tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC December 16, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
says he's not ready to discuss a pardon for mike flynn yet. and he offers kind words for putin for saying very nice things about him. plus the president again attacks his own fbi, this time as he imparted the white house for a speech at a fbi facility. and two big name republicans move from a no to a yes, presumably because their price was met, as we get our first look at the new tax bill that may become law. "the 11th hour" on a friday night begins now. and good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 330 of the trump administration. a day the president has decided to weigh in on the status of the russia investigation. the fate of michael flynn. and his relationship with vladimir putin. and he continued his attacks on the fbi, right before making a speech at the fbi training center. but we begin with the president sounding a familiar theme when asked if he thought special counsel robert mueller was biased. >> you'll have to make that
determination. we're hoping for a very -- let's put it this way. there is absolutely no collusion. that has been proven. when you look at the committees, whether it's the senate or the house, everybody, my worst enemies, they walk out, they say, there is no collusion, but we'll continue to look. they're spending millions and millions of dollars. there is absolutely no collusion. i didn't make a phone call to russia. i have nothing to do with russia. everybody knows it. that was a democrat hoax. it was an excuse for losing the election. and it should have never been this way where they spent all these millions of dollars. now even the democrats admit there's no collusion. there is no collusion. that's it. >> there has been a growing campaign on the right with a big assist from friendly media to dismiss the special counsel, to call into question the value of the russia investigation. today one of the president's allies in the house made that very clear. >> i call on my republican colleagues to join me in calling for the firing of bob mueller. and look, it's time for mueller
to put up or shut up. if there's evidence of collusion with russia, let's see it. >> the top democrat on house intel, congressman adam schiff, democrat of california, has been raising the alarm about the campaign against mueller including what he posted today. quote, here's what has me really concerned. the attacks on mueller, doj, and fbi this week make it clear they plan to go after mueller's investigation aggressively and soon. and here is what he told our colleague nicolle wallace earlier today. >> well, it certainly seems they are acting on the president and steve bannon's injunction. they need to shut us down. they need to shut the committee down. you need to shut those investigations down first so we can put pressure on mueller.
>> of course it's almost impossible to talk about the russia investigation without mentioning ex-national security adviser michael flynn who pleaded guilty last month about lying to the fbi about russian contacts. he's now cooperating with mueller. the president also had the chance to answer questions about the man he so vigorously supported. >> reporter: would you consider a pardon for michael flynn? >> i don't want to talk about pardons more michael flynn yet. we'll see. >> trump lawyer ty cobb said, "for the record there is no consideration at all for a pardon of michael flynn at this time." meanwhile one other report could you tell our attention. "the wall street journal" reports deutsche bank mass received a request from the government for any transactions that could be linked to michael flynn. earlier this month several media outlets reported the special counsel had sought information from deutsche bank related to people or entities affiliated with president trump. and as for mr. trump's dealings with vladimir putin, we know they spoke by phone yesterday. today the president elaborated on that conversation. >> it was great. he said very nice thing about
what i've done for this country in terms of the economy. he said also some negative things in terms of what's going on elsewhere. the prior point was to talk about north korea. because we would love to have his help on north korea. china's helping. russia's not helping. we would like to have russia's help, very important. >> to our lead-off panel for a busy and confusing friday night, peter baker, chief white house correspondent for "the new york times." jill wine-banks, former watergate assistant special counsel. and matthew nussbaum, white house correspondent for politico. peter, ronald reagan used to pretend that the rotor noise from the helicopter was into impossibly loud for him to hear any reporter's questions. this was quite different today. the press pool is standing there, the president chooses to walk over to them, as he does on
occasion. he chose to take questions. he knew russia questions were coming. why do what he did, why say what he said today, do you think? >> that's a great point. in fact this has turned out to be his preferred method of communicating with the white house press corps with the helicopter in the background, on the lawn, with the noise. it's kind of an odd choice just esthetically because it's hard to hear, it's hard to have a real interchange. but this is his preferred method for communication for some reason. today in particular he did have a message he wanted to get across. that message was, you know, implicitly at least, time to shut it down, this is not leading anywhere. he's encouraging the allies out there who have begun this tack on the special counsel, robert mueller. even though he himself is being careful not to say anything directly about the special counsel per the advice of ty cobb, his lawyer who you just quoted, he is in effect sending a signal to those around him,
his allies, that it's okay to do that because he's exhausted, he's tired, he thinks it's unfair and he thinks it's time to go on the offense. >> matthew, a dual question. first of all, how much of a russia preoccupation is this for the white house? i know i've asked you that before. secondly, for people who don't see right minded media like you and i do, explain how big an effort there is behind this story line. >> we know russia has been a major distraction for this white house from day one, and they would like to be talking about taxes or health care, anything else. i think peter is right when he says trump sees an opportunity to go on the offensive here. for so long it's been sort of throwing spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks, it's illegal leaks, you should look at that, what about hillary's uranium deal, you should look at that. now with these text messages that seem to show an anti-trump sentiment from an investigator who has been let go, that means the investigation is biased. for those in the right wing bubble, fox news, breitbart, oh, look, this is what we're talking about, the plot to bring down the president, the plot to reverse election results. to have congressman gaetz sort of frothing at the mouth, they're going on against mueller with more vigor than we've seen so far.
