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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  February 21, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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the president who has indicated his openness to some narrow measures of gun control met students who survived that attack at marjory stoneman douglas high school. along with families from newtown and columbine and others. the white house had called this a listening session and a discussion on school safety, but it became much more than that. >> we're here because my daughter has no voice. she was murdered last week. and she was taken from us. shot nine times on the third floor. all these school shootings, it doesn't make sense. fix it. should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. and i'm pissed. because my daughter, i'm not going to see again. she's not here. she's not here. she's in north lauderdale at
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king david cemetery. that's where i go to see my kid now. >> i was on the second floor in that building. texting my mom. texting my dad. texting three of my brothers. that i was never going to see them again. i want to feel safe at school. you know, senior year and junior year are big years for me. when i turn my academics around, started connecting with teachers. i started actually enjoying school. and now i don't know how i'm ever going to step foot in that place again. or go to a public park after school. or be walking anywhere. i don't understand. i turned 18 the day after. woke up to the news my best friend was gone. and i don't understand why i can still go in a store and buy a
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weapon of war. an ar. i was reading today that a person 20 years old walked into a store and bought an ar-15 in five minutes with an expired i.d. how is it that easy? to buy this type of weapon? how do we not stop this? after columbine, after sandy hook. i'm sitting with a mother that lost her son. >> we're going to hear more from that young man, sam zeiff, here live in just a moment. the president was armed with talking points and questions that happened to be grabbed by cameras. he promised to take steps and asked for ideas and talked possible solutions. >> we're going to be very strong on background checks. we'll be doing very strong background checks. very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody. and we are going to do plenty of other things. it's called concealed carry
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where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. they'd go for special training. and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. if you had a teacher with -- who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack quickly. and the good thing about a suggestion like that, and we're going to be looking at it very strongly and i think a lot of people are going to be opposed to it, i think a lot of people are going to like it. >> the shooting at parkland high has ignited a movement among high school students across the u.s., and this time this reaction feels different. today protests spread from state to state with students walking out of their classes and in florida, survivors of the parkland shooting joined students from around the state for a march to tallahassee where they massed on the statehouse calling for a change in gun laws, demanding to be heard. >> we're sick and tired of
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politicians favoring nra donations over human lives. and that needs to change. >> we didn't fail. the people around us failed us. and if they continue to fail us, they will no longer be in office. >> dear congress, how can you claim to stand for the people but let your kids get slaughtered like animals in their own school? >> so i ask, congress and senate, what if it had happened to you or to your children? would it take you so long to make a difference? >> after seeing what happened in parkland, i just decided that that was the last straw. students can no longer stay silent on this issue. this country cannot stay silent on this issue. >> and should you continue to choose your wallets over our lives, i pray you enjoy retirement. because we will vote you out. >> as we mentioned, we are so
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happy to have with us sam zeiff who you saw speaking at today's white house event. he is a senior at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. sam, i think i speak for everybody watching, you carried yourself with such class and dignity. i don't know how you were able to pull it off. are you ready for this fight? like it or not, millions of americans now have their hopes and dreams riding on your whole generation to push this through. what did you learn today about the president and the process? >> honestly, yeah we are going to win this fight. and didn't really learn much today, you know. i kind of expected -- i kind of expected what we were given. the president did his thing, played his game, he had his questions already ready. he already had it written that he hears us. that was kind of something.
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i was kind of starting to, you know, get on his side a little bit. i did a lot of speaking about the ar. and assault weapons. and he said nothing. as soon as that meeting started to end and i heard him say the word background checks, mental health? that's when i'd known that this was not the path that was going to get us where we need to be. i said in an earlier interview, right now we are lucky to be starting at the top. the legislators. but that doesn't work, we're going to start at the bottom, the judiciary. we're going to work our way right back up to the top. and we're going to fix this. >> sam, you mentioned this today, you turned 18 the day after the shooting, probably the most passed over and ignored birthday of your life. you are now eligible to vote.
