tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC March 20, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
of the hearings will start. we don't know what path democrats will focus on with gorsuch. also the question of why democrats are there at all for the hearing. today a lot of the democrats on the committee highlighted the fact that president obama's nominee for that seat, merrick garland, never got a hearing in the senate. that question is still unanswered and looming over all of this. why are the democrats participating in a process that republicans would not allow under president obama? but nevertheless, tomorrow's hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. eastern. you, of course, can watch it all here on live on msnbc. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time your the last word with lawrence o'donnell," good evening, lawrence. >> hey, rachel, two big losses this weekend, chuck berry and jimmy breslin. they were the same age. chuck berry 90, jimmy breslin 88. i never thought of them in the same sentence. they came together this weekend. guess which one of them gave me great career advice?
>> chuck berry or jimmy breslin? >> yeah. here's a hint. i met him on a park bench in manhattan. >> i'm going to be with jimmy breslin. >> yeah, jimmy breslin. he is quite amazing. i'm going to tell that story tonight on facebook live after the show. jimmy breslin is going it get "the last word" tonight, special words from jimmy breslin directly to donald trump, both of them, by the way, from queens. two guys from queens turned out very different. >> well, one of the greats. i look forward to it. >> thanks, rachel. >> thanks, man. today the resistance came to congress as we witnessed the first ever congressional hearing about a tweet. >> the fbi is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. >> russia, if you're listening,
i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. >> the answer is continues to be no. and at some point, take no for an answer. >> is paul manafort a subject in your investigation? >> not going to comment on that. >> paul manafort who played a very limited role. >> he was the chairman of the campaign. he literally running the campaign. >> wikileaks, i love wikileaks. >> was the president's statement that obama had his wires tapped in trump tower a true statement? >> i have in information that supports those tweets. >> so president obama could not yun r unilaterally authorize -- >> we now know the real fake news was coming out of the tweets from the president.
today, the resistance to donald trump's lies moved to a hearing room in the house of representatives where the intelligence committee managed to conduct two separate hearings at the same time. the democrats conducted the first congressional hearing in history about a tweet. a tweet written by the president of the united states at 6:35 a.m. and that is the time of day that has produced some of donald trump's most insane tweets. some of his most offensive tweets. judging by twitter, alone, that may be the hour of the day when after what he, himself, describes as mostly sleepless nights, the tempest within him rages to its most uncontrollable point. and it is the last hour of the day before he will be surrounded by people whose job it is to protect him from himself. that is every white house staff's job to protect the president from his own worst impulses and worst ideas. the few or bad impulses and bad ideas the president has, the more the white house staff can concentrate on governing.
president trump has kept the white house staff in damage control mode for every one of the 60 days of his presidency. here's another look at the 6:35 a.m. tweet that was the subject of the hearing today. we're going to look at it again because every time i see this tweet, it feels like the madness is leaping out at you with every word, with each quotation mark. "terrible. just found out that obama had my wires tapped in trump tower just before the victory. nothing found. this is mccarthyism!" the fbi director and the director of the national security agecy testified today that there is nothing in that tweet that is true. nothing. they made it clear that it would be impossible for the president to have ordered a wiretap or any similar form of surveillance on donald trump or trump tower. >> director comey, was the
president's statement that obama had his wires tapped in trump tower a true statement? >> with respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, i have no information that supports those tweets and we've looked carefully inside the fbi. the department of justice asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the department of justice and all its components. the department has no information that supports those tweets. >> there was a lot of important testimony in that hearing today. a lot of important questions. but it may be that the most important thing that happened in that hearing is what was not said in that hearing. we'll come to that in a moment. at the same time that the democrats were conducting a hearing that was about the president's tweet, the republicans were conducting a hearing about michael flynn. the adviser who donald trump used throughout his campaign,
the man president trump made national security adviser for three weeks before he had to fire him, and none of the republicans in the hearing were scandalized or even slightly bothered by the reason that donald trump fired michael flynn. let's listen to the senior democrat on the committee tell the story of what happened to michael flynn. >> in december, michael flynn has a secret conversation with ambassador kislyak about sanctions imposd -- michael flynn lies about the secret conversation. the vice president unknowingly then assures the country that no such conversation ever happened. the president is informed that flynn has lied and pence has d c the president does nothing. two weeks later the press reveals flynn has lied and the president is forced to fire mr. flynn. the president praises the man who lied, mr. flynn, and
castigates the press for exposing the lie. >> the most important line in there, "the president does nothing." the republicans on the committee were not investigating why the president did nothing. for two weeks after discovering michael flynn's lie, the republicans on the committee were not investigating why the president only fired michael flynn after the lie became public in press reports. the republicans on the committee were outraged. outraged by the press reports, themselves, that revealed michael flynn to be a liar. the outrage was that those press reports were based on leaks. >> talking about the significance of leaks and how important it is we stop them. and to me, and i've been here a while, i've never seen such a sustained period of leaks. >> he didn't pay much attention to the benghazi committee which was leaking constantly.