>> jill wine-banks, this is about the president's word "yet," to the question about pardoning michael flynn. in civics we're taught the president's pardon power is absolute. how do we reconcile that with the fact that we know flynn is now a convicted felon because of the deal he made with the special counsel. is he pardonable? >> he is pardonable. he can be pardoned for other crimes or even this crime. but it would be unwise for several reasons. one, by accepting the pardon, he's admitting guilt to other crimes.
he's already admitted guilt to this crime. but he also would lose his fifth amendment privilege, which means he could be forced to testify against his own interest and to testify truthfully or he would be subject to additional prosecution for perjury. so either way, he's not going to be able to help the president, because he would have to testify fully and completely. and the other thing that people forget is that i am sure that his deal includes protecting his son and protecting him from state charges and other crimes that he has committed. and if he does not cooperate with mueller, then his deal will be over, and additional charges can be brought against him both by the state and the federal government. so it's not going to help to pardon him. i don't see it as any advantage. and i really do believe that by doing that, the president is admitting that he knows that he's guilty and he's letting him
off. and at some point the american people are going to rise up and say enough is enough, and we have to get rid of the president who is doing this to our democracy and to our system of justice. >> on the subject of the people rising up, there was a tweet tonight from the former head of the office of government ethics, a man not known for hyperbole. "this weekend i'm stocking up on portable phone charges, warm clothes, and gear needed for when we take the streets. i'm concerned that the assault on the rule of law is coming over the holidays when we're distracted. it will be a defining moment for the republic." so peter, you're a serious man and you talk to serious people in the course of your work every day. how serious do people take the chance that mueller will be fired? >> well, look.
people do take it seriously. the very fact that we're having this conversation is fascinating. we didn't have this conversation about the prosecutor in the cia leak case in the bush administration. we didn't have this conversation really during the starr investigation of president clinton, a somewhat different legal situation for ken starr. the point is most presidents recognize that firing a special prosecutor is a political risk in a big way. it echoes watergate, it echoes what president nixon did with archibald cox. rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who would have to be the one to do any firing, has already said he sees no grounds for firing whatsoever. in effect he's telling the white house, if you want to fire the special counsel, you'll have to fire me too, which is certainly possible. you have a cascade effect that could in fact cause even republicans on the hill to be quite concerned. they have said in the past that firing robert mueller is a red line for them. and whether they would do something about it or not, i don't know. but it would be a big political
risk for the president. >> matt, that tweet i just read is not from abby hoffman, that's from walter shaub, a guy who has devoted his life to ethics in government. and he is far from alone. >> right. you're seeing a lot of concern about a firing that could take place. i think you would see a massive backlash to it. you can't discount the political winds, though, at the moment. after seeing what happened in virginia, after seeing what happened down in alabama, the president's power has been cut into a good bit. i think if you're a republican in congress, you're already thinking about 2018. and the prospect of defending the president or helping lay the groundwork for him firing the special counsel i don't think is especially appetizing after we've seen him endorse candidates and those candidates go down, even in alabama. >> so jill, your advice to folks who are unsettled by the thought of any of these scenarios, correct me if i'm wrong, is that
the legal fallout would penalize and expose the president so badly, would be so arduous for the country to live through, as to maybe take hold of people's senses. >> i think it's both a legal and a political nightmare if he were to go ahead with that. the saturday night massacre should certainly be a warning to the president not to take this action. and i do think that at some point people will say that they've had enough, that they can now see the handwriting on the wall. we almost have a mountain of information that shows there has been some conspiracy between russia and the trump campaign. we have to use the right words. the crime is conspiracy. did they work together. we know for sure that russia interfered in the election.
