tv Meet the Press MSNBC May 27, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
this sunday the north korea summit. first it was off. >> i believe that this is a tremendous setback for north korea and, indeed, a setback for the world. >> but now talks are under way and it looks like it may be back on again. >> it's moving along very nicely. we're looking at june 12th in singapore. that hasn't changed. >> why both sides are working so hard to make this summit happen. i'll talk to the former director for asian affairs at the national security council,
victor cha. plus, weapons of mass distraction. president trump accuses democrats of campaign espionage. >> a lot of people are saying they have spies in my campaign. >> but offers no proof. >> i hope it's not so because if it is, there's never been anything like it in the history of our country. >> while rudy giuliani says truth is relative and robert mueller's team may have a different version of the truth than we do. my guests this morning senator jeff flake of arizona who attacked the president and also congress for failing to respond to president trump. and patriot games -- nfl owners vote to fine teams whose players kneel during the national
anthem. who gets to define who is patriotic. joining me are nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell, "washington post" columnist eugene robinson, amy walter, national editor of "the cook political report" and matthew continetti of "the free beacon." welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." the longest running show in television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. good sunday morning and a happy memorial day weekend wherever you are. we have two big stories we're following this morning. first north korea. when president trump released his letter canceling the planned summit with kim jong-un earlier this week it was clear he did so with some regret. the president wrote, i felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me. some day i look very much forward to meeting you. well, now it appears they might meet after all. here was mr. trump last night. >> it's moving along very nicely, so we're looking at june 12th in singapore. that hasn't changed. and it's moving along pretty well, so we'll see what happens.
>> and after kim met unexpectedly yesterday with president moon of south korea, north korean media reported kim had a, quote, fixed will for a historic summit. we're going to get to the north korea story in a moment. we're going to begin with president trump's -- the other big story with him, his weapons of mass distraction. the president and his allies spent much of this week trying to make the case the fbi planted a spy in the trump campaign. while we learned there was no evidence for this charge, here's what we were not focused on while debating that charge. we weren't focused on this story about another trump tower meeting in 2016 between donald trump jr., an emissary who offered to help the trump campaign. and then there was this story that got overshadowed donald trump jr. may have lied to congress about those new contacts. then there was this story that got overshadowed that a russian oligarch met 11 days before the
presidential inauguration. and then this story that president trump's ally, roger stone, sought dirt on hillary clinton from wikileaks founder julian assange during the campaign. all of these potential bombshell stories could have dominated the week, but they were overshadowed as president trump showed once again how skilled he is in shaping a false narrative to his advantage. >> we now call it spygate. you're calling it spygate. >> reporter: perhaps fearing mueller is closing in, the president is applying a well-worn practical playbook. number one, distract with an invented crisis that attacks the investigators without evidence to plant a seed of doubt. claim -- president obama wire tapped trump tower. >> there's no evidence of that. >> i have not seen any evidence of this. >> let's see whether or not i prove it. i just don't choose to do it right now. >> reporter: this week's claim -- an fbi confidential informant who collected information on trump campaign aides after suspecting russian interference in the campaign is bigger than watergate. number two, brand the crisis. according to the associated press mr. trump wants to brand the fbi's confidential informant a spy, believing the nor nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public. the president used some version of the word spy 24 times in 15 tweets over ten days. he wasn't alone. >> now you're saying that there could have been an fbi spy? >> the fbi may have had a spy -- >> i'm shocked to hear that they
put a spy in the campaign. >> a lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. spygate. >> spygate. >> if, in fact, this occurred, it could be one of the biggest scandals in history. >> reporter: all without evidence. >> all you have to do is look at the basics and you'll see. >> reporter: number three -- if accused of wrongdoing, use the "i'm rubber, you're glue" defense pinning anything you're accused of on your opponents. >> the only collusion is the democrats colluded with the russians and the democrats colluded with lots of other people. take a look at the intelligence agencies. >> whatever the left accuses you of doing, they're doing
themselves. >> reporter: finally, number four -- if still caught with irrefutable facts closing in, assert that all facts are relative anyway. the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani, told "the washington post" on wednesday he's concerned that mr. trump will perjure himself if he grants an interview to robert mueller because, quote, truth is relative. they may have a different version of the truth than we do. joining me now from phoenix is senator jeff flake of arizona. senator flake, welcome back to "meet the press." >> thanks for having me on. >> before i get to the question of whether truth is relative, and i'm sure you have a strong opinion about that, i want to start with north korea, the overnight developments here. the president indicating the summit is likely back on. let me ask you this, while we've had this debate about is it going to happen, is it not going to happen, are you any clearer in understanding what the summit's about?
