tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC May 16, 2019 1:00am-2:00am PDT
need to get rid of him, sure, but this is about the democracy. it's about our constitution. that's why need to act. >> aisha moodie-mills and rick wilson, thank you for joining us. >> a 12-page refusal let there says the white house won't turnover documents to house judiciary so the committee chair likens the president to a king and accuses the white house as if trump were a tyrant or dictator and our elements of our own government trying to get us into a war with iran? they claim incoming threats from iran but members of congress have at least one british general don't seem to know what they are talking about and the alabama governor signs a bill effectively banning abortion and violates the law of the land and reproductive rights are now in something of a ground war across our country as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a wednesday night.
well, good evening. day 846 of this trump administration. the state of alabama has now passed what is infect a ban on abortion in that state. the most restrictive apportion law in the land. the governor who signed it today admitted quickly it unenforceable because it goes against the law of our land, but this bill is designed to challenge that very president. tonight, we'll look at what this means for the women of alabama, the future of roe versus wade and the effect this may have on 2020. we begin in washington because there is news tonight on the continued white house efforts to push back to defy democrats in congress just today came a 12-page letter from white house counsel pat to house judiciary committee jerry nadler. congress is not a law enforcement entity and hasinvest president. the white house counsel rejected
requests for the records and current and former trump officials that house dems need to see and go through to investigate obstruction. goes on to write quote congressional investigations are intended to obtain information to aid and evaluate potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or pursue an unauthorized do over of unauthorized drive by reference to the mueller investigation. well, tonight that house judiciary chairman, the democrat from new york jerry nadler insisted the house is not backing down. >> the white house is trying to evade countability to the people. to say in effect the president is a tyrant and dictator with no limit.
we'll use any legal power we have with respect to mr. muller and mr. mcgahn, to anybody to do our job of holding administration accountable. >> democrat haves issued subpoenas that to nearly ten current and former trump officials among them the secretary of the treasury steve mnuchin is still refusing to release six years of the president's tax returns to the house ways and means committee and has until friday to reply. today mnuchin was asked about that deadline. >> how do you plan to respond to chairman? >> we haven't had an official
response yet. we will compile with the timing of it, i think you can pretty much guess how we're going to but i haven't made a decision. the democrats are trying weaponize it. >> mnuchin had not spoken to the president or white house about how to handle the demand for records and we're learning leaders in the house are taking their time about making any more serious movers against this
white house. they are holding off any kind of a dramatic floor vote to hold the attorney general or any other big name senior officials in contempt with that as our predicate, time for the lead off discussion. robert costa for "the washington post" moderator of washington week on pbs and carol for "the washington post" and jonathan lamarre and former assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york now with the new school here in new york. good evening and welcome to all of you. carol, this 12-page long effort to say now to house democrats, how does it differ substantially from other letters intended to say no? >> i think what is most striking about it, brian, is fairly bold claim which the white house has made in a less dramatic way in court but in this instance laying out their legal reasoning for saying the white house doesn't have to give anything to congress because congress doesn't have legitimate standing to investigate the president. it's something that a lot of legal scholars sort of spit up their coffee over because they
laying out their legal reasoning for saying the white house doesn't have to give anything to congress because congress doesn't have legitimate standing to investigate the president. it's something that a lot of legal scholars sort of spit up their coffee over because they don't believe that that's true but it does give the white house this opportunity to say hey, it looks like you just want to harass our guy, so we want to hear from you, your legitimate purpose for getting all these records and then we'll consider your request. >> indeed. jonathan lamarre, this notion of congress is not a law enforcement entity was not for most of us walking around the earth was not a thing as of yesterday. >> no, no, it was not. it had become a growing talking point in recent days and at the
white house memoir lized. we realize part of congress' responsibility is to provide oversight over the executive branch. that's something we did know before yesterday. we read it. and that they are saying with congress, house of representatives is it partisan over reach and special counsel didn't deliver the verdict you wanted and didn't find the president colluded with russia so therefore this is a double jeopardy, if you will. you're trying to get another bite at the apple and that the crossed the line of being political harassment. democrats say this is our constitutional duty to do this and proceeding aggressively with subpoenas that and everything else and this white house time and time again we saw today was
the sharpest escalation of their strategy. today go invoke blanket executive privilege. they could down the road. it would only cooperate in the most narrow of senses. this is from the oval office. the president said we're not going to cooperate, we're going to stone wall on every front whether that's witness testimony, underlying evidence of the mueller report or the president's tax returns. they will say no to everything democrats want. >> as luck would have it, we have a really good lawyer that gets the next question. is any of this legally sustainable in your view and if the not, why not? >> the short answer is no. it doesn't mean there aren't arguments that are valid arguments that can be made in certain circumstances including you can imagine the statute on tax returns is very explicit that says shall.