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the u.s. military would be more than happy to send you to afghanistan if you volunteered. you are eligible to buy an ar-15. but don't you dare try to buy a beer for three more years. what's wrong with this picture? >> i mean -- you know, it's -- you said it yourself. can buy an ar, can't go buy a beer. how can you buy a killing machine and not one alcoholic beverage? and i'm not advocating for alcohol. i'm here to speak about weapons. and it's just madness. it's just madness. i look around and i see these kids. you know, we are doing adult things. but we are kids still. i still have to go to high school.
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it's amazing. it's just absolutely amazing. you know, we need common sense. we need common sense. >> how would you feel about your teachers carrying a concealed weapon? >> speaking of common sense, that's exactly where i was about to go. that is absurd. to feel the need to arm those innocent people with the choice of not knowing if they're going to have to kill a kid that day? granted, it would be protection. but i mean, come on. a shoot-out in our class? this is not the wild west. it's really not. although that's the way it seems now, shoot-out in a class or not. >> do you understand the argument on the other side? the second amendment, what people feel it guarantees and people who feel that they should have a right to however many
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firearms they want to legally obtain? >> i understand the second amendment. i respect the second amendment because it's for defense. defense. not offense. you don't get the right to carry weapons so you can go around killing people whenever you want. you get it, you get maybe a handgun, pistol, maybe, so that if someone is trying to hurt you or your family or your friends, you can stop them. but not an ar. you don't walk around at night with an ar to feel safe. you walk around at night with an ar to kill people. in this case, the day. 2:25 p.m., february 14th, 2018. >> your texts back and forth with your brother, who survived, upstairs from you. >> that's right. >> you said today you didn't mean for them to become a viral moment. but they have become public.
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they're sadder than my ability to read them on the air, so i won't. tell us -- >> thank you. >> -- about your best friend who you lost, if you can get through that. >> i can talk about him forever. he was -- that was joaquin oliver. he -- i've known him since sixth grade. we didn't really get close-close until a few years ago. but he -- the amount of impact that he made in everyone's life was unreal. he's just the type of kid that could make every single person smile. and, you know, he was the coach of our basketball team, which is still in season, by the way. we're going to have a game pretty soon. he was the coach -- he was the captain of our basketball team, his father the coach. a lot of people said, he's just the captain because his dad's the coach.
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he was the captain because he selected every single person on that team. and he knew how to lead us. he knew how to lead us. and -- my hair hasn't always been like this. he was practically in love with frank ocean. when frank dropped his album "blond" -- >> the rest is history. >> yeah, exactly. you got it. now if you walk around in parkland, places near there, he is impossible to look any direction and not see a blond head. >> i get it. final question. how do you go back to school, and what were your plans for graduating? >> honestly, i don't know how i go back to school yet. i know that i am going to go back.
