tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC October 29, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT
"today." "andrea mitchell reports" starts now from here in new york city. >> hi, craig melvin, thank you. big night tonight. >> go nats. >> go nats. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," former vice president joe biden joining me shortly as we have breaking news on all fronts. on capitol hill, a star witness. a decorated army colonel wounded in iraq and working at the national security council still, becomes the first white house official on the phone call with the ukrainian president to testify before impeachment committees. he speaks today as the house prepares to hold a vote on how to proceed with impeachment. and new details emerging will the informant who provided critical intelligence that enabled the u.s. to take down the isis leader. while out west, raging infernos. california bracing for more record winds today and the flames that they fuel as hundreds of thousands lose power in a series of blackouts.
and good day, i'm andrea mitchell in new york. we have breaking news all over. president trump trying to dismiss critical testimony today from an army lieutenant colonel now behind closed doors with the impeachment committees. he is on the national security council, a current aide at the white house, the first witness who actually listened to that controversial july 25th phone call the president had with ukraine's president. president trump has been trying to slam this star witness as a never-trumper who the president says he's never even heard of. ahead of lieutenant colonel alexander vindman's testimony on capitol hill. it will be difficult to rebut him because he's a purple heart recipient. he writes, i was concerned about the call. i did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a u.s. citizen and i was worried about the
implications for the u.s. government's support for ukraine. geoff bennett on capitol hill, the impact of vindman's opening statement overnight has been so profound for the white house and both ends of pennsylvania avenue. what are you seeing and what are you hearing? >> reporter: house investigators, andrea, are getting a key piece of evidence from lieutenant colonel alexander vindman. as you mentioned, he's an army officer assigned to the national security council. his opening statement tells house investigators that he listened in on the july 25th call in question between presidents trump and zelensky and was so disturbed, andrea, by what he heard on that call that he reported it to the nsc legal council. it wasn't just one instance. there was another instance. on july 10th, he says, gored sondla gordon sondland was in a meeting and according to his account, sondland brought up this request
for investigation into the bidens. again, vindman says, he flagged that to the nsc counsel. to refresh people's memories, gordon sondland is one of the officials who allegedly, apparently, according to several testimonies, was deputized by trump to run this ukrainian pressure campaign outside normal state department channels. that speaks to the substance of what house investigators are learning from lieutenant colonel vindman today. politically, though, andrea, his appearance is significant too. he was subpoenaed but is appearing willfully. there are other officials who have not done that. that is significant because it's the most significant crack in this attempted white house blockade of testimony. and he's also, his appearance here is potentially dismantling a key republican talking point. you've heard the president say the whistle-blower report is just hearsay. here you have a lieutenant colonel showing up in his dress blues, you see him there. the information he's relaying
based on the opening statement we received corroborates the whistle-blower complaint. we've already seen how house republicans have moved from process arguments to complaining about the ways in which democrats are conducting this entire proceeding to now some of them trying to attack vindman's character, andrea. >> geoff bennett, thank you so much. joining me by phone, former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate joe biden. mr. vice president, thanks for being with us today. there is a lot to talk about. >> happy to be with you. >> there's a lot to talk about, about syria and the conduct of foreign policy. with this lieutenant colonel today testifying as we speak and being slammed by the president by tweet, a witness who listened into the call with president zelensky and president trump, today called him a never-trumper. others on fox news have suggested he was a spy. this is a man who with his twin brother came as a 3-year-old, a jewish refugee from ukraine. and he has been in the military service his entire career.
what is your reaction to the way he's being undercut or vilified by the president and his supporters? >> he did the same thing with john mccain in 2015. he did it with the gold star family, he did it with taylor. this guy won the purple heart. this guy is a hero, this guy is a patriot. this is just trump's style. it's the same reason why he has a bunch of his thugs out there, you know, engaging in this kind of activity of intimidation. the giulianis and the cronies who got arrested. it's despicable to do this to -- this guy is a patriot. i've never met him but he's a hell of a patriot. >> the house is moving on to a resolution today on the floor.
