tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 27, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
carolina may have played a role there. years later john mccain of course finally did win the republican nomination. but politically i'm not sure he had a finer moment than that night in new hampshire in 2000 when mccain the maverick was born and when everything seemed possible. that is "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in" -- >> mr. president, any thoughts on john mccain? >> the white house bows to public pressure. relowering its flag for john mccain. >> mr. president, any thoughts on john mccain? >> thanks, everybody. let's go this way. >> tonight the party of trump and the death of senator john mccain. plug, congressman adam schiff on the secret list of trump scandals republicans refuse to investigate. then -- >> did you know about the payments? >> later on i knew. >> the president's state dinner with evangelicals in the wake of
his stormy daniels admission. and the art of the speaker phone. >> the president is on the phone. enrique? >> when "all in" starts right now. >> hello? good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. today the white house reaction to the passing of one of america's truly towering political figures, senator john mccain, descended into outright farce as a president who had repeatedly mocked and diminished mccain during his life was initially unable to offer up a single kind word even in death. >> thank you very much, everybody. thank you. >> any thoughts at all about john mccain? do you think john mccain is a hero? >> thank you. >> nothing at all about john mccain?
>> thank you very much. >> that was the strange scene in the oval office this afternoon. on the heels of revelation this weekend that trump had nixed issuing a statement that praised the heroism and life of mccain opting instead for a brief tweet that offered sympathy for mccain's family but conspicuo conspicuously did not say anything about mccain himself. after john mccain passed away on saturday the white house did lower its flag to half staff but this morning after less than 48 hours the white house flag was back up. despite precedent the flag remain at half staff until an honoree's burial. p it appeared to be a deliberate decision. the white house flag was raised to full staff even as the flags remained lowered at the washington monument which you can see in the background of the white house just a mile or so away. all of this prompted a massive outpouring of criticism including from veterans groups. so late this afternoon the white house lowered its flag again back to half staff, and trump issued a proclamation hailing
mccain that seemed to come through gritted teeth. despite previously opining that mccain is not a war hero because he got captured, trump also managed to speak stoefrn john mccain's name out in public and briefly compliment him during an event late this evening. >> also our hearts and prayers are going to the family of senator john mccain. going to be a lot of activity over the next number of days and we very much appreciate everything that senator mccain has done for our country. >> trump today also named the officials who will represent his administration at mccain's funeral since mccain declared shortly before he passed away that trump was not welcome to attend the funeral. the previous two presidents, barack obama and george w. bush, will both be offering eulogies. now, the animosity between the celebrated gop senator and the releaptlessly graceless president has made things awkward for republican senators as they took to the floor today to honor their former colleague. they were addressing a gop electorate that is now almost entirely faithful to a man
mccain seemed to despise. a look at the polls. trump's approval rating among republicans now stands at 88%. late last year nbc polling put mccain's approval rating among those same voters at just 35%. it's not really a contest. that means electoral republicans are effectively bound to trump whether they like it or not. today the "wall street journal" reported that trump's former campaign manager, paul manafort, remember him? sought a deal for his second trial after being convicted in his first trial last week. although before jury deliberations actually delivered that conviction but talks broke down. if trump's current issues bring him down he could take down much of the gop with him. and thernt the only existential threat. axios reported today republicans have been, get this, secretly circulating a spreadsheet that meticulously previews the investigations democrats will likely launch if they in fact take control of the house. and there are a lot of them. republicans identified 18 different possible areas of investigation from trump's dealings with russia to the stormy daniels payoff to the
firing of james comey to election security. with me one of the democrats who would be at the helm of many of those investigations, congressman adam schiff of california, top democrat in the house intelligence committee. i want to ask you about that list. but first i wanted to see if you have anything to say today about senator john mccain. >> well, you know, those of us that had a chance to get to know him, and i traveled with him a number of times, just have the greatest admiration for him. his bravery, his plain-spoken manner, his sense of humor. the respect that he had for and was shown to him by leaders all around the world. he really is irreplaceable, and this is a terrible time to lose him. the country really needs people to put country over party, particularly in the gop, where they have effectively acted as a rubber stamp for this president. and john was no rubber stamp. he was tenacious in defending the interests of the country even when they conflicted with his own party. he will be greatly missed. and there's really no one else
