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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  March 30, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT

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is it like "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. all for the last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts right now. tonight, the attorney general has issued a clarification. we are now told the mueller report is several hundreds pages long. he says we, the people, can expect a redacted version by mid-april. the problem is that's not 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. when the political divide burst wide open. and the president begins another florida weekend claiming he's been exonerated and threatening to shut down our southern 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 news headquarters here in new york, day 799 of the trump administration. it may be proof that our attorney general has a working television and has seen some of the coverage of the last words he spoke to an anxious american public. his four-page letter on sunday, which was all we had to go on after the actual mueller report. today after six days of non-stop coverage. the anger among democrats who are not allowed the see the report. the president declared himself exonerated. we have heard again from the attorney general. he corrects the record a little bit given the reaction of the last letter, he reminds us it was not an exhausttive recounting of the special investigation. barr plans to release the mueller report by mid april if not sooner and he does not plan to give trump an advance copy for review. he says it is nearly 400 pages
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long and that he is available to testify to congress about it in early may. in florida today, the president was asked about it. >> i have great confidence in the attorney general, and that's what he likes to do -- i have nothing to hide. >> the response was a bit subdued than the message he had he not out later. we, quote, no matter what the radical left democrats get, no matter what we 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've got a country o run. more on that tidbit later. perhaps 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. robert mueller after his job is done is still consult to go identity and redact or omit the
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following. materials subject to federal rule of criminal procedure 6e which can't be made public. material compromising intelligence sources and methods, material 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 6e, here is how fox news legal analyst andrew napolitano explained its contents to the mueller report. >> 6e says if there's information in there negative to a person who was not charged, that information can not be released. now, that's what the democrats want. this is why i think adam schiff is right. there are materials in there that point towards guilt that
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are just not nearly enough of them to reach the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. >> for his part, rudy giuliani said tonight he still wants the full report to come out, adding this grace note. and we, quote, 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 before congress immediately to explain the rationale behind his letter. "washington post" reports that house democrats are gearing up to accuse barr of a coverup if the findings he releases aren't complete. one house staff member told the post, if he does not include the
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grand jury information in the summary or report or redacted report or whatever he gives to congress, that amounts to a coverup. we do not want anything in the words of the attorney general. we want to see robert mueller's words. one of the key questions many hope mueller's report will answer why trump was able to avoid an interview, a sit-down interview with the special counsel. you will recall he was allowed to submit written answers instead. here's how his former 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 have proceeded of written questions. none of them provided the degree of cooperation that this white house did. i think it was a good compromise by each side to proceed by written questions. it prevented a 9-15 month court
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battle that would not have generated much information. i think that there were genuine concerns at some point that based on the negotiations that they had to get the scope to a reasonable point in order to be confident that the president could answer the questions factually. our contributor frank figliuzzi told nicolle wallace this afternoon where he believes where is the real answer to that question. >>i >> i think the answer is in the apen diss. he will memorialize it for the record. it is not likely it is in the body of the report. >> let's with that bring in our lead-off panels on a friday night.
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joyce vance, brian bennett for "time" magazine, and jeremy bash, former chief of staff at the cia and pentagon and happens to be former chief counsel of the house intel committee. jeremy, i'll start with you. what was the headline of that letter today in your mind? >> well, i think first of all, with respect to the materials that'll be withheld because it can compromise intelligence and sources and methods. of course the congressional intelligence committees, the committee led by adam schiff and the senate committee as well can't have access to that because, of course, 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 parties." that can be anybody, don jr. or jared or ivanka or other campaign staff and other people in the trump inner circle. it will be more
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prudent -- public interest will be better served if bill barr actually wasn't the person doing the redacting. he's a presidential appointee. he was hand picked by president trump. it would be better if the doj did those redactions and thought the political appointee. >> joyce vance, i know the phrase in our language that it the devil is in the apen dissees. oopg mueller likely memorializing the fact gathering he did. don mcgahn spent just to take one witness spent 30 hours talking to the mueller folks. you talk for 30 hours, type it out with legal spacing, that's dozens if not hundreds of pages right there. imagine how many attachments this case has. >> you know, it's going to a big part of the news today, it
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wasn't 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. and it's a pretty complete recitation 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, but it will be critical for congress to have access to all of that raw data to aid their investigation to permit them to engage into oversight. >> brian bennett, is this not risky by house democrats to put their foot down and insist on april 2nd? doesn't the amount ofg. have the ability to kind of call them together and say, look, you don't want me to do this, there are names in here, it's not ready. let me go through the process and we'll talk about it then?
