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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  July 6, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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to western pennsylvania. you can download the episodes anywhere and don't forget to subscribe. tonight epa chief scott pruitt resigns amid more than a dozen scandals and blatant unrelenting attacks on his way out. the president tonight says he's been preparing his whole life for meeting vladimir putin, while a russian who met with republican lawmakers this week said it was one of the easiest meetings of his life. plus new reporting on robert mueller's expanding team as the special counsel investigation plows forward. "the 11th hour" on a thursday night begins now. good evening, once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. i'm ali velshi in for brian williams. epa administrator scott pruitt
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joins the list of high profile departures from the white house. hours ago pruitt sent his resignation letter to the white house as he faces scandals. a sweetheart deal on a condo rental linked to a lobbyist and ordering aides to help him obtain a used mattress from trump's hotel in washington. right now pruitt is the subject of 15 ongoing federal investigations. earlier today in a tweet president trump announced he had accepted pruitt's resignation. he wrote, quote, within the agency scott has done an outstanding job and i will be thankful to him for this. he goes onto write, the senate confirmed deputy to the epa andrew wheeler will on monday assume duties as the acting administrator of the epa. in his own resignation letter pruitt praised him. he goes onto say, it's extremely
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difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because i count it as a blessing to be serving you in any capacity bought also because of the transformative work that's occurring. however, the unrelenting attacks on me personally and my family are unprecedented and have taken tolls. earlier he told reporters there was quote, no final straw, end quote when it came to pruitt's resignation. he said it was pruitt's decision to step down. but "the new york times" reports that on thursday afternoon around 1:30 mr. trump's chief of staff, john f. kelly, reached out to mr. pruitt to tell him the time had come. the president also told reporters he's narrowed his supreme court picks to about five people. a source familiar with the
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selection process told nbc news it's down to three, these three. at tonight's rally in grape falls the president was teasing up his big reveal. >> as you know there's now a vacancy on the supreme court. and if you turn in monday at 9:00, i think you're going to be extremely happy. right? and they're all great. they're all great. >> now, from there you can say things went off the rails. among other things the president went after maxine waters, elizabeth warren and the nfl. >> we turn away thousands of people. they never say i'm a great speaker. i've broken more than john elten records. and by the way, i don't have a
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musical instrument. i don't have a guitar or organ. no organ. elton has an organ. yes, she's a low iq individual. pocahontas, they always want me to apologize for saying it and i here by -- oh, yeah, i want to apologize. pocahontas, i apologize to you. i apologize. to you i apologize. to the fake pocahontas, i won't. yes, we are already building the wall. it started in california and san diego. i've directed the pentagon to begin a process of creating a sixth branch of the united states armed forces called the space force. how about the nfl? look, i don't want to cause controversy. they passed this stupid thing, you don't have to do this anymore. if you don't respect the flag or don't like the country or
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whatever it is, just go into the locker room. i think in many respects that's worse. isn't that worse than not standing? >> let's bring in our lead off panel for a thursday night. peter baker, chief white house correspondent for the "the new york times" and animist nbc political analyst. any carny for politico, and kimberley atkins, and an msnbc contributor. >> the racial slur, the pocahontas thing continues. the u.s. is signatory. the president criticized the me too movement in his criticism of elizabeth warren. these rallies tend to go off the rails. this one was spectacular. >> it's surprising to hear him bring up the me too movement. the president doesn't have a lot
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of holding himself back, and it's not a subject that's helpful to him given there are more than half a dozen women who have accused him of sexual misconduct and more. so to hear him bring up that subject when he is part of it, was a surprising turn. the attacks on pocahontas, liz loving it. i think the democrats are all like waiting for their turn to be trump's winuata that day. and the attacks on the nfl, the white house officials have explained this is his 2020 strategy and mid-term strategy to run on culture wars. that part of it was kind of the trump play book. but to bring up me too especially on the same day they officially announced that bill shine will be a deputy chief of staff, a former fox executive who was involved with cover ups for roger ales was probably the most eyebrow raising moment.
