tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC December 3, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
in state until wednesday. there the public will get its first opportunity to say their final farewells. set to be a historic hour. and we're going to bring you all of it when that ceremony begins. but first we want to bring you the latest news in the mueller investigation. the president spent part of the day tweeting anger ly about michael cohen who pleaded guilty to plying to congress. specifically lying about the plans to build a trump tower in moscow. trump is calling for cohen to serve a full and complete sentence while praising roger stone, his adviser. trump says stone has guts for saying he'll never testify against the president. the last time we saw the president tweet this much and this indignantly around the mueller investigation was one week ago right before two enormous headlines involving the investigation broke. we are expecting more details to come out this week from
mueller's investigation into cohen, paul manafort, as well as michael flynn. of course, his former national security adviser. let's get to the white house briefing room where hans nickels joins me now. hans, these tweets clearly seem to indicate that something is going on behind the scenes. what else do we know? >> well, we know that there are general messages. the president tries to frame this debate. there may be specific messages. is there a message not to roger stone, not to cooperate in holding out the possibility of a pardon? and he seems to be getting more attenuated with his tweets. attacking bob mueller. here's what the president was saying earlier this morning. bob mueller who is a much different man than many people think in his out of control band of angry democrats, don't want the truth. they only want lies. the truth is very, very bad for their mission. you know, last week some of these tweets made sense in the
context that the president had just wrapped up his written responses to the bob mueller investigation on what he knew and what his contacts were. it's hard to put these into context right now when we only know really one side of the story. so we always have to sort of graft what the president is saying is what's actually happening behind the scenes with the lawyers, with the president's legal advisers and what they're telling him and try to extrapolate how he's trying to shape this conversation. >> hans, do -- is there any indication that what the president has said in the tweets might be improper on its face. the president of the united states talking about the legal ramifications for these two people? >> if you read twitter, there's a lot of suggestions that they're improper. whether or not that's sound legal advice on just what is appropriate for the president of the united states to talk about in an ongoing investigation, we have broken through the sound barrier on this. so many things this president does are unorthodox. whether or not they're appropriate or not, i think that's a different conversation,
but they are clearly different when you look at past presidents when they so obviously wanted to draw a line and not talk about any ongoing investigations. let alone investigations that were centered potentially on individual one. in this case, the president of the united states. so it's unorthodox, and it's clear that it's something new. >> hans, walk us through a little bit of what we're expecting in the mueller investigation this week. we could get more information about some of the criminal acts from a host of the players in this drama. correct? >> look. i think the main thing to look for this week is what we hear from the former fbi director jim comey when he testifies on capitol hill. a transcript will be released. that was the news over the weekend. this idea of how would that transcript or how would that conversation become public? i believe that's scheduled for friday. a lot of things have been thrown into flux and rightfully so because of funeral preparations. i think that's the one i'm looking for.
and of course we want to see what is happening with sentencings of individuals, namely paul manafort. if you remember, it was the president's campaign manager or as the president says, just someone casually involved with my campaign. >> indeed. only the chairman and the head of the republican national convention. hans, thank you very much as always, sir. i want to bring in now stenny hoyer. he's going to resume his post as house majority leader come january. of course, as democrats -- >> otherwise known as happy days are here. i'm not sure how happy they're going to be, but they're here again. >> i'm old enough to remember when you had the positions before. thank you for being here. >> good to be here. >> let's pick up where we left off with hans and i'll ask you about plans for the mueller investigation. is there anything democrats can
do to protect the special counsel, especially with mitch mcconnell refusing to bring up that bill in the senate? >> we can pass that bill. it's essentially the house bill as well. it simply says that you can't fire mr. mueller without cause. and that a court can review that removal. for obvious reasons. this is an investigation that involves the administration, but it is on election sanctity. it's a very, very important probe to continue until we get to the bottom of the facts. and we can pass legislation. i hope mcconnell would put it on the floor. i think it has majority in the united states senate. it will be a majority in the house of representatives. i think we'll pass that relatively early. mr. nad ler wants to move that. he's going to be chairman of the judiciary committee. it's something we ought to do. i think the american public have the right and want the mueller
investigation to get at the bottom of what happened with russia trying to interfere in our elections. >> apparently capitol police driving their motorcycles around at high speed. apologize if they couldn't hear the last part of your answer. i want to ask you what we learned last week about michael cohen and the lies he told congress. there has been some debate here in the congress about how far democrats should go into looking into the activities and concerns about going too far. causing a backlash from voters. there's been talk about not wanting to move straight to impeachment. did that change your perspective? >> no. what the cohen plea did, however, was indicate that there's been a lot of lying and a lot of coverup. now, if you haven't done something wrong, you don't need to cover up. and so i said last week that this makes it even more important that the mueller investigation continue and get to the bottom. this is not about impeachment.
