hope that they will get some sense of exactly where the department is in terms of the investigation and what its chief evidence is. so it's both for giving and getting. it's very unusual to argue that a witness isn't credible because that's really up to a jury to decide. unless they have something really specific, which i have not heard anything that would amount to that, it's unusual to rely on that. their other arguments don't seem persuasive from the reporting. they're arguing he has inherent authority. that authority is voided if he is using it for the wrong purposes. you have authority if you're a government contract lawyer to award contracts but not in exchange for a bribe. you also can do anything you
want in terms of pardoning or in terms of hiring or firing, but not if it's to obstruct an investigation into your own conduct. so i don't think that any of the arguments i've read would persuade me to drop any case against the president. >> well many people were surprised to hear the president's comments to lester holt where he did tie the firing of james comey to the russia investigation. jeremy, let's just discuss you know picking up on jill's comments, the how it would be to make the case that james comey was somehow reckless or unreliable. he is typically described with words like careful or disciplined. i want to play you a sample of the way in which james comey has responded to questions before congress. >> i don't want to answer that question, senator for reasons i
think you know. i'm not answering about any particular eggs vexes. i can't talk about that in a classified setting. >> i want to be careful in open setting. i carefully chose the words. like look i've seen the tweet about tapes lordy, i hope there are tapes. >> jeremy they're making the case this guy who chooses not to comment publicly in front of congress is somehow reckless and a leaker. >> james comey is cautious, he is a professional, a career law enforcement z officer and a career prosecutor. he of course served as assistant u.s. attorney. the idea he is unreliable i don't think goes far with, particularly with bob mueller. after all of course comey replaced mueller as fbi director. they're sort of similar on the outlook op law enforcement. just coming back to the original point about undermining the argument about obstruction. the statute says who ever by threat or by force tries to
impede a federal investigation. it doesn't say who ever in brackets unless you're the president, no president is above the law. and of course the firing was not the only basis upon which someone might investigate the president for obstruction. he osk took jim comey to the oval office and said please drop the investigation. is wasn't just the firing. there are multiple avenues to pursue with respect to obstruction of justice. >> michael they are pursuing multiple avenues. we know your last by line reported that mueller's team is interested in talking to senior trump administration officials. we have seen reporting that mueller is working with the irs. we learned last night that he is working possibly with new york attorney general eric snyderman to have state charges brought that can't be pardoned by the president. in your opinion what thread of the investigation are they pulling the hardest on? >> i think what we are seeing is a very aggressive prosecutor, especially on the manafort front. we saw him last month execute a search warrant to go into manafort's house. that is a very -- that's a big
move for a prosecutor to take, especially at a time when manafort said or was trying to say publicly that he was cooperating. so i think what we are seeing a a lot of -- a lot of things here. we'll see a lot more of this in the weeks and months to come. the president is going to have a lot of stories come out about subpoenas, about interviews, about people going before the grand jury, and there is just going to be a lot of these as we go forward. the interesting thing will be when does new information that moves our understanding of what happened changed? it's one thing learning about a subpoena or someone being interviewed. it's another thing when we learn of actually new information about things that we didn't know. and sometimes we're able to do that. and sometimes we're able to break through and provide new context to things sometimes we don't. but i think this will go on some sometime now. >> jill, to michael's point, the pressure that has been brought to bear on paul manafort, his
business associates, his family, there is some sense that the -- the investigation is leaning on him heavily. and there are others who think that the pardoning of former sheriff joe arpaio might have been a sending a message to paul manaforts or michael flynns saying hold tight i'll pardon you if it goes wrong. what do you make of the fact that possibly robert mueller is working with new york attorney general eric schneiderman. >> i think it is a message. i was appalled by the pardon in and of itself. you are forgiving a contempt of court which cannot enforce judicial proceedings if it can't hold a witness in contempt or a defendant in contempt. and it was for violating civil rights. it's bad in and of itself. but i heard it definitely as a message, hang tight, don't worry. you may lose the fifth amendment privilege because i'll pardon your original crime. but i'll also pardon you if you