the republicans spent the entire time condemning the leaks and throwing out names of obama administration officials just as wild guesses for whom might be responsible for those leaks about michael flynn's lie. and the republicans did not spend one minute on michael flynn's lie and why the president covered up that lie for two weeks until the press exposed the lie. now as unbalanced as the hearing appeared to be, here are the most important things to keep an eye on when you really take a look at that hearing. in terms of donald trump's relationship with the congress and how far republicans in congress are willing to go in defending the president or not defending the president. first of all, the republicans allowed this hearing to take place. paul ryan could have stopped it and he didn't. the republican chairman of the committee, devin nunes, agreed to have the hearing.
he did not have to do that. he knew that the democrats were going to use the hearing exactly the way they did. he knew they were going to use the fbi director and the director of the nsa to prove donald trump lied about president obama and he let that happen. republican chairman of the committee never once defended donald trump's tweet. he made no attempts to do that. he did what a lawyer representing a guilty client does. he changed the subject. and the rest of the republicans changed the subject with him. to the outrage of the leaks about michael flynn. consider where those republican members of the house were sitting today. in the 60th day of the trump presidency. many of them in districts that donald trump won overwhelmingly. none of those republicans are brave members of congress. they're not going to take any chances.
alienating all those trump voters in their districts and so they didn't say anything about the tweet. because they couldn't. they couldn't find a line of defense for donald trump on the tweet. they treated him as if he was guilty of lying in the tweet and there was nothing they could do about it. but they were going to let their constituents hear them attacking the democrats in some way. they were going to let their constituents hear them complaining about something. they wanted to do what donald trump always does when backed into a corner. complain of unfairness. and so the republicans in that committee said nothing today that sounded like agreements with the democrats. everything they said was a complaint against the most unfair force in donald trump's world, the news media. that terrible dishonest media that accepts accurate leaks. whenever they can get them from the intelligence community. from others in government. from anywhere.
not one of those republicans raging about the leaks that took down michael flynn actually said one word in defense of michael flynn. so every member of that committee, republican and democrat, treated president trump as guilty of lying about president obama in that 6:35 a.m. tweet. and when you watch congress closely, you always, always have to watch what they do and what they don't do. what they say and what they don't say. and what they don't say is as important as what they say. frequently, the most important thing will be the thing that they don't do or the thing that they don't say. no republican on the committee sounded like sean spicer did today. >> he said that there's no information to support the allegations that the president made against president obama.
>> at this time. >> so is the president prepared to withdraw that accusation, apologize to the president? >> no -- we started a hearing, it's still ongoing. as chairman nunes mentioned, this is one in a series of hearings that will be happening. >> chairman nunes has already said donald trump was not the telling the truth in that tweet. said it before the hearing. sean spicer is never going to admit that. donald trump is never going to admit that. if you want to know how bad a day it was for donald trump in the republican house of representatives today, ask yourself, what would donald trump have done if he was chairman of that committee? and the democrats wanted to have that hearing. do you think that chairman trump would have allowed them to have that hearing? chairman trump never would have allowed them to have that hearing. if donald trump were chairman of that committee, he'd know he was going to get one of two stories.
going to have to live with one of two stories. the story of the democrats complaining that he wasn't having the hearing, or -- or the story we got today of the fbi director and the nsa director exposing the president's lies. the democrats and the fbi director and the nsa director did the work today in that hearing of exposing those lies, but the republicans let them do it. and that is the most important political piece of the drama that played out in that hearing room today. the republicans are not attacking donald trump, but they're not protecting him, either. and they could have. they could have prevented that hearing. instead, they had that hearing on the day when donald trump's job approval rating according to gallup is the lowest in the history of a two-month presidency. 37% approve of the job donald trump is doing.
