tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC November 6, 2017 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
i'm on stephen colbert's show tonight talking about my book. "the 11th hour with brian williams" is on right now. tonight, developments on the russia front involving mueller, flynn, manafort and gates. what they mean for a president facing new record low approval ratings. plus donald trump in south korea at this hour. we're there live as he comes as close as he's ever going to be to a nuclear pyongyang. and tragedy in texas and the question on the minds of so many tonight, how could such horror unfold in a house of worship. what were the signs. "the 11th hour" begins now. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 291 of the trump administration, and tonight finds the president on the other side of the world. landing this hour in seoul, south korea, which will put him roughly 120 miles away from kim
jong-un. about 30 miles from the dmz border to the north. easily the most tense stop of his 12-day asian trip. and back home, the crush of russia related events, and record low numbers in terms of polling responses on what this president has done or not done in office thus far. a new cnn poll says 36% of americans approve of the job trump is doing as president. a new low for him in this poll. 58% disapprove. it's one of several polls out just these past few days showing record low numbers. nbc news has him at 38%. pew research, 34%. fox news, 38%. on the russia front, the issue that will not go away, paul manafort and his associate rick gates back in court today. the judge decided they need to stay on house arrest. he did make one exception for gates. he's allowed to leave home
tomorrow just for enough time to vote in the virginia gubernatorial election. nbc news also has some new reporting on special counsel robert mueller's investigation. the headline on this one reads, mueller has enough evidence to bring charges in flynn investigation. three sources say mueller is applying renewed pressure on flynn following the indictment on manafort. as mueller's investigation progresses incrementally, it can be easy to lose the forest for the trees. the "washington post" has put together a big picture look at where we stand to date. and it's all under a headline that certainly gets your attention. at least nine people in trump's orbit had contact with russians during campaign and transition. this examines the contacts from don jr., jared kushner, trump attorney michael cohen, george papadopoulos, jeff sessions, michael flynn and the campaign foreign policy adviser j.d. gordon.
here are just some of the ways trump allies have defended those individuals, and those contacts. >> paul manafort, who is a good man, by the way, was replaced long before the election took place. he was only there for a short period of time. >> even general flynn was a volunteer of the campaign. and then obviously there's been discussion of paul manafort who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time. >> carter page is an individual whom the president-elect does not know and put on notice months ago. >> i'm disappointed in jeff sessions. look, we'll see what happens. but i was -- i appointed a man to a position, and then shortly after he gets the position, he recused himself. i said, what's that all about? why didn't you tell me that you were going to do that and i wouldn't have appointed you. as far as my son is concerned, my son is a wonderful young man.
he took a meeting with a russian lawyer, not a government lawyer, but a russian lawyer. it was a short meeting. it was a meeting that went very, very quickly, very fast. >> mr. president, do you remember george papadopoulos during that march meeting? >> i don't remember much about that meeting. it was a very unimportant meeting. don't remember much about it. >> with that, let's bring in our lead-off panel on a monday night. robert costa, national political reporter with the "washington post," moderator of washington week on pbs. nbc news political reporter carol lee, who was one of the bylined reporters on this reporting of robert mueller. and former counsel to house intel. welcome to you all. carol, your piece, again, you were one of the three by lines that got a lot of attention this weekend. you could see people shifting
their focus the next man up kind of thing. what are we comfortably reporting tonight about the status of the flynn investigation which you point out certainly seems to be a classic squeeze play? >> right. that's exactly right. what we've been told by multiple sources is that the special counsel has essentially gathered enough evidence to bring charges in the investigation into not just michael flynn, but also his son, michael g. flynn. now, the significance of this is that this is the first as we all know michael flynn served in the white house, and this would be the first time this investigation is moving that close to somebody who had served inside the white house. the other key piece here is that we know that the special counsel is not just looking at things that you would expect, like did michael flynn lie to the fbi, did he properly disclose his contacts with foreign officials, but also what he did while he was serving those 24 days inside