what are we negotiating? what's on the table and what isn't? >> well, a lot of us have been skeptical north korea will ever agree to total denuclearization. i think they believe they're in the position they're in kind of as a nuclear peer with us because of their nuclear weapons. they obviously see the libya situation as something they don't want to get into. so i think many of us question whether they're going to get there. let me say a freeze would be better than we've had before. so there's nothing wrong with saying, hey, they may not denuclearize, but we can have a better situation than we currently have. but i do think that a lot of people are questioning where exactly we are. i hope that along with the summit, and i hope it still happens, that there's a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on. and that's a real question right now. >> you're okay if the president
is negotiating phasing out -- if did you nuclearization is more of a long-term goal, if, for instance, north korea says we'd lick to have deal more like pakistan. is something like that more comfortable -- i say more comfortable -- obviously denuclearization would be the most comfortable, but is that something you could live with? >> i think that we're going to have to live with that. i think the north koreans realize that total denuclearization on their part is not in their national interests. that's how they see it. i don't think the rest of us see it that way. that's how they see it. so i do think that a freeze or something short of total denuclearization is certainly
better than the situation that we have right now where we had an escalating situation. north korea was continuing to test, and that's not good for anyone. >> there's been some speculation that china's involvement suddenly in their own talks with kim jong-un and the trade talks have all sort of gotten thrown into this. do you believe this whole controversy over the chinese telecon company zte is part of the on again/off again aspect of the summit? >> it may well be. we don't know completely. we don't have a window into that. but it sounds as if zte is certainly part of a broader conversation, and that's the way the president sees it and i
think that's okay with the president. some of us in congress are questioning that, however. i think if china did involve themselves in espionage, commercial espionage, which i think they have, then they ought to be punished and we can't simply put that aside in order to have china's cooperation on other issues. >> i know senator rubio very strongly is against any deal that gives zte any new access to american vendors or the united states in any form. >> yes, i'm with senator rubio on that. >> let me move to the president this week and the idea that truth is relative. you had quite the commencement address to harvard law school. let me actually play an excerpt from it and ask you exactly what you're calling for on the other side. take a listen. >> how did we arrive at such a
moment of great peril wherein the president of the united states publicly threatens on "fox and friends," historians will note, to interfere in the administration of justice and seems to think that the office confers on him the ability to decide who and what gets investigated and who and what does not. obviously ordering investigations is not a legitimate use of presidential power. >> well, do you believe he's abusing his power? and, if you do, when does that -- when does that get to the point where you think congress needs to do something about it including potentially looking at impeachment? >> well, let me just compliment the congress in the last couple of days. the president had this diversion tactic, obviously, with so-called spy gate.
