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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  March 29, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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does he not know his administration positions what they are? is it like what "the washington post" observed today. for president trump, the easiest problems to solve are the ones created by his own policy. that's all for tonight. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts right now. >> the attorney general issued a clarification. the mueller report is several hundred pages long. we, the people, can expect a redacted version by mid april. that's going to cut it for democrats in congress. >> plus, a former ambassador to russia is with us to talk about what it was like in front of adam schiff's house intel committee. the president begins another florida weekend claiming he has an exonerated and threatening to shut down the border. all of it as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a friday night.
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good evening once again from our nbc headquarters, day 799 of the trump's administration. it may be proof that our attorney general has a working television and seen some of the coverage of the last words he spoke to an anxious american public. his four-page letter orrin sunday which was after all all we had to go on. today after six-day of non-stop coverage. the anger among democrats who are not allowed the see the report. the president declared himself exonerated. the attorney general corrects the record a little bit given the reaction of the last letter, he was not an exhaust recounting of the special investigation. barr plans to release the mueller report by mid april if not sooner and he does not plan
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to give trump an advance copy for review. he says it is nearly 400 pages long and he's available to testify in congress about it in early may. the president was asked about it in florida today. >> i have great confidence in the attorney general, and that's what he likes to do -- i have nothing to hide. >> the response is a bit subdue than the message he sent out later. "no matter what the radical left democrats get, no matter what they give them, it will never be enough. just watch, they will harass and complain and resist, maybe we should take our victory and say no. we got a country to run." more on that later. the most notable part of barr's new letter of mueller's findings involved what we'll not see. he writes that he's working with the special counsel.
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robert mueller after his job is done is still redacting or admitting the following. material compromising and intelligence sources and medals. materials affecting ongoing investigations including those referred by mueller and other doj offices. materials infringing on privacy and reputation of peripheral third parties. that could mean a whole lot of people. >> about that criminal procedure rule 6-e. here is how fox news's legal analyst explains its relevance to the content of mueller's report. >> he says if there is information in there negative to a person who was not charged, that information can not be released. that's what the democrats want.
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this is why i think adam schiff is right. there are materials out there points toward guilts but not enough of them to reach a level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. >> rudy giuliani says he still wants the full report to come out adding this note. "if we have a few nasty facts in there, i am ready to slam it down their throat." barr's letter was sent to the chairman of the judiciary committee house and senate. the man running the house committee. jerry nadler of new york responded in a statement that read in part, "congress requires the full and complete mueller report without redactions as well as access to the under lining evidence by april 2nd, it is critical for attorney barr to come to congress to explain the rational behind his letter." house democrats are gearing up to accuse barr of the cover up
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if the findings he releases are not complete. one house staff member told the post, if he does not include the full summary or whatever he gives to congress, that amount to a cover up. we do not want anything in the words of the attorney general's. we want to see robert mueller's words. many hope mueller's report will answer why trump was able to avoid an interview, a sit-down interview with the special counsel. he was allowed to submit written answers instead. here is how his formal white house lawyer ty cobb responded when asked by kristen welker today. >> why didn't the president ever sit for an interview with the special counsel. >> other presidents proceeded of written questions. none of them provided the degree of cooperation that this white house did. it was a great compromise to
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proceed by written questions. it prevented a 9-15 month court battle that would not have generated much information. there were concerns at some point that based on the negotiations that they had to get the scope to a reasonable point in order to be confidence so the president can answer the question factually. >> our contributor, who happens to be former fbi assistant director for counter intelligence told nicole wallace this afternoon where he believes we may learn the real answer to that question. >> i think the answer is in the appendixes and here is why. from what i know how mueller works on these sensitive issues is he'll remoralize it for the record. it is not likely it is in the body of the report.
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>> let's with that bring in our lead-off panels on a friday night. joyce vance, brian bennett for time magazine and jeremy bash, former chief counsel of the house intel committee. jeremy, what was the headline of that letter today? >> well, i think first of all, with respect to the materials that'll be withheld because it can compromise intelligence and sources and methods. the committee can't have access to that because anything in the possession of the intelligence community can go to the hill. congress will see that, i don't know how much of that will be made public. the other headline brian was a notion that the attorney general is going to make a decision about protecting quote, "peripheral third party." that can be anybody, don jr. or jared or ivanka or other
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campaign staffs and other people in the trump's inner circle. it will be more prudent -- public interest will be better served if bill barr was not doing the redaction. he was hand picked by president trump. >> joyce vance, i know the phrase in our language that it is -- mueller memoralizing. >> imagine how many attachments and appendixes this case has.
