tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC April 11, 2019 1:00am-2:00am PDT
or i'll do with chuck rosenburg did and i'll resist and fail up with dignity. >> thanks for joining us. that is "all in" for this evening. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. tonight the attorney general of the united states echoes a talking point from the president and those around him, telling congress spying did occur on the trump campaign. it's a loaded word and a weighty charge, and democrats exploded in response. on the mueller front, william barr said he hopes to put the report out next week, while the president describes it as an attempted coup that he defeated. and the "wall street journal" reports trump insiders keith schiller and hope hicks have both spoken to the feds about hush-money payments. the person who broke the story is here as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a wednesday night.
well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 811 of the trump administration. fox news heard that the trump campaign was somehow spied upon by our government in a way that circumvented due process in this country. today we heard our attorney general william barr make that same charge. it came during a hearing of the senate appropriations committee. >> one of the things i want to do is pull together all the information from the various investigations that have gone on, including on the hill and in the department, and see if there are any remaining questions to be addressed. we want to make sure that during -- i think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. i'm not talking about the fbi, necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly. >> so you're not suggesting,
though, that spying occurred? >> i don't -- well, i guess you could -- i think spying did occur, yes. i think spying did occur. >> do you have evidence there was anything improper in those investigations? >> i have no specific evidence that i would cite right now. >> that statement right there and some of barr's actions have left his critics with the notion that he views the president as his client and not the american people. barr's comments were unexpected. spying is a loaded word with legal ramifications, and noting that the attorney general chose to use that word, he was then given an opportunity to clarify his remarks. >> i want to give you a chance to rephrase something you said, because i think when the attorney general of the united
states uses the word "spying" it's rather provocative, and in my view, unnecessarily inflammatory. >> unauthorized surveillance. i want to make sure there was no unauthorized surveillance. is that more appropriate in your mind? >> this is your call. >> not quite clear what barr meant by either spying or unauthorized surveillance. he offered no evidence. but there has been speculation this may have been a reference to the case involving former trump campaign adviser carter page. the "new york times" reminds us, quote, the fbi obtained a secret surveillance warrant on page after he left the campaign, and reports have suggested it used at least one confidential informer to collect information on campaign associates. and from the "wall street journal," quote, the department's inspector general is examining whether the fbi and federal prosecutors abused their authority in obtaining warrants from the nation's secret spy
court. the attorney general's testimony came about half an hour after the president took his own shots at the nearly two-year-old russia investigation. his comments seemed to serve as a preview to his attorney general. >> it was an illegal investigation. this was an attempted coup, this was an attempted takedown on a president. what i'm most interested in is getting started. hopefully the attorney general, he mentioned it yesterday, he's doing a great job getting started on going back to the or origins of exactly where this started. >> trump added, quote, that he thinks barr is doing a great job. the attorney general has been on the job about eight weeks. the "washington post" writes, signs are increasing that barr is at least saying the kind of things trump wants to hear. they welcomed barr's comments about spying on the trump campaign. congressman mark meadows, republican of north carolina, steadfast trump supporter, wrote, quote, we've seen two
years of evidence that intelligence community executives did this. the ag's willingness to investigate is massive. accountability is around the corner. meanwhile, meadow's fellow party members in the senate say they have questions about the fellow inquiry. >> if you really believe trump's campaign was being infiltrated by russians, why didn't you tell him so he could do something about it? and how could clinton get away with all of this and not have any charges at all? >> i want to know, did they have credible evidence? were they in good faith in investigating secretary clinton and her campaign and in investigating president trump and his campaign? >> meanwhile, and as we mentioned, democrats had a different reaction to the ag's choice of words today. >> let me just say how very, very dismaying and disappointing that the chief law enforcement officer of our country is going
off the rails yesterday and today. >> i'm flabbergasted. when you start linking spying with law enforcement or the intelligent community, that sets off red flags everywhere. >> let's bring in our lead-off panel on a wednesday night. barret berger is back with us with the eastern district of new york and the southern district of new york. tonight we're happy to welcome her as an msnbc legal analyst. jeff bennett, white house correspondent for nbc news, frank galuzzi for frank intelligence, and matt acosta, moderator of "washington week" on pbs. welcome to you all. frank, given your experience, tell us how easy or hard it is to get a fisa warrant, and could the work being done under a fisa warrant be construed as spying under the name of that warrant? >> brian, look, the performance
of this attorney general over the last two days has been abysmal. what he did today by invoking the spying connotation is he flew what i would call a flash ban grenade into the room. by that, anyone who has been associated or involved with tactical teams will know that a flash ban grenade is meant to reflect and make a loud noise, but it's not meant to take out personnel. what he did was throw in the flash band grenade into the room. he is falling in line with this president, and the motive that the fbi was somehow spying on a campaign when what it has proven to have done is lawfully investigate with predication
allegations that the russians were involved with this campaign. the inspector general has looked at this and reviewed it. there has been ad nauseum of this scenario, and we have an attorney general who seem to be serving as someone for the mob boss. the last two days have disappointed me and it's clear that this attorney general is representing the president and not the law. >> in all your time as a fed, how often did the word spying come up? >> never. it's not how prosecutors talk, it's not how agents talk. nobody i ever worked with in the department of justice referred to what we were doing as spying. we referred to it as investigating. spying kind of infers that you are working outside the boundaries of the law. it has a negative connotation to it.
