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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  May 4, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PDT

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>> that was all for this evening. before i go i want to invite you for a facebook q&a about my book, "a colony in a nation." if you love it, ask me questions and offer critiques, i'll be there to answer your questions. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. tonight the fbi director warns russia is still involved in u.s. politics. sean spicer's response "that's the view of the fbi." and very bad to catastrophic options on hillary clinton's emails. and the vote is on. but can the republicans carry health care across the finish line tomorrow? we'll hear from a member of congress after meeting with the president at the white house. the 11th hour starts right now. and good evening once again from our head quarters here in new york on day 104 of the trump administration.
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we learn just tonight that house republicans say they have the votes to pass their health care plan on the floor of the house tomorrow time tba. we also heard from the president today on peace in the middle east. a goal that has confounded every president of the modern era, including two, carter and clinton, who seek toed a huge part of their presidencies on it. the current president met today with palestinian leader and on the subject of middle east peace, he seems to like his chances. >> it's a great honor to have president with us. we'll be having lunch together. we'll be discussing details of what has proven to be a very difficult situation between israel and the palestinians. and let's see if we can find the solution. it's something that i think is maybe not as difficult as people
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have thought over the years. but we need two willing parties. we believe israel is willing. we believe you're willing and if you both are willing, we're going to make a deal. >> so there was that. there was also james comey, the fbi director, answering questions about russia and the election in front of the senate judiciary committee. his fans say his certitude comes from his deep sense of morality and towering judgment. his critics see a kind of crocodile pity of a washington operator. dianne feinstein called him sankmonious today. and it was early on when feinstein, the top democrat was the first to ask why comey publicly announced he was looking at a new computer in the fbi investigation into hillary clinton's emails. the question started some long exchanged on that topic.
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>> look, this was terrible. it makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election. but honestly, it wouldn't change the decision. everybody has to come back to october 28th and tell me what you would do. would you speak or would you conseal and i could be wrong but we honestly made decision between those two choices that even in hindsight and this has been one of the world's most painful experiences, i would make the same decision. i sent a private letter to the chairs and the rankings of the oversight committee. it is -- it was very important that i tell them instead of consealing. >> director comey was pressed on how he treated the clinton email investigation verses the trump/russia investigation by democratic senator, pat lehigh. >> was it appropriate for you to comment on one investigation repeatedly and not say anything about the other?
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>> i think i treated both investigations consistently under the same principals. people forget we would not confirm the existence of the hillary clinton email investigation until three months after it began even though the candidate herself talked about it. in october of 2015 we confirmed it existed and then said not a peep -- >> a couple weeks before the election. >> we didn't say a word about it until months into it and the it only thing we've confirmed so far is same thing with the clinton investigation that we're investigating. >> director comey also discussed whether russia is still involved in our politics during a remarkable exchange with republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina. here is that along with sean spicer's reaction at the white house briefing. >> is it fair to say that the russian government is still involved in american politics?