i don't think any of us were referring to it in that way. the congress, republicans in congress, said no. to have a briefing like the president wanted with just one party was not right. and so it wasn't just some of the democrats saying that wasn't proper. a lot of republicans were saying that as well. so i saw the kind of pushback that we need to have. but it needs to happen more often. when the president says things that are just totally wrong, it's the responsibility of members of congress, particularly those in the president's party, to stand up and say that is not right. truth is not relative. and there are no alternative facts here. i have seen instances where we haven't done that well, and we have to do it better. >> it seems as if -- you and i have had a lot of discussions in the last year, it seems as if you've gotten more alarmed while many of your colleagues publicly act less alarmed, particularly your colleagues on the republican side of the aisle. is that the way it is behind the scenes, too, or is this just public posture also the private posture? >> i can tell you behind the scenes there is a lot of alarm. there is concern that the president is laying the groundwork to move on bob mueller or rosenstein. and if that were to happen, obviously that would cause a constitutional crisis. there is concern behind the scenes. i've been concerned that we haven't spoken up loudly enough and told the president you simply can't go there. and he's obviously probing the
edges, as much as he can, to see how far congress will go. and we have to push back harder than we have. >> why do you think they've been hesitant? is it, frankly, your experience watching you, watching the republican response to you? >> sure. this is the president's party, and if you're running in a primary right now and you stand up to the president or stand up in some cases for empirical truth, then you have trouble in primaries. that's no doubt. so i do think that as we get through the primary season perhaps, then many of my colleagues will find a voice. but right now it's difficult politically. >> let me ask you a question about hometown politics. vice president pence had some kind words for somebody that wants to replace you in the senate, former sheriff joe arpaio. here it is. >> a great friend of this president, a tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law. he spent a lifetime in law enforce many, sheriff joe arpaio. i'm honored to have you here. >> what did you make of vice president pence's kind words for joe arpaio? >> vice president pence is a kind man. his words reflect that. having said that, there aren't many people in arizona who look to joe arpaio as a paragon of the rule of law or virtue in
this sense. so i think it was unfortunate because we need the rule of law. that's not what we had under joe arpaio, under his time as sheriff of maricopa county. the voters turned him out by double digits. i just don't think that it's proper to refer to him in that way. >> all right, senator jeff flake, republican from arizona, i'm going to leave it there, senator. one quick thing -- one quick thing -- have you ruled out running for president? >> it's not in my plan, but i have not ruled anything out. i do hope somebody runs on the republican side other than the president. if nothing else simply to remind republicans what conservatism is and what republicans have traditionally stood for. >> and if you ran, would you only run as a republican? >> i think so. i can't imagine doing anything else. >> fair enough. senator flake, now i will really leave it there. senator, thanks very much for coming on and sharing your views. much appreciated. >> thank you. >> you've got it. panelists here, "washington post" columnist eugene robinson, amy walters, matthew continetti and nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. i want to go -- we're going to
get to north korea in the next segment. let's focus on the president this week. amy walter, look at the headline that says trump is making progress, trump's war of attrition bears fruit. >> and that's the key word among republicans or key words. he has done a very good job in terms of getting republicans on to the same page that he's on, but it's very asymmetrical, not just because democrats are very much against what the president is saying but the intensity behind the support for the president has never been as solid as the opposition to the president, right? when "the wall street journal"/nbc poll asks strongly approve or disapprove, they have been twice as big as the strongly approve. so this idea that he has the republican party behind him, yes, but he does not have the solid support of the party behind him and this is where it's going to get tested. the 2018 elections. obviously 2020 as well.
it worked to win a presidential election very narrowly. but now this intensity opposing him is that much stronger. >> what do you make of this, matthew? >> i think for the president his political position seems secure right now. if you look at the clear politics, his approval rating is rising to the mid-40s. if you look at the generic ballot, the average is closing. now within a space where republicans might feel more confident even about keeping the house. so from his point of view the russia story is working out. the reason is he's able to turn it into a tale of two swamps. for mueller we hear about the swamp of lobbying, of access, of foreign involvement in american politics. but from trump and the administration and his allies, it's now become a tale about the swamp of permanent washington. the bureaucracy. and trump, of course, always found a great base of support among conservatives and republicans by being the agent of disruption against that permanent bureaucracy. >> eugene, here is what david brooks writes.
every day he produces great geysers of fantasy, system rip the fabric and some tug it. obama had my wires tapped. the dangerous thing about the fantasy world is not when it dissolves into nothing. it's when he seduces the rest of us to move into it. >> yeah. and, you know, the key phrase in that passage to me is every day. because it's constant. it's every single day. so it's not -- it's not a matter of seducing everybody into that world. it's just he creates more of that world every day. and everyone reacts to it, and they don't react favorably necessarily, but even reacting against it is participating in it. and so there's this parallel trump reality that he creates that really does distract us from, you know, reality as we know it. >> is jeff flake a man on an island, by the way? >> yes, very much so. i think to eugene's point, the president has an enormous megaphone through social media and through the distraction that you so expertly cataloged at the beginning of the program.
