tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC September 11, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT
18 years almost to the minute that the first plane struck the twin towers. and now, nearly two decades later, the united states is facing foreign policy challenges on multiple fronts, from places like iran, new york, russia, and china, and with john bolton now leaving the white house, there are huge questions about how we will confront all of these challenges. as we speak, we are waiting for president trump to announce his new pick to become the fourth national security adviser in less than three years. that is more than any other first-term president in u.s. history. but while his departure illustrates the chaos and infighting of this administration, most americans are probably going to let that slide, as long as the president and his team are able to keep this country safe. i have a fantastic team here. carol lee has brand-new, exclusive reporting about how john bolton's departure unfolded. ben rhodes served as deputy national security adviser to president obama. nick rasmussen was director of the national counterterrorism
center under president obama and president trump. before that, he served on president bush's national security council, joining it less than one week after the 9/11 attacks. ben, let's start with you. you have been very critical of the president's foreign policy, but at the end of the day, it has now been 18 years without another major attack on the united states. as long as that remains the case, do most americans care about how many national security advisers the president goes through, or is it just about them staying safe? >> well, stephanie, first of all, obviously, the top priority for anybody sitting in any of the jobs that nick and i had is keeping americans safe. i think americans also care, obviously, about whether or not we're immersed in wars overseas. those have obviously become unpopular over the last 18 years with afghanistan and then iraq. and right now, it's at a sense that we may be sliding in the direction of conflict with an iran, or that we're in an escalating trade war with china
that really does hurt americans at their pocketbooks, right? so, even though we're not talking about terrorist attacks, we are talking about things that really matter, issues of war and peace abroad, issues of how our global economy's going to be managed, issues of america's standing in the world. and i think americans, one of the things we were so proud about after 9/11 was how the world rallied around us. and i think there is real concern about an america that is not respected in the same way as it has been in past years under this current administration. so, there are real challenges that confront whoever occupies that job. and even though it may not occupy the attention of americans every day, it matters if you have this level of dysfunction, this level of turnover, this fact that other countries don't even know who the key person is to call in the trump administration at this point, given how much there's been this kind of revolving door there. so again, i think this is a very uncertain time with many different balls in the air, many different international crises that have yet to be resolved, and a lack of clarity coming from this administration about how they're going to deal with those issues of ending a war in
afghanistan, avoiding a war with iran, and de-escalating a trade war with china. >> there's also real threats and challenges that don't just come in the form of hijacked planes. nick, you know better than i do, you've got cybersecurity, you've got disinformation campaigns. we have seen these issues realtime over the last couple of years. so, for those who argue, we are safe, we haven't seen a 9/11 in 18 years, what do you say to them? >> well, i say a couple of things, stephanie. first of all, our defenses are much stronger than they were at the time of 9/11. we are much more capable of defending ourselves, going on the offense, when necessary, but also the array of defensive measures we've erected in the homeland security enterprise since 9/11. but at the same time, as ben points out, and as your question points out, that threat landscape that we face is a whole lot more complicated than it was at the time of 9/11. we're not just talking about a small handful of al qaeda operatives trying to penetrate the united states. we're talking about a sunni
jihadist element that grows in number year after year and that we actually face four times as many global terrorists, you might say, as we did at the time of 9/11, according to a recent study done by csis. so, again, this speaks to what ben pointed out about the dysfunction of our national security leadership at this particular moment in time. we have thus far not had that crisis moment in this administration, but i fear that if it comes, we won't be as well postured for that crisis moment as we should be. >> let's dig deeper into the president and john bolton. peter baker, chief white house correspondent for "the new york times," his story on john bolton is today's must-read front-page story. peter, we have spent the last several years talking about whether the people around president trump would keep him from acting on his worst instincts, but in this case, it was john bolton, not the president, who is the one pushing for more conflict, not less. and i want to share what the president said about him back in may.