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>> well, the attorney general, william barr, has shown himself to be this big umbrella over donald trump. he is planning to take his time and look at the report and make redactions. he's going to be under tremendous pressure to leave as much in the report as possible when he hands it to 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 a 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. if he does hand over a report with a lot of redactions, there could be an assumption that there's a lot of other cases that overlap with the mueller case.
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>> joyce, as this date gets more real, as we can really envision when we're going to get our hands on whatever is left of the 400 pages, do you anticipate the president and his lawyers, again, rudy giuliani said as late as tonight saying let it out. 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's to his advantage. as this date looms larger, the idea that, for instance, the don mcgahn interview that you reference or bob mueller's conversation with hope hicks, that all that material or at least motivate is going to go up on the hill and 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 down the road. >> jeremy, the great thing if
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you ask the president about his rallies and the crowds attracted to them is no one stands up and interrupts and fact-checks. when he said last night that he was completely exonerated, the collusion delusion, 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, is that he's had his best headline out of this 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. after all, the report wasn't a binary question, who shot j.r., was it person x or person y? this is a report about a body of information, a body of evidence. i think mueller will show a lot of troubling conduct, a lot of suspicious conduct, a lot of conduct that we may think the
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unpatriotic or even shameful, wrongful, but it did arise to a level of criminal violation of the federal election statute. that's not going to look good on the president once it's made reference. >> thanks for the j.r. reference. do the days get worse by necessity from here on out for the president as this gets more and more real, maybe it's a much more flimsy thing that he says he's been totally exonerated. >> over time more and more details are going to come out about what's in the report. that means more and more focus and attention and narrative about what connections there were between russia and the trump campaign. a lot of that was already in the public domain, but the next several weeks causes a moment for that to be dredged back up and rehashed. and that's not good for the president.
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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. >> joy, can i close with you with a stuningly naive question? is robert mueller going to let bad things happen to his work product? is there pride of authorship, a sense of being protective over the last two years of his life? he does have a seat at the table now during the editing and redaction process. he's likely to be called before congress as well. >> mueller has a very simple job here. it's a prosecutor's job, it's not a political job. he's not a historian or a savior. his job is to conduct an investigation and then to make a prosecutetive decision about
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whether people should be indicted as a result of that investigation. the edition-maker who needs to think about his 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 that the president wanted to have answered about obstruction of justice in a way that the president wanted to see those answers. now we are about to find out is barr the president's lawyer or the people's lawyer. he's 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 joyce advance advanced and jeremy bash. >> one of our big confrontation of capitol hill this week. later, president trump warns he's not playing games, he threatens to close down our southern border. we'll have two of our best journalists tell us what they're hearing about this political
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strategy post-mueller as "the 11th hour" is just getting started on a springtime friday night. so, you're open all day, every day. that's what 24/7 means, sugar. kind of like how you get 24/7 access to licensed agents with geico. hmm? yeah, you just go online, or give them a call anytime. you don't say. yep. now what will it take to get 24/7 access to that lemon meringue pie? pie! pie's coming! that's what it takes, baby. geico®. great service from licensed agents, 24/7. you wouldn't accept from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. flonase.