the republicans have been complaining about the process. from your perspective, isn't there a political downside? there's little possibility that once impeachment is voted in the house, that it will go anywhere in the senate. does it hurt the 2020 democratic candidates and you presumably hope to be the nominee. >> andrea, whether it does or not is not relevant. how can one let the conduct of a president inviting at least three foreign governments to interfere in our elections not go investigated? and how can we possibly -- george washington in his farewell address said he warned about the greatest threat, i'm paraphrasing, from foreign governments? this is the only president to my knowledge who ever asked three different countries, foreign governments, to get engaged in the political apparatus and the political affairs of the united states. and to this day, he has not
acknowledged that putin got involved in the 2016 election. the only two things i've learned in the last couple of weeks is that putin doesn't want to be president, with all the bots they took down on facebook. and trump doesn't want me to be the nominee. this man has no credibility at all. to let it go uninvestigated, it's a constitutional issue. this, as i said before, he said he could go out on fifth avenue and shoot someone and get away with it. i think he's right, he's shooting holes in the constitution now. no matter what it does to the 2020 election, it's a requirement, constitutionally, to take a look at this. >> there's only 97 days 'til the iowa caucus. congress has to deal with the possibility of a government shutdown. they have to deal with the new nafta, which is pending.
there is all kinds of issues that have to be -- there are four debates between now and iowa. the holidays season. how can congress deal with impeachment reasonably and it not become just a political football? >> well, i have faith in speaker pelosi, how she'll conduct it. i don't know how it will proceed. i'm not sure, the pace, i just don't know. look, again, there are certain things you just have an obligati obligation. if the house were to find themselves in a position where they actually indict, in effect, that's what an impeachment proceeding is, a determination whether or not there's enough facts to go forward, to actually have a vote to whether or not to throw the president out of office. that's kicked to the senate. i've been through two impeachment proceedings as a
united states senator. they're not good for the nation in the sense that they're not helpful. there are distractions. but there are obligations. it's a constitutional obligation. there's no way around it. >> before i let this issue go, i want to talk about syria as well, of course. but is there an argument, once we get into 2020, let the voters decide? >> oh, yeah, there is. and by the way, that's my job. >> okay. the house has to do their job, the candidates do theirs. >> speaking about your job, on syria, the president suggested sunday that getting al bagdadi was bigger than president obama getting osama bin laden. he said, quote, osama bin laden was very big but osama bin laden became big with the world trade center. this is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it, a whole country, a caliphate, and was trying to do it again. yesterday the president said another president should have gotten bagdadi years ago. is yo
comments, suggesting that this is a bigger deal tha and suggesting that this is something you and president obama left to him to do? >> oh, my god, this man is amazing. look, bagdadi was a bad man, no redeeming value. he killed a lot innocent people. and he's responsible for more killing. to compare one to the other -- the things i compare are the incredible special forces we have and the risks they take and their incredible capacity. these -- the thing i do know, andrea, whether it's baghdadi or bin laden, it takes months and months of detailed planning. and the idea in the reports that are coming out now that in light of the fact that this was going on, that they were getting ready to move against baghdadi and the president of the united states precipitously withdraws troops from the same area where we need people on the ground, the
reports that i've read in the major press is that he made it much more difficult for the way from -- at least it's reported, from and iraq. they had to go over -- i mean, he just made everything -- it got pulled off in spite of his actions. the military is incredible. they've done just a phenomenal job. and i have great faith in them. my lord, the president should stay in his lane and listen to the military and not go off on these rants he goes on, why he's going to pull everybody. now what is he doing? he says we're going to keep troops in iraq to protect the oil fields and we're going to take the oil. that's like putting up a 500-foot recruiting banner for isis. i mean, he just doesn't seem to
understand anything about foreign policy. what do we do from here? what happens the next time we find ourselves in a situation like this? who do we get to cooperate with us? all he's done is strengthen -- oh, wow. >> i don't mean to interrupt you, i was just going to say, to that point, we now know the critical intelligence to helped track down the isis leader came from the syrians and the kurds. but president trump was mostly thanking russia for letting us in their airairspace, then he s there was certain support from the kurds. >> look, 11,000 kurds lost their lives taking down the caliphate, isis. now they're having to protect their families or in some cases being wiped out. the very area that we controlled by them controlling it along the turkish border is now -- we've