like him. >> you just talked about the rubber stamped nature of the current republican majority. that brings us to this memo they're circulating which is -- could just be a memo from democrats or could be a memo a reporter wrote about here are some things that probably should be investigated. this is not like crazy out there red meat stuff. things like the tax returns, emoluments violation forz which there's several federal suits. dealings with russia. the stormy daniels payment which of course was lied about and since been confirmed. james comey firings. steve mnuchin's business dealings. the cabinet secretary travel expenses. what do you think of this list? >> well, i think there are a great many candidates to be on that list that probably aren't even on the list. i'll give you one that i find particularly troubling. reports a couple months ago that the president was meeting privately with the post-master general to try to browbeat her into raising postal rates on amazon to punish jeff bezos and the "washington post." we see a president using the instruments of power to attack
the free press and the first amendment. and so there's any number of issues, many of which are not on that list, which have gone completely without oversight. why did the president reverse course on this chinese telecom zte? was it because of reports china was going to invest 500 million in a trump branded property? is u.s. policy basically for sale in indonesia or in the middle east or through jared kushner? there are a great many serious allegations of impropriety. and chris, all you need to know about the current gop congress's unwillingness, complete abdication of any oversight responsibility, you can tell from a single statistic. and that is the chairman of the government oversight and reform committee, trey gowdy, who brought us the endless benghazi investigations, hasn't issued a single subpoena during the trump administration to investigate any allegations of incompetence or corruption within the trump administration. they have just been utterly
unwilling to do their jobs. >> he really hasn't issued one? >> not one that i'm aware of, no. it's really quite breathtaking. but it is a sign, and we certainly see it on the intelligence committee, where the only subpoenas they seem intent on issuing were to investigate the investigators. >> right. >> when people like steve bannon came in, yes, finally he got a subpoena. but when he still refused to answer questions they said, well, okay, we're not prepared to take any further. we really honestly don't want to know the answers. and that unfortunately set the tone for their oversight responsibility. >> one of the things that was investigated briefly was of course the president and the attacks by russia during the election. a committee on which you're the ranking member. roger stone was one of the individuals i believe who came before you in that investigation. and you know this area of fact better than most, having been -- had access to classified material and also to some of the interviews that happened.
so i wanted to get your reaction to a bizarre statement by roger stone today posted to the internet out of nowhere in which he attempts to kind of get out ahead of what he says an impending story and deny it. take a listen. >> this is roger stone. somebody has been pushing a fake news story first with the "new york times," then the "washington post," and now with ronan farrow of the "new yorker." someone is saying that they overheard a conversation in which i told donald trump in october of 2016 what exactly would be in the wikileaks disclosures and when they would be disclosed. this is categorically false. >> thoughts? >> well, first of all, i wouldn't believe what roger stone has to say any further than i could throw him. there are any number of statements he made under oath to our committee which have been put into question by other things that have been reported since. there if you look carefully at what he had to say he is denying
that he told the president exactly what would be in the wikileaks disclosures. and it would be just like roger stone to say, well, i didn't say that i didn't tell him what would be in, it i just said that i didn't tell him exactly what would be in it. sow simply can't believe anything roger stone has to say, at least from my experience. he's one of the people that i think ought to be brought back for further questioning before our committee in light of statements, for example, i think he and others have acknowledged that they were approached by someone with a slavic background offering information that would be useful to the campaign. so these are things that i think need further investigation certainly but i don't know what else to make of this rather bizarre video. >> well, you join a lot of people in that ultimate determination. congressman adam schiff, thanks for your time tonight. >> thanks, chris. for more on how republicans are handling mccain's passing and trump's attitude, what happens if the house flips, i'm
