tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 1, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
inspiration to so many. i'm lester holt, thank you for being with us. i'm richard lui with your hour's top stories. an outpouring of condolences today for george h.w. bush, dead at the age of 94, the father to the 43rd president of the united states, bush led a remarkable life, it included heroics in world war ii, success in the oil business, congress and a top job at the cia in addition to the presidency. bush's body will lie in state at the u.s. capitol starting on monday, wednesday will be a national day of mourning ahead of thursday's funeral service in texas. now, to the rachel maddow show. today in washington, d.c., the president's campaign chairman was back in federal
court. well, his legal team was back in court on his behalf. paul manafort elected not to come to court personally today. he stayed at home, the federal jail in alexandria, virginia. after what has just been a remarkable week in the courts this week, which started with prosecutors in the special council's office, declaring that paul manafort had been lying to them, saying he was in breach of his cooperation agreement, the president's lawyers then bragging publicly that they had been using paul manafort as a way to gather intelligence on what the special council was up to in the russia investigation. manafort had been secretly informing the white house about his interactions with prosecutors, since he supposedly became their cooperating witness. after all that this week, what we learned today about manafort in court, he's not going to be sentenced until march. march 5th, which means a lot more time at home, his current
home, which is jail. that said, next week, a week from today, the special council's office says that they will turn into the court, in manafort's case, they're going to submit their detailed accounting of how exactly manafort has been lying to them. how he breached his cooperation agreement with them. this week, between the manafort explosion and the michael cohen guilty plea about trump tower moscow yesterday, we have had quite the rollout this week about what they've got and who else should be worried about the evidence that robert mueller and his team have assembled. now we know as of this court appearance today, at the end of next week, next friday, we're going to get a big new dose of that as it pertains to paul manafort, the president's jailed campaign chairman. even before then on tuesday, we're going to get yet more. because on tuesday of next week,
that's the deadline for mueller's prosecutors to file their memorandum in aide of sentencing for michael flynn. mike flynn is the first national security adviser to president trump, he plead guilty last year to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with the russian government. the possible lifting of u.s. sanctions against russia. next week, we're going to get a whole new narrative about flynn's crime, his cooperation or lack thereof and anything else they want to share, because they believe it will be of relevance to what kind of sentence he's going to end up getting. and it's sort of couldn't come at a better time. because all of a sudden, now, this week we the public just got a much clearer and frankly much more worrying view of the crime that mike flynn pled to, and maybe even why he might have done it.
so i think this is worth focusing on intently. not only in terms of buttoning up what we learned over the course of this week, but what's about to come next. we know more shoes are going to drop, we know we're going to get more information from the special council's office in the next few days. focus in on this flynn thing for a second. mike flynn had some unusual russia ties during the campaign, right? he had visited at the russian government's behest, just as trump was declaring his run for president. soon after he got back from russia, he signed up to join trump's campaign, which was a surprise. he had been a registered democrat. later emerged that mike flynn not only sat with vladimir putin at a gala event on that russia trip, he also led a standing ovation for the russian president at that gala event. he was paid by the russian government to attend that event. they paid all expenses for him and his son, and paid him a good fee on top of that. flynn initially denied it, it
was all proven out and then he admitted it. then after trump won, flynn as the designated security adviser for the incoming administration, he contacted the russian government multiple times to talk to them about u.s. government sanctions against russia, to encourage russia at one point not to retaliate against new measures that were taken by the obama administration, in response to russia messing with our election. flynn is the guy that called them and said, don't hit back, don't worry. trump's going to be in there soon, i'm going to be in there soon, you won't have anything to worry about. we're going to take care of all the sanctions. that's what the fbi and the federal prosecutors came to know that mike flynn had done. he lied about it publicly at the time. he denied he was having any such conversations. he lied to the fbi about it when they came calling about it too. that's what he ended up pleading guilty to. we're going to learn more about that on tuesday, finally in open court. but there's always been
something kind of hard to figure out about the flynn case, this has been a real point of focus for critics on the mueller investigation on the right. i don't know how they're going to answer what we've learned about this situation, but we have a much better understanding of what happened here, the big question about flynn. and this has in particular been raised over and over again about the mueller prosecution. why did mike flynn lie about this stuff? he was the designated incoming national security adviser, it was a little weird, potentially a logan act violation for the incoming national security adviser to be calling a foreign government undermining existing u.s. policy and the existing u.s. president. it's a little weird, but the logan act has never been used to prosecute anybody. given that flynn wasn't just an average private citizen, he was the incoming national security adviser, it wouldn't be that weird for him to be making those kinds of calls with russia.