and i think congress would do better to be investigating that and finding out how to stop it from happening in 2018 than to be diverting attention from a legitimate criminal investigation that has already taken down four of the people from the trump campaign. he's showed that he has already gotten criminal cases going. so it's hard to say that he's wasting time and money when he is showing the crimes. and i think it would be a real mistake legally and politically. >> and peter, in your world of people you call up, no one is reporting anyone reason to think this president has changed in office, this president has buckled down or become more serious about the business of the presidency. to the contrary, we see him tilting at these various windmills today. >> well, it is interesting. look, ty cobb, his lawyer, his special counsel in the white house, has convinced him up until now not to attack the
special counsel. the argument has been, look, it doesn't help you, you're innocent, you haven't done anything wrong, if that's the case then robert mueller is going to find that and you want him to be a credible validater when he comes to that conclusion. if the fact that the president is so worried that he's beginning to sort of slip out of the advice that ty cobb has given him, it makes you wonder why, what's happening right now that has him worried. obviously michael flynn cut a deal with the prosecutor. he pleaded guilty to a single relatively minor charge compared to all of the different types of evidence of charges that seemed to be gathered against him by the prosecutors. why does a prosecutor do that? because he thinks michael flynn has something worthwhile to tell him. so the heat is on right now in the white house. and a lot of people there in the white house don't necessarily know what might be going on,
they're worried. >> after another week like the weeks we've been having, a reminder. the election in alabama was just tuesday of this week. peter baker, jill wine-banks, matthew nussbaum, thank you, folks, for coming on on a friday night after the week we've had. coming up here, president trump hammering the fbi while en route to visit a new fbi facility. plus two big name republican senators have flipped from no to yes on this monster tax bill speeding its way through congress. tonight we're finally getting a look at what's in it, when "the 11th hour" continues. ♪ [vo] progress is an unstoppable force. the season of audi sales event is here. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the season of audi sales event.
fbi. it will be bigger and better than ever. but it is very sad, when you look at these documents, and how they've done that is really, really disgraceful. and you have a lot of very angry people seeing it. when you look at what's gone on with the fbi and with the justice department, people are very, very angry. >> president trump, prior to leaving for the fbi, a graduation ceremony held at their national academy out in quantico, virginia. it's the president's latest attack on the federal bureau of investigation. he seemed to be referring to those revelations that senior fbi officials exchanged anti-trump, pro-hillary text messages. in his speech at quantico where all kinds of law enforcement officers receive advanced instruction, the president tailored his message to the police who were present over the fbi. >> on behalf of all americans, to every law enforcement family here today, and all across the nation, thank you, thank you, thank you very much.
you very rarely get the recognition you deserve, i can tell you that. these are great, great people. these are really heroes for all of us. >> the fbi of course is part of the justice department. and today the attorney general, jeff sessions, was asked about the president's criticism of the bureau. >> i believe the fbi is doing a great job around the country. i don't share the view that the fbi is not functioning at a high level. all over the country. he made clear that he supports them 100%. >> and then there is steve schmidt, this will get your attention, lifelong republican, veteran of the bush white house and the mccain campaign. he said on this network today there is a kind of toxic mix out there right now, and he fears he knows where we're headed.