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bill barr and his confirmation says 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 be saying i'm cutting all the grand jury material. he would be saying, congress, i'm going to the court tomorrow to seek permission to send it all to you. >> that was in this very studio tonight,
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the house intel chairman adam schiff speaking to rachel maddow. he's become a favorite target for the president and republican members of congress. on thursday republicans called for his resignation during a hearing. congressman schiff made clear that he would not resign and laid out what he says as a deeply troubling pattern of conduct from trump and trump's associates related to the 2016 campaign. just tonight it was brought to our attention that schiff t-shirts are for sale on the official trump campaign website depicting him with clown features. our next guest witnessed this week's partisan outburst. he was sitting in the hear room and he was there to testify about vladimir putin's influence in our world and our elections. >> you can use your five minutes to speak, you attacked me in your opening statement.
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>> i have not had a chance to respond. no one over here -- you cannot speak for us. >> mr. attorney, you're not recognized. ambassador, mcfaul, you are recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> he's with us now, mike mcfaul. i'm happy you can smile now. tell us why you were there, ambassador, what it was like to be there. >> first, it 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 oligarchs. i got a detailed letter from the intelligence committee staff asking to us address those certain questions, and that's what i was there to do. >> and then the republican, devin nunes, who had, of course, before the democrats won the house been the chairman of the committee, opened up an interrogation of you, he asked you questions about carter page,
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about fusion gps, about the steele dossier. what was he getting at? what was he getting that? was he trying to infer you are working for the other team? >> i guess so, brian. i mean, i've testified many, many times over decades in the u.s. congress. i have never been interrogated like that. the insinuation was somehow that i committed some wrong doing. of course, i had nothing to do with all of those people. i said that. although i did say when he asked me had i ever met ambassador kislyak, i said yes, i met him many times because i worked at the white house, as you know, for three years. i dealt with kislyak on diplomatic issues and then he was my counterpart. so that was also odd. surely a member of congress would have known that. it is easy to google and find images of us. i think he wanted to link me to this conspiracy that they are trying to connect dots to of somehow corruption around the
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steele dossier and the fisa is a process that led to the monitoring of carter page. that's my theory. it was a bizarre experience to be interrogated that way. >> because of your unique portfolio and your life's work, you bring a unique view of this whole case 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? >> i want to remind viewers that if you go back and look at his two indictments of the russians, both the gru, the russian military intelligence officers and then the internet research agency, the group that was putting propaganda and falsely appearing as americans on websites and even in person, we learned an incredible amount
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about the russian operation to influence voters in 2016. but those weren't the only two things russians did, and i suspect mr. robert 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 in that report so we can diagnose what happened with respect to the russians so we can move to the prescriptive phase and make sure it never happens again, especially in 2020. >> did he have the experience 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 detailed as i would expect it to be. i used to work with bob mueller when i worked in the government. he's a thorough guy.
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the main thing i would hope and i said it at the hearing yesterday. i am so tired of americans pollersing -- polarizing what should be a national security issue. i used to work for the national security council. i did not work for the democratic security council. there is no such thing as democratic or republican security. there is winners and losers and you can support that. but when we're attacked, our foreign enemies are not attacking one or the other. our nation is attacked. so i hope that the report will help to get us back together to deal with the prescriptions because we've done next to nothing to preventative similar attack from happening in 2020. and remember, it's not just the russians. everybody's watching putin's playbook. everybody is watching putin's our former ambassador, mike mcfaul. ambassador, thank you as always, very much for coming on tonight. >> sure.
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they have to be -- i'm sorry, they have to be accountable. [ chanting ] >> anyone else there get a hint of revenge served cold? that was the president's message at last night's rally in michigan. according to new reporting, "mr. trump is focusing on vengeance after the end of the investigation led by the special counsel. and his campaign aides are indulging him, attacking the democrats who have sought to investigate him and the reporters who have written about it. earlier today, trump resurrected yet another favorite. >> we have two big caravans coming up from guatemala. massive caravans walking right through mexico. so mexico's stuff. if they don't stop them, we're closing the border and we'll keep it closed for a long time. i'm not playing games.