>> john is a -- he has strong views on things, but that's okay. i actually temper john, which is pretty amazing, isn't it? nobody thought that was going to -- i'm the one that tempers him. but that's okay. john bolton is absolutely a hawk. if it was up to him, he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay? >> so, no matter what else you think about president trump, does the president deserve credit, i guess you could say, for trying to keep us out of more wars which john bolton would be inclined to do the opposite? peter? >> well, it's an interesting conundrum, right, because you've got this president who speaks with great about the world. a couple weeks ago he said he could wipe out afghanistan, kill millions of people, contemplating genocide, although he said he didn't want to do that. he talks a big game, sometimes an apocalyptic game that would seem very scary, very rattling for the world. and yet at the same time, of course, he came into office promising to end america's
overseas wars. and there's this fundamental conflict in there between those two sort of elements of his political persona. john bolton played the one side but not the other. his predecessors were trying to restrain him against being too hostile toward the outside world, against being hostile toward our allies. john bolton, on the other hand, was trying to restrain him in a different way. he was trying to restrain him from making what he saw, anyway, as bad agreements with the likes of north korea, iran, most recently the taliban. so, you know, this yin and yang of the president's foreign policy thinking has been reflected in the succession of national security advisers he's had, which is why i think we're paying attention to who might be the next one. >> okay, carol, then, without john bolton, who is the most influential foreign policy voice inside this administration now? >> well, steph, i'd have to say president trump. we've seen increasingly as he cycles through his national security staff and new people come in, he's increasingly, you know, decided that he's taking control of it, that he sets the
policy, and i think the message of john bolton's departure is in part that, you know, aides who work for trump either need to get on board or they can leave and that, you know, the thing that john bolton did that ultimately was his undoing was not only did he not get on board, but he made that known publicly, you know, and that is what really got under the president's skin, because he felt like it was undermining his policy. if you're looking more broadly at who might be able to get into the president's ear on certain things to sort of shape the direction he's headed, it would be secretary of state mike pompeo. he's well known as somebody who can get in the president's ear and perhaps shift him around the edges. however, mike pompeo's known as one of the biggest iran hawks in washington, and he's even having to get on board with the president who now says that he wants to sit down with the president of iran without any preconditions. so, again, that underscores that if anybody is setting the policy, it's president trump. and certainly, that's the message that president trump wants to convey.
>> well, yesterday john bolton certainly made his views known to our own peter alexander. peter's at the white house. peter, john bolton reached out to you personally. what'd he say? >> yeah, well, the bottom line is you're seeing the sort of contradiction in the stories that the two sides are telling. the takeaway here is that these two men who had disagreements on iran, north korea, afghanistan, couldn't even share a story in terms of the way things ended here. john bolton after the president said effectively that he fired bolton on monday night, texted me and he said that he offered to resign monday night, that the president never directly or indirectly fired him, that ultimately, he slept on it and that he resigned on tuesday. so, now we look forward and focus on the short list, in effect, of who could be the next national security adviser. remember, president trump now in less than three years is looking for his fourth national security adviser. we can show you some of the faces of those who are under consideration, according to people in and around this white house and some of the president's allies. lindsey graham, one of the
president's allies, saying, for one, it will have to be someone who is close with mike pompeii y pompeo, who has an increasing role. left the white house after bolton took the role, rick waddell. brian hook on the screen, the u.s. special representative for iran. he has one of those critical qualifications, which is that he's particularly close to pompeo. keith kellogg, the national security adviser right now to the white house, mike pence. he was the acting national security adviser for i think just seven days after mike flynn was ousted early in the president's term. tom bossert, former national security adviser for president trump. we reached out to him. he declined to comment. he stepped down at the same john bolton was appointed. those are the key names we'll be focusing on moving forward, but donald trump's the one who's sort of driving this train. >> those are the who. how about what are they going to do? ben, we know bolton opposed the
negotiations with iran and the taliban. with bolton out, does it mean we're closer now to those things happening? >> well, absolutely. and you know, stephanie, there's, you know, the u.n. meetings later this month in new york city. and the trump administration seems to be almost chasing a meeting with the iranians. you know, the iranians have not indicated that they want to sit down bilaterally with president trump, but he keeps making the point that he would like to sit down with the iranians. and part of what we're seeing here is he's entering into an election year, stephanie. he's gotten a lot of balls in the air, a lot of planes that need to land here. we've got iran resuming its nuclear program, we've got north korea still building new nuclear weapons, the war in afghanistan is still ongoing, even though president trump promised to bring it to an end, the china trade war is escalating. he wants to get some agreements somewhere to show that he's landing some of these planes. and bolton, obviously, was idealogically resistant to those deals, be it with the taliban, with north korea, with iran. the problem here, as peter points out, though, is that