done nothing but increase the influence of the russians and assad in syria, and iran. and so, i mean, i don't understand how he doesn't understand anything about foreign policy. >> given that he was aware that this hunt for baghdadi was on, what about the critical decision to withdraw from syria at this point? >> well, it made everything more difficult, based on -- look, i don't have the classified information as i did in the past. based on reports, this has been planned for a significant amount of time. when the military learned about a deal he apparently made on his own with turkey to pull the small amount of american forces out of the area in northwest syria, where this was taking place, he forced them to speed
up the operation as quickly as they could, forced them to have to go to different basis than they would have gone, made it significantly more difficult for -- apparently significantly more difficult to conduct the operation, endangering the operation as well as the lives of our special forces. it's just -- it's just -- it's bizarre that this could happen. >> did you watch the president on sunday? because there's been some criticism from military leaders talking to nbc news and to others about the amount of information that he gave, the detail, the hour and 15 minutes flying from a base, eight helicopters, detail down to -- >> absolutely. i just saw the summary. i did not, i was actually -- i was out campaigning, and i was in north carolina. i just found it -- when i read the report, i mean, even
dictating and allowing everybody to know basically the methods that were used, i mean, it's always all about trump. it's all about him beating his chest about what he's done, the stable genius that he is. i mean, it just is -- i think you're going to be hard-pressed to find a military person who thinks this president has any sense of what he's doing and doesn't get more in the way than facilitate. >> i want to ask you about the primary race. as i said, we're about 97 days until iowa. your operation in iowa has been criticized. you've been in polls third or fourth in iowa. can you lose iowa and now we understand from a new cnn poll you're coming in third in new hampshire. can you lose the first two big races and rely on south carolina to be the firewall? >> no, i plan on doing very well in both those.
the polls, as you know, are up and down. i've been ahead in iowa. i've been ahead in south carolina. i'm ahead in all the national polls with an occasional one that pops up that's different. this is really early, early in the process, as you know. most objectors know, the iowans take a long time to make up their mind. so i feel good about iowa. i feel good about what's going on. i think we have all we need to be able to conduct a really successful campaign in all four early states. and so i'm feeling good about it. >> and what about your fundraising? because you've been fourth in total fundraising among the democratic candidates, spending more than you're taking in. and there are serious money concerns. if you were to get to the general election, the republicans are clobbering you with money-raising. >> look, we have all the money we need to win this race. and we're doing well. the idea that -- the fact is, we
got in several months later than most of the candidates did. but we're doing well, we're approaching a significant number of individual contributions. i think we'll have all the money we need to run a full-blown campaign in every one of the early states. >> and your reversal on taking pac money? >> you know i'm not taking pac money. what we did was that, you know -- >> super pac. >> super pac, we're not doing that either. here's what happened. there's been a grassroot decided to not only ask the russians and the chinese to get involved in making sure i'm not the nominee, but he has -- his folks are spending an awful lot of money. he's raised a lot of money, they tell me over $10 million spent in advertising so far, telling lies about me.
this is an understandable response from democrats who desperately don't want to see him reelected president. my guess is we would have done the same thing for any democrats that are attacked in the primary. if i'm the guy who's not doing well, why is trump spending -- and the fundraisers, his gun lobby friends, the oil, et cetera, spending this many millions of dollars this earlier to try to determine who their democratic opponent will be? the one thing he doesn't want to do is face me, and that seems pretty clear. >> how difficult do you expect this campaign to be? if you're the nominee, it will be even more brutal for your family, for your son hunter. >> i think it will be. >> for acknowledging that you've said now that your son, your family, will not be involved, they won't have offices in the oval -- in the white house, rather, in the west wing, as of
course the president's family has, but that they will not have any businesses, foreign businesses, if it's not appropriate. if it wouldn't be why was it appropriate when you were vice president? >> the fact is i was unaware of those investments when it occurred. and i've never discussed my son's business with him because i didn't want any conflicts, including with my deceased son bo, when he was attorney general and suing banks during the recession. so we just kept everything -- we've kept everything separate. and my son's comments speak for himself. he said if he had known -- if he had thought through what giuliani and those thugs were about to do, he regrets having done it. but the fact is that the president has set a new low in terms of how to engage a family