the amount of perception it takes to intercept conversations, starting an intelligence investigation, it's not spying, it's using court-authorized investigative techniques. that's what we refer to them as, not spying. >> hey, bennett, judging by the sound we heard, the republicans are taking this back a step. we're back to the time of hillary clinton. the democrats are reacting with anger, and as you heard the speaker of the house, dismayed. does that about get it right? >> you got it right. you hear democrats using all sorts of colorful train wreck metaphors. you heard nancy pelosi say this country has gone off the rails given this performance by the
attorney general. i think the most charitable interpretation of the attorney general's comments tonight come when he doesn't see a difference between the words spying and surveillance. he's not invested so much in the spying itself as he is making sure the fbi followed proper procedures. he says he has no improprieties. we know because congress has investigated this, as frank has pointed out. the gang of eight. six members of the gang of eight said on the record that when they were briefed about the findings of these investigations, they said on the record that russia did nothing wrong. they said there were no improprieties. two didn't say anything at all. so there was nothing unfavorable about the claim that he was spied upon. >> william barr talks like sean hannity, and we thought what better than to hear what sean hannity has to say about it
tonight? we'll talk about it on the other side. >> president trump was right all along, we were right all along. they have no character, no ethics, no integrity. the media, the democrats, they are so blinded by this hate, this rage, they are incapable of seeing the stone cold truth right before their eyes. >> so, robert, i guess the question is the white house must be happy with their guy. >> yes, but the real story here, let's just pause for a moment and think about what we're actually talking about. it's not just the political theater of what the attorney general did today on capitol hill. it's about the debate of the origin of the russia investigation. congressional republicans and congressional democrats have a totally different view. that's why sean hannity is saying what he's saying, that's why people on the program tonight have their perspective. how did george papadopoulos and carter page interact with different members who are associated with the u.s. government at some level, such as a former cambridge professor stefan hopper? those reactions are what devin nunez has been scrutinizing for months.
the fbi maintains it's acted in all proper ways since the origin of the russia investigation going back to george papadopoulos' conversation with the ambassador and the talk of the clinton emails. they have said from the beginning these fisa warrants are based on evidence, based on conduct. but carter page and george papadopoulos talking constantly on television have said they felt almost trapped with how the government handled the investigation. that's what the attorney general was referencing today. if he's seeing that as a legitimate argument, that's what he's pursuing. that's why it matters. >> frank figliuzzi, your response to that. >> i invite any attorney general in the operations, so let's bring him on and see what he finds.
