tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC October 16, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
instead. if governor walker wins reelection, his ex-running mate says he won't accept his old job back, but, yeah, nobody really understands what's happened here. like i said, i don't get it, but you should know what's happening. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. >> thank you. the president of the united states is making headlines in two new wide ranging interviews, offering new claims about his former personal attorney who is cooperating with federal prosecutors and giving his take on the mid terms which are now just 21 days away. but the most startling statement in an interview with the associated press was the president's new defense of saudi arabia's government, as more evidence emerges on the alleged killing of a washington post journalist. for days, the president has been parroting the kingdom's denial ands floating theories that rogue killers murdered jamal khashoggi inside the saudi consulate in istanbul. tonight president trump going even further, telling the associated press this about the
now widespread condemnation of the saudis. quote, i think we have to find out what happened first. here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. i don't like that. we just went through that with justice kavanaugh, and he was innocent all the way as far as i'm concerned. so, the president of the united states is now telling the world that he views an alleged murder and potential dismemberment of a u.s. resident and washington post journalist the way he views allegations against brett kavanaugh. allegations that he repeatedly questioned and tried to undermine. that statement capped off a day when the president seemed to repeat the saudi government's versions of events. he tweeted this afternoon, just spoke with the crown prince of saudi arabia, who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their turkish consulate. he was with secretary of state mike pompeo during the call and told me he's already started and will rapidly expand a full and complete investigation into the matter. answers will be forthcoming shortly.
we're still waiting for those answers. and in a taped interview with fox business tonight, the president said this. >> it depends whether or not the king or the crown prince knew about it, in my opinion. number one, what happened. but whether or not they knew about it. if they knew about it, that would be bad. don't forget, saudi arabia is our partner. they're our ally against iran and against missiles and against what they're doing, trying to take over the middle east. i can only say, i've gun here for almost two years. they've been a great ally to me, to me. they're investing tremendous amounts of money, they're fighting terror. >> and tonight new evidence is calling into question the saudi denials that president trump seems ready to believe. turkey has released passport photos of seven men who they say were part of a saudi team involved in killing jamal khashoggi. "the new york times" reported tonight one of the suspects identified by turkey was a frequent companion of the crown prince. he was seen disembarking from airplanes with him in paris and madrid, and photographed standing guard during visits
this year to houston, boston, and the united nations. that's not the only "the new york times" reporting that could be a direct link between khashoggi's killing and the saudi crown prince that donald trump is defending. "the new york times" adds, three others are linked to the saudi crown prince's security detail. and there's this. a 5th is a forensic doctor who holds senior positions in the saudi interior ministry and medical establishment of such stature that he could only be directed by a high-ranking saudi authority. turkey's president also gave new details about what forensic investigators are finding inside the consulate. he said they are looking into, quote, toxic materials inside the consulate and the possibility of those materials being removed by painting them over. remember, a cleaning crew went into the consulate before turkish authorities could go in to investigate. now, as the questions mount, president trump's secretary of state was in saudi arabia today, though questions remain as to whether he was there in an effort to get answers on jamal
khashoggi or to help the saudis craft a palatable response to growing global condemnation. mike pompeo met with the crown prince muhammad bin salman what appeared to be less than a riot act and more cozy. at a photo op with the crown prince they thought would take on a tone. they joked about jet lag. after their closed door meeting, secretary pompeo released a statement that again reiterated saudi arabia's denials and said without offering any detail, that saudi leaders have a, quote, serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, including accountability for saudi arabia's senior leaders or senior officials. fyi, that doesn't actually ever happen. there is no senior -- there is no accountability for saudi arabia's senior leaders or officials. that is just a fact of the way saudi arabia runs. joining us now jennifer ruben opinion writer at washington post and msnbc contributor. richard stengel, former secretary of state in the obama administration, now an msnbc
political analyst. and josh letterman, national political reporter for nbc news who has been getting us so much of this information. let's start with you, josh. what new news do we have out of saudi arabia tonight? we do know that the turks have released these passports of seven men. >> that's right, ali. the turkish officials released to nbc news scans of the biopage of seven of the saudi citizens that they say were part of this hit team allegedly sent by the saudis to istanbul to perform some type of an operation involving mr. khashoggi that led to his death. so, these are the scans of that part of your passport where it has your photo and it has your name. all your identifying information like your date of birth. it matches up with names that were included in a list of alleged saudi hit team members that was published last week in a turkish pro-government newspaper. so really, the reason we're
seeing the turks rush to provide as much evidence as possible publicly, ali, is that they want to make the case as strong as possible in the public that something really screwed up happened here, something that the saudis need to answer for before the saudis come out with what we know is going to be a new explanation in which they're going to accept some type of culpability. they see the comments coming from people like president trump, seeming to accept this notion that, well, maybe something went wrong, but crown prince muhammad bin salman was not involved. saudi leadership wasn't culpable and the turks trying to provide as much evidence now so that the case there's nothing to see here becomes harder and harder for the saudis to make. >> richard, this is sounding like a case where there is nothing to see here, or at least that's what the saudis would like people to think. a crew of expert hit people somehow made it into the saudi consulate in istanbul, which is one of the mode spied upon surveilled cities in the world, without the knowledge of muhammad bin salman.
