tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC March 9, 2017 11:00pm-11:31pm PST
what should happen. "the 11th hour" with brian williams is now. good evening once again, midnight tonight eastern time will mark the 50th day of the trump administration. >> no comment from the fbi good evening once again, midnight tonight eastern time will mark the 50th day of the trump administration. while the first 100 days is a standard benchmark for a new administration, tonight here at the casey hunt was there as he
when the president unleashed that last weekend and said an investigation will show that he's right, he bought himself an investigation the democrats have been pining for. question one, if trump was wiretapped, whose investigation was that apart of? on that front, in just the past 24 hours, it appears the white house got caught in an unforced error when asked if they knew of any investigation. this was sean spicer yesterday. >> i just want to be really clear on one point, which is, there is no reason that we should -- that we have to think that the president is talking of any investigation. whatsoever. there is no reason to believe that he is the target of any investigation, i think that's very important point to make. and there is no reason to believe that there is any type of investigation with respect to the department of justice. >> so, that was yesterday. then came this. a no comment from the justice department to "the new york times" on whether trump is being investigated. that brought about this exchange with sean spicer today.
>> did the justice department give you that assurance, because they're telling "the new york times" they did not. >> i'm not aware of it, but that's my point. we're not aware of anything. >> you haven't been told by the justice department that there is no investigation. >> no. >> so there might be one, so you just don't know. >> i said, we're not aware and that's why we want the house and senate to do what the president has asked of them, to look into this, but no, we're not aware. >> to discover if there is an investigation? >> no, to look into the situation. >> the justice department is saying they never gave you the assurances you gave us. >> what i gave you is that i'm not aware. and that is 100% accurate. >> so, when you said no reason to believe, it was, i'm not aware -- >> that's right. >> i don't know that they're not interchangeable. i'm not aware. i don't believe, look up in a thesaurus, find some other ways, but i don't know that there's a distinction there that's noteworthy. we're not aware, i don't believe that that exists. >> what is it based on?
>> it's based on that i've not been aware of. but that's the answer to that. someone's asking me if i'm made aware of something and the answer is no, then the answer is no. >> the question is whether he was the target of a -- there is a justice department investigation or that the president is the target of any investigation. today, note there, a new line he says, he is not aware of one. let's bring in the members of our panel tonight. including our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. ali velshi and senior foreign affairs correspondent michael crowley.
welcome to you all. and michael, when someone in washington says, i don't know how i could be anymore clear, perk your ears up. so, we have that. we have a change in the messaging. >> yeah. >> we have a president we haven't heard from in days. is this suspended animation, this is all-consuming? >> yeah, absolutely. you know, trump wanted to come in and had this radical agenda and they were going to blow up washington and change the way business is done here and all anyone wants to talk about is russia. and brian, first of all, as you, i think, said, this was an unforced error on the part of sean spicer. he dug this hole. and i would add, there are at least three significant cases in the last couple days where sean spicer has actually -- has gotten facts significantly wrong or changed his line. one was on the circumstances of guantanamo bay detainees being released. i just want to point out, it is getting hard to take sean spicer's statements at face
value. let me just say, when it comes to donald trump, he could have handled this in a completely different way. he could have sad, allegations of russian interference in our election are extremely serious. if some of my associates had contracts with russian officials or there are allegations to that effect, let's look into it. i want the american people to understand this has nothing to do with me. instead, he issues tweets that just dig himself deeper and deeper, and you see that his spokespeople can't bail him out. >> and andrea mitchell, the big question to you that may call for a judgment, are we any closer tonight to knowing the fundamental question, what's going on here? >> no. but i do think that the fact that jim comey briefed the big eight, the gang of eight, the top leaders in both parties in both houses on this makes it very clear, i think we can infer from that, i dare say, what happened tonight is that they have seen the evidence, the lack
of evidence, supporting the president's tweet of saturday morning at 6:35 a.m. that is what they demanded. they want to see if there are any warrants. and as you, i think were told on your show last night, or the night before, that would require only five minutes, you could do that over a cup of coffee, show them the printout, show them the readout, because they have every single one of those fisa court surveillance warrants cataloged. that could be done very fast. >> ali, comey could open up an office on capitol hill, the amount of times he's gone up there. he's a tall man, always looks grave when he's walking down the hall. none of it is a good look for the administration. >> no. >> nicolle wallace, our friend, was on last night as a former coms director, said, we could have walked this back in hours, in days better. >> the forced error starts with the tweets from the president.