58% disapprove. that is a significant drop from just a week ago when 45% approved and 49% disapproved and what did donald trump do in a week to get his disapproval rating to skyrocket? he just kept being himself. that's what he's going to keep doing. if those numbers were reversed, if donald trump had a 58% approval rating and a 37% disapproval rating, his health care bill would be sailing through the house of representatives and republicans in the house would be defending his most insane tweets. but that's not where we are tonight. and so there is hope that the resistance to president trump's lies is now growing stronger. that what began the day after his inauguration as a women's march now has many active and effective branches including what we saw today in that
hearing room in the house of representatives. we're going to be joined next by john heilman and david corn, they were both in that hearing room today. americans - 83% try to eat healthy. yet up 90% fall short in getting key nutrients from food alone. let's do more. add one a day men's complete with key nutrients we may need. plus heart-health support with b vitamins. one a day men's in gummies and tablets. and you're about in to hit 'send all' on some embarrassing gas. hey, you bought gas-x®! unlike antacids, gas-x ® relieves pressure and bloating fast. huh, crisis averted.
i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. and that includes investigating the nature of any links associat trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. as with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.
>> we will be joined by democratic congressman jackie spear who was at that hearing today. she is on her way to join us. we're joined now by john heilman and david corn, they were both in attendance at the hearing. john heilman is co-author of "game change" and executive producer co-host of "the circus" on show time. david corn is with mother jones and an msnbc political analyst. john heilman, what did you score as the most important moment in the hearing? >> well, i think, you know, you just played it, lawrence, it was -- we got the big shock was the way the hearing started. i think for every member of the committee, they were all expecting jim comey to come in and say, to say that donald trump had lied about -- or had spoken falsely about president obama's wiretapping, but on the question of ongoing investigations of collusion between the trump campaign and russia, they expected him to say we don't talk about ongoing investigations and so when we came out and said what he said there is an ongoing
investigation and it's been going on since july of 2016, there was a palpable electric jolt in that committee room as every one of the members did not expect him to confirm that and did not know about the investigation with the exception, i believe, of the chairman and the ranking minority member. the only two in the room i believe who knew about the investigation had been briefed prior by comey. everyone else in the room was shocked both by the existence of the investigation and more importantly by comey's willingness at this point to step forward and confirm that it existed. >> he did present significant preamble about -- >> right. >> -- the normal practice being we do not discuss ongoing investigations. >> correct. >> he alluded to the exceptions that we saw in the past including during the campaign and that exceptions occur only in extraordinary circumstances. very careful about ramping up to that and then giving us another giant exception to the comment -- to the not commenting ongoing investigations. david corn, what did you see as the most important moment?
