tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC December 28, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
good evening, and welcome to "politics nation." tonight's lead -- he should have known better. one year ago today, the country was in the middle of the longest government shutdown ever. almost one million federal employees were forced to work without pay. all because the white house demanded billions to build trump's signature border wall. that stalemate pitted soon-to-be house speaker nancy pelosi and president trump against one another, setting up a tense dynamic that would play out over the next year. simply put, she got the better of him then, and she's got the better of him now. that the house successfully voted to impeach. at this point, pelosi is holding on to the articles of impeachment. she says she will not transfer them to the senate until its
leaders can agree on fair rules for the president's upcoming trial. but as all this is going on, president trump has put on a brave face. acting unfazed, referring to impeachment as light work. but if the past 72 hours are any indication, he is feeling the heat. trump is spiraling, repeatedly attacking pelosi on twitter about how, quote, unfair the impeachment process is. and the fact that crazy nancy has the ability to impeach him. meanwhile, as the articles of impeachment make their way to the senate, a moderate republican senator, lisa murkowski, of alaska says she is, quote, disturbed by the way the majority leader mitch mcconnell who is supposed to be an impartial senate juror, might
add, is coordinating an impeachment defense with the trump white house. though let's real, when republicans stand up to their -- to trump and their members, it typically doesn't amount to much. we'll dig into that very issue later in the show with 2020 presidential candidate senator cory booker who is slated to be an impeachment juror in the coming weeks. first, let's discuss it with my panel. joining me now dean obadala, a political comedian, columnist for "the daily beast," and a radio host at sirius x.m. and brendan bulk, former chief communications adviser for paul ryan, and former press secretary for john boehner. let me start with you, brendan. the republicans are now where just 51 of them can agree to
witnesses. we don't need two-thirds that we do need for impeachment. is murkowski's statement that she's disturbed, does that mean she is possibly open to voting that some of the witnesses such as john bolton and others should be called and could bring three more with her, or are we making too much of what murkowski has said, in your opinion? >> yeah. it feels a little bit like -- we used to talk about how we were looking for cracks in the gop armor in the house and ended up with zero republicans voting for impeachment. lisa murkowski is a bit of a wild card. it's possible that she crosses mitch mcconnell on this. i'd be looking more at people like susan collins, cory gardner, martha mcsally, people who are up for election right now and want to look like they're at least appear to be impartial jurors. i don't know that there's going to be any real -- any real movement among republicans early on. i mean, what mitch mcconnell now is saying, let's do the same process that we did 21 years ago
that 100 senators voted for, where we have the house come over, make their case, and then we'll decide witnesses later. i imagine that's what's going to happen. >> let me ask you, dean, how long can, in your opinion, nancy pelosi, the speaker, hold the two articles of impeachment before the public starts leaning the other way? because right now public opinion polls, almost two-thirds republicans are saying we want to hear the witnesses. how long can she hold this or at what point does it become she's played it too long? >> i think the polls will tell us that. but i can tell you this -- democrats, including myself and others who'd call my radio show, critical of speaker pelosi earlier in the year for not doing impeachment, universally no dissent are applauding her move on this. it is something we usually don't do as democrats. we thought we went out of the box, we didn't follow a norm. and obviously mitch mcconnell, donald trump are caught flat footed.
it is driving donald trump, who literally right before we came on air, was attacking speaker pelosi again. >> yeah. >> she -- he is freaking her -- she's freaking him out. i think on some level that's a good thing. it makes the american people might ask what's going on, and then look at what she wants. simply a full and fair trial. the constitution talks about the senate having a trial. we know what a trial is. a trial's not a rigged system. already inherently having a trial with the jury is people getting donations from the defendant, which is legally allowed, it's already rigged. they want to make it even more rigged. look, i think it's a great argument. i hope democrats echo those sentiments in the news as much as possible. we simply want a full and fair trial so the american people can hear all the facts and then we can collectively make a decision, and the senators can make an informed, impartial decision. as impartial as they can be. >> brendan, you heard dean say make it more rigged. is it a bridge too far for the republicans to try to move forward and not call any
witnesses and not demand some of the documents that the white house would not give the house? would it be better for them to allow the witnesses or at least some, add some of the documents and then go forward and do whatever it is that they intend to do assuming they want to acquit, and at least appear like they had a fair trial? >> i agree with dean that nancy pelosi is clearly in donald trump's head. but at the same time, she has absolutely no leverage here. she has no cards to play. i understand she would like to have witnesses up front, but withholding the articles is just plain silly. if they don't send them over, mitch mcconnell has basically laughed and said, fine, don't send them to me. i don't want them in the first place. she has no leverage. nothing that she can do to force them into doing anything. mitch mcconnell is saying let's do the same process we did with bill clinton. have the managers from the house come over, make their arguments first, and then we'll decide on witnesses later.