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>> a big part of the news today was not very sexy but it was finding out how many pages were involved in mueller's report, learning it was almost 400 pages and that did not completes the exhibit that they were in addition to that. when the fbi does these investigations, they write down a report of the interview for every witness they talk to it is called an fbi 302. it is a complete restoration of the conversation. that could be thousands upon thousands of pages of additional evidence. we don't know if that'll be transferred to congress as part of the mueller report, it will be critical for congress to have access to all of that raw data to aid their investigation to permit them to engage them to oversight. >> brian bennett, is this not risky by house democrats to put their foot down and insist on april second. does a.g. have the ability to call them together and look you
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don't want me to do this. there are names in here and it is not ready. let me go through the process and we'll talk about it then? >> well, the attorney general, william barr, has shown himself to be this big umbrella over donald trump. he's plan to take his time and looking at the report and make redactions. he's going to be under tremendous measure to lead us into the report as much as possible in the hands of congress. we'll have to see how that plays out. jerry nadler said i want to see the report on tuesday and he should come and testify immediately about this. barr is saying i need to do responsible job to address all these concerns and the report is handled in an appropriate way. another thing that he'll be redacting or looking at redacting is information that deals with cases that are ongoing. he does handle over the report who had a lot of redactions, it could be assumptions of a lot of
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cases overlap with the mueller's case. >> joyce, as we can really envision when we'll get our hands-on what ever it is left on the 400 pages. do you anticipate the president and his lawyers again rudy giuliani as tonight we say let it out and let's release the report. do you think it will be brave as the day approaches? >> i think it is unlikely that they'll continue to put up the brave front. the president never hesitated to shift courses midstream when he thinks it to his advantage. as his date goes larger, the idea, don mcgahn interview that you reference or bob mueller's conversation of hope hicks that all of that material or most of it is going to go on the hill or maybe have public release. that's going to increasingly weigh on the president. we'll see if he'll perhaps try to exert executive privilege
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down the road. >> jeremy, no one stands up and interrupts and fact-checks, when he said he did it last night and completely exonerated, there was no one there to object. does this letter today change anything about the parameters surrounding donald trump's contention? yeah, i think this is the president's essential problem here. he had his best headlines and the entire episode already passed from last sunday. it is only going to go down here from here as we and the public learn more of the facts of what's in the report. the report was not a binary question who shot j.r., was it person x or person y? this is a report about a body of information and evidence,
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mueller will show a lot of trouble and conduct and suspicious conduct and a lot of conducts that we may think it is for giving us the j.r. reference. >> do the days get worse from here on out and for the president as this gets more real, maybe it is a much more flimsy thing that he says he's been totally exonerated. >> overtime more and more details are going to come out about what's in the report. that will means more and more focus and attention and narrative about what connections between russia and the trump campaign. a lot of that is in the public domain but the next several weeks causes a moment for it to
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be judged backup and rehash. it is not good for the president. there is a demand for information that mueller found out to go under the public domain, why? we have an election coming up in 2020. voters need to know what their sitting president did during his campaign and fill in the details and the gaps between the information that has already come out during the mueller indictment. >> can i close with you joyce, is robert mueller going to let bad things happen to his work product? is there private of authorship? he does have a seat at the table during the editing and redaction process. he's likely to be called before congress as well. >> mueller has a very simple job here. it is a prosecutor's job. it is not a political job. he's not a historian or a savior. his job is to make the investigation.