>> i hate to agree with john, but i think he nailed it. >> you can do that. that's all right. >> he also said in that statement he had been authorized -- >> yes. >> -- by the justice department to make that statements. that means it wasn't just him doing it on his own. there were deliberations within the justice department and of course, jeff sessions, the attorney general, recused himself so he could not be a party to this decision-making. you know, you spent a lot of time, rightfully so, lawrence, in talking about how donald trump's lie was exposed but it was a lie that you and i and john and others have talked about for weeks now. we knew there was really nothing to it, but to have it come from comey was, indeed, significant. but now to know that this investigation started in july and it's still ongoing, so think about it, the fbi chief today came out and essentially said my boss, the president, doesn't tell the truth and my boss, the president, was elected president
with people who i've been investigating since july to see if they're coordinating with a foreign power that waged a political attack against the united states. the stunning thing was, as you noted, the republicans only focused on the leaks. it was as if comey said nothing about this investigation and said nothing about trump's, you know, false leak. they were on another alternative reality and i think it's going to take some time for this to fully resonate that the president got elected in a campaign that is now being investigated by the fbi. >> yeah, and in terms of what the republicans were up to in the hearing, as i watched them and saw what they were doing, it seemed to me that this was basically an agreed upon tactic of -- >> oh, yeah. >> -- how we're going to let the democrats have their hearing and we're not going to do a thing to defend donald trump on that tweet, we're not going to step into that at all. we are not ready to come out
here and attack donald trump. i mean, maybe if they get a few more of these polls showing his disapproval rates in their own districts, they might be able to do that, but they basically let this hearing go on. they had their separate hearing where they could make noises that sounded like outrage and objection and john heilmann, like they're objecting to something but they weren't objecting to anything that the democrats were actually saying. >> right. just remember, lawrence, i think it's as important in this context we've just been discussing that it was as much of a shock to the republicans that comey confirmed the existence of the ongoing investigation as it was to the democrats. so, yes, it's clear that they had decided en masse before hand that all they were going to do is talk about leaks and weren't going to address the real substantive issues that the committee is meant to be investigating, but i think because -- they assume that they would be able to do that. in the context of comey not discussing and confirming the existence of the investigation. so suddenly their tactic which was very disciplined but their
tactic made them look completely unhinged and foolish in the context of the news that had just broken at the top of the hearing. >> there were other procedure things in the hearing that the chairman agreed to that is quite striking. he, himself, made a very short opening statement. he then allowed the senior democrat to make a 15-minute opening statement that was bigger than any other opening statement there and he knew that if he does this, this is going to be adam schiff's absolutely best case laid out which it was. and if he only gave him a five-minute opening, he wouldn't is been able to do that and so what i was struck by was all of the procedural cooperation that the democrats were getting from the chairman on this. >> well, one reason i think this is happening, it's happening on the senate side as well, is there's a very strong move to create an independent commission and the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee and the republican chairman in the senate intelligence
committee, senator richard burr, they're both trying to hang on and hold on to this, you know, not have it go to an independent commission beyond their control. they have to make some concessions a this point in time. i mean, the thing also i found, maybe i'm naive, lawrence, what i found also stunning is chairman nunes and none of the republicans even went through the notions of denouncesing moscow's meddling in the election and hacking. they didn't do the usual, this it is terrible, it didn't affect the election, we're going to make sure this doesn't happen again to protect the integrity of our elections. they just made believe as if none of that has happened, there have been no intelligence community assessments and the only terrible thing that has happened in the last year was there was a leak about michael flynn lying to the vice president. i mean, i thought that was a missed -- a misstep on their part. >> the never naive david corn gets "the last word" in this segment tonight. david, thank you for joining us. jonathan, we're going to need
is it fair to say that you're still relatively early in your investigation? >> it's hard to say because i don't know how much longer it will take, but we've been doing this -- this investigation began in late july, so for counterintelligence investigation, that's a fairly short period of time. >> joining us now, congressman jackie speier, democrat from california, member of the house intelligence committee. congressman speier, there's some speculation here that only the chairman and ranking member knew that that investigation had been going on since july.
were you aware of that before you heard that answer today? >> no, i wasn't. it was news to most of us on the committee. >> and so did that -- was that one of the powerful moments in the hearing today? that was certainly the observation that was made by some of the reporters we just heard from who were in the audience that they felt like they were watching the committee learn that this serious investigation has been going on since july and kind of processing the implications of that. >> yes, and what was really very important was the fact that it was also very specific that director comey spoke about the investigation including trump operatives and their involvement in any interference with our election. >> you kept the focus on the bigger picture of this russia investigation and russia's intent in its influence on this election. and what was -- what was the
main point you were trying to make as you proceeded in that direction? >> well, first of all, i thought it was very important that we make it clear that russia is an adversary and that is -- underscores our concern with them interfering with our elections. then you look at the web of relationships that exist in the trump administration. both during the campaign and now in the cabinet. and it makes one a little uncomfortable that our adversary has such close ties with so many people associated with president trump. >> apparently the white house believed that they found the gold in the hearing and the president tweeted in the middle of the hearing, "the nsa and fbi tell congress russia did not influence the electoral process." that tweet, of course, was immediately read in the hearing and director comey said, we did
not find that, we don't have an opinion about whether they affected the electoral process. >> you know, it's just another example of how the president will take fact and turn it into fiction. and the real fake news in all of this is coming, unfortunately, from our president. >> and the -- there were two big questions. one is, did all of that russian interference affect the final outcome? that is -- that is a question that we may never have a direct answer to. but the larger question of how long has russia been doing this, what are their incentives, and the clear incentive that you helped bring out was they had a candidate who they wanted to win. and that candidate won. >> that's right. and in fact, there was at different times during the campaign that they thought he was actually going to win and then not going to win. but it was very clear that they were going to injure and wound hillary clinton so that if she did win, she would come into the
white house at a disadvantage. >> congresswoman jackie speier, thank you very much for staying with us this late tonight after that long hearing. really appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, we have breaking news tonight. the house of representatives is trying to salvage the trump health care bill. trump health care 2.0 has just hit the congress. before fibromyalgia, i was a doer. i was active. then the chronic, widespread pain drained my energy. my doctor said moving more helps ease fibromyalgia pain. she also prescribed lyrica. fibromyalgia is thought to be the result of overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. for some, lyrica can significantly relieve fibromyalgia pain and improve function, so i feel better. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions.