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>> yes. >> is it fair to say we need stop them from doing this? >> yes. fair to say. >> do you agroo ewith me the only way they're going to stop is for them to pay a price for interfering in our political process? >> i think that's a fair statement. >> so what we're doing today is not working because they're still doing it. they're doing it all over the world, aren't they? >> yes. >> he said the russian government is still involved in the politics. is that the view of this white house? >> that's the view of the fbi. >> is that different than the white house? >> we rely on them to provide the president with updates oen what they're learning. >> and director comey spoke to the suverity of the threat he believes russia currently poses to the united states. >> so what kind of threat do you believe russia presents to our democratic process given what you know about russia's behavior of late? >> well, certainly in my view
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the greatest threat of any nation on earth given their intention and capability. >> this was a full day of news and so we feel fofrp into the have an exceptional group of journalists all three are frontline white house correspondents whose work is read by millions of people around the world. new york times, the washington post and the associated press. glen, i'm going to come to you first about the gap in reaction. whatever your feelings are about the fbi director, he's the fbi director. when he says it's the greatest threat of any nation on earth, when he says the russians are as you and i speak involved in american politics, it it was a reaction gap between the televisions audience, those in the hearing room and then what we heard in the briefing room. how do you square that? how should we square that? >> well, look, the president has
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been down playing the russian involvement even after that extraordinary announcement by the 16 or 17 federal intelligence agencies late last year that russia was attempting to medal in american elections. and one of his round robin interviews last week he again raised that issue of whether or not it was china that was involved in some of this interference in the united states election. this is clearlsomething the it administration doesn't want to talk about. clearly something they think is politically damaging and it speaks to the issue that is most sensitive for president trump. the one that has gotten him in the most trouble. and that is the legitimacy of his election and i think you saw a new challenge to the legitimacy when hillary clinton described herself as a member of the resistance and reiterated that she had defeated him by 3
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million in the popular vote. >> we both read columnists who refer to russia as the original sin of what is now the trump administration. we see these attempts to normalize it. usually a kind of benign attempt to give them the benefit of the doubt. how do you cover it fairly after such a bold statement by the fbi director? >> i mean i think you take the fbi director of course at his word and you're iwear of all of these cross currents that the administration is really grappling with from his overly warm relationship with russia or in views towards them and that is also through the lens of president trump's generally sort of over respect indeference to all of these strong men, not just vladimir putin, but the
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leader of north korea and some of these other totalitarian regimes who he's welcomed to the white house. it's important to balance what the motivations are. what they're grappling with, with this president who has this uncomefortably close relationship with his director. and it's vy legitimate. >> given the number of americans who will find the news that russia is still involved in everything we have chilling to the bone, in your travels in your reporting, do you find adults in the west wing who are as bothered by this as a lot of folks walking around and don't -- aren't part of the attempt to normalize? >> i think certainly there are folks in the west wing who do believe that. the party line is what we heard today, that the president won legitimately. he doesn't want to hear otherwise.
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and an extraordinary moment where he said it was sad that hillary clinton was still talking about the election, that it was mystifying people were still talking about the results of the election, yet president trump on a near daily basis brings up the election. he's ubseszed with the idea of being legitimate and the russia story, in his mind, takes away from that. >> jonathan mentions the tweets. they were just, the president was up -- i think the first one was like 1108:00 the second one was 11:17 but around this hour and he took a glancing glow at comey. what do you make of the relationship between president and fbi director? >> oh, who knows. i mean -- i can't figure out what his relationship with us is.
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i think he has been bouncing around like a pin ball on comey since the russia investigation was announced. he gave comey a hearty slap on the back bacin october when news of the renewed investigation into hillary clinton was announced. i think donald trump treats james comey and a lot of these intel folks the same way he treats reporters. when reporters publish stuff that president likes, he thinks we're great. when comey says stuff that helps him and hurts hillary clinton, he thinks they're great too. i have to say this is a man who's currently in the middle, in the midst of serious investigations. and when he communicates directly or indirectly about the actions of these agencies, you start getting into some swampy territory and questions as to whether or not the president is either through intimidation or through the use of external
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forces trying to influence an investigation. i think that's an aspect we're go having to to start paying more attention to. >> you've never turned away a diabolical question. was there anyone happy that also the comey briefing brought out names like anthony wiener, abedin, and again more and more about the server, the emails and hillary clinton. >> yeah. i think there were tons of people who were happy about that, especially in the west wing. in a way this was especially coming on the heels of the interview hillary clinton given a yesterday where she gave the white house a gift by saying she accepts full responsibility for her loss but -- and then listinging all the reasons why it wasn't her fault, including director comey and his letter. so those letters, especially anthony wiener, they took the focus away from russia and squarely where they want it
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which is on hillary clinton which is a good punching bag and enemy still for president trump. >> the quote for the president that may live a long while today as we mentioned was about middle east peace. it's something that i think is frankly not as difficult as people have thought over the years. there is a difference when you get in the job compared to campaigning for it. there has been a difference and we have some of the president's past statements catalogued here. >> we're going to build a wall. it's going to be built. it's not even, believe it or not, it's not even a difficult thing. >> so the wall is a thousand miles, believe me. so easy. you build buildings, this is like easy. >> you can't get mexico to pay for the wall. i said it's going to be so easy. >> it's so obvious what's
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happening when our companies are flocking out. we're going to fix our trade. going to bring jobs back to our country. i know we're all going to make a deal on health care that's such an easy one. i have no doubt it's going to happen very quickly. >> so jonathan with e associated pss, how cover that? >> first i think you note that this is a president who believes in himself -- >> what was your first clue. >> this is a president prone to big statements and perhaps exaggeration. what you do is you fact check him. you say he said this it's going to be easy. well, not yet. the wall -- there's a great deal of dispute over funding for the wall. forget about construction. the health care he said would be
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so easy. obamacare would be repealed and replaced on day one. isis is another one. he'd have a plan to bomb the hell out of them right away and turn the tide in that war. he is someone with a grandios sense of himself and what he can accomplish. >> ashley 15 seconds or less. is getting a "w" worth a health care plan that is destined to crash and burn in the senate? >> yes, absolutely. i think the white house thinks it's worth it and i think the house is desperate to move the blame to the senate and have a win even if it loses down the line. >> our thanks. so many thanks to our panel. coming up, we dive deeper into the intelligence news made by director comey today on this russia threat to u.s. when the "11th hour" continues. finding time to get things done isn't easy.
