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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  May 17, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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hands around his neck as my son said he couldn't breathe 11 times and he did not let go. there was one officer that tried to push his hand. he did push him. he did push him, so if he didn't think he was doing something wrong, why would he push him? he was kind of trying to say, you know, in a way, let go. but he didn't do it. >> thank you very much for coming in to join us tonight and i'm so sorry that you're still having to live with this story and continue the processes with it. thank you very much, appreciate it. >> you're so welcome. the 11th hour starts now. >> tonight after a day alleging fake news president trump claims he wasn't warned about michael flynn, when we know that's not true. >> plus, bill barr has now decided to go all in with the
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theories and terminology the president pushes and prefers. most recently he echoes the president's spy claims and doesn't back down the claims of a witch hunt. >> and a look at the harm the trump name has brought to the trump brand that the president covets as the 11th hour gets underway on a friday night. as we bring another week to an end, good evening from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 848 of the trump administration, and the president's latest assertion that the russia investigation was actually all about illegal surveillance on his presidential campaign which he prefers to call the nefarious title of spying. that belief is getting new support from his hand picked attorney william barr. this was trump's message early today and we quote, my campaign for president was conclusively spied on. nothing like this has ever happened in american politics.
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a really bad situation. treason means long jail sentences, and this was treason. usual friday stuff there. but about the same time "the washington post" posted an interview. >> government power was used to spy on american citizens. barr also talked about his newly launched inquiry into the origins of the russia investigation with fox news saying it is necessary because special counsel mueller's work did not cover the possibility that officials may have abused their power. >> he was looking at whether or not the trump campaign had conspired with the russians. but he was not going back and looking at the counter intelligence program. >> can you tell us what the steele dossier had to do with this? >> it is a very unusual situation to have opposition research like that, especially one that on its face had the number of clear mistakes, to use
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that to conduct counter intelligence against an american political campaign is a strange -- would be a strange development. >> republicans have said for months that these men, brennan, clapper, maybe james comey had it in for trump. do you think that's true? >> again, i'm not going to speculate about their motives. >> the president calls this a witch hunt. he calls it a hoax. >> if you were the president, i think you would view it as a witch hunt and a hoax. >> note that there have been no public reports of surveillance of a, quote, political campaign. the fbi has also said it did not rely solely on the steele dossier to launch this inquiry. a former fbi official who helped oversee parts of the russia investigation defended the bureau's actions. >> we were concerned about what was going on here. and those events didn't just happen in a vacuum. we were looking at what russia
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was up to generally and the threat they posed. we were looking at what they were trying to do with our election. >> we also saw trump revisit history today concerning his former national security adviser michael flynn. flynn is still awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to investigators about conversations with russia's ambassador. people tied to congress and to the white house tried to influence flynn's cooperation deal with mueller. well, just today trump posted the following on twitter and full disclosure, this one seems designed to take up our time and waste our breath because it was so immediately and provably wrong. he wrote the following, it now seems the general flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge. it would have been impossible for me to know this, but if that was the case, and with me being
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one of two people who would become president, why was i not told so that i could make a change? the simple answer here, among the people who warned donald trump about mike flynn, former new jersey governor, then transition chief chris christie and for good measure the president of the united states at the time, barack obama. also for good measure, sally yates then number two at the justice department went over to the white house to warn them about flynn being in their midst, something she later testified to congress about. >> we felt like it was critical that we get this information to the white house because in part because the vice president was unknowingly making false statements to the public and because we believed that general flynn was compromised with respect to the russians. >> flynn was forced out after exactly two dozen days on the job. there is also a new front in this fight with the house democrats over six years of the