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the decision maker here, he needs the think of his legacy and the american people. legacy and about the american people is william barr who was hired after submitting this 19-page memo to the president that really preanswered questions the president wanted answered about obstruction of justice in a way the president wanted to see the answers. now we are about to find out, is barr the president's lawyer or the people's lawyer? he is supposed to be the people's lawyer. >> we seem to say this every friday. what a year it's been this week. much obliged to the three of you for starting us off. our next guest had a front row seat to one of the big confrontations on capitol hill this week. president trump warns he is not
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playing games and threatens to close down the southern border. we will have two of the best journalists tell us what they are hearing about this political strategy post mueller as "the 11th hour" is just getting started on a spring time friday night. less, less, but i'm relentless too. mbc doesn't take a day off, and neither will i. and i treat my mbc with everyday verzenio- the only one of its kind that can be taken every day. in fact, verzenio is a cdk4 & 6 inhibitor for postmenopausal women with hr+, her2- metastatic breast cancer, approved, with hormonal therapy, as an everyday treatment for a relentless disease. verzenio + an ai is proven to help women have significantly more time without disease progression, and more than half of women saw their tumors shrink vs an ai. diarrhea is common, may be severe, and may cause dehydration or infection. before taking verzenio, tell your doctor if you have
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bill barr and his confirmation said i will be as transparent as possible as much as the law or policy would allow. if he was true to those words as jerry nadler said, he wouldn't say i will cut all the jury
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material, but congress i am going to the court tomorrow to send it all to you. >> i was in this very studio when adam schiff was speaking to rachel maddow. he has been a favorite target for the president and republican members of congress following the conaddition solution of the mueller investigation. they straight up called for his resignation. he said he would not resign and lays out a deeply troubling pattern of conduct from trump and trump associates related to russia in the 2016 campaign. just tonight schiff t-shirts are for sale on the official trump campaign website, depicting him with clown features. he was sitting in the hearing room and he was there to testify about vladimir putin's influence in our world and our elections.
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>> you can use your five minutes to speak. you attacked me in your opening statement. >> i have not had an opportunity to speak. no one over here thinks that. you cannot speak for us. >> you are not recognized. ambassador, you are recognized. >> that man is with us now. former u.s. ambassador to russia. i'm happy you can smile now. tell us why you were there, ambassador and what it was like to be there. >> that was quite an introduction after all of that arguing, he pivoted to me to end it all. i was there to testify about putin's use of money and the olegarches and intelligence. that was our assignment. i got a detailed letter from the intelligence staff asking us to address the certain questions. that's what i was there to do. >> the republican devin nunez who had before the democrats won
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the house and the chairman of the committee, opened up an interrogation of you. he asked you questions about carter page and fusion gps and the steele dossier. what was he getting at? you are working for the other team? >> i guess so, brian. i testified many, many times over decades in the u.s. congress. i never have been interrogated like that. the insinuation was that i committed some wrong-doing. of course i had nothing to do with all those people. although i did say when he asked me if i had met ambassador kislyak, i said yes because i dealt with him on diplomatic issues and he was my counterpart. that was odd. i surely a member of congress would have known that. it's easy to google and find images, but he wanted to link me
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to the conspiracy that they are trying to connect dots to of somehow corruption around the steele dossier and the fisa process that led to carter page. i don't know. it was a very bizarre experience to be interrogated that way. >> because of your unique portfolio and life's work, you bring a unique view as we discussed with you in realtime for the better part of two years. what do you, mike mcfaul, want to see what aspects of the mueller report are you waiting to thumb to and read? >> so i want to remind your viewers, brian, that if you go back and look at two indictments of the russians, both the gru and the russian military intelligence and the research agency, the group that was
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putting propaganda and falsely appearing as americans on websites and even in person, we learned an incredible amount about the russian operation to influence voters in 2016. those weren't the only two things that russians did. i suspect mr. mueller now is the most expert person in the world on what russia tried to do in terms of influencing voters in 2016. i hope he documented it all in that report so that we can diagnose what happened with respect to the russians so that we can then move to the printive phase and make sure it never happens again, especially in 2020. >> do you look at him as the guy who maybe has the standing and moral authority to calm the waters and his word can be the closest thing we have in this debate to gospel? >> i hope so. i hope the report will be as
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detailed as i would expect it to be. i used to work with bob mueller in the government. he's a very thorough guy. the main thing i hope and i said this at the hearing yesterday. i am so tired of americans polarizing what should be national security issues. i used to work for the national security council. not the democratic security council. there is no such thing as democratic or republican security. other policy issues there are. there are winners and losers and you can support that, but when we are attacking, they are not attacking one or the other. our nation is attacked. i hope the report will get us back together to deal with the prescriptions. we have done next to nothing to prevent a similar attack from happening in 2020 and remember it's not just the russians. everyone is watching putin's playbook. we have to come together as
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americans to protect our national interest. >> ambassador, thank you as always. >> sure. >> coming up tonight, how the trump campaign plans to use the mueller report to win a second term. term
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all of the current and former official who is paid for, promoted and perpetuated the