policy's about to change. consider that when you're measuring what your response should be to this latest action of the lame duck president. mike flynn thought he was doing something with those calls that could not come out. he felt like he was doing something that really needed to be secret. and it wasn't just him. that's how they all were on this issue of russian sanctions. you may remember k.t. mcfarland, a fox news pundit, and then for a hot minute she became the top deputy at the national security council under mike flynn. thanks to "new york times" reporting, we know that k.t. mcfarland was in on what flynn was doing in these calls to russia. she knew he was talking to the russian government about lifting sanctions. but nevertheless she lied about it too. she lied about it famously to the senate under oath which
scuttled her chances of becoming an ambassador, that's what they tried to do with her after flynn resigned and he pled guilty. but, you know, in terms of k.t. mcfarland and her lying about the russian sanctions discussion, reporter shane harrison and robert devlin had this remarkable piece about her in september. it didn't get that much attention at the time, it turns out now to be pretty important. in that piece we learned that not only did k.t. mcfarland lie to the senate about those conversations with russia about sanctions, she lied to the fbi about those conversations too. a former top white house official has revised her statement to investigators about a key event in the probe of russian interference in the 2016 election, when fbi agents first visited k.t. mcfarland, she denied ever talking to mike flynn about any discussion of sanctions between him and the
russian ambassador during the presidential transition. for a time, investigators saw her answers as inconsistent, putting her in legal peril, as the fbi tried to determine whether she had lied to them. not long after flynn's guilty plea, mcfarland was questioned by investigators again, about her conversations with flynn. and in that subsequent conversation with investigators, she walked back her previous denial that sanctions were discussed. they convinced the fbi that she hadn't intentionally misled the bureau, she had spoken from memory, without the benefit of any documents that could have helped her remember the exchanges with flynn. mueller's team appears to be satisfied with k.t. mcfarland's revised account, according to people familiar with the probe. here's the amazing thing, so k.t. mcfarland told the fbi, no, we didn't talk to russia about sanctions, even though they did. then flynn pleads guilty to lying to the fbi about talking to russia about sanctions, after
flynn pleads guilty, she goes back and says, oh, wait, oh, wait, sanctions, is that what you were talking about? i am so sorry, i plum forgot. now i remember, yeah, i think we probably did talk to the russians about sanctions, i'm so sorry. and the fbi decided not to charge her, because they believed her that she just forgot. here's the next line in that remarkable story. just days after flynn talked to the russian ambassador, mcfarland said that her memory was clear, and flynn and the russian official had never discussed sanctions. early in the morning of january 13th, 2017, mcfarland phoned one of the authors of this article, mcfarland insisted that flynn and the russian ambassador had never discussed sanctions. flynn called me right after his call with kiss llyak and convey
the details of their conversation. so k.t. mcfarland knew that flynn talked to russia about sanctions. she lied publicly about whether the incoming trump administration was talking to russia about sanctions. she lied publicly about it, she lied on the record to reporters about it, she lied to the u.s. senate about it, she lied to the fbi about it, but then they apparently forgave her when she said, it was so long ago, i forgot, maybe. mike flynn also lied about those conversations he had with russia. he lied in public, he lied to reporters, he lied to the fbi. why were they lying about it? on its face they didn't need to. it would make sense that they would be talking about sanctions to the russian government, conceivably they're the top two security officials for the incoming administration, there's going to be a change of policy on that matter, it's not that weird, but they lied about it. the fact that they were lying about, meant that those two senior trump administration
officials, the number one and number two officials at the national security council under this new president, they were both compromised by russia. from the very beginning, from the transition, because, of course, russia knew the truth, right. russia was on the other end of the phone, they knew that these guys had been having conversations about russia. it wasn't secret from russia. but it was being kept secret from the american public, the american press, the american congress and even the fbi. and that is called leverage, right? that means russia compromised them both. russia was in a position to lord something over both of them, that these two plainly wanted kept a secret, because they were lying about it, even under oath, and even when talking to federal investigators. why did those two want it secret? remains unknown. i mean, trump himself on the campaign trail, he attracted plenty of controversy for talking about sanctions, for his
