tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC May 10, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
controlling women. wendy davis, thank you so much for joining us. and that is tonight's last word. i'm joy reid. i will see you tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. where i will have a big announcement. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. tonight late developments in another challenging week for the president as the administration is hit with more subpoenas, a new report on the president's response to the mueller report. a key witness is asked and declines twice to say publicly that trump did not obstruct justice. plus the uproar over his personal lawyer, rudy giuliani and his upcoming visit to ukraine. to meddle in an investigation. new polls show the president's approval ratings on the rise. the 11th hour on a friday night starts right now.
good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. i'm steve kornacki in for brian williams who will be back on monday night. day 841 of the trump administration and there's new reporting tonight from the wall street journal which broke this story and from the "new york times" on what appears to be the president's effort to persuade his former white house counsel to declare that the president did not commit obstruction of justice. president trump sought to have former white house counsel don mcgahn declare he didn't consider the president's 2017 directive that he seek robert mueller's dismissal to be obstruction of justice. but mr. mcgahn rebuffed the request. "the times" report, white house officials asked at least twice in the past month for mcgahn to say publicly that he never believed the president obstructed justice. mr. mcgahn declined.
his reluctance angered mr. trump who believed mcgahn showed disloyalty by telling investigators about mr. trump's attempts to maintain control over the russia investigation. the white house made one of the requests to mr. mcgahn's lawyer william a. burke, before the mueller report was released publicly but after the justice department gave a copy to mr. trump's lawyers to read. mueller documented how in january of 2018 jump, quote, pressured mcgahn to publicly deny the reports that he had tried to fire the special counsel. in that case, mcgahn also refused the president's request. last month, trump issued this denial of the account. >> i never told don mcgahn to fire mueller. if i wanted to fire mueller, i would have done it myself. >> this latest news will likely
spark a new push for house democrats to get mueller as well as mcgahn to testify. tonight judiciary committee chairman jerry nadler sent this tweet saying this is why it is critical for mr. mcgahn to come before our committee and answer questions for the american people. the president cannot keep mcgahn from testifying. nadler says he's negotiating with mueller but it is unlikely mueller will testify next week. nadler added this earlier today. >> he will come at some point, if necessary we'll subpoena him and he'll come. >> meanwhile another house committee is using subpoena power to dial up the heat on the administration. treasury secretary steven mnuchin who has refused to hand over six years of trump's tax returns, he received a subpoena today from the chairman of the house ways and means committee. the irs commissioner also received a subpoena. these moves come just days after the "new york times" reported that trump lost so much money from the years 1985 to 1994 that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of those ten years. democrats are also now weighing stiff penalties for trump
administration officials and for others who might refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas. here's house intel chairman adam schiff earlier today. >> it's far more practical to consider levying individual fines on the person, not on the office until they comply. the courts use that practice. i think it's quite successful. >> you're talking about a big number? >> yes. yes. well, you could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply. that will probably get their attention. >> can you do that? >> we can do that. if there is going to be this across the board stonewalling, we're going to have to consider extraordinary remedies. >> this has been a week of exploding clashes between the executive and legislation branches and they show every sign of continued escalation. here's some of what it has sounded like. >> the special counsel's finding is clear, case closed. case closed. >> the question is on the motion
to report the committee report for resolution recommending that the house of representatives find william f.p. barr, attorney general, in contempt. >> we are now in a constitutional crisis. >> will you allow robert mueller to testify in congress? >> i'm going to leave that up to our very great attorney general. >> he's goading us to impeach us, taunting, taunting. >> the senate intelligence committee has subpoenaed don jr. that's the republican-led senate intelligence committee. what do you make of that? >> to now get a subpoena to go again and speak again after close to 20 hours of telling everybody that would listen about a nothing meeting, yeah, i'm pretty surprised. the mueller report came out, that's the bible, the mueller report came out, and they said he did nothing wrong.
