tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC October 26, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
on tuesday. if you want to subscribe, it's msnbc.com/bagman. word" with ali velshi in for lawrence tonight. >> all right, and amazing at the same time. i've already signed up. rachel, have a fantastic weekend. we'll see you next week. >> much appreciated. the president of the united states cannot or will not unite the country after a national crisis. that's where we stand after the end of a week that saw 14 explosive devices mailed to trump critics and democratic officials. but the president hasn't just struggled to unify, he's shown little interest in even trying. "the washington post" writes time and again trump has sought to sow discord betting that most americans prefer his pugilistic divisive style over the sanitized mold of his predecessors. today on a day where four more devices were discovered to have been sent to politicians, trump critics and former officials, trump ramped up his rhetoric
again at a rally in north carolina. >> in recent days we've had a broader conversation about the tone and civility of our national dialogue. the media has a major role to play whether they want to or not. >> there were chants of cnn sucks as the president called for a conversation about tone and civility, he let the rally crowd chant cnn sucks. no attempt to shut it down whatsoever. then he continued. >> when a bernie sanders supporter tried to murder congressional republicans and severely wounded a great man named steve scalise and others,
we did not use that heinous attempt at mass murder for political gain. >> that would be the definition of false equivalence. bernie sanders has never incited or called for violence. trump regularly calls reporters enemies of the people. he's encouraged supporters to knock the crap out of protesters. he's praised a congressman for body slamming a reporter. then the president said this. >> nor do we blame the democrat party every time radical leftists seize and destroy public property and unleash violence and mayhem. >> let's just pause for a moment. it's friday. we can do that. in recent weeks trump has explicitly said that democrats produce mobs. his supporters even carry around signs that say jobs, not mobs. the president refuses even this week to tone down his partisan attacks. stop the lies, refrain from lashing out at enemies. and with all that in mind trump
somehow still rejected any notion of responsibility. here he is again. >> no, not at all. no, there's no blame. there's no anything. >> there's no anything. there is certainly no pivot with this president. there never is. here are the facts as they stand tonight. federal law enforcement officials have arrested a florida man suspected of orchestrating the mail bomb campaign against critics of president trump. caesar sayoc, who's got a criminal history dating back to 1992 has been charged with five separate federal crimes connected to the assembly and mailing of these explosive devices. caesar sayoc could spend as many as 58 years in prison, and that's if no other charges are made. he's a registered republican. his van and social media profile painted a chilling portrait of
someone who heavily trafficked in pro-trump anti-democratic anti-media propaganda and conspiracy theories. his van was adorned with stickers and ortwork featuring cross hairs of hillary clinton and other figures reviled by the hard right. not just hillary clinton but also the obamas, eric holder and cnn. numerous political and media figures that the president and conservative media have singled out were on his van including some who work at this network. caesar sayoc's twitter profile shows him attending trump rallies, cheering on chants of cnn sucks and posting conspiracies about the clinton's quote, murder list. on his facebook profile caesar sayoc's likes pages called kill george soros and kill all socialists. why facebook allowed pages like those to exist is another story. his arrest comes as four additional explosive devices
were found. bringing the total of number explosive devices to 14. the new targets california senator kamala harris, new jersey senator cory booker, and former director of national intelligence james clapper. and tonight federal officials linked a 14th device to caesar sayoc addressed to billionaire tom steyer and found at a postal facility in california. this afternoon chris wray shot down a conspiracy theory on the right, one the president seemed to be pushing this morning. >> these are not hoax devices. i want to focus for a moment on the amazing work from the folks at our fbi lab. they uncovered a latent fingerprint from one of the envelopes containing an ied that had been sent to congresswoman maxine waters. we have confirmed this fingerprint is that of caesar sayoc. >> joining us now harry litman, deputy assistant attorney
general under president clinton, michael, and matt miller and an msnbc contributor. thank you to all of you for joining us on a friday night. harry, let me start with you. what do you make of what they've got on this guy. it took them three days to find him. most people who know about these things were fairly confident they would because bomb making leaves quite a trail. what's your sense of this? >> well, they've got a fingerprint, that's big. and there's some suggestion that they already have dna. that's big. but they're going to be getting so much more. they mainly wanted to get him off the street immediately ali. now we have the van, all kinds of social media, friends, search warrants of homes, other people in the rallies. they will be assembling a wealth of evidence over the next several weeks. so i think it's impressive that they so quickly got enough to hold him.
