tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC July 4, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
new podcast "why is this happening" in-depth conversations with some of the most interesting people you know. you can download anywhere you want. don't forget to subscribe. thank you for joining us in this edition of "all in." rachel maddow joins us. >> thanks very much. towards the end of barack obama's presidency, the "new york times" published a lot of details how the president spent his alone time at the white house. president obama got barely 5 hours of sleep each night. that was partly because of this elaborate routine he had in the white house. after dinner with his wife and daughters at 6:30 p.m., the president would withdraw to the treaty room, his privacy office down the hall from his bedroom on the second floor of the white house residence, and there, according to staffers, he would
spend four or five hours by himself and do all the expected things like read briefs and go over speeches. thanks to this report from the times we also know he sometimes played words with friends on his ipad. he sometimes watched sports and sometimes wrote taunting e-mails to white house staff if their teams lost in sports that night. and said memorably the president ate a late night snack of exactly seven lightly salted almonds. that part i'm not sure i ever really believed. it was during one of those late nights of alone time in the treaty room, early in president obama's presidency, the night of november 2nd, 2010, president obama put in a call to the man who was then the minority leader in the house of representatives. he called republican congressman, john boehner of ohio. he needed to call him that night
because he needed to congratulate him for becoming the new speaker of the house. he had to offer his congratulations for boehner ousting his own party from power and taking control of congress. they did so with an exclamation point that year. democrats lost six seats in the u.s. senate and lost 63 seats in the house. 63. 63 seats that had been held by a democrat instead flipped to a republican, one of the biggest single election swings, maybe the biggest. putting in that conciliatory phone call to the guy who had just kicked his team out of congress, that was not the last indignity president obama would face over that huge electoral loss, because in addition to calling john boehner from the treaty room that night, the next day he had to go out in front of everybody and face the press. >> some election nights are more fun than others.
some are exhilarating, some are humbling. but every election, regardless who wins and who loses, is a reminder in our democracy, power rests not with those of us in elected office but with the people we have the privilege to serve. i told john boehner and mitch mcconnell last night i am very eager to sit down with members of both parties and figure out how we can move forward together. >> i'm wondering when you call your friends like congressman perry or governor strickland, and you see 19 state legislatures go to the other side, governorships in swing states, the democratic party set back, what does it feel like? >> it feels bad. >> it feels bad, jake. it feels bad. >> it's not like president obama was the first president to find himself in this bad feeling spot
two years into his first term. >> i think it's important to point out as well that a couple of great communicators, ronald reagan and bill clinton were standing at this podium two years into their presidency, getting very similar questions. this is something that i think every president needs to go through, because the responsibilities of this office are so enormous and so many people are depending on what we do, and in the rush of activity, sometimes we lose track of, you know, the ways that we connected with folks that got us here in the first place. now, i'm not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like i did last night. you know, i'm sure there are
easier ways to learn these lessons. >> thereby, the president of the united states single-handedly revived the venacular use of the word "shellacking" for all of us. president obama was right about early presidencies. the same thing happened to ronald reagan and bill clinton in the first mid-terms of their presidencies. in reagan's first midterm, republicans lost 26 seats in the house. >> ronald reagan was trying to be as upbeat as possible. still, it was a conciliatory president who met with reporters, one who talked about seeking bipartisan solutions with a new congress. >> there have been concessions and compromises in both directions on all of the major issues, and we expect to continue to work with the congress in that way. >> top aides admit the election results were a shock. by white house count, only 50% of the candidates mr. reagan
campaigned for won yesterday. >> that was ronald reagan in the first midterm of this is presidency, 1982. later, 1994, the first term visited president bill clinton in an epic historical loss for the democrats. >> tonight, the sound you hear is the sound of a moving van backing up to the united states senate preparing to move in a republican majority. as of this hour republicans picked up the seven seats they need to take control of that chamber. we still do not have a reading on the house of representatives. republicans need 40 seats to gain control. they're feeling confident and across the nation there is a republican sweep under way. the last time the republicans took control of the house was 1954, when elvis presley was a 19-year-old unknown and color television was just being introduced. tim, the republican sweep, what does it mean for bill clinton? >> when bill clinton promised he'd bring change to washington,
tom. this is not what he had in mind. if these trends continue, it will be the worst democratic appearance in a race like this in 50s years. >> democrats lost eight senate seats and 52 house seats held by the then speaker of the house. that was as well years after a similar shellacking happened to ronald reagan, not eight years, sorry, never do math on live television. that first midterm for bill clinton, 1994, republicans called it their revolution at the time. it wasn't actually a revolution, a strong midterm showing by the republican party. the president himself did find himself struggling to string together the right words when he tried to describe it the next day. >> stunned by the public's rejection of his party, an exhausted bill clinton said he will work with the majority and get the voter's message.