you have met muhammad bin salman. he is the crown prince of saudi arabia. the putative leader there. it would be inconceivable that something -- a high-level hit of a critic of saudi arabia would take place without the knowledge of the leadership of saudi arabia. >> yes, although, alley, i wish the turks would release the information that they have and i hope they're giving it to u.s. intelligence services. in the case of muhammad bin salman who i met in riyadh in 2016, the saudis have put all their eggs in his basket. he's consolidated power. he's basically the future of saudi arabia. he has been a reformer. actually, when i met with him, he talked about letting women drive and opening movie theaters. but he's also done some really awful things. in fact, we're talking about the murder of one man here. but even tonight, the ap reported there's 120 million people potentially suffering from famine in yemen, a campaign that he has led. so, the fact that it's taken just this thing to marshal evidence against muhammad bin salman is a shame.
>> some of the criticisms you've made are similar to the criticisms jamal khashoggi has made. he wasn't the harshest critic of saudi arabia. >> i read the columns. on the one hand, mbs is doing some good stuff. on the other hand i wish he'd be a true progressive. part of the problem of autocrats is they are very thin skinned. in his case you have the case of absolute power corrupting absolutely. >> one can wonder why donald trump is sympathetic to him, jennifer ruben. it's very strange. we have all sorts of people, republicans, democrats being critical of the fact that the white house seems to be floating theories that the saudis would like to put out there to see how they'll go over and have the least amount of consequence for the saudis. why is the president of the united states doing the bidding of the saudis in washington to try to clean up their reputation around what has happened to
jamal khashoggi? >> that is one of the mysteries that people are trying to figure out. it may be simply be that like other poet potentates, he's buttering them up and saying they are his friends. he says they've been really good to him. so perhaps as benign, although foolish as that, another explanation could clearly be that he has financial ties there, and this is the problem with a president who has retained his business holdings, who still owns hotels in which the saudis drop a quarter of a million dollars at a time in his hotels. he's bragged in the past about his relationship with the saudis. we know his son-in-law jared kushner is very tight with the saudis. so there may be a financial reason. we don't know because, of course, the republicans won't exercise any oversight in congress. it may also be that he is
confused by his own poorly crafted foreign policy which has really -- partly cloudy about putting all the eggs of the basket, all the eggs in the saudis and gotten so little for it. we have so invested without really any return on our indulgence of the saudis, that now we are deathly afraid that mbs goes under or if our relationships are strained, we won't have any allies in our fight against iran. because, of course, we have offended our european allies so we don't have them any more. i think it's some combination of all of those or perhaps some other figure, but what he is saying is now beyond preposterous. the notion as your other guest said, these people could get on a plane, that a highly respected forensic doctor could accompany them, that they would go into the saudi consulate, that figures -- >> with a bone saw. you can't walk into most consulates with a sharp pin and somebody goes in with a bone saw.