but i think it pales in next to what they will be assembling over the next couple of weeks. charges will probably increase, and we'll see a fairly rich picture of exactly who this guy is and how he came to from a trump supporter to an actual terrorist. >> michael, 14 bombs with real explosive powder in them, with shrapnel, we've heard. this could be a very different conversation we could be having tonight. we're talking about 14 failed attempts. we'll learn more about that in the coming days. but donald trump was asked today by a reporter whether he would tone down his rhetoric. let's listen to that exchange. >> would you yourself pledge to tone down the rhetoric over the next few days? >> well, i think i've been toned down. i could tone it up because as you know the media has been extremely unfair to me. >> i could really tone it up. it seems the president has learned nothing from this week. >> well, of course not.
and as always in these situations, ali, we should take him at his word. he's going to tone it up over the course of the next week. i have no doubt about that because he is going to realize, he's going to start thinking about it -- he already has as we saw from some of his tweets, but he's going to think about this more politically and what kind of impact this is going to have on tuesday, november 6th, election day. and as he suspects as he reasonably will i think that this stands a chance of hurting his side, all he's going to think about, ali -- he's not going to think about how to be the president of the united states. he's not going to think about how to say anything that might have a prayer of bringing the country together or making people feel like americans involved in a common enterprise. all he's going to do is cast blame and figure out a way to try and turn this to his and the republican's advantage and try and blame it on the media, blame it on the democrats, blame it on the liberals, blame it on somebody. you know he and his friends in
the right wing media are going to be cooking that up all next week. >> i do kind that find that hard to believe. it's been happening all week and even as we speak to those people who thought this was a false flag or argued it was a false flag. i don't think anybody actually thought that. matt miller, the president tweeted this morning, and this surprised me and i don't know how we can be surprised. republicans are doing so well in early voting and at the polls, and now this bomb, in quotes stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows. news not talking politics. very unfortunate what is going on. republicans, go out and vote. get in the mind of the president here. how does that tweet come out of the the commander in chief of the united states at a meet that is very frightening for a lot of americans? >> you know, ali, it's a reprehensible thing to say. and i go back and put together the time line. chris wray said the fbi got onto this suspect at some point last night. so you would assume the white house was briefed on that immediately.
we don't know that was the case. but that's usually the case in these events. so in the middle of the night at 3:14 in the morning, i think, the president sends his first tweet out attacking cnn. he then sends this other tweet out at 10:00 in the morning. you have to go back and say one of two things happened. either the president doesn't know the fbi found somebody who's a pro-trump supporter and has pro-trump leanings and he's not staying on top of this case. or two he knows about this, and the fbi is going to make an arrest, the arrest was made within an hour of him having sent that tweet. and he's just taking the chance to flan the flames of a conspiracy theory. he will get to the podium and read the script, but he will find a way to send a signal to reporters that they don't have to believe what the press has to say. they can choose a conspiracy theory option that is more politically advantageous to what
they see to their political divide. >> and they're now using this false equivalence that bernie sanders told this guy to shoot-up the baseball game. that's absolutely not true. but harry litman, let's go a little further. the white house told us or told the media that the president is on top of this thing in the last three days as we've been pursuing this, that he's being informed. talk to me about -- the authorities were onto this guy yesterday. the president tweeted overnight, in the overnight hours about this, quote, bomb stuff. whether or not they had told him they were about to make an arrest clearly the president understood that this is not a bomb in quotes. this is serious matter. it's a domestic terrorist attack. >> you know, it is stunning. i mean, if he does know, i agree 100% with matt it is reprehensible and you'll think