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>> by the way, he brought it up in the conversation about pocahontas and elizabeth warren. >> let's say i'm debating pocahontas, right? i promise you i'll do this. you know those little kits they sell on television for $2, learn your heritage. the guy says i was born in scotland and it turns out he was born in puerto rico. okay, that's good. the guy says i was born in germany. he wasn't born in germany. he was born someplace else. i'm going to get one of those kits and in the middle of it debate when she proclaims she's of indian heritage because her mother said she has high cheekbones, we will take that little kit but we be to do it gently. because in the me too generation, we have to be very gentle.
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and we will ver gently take that kit, and we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm, even though it only weighs probably 2 ounces. and we will say i will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity paid for by trump if you take the test and it shows you're an indian. >> peter baker, does not sound like a guy who's all bept out of shape about losing a cabinet secretary tonight. but he did. there was a resignation or an invitation to submit a letter of resignation from scott pruitt earlier today. what's your reporting how that went down and particularly john kelly's role in it? >> john kelly has been ready to get rid of scott pruitt for quite a while. his whole tenure in the white house, john kelly's tenure in the white house seemed to be short and we don't seem to be expecting him to last much longer. but on the way out he wanted to make sure that pruitt went first. i think he was offended by the
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various scandals, the use of government resources for personal gain, for his family's gain. you know, offended a career marine general who had basically spent decades in the service of his country. and i think if he was going to do one thing before he left the white house, he was going to make sure the president accepted the resignation of scott pruitt. it's interesting to hear the president at these rallies. this is not a president speaking so much as a television entertainer. he knows his audience. he knows there's nothing more than a good provocative line or a series of lines. this thing with warren has been an obsession with him for quite a bit of time. a bit of irony because his own family once claimed to be from sweden when they were in fact from germany. he gets good reaction from the crowd, he likes to poke and prod and generate some sort of reaction on the part of the
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democrats. >> kimberley, hard to imagine we're a few days away from the president nominating a supreme court pick with all the noise swirling around it. but the president announced here that his announcement will be made at 9:00 on monday. we don't know whether that's 9:00 a.m. or p.m. we're reporting it's down to three nominees, three potential candidates. what's your thought on where this is going? >> yeah, i mean i do believe that the president met in the evening. i think he wants to build it ops a prime time special the same way he rolled out the nomination of neil gorsuch, his first
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supreme court pick. but, yes, i mean it's -- it wouldn't be a mistake to say this is probably one of the most consequential things that this president can do in his term is nominate another conservative to the u.s. supreme court, which is what's going to happen on monday regardless of the three finalists that he picks. it seems to me, i'm told that brett kavanaugh who's a d.c. circuit court of appeals judge is at the top of this list because the president simply likes him, has a good feel for him. you know, the president likes to
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trust his own gut and people who he likes in making this pick. of course, he's selecting from a carefully honed list of people put together by the federalist society and the heritage foundation, conservatives that he knew, the evangelicals and the other conservative republicans would love. so it's not a big stretch between them, but somebody who he seems to like. but, yes, you're right, this is the time the president should be talking about this and only this rather than going to where he seems to be going tonight with the attacks on elizabeth warren and others. especially given the fact that in the mid-terms and beyond in 2020 the president and the republicans are going to need -- are going to need suburban women. and in this case the two big things and you see him attack several women today in his speech, you see him make fun of the me too movement. and there is concern whoever he confirms to had supreme court might be willing to overturn roe v. wade. these are all things that seem to be political against the president at this time. but he's doubling down and he seems to think he has the right strategy. >> back to pruitt, the list is too big, the list of administration departures, the turnover in the white house. but particularly at the highest levels, cabinet secretaries. the president talked about the replacement for -- the immediate replacement for the secretary
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for the administrator of the epa, scott pruitt. and it's going to be a guy who's as committed to the deregulation of the epa as pruitt was. a lot of people argue that's why pruitt last so long. because like nick mulvaney, like betsey devos, he's doing what he promised the american people. he's deregulating the epa. >> i think it's a mixture of things. i think pruitt had supporters among people who said that despite the distractions of the mounting scandals that you can't even keep track of anymore, he was mounting on the agenda that he was put in place to do. to liberals that could even more damaging, to conservatives that could make them feel better about it. but trump himself, pruitt knew how to kiss up to the president. we saw it in the language he used in the resignation letter. i think a lot of this happened in private, that he knew how to flatter trump. and so i think it was the personal relationship, too, that
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made john kelly have to be the hatchet man here, that trump was dragged along to this decision by his aides. pruitt probably would have hung on longer if trump was left to his own devices on this one for both of those reasons. >> reporting pruitt's sursiefbl came from being the line of eyesight, telling the president he was brilliant and a political revolutionary according to people who attended meetings with him. and also the two men comismuerated about the deep state. in the end scott pruitt hung around. something broke the back of this thing, the idea he was criticized by his deputy chief of staff on television tuesday night, some say might have been the last straw. >> yeah, it's hard to pinpoint one last straw because there