>> i think they were saying two things to me -- or maybe three -- they were saying -- maybe 300. [ laughter ] >> i think they were saying, look, we just don't like what we see when we watch washington. we don't think government can solve all the problems, and we don't want the democrats telling us from washington that they know what is right about everything. >> the president had no choice but to take responsibility. this fall he went to five states where democrats won but in 13 states where mr. clinton campaigned, his candidates lost. in the rest of the country democrats didn't even want him to show up. the white house tried to say it was a vote against all politics but no incumbent republicans lost. >> the first midterm after a new president takes office is very often a dramatic loss for that president's party. it is normal for the president's party to lose ground, sometimes lose a lot of ground.
the only exception to that rule in modern times was after 9/11, the shock of that attack and transformation of the country and politics there after were seen as highly unusual factorers that kept republicans from losing seats they might have otherwise been expected to lose in the 2002 mid-terms. with those extenuating circumstances, republicans really didn't lose ground in that first george w. bush midterm but republicans arguably paid double the next time around in 2006, after george w. bush got re-elected in '04, his party lost control of the house and senate in 2006. and that's the pattern of how it usually goes in mid-terms, the party that holds the white house usually has a bad night on midterm election nights. that's one way to think about the elections coming up this year, in historical context. you go all the way back to truman administration in 1946, look at the first midterm of a new presidency, you are looking
at a sea of losses. there's a reason all those bars on that bar graph go down. it would be normal, business as usual to expect president trump's republican party to lose ground in congress this november. of course, nothing is normal anymore. how do we tell this year? how do we tell if the historic pattern is going to hold this year, this november, in a year democrats taking control of congress would mean a completely different world in washington both in terms of policy but honestly also in terms of the myriad scandals of this new administration? how do we tell what's going to happen? short answer, i don't know. the smart money these days tends to say the generic ballot is the best metric to look at. poll on this simple question. which party do you want to be in control in washington, the generic ballot. most experts say that's the best finger in the wind for these kinds of things. the problem this year, it's been all over the place. just over the past few months, the polling on that generic
ballot question swung wildly from democrats being up by 10 points to democrats being up by just one point to democrats back up to a 10 point lead, to a dead tie. here's another metric, very human one. what do the people in congress themselves think will happen to them this november. on that metric we do have a pretty clear answer. you can call it the sinking ship metric if you're feeling a little bit rude. on the sinking ship metric, what you should look at is the sheer number of republicans who are leaving congress of their own accord before a single vote has been cast. their numbers include the speaker of the house, the top republican in congress, paul ryan, who announced in april he's retiring. paul ryan is third in line to the presidency, the highest ranking republican in congress. he's leaving, but he is in good company. on his way out the door, by our
count, 39 house republicans and four senate republicans have announced they're resigning or retiring this election cycle rather than running for re-election. yes, some democrats are leaving, too, republicans right now at least are leaving at more than double the rate of their democratic colleagues. is the simple fact that so many more republican incumbents are leaving, is that alone a determinative sign for how tough things are going to be for republicans? are the particular republicans leaving, leaving vacancies democrats have a good chance for picking up? is there any reliable metric predicting these things in an era distinguished now by how not normal everything in politics has become. joining us now is the great steve kornacki. thank you for being here. looking at the numbers, sot democrats are leaving -- some democrats are leaving, too, is this a lot of numbers on the republican side? >> it is. that 39, you can take some off
because some are running for the senate, running for governor, they're not really retiring and actually see opportunity this year. you look at the core group actually retiring and walking away, that number brings you down to 22. that 22, by comparison, think back to one of the last major election waves we had in the midterm, 2010, democrats got shellacked with barack obama, how many democrats fit into that pure retirements, 11. half the number we have now. go back to 2006, republicans got shellacked, how many did you have? you had eight. you want to find a comparable number to the number of core retirements, 22 we're seeing now, you have to go back to 1994. you had 20 democrats that year who fit the same category. that was the year democrats lost 52 seats in the house and lost control. i think it's fair to say what that number is telling us, psychologically, that's where republicans heads are in