it is about the sanctity of democracy in america. when we vote, are those votes reflective of what our vote was intended to be? so we look at it from that perspective. i think mr. nadler does as well. and we think bob mueller has done an excellent job. first of all, at not leaking information. he wants to get to the facts, and before he gets to the facts. he doesn't say anything. we think that's appropriate and needs to continue until he's finished. >> let's talk for a second about the remaining weeks of this congress when you have to pass a bill to keep a large portion of the government up and running. and the president has demanded $5 billion for his border wall in the course of these negotiations. it sounds like this may be punted. have you made a decision as to how much longer the government may be kept open at this point? >> i think we're going to go until the 21st which is a
two-week -- >> merry christmas to all of us? >> yeah. hohoho. the grinch who stole christmas is the congress. it's a real shame. we funded about 70% of the government, as you know. we have about 30% left of the government to fund. that's included in seven bills. one is the department of homeland security. as i understand it from who is going to be chairman of the appropriations right now and the staff, essentially the senate and the house have reached agreement on almost every issue except the wall. >> except the boarder ball. >> and do you think the democrats should go along with some of the suggestions to give the money to the president over a wider period of time or in different ways, or is it a nonstarter? >> i think, frankly, it is our view that the spending of money on border walls according to so many experts is not the best way to make the borders secure. and as a result, we have been
opposed to that wall. of course, it's a wall that the president said throughout the campaign that the mexicans were going to pay for. that appears not to be the case. i think it was an unreasonable representation. but we don't really think the wall is good policy. this is not about the politics of border security. we're for border security. >> is it worth a shutdown? this negotiation? >> i don't know whether it's worth a shutdown, but apparently the president has been talking about shutdown now for about a month, and longer than that. >> you think we're going to shutdown? >> i don't know what the president is going to do. i would certainly hope given the fact that the congress essentially has agreement on all seven bills that the president if he doesn't get one thing he wants -- because many republicans are not for that money. i don't mean they wouldn't vote for it. i want to make that clear, but as a policy, so many republicans don't think it's a good idea. we'll see what happens. it's a shame that we might even
speculate about shutting down the government, because the fact is that the overwhelming number of congress, all the leadership, republican and democratic leadership have said shutting down the government is not something they want to do. >> and we all -- >> wouldn't it be ironic if we did it notwithstanding the fact that nobody wants to do it except perhaps the president. >> merry christmas from all of us. thank you for that rosy assessment. thank you for your time. i appreciate it. joining me now is washington post national political reporter robert costa, an msnbc political analyst. thank you for being here. it's great to see you. i want to go back to the topic we were talking to hans about. the president's tweets and what seems to be some angst about the robert mueller investigation. in the course of your reporting, what are you picking up both from the white house but also have republicans on the hill and how they look at the revelations over the last week and a half? >> republicans on the hill, as
you have been talking with the democratic incumbent majority leader is they're focussed on the shutdown and tradeworks. they know whenever they call up the white house, there's so much talk and anxiety about the special counsel investigation, and republicans on capitol hill, they're somewhat uncomfortable with the political warfare that president trump is already launching against mueller on twitter day in, day out. they want to be focussed on other issues already on edge about what happened in the midterm. >> let's talk about what the leader was just saying there about the possibility of a government shutdown. it seemed to me that leaders here on the hill seem to think the president may follow through on these threats and possibly veto some sort of spending package if he doesn't get what he wants. what's your sense? >> because of president bush's funeral this week and the whole tone of washington moving in a more bipartisan direction, at least for a few days -- >> bob, excuse me for one
second. we need to cut live to the floor of the senate where mitch mcconnell, the minority leader, is talking about george h.w. bush and remembering him. let's listen in. >>. >> with grace and kindness that seemed almost unbelievable, given all that he'd accomplished. during aviator, chief spy, wartime president. you'd think this must be a tough and gruffy guy. but it is the man's good cheer and generous spirit that stand out most of all in our national memory. he was a prolific handwriter of notes and letters. he freely changed his own plans to make life easier for his staff or for the secret service detail. i saw recently that some years after his presidency he couldn't even bring himself to simply turn down a reporter's request
for an interview without crafting a warm apologetic full page letter explaining his rationale. his decency and attentiveness to others was a credit to his upbringing. but it wasn't only habit. it was principle. this is a man who said this in his inaugural address. in our hearts we know what matters. we cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. we must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it. looking beyond the days' drama, issuing a deep moral challenge, george bush set the bar high, and his country listened because we saw him meet these standards himself. >> that, of course, leader mitch
mcconnell, the republican leader in the senate remembering george h.w. bush, a man of a very different time than the political era we are living in now. now, of course, it is time for msnbc's special coverage, remembering president george h.w. bush. i want to hand over to chris matthews, the host of hardball here on msnbc. chris. >> thank you, thank you. this is a live look right now as we await the arrival of the 41 st president of the united states from his home in houston, texas. the plane is expected to land momentarily at joint base andrews for his final trip to washington. the president's plane has been renamed for this occasion special air mission 41 in his honor. after the president arrives, he will be -- his body will be carried through the streets of washington for the public viewing at the rotunda of the capitol where he'll lie in state until wednesday morning.