joined by michelle goldberg, columnist for the "times" and msnbc contributor betsy woodruff, politics reporter at the daily beast p i'll start with you, michelle. you have a column coming out about exactly, this the subject of the spreadsheet, when and if impunity ends. >> not even the spreadsheet but because the spreadsheet was compiled by just looking at different requests for documents or interviews that democrats have made and republicans had ignored. they have this kind of guide. this is what they want to know about. but democrats -- there's too many things to do them all. so democrats have their own priorities for kind of what they're going to do and i think you're going see investigations basically every single different committee and subcommittee looking at sort of what in its wheelhouse it can investigate and subpoena. we have this kind of bitter saying throughout this whole nightmare last 19 months where everybody says ha, ha, ha, nothing matters. and the reason nothing matters, that we find that, say, trump's personal attorney goes to court
and says trump instructed him to commit two felonies to cover up his affairs and n. advance of the election and 48 hours later everyone seems to have forgotten about it is not because trump is some teflon person with particularly strong support among the american people but because they have one-party rule and they refuse to play any role in the accountability. that is the thing american voters have the potential to bring to an end in november. right? adam schiff could restart the russia investigation. elijah cummings at oversight will have subpoena power. maxine waters will be the head of the committee on financial regulation. the house ways and means committee will be able to obtain trump's tax returns under an old 1924 law that people don't use. it's going to be a completely different environment in terms of the ability to hold them accountable for all these outrages. >> and it seems to me, betsy, that this document indicates -- partly this is a fund-raising motivate the donor class document which is look what's going to happen, it will be an
apocalyp apocalypse. but it also evinces to me republicans know exactly what they're doing now and what is coming if they don't hold on to the house. >> that's right. and for months people in paul ryan's inner circle have been operating under the assumption that they're going to lose the house in november. there just hasn't been any publicly available polling evidence indicating that republicans had a particularly good shot of hanging on to it. and while trying to read the tea leaves of early polls can sometimes be foolish that's what republicans have to work with as they're looking ahead to november. and that's why we're seeing so much pessimism emanating from the republican party leadership. one thing that's really important about this memo is that it sends a signal, especially to young up-and-coming trump-friendly republican political operatives and wonks. if you're a republican and you're thinking about take a job in the white house, you probably want to wait until after november because -- >> that's interesting. >> -- going through these investigations can be incredibly costly from a legal perspective. just paying an attorney or a team of attorneys to help you
prepare for one, two, or three-hour testimony before a congressional committee can cost tens of thousands of dollars because washington attorneys are really expensive. and while many people in the trump administration are extraordinarily wealthy, many of them aren't. if you're in your mid 20s and you're looking at your second or third job and you have to face the prospect that you may have to testify before the committee chaired by elijah cummings or maxine waters and it could out you $20,000 to $40,000, that's going to make you think twice about potentially taking a position in the white house. >> you know, today was also just another reminder of just how much they are just tethered to this man. i mean, this is the person who their voters like. and as you watch this preposterous up and down with the flag insanity where the president's incapable of just doing the most sort of basic, you know, graceful gestures you've got to wonder like what goes through their head on a day like today? >> i mean, i've been wondering that for -- >> for a very long time, yeah. >> -- the last 19 months and i feel like i've kind of read studies of parliamentarians in
vichy, france to try to understand what makes you sell out your principles on such an industrial scale. and someday i would love to see a forensic profile of the sort of cowardice because it's really -- i mean, both -- they're not even getting that much out of it and it is so incredibly degrading. >> and then you see someone like jonny isakson today, senator isakson of georgia today who sort of relished the opportunity to say what a lot of people feel but they never do because it was kind of of a safe space to do it. take a listen to what he had to say. >> anybody who in any way tarnishes the reputation of john mccain deserves a whipping because most of the ones who would do the wrong thing about john mccain didn't have the guts to do the right thing when it was their turn. we need to remember that. >> it seems pretty clear who he's talking about. >> not a lot of subtlety in that particular comment.