washington right now. you look at that 22, there are a lot that come from seats potentially competitive and a lot looking at their first potentially competitive re-election race and you know what, i'm not so much in the mood for that. i will walk away. maybe i don't want to lose or lose a lot of money. psychologically, it's safe to say that's where republicans are, bracing for a potential of a wave this year. >> when you look at these things, do you think their psychological frame of mind a good metric? >> that's the interesting thing. the same republicans before election day in 2016, were calling on donald trump to drop out of the race in the wake of that "access hollywood" tape. we can't win with trump, we need pence to be at theton of the ticket. we -- the top of the ticket. we know what happened there. you look at the metrics trying to analyze these things. this is a great test, a great political science test, this midterm. we will see how these things
move, if his approval rating ticks up and what we've been looking at now and the last year we're looking at a lot of traditional metrics pointing in one direction, pointing towards what history suggests will happen this year. if that doesn't happen, one of the questions posed by 2016, are the rules of politics permanently altered or was 2016 sort of an aberration? that story will become clear as time passes. this is a key data point this year what happened this midterm. >> there is a lot more to say on this subject and other things leading to november other things i want to ask you about. don't go anywhere. steve kornacki is our guest again. don't go anywhere. 2016 was not a great time for democrats. democrats have sort have been on a roll ever since. the question whether or not that is important or predictive, stay with us. it's time for the 'lowest prices of the season'
when did brian move back in? brian's back? he doesn't get my room. he's only going to be here for like a week. like a month, tops. oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. november 2016, iowa republicans accomplished something they had been trying for and failing at nearly 20 years. they finally took control of the entire state government. iowa had a republican governor,
a republican majority in the statehouse, but before 2016 they didn't have the senate. the iowa senate was ever so delicately still controlled by democrats, it had been for years until november 8th, 2016. donald trump won iowa by a mile. on that big red night in iowa in the state senate, republicans took the seats of six incumbent democrats including the democrats's majority leader in the senate. they took control of the senate. here was the des moines register in response. it is official. iowa has become a red state. the majority of voters chose donald trump to become president, 5 of 6 voters in iowa are republicans. republicans will take control of the legislature in january and the outcome has left many iowans fearful about the future of this state. iowa, after the 2016 election coming to this reckoning. we are a red state now.
you can feel the implicit next question. is that a permanent status? is this who we are now forever? there followed an interesting twist in that story. a state senator passed away right before the election in 2016. iowa scheduled a special election to replace that senator and they scheduled that special for about a month and a half after the trump-clinton presidential election where iowa had gone so red. interestingly, they scheduled the special election right in the middle of the holiday season, two days after christmas. it was expected a democrat would hold onto that seat. that district voted for hillary clinton by 17 points. when they went back just seven weeks after the presidential election the democrat in that special didn't turn in the kind of performance hillary clinton had shown in that district. a democrat did not win in that district by 17 points like clinton had.
a democrat won that race by 48 points, which means that district alone shifted 31 points in democrats' direction, right after the trump-clinton election, 31 points. since then, if you look at all the special elections taken place across the country, that's been the party. it's been very clear which party had the momentum. democrats running in special elections overall have seen an average shift in their favor of 12 percentage points. if that holds, if you need to add 12 points to the average democratic margin in every race in the country, that would be a huge democratic tide, right? special elections are special. there's reasons to be cautious about extrapolate doing much. since the trump-clinton race, democrats have taken away a total of 46 seats previously held by republicans, many in the
unlikeliest places, oklahoma statehouse four seats in the legislature flipped from republicans to democrats since trump was elected. in kentucky district where they voted by a margin of 50 points, they just elected a democrat from the house for that district winning by 37 points meaning an 86 point swing in democrats' favor in kentucky. kentucky republicans are looking weak in other ways. the republican leader of the house just lost his seat in the republican primary. a first time candidate kentucky teacher took the republican leader's seat. there was the biggest flip of all flipping the senate seat in alabama previously belongs to jeff sessions. a democrat, doug jones holds the seat even though the republicans
