tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC May 10, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PDT
o these xfi pods, the signal reaches down here, too. so sophie, i have an xfi password, and it's "daditude". simple. easy. awesome. xfinity. the future of awesome. toernnight, michael cohen fights back. what all this means for the president as well as the ongoing mueller investigation plus how the firing of james comey one year ago today has haunted this president and this white house each day ever since. "the 11th hour" on a wednesday night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. this was day 475 of the trump administration. and there is building legal drama tonight between stormy
daniels' attorney and cable news staple michael avenatti, and president trump's long-time between stormy daniels' attorney and cable news staple michael avenatti and president trump's long-time personal attorney michael cohen of new york. tonight, attorney's for cohen filed a document calling into question some of those documents put forward last night by michael avenatti. they say some of michael avenatti's reports about michael cohen's financial transactions are inaccurate and, in fact, have to do with a different michael cohen, one in canada, one in israel to boot. but we should note cohen's attorneys acknowledged not all the documents are wrong. they confirm, for example, that at&t and novartis are michael cohen's clients and they write "while much of the information in his report is completely inaccurate, mr. avenatti published some information that appears to be from mr. cohen's actual bank records and mr. cohen has no reason to believe mr. avenatti is in lawful
possession of these records." the letter concludes saying michael avenatti distorted information to create a toxic mix of misinformation. mr. cohen said as much in shorter form when cameras descended upon him outside his midtown hotel while getting into a cab today here in new york. >> any response to avenatti? >> his document is inaccurate. >> mr. avenatti was on television two hours ago in this studio pushing back hard on all of this. here is what he told rachel maddow. >> this is really a clear examp example, rachel, of ignoring the elephant s in the room and concentrating on the fleas on the floor. in the report we issued, we identified about three million one hundred eight thousand five
hundred and three dollars worth of financial fratransactions. they've taken an issue with a whopping $20,583. so we struck a percentage -- our report appears to be 99.35% accurate which if we were -- if this was an election that would be pretty good for the popular vote. >> tonight's news comes as we're still tracking developments on the parts of avenatti's report that are accurate and seem to intersect with the overall russia investigation. "washington post" reporting special counsel rural was looking into payments the pharmaceutical giant novartis made to cohen. quote, novartis said wednesday it was contacted last november by lawyers from the special counsel's office regarding the company's agreement we essential consultants, that's the cohen company. the drug maker said it cooperated fully and provided all the information requested.
and a senior official inside novartis told nbc news that michael cohen promised access to the new administration. in a statement, novartis said it had an agreement with cohen's company, the llc, focused on u.s. health care policy matters. we also know that at&t, which acknowledged paying michael cohen for insight into trump was also contacted by mueller. they released a statement tonight, it reads, quote, when we were contacted by the special counsel's office regarding michael cohen, we cooperated fully, providing all information requested in november and december of 2017. a few weeks later our consulting contract expired at the end of the year, since then we've received no additional questions from the special counsel's office and consider the matter closed. meanwhile, president trump's outspoken attorney rudy giuliani told nbc news this afternoon that president trump was not involved in any way with the
business dealings in questions either before or since becomes president. we were able to locate mr. giuliani tonight, we found him behind home plate at the yankee game tonight because no matter what else is going on in the world, after all, the boston red sox are in town. for more, let's bring in our leadoff panel on wednesday night, "washington post" national political reporter robert costa who also happened to be the moderator of "washington week" on pbs. joyce vance is here, u.s. attorney who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor. and we welcome to the broadcast guy lewis, a former u.s. attorney who also worked with robert mueller, james comey and rod rosenstein among others while at doj. welcome to you all. joyce, does this cohen filing tonight which you described -- one of the smarter attorneys you'll ever meet -- described to our producer as a weird critter procedurally. they're trying to take avenatti out of court in new york.