>> and then be able to return back to saudi arabia with assurance that they were not in any kind of legal trouble, legal peril just defies credulity. seeing mike pompeo with the grin on his face is stomach turning. >> in your role as former under secretary of state and former managing editor of time magazine, you understand the difficulty america and most western countries get themselves into with countries that don't conform into what we look at as human rights or press freedoms. i want to look what the what donald trump said on fox why he wouldn't punish them if he found out they were culpable. >> i want to be smart. i don't want to give up a $110 billion order, whatever it is. it's the largest order ever given by an outside country, okay? i don't want to give that up. you're talking about jobs.
what i'm doing, we've created an incredible economy. i want boeing and i want lockheed and i want raytheon to take those orders and to hire lots of people to make that incredible equipment. >> i get it, but it's complicated. you're looking at jobs here at home and a lot of money for american companies versus what certainly seems as pretty atrocious. now, we don't know everything, but i mean, these are decisions that you face as president. >> let's hope we hear the proper answer. >> okay. a lot of things in there. first of all, this $110 billion order he did say whatever it is, because the saudis are known to not necessarily order everything they put on the memorandum of understanding. we understand them to be the biggest buyer of u.s. military equipment. the president now for the second time this week invoking boeing, lockheed or raytheon. they would buy it from the chinese or russians if they didn't buy did from us. the saudis have long bought
equipment from the united states. you can't switch out parts. that argument, ahead of finding out what's going on, sending the message, i don't care what we find out what the saudis do, we do business with them. >> yes. we've never had a purely transactional foreign policy the way donald trump does. i was in saudi arabia with secretary kerry. yes, we did sell munitions to them, but we also talked to them about human rights and women's rights and not repressing the freedom of their own people with the weapons we were selling them. donald trump is like the chinese in that respect. we're going to leave well enough alone. by the way, as you know, the saudis always build up what they say they're buying. they're not buying 110. by the way, they don't want russian missiles and they don't want chinese missiles. they want american missiles. also trump is such a poor negotiator, he gave that away even before anything else. he could have said, look, let's look at this and see what happens. instead he says it's off the table. >> josh, let's talk about the business relationship between the united states and saudi arabia. there is a massive investment
conference scheduled a few days from now. dozens of major business leaders have pulled out. some like richard branson, or william morris on dever said they're putting hundreds ever millions of dollars of deals on hold with the saudis. we're waiting to confirm that maybe the head of the imf christine lagarde is not attending. she's been under a lot of pressure. as of now we think steve mnuchin is still going. all of this underscores the degree to which the world gets rich off of saudi arabia and saudi arabia gets rich off the world and that comes in the way of condemning a possible human rights violation. >> it also illustrates why we are seeing the saudis have reversal on this. you know, we have been talking to saudi officials and saudi sources who say the kingdom is used to human rights criticisms. they're used to being seen as somewhat of an outcast in the global stage. they're not really that concerned with their reputation when it comes to a lot of those
peripheral issues. but really, pulling out of this huge business conference, the economic ties, that is hitting saudi arabia where it hurts. and particularly for crown prince muhammad bin salman, his entire leadership is predicated on this vision 2030, this new economic plan for saudi arabia to try to diversify its economy beyond fossil fuels, really become a modern country that trades and has foreign investment. and when you see foreign businesses pulling out of saudi arabia at this alarming of a rate and signaling that they don't feel like they can continue to do business with a government that operates this way, that is really sending up flares for the saudi government. and our sources tell us that's the reason that the saudis are now saying, okay, we're going to change our tune. we are going to have to admit some culpability here, that this journalist did not enter the consulate and then shortly after leave, but that something went wrong here. that's why they're doing this massive clean-up operation,
those economic ties they're concerned about. >> continued reporting on this, rick stengel and jennifer rubin as well as. coming up they cut a trillion dollars in taxes. now the government says it doesn't have enough money for programs for the middle class and the elderly and poor. he said if republicans lose in november, it's not his fault. the same? that's why capital one is building something completely different. capital one cafés. welcoming places with people here to help you, not sell you. with savings and checking accounts with no fees or minimums. that are easy to open from right here or anywhere in 5 minutes. no smoke. no mirrors. this is banking reimagined. what's in your wallet? you may have gum disease and could be on a journey to much worse. try parodontax toothpaste.