so no, i don't think that anybody is -- she's going to get any leverage, any movement at all to get witnesses agreed to up front because she has no cards to play. mitch mcconnell will just laugh at her until she sends them over. i expect she will send them over very shortly after congress gets back in early january. >> but dean, at the same time, when you hear brendan refer to the clinton impeachment trial, the majority leader and the minority leader, democrat and republican, were meeting, were talking, were working together. mcconnell has not done that with chuck schumer in this particular case. >> no. that time he had tom daschle and trent lott on the republican side. they got together, they wanted to make sure the senate trial was not what they viewed as a circus with the house impeachment was led by newt gingrich. in this scenario, leverage, what leverage are we talking about? we know donald trump will not be convicted. 20 republican senators will not put america first and vote for the removal of a criminal present. that's not going to happen here. this is -- this is a case you're
making to the american people. so for me, speaker pelosi's doing the right thing. first, making it clear this is not going to be a fair trial. it's a rigged trial. donald trump has literally raised money for some of the jurors in the last two months. i was a trial lawyer. when you had a prospective juror there, the judge would say does anyone know the defendant? someone said, yeah, he gave me money a month ago, you're off the jury trial. not in this case. this is the way -- this is legal, it's legal briby that's going on. i think she's doing a good job. first make it clear it's not fair. we want to make it as fair as possible. and the big picture, inform the american people. get john bolton -- i want to say mike pompeo. he was on the phone call july 25th. i want to hear what he has to say. we want to say john isenberg, city council lawyer. >> mulvaney -- >> mick mulvaney who said it was quid pro quo, then walked it back. let's see him answer questions under oath about that. i think that would be stunning. >> what perjury charges loom figure they say anything -- brendan, at what point do we raise the question of whether some in the senate should recuse
themselves? you hear dean raising the point about some of them have had money raised by the defendant. you have the majority leader of the senate saying he's not an impartial juror. should he recuse himself? you have graham, lindsey graham of south carolina, the senator, saying he's not impartial, should they recuse themselves? how do you have a fair trial where they have to take an oath of impartiality when you have those two stating, and i'm quoting them verbatim, that they're not impartial? >> well, there is not a trial. let's be clear. this is a political process -- >> they are sworn in to being impartial. whether you want to make it a trial or in a criminal sense or not, they are going to have to be sworn in and swear that they are going to have to be impartial when they've already said they're not impartial. >> this is a political process. i know everybody wants to attack mitch mcconnell. but it was chuck schumer who 20 years ago, whatever it was --
>> no, whoa, whoa. i would like you to answer the question. then you can go on to schumer. how do you have two people that said they will not be impartial take an oath that they will be impartial and not recuse themselves? >> i just don't agree that -- the premise of this is not a political process. this is an inherently political process. and it -- chuck schumer himself 20 years ago said this is a political process. he said this is not like a jury. he is the one who said that. >> he also said that he is not impartial. he says, "i am not an impartial participant here." >> chuck schumer said that he is not impartial back then. and he is -- flipped here now. the bottom line here is we know what happened. i mean, we sort of are overlooking this. we know what donald trump did. i personally think it's really, really bad. but there's not any real question about what took place here. the issue is that the house, for all of the compelling testimony they got, failed the political test of convincing enough republican voters to put any pressure on republicans. republicans in congress simply feel no pressure on this, and
it's because democrats sort of played by the old rules. there's -- i agree there are national polls that show relatively high percentage of people who think he should be removed. guess what, republicans in congress don't care about national polls. they care about polls where they live. they care about what republican voters in their districts think. and democrats simply didn't convince the president used his megaphone to beat democrats on this, and that's why they feel no pressure and why they feel like they can come out and say i -- >> are we saying, dean, that this has nothing to do with the fact that we supposedly have co-equals of power, legislative, executive, and judicial, and that -- let's forget about the constitution, let's forget about whether the executive branch can now tell the legislative branch what it will or will not do. this is all political now. it's only political. are we at that point now? >> i think in donald trump's mind, he does not believe our constitution's applicable to him i'm going to be blunt, i'm not being hyperbolic. the oath they have to swear to -- i'm happy you brought it up. it says in the senate rules they
