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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  March 15, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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thank you for your great reporting this whole time along the border and on this story. it's an important one. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. win. t"the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight, donald trump proudly issues his first veto after a defeat of his signature campaign promise driven home by republicans. he doubles down on immigration and the wall, but did it just get harder on him to get what he wants? plus, we learned just today rick gates is still cooperating on several investigations. the mueller team has now delayed his sentencing for a fifth time. and the month's comments on white nationalism in the wake of the horror we have now witnessed in new zealand. "the 11th hour" on a friday night starts now. as we bring another week to
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a close, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 785 of the trump administration. let's toss this in. with the mueller team offering scant clues today about where they are headed, and we will get to that in a bit, today was in part about this president issuing his first veto. it was republicans, members of his own party, let's not forget, who crossed over, joining the dems to reject the president's self-titled national emergency. well, today he reinvigorated that talk and the need for a wall along our southern border. >> it is a tremendous national emergency. it is a tremendous crisis. people hate the word invasion, but that's what it is. congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and i have the duty to veto it, and i'm very proud to veto it. >> he was then asked if he had sympathy for members of his party who support border security but felt they had to
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vote for the resolution because they opposed executive overreach. >> they were doing what they have to do and i'm -- look, i put no pressure on anybody. i actually said -- i could have gotten some of them to get along. i said i want you to vote your heart. do what you want to do. i'm not putting any pressure. i'll let them know when there's pressure, okay? and i told them that. when i need your vote, i'm going to let you know. i didn't need the vote because we all knew it was going to be a veto and they're not going to be able to override. >> we'll do a fact check in just a moment. trump is right about a override. speaker pelosi announced the house will vote on march 26th to try to override the veto but it's not expected to pass. along with that veto, trump set another more veiled political message. among the people standing around the president in the oval, it was unusual to spot his new attorney general william barr. he made sure to broadcast the government's position on any future legal challenges to his boss' emergency declaration.
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>> mr. president, your declaration of an emergency on the southern border was clearly authorized under law. the humanitarian and security crisis we have on the border right now is exactly the kind of emergency that presidents are permitted to address under the national emergencies act. >> right. >> what you've done from a legal standpoint is solidly grounded in law, and from the standpoint of protecting the american people, it's imperative. >> you don't see or hear that every day. so this veto means many things, include that the wall he promised that mexico would fund will be covered by american taxpayers. though nothing here is inevitable. congress, of course, can stop it if they found the will. you may recall the battle over the budget started us down this road late last year, and the president's threat about what would happen if he didn't get his wall funding. >> but you know what i'll say? yes. if we don't get what we want,
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one way or the other, whether it's through you, through military, through anything you want to call, i will shut down the government. >> okay. fair enough. >> absolutely. and i am proud. >> we disagree. >> i tell you what, i am proud to shut down the government for border security, chuck. >> that was the prelude, in fact, to a 35-day partial shutdown, longest in our history. trump issued the emergency declaration on 15 february after signing legislation that funded the government through september. legislation that provided $1.38 billion for about 55 miles of border barriers. trump's action also sends a clear message to his supporters as he ramps up his effort to hold on to the white house after today's veto signing. his campaign announced a rally for march 28 in grand rapids, michigan. with that, let's bring in our leadoff panel on a friday night. annie carney, white house report for "the new york times," jonathan allen, nbc news national political reporter, and we welcome to the broadcast the
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often quoted seldom seen around here andrew, congressional reporter for politico. good evening, welcome to you all. annie, point of information. i just said he signed a veto. technically a sleet is the sending back of a piece of legislation to congress. not -- kind of the absence of a signature. having cleared that up, trump said he didn't really have to twist any republican arms. annie, what's the truth? >> well, that is not exactly what happened over the past few days. he in fact has been making a lot of phone calls to republican senators. he's been calling mitch mcconnell regularly. in his pleas to the republicans asking them to vote with him, he has been making a personal pitch, i'll credit my colleagues at -- competitors at "the washington post" with reporting this out, that they asked him for -- to explain the constitutional reasons for this. and he made it all about him. he said, you know, this could hurt you politically if you don't vote with me.