he'll be redundant unless he has completely gone over to the trump side. then the truth will come out and the truth will upset him because we already know what it is. we have an attorney general that has 400 pages of evidence that he has yet to release and he has conceded he has no intention of fully releasing. but yet without one scintilla of evidence, he will use the word spy for the ordinance of the special inquiry. to me it sounds like preparing the field for a battle. it sounds like, eventually this will all get out, but i can tell you, i think it's tainted. that's what we saw today. >> let's take a step back. what is fisa? what does it stand for? who gets to be a federal fisa judge? how hard would it be for federal prosecutor bennett berger to get a fisa warrant for someone
suspected of a crime. >> you think someone has connections of a foreign power, that they're being used as an agent of a foreign power. you can start an intelligence investigation. there are special fisa courts. there are judges assigned to sit on those courts and they rotate. for example, with respect to carter page, you have a fisa application. it isn't just signed by some prosecutor, it has to go to the judge. i believe you had rod rosenstein who signed off on one of the iterations of the fisa warrant that went before the court. then you have to take it to the fisa court and have them sign off on this. there are some circumstances where you can get an emergency fisa warrant without getting some of that process, but here we know they did go through that process. it's not just something you can wake up and decide you start to surveil somebody. there are a lot of checks and balances, so that's why this
concept of calling it spying is an involuntary term. it's a valid, court-authorized investigative technique that law enforcement and our intelligence communities do every day. there is nothing suspicious about it, and yes, obviously, if it's used improperly, it should be scrutinized, but this is a regular technique that's used commonly, and if the procedures are followed, there is nothing wrong with it. >> let me just take a second and remind our viewers what the president has had to say on this very topic in past months. >> a lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. if they had spies in my campaign, that would be a disgrace to this country. >> when i said there could be somebody spying on my campaign, a lot of things happened. it was like -- it went wild out there. >> they spied on me.
they spied on our campaign. who would think that's possible? >> well, robert costa, here we are. the s word has now been uttered by the head law enforcement officer in our land who will next be heard from when he releases his redactions of the mueller report as americans hope he will be a steady hand and an honest broker. >> like almost everyone involved in this discussion, from president trump to the attorney general, this is, of course, loaded language to use language like spying, and that's why congressional democrats today came back to him and questioned him about that use of language. his role now constitutionally is to be an impartial broker of information when it comes to the mueller report. but the attorney general clearly
is not someone who is just a republican, who served with george w. bush in the early '90s, this is someone who has skepticism of prosecutors. remember his history, his biography. he did not come out of the prosecutorial ranks. he was an intelligence analyst. he came into this job even as a former ag, as someone who is not immediately siding with the media who come from law enforcement with the prosecutors. this is a lot of people in the law enforcement community, because they're not sure of what he is up to. is he working with president trump, for instance, what is his agenda? this is creating the situation right now where everyone is on edge. >> i keep hearing the report is coming out next week. i look at the calendar and congress is out of town next week. >> they are, in fact, they take a two-week break starting next week, and some of those members are not just on recess, they're going out of the country. they have some going on kodels, those government-paid foreign trips. republicans who are invested about learning more about the origins of this fbi probe, yes, they believe they have it right on the merits, but it also allows them politically to counter-program against the
democrats, against the democrats who are pushing to get the full report, against the democrats who are learning about white house conferences, who are working to get the full investigation. this tells them there was something that was not on the level in the trump campaign. this also allows the president to weaponize the findings and say that the fbi had it in for him all along. >> this being a consequential night, we have asked all of oufr -- our guests to stay with us a bit. coming up for us, what the attorney general had to say today about when the public will see this report and who may have already seen it. and later, a look back in time when the papers called the russians the soviets or perhaps the reds back when something they did scared a lot of folks
this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. i look forward to seeing the report. >> don't you think the public has a right to see the mueller report? >> i don't mind. frankly, i told the house if you want to, let them see it. >> i'll leave it to the attorney general, but it wouldn't bother me at all. >> today the attorney general told the senate that the mueller
report would be released within a week. they also asked barr who else might know what is in that report. >> who else outside the justice department have seen portions or all of the special counsel's report? has anyone in the white house seen any of the report? >> i'm not -- as i say, i'm landing the plane right now, and i've been willing to discuss my letters and the process going forward. i'm just not going to get into the details of the process until the plane is on the ground. >> this morning president trump was asked whether he had had an advance look at mueller's findings. >> i have not seen the mueller report. i have not read the mueller report. i won. no collusion, no obstruction. i won. as far as i'm concerned, i don't care about the mueller report. i've been totally exonerated.