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welcome back to "the 11th hour". director comey used the phrase "intelligence porn" in talking about some of what's been gathered in this investigation u.s./russia. let's turn now to what we learned on the intelligence front from today's testimony from the director joining our conversation here tonight, jeremy bash is back with us. former chief of staff to both the director of the cia and secretary of defense during the obama years. and mike crowley is back with us. senior correspondent for politico. let's hear the particular piece of sound at the top. >> there are americans, well meaning thoughtful people who think wikileaks might just be a
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journalistic outfit. can you. >> to me it cross as line. it's about intelligence porn, pushing out information without regard to interest without regard to the first amendment values that normally underlie press reporting and simply become as conduit just to push out information to damage the united states. >> and with that intelligence porn was born as an expression entering our language. our goal here in this segment is to get to intelligence generally as well as russia. on the first, the director of the fbi today said anyone questioning his decision had to go back to in the moment.
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he could conseal or he could disclose that they had come across something that carried new evidence. but some argued there was a third option open to him legally. >> that's right. in fact the option of conseal is really just to investigate under d.o.j. gdelines and make a determination about whether any material revealed was relevant. it turns out it was not relevant and so the investigation would have ended and his statements did not have to come forward before the election. i think it's important to point out that he felt nauseous under the theory he would be effecting the election. he and the others better take their dram mean, because if they think it was nauseating to investigate a candidate, just wait until they have to investigate a sitting president to undermine the election. >> and what he said about russia
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still being involved in our politics and existing as the greatest threat to us on earth got your attention as a veteran of government service. were you surprised at the kind of, again benign normalization effort by sean spicer who said in effect that's the opinion of the fbi director. >> that has to be the policy of the united states government if you look at everything they've done from their bear fighters over alaska, from their propping up of the assad regime as ambassador hailey as talked about, by their threats to nato, everything they're doing in the world not to mention trying to undermine our own election process. it's obvious russia is the greatest adversary and for the white house to deny that is to deny a major threat. >> where do you put the momentum
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of the investigations going on under the umbrel of the fbi and under the umbrel of >> well, it's hard to go, brian, one of the great frustrations is that this is a very opaque process. we saw today comey several times saying there were things he could only talk about in a closed session. it might take a really long time, which is going to be really unsatisfying, both for people who dislike donald trump and want a quick fix of a damming, smoking gun and for republicans and people in the white house who may genuinely believe there's no there there. we're not going to see either one. it does seem that in congress the momentum has been slow to build. it's hard to know exactly what's happening in the fbi. we have glimpses through leaks. but the senate intelligence committee, there's been reporting suggesting it's been slow in terms of staffing and sources. and house intelligence committee, we're kind of through
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it now hopefully with this extended period of bickering between the democrat and the republican and ultimately the democrat's feeling vindicated. the republican having to recuse himself from the investigation. so short version of that answer is it's going to be a slow process that will probably be unsatisfying for everyone. >> michael just mentioned the deflections, the questions the fbi director just can't answer in open session. one of them was al franken's questioning. looking into russian ties, doesn't that mean you'll have to see donald trump's tax returns? and of course the fbi director wasn't going to take the bait on that. but through your lens, pentagon, cia and your experience on the hill as you listen to this hearing, what else did you hear? >> that russia continues to undertaken a operation to destabilize our democracy and