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were so many straws. this is you know a candle in the back that was ready to be broken for weeks. but you're right. scott pruitt played this very cleverly. he was at the white house as recently as yesterday for fourth of july celebrations with the president. he did stay in the line of sight. and i think he did appeal to the president in the sense of being someone unfairly beelined by the washington chattering class, the liberal medians and so fourth. that was something that appealed to the president's own sense of persecution right now. he had a brash style that the president appreciated and the president wasn't eager to get rid of somebody who in some ways was practicing politics the way he himself had done. but ultimately of course the
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laws of political gravity have not been repealed entirely at least in washington. and they did eventually, you know, pull-down somebody, you know, had had so many things on his back that it's hard to imagine he lasted this long. >> peter baker, any carny, kimberley atkins, thank you all for joining me on a thursday night. a delegation of u.s. senators spends the fourth of july in moskow. critics question the intent and the poptics of this unusual holiday visitch. and new numbers on just how many migrant children are spending another night separated from their parents. what the trump administration says it's doing now to bring families back together. "the 11th hour" just getting started on a thursday night. we all want to know about the new thing.
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for the meeting, trust me, we'll do just fine. and will president trump be prepared, you know, president putin and kgb and this and that. you know what? putin's fine. he's fine. we're all fine. we're people. will i be prepared? totally prepared.
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i've been preparing for this stuff my whole life. they don't say tat. >> the white house confirmed today president trump will be speaking one-on-one with russian president vladimir putin during their july 16th summit in finland. the administration says the president will quote, continue
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to hold russia accountable for its maligned activity. the official says that could include russia interference as well as activity in ukraine. but once the twenty-two men are alone there's no telling what really will be discussed. there's no plan to have a note taker. anyone else in that room and this week a delegation of republican senator, seen here, traveled to moskow to meet with foreign minister and his staff. "the washington post" reports the delegation -- the paper quotes one russian official as saying the meeting was one of the easiest ones in my life. here's how one of the republican senators who was in that delegation described the talks. >> it was a productive visit. we sent a very strong message and a direct message to the russian government. first of all, don't interfere in
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u.s. elections. >> earlier this evening on this network former cia director john brennen said he's worried about the senators moskow visit and what it could mean for the trump-putin moskow sit down. >> the idea is they're giving way to the russians. it's not something to signal to russia that there are going to be costs to pay for any type of, you know, continued interference. it's going to be we're going to forgive and forget. >> malcolm nance is a long time u.s. formed forces veteran of intelligence. his latest book, "the plot to destroy democracy, how putin and his spies are undermining america and dismantling the
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waste." debuted at number nine on "the new york times" best sellers list. welcome to both of you. malcolm, we knew there was a rally tonight. but that one was popcorn worthy. it was unusual. the president saying he's been prepared for this all his life and will do just fine. he does not seem to be heading into this meeting with the seriousness that a lot of people think it deserves. >> no. he sort of has this chamberlain-esque attitude. we know he was taking russian money is selling real estate with them for years, and we also know in 2012 he met with the top russian oligarchs and received their version of events for over two hours and since that time has been spouting it. quite honestly donald trump is going there to meet with his handler. he's going to meet with the guy he's been worshipping and admiring for years, not ju
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journalists have died in russia. political opponents have died. political opponents have been jailed. you know, george will has written a column about this summit. he says a trump summit with kim
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couldforetell cutrastrophy. it is remarkable the president continues to down-play not just the effect russia has had in interference in other elections but the idea vladimir putin is okay and he's a good guy to befriend. >> yeah, and donald trump obviously in some way, shape or form that's yet to be determined is in debt to vladimir putin. today he normalized the kgb. he spoke as if being a kgb officer, a career officer, their motto was once kgb, always kgb, he runs that country with four top advisers who are ex-kgb and he murders people. he subverts american democracy, and donald trump today normalized him just as he normalized the nazis in
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charlottesville. this is very dangerous for american democracy. and to have several american senators go through to pave the way in this grand appeasement of moskow only shows the republican party has surrendered to this russia, and this will hurt this american constitutional republic seriously. john brennen was absolutely right. >> let's listen to something else john brennen said a little earlier this evening about both donald trump's approach to north korea and russia. >> mr. trump is dealing away whether it be the north koreans, with the russians, whatever, all the things that are in u.s. national interest and giving them what they want. the russians will feint sincerity better than anyone i've ever dealt with in my life.