>> clearly what's happening, right now, is the preparations to fire mueller, the misinformation, disinformation propaganda campaign being carried out by fox news, and this pincer attack on the first amendment and the free media, and on the other hand, on the integrity of the justice system. >> and intelligence. >> and intelligence. >> joining us, matthew miller, form chief spokesman for the justice department and an msnbc justice and security analyst. and we welcome frank figliuzzi, former fbi assistant director for counterintelligence who has worked in the past for robert mueller and is also an nbc news national security analyst. frank, by way of welcoming you, what does it do to you to hear the president of the united states disparage the federal bureau of investigation? >> you know, brian, tonight, as we're talking, there are fbi agents working around the country. some fbi agent tonight, whether it's a kidnapping in miami or a terrorism case in new york will have to pull out his credentials and display them to a member of the public and seek cooperation. he may be trying to flip an informant, he may be trying to help someone. the response of that american
citizen to those credentials has been diminished tonight by the comments of the president this morning. and the president can't have it both ways. you can't be on the lawn of the white house this morning saying the fbi is sad and disgraceful and then head 50 miles south to the fbi academy and tell the police how great law enforcement is. it will come back to bite him and diminish his own effectiveness, because some day he's going to have to confront a world leader with sensitive anything else with the fbi. he's going to have to tell the american public that the threat level is being raised because of sensitive intelligence from the fbi. people are going to ask, is that the same fbi that you said was sad and disgraceful? >> matt, same question to you, only having to do with the career professionals at the department of justice and what they're going through right now. >> you know, i was lucky as a political appointee to get to
know hundreds of career professionals at the fbi and throughout the justice department, and was just consistently impressed with the effort they've put in, the sacrifices, literally the sacrifices that fbi agents make all the time. i can tell you they have been so disscourged, not just by the president's remarks, but up until now really a failure from the leadership of the department of justice to defend these career agents. you saw a little bit of a defense from the attorney general today, finally, after months of the president attacking the fbi and attacking prosecutors. but that was as tepid and milquetoast defense as you could get. you heard him say the president is 100% behind the fbi. that doesn't seem to be true when he says their reputation is in tatters. >> when you combine this with everything else we're seeing,
tuesday the president's defense counsel, ty cobb, claimed, pronounced, that the white house interviews are over, the special counsel is done with white house interviews. that's not true. but if you say it enough, the american people will believe it. similarly, trump claimed three times at least there's no collusion, it's been proven, people start to believe it. if you say the fbi is sad, corrupt, disgraceful, people might believe it. it's coming together as a strategy and it's headed in a very disturbing direction. >> matthew, when you listen to steve schmidt talk about this kind of three pronged attack mostly on public institutions, what will be your indicator personally as to, well, it's getting through, it's doing real damage, it's doing what it was
designed to do? >> you know, i think we started to see it this week. if you watched the house judiciary committee this wednesday when the deputy attorney general was there, something that a few months ago was a kind of fringe position in the republican party, that law enforcement couldn't be trusted, was really the mainstream position of republicans on that committee. just about every republican was asking questions designed to undermine the public's belief in the fbi and the justice department and ultimately the special counsel. i think the republican party is there. i don't know that they would support, you know, the firing of bob mueller right now. but look, you talked earlier in the show about conservative media. fox news, they decide what the music is and to a great extent a lot of these lawmakers then carry the tune. right now the music on fox and from the president on down is, bob mueller can't be trusted. >> frank, you get the last word. is it okay to admit that fbi agents like the rest of us have opinions, may have a favorite recipe, a favorite beatle, a favorite nfl team, but when they
come to work ideally they're professionals? >> they're professionals just like your doctor, your surgeon is not asking what party you belong to. they're going to do what's best for you. the same goes for prosecutors and agents. they come to work every day, looking to apply the law and the facts and seek the truth. >> our great thanks to matthew miller, frank figliuzzi. thank you both very much, serious topic to talk about after a week we've all witnessed. coming up, republicans appear to be on the verge of handing president trump his first true major legislative victory. but will there be regrets over the speed or perhaps the content of this massive bill? that and more when we continue. we mentioned this earlier,
we mentioned this earlier, republicans seem poised to pass their first major piece of legislation this year, possibly thanks to a big change of heart, two big name republican senators, marco rubio and bob corker announced today they'll change their no votes to yeses. it's still not a sure bet. republicans can only afford to lose two votes. senator jeff flake, arizona republican, has broken with the president in the past. he hasn't committed. senator susan collins on the other hand put out a positive statement about the bill. importantly, senators john mccain and thad cochran have missed votes all week because of their medical issues. it's not clear when either man will return to work.