seems a very clear allusion to the fact trump invoked so-called bone spurs when he was trying to not have to be roped into fighting in the vietnam war. of course mccain went on to fight in vietnam and become a prisoner of war as we're all aware. mccain has so many -- is so beloved by his senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle, not just his senate colleagues but also staffers on both sides of the aisle. he was really a lion of the senate. even if you talk to people who had deep philosophical grave differences with many of the policy positions that mccain took, as a human being he just generated so much affection. people just really liked and respected the guy. both in the senate and around the world. so johnny isakson is very much speaking for capitol hill almost as a whole when he makes these comments about going after people who would try to damage the reputation of mccain after he'd passed away. he's not a lonely voice there. of course he's a unique voice and sort of putting it in those
particular terms, but he got zero pushback in the dmam behr for being so blunt. >> they'll be back in a week to voting for everything the president wants more or less. michelle goldberg and betsy woodruff, thank you both for being with me. >> thank you. >> after the break the mueller investigation has reached trump o grchlt. the news that has the president so wound up white house officials reportedly thought about staging an intervention. that story in two minutes. ntion. that story in two minutes. a steak. luckily for brad, this isn't a worry because he's discovered super poligrip. it holds his denture tight and helps give him 65% more chewing power. leaving brad to dig in and enjoy the tastiest of t-bones. super poligrip, helping you enjoy the foods you love.
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on excellent sourcing that the special counsel is going to charge donald trump jr. with lying to the fbi. >> donald trump jr. you just mentioned him. is he going to be -- is mueller going after him next you? said they're going to try to get him for lying to the fbi. >> i think so. notice they're not going after him for the underlying crime because there is no crime. he's done nothing wrong. >> take that with a grain of salt. it is roger stone, after all. now, gabe sherman at "vanity fair" is reporting that white house officials are so worried about the latest presidential unraveling, although frankly we've been hearing that for months, that they "talked about inviting rudy giuliani and a group of trump's new york real estate friends including tom barrack, richard lafrak and howard lorber to the white house to stage an intervention last week. the president refused to take the meeting." here with me now someone who worked with donald trump for the better part of two decades. former head of construction at trump tower here in new york. good to see. you. >> nice to see you. >> let's start with allen weisselberg because he's someone
i think people didn't have much of a sense of until last week when he was reported to have been granted immunity. how central is he to the organization? >> he probably is more central than i initially thought. when i worked with him he was really the guy that paid the bills, collect the rents and get the invoices, that kind of thing. but he's been with trump so long and trump so values family, he's part of the family, that i think he probably moved into a position of more authority and maybe a little bit more information and influence. but i don't think that he is in the inner circle. he certainly wasn't when i was there. >> that's interesting. the family dynamic, you see roger stone sort of darkly warning that don jr.'s on the hook and there's no reason to think that he knows anything that we don't know publicly. but one of the issues it seems to me is the president, because he so mixes family and business, has now put his family in a position where they're exposed. >> and he i think he has put them in a position where they're exposed. and i think they're not -- they are culpable too. they played the role that they were assigned very well. and i do think they're in position where they're possibly
exposed. i don't know if stone is right, there's nothing wrong with them. but i do think lying went on about the meeting, about who was there, about when it happened, about why it happened. >> and you said before you just don't think it's plausible that given the way that donald trump operates and the given the relationship he had with his son and others that something like that meeting would happen without him being given a heads-up. >> absolutely not. nothing important happened without trump knowing about it. even things that weren't so important he wanted to know about. >> he was kind of micromanager. >> he was a bit of a -- it's funny because when you needed him he was ant round a lot of times. but it was $5,000 for a subcontractor he wanted to know why. you know, that kind of thing 37. >> that's very interesting. do you think that there's -- how do you think the organization is functioning now with the fact the sons are running it and he is putatively not touching it at all? i guess do you buy that that's the case? >> well, i don't really think that the sons are running it per se. i think it's kind of -- it's