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president's tax returns. steve mnuchin is refusing to comply with a subpoena. the treasury secretary based his refusal on this, quote, the committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose. chairman neal responded in a statement, quote, the law does not allow for discretion. neal said the committee will now likely go to court to get trump's tax returns. that sets up our leadoff discussion on another busy friday night. michael schmidt is with us, anny carney and harry litman returns to our broadcast, doj veteran. these days he happens to be the creator of the new podcast called talking feds. michael, i would like to begin with you. with the president talking spying, with the president
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having found a perfectly pliant, it seems, attorney general on this front, what have you heard about the seriousness of purpose behind this investigation of the investigators? >> well, that's what we sort of don't know. we reported this week that barr has asked the u.s. attorney in connecticut, duram, to look at this, but he would simply be reviewing the counter intelligence investigation and how it all began. at the heart of this issue is the fact that the president has finally found someone to be his attorney general that will do the things that he wants. sessions wouldn't do that. rosenstein wouldn't do that. but here you have barr echoing the president's talking points and doing it in an effective way. barr has figured out a way to
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stay on message on these issues and to keep it alive and allows the president to undermine the roots of this investigation. and here we are, over two and a half years, almost three years since it began, and now we're going to go back and litigate the rudimentary parts that started it. >> harry, say what you will about james comey, and a ton of people already have, but here is the former head of the fbi tonight on social media. the ag should stop sliming his own department. if there are bad facts, show us or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found. an ag must act like the leader of the department of justice, an organization based on truth. donald trump has enough spokes people. harry, how are you feeling about your old workplace and its current leadership these days? >> pretty grim. i mean, comey's message, i
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think, is unassailable. what he's really saying is barr is talking out of both sides of his mouth. on the surface he's just saying, well, we need to figure it out and i'm just -- i haven't been fully satisfied. but there is just no doubt that he's carefully chosen words and rhetoric that echo the talking points of team trump and the president himself and is essentially employing dog whistle terminology to keep this whole notion alive, even as he suggests, well, i haven't decided anything yet. comey's point is well taken. if you have proof of this, fine, come forward. but until you do, the sort of insinuations, especially as they continue to sort of trash really good professionally respected members of the fbi are just -- just deplorable. >> and, harry, let's speak english here.
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a lot of institutionalists are still slack jawed that this guy was willing to come out and say out loud no collusion prior to us ever having seen a word of the mueller report, and he said it five or six times. >> yeah. so, i mean, that's the whole -- that's where the whole kind of barr bandwagon on which i was a member went totally off the tracks. and that's where everything has been seen through since. when he came out there and basically took a report that was very damning on collusion and conclusively damning on obstruction, it became clear that, to speak in plain terms, he was in the tank for the president. and that's continued to be the case since. but in a somewhat kind of clever way that doesn't go all the way on the rhetoric of the president
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himself but still gives kind of aid and comfort to the talking points. >> that's why i think it is fine to call him a pliant attorney general unless and until proven otherwise. i have a bit to play for you. this is william barr talking about his boss, the president. >> i didn't know him before. i had only met with him, really, a substantive discussion at the time he decided to make, you know, appoint me attorney general. but i think we have a candid relationship. >> let's take the other side of this equation. are trump insiders happy they finally got their man at the justice department. >> well, they often echo what the president feels, and the president is absolutely thrilled. he feels like he finally has the attorney general he's always wanted. what barr said in that clip is true. they didn't know each other. he wasn't trump's first pick to the job.
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he was recommended to him blindly. the weekend before his letter came out, we reported that the president was asking around nervously like what do people think of bill barr. he did not know what to expect. but in addition to the backup he's giving him on the mueller report, he is also supporting his political agenda in other ways. we saw him standing in the oval office next to the president and giving him the legal ground work to overturn -- to overrule congress's attempt to block him from his emergency declaration and even saying that it was actually necessary for the american people for the safety of the american people. we see him in el salvador this week talking about ms-13 and illegal immigration. it is not only on mueller that he's towing the line. he is backing up the president in all of his political agenda other than mueller as well. >> michael schmidt, the president's tweet about i wish someone had warned me about flynn, while wrong, does it also foreshadow or belie a nervousness about what flynn could say or has already said?