>> and here for our leadoff discussion on a friday night, jonathannal len. donny deutsche, barbara mcquaid, former u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. and paul butler, a former federal prosecutor in georgetown law school professor. thanks to all of you for being with us. barbara, let me start with you on this news about the president through intermediaries twice in the last month making this request to don mcgahn, the former white house counsel, that he come out and publicly say he did not consider the president's actions at least as they related directly to him, to appointment to obstruction of justice. obviously mcgahn's account is critical to any claim of obstruction, to any discussion of whether obstruction occurred here. "the times" tells us these requests came after the mueller report was completed and handed
in and we should add mcgahn's lawyer tells the times he didn't consider the request to be a threat. is there a question of the propriety of this, though, in terms of the white house reaching out like this? >> absolutely. and i think it just helps make the case for why congress and america need to hear firsthand from don mcgahn. i think you could make an argument that asking mcgahn to deny that obstruction of justice occurred constitutes obstruction of justice itself. he's no longer interfering with robert mueller's investigation but could be interfering with a congressional investigation. now of course whether don mcgahn's opinion is or is not that there's obstruction of justice is not what's relevant. if president trump is attempting to get him to change his story or interfere with the truth or have that corrupt intent that we talked about during the mueller investigation, then that could amount to obstruction of justice. but at the very least, i think it suggests something that's inappropriate in trying to
influence the way don mcgahn answers questions. he should testify in congress, we should hear what he has to say. i really think that talking to barr and mueller becomes less important and talking to the underlying witnesses more important so that we can hear straight from them and assess what we think is the truth based on what they have to say. >> let me bring our other former prosecutor in with another detail from this "new york times" story. i'll put it up on the screen here. it says the white house learned in august that mr. mcgahn had told mr. mueller's investigators that he believed the president had not obstructed justice according to one of the people. after "new york times" article revealed that mr. mcgahn had spoken to investigators for at least 30 hours, mr. burke tried to reassure the white house that his client told mr. mueller that he never believed mr. trump had committed an obstruction offense. pall paul butler, let me ask you
about that. there's some sourcing here. so who knows? if what is being suggested here is true, that is to say mcgahn's lawyer, mcgahn told the white house that he had told mueller i didn't think what you did was obstruction, does that change at all questions about propriety of the white house doing this? >> well, i think that in terms of whether the president committed obstruction, don mcgahn has never been a federal prosecutor, he's never practiced criminal law. on that issue i'm going to go with the judgment of the over 800 former federal prosecutors including barbara and i, who signed that statement saying mueller found overwhelming evidence that the president has committed obstruction. we do want to give mcgahn some props though because he doesn't do everything the president tells him to do. and unfortunately that's praise worthy in this administration. so the president asked him to fire mueller, he refused to do that. he refused to co-sign what he
allegedly told mueller. again, it's unethical. i think it's obstruction adjacent as barbara said that the president asked him to do this. it may not be a crime. it's skating really close to the line. >> i want to stick on this one point. i'm a layman here. i'm talking to two lawyers. this is why i want to try to get some clarification on this because as a layman when i read this story, it seems like a key point to me. i may be totally wrong here. but let me put it this way, if it is true that mcgahn's lawyer told the white house that he told mueller he didn't think this was obstruction of justice, if that is true that the white house was told that, does it change whether it's okay or not for the white house to say, hey, could you say that publicly? >> i don't think so. remember, obstruction of justice, it's a federal crime. there has to be corrupt intent. you have to -- with that intent, try to impede an official
investigation. there's a technical determination for a prosecutor to make. remember the facts, though, that's what mcgahn was a witness for about the facts. and what he did tell mueller was that the president not only tried to get him to fire mueller, but then to cover up what the president had done, to lie about it. again, in the judgment of over 800 federal prosecutors, that's obstruction. >> john allen, in terms of the politics of this, again, "the times" reporting here that the white house learned about what was in the mueller report, they had seen it before it came out publicly. clearly it seems from these actions they recognize some potential public political relations damage from the mcgahn component of this? >> absolutely. for the president to reach out and ask don mcgahn to say something publicly twice according to this report, for mcgahn to refuse him, they knew
this was going to be politically damaging and also potentially legally damages as per the conversation you guys were just having. i think there are a lot of reasons that don mcgahn would not say that publicly. one would be that he doesn't believe it to be true. and he would know that saying something publicly is not helpful to him if he's going to go testify at some point. unlike president trump who says things publicly that may not be advisable for him legally, a smart lawyer wouldn't be out there saying something publicly one way or the other. i think the investigation is damaging to the president politically. i think that's why you're seeing this unprecedented scope, this blanket refusal to cooperate with congress. >> and there's also this mention in the article that the president looks at mcgahn as disloyal. of course mcgahn as the white house counsel, not trump's personal lawyer, that point has been made by a number of experts. certainly publicly. but the question of does the president see that distinction. >> the president runs a crime family. it's basically loyalty against loyalty.