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medal and that they use certain tactics to achieve those objectives. those are go having to to be looked at. and i thought it was interesting that they relied on the dosier. he asked him point blank did you rely on it? he refused to answer. i think that's significant. because it would show not only that the bureau had -- and that a federal judge predicated that on the verasty of that dos yea. >> was a third option open to comey on the hillary clinton matter? conseal, expose or just -- how about a warrant internally, chase it down, open the computer. if there's nothing there, there's nothing there? >> i think as i said they could have investigated it, looked at
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it and if there was no material information, they could have threat investigation end. that's what doj policy dictated. >> the same question i asked jonathan. in your travels, in your reporting, do you find grown ups, whatever the branch of government perhaps on the west wing who hold the traditional view of the threat that russia poses to our nation and system of government? >> yeah. absolutely, brian. i think maybe a little less in the west wing. or at least people in the west wing don't want to acknowledge it. i think sean spicer isn't very excited about talking about it. but throughout the government and particularly when you talk about people who have no connection to trump, no vested interest in down playing this, they are basically unanimous in agreeing that russia is trying to manipulate our politics, was
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medaling in our election and is still tat. and 2018 is not that far awai. we're already starting to see 2020 democratic presidential hopefuls sort of dip their toes in the water. the russians are ready for that and planning to have a hand in those elections as well. we just have to hope in the midst of the investigations of what has already transpired we are on the ball in terms of getting prepared and organized and standing up defenses to make sure that it doesn't happen again potentially on an even larger scale. if you actually have manipulation of the voting machines and counts. >> there's talk of what they might be up to in the french election campaign. thank you both. appreciate you coming on tonigh >> there's talk of what they might be up to in the french election campaign. thank you both. appreciate you coming on tonight. and coming up after another break, republicans say they have the votes to replace obamacare tomorrow, at least in the house. i'll speak to a member fresh
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going forward tomorrow? >> going forward tomorrow. >> do you have the votes? >> yes, we do. >> you heard house majority leader confident republicans
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finally have the votes to get a repeal and replace bill through the house tomorrow. again, time for the vote, tba. a handful of republicans met with the president at the white house today and successfully added aid to the bill to help cover a population of people with preexisting conditions. more on that in a moment. among the folks at the white house, republican of texas who chairs the house subcommittee on the house, energy and commerce committee. we know it's been a busier than average day and it's later for you in the capitol. >> it is the 11 lth hour, isn't it? >> now there you go. we appreciate that. i want to starts by listening to 25 seconds of a guy in the senate named cory booker and he was talking about this bill you're going to vote on tomorrow.
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>> the craven bill that i see coming to vote tomorrow is just cruel and just wrong. and this is a president who has lies to people, folks in red states and red counties who passionately want to keep their health care, who were promised better health care, more access. this will cost american lives if it ever becomes law. >> so congressman, senator booker was very dire there. how is he wrong? >> the good news for senator booker is now he is going to get a chance to work on the bill the senate. i'm grateful the senate is going to get their turn with this bill. both have been pretty critical of house members and we're anxious to see the improvements they can make on the nation's health care system. >> americans, including constituents hear people like us say it's dead on arrival. >> there was an election in 2010, an election in 2014, 2016
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that were largely refer rendau on obamacare and if you'll recall, republicans won all of those elections fairly handily. governor romney was not successful in 2012 and my opinion has always been because he refused to engage on this issue. there have been a number of campaigns that have smug on this issue. a number of special elections, one i recall in florida when congressman died and his seat was replaced. a republican won that quite handily on the issue of obamacare. so it is -- this is something that the people have looked to us for some time to deliver and that day is now. >> i know you got an 11-day break and i assume you're going to go home and hear lot from your constituents.