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>> well, the president unfortunately didn't provide the larger context to it. but what i have heard talking to the president's aides and his lawyers is the notion that the president is upset that four people in his campaign were under investigation and the fbi never came to him and said, hey, you have got potential russian agents in your midst. and the president basically says, where was that defensive briefing? why didn't i get that? now, the president has struggled to articulate that. but what is going on here is that the fbi was concerned about engaging trump at that point for two reasons. one, they were suspicious of his own connections to russia. they didn't understand why he was saying russia, if you are listening, please come and hack hillary clinton's e-mails. and the second thing is that trump was saying that things were rigged, and they thought if they went to the president he would use that against the fbi to cast doubt on them and
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potentially cast doubt on the election. so it was his own behavior publically that served as a deterrent for the bureau to go and speak to him and say, hey, you may have a russia problem here. the bureau was concerned about him. >> and, anny, i'm also going to ask you to take the other side a second time. in light of tonight's conversation, sum up, if you can, without crossing a line, how successful the trump operation has been thus far at playing defense. >> well, in terms of what? in terms of -- >> everything coming out. >> they have been out there saying -- well, in terms of their battle with congress, they have the democrats in the house playing defense, so that has been successful. in terms of defending trump's suit, they had surrogates out there explaining that president obama warned him-ish, they're saying. they're saying he warned against flynn in the oval office, but he
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fired flynn and trump wasn't really trusting democrats at the time. so they're defending him saying what michael was saying, that that tweet didn't represent the whole picture. he didn't have a full comprehensive briefing on him. and in terms of the mueller report, barr's letter succeeded in what they tried to do. it let them set a narrative of no obstruction, no collusion that at least mr. trump's supporters are buying and he'll need more than just them to win re-election. but they got out of the gate with the first message about the mueller report, which is a big head start. >> harry, let's talk english again. the house judiciary committee leads the league in fried chicken eating and angry letter writing thus far. do you think democrats for their part are taking an undue amount of time to exert the rights and privileges they have on this case?
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>> you know, probably. but they're in a quandary because when they come forward, there is going to be a delay. so let's take what mnuchin said today, he has no leg to stand on. it is right there is no discretion here. but when they take him to court, as they will have to, they could be in for a three-year process until they're vindicated as has happened with eric holder in fast and furious. here is another place where barr has come in and given a shot in the arm to trump's agenda. what mnuchin didn't just say you have no legislative purpose. he said i have consulted with the department of justice and you have no legislative purpose. he was able to cloak that legal opinion which, by the way, is wrong as the day is long. with some kind of informata from
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doj. that's going to make it harder to fight. they will win this fight if they do it. but what they have to be worried about is will the time essentially run out on the clock by the time they won. >> what a night, what a mess, but what a trio to start off our conversation on a friday. to michael schmidt, anny, thanks for joining us tonight. coming up for us, the news on the president's family business these past few days has not been good. the hit his name is taking may be even worse. we'll ask a man who knows brands. and the president no stranger to the art of anonymous sourcing himself calls reports of bitter division within his white house over iran b.s. the difference is, he now says that word out loud in public and routinely as presidents do. the 11th hour just getting started on a friday night.
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♪ money, money, money, money. what we just showed you there, while familiar, is really important. for 14 years, that was the image of donald trump that was televised once a week from this building. it was like an intravenous feed to the people we would later call his base. allow me to say this flatly. the members of the mainstream media who didn't get trump's hold over his base, they weren't watching that show. they dismissed that show for all
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those years at their own peril, we later learned. but now that trump brand on his plane, tv show, buildings and resorts, that brand is taking a real hit. financial disclosure forms show revenue is down almost 10% for starters at mar-a-lago. his hotels in chicago and hawaii and several golf courses have showed losses. industry experts tell "the new york times" sales are being affected by consumers decided to turn away from the trump brand. bloomberg also reporting trump tower is now one of new york city's least desirable buildings. trump's building in washington d.c. up about a million dollars in business this year. you know, it is blocks from the white house, and it allows those with business before our government to book rooms to try to curry favor. back with us again is our own donny deutch.