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and i think mr. trump is not sophisticated enough, unfortunately, to deal with these foreign leaders in a manner that is going to protect u.s. national security interest. >> brian, a year and a half ago john mccain and lindsey graham were ceaseless in their pressure with the president about their strategy towards russia. and now we have republican senators basically acting an as
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advance team for the president. what happened to the republican party and the concern it remembers in the cold war? >> well, this is something russia has been frustrated with for months. they have heard from donald trump he wants to have a better relationship, and they felt like they weren't seeing enough concessions coming from congress in particular. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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tonight brand new reporting that indicates the mueller russia investigation may be expandingmism bloomberg reports the special counsel is calling for more russia department resources to help with the russia investigation, and that he is, quote, making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of u.s. attorneys and from the justice department headquarters as well as fbi agents. meanwhile president trump's former personal lawyer, michael cohen is taking another step to shore up his own legal team as an investigation into his business practices moves forward. he just landed lanny davis, a
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former top lawyer in the clinton white house. he's now be serving as one of cohen's new attorneys. in a statement david says he recognized cohen's sincerity after reading his interview with abc news. davis also said, quote, michael cohen deserves to tell his side of the story subject, of course, to the advice of counsel. with me for more is former u.s. attorney joyce vance, now an
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msnbc legal analyst, and nancy cooke, the white house reporter for politico. joyce, let's start with you. what does it mean robert mueller is expanding his team but he's going to the u.s. justice department for career lawyers. is that relevant? >> it's interesting. part of it may be resources. he's getting ready to launch the manafort trial, and he may feel the need to bring more bodies onboard to manage all the pieces of the investigation. it could also signal he's thinking about spinning off pieces of the case or there are matters that aren't so central to the trump-russia campaign relationship. and one of the details is that mueller is tapping investigators in pittsburgh. and that's interesting because pittsburgh is a venue where they've gone in the past for the chinese hacking case, and this could signal prominence for
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cyber crime and hacking. >> last week the testimony of rosenstein in that congressional hearing got very hot. trey gowdy, one of the lead republicans of the e-mail investigation into hillary clinton, really, really encouraged rosenstein to wrap this investigation up. does this call for more resources and the news that there are more people getting onto this investigation, well, that doesn't sort of sit where the republicans on the intel committee want it to go. yeah, not at all. i mean, trump's own lawyers for a long time said this would wrap up by december, and now we're in july. and to me the idea that the special counsel is bringing on additional career prosecutors and fbi agents shows that this is far from over. there's a lot of different tentacles to this. he's brought 20 indictments so far, and i think that, you know, he's under a lot of political pressure and is not necessarily going to get more resources to add to the investigation in terms of peoples who are dedicated specifically to it, but he could bring on these career people and that's what we've seen. and i think it shows this could go in a lot of different
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directions we don't know about yet. >> and we always find about when the mueller investigation wants us to find out about them and that's usually when some action has been taken. so we don't know what part of the iceberg we're looking at. but let's bring the michael cohen part of this up, joyce. michael cohen hiring landy davis. >> i know people are concerned with the fact he has ties to the clintons. but he's a lawyer. lawyers represent all different kinds of clients, some whose views line up with theirs and others whose views don't. i think he'll do what good lawyers do, give his client the best defense he can, whether he'll be working on the legal end of things or more on pr, damage control, image resuscitation. he'll do the best he can for his client. >> and putting aside, nancy, the lanny davis connection to the clintons and the clinton orbit, the fact is michael cohen has either been shoring up his defense or signaling something to trump for the last week. what do you read into this? >> i think initially my impression he was signaling to trump and trump's kitchen cabinets and all the surrogates, almost a plea for help he definitely wanted to be in the president's good graces. but really this week i think we've seen a real change in tone from him. he's scrubbed from his own twitter profile the identifier he was the president's own personal attorney. and in an interview earlier this week he also indicated -- he kept stressing his family was his first priority above -- the implication was that was above sort of protecting the president or, you know, the president's sort of interests.