let's go to tom costello at joint base andrews. john? >> chris, good afternoon to you. we're just minutes away from special air mission 41 touching down here at joint base andrews. when they arrive, president bush will be met by 115 members who serve on the ship that bear his name. 115 sailors from the u.s.s. george h.w. bush. that ship has set out but the sailors are here to honor him. in addition to the sailors, we'll have members of the army golden knights parachute team, and secret service members who were part of his protective detail will be here. we expect they will be playing "hail to the chief" as well as a 21 gun salute on the ground. as the casket is carried between the ranks of the honored guard and placed on the hearse, the
air force band will begin playing "my country tis of thee". this is what you would expect in the case of a president passing away. the last time we saw anything of this nature would be when president gerald r. ford passed away, but clearly today this city is topping to pay respects to president george h.w. bush. >> tom, tell me about the ship. what size ship is it? when was it commissioned? it's fascinating to me there is a ship still commissioned now that has the name of george h.w. bush. >> it's an aircraft carrier. it is obviously one of the bigger ships in the arsenal. what's fascinating, when you look at the young men and women here on the tarmac preparing to receive president bush, the young men and women are very young, and literally probably were not alive when george h.w. bush was president. and yet, they're here on the ramp. they're not yet at attention but will be soon preparing to
receive him. one other special person or guest, not a person, is the president's dog, sully. he is accompanying him from houston here to washington. sully is a golden lab that has been at his side to help him as he's really struggled with the effects of parkinson's disease. that dog, sully, was at the foot of the casket in houston overnight. spent the night there at president bush's casket, and once he arrives in washington, he will be given to the army medical center to help other veterans who need a service dog as they deal with the effects of their injuries and wounds. >> wow. i've got a friend named sully. he's got one too. thank you so much, tom. for more now on the president and his elegacy, i'm joined by
familiar face, general barry mcgaffe m mccaffery, a military analyst. and joe watkins, a former white house aide under george h.w. bush. also giancarlo pusuto. a personal aide to george h.w. bush after he left the white hou house. as well as kasie hunt. where are you? what is that spot? >> isn't it beautiful? this is the russell balcony. a slightly different view from one of the extra ones. the capitol is behind me and you see the column from the russell building. it's a beautiful day for george h.w. bush's last trip here to the capitol. >> i think we used to have to get senator ted kennedy's permission to use that spot, but it looks great. it really is. i thought it was one of the best beauty shots from the capitol. >> thank you. >> general mccaffery, the
military connection to this guy from the time he was 18. he put off going to yale. >> andover boy. >> he enlisted and went into combat? >> remember, just prior to the gulf war the pundits were saying it would be the bloodiest day in the history of the armed forces since normandy. many of us didn't buy that, but we were clearly at high anxiety levels. thanksgiving president bush shows up with barbara, the congressional leadership, and one of the first things he says to several thousand soldiers all lined up is in world war ii on thanksgiving day, i was flying a ground support mission in the philippines in support of your division. that division. >> wow. >> you know, that's great. and that was a touch of harry in the night going out there, meeting the soldiers like that. >> well, we understood that he was somebody that understood
warfare. he was going to preserve our lives if he could, and by the way, in the background was collin powell, wounded in vietnam, and others who knew what they were doing? >> what did you think of him holding the law where we got the coalition together in the basis of getting them out of kuwait? that was it? a lot of the people later on the hawkish side said we should have gone all the way. >> at the time i wanted to bounce across the euphrates river. we wanted to continue to fight until we eliminated their ground combat capabilities. in retrospect, it was the greater power of wisdom on his part and collin powell and secretary baker that we didn't get into the middle east war at
that time. >> they were on the run, the iraqi army. i remember reading an article by mike kelley. he wrote about how we were basically just gobbling them up. they were just on the run. they were like the turkish army race waeg from the arabs. >> they were actually among the largest armies and air forces on the face of the earth. modern technology. they could not deal with us. a 30-day air campaign terrorized them. four days. my division alone ran through 7 iraqi divisions. i thought we'd have a couple of thousand killed and wounded. light casualties. we had eight killed and 36 wounded. they literally came apart under the pounding we put out there. >> tell us about the term spookish used lovingly by people like you. you're the real spies and bush was really your leader. you told me over the weekend that he was so revered for the