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this is -- vote with me. it was about him, as is most things with trump. so the idea that he wasted no political capital on trying to win over votes, in fact they knew it was an uphill battle. republican senators have been signaling for a long time that they have major problems with this, but the hope was to keep defections low, single digits, four, in fact, they had 12. even the loss was bigger than they expected it to. pence was over there a lot. there was a lot of political capital spent from the white house in trying to limit this rebuke from his own party. so this idea that he said i'll let them know when i need their vote, that's just not the reality of how this played out. >> john, as we saw, they put together a document for him to sign and show around the room. not entirely necessary. you spoke today with a prominent republican coms person who called this a gift to donald trump. who was that and why would he
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say such a thing? >> matt schlapp, the chairman of the american conservative union. very close to donald trump. former member of the george w. bush white house political team. he says it's a gift to donald trump because donald trump wants to run against washington again, and in order to do that, in order to run against washington, not only does he want to run against democrats, he also wants to be able to run against republicans a little bit. if you look at his 2016 campaign, he said he was going to clean up washington. he basically gutted the republican party to do it. then ran against hillary clinton. and so this is an opportunity perhaps to distance himself a little bit from the republican party. i think what you see on substance here is republicans bucking him in the senate on all the little agenda items from now until the end of the congress. you're seeing an assertion of power by republicans in congress. they're going to battle him on the budget. but he doesn't care about all those little things. what he cares about is the wall. what he cares about is the messaging. what he cares about is the politics and what he cares about
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is what it says about him. so for the 2020 re-elect, this may be a chance for him to go to voters and say, look, i'm trying to clean up washington. look at even these republicans, they're standing in my way. >> andrew, to that last point, what will this usher in? are we going to see people kind of remaining in the ben sasse mode of sound and furry and furrow brow and go ahead and vote with the president at the end of the day. or are we going to see people finding courage in the corners of congress? >> well, i think this week alone you had the vote on the national emergency disapproval. cutting off support for the saudi-lead coalition there. in the house, the overwhelming 420-0 vote on basically endorsing this idea of making the mueller report public. we saw this morning the president doesn't think there should be a mueller report. just this week alone, we have three very prompt neinent exampf
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republicans starting to warm up to bucking trump. you mentioned senator flake, senator tillis and ernst and gardner do not want to end up like him. for example, with senator tillis, congressman mark walker and mark meadows, it was reported were flirting with the idea of primary challenges to senator tillis. and i think if you have a primary challenge from the right from these guys who are very supportive of president trump, i think there is a nonzero chance that the president would support them over tom tillis. so i think that's one of the reasons why senator tillis had been one of those folks who flipped to the other side. >> john, one of the questions we try to ask around here every week, and we've taken this to the very end of the week. is there a semblance of an agenda? is the white house up on the hill as white houses normally do pushing legislation for a view of our country? >> it's the right question, brian, because there is no agenda. there is absolutely no
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discernible agenda from this white house that values congress, that values a sort of typical process. what you've got from a domestic policy standpoint is a budget that just came out that calls for tremendous cuts in domestic programs that no one in congress is going to go along with. not only the democrats. the republicans aren't going to go along with. there is no real formal plan to try to get any of those things done. you basically have the wall. the president is focused solely on the wall in terms of domestic policy. in terms of foreign policy been you've got potentially military intervention in venezuela. you've got the north korea situation. you want to talk about bad 24-hour periods for a president of the united states, kim jong-un just a couple of weeks after meeting with the president is now talking about restarting his launches, restarting that phase of his nuclear program. you have the senate rebuking the president. there is not any sort of coherent policy agenda coming out of the white house right