just to mention the guantanamo one, that was president trump's tweet, that 122 people were released by the obama administration. >> because of a graphic on fox news, turned out to be the bush administration. >> 113 of the 122 were under the bush administration. the wiretapping, right? it brought out a topic that no one else was talking about, except far right wing media. so, they're bringing this upon themselves, and when you watch sean spicer on a daily basis, you know when he starts with the rehearsed lines two and three in a row, they're getting caught in something. we have the wiretapping, which we'll talk about in a bit, we've got the investigation into trump, whether there is or isn't one, that the justice department says no comment about, and then the russia allegations, which, for all the light and fury around it, have not gone away. >> and michael, the -- it is a big deal indeed when members of congress go to langley, that usually means the evidence doesn't travel well, meaning it's eyes only stuff, because they will go to the hill, they
like home field advantage, but this is -- these are serious moves we're watching. >> this is hot stuff, brian. and, so, the tantalizing question is, what is in there? is what's sensitive here the nature of the collection methods? is it just that these are intercepts that are picked up in ways that have to be very closely guarded because of sources and methods, or is it that the substance is revealing something tremendously explosive? and that's what's frustrating about the last several weeks. we don't know the substance of the contacts that the intelligence community seems to be aware of. but certainly, the collection methods require a veil of secrecy that builds the suspense, so to speak. it's just going to be a matter of time, before we find out what is really at the heart of it all. >> andrea mitchell? >> well, i just think that the fact that comey was on the hill, that they didn't have to go to langley today, clearly, this was in response to the demands that they clear up, that the fbi clear up, whether or not there's
an ongoing investigation of the president, whether or not he was correct about the obama, in particular, about the obama alleged wiretaps. that does not require anything other than just showing them the reports from the fisa judge. but what michael is talking about is the sensitivity of collection methods that would require going to langley, for instance, when dianne feinstein was investigating the torture reports, they had to go to a separate facility. that was one of the big issues, that they could not do that even in one of those secure rooms on the hill. >> and ali, we have confirmed that casey hunt works 24 hours -- >> no kidding. >> so, we can report that, with confidence tonight. second, while we'll get to the wikileaks story in the next segment, the cia, at the crux of a massive historic attack. >> yeah. >> having been historically under attack by an incoming president, we've never seen that before. >> right. >> and now this.
>> and a remarkable attack from wikileaks that has continued and continued. it does start to become obvious that wikileaks in its purported search for truth doesn't leak about anybody else, to the degree that it leaks about americans and american intelligence. >> where is the damaging stuff on putin and where is, say, tax returns of presidents? >> i was looking through this, wikileaks has released precious little stuff about other governments. it is highly focused on the american government, which begs a whole lot of new questions. >> well, go ahead. >> and the least of which, why nigel farage walked out of the ecuadorian embassy, that is where julian assange lives. >> michael, this would be rejected as a script if submitted to any reputable hollywood studio. >> that was the last straw in the, you know, that's where i throw down the paperback, i said, i'm not reading this anymore, because -- >> it can't possible be true. >> a fringe nationalist
character that shows up at dinner with trump at the trump hotel a couple weeks ago and is kind of a loud mouth and not really taken seriously, even in great britain, where he was able to push the brexit through, he's not actually very popular anymore. this guy shows up in the embassy where julian assange is holed up -- you are just now -- >> and once again, denies that he was having that conversation. there's no reason for anybody to go to that embassy. they give out visas when you show up in ecuador. if you are going to the embassy, you have business there. >> it's important to understand, he had dinner with donald trump, very close to steve bannon. was meeting with julian assange, and that stinks, frankly. >> andrea mitchell, because of your knowledge of the players in the capital city, people keep asking, who are the grownups? who do americans turn their focus to now? is it the names we've been using routinely, john mccain, lindsey graham, people that are having small meetings to kind of stay sane?