have to say i solemnly swear that all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of donald trump, i will do impartial justice. in is an oath mandated by the constitution. >> they put their hand up and take that oath -- >> if lindsey graham and mitch mcconnell said already i'm not going to be impartial, they're lying under oath. that is perjury. that is a violation of 18 u.s. code 1621. that will be perjury. and i challenge them, put their hand on the oath, and now lie under oath, and i think you're exposing yourself to criminal liability, mitch mcconnell and lindsey graham, because they told us we're not speculating, or disqualify yourself. how do you do both? it's more than a rigged system. this is a charade and travesty of justice. >> let's hold it there while we give brendan a chance to look up 1621. dean, brendan, thank you so much. coming up, new reports that 2020 candidate michael bloomberg is outspending his
non-billionaire competitors 2-1 on advertisements. but will that be enough to overcome questions of how his campaign used prison labor? that's ahead. first, my colleague, richard lui with today's top news stories. richard? >> hey, thanks for that. stories we're watching this hour -- five passengers are dead after their small plane crashed in louisiana. that small plane crashed shortly after it took off from an airport in lafayette early this morning. it was carrying six people. a nearby resident said the plane hit a power line and that her home's lights went out due to that crash. local officials say two people were injured. one from the plane and one from a car that was struck in the crash. also saying one of the dead is carly mccord, a sportscaster and an nbc affiliate in new orleans. on the hawaiian island of kauai, the search is over for seven people in a tour helicopter. search crews found the wreckage of the missing chopper late yesterday after it went missing thursday. local officials say there are no
signs of survivors. that crash site was discovered along the remote north coast of the island. storms move in across the country could cause travel delays for millions trying to get home after the holidays. blizzards from denver to the northern plains and thunderstorms in the mississippi valley are expected to pummel the midwest, and heavy rain also expected in the pacific northwest. more "politics nation" after the break. rthwest. more "politics nioatn" after the break.
billionaire michael bloomberg entered the white house race late in the game. but it looks like he's making up for lost time. in the three weeks since he announced, the former new york city mayor has reportedly spent about $120 million on tv and digital advertising. for context, that's more than two times what the non-billionaire candidates have spent on ads combined. despite that spending, an average of recent polls show that bloomberg remains in the low single digits, well behind the front-runners. while bloomberg pays to increase his national name recognition, he's been dogged by a report alleging that his campaign contracted a third-party vendor that used prison labor to make phone calls on his behalf. the campaign later confirmed the news but said, quote, we didn't know about this, and we never
would have allowed it if we had. they also said they don't believe in the practice and stopped working with the contractor. joining me now, mayor of stockton, california, michael tubbs. and he has endorsed michael bloomberg for president. mr. mayor, why have you endorsed michael bloomberg? >> well, absolutely, rev. i think your last segment shows that right now in 2019 going to 2020 in this case we're in the midst of a constitutional crisis. and to beat donald trump, it's going to take a function of record, resources, and relationship. i just read something the other day that donald trump at the rnc has over $3 hundred millioin with more coming out probably at the end of this month. which means we're in the fight for our lives, we're in the fight for democracy. mayor bloomberg, his record as mayor of new york, with his extensive network of relationships, his fiphilanthric leadership and resources needed to compete and win in 50 states and assure that not only is donald trump defeated but something like donald trump is
never elected to the white house again. >> but does -- are we getting close, does this move us close to where we're saying that people can come in and buy the nomination and ultimately try to buy their way into the white house? >> well, absolutely. i think conversations around buying elections robs voters of their agency. i think as a voter we're covered with ads from everyone, whether or facebook, youtube, our inboxes, and in our mailboxes. and part of it is getting the message out. the voters have to decide and the voters have to vote. again, if you look at any candidate, presidential campaigns, elections are expensive entertain prices. until we reform campaign finance laws a function of getting elected will be having the resources to make sure voters hear your message and are able to make the best decision for themselves and their communities. >> making the best decisions because mr. bloomberg is self-funded. he will not be in the debates. don't you think voters should be
able to see him and assess him as you say let the voters make their decision, by seeing him go head to head against the competition if, of course, he qualifies for the debates? if he went through the process that the other candidates are going through? even mr. tom steyer, who is also a billionaire, has gone through the process and has been in the debates. we've not seen where mr. bloomberg is going to go in any of the debates, so we can see his matched against the front-runners like vice president, former vice president biden and -- and the rest of the candidates that are running. wouldn't the best opportunity for voters to decide is to see him on the stage with the other candidates? and let them choose for themselves? >> absolutely, the dnc says the rules of debate i'm sure has the criteria for the next debates are developed, if mike bloomberg meets the criteria, he will be on the stage. >> he can't if he's self-funded. >> again, it's a function of the rules of the dnc he puts forth.