that doesn't mean there aren't constitutional arguments about people's ability to say but i'm not. it's just that they don't necessarily apply here i think. you can certainly make arguments. i think where it really gets complicated is trump doesn't have any good arguments on this. most of this is communications rather than constitution and that is the primary point here. you know, we've had previous administrations that have said we are not going to give you congress these things you've asked for in the context of the obama administration and the gun walking case of fast and furious to track guns into mexico and turned out they got used to kill a border patrol agent. the republican congress very aggressively started investigating the department of justice atf and ended up in a contempt vote against eric holder.
but the point is, in this instance, eric holder and the department of justice had actually turned over a large amount of information and documents to congress. it was only with holding some communications. everyone in that case court said amy jackson berman you might remember from some of the mueller cases said sorry white house, sorry department of justice, you do have to turn those over. required litigation. my point is fighting about it is not what is anti constitutional. it fighting about everything. it the absolute stone walling and the refusal to acknowledge congress has any oversight authority and the congress' standard is not a criminal standard.
>> point of personal privilege that has to do with robert costa back home again in indiana where today they buried former senator dick luger, a rare republican globalist clearly prom another era. you happen to be the reporting pool on board air force 2 with our vice president mitch mcconnell. the majority leader in the u.s. senate and for good measure, the chief justice. what, if anything, did you glean about the status of the high-flying gop? >> quite a group on air force two today. it was notable as the pool reporter to notice chief justice robert sat away from the congressional delegation, was careful to not have any kind of interactions beyond hello and a pleased to see you to the vice president and mrs. pence. you could see, everyone though i didn't speak to him the chief
justice was being quite careful understanding the dynamic of a reporter watching and having this group in air force two. with regard to the political question, brian, when you talk to white house officials, they say they want this fight with the democrats because when the democrats are talking about obstruction and talking about subpoenas that, they are not talking about the trade war. they are not talking about tariffs and how farmers in the swing states and midwest may be feeling the pain and this for the republicans is a political winner because they feel now that the mueller report is over, they are just going to taunt the democrats legally and politically as much as possible and when they heard about the attorney general making his remark to speaker pelosi wearing handcuffs in terms of holding him in contempt and maybe putting him in prison arresting him, they loved it. that the the mood inside this west wing. >> let me ask you this about the democratic base and your colleagues at washington post wrote about this today. pelosi told democrats in a closed door caucus meeting
wednesday morning to stick to their policy agenda ahead of the 2020 election rather than initiate impeachment proceedings and not a single lawmaker challenged her. this is so interesting, robert, because the rank and file has been a little critical and a little frustrated. they have heard a lot of crickets from leadership. last we heard from house just -- judiciary committee is the bucket of chicken so now from the speaker full speed ahead it agenda all the way. >> and they also know this speaker does not get enough credit for her use of political power. we always talk about president trump having his party within his grip. democrats tell me speaker pelosi is the tough presence inside of the democratic party holding back this committee char man and rank and file saying focus on
2020. focus on the swing state infrastructure, economy, health care, pursuing every kind of oversight possible but not giving republicans the political things they need to impeach. she brought them back from the wilderness. wins in '06, comes back years later. they don't have any other figure to trust on the big picture strategy other than speaker pa low so. >> great point. carol to we return, is that something they can still have and hold and bring out later? >> absolutely, brian. they did even though it was 12 pages of legal arguments, they avoided that assertion which has to be formally made by the president. in a way, that is putting down the court the ultimate reckoning and fight. if you're going to assert