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>> interesting to see marco rubio no good in agreement there for a moment. and to be clear, this would mean shutting down all trade with mexico, which amounts to almost $2 billion a day. back with us, jaonathan alan an annie carney, white house reporter for "the new york times." is this going to be all base, all the time? it is not a great way to win but we have been wrong in the past. >> the president shows no interest in winning of new customers. his 2020 campaign which i toured this week and writing the story, it is a real operation. a real traditional operation, building a huge field operation and much more a real campaign than he had in 2015. what hasn't changed is the candidate they're working with. and they will acknowledge that they don't have any control over the message of this campaign.
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so what we saw last night was a good preview of what's going to happen. he did his vengeance against mueller and he even started a drain the swamp chant, harping it back to the outsider mystique he had lament which he doesn't have as the incumbent. he's going to hit this mueller probe as they said, it is useful to even the playing field in terms of credibility, which the president --. there's always a tweet. i'm talking about a rick wilson tweet. he has just passed 500,000 followers this week, and not for nothing. this was wednesday. aren't we due for a caravan? maybe we should ask rick who wins the final four to place our wagers now.
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it's friday. we have two caverns, john. what are we to do with this? >> there are no shortage of new customers for rick wilson on twitter. so he can continue expanding his field of potential supporters. you know, the caverns are something that president trump continues to turn to. he's a president and a candidate who talks in terms of nostalgia, so ail hearken back to yesteryear a bit and say this campaign is looking a lot like fear and loathing on the campaign trail. you're getting fear about the caravans, loathing of his political opponents. this attempt to undermine adam schiff, jerry nadler, the media, basically anybody who can operate as a check on him or pursue the leads that robert mueller has uncovered that we will see uncovered, i think, when we finally see this report. but the caravans are something that's important to him, and something that he is going to continue to stress. he's going to talk about
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building the wall. we'll see him go to the border and show him building the new wall with the money he reappropriated from congress, even as that fight is going on in the courts. so buckle up, we're going to get a lot of the same but maybe at a higher speed. >> annie, you and maggie buried a little ied toward the end of your story when you reported the president's been tired, quoting ai aides that say he was pushing back against the addition of a campaign stop. that's not going to go over well. >> it's not. that might be a line in there that the president, that doesn't like to read and reacts to and gets out there on the road, who's to say? yeah, there has been this unstoppable candidate who did four rallies a day, who has been forced to do it. we talked about this rally that
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he may end up adding back. but it's notable it's only because the campaign is trying to push him to do it it's not because he wants to do it. there's a little exhaustion. that could change. he did a lot of campaigning before the midterms. he did a lot of talking about the caravan before the midterms and that message didn't help the republicans keep the house. maybe it's different when trump is actually on the ballot but he seems to be ready to go with the same message. for now he's not dying to get out there and do three rallies a day. >> i wonder if anyone with call him low energy. considering the president converted a four-page letter take advantage sentence fragments from mueller into total exoneration, did he have about the best week he could have had in current time? >> yeah, i don't think there's been a better week for the president since he took office in terms of having an opportunity free and clear given
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to him business bihis attorney general to go out and make the case that he's the victim as he did last night. what he said was a left-wing deep state conspiracy to deny the legitimacy of his election to prevent his agenda from moving forward and to prevent him from becoming a two-term president. now, that was a four-page letter from the attorney general that the attorney general's already starting to soften as he talks again to congress about what's forthcoming. we will see what the mueller report actually shows, the way the president has described what barr said in his first letter is untrue. it's not a total indoctrination even though fragments of sentences you talked about do not talk about total exoneration, in fact, say the opposite in terms of obstruction of justice. there are two presidents who've been impeached by the house of representatives. i'm not saying the house will impeach president trump, but two vfb impeached who will tell you that impeachment does not necessarily have to be done in
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conjunction with things that the president would be held accountable for in a criminal court. andrew johnson was impeached and didn't serve a prison sentence. >> with big tips of the hat to you, our thanks on a friday night to john allen and carney. appreciate it very much, guys. thank you. coming up for us, we ask two of the most widely-published historians of our time is there hope of a new age of enlightenment in this post-mueller era? more when we come back. we come k car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. over to you, logo. liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ i've always been amazed and still going for my best, even though i live with a higher risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem.