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it airs tomorrow night and every week at 8:00 p.m. eastern time right here on msnbc. donny, i know you take none of this anything less than seriously. give us a brand assessment for this guy and why it matters. >> interestingly enough, brian, you hit on it, what the apprentice did for donald, it took this aspiration and made it mass and accessible, almost in a cartoony way. we all know there was a tawdriness to his brand. but to the masses, it was a very appealing and somewhat seemingly accessible. it was documented when he wrote "the art of the deal" he was tapped out. that was the decade he was losing over a billion dollars. the brand now, you know, the irony of trump, the brand was a urbane brand. as you well know, obviously the blue states are not his great friends.
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i think he slept in new york city two or three nights since he's been president. the last time he was here there was riots outside of trump tower. you know the big rat. he is so loathed at this point in the major urban areas of the city that to say that his brand is being destroyed is an understatement. it will never come back from this. and one other funny side note. in his supposed $10 billion net worth, he has a line item in there that says the name is worth $3 billion. but the name was never worth that anyway, and i would say it is worth a negative a billion right now. what do you think becomes of the brand and one-time boss in his post presidential years? >> interestingly enough, the way the brand was growing is in some of the more developing -- you know, the global parts of the universe, the indias and whatnot. to some of the emerging third world countries, the trump brand can still be this kind of weird faux accessible wealth kind of place to be.
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he obviously can't develop those properties now, obviously, being president. so globally there still is potential for expansion of the organization. as far as what trump does afterwards, i believe that heavy loss the last election, he would have start the trump revolutionary network, a paid subscription model where you can come, listen to trump. he will somehow monetize this. it might be different. it might be a chain of motel 6 type hotels in the red state where he is so loved. so he is not a dumb guy. he is not well read. he is not sophisticated, but he is clever, clever, whether you like him or not. and post-white house, he will figure out a new way to upside down his brand and say, okay, my appeal is to not the people who used to enjoy the trump brand and he'll figure out a way to refurbish it. >> i don't want to end dark, but i'm going to have to. that is to say when you are on deadline white house with nicole wallace at 4:00 in the
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afternoon, you are often one of the voices that reminds the table and the viewers beyond exactly how bad things are in your view and exactly how dark we've gotten. but like the frog boiling experiment, it hasn't felt like that. it would feel like that if we took a vacation on the moon and came back. so the question, how dark are things right now to you? >> very, very dark. and i want to say this with no exaggeration. if you look throughout history and you become a student of history and the worst of what humans have done throughout history, trump is using that play book in every way you possibly can. you start with creating an other. you get enough rich people to look the other way and that's how you get power. and you destroy the credibility of a press. you get a judicial system that is no longer independent. you start to blur separation of powers. and we should be very frightened. it is not just saying, oh,
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authoritarian tendencies. i believe this man is capable of horrific deeds. i'm not saying specifically what that is, but let your imagination go. do not kid yourself. if he gets voted out of office, he will say it was fake. he will say the polls were rigged. he will tell his people to take to the streets. people have to understand this is not a man playing with any boundaries on what a normal civilization and normal democracy has. i use the word sociopath. i know you're not supposed to use psychological terms. and michael cohen who stood by his side for ten years. the last thing he said when he spoke to congress he will not go softly. so the democrats better get this one right. >> it is no longer darkness on the edge of town. it's come downtown and all around. donny deutsche -- is the host of saturday night politics.
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thank you for coming on our broadcast. >> thank you, pal. coming up, missouri is now the latest red state on the board with a bill essentially banning most abortions. it wasn't an issue in the coming election a week ago as it has become tonight. our preview of 2020 coming up. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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welcome back and now on to this topic.
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the state of missouri passed a law today that bans abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. it does not include exceptions for rape and incest. the republican governor has indicated he will sign it into law two days after alabama's governor signed the strictest abortion law in our country, that bill bans all abortions except in cases where the mother's health is in immediate danger. both state's bills would imprison doctors for performing abortions. but laws that violate the law of the land are unenforceable, which the alabama governor straight up admits. instead, they're designed to be test cases before the supreme court. and just like that, reproductive rights will become a ground war. in this next presidential campaign. we happen to have two terrific journalists with us tonight to talk about it. laura barone lopez. we welcome liz goodwin here with us in new york. liz, i'd like to begin with you.