and the fact is that every single day, every moment of every single day, we in the media and the american people by consuming all of this are not focusing on one thing for an extended period of time, and he does it so expertly, and the white house media machine and the president's own instincts here, we had the wonderful return of a mormon missionary who had been in jail with his wife in venezuela in a hideous situation for two years. it's a great moment. they came right to the oval office for a photo opportunity on saturday night so the president was embracing this as i was at andrews air force base when the korean detainees arrived at 4:00 in the morning. they don't go to bethesda naval or ramstein to be debriefed and treated medically immediately, they're paraded, if you will.
>> so what would happen, though, if we didn't cover all of the tweets? it goes to the point there is a whole lot going on and he does very well because all of this gets covered. it becomes this circular squad. if we were talking about the things other people were talking about outside of washington, this panel would look very different. >> we're going to have that other conversation. we'll talk about the nfl later in the show, which more people are probably debating this morning. >> gas prices averaging over $3. >> this is the trip we and the press corps are in. there's an existential threat to the presidency. there's an existential threat to the presidency. that's a big story. and yet trump's taking
advantage. >> he has changed the norms. >> i think one advantage he's had is for a while now we've had a lot -- we haven't had a big bombshell in the russia investigation. >> no new indictments. >> we're still waiting for the big bombshell that may reset in a way that disadvantages trump. >> how long ago was it michael cohen's office was raided? our expectation -- >> that was an eternity ago in trump's washington. >> that was only two months ago. go read "the final days." there were big moments and two months later a big moment and that seems fast. >> and he has branded it a witch-hunt, and that is what has taken hold if you look at any kind of polling, not only with the base. and now spygate is another branding attempt. people will believe there is a spy embedded in the trump campaign. there is no evidence of that. >> chips away. >> people refer to it with virtual posts -- >> you are reinforcing it. >> that's a point we made at the very beginning about it's republicans who really are buying into this and not others.
remember when bill clinton was fighting against ken starr, they were making similar claims about witch-hunt and this is inappropriate but the president's approval rating was 60%. this president's approval rating, while it has been going up, is still in the 40s. when we come back, will there be a summit with north korea after all? it seems like the two leaders want one. why the u.s., north, and south korea all want to see the summit happen. we'll get into that after the break. some moments from commencement addresses across the country starting with president trump and vice president pence. >> think big, dream bigger, push further, sail faster, fly higher, and never, ever stop reaching for greatness. >> to leave heroes, you must be a hero. to lead them, you must be worthy of them. heroes, you must be a hero.
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oh hi sweetie, i just want to show you something. xfinity mobile: find my phone. [ phone rings ] look at you. this tech stuff is easy. [ whirring sound ] you want a cookie? it's a drone! i know. find your phone easily with the xfinity voice remote. one more way comcast is working to fit into your life, not the other way around. welcome back. there may indeed be a u.s./north korea summit. president trump said talks are moving along very nicely.