trump's own approach has been bellicose. the reason we're in a crisis with iran is trump pulled out of the iran deal and used a lot of rhetoric and the iranians responded. so the question is not just whest president trump has an inclination to do this, but whether we have the competence to carry this out, whether they have the national security team that can design these types of agreements, and frankly, whether other countries will trust president trump to keep any agreements he makes after he's pulled out of so many agreements that the united states has been a party to. so it's going to be a few complicated months with significant consequences for matters of america national security and our economic well-being when you look at the china trade war. >> then carol, this takes us to your fascinating, new reporting about who the president spoke to before he decided to let bolton go. tell us about this, talking to h.r. mcmaster, a guy who in theory the president didn't think had the competency to get the job done because he let him go before bolton showed up. >> yeah, steph, we -- my colleagues, courtney kube, and
kristen welker and i have talked to people who said that, you know, starting as soon as six months into john bolton's tenure, for the president to sort of call h.r. mcmaster. and you'll recall, he left on very, sort of unceremony -- he was unceremoniously fired as well, you don't disclose on twitter, and the relationship really deteriorated. so, last fall he calls him and tells him he misses him. there's been calls since then where they've talked about iran. he's asked who he thinks he should name as defense secretary. and so, it was kind of underscoring two things. one is that, obviously, president trump was, sort of his confidence in john bolton was waning. he was questioning whether he should stay on the job, or is kind of reaching out. and the other thing is that no one ever really leaves trump world essentially. we've seen the president get rid of people and have really bad relationship with them and then reach out to them later. we saw this with former chief of
staff reince priebus when he was fired, and then john kelly came in, and when john kelly was trying to get the president to do things he didn't want to do, he started to call reince priebus. so, it's kind of an interesting window into how the president sort of casts about as he becomes sort of restless with somebody who came in, as john bolton did, with huge fanfare and was seen initially as a real favorite of the president's. >> i don't know, bolton could be leaving the president's world for good. peter, john bolton didn't just talk to peter alexander. he spoke to you yesterday as well. given all of the people who left the administration but who haven't really -- i don't know how to say it -- spilled the beans or said much about what went on inside, do you think bolton will be friend? it's amazing that he wias reaching out to so many reporters himself yesterday. >> well, i think he wanted to set the record straight as he saw it. i don't think he wanted to be, you know, living under president trump's narrative, which so many others who have left the white house have had to swallow. and so, he decided to speak out,
at least in terms of correcting what he saw as the mistaken description of how his departure happened. you know, look, we've seen in the last couple weeks how jim mattis has handled things, right? jim mattis was the defense secretary. when he left, he wrote a letter, pretty straight forward, saying i don't think we agree on how to handle allies and on issues like syria, but then he basically stayed quiet. he's got a new book out, and even in the new book refuses to criticize president trump. i don't know that john bolton will take that same path. he's a pretty outspoken guy, he says what he thinks. one thing he's known for is his bluntness, his candor. my guess is that at some point in the next few months, you might hear him give his point of view about things. that doesn't necessarily mean he'll become an outspoken critic. it doesn't mean he'll go off the team like scaramucci, i think scaramucci did, but it's hard to imagine john bolton not telling us what he thinks at some point when he's ready to. >> so, nick, what do you think we're going to get in the president's next pick? all along, he said how much he
liked that john bolton had an opposing view from him, but we know how that turned out from bolton. >> stephanie, some of the names you threw up on the screen a couple of minutes ago will be individuals who know that their success in that role will only come if they align themselves almost completely and identically with the president's views going in, and that worries me a little bit, because obviously, one of the primary responsibilities of a national security adviser is to bring options to the president, including options and views that fall outside of what the president wants to do and wants to hear. and obviously, there were a lot of doubts about john bolton when he was named to the position, about whether he would play that steward role fairly and consistently. so, whoever comes in next will face a challenge in trying to align themselves to the president's views while also trying to run a system that actually brings a full set of options to the president. that's the way the system is supposed to work. >> we'll see if it does. all right, thank you all so
much. definitely made us smarter to start the hour. coming up next, honoring the heroes of 9/11. there were so many. we are following the ceremonies taking place this morning here in new york, the pentpentagon, pennsylvania, and we'll bring you those live throughout the hour, including remarks from president trump, set to speak at the pentagon in just a few minutes. they're america's biopharmaceutical researchers. pursuing life-changing cures in a country that fosters innovation here, they find breakthroughs... like a way to fight cancer by arming a patient's own t-cells... because it's not just about the next breakthrough... it's all the ones after that.
