tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC February 6, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PST
crack at their biggest challenge of the next two years. how do they define themselves? stacey abrams of georgia, maybe just gave them some momentum with that big speech. can they capitalize on it as they swing into campaign mode? president trump leaning into some familiar and contentious issues in that speech. immigration, abortion, and investigations. with the new campaign rally in the works, is this a glimpse of his plans for 2020? also coming soon, two big announcements coming from democrats who may run for the white house. senator amy klobuchar will reveal her plans on u.sunday an beto o'rourke will be making his call by the end of the month. we start with georgia democrat stacey abrams and her response to president trump's second inaugural address. second state of the union address i should say. abrams making history last night, becoming the first black
woman to give the rebuttal address. her response is being called punchy. abrams didn't pull any punches last night. >> making livelihoods of our federal workers a pawn for political games is a disgrace. the shutdown was a stunt engineered by the president of the united states. one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people but our values. so even as i'm very disappointed by the president's approach to our problems, i still don't want him to fail. but we need him to tell the truth. and to respect his duties and respect the diversity that defines america. >> her performance giving democrats a big shot in the arm as they look towards 2020. more immediately, pushing her legislative agenda and holding
this white house accountable. the party regained power in the house and after dealing with the longest government shutdown in history they're moving forward with an ambitious agenda starting today on capitol hill. that's where we find msnbc's garrett hake. happy day after state of the union to you. what do democrats have lined up against this president? what's their first order of business? >> reporter: well, craig, democrats are going to open a host of different oversight actions here over the next week. committee meetings into every aspect of our politics. everything from the president's tax returns, to his policies like child and family separation. to issues that are broadly popular with the american public. the democrats have wanted to push forward over the last couple of years. the meeting behind me, you can see the folks lined up. this is a hearing about gun prevention. they're finally starting to do it t. a lot of these things are
targeted at the president and at his administration. but behind the scenes there is still some bipartisan action going on. i can tell you there's been some movement, some staff negotiations in that conference committee that is trying to find a way to keep the government open. this morning, i asked speaker nancy pelosi about their work. here's what she told me. >> i spoke with senator shelby. i told him whatever you all come to an agreement on, bipartisan agreement, i will support. i hope that the administration would have the same attitude and respect. >> reporter: there's been wide agreement on capitol hill, craig, that if they are left to their own devices, those negotiators could come up with a deal that could at least pass congress. whether the president will sign off on it is a another story. i asked speaker pelosi if she thought the president convinced anyone last night about the need for the wall. she gave me what can be described as a brush off and
walked away. clearly not impressed at least on that topic last night. >> michael cohen, what more do we know about that? >> reporter: not as much as we would like. the chairman adam schiff put out a statement saying in the interest of the investigation they would be delaying cohen's testimony until the end of february, the 28th. we're trying to find out if that means trying to deconflict with the mueller investigation, whether it means any interest of the house intelligence committee's own investigation. we know now that cohen will be scheduled to appear on the same day that president trump will be discussing north korea's missile and nuclear program in vietnam. another blockbuster news day on our calendar for the end of february. >> garrett, thank you. ben rhodes is a former national security advisor to president obama. and donna brazile, she has become a bit of a regular here during the 11:00 hour on msnbc.
donna, i want to remind our viewers and our listeners on sirius satellite radio what you said a week ago ahead of stacey abrams response. here it is. >> stacey represents so many of the values that we believe as democrats. why she fell short in georgia, her message united democrats and independents and you will hear an american deliver a prebuttal and a rebuttal that the whole world will be talking about. i'm putting my money on stacey. i ain't got but $0.15. >> we didn't fact check that last part. did she deliver, donna? >> oh, let me quote from stevie wonder, i was overjoyed last night. she built a castle based on the love that we have, not just for our country, but the love we have for the truth. her message resonated with americans from both political parties. because she said i don't want this president to fail. i want him to tell the truth. she told the truth last night.