i would say i think in the first month since he's campaigned he's been in cities that no one else has gone to. part of the reason for my endorsement is he cake to stockton, california, a town in central california, 300,000 people, spent the afternoon listening to activists talk about evixz and homelessness -- evictions and homelessness, talking about how to end poverty. his resources give him the flexibility to listen to americans from across the country. but particularly in places lake stockton where oftentimes we feel forgotten and left out, like people don't understand that we're a part of america, as well. >> now when we look at the strategy of the bloomberg campaign, the path to victory that i have seen in talking to some of the people as i do in every campaign, i ask what is the path to victory. he is seemingly not going to try and play in the first four primaries. he's going for super tuesday and beyond. and the super tuesday states, even though he's not really
playing hard in south carolina, you have a large black population that's concerned about stop and frisk, that he never apologized until about a week before he announced. you have other issues with other constituents. how does he convince those voters based on things that was raised by people like me when he was mayor of new york in california, in texas, in other states on super tuesday that they ought to vote for him? he can't win without black and brown votes. >> no, absolutely. i think the blab campaign and every campaign and primary understands that. i think looking at bloomberg's campaigns's leadership, when the other co-chairs, mayor steve benjamin, african-american mayor of columbia, south carolina, mayor michael nutter just came aboard, another african-american mayor, former mayor of philadelphia, national political advisers. understanding that we can't go back and redo the past, but we can make sure we put forth policies and a message that speaks to kind of where we are and where we should be as a country.
i think if you look at the totality of his record, and again on the first one to say stop and frisk was a terrible policy, but the totality of his record in terms of decreasing incarceration rates, in terms of innovative resid simple -- anti-recidivism programs, in terms of poverty reduction programs, et cetera, then he has a compelling case to make as to why in 2019, 2020 he's the case. again, i think for me the big picture is that donald trump is currently the president. >> what distinguishes michael bloomberg from the top contenders, biden and sanders and warren and buttigieg, cory booker, what do you see in his candidacy that is different from those that have often gone through the debates and gone through the battle thus far? >> well, first i think mayor bloomberg's the only one that has had a successful career as a businessperson, as a politician, and a philanthropist. on the business side, he's not a man who inherited wealth. he's a man that does what we're taught to do, work hard in school, his dad never made more
than $46,000, he got laid off and took the money and created bloomberg enterprises. as mayor of new york, he was mayor of new york for 12 years, probably the second toughest job in politics, besides being president president. didn't do everything perfectly, but i think most people will tell you his record as mayor of new york was good and left the city in a good position. particularly after 9/11. and then since being mayor of new york, as a philanthropist, he's been on the cutting edge, the nra, fighting for climate change, the coal industry, leading the issues that democratic voters and voters throughout the country care about. i think for these three reasons makes him the most compelling candidate to beat donald trump in 2020. >> all right. i'll have to leave it there. the mayor of stockton, california, michael tubbs. thank you for being with us tonight. >> thanks for having me, 25 je members have called on the president to fire one of his senior most -- most senior advisors and loyal advisers at that for his racist behavior. details on that just ahead. ♪
you are the company that you keep. in addition to the gristers, frauds, and cheats you surround yourself with on a daily basis, you employ one man so egregiously racist that 25 jewish members of the house have called on you to kick him out. i'm talking, of course, about your senior adviser, steven miller. this newest condemnation follows the revelation that mr. miller has spewed vile anti-immigrant and white nationalist rhetoric in emails inspired by the literature of known hate groups. but of course, your administration has simply brushed off mr. miller's hate, calling any criticism of him anti-semitism. in rebuttal, let me quote the letter from jewish house members. quote, hateful idealogy is not just unacceptable, it is un-american. irrespective of faith, race, or
nationality, of the individual promoting it. i can see why you like him so much, mr. president. after all, steven miller is behind many of your greatest hits in cruel immigration policy. perhaps most infamously your zero tolerance border policy that has ripped thousands of immigrant and refugee children from the arms of their parents. indeed, miller's hatred and hypocrisy is so overwhelming that his own family has resorted to writing editorials to condemn him. miller's uncle described feelings of, quote, dismay and increasing horror at miller's support of bash rouse and archaic immigration policy that would have meant almost certain death for his own ancestors. but of course that makes him a perfect fit for your administration, mr. president. after all, a prominent historian has described you as the most racist president since andrew
johnson. and you don't have to take the word of a mere academic, mr. president, since half of american voters have successfully identified your racism, too. so while i agree with the jewish lawmakers and everyone else calling for you to fire steven miller, i don't have a lot of confidence that you'll do so. with your instinct for racist cruelty and eagerness to carry it out, he's the most perfect protege a president like you could ask for. i just hope our country can survive your partnership. we'll be right back. ur partnshep we'll be right back.