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congress is back in session, and with their return brings a renewed focus on two big issues -- the gun debate and impeachment talk. but will lawmakers take actual action on either one? depends on who you ask. on guns, democrats are moving full steam ahead. the house judiciary committee passing three new gun control measures out of committee yesterday, but republicans stalling and waiting for the president to make the first move. this is what mitch mcconnell had to say after republican leadership met with the president yesterday. >> my members know the very simple fact that to make a law, you have to have a presidential signature. and so, we had a briefing at lunch from eric gulen from down at the white house. they are working on coming up with a proposal that the president will sign. until that happens, all of this is theatrics. >> and on impeachment, democrats
are sending mixed messages within their own party. some saying impeaching the president is part of their job. while speaker nancy pelosi is still treading lightly. tomorrow, the house judiciary is set to vote on the ground rules for a potential impeachment inquiry. so, what does all this mean? joining me to discuss, shawn patrick maloney and chuck rosenberg, former u.s. attorney and senior fbi official, also host of the podcast "oath," which just released its second season. i highly recommend it. congressman, let's start with you on the gun debate. it really seems like each side is going right back in their corners it proceeding without paying attention to what the other one is doing. does it make sense for democrats in the house to keep passing legislation that they know doesn't have a chance in the senate? >> yes, it's important that we stand up for what's right and that we act, that we not just talk about it, but we act. you know, we're here on the anniversary of 9/11. those of us from new york have heavy hearts on this day, but we came together after that event and we took concrete steps to
make our country safer, and we need to have the same spirit of bipartisanship on the gun issue. unfortunately, right down that hallway, there's a guy names mitch mcconnell who is saying things like the clip you just played that are just i think so cynical. i mean, the idea that the senate can't act without the president in advance saying he'll sign something, that's a totally new standard in american politics, and it doesn't cut it when you're talking to these families and when you meet with the parkland kids like i have, when you look at the moms who have lost their children in places like newtown and elsewhere, that what's going on in our churches. so, yes, we need to pass real legislation. we've done so in february. we're going to pass more legislation in the coming days. that's important. the senate needs to get off its butt and do something. >> well, the states aren't waiting for that. yesterday, congressman, new jersey unveiled their new strategy. they're going to stop doing business with gun manufacturers who fail to adopt policies that go beyond the current federal law, like expanded background checks. what do you think about this strategy and should other states
like yours follow? >> i think it's important, and i'm very glad to see new york in the lead. my friend, tisch james doing great work going after the nra because of the corruption and the mixing of non-profit status and political activity. this is a multifront battle against are pushing these polic that are not supported by hunters, by the way, they're not supported by t i the hudson valley. they understand background checks should be universal. they support things like red flag laws guns out of the hands of dangerous people. they understand that there's no business handing out ar-15s like candy without any of the safeguards we should have. i'd ban them. but the truth is, is that law-abiding gun owners are much more sensible than this nonsense we're seeing from the nra and from the republican leadership in the senate. so i'm glad the states are moving. it's not a substitute for the federal government doing what it ought to do. >> charles, let's talk laws.
this strategy that new jersey wants to adopt, is it going to face legal hurdles? >> it very well might, but you know, it makes a lot of sense. where congress fails to act -- and congress has utterly failed to act here -- it makes sense for states to step into the breach, right? and so, new jersey, new york, california, these big states have enormous purchasing power. and so, if they decide to tie that purchasing power to regulation or reform, have at it. you know, and it's not just gun legislation, stephanie. climate change as well. again, where congress has failed to act, you see states stepping into the breach. and so, might they face some repercussions? might there be some ramifications of this strategy? sure, but they're using their purchasing power to guide policy, and that makes a lot of sense. >> can i -- >> chuck -- yes, congressman? >> can i get in there? >> sure. >> i love chuck rosenberg with a passion that is hard to describe. i think he's a great american. i'll watch him any time of the day or night, but can i take
issue with one thing? congress has not failed to act. the republican senate has failed to act. the house of representatives under democratic leadership has passed back in february many steps that ought to be done immediately, and we're going to pass more now. that's not congress failing to act, it's one party in one house of congress failing to act. let's be clear about that. mitch mcconnell needs to feel the pressure on this, and the voters need to start making it a priority when they're thinking about choosing senators, because the house is where it should be. senate is standing in the doorway. >> yeah, but congressman, couldn't governors in some of these states not necessarily point the finger at one lawmaker or another? the states are being forced to act because washington in total isn't doing anything. >> that's a fair point, but i don't want to let the republicans off the hook by saying, oh, you guys are both part of the problem. on this issue, as on some other important issues, there is a clear difference. democrats are responding to what needs to happen, and mitch mcconnell needs to do his job, and that is lost sometimes when