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because they can't. and we're going to show them that the world's going to be a better place. my plans for graduating, after i graduate, i plan on taking my girlfriend on a trip around the world. and after that, i have not been accepted yet but i hope to attend the university of central florida on a hospitality major. >> all right. i hope to run into you someday, thank you, buddy, for coming on the air. we are grieving along with all of you. again, you carry yourself with such intelligence and class today at the white house. zam zeiff has been our guest tonight. sam, thank you. >> thank you very much. >> and joining us now to talk what we witnessed today, jenna johnson, political reporter for "the washington post," and jeremy peters, political reporter for "the new york times" and an msnbc contributor. jenna, that's hard to follow,
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it's hard to say anything, really. do you think minds were changed at the white house today where it counted? >> it really doesn't seem like it. this was a remarkable event for this white house. the president really doesn't like to put himself in situations where he's confronted with positions that he doesn't agree with or people who might confront him about what he's done or has not done. so it was remarkable for the white house to invite such a wide variety of people to come and to talk openly for 70 minutes. and it appeared that the president was listening. intently listening. but then when he spoke, he didn't really reflect any of the solutions that he was hearing from people. he really still clung to this one solution that he keeps bringing up after every mass shooting, which is that he thinks more guns will solve this problem. that if there are more people who are armed, whether it's teachers or people working at schools, people at night clubs,
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just citizens out and about, that those people will be able to take out a mass shooter and end these shootings before the death toll hits as high as it has. >> jeremy, let's talk about the nra. this is about to really hurt a bunch of lawmakers who are on the list as having taken money from them. tonight at a cnn forum in florida, a couple of people already got in marco rubio's face because he's on the list. and it got a little heated. i think we have a portion of that, we'll talk about it on the other side. >> can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the nra in the future? [ cheers and applause ] >> people buy into my agenda. >> you can say no. >> well, i -- the influence of
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any group -- >> we're going to be here all night. >> the influence of these groups comes not from any money, the influence comes from millions of people that agree with the agenda. >> so you heard the answer there. and yes, this is one big auditorium full of people who are hurting. but jeremy, is this debate about to change? >> you know, i think for the first time after many of these shootings, too many to even really think about, because it hurts so much and it hurts to hear that young man talk about how they're just kids. because that gets lost i think so often in this, that they are just kids. but yet they were thrust into adulthood by this terrible event. and i think what you have going on here is really a confluence of a number of factors that we have not had in previous school shootings like this. one is you combine the political activism, this newfound surge of political energy that the trump administration, for good or ill,
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has brought about in people. and you have the savvy of these kids who were practically born with a phone in their hands. they understand social media, they understand communication. and you saw the pictures at the top of the hour. you were showing us these students marching in the streets. and i don't recall images that vivid or that telling or that suggestive of the kind of emotional power that this event, this tragedy in florida, has unleashed. so if ever there were a moment at which a turning point seems real, this to me, in my years of covering school shootings and debates in congress and watching the inability of lawmakers to even agree on something as simple as banning people on the terror watch list from getting guns, this seems different. >> so jenna, we mentioned on the
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broadcast last week, the president i guess is capable of a nixon to china moment, he's the one guy who could say, i had a change of heart, and give air cover to every republican in the house and senate. he may not do that. absent that, who is driving this in the trump white house now? after the chairs were stacked up after today's event, what happens? >> right. well, i mean, that's the big question. publicly, the president has not broken stride with the nra. and let's remember the nra endorsed him during the republican primary, which was very unusual. they usually wait until the general to jump in. and then they pumped in $30 million to help him win. to attack hillary clinton. he has a very close relationship with the nra. even more so than a lot of politicians. but he's watching these protests and he's watching the poll numbers. he's seeing that people are holding him responsible for not doing anything.
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for not trying to prevent future shootings. and so he's in this position where he's being torn between these two causes. and privately he has been floating some ideas. asking people, you know, if he should maybe push for increasing the minimum age that someone has to be to buy an assault rifle. he kind of made a nod at that during the listening session today. saying that he's willing to go very strong at age. but that's a vague comment that it's really hard for anyone to interpret, including republicans on the hill who are looking to him for guidance on this. but this really seems to be once again, this white house is donald trump. and there are people within that white house and people in his family who are trying to pull him one way or the other. but at the end of the day, it's going to come down to what he
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thinks is going to be best for him. >> apparently the idea of changing the age for ownership of an ar came to him from none other than geraldo rivera at mar-a-lago this past weekend, it's been reported. jeremy, congress known not to be made up of profiles in courage. has been known to hop on an issue. it's ghoulish to call this an issue, having just heard from a kid so impressive and so hurting like sam. do you think this is still on the move tonight? >> you raise a really important point, brian. because this is not just all on the president's shoulders. this is on the shoulders of all 535 members of congress. and so often before that's where we're seen this fall apart. after sandy hook, they couldn't agree on a sensible background check system. after las vegas they couldn't agree on banning bump stocks. so it's going to take leadership that we haven't seen before on this issue. and i don't know that it's there.