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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 bullshit. >> so that happened in michigan last night. that's new in our public discourse. and the rest of it, yet another example of the president's unique embrace of tribalism, his attacks on the other, anyone, everyone who's gone against him are not new, but one of our next guests suggestions each side view this moment in history as a learning opportunity. in an article for time, jon meacham writes we tend to assess events not in the light of reason, but with passion. what we make of a given moment is governed less by merits and details and more by the mores and demands of our particularly political tribe.
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we welcome to the broadcast tonight evan thomas, editor at large at "newsweek." his new book is "first, sandra day o on nor, an intimate portrait." and jon meacham, his latest work, coauthored with tim mcgraw is songs of america, due out june 11th. it's been a couple weeks since john's last. john, you get to go first. let's talk about mores. is this a thing now? are we going to have put a language warning on our president's speeches? fdr didn't talk like this, 41 didn't talk like this, obama didn't talk like this. >> yes, we are. it's been evident for three or four years. to look now to the presidency for the kind of moral guidance that we have been used to looking for a pointless
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exercise. hopefully this is a temporary passing thing, but there's no doubt in my mind that president trump is defining the presidency down. we know that the presidency hasn't changed him. what we don't know yet is whether he's changed the presidency wito any permanent effect. >> evan, same question. >> has he made it normal to be profane in the presidency? has he normalized degradation? hope not. people have misbehaved in office, and each time somebody's come along to make it better. >> evan, is that going to be the forest? will it be an individual who gets us back to true north in
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this hazy future we're talking about? or will it be a public longing for standards and mores 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. americans have a gift of finding leaders in low times who make it better. i don't know what the crisis or the leader is going to be. but i have faith that if the crisis comes, somebody will arise to it. not more than one person. the country will rise to it, but true leadership. >> john, what about the drum beat of crises? we have not one, but two new caravans headings to the border that the president is threatening to shut to our south? >> right. to go to the leadership, follower attempt, this goes to the president's amendments to find an enemy even if there
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isn't one, to invent or exacerbate threats or create a sense of urgency that we would them presumably need him to resolve, even though he's creating it. leadership is really only possible in a democracy when followers make it so. we've undertaken the most complicated kind of human experiment in america for two and a half centuries now and it continues to go forward. we are the most human form of government. you would think of hand that a monarch would be because it's a human being in government. but, in fact, beginning with plato running all the way through machiavelli and james madison, a republic is, in fact, the most human undertaking because our dispositions in heart and mind are in the public square. the presidency has been most effective when someone in power
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has truly reflected the voices of the powerless. and so when the president of the united states curses in front of x number of thousands of people, he's really reflecting a broader degradation of the culture. so it's up to us to make possible, to incentivize leaders to return to a certain kind of dignity and reason. do we really believe, does reason tell us that caravans to take away what we have? if it does, then there's a rational political response. you can support the president. if that seems to you overheated and perhaps mighty convenient, it probably is. my argument is one of those essential elements of citizenship is to take data, weigh it, and don't just reflex i havely follow one or another,
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but make up our own minds and what's the best vessel to make that come to pass. >> both of these gentlemen will stay with us. we'll talk about the trail blazing woman whose place in u.s. history and u.s. jurisprudence are assured we are seeing in a whole new light when we come back. unbelievable. whenever we're about to get on a stage for a huge audience, i always give my dad, like, a facetime kinda moment. you see the crowd, you see the emotion. you know, he has that experience for the first time with me, and that's really important to me. i created a rockstar. (both laughing) (announcer) the best network is even better when you share it. buy the latest iphone for you, and get iphone 10r on us for someone else. and get apple music on us, too. only on verizon. few have pure grace. many have strength...
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evan thomas and jon meacham remain with us. fans of old school journalism will note both gentlemen, while still young men, are veterans of "newsweek", the old original "newsweek," and the only word i left out of evan's title of editor at large was former. both are widely published historians. as we noted, this is one of the odd weeks in the calender year when jon meacham does not have a new book out and evan does. and what a book it is.