way he led the agency. >> yeah. i was actually at cia today on another event, and they've moved his portrait from the wall which he has signed, over in front of a small bust of him, and people are putting flowers there. he was revered, i think for a lot of reasons, but it's not a lot of an exaggeration to say that he almost saved the cia. you'll remember, chris, that in the 70s, this was after water gate, there was no effective congressional oversight. a lot of things had come to light about the cia's behavior both in the united states and overseas. presidents had ordered them to do things that in those times seemed egregious. relations with congress were at an all time low. the public this was an institution that was harming the united states and so forth.
george h.w. bush came in thinking probably this was a political dead end for him. but bonded with the place. restored the relationship with congress. he did something like 50 congressional testimonies in the one year that he was director. his work with congress led to the creation of the oversight committees, and -- >> we're watching the plane land now. it's special mission 41. by the way, just to make the point, the cia building in langley is named after george h.w. bush. >> yes, it is. >> he as the aircraft carrier and the cia. >> let me bring in joe watkins. tell us about him personally. he seems to have tremendous love. that's the word for it from the military that served under him, the cia, the officials that served under him. and even the white house staff loved him from what i've been told. >> absolutely. i mean, we were -- we had total allegiance to george h.w. bush. we loved him because he loved
us. he was so kind, so thoughtful. chris, you know this. you know when he took you on a tour, you and your parents were there. >> i know all about him, but i want you to tell me. go ahead. >> he did so many things. he was personally nice to me which i'll never forget, but he doesn't get the credit for doing some of the other wonderful things. for instance, tim mcbride, my friend was his special assistance for several years. then he named probably the first african american ever to be special assistant to the president, bruce kaufman who had been a military aide to the president. the president said take a year off and work for me. and bruce did. went everywhere with the president for a year. it was a great opportunity. george bush was the first u.s. president to name a african american to that position. a lot of firsts. but even bigger than that was the kindness they showed everybody.
everybody on the staff. and certainly to me. the first time the president invited me to fly with him in air force one, i had brought some people that he knew to the oval office, and i wasn't thinking that i was going to be invited to do this, and he told me come on. come on in. stand, and then he had me take pictures with him. it's almost unheard of. staffers don't take pictures with the president own his guests. and he said joe, i want you to come with me today to new york city on air force one. can you do that? as if i was going to say no. of course. i was so thrilled. i was so thrilled. and that's the kind of person that he was. taking time with everybody including staff people, the people that cleaned his trash in the office. he knew who they were. he knew about their families and cared about them. this is the kind of man somebody of great character as george w. bush said, a man of great courage. a great example to america. >> well, it's so good. i'm looking at a couple people
whose lives didn't end as nicely in those pictures. people in politics who got in trouble. and he left clean. i think that's something else. thank you for coming here. you know, more recently, we haven't met, but i'd love to know what it was like working for the former president when he was the former president. >> it was a wonderful experience. plenty of people would tell me during the job and after how fortunate i was to get to work for a former president. i was, but where i was really fortunate was to get to work for one of the best people i know i'll ever meet on this earth. for all the reasons that joe mentioned. you will never find, you will never know a human being more caring and more joyful who loved to laugh and was more humble and loved people, and in thinking about it, i worked for him for four years. i saw him virtually every day. spent a ton of time with the man. i was hard pressed to find him in a bad mood or not enjoying life and trying to make others around him feel good and laugh
and just be a wonderful human being. there are stories that abound of our arriving on the back of some hotel at some ungodly hour where there might be someone working the graveyard shift on the elevator or sweeping a floor, and president bush would no sooner walk by them without taking a picture or signing an autograph when no one was looking because he knew it was the right thing to do. he was a wonderful human being, and his legacy both personally and publicly will live on forever and for good reason. >> you know, it makes me happy to hear those stories. general, let me ask you about power and leadership. i don't know if there's a formula for being george h.w. bush, but we've heard of other examples of people who are not like that. we've all met them. people that are really big shots. >> yeah. well, you know, i've tried to refrain this week from the comparing of the current administration to president bush, but it is interesting to