he'll take one last chance to try to give red meat to the base. there is another hypothesis. there's no doubt, no doubt the fbi informed the white house. but they could have informed the chief of staff and, you know, it's possible that he could have decided to keep trump in the dark for a little bit until the guy was certain to be apprehended, knowing the recklessness and the erraticness of the commander in chief. so one possibility is he actually didn't know. although, i think by 10:00 a.m. he has to. and then that he he's still in his mode of partisan, blaming the victim et cetera is really deplorable. >> and michael, the president actually criticized in that tweet that we just showed, criticizing cnn about the comparisons to oklahoma city. but under each of our last few presidents you can find an example of something that was threatening to the entire country. in the case of president clinton
it was oklahoma city. in the case of president george w. bush it was 9/11. with barack obama, sandy hook comes to mind. in those moments of national threat regardless of the fact these bombs didn't go off and we're thankful for that, in those moments those presidents all found the ability to just put partisanship aside. donald trump has not been able to do that, and nothing actually went wrong this time. >> well, it's something he hasn't been able to do -- it's that he doesn't want to do it. he has no desire to do it. he has the desire to do the opposite. he wants to be president of only of half -- it's not quite half even. of 42% of the country that approves of the job he's doing, that's what wants to be president of. i believe he actively hates about half of the country, and he doesn't want to be its president at any time or under any circumstances.
yes, all presidents in our age they walk up to the line of very tough partisan rhetoric and sometimes cross it. but they all know in the back of their minds that there will come times when they do have to be president of all the country, and they go and do that with dignity. not this guy. he doesn't want to do it. >> matt miller, what happens now? i think we're all a little bit alarmed at the degree to which our discourse has led to this in america. i think we're all also alarmed that the president cannot speak about civility and discourse without blaming both the media without blaming both the media in the same sentence. in his mind everybody is contributing to this mess. i don't think everybody is contributing to this mess, but what do we do do move forward? >> i think the safest prediction to make is the president will say something worse in the next couple of days. it wasn't a hard thing to predict. we've always seen him do this. he's done it in the wake of the
events in charlottesville. he's done it every time he talks about the russian investigation. all the times you would expect him to take off the partisan hat and pull the country together, he won't do it. and i think michael's right. he doesn't really see himself as the president of the entire country. he sees himself as the president of the republican party. i think in the coming days you may see him fan the flames of the conspiracy theory again. but he might as he did today tone up the rhetoric. he said, oh, i'm not going to say it tonight, i'm not going to say it. everyone knows what he's talking about and in the next few days he's going to be back to leading lock her up chants and looking the other way when everyone screams cnn sucks.
>> for the last two nights people have chanted lock her and cnn sucks. they've made comments about george soros. the president has in no way intervened. matt, thank you for being with us. harry litman, and michael thanks to you. as investigators were frantically searching for the bomb maker, some on the right were stoking this conspiracy theory this assassination attempt was simply a false flag. and next president obama who was the intended target of one of the bombs had a few things to say about president trump today. before i had the shooting, burning, diabetic nerve pain, these feet... ...raised a good sport... ...and became a second-generation firefighter. but i couldn't bear my diabetic nerve pain any longer. so i talked to my doctor, and he prescribed lyrica. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions, suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worse depression, unusual changes in mood or behavior, swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters,
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from the moment the news broke that several bombs had been mailed to prominent liberals who are all frequent targets of donald trump's heated rhetoric the right wing in this country, the right wing media began pedaling a conspiracy theory that this attack was a false flag operation. now, that's a term which you may not be familiar but refers to a hoax intended to misdirection. in this case it was sent by someone on the left in order to hurt republicans. in a now deleted tweet fox business host lou dobbs asked fakes news, fake bombs, who could benefit from so much fakery. that message was hammered on for days on conservative media outlets.