really not an organization, it's not a company of any kind. it's just a whole bunch of groups put together and names associated with it. >> it's not like a huge complex like business with a ton of employees, right? >> no, it's not. and it doesn't have, you know, like an organizational chart. we used to say there would be an organizational chart would be donald on the top and everybody else because that's basically the way it was run. but as far as them running the organization is concerned i think it probably pretty much runs itself in terms of day-to-day operations and that kind of thing. and as far as major questions, major answers, major problems i can't imagine trump is not -- >> that it's not still going to him. >> yeah. >> there's two schools of thought about the president. one is that he is incapable of self-restraint, impetuous, has no self-discipline. the other is that he's cannier than he looks, that he can stop himself when he needs to, that he kind of knows what he's doing. and that has been a crucial debate and question as we watch him sort of escalate his attacks on mueller, which is this sort
of fits of pique or is he doing it strategically? what do you think as someone who worked with him for years? >> i think he is now scrambling. >> you do. you don't think this is some chess, some strategic escalation? >> no. i've seen donald be a little strategic but he does tend to fly off without control. >> and he does. >> absolutely. >> and he gets very upsxet and angry and calls people -- >> yes, absolutely. turns white. it's really a very rough scene. >> so when you read these reports about him spending all weekend like gabe sherman reported calling people up and yelling at them that scans to you as the donald trump that you know? >> absolutely, yes. definitely. >> do you think there's been a decline in his ability, though, to sort of listen to advice and sort of tack as needed over time? >> well, over the time that i knew him i noticed that dramatically. in the three years that i was gone from him that i did trump tower and then i came back to do other projects. he was a different person totally. when i was there he listened.
he listened to me. he listened to the contractors. he listened to some of his people, the architects. i mean, it was a struggle. it was always a struggle. but after that i noticed he was surrounding himself with sycophants and he was being told how great he is and he was liking that. and i observed that over time. now i think it's ridiculous. i don't think anyone can control him. and i think they tried to control him with cohen and initially he was a little laid back but then he couldn't. he had to do it. he had to do it. >> that's very interesting. barbara res, thank you. i appreciate it. >> it was a pleasure. >> just one week after the president admitted he personally provided the hush money payment for stormy daniels the adult film actress, alleging they had an affair. one week after that donald trump is hosting a white house dinner with his evangelical supporters. that story next. ers. that story next. it's so simple, i don't even have to think about it. so i think about mouthfeel. i don't think about the ink card. i think about nitrogen ice cream in supermarkets all over the world. i think about the details. fine, i obsess over the details.
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america's a nation of believers, and tonight we're joined by faith leaders from across the country who believe in the dignity of life, the glory of god, and the power of prayer. everybody agree with that? >> yes. >> this hour the president is inside the white house hosting a number of prominent evangelical christians for an event that david brody of the christian broadcast network said was like a state dinner for evangelical leaders. it's unclear when the event was scheduled. what is clear is that this dinner gives the president an opportunity to cozy up to a portion of his base that is most loyal, particularly at a time of scandal. like the extraordinary fact that two of the president's closest associates were convicted in federal court less than a week ago of multiple felonies or that the president himself last week somewhat casually, one must say,
was finally forced to admit his involvement in the hush money payment to an adult actress. but that's done nothing to shatter the conviction of evangelical christians who seem incredibly clear-eyed about the pact they've made with the president. >> i would say the thing that would cause me to change would be for example if he suddenly became pro choice, if he started to say, well, you know what, we've had enough conservative justices at the federal courts and on the supreme court, we need somebody more moderate. those things i think would cause evangelicals to turn away. i don't see either one of those things happening. look, he's very smart. he knows he's got to have his evangelical base behind him. and i think he's going to continue to support those policies that put him into office. >> we'll talk more about the relationship between the president and evangelical christians. i'm joined by amy sullivan who's reported on this for years, host of "impolite company," a weekly podcast on politics and religion. i thought that jeffress clip, amy, is so striking because it is so clear-eyed and so honest about what exactly the nature of