watch this man, this world war ii hero, this childhood depression era with his focus on dignity with which he deals with other people, with his commitment to collective action and the international community. >> you mean his world war ii wasn't avoiding stds? it was the real war. >> he's an andover boy. he barely graduates from high school and demands to serve. at 17 he was trying to go to canada to enlist to support the royal air force. he personally committed his life to service to others. his family, the armed forces, the country. >> he was, i think somebody -- i'll do it now. when he was shot down by the japanese in the pacific over the pacific, he wasn't fished out of the water right away. i mean, the sub wasn't waiting for him. i think he was in there several hours in the pacific thinking this is the end. >> it's a miracle he survived
it. i think nine of the ten pilots in that flight were all killed during that action. he saw intense combat. just trying to be a navy carrier pilot and live through the landing and takeoff is bad enough. he was there at their most dire hours in world war ii. >> let's go back to the u.s. capitol and kasie hunt. you're at that wonderful beauty shot. take over for a moment. what are we expected to see in the next minutes as they make the run? they're going to make the motorcade from joint base andrews. >> well, it takes about 20 minutes to get here when the roads are all cleared for you as many of these major highways will be shut down. we will see the formal procession. we were watching as they were doing some rehearsals with all the branches of the united states military marking on chalk where they'll march up the stairs with the casket. and he will lay in state here at the capitol rotunda.
the last politician to do so was john mccain, not long ago. another person who really marked the passing of an era for this republican party. george h.w. bush was of a different time. it's really kind of stunning to think back to. you've been talking about how he advocated for this kinder, gentler politics, a kinder, gentler america. he talked about how he didn't understand why you couldn't be caring. why this was something that was not necessarily seen as tough. he insisted he was going to show all those qualities. and i know you're so familiar with this, having worked up here on capitol hill, but george h.w. bush presided over some significant legislative accomplishments when, in fact, these chambers were controlled by the opposite party. they were controlled by democrats. a major rewrite of the clean air act of 1990. the americans with disabilities act, something that fundamentally changed not just how we live in the united states
but around the world. things we take for granted. cuts in the curb, all the sort of accommodations that we all take advantage of every day if we're hurt or have elderly or sick relatives. this is something that is not how business is being done right now on capitol hill. even the budget deal that, of course, many think cost him his second term or a potential second term as president where he violated that no taxes pledge was considered at the time to be the right decision for the country. i mean, they were worried about $150 billion in debt at that point. we are now looking at trillions. that is just -- it's just such a remarkably different time, and he still has relationships with george mitchel who was the majority leader in the senate. at the time to the end of his life, he did. and i just think that says so much about the man he was and about how much our politics has changed. >> here they are getting off the aircraft. getting ready for their
motorcade to the capitol building. i know some things about him and that his personal relationships were not set -- they did not end at the aisle. he had really good friends on the democratic side. he kept in touch with all these guys. he was friends with tip o'neal. tip may have voted for dukakis out of party loyalty, but he liked george bush in terms of who he would like to hang around with. and i think this was just a fact. he loved the fact he'd been elected to the house of representativi represen represen representatives. when you get elected by the people in the area, when you're elected by them, you're okay. you're representing people at home. his people from harris county from houston, and he would come back to the gym years later after losing, leaving the house,
he would come back to the gym and hang out with the guys in the gym because he liked being part of that. it's that clubbiness, it's all about, and it's a big part of that, but i did think the americans with disabilities act was a huge thing. one time in the building i'm in right now, i saw a talk at the door. the door wasn't ready for his wheelchair to go through. he let them know it. people with disabilities have to have those fights all the time. and bob dole and president bush put that into law despite what clint eastwood thought. they made it happen. people like that didn't like it. but the people with disabilities like it. they can get into any movie theater or store or the office building. they don't have to ask for help. you hit a home run there. that's the key thing. >> it could be any of us, chris. any of us. those things could affect any one of us at any time in our lives. we owe it to the politicians what were brave enough to take
it on. >> right now tell me about the camaraderie. is it the same on the hill? can you tell? do you see -- mitch said the other day, i saw him. he said -- no, he said i don't pick my friends on the basis of politics. is that gone? >> well, you know, i think that he is coming out of state politics. it's a little bit of a different situation than the national scene. i think we see a lot of state leaders still -- they're dealing with fundamental problems in front of their faces. their infrastructure and roads. their constituents. they are immersed in a different kind of politics than what we're experiencing here in the nation's capitol right now. and quite frankly, i think a lot of the folks up here could learn from those who are back home having to negotiate with the other side, because the politics here really are so national, so toxic, there really are very, very few opportunities for