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i do agree with jenna's point that it's difficult to see how the president is moved to deviate from his hard-right, pro-nra position on this. this is a president who on a good day has a 43% approval rating. his tendency is to revert right whenever he is confronted with a decision that might antagonize certain parts of his base. it's also a president, quite frankly, whose best asset isn't really expressing empathy or processing human emotion. so i just don't know that there is going to be a change of heart that you might see with another kind of leader. >> let us not forget things like the pulse nightclub, almost 50 souls gone in a single incident. not a thing changed behind you under that dome.
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jenna johnson, jeremy peters, can't thank you enough for helping start off our conversation tonight. up next for us, nbc news exclusive reporting, robert mueller looking into whether paul manafort offered a white house job in exchange for millions of dollars in home loans. later, the number of americans who say they don't like president trump as a person. "the 11th hour" just getting started on a busy wednesday night.
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trump who publicly challenged his own attorney general to investigate the obama administration for not doing enough to counter russian interference in the '16 election. here is how he called out jeff session, whose temporary name change we'll explain. the president writing on twitter, quote, question, if all of the russian meddling took
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place during the obama administration right up to january 20th, why aren't they the subject of the investigation? why didn't obama do something about the meddling? why aren't dem crimes under investigation? ask jeff session. the president later corrected the spelling of his attorney general, who was indeed named jeff sessions. it should be pointed out the mueller indictment shows the russians interfered in u.s. democracy through the 2016 election, with the clear intent to support trump over hillary clinton. there is also new legal trouble for former trump campaign manager paul manafort. nbc news is exclusively reporting that manafort is under investigation for attempting to essentially sell a seat in the trump administration. quote, federal investigators are probing whether former campaign chair paul manafort promised a chicago banker a job in the trump white house in return for $16 million in home loans. manafort got the loan but the banker never got a job. there are also reportedly new
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charges in the case against manafort and his associate rick gates. as first reported by politico, they're sealed so we don't know what they are yet. according to this report the new channeling document filed in federal court in washington could be a superseding indictment. there's a term with a trade. adding new charges or even new defendants to the charges filed last october accusing manafort and gates of money laundering and failing to register as foreign agents for their work related to ukraine, among other crimes. that's a mouthful. here with us, ken dilanian, nbc news intelligence and national security reporter. barbara mcquaid, former u.s. attorney, now law professor at university of michigan. robert costa, national political reporter for "the washington post," moderator of "washington week" on pbs. mr. dilanian, you get home field advantage tonight. what is the reporting on manafort today? >> so this is a really interesting break by our colleague tom winter. he is reporting special counsel
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robert mueller is looking into paul manafort, then the campaign chairman essentially offered a bribe to this chicago banker. i will get you a job in the white house or the cabinet if you can arrange for these loans for my various properties in new york and virginia. these loans do not look kosher. tom winter is reporting the prosecutor has a witness, a bank employee who felt pressured to make these loans and is now cooperating. and so we've got paul manafort, 68 years old, already facing 15 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines in the existing money laundering indictment against him, looking like he's facing some additional legal jeopardy. >> barbara, i've never been a u.s. attorney. but this doesn't look good to me. you have been, how does this look to you? >> just because someone gets indicted doesn't mean prosecutors stop continuing to investigate. filing a superseding indictment is a common thing that happens. when you learn about additional criminal activity, that may be what has happened here. we don't know until this document is unsealed. but these allegations, if true, could an very serious crime.