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the house republican leadership has just released a new version of the trump health care bill. for the only reason you release new versions of a bill at the last minute. they know they cannot pass the bill as it stood today. before the new bill came out tonight, the president of the united states flew to kentucky today to change one vote on his struggling health care bill and it didn't work because senator rand paul left town before the president got there. >> is there a reason why you're not sticking around for president trump's visit? >> i got to work. i got to get to washington so i can work on the coalition that is trying to defeat the bill. so we're not exactly on the same page on this. >> the congressional district that the president visited tonight is represented by a congressman who is also voting against the bill. democratic john yarmuth. so here is the president wasting his time tonight in louisville, kentucky.
>> as we move toward the crucial house vote on thursday, the seventh anniversary of obamacare's very painful passage, this is our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of obamacare. it's a long-awaited chance. we're going to do it. what's the alternative? the alternative is what you have. what you have is nothing. the worst. it's the big lie. >> and here is donald trump attacking rand paul and ridiculing rand paul in front of his kentucky constituents for rand paul's failure to support the trump bill. >> i happen to like a lot, senator rand paul, i do. i do. i like him. he's good. he's a good guy.
and i look forward to working with him so we can get this bill passed in some form so we can pass massive tax reform which we can't do until this happens. so we got to get this done before we can do the other. >> so donald trump's opponent on his health care bill gets applause at donald trump's rally for his health care bill. the powerless president went to kentucky and couldn't think of a single word to say to threaten or persuade rand paul to vote for his health care bill. remember how every member of congress was supposed to live in fear of a donald trump tweet, if they disagreed with donald trump in any way? that's not happening. turns out donald trump is more afraid of rand paul than rand paul is afraid of donald trump. yet another example of how donald trump's influence over congress is weaker than we have ever seen this early in a
presidency with his own party in control of the congress. after this break, we'll talk about what kentuckians and everyone else have to lose in the new version of the trump health care bill that was just released tonight. and will that change be enough to pick up rand paul's vote? for my constipation, my doctor recommended
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uh, excuse me, waiter. i ordered the soup... of course, ma'am. my apologies. c'mon, caesar. let's go. caesar on a caesar salad? surprising. excuse me, pardon me. what's not surprising? how much money matt saved by switching to geico. could i get my parking validated? fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. in fact, two counter my speech two weeks ago in congress, i don't know, did anybody see that speech? they used the former governor of kentucky and the plan doesn't work in kentucky. >> joining us now, that former governor of kentucky, steve beshear, also back with us, john heilemann. governor, what does donald trump not know about how the affordable care act works in kentucky? >> well, it's obvious that the
press has made kentucky ground zero in this battle over the future of health care in our country. i'm glad he has because he can come as many times as he wants and it doesn't change the facts of what has happened in kentucky. people now have coverage, over 500,000 of them that didn't have it before. they're accessing that care. they're getting healthier and our economy is benefiting from it. so it's been a huge success story here and i'm glad he's calling attention to it because the people around this country need to see that success story. >> governor, let me read to you the three items that are in the new version of the health care bill that's just been released been the hour by the republicans. they're going to have a work requirement for able-bodied medicaid beneficiaries. that will be optional for the states to have a work requirement. there will be an option of a lump sum block grant to fund medicaid programs instead of a per capita allotment. there will be more generous tax credits for older americans.