does this filing tonight change what is in effect as we said our lead story, the body of avenatti's documents? >> it's interesting on a couple of fronts, brian, for one thing, the letter obviously reveals a couple of flaws in avenatti's data, but it also perhaps gives us an interesting clue into whether avenatti's information came from. the fact there are a couple of inclusions in this report that aren't allegedly from michael cohen, the new york lawyer, but rather for other michael cohens indicates perhaps that the name was run through some sort of a government terminal and came up with some good hits and some bad hits. so that's an interesting takeaway here. >> guy, what did this change? when avenatti's documents came out last night, did it change how you view this case and where do you think we're headed here? >> well, despite what avenatti
was saying earlier in the broadcast, i don't think it's good to file papers with a federal judge and even be wrong 3%, 4%, 5% of the time. to make mistakes which, if true that they've gotten the names wrong, they've gotten amounts wrong, they've gotten transactions wrong, even though the bulk of it may be right, i still don't think that's good for avenatti. look, i'm not a fan and never have been a fan when i was with a government and now that i represent people on the other side, i'm not a fan of trying your cases in the media and clearly that's avenatti's strategy here. >> well, let me ask a clearer question. do you think what we learned from avenatti last night only changed what we learn about this case, what the public knows about this case and what's always been true remains true.
mueller's proceeding at his altitude, southern district of new york proceeding at theirs and we get to know a small portion of it. >> i think that's right, brian. and i also agree with joyce as well in as much as you've got even another level of an investigative agency who's now announced their presence, which is the treasury department. i think these were -- that he included information based from sars -- suspicious activity reports -- which are generally filed by financial institutions and then they go to the treasury department and so somebody's either leaked that from the financial institution or they've leaked it from the trarnlt, i think one of two would be my gues
guess. >> and mr. avenatti is not sharing where he got it from. for the "washington post" it reads "president trump had been sworn into office and his personal attorney michael cohen saw a golden opportunity. from his nerj a lperch in a law of new york's rockefeller center, cohen pitched potential clients on his close association with trump noting that he still was the president's lawyer, according to associates. he showed photos of himself with trump and mentioned how frequently they spoke, even asking people to share news articles describing him as the president's affirmative action. i'm crushing it, he said, according to an associate who spoke to him in the summer of 2017." robert, you've known this man for quite a while. is that the michael cohen you know? >> he's always been a hard-charging associate of then-businessman donald trump now president donald trump. what's intriguing about the cohen case, talking to mayor giuliani tonight before he went to the yankees game, is that they believe if mueller was
really concerned about cohen in relation to the president he would haven't delegated the cates to the southern district of new york and the trump legal team tonight is in a protection mode around their client, the president of the united states, knowing cohen is battling avenatti and you don't see giuliani on tv except texts friends from the yankees game because they're trying to not get drawn into cohen's problems legally. it's interesting to hear giuliani talk that through. they know cohen is close to the president but they're trying to dissociate the president from that long time fixer. >> we've heard that at the white house. tell me within reason, within bounds of what you can share what giuliani did say to you and what you've been able to ascertain as to his mind-set these days. >> his mind-set these days is the presidential interview is still up for grabs, is it going to happen or not sitting down with robert mueller. that's the decision they have to make and he says if they're not going to do the interview they expect to get a subpoena from the special counsel and then it
becomes a week's long if not month's long legal fight. >> joyce vance, if i pronounced you robert mueller, what questions would you ask of companies like novartis and at&t which i'm quite sure were surprised to find themselves drawn into this publicly. >> you know, absolutely, and these are fascinating question for the moorl investigation. they're perhaps a little bit of a curveball. interesting to contemplate whether they're part of the mueller investigation but these are questions about were they being offered the opportunity to buy access to buy influence this new administration? is that what their connection with the president's fixer involved? >> is that illegal at any level? . this kind of influence is bought and sold everyday in washington. >> maybe, maybe not. we don't know enough about the facts.
it's certainly an accumulation of the swamp trump ran against. it's interesting if this was foreign law, it would be illegal under a statute called the foreign corrupt practices act, most likely in this country there's case law that makes it very difficult for prosecutors to allege this sort of pay-to-play conduct as a crime and there is a case in virginia involving mcdonnell and that case came out poorly for the government so it might be very difficult for this to be indicted as criminal conduct. >> guy, just back to avenatti for a second, i know you said there's a certain danger in submitting anything federal court with any kind of percentage rate of error. does it matter and to wlom where and how he got these documents, these records? >> it may, brian, because the way this is -- the posture of this thing is very interesting.