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the folks in denton, texas and ponder texas. can you look them through the eye in our camera and say as a result of this bill they will get better health care, they wot pamore for it and preexisting conditions will be covered guaranteed? t answer to the question is yes. as you know this bill was actually mked up in our committee 28 hour markup almost a month ago. it was put on pause by the speaker when they worried they didn't have the number of vote said and one of the changes that occurred as the bill as people tried to improve the it position on the bill is to allow states the option to speak a waver. those states that seek a waver, and as of today's amendment that the president agreed to there
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will be additional dollars available, 8 billion in the first five years available to people for premium support and we are talking bute fairly narrow segment of the population. people who are in states that seek a waver, people in the individual market, whose insurance coverage has lapsed beyond 63 days, who are now not in a continuous coverage position. those are the individuals thought to be at risk in this situation. and the premium support dollars were put there specifically to help those individuals. >> in 30 seconds or less is that the same thing as a guarantee that folks with preexisting conditions won't have to pay more? >> is that same as a guarantee. >> we'll take you at your word and take the majority leader and the speaker at their word that there's a vote and it gets passed by the republican controlled house. representing texas and the house of representatives, dr. michael burjs, thank you for joining us from capitol hill.
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back with us from across town, his lofty perch, white house correspondent for the new york times. i don't know if there are shades or degrees of doa. how doa is this bill in the senate? >> the president has argued -- let's lay out his position first -- that if you get the freedom caucus in the house of representatives, that will allow you to line up people like ted cruz and mike lee in the senate who have expressed oppositiong this. that's a dubious argument because you have all these senators in the middle to rob portman's, the sizen collins who have constituents who rely on
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this and these revisions that were done today include a massive slashing of the expansion of medicaid so poor patients are going to be on the hook for more expenses and contrary to what congressman burjs said, people are going to pay more for premiums and 8 billion is a drop in the bucket on any program. the question is what kind of heat are these people going to face when they get in their home districts during this 11-day period? and when will this hit the senate floor and what kind of reception will it get from senate leadership? >> and that's why we ask you to stick around and give us a reality check. thank you so much. coming up after another break, donald trump says middle east peace may not be as complicated as everyone thought. we'll ask the top democrat what he thinks about that as we continue. and she gave me advice.
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and welcome back to "the 11th hour" with big headlines today on russia, north korea, middle east for starters. i spoke to the top democrat on the foreign relations committee. i started by asking for his reaction about what the president said today. "it's something that i think is frankly maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years."
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>> i think presiderumps realizing that many of his chal chgs are more difficult than he thought. the middle east peace process really needs to move forward but it's going to be anything but easy to get the parties back on track. we know what the solution looks like. two states, a jewish state a palestinian state living side by side in peace negotiated with the it parties. but he's been an individual unwilling to take the risk for peace. we'll see whether or not the president can get this back on track. my guess is it's going to be more difficult than the president's saying. >> the topic of russia, which never really went away, has come rorring back. this was an exchange between senator graham and comey today. graham question, is it fair to say that the russian government is still involved in american politics? comey, yes. graham, so what kind of threat do you believe the russia pr
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>> i agree with directeder comey and i know senator graham, the reason he asked those questions that we share a common concern, russia is the greatest security threat against the united states. they attacked us, they want to bring down our democratic system of government. they're very actively engaged in regards to the french elections and they'll be in the german elections. they've been taking over territory as we saw in ukrain. so mr. putin's direction of russia is a direct security threat to the united states. >> where are you senator, these days on this investigation? i believe i've heard you say we need an independent investigation but even your fellow democrats say the case against that is the loss of time that it will take six/eight months to staff it up and get
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going. >> i'm for an independent investigation. that's the only way you're going to have the broad type of investigation with the credibility, without the restrictions of a investigation. i'm not opposed to congressional investigations but the american people really demand and need an independent 9/11 type of commission that will look into what russia is doing, look at all the connections here in the united states and give an independent report and recommendation to the congress and the american people. >> and now let's go to another side of the world and that's north korea because as all this unfolds they remain a daily threat and it remains a point of potential conflict. we have a carrier strike group now in the region. where do you put as of right now the administration's handling of the threat in north carolina as of today? >> well, i'm not exactly sure of their end game strategy. i do know that it's the north korea regime that is causing this crisis.