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single greatest hoax in the history of politics in our country. they have to be -- i'm sorry. they have to be accountable. >> lock her up! lock her up! >> anybody else get a hint of revenge served cold? that was the president's message at last night's rally in michigan. according to new reporting from annie carney and maggie haberman at the "new york times," mr. trump is focused on vengeance after the investigation led by the special counsel and his aides are indulging him, attacking the democrats and the reporter who is have written about it. earlier today trump resurrected another favorite. >> bwe have two big caravans frm guatemala. massive caravans walking through mexico. mexico is tough and they can
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stop them and they chose not to. now they are going to. if they don't stop them, we will close the boarder and keep it closed for a long time. i'm not playing games. >> marco rubio was nodding in agreement. this means shutting down all trade with mexico that amounts to almost $2 billion a day. jonathan allen, nbc news political reporter and annie carney for the "new york times." annie, is this all base all the time? it's not a great way to win new customers, but we have been wrong about that in the past. >> the president has shown very little interest in new customers. this is going to play out with his campaign. his 2020 campaign that maggie and i toured this week is a real operation, building a huge field operation and much more real
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campaign than they had in 2015. what hasn't changed is the candidate they are working with. they acknowledge they don't have control over the message of this campaign. what we saw last night is a preview. his vengeance against mueller and a drain the swamp chant, trying to harken back to that outsider stink he had last time which he doesn't have as an incumbent president. he is going to hit this mueller probe as a way -- they said it's useful to even the player field in terms of credibility. the president is low in terms of the fact checks we have done for two years, but this means that the media's credibility and the democratic opponents are also low. >> i know you know the phrase there is always a tweet. a rick wilson tweet. he just passed 500,000 followers and not for nothing.
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this was wednesday. aren't we due for a caravan? maybe we should ask him who wins the final four. it's friday, we have two caravans, john. what are we to do with this? >> there are no shortage of new customers for rick wilson on twitter. he can continue expanding his field of potential supporters. the caravans are something that president trump continues to turn to. he's a president and candidate who talks in terms of nostalgia. i will harken back to yesteryear and say it's looking like fear and loathing. you get fear and loathing of his opponents and this attempt to under mine adam schiff and jerry nadler and anyone who operates as a check on him or pursue the leads that robert mueller has uncovered that we will see uncovered when we finally see
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this report. the caravans are something that is important to him and something that he is going to continue to stress. he's going to talk about building the wall. we will see him go to the border, he says, and show him building the new wall with the money he reappropriated from congress. buckle up. we will get a lot of the same at a higher speed. >> i note that you and maggie buried an ied towards the end of the story when you reported that the president's been tired, quoting aides that say he was pushing back against the addition of a campaign stop. that's not going to go over well. >> that's not going to go over well. that might be a line in there that the president doesn't like to read and reacts to and gets out there on the road. who's to say? this unstoppable candidate who
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used to do at the end of last cycle, four rallies a day had to have been forced to do it and we talked about this rally they wanted to do that he may end up adding back, but only because the campaign is trying to push him and not because he wants to do it. there is a little exhaustion. that could change. he did a lot of campaigning for the mid-terms just the caravan point. he did a lot of talking before the mid-terms. that message did not help the republicans keep the house. maybe it's different when trump is on the ballot. he seems to be ready to go and for now he's not dieing to get out there and do three a day. >> i wonder if anyone will call him low energy. considering the president converted a four-page letter with sentence fragments from mueller to total exoneration, did he have about the best week he could have had in current time? >> i don't think there has been a better week for the president
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since he took office in terms of having an opportunity free and clear given to him by his attorney general to go out and make the case that he's the victim as he did last night of what he said was a left wing deep state experience to deny the legitimacy of his election and prevent his agenda from moving forward and from becoming a two-term president. now, that was a four-page letter from the attorney general that the attorney general is starting to soften as he talks again to congress about what's forth coming. we will see what the mueller report shows and the way the president described what barr said in his first letter is untrue. it's not a total exoneration even though fragments of sentences you talked about. you do not talk about total exoneration and you say the opposite. two presidents have been impeached by the house of
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representatives and two who have been impeached would tell you impeachment does not necessarily have to be done in conjunction with things that the president would be held accountable for in a criminal court. bill clinton was not convicted of crimes, but was impeached. andrew johnson was impeach and did not 7serve a prison sentenc. >> our thanks on a friday night to john and annie. two returning veterans. thank you. coming up for us, we ask two of the most widely published historians of our time if there is hope for what one guest describes as a new age of enlightenment in this post mueller era. that when we come back. ome back
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the crazy attempt by the democrat party and the fake news
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media right back there and the deep state to overturn the results of the 2016 election have failed. the democrats have to now decide whether they will continue defrauding the public with ridiculous bull -- >> that's new in our public discourse and the rest of it, another example of the president's unique embrace of tribalism, his attacks on the other, anyone, everyone who has gone against him are not new. one of our next guests suggest each side view this moment as a learning opportunity. in an article for time, john meachem wants to tend to assess events not in the light of reason, but with the flame of partisan passion.