>> not mentioned there, of course, had he been briefed on the mueller report. still with us, barrett berger, robert costa. i'd like to play for you the conversation about obstruction. >> you said the president is not guilty of obstruction of criminal justice. i'm asking you, in your review of the report, did you agree with mueller that there were different facts? >> i'm going to release my view of the report. >> you put out your view of the report. >> i didn't put out my view of the report. >> didn't bob mueller support your conclusion? >> i don't know if bob mueller supported my conclusion. >> what do you make of that interchange? >> the first part is he doesn't know if bob mueller supported his conclusion, which is interesting. it's interesting that the person
who did this long, exhaustive investigation, one, would not have been consulted about barr's conclusion on the obstruction question, and two, wouldn't have weighed in on sort of the summary that barr gave congress. now, presumably that's because mueller did not necessarily want to bless this summary. what he said is included in his report and perhaps that's all he wants to say on the topic is what's in the four corners of that 400-page report. it is interesting to me that he wasn't consulted about this conclusion. but, you know, as we all know the sort of more important question is, what are we actually going to see in the report that indicates what mueller's intention was with respect to the conclusion on the obstruction point? what we don't know is, did mueller think this is a question that is so difficult because there are facts on both sides, i'm going to leave it for the attorney general to decide, or did he decide, as i think many people think, this is a question better left for congress because it's really within their
purview. >> so frank figliuzzi, same to you. let me ask about barr's conclusion about whether the white house has seen the report. on top of that, this kind of standoff position by mueller. no back and forth between those two guys on the barr summary. >> yeah, let me try to decipher the code that the attorney general seems to be using here. first with regard to his response on whether mueller agreed with him or not. the answer seems to be i don't care if mueller agrees with me or not, and that to me, brian, is symbolic of some dysfunction. i'm really sensing some dysfunction either in the principles and beliefs about what a special counsel is and what the attorney general is supposed to do with the results, or there's even a deeper tension between the two of them perhaps developing. and then the second issue as to
whether the white house has seen this or not, his response again is kind of coded responses. non-response to me means probably he's given a briefing, someone has given a briefing to the white house. otherwise the answer would have been easy. no. no one at the white house has been briefed or seen this report. that's the code we're seeing and it's illustrative of what we're about to see moving into next week, which is a battle is about to ensue. we've heard barr already say and use the phrase, this first pass of the report i'm going to give you, this first pass. what does that mean? this means it's somebody who does not plan to be fully transparent when they've given all they have to give. there will be discussion and he might give a little bit more. that's what we're going to be dealing with. >> someone who says first pass is perhaps expecting many more steps along the line. let me record-keep with something else. what about the tax returns that were due on wednesday?
>> it appears that the trump administration is of no mind to turn those over as has been demanded by richard neal, the chairman of that committee. you have a letter that was sent by the treasury department saying they will fight on this issue. this will be a classic dispute that works its way straight up to the supreme court. on this other question about the white house being briefed about the mueller report, i'll tell you about one of my conversations with white house officials on this topic. when it became clear that my questions were coming from a place of assuming that the justice department acted independently, free from the will and the political desires of the white house, this white house official stopped me in my tracks and said, geoff, you should know, the attorney general is not part of this
white house. the attorney general is part of this administration. the doj's lawyers are the president's lawyers. the day before the doj released their summary, they said they were not briefed on the report. yesterday after attorney general barr dodged the question, the attorney on the other side went back to the white house and asked on the record and they refused to comment. that to me is instructive. >> it is instructive, and this would not be the first time the white house adopted the practice of delay, delay, delay, but is that what we're going to see now? >> you could see pat cipiloni, the white house counsel, try to have discussion with the department of justice so while the attorney general decides what he wants to redact. at the end of the day, they believe the american people deserve to know what was president trump's conduct with
regard to obstruction. some of the intelligence with the russia aspect, maybe that has to be put on a shelf. but we know about the president's bullying tweets of attorney general sessions, we know about different things we've reported at "the post," "the times" have reported and everything else. maybe they move to impeachment in the senate. thank you, all. appreciate it for starting off our conversation. coming up for us. one year and a day after the fbi raided michael cohen's home and office, we'll talk to one of the reporters who broke today's latest development about the alleged hush money payments at the center of it all. termites.