the white house, specifically as it relates to his dealings with turkey. and that is -- it opens up a whole other avenue that hasn't been so much explored as some of the other things we know michael flynn did, such as not registering as a foreign agent, when the justice department said he was doing work that would have benefited a foreign government. so we don't know exactly where this is going to go. the reason why we've worded our story so carefully is because this could go in the direction of charges being brought. this would go in the direction of michael flynn and/or his son deciding to cooperate with the investigation, if they're not already. but this is clearly a move by the special counsel in the wake of the paul manafort indictment to put a real tight squeeze on michael flynn. >> carefully worded stories are good. jeremy bash, put on your lawyer hat. let's say you are representing mr. flynn, perhaps even mr. flynn and his son. what are you thinking, and what
are you hoping tonight, incidentally, as we watch as the president and secretary of state arrives in south korea? >> i think the legal team has to be worried about three main claims. unregistered lobbying on behalf of the government of turkey. second, potentially conspiring to deport or kidnap one of the turkish leaders' enemies that is a resident of pennsylvania. this gulan figure, whom mike flynn talked about getting him out of the country. third, of course, lying to the fbi when he was national security adviser. and he was questioned importantly about his conversation with the russian ambassador after the obama administration put sanctions on russia for the meddling in the election. so they are facing jeopardy on a number of fronts. it's important to distinguish, though, this is a guy mike flynn who not unlike manafort, flynn served at the highest levels of the military, held the highest security clearance and during
the presidential campaign, he received intelligence briefings from the cia and from our intelligence community. he had access to all that information while he was essentially conducting all these acts. >> is this purely transactional, you give and you get and you up the ante on your recollection, oh, you know, i can speak to this one conversation i had with the president, and you hope time gets taken off at the other end? >> i think there's an element of that, although i would remind folks that mike flynn is a very big fish. he was national security adviser of the united states of america. so this is not just an effort to get someone up higher in the food chain, he's pretty high up there. >> robert costa, what do you hear on all of it? also, how the trump white house and the trump circle are reacting to this? >> following up on those comments, especially carol sharp reporting, we see this is a time of choice for general flynn as he faces this grand jury
investigation. and no one inside of the white house and around president trump who i'm talking to is really aware of how this is all going to unfold. it has some people on edge to be sure, because they are wary of flynn, they know he may be in tough financial situation personally. does he become someone who in their description flips and really starts to talk to the special counsel about all elements of the, not only the trump campaign, but president trump's orbit of network and associates and the foreign policy front. >> and robert, you go back a bit with donald trump, and this campaign. the axiom at the time is all the best people were gone. they were spoken for. they were hired. so a lot of the outer rings of the foreign policy intelligenceia weren't there. is that when the kind of russian cracks and fissures started
appearing and this started seeping into the trump circle? >> that's exactly right, brian. i remember in the spring of 2016, i went to the trump hotel, still unfinished trump hotel in washington with bob woodward to interview then candidate trump and we encountered one of these foreign policy meetings. sam clovis and others around the table meeting with the candidate, in kind of a ramshod way. it wasn't a formal meeting that you would expect out of a presidential campaign. people like carter page and sam clovis were not part of that beating heart of the foreign policy establishment in washington. that's not any excuse, this was a major presidential campaign. at the same time it was evident to me as a reporter that these were people who were operating on their own islands, sometimes in coordination with the campaign, sometimes on their own, and they were not the people you would really find as a reporter on foreign policy in washington. >> i just think people forget the genesis of that and how kind
of unstructured this campaign always was. carol lee, i don't want you to engage in rampant speculation. i'm tempered by knowing you won't anyway. but what else can you gather from -- even the publicly available moves you've witnessed from the mueller team, in addition what you may have gathered and been told about where they are? >> well, i think what you've seen is a very methodical calculated investigation where, you know, you can -- if you look at it from going to the outer circle into closing in on the bigger fish, that's how this feels like it's going. i also think that this, you know, this idea of the trump -- that mike flynn may have done something while serving as this president's national security adviser is a very significant development. and specifically, that the special counsel is looking into whether he made moves in regards
to turkey, with the expectation that he might receive millions of dollars on the other end if he were to successful. this is something that's clearly -- this investigation is starting to take a toll on the president. >> nine people have gotten to around trump's orbit. you've got some consistency here in terms of the russian trade craft. the general pattern of russians appearing of trying to find sot spots, to find the soft underbelly of the campaign, said steve hall who retired from the cia in 2015, after 30 years running and managing russia operations. so no rookie. quote, i just think there's way too much smoke out there for there to be absolutely no fire. do you concur to that based on all that you know, jeremy? >> yeah, if you look at the situation with papadopoulos, he