people say, oh, congress isn't acting. the fact is, is half of congress is acting. we're ready to go. we've already acted. mitch mcconnell is the problem. >> all right, let's talk about this vote tomorrow in the house judiciary, vote on the ground rules of an impeachment inquiry. what does that mean, chuck, and why is it necessary? >> so, it's important. here is the place where words really matter. if you're going to go to court, if the house is going to go to court and ask for, let's say grand jury information because they want it for mere curiosity, you're going it lose. you're going to lose in court. mere curiosity doesn't cut it. if you go to court and you want that stuff because you have an impeachment inquiry, you're much more likely to win. the courts have historically said and uniformly said, if you have an impeachment, folks, we'll give you that grand jury information. so, here, words matter a lot, stephanie, and calling it an impeachment inquiry strengthens their hand in federal court when they're trying to get stuff. >> congressman, democrats might
be united on guns, but they're not on impeachment. some have criticized democrats for not being on the same page here. >> yeah, but what we're talking about here is effective congressional oversight and getting answers to our document requests, subpoena requests, witness demands. that's what jerry nadler's doing and the judiciary committee is doing, by bolstering their legal argument, by saying this comes within their authority in the impeachment process. so it's a bit technical inside baseball, maybe, but the fact is, what it's really about is not the ultimate question of whether we should spend the next year doing an impeachment inquiry, full-blown trial in the senate, what not. some of us have some real tactical concerns with that. what we're talking about now is whether congress gets to do its job under article one, real oversight, real answers to the questions that need to be answered, and that's what you're seeing play out and makes sense. >> let's talk about this day, chuck. it's been 18 years since the 9/11 attacks. you were the u.s. attorney in charge of prosecutions in the eastern district of virginia after the aftermath of 9/11.
what still stands out in your mind from that day? >> stephanie, the number we used in 2006 when we tried the 9/11 case was 2,972. those are the number of people who died in those attacks. that number has grown dramatically, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of more people have died since. more than 200 new york city firefighters, more than 200 new york city police officers, 16 fbi personnel, because they were responders to shanksville and to the world trade center and to the pentagon, and they've gotten sick, they've gotten cancers and cardiovascular diseases and emphasis zima, and they're dying to this day. many more are sick. and so, we have to remember the folks who died on that awful day, the 2,972. we have to be mindful of the folks who are dying today and we have to make sure we take good care of them. that's one thing. the other, of course, is that there are still five al qaeda, high-level al qaeda operatives in guantanamo bay, cuba, that
have not yet been brought to trial, including khalid shaikh mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 plot. mohammed al qahtani. >> why? >> the military is phenomenal at lots of things. trying big, complicated conspiracies doesn't appear to be one of them. i am biased. i'm an ad voenvocate for the ar three courts of the united states where we have successfully prosecuted terrorism cases like the 9/11 conspiracy. i hope these folks are brought to justice. this is 18 years now, and we need to do something. >> congressman, you are not representing the state of new york 18 years ago. you were a businessman working in the financial district. and like so many others, running out of your office to safety. but you have spent your time as a representative of the state of new york, working to make sure first responders get the compensation they deserve. what more needs to be done? >> we need to keep faith with those folks, and i'm glad we passed a 70-year extension of those adoinga bill, they call
it, benefits, so those folks don't ever have to come back here again. but today, you know, stephanie, this is a tough day for new yorkers. there's not a community i represent in the hudson valley that doesn't have some world trade center steel on a memorial with a bunch of names. you know, those are kid brothers and uncles and guys you grew up with, the women who used to work alongside you. these are real neighbors and friends that we've lost. there's a lot of kids who grew up without moms and dads because of that day. we take it pretty seriously. and i'll tell you what, we're never going to forget it. we're going to keep our country safe. and we're going to honor those who are still suffering world trade center-related ill inness because they ran in there and did the tough work when so many of us were getting out. i remember running through the streets to get my kid who was in school and get him the heck out of there, but there were so many others who were running down and who paid with their lives. and we need to keep faith with them. that's what today's about. >> well, thank you both for the work that you have done and that you continue to do.