won by 28 points. they have been spooking them in red states. kansas fourth district, elected by 27 trump, mike pompeo by 31 points still in the house. in the special election to replace mike pompeo when he got promoted to the cabinet, a democrat candidate came within six points. didn't win but close for a district that red. in arizona, republican congressman franks' district, a republican won by 20 points, then a special election to replace franks, a democratic candidate came very close to winning. it's been stark all year. is this how the mid-terms will play out? does this mean democrats get congress in november? is it possible for democrats to turn close shaves in otherwise republican places, a way to figure out how to turn them into
actual wins when it counts? joining us again is this great steve kornacki. thank you for being here again. >> sure. >> how circuit is this net swing? is this the kind of thing to predict what will happen? >> interesting so many congressional and state legislative, they are pointing overwhelmingly in one direction. i think in 2010, there were more mixed signals what proved to be a wave election year. i think we're getting a more clear one direction signal here. it says, clearly, definitely, i'm convinced the democratic base is energized in a way we haven't seen in a long time and barring totally unforeseen will be energized come november. that makes the question in the key variable, will the democratic race match that variable. you look at all the special elections for the house, this is interesting what you were just
showing, the trump margin in '16 and what happened in the special election. you mentioned the last one on the list. arizona, eight, the most encouraging for democrats. >> the franks race. >> that's right. this spring, trump won the district by 21, republican won the special by five. the reason that's significant and if you're a democratic encouraging. republicans like to say being energized and republican voters not doing that. arizona is a mail-in voting. everybody gets a ballot. republicans got ballots there, republicans sent back ballots. if you look at the composition of electorate it was comparable to 2014, a great year for republicans. this was not a surge in democratic turnout, very similar and the results changed 16 points. for democrats, that's the most encouraging one. if you look at that list and say, if you're a republican and want to point to some optimism,
it would be georgia, six. the karen handle ossof race a year ago. that's the exception there. republicans will tell you happened there, their theory, that race got nationalized in a way none of these others did. tens of millions of dollars came in. national media was there and trump was talking about it. it created this environment they say will prevail nationally in the mid-terms and get a version of georgia six everywhere. it's a theory but by the evidence, democrats have more to point to right now. >> for a nationalized race you cants nationalalize everybody in the country. when everybody in the house is up you can't put tens of millions of dollars every race. steve kornacki, i will keep you around a little longer because i can. much more to come and more about steve and more about what makes for a very bad prediction. stay with us. the chili pepper sweat-out.
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last week, the u.s. supreme court wrapped up its term for this year by upholding the president's muslim band and delivering a huge blow to unions in this country and one final kick in the teeth, the announcement supreme court justice kennedy is retiring so president trump can pick his replacement because that's what he wants to be his legacy despite his placement on this
court, his ideology line, it is one of the picks that could dramatically change the courts and dramatically change american policy and american law and american life for a very very long time. a lot about the trump era and era politics, a lot of what is happening in this presidency really has never happened before. it's interesting. when it comes to this supreme court vacancy and this time at a heightened time in american politics right before a critical election, turns out this is something we have lived through before. this is not unprecedented. when it has happened before, there are a ton of almost erie parallels to the way it's happening right now. i should also tell you from the other time this happened we at least have the benefit of knowing how it all worked out that time. that may be helpful for figuring
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gums are good, so is my check-up! crest. healthy, beautiful smiles for life. 1968 was one of the rare presidential elections in modern american history in which a third party candidate actually did all right. segregationist former alabama governor george wallace basically swept the south in 1968 as a candidate for the american independent party. he won five states. a populist and straight-up racist segregationist platform. during that campaign, george wallace reserved for a particular target of his wrath the united states supreme court. the court then was led by chief
justice earl warren, the supreme court had ended legal racial segregation in the united states. it had established miranda rights so criminal suspects were made aware of their rights immediately upon arrest. the warren court made it the law of the land that defendants have the right to legal counsel. imagine the horror. george wallace hated it all. >> the supreme court of our country has handcuffed the police. they have rendered decisions today that are absolutely ludicrous and asinine, turning people loose everyday to self-proven confessed murders of five or more people, you read about it. when they turn somebody loose a self-professed murderer of five or more people, intellectuals tell us, he's really not to blame, society is to blame because his papa didn't carry him to see the los angeles plays when he was a little boy and he's mad with folks.