clearly met in london with someone who looks like a cutout or handler for russian intelligence. and also tonight, we got the first glimpse at the testimony of carter page, who testified last week in front of the house intelligence committee. the transcript was released tonight. he details all of the russians he has met with, and interacted with from a business perspective over many years. it's clear that russian government officials and russian intelligence were all over carter page. they may have even sent him to the trump campaign. he may have been unwitting that they were trying to use him to get inside that campaign. >> and robert costa, i always ask you this. we've got the president overseas. we've got this russia preoccupation. and then we have 535 individuals in the building behind you underneath that dome, elected representatives of the government, what are they doing and what are they thinking right about now, about the trump circle, their ability to work with them and get anything out of this effort? >> there's a lot of action, actually, brian.
there's a lot of silence. what i mean by that, you look at what the house intelligence is doing, interviewing carter page, releasing the transcript today, you're seeing these congressional investigations, which have been pretty slow over the last few months, start to pick up speed and provide new information to the national discussion and investigation. at the same time, the republicans control both the senate and the house. when i'm talking to lawmakers up there, they don't want to talk about russia or president trump's conduct or the campaign, they want to talk about the proposal on taxes. we'll see how long the republicans in power will avoid having this be at the forefront. >> journalism gets no pressure than this. thank you robert costa, carol lee and jeremy bash. up next, will the president change his language toward little rocket man now that they'll be only about 120 miles apart? we'll cover the south korea leg of the trip to the pacific rim, as "the 11th hour" is just
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rocket man should have been handled a long time ago. this shouldn't be handled now. but i'm going to handle it. because we have to handle it. rocket man is on a suicide machine for himself and his regime. the united states is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary. the era of strategic patience is over. some people said that my
rhetoric is very strong. but look what's happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. >> some of the president's rhetoric on north korea and its leader and the nuclear threat that the north poses to all nations within its reach. starting tonight, this trip the president is on will put him about 30 miles south of the dmz with north korea, give or take, and we will get to see if proximity has an effect on language. we have a first class panel to talk about the korean and peninsula tonight. steve schmitt is with us a political veteran of the bush white house, and a devoted student of u.s. history. sumi terri is senior fellow of the korea chair at the center for strategic and international studies. importantly, a former senior analyst at the cia. and was in charge of this region while at the white house on the nfc. bob kerry is with us, former
u.s. senator from nebraska, former governor of nebraska, a member of the 9/11 commission, former navy s.e.a.l. and we welcome our panel. we want to get a report from the traveling white house. jonathan la mere, associated press white house reporter is in seoul, south korea, covering the president's visit and sets the scene for us that i think is about a three-second satellite delay. so jonathan, lay out the stakes for the president's arrival. >> reporter: hi, brian. it's tuesday afternoon here in seoul. the president, as you saw, has just touched down here in south korea. where he's greeted with a lot of uncertainty. there are a number of questions facing him, three in particular. first, what sort of relationship does he have with the south korean president, president moon? we just saw two days in japan where it was almost a buddy movie with prime minister abe there, they ate meals together,
golfed together, even had custom-made hats together. he has no such close ties with this president, they only met once. they have very different views in some ways, you know, president moon not as hawkish of what to do with north korea as president trump. a second issue, of course, is the rhetoric as you mentioned. fire and fury. little rocket man. does president trump say those things here, just 40 miles or so from the dmz. what is the south korean response to those things. does he use that rhetoric. third thirdly, perhaps more importantly, what is the north koreans' response to that rhetoric. it is certainly their custom that at major events here in asia, that they often time their missile tests to a landmark, whether in china or somewhere else, something involving the u.s. will president trump's presence here in south korea prompt them to flex their muscles. >> that was a good reminder. and thank you for that preview, jonathan la mere who happens to be for the purposes of tonight's