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they're our ally against iran and against missiles and against what they're doing, trying to take over the middle east. and, by the way, since i'm here, not succeeding. they're heading down the tubes if you look at what's going on. so, saudi arabia -- and they have -- i can only say -- i've been here for almost two years -- they've been a great ally, to me. >> president trump had a lot to say about saudi arabia today including this to the associated press. i think we need to find out what happened first. here we go again, you know, we're guilty until proven innocent. i don't like that. we just went through that with justice kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as i'm concerned. joining us is congressman eric swalwell member of the house intelligence and judiciary committee. congressman, thank you for being with us. >> you, too, allie, thank you for having me back. >> i spoke to a number of members of congress this week where they have invoked the global magnitsky acts saying there is a violation of human rights violation in saudi arabia and the president is going to have to take some action. he is going around and talking to everyone he can talk to to
say how great the saudis are to us, notwithstanding the fact that he said he has no business ties to them himself which isn't entirely true. what does congress need to press the president on with respect to saudi arabia? >> well, ali, saudi arabia may be a kingdom, but we are not helpless to have the president talk to them about their conduct and this journalist. in addition to magnitsky, we can also, you know, press the president to have the fbi formally work with our partners in the region to understand truly what happened where i don't think we're getting anywhere near the truth on this. also, we could put a demand in place that the saudis produce this journalist's body, you know, the family certainly deserves to have his remains immediately, or sanctions would be put in place. and also a new congress, i think, and a democratic majority could understand the full breadth of the president's
financial entanglements with the saudis. he has had decades where they invested in his businesses, bailed him out of bankruptcy, and he's boasted about it in the past and we should know if that has been a factor in his decision making. >> that is fascinating that he tweeted out this morning, in fact, blending together with me, that he has no business interest with saudi arabia. he has decades of business interest with saudi arabia. in 1991, he was bailed out by selling a yacht in 1995 the saudi government -- this wasn't just a prince associated with the saudi government. the saudi government purchased an entire floor of trump global tower across from the united nations for 4 1/2 million dollars. in 2001 he was bailed out by a crown -- by a prince who was close to -- related to the saudi royal house for $325 million. and in the last couple of years, we know that sales at his hotels have increased because of saudis who have been staying at them in order to lobby the government in their interest. these are the kinds of things
that you would want congress to investigate. >> and i have written legislation, ali, that would tighten up the emoluments clause. the courts are allowing a lawsuit senator blumenthal have brought forward and i and other plaintiffs to go forward. i have legislation that would prevent the president and the vice-president or anyone in their family from benefiting financially at all during their tenure in the white house, from any foreign national investment. so there's a lot we can do. also, ali, let me say, i thought over the last 48 hours that maybe the president was parroting the saudis. >> right. >> but now that i start to listen to the president's defense, i wonder if they are parroting him, because -- >> right. >> they are sounding a lot like what he said about the trump tower meeting. he didn't know the meeting took place. and so it sounds like this is just kind of his strategy of deny, deny, deny, and he's projecting that onto the saudis. >> i want to show you and our audience a couple other things i mentioned about trump hotels. there's been a $275,000 increase
in revenue at trump's d.c. hotel thanks to the saudis. in new york, a 13% increase in rental revenue. in chicago a 169% increase in bookings, all thanks to the saudis. in 2015, president trump bragged about receiving saudi money for his apartments. let's listen to that. >> saudi arabia and i get along great with all of them. they buy apartments from me, they spend 40 million, 50 million. am i supposed to dislike them? i like them very much. >> congressman, you and i have talked about the emoluments clause for different reasons as it relates to the russian interference investigation. this is sort of what the emoluments clause was about. don't take things of value from foreign countries so that you're not compromised when you actually have to take a position those foreign countries have done that are not in your interest. >> our founders envisioned this problem long before it presented itself here.