seemingly inexplicable insistence that the u.s. should drop sanctions against russia. this was the first time he talked about sanctions on the campaign trail, july 11th, 2015. >> i believe i would get along very nicely with putin, okay? and i mean, where we have the strength, i don't think you'd need the sanctions, i think we would get along very, very well. i really believe that. >> that's the first time trump talked about sanctions on russia as a soon to be presidential candidate. i don't think you need the sanks. and david corn and michael isikoff spoke russian roulette, who exactly asked that question of trump? who teed him up at that event in las vegas. to pronounce publicly that the u.s. should drop sanctions on russia? it was this person. >> okay, let's go. >> i'm in russia. my question will be about
foreign politics, if you are elected as president, what will be your foreign politics specifically in relation with my country, and do you want to continue the politics of sanctions that damaging to both economies. or do you have any other ideas? >> that person who first asked trump as a presidential candidate about sanctions on russia, prompting trump for the first time ever to say, let's get rid of sanctions on russia, that is maria butina, who is now famous. she's now in federal custody on charges she's a secret agent of the russian government. who was sent here to influence the u.s. election in order to benefit the government of russia. it was a weird thing at the time for trump, alone among republicans, democrats and everyone to come out and say, we should drop sanctions on russia, it was weird at the time in itself, it is weird in a whole new wray, now that we know it
turns out to be an alleged secret agent of the russian government who set him up to do that at the first place. while he was willing to advocate publicly for dropping the sanctions on russia. what he was refusing to acknowledge at the time, if the u.s. government did drop sanctions on russia, that would be a huge personal fine windfall for him. now we know that trump and his business at that time were secretly negotiating a gigantic business deal in moscow, a trump tower moscow that would be financed to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by a russian bank. a bank specifically that was under u.s. sanctions many so if it's a sanctioned bank, americans can't do business with that bank. trump wants to drop sanctions on russia, he didn't mention his personal involvement in a gigantic real estate scheme that could only go ahead if the u.s. dropped sanctions. trump knew that at the time. although he lied about it repeatedly, insisted over and over again, he had no business
interests in russia who is over. trump knew he did. and russia knew he did. and the kremlin, we now know was actively involved in discussions with the trump organization about the financing, about the building project. according to buzz feed, even about putin's personal sweetener in the deal, which would be a free $50 million penthouse that he could keep for himself in the deal, free for nothing. so trump knew this was in the works, but was keeping it secret. the kremlin knew it was in the works. they knew that trump was keeping it secret. they even helped him keep it secret. in a call with reporters, the senior kremlin official managing this project for the russian government put out a statement denying any kremlin involvement, we don't respond to such business topics, it is not our job. asked specifically about reports that michael cohen had e-mailed the official's progress in the project, we left that without a
response. from michael cohen's plea in court yesterday, we know they did reply to him. that means the kremlin was helping cover this thing up too. just step back from this a second, right? this means, yes, during the transition, the top two national security aids in the incoming trump administration were compromised by russia. russia had leverage over them, because of them lying about their dealings with russia. also, as a presidential candidate, trump was definitely, we now know compromised by russia, he was lying about his dealings with russia, and russia knew it, and russia was helping to keep the secret. >> this is bad. we've got a presidential candidate, for one thing, offering a $50 million gift, it's a gift to a foreign leader, secretly. he's compromised on that, they can expose him for that if they want to. russia has compromised him, he's lying about this on going business pursuit in russia, and