>> wouldn't it serve your purpose if you're a democrat operative to make it look like the republicans are bunch of insane lunatics? >> it could be someone who's trying to get the democratic vote out and encourage sympathy. >> the left feels they're losing on many levels, and feel they're planting these devices just for >> two weeks before a major election who's going to look like a bad guy here? the republicans. >> i believe this whole thing was an elaborate hoax. isn't it just as likely it's an enemy of the president that put this together? >> we have the worst right wing bomb maker in history or we have a false flag operation where it's a left wing type of operation to create hysteria. >> so the only thing in all of that that might be true is this might actually be the worst right wing bomb maker in history. trump embraced the conspiracy theories he saw on fox news. republicans are doing so well in
early voting he tweeted and now at the polls, and now this bomb, in quote stuff happens, and momentum slows. they had arrested 56-year-old caesar sayoc who's van is covered in anti-left wing propaganda. but other right wing voices weren't backing down. anne colter who repeated this falsehood that she'd been quoting for days bombs are a liberal tactic. joining us now from the daily beast and analyst. we just played a whole bunch of right wing journalists and what they said about this, but actually here's what trump supporters, not journalist, not famous people at this rally, before the rally in north carolina tonight had to say
about this. >> just because someone has a trump sticker on their car doesn't mean they're a trump fan. you know, it doesn't mean nothing. >> so you don't think this guy actually sent these bombs? >> no, probably not. >> why? >> they probably had it done. they may have paid him to do it. >> there's radical people on all sides. there can be people that are problem creators. they create problems, like people on the left can create them. people on the alt right can create them. >> i think i heard something about it being a bernie sanders supporter. you know, there's so much news going on right now that people don't know what to believe so they stick with what they know. >> matt, if you couldn't see me, i pulled all my hair out while i was listening to those things. barack obama probably sent it to himself, hillary clinton probably sent it to herself, there's radical people on all sides.
but the problem, matt, is they pick this up from somewhere. nobody invented this stuff. >> i think alex jones' conspiracy is spreading at this point. conspiracy theories aren't new to the right, but the false flag nonsense used to be sort of cordoned off on the fringes. people like alex jones and his ilk. the president was, you know, became a major political figure in virtue of pushing a racist conspiracy theory about barack obama, and that really opened up the flood gates. >> jonathan, let's just talk about this. there's sort of a few ways you can look at this. you can think this absolute conspiracy theory, false flag nonsense or you can affect the fact this guy had been at trump rallies, he's been posting for a long time on social media, he's been an anti-democrat for a long
time, he dwells in the darkest recesses of the internet. and you can also say that maybe donald trump didn't put him up to it. there's space in between, but the right wing seems so determined to only express the fact this is either false flag democratic stuff or it's got nothing to do with the rhetoric in this country. >> right, well, look, you can't say that donald trump caused this demented individual to do this, but you can definitively say that he inspired him to do this. and the maga bomber, as this guy i think will be known from now on was at trump rallies. it's not just the signs. so you actually have to be a flat earther, somebody who does not respect facts at all, to try to argue this has no connection at all to his being a maga guy. even the president himself on
the south lawn today leaving from north carolina, he said, yeah, i guess was one of my guys. he didn't denounce that, didn't say this wasn't right. he didn't even have the common courtesy and decency to call his predecessors in office and make sure they were feeling okay about this. >> he specifically was asked if he would, and he said i'll take a pass. >> yes, this is reprehensible behavior. it's not just un-presidential behavior, it's disgusting, reprehensible behavior. now, we're going to have a ref rendm on this behavior. if you think it should be checked -- if you think it should be enabled, vote republican. it's that simple. >> let's think about that. to believe some of these conspiracy theories, you have to be a flat earther. you probably had to be a flat earther to believe barack obama