and an oval office in an operation. and i just want to make sure we're clear that that will not happen if i am president of the united states. i'm proud of my son, and there's been no indication he did anything that was wrong. but the fact is that it's really important moving forward that we not repeat a white house that it's become a standard for the way the president has run his white house. >> local reporting in south thu were refused communion at a church service for your stance on abortion rights. did that happen? >> i'm not going to discuss that, that's my personal life and i'm not going to get into that at all. >> do you think in a general election campaign you'll face some of these cultural issues? >> oh, sure i will. everyone will. and i'm a practicing catholic, i
practice my faith. but i've never let my religious beliefs, which i accept based on church doctrine, to impose that view on other people. >> former vice president joe biden, thanks very much, thank you for the time today. >> thank you, andrea, for having me on. >> thank you for being with us. >> i appreciate it. >> let's bring in our panel for reaction from what we just heard from joe biden. joining me now, msnbc political analyst robert costa, moderator of "washington week." former u.s. ambassador to nato nick burns who is an adviser to the biden campaign on foreign policy. and msnbc political analyst jonathan lemire, white house reporter for the associated press. jonathan, let's talk about joe biden and his comments about syria and about impeachment. >> right. the vice president, of course, remains -- i don't think we can call him the front runner
anymore but he's at the top of the pack in the democratic field. it was president trump's effort to get damaging information on biden and his family that sent the president hurtling towards impeachment. biden has given his trust to house speaker nancy pelosi. he was slow to impeachment but he's certainly there now. you've heard him rebuffing what the president is trying to argue regarding the death of al bagdadi over the weekend. it's a good day for america, a good day for national security, and the vice president said so as well, but he sort of objects
to any attempt for this president to sort of malign his predecessor, president obama, who of course was the vice president's boss. >> nick burns, it is a foreign policy victory, if you will, for donald trump. he's already using it on the stump. what about the way he's taking credit and really trying to diminish the capture and killing of osama bin laden? >> well, andrea, certainly i think we should congratulate -- personally i think we should congratulate president trump for ordering this mission against baghdadi. it was the right thing to do. but the president, of course, as he offense does, went way far forward over his skis in trying to explain what happened, taking credit, making negative references to the campaign against osama bin laden and trying to assert somehow that the bin laden -- the death of bin laden was not as important to the united states as the
death of baghdadi. the fact is they were both important. we were attacked on 9/11 from al qaeda. that was ordered by osama bin laden. so i think the president, as he often does almost every day, says things that are so objectionable, in the case of part of his press conference on sunday morning, so untrue, that it unfortunately tales the image way from what we should be taking credit for, that's the killing of american citizens, james foley, stephen sontag. it points to me, andrea, and you know i'm supporting vice president biden, the difference between these two men, vice president biden so confident, so professional about defense of the united states, and the national security policy. president trump has weakened us on the global stage and
certainly has weakened us by withdrawing u.s. special forces from syria and given a victory to the russians, the turks, and the assad government in the process. >> nick, as well, i don't know if you know alexander vindman, this national security council official, had been the attache working in the moscow embassy. how difficult a position is this for an ongoing military aide in the nsc, to be giving such explicit testimony undercutting the president's position today? >> this was a powerful moment, andrea. and i think you have to think that the floodgates have opened here. it began with ambassador masha yovanovitch and her incredible courage, mike mckinley, george taylor, the diplomats who answered the call to protect the constitution and not to protect the president. now you have an officer who obeyed a subpoena by the house
committee. his testimony today is completing damning of the president's position. this is a person with unimpeachable character and integrity. he served our country in uniform. he told the truth today. the fact that he went to white house lawyers and thought that what he heard on that phone call, and he was on the line from the white house situation room, where president trump tried to convince the ukrainians to investigate joe biden, he was so concerned, lieutenant colonel vindman, that to go to the white house lawyers and say what he said today, this is the most powerful moment of any of the house hearings, to have someone like him, and frankly, shameful of some of the president's supporters to be alleging that how lieutenant colonel vindman has dual loyalties to ukraine, a country he fled with his parents and twin brother when he was 3 1/2 years old. i was encouraged to see congresswoman lizhim.