she called the shutdown a stunt. i want to give her my $0.15. i'm going to donate to fair fight today because whatever she is taking, i want to have a little bit more. >> ben rhodes, she also gave your old boss some props last night when she took the administration to task on immigration. here's what stacey abrams had to say about that. >> we know bipartisanship can craft a 21st century immigration plan. but this administration chooses to cage children and tear families apart. compassionate treatment at the border is not the same as open borders. president reagan understood this. president obama understood this. americans understand this. >> how much of last night was about stacey abrams being positioned, you think, to run against purdue in 2020 there in georgia? >> well, i think it definitely
positions here to have a major voice in the democratic party and in the united states going forward. and one way she can do that is running for the senate seat in georgia. i tell you in listening to that speech, i heard a couple things. i heard someone with a very honest and authentic voice. only stacey abrams could have given that speech. that's always something you want to say about a politician who is on the big spotlight like that. the other thing she did, in addition i think to holding trump accountable, she looked past trump. you know, the way she talked about making solutions, the way she talked about coming together. for the first time in two years i felt like a politician was painting a picture for us of where this country could be on the other side of the trump presidency. and that's a very powerful vision. >> donna, let me play devil's advocate. last night around the same time she was giving that speech, you had beto o'rourke on with oprah.
these two democrats lost elections. why promote them in such a public way? >> jesse jackson lost in 1984 and '88 and it allowed us to register new voters that gave us bill clinton and alababarack ob. you have to measure them over time in terms of the people they've inspired. the number of people who became newly registered. i can go on and on, they are part of our future. craig, i want to take you back to the basement back in the 70s and 80s. i know you were too young. blue lights in the basement. you didn't know what the dj was going to play but when you showed up you knew how to dance. stacey knows how to dance. beto knows how to dance. it doesn't matter what the dj is playing, they're dancing to a
new beat, new rhythm and we're all about the future. >> kamala harris, does she know how to dance? joe biden, does he know how to dance? do all of them know how to dance, or just those two? >> they can all shake a tailfeather. they know how to hit it when the dj put the you know what. look, this is -- i agree with ben. thank you for those comments because i'm going to steal them from you. we're looking past donald trump. we see the light at the end of the tunnel and we're going to move forward. >> ben, president trump surprised a lot of folks. as soon as i heard it i remembered i had you on today and i thought of you. i want to play it for folks who didn't catch the speech. this is president trump on north korea. >> if i had not been elected president of the united states, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with north korea.
>> what say you former national security advisor ben rhodes? >> totally crazy, craig. and, frankly, who are these people who are applauding this absurdity coming from trump? we were not on some pathway to war with north korea. in fact, the only time that we were afraid we might get into a major war with north korea is when donald trump was tweeting threats at rocket man in 2017. he created the crisis himself. then he reaches out and lavishes praise on kim jong-un. he's called for the second summit. we know from the intelligence community of donald trump the people he appointed to lead the cia and the u.s. intelligence community, they told us in public hearings last month that north korea is not taking steps to denuclearize. there are reports that since the last summit north korea has potentially advanced elements of its nuclear plan.