moving on, democratic candidates are one day away from taking the stage in houston, texas, for the third presidential debate. this will be first time front-runner former vice president joe biden will share the stage with senator elizabeth warren, and it comes at a time when momentum seems to be on senator warren's side. a new poll from npr shows that warren has a 75% favorable rating among democratic voters, up from only 53% in january. that is a rise. she has also a smaller unfavorable rating than the person many see as the safer choice, joe biden. meanwhile in texas specifically, a new quinnipiac poll shows warren still trailing the former vice president by 10% in the state with bernie sanders and former texas congressman beto o'rourke rounding out the top four. road warrior garrett haake joins me from washington. elizabeth warren seems to be surging ahead in this debate. >> reporter: yes, steph, that's
definitely true. and look, the luck of the draw has kept her off stage with joe biden. the two have not appeared side by side yet in any of these debates. that will happen tomorrow night. but based on my reporting and that of my colleagues out here on the road, i don't expect to see them begin taking swings at each other, just because they'll be standing next to each other. right now, neither of them need that. joe biden has continued to have a fairly healthy lead in the polls across the country. it does not suit his interests to pick fights with other democrats, at least at this stage. and you point out, elizabeth warren has that very high favorability number. part of that comes from consistently staying on message. her stump speech has rarely changed as we started covering her months and months ago. she does not make mistakes on the trail. and you don't get high favorables if you're constantly battling with other democrats. it doesn't serve her very well to try to go through joe biden, at least not yet. the two of them can continue to grow their support within their party in their own lanes, if you will. i'd be surprised to see them take this opportunity to mix it up quite so early. >> all right.
joining me now, former deputy labor secretary in the obama administration and senior fellow at the university of virginia miller center, chris lu. he is also an adviser to steve bullock's presidential campaign and republican strategist noelle, who i haven't seen in some time. welcome back, madam. >> thank you. >> chris, what are you watching for tomorrow night? >> what's remarkable about this presidential race is how stable it is and i don't expect anything tomorrow night to change that. but biden for the first time will be on the stage with all of the challengers. he has improved his debate performance but frankly needs to get a lot better. secondly, i'll be looking to see if there's a breakout moment by one of the second-tier candidates, looking at booker, harris, buttigieg, who i think offer a pretty stark generational contrast with the three front-runners. and then lastly, i want to see them all focus their attacks on donald trump and not on each other. you'll remember that the most memorable moments of the first two debates were an extended discussion of bussing in the 1970s and then attacks on the
obama administration. but i recognize it's hard to resist those attacks when you're on stage with each other. >> fair. noelle, a new abc news poll shows five democratic candidates are leading president trump in a head-to-head match. it's one thing if he's behind the front-runner, but should it be concerning to this white house that you've got people like kamala harris and pete buttigieg ahead of him? >> yeah, it should be concerning. i don't think thaake for grante they've got this in the bag. i know that president trump is very confident and he'll tell you he's confident and he'll tell you the other people are jokes and he's going to win and all that, and that's fine for him, but behind the scenes is somebody that works in politics. you need to be scrambling. you need to have an attitude of we are losing so that you get out, your ground game is strong, you're raising more money, and that you constantly don't get overconfident, because that's how you lose races, because you just don't try. remember in the end when hillary
clinton wasn't visiting some of these states and president trump, we thought he lost. we were like, this guy's not going to win. he was still working in some of these states that he ended up winning. so, i think it's about always having the mind-set of you're going to lose. so, while president trump does not have that mind-set, the people that work for him, the people that work for the pac need to have that mind-set of, you know, we could lose, to make them work that much harder, to make sure that they don't. >> let's talk about these elections in north carolina. chris, on either side -- before we went into the election, neither side wanted it to be a bellwether if they lost, but alas, democrats did. what do they have to learn about what happened last night? >> well, i think both sides can be happy and unhappy with the result. for the republicans, a win is a win, but this was a pretty costly win in a district that never should have been close. for democrats, it's a loss, and it was an expensive loss as well. but recall, this is a district that had gone for donald trump and mitt romney by 12 points,
and they essentially made it a single -- a low-single-digit loss. and there are about 30 other congressional districts that are held by republicans that are a lot closer than this one. so, that certainly bodes well in terms of keeping the house. what's interesting is nbc's own reporting went out and talked to a dozen different voters in this district, and all 12 of them said that their votes were based on how they felt about donald trump. and so, this clearly is a referendum on donald trump, as will 2020, and it just shows again why north carolina will be a battleground, not only for the white house, but for the u.s. senate as well. >> let's take you now to the pentagon, where they're observing a moment of silence for american airlines flight 77. remember, it crashed into the pentagon on september 11th, 2001.