russia's plan to provide him hundreds of millions of dollars for that real estate project if he gets those sanctions lifted. he's lying about that, he's not mentioning his personal stake in the sanctions issue, russia has him compromised on that too. i mean, the secret moscow deal is damning enough, it's damning enough that a criminal cover-up effort is launched. that includes the president's lawyer, at least him lying to congress under oath about the deal. congressman jim heinz was here last night and told us it may not just be cohen that was in on the cover-up. multiple witnesses who came before the intelligence committee under oath there, were not a lot of inconsistencies on the issue of trump tower moscow. meaning, a lot of people under oath before the intelligence committee told the same story as michael cohen. michael cohen just pled guilty to a felony, because liz story was a wlie. if other people were telling the
same lie about the secret moscow deal. if other people were organized so that they would all tell the same lie, all of those people will not only be in trouble themselves and soon. since the transcripts of their testimony are going to mueller as soon as the democrats are sworn in. if there was anybody who coached or orchestrated that cover-up so they would all say the same thing, that's a lot worse. who was in a position to do that? now, here's how this whole thing fits together, which is bad. in the criminal information filed yesterday, the special council's office says the trump tower moscow project involved direct contact with the kremlin, plans for trump organization personnel, including potentially trump himself to visit moscow and meet with senior government officials. very senior government officials. the criminal information says the project involved more consultations with trump himself than had previously been admitted to. the project went along for
months longer than had previously been admitted to. it went all the way into the summer of 2016 after trump had wrapped up the republican primaries and become the presumptive nominee. the way the special counsel tells it, it did come to a rather dramatic and specific halt. on a special date. on june 14th, 2016, the two trump organization guys, michael cohen and felix seder, who are working on the trump tower moscow project, they met in the lobby of trump tower june 14th, 2016, on that date, cohen told seder, i'm not going to moscow. that date is in mueller's filing along with cohen's guilty plea. which is the day that the washington post published the first national news story, exposing the fact that russian government hackers had broken into the democratic party headquarters and started to steal stuff. felix seder himself affirmed to nbc news last night, that that
story, the story about russian government hackers being exposed for their role and trying to get into our elections, that was the reason they stopped working on the trump tower project that day. the secret project they had been working on for many, many, many months including direct contact with the kremlin and planned travel to moscow stopped that day. why? what was the connection between these two things. what's the connection between russia burglarizing the presidential election to help trump, and the big real estate deal trump was working on in russia, during the campaign. why does one have to stop when the other one gets exposed? well, what if they're both the same project? the person in the kremlin who was working with the trump organization to facilitate the moscow real estate deal is dmitri pescov on the right. he lies to the press to keep the moscow deal a secret, to keep
trump's secret while trump is lying to the american public. pescov is thought 20 have had the the lead role to hurt clinton and help her opponent. if the big picture russian dream here is to have their very own president of the u.s. if their dream is to compromise an american presidential candidate, so that candidate is beholden to them, and then install that compromised candidate as president, then the trump tower moscow project which compromises trump and the election interference campaign which is designed to install him, those are the same. compromise your guy, then install your compromised guy. world domination in two easy steps. of course, in in order for the moscow deal to seem viable, though. you would need to free up the financing that would make the whole thing possible. and this russian state controlled bank vtb is committed
to financing the project. that's whose going to finance the thing. so the thing you need is for them to be allowed to finance the project. and in order for them to finance the project, they need to not be sanctioned. so you need your compromised u.s. presidential candidate and his administration to get that done for you. to get rid of the sanks. that's the gear that makes the whole wheel spin. trump publicly advocates that, when prompted by someone who is now in custody as an alleged secret agent. mike flynn and k.t. mcfarland start working on it and lie about it to the press and the fbi. if it was part of this kind of scheme, then yeah, maybe that would explain why they were being so surrepticious about it.