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i don't know if you would technically have a bribery charge, because paul manafort was not a public official. but certainly there is grounds for a bank fraud, a wire fraud, or some other kind of crime that could be a very serious crime. and why do they continue to investigate this? in part because they've discovered wrongdoing. it also seems an effort to perhaps induce paul manafort at some point to consider whether he might not want to cooperate in hopes of reducing his ultimate criminal exposure. >> robert, talk about the president -- two questions, the president's treatment of jeff session, later corrected, and how even a tweet like that looks. investigate the last guy. to, again, this rolling team of mueller investigators. >> brian, this is the latest episode of presidential venting with regard to the attorney general. it can be traced back to when attorney general sessions decided to recuse himself from the russia probe. talking to white house insiders, they say the president is being urged by his lawyer, ty cobb, on the russia matter, the white
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house counsel, to not vent about robert mueller. and that investigation. to not go against rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general. who's left in the attorney general himself who's had a falling-out with the president, but remains in power. this is the president furious about these ongoing investigations, turning to the attorney general as a target. >> ken, we've never had a situation with an intelligence community from the fbi on up doing their job, despite noise and incoming attacks from the president of the united states. yet all the evidence you're seeing, does it not point to professionals keeping their heads down as director wray told them to do at the fbi, and doing their jobs? >> absolutely. you're not seeing evidence of pushback or bias. jeff sessions is a special case. he clearly loves this job of attorney general, he's not leaving voluntarily. he's remaking the justice department in his image and he appears ready to take whatever abuse his boss is prepared to
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heap on him and remain in that job. >> robert, mr. mueller's going to be talking tomorrow to a former campaign adviser to donald trump. a name not commonly in the news. but something tells me by tomorrow night we'll be talking about it. give us a preview. >> sam numbberg, a name not well known to people who follow politics. he was the first person i encountered when i first encountered then-businessman donald trump years ago. the long-time political confidante and political strategist for donald trump who then had a falling out and left the campaign if 2015. he is now going to be talking to robert mueller's team. this is important because numbberg has remained close to people within the president's inner circle. in particular, roger stone. whose connections with wikileaks and different relationships throughout the political world have often come under scrutiny. >> barbara, again, given the strength of your resume and
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experience, all we're left is to see what's publicly available. what's visible above the water line. and with that in mind, what do you make of the timeline of the mueller investigation thus far? where are we? >> i think it was a very significant development when we saw the indictment last friday of the 13 russian individuals in the company for interfering with the election. but i see that as sort of a cornerstone now to build upon. because now that we know that this isn't just trade craft and spying and something adversaries do to each other, it's actually a crime, we've named it, specified which statutes were violated. it provides a building block to add defendants in terms of americans who may have conspired with them and perhaps also provides a foundation for an obstruction of justice charge. you can charge obstruction of justice without charging an underlying crime, but i think it brings more appeal when you can show there was a very real crime committed that was endeavored to be obstructed. i think this is a building
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block. i think we're closer to the end than the beginning. i still see several months of work ahead for robert mueller before he concludes his investigation. >> much obliged. great conversation. ken dilanian, barbara mcquaid, robert costa, our thanks. joining us for more reaction to everything we've talked about tonight, u.s. senator mazie hirono, democrat from the state of hawaii. she is joining us from honolulu tonight. senator, the first question i have is about your 99 colleagues. >> aloha. >> aloha, senator. you're one of 100. >> yes. >> but i need you to think about the institution. think of our broadcast thus far. the folks who voted you in, the american taxpayers, are now going to look to you to do the right thing on guns, whatever that is. and the right thing on the russia investigation, whatever that is. do you have confidence in the institution to get that right? but you are in the party minority. or do you have your doubts?
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>> i think we have our challenges. but one of the occurrences or the events that really heartens me is young people like sam who are coming forward and saying that they are demanding sensible gun legislation so that they don't go to school and be killed. that is not asking too much at all. and so that is a -- to me, i am really heartened. with the march in washington, d.c., i'm hopeful that in a dynamic, organic way, there will be a lot of other groups -- not to overshadow anything that the young people are calling for, but to come together in ways that the president has really tried to pit one group against another. all these marginalized and targeted and discriminated against groups i hope may come together in solidarity and march in washington, d.c. i think this may be yet another point where there is a time for a change in terms of the
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resistance to sensible gun legislation. most of that resistance has come from the republicans. >> you represent a deeply blue state surrounded by beautiful blue water. where are you going to come together with someone whose state is as red as yours is blue? >> i am hopeful that we can all come together to make sure that our communities are safe. and that our kids are safe. and so as i say, the dynamic of watching these young people come forward and be so articulate in their positions, really calling on us to do the right thing, i think is a powerful position. i am hopeful. and frankly, we had a possibility of bipartisan gun legislation. a couple of years ago. i think that there's a tremendous impetus. i was watching the marco rubio and bill nelson town hall meeting where it look the as though there were thousands of people there.