>> robert costa, to that point, what about the senate republicans, after this expected vote on the house floor, they've been saying they're the jury, what impact might this testimony have on a crack in the firewall, really, of the republicans in the senate? >> it's significant, but so far the public response has been relatively quiet from senate republicans. they're watching the testimony in the house impeachment inquiry very closely, talking to top senate aides over the weekend, republicans, they told "the washington post" that they believe senators right now want to be there to defend president trump, but they're not getting clear guidance from the white house. and most important to them is they're not getting any kind of guidance about how to address the substance of these statements from credible witnesses under oath. and until they have that from the white house, it's not just about a process argument, they feel like they're fighting the democrats with their hands tied behind their back. >> is it helpful now that nancy pelosi is preparing this
resolution which is going to get reported out and go to the rules committee and voted on on thursday? >> it's very important for the democrats, because they believe this will help break down the white house argument but also encourage more witnesses to come forward, because if you're not complying with a subpoena right now from house democrats, you could make the case in the court that it's not a formal impeachment investigation. with this vote on thursday, speaker pelosi is essentially saying to all these possible witnesses out there, come forward, this is being formal e formalized, there is no excuse in the eyes of the house democrats for you to reject a subpoena at this point. >> we know there will be a hearing on whether or not other witnesses, especially charles kupperman, former deputy to john bolton. bolton would be, jonathan, such a star witness also, presumably, given his animus against the president and the fact that, according to this testimony, he and fiona hill's, he objected at key moments against the ukraine
policy, the routinely rouudy gi policy. >> right. democrats feel he would be their star witness. it's unclear if he will testify, if he's part of the lawsuit, he will not want to do that. he has a book coming, but there's no question democrats think bolton would carry a lot of weight. he's been a republican leader, a big figure in the party for a long time. he's friendly with a lot of republican senators, would perhaps carry influence with them. he has sharply broken with the president on a number of issues and seems to be on the, quote, right side of a lot of this stuff. he expressed his misgives about the parallel ukrainian policy. he's somebody the president would have a hard time undermining his credibility. trump could tweet, there's bad blood, no wonder he's coming after me.
bolton carries a lot of gravitas in washington, democrats as well take him seriously, his word would go a long way. >> thanks to all. coming up, an update from the deputy director of cal fire on the wildfires ravaging california, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes, next on "andrea mitchell reports." needles. essential for the sea urchin, but maybe not for people with rheumatoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr, a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well enough. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling and further joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections like tb; don't start xeljanz if you have an infection. taking a higher than recommended dose of xeljanz for ra can increase risk of death. serious, sometimes fatal infections, cancers including lymphoma, and blood clots have happened. as have tears in the stomach or intestines, serious allergic reactions, and changes in lab results.
tell your doctor if you've been somewhere fungal infections are common, or if you've had tb, hepatitis b or c, or are prone to infections. needles. fine for some. but for you, one pill a day may provide symptom relief. ask your doctor about xeljanz xr. an "unjection™". billions of problems. sore gums? bleeding gums? painful flossing? there's a therabreath for you. therabreath healthy gums oral rinse fights gingivitis and plaque for 24 hours. so you can... breathe easy, there's therabreath at walmart. i need all the breaks as athat i can get.or, at liberty butchemel... cut. liberty mu... line? cut. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance
hundreds of thousands of california residents have been forced to evacuate their homes as those dangerous wildfires continue to tear through california. power has been cut across southern california as thousands of firefighters battle the 600-acre getty fire which is just 5% contained, while in northern california, the kincade fire is tearing across sonoma county and has grown to nearly the size of the city of philadelphia. i'm joined by chief mike muller, deputy director of cal fire. chief, thanks for being with us,
i know how busy you must be. is there any progress made on containing the spread of these fires? >> there really is, on the kincade fire, over 75,000 acres, we have 15% containment. the good news is overnight that fire only grew a thousand acres. our partners to the south in the los angeles fire department are having some success with the getty fire. the weather conditions will not only affect the northern parts of the state but also southern california is what we're looking at right now. >> how many people are evacuated at this point? >> so within the evacuation areas, we have about 189,000 people affected by these evacuations. our priority is to get the residents home, but before we do that we have to be absolutely sure, one, the infrastructure is secure, but two, the threat of wildfires is no longer there. >> what is the weather situation in terms of the winds? >> so what we're going to see on the kincade fire, here in the next few hours, some wind is