the lawyers for cohen have opposed avenatti's request to even practice in front of judge wo wood. they've come in and said look, he's on the media, he's poisoning in essence the jury pool, he's submitting false and misleading documents to the court. he couldn't be allowed to practice in the southern district of new york. very aggressive stand. i've only seen it and doing this for 35 years i've only seen that once and maybe twice in extreme circumstances. >> it's usually a courtesy to allow someone to argue a single case. >> that's right. >> robert costa, final question for you. i heard a bunch of journalists today talking about how what avenatti has done with these documents is kind of proof that if you want to look at stormy daniels as a tawdry sideshow, you can, but those people who
always thought it was a subset of the russia investigation have been proven right. where do you come down? >> that's an important point because the relationship, the nda is one issue but the funding of the enda has become an issue. how did michael cohen finance that non-disclosure agreement and what was his source of income at the time of that non-disclosure agreement? he is so close to president trump that that -- reporters are hoping and perhaps lawyers toil lum nate more about what we don't understand about how michael cohen's financial dealings worked and whether that had an impact or affect on the president. >> terrific. thanks to our two returning veterans, robert costa and joyce vance and another welcome to the broadcast to guy lewis, thank you for joining us tonight. coming up for us, how all this plays politically for this president, this white house,
this administration. two of the best covering this west wing standing by with their reporting and later we've called him the man living rent free in donald trump's mind. how the firing of james comey a year ago today is still affecting this white house every moment of everyday since. "the 11th hour" just getting started on a wednesday night. but i'm not standing still... and with godaddy, i've made my ideas real. ♪ ♪
nope! which is why i have xfinity xfi. it's super fast and you can control every device in the house. [ child offscreen ] hey! let's basement. and thanks to these xfi pods, the signal reaches down here, too. so sophie, i have an xfi password, and it's "daditude". simple. easy. awesome. xfinity. the future of awesome.
welcome back. these new details about michael cohen's corporate clients, reports that his consulting appeared to involve some level of promised access to the president, it's putting the white house in an even further uncomfortable position tonight. the details have raised questions about whether the president knew anything about these arrangements. today the white house press secretary was asked nearly a dozen times about cohen's transactions and any possible connections to trump. >> reporter: do you know whether mr. cohen approached the white house as a representative of those companies? whether the president was aware of the payments or whether he was aware that mr. cohen was marketing himself that way? >> i'm not aware and i would refer you to outside counsel. >> reporter: the president promised to drain the swamp. does he feel it's appropriate that michael cohen, his personal attorney, was selling access to him? >> again, i'm not going to weigh into this, that's a determination that individual companies have to make and i haven't spoke within the president.
>> reporter: has the president taken action during his administration to benefit novartis, at&t, korea airspace? >> not that i'm aware of. >> you may recall that the notion of paying for access was a notion donald trump returned to often for the campaign. >> pay for play. it's illegal. you're paying and you're getting things that it came out her people pay for play. this was big stuff, pay for play. it's illegal. >> fast forward for today and as to what else we might be witnessing, fill ruckphil rucke "by making brash and risky moves on the world stage, from shredding the iran nuclear deal to negotiating nuclear disarmament with the north koreas to imposing tariffs on chinese imports trump has a chance to change the way voters evaluate his presidency.