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do you agree with our perception this week that this as an issue has vaulted to the front of the line also part and parcel of our health care discussion? >> yeah, absolutely. you can really see that in new hampshire this week. kamala harris had an event to roll out a new proposal on assault weapons. that was her focus. that's what she wanted to talk about. and alabama just kind of ripped through the week and every single candidate has had to scramble to respond. and in some cases, i think it is not the most -- it is not the debate they would desire right now, but it is one that is, you know, obviously energizing democratic primary voters. it is very important to the party and in general. >> well, laura, let's start on liz's last point, and that is no one was looking for or expecting this to jump to the head of the line. but now it's firmly a political issue. as a matter of politics, we get
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that these are supreme court bound test cases. as a matter of politics, though, pick your poll. this issue is either 60/40 underwater for their side. it is either 80/20. how are they going to run under the republican banner on an issue like this if it permeates down through the tickets to statewide elections. >> right. so i think we could see a shift in the way republicans are talking about these bills because even though it hadn't broken through in the 2020 presidential election race until this week, it was something that house republicans very much wanted to make a big deal in their campaigns heading into 2020. they were hoping that the abortion bill we saw come out in new york which expanded access for abortions into a -- later into the pregnancy, they wanted to use that against democrats. and now the passage of these laws meets southern states in
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missouri as well as alabama turned that on its head. we saw mccarthy say a few days ago he thought the alabama bill went too far. but a lot of house republicans didn't really have an answer about the alabama bill. some tried to say, oh, i need to be briefed on it. it will be difficult for them as this progresses and as 2020 democrats, the presidential candidate is trying to latch on to this. >> liz, as we looked at the 2016 campaign, we saw the evolution of the never trump republican. we saw obviously a substantial amount of republican support for this guy who happens to be in the white house tonight. and we heard from interviews with trump voters in the field, i held my nose. in effect, i did it because of the supreme court. however, 2020, could that not flip the motivation of the court as a kind of unseen candidate in this race to the other side? >> that's exactly what
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democratic activists are hoping for right now because as you said, the supreme court was such a motivational issue for republicans, for trump voters. he released a list saying these are the supreme court justices i would pick. you can see them. they're all very conservative. they were known to be skeptical of roe v. wade. so that really brought people to the polls who might have had objections to other parts of trump's personality as a candidate. and democrats are seeing this as their moment because there is democrats who are very upset about what happened to merrick garland. now with brett kavanaugh replacing a more reliable vote for abortion rights, it is starting to hit home for democrats that this might actually affect people's lives. and i think that you're seeing the candidates reflect that. come candidates are floating proposals you never would have heard even two years ago to
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expand the size of the court, to transform the court. i think that's reflecting some of the anger in the base that's out there. >> yeah. it is a great point. >> laura, to sheer politics and mayor pete but -- -- is going on a fox news town hall this weekend. for a lot of folks, it was a town hall he did on cnn where he entered the ken of a lot of voters, and he happened to have a very good outing that night. elizabeth warren this week specifically said, no, i'm not taking part in a fox news broadcast. she had her reasons. mayor pete, i'm sure, has his reasons, but perhaps a new audience is going to come in contact with him this weekend. >> well, that's exactly right. and he is hoping to keep this momentum going. that's partially why he's going on fox news. he, along with bernie sanders, tried to make the argument that speaking to this audience is something that democrats need to
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do. they need to breakthrough here and they feel as though this is a way to bring back some voters that went to trump that were before -- that before voted for obama. but a warren again doesn't agree with that. she doesn't want to help fox profit given what we know about fox news and their relationship with the trump administration. >> two women who have among the busiest jobs in politics. if they look well rested now, check with them during the middle of the campaign. laura, liz, thank you very much, both of you, for coming on on a friday night. coming up, we'll play for you what happens when trump talks about iran before a room full of realtors. hope the kids are in bed. plus, a veteran of obama's national security team joins us to break down the current administration's foreign policy when the 11th hour continues.