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what we make of a given moment is governed less by details and more by the demands of our particular tribe. we welcome evan thomas, editor at news week. his new book is first, sandra day o'connor, a portrait of the first woman supreme court justice. our discussion on that forth coming. the aforementioned john meachem and tim mcgraw, songs of america due out june 11th. it had been a couple of weeks since his last. you get to go first. let's talk about this. is this a thing. you are going to have to put a language warning on our president's speeches? fdr didn't talk like this. 41 didn't. obama didn't talk like this. >> yes, we are. to look now to the presidency
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for the kind of moral guidance that we had been used to looking for is a pointless exercise. hopefully this is a temporary passing thing. there is no doubt president trump is defining the presidency down. the presidency hasn't changed him, but we don't know if he has changed the presidency to any permanent effect. >> evan, same question. >> well, that is the question is that has he made it normal to be profane in the presidency? has he normalized degradation? i hope not. this country has come back from a lot. john meachem is the expert, but we had a lot of bad periods and people misbehaved and each time somebody has come along to make it better. >> evan, is that going to be the
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force do you think? will it be an individual who gets us back to true north in this hazy future we are talking about or will it be a public longing for standards and the way we used to be? >> usually it's a crisis. something terrible happens and somebody comes forward. fdr, lots of examples. lincoln. somebody rises to the occasion. america had a wonderful gift for finding leaders in low times who make it better. i don't know what the crisis is going to be and who the leader is going to be, but i have faith if the crisis comes, somebody will rise to it. not more than one person. the country will rise, but through leadership. >> john, what about the drumbeat of crisis. we have not one, but two caravans that the president is threatening to shut down the border to our south. >> right.
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i think to go to the leadership and followership points and that goes to the attempts to find an enemy even if there isn't one. to invent or create threats and a sense of urgency that we need him to resolve even though he is creating it. leadership is only possible in a democracy when followers make it so. we have undertaken the most complicated kind of human experiment and it continues to go forward. we are the most human form of government. you think that a monarch would be because that's a human being, but beginning with plato running all the way through james madison, a republic is in fact the most human undertaking. our dispositions of yours and mine matter in the public square. the presidency has been most
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effective not when a president has come down like a marvel super hero, but when someone in power has reflected the voices of the powerless. when the president of the united states curses in front of x thousands of people, he is reflecting a broader degradation of the culture. it's up to us to make possible to incentivize leaders to try to return to a certain dignity and a certain kind of reason. do we really believe, does reason tell us that there are caravan coming to take away what we have. if it does, there is a rational political response. you can support the president. if that seems to you overheat and perhaps mighty convenient, it probably is. my argument is, one of the essential elements of citizenship is to take data,
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weigh it, and don't just reflex uppive ively follow one or the other, but make up your mind to make the broad broader experience come to pass. >> both agreed to stay with us. we will talk about somebody very important. the trail blazing woman whose place in u.s. history and juris prudence are assures and we are seeing in a new light when we come back. new light when we come back. customers to care for lives to get home to they use stamps.com print discounted postage for any letter any package any time right from your computer all the amazing services of the post office only cheaper get our special tv offer a 4-week trial plus postage and a digital scale go to stamps.com/tv and never go to the post office again!