and the leaders of north and south korea met sounding hopeful. joining us to talk about why the on again/off again summit may be back on is victor cha from the national security council, was in line to be president trump's first pick to be ambassador to south korea. mr. cha, welcome to "meet the press." >> thanks. >> let me ask you this, why is there uncertainty around this summit, and are we almost too focused on if it's going to happen and not focused enough on the substance? >> so the uncertainty, chuck, is largely because we're dealing with north korea. andrea and i went to north korea ten years ago, and we had the same problem. we had no information before we went. we had no itinerary. you can imagine when you're sending the president 10,000 miles to singapore, there's got to be a lot negotiated. that's why it's been on again/off again. in terms of the substance, we're all focused on the roller coaster. in terms of the substance, the key issue is are they going to give up their nuclear weapons? i think, unfortunately, the answer is no. do they want a peace treaty, the
north koreans? absolutely. they want a peace treaty because it validates them, ensures trump won't attack because we're worried about an attack last year and means money. not that the united states will give money to north korea, but we are the primary obstacles in the world bank, the imf where the north koreans want money. >> who's the obstacle of this summit? is it china? is it john bolton? or are these not obstacles, just people trying to get their -- trying to slow things down a little bit? >> i think, frankly, that's all noise on the side. in the end the issue that seems to be holding this up is, frankly, just logistics. the fact joe hagan is going to singapore to engage in meeting, he's the key person for organizing the logistics of a summit but not the policy. those are other people. i don't think they're engaging right now with the north koreans in real policy deliverables that we should expect to come out of singapore. >> andrea, it does seem the time line -- and both you and matthew noted this this week that when
kim jong-un went to china, it happened simultaneously with the trade talks. >> exactly. >> all of this seems related. >> i think it is related. i think china wants to slow it down. they're not at the table. victor and i have talked about this and other experts. the fact is there is a momentum towards this happening. kim wants it badly. moon jae-in wants it and needs it, the south korean president. and president trump wants it. he sees this, i think, as a legacy where he is making history and he certainly would be. i think it is very likely on and on for june 12th if you noted the president tweeted angrily against "the new york times" quoting a senior official whom we all know was a national security official. >> the white house insisted you couldn't quote by name. >> 200 people were on the call. there were 50 people in the room. he said -- this was thursday -- he said, june 12th is ten
minutes from now. we can't get it all together by then. and then the president was tweeting that this was a lie, this was a "new york times" lie which, of course, it wasn't. the president wants it to be as scheduled in singapore june 12th. and i think to victor's point, the dysfunction on the national security side is pretty profound. you've got bolton, pompeo, who is heavily invested in this now despite his hard line positions, mattis really wants it. he does not want military engagement. and they have to figure out the policy side. i think it will happen as a photo opportunity if nothing else. >> matthew? >> i do think we can't overlook china's role in all of this. >> yes. >> the second meeting between kim and jinping took place around the time the three hostages were released, which was a sign of progress and de-escalation. ever since that meeting, up to this past week, the north koreans became much more belligerent in their tone, much more insistent they would not be giving up the weapons at all,
and then began attacking bolton and, of course, vice president pence in addition to being nonresponsive. so trump has this tendency to want to personalize relationships between states. at the end of the day he always kind of runs up against the wall there are power dynamics that may prevent a settlement in north korea. also, i'm not sure that the north koreans needed chinese encouragement to be sort of estreperous, fundamentally are they going to denuclearize? and i am extremely uncomfortable about that. people know more about north korea than i do. i can't figure out why they would agree to doing that having great cost and effort, purchase what they see as an insurance policy for the regime and a way to project power and authority in the region. are they just going to give that up at any price? i'm very skeptical.
>> i guess the other question, too, whether the president can claim victory regardless of whether you have denuclearization. it's the one area the president thus far has gotten some bipartisan support. americans say he should meet with kim jong-un. that would alone be a victory, a victory to get the three hostages. >> i think verification will be -- let's say the summit takes place and there's a lot of pomp and circumstance and it is a moment of history, how would you ever verify -- negotiate first and verify denuclearization? there's reporting this week they have another secret site underground. >> of course they do. >> this would make the iran nuclear deal verification with eyes on from international inspectors laughably more complicated. >> to a quick point eugene made, 56 years ago the north koreans started landscaping the area where they built this nuclear program. and on december 12th of last year they said we've accomplished what we wanted.
so flthree months later they're all of a sudden going to give it up? it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. >> victor, what does china want? do they want a peaceful korean peninsula that is two countries, or are they going to -- or are they willing to stand aside for a united korean peninsula in the long run? >> how much time do we have? >> 30 seconds. no. >> of course they want stability on the korean peninsula. china has border disputes with everyone around them. they need the north korean border to be secure. most likely that would be someone that is still allied with the united states. i think andrea's exactly right. there's been some hesitance on the part of the north koreans after the second meeting with xi because the chinese want a seat at the table. they don't want trump and kim talking about peace without the chinese at the table. for all these reasons we've seen a slowdown.