the one last thing i'd say is if barack obama stood up and praised on chairman kim, do you think those republicans in that hall would be applauding? absolutely not. so there's this kind of disingenuous double standard where they give trump a pass that is not yielding results and they let him tell this lie about the fact we were on some pathway on a war with north korea. >> good to have you. donna we'll see you next week for our weekly appointment. >> hey, guess what. james brown, talking loud and saying nothing. that was donald trump. stevie wonder with stacey. >> donna, thank you. how are americans reacting to stacey abrams' rebuttal last night? rehema ellis is still in atlanta for us there where abrams delivered her response. i checked in with you roughly this time year. what's been the reaction to this
hometown girl's performance? >> reporter: well, craig, we spoke to a lot of people yesterday. one of them who impressed us a lot was amy gates. she works at a bakery here in atlanta. she said she was a republican, she voted for trump. she talked about what she wanted to hear from him and that she was hoping she would watch the president as well as the response. but listen to what her number one concern was and what she was hoping the president would address. >> i hope that if he does talk about healthcare, that she is going to agree that we all need to come together about making our healthcare affordable for everyone. the democrats and republicans come together. we're not going to ever solve any problems here in this country if we're fighting in our government. >> reporter: so what she told us this morning was that she was too tired to listen to the president's remarks last night. but as you know, affordable healthcare was not a main
headliner from the president's address last night. what i should also tell you is that her co-worker was impressed with stacey abrams, she watched the president and stacey abrams' remarks. she showed those remarks to amy this morning, here's her response. >> i thought she had some good points about what she thinks we should do as a country to come together. i still think some of the comments she made regarding our healthcare system when she said the republicans won't do something about it. we need to stop being about republican and democrat and be about we the people. >> reporter: we heard a lot of that. folks are saying they want to find a way that the democrats and republicans can come together and make some changes in this country. bridge the divisions that they're seeing. because so many people were saying they do have strong comments about what the president was saying last night but they also had strong comments about stacey abrams. more than anything they want to
see the government move forward. particularly on stacey abrams, when i asked do you think this woman has a future in politics? to the person, every one i spoke to says absolutely yes, she does. >> all right. rehema ellis there for us in atlanta. thank you so much. good to hear from her yesterday and good to see her response to the state of the union. do appreciate that. 2020 pitch. president trump's speech gave us a preview of his campaign plan for reelection. i'll talk to former white house aidom aide next. we're live across the country to see what voters thought of the president's speech. coming soon, the latest 2020 teases coming from senator amy klobuchar and beto o'rourke. klobuchar and beto o'rourke. helps keep me feeling dry,
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tuesday night was a preview of a 2020 to come from president trump. cries of socialist, abortion, immigration, meant to unite the party. fear also quite the pitch in his russia defense. >> an economic miracle is taking place in the united states and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations. if there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be
war and investigation. it just doesn't work that way. >> former white house aide omarosa manigault newman joins me. she's the author of this book, unhinged an insider's account of the white house. always good to have you on. thanks for your time. >> thanks for having me, craig. >> what do you make of the speech last night? >> i was hopeful that in this address we would hear something new and fresh from the president. but unfortunately i was incredibly underwhelmed by the fact he has decided to be a one trick pony. i think believes that because immigration was a key issue that got him elected that immigration would keep him in the white house. i think that that was the failing of this particular speech that he has completely become disconnected from reality in this country of what the real crisis is. >> you know this president better than a lot of folks. you spent a lot of time there in
the white house working for this administration. when he talks about immigration, when he talks about the wall, do you get the sense he really believes that in his heart, or is this another example of a president who is saying something because he knows his base likes it when he says it? >> i think let's just look at his own personal businesses. while he's giving that speech, we're reminded that 18 or 19 illegal immigrants were working for this president in his various businesses and that number could go higher. i believe that who is donald trump is. he's pushing in the state of the union for legal immigration. he also has illegals working for him. that contrast is not lost on anyone. he also needs to realize that the real crisis is that there are americans who can't fill their gas tanks and can't fill prescriptions. and are hurting because of what's happening and the decisions he made. if this is his pitch for 2020,
donald trump may be in trouble. >> hilies told last night. this is son prescription drugs. in 2018 drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years. fact check, exaggerated claim. on new york's new abortion law legislation would allow a baby to be ripped from the moments womb before birth. the bill allows abortion after 24 weeks if the mother's life is in danger. on immigration the president said this about the crime rate in el paso, texas. >> the border city of el paso, texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime. now immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, el paso is one