one reason we've had a break down of law enforcement has been the supreme court of the united states has, by reflection upon the integrity and morality of the police of this country made it impossible to convict a criminal, made it impossible to arrest one and today in the cities of our nation you cannot walk the streets of public parks without fear of physical molestation because if you arrest someone today they try the policeman on monday instead of the criminal. >> george wallace did not win the presidential election in 1968. he did all right better than you might think. five states. he did well enough in '68 he scared the republicans he might take so many of their voters he would cost them their election. with his rhetoric on the supreme court in particular he pushed the republican nominee much further to the right. the republican nominee was richard nixon, who believe it or not started off as a california moderate and even a liberal by california standards but soon
enough richard nixon was on the campaign trail doing his best george wallace talking about the forgotten americans, non-shouters, the non-demonstrators, not racists or sick that plagues the land. he called them the real voice of america and pitched himself as the law and order candidate and went hard right to the supreme court in particular and said he would appoint supreme court justices to overturn the recent rulings from the warren court about miranda rights and the rest of them and restore the country to a system of law and order with conservative judges. that was part of nixon's southern strategy, part of his plan to peel off george wallace's supporters to make them his own. chief justice earl warren saw what was happening. he saw richard nixon, a front-runner for the presidency was threatening to roll back everything the warren court accomplished, it was becoming a big campaign issue and nixon was
going hard right on that issue. he saw it coming. in june, 1968, a few days after bobby kennedy had been assassinated. chief warren johnson told the president he was going to retire as soon as possible, as soon as a successor would be named. he did not want to run the risk it might be richard nixon to win the election and thereby get the opportunity to replace him on the supreme court. he said he was out. at 68, lyndon johnson suddenly has the opportunity to choose a supreme court justice a few months before the presidential election. he wasn't going to get to pick not just any justice, he would get to pick a chief justice. johnson decided to elevate somebody already on the bench, already on the supreme court as an associate justice. it was a complete disaster. abe fortis had been on the supreme court a couple years, a
friend of president johnson. when he said he wanted to elevatery from from a regular seat to the chief justice, republicans did a slow walk and when the nomination took place, senators learned not only had the justice been hanging around the white house for meetings and pressuring certain senators who opposed the vietnam wall something they're not supposed to involve themselves in, they learned fortas had been receiving money teaching a court, moonlighting paying him a stipend worth 40% of his salary on the court. soon, democrats started taking back their support one by one and ultimately fortis had to withdraw from the justice nomination and went back to being a regular justice on the court and that meant president johnson had to withdraw the nomination he had made to replace fortis on the assumption
fortis would be moving up to chief. president johnson, outgoing president lyndon johnson went from having two chances to change up the supreme court to name two new justices, he went from two chances to no chances. the abe fortis nomination was a bust and political disaster. they tried to game the whole thing and blew it. sure enough, nixon did in fact win the 1968 administration and because of that failure by the johnson nomination to successfully nominate a new chief justice to the bench so nixon wouldn't get to, nixon ultimately got to and able to follow-through on his campaign promise to appoint conservative judges who pledged to dismantle the legacy of the warren court. by the time nixon came into office so much came out about fortis, he had to leave the
court. so in 1969 he got to pick his replacement and got to replace earl warren as chief who resigned and it would take effect as soon as he had a successor. nixon got to pick a successor. with that, richard nixon took the liberal earl warren court and made it shift abruptly right almost overnight all because the effort to try to head that off in 1968 got botched so badly. lbj screwed it up and george wallace, in a way, got his wish. there is a lot about the trump era in american politics and republican politics totally unprecedented. the concern about the supreme court now and what called happen next. the controversy at fight over the newly vacated court seat the new background for midterm elections, this is not a trump unprecedented things. this is the sort of thing that happened before, we lived
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judiciary committee. she's the third ranking democrat on that committee and wrote this to the number two democrat on the same committee, congresswoman jerry nadler. quote, it has been brought to my attention you have been proactively seeking meetings with caucus colleagues to discuss the top house position on the judiciary committee. and that you're asserting i would not be a candidate for this slot if it were vacant. i request you refrain from characterizing my intentions. politico.com obtained that letter and the way they understand it, that the congresswoman was basically arguing the top democratic seat on that committee shouldn't be handed out on the basis of seniority even though she was only the third most senior member of that committee she was arguing she should be in contention for that top job if
it opened up. at the time she wrote this letter, the top ranking position on the committee was not open, held by long time, long long time congressman, john conyers. at the time of that letter, it would be months still before john conyers would announce his resignation in the wake of a whole bunch of sexual misconduct allegations against him. even before john conyers got ousted from that top job on the committee it was clear there was something unusual going on inside the democratic party on that committee. democrats were fighting among themselves about the process and who would get the top job on that particular committee. they were fighting about it even while conyers was still there. that's in part because of what that particular committee does. in addition to overseeing law enforcement agencies and considering legislation related to the judicial system, that committee, house judiciary
committee is also where they handle impeachments. impeachments of all kinds, just in case. just in case those circumstances ever arise in congress, it's the judiciary committee that handles impeachments of judges they are only supposed to happen in cases of conduct it's so egregious it shouldn't be a partisan thing. that said, if, say, the democratic party did win control of the house in november, well then honestly impeachment is a thing that could conceivably come up depending.