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now. just the wall. >> annie, it's been a good week for your biline, and one of the things we learned from you was this increasing pressure on the president's family coming out of the house investigations. tell us about that and how it's likely being felt in the west wing, because that's where you'll find the president's family most days. >> that's right. so i -- the piece that you're talking about right now, i looked at those 81 document requests from house democrats sent to people in the white house and extended trump world, and it was noted that, you know, oh, ivanka trump is notably absent from this list. it includes her husband jared kushner. her brothers. there was a sense that the democrats are tiptoeing around her because it would really be an aggressive poke the bear move to go for the daughter. a closer read of those 81 document requests shows that 52
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out of the 81 people were asked for documents about ivanka and about her financial interests and about foreign donations to her or to her businesses. so while she wasn't asked for documents specifically, there was a lot of documents about her requested. so this idea that they're scared to touch ivanka, if you look closely, they're actually looking for a lot of information about her, and looking at emoluments issues around the family members. >> yeah. that will be interesting. if that comes to fruition. >> yeah. >> andrew, this is your beat as well. and i often think about this. will you -- will you know this moment when you see it? will there be a tipping point between now where people vote with this president? despite all the noise. they vote with this president. and a day where that might be something they have to account for before their voters back home? >> well, i think the one issue where that might come up is this issue of impeachment. you heard nancy pelosi make a
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lot of news this past week when she went further than she ever has in terms of setting the bar very high for impeachment. she basically said it needs republican buy-in, right? that means either the evidence laid out in the mueller report or these various house investigations is going to have to be so overwhelming that it's no longer politically expedient for republicans to stay with the president. but i think that is much further down the line and nancy pelosi would like for it to be -- >> have you seen more carefully chosen words than nancy pelosi, who pre-announced it with "this is news" to the reporter. >> there is a parallel to what annie was reporting. annie's reporting about how they're looking at ivanka. >> right. >> and ivanka documents. but there is nothing sent to ivanka. so with nancy pelosi, she's saying, you know, i'm not interested in impeachment. i'm not into impeachment. this is news. she wants that to be the message. meanwhile, her committee chairman at the oversight is reform committee at the judiciary committee, the intelligence committee, the ways and means committee are all
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conducting the business of an impeachment investigation. they are all looking for the information that would form the background of an impeachment. so that is going forward right now. she is in control of those committee chairmen. if she did not want that happening, it wouldn't be happening. so it's a little bit of smoke and mirrors to say she's not interested in impeachment. they're going to provide all of the information that would support articles of impeachment at some point, should they come forward, and even if they don't, i think the idea here is that that would be a very long process. all of that information will come forward and at some point, as she i think referred to, you might have a situation where it would be republicans that would want to remove the president more than democrats would. >> and annie, i see you were nodding. you agree with john's contention that that's what they're conducting here absent calling it that? >> well, the white house officials i've talked to certainly view the 81 document requests as the roadmap to an impeachment. that's how -- that's what they
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have made of that. also, the question of nancy pelosi's statement there raised a lot of questions among democrats. saying if not trump, who? it's not worth it was a controversial statement in her own party. saying -- they understand politically the argument that if you can't convict in the senate, this is politically damaging for democrats to go down the impeachment road. that being said, is there some damage to not, you know, the tom steyer argument is isn't there damage to not doing something that we believe in that we believe there is enough evidence here and potentially more with the mueller report to impeach this guy? and it's just not political expedient to do so. how is that a good answer either? so there is -- it's a complicated issue for democrats. >> and after all, we're never more than 15 minutes away from a tom steyer commercial. annie karni, jonathan allen, andrew, our thanks on a friday night for joining us our conversation and making us all
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better educated as a result. coming up, the mueller team today says it's still working with one of trump's former campaign aides on as they put it several investigations. that stuck out to us. what does it tell us, if anything, about how long they'll be at this? and later, the prime minister of new zealand calls out far-right extremism after dozens of muslims are massacred in that horrifying terrorist attack. "the 11th hour" just getting started on this friday night. t. roger. hey rick, all good? oh yeah, we're good. we're good. termites never stop trying to get in, we never stop working to keep them out. terminix. defenders of home.