privilege and someone is going to dispute it, we move quickly to contempt. we'll see where this ends up going but i think that bob is exactly right about pelosi's political smarts and avoiding the word impeachment. in a way that 12-page let ser -- letter is baiting the democrats. you can always open an impeachment proceeding because it a lot stronger legally to get them right away in that setting but pelosi is holding them back saying we don't have an american public that is convinced that the way to go and trump will self-impeach with his own actions and with democrats trying to criticize him all the way into november. >> maya wiley, speaking of baiting the democrats, i'm going to play something for you from the chairman of the senate
judiciary committee. >> what you see happening is congressional committees are now beginning to take the place of prosecutors and that's dangerous for us all and if i were don junior's lawyer i would be reluctant to put him on the intel committee in the senate running for president of the quite. >> it's just a wednesday in 2019 repeated signals from the chairman to the son of the president, don't respond to the subpoena, don't you dare come back here. >> right. the lesson from the don june say -- subpoena intel, fight like hell despite the fact you have no legal grounds. you, too, can thwart congress despite the fact there is a public record that suggests you lied directly. not russia but you lied to congress whether you said you
were not aware that other countries -- foreign governments were trying to support the campaign of donald trump when he met in august 2016 with a representative representing saudi arabia and united emirates, foreign nationals trying to find ways to influence a campaign, that is not, you can't even make an argument that that falls under the mueller investigation and you cannot make an argument that donald trump junior is part of white house. what we have seen is a white house that has not just over stepped on and fundamentally undermined a constitutional order established by the founders of this country, we have this now extending thwarting congress, even when
there is evidence of perjury winning that round and here is why i think so much of the democratic base that is really quite frankly concerned about not having impeachment putting aside the very important political nancy pelosi, if not now when? when in this country does congress say politics aside, we have to protect the constitutional order and the prerogatives of congress. this is a perfect example of where that example arises. >> jonathan lamarre, let's take up that last point. risk wi rick wilson was on this network. he had him on before. his contention is trump is hoping, praying he won't get nicked in the senate. it all his political social media life has been predicated on. knowing him as you do knowing his character as you do, does
that much up with known reality? >> it does. i think that the president himself we know from reporting had conversations with speaker elosi where he's like you're not going impeach me. he was afraid that would be the first line. that the how he's remembered in the history books even though those around him tactically think that would be the best thing to happen to him. yes, first of all, we known he's born to play the verdict role and sit there and say the system is rigged. the deep state is against me. look, i'm being treated unfairly. we heard that time and time again with the candidate and commander in chief but they feel like they can -- republicans feel like they can go to the democrats into this. they think if they do commence
with impeachment talk and proceedings, they can say look, this is over reach. this is -- special counsel mueller did not come back with a guilty victim and you're still going down the lines and feel like the american people will get tired of this and fatigued and start to 's side and feel like that the the best way he can run. he can raise money and barn storm against it and say look at the economy and what i've done yet they are still trying to unfairly bring me down. so that the a fight the white house absolutely wants. >> robert costa, you've been elected to deliver the last word. take us to commercial break and that is where are we tonight in this administration keeping in mind trade war with china, threats of a hot war with iran, which is our very next segment. let not forget things like venezuela, let not forget the coming reelection fight. >> we used to talk in 2017 about who is in the president's ear, steve bannon, jared kushner, someone else in congress at the time. based on my reporting and
conversations, it's the president alone driving the trade discussions, hold the line, even if the market feels a lot of unease, hold the line, listen to peter navarro but about the president moving forward on that on foreign policy, a hawk is in his ear but the president is saying i'm not really keen to do intervention in venezuela or iran and dealings with congress, fight them all, reject everything. it president trump like he was in the 26th floor of trump tower directing the scene. >> robert costa and the rest of our always excellent friends and contributors, can't thank you enough. appreciate you starting off our conversation tonight and coming up, this talk of threats from iran, real or imagined?