refuse to testify. i think it was a very bad thing. i think it is a very good thing that the state attorney general is now involved because that is something the president cannot obstruct. and he cannot impede it because he has no power against the state. so that's -- that's a good thing. and i think that they should work together zbloolgts jeremy -- that's really the first salvo of that sort. because there are a number of states that can claim some sort of harm if this is still having to do with the russians attempting to intervene in american elections. there are a number of states targeted by the russians according to reports we've seen. so robert mueller has a lot of ammunition if he wants to start partnering with state attorneys general in guaranteeing donald trump either can't fire him out of this thing or can't pardon his way out of it. >> this is clearly as my knowledge said a sprawling, ride-ranging and aggressive
investigation by the special counsel. he has built a strong team, a large team, experienced team. and it appears from everything we are learning that working in a careful hurry to figure out whether or not charges ought to be brought and figure out what to report to congress which with will ultimately hold the impeachment decision in its hands. >> michael is to too wide ranging? you know the president did warn that robert mueller will cross a line if he starts getting involved in donald trump's financial affairs. well robert mueller is getting in manafort's financial affairs. one assumes about the moscow hotel in donald trump's moscow affairs. >> there's been questions in the past about special prosecutors before. what we had before is the prosecutors were appointed for an indefinitely period of time and they had the abilitying to on and investigate whatever he wanted. but based on the pliks what's going on in the country mueller could investigate a lot of things for a lot of times and there would be few things to
stop him. at the end of the day the acting -- the deputy attorney general acting as the attorney general because the attorney general rekuzed himself from this stuff will have the say in whether there are prosecutions to be made here. but mueller has the power to look at different things. and what usually happens with the special counsels is that they look at things and find things because they dig through a lot of things. they get a lot of information back. they subpoena things. talk to people compel them to talk to them. when you are doing that you're going to kick stuff up. it happens. >> let me ask you then because you made the point that we have to wait until the next thing that shows that we made progress in this investigation. what are you look for? is there some direction in particular that you are looking for to happen next. >> no we're just looking for new information that gives us a better understanding of things that happened before and a better understanding of you know database, look there was a
meeting that happened in june of 2016 between the trump campaign and the russians. we only know so much about it. we only know the emails we had about it and the differing explanations we got from some of the folks there. you know if we were to learn what other folks in the meeting, the russians had to say about that or what you know direction they got, or or anything like that that expands our understanding of things. we look for things that spa expand and can provide larger context to the facts. that's what we are searching for. >> jill back we we first learned of the meeting you said while we only find out what other people leak or what people publicly put out as donald trump jr. did with the emails robert mueller has more power to get more information than what we are learning today about things found on paul manafort's phone indicate that he is using some of that power. >> absolutely. and i want to point out in terms of the timing that we were appointed in may for the watergate case. and we returned indictments in
march of the following year. so that's about nine months. and we were looking at a very narrow set of allegations. i think here the mandate that mr. mueller has is quite broad and can allow him to look at a lot of other areas. so it could take way more than the nine months before you would ever have any kind of an indictment. and also, i want to point out he has the power to give a report to the congress which request be as we did, a road map to impeachment. it was decided by our special prosecutor at the time that we should not diet, that impeachment was the correct procedure for the sitting president. since then can be ken starr to a took years and went from a real estate deal to a blue dress, so showing how broad the investigation can be, he has ha memo that says it would be perfectly proper to diet a sitting president. so mr. mueller might be able to do that.
but he also has the option of rurpg a report to the congress to show how the case could be built for impeachment. >> jeremy last word to you, what are you looking for next? >> well when michael cohen the trump organization main lawyer and the one who was the architect to of the deal to billed the trump tower testifies in the house committee you'll sigh information come out about the financial ties. as we follow the money i'm looking at that testimony. >> jeremy, michael and jill thank you all three of you for joining me. >> with congress set to return to washington next week how could the latest developments in the investigation affect this white house? our political panel reacts when "the 11th hour" continues. hey you've gotta see this. c'mon.