going to surface again. not as strong as the last wind event. we could see gusts up over 60 miles per hour. for the southern portion of the state we'll go into what we consider a traditional santa ana wind event. we could see gusts across southern california upwards of 80 miles per hour that could last through thursday, looking at the different models. so again, we're prepared. additional resources are responding. but we have a long way to go. >> pg&e are planning another series of partial shutdowns. how complicated is that for the people who are victims of all of this? >> it definitely adds another layer to it. as first responders, not only fire and law enforcement, as far as evacuations, our priority is getting people out of harms way as quickly as possible. again, that adds another layer to it. but we will work with the community as best we can, with our law enforcement partners, to get them notified early and get the people out of harms way. >> do you have enough people on this, enough firefighters? are you getting help from
outside states? i'm presuming that a lot of these firefighters have their own family issues, their own residents they're worried about. >> great points. governor newsom enacted what we call the emac, we have 150 fire engines that have responded from out of the state that are here now, supporting all statewide issues. the emergency proclamation, state of emergency that the governor put out a few days ago will help as far as bringing in resources and being able to excel operations. but really, it is, we have first responders that are away from their families also. that's what we signed up to do. life and property are priorities. the governor said yesterday that really a lot of it has to do with mother nature. mother nature bats last but she bats a thousand when she's up. >> mike muller, our thanks to you, our thanks to all the firefighters, our hearts are
with all of you in california. thanks for taking the time today. >> thank you for having us. coming up, tom brokaw covered the fall of richard nixon. what lessons can we learn from then about what's happening now in washington? tom brokaw joins me next on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. reports" on msnbc. i can't believe it. what? that our new house is haunted by casper the friendly ghost? hey jill! hey kurt! movies? i'll get snacks! no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on our car insurance with geico. i got snacks! oh i got caramel corn, i got kettle corn. am i chewing too loud? believe it! geico could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. i'm working to treat every car like i treat mine. adp helps airtech automotive streamline payroll and hr, so welby torres can achieve what he's working for.
♪ as your life grows, so do your needs. ♪ and with bank of america and merrill, the benefits you get can grow, too. as a preferred rewards member, you can enjoy priority service and exclusive discounts... so your growing life can be more rewarding, too. ♪ what would you like the power to do? ♪ gimme one minute... and i'll tell you some important things to know about medicare. first, it doesn't pay for everything. say this pizza is your part b medical expenses.
this much - about 80% - medicare will pay for. what's left is on you. that's where an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company comes in. this type of plan helps pay some of what medicare doesn't. these are the only plans to carry the aarp endorsement for meeting their high standards of quality and service. so call unitedhealthcare insurance company today and ask for your free decision guide. with this type of plan, you'll have the freedom to choose any doctor who accepts medicare patients. and when you travel, your plan will go with you - anywhere in the country. whew! call unitedhealthcare today and ask for your free decision guide. some farms grow food. this one grows fuel. ♪ exxonmobil is growing algae for biofuels. that could one day power planes,
propel ships, and fuel trucks... and cut their greenhouse gas emissions in half. algae. its potential just keeps growing. ♪ its potential just keeps growing. cologuard: colon cancer and older at average risk. i've heard a lot of excuses to avoid screening for colon cancer. i'm not worried. it doesn't run in my family. i can do it next year. no rush. cologuard is the noninvasive option that finds 92% of colon cancers. you just get the kit in the mail, go to the bathroom, collect your sample, then ship it to the lab. there's no excuse for waiting. get screened. ask your doctor if cologuard is right for you. covered by medicare and most major insurers. the house vote scheduled for thursday to formalize the next phase of the impeachment inquiry