the most reliable service possible. my name is tanya, i work in the network operations center for comcast. we are working to make things simple, easy and awesome. the u.s. state department ordered all non-emergency personnel to leave the embassy in baghdad and our consulate in northern iraq. pause for just a second and remember, this is the kind of thing flying americans out of embassies we usually hear about when our people are in a dire situation overseas. this is important. senior state department officials say they see a quote imminent threat from iranian proxies. the air force has a strike force and there has already been loose talk of a potential force of 120,000 u.s. troops to the
region should iran attack u.s. forces and now both republicans and democrats and congress would like answers including trump's very good friend lindsey graham. >> removing personnel from embassies and consulates is clearly a serious move by the state department they feel the threat. and i would urge the state department and d.o.d. to come down here and plain to us what is going on because i have no idea what the threat stream is beyond what i read in the paper. >> graham got his wish. the trump administration will brief congressional leaders and "the washington post" reporting president trump is frustrated with top advisors who he thinks could be rushing the u.s. into a military confrontation with iran. and we quote, trump grew angry
last week and over the weekend about what he sees as war-like planning getting ahead of his thinking said a senior administration official with knowledge of conversations trump had regarding john bolton and secretary of state mike pompeo, that's a sentence. they are getting way out ahead of themselves and trump is annoyed they said. bolton who advocated regime change in iran before joining the white house last year is just in a different place from trump although the president has been a fierce critic of iran. trump wants to talk to the iranians, he wants a deal and is open to negotiation. back with us, andrea mitchell, our nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent, the host of "andrea reports ". i'll ask this straight up, do you believe that reporting in the washington post?
>> absolutely. it was signalled by the president himself when he said just a few days ago that jon bolton is more hawkish than he is and he tempers john bolton and there are other doves around him so he is the decider. that was a rebuff and pointed one at that. then the president also pushed back on that "new york times" report that one of the options put out by the pentagon was 120,000 troops. it didn't explain that that's 120,000 total more than the 50 or 60,000 already in the region so not full deployment of 120,000 and that was a high-end option but he said that was fake news, not true and he said if we're serious, i'll send a heck of a lot more. that bluster and bluff maybe he feels that it worked at least in part to get kim jong-un to the negotiating table. it hasn't worked a deal. what he's ignoring is the aggressive steps that his own pompeo, bolton have taken
against iran, which iran in teheran is viewed as american is provocative and the europeans are more sympathetic to iran in this measure than to the u.s. they acknowledge that iran has been guilty of bad behavior regionally in all sorts of ways but in terms of the nuclear threat, they are on the side of iran, not the united states. >> i'm glad you mentioned that. 120,000 figure again. the president first called fake news and said i would never send so few. today, you talk with senator tim kaine with the commonwealth of virginia, he ran as vice president candidate with hillary clinton. he happens to be part of a military family and he talked about this notion of tossing out the figure. >> my virginia families, my military families suffered through repeated deployments. deployment after deployment
after deployment to the middle east and if this is bluff talk by the president, they don't take that as a bluff. is there going to be another war in the middle east? it's been for the last 18 years. are we going to have a multi-yearlong war with more deployments? that's psychologically terrorizing to military families to loosely throw around notions of deployments. >> i was really glad he made that point. it the easiest thing to toss out from the cheap seats and confines of washington d.c. separate question, hasn't john bolton wanted to pave iran for decades? >> absolutely. in fact, when before he became national security advisor, he gave a speech in paris for the mek, the exile d group of anti regime, anti tie tehran activists. pompeo is in favor of regime
change and all pushing that, as well. so the real fear in europe now, which did not buy john bolton's intel when he took that diversion in the middle of the night they heard he was on his way to brussels to barge in and charge into their meeting with them saying they were not going to give him a chance to address all of the europeans so he met individual with the germans, french and brits but they didn't buy what he was trying to sell there and the fact is that they are very skeptical. they were burned in 2003 as were many people in the media, the secretary of state, a lot of people bought the intelligence arguments from people like john bolton who was in the administration then.