of the safest cities in our country. >> another false one there. crime rate in el paso fell 34% from 1993 to 2006. construction of the barrier started in 2008. it was considered a safe city long before the barrier was built. the president says things that are often true. these were lies that were written. >> right. >> why does he continue to get a pass for saying so many untruthful things. >> let me just tell you about the process. my first year in the white house with him, there was a process of getting ready for the state of the union. i thought it would be important for him to fact check the things he put in his speech. and the senior staff we sat around and talked about the stuff that would go on. we hope they would be vetted. we can see very clearly that not only are they not vetted, but they're completely fabricated. the path to his reelection will
be paved with thousands and thousands of more lies because lying is what donald trump does well. >> this is one of the exchanges that got the most attention last night. this is the president talking about women in the workforce. >> no one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women who have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year. you weren't supposed to do that. thank you very much. >> you weren't supposed to do that. what did you make of that reaction? >> donald trump did not realize that it's because of the way he has treated women, the way he's talked so disrespectfully about women and the lack of women in his administration. and by his policies that those women were elected. he has truly been a benefit to particularly the hill because of
his divisive ways. more and more women were elected to congress, more and more women are on the hill. but they're not in his camp. that's what he missed. it was one of those moments where you realize that donald trump is truly out of touch. >> he didn't seem to read the room very well. omarosa, thanks for your insight as always. on the 2020 front, senator amy klobuchar is readyyiing forn announcement. beto o'rourke says his decision is coming soon. >> if i can play some role in helping the country to do that, my god i'm going to do it. >> when are you going to know the answer? 25% of your mouth. listerine® cleans virtually 100%. helping to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
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and accessoriesphones for your mobile phone. like this device to increase volume on your cell phone. - ( phone ringing ) - get details on this state program call or visit if you thought last night's state of the union felt like a 2020 campaign speech, you might be right. it appears to be the season for campaign announcements. last night rachel maddow asked senator amy cloklobuchar if she made her decision. >> you've been asking me this forever. sunday come to boom island indianapolis and then you'll find out. it's going to be 20 degrees,
wear warm clothes. maybe have a little heat warmer with you. then you'll find out my decision. >> on sunday, boom island in minneapolis you're going to announce your decision? >> i am. >> she is. let's bring in washington post opinion writer and syndicated columnist george will. george, i'll start with you. we heard from senator klobuchar. you wrote in a recent column, i want to make sure i get this right. perhaps klobuchar is best equipped to send the current president packing. why is that? >> well, first she's from the right part of the country. second, she's from the right part of her party. she ranks in the middle of the democratic party. not a blue dog democrat, but not a give away everything free kind of new style semi socialist democrat. she has a good reputation for being pleasant to other
senators. and she's experienced in electoral politics in a state that's getting more and more closer to a democrat. >> what makes you -- in the field we're looking at right now, could win a primary? >> first of all, the question is whether the democratic electorate is interested in sending a message to the world about the advantages of progressivism or sending a president to washington. there's going to be an awful lot of true blue progressives in the field splitting the vote. from kamala harris on. this might be an open and fast moving lane for her. >> a litmus test perhaps for the party in general. jonathan, we also heard from beto o'rourke last night. this is what he said to oprah winfrey in an interview that's set to air february 16th.
>> if i can play some role in helping the country to do that, by god i'm going to do it. >> by god, when are you going to know the answer? when are you knowing to know? have you given yourself a deadline? i'm serious about that. have you given yourself -- >> the serious answer is really soon. really soon. before the end of this month. >> beto o'rourke, jonathan, we've talked about him before on this program. he's a rock star in the party. he has demonstrated the capacity to raise a ton of money. but does he have the gravitas to rise to the top of this already crowded field? >> well, we will find out if, indeed, he gets into the race. according to my colleague, george, he's not from the right part of the country. but he does have the enthusiasm -- i think at least he still does -- the enthusiasm of a big chunk of the democratic
party. i think oprah in that clip you showed sort of expressed the growing exasperation with beto o'rourke. when are you going to decide? when is this tease going to end? from oprah's comment and just the hunger within the democratic party, people want people to get into the race. they want to get the debates going. get the ideas being thrashed back and forth and get to the point where we get to a nominee who can take on president trump. that is the overriding thing within the democratic party. >> but to george will's point here, because i think it's an interesting point. do you get the sense that democrats are more concerned about sending a message than they are actually retaking the white house? i mean, if you nominate someone like a beto o'rourke, you know, yeah, maybe he wins a primary. but baeto o'rourke, his mass appeal. could a guy like that, could he win the white house? >> i don't know.