broadcast our correspondent on the scene in seoul, south korea, awaiting the president's arrival at the military base. we turn to our questions and sumi terry, this is what i want to hear the language you believe the president should use, and the language where you're counseling him as a member of the president nfc and white house staff, the language he should strife to avoid. >> language he should avoid is about saying he's going to totally destroy north korea. i think that language is unnecessary. he should focus on reaffirming the alliance with south korea, showing that we are committed to the security of south korea. south koreans are very anxious about trump's potential military option, using military option against north korea. south koreans are also anxious their security doesn't matter to president trump, because if you remember, senator lindsey graham said once that mr. trump told
him that thousands are going to die. this kind of language is very -- south koreans obviously are very -- they don't like this kind of language and they're concerned the u.s.-south korea alliance is not as strong as before, that the u.s. doesn't care for their security as before. we need to show that their security, south korean security is absolute from our perspective. >> senator kerry, what are you hoping for to come out of this? >> well, i hope the president understands that when he says we have done nothing, we've had a weak policy over the last 25 years, that simply isn't true. the facts don't allow you to make that conclusion. >> people have worked decades. >> we've had an armistice in place since 1953, after the north invaded the south. and a very strong deterrent force against north korea. and it's worked. and if you want to provoke them to take a preemptive attack
against us, the president is actually following that course of action. he's actually taking a much weaker course. my personal opinion is, it made it even worse by throwing out the transpacific partnership which put us in a very strong position in asia. he's going to go to china as well and he's going to find china in a much stronger position as a consequence of us bailing out of the transpacific partnership. because all the asian nations now are saying, we can't count on the united states, particularly when it comes to the economy. so they're going to go to china. >> hugh schmidt is coming on later in the broadcast to talk politics. but i asked steve to be a part of this discussion. steve, we saw this letter from the pentagon this weekend, the two members of congress who were asking the question, the pentagon says to totally root out all of the north's nuclear facilities would require a ground invasion of north korea. and you alone for a long time have been saying to people, if you want to talk tough about
north korea, call this what it will need to be called, the second korean war. >> yeah, the second korean war is a frightening prospect. we've not talked openly and honestly about it. there are casualty estimates that range as many as 1 million dead on the first day of war. 250,000 american dependents in south korea around seoul. we've seen the competency of the government of the united states in delivering potable drinking water to the island of puerto rico, which is much closer to home. look at the size of the marine corps today. it can fit inside the university of michigan football stadium in its entirety. there's a real question when you look at the totality of the active duty component of the u.s. military, throw in all the national guard and the reserve, whether we have enough force to take to occupy, to disarm north
korea. one thing is for certain. you'll see more american casualties in the first five minutes of a second korean war than we've seen in the last 17 years of the wars in iraq and afghanistan. what we've seen from this administration is not a lot of thoughtfulness, not a lot of commitment to diplomacy. but a lot of blustering, a lot of loose talk and a lot of loose talk about nuclear weapons that could have profoundly tragic consequences, not just for the united states, but for the whole of southeast asia. >> senator kerry, you've worn the uniform, and on behalf of 50,000 americans in japan, 28,000 in south korea, talk is one thing, it's quite different when you talk about an actual land war. >> yeah, absolutely. i think steve's right. the casualty rates would be enormous. again, brian, we've had a very strong deterrent action against north korea since 1953, and it
has worked. so when the president says we haven't done anything, i'm here now, we're going to handle this, he's just wrong. he's making it worse. there's no need to provoke north korea. yes, the nuclear weapons are a threat, yes, their rockets are a threat, but we have a very strong deterrent force. but if you want a land war on the korean peninsula, i think steve is absolutely right, it will substantially diminish our capabilities, i think unacceptable casualties. >> do you think we have a back channel open? do you think we're talking to somebody through somebody? >> probably. certainly not a sign of weakness. >> no. >> it oftentimes is seen and suggested as a weakness. i don't think it's a sign of weakness at all. i'll repeat it, we've got a very capable deterrent force against north korea. there's no reason for us to suggest somehow that we're not doing anything. we're doing a lot. if you provoke it and you make