and so there is a lot of skepticism. i should point out there was a big push back. we got a briefing over at the state department from officials that we cannot name but these officials said look, they really are threats and these were veteran diplomats, not just people who had just come in and they said there is a threat stream not related to the tankers that there is no evidence, real hard evidence iran was behind that. in the last week, there has been new intelligence. tonight "the new york times" posting that satellite imagery picked up pictures of the iranian and military forces loading missiles, fully made missiles on to small boats in the persian gulf. we haven't seen this evidence. they haven't presented the evidence to congress or allies yet so we don't know again whether this has been, there is a real credibility factor with bolton, pompeo and others who
called for regime change with america's track record, they have a problem and people in the state department know there is a lot of skepticism about what they are claiming. they say that the draw down in baghdad was necessary as well as in erbil. that the suspicious. i've been there. you've been there. this is the most heavily fortified embassy in the world. it very hard to understand why a post such as baghdad with no family, no dependents, only people who are supposed to be official, why they would have that draw down? that seemed more symbolic. >> that was really -- >> it just -- it seemed to be part of a threat tempo. the real problem here is congress has not been briefed. there will be a briefing for the gang of eight tomorrow but tim kaine won't be in that briefing. others, lindsey graham won't be in that briefing and the fact that the foreign relations and intelligence committees have not been briefed tells you how much distrust there is even among
some republicans and this white house over the lack of information. they don't feel they have to brief them on chinese tariffs before he announces them. it just so different than the man you were talking about earlier with bob costa, someone i revered and you knew so well. richard huger would never have tolerated this. >> the one person we wanted to hear from on this story and you're looking at her. andrea mitchell, thanks for joining us tonight. >> coming up, why the governor of alabama would sign a restrictive abortion law and call it unenforceable. (client's voice) remember that degree you got in taxation? (danny) of course you don't because you didn't! your job isn't understanding tax code... it's understanding why that... will get him a body like that... move! ...that. your job isn't doing hard work... here. ...it's making her do hard work...
alabama's new abortion law, the strictest in our country, roe versus wade. that's what it was designed to do. governor kay ivy signed this law. the only exception here is if the mother's life is in jeopardy. it's similar to bills in georgia, ohio, mississippi, kentucky except it goes further. this law does not include exceptions for rape and insist and carries a felony charge for doctors punishable by a sentence of up to 99 years in prison. let be frank and put this another way. a rapist in alabama will get a
lighter sentence than the doctor called to end an unwanted pregnancy that might result from the rape. this will be challenged in court which is ultimately the point. >> so in our mind, in my mind, this bill is to address roe versus wade and to let hopefully that decision go back to the states so that states can make the laws that are most appropriate for their people. >> and before our conversation here tonight, just a reminder of where the american people stand on this issue. according to this gap gallup poll, 79% of adults say abortion should be legal. we welcome professor of law at nyu, former clerk to then judge sonia and testified during the kavanaugh confirmation hearings and stephanie, president of
emily's list, an organization that works to elect democratic women who support reproductive rights. good evening and welcome to you both. counselor, i want to start here in new york by showing you what jeff toobin said on cnn and having you react to it. >> donald trump said in the third debate with hillary clinton, if i get two or more appointments to the supreme court, automatically that's the word he used, automatically roe v wade will be overturned and i think the president was exactly right. roe v wade is gone and every woman in alabama who gets pregnant is going to be forced to give birth soon and that the going to be true in alabama and it's going to be true in missouri and it's going to be true probably in georgia and that's what the law is because that's what the presidential election was about in part last time. >> agree or disagree and why? >> so i disagree slightly. i think jeff toobin is right president trump made a patrol -- promise to the american people he would appoint people