that's why we have primaries, craig. that's why you're going to have 20 people, 25 people, 30 people jumping into the race to make the case, make the argument to democratic voters. let's not sell voters in general and democrats in particular short. yeah, they want to defeat president trump and they want to send a message to washington. but they also want to send someone to washington who is actually going to do something. that's why stacey abrams' response to the state of the union is going over so well. it wasn't just because of style, it was because of what she said and providing an image of what this country could be like with a democrat in the white house. so this isn't just a cosmetic race. this is a race on substance and ideas. all these candidates have tax plans, they've got health insurance plans. they're talking about real things. it's substance over style.
>> george, "the washington post" obtained elizabeth warren's 1986 registration card for the texas bar where she identifies as american indian. why is this important? why is this story not going away, george will? >> well, it's important first of all because she's not an american indian in any meaningful sense. second, she has denied using the identification as an american indian to game the diversity system in american academia and elsewhere. this seems to go against it. third, it's not going away because they keep finding documents like that card for the texas bar association. there might be more for all we know. it seems to me in politics, you can withstand being criticized. you can withstand people being mad at you. very hard to withstand people laughing at you. this is approaching the laughter stage. the race, she says american
indian. not true. >> yoralways good to have you. calling for unity. president trump repeatedly asked both parties to work together in his state of the union. but hours before he called one democrat nasty. he called another democrat dumb. plus, we're live all over the country to find out what voters thought of the president's speech. and what they thought of the rebuttal as well. we're back in winter haven, florida. >> reporter: coffee, eggs and politics, craig. we'll have the pulse of the people at this diner along florida's i-4 corridor. that's coming up after the break. idor at's coming up after the break. ancestry's dna test with its historical records... ...you could learn you're from ireland... ...donegal, ireland... ...and your ancestor was a fisherman. with blue eyes. just like you. begin your journey at ancestry.com. why go with anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us.
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now we turn to how last night's speeches were received by regular folks with a real stake in the game. we sent our reporters across the country to talk to voters about what they wanted to hear from the state of the union and what they actually heard. cal perry is in el paso, texas. mariana, let me start with you. yesterday you talked to a fellow named dan. you talked to him in that same diner about his expectations for the speech. this is part of what he said. >> i have a very low expectation from both sides. i think that it's very carefully
choreographs political theater ai don't know if we'll get anything of substance. >> that was yesterday and i understand dan loves that diner, he's back with you there this morning. were his expectations met? >> reporter: he loves you more, craig, because he came back just for you. before we get to dan, i have interviewed people in the same diner that i touched base with yesterday about the state of the union. i have to say that this morning everyone is still pretty much divided along party lines. that makes people like dan so important. because dan, we're all curious to know if moderates like you connected with anything that was said? >> i had low expectations going in and i think they kind of met those low expectations. i run a community theater just down the road here. i think the only difference between what i do and they were