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president trump now appears to be trying out a new line of attack on robert mueller while
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he's still calling into question mueller's investigation. writing, quote, the special counsel should never have been appointed. he continues. there should be no mueller report. that's especially bracing considering this is the day after the entire house voted to make the mueller report public, and on the mueller investigation front today we learned that rick gates, the former deputy to manafort on the campaign, is still talking to prosecutors. his lawyers and the special counsel have filed a status report that says, quote, defendant gates continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly the parties do not believe it's appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this time. this is notable. they say they'll have their next update may 14, that's 60 days from now. tonight there is also new reporting from "the new york times" about that russian oligarch with close ties to the kremlin who was once a business
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associate of gates and manafort. "the times" is reporting that oleg deripaska is suing the u.s. government and our treasury secretary for good measure demanding that sanctions be lifted that that he claims have cost him $7.5 billion. he also calls himself a victim to reaction to russian interference in the 2016 election which may be the definition of chutzpah. with us to talk about it tonight is chuck rosenberg, former u.s. attorney and former senior fbi official. and jessica ross, now a professor at the cardozo school of law in new york. welcome to you both. chuck, i'd like to begin with you. for people following this ever so closely who are unsettled by the talk that mueller's wrapping up, mueller's going to be done by next tuesday or whenever it is, tell us structurally how that could be true and how the
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investigation would continue just the same. >> sure, brian. and it's a very good question. i think important for folks to understand that bob mueller's remit, what he was asked to do was relatively narrow. meaning he was asked to look at russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any americans worked with the russians to that end. he was not asked to do all of the other things that the southern district of new york can do, financial investigations into the trump organization, the trump foundation, the inaugural committee and the like, and so while bob mueller will hue closely to what he was ordered to do, what he was asked to do, that doesn't mean all of the investigations end when he files his report. in jessica's old district in the southern district of new york, they're going to continue their important work, and i imagine they're going to continue it for months if not years to come. >> jessica, do you -- first of all, do you concur with what
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chuck said and were your ears perking up when you read that gates is still useful in several different investigations? >> absolutely. so, first of all, i agree with what chuck said that essentially the structure is in place for the investigations that may have started under mueller to now be taken over by the different u.s. attorneys offices, maybe not all around the country but the ones that have already been involved in these investigations, like the southern district of new york, the eastern district of virginia, the district of columbia. and so these cases can be handed off to them and those districts can run with them as long as they need to. i was looking to see what was going to be said in this filing today, and i thought it was interesting that they asked for the extension and that they specifically said that he was cooperating in several ongoing investigations. and the keywords for me there were several and investigations. so in other words, he's not just needed to testify in one trial like mike flynn is whom the special counsel said he's ready to be sentenced, even though he's going to have to testify at
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trial some time this summer. that to me says there is more in the works and gates in particular is, to me, unique in the special counsel investigation. he's the bridge between different parts of the investigation that go to the core of the mandate or the remit that chuck was talking about. he's key to communications between manafort and kilimnik, including that transfer of polling data from the campaign that we now know about. he also would have been in a position to provide information about communications between the campaign and roger stone and in particular the direction from a senior trump campaign official to stone to get in touch with wikileaks. so many people think that gates himself was that senior campaign official who was identified in the stone indictment, or if he's not then he knows who is and he will also know who the more senior person was who told that senior official who told stone to get in touch with wikileaks. we have the konstantin kilimnik connection and the roger stone wikileaks connection and i think
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gates is at the center of it all. >> i'm duty bound to point out how happy i am to not have come across either of you as a criminal in federal court. having said that, chuck, do you concur with the world as just laid out by jessica? >> i do. and maybe structurally it would help to explain what prosecutors and gates and his attorneys have in common. what they have in common is that they both want everything that gates has truthfully and fully prior to sentencing. what gates is looking for is a downward departure motion from the government, the government asking the judge at sentencing essentially to depart downward from the federal sentencing guidelines that would otherwise govern his sentence. and in order to do that the right way, you get everything up front prior to sentencing. that way the government can go to the court, to the judge and say, here is everything he did for us. this is why we keep putting off sentencing, your honor. this is why we've done it five times and may do it again.