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and so i think we've seen a real shift in tone. and i would interrupt you can never get in the mind of someone, but i would say my impression is that that shows he's more willing to play ball with the special investigation than perhaps he was earlier. >> and joyce, the talk about the family, the complimentary tone towards prosecutors and
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investigators and the fact he seems to be considering some level of cooperation, other legal experts have said to me once you start going down that road, it usually ends up down that road. the people who say they're never going to cooperate sometimes don't, but once you start thinking about your family or thinking about cooperating, you might be ready to talk. >> so he's certainly ready to talk. he's signaling it anyway he knows how to. but the real question is here is will prosecutors of the southern district of new york be interested in what he has to say? they've only just gotten their >> thank you you too, vice president pence. he's been so wonderful to work with. he's a real talent, a real guy and he's central casting, do we agree? central casting.
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>> remember they said he's too tough, he's going to close the -- now they say he's too nice, he's too nice. i got along very well with chairman kim. i got along very well. that's a good thing i got along well. we signed a wonderful paper saying they're going to denuclearize their whole thing. it's going to all happen. >> the paper the two leaders signed doesn't actually lay out any specifics for denuclearization.
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in fact, intelligence officials have told nbc news north korea has actually increased production in recent months. here to talk with us an msnbc career analyst and also a former analyst for the cia and was in charge of this region while on the white house national security council. this is just kind of crazy. the president keeps referring to this agreement to denuclearize the korean peninsula. i think it's a stretch to suggest there was enough detail in there to be touting this in front of a rally. >> absolutely right. there's no agreement.
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there's no deal. the declaration that president trump was talking about was very short, just kind of anise operational statement, if anything. north korea agreed to work towards denuclearization of the korean peninsula. but, no, there is no deal. and as you just mentioned now the u.s. intelligence community concludes that not only that north korea has been working on exexpanding their nuclear missile program but that they continue to, intend to deceive the u.s. officials on future negotiations as well. so i think that was a very exclusive report. and secretary pompeo has work cut out for him when he meet with kim jong-un and confronts him about what north korea is
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going to do next. >> right, and some people describe mike pompeo's visit there as make-or-break. pompeo is going to have to leave north korea convinced that there is forward movement on this. and that a very, very big task for him. if he doesn't do that, this administration is talking about a second summit, possibly here in new york, possibly in september. do we risk elevating kim jong-un on the global stage while getting nothing in return for doing so? >> that's right. and we've already done that by president trump already meeting with kim jong-un in the first place in singapore. we elevated him, we gave him legitimacy, and so we cannot invite him to new york. and kim jong-un cannot stand at the united nations general assembly and give a speech without giving anything. i think now we have to get something back such as a time line at least of how to move forward or get a complete declaration of their nuclear weapons program of facilities.
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but even feeding that is some sort of a broad road map how we're going to move forward on denuclearization. otherwise what do we have? we have nothing. >> what is the impetus? what would be the thing that would motivate kim jong-un to give up his nuclear program? because it has been driven by this passion for reunifying korea. and america has really been painted as an ultimate evil in north korea. why would he give it up? what would he have to get in exchange? >> i mean that's a very good question because north koreans have always said they need a security guarantee. but how do we give a security
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guarantee? north korea met by that by u.s. pulling troops out of south korea. but it's hard to give a guarantee to north korea. and north korea's existence was all about having the united states as their number one hostile enemy. that sort of justified their existence and all the suffering of the north korean people all these years since the founding of north korea. beyond having nuclear weapons as deterrence against the united states, beyond trying to get guarantee from the united states, it's also the reason for their existence. i think it's going to be a very hard thing to achieve. >> he's got a lot of work ahead of him. coming up, with that court imposed deadline with reunite migrant families fast approaching with, how dna testing could help get thousands of kids back with their parents. "the 11th hour" is back after this. with the largest selection of audiobooks. audible lets you follow plot twists off the beaten track. or discover magic when you hit the open road. with the free audible app, your stories go wherever you do. and for just $14.95 a month you get a credit, good for any audiobook. if you don't like it exchange it any time. no questions asked. you can also roll your credits to the next month if you don't use them. so take audible with you this summer... on the road... on the trail... or to the beach.