is bringing back memories of other presidential impeachment proceedings. nbc news' senior correspondent tom brokaw has written a new book about the nixon white house before the president resigned. first, nbc's craig melvin takes a look back at the fall of richard nixon. >> it was august of 1973, and the investigation into the break-in at the democratic national committee at the watergate had been in the headline for a year. >> the first president in more than a hundred years to be the subject of an impeachment recommendation. >> into that political storm stepped tom brokaw, a veteran political reporter but a white house rookie. what he would experience over the next year until nixon's resignation has become the basis for his latest book, "the fall of richard nixon: a reporter remembers watergate." watergate consumed the white house, no one more so than the president. >> i welcome this kind of
examination because people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. well, i'm not a crook. i've earned everything i've got. >> the pressure led to a constitutional crisis. the saturday night massacre. president nixon asked attorney general elliott richardson to fire the special prosecutor investigating him. richardson refused and resigned, as did his deputy, until the solicitor general finally did what the president asked. >> the president says he wants to remove the constitutional confrontation as quickly as possible. >> brokaw was at the center of it all. >> joining me now, still at the center of it all, nbc news senior correspondent tom brokaw. his new book is "the fall of richard nixon: a reporter remembers watergate." what i love about this book, it's a combination of your reflections, you and your wife meredith and your children were coming from l.a., the news star,
correspondent, dealing with the veteran white house reporters, and at the same time this momentous, tectonic change in american history was taking place. >> i didn't get a welcome reception from some of the white house correspondents because i didn't know a lot of them. but in fact in california, immodestly, i had a pretty good reputation as a political reporter. i used to brief robert novak and johnny apple. >> you knew bob haldeman before he was attached to richard nixon. you had some good sources built in. >> i didn't know nixon that well. you always have to stop and think, in that first term he had extraordinary achievements, women's rights, for example, war on cancer, epa, although my republican friends say that was a terrible idea. he changed the draft after
vietnam. but he could never get traction with the next generation because of how he was executing the war. then for reason that are still not clear to me, they became a ring of burglars, a ring of breaking and entering people, prima facie a violation of law and standards of good behavior. bob ehrlichman had been sentenced, haldeman had been sentenced, on and on. so it was a holding pattern for the president. >> in august of '73, he gives a speech, and he's in total denial, white and black and black is white. in just one year, by august 9th, he was out of there and it's republicans who go to him and say, you've got to resign or you're going to be impeached, we're going to convict new the senate. >> the big difference between then and now is that the republican moderate leadership, and even though who were kind of
hard right, began to understand pretty quickly that there were real violations there. in fact two of his aides went down to see him and -- i mean, down in florida, and said, you've got to resign. that was early. that just came out six months after he did resign. because the record was replete with these gross violations of what he had been doing. at the same time, he was a sitting president of the united states. when israel almost we want down to egypt and syria, he helped save them. so it was a curious difference between then and now. the big difference was he wasn't on tweet all day long. we didn't have it. we didn't have cellphones, even. we had typewriters. he wasn't out there kind of promoting himself constantly like this president is. he tried to keep the dignity of the office up, to some degree. so there are enormous differences between then and now. the big difference, andrea, is they still don't have what you would have the goods on this
president in terms of breaking the law and being an impeachable target for them. they're going to start the process but they don't have the same kind of clarity that the people who were opposed to richard nixon had because it was so clear that these were criminal acts he was involved in. >> the smoking gun tape, the oval office tapes, that kind of hard evidence of criminality, to bring down a president who was successful in the middle east, who was successful with the breakthrough to china, vietnam is a whole other issue. >> don't forget about the first russian s.a.l.t. talks. >> right, the strategic nuclear talks. >> there no more systems in the oval office. >> that we know of. >> pat buchanan always said, he should have taken them out, put a bonfire on the south lawn, burn them, people wouldn't have known what was on them. he got turned out by al haig and the others, the president's lawyer. pat also said on the sunday after the saturday night massacre, he wired a friend of
his in st. louis where he had nixon." coming up, back in sessions? once worked and said, there will is the forearm attorney general be impeachment proceedings beginning on monday. >> so much to learn from this eyeing a run for his old senate seat in alabama? at in alabama?or and such a wonderful personal in an effort narrative, and beautifus "the fall of richard and i always had in my mind that one day the family car could compete in rallies and racing when the mini actually came out i said this is the one to do it.