the two trump guys, felix seder and michael cohen, they ended up themselves, the two of them, involved in one more scheme right before mike flynn was fired. right at the start of the trump administration, they were involved in a scheme to cook up yet another plan to get rid of russian sanctions. do you remember this story? involved in the supposed secret ukrainian peace deal scheme. which was really just a proposal to give ukraine over to russia and drop the russian sanctions anyway. what they were doing working on something like that? do they scream international diplomacy and peace making to you? those guys -- those guys wouldn't even say that about themselves. but yeah, it was those guys. working on this plan to drop russian sanctions, because those guys were the ones who were making the trump moscow project happen too. and to make that come true, it
would need financing from that russian state owned bank, controlled by putin and that couldn't happen until u.s. sanctions on russia were dropped. so the real estate guys start working on dropping sanctions in russia. because it's part of their deal. because sanctions and a huge financial deal for trump. and lying publicly about the deal for trump, and lying about contacts with the russian government, it's all one thing. and it may have even all been run by the same guy, dmitri pescov in the russian government. and so on tuesday mike flynn will be in court, and we will learn what robert mueller has come to know in his dealings with mike flynn since flynn pled guilty to lying to the fbi about sanctions a year ago. right before flynn comes to court, we have learned the answer about the biggest mystery to the case against him. why he bothered to lie about those sanctioned discussions in the first place, it wouldn't have needed to beer surreptici.
but we all know they were all compromises by russia at the time. what russia knew the truth about is what turns out to be a fairly simple plan, compromise the candidate with promises of a secret deal. install the candidate and leverage the candidate to lift sanctions and free russia to do what it wants. now over this past week, we can see the full plan and how it was supposed to work. the question is whether it might still work now that it's out in the open. or whether they're caught and it's therefore over. whoa! the mercedes-benz winter event is back and you won't want to stop for anything else. [ barks ] ho!
the strangest thing happened today in the 2018 election, which you will recall took place well over three weeks ago, but today the ap retracted a call in a congressional race in north carolina. this is a race that had been called for the republican, a race in which the democrat in fact conceded the day after the election, but the state elections board in north carolina has refused to certify the results of this congressional race. they now say they're going to investigate serious irregularities in that race, particularly having to do with mail-in ballots in one county, and it does appear that there may have been some sort of heist here. the republican candidate appeared to have won that race by just 905 votes, but with the board now saying there really was something wrong with the election, there were serious irregularities, there is now even talk about a fairly radical potential remedy here.
the board does have the power to order a whole new election if they decide that is the only way to fix this. so this is not over. this north carolina story and that race has taken a very weird turn. it means that we still can't say that the elections in the house are done with this year. at the moment, it looks like democrats picked up a total of 40 seats in the midterm elections, but who knows with this thing in north carolina. maybe it will turn out to be 41. we can't say yet. watch this brand-new weird space in north carolina all of the sudden. but on a senate side, the contests are now over. we can't put a cap on the house yet. we can put a cap on the senate. the republicans, of course, gained a couple of seats in the senate in the midterm elections this year, but they didn't gain as many seats as a lot of people expected, and that's because democrats managed to pull off wins in a couple of pretty red, pretty trump-friendly places. for my money, the most surprising democratic senate victory, and the one that almost certainly causes president trump
the most personal heartburn was the reelection of democrat jon tester in montana. donald trump in 2016 won montana by 20 points. so jon tester was already at the top of the republicans for senate seats to flip this year. on top of that, the president developed kind of a personal vendetta against senator tester. he apparently blamed him for failure of his nomination of his personal physician to be the secretary of veterans affairs. remember the ronny jackson thing? most people think of the ronny jackson nomination as a huge white house debacle. the president apparently thinks of it as a mean trick that jon tester played on him. president trump made four trips to montana to campaign for tester's republican opponent. that's actually more trips to montana than any other sitting president has taken ever. but jon tester won on election night and won by three points. so he returns to the senate as a rare breed of democrat, one who cannot only win and win reelection, he can win
convincingly in a very, very pro-trump state, even when the president is giving it his all. what is jon tester's experience telling his party what the next two years ought to look like, and what does jon tester make of his own fate at this point in the very weird electoral cycle he has just been through? senator jon tester joins us for his first national interview since the midterms, here in person, next. richard lui with your hour's top stories, the body of former president george h.w. bush arrives in d.c. monday. he will lie in state at the u.s. capitol, funeral services are in texas thursday. president trump ordered flags lowered to half staff at the white house in honor of bush. the president wrapping up his g-20 visit today. replace it outright rancet