democratic leaders are pushing back hard, chuck schumer telling republicans they will, quote, rue the day they pass this. and nancy pelosi saying, quote, the gop tax scam's theft from the middle class families to give to the wealthiest is a moral obscenity. politico says, quote, the agreement caps a remarkable legislative stretch in congress. facing the protestant percent of having no major policy achievements in the first year of the new administration, republicans have pushed it through with blinding speed and polling showing much of the public is sour on the proposal. assistant managing editor of politics at "the l.a. times," and the national political reporter of "the new york post." it's the question of the hour, will they have margin enough? worst case scenario is for them to lose two votes because of medical reasons. >> yeah, it looks like they are going to have the votes. it would be a victory for the trump white house and this
republican party in the moment to be able to say they passed significant legislation after a year of really a lot of stumbles, particularly on their effort to repeal and replace the affordable care act, and several other major things that they've attempted to do. however, we don't know what's going to happen in the 2018 mid-terms. democrats, as you read there, are very eager to use this as a weapon. and several republicans are concerned that it will actually hurt them back home. right here in california, we have a lot of competitive congressional races. and california is one of the states that will take a hit under this plan, certain parts of it. >> jonathan, eyeshades are being put on all across the country right now as initial reports get out of what's in this. and a lot of good people will
spend the weekend poring through it. i heard it said tonight that accountants may take years to discover fully what's in it and the workarounds. having said that, what's the heads up to give folks tonight about what's in this bill? >> certainly accountants would like to be paid for years to tell what's going on there. tax bills are always good for accountants. you've got $1.5 trillion in ten years in debt. the way that's proportioned is disproportionately towards the wealthiest americans. if folks like that, they'll love this bill. what you've heard from democrats, even some republicans in close districts in california, darrell issa is somebody who came out against this bill, lee zeldin of new york said republicans are being put in the position of having to choose to get something done or to get something done right. i think there's a lot of nervousness among republicans about the potential backlash of a populist president, somebody who ran on populism, coming in
and disproportionately favoring the wealthy with his tax cut. at the same time they appear to be more afraid of getting nothing done and showing that they can't govern. >> and christina, to your last point, energizing the democrats may be a delayed reaction because this may not be an immediate and equal reaction to this bill. the stuff that democrats would find fault in, criticize, point to damage that's done to certain sectors of society, may take a while. >> sure. and people that file their taxes next april 15th are not going to see the effects of this until after those midterm elections when they file their taxes in 2019. so that's a big part of it. but of course i mean, that's what people in the political-industrial complex do, right? they're able to use those headlines that say massive deficit added to, harming california taxpayers. those are the headlines you're going to see on ads against these republicans. and look, the republicans, and
groups that are in favor of this tax plan, are also spending. there's ads on the air here in california that are having people call their lawmakers to urge them to vote for it, paid for by conservative groups that want to see this passed. there's going to be a lot of effort on this on both sides. look, a tax cut with a tax cut. people do like that messaging. a lot of it is how it is sold. that's the thing that people can argue, oh, it's this much of an average tax cut for the average person and the democrats are going to say, no, it's a giveaway to the wealthy. and then the voters are left to kind of figure it out, of course good journalists like all of us here are going to help people sort of through that. >> and for our part, we'll ask our guests to stay with us over the break. when we come back, steve bannon coming off a big defeat in alabama this week by doubling down on his war on the gop establishment.
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let's talk about the republican establishment. because they're the ones that first came after judge moore. mitch, you owe your job to donald j. trump. >> you have to nominate people who can actually win. because winners make policy and losers go home. >> there's a time and season for everything. right now it's a season of war against a gop establishment. >> i don't think steve bannon adds anything positive at all to the dialogue in the country. to have him become the face of politics, to have a major voice in politics, i think is wrong. >> republican party was dealt a major blow this week with the loss in that alabama senate race. you can see how well they get along. it's deepening, this divide between this populist base, urged on by steve bannon, and the establishment republicans fighting to pass legislation and keep their majority in congress, as they're about to go down one seat in the senate, let's not forget about the gop and bannon,
"the new york times" writes it this way, quote, they intend to kneecap him before he has the chance to recover. one reason for targeting bannon is the fear that he's going to launch another tea party style movement, an implosion, the possibility of losing more republican seats on the downside. again, as "the times" puts it, quote, the same angry politics are threatening again to undermine the party's fortunes in the upcoming midterm elections as a slate of potential candidates on the far right emerges bearing similarities to the unpredictable and amateurish nominees that hurt republicans, then, back then meaning the tea party. jonathan, if we are to believe steve bannon when he says mitch mcconnell, we're coming for you, especially if it's coming off a tax bill victory, do you bet against mitch mcconnell, necessarily? >> a lot of people have bet against mitch mcconnell over the years and lost. but what's interesting about this fight, brian, steve bannon
is bloodied but unbowed. mitch mcconnell had something to lose, his post as republican leader in the senate. steve bannon doesn't have much to lose, he's on the outside now. him taking shots at mcconnell and funding candidates to run against establishment republicans, that's something that's going to be very difficult for the establishment republicans to stop unless they can cut off the spigot of funding to steve bannon, to cut off his ability to run a broadcast on sirius xm, cut off his ability to run breitbart news. this is a guy who has a lot of tools, he said when he got out of the white house he wanted his tools again. he's got them now. he's not backing down. his argument is roy moore would have won if mitch mcconnell and the senate republicans hadn't backed out at him. senate republicans would say roy moore, if he hadn't run, they would still have that seat.