we broke away from the british, the french helped us. they wanted to make sure we were not loyal to other countries because they were investing in us. and also, ali, the president went over to saudi arabia. it was his first foreign visit, you know, and then this bizarre blockade happened right after he left where the saudis and u.a.e., the emirates blocked qatar from going into saudi arabia. and the president bizarrely supported this, despite our largest base being over in the middle east in qatar. and so there are a lot of strange connections between the president and the saudi government that i think a new congress could understand and untangle. >> and a lot of strange things relating to financing on buildings with the president and the president's family where he was or wasn't getting it from other governments. stuff that you're going to look into. i know you really want to look into particularly if the democrats take the house in november is the president's views on the mueller investigation. this is what he said to fox last
night. >> our justice department and fbi played right into the hands with this stupid investigation or whatever you call it. people said, not under investigation. i'm not a target of this investigation, which nobody ever likes to say. but it played right into their hands, because if they want to -- they use the word sow chaos. they got it for nothing. they didn't do anything. they got it for nothing. we did it to ourselves. the house, devin nunes, everybody, came out with a ruling there was no collusion. >> what happens if the democrats win in november with respect to that discussion? >> we protect the mueller investigation. we fill in the gaps where the republicans buried the evidence on the house intelligence committee. you know, we don't just do things to dance in the end zone and do things. we do things to be productive and tell the american people the wearness they need so that an adversary like russia or any other country can't do this again. and hopefully, unlike what happened in the last two years,
we do this with bipartisan buy-in because my republican colleagues will see so many of their friends have lost their seats for not being willing to stand up to the president. >> congressman good to see you as always. >> thank you. >> congressman eric swalwell. coming up the government says they need to cut benefits to the elderly and the poor after cutting taxes for the wealthy. the election is a referendum on him, unless, of course, republicans lose and then it's not his fault. ♪ not long ago, ronda started here. and then, more jobs began to appear. these techs in a lab. this builder in a hardhat... ...the welders and electricians who do all of that. the diner staffed up 'cause they all needed lunch. teachers... doctors... jobs grew a bunch. what started with one job spread all around. because each job in energy creates many more in this town. energy lives here. the full value oft wyour new car?
billion in fiscal year 2018. trump's first full year as president, first fiscal year as president. that's a 17% increase from 2017. it's the highest the deficit has been in six years. the deficit now stands at $779 billion, and the deficit, of course, is the difference between what the government takes in and what it spends. today senate majority leader mitch mcconnell tried to claim that this steep increase is due to the social safety net. >> it's very disturbing and it's driven by the three big entitlement programs that are very popular. medicare, social security and medicaid. >> but the data points elsewhere. one of the biggest contributing factors to this deficit spike, the gop tax cuts. according to treasury data, tax revenues from corporate returns dropped 31% in the fiscal year 2018, compared to the same period last year, which would be strange because companies are making more money than they have
made before. congress knocked off more than a trillion dollars worth of forecasted tax revenue and boosted government spending at the same time. it stands in stark contrast to the promises from trump officials and from congressional republicans before the tax cuts passed. >> not only will this tax plan pay for itself, but it will pay down debt. >> i'm confident this is not only revenue neutral to the government, but actually is very likely to be a revenue producer. >> we're right there in the sweet spot with economic growth it gives us more revenue, we're where we need to be. >> the problem may get worse. as bloomberg notes, the forecast spending will outweigh revenue by $973 billion in the fiscal year 2019 and more than $1 trillion the following year. that would be the first time the deficit exceeds $1 trillion since 2012 when the economy was still recovering from the great recession. joining us now are austin goolsbee, former chairman of the economic advisors forz president obama. he's currently professor of economics at the university of chicago. bruce bart let also joins me, economist and former assistant
deputy of the treasury under george h.w. bush. he's the author of the book "the truth matters." bruce, you and i sat at this table that i'm at and discussed the fact that these republican tax cuts are not going to result in the growth that the president kept claiming they would to make up for this deficit. any thinking person with some economics background could have looked at these tax cuts and said, you're going to get yourself into a bigger deficit. we are where we expected to be. it shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody. >> well, that's exactly right. i think it is important to understand that every single republican who commented on this issue a year ago and said revenues would rise, or that they would not fall, i'm talking about paul ryan, mitch mcconnell, steve mnuchin, they were all lying. they're liars. they knew that they were lying when they said those things, and they wanted revenues to fall because they wanted the deficit to rise because they --