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they're the regime violating international rules on its nuclear ambitions, on its missile tests and the international community must be strong. to do that, u.s. leadership is critically important working with china to convince north korea there are ways for their security other than having a nuclear weapon. a military option really does not exist from the point of view of what we can do. if we were to use a military option, it would involve the risks of millions of people. we need figure out a way to negotiate a change in north korea's behavior that can only be done by getting china to act more aggressively to isolate north korea. >> and one more area before we let you go. should the leader of the philippines be invited to the white house?
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philippines be invited to the white house? >> absolutely not. what he has done with extrajudicial killings, human rights violations, no he should not be reward would a visit with the president of the united states. >> thank you very much for your time. and when we come back here this evening, why this president sounds different from all the others. our first reality star president brought a change to the peace of the presidency while in office that's gone largely unnoticed when "the 11th hour" continues.
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we mentioned earlier in the broadcast that donald trump has changed the way he communicates with his audience. it started with his first moment as president. our guest tonight was the first to spot the change and bring it to our attention on election day. josh knows life in and around the white house.
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having been around politics a long time. he is the author of "off script, anned a manced man's guide to the white house and political suicide." well, let's hope now. you contacted me on inauguration day. we looked at the first lectern that the president stood behind. and that happened to be where he took the earth and that night, his remarks. what did you notice? >> the balls, the next day at the cia and 104 days that followed,ing brian, always this new 120-inch goose neck mike phone right up to his mouth. within an inch or two of his mouth that gives him 21 decibels of gain over prior presidents. every ten decibels will give you power in your voice.
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this is four times the power of the voice of obama, clinton and bush before him. so the purrs and murmurs go back to any room he's in. that goes back to the performer in him. he he really wants to project that voice. in ways hides behind the microphone. >> he is the first president with this kind of attention to vocal control. we have some side by sides. again, we realize this is a small element of the presidency. this is not like picking your white house staff. on the left is the traditional dual mike phones in brackets. going back to nixon perhaps and on the right is the new goose neck. how did he make this choice? it's clear, given your remarks, felt the need for it.
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>> if you goack to the first presidential debate with hillary clinton and donald trump, the microphones were the same height. but secretary clinton is 5'5" so trump has eight or nine inches over her. that means he was 8 or 9 inches over the night and he does complaining he couldn't project and he would lean into the night. and this game alec baldwin the inflection on "saturday night live" every time he leans into the mike to get in there. so there were meetings at trump tower at the very highest level to say is this the microphone set up you would like to have on your inauguration day and he picked this exact set up. it's an ungainly setup. it's not an attractive one. there are photographers that work in the buffer and taking pictures of the president all day long.
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they complain about it. he has a large thing that is facing him in the nose. >> this changes decades of audio history. and yes, there are people who study this stuff and get excited about it. and where else are you going hear and now you will not be able to see anything but the goose neck and the new microphone that the president selected. we will have you back to talk about the general imagery. your review of the white house and the first 100 days. josh king, thank you. >> thank you. >> up next, sean spicer says it's sad that hillary clinton is looking at the election results. it's so sad that we're still
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it's so sad that we're still debating why the president won in the fashion that he did. >> last thing before we go today. sean spicer in today's briefing talking about the hillary clinton interview we aired last night. even before sean spicer called the relitigation of the election said, trump has mentioned the campaign 38.6% of the days since
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he was elected. in the oval office he handed journalists a color-coded map of his electoral victory. >> with we had a wonderful election. didn't we? i saw those numbers. you like me and i like you. we were very honored by the victory we had. 306 electoral votes. i love the states where i won by double digits. those states. it started november 8th. remember that beautiful, beautiful day? they said almost impossible for a republican to win. but i had the support of i would say almost everybody in this room. they would say there is no route to 270 and we ended up with 306. they were right. >> and tomorrow is day 105.
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that is our broadcast tonight. good night from new york. tomorrow, thanks to president trump's leadership, congress is going to vote to repeal and replace obamacare. >> the health care overhaul thought to be left for dead gets jilted back to life. in-depth conch whether it can pass the house today. james comey shocks again on capitol hill and his warning about russian interest in u.s. affairs. later, a vision of peace in the middle east. the president explains why it may be easier to attain than his predecessors realized. good morning, it is thursday, may

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