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it is in my happened. it is called "first: sandra day o'connor, an intimate portrait of the first woman supreme court justice." evan, i've got to say i am enjoying every page of this. i am up to let's call it pillowgate, something i remember from contemporary history, which we won't explain, we'll force people to buy the book and figure out what pillowgate is. i have one question that swerves in and out of my reading of every chapter. could she be confirmed today? >> probably not. she's too moderate. she's too reasonable to use jon meacham's criteria. shows not she's not ideological. she was confirmed 99 to 0. you don't find that today. she was a person of the center. she valued that. she valued common sense and reason. she really didn't like doctrine. she didn't like rigid doctrine. she was somebody who could make a deal, even on the supreme court, a principled deal but a deal. >> i just came across a scene
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two readings ago where she's 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, which speaks to her cantankerousness and her independence. the portrait you draw lets us believe that absent her upbringing and humanity she wouldn't have been who she was. she wouldn't have been the jurist she was. >> she grew up on a ranch, you know, 160,000 acres, really taught her self-reliance. taught her to be an independent thinker. she could be ornery. she could be tough but she could also be loving. one of the stories i really like in the book is -- clarence thomas told me, justice thomas, when he came on the court after the anita hearing -- the anita hill hearings, which were pretty harsh, justice thomas said i felt hammered and justice
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o'connor walked with me and said, you know, those hearings, they were really damaging. thomas didn't know what to say. damaging to him? well, of course. but the next day, justice o'connor walked with justice thomas the next day and said, you got to come to lunch, you got to come to lunch. she made him come to lunch and he said it changed everything for him. he didn't feel alone. he didn't feel like an outsider anymore. he felt like part of a group. he told me that she was the glue that kept the court together. >> jon meacham, i thought of you today because jim mcgrath, tweeted, "closing the office of george h.w. bush after -- to the great man and woman any of us will ever know. what an honor truly and to serve with such loyal devoted colleagues made it all the more special. of course the cause goes on.
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what you and evan have in common is sandra day o'connor's family opened up diaries. they had no secrets. and you had that same access to 41, whose death kind of bookends this period we're in. >> it does. and i'm glad you showed that. no greater man was ever served by a greater group of people there in houston. and one of the things that is so remarkable about evan's book is, and i was lucky enough with as you say president bush, is you actually get inside the private thoughts of people who wanted you to think a lot of the time they didn't have any private thoughts. and one of the -- 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. gee, that seems somewhat relevant. you know, you've climbed the highest mountain in the world. people don't want -- people want -- they look to you for a calm
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in a storm, and i think the same is true with justice o'connor. and what evan's done so brilliantly here is given us this complicated portrait of this woman who i think wanted us to see as this tough westerner, as this pragmatic person, but like all of us is an immensely complicated figure and the fact that she was truly the first. before ruth bader ginsburg, before rbg there was soc, and the value of this 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 evan thomas with us tonight, as is our friend jon meacham. gentlemen, thank you both so much for coming on on a friday night. we really appreciate it. and coming up, even entire societies times need to be reminded what makes them great. reminded what makes them great [leaf blower]
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tonight. there were people in the streets and parks and squares of london today. another perilous day for the united kingdom where 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 reliably recount here. originally this was supposed to be the night of the british exit from the eu. that's gone by the boards. the prime minister has offered to resign and she likely will have to soon, but 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. so we thought it might be high time to remind great britain why it's great. and who better to do that, really, than one of their own? former prime minister hugh grant. >> we may be a small country, but we're a great one, too.
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a country of shakespeare, churchill, the beatles, sean connery, "harry potter," david beckham's right foot, david beckham's left foot, come to that, and a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. and since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward i will be prepared to be much stronger and the president should be prepared for that. >> that is what british greatness looks like right there. it was a message you'll know president billy bob thornton no doubt needed to hear. a sentiment we hope great britain keeps in mind facing as it is facing this great challenge ahead of them. that is our broadcast for this friday and for this week. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york.

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