for trump, each bold stroke is like a spritz of febreze on his narrative of domestic scandal, momentarily masking the expanding russia probe of special counsel robert mueller or the federal criminal investigation into his long-time attorney and fixer michael cohen. the aforementioned phil rucker is with us, the pulitzer prize winning washington bureau chief for the "washington post" and also withanita kumar, white house correspondent for mcclatchy. phil, nice turn of phrase, the ball is still going over the fence after you filed that one, the crowd is still cheering. what do you think the biggest fear is at the white house and obviously how does it feed into the narrative you wrote about? >> well, the fear continues to be michael cohen and what more are we going to learn about his business arrangements, about what he used that money for, about whether there were other payments to other women that
haven't been publicly disclosed and the danger is that the disclosure of michael avenatti depicts a whole business that the public didn't know about and that goes to the white house. he was quite literally selling his access to and knowledge of president trump and his associates to corporations for millions of dollars and the white house hasn't come up with an answer at any time, let alone a satisfactory one, to explain why cohen might have been doing that, why the president's personal lawyer was offering those services and what the president knew about the arrangement. >> anita, our friend and long time gop political aide steve schmidt was on with nicolle wallace today, we were going to run that for you but it was a soliloquy he delivered about the swamp in wra wa. about how rampant corruption seems to be. this president who did run on swamp drainage is fighting this
now counternaur ive tive the wh members of his base likely to say? what are they likely to make of it? >> we've been seeing over the past 16 months the different ways he's failed to drain the swamp. not just this but lobbyists in his administration, failure to disclose certain financial agreements, things like that. so it's something i've been talking to a lot of trump supporters throughout about. not particularly today but just has the president drained the swamp, what do you think of this? what i keep hearing over and over is that they are disappointed but not surprised but they don't really blame him, the person, they say donald trump is just one person, you can't expect him to get rid of this whole culture in washington in 15 and 16 months, maybe not even in one term so they're disappointed, they don't like it, they want him to act faster but they're not that upset with
him. >> and, phil, there's two aspects of this i keep thinking about and maybe you can speak to them given your knowledge of donald trump. number one, think of what cohen knows was vacuumed up in his home, his hotel room, and his office. think of that in terms of donald trump not liking surprises. number two donald trump aspect is he usually needs an enemy, an opponent and this doesn't fit nicely into that category. >> it does not. there's no easy opponent here. it's one thing when he can go after robert mueller and the quote/unquote witch-hunts but this is different. this is his personal lawyer and a lot of these personal private records that have been vacuumed up. clearly michael cohen knows what the feds have but i'm not sure donald trump knows everything the feds have and certainly the white house officials don't know what the feds have and one thing to point out, we'd be remiss if we didn't talk a little bit about how this pay to play pattern has been a problem for
many others in the administration in the last few months, most notably the environmental protection agency administrator scott pruitt who has come under a barrage of headlines over many months, disclosures in the news media, about effectively acting as a gift frommer, taking advantage of taxpayer funds, taking advantage of perks, many of them unethical by lobbyists and there's a danger here for trump in a political context that his administration becomes defined by a stain of construction. >> norm eisen, the ethics lawyer, says he believes pruitt is you should under no fewer th separate investigations, which is staggering. >> and still has a job. >> anita, later in this broadcast and later tonight we're going to talk about the return of these detainees from north korea. in normal times that would be a front-page story that would get a good ride, a news cycle or two but as no one needs to remind
you, we could wake up tomorrow morning to just the latest headline on all things russia and it could be washed away having happened while most americans slept. >> it's true. but this president is trying to really use this moment tonig tonight -- the americans are supposed to come back at 2:00 a.m. he has decided to go there with the first lady to greet them at the airport. he's opened the event to all media, just not the pool that normally travels with him. he's trying to make it a tv moment and hoping to capitalize on that and he hopes people will wake up to in the the morning. >> great thanks to phil rucker and anita kumar, appreciate you joining our conversation tonight. coming up after a break, it's perhaps the most consequential action by this president. it all started with a letter hand delivered by a former new york cop named keith schiller. "the 11th hour" back after this.
loved to smile; and we knew he would need braces because his teeth were coming in funny. that's when he had the bunny rabbits. we called him the bunny rabbit. now, those are the same two front teeth, there, that they are now. then dray ended up having to wear braces for 5 years because he never made it to appointments, because he was busy playing basketball. if he missed practice, he don't get to play in the game. this is the picture that was on the front page of the newspaper. all you can notice is the braces! then, once he got to michigan state, he broke the retainer! my bottom teeth, they were really crooked, and i just wasn't getting braces again. smile direct club fits into my lifestyle so well. the liner is so great. it's easy to just grab it and go and then i can change on the road. i did photoshoots with my aligners in and you can't see them. i wish smile direct club would have been around when i was paying for them. i wouldn't have to take him out of school. i wouldn't have had missed work. it's like a great feeling to have good teeth. a smile is a first impression, that's why i think having a great smile is so important. migraine with botox®.