welcome back to "politics nation." there week president trump celebrated the holidays with fresh attacks on house speaker nancy pelosi and the impeachment proceedings against him. in a set of tweets, the president questioned why pelosi should be allowed to impeach him with a, quote, slight majority in the house. trump also referred to her as crazy and maintained his phone call that started this whole thing was perfect. meanwhile, there's a stalemate in between senate party leaders mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer over the rules to govern president trump's impending trial and who should be allowed to testify. joining me to discuss this is democratic presidential candidate and member of the
senate judiciary committee cory booker. senator booker, let me start by asking you, as we see this standoff, do you feel that it is imperative that the senate hear from witnesses that have direct evidence or direct testimony of the behavior of the defendant as it relates to these two articles of impeachment? >> i think it's imperative for the senate and for the american public. if this president is saying he's innocent, then what is he afraid of? there are a handful of people like his chief of staff that have direct evidence, direct knowledge of what he did and what his behavior was. let them swear under oath what -- to what the truth is. this is what we should want. a trial like it, of this magnitude, of this importance, should have direct evidentiary witnesses before the united states senate and the american people. let's cut to the truth of what happened.
>> now as we cut to the truth, two of your colleagues, the majority leader of the senate, mitch mcconnell, and lindsey graham of south carolina, have already said they are not going to be impartial in these deliberations. do you think they should recuse themselves, and would you call on them to recuse themselves? >> well, there's going to come a moment where they swear an oath. there is literally a special oath for impeachment written out in our constitution which goes rights to the ideal of impartiality. and so that seems pretty just blatantly vileative of what they are going to swear an oath to do, be impartial. i have a deep frustration with what they're saying right now, and clearly they are choosing partisanship over patriotism. they should be reviewing the evidence and making an objective decision. >> do you think you or some of your colleagues ought to call on
that before this oath or during this oath, that they be questioned and asked to recuse themselves unless they can clarify why they made such public statements? >> listen, to be candid with you, i've seen in the short time i've been in the senate, things that i never thought i'd imagine like the constitution that explicitly spelling out how to replace the supreme court justice, and mitch mcconnell refusing in obama's last year, 11 months left in office, refusing him that, not doing his constitutional duty but his constitutional right as president. so i have no high expectations no matter what i said calling out the behavior of mitch mcconnell that that's going to change it at all. he seems to have made up his mind, and we're going to do everything we can. at this point right now, he is the leader of the senate. it's very, very frustrating, and frankly, i expect the outcome to be what it's going to be if there's no witnesses. and in that case, that's why i feel even more determined on this presidential campaign trail
to win this nomination and then beat donald trump and remove him from office, the electoral way. >> now, talking about the campaign trail, you're a candidate and one of your opponents is vice president joe biden. after comments yesterday that he wouldn't comply with a subpoena asking for his testimony at the senate trial, joe biden clarified his position this morning saying that there was no legal basis for republican subpoena for his testimony. how do you respond to that? >> i think this is a distraction that the republicans really, really want right now. joe biden's testimony is imperial to the misconduct of this president. it has nothing to do with the allegations against president trump. with what republicans are trying to do is muddy the waters and render this into the light of just partisan politics. well, it's not. this is a sitting president who has violated his oath of office, kpromized the security and the well-being of this country, and one of our allies.