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this has been a week of incredible confusion on iran, like something of a war game, only quite serious. thanks largely to our government speaking with more than one voice in foreign policy. first we were told our forces were under threat and there were contingency plans for the u.s. to go to war with 120,000 of our young men and women. then the president seemed to say, no, not so fast. just this morning the president posted, quote, with all the fake and made up news out there, iran can have no idea what is actually going on. he continued that very approach during this afternoon's speech to the national association of realtors. >> and the good news i was thinking today. i said, gee, what must our adversaries think. i look and say, it's probably a good thing because, man, i don't
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know where these people are coming from. but they say confidential sources. do you ever notice, they never write the names of people anymore. everything is a source says. there is no source. the person doesn't exist. the person is not alive. it's bullshit, okay? bullshit. >> so two things to note here. first our president is now openly swearing in public speeches, so there's that. additionally, members of congress have made it known they don't know anymore about the iran threat than the rest of us do, so to that end, they are planning on getting briefed next week. in the meantime, suzanne glasser writes in the new yorker, quote, one thing this week's iran war scare has shown is the extent to which the trump presidency has blown up the old way of american foreign policymaking, which makes the risk of a miscalculation higher than ever. for more on this tonight, we welcome jeffrey prescott to the broadcast.
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he's a former special assistant to president obama. he served as senior director for iran, iraq and syria and the gulf states on the national security council during the obama administration. these days he is strategic consultant for the university of pennsylvania's center as well as on the foreign relations. jeffrey, i asked this of a guest last night. i'd like to ask it of you tonight, where do we stand on iran and specifically, what is the greater threat? the threat posed by iran to u.s. forces in the region or the threat that someone is going to do something remarkably stupid on this side and force a conflict? >> well, thanks for having me. you are absolutely right that there is a real risk of a mistake or a miscalculation here. and the mixed signals that the president in the clip that you just showed seems to be bragging about is really part of what is making this a dangerous situation because you have got a
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president who a year ago pulled us out of an iran nuclear deal working to keep iran from producing a nuclear weapon. was locking down their nuclear program. they had dismantled a lot of architecture on that deal and they have international inspections who are on the ground making sure they complied with it. the united states pulled out of that deal. and at the time, president trump told us he wanted to get a better deal. in the year since, we have seen a series of actions the united states has taken to put the squeeze on iran, but it hasn't really generated any kind of results in terms of a better deal. and the president of course surrounded himself with national security adviser and john bolton, the secretary of state of mike pompeo who have called for a regime change and military strike center run. so it is no surprise that seeing this approach has led us to a very dangerous situation that we have seen over the past week. >> i'm glad you mentioned bolton. he is mentioned.
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here is the iranian foreign minister on twitter today. with the b team, that stands for bolton and his folks, doing one thing and donald trump saying another thing, it is apparently the u.s. that doesn't know what to think. we in iran have actually known what to think for millennia and about the u.s. since 1953. at this point that is a good thing. what does it say, jeffrey, that donald trump is getting trolled on social media by the foreign minister of iran? >> well, it's a sign of the confusion of the policy here and the fact that we have walked away from a deal that the rest of our closest allies in europe were sticking to. they don't know what to think. the rest of the region doesn't really know what to think. it's put us in a tough situation. there is a couple things here we have to keep in mind. we had a process that was working and keeping us safe and keeping a nuclear weapon out of iranian hands.
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that has gone away and no one knows what the objective of the administration is. the trump administration no longer has a policymaking process where the voices from across the government are brought in before decisions are made. and this erratic approach, when trump came into office, he promised by disrupting some of the ways we have done business in the past he would get better results. but we don't see any result anywhere near. if you look at what the president has done in north korea, for example, we have had two fawning summits with kim jong-un. not a single north korean missile or nuclear weapon has been dismantled. no restrictions on their program. and even on china, the american farmers and workers have had tariffs on their back for a year. the president has promised a major trade deal. so far we haven't seen anything come of that either. so looking across the board, there has been a promise this disruptive approach, this erratic style would deliver results.