>> i would add adam schiff, who has been very careful. he hasn't, you know, blown any -- any secret information at all. he's been very circumspect, but he has held them to the fire. and also, you know, elijah comings on the democratic side. >> and in casual conversations, this may be a tough question to answer. do you get the feeling that we're on the precipice of knowing a lot more, that there's a lot more already known or do you get the feeling that the opposite is true, oddly? >> i think we are going to know more. i think the fact -- it's very clear that the fbi is looking into several associates of donald trump. and, you know, the names carter page and roger stone and paul manafort. something is going on there. and that investigation, as well as into michael flynn, by the way, and the fact that all of these players are so squirrely about their protestations, their
denies of any connection and any knowledge and any meetings with the russians and then it turns out they have, indeed, met with the russians. well, it was only in cleveland, remember that rather hilarious chris hayes colloquy with. >> and the oh by the way story of the day was general flynn, michael. what did we learn about him today? >> that general flynn had taken, or, at least, whatever firm he was representing himself as running at the time, took something like $500,000 from the government of turkey to represent the turkish government in washington before he became donald trump's national security adviser. he belatedly filed the kind of disclosure you have to do in washington when you are representing a foreign government. didn't do it earlier, but has kind of come in late. and it's just weird, it's
unseemly, it's tacky, and i would say that at a time when well are concerned that michael flynn and others are under suspicion for having ties to russia, and in flynn's case, he went to moscow to attend a dinner of a russian television network, rt, reportedly was paid money for it, the idea that the guy is taking a lot of money from foreign governments to work for them, should give people pause when they think about in the context of russia, russian money and how that fits into it. i don't think it looks good. >> nothing wrong with taking money from foreign governments. there's something about taking money from foreign governments when you work in the white house, when you work for this particular government. that is -- >> sure. >> at the root of all conflict. this is the issue, just say it. >> yeah. >> andrea? >> there is also a financial connection, we are told, at least, that was in the cia intelligence, 17 intelligence agencies brief in january, there's a financial past connection between julian assange and rt television, so, that is also, you know, the
circle widens or gets closer. >> there you guys go again believing 17 agencies. we'll fit our first break in here, i'm being sarcastic. when we come back, president trump, spy secrets, and more on a big problem that you probably saw coming. >> oh, we love wikileaks, boy, they have really -- wikileaks. they have revealed a lot.
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is nigel farage at the embassy in london today -- >> okay. >> where julian assange happens to be staying. we don't know if they met or not, but was he -- i mean, he's a close ally of president trump -- >> i don't keep his schedule. >> delivering a message -- >> i have no idea. no, i -- i have my own concerns here, keeping track of what everyone's doing. i generally don't worry about what's going on across the pond. >> so, that was the answer, farage, friend of trump, shows up at julian assange's house during an unprecedented
electronic attack on the cia at a time when a good distraction would be welcome. our panel stays here, of course. ali, if you're president of the united states and your cia -- >> yeah. >> is under attack, these are the intelligence gatherers, many of them have died in service to our country, would you speak up? >> ah, yeah, it's a problem, though, because you were the one attacking them first, right? so, you've encouraged this behavior. the problem is less to do if he likes the cia and more to do with the fact that in 2017, we're not really worried about nuclear armaments and things like that happening to the same degree that we were in the '50s and '60s. we're worried about the stuff the cia has to helps determine because normal channels don't work. governments work through back channels, cyber or otherwise. the president, i would have thought, his first course of action would be to make amends with the cia, and he did that, right after the election, right? he went right there and made an
unusual speech -- >> relitigated the election crowd. >> so, the cia doesn't feel tremendously safe with donald trump having their back, and to see something like this happen is unusual at best. now, i could -- i think sean spicer's body language suggested that he really didn't know nigel farage's schedule. but it is intriguing, given the closely, quickly developing between nigel farage and donald trump, and then, this visit to the embassy, where julian assange has lived. >> we haven't had time to call into question the behavior of one andrea mitchell, who we last saw being hustled out of a photo op with the secretary of state. her second straight hustling out of a photo op, i might add, as we mentioned on the air this week, her first rodeo, this is not. andrea, what about press access, period, at the state department, press access to the secretary of state, who has yet to give an interview, and secretary of state embarking on a big overseas trip?