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mr. trump, would you consider russia as a security threat? thank you. >> well i consider many countries as a security threat, unfortunately when you look at what's going on in the world tad. >> he actually got asked that question a second time and had a similar answer moments later. despite the president's continued reluctance to single out russia as a threat to the united states, today more diplomatic shots were fired over the kremlin interference in the u.s. election. the state department is forcing russia to shut down the consulate in san francisco and scale back staff at annexes in washington and new york. the move? retaliation for vladimir putin's order last month to have the u.s. cut 755 diplomatic personnel from russia. but as "the new york times" reports tonight, quote, the state department's response seemed calculated to avoid
deepening the rift with russia. the administration is not expelling any russian diplomatic personnel from the united states. nor did it tough the staff at russia's mane embassy in waekt. >> of the robert costa national political reporter. vivian salama, incoming nbc news national reporter. our white house reporter jonathan la mere. vivian, let me start with you. in august earlier this month, the president said this about the russian decision to cut that -- the 755 u.s. staff members in russia. let's listen. >> i want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll. as far as i'm concerned i'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll. there is no real reason for enemy to go back. >> vivian there is a journalistic term for that. i think it might be weird. that was just a strange response
that the president had to another country ordering 755 staffer foss not do their work. >> the president has always seemed to do this tap dance with russia. whether with the russian investigation, whether it has to do with the diplomatic relation was russia. he has never outwardly accused russia -- he has never outwardly embraced the intelligence community in the country that feel confident that russia was behind the hacking of the u.s. election in 2016. he says that it was probably maybe russia but also probably other players involved. and so the diplomatic rift that we've seen kind of manifesting itself over the course of the administration's time in office has been fascinating but it hasn't coming from the white house. a lot of it is coming from the other members of the administration, whether the state department, u.n.,
ambassador nikki haley. they're the one who is have gone after russia tried to take the tougher stance while the president distances himself not touching the hacking thing except for shortly after the first meeting with president putin of russia. and so it's really fascinating to see all of this going on with the back drop of the investigation taking place where the president kind of gives a little bit of leeway to russia, not wanting to get involved but still insisting he had no collusion. a lot of people concerned about this. they say if he didn't collude if nobody in the campaign cluds if he is absolutely confident about it why doesn't he just come out and take a tougher stance. that's what we saw with the clip is that he doesn't quite do that. he falls short of that. and that raises so many
questions where a lot of people say, well is there something he is trying to hide? what is the issue with the president not taking the strong stance. >> that is the question. jonathan, let me ask you, to vivian's point he is getting advice from somebody -- he had to do something, right there had to be a response to the 75 a american staffers. this is a small portion of that. it's a very measured small response to it. but to whose pressure did he bough on this? is it rex tillerson, the the state department what's going on. >> certainly the state has suggested that some sort of response was necessary. but the president, to vivian's point, has never gone there. i was part of the small group of reporters traveled with the president when he made the comments. and later the sarah huckabee sanders suggested he was kidding. no one thought that.
it was odd. what we know about the president is this when he feels pressure he goes the other which. he does not like the idea of being managed. we see that in the white house now with the new chief of staff all the story lines the west wing staff in line but yet seems to have no control over the president himself. in fact, in recent weeks it feels like the twitter feed from the president has become more lively, as if to prove a point that he can't be controlled by the chief of staff. and when it comes to russia in particular he seems to lash out particularly when there are developments in the investigation that seem to come close to home. >> robert to vivian's point that he is getting guidance from someone and to jonathan's point that he chaffs at the control. you had a by line on the story pukd in "the new york times" -- "washington post" -- i'm sorry unless something changed since last i read it -- where it says donald trump resists being handled says roger stone, a former trump adviser and long-term confidante, no one tells him who to see what he can say. general kelly is trying to treat the mushroom keeping him in the
dark and feeding him expletive. >> we're seeing the generals around the president, general mattis at the pentagon, trying -- and of course general mcmaster, foreign policy adviser. that includes russia. they adopt more of the traditional foreign policy view in the republican party and even in the democratic party when it comes to the hawkish position towards russia. you see in this administration a balancing of that traditional hawkish view with the instincts of the president and perhaps the secretary of state tillerson when it comes to having a bit of a softer touch with russia. all of these forces are combined in how the united states is responding to these types of questions. >> and vivian, to that point, this business of russia and sanctions on russia, and taking a harder line on russia, is the one area that the president splits so clearly with his own party on.