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and it's hard to see how that's adding up to anything consequential for the american people. as we see over the past week, we're taking some serious risk in the process. >> as a distillation of what you just said, give me one sentence, one piece of advice from someone who's been in the expensive seats in the white house and not just the cheap seats out here where all the rest of us are. what would be your advice to this administration's foreign policy shop, if asked. >> well, it is important to recognize the role that sanctions can play in creating leverage to get to a diplomatic process. but you have to have a game plan for what you want to achieve with that diplomacy and you have to get to the table and start talking. across the board, whether they talked or they haven't, this administration doesn't seem to be able to deliver results. and we're taking a lot of risk in the process. that's very dangerous. >> thank you very much for coming on our broadcast this friday night. we appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. coming up, the anniversary
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that was quietly celebrated across our country today over six days now -- six decades now after a loud boom rocked every classroom in this country. that story when we come back.
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it may not have felt like it across our country today, but today was the 65th anniversary of a supreme court decision that was a life-changing landmark, an attempt by the justices of our court to take americans by the hand and walk them into the future. in this case, it started by walking them through the school doors and declaring the era of segregated schooling in this country was history. tonight, rehema ellis has the look at the enduring impact of brown v. board of education. >> reporter: it was a fight linda brown's parents were determined to win.
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their daughter at the center of the landmark brown v. board of education case during a time when jim crow laws dominated the south. the browns from topeka, kansas, along with other families, including catherine sawyer's in a battle to desegregate schools. 10-year-old sawer was the only child who testified. she wasn't allowed to attend the white school in her neighborhood. instead she took a bus to a black school across town. >> and we were standing in the aisles sometimes. >> it's still difficult to talk about. >> i think of all of us who could have had that same opportunity and didn't get it. >> reporter: despite protests -- >> segregation forever. [ cheers ] >> reporter: the supreme court ruled unanimously, racial segregation in schools was no longer legal. >> we do believe that this decision in itself will encourage the people.
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>> reporter: today, topeka high school is very different than it was. >> i learned many different things from other types of people like sexual orientation, race, gender, everything. >> together we form a better -- like, a better group rather than being separated. >> reporter: but it's not all better. recently segregation for black students has expanded in most of the country. the number of mostly black schools more than tripled between 1988 and 2016. >> raise your hands if you think more should be done to integrate schools. >> the perspectives of different races makes, like, the school a better place overall. >> reporter: students understanding the past and hoping for a better future. rehema ellis, nbc news, topeka, kansas. another break, and coming up, an attempt to answer one of the more enduring questions of our time when "the 11th hour"
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continues tonight.
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last thing before we go tonight, we might have at least a partial answer to that eternal question, who's a good dog? well, here are several. these are the faces of the therapy dogs at parkland high school in florida.
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some of these very good boys and very good girls are as responsible as any administrator or any human therapist for reminding those returning students that life is worth living , that schools are places for learning and friends, and that marjory stoneman douglas high school after that awful tragedy was once again a safe place. there are two rows of 14 therapy dogs in all in the 2019 high school yearbook. some of them got dressed up for their photo. others thought that was an unnecessary frill. there are other photos as well including a spread on social media showing the behind the scenes at the photo shoot. one of the teachers at the high school said there's nothing a dog can't fix. and you know he's right. the administrators at the school realized that early on, thankfully, and now the yearbook
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staff has paid them their proper tribute. and that is our broadcast on this friday night and for this week. thank you so much for having here with us. good night from our nbc news ♪ denita was a light in this dark world. that's what she was about. she was just a cup of love. i'm like, "who saw this coming?" >> a beautiful young student gunned down. >> things like that just didn't happen there. >> why? who? who would want to do this? >> i thought i had my man. >> her boyfriend was a police officer. >> if anyone knew how to do this and get away with it, wouldn't it be him? >> i spoke to jermeir. >> then someone


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