it worse, you could certainly get the north koreans to do something we wish they wouldn't do, which is to launch a preemptory attack against the south, which would be both a disaster for them and for us. >> what is the best case scenario where you're concerned? >> well, that trump leave south korea with an alliance and they need to get on the same page. the north korean problem is difficult enough. we cannot have a divided capital here. seoul and washington need to get on the same page. president trump needs to get president moon onboard in the next steps he's going to pursue. >> consider this, a viewer's guide to a visit we'll watch unfold. our thanks to steve schmidt, to sumi terry, to senator bob kerry. our man on the ground in seoul, jonathan lamere for previewing this trip. coming up after another
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the energy conscious whopeople among usle? say small actions can add up to something... humongous. a little thing here. a little thing there. starts to feel like a badge maybe millions can wear. who are all these caretakers, advocates too? turns out, it's californians it's me and it's you. don't stop now, it's easy to add to the routine. join energy upgrade california and do your thing. i think that mental health is your problem here. this was a very -- based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual, a lot of problems over a long period of time. we have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries.
but this isn't a guns situation. i mean, we could go into it, but it's a little bit soon to go into it. >> president trump in japan last night reacting to this texas church shooting that killed 26 people, wounded 20 more. we've learned a lot more about this gunman in this case, including the fact that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. 26-year-old devin kelley was emotionally disturbed. he was court-martialed out of the air force on two charges of assault. he was convicted of fracturing the skull of his infant stepson. and of assaulting his wife. he spent a year in military prison. he was bumped down a rank, discharged on bad conduct. his wife divorced him. two former girlfriends said he staukd them. he had animal cruelty charges for abusing a dog. he managed to purchase guns over the last several years, despite a conviction on his record. as one official connected to the
investigation today, he shouldn't have been anywhere near a gun. tonight the u.s. air force is being blamed for not entering his criminal record into the national database. tonight the fbi field agent in charge of the case addressed the handling of this dead gunman's records. >> i know there's a lot of questions about the fbi system and how did the person get the weapons. i can tell you for the four purchases that he made, the system did the required checks. there was no prohibited information in the system that we checked that said he could not have purchased that firearm. >> in light of that, we are fortunate to be joined tonight by a veteran investigator, sean henry, former assistant director to the fbi and chief security officer of crowd strike services and is our law enforcement analyst. hey, sean, you and i both know, there are about # 00 people in texas today and tonight walking around saying, some version of, i knew this guy was going to go some day. i knew this guy, in plain
english, was crazy. how many people had to miss how many signs for this horror we witnessed yesterday to happen? >> brian, when you talk about the ncic system, or the national data bais that the fbi oversees, that database is critically important. but it's only as good as the data that's entered into it. if there was some administrative issue, somebody failed to enter, there was some backlog perhaps, i mean, that contributes to what occurred here. but this comes down to your point, that there were a lot of people who knew him. ex-girlfriends, family members, people around the courthouse, and one of the big issues in these types of investigations is for law enforcement to be apprised so they can take action. they can't take action if they don't know about it. and the community needs to come forward when they see something,
they've got to advise and alert lawsuit. i'll add in many cases, i've been involved in cases where law enforcement has been apprised, but the person hasn't done anything to actually cross a line. they've not gone over the threshold. they may have walked right up to it. law enforcement's hands are tied. that's troubling oftentimes. and there may have to be some legislative issues entered in order to ensure that those who have access to weapons are held to a higher asked, brian. >> i just mentioned some of what we learned about him today. what strikes you from what we've found out about him so far? >> well, certainly the court-martial, you've got multiple counts of domestic abuse, including against a minor, a young child. you've got the incident where he abused animals. these are clear signs of somebody who's got some violent tendencies or some emotional issues. and certainly the type of thing
that should be caught by law enforcement if he's entered into the national database. but without access to that type of information, they really are tied, law enforcement, from actually preventing that type of attack, brian. >> so if you were in charge of this, if you were running the field office, what's yet to be learned about a dead guy that could help in any way put something together? >> you know, i think the fbi -- this is being run by the local authorities there. the fbi is assisting in this investigation. but i think now there's lessons learned. who was he connected to? who did see the type of activity that we're describing here that might have alerted them? where did something slip through the cracks? what are the best practices that we can learn from here? but brian, you know, this is a national crisis. we have 11,000 people that are murdered with handguns every single year.