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joining us now for the interview is democratic senator jon tester from montana. he just won a third term in the senate. he is one of only two democratic senators to get reelected in a state the president took by double-digits in 2016. senator, thank you so much for being here tonight. >> it's good to be with you, rachel. thank you. >> i never thought i'd get you here in new york. >> caught me in a weak moment. >> a lot of people are talking about you behind your back, probably some of them to your face too about your victory. i don't know if your victory was the most surprising democratic victory, but a lot of people were betting against you because of your state and how strongly
they supported trump. how do you understand why you won? >> well, they wanted to nationalize the race, and we wanted to talk about issues that impacted montana. and so we were able to talk about things from cost of health care to access to public lands to how we deal with our veterans to the cost of higher education, and i think montanans connected up with that. and then the president came four times. every time he came, he did a political rally. we actually encouraged the president, and that is a fact, we encouraged the president to go around and see some of the challenges we have in rural america, because montana's not like new york city. and he didn't do that. he just had the rallies. and i think it helped me. and the end result of that is this is the first election that i've won by over 50%. and i think it was a number of things. number one, realization by the people that this race was being highly politicized and we were taking our eyes off the issues and if t fact that we were talking about the issues. and the last thing is that i was
a montanan. i still farm. i was raised there, work there, raise mid kids there, was educated there, the whole works, and i think people could relate with that. >> in terms of the president trying to make an example of you, the president said publicly that he had secret information about you that would not only destroy you now, but would make sure that you'd never win another election ever. apparently he is still keeping that powder dry. he also seemed to concoct a story in which the ronny jackson nomination for secretary of veterans affairs was only a problem because you made it a problem. what did you make of those -- i mean, those things sort of seem from outer space in terms of the way the president went after you, but how did you handle both of those things and what did you make of the president coming at you in that way? >> i was raised where you tell the truth. i mean, the worst whipping i ever got was when i lied to my parent, and that's a fact. you can do a lot of things, but you didn't lie. and when the a accusations came in on ronny jackson, i didn't hide them.
i asked him, and he ended up pulling his name from the hopper. the president didn't like that. but i don't know that the president fully understands that the president has a role of advising and consent, and it's our job to make sure that the best people get in these positions that we have to confirm. and when i had 25 people, all military, some retired, some active duty come in, i'm not going to sweep it under the carpet. i'm going to ask the questions. those questions, by the way, would have been asked in committee if i didn't ask them ahead of time anyways. so i felt like i was being very straight up with the nominee opinion and what ended up is he pulled his name from consideration and is currently under investigation by the department of defense inspector general. i had nothing wrong with ronny jackson. i met him. we got along fine. but the truth is i have to know the facts so i have good information to vote on. you can make good decisions if you have good information. so it wasn't incumbent upon me to ask the tough questions, and i did it.
he didn't like it, but that's my job as a united states senator from montana, ranking member on the veterans affairs committee. >> as the ranking member on the veterans affairs committee, i feel like veterans issues are their own thing. they are separate and apart from every other domestic policy issue that we can consider as a country for a few different reasons. number one, because there is a lot of flag-waving and chest-pounding by politicians who all say the same thing about how veterans are a priority. nobody says anything different about veterans in terms of it being an important thing. nobody argues that it isn't. so then is there an issue of getting beyond a surface level discussion on it. the other reason is there is a history, even a very recent history of there being no partisan lines in terms of the technokratic good government needed to make things better for veterans. do you think that still holds, or has that actually been spoiled or hurt in some way during the trump administration by what has been a lot of drama, a lot of intrigue, a lot of seems like surreptitious
behavior around prospects of privatizing the v.a.? >> i can tell you there is some pushback out there for that. the chairman and other members on the committee are in lockstep that you don't want to privatize the v.a. and we have worked hard to make sure that doesn't happen and we've held the v.a. accountable to make sure it doesn't happen. but i will tell you there is a -- there is a current in this administration that wants to privatize the v.a. and i can tell you that if you talk to a veteran, does the v.a. have some problems? you bet. and we need to make sure those veterans are taken care of and those problems are solved. but if you talk to most veterans that are in the v.a. system that. >> like it. they want to keep it. they want it expanded. they want it made so it meets the need of every veteran that is out there. and i think that's the direction congress needs to go. we need to listen to the people who have served. we need to listen to those veteran service organizations out there, and we need to act appropriately. we're in a debate right now on blue water veterans from the vietnam era. my belief is taking care of our veterans is a cost of war.