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on this. >> the white house was caught off guard by the political backlash but with some democrats in congress saying we are now in a constitutional crisis. >> that was a small sample of the conversation we were having here on this network one year ago today. while james comey was on the west coast, his firing was delivered via a letter in a manila envelope delivered by long-time trump body man and former cop keith schiller. television news helicopters followed comey to the airport and on to his chartered gulf stream jet like it was a slow motion police chase. it was president trump's decision to fire comey that set into motion the chain of events that may come to define the trump presidency. bloomberg columnist noah feldman put it this way today. without the firing of comey there would have been no appointment of mueller adds
special counsel. and even one year later, here we are, trump can't seem to let go of his feelings about james comey. in just the last month the president has attacked the former fbi director at least 20 times on twitter. with us tonight to talk about this, jeremy peters, political reporter for the "new york times" and michael crowley, national security editor for politico. you told one of our producers, looking back, you were among the first to learn of the firing of comey and you had enough sense as a veteran reporter to not believe it at all. >> yeah, brian, it's amazing. the first is relative but i learned about it well before it became public and by that i mean 20 minutes before it was announced no one else in our newsroom heard about it. i had a source who i can't get into the details but almost by accident found out about it very soon after the white house
started spreading the word, sent me a text and said trump just fired comey and i had been having a quiet afternoon, was working on some totally unrelated story and i literally didn't believe it and we exchanged several texts where i was saying you must be confused, something got lost in translati translation, what are you talking about? that's not possible. and when i finally got up and dared to tell a colleague thinking this is crazy i remember my colleague looking at me like i said i was a time traveller, like i completely lost my mind. after a couple minutes we snapped out of it and did our best to break the story, we were on the trail and then the white house put it out officially. so i missed my chance at glory in part to wrap up because i could not believe this was really happening. donald trump broke all the rules as a candidate but at that point i didn't realize he was willing to shatter every norm as the president of the united states. i just didn't think an act like
that was possible. it defied my understanding of what was possible but i've learned my lesson since then. >> jeremy, this case, the firing of comey, makes me want to dust off the old phrase "they didn't know what they didn't know." here's what i mean about that. the lack of institutional knowledge on the part of the president and you could argue his daughter and son-in-law who had much more sway arguably than they have today in the west wing did not know the consequences, the traditional relationship or lack thereof between a white house and the department of justice. they didn't know what they didn't know. >> that's exactly right. and jared kushner and ivanka trump were key in pushing donald trump to do this, they thought democrats would greet this news with delight. the guy who opened this investigation into hillary clinton and probably cost us the white house, yes, absolutely, he
should be fired but of course they made a terrible miscalculation there as did trump, who did not understand or care to understand the parameters of the office and the duties that the people who work in his cabinet have but when you run the government like you run a personal fiefdom, this is what happens and trump never saw jeff sessions and the justice department and the fbi as people who work under the -- work for the american people. he saw them as agents of his owned bying and doing. and that's what happened here, donald trump had never understood what the difference is between personal loyalty and an oath to the constitution of the united states so he has said memorably where's my roy cohn? why isn't jeff sessions protecting me? that's how he viewed this. these people were supposed to protect him, not uphold the constitution.
and that's why we are where we are today. >> and the obsession remains, donald trump remains obsessed with comey. >> he does. it's inkrecredible, not only th he has this displegs bobsession need he has to display it. he chose a guy who is well spoken, telegenic, was able to put together a book a lot of people found very compelling, did a powerful media tour. comey is a terrible enemy to have made, not only for the substantive reasons that led to the appointment of robert mueller, created a whole new category of possible wrongdoing but also creating in comey this incredibly compelling tall handsome incredibly intelligence figure who is just letting it
rip against the president. it's sort of a public relations nightmare. >> still out there trolling the president, one could argue. jeremy, i also note that mueller, rosenstein, sessions, all three remain on the job and the federal payroll tonight. >> they do and i'm sure all of them are wondering when the ax falls on them because as the comey case showed us, president trump doesn't seem to have much restraint when it comes to making bold reckless decisions like this so i think that when all is said and done and you look back ott donald trump's first year in the white house, there is no doubt this is the most consequential. i do wonder, though, if we are where we are today not because of trump's decision to fire james comey but because ofhe re things that the people around trump during his campaign did
that would have been uncovered anyway. yes, comey's firing was a catalyst for the special counsel but ultimately are we going to be in a different place six months from now than we would have been anyway had he not done this? i'm not sure because i think there would have been investigations going on in this in the first place. >> it may feel like it's been a decade, it's been a year tonight. our thanks to two guys who were around and remain with us now. jeremy peters, michael crowley, thank you both very much. coming up, three americans back over u.s. airspace after being held in a north korean prison camp. more on what this could mean for donald trump, for the north korean relationship when we continue. darlin'. can this much love be cleaned by a little bit of dawn ultra? oh yeah one bottle has the grease cleaning power of three bottles of this other liquid. a drop of dawn and grease is gone.