and while we have this incredible tragedy yesterday, there were 30 people that were killed by guns today, and there will be 30 more murdered tomorrow, and 30 more murdered on wednesday. if i were to tell you that 200 americans were going to be murdered by isis next month, of course, everybody would be up in arms and it would be all hands on deck. yet that's what we're seeing on a monthly basis here in this country. so i think we really need to come together, there needs to be a lot more actions taken in order to address this crisis. i'm a believer of the second amendment. i own weapons. but we've got to find ways to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and people who have mental health issues. we've got to do that and ensure that law-abiding citizens have access, but we're able to stop that, brian. >> important note to end on from a law enforcement veteran. always a pleasure, sean henry, thank you so much for being here with us. brief break force us.
with maximum strength alka seltzer plus liquid gels. i do hundreds of deals. the deals come out of my ears. they're good deals. most of them are phenomenal deals. we're going to keep our nation safe from a thing called terrorism. a great health care system. a system that you deserve. that's what we're going to be doing. and that's one of many things. >> a lot of proem sm sis, not a of follow-through. a new poll shows while donald trump started his presidency as big plans, big promises, his supporters are breaking down on some big issues. when asked about his ability to deal with terrorism, 43% took a positive outlook. on the handling of the economy, 44%. on his ability to improve health care system, he's at 26%. that's down to one in four
americans. and 18-point loss on that category from january. in what may be the most upsetting to the author of the art of the deal, 58% do not believe trump is good at making political deals. with us tonight, heather mcgee is back with us. also with us, our political analyst steve schmidt. welcome to you both. heath heather, i'm going to throw a beautiful kind of looping change-up that's going to come right in over the plate and ask you, what do you do with or about all those numbers? >> well, i'm really focused on the question of accountability right now. while all of this political back-and-forth is going on, the american people are suffering, the country is losing its standing in the world, and there is an investigation going on with indictments being handed down. and one of the things that's been very clear to us from the beginning, when we understood
that this person was walking into the white house without a lot of popular support, with a potentially tainted election, was that whether or not he had strong political standing, was unfortunately going to be the difference between whether or not republicans were able to put country ahead of party and potentially follow where any investigation was going. whether they would be able to really recognize that unpopular things like a health care repeel that only had 20-something percent of the american public supporting it, or this tax reform bill that has only 20-something percent of the american people supporting it, how much are they willing to go against where the american people are to support an unpopular president, to protect a potentially corrupt administration and to push through pieces of legislation that aren't popular. so the more we see these numbers coming down, i hope that we see some backbone starting to be
inserted into the republican members of congress who, frankly, are the only thing that we have right now until the next election to put our hope with. >> steve schmidt, as a classic republican, let's call it that, for all of your life, how do republicans govern with these numbers? do you know that ryan and mcconnell have a secret path just kind of around the president running toward daylight, real leadership, real consequences, and a terrific list of achievements for the american people through congress? >> well, you can't govern with numbers like this. in fact, republicans are not governing. haven't been for some time. you've seen the complete and total collapse intellectually of any rigor inside republican washington. really, you unpack these numbers, it's pretty simple to understand what the american people are saying. they're saying that this president of the united states is dishonest.