that we saw some tables that showed people over 60 paying $15,000, where now they're paying hundreds of dollars under affordable care act. then finally, there's an item on there that's unique to new york state, shift the medicaid costs from new york counties to its state government. and do you see anything in that package of changes that could get rand paul's vote? >> not that i see it because quite honestly, rand paul wants to go farther backward than even this republican plan goes. you know, this whole medicaid expansion block grant idea is nothing but a trojan horse. you know on the outside, they have written flexibility and every governor's eyes light up when they see the word, flexibility. inside that horse is nothing but less money. when you have to have a balanced budget, every state has to have one, when you get less money, the flexibility a governor is going to have is how many people to throw off the program or how
to reduce the benefits and that's going to destroy the medicaid system as we know it. >> john heilemann, the thing that jumps out here, we have a deal in this new bill for exactly one state. they've written a deal that applies only to new york state in order to get upstate new york republican members of congress to vote for this thing. that goes back to the deal harry reid tried to make on the medicaid expansion. uniquely, uniquely with louisiana. everybody said that was terrible and scandalous and before you knew it, he had to make that deal with all 50 states. >> right. >> and so these kinds of deals when exposed for one state are usually very unpopular in the delegations of 49 other states. >> yeah, and you remember i think, lawrence, there was another one for ben nelson, right? >> yes. trying to pick up one vote at a time in making these deals. >> you know, i don't see
anything that changes a sad fact, and that is that about 24 million americans are going to lose their health care coverage under this plan. you know, these are not some aliens from some distant planet. they're our friends and neighbors. we go to church on them with sunday, we sit with the bleachers with them on friday night. these folks before the affordable care act got up and went to work every day hoping they didn't get sick because they newy were one bad sickness away from bankruptcy. they have the security knowing they can keep their families healthy. it is unconscionable for people to be thinking of throwing 24 million americans out of health care coverage. >> john, quickly before we go, a thursday night vote they're hoping for on this new bill that will just be over 48 hours old at that point. your bet on thursday night, do we have a vote, first of all, at all, and what happens? >> well, it's possible as they get closer to the date, lawrence, they realize it's not going to make it, they will
cancel that vote and push it off for another week. right now i think they're headed toward a vote. i think speaker ryan reconciled to the notion he's going to go to the floor something like six or eight votes short and just have to roll the dice and put pressure on mostly conservative members and say, look, if you don't vote yes for this, this is going to go down and maybe take the trump presidency in terms of its legislative agenda with it. and he's going to hope that he can pull that off. i don't know that it will work. >> live coverage of the house floor right here on "the last word" thursday night. former kentucky governor steve beshear, thank you for joining us. john heilemann, thank you for joining us. appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, we got a preview of president trump's supreme court nominee today. the real hearing starts tomorrow. and a special "last word" tonight from jimmy breslin. liberty mutual stood with us when a fire destroyed the living room. we were able to replace everything in it. liberty did what? liberty mutual paid to replace
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confirmation hearing for president trump's supreme court nominee, neil gorsuch. no questions asked today. tomorrow, members of the senate judiciary committee will get their first chance to question the nominee. the hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. coming up, a very special "last word" tonight from jimmy breslin about donald trump. the battle has begun. soldier versus soldier. army versus army. nation versus nation.
now for tonight's "last word." jimmy breslin has a few things to say to donald trump. actually, he has a lifetime worth of things to say to donald trump, but we'll limit ourselves tonight to just a couple. if you google the name, "jimmy" today, just "jimmy," breslin was the first name that popped up. not jimmy fallon, not today. today was jimmy breslin's day to lead all the jimmys on google. jimmy would like that. going out on top. his obituary on the front page of today's "new york times," the only newspaper in new york that never hired him. he would like that. you've all read jimmy breslin. even if you never held the words of jimmy breslin in your hands
because jimmy breslin is the most imitated big city newspaper columnist in history. he changed how that work is done. he taught reporters and columnists what to look for. if it was a big story that everyone was covering, jimmy looked for the smallest story inside the big story. the human story. he didn't win his pulitzer prize until 1986 but he deserved it in 1963 when he covered the most shocking story of the century. the assassination of president john f. kennedy. he wasn't a washington reporter. he traveled down to washington from new york after the assassination and found the story nobody else looked for. "the new york times" did him the honor today of quoting one of those paragraphs from 1963. on the front page of "the times." "42, a slim man with a mustache, born in pittsburgh, served as a private in world wor ii.