people to develop friendships across the aisle through their experiences here. you know? i mean, when it became -- a lot of this goes back to newt gingrich when it became unacceptable for people to live here, to raise their kids here in washington. they were expected instead to fly back to their districts. that had the effect of sort of breaking the camaraderie, the common bonds of living in a shared community where your kids go to the same school and you're standing on the same soccer line. forget having a couple beers after work. when you have those experiences with people, you can ultimately make decisions that reflect your common humanity in a way that's a little bit easier. i mean, here i think that a lot of the animosity can be really intense. that's not to say there aren't bipartisan friendships. there certainly are, particularly in the senate. people who have forged relationships with people across the aisle. i sat down last week for a joint interview with bernie sanders and mike lee.
mike lee quipped he was feeling the burn. they were working together on a bipartisan resolution to pull the united states out of yemen. that's not to say it doesn't happen, but the pressure on the members to always toe the party line is incredibly intense to the point that -- the people who step outside of that, it's really noteworthy. look at what tim scott did last week, sinking a judge over concerns that he had about race-related voting rights issues. i mean, that's what diversity can do for you. all the other republicans were in line on that. and some of that has to do with how personal relationships play out, chris. >> you're so good at this. so good. i've spent years trying to figure out what youing if figur so quickly. kidding. that is exactly right. joe, tell us about how -- i heard you're nodding about this, what she was saying. >> well, i was. before i worked for president bush, i worked for dan quail in
the u.s. senate. i remember dan quail was good friends with ted kennedy, and together they did the job training partnership act, a great collaborative effort, and really speaks to the way republicans and democrats certainly back in the 1980s could come together to craft legislation that worked for lots of americans. and that spirit is missing today. kasie pointed out beautifully that spirit is almost absent except in a rare case or two. that was the same spirit that president bush had when we were working on legislation whether it's a civil rights bill or ada, or any of the bills we worked on with president bush, he wanted to hear from anybody. ad as a staffer, i brought in key players. democrats as well as some republicans. but a lot of democrats to hear, to talk personally with the president in the oval office. and in the roosevelt room to figure out how to get it done. that spirit of bishop partisanss
needed in today's landscape. we do miss people like george h.w. bush that way now. >> we're watching the family i think led by former president george w. bush. jim, you were with the late president all those later on. did he ever say times are getting worse in politics? it isn't the way it used to be? >> he really didn't. it wasn't in his nature. he always looked to the bright side of things. always tried to find the goodness in people. when he would get asked difficult questions about things he would always defer to the current president and say things like i don't have the same information that the current president has. this is before the great -- he had every chance to stake a
shot, but he never did. he always tried to put himself in someone else's shoes and show empathy. he didn't spend a lot of time lamenting what it was he didn't like about washington but spent a lot of time trying to do something about it whether it was campaigning for republicans throughout the country which he did a lot of even before his son decided to run for president, or raising money and doubling down on being one of a thousand points of light and volunteering and trying to lift communities up and together when i worked for them president and mrs. bush raised hundreds of millions of dollars for charity over the four years i was fortunate enough to have worked for them. sitting back and lamenting the current state of things wasn't in george bush's nature. he didn't have much tolerance for it. >> i think we're getting ready for the arrival ceremony which is going to be quite beautiful. general, i want to ask you about something here. okay? i always felt that george bush senior, the one who just passed away, filled a father role for
bill clinton. your thoughts? >> it's interesting. i worked closely with clinton for the better part of four and a half years. one of the more admirable people i met in my life. probably the smartest person i ever dealt with. someone who did his homework. it was astonishing. he read and digested things. he was also a better politician, perhaps, than we've seen in the last 50 years. to have beaten president bush coming out of the gulf war, i think bush had the highest popularity in the gallop poll ever seen for a president. so there was a sense of mentoring, i think, and a great sense of respect. bill clinton is very respectful of people in general, by the way. he liked the older -- like president bush, when clinton would walk in a room, he'd look for the single mother, the soldier, the police officer in uniform, and that's where he'd go first.