if it did, the democratic led committee would become the center of the universe. so the far in advance fight over what would be the top democratic. depending on what happens this fall, that might change. and he argued during his campaign that he should get the gig because of his demonstrated gig on impeachment in the '90s. soe said she would be better suited because she had not just served on the judiciary committee, she had also been on the committee staff during president nixon's impeachment hearings. in the end, the number two democrat after congress and not
zoe, he won that fight. as democrats continue to make headway in elections across the country, they clearly are divided about whether they should walk about the i word in public. whether or not they are talking about it in public, it is clear that it is a live issue within democratic politics. for one thing, it is animating heated congressional fights among house democrats who otherwise kind of like each other. and it is also sending everybody back to the history books for lessons on how to do an impeachment right if it eventually comes to that. there are definitely lessons in recent history for how you could screw it up. watch. >> you were there 20 years ago in 1998 when your party, the republicans, decided to push impeachment against bill clinton in a mid-term year. and that 19 8 election has the
distinction of being one of those very rare midterms where the white house party actually gained seats. was impeachment the reason? >> i don't think there is any question about it. the inquiry was open before the election in 1998. was that a case of the base, the party base, the movement base is calling the shots and party leaders are kind of responding like this is what our people want? we need to do this. if you look at the initial vote, not only did most of the republicans vote, but a handful of democrats did, too. nobody knew how this was going to bounce. so there is a lot of nervousness among politicians when something gets thrown up at you like this and there are democrats that weren't sure how this will play and voted that let's go ahead with the investigation, but they didn't know how clinton would handle it. at the end of the day he handled it very well turning it on to democratic gains. there was a lot of republicans who just despised clintons.
they lived to go get even with clinton. and, so, when this thing comes out and monica lewinski, they couldn't help themselves. it was a lot on the republican base fueled by talk radio. talk radio certainly fueled it. and the end result is you had a republican base calling for this. for those of us in swing districts it wasn't quite so clear-cut. let's take a look at the facts. we all took a deep breath before we ended up voting on it. >> were you sitting there saying we're going to pay for this in a month? >> i think in the republican leadership going back and talking to their base and going back to their republican meetings at night saying, yeah, let's get the guy and they reacted basically saying this begins up our turn up base. and that's exactly what happened in this case, is democrats
became aroused and defended the president. not necessarily what he did, but the way the republicans handled it. it is one thing to say we're going to do this in due course. we will do an investigation. but that was basically the republican message at the end. and the end result is instead of picking up 15 seats, we lost half a dozen seats. >> joining us now once again is steve who just did that interview with tom davis. it was fascinating. >> yeah, it was. >> what i wanted to know is, so he's describing the internal dynamics in the republican caucus and he's like, yeah, we were wrong. like we thought it was going to help us. so after they get political blow back and actually lose seats after their impeachment efforts against clinton, what happens to the republicans that say this is our ticket to victory? >> well, i mean, this is the story of the end of newt gingrich's political career, at least that phase of it. he was the house speaker.
it was after bill clinton admitted to the affair. he predicted this will gain 40 seats for the republicans in the house. he was talking about a huge majority. >> he was saying that overtly? >> he had a public speech where he said that talking about getting 40 seats from this. the star report landed september 1998. a month later, october '98, a month before the elections, the vote in the house was opened to formal imbeachment inquiry. a month later, republicans, one of the rare exceptions to all of husband try, they lost seats. the opposition party lost seats in the midterm election. days later, newt gingrich was deposed, resigned from congress and that was it for that phase of his career. >> and now he's the husband of the vatican ambassador. >> that's right. >> that's totally normal. this has been a lot of fun tonight. thanks for being here. more to talk about. stay with us. we'll be right back. billions of mouths.
with each passing day. thank you to steve for helping us out this year. obviously, this will be a fascinating election year. expect it to accelerate in its pace as we move on through the year. last word starts right now. welcome to tonight's special 4th of july edition of the last word. i'm lawrence o'donnell. when the president signed a so-called executive order to reverse his policy of separating parents and children at the border, much of the news media reported it wrongly as a rare reversal for donald trump, the tough guy who never backs down, surprisingly backs down. that's what some people thought. but the truth is, backing down is what donald trump does. we can list many more examples of domd trump backing down than donald trump holding to a consistent position. he said he would never settle the trump university fraud case,