has nothing to do with what's right or wrong. taking the politics of this, it's interesting in your lead to the show, you mentioned as an aside the president's approval numbers at an all-time high. obviously you have republicans that basically are going to let the president move towards executive privilege and you have democrats saying, we believe in laws. there's been obstruction 90 times over. the question becomes when and is there a tipping point for voters for the public consciousness where americans, where the key -- where the 10, 12% swing voters start to say this matters to me. and i do think at some point there's a cumulative effect. when you put mnuchin, mcgahn and barr, at some point, but, it has not stuck yet. so the challenge continues to be for the democrats, how do they walk and chew gum at the same time.
how do they keep their eyes on health care, keep their eyes on low wages, fight what seems to be a roaring economy from the trump part of the economy. but yet not walk away from this. and that's kind of -- as nancy pelosi said is trump is goading. he's going to keep doing this. he wants the democrats to throw that impeachment fast ball. i think that's dangerous. this is going to continue to happen. there will or there will not be a legal tipping point. >> along those lines, barbara, we mentioned the new development today with the tax returns. so previously the house ways and means committee controlled by democrats had invoked this 1924 law and said, look, mr. president, you have to turn over your taxes to us. the administration has said they're not going to comply. now going the subpoena route seems just as unlikely the administration is going to comply with that. does this land in court and is it possible this is -- this is resolved any time in the near future? >> i don't know. it seems that the letter alone
should have been legally sufficient to get the tax returns. it says upon request, the treasury department shall produce the tax returns. and so the subpoena really in many ways is legally unnecessary. but i think it is sort of a next step, a warning shot that we mean business, we're not going away. and i think if they do resort to litigation at some point, the house ways and means committee can say, we tried to do this in as fair a way as possible and we now have no choice but to resort to the courts for legal redress. i do think that the white house -- the treasury department is trying to slow walk what is inevitable and that is the disclosure under this law. but if a court battle lies ahead, that could take weeks or months to resolve. >> and, john, if democrats -- at least from the leadership level don't want to go down the impeachment road, if trump for that matter, politically wants
them to go down that road and maybe that adds to their reluctance to do so, at what point does the delay game when it comes to all of these subpoenas, all of these requests for documents, for testimony, for cooperation for the administration, does there come a point where that reaches critical mass with democrats in congress and they feel compelled to go the impeachment route? >> it's really interesting what's happening on the hill right now is for nancy pelosi and for the democratic leadership, they've been allowing these investigations to go forward. jerry nadler and the tax committee and elijah cummings, at oversight, adam schiff at intelligence, they're not acting without nancy pelosi's blessing. however, there are a lot of democrats that for political reasons and also because they don't believe the tipping point has been reached, don't want to move forward with impeachment. the more they're able to frame this around the administration taking unprecedented steps that they believe violate the
constitutional checks and balances, the separation of powers, they're watching this administration do things that are abnormal, the more it's framed around that rather than partisan politics, the more the caucus comes together around the idea that the house democrats should be taking on the president in court and potentially moving down the road of impeachment. basically what you've got now is trump unifying democrats in a place where they were fractured before and as employees has said, she believed he goading them into impeachment. i don't expect that to be a fast move in the direction of impeachment. >> let's squeeze in a quick break. our guests have agreed to stay with us. and coming up, we have some news that is breaking right now. trump attorney rudy giuliani has had a change of heart about heading to ukraine. we'll tell you about that. and later what democrats say is a constitutional crisis, donald trump's approval rating is higher than it's been since the first month of his presidency.