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to start listening to audible. the most inspiring minds, the most compelling stories, the best place to listen. to start your free 30-day trial, text listen5 to 500500 today. ♪ the criminal investigation into attempts to uncover donald trump's alleged marital affairs goes deeper than we previously knew. according to the "wall street journal," the feds have been gathering evidence from trump's inner circle. hope hicks, former body guard keith schiller, both reportedly talked to investigators. both were constant fixtures at trump's side during the campaign, both followed him to the white house. according to the journal's reporting, they asked hicks about her contacts with david pecker, the ceo of american
media, publisher of the "national enquirer." nicole is here. a brief review of the characters. hope hicks grows up in greenwich, connecticut, briefly a clothing model for ralph lauren. builds a pr career, gets picked up and works for the trump organization. keith schiller, former nypd police officer, navy veteran. i would argue few people were closer to donald trump during the early days, especially when he arrived in the white house is didn't have a lot of friends around. you were -- you've interviewed 20 people, you and your team, you have reviewed a thousand documents. what's the headline on your
findings on this case which has been slowly and quietly growing? >> the big takeaway here is that the southern district has gathered a lot more evidence than they have made public, including testimony from two people who were extremely close to trump, and that's hope hicks and keith schiller. and these interviews happened last year in the spring as they were building this case against cohen. and i do want to caution, you know, it's possible none of this material will ever become public. we don't know what they're going to do with it, but we wanted to sort of signal to the public and to readers that they have this information. >> barrett berger, what lengths would they have gone to in this office to keep this secret, to develop what they needed to develop. this eventually became a raid by the defense. >> i think it depends how these interviews were conducted. we know they have a grand jury,
so in the event this happened as part of the grand jury proceeding, those would be secret. we maybe know more about rule 6e, more than we want to know. those in the grand jury are protected by this rule. even things that didn't happen in the grand jury would be kept under wraps by the southern district. they are not ready, it seems, because they haven't actually indicted anyone other than michael cohen for this yet. it doesn't seem like they're in a position now to either make it public or to let us know what kind of evidence they have. >> and nicole, for people who may not know how feds like berit berger work, talk about the lengths they went to to keep things secret. >> even with the documents that came out a few weeks ago, these are search warrants they filed with the court to justify the raid on michael cohen.
there were at least 18 pages in there that were still redacted that were under the campaign finance heading. so, again, the southern district is very cautious about not releasing information about ongoing investigations, about not releasing grand jury material. so there is still a lot we don't know. >> berit berger, that seemed in keeping with these other cases, the black lines of redaction. is my characterization something you two would agree with, that these are two big fish the feds would want to hear from? >> in any criminal investigation, the people you most want to talk to are the prosecutor and those in the inner circle. the president threw out his time in the early stages of the campaign. they'll definitely know about conversations that were had. they'll be able to corroborate things that david pecker told them. i think those are both valuable witnesses with what they say and what they can corroborate that
other witnesses said. >> and did you read that the national enquirer is up for sale after trying to help trump in 2016? >> it doesn't surprise me. berit berger and nicole hong, thank you for being with us. john f. kennedy said we had to go to the moon, want because it would be easy but because it would be hard. it was. what it did to our country, what it did for our country. the book is in the top 10. nice book, if you can get it. that story when we continue.
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i believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. no single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space. and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. >> john f. kennedy joined session of congress 1961. this nation was able to do what he challenged us to do there. about four years earlier, in october of '57, the space race took off when the soviets launched a satellite about the size of a basketball named sputnik into orbit. in his new book "american moonshot," author doug brinkley describes what a massive wake-up call that was for our country.
the "new york times" devoted nearly all its front page with the headline, soviet fires earth satellite into space. it is circling the globe at 18,000 miles per hour. sphere tracked in four cross gz over u.s. "american moonshot," quote, other newspapers were equally breathless. america's pride had been deflated by a satellite composed of a battery, a radio transmitter, and a fanlike cooling device, orbiting the earth every 90 minutes. as we know, a decade later, the soviets beat the russians to the moon, accomplishing the president's goal. apollo 11 landed on the moon's surface.