was born in kenya. there are a lot of flat earthers in america apparently. >> the simple explanation for why someone was sending bombs to a host of democratic politicians is that that person did not like the people he was sending the bombs to. it's not that it's a, you know, vast conspiracy in which liberals are sending the bombs, you know, deliberately making sure they won't go off because they are -- >> well, that's obvious to you and jonathan and me, but at least there's a whole bunch of people who fall for this stuff. that's why i wanted to play that stuff for you. what do we do about that? the idea that so quickly, someone trying to kill somebody with a bomb probably doesn't like the person he or she is trying to kill, how quickly that can flip. >> yeah, it's a very difficult problem. we are in a media environment now that is very fractured, one in which people can go out and find exactly the news that suits their tastes, and often that
news is steeped in conspiracy theories and paranoia. and it's very difficult to reach those people. you know, they're not tuning in tonight to find out what the facts are about this case. they're, you know, on facebook. they're on twitter. they're listening to the people that they were inclined to believe already. they're listening to the president. >> you're not going to ever convince these people. all that you can do is decide that this weekend and next weekend instead of playing golf or going to the gym, you start wringing your hands and you start ringing doorbells. elections have consequences. what we've found from all this is that words have consequences, as they always have. you know, enemy of the people, that was used by the stalinists, by paul pott, by moise donge. these people are radicalized by fundamentalists online and radicalized by donald trump
targeting people. when trump started talking about steve scalise -- >> bernie sanders never told anybody to -- >> this is critical point. bernie sanders and nancy pelosi did not get up and put steve scalise with a target on him, and say it's okay to body slam steve scalise. nobody ever said that. so this idea that both sides do it, which is something that people who are not conspiracy theorists, just regular trauchl apologists are engaging in this what aboutism, this both siderism, that's all bull. this is being done by one side in this country. >> thanks to both of you for coming in on a friday night. coming up, former president barack obama was out on the campaign trail tonight. and he had a few things to get off his chest about president trump and republicans. you don't want to miss this.
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we're continuing to moner the ongoing investigation into the attempted bombing of several high profile democratic figures. today twof his targets took to the campaign trail to rally voters ahead of the elections. barack obama in michigan today. joe biden in new york. the former vice president directly addressed the bombing attempts. >> i hope this craziness going on about these pipe bombs, i hope our leaders are going to work to lower the temperature of
our dialogue. and i faith the vast majority will do that. because, folks, we're a lot better than this. >> obama didn't mention the bombing but stayed focused on the upcoming elections. the affordable care act. >> the law made it illegal for the first time for insurers to discriminate you if you got a pre-existing condition. we put an end to that. democrats made that happen. not a single republican, not one joined us. not one. repeat that. not one. >> not one! >> since that time they have spent the last eight years obsessed with trying to undermine, sabotage, repeal that
law that makes sure you're not discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions. they've done everything they could. they took over 60 votes in congress to get rid of it. now that it's election season, these same republicans are running millions of dollars worth of ads around the country saying we're going to protect pre-existing conditions. your governor's been running one of those ads while his administration is literally suing the government to take away pre-existing conditions protections. that is some kind of gall. that is some kind of hootspa, but let's also call it what it is. it is a lie. >> call it what it is, a lie. that line became something of a
theme throughout the former president's speeches today. in two separate speeches he repeatedly called all of the ways that the republican party has embraced the era of blatant mandacity ushered in by the current president. >> what we have not seen before in our public life -- is politicians just blatantly repeatedly, baldly, shamelessly lying. just making stuff up. the president said he passed a middle class tax cut before the next election. congress isn't even in session. he just makes it up. >> in both of his speeches the president stayed focus on the upcoming mid-term elections and warned voters to be leery of last minute scare tactics ahead of them. >> in that 2010 mid-terms it was that government bureaucrats are going to kill your grandma.