when it came to the sanctions against russia and iran and north korea in congress, there was a veto proof majority. this is not even an area that the president had the smallest bit of influence amongst republicans and certainly zero amongst democrats. this is not a winnable road he travels. >> that's right. actually when the sanctions took place, he actually came out very strongly against them in a statement put out that day that was really surprising where he supported the actual notion of sanctions, the legislation itself but said that -- the bill was problematic. he was did -- he cited a lot of issue was it particularly the effort by congress to essentially clamp down on the executive power. he said that it gave them too much power and took away his power to have any authority on the issue of sanctions in particular. this raised a lot of concern because it was a three-part
package with north korea and russia and iran. in particular the russia sanctions caused a lot of issues with regard to the language of the bill et cetera. so the president came out strongly behind closed doors where he was pushing back hard on congress trying to limit the ability to pass this or actually just slowing the process down. it was interesting to see after it was passed, signed into law, in statement by the president where he said, i'm still not happy with it. it's not a good bill but we have to go forward with it for the sake of national security and the best interests of the country. he is not making it a secret that he takes issue with in, even after it's law. >> at last, jonathan, the president has work to do. he has a harvey aid bill that has to get passed. we're seeing reporting tonight that the initial effort is going to be about $5.5 billion but could be in the tens of billions of dollars.
there is a resolution to get done by the enof december are else there is a government shutdown and then the tax cuts. he has work to do with congress and that's not been successful so far. >> not at all. he himself has suggested he might be in favor of a government shutdown if it means freeing up funding for the border wall which is the signature campaign fromz from his run for presidency. but this is a president repeatedly has had a hard time marshaling his own party. which includes both houses of congress to enact his legislation. his leadership during the health care bill was spotty at best. at times it seemed he was getting in the way of the republicans trying to pass the bill. sending mixed messages in meetings or on twitter. eventually it was down in defeat. what has that led him to do? turn on members of his party even further.
calling them out. suggesting perhaps that senate majority leader mcconnell should resign if he can't get health care done. to this point, as much as they outsourced the health care plan it seems they may be going that way with tax cuts as well. >> sounds clearly. >> and we may find a similar lack of executive leadership to get things done. >> bob costa, in fact the president in unveiling the not really tax cut plan, the president said the word -- the name congress many times. he kept on talking about how he doesn't want to be disappointed by congress. maybe congress will come around on this thing. but in the efforts to get this border wall done, the harvey aid may come in the way of that. because the border wall the president says is $10 billion. other estimates republican estimates are 15 to 25 billion. i've seen estimates upward of that. that harvey aid may eat that up. >> and that may actually be a blessing in disguise for republicans because the sources i was talking to today on capitol hill. they say the harvey aid package is likely to be bipartisan in support and also likely puts the
border wall fight on the shelf until the next fisk alyear fight budget fight later in year in december. it's easier to pass the budget by just having the harvey aid package be the sole main addition rather than the border funding. instead of having wall funding i think we can expect border security funding. something with democratic votes that's not the concrete of the wall. >> robert costa, vivian, jonathan, thanks to all three of you. coming up is there a rift between the president and the top man at the pentagon? when you don't get enough sleep, and your body aches, you're not yourself. tylenol® pm relieves pain and helps you fall fast asleep and stay asleep. we give you a better night, you're a better you all day.