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we believe in strong borders and no crime, it's very simple. a vote for the democrats in november is a vote to let ms-13 run wild in our communities. to let drugs pour into our cities. and to take jobs and benefits away from our hard-working americans and we're not letting it happen. democrats want anarchy. they really do.
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>> more tough talk from president trump on immigration and the border, but no mention of the thousands of children being held in detention centers. the department of health and human services now says there are nearly 3,000 children who were taken from their parents, about 100 of those children are under the age of 5. however, officials refused to offer an exact figure. this was the first update since last week, when we were told there were 2,047 kids being held as a result of trump's zero tolerance policy.
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the federal government is now struggling to reunite the children with their parents ahead of looming court mandated deadlines. "the new york times" reports that records linking parents to their children have disappeared, and in some cases, have been destroyed, leaving authorities struggling to identify connections between family members. hhs announced today it will try to use dna to more quickly reunite families. as we've been reporting, immigrant parents are being handed a form, giving them the option to leave the country, either with or without their children. they are no longer offered the option to stay with their children as they seek asylum. today, president trump repeopled his calls to deport asylum seekers without due process, writing on twitter, "when people with or without children enter our country, they must be told to leave would our country being forced to endure a long and costly trial. tell the people out, and they must leave, just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn." also new tonight, the policies are effecting the united states military. the associated press reporting that some immigrant u.s. army reservists and recruits are being abruptly discharged. the exact numbers of service members effected isn't known,
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but the ap confirms at least 40 have been kicked out. coming up, british residents shell out $20,000 to fund a peaceful presidential protest in the skies over london. london mayor says it's a go. president trump isn't going to like this one. "the 11th hour" is back after this. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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the last thing before we go tonight, president trump will visit london next week. he plans to meet with both queen elizabeth and british prime minister theresa may. it's a trip not without controversy. in the past, president trump has feuded with london's mayor, attacking him on twitter just hours after a terror attack killed seven people in that city. weeks later, trump's commentary on twitter after a separate attack in london's subway earned him a rebuke from prime minister may. so while the diplomatic link has been a special relationship, it's complicated by the trump presidency. and tonight, we have a resolution to a political drama that's been playing out ahead of the president's visit. protests are expected to meet president trump at each and every stage of his trip, but today, the office of the london mayor, the same mayor that trump has feuded with, says a group of protesters will be allowed to
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fly this blimp portraying the president as a giant diaper-wearing baby over parliament during his visit. and given that trump's fights with british leaders have been launched on twitter, it's worth noting that blimp baby trump is also holding a smartphone in its right hand. as for its size, this handy graphic was made by our friends at "the l.a. times." stands about six meters high, that's 20 feet, or more than three times the height of the actual president trump. and you might be wondering why a big blimp baby trump? one of the protesters who helped create it answered that question last week. >> he really doesn't care, the man has no shame. so, moral outrage is not an effective form of protest. what he hates is when people take the piss out of him. and he's got a really fragile e go. that's the only sort of real leverage we have over this man. he's like the most powerful man in the world, but he seems very vulnerable to being mocked. >> that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being with us and good night from nbc news headquarters in new york.
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♪ this morning epa chief scott pruitt is out amid mounting public outcry and multiple ethics scandals. president trump says pruitt chose to resign because he felt he was a distraction. plus, president trump holds a campaign-style rally in montana and unleashes on some of his favorite targets. new overnight, secretary of state mike pompeo has landed in north korea. he is hoping to fill in some of the details on the agreement between president trump and kim jong-un. ♪ good morning, everyone. it is friday,


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