just made it up, but that was a thing. 2014, ebola is going to kill all of us. remember that? in the last election it was hillary's e-mails. this is terrible. hillary's e-mails, we were hearing e-mails everywhere. this is a national security crisis. they didn't care about e-mails. and you know how you know because if they did they'd be up in arms right now that the chinese are listening to the president's iphone that he leaves in his golf cart. it turns out it wasn't -- i guess it wasn't that important. >> two years into the trump presidency many americans including many of us in the media have become numb to this reality of this current political moment. and there's something powerful about a former president reminding us all that this is
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anything. let me tell you what they've done. in washington they have racked up enough indicts to field a football team. >> joining us now john nickels, and the national spokesperson for move on.com. let's start with you. the president wasn't holding back nor was the former vice president, joe biden. is it enough to motivate people the only way to change things is to go out and vote next tuesday? >> i think so. look, president obama, there was a poll that showed president obama had 63% in his popularity. he is the most popular living president that we have. there was a detroit resident that i read today online that said president obama still is president until he gets a new one. and i think that says it all. so what president obama and joe
biden are doing are the closing arguments. the closing arguments of less than two weeks as to why people should go out. let's not forget we actually have data that shows us for the past year the enthusiasm has been there on the democratic party in off-year elections and also in special elections. so now we have to do it. it's all about the ground game. and i think president obama is the best person out there to make that argument. and he said in his speech. he's saying, look, we can't let history pass us by. we can't sit back, and we are a country of movements. whether it's the lgbtq movement, the civil rights movement, the womens rights movement, we have to take action. and i think that is indeed resonating. you see thousands of people lining up waiting to hear from him, and we'll see. but i really do think he is the best messenger and can really lay out the stark contrasts between him, the republicans and also donald trump. >> well, john nickels, he's got a lot of stuff to work with, whether it's the tax bill or
these remarkable ads that republicans are running about how they're going to protect pre-existing conditions after literally spending eight years trying to get rid of it, being involved in actual lawsuits right now. here's some of the closing argument that president obama made. >> while they are distracting you with this fear mongering they're robbing you blind. they're handing out the tax cuts to their billionaire friends. look, look, over there. look, there's the boogeyman over there. they'll take away your health care. look, look, some folks are marching, coming -- it's like a con, you know, where the door-to-door salesman tries to sell you a security system while his buddies in the back are sneaking in and taking your stuff. >> john, what do you think? do you think the argument is going to sort of permeate the environment so people understand what they have to do?
>> it has the potential to do that. if this is the only set of speeches that the former president delivers it won't be enough. because we live in a chaotic moment where something that happened two days ago is quickly lost. but if he takes this on the road and keeps coming back to it, and frankly building on it, it has tremendous potential. this was a roll your sleeves up speech. it's notable that in milwaukee the president appeared without his coat. he went to that microphone obviously with intention. and think about the drama of the moment. this was a man who was the subject of an assassination attempt this week. and i think people were expecting him perhaps to be a bit shaken or at least, you know, having some sort of overlay on him. that was not the case.
this was a confident, very impassioned figure speaking about the times of which we live. i would compare it to the speeches that you heard a very long time ago from harry truman where you had a combination of some anger, some humor. but also remember that truman hit the trail after he was president, in a way different than what we've seen in recent generations. and he went out there to defend the new deal and the fair deal and to say we cannot let these things go. my sense is that is what barack obama was doing today. if he continues to do it, i think he has the potential to break through the fake news and the fake politics of our time and really have a transformational role in this election. >> talk to me about motivation in this election? about enthusiasm. we talked about democratic enthusiasm being very strong, the gap closing particularly after the brett kavanaugh nomination. but at this point president
trump is out there rallying people about this -- what's it called -- the hoard of immigrants coming to the southern border. in fact, many republican politicians have lamented the focus is off of that because of this bomb scare. at the same time president obama is trying to resonate with folks trying to say this isn't a presidential election, but this could be your last chance. >> we don't need more mealy-mouthed election officials to claim they're disappointed about this behavior but then don't do anything about it and just go along with it. we need leaders who will actually stand up for what's right regardless of party. leaders who will fight for you and what's best in the american spirit, patriots who will stand up for anyone whose fundamental rights are at stake.