>> are the chinese at the table now? >> they're still not at the table yet this summit going forward, kim says he wants the stadium mitt to happen so it will happen. >> i think china will eventually be at the table. >> i agree. >> all right, guys. victor cha, good to see you. thanks for being our expert here. we'll get into the nfl in a moment. when we come back, the midterms -- there's a lot going on -- and the big wave that may be coming in november. it's a different kind of wave. first, we continue our look at commencement address moments. here's hillary clinton and john lewis. >> this is a moment to reach across divides of race, class, and politics to try to see the world through the eyes of people very different from ourselves. >> you're never too young or too old to lead, to speak up, to
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office, they're winning primaries. it's a big gender wave that may be coming. and they'll be on the ballot in november in big numbers. >> i couldn't be more honored and more humbled to be standing here tonight as your nominee. >> no one is unseen. no one is unheard. and no one is uninspired. >> these are the states so far that have held primaries this election cycle. not that many yet. and we're already going to see at least one all-female senate race in nebraska and another one possible in arizona. four women have won nominations for governors races. let's focus on the battle for control of the house of representatives. so far 72 women have won major party nominations for congress in 66 districts. yes, that means in six cases it will be two women facing off against each other in november. so we have 62 democrats and 10 republicans among those current 72 nominees. historically these are huge numbers. in fact, compare this to the last two elections, in the same states you had 36 women who won primaries in 2014, 41 is in
2016 -- as you see these 2018 numbers simply blow those two election cycles away. many of these women are not career politicians. in fact, 45 of the 72 nominees so far have never run for public office before. they've held jobs like nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and several are veterans. and they've won their nominations in all kinds of districts, urban and rural, high and low income, diverse and less so. if these candidates win, they really could remake the look of the house. and here's why. in 51 of these districts, the person who currently holds the seat is a man. suggesting the potential for a huge shift in the gender makeup of congress. but how likely is that? well, our friends at the cook political report do only rate 15 of these 51 districts held by a man as competitive. even if most of these nominees don't win in november, the fact that so many women from so many different backgrounds and places have entered the political arena could mean the following, that things are changing even beyond
2018. after all, quite a few current members of congress had to lose once in order to learn how to win later. the consequence of all of this is that the house of representatives, the people's house, might actually look like the people at least as far as the gender divide is concerned, that it's supposed to represent. when we come back, the nfl's controversial decision prohibiting players from kneeling during the national anthem. did the league just solve a problem or create a brand-new one? and, once again, we have moments from commencement addresses this month. here is one from oprah winfrey and another one from a very familiar face. >> be curious. do not presume to know who you might become because you never finish becoming. >> vote! pay attention to what the people who claim to represent you are over the last 24 hours, you finished preparing him for college. in 24 hours, you'll send him off thinking you've done
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back now with panel, and i want to talk about the nfl decision this week. the players may not take a knee during the national anthem and teams will be fined if they do. here was president trump's reaction to the move. >> i don't think people should be staying in locker rooms but it's good. you have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn't be playing. you shouldn't be there. maybe you shouldn't be in the
country. >> okay. the players association head said this, history has taught us patriotism and protest are like water. if the force is strong enough it cannot be suppressed. a rule that people who hate autocracies. where is this going? >> it could reach the courts between the players association and the owners over this. the players why not consulted. i don't believe rank and file players will take kindly to this decision. but basically the owners decided they did not want to be harangued by the president of the united states every week. they were worried about their white, working class audience basically, that they feared responding to the president's demagoguery -- that's the only thing to call it -- on this issue. and so they sought to do this. this doesn't end the story.