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18 years after the september 11th attacks, most americans can still vividly remember where they were on that day. this is how "the new york times" writer barry weiss describes driving home from high school in pittsburgh after hearing the news. she writes this -- "i remember realizing, maybe for the first time in my life, that none of it -- not the paved roads or the running water or the loving parents who would come home to comfort me and my sisters -- had to be that way. none of it was a guarantee." she had the very same feeling 17 years later on october 27th, 2018, when a man yelling "all jews need to die" attacked the
synagogue where she grew up. weiss writes about this in her book "how to fight anti-semitism," about what it means to really be a jew in america. bari weiss joins me you write that the shooting at the synagogue in pittsburgh was a wake-up call for you. >> it was. i grew up on the mythology, like so many other american jews, that this country was what my grandparents called yiddish for the golden land, like the streets are paved with gold in america. and really, in a lot of ways, it was. it was. america has been a unique diasphera in jewish history. the jews here have thrived and had freedom in no other way that we have had in thousands of years in history. but i always assumed, even though i had little incidents, people calling me a kike, people telling me to pick up pennies, those were really the exception. i thought anti-semitism was
something that happened to jews in other places, like elian helenie, who was tortured for 28 days in paris -- or sorry, in france -- and then left to die. it was something that happened in europe, something that happened in the middle east, terrorist attacks against jews happened in places like jerusalem. i was used to texting my friends in jerusalem after bombings saying "are you safe?" and for first time, they were texting me. then it happened again six months later, april 27th, six months later to the day in poway, california, when a neo-nazi walked into a synagogue and murdered jews there trying to pray. >> let's talk about the surge. according to the anti-defamation league, in 2017, anti-semitic incidents in the united states surged almost 60% for the first time. we are seeing in our lifetime a majority of americans say they were concerned about violence directed against american jews. you write this to tolerate lies. a culture in which anti-semitism
thrives is a culture in which truths have been replaced with lies." explain this. >> yeah. so, anti-semitism is different from racism. it's different in that while the racist sees themselves as punching down against someone that they see as subhuman, the anti-semite sees themselves as sort of punching up and really punching in every different direction. >> why? >> because anti-semitism is a conspiracy theory. it is a conspiracy theory that says there is a secret hand manipulating and controlling the world, and we see it in our day manipulating and controlling banks, manipulating and controlling the government. this goes back, of course, beyond just jesus, but you know, that was the story of the jews helped made the roman empire do their bidding by killing the son of god. so, this is something very, very baked into western civilization. the good news is that in healthy societies, this sort of disease of the mind is dormant, like every other virus we carry within us. but when the moral guardrails of a society are dismantled, the
virus starts to show itself. >> who decides what's moral? >> well, i mean, who decides what's decent and what's civil oftentimes are leaders, right? and oftentimes, the decency that we sort of all hold up as a a s together. and what happens when you have a president who is sort of systemically undoing two years we've seen a sort of trauma unfold in the american jewish community. and of course it has to do with guns and the internet and everything else, but just to go back to your fundamental question of what anti-semitism is, because i think it's so important -- the reason that under communism, right, the screws are the ultimate capitalist, under nazism, the jews were the race contaminators. under the far right, they're the hand-madans of the immigrants and brown people and black people and they support israel. all of these things, the
anti-semites are whatever given civilization or culture defines as its most vial and loathsome qualities. that is the role that the jew is willing to play. and the reason that i think that it's so important, like the obvious victim of anti-semitism are the jews. but the other victim that i think gets overlooked is the surrounding society. culture in which anti-semitism thrives is a culture that is dead or dying. and the reason that i wrote this book and the reason that i want to sound this alarm is not just because i'm a jew and i care about the future of my community -- obviously, i do -- it's because i love this country and i care so much about the thriving of america, not just its surviving, but its living up to its sacred ideals. and it is alarming to me as someone who cares about this country and really sees myself as a patriot to see this virus showing itself in all sorts of ways, and it's coming from the far left and it's coming from the far right. it's coming on the streets of
brooklyn where in the last week of august, four ultraorthodox men were violently assaulted in the street, one beaten by his belt, one beaten in the face by a brick. why is this all happening? >> why is it happening? anti-semitism is suddenly back. we're hearing the word anti-semite used in politics in the last year. four years ago we didn't hear it often. six years ago. >> things that were until five years ago, even certainly ten years ago, that were sort of at the margins, right, at the fringe, have now made their way into the mainstream. we are living in a politics -- you know this -- where the center is not holding and where the extremes are thriving and where everyone is looking to point out who is to blame for the fact that its culture is broken. in moments like that, if you look at all of history, anti-semitism comes to the fore, because trump never has to say it's the jews, it's the elitis s elitists, the bankers taking away the jobs.