he is an equipment operator, grade 10, gets $3 an hour. one of the last to serve, john fitzgerald kennedy, 35th president of this country was a working man who earned $3.01 an hour and said it was an honor to dig the grave." jimmy wrote a book about the end of another presidency, about the impeachment case built against richard nixon which forced nixon's resignation. jimmy called the book "how the good guys finally won." in the chapter titled "the night school students are saving the country," jimmy balanced peter rodino, the chairman of the house judiciary committee who was leading the investigation against james saint claire, the president's defense lawyer. peter rodinowent to night school nigh nights. the night school guy was beating the harvard guy. jimmy loved that. another big bear of a character in that book was someone who
started attending boston college nights. tip o'neill. who had then worked his way up to majority leader of the house. this is what jimmy saw and only jimmy would have seen when he attended tip o'neill's 33rd wedding anniversary party during richard nixon's last summer in the white house. after watching tip o'neill have a couple of manhattans and then boom out the song "i'll be with you in apple blossom time" to his wife, millie, jimmy wrote, "you thought automatically of nixon and his haldeman and ehrlichman standing in the doorway of the amber light of the room smirking and starting to leave, secure in the absolute belief that no such open old-fashioned people could be dangerous. if o'neill was congress' idea of leader, how could day be hurt? how could a man who sings to his wife in public ever quality as an opponent?"
jimmy would have much to teach donald trump about how congress brings down a president when it has to. and jimmy has much to teach donald trump about their old neighborhood, queens. jimmy breslin and donald trump are both from queens. when jimmy was born 88 years ago, queens was filled with waves of irish immigrants and immigrants have never stopped coming to queens and that scares donald trump. donald trump tries to scare the country about that now. jimmy breslin has always known why people are afraid of immigrants, why they were afraid of jimmy breslin's ancestors and jimmy's always known why they shouldn't be. here's jimmy breslin in queens in 1986 talking about all the new arrivals in his neighborhood, what they're hoping for and what they're worried about. >> what are they worried about?
they're worried about education. they're worried about jobs. they're worried about housing. they're worried about the things they came to america for 200 years ago, 100 years ago, 50 years ago and this week. the opportunity. and if this continues, if we can keep a place like this going with all these different people learning to live, it will be a greater monument to the human race than anything erected in a harbor, any statue, any monument, any faces they've carved on the side of the mountain. they'll be as of nothing compared to two people living side by side who go out to work each morning and their children go to school and their wives take care of things or go to work. people who come here today work. people who came here never waited referentially. they got the boat. my people did decades and decades ago. today they get off the plane
from south korea or from korea and they push. no one waits. you push. and the sounds that this pushing causes, the jostling, the elbow out, to get ahead, they may sound as conflict to others, but if you know anything about this place, queens, you know anything about your country, that sound of discord is a beautiful long, sweet trump pet note. >> jimmy breslin gets tonight's "last word." i will have more to say about jimmy breslin tonight on facebook live after the show. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. tonight the fbi confirms for the first time it's investigating possible links between russia and the trump team. while also shooting down the president's wiretap accusations. president trump defiant
tonight ignoring the bombshell after the white house offers a new defense and distances itself from the former campaign chairman. and ivanka trump making a move tonight into the west wing. "the 11th hour" begins now. well, good evening once well, good evening once again from our headquarters here in new york. day 66-0, the beginning of week the 9 of the trump administration was a day unlike any in american political history really in a truly historic hearing on capitol hill. the director of the fbi dealt a very public setback to this young administration. james comey confirms his agency and the department of justice as a whole cannot back up the president's claim that president obama somehow wiretapped trump tower during the 2016 campaign. he also confirmed that an active and open investigation is under way into any ties between ru