and if you're going to make a finding, make it in favor of the veteran, don't make it in favor of anything else other than, that because those are the folks that sacrificed. we've had some pushback from the administration on that. hopefully we can get that behind us and get that issue done in this lame duck. >> on one other veterans issues there has also been concern and apparently now an investigation as to whether there has been undue influence in policy making by a triad of the president's friends essentially who he seems to have tapped in some sort of secret policy role for the agency. what's your take on that? >> i can't tell you how many times i've asked the current secretary, secretary wilkie if he has met with these folks, and he has not. i can tell you if they want to be in a position of giving -- giving information about how the v.a. needs to be run, then they need to be in a position where we can hold them accountable for that. >> yeah. >> you don't want a bunch of folks out there working under the ground, you know, really undermining the folks that are in the v.a. that are working hard. >> and who have to answer
questions about how they run. >> who have come in front of our committee and have their feet held to the fire. so it's a -- look, input is input, but the truth is if these guys are -- these three folks are putting out information and ideas within the administration's head about how the v.a. needs to be run, then come up. write a paper. give it to us. let's see what you got and we'll tell you what we think of it. >> or get nominated to a job like you're supposed turkey, exactly. >> we're going to take a quick break. when we come back, i am going to ask you questions about running for president. so the commercial break will give you time to figure out how to evade them. we'll be right back with senator jon tester from montana. stay with us. the bumblebee?" the bumblebee?" ♪ no, you goof. i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. nice. i know, right? ♪
we're back again with senator jon tester, democratic senator from montana, who was just reelected in a state that president trump won by 20 points in 2016. senator, i want to be honest with you about part of the reason why i wanted to talk to you and i wanted to get the first interview with you after the election. i've had you on the show a few different times, not a ton. you have a reputation as a red state democrat, and i think people think of you generally as a moderate, i think. would you describe yourself as a moderate? >> i would. >> i think that you are a moderate -- i think you are also practical. i think you are also well read on the issues you have fought on in the senate, and i think you are unafraid. when you pick a fight, i feel like you know what you're talking about. it gives you both confidence and gravitas, and it means you usually win when you fight on
something. >> thank you. >> that makes me want to know if you would want to run for president. a, i think you'd be a good president, but i think you would have a good shot at winning the presidency if you were the democratic party's nominee. >> you're very kind and i'm incredibly flattered. but to be honest with you, i am a farmer at heart. by the way, my brother is watching this program right now, and they're loving this question. >> oh, good. because your brother wants you to run? >> oh, yeah. but the truth is i'm a farmer at heart. i love the legislative branch. i mean that. and we just went through a very difficult race. i mean, this was not an easy race to win, and elections take a lot out of you. and to be honest, even if i wanted to do it, and i really don't, i'm not sure that mentally or physically i'm in any kind of shape to run the kind of race that needs to be run to win the president of the united states.
would i love to be the most powerful man in the world? who wouldn't? but on the other side of that coin, i've watched people who have filled that position. i've watched them get older by the day. i've watched the issues weigh heavily upon them. we need somebody good as president of the united states, there is no doubt about it. if we're going to keep this country as the leader of the free world, we need somebody who understands what makes this country tick. and it didn't happen by accident, by the way. the greatest generation put us in a position so i could be a u.s. senator from big sandy, montana. and we need people that will look at the next generations in the same way. we're not investing in education. we're not investing in infrastructure. so bottom line is we have to have a good person as president of the united states. i'm not sure have i the time or the energy to be able to do it. >> well, let me talk to you on the energy front. you can apparently win when you're running as the oldest person to ever run as party candidate when you subsist entirely on a diet of fast food and not reading. so to the extent you don't have time or energy, that's false. it's been disproven. >> i see, okay. that's good.