this political pact is. >> exactly. they're very open about the fact that this is transactional, this is not about personal moral character, which may cause some whip ashe for those of us who remember 1998 and the things some of these same evangelical leaders were saying when bill clinton and his involvement with monica lewinsky was all over the news. then we heard a lot about how important it was to have moral leadership and how we couldn't as a country stand for having a president who had anything less than the most sterling moral character. but this is another time and this is another political party evangelicals are working with. >> do you think people are -- i think when you're forced to mag arguments you end up believing them often. so i wonder the interior spiritual life, are people aware they're being transactional and hypocritical or have people sort of reasoned themselves into a place where they have some sense that no, actually he's morally
elevated or a spiritually enlightened individual? >> well, you know, it's kind of both and for a lot of folks. there is some really interesting theological gymnastics that's been going on in terms of what people have been able to talk themselves into. you hear a lot about people saying, well, if you look through the bible there are many instances of god using somebody of less than sterling moral character for his own purposes. and so they're very open about saying look, donald trump is not somebody i would expect to sit next to me in the pew at church but he's going to put people on the court, justice jeffress says he's going to do what we want in terms a pro life agenda and so we're happy with him. and then there are other folks who reportedly, i've heard this, do believe that they are going to be the ones to lead donald trump to christ and that by being close to him they're going
to be able to kind of land this white whale. >> we don't have time to put it up but one of the most amazing spiritual exchanges between david brody, i noted earlier, and donald trump on his golf course when he asked him what he thinks of god and trump goes into a long revery about how it's great he owns the golf course without a mortgage. i guess the sort of question to me is from a policy perspective is it really the course -- jason zangerly who has a great piece in the "new york times" magazine, says it's just about the sheer efficacy and sort of ambition and ruthlessness with which mcconnell and don mcgahn and trump are putting judges on the federal judiciary that represent the sort of evangelical agenda and the right wing of the party. is that really the key thing? >> well, look, you've got a lot of folks in kind of what we broadly they've as the religious right who are thrilled about what trump is doing with the courts. and yet who are not willing to do something like go to this dinner right now at the white house and stand and kind of be
willing to be used for political purposes. the folks who are there tonight, these are the folks who weren't really in the in crowd during, say, george w. bush's presidency. >> interesting. >> because those guys, they kind of learned their lesson. they didn't want to be used for political purposes. and that's what they took out of bush's administration and their experience with him. but these are the guys who are willing to make an idol of political proximity. >> that's really interesting. amy sullivan, thanks for joining us. i appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. ? coming up next, donald trump's attempt to make a major announcement is derailed by advanced speakerphone technology. that's tonight's thing 1, thing 2, starting next. tarting next i take trulicity once a week to activate my body to release its own insulin, like it's supposed to. trulicity is not insulin. it works 24/7. it comes in an easy-to-use pen. and i may even lose a little weight.
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thing 1 tonight. it was over a year -- three years ago, july 2015, at the family leadership summit in iowa when then candidate donald trump was asked by the moderator about his claim that john mccain was a dummy. trump not only defended his position, he went after mccain for being captured during the vietnam war. >> he's not a war hero. >> he's a war hero. 5 1/2 years -- >> he's a war hero because he was captured. i like people that weren't captured. okay? i hate to tell you. he's a war hero because he was captured. okay? >> i'm sure you've seen that clip before. maybe you gaffed along with the audience. but don't think that was some
one-time thing. donald trump has been slamming john mccain this way for decades. >> the way trump looks at it, he's at least better than everyone else in the race, beginning with john mccain. >> he was captured. >> he flew combat missions with distinction. >> does being captured make you a hero? i don't know. i'm not sure. >> 1999. now, today as most of washington was paying their respects and watching the flags go up and down in the white house trump really wanted to change the subject badly. so he called everyone into the oval office for a huge announcement of a brand new trade deal with mexico. >> and i believe the president is on the phone. enrique? >> trump v. speakerphone is thing 2, in 60 seconds. n 60 secs ever since i started renting from national. because national lets me lose the wait at the counter...
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mccain today president trump tried to rush out an announcement of a proposed trade deal with mexico. and if it weren't for that confounded speakerphone he might have succeeded. >> i believe the president is on the phone. enrique? you can hook him up. you tell me when. oh, he is? a big thing. a lot of people waiting. >> introducing president pena nieto. >> hello? do you want to put that on this phone, please? hello?