>> the candidates steve bannon may put forward, and the idea you can't suppress an idea or a movement if that's what does is. that's tougher to keep down. >> sure. the dynamics here are a little bit different, because the republicans will actually be playing defense in 2018 in the house. in the senate, there are not a lot of races to worry about. yes, they just lost one of their members, but you're looking at, you know, safe seats for them or seats where they actually have some advantages, in places like missouri for example. and they are really looking ahead to what's next for the party. you know, what will happen to, you know, 2020 senate raises. in the house raises, yes, bannon could field some primary candidates in a few of these. but you're already seeing that
sort of wing of the republican party has dramatically reshaped this party. that's one of the reasons why john boehner left as speaker, because that wing of the party that, you know, yes, in 2010, christina o'donnell cost the republicans a senate seat. but a lot of republicans were able to make their way to congress with a certain tea party mantra, very antiestablishment, very challenging of authority, and kind of the status quo in washington, and they really did have an impact. eric cantor lost his seat as house majority leader in part because of this movement. bannon is the figurehead of it. and, you know, jonathan is exactly right, when you look at cutting off the money, that will have a very big impact. but you also have to silence that voice. the republicans have been able to quell people like ted cruz who they don't love in the senate, and has a certain voice representing a group of people and a small number of allies, he was able to effect a government
shutdown several years ago. they've found ways to control this. mitch mcconnell, definitely it is hard to bet against him when it comes to political complains, but look at rand paul. that is not the republican that mitch mcconnell wanted to be his colleague in kentucky and he's made it work, even though he lost that battle. >> i could easily devote the hour to this one discussion, in one topic. our thanks to cries tina and jonathan for joining us to talk politics tonight. current and fascinating stuff. coming up, a trump nominee for a lifetime appointment to a federal bench goes before a friendly senator and it didn't go well. the confrontation heard around the legal world, when we come back. >> have you ever tried a jury trial? >> i have not. >> civil? >> no. >> criminal? >> no. >> bench? >> no. >> state or federal court?
we're going to deliver. we're going to deliver. we're going to get the best people in the world. you know, we have the greatest business people in the world. we don't use them. we want experts. our finest people. we don't want people who are b level, c level, d level. >> he may have mentioned the high quality people he was going to bring into government. this week, however, another judicial nominee stumbled on the road to confirmation. president trump nominated that gentleman, matthew peterson, who currently serves on the federal election commission. in fact he served with don mcgahn who is now white house
lawyer. he was nominated for a lifetime appointment on the federal bench, u.s. district court for the district of columbia. in his hearing on monday, peterson struggled with some straightforward questioning, friendly fire, really, from louisiana republican senator john kennedy, who was a lawyer, as you'll see, before he entered politics. >> have you ever tried a jury trial? >> i have not. >> civil? >> no. >> criminal? >> no. >> bench? >> no. >> state or federal court? >> i have not. >> as a trial judge you obviously are going to have witnesses. >> yes. >> can you tell me what the daubert standard is? >> umm, senator kennedy, i don't have that readily at my disposal. but i would be happy to take a closer look at that. >> okay. >> that is not something that i've had to contend with.