he's incompetent. he's corrupt. he's divisive. and they don't like him very much. and when you see these numbers, it's incredible to see the fay dealt that republican members of congress have towards this president. whether it's his attacking the widow of a fallen green beret, the hundred other outrages or degradations he's brought to the presidency of the united states. your typical member of the republican congress looks at him with the same moody eyes that the congregants of the people's temple used to look at jim jones with. it's quite remarkable. >> heather, we have to keep this fair and i'll ask you about the democrats. i've heard the democrats described as they lost all four tires, they're on the side of the road, they just get the jack up on the rear end and donna brazile came and kicked the jack out from under the car. i heard it described as a circular firing squad with her yelling "fire." what is going on in the
democratic party which almost as much as donald trump is relitigating the 2016 election? >> so, i think it's fair. i think donna brazile is playing a small role, but i think it's in some ways a proxy for a fight that is going on for the heart and soul of the democratic party. i think in many ways, it's understandable. we're at a moment of massive political realignment. record inequality, record discontent with the political elite because half the american families couldn't pay a $400 bill without going into debt or selling something. we have at this moment in the democratic party a question about how populist we're going to be. the clintons in the 1990s had a very successful movement to bring the democratic party over to the right on economic issues, while remaining progressive on social issues. and right now, at a moment of record economic inequality, there is a lot of tension about where the democratic party is
going to go. i think, frankly, that in many ways this fight has already been won. the warren wing of the party, a party that says we are for a multi-racial, inclusive populism is the party that's going to win the day. but, you know, there are some candidates all across the country that still don't have the kind of bold visionary, i think, vision, bold and visionary sort of ambitious vision about what government can do to help right the ship of the american economy, and of our, frankly, of our democratic fabric. so you're going to see some resistance to candidates like that. >> steve schmidt, you get the last word in 45 seconds or less, are republicans enjoying perversely, because this is politics after all, the sight of the aforementioned circular firing squad on the other side of the aisle? >> well, they may be. but it certainly has the strategic effect. i mean, look, when you look at some of these polling numbers, one of the interesting findings
despite president trump being as weak as any president has been in polling this early into his term, he's basically in a tie race when you pose the question against donald trump versus hillary clinton in a rematch. and so i do think that inside the democratic party, eric barseti, the mayor of los angeles, mitch landrieu, appearing together. it may be we'll see an ideological fight inside the democratic party, but i think we'll see outside candidates running for the nomination against washington, d.c. they may well come out of the mayoral ranks, big city democratic leaders who have to deal with issues involving pragmatism and solutions, not just ideology. >> i'd love to have that discussion, especially discuss those two names. we've run out of time for this opportunity. i'm saying we're going to have our two guests back to have that conversation. our great thanks to heather mcgee and steve schmidt.