doing is we might have better actors and we have to earn our applause. >> reporter: did you like anything? >> i was hopeful. when i heard the talk about everybody coming together and cooperating, i was in. i wanted to believe it. i wanted to believe it. i wake up this morning and i read that yesterday at lunch, you know, president trump criticized joe biden and called him dumb and called senator elizabeth pocahontas again. i realized it's just a show. i'm just being conned. >> reporter: when the president said if there's to be peace and legislation there cannot be war and investigation. how did that go down with someone like you? >> reporter: well, i think one of two things are true. either the people around president trump betrayed him horribly and i think in that case you would want to get to the bottom of it as well. or they didn't in which case it's probably worse. >> reporter: how do we move forward as a country? >> i don't think there's going to be much action on a federal level for the next two years as we prepare for the next
election. what gives me hope is that, you know, two blocks from here is our city hall. we have five amazing commissioners and we have a city manager and assistant city manager who would walk through fire for the people of this community. i'm sure that's true in every community across this country. so i know that there are good people out there doing great work for our behalf. >> reporter: i'm going to let you finish your breakfast. thank you for coming back for us. trust in local politics, as you heard. as dan said, he said as goes egg haven, which is the name of this diner, so goes the nation. >> great spot. thank you. let's go west now, let's go to cal perry, he's in el paso, texas. president trump last night unsurprisingly talking about the wall. he also talked about crime and el paso, texas. this is what he said. >> city of el paso, texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime. now immediately upon its
building, with a powerful barrier in place el paso is one of the safest cities in our country. >> what's been the reaction to the president there, cal? >> reporter: well, the reaction is of a very prideful city of el paso, a city that was safe before the wall, craig. we heard in real time right after the speech from the sheriff of el paso county. he said it's sad to hear president trump spread falsehood about el paso. the facts are clear. it's true that el paso is one of the safest cities in the nation. it's never been considered one of the nation's most dangerous cities. he continues that president trump continues to give a false
impression of what america is all about. we've travelled this border for the past few months. we've spoken to sheriffs along the border. we spoke to the sheriff of hidalgo county. he said in my county we don't need a wall. we need to coordinate with federal officials. he gave them credit for taking care of what's going on along the border. the president is not just creating a fictional narrative but he's not educating himself by talking to sheriffs along the border. there are 31 counties in texas that share a border with mexico. he said the president didn't speak to any of those sheriffs. it's a distortion of facts here on the ground. >> the pentagon is moving 250 active duty troops to eagle pass, texas. that's about 500 miles from where you're standing because of this migrant caravan. what can you tell us about that?
what purpose might those troops serve there in eagle pass? >> reporter: yes, those military personnel are going to shift from arizona. i should have been 31 counties from san diego to the tip of texas. they're just going to shift over to eagle pass where there are roughly 2,000 asylum seekers. this is a slow moving large group of people that plan at least their stated goal is to present themselves to customs and border protection at a mort of entry. those troops are going to sort of stand on the other side of the river there. there is no wall in that section of texas. there is a legal port of entry there. this is something to keep an eye on. because it is building into a standoff. again, a standoff that in large part is by the president's making. because, again, these caravans in the past have presented themselves legally to ports of entry to try to start a claim of asylum. >> all right. we will leave it there.
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messageludimessage leading tuup to the state of th union. he attacked senators chuck schumer, elizabeth warren, even john mccain. schumer, elizabeth warren, even john mccain. [cell phone rings] where are you? well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? he says it's personal this time... if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. where are you? it's very loud there. are you taking a zumba class?