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we want to be able to tell you everything he's given to us and it's helped us in the prosecution of other individuals, it's helped us in other investigations. it's been full and complete is truthful. both parties, brian, have an interest in doing that and doing it the right way and, frankly, the judge does, too, because the judge keeps granting these requests to postpone sentencing. everyone wants to give gates the ability, there is no guarantee, but the ability to cooperate as fully as he possibly can before sentencing. >> five postponements now, that's interesting. and jessica, finally, without burning sources or methods, is there a chance that there are investigations under way that we don't know about? do you think we're aware of all the entities and jurisdictions that are conducting investigations or is there a possible realm that has never filed a word that we're sitting here chatting on telling while they're doing their work? >> i think that is entirely
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possible that there are lines of investigation that we don't know about yet. >> and what kind of realm would be participating in that? >> well, i think -- well, part of the reason why i say i think it's very possible that these lines of inquiry exist is because of the redacted material in the filings with respect to manafort and the cryptic allusions that judge amy berman jackson found he had lied to the prosecutors when he was trying to cooperate. it could be they pertain two things. russians, other countries, other foreign countries. there's been reporting about contacts that were had between jared kushner and people from other countries, not just russia, that the special counsel could be going into because his remit could have been expanded as well and we don't even know that because that might not have been made public, so i think it's entirely possible that we're going to find out some time in the next few weeks or months that there was a whole additional realm of investigation that mueller and his team were involved in or
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that a division of the department of justice, the national security division was involved in that just hasn't been reported yet. so i think anything is possible along those lines. >> wow, we just gave folks a lot to think about over the weekend with the help of two of our friends, chuck rosenberg, jessica roth, thank you both so much for joining us on this friday night. coming up, the accused gunman fueled by racism and hate live streamed the massacre of dozens of muslims at two mosques in new zealand. the latest on what we know about this awful day there.
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i want to be very clear, though, that our intelligence community and police are focused on extremism of every kind. given global indicators around far-right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area. >> new zealand is a lot of things. it's a steadfast u.s. ally. it's a beautiful and peaceful place with a population smaller than new york city. and yet new zealand has been shattered by terrorism. the death toll tonight stands at 49 after a disturbed gunman fueled by white nationalism went on a rampage at two different mosques in the city of christchurch. the gunman was well-prepared, heavily armed.
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he posted a manifesto prior to the attack on the muslim population, which he then live streamed on social media. here is how the american president responded today from the oval office. >> do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the world? >> i don't really. i think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. i guess if you look at what happened in new zealand, perhaps that's a case. i don't know enough about it yet. >> with us opportunity to talk about all of it, malcolm nance. he's a veteran of naval intelligence, u.s. special operations, homeland security. 35 years working in the counterterrorism and intelligence fields. malcolm, number one, what struck you about this attack, and number two, if you were a u.s. government staffer writing remarks for the president to deliver today in lieu of what we just heard him say, what would you have him say? >> well, it's very disturbing, this attack. i actually taught in new zealand
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counterterrorism at the university in wellington. so it's a very small country. christchurch on the southern island is a very small town. it's not even a city. so it must have been devastating for the people of new zealand to have an individual come from australia where they could access guns in new zealand legally and then mass murder 49 of their fellow citizens, many of whom are refugees. again, this is devastating for them, but more devastating is the fact that it has exposed once again that there is a white nationalism internationale. there is a large group of people around the world. they are not small. and they have been, you know, carrying out attacks against immigrants with this belief that they are in a clash of civilizations between the white western world and what they call invaders, which is any other person who is not white coming
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into their communities. if i were the president, i would have shown not just my disgust, but more importantly, shown that the united states stands with new zealand and would offer any resources, but by actually coddling the white supremacists he has september yet another message that they have an ally with the most powerful man in the world. >> he also used the word invasion today when talking about the southern border. and as you mentioned, that is a buzz word to that community. i want to read you something by a frequent guest on this broadcast. sam stein. quote, imagine a world in which a muslim terrorist group had executed an attack that killed 50 people and the response from the president was to say, in essence, this isn't a big deal, it's just a small group of people. malcolm, that's along the lines of what you were just saying. >> absolutely. and when we had the massacre in florida, you know, at the dance
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club, which -- in which a person who supposedly claimed he was a member of isis, you know, president trump still references these attacks. the problem is, in law enforcement -- and i trained a lot of law enforcement here in the united states. almost everyone in the homeland security here in the state of new york, including the s.w.a.t. teams. they don't understand that they are not going to have a clash with isis or the possibility of that on a day-to-day basis. these right-wing extremists, militia men, they go to guns, they want confrontation. timothy mcveigh when he broke up the building in oklahoma city and killed over, you know, the largest number of americans killed in american history, 186 people, he did it with the same intention. he wanted to stoke a race war between white america and all
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the rest, and in the manifesto of this killer, he specifically referenced trying to get a race war and to inspire right-wing extremists all around the world. >> what a scary line of work you're in. malcolm has agreed to stay with us through a break. when we come back, we're going to talk about the disconnect between north korea's words and actions today and our president's view of north korea and its leader.