i've decided i'm not going to go to the ukraine. >> you're not going to go? >> i'm not going to go because i think i'm walking into a group of people who are enemies of the president. >> this is some breaking news. moments ago rudy giuliani said he will not be traveling to ukraine after all. the "new york times" first reported that giuliani was
planning to push that country's new president to move forward with investigations that could be useful to his client, the president. one is the origin of the special counsel's investigation, the other is the involvement of former vice president joseph biden with an oligarch. paul, let me start with you, last night around this time we were digesting the news that rudy giuliani said he was going to ukraine. and he said i'm not going there to meddle in an election, but i'm going there to meddle in an investigation. he used those words. he said meddle in an investigation that might be useful to my client. that is the president of the united states, donald trump. now 24 hours later, there's been considerable criticism of that. today he says he's not going. let me ask you the bottom-line legal question, were there legal concerns that were raised by what giuliani said 24 hours ago? >> meddling in an investigation
would be a crime if he did it in the united states. again, that's what president trump most likely did. here in the ukraine, once again, steve, criminal law adjacent, a gutsy prosecutor might be able to bring a case for some kind of campaign finance violation. maybe logan act. it's far from a slam dunk. when i was a prosecutor, one of the things i learned were that lots of acts of corruption weren't necessarily criminal, per se. with this administration, we see acts that are so brazen, un-american, against all kinds of democratic norms but they don't cross the line to being criminal law issues. >> last night, when you had giuliani's original statement, one of the things that shocked people beyond all the specifics
was the brazenness of the it. was the attorney for the president who's gone through this two-year investigation where all of these suggestions were out there, coordination, cooperation, there were suggestions that were out there and saying he's going to go over to a foreign country and try to get them to pursue an investigation that might turn up information that would be useful. for giuliani to say that publicly in the first place. >> it's a sick, twisted move. if i keep doing it, it's not wrong, i wouldn't be doing it in public. just a side note on giuliani, i was here when giuliani was running the city. after he left office, so many people felt he was exploiting 9/11 and he went from there. he's become such a despicable figure, such a tragic old man doing anything to stay relevant. what a disappointing, sad little old man that has taken on such a evil, twisted manner that he would display this in the last 24 hours.
probably just a publicity stunt in the first place. out of all the president's men, of all these swamp things, rudy giuliani stands out to me as the lowest of the low. >> giuliani is just saying this in the last couple of minutes that we won't go. let's play just a little bit more. give you a sense of what he's saying right now. >> okay. so no trip to sunday, no trips to ukraine. >> no trips because i believe i was walking into a bunch of people, one of whom already has been found to be involved in this that i wasn't aware of and i think this was a setup. >> okay. again that was giuliani just a couple of minutes ago. this was a couple of hours ago, the president speaking to "politico," donald trump saying tonight before giuliani just said what we showed you, he said that he planned to speak to giuliani before his trip to ukraine, said i plan to speak to him about it before he leaves. i'm just curious about that. he said he had not spoken to giuliani at any great length about this. john, i do think there's been a pattern here just the last
couple of years with rudy giuliani making pronouncements that you get the impression, surprise, even people around trump, even trump itself. >> i'm not sure what the backstory is here. i spoke at length with rudy giuliani this week, not specifically about his trip to ukraine or i would have reported it first. but there's absolutely an interest in the part of the president and his allies and trying to figure out if there's something that they can produce that will show that they were the victims of being railroaded by some deep-state conspiracy within the obama administration. that's still something that's hot on their minds. if rudy giuliani believed that he could get something out of an ukrainian investigation that would produce that, no wonder he would want to go over there and do that. but what he said just there on fox news that he was going to be set up, i'm curious to know what the rest of that was.