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and they're all saying, hey, enough of this, we want you guys to pass sensible gun legislation. that is not the kind of town hall meeting that we have seen in the past. and i think there's a mobilization that is going on. that gives me hope that some minds will be changed and we can pass gun legislation that will keep our community safe. and that includes getting rid of assault weapons, banning bump stocks, having background checks, closing loopholes, all of the kinds of bills that we have been pushing for, for years. >> senator mazie hirono, democrat of the state of hawaii, senator, as always thank you for coming on our broadcast, we appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up for us, new numbers on voter discontent with this president. surprisingly bad numbers on russia, part of a wave of new polling. we have it for you right after the break.
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we are back just as an exercise, think for a moment about the top two, top three issues facing this president and this white house. just today, just this week, robert mueller's russia investigation, the controversy let's not forget over white house security clearances that has now targeted his own son-in-law. and let's not forget the issue of gun violence after last week's school shooting. on top of that, bad numbers for the president today in the latest quinnipiac university poll. 58%, in other words, most respondents, disapprove of the president's job performance. the other way of putting that, 37% approval rating. 57% don't like the president's policies. 61% even said they don't like the president as a person. the numbers get worse on the subject of russia. 76% think the russian government tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. 68% are very or somewhat
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concerned russia could attempt to influence the upcoming 2018 midterms. and most voters said they disapprove of president trump's response to the threat of russian interference in the upcoming elections. with that we want to welcome to the broadcast, toluse olorunnipa white house correspondent for bloomberg, and vivian salama, our national political reporter for nbc news. taliu, the numbers it can be argued are going to suppress action because politicians with depressed numbers have less traction when trying to get things through for starters in congress. >> yeah, that's one argument. we have to remember a lot of the traditional arguments about politics do not seem to apply to president trump. he tries to break the mold at times. he does watch his poll numbers very closely and he cannot be happy with the fact that 58% of the country disapproves of the way he's handling his office. and if you look even deeper into those numbers, 52% of those
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people strongly disapprove. so there's a very intense dislike for the way the president is handling his job. that may force him to try to change his ways and maybe even buck his own party. but what we have seen from the president so far is sort of doubling down on his base, the republicans of which about 81% are still in support of what he's doing. he's really tried to consolidate that base, not reach out, not really expand that base, and that's caused him to continue embracing policies that are not very popular, and it seems like that's the path that he wants to continue to go on, even though he's starting to open up the possibility of bog dog some sort of type of gun control, he does seem to be still focusing on his base. >> vivian, having covered him so long, a pattern you may find familiar. you heard the russia numbers, how bad they are. he continues to go on offense. >> that's right. he has yet to acknowledge the fact that the russians may have influenced this election to the point that the outcome may have been influenced. and this is something that now has been the source of great controversy where the president
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has constantly said that any mention of a russia investigation is a hoax, essentially, masquerading by the mainstream media and pushed by the clinton supporters. he -- and look at the results, brian. some 18% of those who are polled agree with him. and that is really astonishing. after the intelligence community has come out and said that they believe the russians have influenced the elections. after president trump's own national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster, just last week said it. and yet we still have a segment of the population that does side with the president, that believe that it is not the case and that this is actually something that has just been made up by the media and by democrats. >> toluse, another number. question we went through this last night. the current polling on enhanced background checks for gun ownership. 97%. that's margin of error 100% in this country. nothing polls -- we can't agree