you're a great example for our country right now. it's got some problems. you know it and i know it. it's got problems that we don't have in the military. and you just hold the line, my fine young solars sailors with airmen, marines. you just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each or showing it, being friendly to one another, that americans owe to one another. we're so doing gone lucky to be americans. >> welcome back to the 11th hour rgs. defense secretary james mattis took steps today to squash reports of a growing rift between himself and president trump. in an impromptu q and a session with reporters at the pentagon mattis called the idea that the speech you saw to soldiers you had showed disagreement to the
president ppt if i say six and the. says half a dozen they're going to say i disagree with him. . the executive editor of defense 1 and msnbc national analyst among the reporters with secretary mattis today. kevin great to see you. this has definitely piled on to a list of things that people are talking about in terms of some of the closest people around president trump breaking with him. we of course know about the departures from the white house, gary cohen, the senior economic adviser made comments not agreeing about how president trump dealt with charlottesville. then we saw rex tillerson say something on fox news. then this tillerson video was shone. but it wasn't the only thing made people think -- that mattis and trump are not on the same page. you believe he is trying to fix that. >> right. so the -- a couple of things happening here. mattis -- he walked into the
press bull pen today not the briefing room. which he has done throughout the year. it's been his thing. we might get some word he was there. he wasn't specifically walking down to make some grand statement about what's going on with him and trump but it was the first thing he was asked. that was what we spoke about. the a few things happened in the last week. one was the video you showed which was a pep talk. a walk up to the troops and gave them the mattis speech he does. a lot of us heard that many times. in that he references we're divided back home and hope we can get back together. a lot of people took that and ran with it, probably too much. he hadn't had a chance to talk about it today. exactly what he said. he comes back to say, look he actually told us it's in the transcript, that he was thinking of trump's own speech. he had been up early that morning to watch the afghanistan speech where if you remember trump tries to bring unity to the country. he said fs thinking of the president's own words and people saying i was come out against
the president. >> let's give him that. >> yeah. >> we also had an instance -- i'm going to play this to you when reporters were asking him about the president's tweet on north korea that where he said the time for talking is over. here is what general mattis said. >> the president this morning tweeted that talking isn't the answer. are we out of diplomatic solutions for north korea. >> no. we're never out of diplomatic solutions. >> so that was wednesday. that was just after the president tweeted that the time for talking is over. one could say that was bad cop good cop but that was within hours direct contradictsen what the president said. >> and here is how mattis explained it. he said ifd asked about dploltic
solutions i was not asked about the tweet. we said did you see the tweet and he said i did what you did you think. >> he said look the president tweeted we shouldn't be talking to north korea. i agree with the president. we aren't talking to the north korea. there are other diplomatic actions. at the same time nikki haley was in the u.n. the security council was meeting. there are economic means. that is on the table. he said i agree with the president but on the tweet i wasn't asked about that. a people in the press spun it the wrong way again. all of led to the bigger question, is he at odds with president trump and should he do something about it? i asked him directly about this idea of every time trump does something that half the country disagrees they all said the generals should resign. i know the answer i've heard it from mattis i asked him to say it on the record. he laid out his own reasons why
he serves and is there. it's an answer you can imagine. he is a solar's solar he was asked to serve the president. that's what he does. people are way ahead of themselves if they think mattis, kelly or mcmaster are going to resign in protest over anything. it would have to be a real dereliction of duty kind of thing. not just carrying out trump's orders or legal policies. >> all right kevin we will watch closely. interesting story that we continue to follow. kevin thank you. >> hold that line. >> coming up from harvey to charlottesville and the president picking fights on capitol hill. august 2017 was anything but quiet. we look back at 31 wild days in trump's america. headlines this just this month
and his attacks on republican leaders on capitol hill. senior white house staff departures and the first solar eclipse to cross the u.s. in 99 years. and now the president faced the first major natural disaster as hurricane harvey struck texas as a category 4 hurricane. joining me now the white house reporter for politico and our reporter for bloomberg whose tweets today remiepded us just how much happened during the past month. i've got them on the screen. there are more than 12 things. 12 things but they're actually a combination of different things. which of these many events have happened in the last 31 days do you think are the most impactful, the most important? >> other than that ali a pretty slow news month right. i would say there are a lot of
things president trump says and does that i believe in the long haul get washed away in the tied of history. but there are a couple of things this month that happened that will never be forgotten. the top of which i would say is charlottesville, the neonazi violence and the president's ee give indication of this with the counterprotesters. this gets to the heart and soul of this country. is this a country giving quarter tots neonazis who want a ethnic o state or is it going to stand for american values the constitution protection pretrial and return dateless of background. i certainly think the president's reaction to this, the lack of unequivocal clear condemns opened the pan doora box of violence. that's point number one. the second thing is very important down down the road is the president attack on republican senators start wg mitch mcconnell and four others. he needs these people to get any legitimating agenda through that's standing the test of time and that can't easily be reversed by his successor. he risks potentially being a
legislative lame duck early in the presidency. >> annie let me ask you yesterday mike allen and his folks put together a list like the last one we looked at. and then mike had the thesis had the president three weeks ago done something differently in charlottesville, we'd be talking about a president who did the right thing there and then when hurricane harvey comes along he gets a second chance to do that. and it actually could have changed the way we've looked at the entire presidency. do you buy into that? >> sure, but trump had four i think opportunities to correct himself on charmtsville. he didn't want to. that theory of the case is assuming a completely different president than who donald trump is. if we do that there is a lot of possibilities. >> let me ask you one other question.