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there is a big story unfolding tonight halfway around the world, where something between a purge and a kind of organized coup is in progress in saudi arabia, a major u.s. ally in a dangerous neighborhood. this started over the weekend with reports that saudi princes, government officials, and business executives, 49 men in all, have been taken away and detained. adding to the upheaval, saudi arabia is threatening iran on the military front, and suddenly a long stable u.s. ally is undergoing a sweeping and unsettling change. we are joined tonight by a man with extensive experience in the region, especially among the allies military powers in the
persian gulf, retired u.s. army four-star general barry mccaffrey. general, put this into perspective for our audience. how big a move is this? >> it's monumental. saudi arabia, notwithstanding its many problems, has been an island of stability and wealth, tremendously advanced technology armed forces, for a decade now they've essentially been at peace with israel, and they've been confronting what they saw as the major threat, the persian shia threat across the persian gulf, which is going nuclear, which has advanced missiles. now this is up in the air. the crown prince has almost emerged as the robespierre of saudi arabia. he's grabbed control of the armed forces, the national guard, the interior ministry, and aramco and he's locked up a lot of the competing royal
family members and this alawid talal who i've met before, one of the world famous investors. he's a man in a hurry. he's age 32. his father the king is 81. he thinks he's got to get ahead of the power curve and have vision 2030 in place before the king dies. but he's ended up in war with the yemenis, confrontation with qatar. he's now threatening war with iran. he's actually somewhat threatening war with lebanon. so a very fractured, unstable situation. >> people may have read that he is a cultural reformer, that he wants them to enter the new era, the modern era. but that kind of collides with other parts of the portrait of him. 32 years old? >> well, you know, we've got to remind ourselves, at age 32, 70% of their population's under the
age of 30, and he's got a following among the young people of saudi arabia. and he's made dramatic measures to curb the power, the intrusiveness of the religious police. who have always been sort of an arm of the government. and he's trying to move women out of the 18th century and into the economy and into some form of public life. so there is room to argue that if he pulls this off saudi arabia will be immensely better in the coming 25 years, but for now most of his initiatives have not worked. >> general, in 30 seconds or less, how will you know? what indicator are you looking for? >> well, i think all of us ought to be extremely concerned that saudi arabia remains not only just a huge source of energy in the world supply system -- and by the way, the price of a barrel of oil went up $57 today.
so we've got to be concerned. our interests are at risk. the saudis have been allies. we've got to stay with them. >> all right. general barry mccaffrey on the subject of saudi arabia. a moving target in a story still changing tonight. general, thank you so much as always for being on with us. which brings us to the end. and the last thing before we go tonight is about something the president said. it so often comes down to something the president said. and this particular comment was in japan this weekend directed at japanese automakers. here's the quote. >> i also want to recognize the business leaders in the room whose confidence in the united stat states, they've been creating jobs. you have such confidence in the united states and you've been creating jobs for our country for a long, long time. several japanese automobile industry firms have been really doing the job and we love it
when you build cars for your japanese firm. we love it. try building your cars in the united states instead of shipping them over. is that possible to ask? that's not rude. is that rude? i don't think so. >> now, to be fair, you heard there were other comments before and there are some after that praising the japanese as job creators in the u.s. but a lot of people rushed in to correct and school the president on automotive history. japanese automakers operate 24 plants and 43 r&d facilities in 20 of our states. they average 4 million cars a year. they are huge u.s. employers. toyota for one exports the cars they make in america all over the world. the whole thing was a big deal back when so much of the car business moved here from japan in the '80s. >> japanese trucks made in america. these men are called technicians. not assembly line workers at this brand new nissan plant in
smyrna, tennessee. >> the plant sits on 1,300 acres of what used to be rolling bluegrass. workers inside produce as many as 280,000 toyota camrys a year. >> it was dedication time for honda's first u.s. auto manufacturing plant. 1 million square feet of it. the newest in technology with the capacity to turn out 150,000 cars a year. >> so you see, that's how it got started. and even though car industry types believe the president had his automotive history wrong this weekend and some of them said so, aaron blake of the "washington post" defended the president's comments in context in something of a news let'ser to his cohorts in the media. the headline screamed "stop cherry-picking that trump quote about japanese cars. it's not what you think." noted. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being here with us. my thanks to ali velshi and nicole wallace for covering for me while i was on sick leave.
tomorrow night our broadcast will include the election returns from the commonwealth of virginia. for now for all of us here good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. within the last couple hours this evening law enforcement officials in texas have confirmed some new details about the church shooting in suggestedland springs, texas yesterday morning, which has now claimed 26 lives. it had previously been reported that the killer had used a long gun, a rifle, semiautomatic rifle to shoot dozens of people inside that small town church. two handguns, in addition, were later recovered from his vehicle, including one handgun that he may have used to kill himself after he crashed his car while being pursued by