it sounds like maybe he was the victim of some sort of ruse or something. i really want to know what happened and maybe some of us will inquire about that going forward. it's not surprising that they would reach out to a foreign power. the president won his election last time with the assistance of russia. rather than having compunction about that, that seems to be something they're looking forward to in 2020 as well. >> and barbara, i guess paul addressed the basic legal question there of making this kind of a trip and then making that kind of request on the trip in the first place. i imagine, though, if giuliani were still to go forward with this, maybe he reserves himself again or at least when he was considering this, there would also be any number of predictable factors and potential risks of what might come from that. >> yeah. this to me really demonstrates what we've seen again and again with president trump, his
inability or even refusal to draw lines between what is in his personal interest and what is in the nation's best interest. our country works with foreign governments from time to time. in ukraine we've done work on rule of law there and helping them, and that is done in the interest of our country, the united states of america, to help a country in ways that are mutually beneficial. rudy giuliani is going on behalf of president trump as his personal lawyer to benefit his campaign. when someone is coming as the representative of donald trump, i'm sure to those in ukraine, they see him as the representative of the president and they're inclined to give him what he wants and to help him. in this way, the president is really utilizing his role, his office of the presidency, to gain improper things for himself personally. and so just another example of those blurred lines that should be very solid lines. >> all right.
donny, before we go, tomorrow night -- you're not broadcasting live from ukraine are you? >> we're in monte carlo. we got jim cramer from mad money. such a crazy week with the markets as far as tariffs, this booming economy and how the democrats are going to turn that upside down on trump. cramer has got some great insight, nicolle wallace is there. 8:00 p.m., tune in. i know you don't go out saturday nights, you stay home, you get the popcorn and watch. i appreciate that. >> jim cramer and nicolle wallace. 8:00 p.m. msnbc tomorrow. thank you for stopping by, thank you to all of you as well. you can catch donny's show tomorrow night. and coming up, we haven't seen an approval rating number like this since the president since -- basically since he was
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do voters feel that this sense of crisis is turning them on the president at all? we can show you, here is -- this is donald trump's approval rating. this is his average approval rating right now. you put together all the polls that are out there. you average them together and he clocks in at 45.1%. there's two things i can tell you about that number, it's not a great number for a president at this point in his term. but i can also tell you this, 45.1% in the average for donald trump, the real clear politics average, that's the best donald trump has done since the first month of his presidency. this is about as high as its been for donald trump. this is the trend line of his approval rating. notice how tight this is. you're talking about high 30s, low 40s. that's the entire range he's existed in. to put this in context. 45.1% right now.
when is the last time he actually reached that level? it was february 20th, 2017 he hit 45.3%. that's the last time he's been in that territory. what is the absolute highest since he was sworn in that donald trump ever hit in this average, 46%. he is now within a point of that number, 45.1 now. 46%. call that his honeymoon. that was week two of his presidency. and what is the lowest? at his worst point, it was 37.1%. this is the range. we say it's a tight range. that his approval ratings existed in. this is the range. 37 on his worst day, 46 on his best day. and here he is sitting at 45%. what might be bringing it up there, first of all, there always could be a little bit of noise in these polls. let's see if more come out in the next week or two and see if this sustain. that's your first question. if it does sustain, question, is it the economy, all of that
great economic news the last few weeks, is that helping him at all? are there some republican friendly voters who are rallying around him in the face of this impeachment talk. is that another factor there? there are some possibilities there. but keep this in mind. this range has not been consistent for his presidency. this is what the range looked like in the campaign for donald trump. when you tested donald trump versus hillary clinton in 2016, his numbers also lived in this range and remember at the very end of the campaign, he got up, 46%, that's what he got in the presidential election and he barely won in 2016. to have a chance in 2020. 45.1, that starts to get him in the place where he could maybe talk about just stringing it together the way he did in 2016. a long way to go between here and the election. but 45.1%, worth keeping that in mind if you want to talk about the bottom line politics.