neil armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. we are so happy to be joined tonight by douglas brinkley, presidential historian, author of the new book "american moonshot," john f. kennedy and the great space race. my friend, great to see you. sick of watching you on another network. very happy for you. i have read and finished the book. let's start with how crazy it sounds today that this thing -- i said basketball. somewhere between basketball and beach ball showed up in the skies over this country. it scared a lot of people in this country, including my late parents, and it scared president john f. kennedy. >> absolutely. i mean, dwight eisenhower was president and he kind of tried to say it wasn't that big of a deal. some were calling it a grapefruit satellite.
lo and behold with the headline you just showed on the "new york times," a panic kind of swept the land. this was the era of mccarthyism. now they're beating us into space with satellites. jack kennedy seizd on this. he started saying there was a missile gap, a space gap. so did lyndon johnson. in fact, lbj helped create nasa in 1958. our whole creation of nasa was a response to sputnik. in the late '50s, everything became nik. they put a dog out there and it became poochnik. so sputnik kind of motivated kennedy, and with the debate with nixon, kennedy charged nixon, if you're president, i see a soviet flag on the moon. if you elect me president, there
will be an american flag on the moon. >> this calls for an assessment, but you're a historian, after all. how would lbj and jfk take the news on this very day, if we want to get our astronauts up to the national space station, our ride is the russians'. we don't have a spacecraft ready for the task. where did we lose it along the way? our jets still fly at the same speed as john f. kennedy and we can't build a spacecraft in this generation. >> i think we did big things, industrial mobilization, or the plants jimming up airplanes. obviously the manhattan project. eisenhower did the interstate highway project in the st. lawrence seaway. kennedy is part of that world war ii generation. when he did right was the new frontier.
we funded it a lot of nasa budget by the space race. we're going to beat the soviets. well, we beat them in '69 and some of the tv ratings started dropping off and we had apollo 13 a near disaster. in 1975, brian, we never caught the fervor to be number one. maybe now china will be the new spur, you know, but without that competition, you wouldn't have gotten the $25 billion it cost to go to the moon. that's 185 billion in today's terms. >> can you still make the case that we would profit from getting back in the business? there is more science in the phone in my hand than was on
board apollo 11. there iss no science in the vehicle i drive, but they made it better. >> what you say is true. this was very primitive in technology. in 1960, "time" magazine picked a scientist for the man of the year. when we had agent orange and vital degradation, we didn't honor scientists like we did then. the president calls climate change a hoax. we're of kind of the belief in doing technology in a big project that brings the country together. joe biden is talking about a cancer moonshot to kill cancer. buzz aldren thinksshot, to take
oceans or the environmental degradation of our forests and wetlands. >> ladies and gentlemen, the title of this book is "american moonshot." doug brinkley, the author. happy to have you with us. it's great to see you. good luck with the book. >> thank you, brian. coming up, we'll talk about this picture. what it shows, what it means, and the work it took to get it. this is not a bed...
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about the space race on the day this photo comes out. it's the first ever photo of a black hole. it's called m-87, but you never would want to be introduced to it. it proves that einstein was right 100 years ago. it's estimated to be 55 million light years away, it's believed that a black hole is the point of no return. all matter and measurement of time goes away. and a tip of the hat to this young woman, an m.i.t. educated scientist. she developed the algorithm to take this photo. einstein would be proud of this young scientist and the team she
last thing before we go tonight, donald trump's continuing journey of discovery while occupying the highest office in the land. politico tells us details of the tour he took of mt. vernon just about a year ago. trump found the rooms too small, noted the uneven floorboards. he said george washington should have named the place after himself. he apparently said, if he was
smart, he would have put his name on it. you have to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you. the president was gently reminded by the tour guide that washington is, after all, named for george washington. as is the washington monument, the state called washington, countless towns and colleges and universities. it was also clear the french president seemed to know much more about washington's former home than the american president. we also submit the president's comments about the state of texas today while in the state of texas. we quote, this is a vast state. the state is tremendous. we didn't see that. we don't see that, rather. i come from new york. you have fifth avenue, that connects to park avenue, and it's not too far away. but this is, you know, hundreds of miles between places. today's stop on donald trump's journey, a journey that we all get to witness.