>> why, why is that? why would i republican want the deficit to rise? >> because what they really want to do is cut entitlement programs. they want to cut those programs that mitch mcconnell talked about. social security, medicare, medicaid. and they understand they are very politically popular. they can only be cut when there is a deficit so large that people are frightened, and they feel, we have no choice. and that has been their goal for 40 years. >> austin goolsbee, research poll has a 12-point support for gop tax cuts. 52% are strongly or somewhat oppose the tax cuts, while 40% strongly or somewhat support it. examine in a gallop poll from last week, it shows two-thirds of people polled have not seen an increase in take home pay from the gop tax cuts. here's the thing. i've sat here and spoken to kevin hassett at the white house
who said the average american is going to see a $4,000 increase from these tax cuts. i could never get that math to work. i don't think you could either. >> that's not math. of course the math didn't work because it's not math. #where's my $4,000? >> right. >> of course wages didn't go up $4,000. of course the tax plan is unpopular because people are looking at it. what happened? they cut taxes by $2 trillion for high-income people and large corporations. and lo and behold, we lost $2 trillion. examine now to act as though, ah, well, who could have thought by cutting these taxes the deficit would grow, we have to go cut security. i'm telling you, if they attempt to cut social security, they're going to be run out of town in a land slide. >> in 2011, when president obama
was attacking spending, this is what paul ryan and mitch mcconnell had to say about it then, bruce. listen to this. >> he doubles the debt after his term in office and triples it by the end of his budget. he sends our debt on an upward trajectory that is completely unsustainable. >> what's reckless, bob, is the $1.6 trillion deficit we're running this year. >> now, bruce, the reason i bring this up is because we have all argued, maybe you've never been on the side of the argument that said deficits are a good thing. we've seen deficits following every war that we've been in in america, and some recessions where the government has introduced stimulus spending. we last saw it after the most recent, the great recession. so, it's not -- some people don't have a universal view about debts and deficits, that sometimes they're useful and sometimes they're not. it does seem that consistently as you said, the last 40 years, republicans are consistently running deficits when they are
not in control of the levers. and when they are in control of the levers, they seem to have far fewer problems with t. >> well, that's exactly right. remember back to the end of the clinton administration when we had budget surpluses. >> surpluses. >> and we had surpluses because of legislation that raised taxes, that every republican voted against. and then when the surplus emerged, they tried to take credit for it. and george w. bush inherited those surpluses, and the very first thing he did was have a big tax cut. and then another big tax cut. and then another big tax cut. if we had kept taxes and spending on automatic pilot from january 2001, by the end of the bush administration, we would have paid off the national debt. so basically republicans, they just make up these lies about the deficit. they love the deficit. that is the truth of the matter because that is what gives them
the political wherewithal to cut spending, which is what they really care about. and only spending that helps people. they want to increase spending for the military and so the truth is they love deficits. >> austin, what happens next? because bruce is right. we're getting to a point where conservative orthodox i says if you're running up deficits, you're going to have to cut. we know that there are great difficulties in cutting what we call entitlement spending, social security, medicaid, medicare. we know we're not seeing any cuts to the military, so we'll start to see programs cut that are easy to cut first. but mitch mcconnell has already sounded the drums about cutting into entitlement programs. if americans don't support this tax plan as it is, are they going to get on board with that? >> no, of course, they're not going to get on board with it. i tell you what's going to happen. two things are going to happen. one has already started. the republican party has not learned anything from this episode of tax cutting, blowing
up the deficit. they've already proposed what they're calling tax reform 2.0, which is another multi trillion dollar tax cut for high-income people in big corporations. and the second thing you're going to see start to happen is they're going to try to cut entitlements. and when it becomes how obvious it is unpopular, they're going to try blame it on democrats. you've seen them in the midterm elections here about health care and obamacare. the republicans trying to claim that they're the ones trying to protect the ban on using preexisting conditions, and that they're trying to extend health care to all americans when they have actually been trying to repeal obamacare and get rid of those. >> guys, thanks for helping me analyze this. austin goolsbee, bruce bart let. coming up next, president trump is on a swing of wild interviews he's not to blame for any republican losses and michael cohen was lying under
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with exactly three weeks left until election day, president trump is already trying to avoid accountability for any gop losses. in an interview with the associated press trump told reporter he will not accept blame if democrats retake the house of representatives. he made a point of telling the a.p. that he was not on the ballot this year and claimed that some voters have told him they weren't going to vote in the mid terms simply because he's not running.