president trump is ready for the general election and he is already zeroed in on an opponent. trump told "politico," i look at it like my race in 2016, that predicted biden will remain at the head of the pack of 22 democrats running for president. in addition trump suggested that he doesn't see his other democratic rivals as serious threats. he also christened biden with a new nickname. looks like it's going to be sleepy creepy joe over crazy bernie. biden has been leading the polls since before he said he's running and he's expanding his
lead nationally and in early states like new hampshire. the latest poll has biden doubling up bernie sanders. back with us tonight, national political reporter for the associated press and political reporter for "the wall street journal." thanks to both of you for being with us. ken let me start with you. donald trump focusing so much attention early on on joe biden. is this a case, do you think, of trump just kind of following the media coverage and responding to it, or is there a particular advantage that he perceives in going after biden right now, either trying to elevate him, perhaps, or trying to wipe him out early? >> this looks like an example of the president trying to build joe biden up in order to tear him down later. i think they see a pretty good matchup with biden on certain things, they feel like he has a lengthy record that can bring up, they feel the trade issue could be a troublesome spot for biden. and then just this idea of biden as someone who has been in
politics for a long time. the president has always wanted to be that outsider, anti-establishment force and i think his advisors feel like biden would be helpful in that regard. that said, biden would be, you know, a good matchup for the president. he would be difficult in some of the midwest states that the president won, but i think by and large, they see some advantages to running against biden. >> in terms of biden's democratic opponents, what is your sense of how they view this start he's gotten in this race. i know there was some sense out there, i should say, that the cliche was the best day joe biden has as a candidate will be the day he announces. it will all be downhill from there. so for a that's not proven to be true. how are his democratic opponents reacting to that? >> absolutely. and we've seen in the weeks or so since biden has announced, he's been pretty resilient.
remained at the top of the polls, like that new hampshire poll you just mentioned. i think a lot of his opponents are spending quite a bit of time talking about how they believe they're more electable than joe biden. you saw kamala harris in california making that electability around, bernie sanders positioning himself as the anti-biden candidate. as we are in this period now, between the end of the first fund raising quarter and the first debates in june, you're going to see candidates come out more and draw the contrast between themselves and the former vice president as they're looking to have that moment and reclaim some of the spotlight. because he has taken up a lot of the oxygen in the room. >> mick mulvaney gave an interview to major garrett from cbs today, talking about joe biden's age previewing how potentially trump would handle that in a general election. take a listen. >> people forget, senator biden -- vice president biden has tried this a couple times
and failed miserably. and what he's getting ready to do is really, really hard. i think biden's what, 75, 76 years old. this is a hard job. >> harder than he knows? >> yes. >> donald trump will be 74 in 2020, so there's not a huge age difference there. i wonder about this age question on the democratic side as they look for an electable candidate. if that's on their list here. biden would hit 80 years old in his first term of president. we've never had a president that old before. how much do you think democratic voters are looking at him on the campaign trail and asking does he look his age? does he sound his age? >> and there's this issue of whether the party wants a fresh face right now, whether they're willing to, you know, take a flier on someone new. and a lot of it comes back to electability. they feel so strongly that they need to deny president trump a
second term and that's where joe biden fits in. he's the comforting figure, the person they know and love and respect. and so a lot of them are willing to look past his age, but that's -- if there is an interest in a fresh face, that's where someone like a pete buttigieg or beto o'rourke could come in and say, i'm a youthful energetic alternative. >> coming up, new reporting gives a clear picture of what's on the mind of voters in the critical caucus state of iowa. it's not necessarily what you hear about in the news all the time. i'll tell you that. more on that after the break.
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talking about. we'll give you a hint. it's not russia and it's not impeachment. a review of questions that potential caucus goers have been asking the candidates reveals that those voters are most worried about health care, climate change, and education. those questions accounted for about a quarter of all questions that were asked in april. other important topics included foreign policy, electability, immigration, and gun control. back with us, our guests. it's interesting, because we lead the show tonight talking about that dilemma that democratic leaders have in washington about where to push this confrontation with donald trump and whether to move toward impeachment. how significant is it that democratic caucus goers in iowa don't seem to be talking about
it very much. >> i love this story. it matches up with what i hear from voters. i think voters care about those issues, but i think they also recognize that democrats have to have a plan if they do -- if they do in fact take the oval office whether that is because the president is impeached and then they win an election or they win in 2020. they realize there needs to be a plan, they are concerned about whether or not they'll be able to put food on the table for their kids. whether or not the quality of their children's education is strong. they want to hear how democrats are going to address that. children's education is strong. they want to see candidates that are running on something and for something, instead of candidates simply running against trump. >> is there a risk in that for democrats in washington just if these issues that voters are asking about at these events with candidates, if this is what's on their mind, impeachment, subpoenas, and the investigation was dominating washington, do you think democratic voters are giving democratic leaders leeway for that?