but frankly, you hear the same on the far left. on the far right, you have steve king touting white supremacist ideology saying that our civilization can't be replaced by someone else's babies. but on the far left, we have members of congress who support the bds movement, a movement that says that only one country in the world doesn't have a right to exist. these are ideas that were until very recently at the fringes of our politics that have made their way into the mainstream. and our job is to fight to get them back into the shadowy corners where they belong. >> the only way we're going to do that is if we keep talking about it and having these conversations. bari, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> read her book, "how to fight anti-semiti anti-semitism." you can agree or disagree with her, but i'm pretty sure you want to know how to fight anti-semitism or i hope you do. coming up, president trump expected to speak in a moment at the pentagon reflecting the attacks on our nation september 11th, 2001. shrimp yeah!
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years since the september 11th attacks. back with us are my guests, chris you were working for house oversight. you were working at the capital when the planes were flying when the plane hit the pentagon, tell us about that day for you. >> since then we have gotten used to these. we were told by the police to evacuate immediately. they are running towards the twabl because they thought that was a improper place to gather. anyone that has worked in government, you know the evacuation drills and you plan them because you understand the places you work is a target. it is a surreal scene, a tragic day, a day of chaos in dc and
around the capital as well. >> we have not seen anything like we did since 9/11, but we have seen domestic terrorism. in the last few moments, we were talking about the rise in hate crimes, aren't we safer today? >> yes, however with the ride of domestic terrorism as barry well knows and with the threat of international terrorism morphing and changing we're not safe all of the time, but we're safer. we put things in place, our intelligence has improved, but it was about the attack. it is a big fantastic attack. >> we're going to the mode yum where the president is about to take the podium. >> president trump.
>> thank you very much, secretary. today our nation honors and hours the nearly 3,000 lives that were stolen from us on september 11th someone. while these grounds 184 people were murdered when al qaeda terrorists overtook flight 77 and crashed it into the pentagon. for every american who lived through that day, the september 11th attack is sered into our soul. it was a day filled with shock, horror, sorrow, and righteous fury. i vividly remember when i first heard the news. i was sitting at home watching a major business television show early that morning, jack welch,
the legendary head of general electric was about to be interviewed when all of a sudden they cut away. at first there were different reports. it was a boiler fire, but i new that boilers are not at the top of a building. it was a kitchen explosion, windows on the world. nobody really knew what happened, that was great confusion. i was looking out of a window from a building at midtown man hat -- manhattan when i saw a second plane go into the second tower. i realized that the world was going to change. i was no longer going to be, and it could never ever be that innocent place that i thought it was.
soon after i went to ground zero with men to try to help in any way we could. we were not alone. so many others were scattered around trying to do the same. they were all trying to help. but for the families who joyce us, this is your anniversary of personal and permanent loss. it is the day that has replayed in your memory a thousand times over. the last kiss, the last phone call, the last time. your family member boarded a flight or was working in the world trade center or serving here at the pentagon. you waited, you prayed, you
answered that most dreaded call, and your life changed forever. the first lady and i are united with you in grief. we come here in the knowledge that we cannot erase the pain or reverse the evil of that dark and wretched day. we offer you our unwaivering devotion and the pledge that your loved ones will never ever be forgotten. 18 years ago the terrorists struck. this citadel of power and american strength. but the enemy soon learned they could not weaken the spirit of our people. in times of distress, the heart
of the american patriot only grows stronger and more determined. even as the middest of the attack. 40 passengers and crew on flight 93 rose up, fought back, and thwarted the enemies wicked plans. they thunderously declared that we alone decide our fact. we saw american perseverance in the valiant new york fighters. police officers, first responders, military, and every day citizens that crash into the towers to rescue innocent people.