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these folks, they don't have time to go to the post office
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they have businesses to grow customers to care for lives to get home to they use stamps.com print discounted postage for any letter any package any time right from your computer all the amazing services of the post office only cheaper get our special tv offer a 4-week trial plus postage and a digital scale go to stamps.com/tv and never go to the post office again! north korea is threatening to cut off nuclear talks and resume missile testing. that is according to a top north korean diplomat who accused the u.s. of taking a, quote, gangster-like stand. tensions flared after denuclearization talks between president trump and kim jong-un broke down last month. at the same time, new satellite photos show the north koreans rebuilding one of their missile
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sites. secretary of state mike pompeo is pushing back on the idea that kim was ready to suspend further talks. >> in hanoi on multiple occasions he spoke directly to the president and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing, nor would he resume missile testing. so that's chairman kim's word. we have every expectation that he will live up to that commitment. >> still with us is malcolm nance. and malcolm, the question is who is left on earth to be surprised by what the north koreans are doing? >> clearly donald trump and mike pompeo. are the only two people who believe what north korea will say. the reason that we are seeing new activity out of the north korean missile program is because north korea wants the satellites to see the activity that are going on at their missile testing sites. north korea is using this moratorium to finally develop the science and technology that they will need for the time that
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they will break this moratorium and blame it all on donald trump and resume ballistic missile testing. you can be sure the first ballistic missile test will be an icmb. >> so another way of putting what you're saying is something they didn't want us to see they'd perhaps think of throwing a tarp over it? >> no, i think it's the other way around. something they didn't want us to see, they want us to see because this is offering a sort of now ritualistic humiliation of donald trump who gushes over the letters that he receives from the north korean dictator but seems to be completely blind to the fact that they are now becoming if not de facto a global nuclear power with the capability of striking the united states. we are being played for suckers. they know that they are playing us for suckers. but only donald trump and mike pompeo have faith in the belief that they are not suckers. >> the always quotable, multiple
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times author malcolm nance. thank you so much for joining us on our broadcast this friday night. >> my pleasure. >> we always appreciate it. and coming up, after yet another consequential week for this weekend, pulitzer prize winning presidential historian jon meacham is here with us to help sort it out.
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this was a week of pushback for our president. on wednesday, the republican-led senate voted to end aid to a saudi-led war in yemen. this was seen as a rebuke of one donald trump who continues to defend saudi arabia after the killing of jamal khashoggi. then on thursday, a congress that agrees on absolutely nothing unanimously passed a resolution, 420-0, demanding the justice department fully release mueller's final report. hours after that, it was the republicans who crossed over
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against their president, who tried to block the national emergency border wall and forced the first veto from this president. >> look, they were doing what they have to do, and i'm -- look, i did -- i put no pressure on anybody. i actually said -- i could have gotten some of them to come along. i said i want you to vote your heart. do what you want to do. i'm not putting any pressure. i'll let them know when there's pressure, okay? >> noting the shift from abject party loyalty, "new york times" writes, and we quote, politically, the trifecta of rejections tells us that mr. trump's grip on republicans may be loosening. the political ground may be ever so slightly shifting and with it the control mr. trump has over his party. watch this space. back with us tonight, pulitzer prize winning author and historian jon meacham, whose latest work is "the soul of america: the battle for our better angels." jon, you said earlier tonight to one of our producers if you were going crazy and banging your head against a wall for the past
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three years, this was a week to calm you. what on earth could you mean by something like that? >> well, you just laid out three headlines that a lot of us who have a feeling that james madison is ultimately more durable than twitter, and a kind of proto-totalitarianism. that this will work out. and you had in the yemen vote, in the mueller vote, as you said, you can't agree the house of representatives to agree on when to go to lunch, so to get 420 of them to agree on anything in this era is truly historic. and to have the border wall, to have 12 republicans cross the aisle is an interesting data point in this idea that, in fact, when the chips are truly down there are people of conscience who are going to go on record who will not worry so much about the much-vaunted base and will do the right thing.