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it's wednesday with a 97% return. so again, as i said to jeremy at the top of the broadcast, in a congress where let's agree profiles in courage are hard to find these days, do you think this would deck tate going along with new legislation on that front? >> yeah, we are starting to see some momentum behind some modest changes to the background system. some modest expansions of background checks now. there is some question about whether or not the congress would go for a full universal background checks which is something that is broadly supported by the public but not supported by the nra, things like closing the so-called gun show loophole. this is something that is a little bit more controversial when you talk to nra members, when you talk to the nra leadership. these are the people who have the president's ear. these are the people who have the ear of the leaders in congress. and it does appear that that's maybe a bridge too far for them. when it comes to some minor modest changes to fixing the
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background check system that seems to have bipartisan support that seems to be sort of the overall consensus about where we're going to go in terms of responding to what happened in parkland. whether we have more broad changes and more significant and controversial changes, that does seem unlikely with the republican-led congress right now. >> vivian, cpac is under way, sean hannity did their broadcast from there tonight live. this is the conference that last year gave us the duo of bannon and priebus. both gentlemen find themselves not working anymore for the administration but against that track record the president's going to appear friday, other members of this administration are appearing between now and then. give us a preview, if you would. >> well, the president is obviously going to lay out his agenda for the next year. but also something that he tends to do with these speeches is really talk about what he perceives as his successes. what the white house likes to position as his successes. definitely taxes being the tax cut, tax reform plan being top of the agenda.
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but again, like the quinnipiac poll shows, a lot of people even questioning whether he should release his tax returns because we're going into the tax season now. so there are little bits and pieces of this popularity that are being chipped away among even some of his base. and it will be really interesting to see on friday in this crowd in particular where i was -- i attended the speech last year. the energy in the room was palpable. it was a really intense crowd. everyone was really excited about what was to come. really what we're going to be looking for on friday is not so much his vision for the country but whether or not he still has that base that he can rely on in the elections moving forward. >> appreciate it tonight, toluse olorunnipa, vivian solama, thank you for joining us. and coming up for us, a look back at the most public and prolific preacher from this past century, when "the 11th hour" continues.
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there's purpose, there's
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meaning. because he lives. i can face tomorrow. i'm looking forward to that day when i'll see christ face-to-face. are you? >> there's never really been anyone like him. reverend billy graham died this morning at age 99 at his home in north carolina. he was born four days before the end of world war i and he spent his life as an evangelical minister, became known as america's preacher. raised on a dairy farm in north carolina, graham discovered his gift of sermonizing as a young man. he received a huge boost from the newspaper giant william randolph hearst who covered graham's rise early on. then with the arrival of television, billy graham became a global presence. in all his message on stages and in giant stadiums attracted over 200 million people worldwide who came to hear him preach. he was proud of the fact that he sat down with 12 u.s. presidents
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dating back to eisenhower. to some he became a counselor and confidante. and with one of them he went too far and admitted it. white house tapes revealed anti-semitic comments he made to richard nixon and graham later apologized profusely, for years, to jewish leaders. as old age approached and robbed him of his ability to get around, billy graham said often, as you heard him say there, he accepted death and didn't fear it. when we last spoke back in '05, i asked him how he'd like to be remembered for how he left his mark during his life here on earth. >> i'd like you to say that he was faithful to his message, to god's message. and that i want to be faithful to the very end. because i want the end to be as fine as the beginning. >> billy graham back in 2005. on the day of that visit, i was joined by the pulitzer prize
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winning historian jon meacham, just as we are joined by john tonight. john, sum up his place in history. >> the most important protestant evangelical figure of the 20th century, one of the most important in american history, and arguably in global history,because of the reach, because of the steadiness of the message. he was a -- in some ways, he kind of embodied protestant christianity for many americans through the years of the cold war, through the years we added under god to the pledge of allegiance. he was a pastoral figure in the years in which we were beginning to fight what we would come to call the culture wars. but they were -- it was a gathering storm when he started out in the '50s. to me the most compelling thing, and i spent some time with him after the new york crusade where