i think this intensifies it and it's going to set the stage for more conflict. >> two competing conservative arguments. david french represents one part of it. this isn't a middle ground as the nfl claims. it's not a compromise. it's backed up with a promise of corporate punishment. it's every bit as oppressive as the campus or corporate attacks on expression that conservatives rightly decry. in the national review where david french works, kyle smith writes, is this corporate censorship? yes. does it bother me? no. the nfl would sanction any player who insulted the fans with a middle finger. it would be entirely proper. >> you see the range of debate on the free speech issue. conservatives in recent years have adopted free speech as an issue particularly on campus. and so as david french is pointing out if you are a free speech radical, which i am not, you have to apply is in every sphere of life.
the element that's missing in a lot of these discussions is the fans. the nfl was facing basically the flight of its fan base as fallout from the protest. and the other thing i would just point out, these protests began as racial justice movement but once trump intervened in august, they became an anti-trump movement. >> on the day they announce it, you get the video, the body cam footage, andrea, of an nba player, sterling brown, in milwaukee showing over a parking dispute, he got tased. >> the hypocrisy is so profound. take a look at any nfl stadium and people are getting hot dogs, people are getting beers. they're not standing and saluting the anthem for a large part. they're not. they're distracted. they're fans at an event. the fact the players do not have this freedom of speech and no one is thinking of colin kaepernick who has lost his
entire career over this issue, who has been basically blackballed and can't be hired, is just outrageous. and the original -- let's get back to the original principles which are the fact mostly people of color, mostly male, are facing abuse by many law enforcement agencies around this country and in a way that has led to death, that has led to hideous examples. >> amy, so both gene and matthew brought up the business decision. this is where it's awkward. this is african-americans in the nfl, nearly 70% of all players are african-american. 7 of 32 head coaches. not a single owner who is african-american. at the same time it's my understanding they did do a poll of their fans and their white fan base is obviously much larger than their fan base of color. >> that's right. >> but then that creates racial toxic tension. it seems to be a no-win situation.
>> for whom? for the nfl or the players? >> if they're trying to make a business decision here. >> that's right. it is, though, and i think matthew got it correctly, i don't think this was an issue until trump made it an issue. i don't think americans were sitting around thinking this is what's dividing this country so desperately the fact the nfl players are taking a knee or not showing up to salute the anthem. the president is taking it as one more opportunity to divide an already divided country, and it has worked in the past. the question is, is it enough to work this time? and right now he looks at his crowd and he says, they're supportive of me, but is that going to be enough when you have as many people on the other side now saying i'm against this not because of the free speech, not because of the issues about police interactions with african-americans but because trump's for it. >> the nfl owners really did have to pick their poison. this comes at a time when
football as an enterprise is in trouble. it's in trouble because of the concussion issue. parents are not letting their kids play football. there's this whole the wind is blowing against football. so they're going to lose people over this on the other side. they just are. >> all right, guys, we didn't solve any problems but we certainly pointed a lot out. when we come back it's end game time a. very prominent baby boomer explains how his generation broke america. author steven brill joins me next. memorial day isn't just a three-day week. it's a time to honor those who died defending this country. here are some recent scenes from around washington.