>> i know you butcher your own meat so, at least you've got that on buckets of kfc. >> there you go. >> but, i mean, one of the main sort of -- one of the main things that's happening i think in terms of the polarization off the polarization of the country is that there is a divide between rural america, and suburban and urban america that is increasingly starting to take on a partisan cast. >> uh-huh. >> and you defy that. and you seem to both understand it, and defy it. >> yup. i don't think it is going to be remedied by a president of the united states. i think it is going to be remedied by leadership in the house and senate and the president of the united states and it is about understanding what those issues are in rural america that are important and understanding the challenges of distance. i think if you're from rural america, you understand it, because you live it every day. and by the way, i would say on the other side, just to be fair, they don't understand the challenges in new york city, or los angeles or miami, or houston, texas. i don't. but i think the democrats need
to do a better job of listening and understanding what the challenges are that are out there and just let me give you a few. infrastructure. a state like montana, agriculture is the number one industry. the president has got this war, trade war going on right now. we're seeing wheat prices drop. he's put tariffs on soybeans and sorghum and those crop acres will go to wheat and we will be in trouble big time unless we get this figured out. democrats should be talking about that. infrastructure in rural america. poverty on indian reservations. we can start talking about those kind of things. the cost of higher education, which by the way is probably as big of a problem here in new york city as it is in montana, if we don't get this figured out, we won't have the next generation of entrepreneurs and the well trained work force to move the economy forward. democrats need to start talking about that and we need to start showing up in rural america and start talking about these things. i think if we do, i think we will see a different outcome in
this election. look when i was growing up in the 190s, the county where i lived, and i could be wrong on this, but it was pretty blue. and it's not blue anymore. and part of it is, is that i don't think we've told people what democrats have done for rural america, when we have done good things. >> whether it is you telling your party to do that or whether it is you showing your party that it can be done, i think that you're going to have a big role to play in the future of the party. and specifically the future of 2020. so if you feel tired right now with your race, i would encourage you, sir, to take a spa day while you're here in new york. >> yes. >> get some rest. >> because your country needs you. >> spas and me go well together. >> yes, i can see you. thank you, sir. >> john jon tester, democrat of montana. we'll be right back. take your razor, yup. alright, up and down, never side to side, shaquem. you got it? come on, get back. quem, you a second behind your brother, stay focused. can't nobody beat you, can't nobody beat you.
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saving you hundreds of dollars a year. and ask how you get xfinity mobile included with your internet. plus, get $200 back when you when you buy a new smartphone. xfinity mobile. it's simple. easy. awesome. click, call or visit a store today. it is about 8:30 a.m. local time,ing magnitude 7.0. all day we have been watching video from anchorage alaska from surveillance cameras or people pulling out their cameras, their phones to record what they were going through. the quake was so big and went on for so long. the good news no one was seriously hurt which was remarkable when you see the kind of damage caused in some places. the bad news, it remains an open question, how serious and widespread the infrastructure damage has been. some damage is obvious. as you can see here. some of it will be harder to see, and hard to fix. alaska senator lisa murkowski described the alaska specific
challenges we're looking at now in terms of how hard this hit and where. >> this was located in the very heart of the population center for alaska. anchorage is the regional hub for most of the goods that come to the state of alaska. 85% of the goods, whether it is your bread, your milk, your lettuce or your building supplies, come up by barge, by container ships, and they come into the part and then they're put on rail or they're put on the road or they're put on aircraft and distributed from there. so if this has, if we've sustained damage here, this could not only be impact to the south central region, but it could reach beyond the area as well. so we're very concerned about that. >> hitting anchorage means hitting a lot of the population of alaska. not just today, but in terms of getting them supplies ahead.
there is also the fact that the ground is well frozen now. any repairs that will involve digging will be an issue for months. state of emergency has been declared for the area around anchorage. governor issued a disaster declaration. state officials and emergency crews made the most of roughly six hours of daylight that they had today to assess the damage and begin repairs. that effort will continue for a long time to come. stay with us. -morning. -morning. -what do we got? -keep an eye on that branch. might get windy. have a good shift. fire pit. last use -- 0600. i'd stay close. morning. ♪ get ready to switch. protected by flo. should say, "protected by alan and jamie." -right? -should it? when you bundle home and auto... run, alan! ...you get more than just savings. you get 'round-the-clock protection.
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