it is true that president trump will not officially be on the ballot in november, but despite his attempt to distance himself from any political potential bad outcome for his party, trump has spent the better part of this campaign season explicitly telling gop voters that this election is all about him. >> i want to give a victory speech on the evening of election day, which is coming up very quickly. a vote for morris is a vote for me. a vote for marcia is really a vote for me. and a vote for cindy is a vote for me. and a vote for steve is a vote for me. remember this, a vote for david is a vote for me and our agenda to make america great again. i'm not on the ballot, but in a certain way i'm on the ballot, so please go out and vote. >> so, it's all about me. until it doesn't workout and then it's got nothing to do with
me. trump happens been spreading that message on the campaign trail. some vulnerable republican incumbents spr been tried to get out from under trump. take david brat locked in a tight reelection battle against former cia operative abigail span berger. they faced offer in a debate where the gop candidate made barely any mention of donald trump, focusing instead on another washington figure. >> a voted for my opponent would be a vote for the nancy pelosi liberal agenda. nancy pelosi, nancy pelosi, nancy pelosi. nancy pelosi. nancy pelosi. pelosi. nancy pelosi. >> that was ten times. he went on to mention the democratic minority leader another 15 times. here was his opponent's closing response. >> i question again whether congressman brett knows which democrat, in fact, he's running against. i am not nancy pelosi.
and i am not president barack obama. i am a woman who grew up in henraiko county who grew up in this community who was taught service, hard work, and a commitment to the belief that the american people can be anything. i want to serve this community. it's the community that made me who i am. and i ask for your vote on november 6th. abigail span berger is my name. >> well, with republicans trying to shift the focus away from trump and toward the democrats and trump trying to shift blame away from himself, what can we expect to see on election day three weeks from tonight? and perhaps more importantly, whose fault will it be? my panel will help me answer those questions next. a once-in-five hundred year storm should happen every five hundred years, right? fact is, there have been twenty-six in the last decade. allstate is adapting. with drones to assess home damage sooner. and if a flying object damages your car, you can snap a photo and get your claim processed in hours,
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through internet essentials, comcast has connected more than six-million low-income people to low-cost, high-speed internet at home. i'm trying to do some homework here. so they're ready for anything. we're exactly three weeks away from midterm elections. in an interview tonight with the associated press, president trump said he would not take the blame for any republican midterm losses. but when republicans took back the democratic controlled senate in 2014, here's who donald trump placed the blame on. >> to a large extent it was because obama is so unpopular and doing such a poor job. i think it's really a dislike for the president. people don't respect what's happening >> all right. joining us now, ron clayton, former chief of staff to joe biden and al gore and senior aid to president obama. jennifer ruben is back with us as well. jennifer, this is unusual for the president. he takes credit for everything,
and now he's suggesting as he i guess reads the tea leaves that it's possible that congress shifts power over to the democrats on november 6th. it's not about him. >> yeah, well, i guess we're not going to have that red wave he's been promising. this seems to be preplanting the idea that, in fact, they're going to lose at least one house. but i will agree with him in this regard. it's not totally his fault if they lose. the lion's share of the blame really goes to paul ryan and mitch mcconnell who decided they were going to become professional sycophants. they were going to indulge him, enable him, they were not going to do their job in terms of oversight and constitutional responsibilities and voter turnouts don't like that. they want a check on the president. so if they lose and lose big a big part of the blame has to be put at their feet. >> let's look three weekends out, ron. a congressional ballot survey of women voters say that 59% of them will vote democrat, 37% will vote republican.