i'm not surprised they had such a close relationship, and, of course, bush 41 being of a different era, he was 100% integrity. i can't imagine him not essentially telling the truth in almost all situations including political. clinton, a little more facile in dealing with reality. >> i was clinton's first presidential briefer after he was elected, before he was inaugurated. i spent three months with him in little rock, arkansas. i would be bringing him george bush's daily briefing package. it was interesting. in a way that was clinton's first engagement with some of these issues. he knew the middle east pretty well, but beyond that, this was all pretty new to him. he would be reading president bush's daily briefing. i think they would talk on the phone. it was part of his, if you will, early education to be president. >> but, you know what i think everybody has been struck by is
that letter that the late president bush left for bill clinton who was his political adversary. that was a tough campaign. basically saying i'm in your clearing section. i'm with you. i want you to make it. i want you to make it as president. >> i can't help thinking that was partly his nature, but also partly what he went through. if you think about it, the eight presidents who preceded him had lived in a rather table world. the cold war. that all ended under president bush. he dealt with a revolutionary situation that could have gone very bad. he had been through things that because he handled them so well, in retrospect, they don't seem all that dangerous, but they were. and i think he was handing that to bill clinton. >> that's so important. i love politics. i study it. every american president since world war ii starting with ike was in uniform one way or another. it was amazing run.
>> harry truman. >> always way from 50 through george h.w. bush had been naval officers. almost all of them in the south pacific. that tradition ends here. >> yeah. exactly. >> that's bad, isn't it? >> well, who knows? >> world war ii guys, the greatest generation, and now we've seen the last of them. >> i'm still an optimist. we're still the most powerful country on the face of the earth. the goodness of the american people is astonishing. we're having difficulty, it seems to me with our national leadership. that's the problem. >> well, we have elections, don't we? >> yeah. >> we have many of them every four years. things happen. we're watching this. i think we should get ready now for what's going to be a beautiful ceremony. the arrival is going to be hail to the chief and the naval hymn. it's a beautiful, beautiful piece of music, obviously, with
great resonance for our country. and there we see the families coming down here. i wish i had a closer look. i think that's jim baker, the former secretary of state there. and mrs. baker. and members of the family coming off the special mission 41. and they're all going to be present at this ceremony. jim baker, of course, was former president bush's really partner in all those races beginning back when he ran for the races down for the senate in texas. in fact, one of the most momentous, i think poignant moments was when jim baker lost his first wife. she died and he was in grief. and his friend george bush said i know you're having a hard time. why don't you run my campaign? it will give you something to live for. he got into that campaign and really restoerded his mental health, his emotional health. i think he said he would have gone to drink otherwise
literally, and yet his pal looked out for him and gave him a reason to live. we all understand that. that relationship went all the way through bush's presidency for jim baker. in the end he had to come back and try to save him for the second term. they couldn't win that battle. someday we'll figure out why bush wasn't quite as good a politician in '92 as in '88. i think it was just a change of the guard. '92 seemed to be the end of the world war ii era. the cold war was over in august of '91. it seemed like almost magically we said okay, that's over with. the cold war. >> right after the gulf war, i remember there were a bunch of hecklers harassing president bush during the election campaign. he said something to the effect you draft dodgers, knock it off. and that captured my mind the change. the draft had been over by then
for 15 years or something. just a wonderful man. a figure in history. model your life after his example, but clinton was a new wave. >> i may have been on that bus. i was on portland the last stopping point for the last stuff. there he is. sully. the late president's dog now without a master. a comfort dog, as we say, but merely a friend. as they say, if you want a friend in washington, get a dog. he had one. i'm sure he was the best treated dog and most loved dog in the history knowing george bush. what a dog lover he would be. anyway, that tending of that era is happening in this funeral. it just is. >> yeah. >> and are you a world war ii guy? >> no. i was born in '42. my dad fought in world war ii. my dad was in italy, ground combat for the last year and a half of the war. >> he's former george w. bush
coming this way with laura. i'm sure he's going to say something powerful this week at the funeral about his dad, and i really have got ton knten to kn couple. jeb, got ton know governor burke, and marvin bush. one of the young -- they're so well brought up, these kids. they're not kids now. they're middle-aged. was tip o'neal had an operation right after he left office. it was a difficult operation. stomach, everything. and he was really upset about it. almost very distressed about it. he got a call from one of the bush kids who said i've been through that procedure. i've had it through my 20s. you'll be fine. that mark of humanity of looking out for somebody knowing they're in emotional trouble, something that would change their -- here