or do you think there's a possibility democratic voters start to see, hey, what about our priorities? >> there's a danger of disconnect between what happens in congress in this next year or so and what is happening on the campaign trail. you know, the president's recent approval ratings are really interesting because you could attribute some of it to the strong economy, but you could also attribute it to republicans coming home to him in response to this impeachment talk. so it's a risky proposition for democrats in the presidential race to focus so much on impeachment talk. they really haven't. we heard a lot more about the green new deal, about health care and issues like that, but there is this worry among some that if impeachment talk takes off, it could take the party in the presidential race in the wrong direction. >> juana, we played that clip of mick mulvaney.
the white house chief of staff. sizing up biden as a potential opponent. we mentioned age and the issue of trade. you remember in 2016 some of those voters in the industrial midwest that perhaps trump was able to peel off from democrats, one of the key issues seemed to be trade with donald trump taking a more protectionist tone than we're used to hearing from republicans. hillary clinton supporting a lot of these trade deals in the past. when you look at that in the context of biden potentially being the democratic nominee, he makes a lot of his potential appeal in those midwest states, but his record on trade for nafta, for tpp, not much different than hillary clinton's. >> you're absolutely right. and i think on the democratic primary that's where we'll see this issue break open, particularly in the contrast of former vice president joe biden and senator bernie sanders of vermont are going to draw against each other, throwing trump in that mix too, i think trade could be one of the marquee issues as both of those democratic candidates and the
president are looking at those upper rust belt midwest states and focusing their messages there early on. >> interesting to hear when you look at the range of issues voters are asking about, one of the things they are asking candidates about is that word, electability. >> yeah, it just comes up constantly when you're on the road talking to voters. they seem to be trying to make a calculation on, you know, who gives them the best chance of defeating the president. we've seen in past cycles issues like the iraq war being front and center. but it's really much more at this point about, you know, electability and the opportunity to deny the president a second term. >> ken thomas, juana summers, thanks to both of you for joining us. coming up, the perils of being president on camera. today it wasn't trump. we'll have vladimir putin's must-see moment when "the 11th hour" continues.
the last thing before we go tonight takes us to russia and president vladimir putin playing in an exhibition hockey game there. he seemed to do all right for himself, officially scoring eight goals, or nine, actually, if you believe the kremlin's report. we're not sure how hard the opposing goalie was trying to block those presidential shots, though. it was after the game, however, skating around the ice in sochi and waving to the crowd that putin's skate found the red
carpet there. and down he went. that just goes to show you the peril of being a leader on the world stage, that any trip or fall or awkward moment can be captured on camera for the whole world to see. the british press had a field day back when theresa may made her dance moves to "dancing queen" at a torrey party conference. in shanghai after a press conference in 2005. george w. bush famously battled with a locked door trying to cut a press conference short. then there was this moment in st. petersburg in 2006 when he surprised angela merkel when he was candidate for president. barack obama earned a few chuckles for his dancing skills when he appeared on "ellen." he had a close call getting off air force one in 2015, getting on and off the presidential
plane on camera has repeatedly given us funny moments over the years. trump boarded the plane in minneapolis with what looked like a piece of toilet paper on his shoe. he couldn't be bothered to close his umbrella and left it to rock gently in the wind there. perhaps no president has better illustrated the perils of getting on and off the presidential jet than gerald ford. this slip in austria in 1970 is one of many, so many, in fact, that it got the "snl" treatment. >> whereas the -- >> live from new york, it's saturday night. >> that was chevy chase. he looked nothing like gerald ford, but some people say he got the mannerisms just about right. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being with us.
brian will be back on monday. have a happy mother's day weekend, and good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. here's this woman smiling, about to take a hike for her anniversary.a there's nothing you can see from those photos that they took tha would ever begin to suggest howo it would all end.ev it's chilling. >> she was a beloved doctor, amazing mom, sunday school r, teacher. >> she'd given so much love to others. finally, she'd found it for herself. a handsome widower touched by tragedy.ha >> his first wife died in a car accident. >> my heart went out for him. >> now he and the doctor were or bound for adventure. a surprise weekend away. >> i was excited for her. >> a romantic hike to a remote mountain spot. the scenery was breath-taking.