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and i think you saw that in three cases this week. >> and yet, jon, think of this. today the president of the united states said there should be no mueller report, and the president of the united states refused to take a swing at white nationalism. and in both cases, we've baked it into the system where people just said, oh, it's the president. >> right. and we don't want to ever be in a position again, though i suspect some day we will be, where you have to reflexively try to take him out of the equation, but that's the way history works. that's the way reality works. enough people in enough of the right states in 2016 decided that they were willing to roll the dice on this guy. in part because there had been ten presidential elections between 1980 and 2016 and a bush or a clinton had been on 80% of those tickets, and they were willing to say we're going to shake this up and see what happens.
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the comments about white nationalism are as ever disappointing. he has proven himself to be below the level of events, both at home and abroad. but we do have for the first time people who have a stake in how that base of support views not just the president but views them. saying that we are going to reassert the balance of powers. and so i just think we have to take good news where we can get it. not to say that now you just take a bunch of zoloft and everything's going to be fine. i'm not saying that at all, but the way history has worked on these things is it took four years to get joe mccarthy. it took 27 months for richard nixon to fall. it took 100 years for the work of the civil war to actually find its way and find expression in the civil rights legislation. it took well over 100 years for women to get the right to vote.
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women have not yet voted for 100 years in this country. that will be next year. so these things tend to, as george w. bush has been saying, democracies tend to self-correct. and i think this was at least a step in that direction. >> in 30 seconds or less, do you think we are in for a spring and summer of acceleration on that front? >> i think it entirely depends on what's in that report that the house voted unanimously to release. if director mueller comes back with clear and convincing evidence of -- that more things involving russia and president trump, that more is provable, then i think the whole conversation changes. because having 12 senators break on the -- on the border thing is a pretty good indication that -- and this is kind of what a lot of us have thought. that there were senators there who would, in fact, step up when the train was truly going off the cliff. there are a lot of people who
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think the train went off the cliff a long time ago. i understand that. but it seems to me that if mueller comes back with clear and convincing evidence, the story changes pretty rapidly. >> wow. jon meacham, always a pleasure. thank you very much. and ever quotable. we'll just let that endnote sit there and folks can contemplate that over the weekend. thank you, jon, for coming on our broadcast. coming up -- >> thanks, brian. >> -- a speech jon meacham knows well delivered on this very day at another time when hatred had taken hold. or so it seemed. this is not a bed...
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we're on the move. hey rick, all good? oh yeah, we're good. we're good. terminix. defenders of home.
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last thing before we go tonight, it is considered, for good reason, one of the greatest presidential speeches of the modern era, and along with so many of the truly memorable words our presidents have spoken to us over the years, this speech was borne out of tragedy, an act of hatred. lyndon johnson asked to speak to congress and the nation on this day in 1965, in the wake of the police beating of the civil rights marchers from selma to montgomery. they were marching for voting rights. one marcher was killed. john lewis came close but survived. and so in pushing for the voting
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rights act, lbj borrowed the title of the signature spiritual of the civil rights movement, and it has been known since that day as the "we shall overcome" speech. >> to deny a man his hopes because of his color or race or his religion or the place of his birth is not only to do injustice, it is to deny america and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for american freedom. this is the richest and the most powerful country which ever occupied this globe. the might of past empires is little compared to ours. but i do not want to be the
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president who built empires or sought grandeur or extended dominion. i want to be the president who educated young children to the wonders of their world. i want to be the president who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers. instead of tax eaters. i want to be the president who helped to end hatred among his fellow man and who promoted love
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among the people of all races and all regions and all parties. i want to be the president who helped to end war among the brothers of this earth. >> lyndon johnson on this day, 1965, giving the speech he dedicated to the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy. he likely would not have believed that the fight for the right to vote would continue into 2019. that is our broadcast for this friday night and for this week. thank you so much for being here with us. have a good weekend and good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york.
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