now to the road ahead in washington. a shutdown to avert. infrastructure to rebuild. health care costs to lower. president trump says he hopes for unity. based on his speech last night, however, unity is clearly a one-way street in washington. >> but we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution. we must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction. >> jon meacham, presidential historian at vanderbilt university and an msnbc contributor, always good to have you, my friend, thank you for your time this morning. how would you characterize the president's speech last night? >> there were about three different speeches all crammed together. there was an homage to ronald reagan, with the d-day and the gallery, which was very atricth
moving. in the top third of the speech, there was a fairly interesting policy agenda, which if in fact it were to be enacted would be good for the country, and then there was trump, which was the majority of the speech. my own view is that it would have surprised james madison to be told that the checks and balances of the constitution could not -- were not commensurate with actually governing, the idea that you cannot have governance while you're having an investigation, for instance, would have surprised the framers who explicitly designed the constitution and a system where different branches would check and balance each other. and so i think that was more wishful thinking than anything else. >> i want to read something from "the new york times," i'm sure you saw it today, also undercuts the president's pitch on unity here. at a private lunch for television anchors earlier in the day, he offered searing
assessments of a host of democrats. mr. trump dismissed former vice president joe biden as dumb, called senator chuck schumer of new york a nasty s.o.b., and said ralph northam, governor of virginia, choked like a dog at a news conference. why undercut the theme of a speech you haven't even given yet? >> craig, are you a fan of "the office"? >> i am. >> okay. there's a wonderful scene which i think explains almost everything about the current moment. michael scott, the steve carell character, breaks away from dunder mifflin to start his own paper company and it's a total disaster for a while. pam, the receptionist character, says, if a 6-year-old gets behind the wheel of a car and the car crashes, you don't blame the 6-year-old, you blame the
30-year-olds who let him get behind the wheel. if we expect anything different from president trump at this point, in a weird way it's our fault. we're grading on a curve. we're all kind of desperate for some sense of normalcy and so when he makes even rhetorical nods in that direction, we tend to overreact, we tend to say, well, maybe this will work. that was donald trump. that was him at lunch with people he pretends to hate, tv news anchors, but whose approval he craves, actually being trump. and then he goes up, he gives a well-written speech for the most part, but the real trump was at lunch. and i don't think it's going to change. you always hate to foreclose the possibility of redemption or growth. but i'm pretty close. >> jon meacham, jon, thank you. i wish we had more time to dissect this thing. i've got to get to some breaking news, though. we're going back to
virginia, breaking news about another high ranking statewide official who finds himself embroiled in a blackface photo controversy. hans nichols is standing by for us in richmond for the very latest. hans, what in the world is happening in the commonwealth? >> reporter: craig, this is another wrinkle in a very complicated situation down here in virginia. here is the latest. mark herring, the current attorney general, has just admitted that there is a photo of him in blackface from his college years when he was 19 years old at the university of virginia. he met earlier today with leaders, member of the black caucus here in richmond. he expressed contrition. here is what he's saying in his statement. this is a one-time occurrence and i accept full responsibility for my conduct. that conduct clearly shows that as a young man i had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others. just to reset here, craig, this
is the attorney general. the lieutenant general here in virginia is also facing allegations of a sexual nature. he vehemently denies those. he put out a new statement saying you need to treat all accusers with respect. that is all stemming from the initial scandal that broke last friday, that is governor northam here in the commonwealth of virginia, a photo came out attached to his yearbook page from his medical school yearbook that showed one person in blackface and one person in a ku klux klan outfit. the dominos have been falling on this, but the three senior elected officials in virginia are now facing scandals, two of them racial in nature and one of them sexual. we'll get back, craig, when we have more. everyone is going into session right now, into session in the house and senate. this is a fast-moving situation, craig. >> we should note that the lieutenant governor there has vehemently denied the sexual
assault, saying it was a consensual relationship. we should also note the attorney general, in part of that statement that you read, goes on to say, this conduct is in no way reflective of the man i have become in the nearly 40 years since. hans, do we know how this most recent blackface photo came to light? >> reporter: we don't. and we haven't seen it yet or at least i haven't seen it here. what we know is that attorney general mark herring was aware of its existence and talks about in his statement being always aware of it in the back of his mind, thought it was something he shouldn't have done and thought it might compromise his ability to do what he wants to do in the state. he met with members of the virginia black caucus this morning, a closed door meeting, and he made an apology and gave the statement that we read to you when he came out. >> it seems like reporters should ask all statewide elected officials in the commonwealth if they've ever dressed in blackface. we'll be right back.
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that's going to wrap up this hour of "msnbc live." i'll see you tomorrow on "today." andrea mitchell is standing by for "andrea mitchell reports." >> sitting by. thank you very much. coming up, president trump saying unless there's an end to what he calls partisan investigations, there will be no progress on legislation. >> if there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. it just doesn't work that way. a star is born. georgia's stacey abrams takes the national stage in a powerful rebuke to the president and his policies. >> making livelihoods of our federal workers a pawn for political gain is a disgrace. the shutdown was a stunt injured by