place for the meeting or summit as you like to call it and i think it will be successful, but as i always say who knows what's going to happen? >> as he said, who knows how the meeting with the north korean leader will go, but we know kim jong-un made what the white house called a positive gesture of good will by releasing three americans held captive by north korea. in just a few hours, president trump as we reported plans to meet the secretary of state mike pompeo and the three now freed americans when they arrive at andrews, the a.p. is reporting mike pompeo didn't know for sure until late in the trip he'd be able to fly the three of them home. here with us to talk about it, we're joined by sue mi terry, senior fellow at the korea chair for the center for strategic and international studies, senior analyst at the cia while on the white house national security council. sue, your reaction to this
happening. how mow men stus thmentous is t? >> it's a positive step and i think it's and indication that the negotiations between washington and pyongyang is going pretty well. obvious obviously pompeo has met with kim jong-un. so i think when trump meets with kim, initially at least that summit will be successful, that there will be an outcome otherwise i don't think north koreans would have released these americans. >> this may sound cynical, don't the north koreans grab prisoners to have leverage over the united states. >> absolutely. that's why they've grabbed 12 americans since 2010. they've released two and you know what happened to otto warmbier. so the fact they're releasing them now i think is part of their strategy. they want to lay the ground work of good will because they're looking for something more when they're sitting down with president trump, which should be soon, in early june, perhaps in singapore. >> there's been no official
announcement. media reports are it's probably singapore. the fact that it might be in asia, does that mean anything? and set the stakes for us. >> well, i think it's because kim jong-un has a logistical issue. his own plane cannot fly too far. >> they don't want to stop for fuel. >> they don't have a pilot that has flown that far. they don't a plane that could fly to switzerland or sweden. so it's as far as they can go. i'm sure they wanted this to take place in pyongyang because it's a propaganda coup for kim jong-un so this is a place in a mutual country they could agree on. but i think what president trump did by getting out of the iran deal is he set the bar very, very high for his meeting with kim jong-un because now he's come up with a deal in north korea that's tougher, tougher in the iran deal that wasn't strong enough for president trump, so we'll see. >> if you were the white house adviser on the korean peninsula,
is there a way to give me a number how many hours of prep time would you ask for with the president before going into this high stakes meeting? >> as many hours as possible. it's taking place way too fast. we didn't have a lot of prep time, we don't have a lot of people working on it but, of course, all these guys come out with a big prep book like this, will president trump read it? i hope he's taking advice by his officials? >> sue mi terry, come back and talk to us as we get closer. >> i will. >> thank you for being with us. coming up, it was a tough hearing for the cia nominee, but it wasn't torture. that was the subject behindmost of the questioning. we'll show you what happened when "the 11th hour" continues.