what we have seen since charlottesville but before harvey was the departure of steve bannon. a lot of people said when steve bannon is dewon we'll see what his indistinct really are on his own. >> you know, i really do wonder -- we spent a lot of time writing about the factions in the west wing and the staffers who is influencing the president. i do wonder how much -- how the stories will age when more and more we're seeing the departure of many west wing aides. and not a lot of changes in the president's behavior that at the end of the day, a lot of this is trump being trump. that the influence of the aides at some level could be overstated. >> annie and sahil stay with using. donald trump pledges $1 million to harvey relief.
happy to tell you that he is -- would like to join in the efforts to a lot of the people that we've seen across this country do, and he's pledging $1 million of personal money to the fund. >> went on to say the president would take suggestions from reporters of groups and organizes that have been effective in providing aid for those affected by the storm. this is not something the president has a great reputation with. he doesn't pledge all that much in terms of charitable organizations and that that he has pledged he often has -- he has had in some instances a tendency to not follow through. >> there will be people who look to make sure he follows through on this. it's a pretty important pledge. it's a nobl gesture. it encourages people to help out. like i said, there will be people who want to be sure he does it. if so, good on him. >> it's been sort of a no win
week for the president when it comes to how he dealt with harvey, he went earlier than some said he should have, he went to places they said he shouldn't have, they criticized him for the hat he was wearing, with not sort of empaw thighsing with folks. tonight we saw advice president pence go to rock port and did things more like what we're used to seeing the president do. he had his gloves on. he had his jacket off. he was hugging survivors. what do you make of all the criticism. is it a temperature pivot in a tea pot. >> i think no win is overstating it. he avoided a george w. bush katrina so far. this is not going to go down in history as a giant crisis of his presidency or a giant flub. he messed up the optics by not meeting any victims of the storm
and he's going back saturday. we'll see if he has a compassionist empathetic moment. pence today clearing brush showed more what we expect politicians to do in these situations. he criticized his hat. he hasn't messed up a critical recovery so far, and i think that for the most part, aside from criticism of the margins, this isn't going to be a -- another crisis of august like we were talking about in the previous segment. >> thanks so much. we appreciate your analysis tonight. coming up a time of crisis in texas has brought out the worst in some people. it's also brought out the best in so many more.
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>> warning that price gouging will not be tolerated. is similar warning issued by the texas attorney general. i spent my career covering the economy, lauding the -- the capitalist system is not at its best when it provides the chance to profit from a catastrophe. it is morealy wrong to profit off the suffering of others in times of disaster. it's also illegal. companies big and small have apologized this week as images appeared online for evidence of price gouging for things like gasoline and water. bear business ends at the door of disaster. in the time of crisis, you set aside the potential of profit
but the rest of us share our wealth with those who have lost theirs. that stands in stark contrast to people like this, the remarkable heroism of those who rush to the aid of victims. to the donations that americans make from the privacy of their phones to the striking images of people waiting in line not for aid but to volunteer their time, their valuable time in the service of their fellow citizens, that's what you're looking at here. we have seen so many images this week of the best of america and what can be accomplished when people put aside differences and work together. it will be a long road for the recovery efforts in texas, but these volunteers, these heros are proofing that in the end, our better angels will prevail. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being with us. i'll see you back here tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. eastern time. good night from nbc headquarters in new york.
>> the storm has claimed at least 38 lives as rescue teams search for more survivors. plus, it's a new month, and it could be a pivotal one for president trump with smuft biggest legislative obstacles ahead. he is feeling restricted by his chief of staff. as the russia probe continues, attorneys for the president have reportedly met with robert mueller, trying to make the case that president trum