this is what this is about, not joe biden. >> now let's get to the campaign. you did not make the last debate, we now are seeing the january debate where the bar is raised a little in terms of the polling one has to have to qualify and the fund-raising that they have to establish in terms of the amount of unique donors. are you confident you'll make the next debate? where do you stand in both areas? >> i'm grateful to you asking. the debate criteria really have nothing to do with what's happening on the ground. you remember 2003, rev, you were in the race where you had john kerry and john edward polling at 4% and 2% in december, sixth and seventh and finished one and two. our campaign on the ground in iowa is incredibly strong. we're in the top three or so for net favorabilities in the state of iowa. we have the most endorsements right at the top of the field
for endorsements. we are doing incredibly well building a campaign to win, and so that's why i'm grateful to the american people because when i was not on that debate stage, we got a flurry of contributions -- we've blown past the criteria of 225,000 individual donors. thanks to having a lot of folks stepping up, knowing that we don't have billionaire money like we have seen flowing into the race or the money of some of the others, they're giving us the resources necessary to go on tv starting on monday. we're just hoping more people will go to corybooker.com. it's outrageous that i'mon that debate stage when we've got one of the top campaigns on the ground. we intected to up-- intend to upset in iowa. i'm excited about our pathway forward. this windows, these few weeks, we want to be on tv, running ads like other well-resourced individuals or campaigns, and if we do that, they're bumping up their poll numbers that way, we will bump it up to get on the stage in january. please, i hope folks will help me out.
>> you intend to upset iowa. i understand the buttigieg path to victory is try to upset iowa and do well in new hampshire and go on from there. joe biden we're told thinks that the firewall is going to be in south carolina. bloomberg it staying out and coming in with heavy advertising starting super tuesday. what's cory booker's paths to victory given where you are right now? you are polling, combined polling of 2.5%. you said you've blown past what is needed for the next debate in terms of money. what's your path to victory as you see it? >> well, we know that iowa is going to be the starting line. and we think that just like obama when he showed his strength there -- remember, he was polling, 15, 20 points behind hillary clinton on national polls. nobody who's ever been polling ahead has gone on to win the presidency from the parties. we'll go the pathway of carter, clinton, both of whom in the single digits, obama, 2 or so points behind -- 2 0 or so
suspends went. by the time we get to the primary states and caucus states we are going win in south carolina. and i'll tell you this, there is no pathway to the presidency without being able to revive that obama coalition. and that includes the urgency of minority votes. remember, there's flow pathway to the presidency. we can't beat donald trump if we see the same thing we saw in 2016 which is a big lag or fall of the african-american vote, for example. if the same amount of african-americans voted in 2016 as voted in 2012, we would be talking about president hillary clinton right now. so we know -- i'm the best candidate in this race to not only upset in iowa but to win back that obama coalition that's going to be necessary, not just to beat donald trump, but we want to win senate seats in north carolina and south carolina and georgia so that we can make sure mitch mcconnell goes back to the back benches. i'm the best person to do that,
and that's exactly how we're going to win this election. >> so you feel you can upset them in iowa, you feel you can energize the black vote which is -- cannot happen in terms of one being successful in the general without having that. you're saying tonight, you're going to upset the world in iowa. >> well, i don't mean to sounds like muhammad ali or have a joe namath moment, but keep your eyes on iowa. we are seeing things on the grounds. local media's calling out where one of those candidates is most loy likely to upset in iowa. what i need is you. if your viewers think this is the most important election of our lifetime, then we've all got to act like it. if you believe that i've got the message and the ability to revive that obama coalition, please go to corybooker.com, contribute to us. this is the time to do it, to help us to bring one of the biggest upsets in electoral politics we've seen in a generation in iowa. that's what we're looking to do. i believe we can do it with your help. >> new jersey senator cory
booker, thank you for being with us. up next, i'll speak with the author of a new book that profiles a wide range of americans leading the charge in activism, including civil rights icon georgia congressman john lewis. stay with us. congressman john lewis. stay with us -excuse me. uh... do you mind...being a mo-tour? -what could be better than being a mo-tour? the real question is... do you mind not being a mo-tour? -i do. for those who were born to ride, there's progressive.