women voters, minority voters, there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm about them. but take a look at white women voters who do not have a college degree. the republicans still have a plurality there. 49% to 43% for the democrats. tell me how you think this plays out. >> look, i mean, i think there's a long way to go here with three weeks left to go and anything can happen. but you do see all the signs of a big democratic victory particularly in the house. and trump may not be on the ballot. jennifer is right about the republican leadership. but people are going to go vote. democrats and i understand -- independents are going to vote. if he gets a republican congress two more years, that congress will work with trump to finish dismantling preexisting conditions, take apart people's health care, explode the deficit more than they have. come after social security and medicare as you are you were talking about earlier tonight, ali.
the combination of two more years of republicans in congress, two more years of donald trump is scary combination for many voters, understandably so. you'll see a big turnout of voters who care about that this full. >> jennifer, you and i have had occasion to talk about women and how they may react to donald trump. here's what he said about women voters tonight on fox. >> i had worse poll numbers when i went into the last election and you saw how well i did with women. i mean, if you look at my poll numbers going into 2016, you would have said there is not a woman in the country that's going to vote for me. and i did phenomenal with women. i did -- in fact, i was one of the reasons probably the reason i won in a true sense. >> so, jennifer, this is a little bit of donald trump's slight of hand. he keeps on saying it so it must be true. he didn't do phenomenal with women. he's still not doing phenomenally with women. >> yeah, he lost women. he keeps saying he won women, but that's white women because apparently he doesn't consider white women to be voters or people. that's pretty indicative of how
he thinks about things. i do think that as much as we have talked about women voters, i think there is a lack of appreciation, frankly, for just how angry and how energized women voters are. we see it among groups that, frankly, the president did pretty well with during the election. married women, white women, college-educated white women in particular are off the charts now in opposition to him. i think that enthusiasm and that anger is going to drive them to the polls, and on a day like this where he's back insulting women's appearances as he was, where he's back spouting a bunch of nonsense, it just reminds every woman how much they detest this guy. i think if there are big victories, the democratic party is going to have to owe a big debt of gratitude toward american women. >> there is something good that's come of the last couple years, and that is the degree to which so many more women are involved very directly in the political process as candidates.
this is going to be an historic election regardless of the outcome. in fact, there is a political ad from the serve america pack for female candidates running for offices here. let's just listen to that. >> before i announced my candidacy for congress, i chose to serve my country. >> i bled on foreign soil for people to have the right to vote. >> this is the first time i've run for office. >> i have never run for political office before. >> i started realizing maybe i should run myself. >> let's go, let's do this. >> come november 6, i will continue serving the people of michigan, new jersey, the people of texas. i will continue to serve the united states of america. are you ready to serve america? >> we're on a movement that took steam right after the president's election with marches across the country has actually manifested into women who have not been involved in politics in many cases, have run for races in statewide offices across the country.
>> that's right, ali. women have been nominated in congress, 16% more than the record. this is the first preliminary party in history to have a majority of its congressional candidates not be of white men. a third of the candidates are people of color. many of these candidates are exceptional people. you have a woman candidate who won the distinguished cross of valor for flying in combat situations, women in the aviation hall of fame. it is astonishingly talented group of candidates who are not men. that's going to be a change in this election. >> it's going to be a historic night. thank you for being here. tonight's "last word" is next. when we switched to geico. this is how it made me feel. it was like that feeling when you're mowing the lawn on a sunny day... ...and without even trying, you end up with one last strip
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[ cheers and applause ] that's tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. donald trump takes some wild swings at several targets in a new oval office interview. one of the reporters who took part standing by to talk to us live. and how many times have you heard this before? the president of the united states today called an adult film star "horse face" sparking a social media war that is also a huge distraction from the unraveling cakhashoggi murder a possible cover-up from the saudis with the president complaining again tonight the saudis are guilty until proven innocent, which he compares to kavanaugh. and he goes on to accuse his one-time personal lawyer michael cohen of lying about having been told to break the law by donald trump. all of it as "the 11th hour" gets