joint replacing, and depression relieving company. from the day you're born we never stop taking care of you. ever since you brought me home, that day. i've been plotting to destroy you. sizing you up... calculating your every move. you think this is love? this is a billion years of tiger dna just ready to pounce. and if you have the wrong home insurance coverage, you could be coughing up the cash for this. so get allstate and be better protected from mayhem, like me-ow. if you crowd have one do-over as president, what would it be? >> it would be personnel. i would say if i had one two
over do over, i would not have appointed jeff sessions. >> one of president trump's least favorite cabinet members may be coming back. he is being forced into the spotlight. he would be running for the nomination to oppose doug jones, the democrat that probably became the first democrat to get that seat in a number of years. joining me now mara gay. how might jeff sessions do in that primary especially with the president and the white house already indicating they will go after him? >> right, well he has a couple weeks to decide and he is facing this huge challenge not knowing what president trump would come out and say. the things he already said about jeff sessions are terrible.
he still, obviously, commands respect in the state and in an already busy primary o he could tell the voters from president trump it is more likely that tom my or bradley would have the edge. it would have been unthinkable for someone like jeff sessions. he served for decades and he is a committed conservative. popular in alabama. thought he would be attorney general for a long, long time. this is an incredible soap oprah. >> now we have on the democratic side a new cnn poll in that you have joe biden coming in third, within the margin of error with elizabeth warren. it is a sanders and warren
neighboring state. tulsi around 5%. what happens if joe biden, and i asked him this, and he brushed off the question but what if he loses iowa or comes in third or forth behind buttigieg, warren, and standers. >> yeah, the play book is essentially to brush off those states and really focus on scare and other states to make a sweep. the biden campaign thinks they will be able to do well there particularly because they have strong support right now among black democrats. they may be right, but part of the trouble is that he had such a hard time fundraising the former vice president, and i think a loss in iowa or new
hampshire could be devastating for them. as well as warn's campaign, they have quite an impressive ground game and that can really make a difference in smaller states like iowa and new hampshire. >> and you're going into super tuesday and you have really expensive states the republican advantage, the mega advantage that republicans have in fund raising not only with what they brought in in this quarter but in the digital space over any of these democrats as the democrats keep going at each other and the rnc is raising a ton of money. >> this is really a lesson for the dnc that rethey did not start rebuilding after 2016 when obama left and hillary lost. the rnc has record setting resources and they have this ground game, this data driven ground game they have been perfecting since 2012. yes bernie sanders, all of these people, they're raising impressive sums of money but the
dnc should have been at this when they started the campaign a long time ago. trying to campaign against president trump trying to raise enough money. they're not messaging as we saw in this whole punter biden episode strongly against president trump. they're not fighting back and they're not making their presence nose in these swing states. the general election campaign begins and that will be next summer. that is a long time from now. >> is it that long until iowa? 97 days, they need to raise a lot of money and how do they get through the impeachment process quickly enough? >> a couple things. i would say when you talk to democrats sometimes it is like a long suffering sports fan of a team that can't quite get it
right, but it is not clear that the impeachment inquiry is bad for democrats. that is just something to consider. we'll be right back. id we'll be right back. when you shop with wayfair, you spend less and get way more. so you can bring your vision to life and save in more ways than one. for small prices, you can build big dreams, spend less, get way more. shop everything home at wayfair.com but maybe not for people with rheumatoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr, a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well enough. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling and further joint damage, even without methotrexate.
xeljanz can lower your ability to fight infections like tb; don't start xeljanz if you have an infection. taking a higher than recommended dose of xeljanz for ra can increase risk of death. serious, sometimes fatal infections, cancers including lymphoma, and blood clots have happened. as have tears in the stomach or intestines, serious allergic reactions, and changes in lab results. tell your doctor if you've been somewhere fungal infections are common, or if you've had tb, hepatitis b or c, or are prone to infections. needles. fine for some. but for you, one pill a day may provide symptom relief. ask your doctor about xeljanz xr. an "unjection™".
today's senior living communities have never been better, with amazing amenities like movie theaters, exercise rooms and swimming pools, public cafes, bars and bistros even pet care services. and there's never been an easier way to get great advice. a place for mom is a free service that pairs you with a local advisor to help you sort through your options and find a perfect place. a place for mom. you know your family we know senior living. together we'll make the right choice.
>> thank you very much, andrea. now the cat is out of the bag. hello, it is tuesday, october 29th. that mean it's is ali's birthday. today could be a turning point on capitol hill. as we speak a combat veteran is testifying about the president's call with ukraine's leader. why he was "concerned by the call" and when a crucial impeachment vote inquiry could happen. >> plus, tens of hows