>> well, it's, as we say, it's not about us, it is about the -- >> our customers. >> the diplomacy of the united states. access to report on what our government is doing. just to point out that today, the foreign minister of mexico was at the white house meeting with jared kushner and gary cohn and others on the white house staff and was not meeting with his official counterpart at the state department. and the state department acting spokesman did not even know the foreign minister of mexico, whom we have a rather fractured relationship with right now, was in town. and that is just unprecedented. they did talk, apparently, tillerson, secretary of state tillerson talked to the foreign minister last night, but he didn't even stop at the state department. foreign ministers don't come to washington and not go to the state department. it's just not done. >> do you think this gets better? >> i worry that it doesn't. and i don't think it good for the country. the secretary of state is taking his first big trip to asia.
we are at a point with a rising threat from north korea, we're hearing all sorts of reports from the pentagon that they may be preparing a nuclear test, a solid fuel missile test, and at this point, the secretary of state is going to japan, south korea and china next week, and not taking the press, which has always covered secretaries of state. i'm talking going back on trips to henry kissinger and before. so, the traveling press is there to cover and it's almost impossible, i can guarantee you, because i've spent a good part of today trying to figure out the travel schedule, we're going to fly commercially and try to keep up. but it's very, very hard. he's got a blue and white plane and we're, you know, going to airports and standing in line and trying to make equal time and that's just not going to work. and we don't have the schedule yet. >> and michael crowley, what's the 30-second version of how you avoid the normalization? that's the new word, of everything we're seeing. >> brian, i think it's honestly -- i don't want to blow
hot air, but it's the professionalism of people like andrea mitchell, margaret brennan, works for a competitor, professionals, who have been doing this for a long time and can challenge people in the government, people in authority, in professional terms, call them out, not lose their cool and you just have to have a vigilant, aggressive press corps that doesn't accept that normalization. same thing for the american public. i do think that is a great danger, that people get overwhelmed and, you know, frankly, i hear people who want to tune out. it's too crazy. they want to retreat. and you just have to have the andrea mitchells of the world and the viewers out there in their own little way saying, i'm not going to let that happen. >> and that same andrea mitchell on the eve of taking a long, long overseas trip. andrea, we always appreciate having you on the program. >> you bet. >> thank you. as we thank -- >> wouldn't miss it, brian. >> ali, michael, thank you all for being here with us. and coming up, after our next break, what about that wall?
they may not know it yet, but they're paying for the wall. we will build a wall and, yes, mexico will pay for the wall. 100%. >> last thing before we go here tonight, one of the hallmarks of candidate trump's campaign was a wall. you may have heard of it. to be built along the southern border, paid for by our southern neighbors in mexico. but how mexico is allegedly going to pay for that wall? that aspect of this story has, you might say, migrated a bit, since trump took office. it now appears to be a reimbursal of some sort. well, today, one of the most powerful republicans in washington, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, was short and sweet on this topic. >> do you believe that mexico will pay for it? >> ah, no. >> there is your senate majority leader. the president of mexico has said the same thing, and what the wall will look like, still not clear.
trump's omb director said it could be steel, could be concrete, could be technology or any combination therein. that's going to do it for this edition of our broadcast for tonight. "hardball" starts right now. wicked. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. two big developments today on the trump russian front. jim comey let with lawmakers today on trump's charge that he was wiretapped by president obama. also this today, donald trump brazenly refused to criticize the organization that worked with russia to tilt the 2016 election in his favor. the organization that has been