>> what do you think? do you think that that -- the right people are going to hear this message? >> so what president obama is doing is he's laying out what's at stake, and he actually says that in his piece, everything is on the line, and this is the most important election of our lifetimes. and he's saying i'm not being hyperbolic about it, i'm being very, very serious -- >> because that's a hard thing to convince people with a mid-term election. >> and you said something as well. you said there are a lot of things that he's -- he's popular, obamacare is popular. in fact, there are so many things more popular than donald trump. the me too movement is popular than donald trump. the only thing less popular than donald trump is the republican party. so there are issues out there that president obama is really making a contrast to what republicans are doing. and also one more thing is the voter registration went up this year and early voting went up
this year. we don't know yet which side is winning that battle, but normally that's good for democrats. >> careen, always good to see you. coming up, the trump administration has extended invitation to vladimir putin to come to the united states. when my hot water heater failed, she was pregnant, in-laws were coming, a little bit of water, it really- it rocked our world. i had no idea the amount of damage that water could do. we called usaa. and they greeted me as they always do. sergeant baker, how are you? they were on it. it was unbelievable. having insurance is something everyone needs, but having usaa- now that's a privilege. we're the baker's and we're usaa members for life. usaa. get your insurance quote today. if your moderate to severeor crohn's symptoms
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administration invited to washington? >> we have invited president putin to washington after the first of the year for a full day of consultation. what the schedule of that is we don't know yet. russian president vladimir putin has an invitation to washington. there are two trump/putin meetings in the week. they're planning to meet in paris. donald trump wanted to invite putin to the united states earlier this year. you may recall that he had to scrap that idea after his performance in helsinky. so why offer to meet putin again now? former u.s. ambassador, michael mcfall is going to help me
we had a great meeting with vladimir putin and every time i see oh, donald trump had a bad meeting. i had a great meeting. they played it up as negative as they can. it was a great meeting. >> actually that meeting was widely seen as a disaster even by republicans. now donald trump wants to meet putin in washington. joining us now mike mcfall. we are talking about when this meeting's happening. it was largely planned and making excuses for him and saying he strongly denies any involvement in the elections.
it struck us strange that vladimir putin invited to visit the united states. what's going on here? >> i have no idea. let's just be honest. nobody has done diplomacy the way president trump does it. usually you set summits as action forcing events to get the government to agree to something. that's most certainly the way we did it in the obama administration and the bush administration before. as we saw in helsinki, there was no agenda or outcome. there was no deliverables in washington. they want to hand over to putin for interrogation and now they're doing it again. >> that's the question. >> i don't understand the question. you have to deal with autocrats if you are the president of the
united states. you have to engage but you have to do it to advance american national interest. i don't understand how we are going to do it with the summit. >> the president has the one thing he said as critical of russia is they're not abiding by some of your nuclear treaty with them and he's willing to pull out. we are not clear of agenda and outcome and objectives of what what they are. if it is something we are working on but part of the criticism of president trump is that he does not seem to be doing that. >> that's right. there is no outcome that are for us. the russians violate the imf treaty and we pull out. we look like the bad guys. all the happy talk has not led to russia leading ukraine or stop interfering our elections as you pointed out in the last segment or smaller thing like
lifting the bans on adoption for americans. that's a concrete thing that vladimir putin could do tomorrow if he wanted to do something to advance u.s./russian interests. he has never done it and our president keeps on trying to placate him, it is not smart diplomacy. i got 30 seconds left. now there are two potential meetings, what should the agenda be, the one or two goals should be? >> one is to push back. you don't have to apiece putin when you meet with him. speak strongly about the things that you disagree. other presidents used to do that during summits. if it were me, i would say extend the start treaty. i worry this administration is going to pull out of that. i think it would be in russia and the american national interest to extend the new treaty. mike mcfall, good to see you. msnbc's headliner, an in-depth
look at vladimir putin at sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern, that's tonight's last word. i am ali velshi, "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts right now. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts right now. the breaks news right now, he's been caught. the feds got their man arresting a suspect for sending over a dozen bombs to prominent americans. this is the van he drove. pro-trump, anti-cnn. targets superimposed over obama, michael moore and others in the crosshairs. the fbi director making it clear that nothing about this was a hoax. the president praises law enforcement right before blasting the media as his rally crowd jeered cnn and booed at the mention of two of the democrats who were targets of the bomb. steve schmidt is here with us tonight as "the 11th hour" gets