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evan thomas and john meachem remain with us. fans of old school journalism will know both gentlemen, although still young men, the only word i left out of editor at large was former. both are widely published
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historians. this is one of the odd weeks in the calendar year when john meachem does not have a new book out and evan does. what a book it is. it is my hand called first, sandra day o'connor, an intimate portrait of the first woman supreme court justice. i am up to pillow gate, something i remember from contemporary history and we won't explain, we will force people to buy the book and understand. i have one question that swerves in and out of my reading of every chapter. could she be confirmed today? >> probably not. she is too moderate and too reasonable to use john meachem's criteria. she was confirmed 99-0. you don't find that today. she was a person of the center and valued that. she valued common sense and reason. she really didn't like doctrine or rigid doctrine.
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she was somebody who could make a deal even on the supreme court. a principal deal, but a deal. >> i came across a scene of two readings ago where she is taking a winter walk as she liked to do with her clerks and staff. someone goes to steady her elbow and in effect she swats away their hand that speaks to her independence. the portrait you draw, it lets us believe absent her up bringing and humanity, she wouldn't have been who she was. we wouldn't have been the jurist she was. >> she grew up on a ranch. 160,000 acres and taught herself reliance and taught her to be an independent thinker. she could be ornery and tough, but also loving. one of the stories i like in the book is clarence thomas told me. when he came on the court after
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the anita hill hearings, which were pretty harsh, he said justice thomas felt hammered. justice o'connor walked with me and said those hearings were really damaging. thomas didn't know what to say. damaging to him? the next day, justice o'connor walked again with justice thomas and said you have to come to lunch. the next day, you have to come to lunch. she made him come to lunch and she said it changed everything for him. he didn't feel alone. he didn't feel like an outsider anymore. he felt part of a group. he told me she was the glue that kept the court together. >> john meachem, i thought of you today because jim mcgrath, former bush 41 spokesman tweeted closing the office after 26 years, 9500 plus days of service to the greatest man and woman that any of us will ever know. what an horror to serve with
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loyal devoted colleagues. of course the cause goes on. what you and evan have in common is, sandra day o'connor's family opened up diaries and they had no secrets. you had the same access to 41 whose death book ends this period we are in. >> it does. no greater man was ever served by a greater group of people in houston. one of the things that was remarkable and i was lucky enough with president bush, you actually get inside the private thoughts of people who wanted you to think a lot of the time they didn't have private thoughts. one of the things about president bush was as he used to say, nobody wants to hear the president of the united states whine all the time. it seems somewhat relevant.
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you have climbed the highest mountain in the world, people look to you for calm in a storm. the same is true with justice o'connor and what evan has done so brilliantly. she was a complicated portrait of a woman who wanted us to see her as a tough pragmatic person and like all of us is immense l complicated. she was before rbg, there was soc. the value of the book is that you find this wonderfully complex woman who changed american history. the first woman on the supreme court. >> this is the book in my hand, appropriately titled first. the author is evan thomas with us as is our friend john meachem. gentlemen, thank you both for coming on on a friday night. coming up, even entire societies sometimes need to be reminded what makes them great.
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last thing before we go, there were people in the streets and parks and squares of london and another perilous day for the united kingdom. everything but civil order and tea service appear to have fallen apart. these are terrible days for one of the great nations on earth. parliament has been through more brexit votes than we can recount here. this was supposed to be the night of the british exit from the eu. the prime minister has offered to resign and she likely will have to soon. it's almost immaterial at this point. no one knows where britain is headed. it's a terrible spectacle for the whole world to watch. we thought it might be high time to remind great britain why it's great and who better to do that
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really than one of their own, former prime minister, hugh grant. >> we may be a small country, but we are a great one, too. a country of shakespeare and the beatles and sean connery and harry potter. david beckham's right foot. his left foot. my friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. since bullies only respond to strength. now onward. i will be prepared to be much stronger. and the president should be prepared for that. >> that are is practice british greatness looks like. it was a message billy bob tornton no doubt needed to hear. a sentiment we hope great britain keeps in mind facing this great challenge ahead. tussa tussaud

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