obligation to say something! to do something! our children and their children will ask us, what did you do? >> georgia congressman john lewis has tirelessly fought for america's greater good for better than half a century. lewis, along with myself, are among the activists who were photographed and profiled in the new book titled "activist." portraits of courage. and the author of the book, kk joins me here in the studio. first of all, what motivated you to do this book? >> well, i think we are in a very contentious year right now. there is a lot happening in the country that people are frustrated and upset about. and we're also not talking with each other. and i think that was a problem. we've got people increasingly polarized. and so we're not figuring out ways to come together and move some of these problems forward. and so i thought it would be useful to talk with activists
from across the generations, who had been through this. who had fought in other tough times and figured out a way to move forward. to make change. and so one of the great things about the book is that you have activists who are in their 90s, civil rights leaders, all the way down to young people in their 20s. so figuring out different ways to come together and make change and push through some of the -- some of the stalemate. >> one of the things that -- that really captivated me is i read about other activists. i'm in the book, as i said. but other activists that i didn't know their background. you make us talk deeply about why we became activists. never knowing we'd be known. never knowing where it would go. and the backgrounds of many that i have heard of that even have worked with is a strong part of this book. >> yes, absolutely. that was the one i wanted to focus not so much on the issues themselves. but on the individual decision to get involved. to take action. and i think that's -- that's one of the thing that united
everybody in t everybody in the book. everybody is driven by that sense of needing to do something. or as congressman lewis said, that you cannot be at home with yourself unless you act. and so that's the one unifying principle across all these activists. and -- and the reason i think it's important to focus on it is that you have the activists that we hear about that are well-known now. you think well they were always like that. or they started off famous or rich or with tons of people. and that's not the case. it's just individual decisions to take action. and i think breaking it down and going back to the beginning. how did people get involved and why? helps people see themselves. and -- and see themselves be able to take similar actions today. >> what do you hope people that buy this book, particularly during the holiday season, walk away after reading this book? >> well, there are a couple things. first of all, i hope they walk away saying there are many paths to activism. you know, not everybody is a political activist who leads demonstrations. there are artists in here. shepherd ferry.
pete souza, who use their art to move people and change things. so there's not one path to activism. and also, the fact that anybody can do it. as delores said, leaders are not born. they're made. it is a series of decisions and you have to sacrifice your time. and sometimes your reputation and it's hard. but -- but that's the only way things get done. so you have to listen to your courage and anybody can do it. and i think that particularly for young people or for patiere who talk with young people about it, it's important to get the message that you can do something. each of us can do something. and to develop that sense. because many activists in the book, actually one of the unifying things is that they all took -- they all -- many of them took some sort of action when they were young. i know you talk about when you first got started when you were, i think, ten years old. and you moved. and you saw that the trash wasn't being picked up. right? and then you led a small demonstration. and then you realized, huh, you know, this can make a little impact. maybe it didn't change things but it helped move it forward.
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when he retweeted a meme claiming that jesus, our lord and savior, prefers him to former president barack obama. now, many of us can interpret what jesus taught and what is akin to the policies or what are the opposite of the policies a given president may engage in. but to act like jesus prefers one person to another is offensive and, in my opinion, unacceptable because jesus loved everyone. and to retweet that during this season of christmas is unacceptable. by the way, i remember president obama would openly embrace his faith and belief in jesus. every easter, he'd have an easter prayer breakfast. where he would invite leaders of christian -- of the christian faith to have a easter prayer breakfast celebrating the resurrection of jesus. he would speak at it and have
guest ministers. i was there every year. so let's not act like jesus has preferences of people. i do think he has preferences on how we handle his children. and those that we believe he shed his blood for. that does it for me. thanks for watching. join us tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern for a special holiday edition of "politics nation." the revvie awards. a look back at some of the best and worst moments in politics this year. you won't want to miss it. up next, my colleague richard lui picks up our coverage for more of today's news. hello. i'm richard lui live from msnbc headquarters in new york city. thanks for being us with us on
this saturday. today, we'll start with the impeachment. how that might affect the 2020 race for president. we're going to start the hour with former vice president joe biden now trying to clean up comments he made on the campaign trail yesterday. biden was asked, hypothetically, how he would respond if subpoenaed by the senate to testify during its impeachment trial of president trump. well, here's a look at some of what he had to say about all of that. >> do you stand by your earlier statements that you wouldn't comply if you were subpoenaed to testify in an impeachment trial? >>