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have welcomed in more people of color, people from varying backgrounds, ethnicities. based on the applicant's own merits rather than who their parents were. the idea was to level the playing field and create more opportunity and economic equality. and it has. but a new book argues that good idea, that one good idea, has created some unintended consequence. it is a called tail spin. the people and forces behind america's 50 year fall and those fighting to reverse it by author steven brill. welcome back to "meet the press," sir. >> thank you. >> you write this as someone who wrote this unwittingly -- >> i was a beneficiary. >> let's go, explain the meritocracy that's been created. >> meritocracy was happening at the same time that the baby boomers were creating the so-called knowledge economy, which sounds like a great thing, the knowledge economy. but what happened was that all of these people from ivy league
schools went off to law schools like i did, like yale and harvard, and their knowledge economy was legal engineering and financial engineering. it was stock buy backs and corporate take over fights. and they created the legal precedent for the arbitration clauses that are keeping the middle class out of the courts when they have a job discrimination claim. >> right. >> or, you know, a consumer rights claim. so, the knowledge economy typically ended up with liberal lawyers who were coming out of liberal law schools going to liberal law firms and doing the legal engineering that caused all the discontent that we have of the middle class today. the paul weiss law firm in new york, a notable bastian of democrats, they did the legal engineering for the j.p. stevens company when they figured out
how to fight unions. >> is this the harshness of darwinism, okay, it became survival of the smartest and survival of the hardest working. >> still is 0 today. >> right. the door was opened for many people. >> exactly right. >> what about the people left behind? are they not capable of doing it? >> what we usually have had in this country, and what any country needs in order to be balanced and to survive, is a balance where there are guardrails that are put on all of the overachievers so they can't do too much in terms of the legal rights they assert, the financial rights they assert. and that got lost in this country because these people were so smart that they ran all over that stuff. >> there is another aspect of this you talk about, sort of the changing definition of the first amendment. and you actually essentially make the connection, if ralph nader got us citizens united, which right now he's watching
and going you're blaming me for citizens united? >> he wouldn't say, he told me that was the biggest boomer an of all time. they fought for the right of discount drugstores to advertise their discount prices. and the supreme court said, well, you know, now that you mention it, the first amendment is for listeners as well as it is for speakers because we listeners, we benefit from hearing all these arguments. and if we're going to do that, we shouldn't discriminate on the basis of who the speaker is. so, if the speaker happens to be a corporation, why should we care? >> and in a sense that becomes the argument for citizens united -- >> it becomes the argument for drug companies to evade regulations with regard to how they label their drugs. >> so, what are the solutions here? i mean, for instance, do we need a new type of affirmative action for socioeconomic that looks out
more in a socioeconomic scale rather than looking at it from any other way? what's the answer? is there a solution? >> the answer is in this book because then it's not a theoretical answer. there are people in all the spheres that i write about that are fighting the tailspin, that are doing things. whether it's legal analysts who are, you know, fighting the first amendment definition that has evolved, the people who are fighting for campaign finance reform, people who are fighting for labor law reform. and, you know, they are coming up with real solutions. there is a guy who has taken a zip effect in queens and turned it into the kind of job retraining program that we haven't had in this country for all the billions of dollars we've spent on attempting to do that, and we have failed miserably. and frankly, the media has ignored how we have failed doing that. >> is it fair to say that this
is the selfishness of the baby boomers in some ways, that the baby boomers weren't looking out for any generation other than them sneflz they were the leadership class that created a lot of this? >> yes, it is fair to say there has to be a balance between high achievement and me achieving everything i can, and me worrying about the common good. and we haven't had that kind of leadership. and my theory is that things have now gotten so bad in terms of the common good that there is going to be a reaction and things are going to snap back. >> it is a very thoughtful book. it's called tailspin. congratulations on it. it's tough to read in a negative sense sometimes, but you actually provide some solutions in there, too. congratulations. >> thanks. >> appreciate it. before we go, a quick programming note. here in washington we're all pretty excited that we actually have a team that might win a championship, the washington capitals are in the stanley cup finals. you can see game one of the caps versus vegas golden knights, yes, that is a team, tomorrow on nbc our network. we're excited. lord stanley, we want 0 see that
cup in washington. that's it, 8:00 tomorrow night. that's all we have today. enjoy your long weekend and keep those soldiers in your hearts and minds. we'll leave you with more scenes of arlington national cemetery. and we'll be back next week. if it's sunday it's "meet the press." >> you can see more end game and post game sponsored by boeing on the met the pre"meet the press" facebook page. you totaled your brand new car. nobody's hurt, but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do? drive three-quarters of a car? now if you had liberty mutual new car replacement™, you'd get your whole car back. i guess they don't want you driving around on three wheels.
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♪ ♪ welcome to "kasie d.c." i'm kasie hunt. we are live every sunday from washington from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. eastern. tonight, plans for a north korea summit hit a snag. as an initial coin offering from the white house falls flat. plus, my exclusive conversation with senator james lankford. we talk about the president's insistence his campaign was spied on and we learn the senator is working secretly behind closed doors with a bipartisan group to resolve daca. but first, we are trying to answer a simple question. will the president actually be able to have a summit on june 12th with north korean leader kim jong-un after he abruptly