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illinois, joins me now. senator, you're -- tell me a little about your relationship, your feeling about john mccain. obviously, you shared a bond in that you were both veterans, you had both been through quite an experience in your respective service. >> well, he was always one of my personal heroes, serving in the military, how could he not be for anyone who's worn the uniform of this country. and as his colleague here as a fellow senator it was quite breathtaking for me, and i was able to sponsor some legislation with him. so for me to go from seeing a hero and to one who i got to work with even just in the last few months of miz life before he took ill was personally very, very important to me. >> it was a strange scene today in washington. it doesn't seem like the most important thing on this occasion but it does seem worth asking what you made of the weirdness with the flag up and down and the president's statement and all of that in the midst of
this. >> well, you know, in a time where folks try to divide us we need to ignore all that and focus on the legacy of john mccain and all the things that he did for this country. i think that's what he would want us to do. and if you look at his statement that he wrote before his passing, you'll see that he was really emphasizing wanting us to come back together as a nation to put america first. he certainly always put this country first before everything else. and i think that's what we should focus on and just ignore everything else. everything else is just noise at this point. we should come together as a nation to celebrate this man, his legacy and his service to this nation. >> you know, one of the things he did that i think has not gotten as much attention as maybe it deserves is the work he did with john kerry in 1994 around normalizing relations with vietnam in which he obviously had a very specific and kind of unrivaled moral authority to basically say it is okay to normalize relations, to go to vietnam and say we are going to be at peace with this country, this regime that
imprisoned me. and i wonder your reflection on that because he's thought of as a hawk, and he was p. and he was the advocate of a lot of u.s. military intervention. but he did use his unique voice in that specific way with respect to vietnam. >> well, i think that is reflective of the greatness that was john mccain. he did that. i still bear a grudge against the guy who shot me down. whoever that was that fired the rpg against me. if you put me in the same room with him i would have a civil discussion with the guy. here's john mccain after five years as a p.o.w. where he was tortured daily to be able to sit down and normalize relations with vietnam just shows how great a man he was and how much he truly placed this nation before any of his own personal interests. and i certainly think that the normalization with vietnam was good for this country and good for our economy and was the right thing to do. >> you know, he obviously was a very prominent supporter of the war in iraq.
that was the war in which you were shot down by an rpg. at the end of his life he said this side and like to get your reaction to it. he said "the principal reason for invading iraq, that saddam had wmd, was wrong. the war with you its cost in lives and treasure and security can't be judged as anything but a mistake, a very serious one, and i have to accept my share of the blame for it." >> well, i agree with him. i agree with him. i've always said the war was wrong. i was opposed to it from the very beginning. i still served. i was proud of my service. and i would continue to serve today if the military would want a legless helicopter pilot. but let me tell you, i think it says something about john mccain that he understood and was willing to admit that when a mistake has been made and to learn from those mistakes and to not do them again and not make those same mistakes in the future. which is why he has also spoken out about the need for a new authorization for use of military force when it comes to afghanistan, when it comes to iraq, to setting up those parameters for how we deploy our
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that's why we ask for their help. arizona senator john mccain was a towering figure in american politics. throughout his decades long career, people have found themselves at one point or another either cheering on john mccain for his righteousness and bravery or being infuriated by his object continue answer and wrong headedness. he leaves behind an extremely enduring legacy. a man who has been on both the right and wrong sides on the most important questions. joining me now, writer for esquire magazine. a piece was out today about the sincerity and the popularity of the senator from arizona. i thought it was interesting to talk about whether americans still care about the intentions
of a politician. >> i think part of what people liked, why he was more popular than his policy agenda. a broad sense that basically john mccain was out of principle. if he was wrong, he came at it honestly. i think you've seen in the trump era, a real citizen evening of meaning well. from the level, people like john mccain. they used this positive public image to pursue an agenda. the wrap on mccain was that he was a standard issue republican politician on a wide variety of issues which was complicated by his vote to save obamacare. and then from the right, i think part of what has animated trumpism has been this idea that these well meaning politicians with global ideas, and mccain some genuinely big global ideas about spreading democracy. he was a supporter of immigration and the good that immigration does for people around the world. saying that's people giving away
your stuff. what you need is someone greedy like donald trump who will not be nice like john mccain. so i think partly, people have soured on the idea of an earnest politician like john mccain. and not always for crazy reasons. the stuff on the left, john mccain made some really big mistakes, supporting the iraq war that got a lot of people killed. >> you had occasion to cover him over a long period of his career. what are your thoughts? >> yeah. the very first profile i wrote for esquire back in 1999 was with john mccain. it was marked by the fact that i was with him in arizona at 6:00 in the morning pacific time the day the lewinsky scandal broke. it was the first time i had ever laid eyes on him. we were in his car driving around going to events. it was my hang-around time.