that would overturn roe versus wade and the chief card is john roberts throughout his tenure as chief justice made clear that he takes very seriously the institutional reputation of the court. if the court is seen as overly partisan as being captured by the president of the administration, that's not great. the court is hobbled by the debacle of the kavanaugh hearing and there is a wide swath that thinks the court is partisan to decide a question like the continued viability of re versus wade would give some pause to chief justice roberts and again, we've seen that in other cases from this term and i think we're likely to see it going forward. that's not to say abortion is in the clear. i think what we are going to see is the court taking increate mental steps to hallow out roe
and i'm not sure that's a good outcome for the american people. in fact, over ruling roe would have a galvanizing attack that would take this into the 2020 election and put it into the american people and that's what chief justice roberts doesn't want. >> that's for sure. let's talk about the intersection of politics and law and for you, i'm going to play a graduate of the yale law school named pat roberts. >> i think alabama has gone too far. they passed a law that would give a 99-year prison sentence to people that commit abortion. there is no exception for rape or insist. it an extreme law and they want it challenged roe versus wade but my humble view is that this is not the case we want to bring to the supreme court because i think this one will lose. >> pat roberts' son, yale law school graduate, nonetheless. so stephanie, that's an
interesting notion that this piece of legislation hand carved to go to the supreme court is in his view even too severe. >> the truth is that the republican party is completely focused on figuring out how to overturn roe v wade. that is the important part of this. this alabama bill now law is clearly unconstitutional and so damaging for women. there are laws coming out of georgia, out of ohio, out of mississippi. we had over 30 passed by republican legislatures. anti choice, trump legislatures that are driving this to overturn roe. i think what's most important here is the number you started
with. 7 9% of americans believe that roe v wade should stand of law of the land as it is today, and so for the moment of galvanizing, i believe what happened yesterday in alabama, what happened last week in georgia has ignited a new fire across this country in so many women and men who care very, very deeply about this and want to ensure that women have access to reproductive justice. they are trying to ban abortion completely that is not where the american people are and i do think this will be a major issue in the 2020 election and we're talking about election that i believe could be an electret of 54% women and i think we're going to see higher turnout over this. here is the bigger point. it not just about politics. women are getting hurt. right now in states where there is barely any access already and
we have to really think about the policy makers sitting at our decision making tables making these laws and it's for us to stand up and find the good candidates who are going to fight for reproductive justice and fight for women and hold these folks accountable. legislatures matter and i think every voter in this country has to think about who is representing them today and i'm proud to be at an organization completely committed to electing pro-choice women and we need it more than ever and it tile. >> counselor, take 30 seconds. when toobin says women have to carry a pregnancy to term, explain to our viewers, does this supersede in any states the law of the land until and unless there can be a challenge to the holding of roe versus wade? >> so in states that have more liberal abortion laws, those
made in place. terry collins who is the alabama legislature who introduced this bill said the whole point of this is to make laws appropriate for the people and citizenry of each state. this is alabama's take on it. it does not necessarily affect individuals in new york. that said, there will be a lot of reproductive tourism if this law goes into effect in alabama and by that, you'll see women in alabama becoming reproductive refugees fleeing to other states that are more liberal and more accommodating laws. this changes the landscape. stephanie is exactly right. the whole purpose of this and activity that we've seen around abortion in this term has really been about this change in climate. they anticipate a more hospitable court, whether it the supreme court and legislating to put this issue in front of the judges. >> thanks to you both. we'll try to replay this entire conversation as this goes down the road to melissa murray and stephanie, our thanks.