>> just for the record, do you know what a motion in limine is? >> i probably would not be able to give you a good definition here at the table. >> it went on like that for a couple of minutes. the white house said, quote, it's no surprise the president's opponents keep trying to extract from the record setting success the president has had on judicial nominations which includes a supreme court justice and 12 outstanding circuit judges in his first year. for comparison, president obama got three confirmed his first year. with us to talk about all of it, danny cevallos, a criminal defense attorney and msnbc legal analyst. for the record, this gentleman is a product of uva law school, same place robert mueller went, first class institution in this country, you're lucky to be able to go there, to be accepted there.
how much of what will he talked about were lawyering answers. >> some of what he said were acceptable. not trying a case, i mean, yes, this is district court, this is the trial court in the federal system opinion trial experience is very important, more important than it would be on the apellet court. even the american bar association takes the position, if you haven't tried a case. perhaps if you have other substantial impressive legal background. it can overcome or compensate for that lack of trial experience. >> not knowing this extension. these aress sew terik returns, it really doesn't come up in day to day practice. the unforgivables, brian, here they are, not knowing what a motion in liminea is, it's a
motion in every trial. what is it is in the name itself. if you know a little bit of latin it will get there. had it helps sharpen the issues before trial. you get rid of the stuff that doesn't matter. number two on acceptable is the daubert standard. a judge acts as the gatekeeper in the federal system and determines whether or not the expert science is reliable. it's this standard that would prevent me from introducing an expert in the field of astrology. astrology is not a hard reliable science. >> i heard an ardent trump supporter say about this nominee i'm sure he's a nice person ap at that moment i knew his chances were dusted. i am reminded you can serve on the supreme court and not be a
lawyer you won't get confirmed, it's possible. there are judges and there are judges. it's possible to be a good lawyer and perhaps a good thinking judge and not know all of this day to day courtroom stuff? >> not the motion in liminae. there are plenty of people who go to top tier law schools, they clerk, and then end up at a top law firm, and spend most of their career there, and be brilliant legal minds, possibly never having tried a case. in that sense it is forgivable. in fairness again to the nominee, some of those questions, the series of questions a lot of them were the same question, have you tried a case, no. have you tried a civil case, no. the answer is no. it's pretty clear, he seized on that, he got him. he hadn't tried a case, we know
that. that can be overcome. the other thing that bothers me is this, if you are about to be nominated for a federal district court position, which is so prestigious. >> are you about to say brush up on the law? >> you may pull those dusty tombs off the bookshelf, flip them open and look at some things that might come up, compare this interrogation to the justice gorsuch or some of the others that over the years, no matter your politics, they command, they show an incredible knowledge of legal philosophy. >> and they aced the exam. thank you very much for stopping by. >> something new coming up that we learned today about a chapter in the life of a man in the news. robert mueller coming up in the closing moments of the 11th hour. (victoria vo) when i was twelve,
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defense wins championships. -well, it does. -right? why is the door open? are we trying to air condition the whole neighborhood? at least i bundled home and auto on an internet website, progressive.com. progressive can't save you from becoming your parents, but we can save you money when you bundle home and auto. i mean, why would i replace this? it's not broken. one last thing before we go tonight. so much talk about robert muell mueller, the man is still something of an enigma. we see the same file video of mueller in that same hallway, always impeccably combed and dress, little else. one proud chapter of mueller's past was highlighted today by a member of the armed forces visiting the u.s. army range r
hall of fame. mr. mueller served with the third marine division in vietnam. second lieutenant mueller with complete disregard for his own safety, personally led a fire team across the fire swept terrain to recover a mortally wounded marine, who had fallen forward of the friendly lines. for this action, lieutenant mueller earned the bronze star for valor, he later earned a purple heart with the second battalion of the fourth marine regiment. he graduated from ranger school. class 2-69. perhaps it's a reminder that he doesn't scare easily 37. that is a portion of the story of robert mueller. fast forward to today. special council.
that's our broadcast for tonight. thank you so much for being here as we come to a close for this week. good night from nbc headquarters here in new york. i'm craig melvin. george clooney is the first and only person to be nominated in six different oscar categories. and he's co founded a billion dollar business. his true passion may be his work as a global humanitarian. headlines takes a look at the hollywood star and human rights activist. twice named the sexiest man alive. >> when george enters a room, you know it. everybody turns, the room lights up. >> one of the country's most outspoken stars. >> i mean, we have a demagogue