they are. neil bush and his wife and laura bush is very popular former first lady. enormously popular, i must say, and w., now a son today, not a president, but a son to a lost father. it's so -- one thing you can tell about the old man is how much the kids loved him. >> yep. >> amazing. >> a family that never lost its sense of security despite the outward pressures. never lost its sense of happiness because of losing elections. george bush lost, i counted three elections. the senate twice. winston churchill lost six. there's nothing wrong with losing an election if you do your best. >> there they are. they're on the front line. when your parents go, you're the front line. you're the generation that's going to have to lead. i think we should get ready now
government. you're head of state. you represent the country. >> it's always a very moving ceremony to watch. that was the military district of washington. it's a joint command. so army, navy, air force, marines. i'm sure they had coast guard present. 21-gun salute was fired by the old guard, the 3rd infantry regiment here in washington. they do all the ceremonial duties as well as national security protection for the capital city and i'm sure they're all honored to be part of this day. >> a very powerful moment, chris, as we were watching that. i was thinking, this is a good thing for americans to see right now. i think it's george bush's last public service. it shows us an honorable american being honored by his country in a way that is rare. at a moment when we are
struggling politically. when we're very divided politically. and when people question the role of government. to see someone who served throughout his life, military, civilian, did it honorably. being honored by his country and by the military and the public he served. it's just a very powerful image that's a healthy thing for all of us to see. >> joe, i think i agree completely. the idea that conservative republicans, trumpian republicans can respect a moderate republican if you will. democrats can respect a moderate republican. he doesn't seem to have any enemies in death. >> i think it's a real tribute to the way he lived his life. and maybe, chris, he has a chance to start bringing america together in death just as he sought to do it in life. bringing republicans and democrats to the table together to talk to each other, to respect each other, to dialogue fruitfully with each other and
to love each other. so what a great man. what a moving tribute. moving ceremony. moving ceremony. >> your last word. you were with him more than anyone else for years. >> well, from joe's lips to god's ears, let's hope, joe, what you said comes to pass because we all know it's something that george bush would want. >> yes. >> he would want us to be a successful country. he wants us to be a united country like he wrote in his letter to bill clinton. if a man for whom the stings of defeat were still fresh could write such a gracious note to his successor, let that serve as a lesson to our nation. no matter what the challenges are, in the spirit of george bush let's overcome them and become a better america. >> and last, but not least, he had good relations with the media. he called us the media. invited us to white house dinners occasionally. he kept up with us. i was reading maureen dowd. i love maureen dowd.
apparently he did, too. even though she could be difficult on republicans, she always got a letter back from him. he always returned the letter. he took the time to write. to keep up with people. and did not end the ability to keep talking. an old friend of mine once said always be able to talk. george bush never closed the bridge. never shut it down, despite politics. and he stuck with people long after they were in favor. i thought that was something. when rostenkowsky went to prison, he stuck with him and that's the measure any of person. john mclaughlin, always great. why do we meet like this? but anyway, it's great. thank you so much. general mccaffrey, thank you for your service. joe watkins, i'm learning more about you. and giancarlo, thank you, sir, for your kind remembrance. kasie hunt, my colleague, of course, robert costa of "the washington post," i want to thank you. nicolle wallace is going to pick up our special coverage right now. >> thank you, chris.
the body of president george h.w. bush arriving at joint base andrews just in the last hour. we're going to keep an eye on that picture as the casket carrying the 41st president of the president is escorted to the capitol where it will lie in state. we have some of our favorite friends and reporters joining us. we start with something george bush was known to say when he spoke about his daughter robin bush. i love you more than tongue can tell is what she used to say to him. to see the outpouring of affection and the civility and respect that president bush showed the office of the presidency as well as all the occupants of it, including bill clinton who defeated him in '92 and president obama who awarded him the presidential medal of freedom. it's fair to say in many corners and certainly among those of us who knew him well, president bush was appreciated and loved for his love of this country more than tongue can tell. jon meacham has been telling the story of the president for