he hadn't known me for 15 minutes and he said, what do you think should i say about this? first of all, what i am a supposed to say to sar united states senator about whether or not the president has been doing the hired help? the second thing was, the second thing i thought was, now i understand why he gets the press he does. he's already involved me in this. as somebody who appreciates good political moves the same way i appreciate the good baseline drive, i thought that was, i was very impressed by that. >> he had, i think people on capitol hill, staffers, fellow members of the united states senate and politics and reporters all, felt like a connection to him. he was very good at pulling those folks in, particularly the press who he lovingly teased and spent a lot of time with and cared a lot about. >> he was driven by honor and that is why he had this image as the maverick. sometimes that would lead him to
policy positions that were surprising, driven by a life event. he got caught up in a relatively minor way in the scandal in washington. that was a formative experience led him to be one of the people behind the campaign finance reform push. he ended up behind the tax cuts. mabel because he lost the presidential primaries to george bush. but he was there, sometimes it was frustrating. covering him on economic policy, it was clear he didn't have deep thoughts. >> he even said so much about it. he even that, i'm not that much into domestic policy. like throwaway line. the thing that he was very focused on, i would love to get your thoughts on it. to me, this has me thinking in a broader sense about this country's failure in many ways to reckon with the disaster that was iraq. john mccain not single handedly
responsible for that but he was a very vocal advocate. it seemed that hundreds of thousands died in that war, many innocent civilians and noncombatants. and the country has not quite come to terms with what we did there and what it meant. >> i think one of the reasons we haven't completely reckoned with iraq is we haven't reckoned with vietnam yet. we are still killing people in vietnam. with unexploded ordnance. i'll tell a story about my hang-around time with him. this was back in washington. an aide came in and they were just chatting. and i forget about what. she mentioned that one of her kids had gotten in trouble at his school. and he said, you know what you do? tell him to say. this i am a black air pirate committing crimes against a
peace loving people at my school. that has worked for me in the past. i seriously laughed at that. a while later, it was my wife who pointed it out. there's a lot of dark rooful thought in that answer. and one of the things about that it made him appealing is that he sort of lived in this constant state of atonement for sins examined and unexamined. and i could never quite get my finger on it. but there was a lot of apologizing in the act of being john mccain. >> it is really well said. and part of that was the palin decision and the rally, he gave rise to trumpism before it was called trumpism. >> that's a classic mccain mistake. it was an impulsive decision. i was discussing this this week. if you look at sarah palin's tenure as governor of alaska in 2007, 2008, it is not as obvious
at the time that they would turn into what she did. but there wasn't a lot of data. you shouldn't have taken risk. it was the kind of gut thing that john mccain did. >> thank you both. that's "all in" for this evening. >> thanks, my friend. thanks for joining us. happy to have you with us. there has been a bunch of breaking news late this afternoon and into this evening including the surprise ruling tonight from a panel of three federal judges that could have a really big impact on the democrats' chances of winning control of congress. winning control of the house of representatives this fall. as you know, the mid-term elections coming up very fast. they are ten weeks away. but there is been ongoing litigation in multiple states about whether or not the maps that define congressional districts in certain states have been drawn fairly. well, tonight the three-judge ne