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you interviewed him is he was really toward the end much more about contemplating the word. he was really contemplating the gospel. he was not -- and this is in way a criticism because he would have said it himself. he did say it himself. he was not a deep theological thinker. the great hymn that always played as his trademark hymn, crusades just as i am. he believed in presenting the possibility, the occasion for people to make what he called a decision for christ. and it was a view of salvation that was very straight forward. one of the things that impressed me toward the end of his life is his humility about what he didn't know. george w. bush and barbara bush were once arguing about who would get into heaven. and as only bushes can do, they said well, let's just call billy. they got on the phone and mr. graham said i think you all
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should just worry about your souls and not other people's. >> as you and i are lovers of presidential history, me as a buff, you as a scholar, i was fascinated that not all presidents let him in. all of them felt an expectation to sit down with billy graham. but not all of them let him in. >> you know, harry truman thought he was a charlatan to some extent. mr. graham started out as a fuller brush salesman. and in fact talked about how there was a certain similarity between selling brushes door to door and selling the message of jesus. and he was an overeager in some ways. he could be a flatterer. none of us is perfect. he let he who is without sin cast the first stone. this is not a eulogy in the sense of canonization. he was a flawed sinner. he would be the first person to tell you he was sinner.
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you mentioned the moment he got in trouble with president nixon. he did not follow often enough the solemnest injunction to put not my trust in princes. interestingly, given their backgrounds, i think it's fair to say that president carter and mr. graham were probably the coolest toward each other. president carter started out, he actually one of the early means by which graham reached even larger audiences is he would send around a film version of the crusades, and local faith leaders would introduce them. and in planes, jimmy carter would introduce it. but he is part of the iconography of the american century. >> at the end of billy graham's life, our pleasure to have jon meacham on to sum it all up. jon, thank you. always a pleasure. we're back with more right after this.
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last thing before we go tonight. something we mentioned earlier.
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an desperately today of the perils of the age of digital photography. more than once, prying cameras peered over the shoulder of barack obama and showed us what he was reading from. and it takes incredible discipline from those in public life to remember every day that anything within camera range is readable with a high resolution camera. the trump transition got a lesson in this when this man, the kansas secretary of state kris kobach visited donald trump at his golf resort in jersey, brought with him a homeland security blueprint tucked under his arm which was visible enough just long enough for foe tags to see all aliens from high risk areas are trapped. and the moment the president took handwritten note cards from his pocket, we knew we would later learn what they said. and i didn't take long. as you no doubt have seen, the close-ups reveal questions to ask and things to say. and that last point, i hear you.
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the reaction to what's been branded as the empathy card was swift. and while some were shocked, and while there was no preventing it from becoming an instant meme, others, including some who are normally critics of this president have defended the notes, saying a lot of adults struggle the right thing to say to those who have just suffered a loss. the participants at the meeting were screened and vetted, and many praised the president and his leadership on cue when called upon, while some like our guest earlier this evening spoke candidly and counter to the narrative that others were pushing at the meeting, arming classroom educators with concealed weapons. for us, that's our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. tonight on "all in".
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>> you have the four change this. and if you don't, then when will change you. >> one week after the florida massacre -- >> this is to every lawmaker out there. we are coming after you. >> students across america demand action. >> shame how lawmakers are responding and how the white house is trying to manage the fallout. >> does anybody have any -- an idea for a solution to the school shooting? >> plus, how the far right social media and youtube are allowing the smearing of survivors. >> the only time you're doing anything that actually matters is when people try stopping you. >> and nbc news exclusive reporting on paul manafort as new charges are reportedly filed. >> i think that's pretty tough stuff. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. it's been one week since a gunman used a legally purchased ar-15 rifle to murder 17 people at marjory stoneman douglas high


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