we need a reminder on nights like tonight, it's only wednesday we seen stunning headlines this week on a range of issues. with us tonight to talk about all of it, david, politzer prize winning reporter, presidential biographer and veteran of the washington post and also happens to be the author of his newest work, it is called "a good american family." the red scare and my father. david, we're very happy to have you on the broadcast. by way of explaining your family's history in the mccarthy era, how does that era look right about now? how bad has it been because these days we have normalized a whole lot of fear and loathing
and anxiety. >> well, there certainly are echoes from the 1950s to including the manipulation of fear as a political weapon, the demonization of outside groups, questions about what it means to be an american and what it means to be patriotic. but there is one huge difference between then and now. it was called the mccarthy era, named for joseph mccarthy, the senator from wisconsin. he was just a senator. he had many of the same attributes as donald trump, sort of a salesmanship ability to uride the wave of whatever he wanted. he wasn't really an ideologue, but he found his issue and rode it, much as donald trump is not really an ideologue, but is more interested in himself an his celebrity. but donald trump is the president and joe mccarthy was only a senator. there is a huge difference in
power there, and there is one other major difference. in the early 1950s, you had margaret j. smith, a republican speaking out against joseph mccarthy. you had a president, dwight eisenhower, republican, working against him, and one of the figures in my book, charles potter of michigan, who was elected to the senate and worked with joseph mccarthy on his subcommittee until he saw what was going on and the machinations of mccarthy and later wrote a book called "days of shame" regarding what had happened that era. i wonder two things where. is the margaret j. smith today and what republican is going to write that book, "days of shame." >> you also get to something else. i'm sitting here thinking that eisenhower really took his time, and eisenhower hung back while a lot of this was going on. history is judging people right now during this period we're living through. history is judging a good many
members of the senate and house. and that, of course, is part of the history of the era you've written about. >> you're right about eisenhower. he used joseph mccarthy in 1952 in his election. campaigned with him up in appleton, wisconsin where mccarthy was from. but then slowly, as mccarthy started turning on the army, which was eisenhower's bulwark, then it changed and he turned against him, even though he probably was always -- you always thought mccarthy was a little bit loony, but he was using him for political purposes. and i see that same codependence today. you look at the events of this week. you look at what's going on in iran and elsewhere, and you seahawks, long-time hawks using donald trump to do their own bidding, just as you saw conservatives in congress support donald trump and allow him to sort of develop this imperial if not autocratic
presidency because they're getting what they want in terms of conservative judges and throwbacks of regulations and so on. so there is this odd codependency where trump is becoming more and more of an authoritarian figure, and people who really don't like that are nonetheless using it for their own purposes. >> david maraniss has written with great elegance about subjects as disparate as bill clinton and the city of detroit, and by all accounts, he has focused his amazing intellect on his own family. it is called "a good american family" and is the latest piece of work by this pulitzer prize winner. david, always a pleasure having you on. thank you. >> thank you, brian. coming up, could it really be true that the number of democrats in the race for president is going to hit 23 tomorrow morning? (danny) let me get this straight.
a battle in washington that you have spoken about. obviously you've been a very vocal critic of president trump's, and there is talk already that you may be considering a run for president in 2020. will you rule that out? you're shaking your head no. but will you rule that out right here and pledge to new york city voters that you will remain in
office for all four years should they give you a second term? >> yes. i'm looking that camera right there, grace. to my fellow new yorkers, i'm running for run thing only. as mayor of new york city. it's an honor. i want to serve for more years. i will serve for four more years. >> so that brings us to our last thing before we go tonight. bill de blasio pledging to serve out his term as new york city mayor. and by all accounts, he is still going to get that chance. a high school journalist broke the story today that the new york mayor will apparently announce tomorrow on "good morning america" before heading to iowa where the host organization promptly misspelled de blasio's name. and that very same smooth running political machine is apparently poised in the morning to make bill de blasio your 23rd democrat in the race. he has, shall we call them, popularity issues. not just because he roots for the red sox in the home of the yankees and mets. his own staff members have called him stubborn, arrogant and entitled. remember citizens seem to agree.
a quinnipiac poll found 3/4 of new yorkers don't want him to run. the "new york" magazine headline from just this past week reads "who hasn't told bill de blasio that he shouldn't run for president?" well apparently not enough people. only 8.5% of new yorkers voted for bill de blasio, but that's how elections work here. a lot of other things don't work here, and a lot of things look really bad here, and they look really bad if you live in iowa, new hampshire, or south carolina. on the upside, the pizza here in new york is still the greatest in the world and totally worth the effort to get to that perfect slice. that is our broadcast for tonight. we thank you so much for being here with us and good night from our nbc news headquarters in where else, new york. .
this morning lawmakers are demanding answers on iran. senators from both sides of the aisle want to hear from the administration about the white house's claim of rising threats. >> alabama governor signs the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. but acknowledges it's unenforceable. new york city bill de blasio is expected to announce a presidential bid today. good morning, everybody. it is thursday, may 16th. i'm yasmin vossoughian alongside nbc news