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next item is about torture which the government prefers to call by a euphemism, its friendlier name, enhanced interrogation techniques. this is from today's "new york times." it's about what the u.s. did to this guy, khalid sheik mohammed, the 9/11 planner. but just so we're clear, this is torture. and it reads, quote, in the weeks after his capture an intelligence committee report said mr. mohammed was suggested to the suffocation technique called waterboarding 183 times over 15 sessions. stripped naked, doused with water, slapped, slammed into a wall, given rectal rehydrations without medical need, there's a euphemism. shackled into painful stress positions and sleep deprived for about a week by being forced to stand with his hands chained above his head. torture by any other name is something militaries and governments and presidents get to choose to employ or not and america's use of torture during the bush presidency and the
aftermath of 9/11, that was front and center today at the confirmation of trump's nominee to head the cia, gina haspel, a career undercover operative at the agency. >> i can offer you my personal commitment clearly and without reservation that under my leadership, on my watch, cia will not restart a detention and interrogation program. senator, my moral compass is strong, i would not allow cia to undertake activity that i thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal. i would absolutely not permit it. senator, i don't believe that torture works. >> senators pressed haspel on whether she would follow an order from president trump to bring back waterboarding, a
practice, by the way, he has enthusiastically endorsed. >> as a candidate, president trump repeatedly expressed his support for waterboarding. in fact, he said we should go beyond waterboarding so if the cia has a high value terrorism suspect in its custody and the president gave you a direct order to waterboard that suspect, what would you do? >> senator, i do not believe the president would ask me to do that. but we have today in the u.s. government other u.s. government entities that conduct interrogations. >> you didn't answer the question. what would you if the president ordered you to get back in that
business? >> senator, the president has selected me to give him advice. i would not restart under any circumstances an interrogation program at cia under any circumstances. >> west virginia democrat joe manchin's announcement that he will vote for haspel seems to have put her nomination over the top as the first woman director of the cia. however, just tonight republican senator john mccain, the only senator who has been tortured, released a statement saying in part, quote, ms. haspel's role in overseeing the u.s. of torture by americans is disturning. her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying. i believe the senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination. another break for us. coming up, another vague threat to curtail a free press -- otherwise known as wednesday. when "the 11th hour" continues.
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the last thing before we go tonight, an attack on the free press today by the president who, let's face it, as president has never seemed to fully grasp the concept of a free press and further seems able to tolerate the press only when it's good press. >> i have a running war with the media. they are among the most dishonest human beings on earth. the leaks are real, the news is fake. >> fake, fake media. fake as hell. so fake, fake news. tomorrow they will say donald trump rants and raves. it's a disgrace. i'm not ranting and raving. fake news folks. a lot of fakes. i'm just telling you, you're dishonest people. it's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and people should look into it. in the old days when the newspapers used to write they'd
put names down. innuendo. today say they "sources have said that president trump --" they don't have sources. these are very dishonest people, many of them. they are very, very dishonest people and their ratings are lousy, by the way. >> people should look into it. here's the president this morning on twitter. the fake news is working overtime, just reported that despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy and all things else, 91% of the network news about me is negative, which he calls fake. why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt. take away credentials? indeed, some credentials were pulled during the campaign but so far, as of tonight, we're still allowed on the white house grounds. in fact, the white house is eager for positive coverage of the return of those prisoners from north korea in the middle of the night. veteran journalist and author jonathan alter responded to the president's dangled threat this
way. quote, if trump yanks any credentials, the entire white house press corps must walk out and say it won't return until he restores the credentials, anything short of that is craven capitulation to a dictator. to be clear here, credentials do allow access to the white house but if forced to we can cover it from here without them. a free press is still free to cover the president. and we thought tonight might be a good time for a normalizing moment, to remember how presidents used to refer to a free press. so here, now, a former president and an interview with reporters. >> you once said that you were reading more and enjoying it less. are you still as avid a newspaper reader magazine? i remember those of you who travelled with us on the campaign, a magazine wasn't safe around you. >> i think it's invaluable, it's never pleasant to be reading
things frequently that are not agreeable news. but i would say it's an invaluable arm of the presidency. i would think mr. kruschev operating a totalitarian system which has many advantages as far as being able to move in secret and all the rest, there's a terrific disadvantage not having the abrissive quality of the press applied to you daily to an strikes. when you have -- even though we never like it and even though we wish they didn't write it and even though we disapprove, there still is -- there isn't any doubt that we could don't the job in a free society without a very, very active press. >> he was gone less than a year later. john f. kennedy speaking with reporters on december 17 of 1962 and that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you so much for being here with us as always. good night from nbc news headquarters in here new york.
good morning, everyone. it's thursday, may 10th. we begin with breaking news. the three men formerly detained in north korea have returned to the continental united states landing at joint base andrews in maryland just hours ago. president trump and vice president mike pence were on hand and trump boarded the plane first to greet them privately before they all came down the steps together. >> i just want to say this is a special night for these three really great people, and congratulations on being in this country. thank you.