tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC August 8, 2017 1:00am-2:00am PDT
detroit, minneapolis or in western ohio. >> that is all in for this evening. >> it's been 200 days as he spent much of the day tweeting about the fake news media. all this while the president is on what he is calling a working vacation and there's work to do. new polling out tonight shows nearly three quarters of the american people don't trust most of what they hear from the white house. tonight we look at the chal lek in the west wing with a man who once ran the place and look at overseas. north korea saying americans aren't safe. all of it as the 11th hour gets underway. starting off a new week on a monday night. good evening from our nbc news headquarters in new york. day 200 of the trump
administration and some of news is indeed good. there are many robust economic indicators and that week's unanimous 15-0 vote at the u.n. was in fact a huge diplomatic victory. after touting all of that this weekend the president changed the subject. he called the news media fake and a vicious attack on a member of the u.s. senate. in terms of the president's preferred metric, the polls there was more bad news on that front. a new poll found that 38% of americans approve of the way donald trump is handling his job as president. 56% disapprove. it also found that just 24% trust almost all or most of what they hear from the white house. 73% say they trust some or
nothing at all of what they hear from the white house. hours before that poll was released the president wrote on twitter the trump basis is stronger and bigger than ever before. he saved his toughest criticism from a sitting u.s. senator. it started this morning when he wrote interesting to watch senator richard blumenthal then never in u.s. history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like blumenthal. he told about his conquests, how brave he was and it was all a lie. he cries like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. now he judges collusion. more than eight and a half hours later he finished with this.
i think senator blumenthal shauld should take a long vacation in vietnam so he could at least say he was tlchlt he served his country in the marine reserving during the war but was not deployed to vietnam. >> there are growing ominous threats, tweets and warnings that we have seen, the world has seen that -- 200 of the trump presidency and what was going on back then. jim comey was still the fbi director. >> what do you make of the north korean leader? >> at a young age he was able to resume power.
obviously he is a pretty smart cookie. >> we'll discuss what has been a difficult situation between israel and the palestinians. it is something i think is frankly not as difficult as people have thought of the years. how am i doing? i'm president, right? i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. in fact when i decided to do it i said to myself, i said, you know, this thing with trump and russia is a made up story. no politician in history, and i i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. in fact when i decided to do it i said to myself, i said, you
know, this thing with trump and russia is a made up story. no politician in history, and i say this with great has been treated worse or more unfairly. and i never asked once what the new nato headquarters cost. i refused to do that, but it is beautiful. >> you were referring to the testimony of james comey vindicating you. >> no collusion. no obstruction. he is a leaker. i heard it was 17 agencies. said boy, that's lot. do we even have that many intelligence agencies? it's an honor to be with you. thank you. by the way, just a question. did president obama ever come to a jamboree? some times they say he doesn't act presidential. with the exception of the late great abraham lincoln i can be more presidential than any president that's ever held this
office. >> that's a walk back through contemporary history. let's bring in national political reporter for washington post, robert costa. senior white house correspondent. we are so fortunate that covering the president's working vacation in new jersey means the first ever studio visit by our friend the white house bureau chief phillip rucker. it is very important that we call this a working vacation. it not content to nick a sitting u.s. resident. he is working. they will be adding a brief b on the opiod epidemic. she having a lot of time to fret over this russia investigation which continues to expand. >> i was watching you watching that compilation. how does it feel?
you lived all of those moments firsthand. >> we loved those. this was a remarkable start to this presidency. it's not anything we ever accepted before. >> robert costa, what have you she having a lot of time to fret over this russia investigation which continues to expand. >> i was watching you watching that compilation. how does it feel? you lived all of those moments firsthand. >> we loved those. this was a remarkable start to this presidency. it's not anything we ever accepted before. >> robert costa, what have you been able to ascertain about the president's state of mind? >> i'm not a psychologist but i will say when it comes to his behavior not much has changed. he has had a change in personnel. general john kelly, my sources in the west wing say general kelly is trying to stabilize the staff. he is not trying to change the way the president operates.
and you see an knowledgement across this white house that these tweets, this kind of combative social media behavior will continue, will not abate because this is who president trump is. >> margaret, let's talk about general kelly. you among other journalists were reporting that perhaps a new sheriff might moderate what he says. so much for that after today. what have you been able to learn about his communications inside the west wing and elsewhere with members of the staff. >> one is to send clear signals and their engagements amongst themselves. the other is on issue that is general kelly picks out. it's easy to look at the twitter storm today and say that's out
the window. trump showed him. there are some areas they are surging the president to use case. he has been more careful talking about north korea and venezuela. and if he wants to go off on the immediate ma it's probably not his priority at this point. >> because you spent so much time and attention the dome after all right over your shoulder. i want to talk about some of these poll numbers with you. 73% don't trust all or some of what's coming out of this white house. six in ten americans define this presidency as a failure thus far and don't find the president honest thus far. they have to in effect run on this. >> that is very true. in the last six months we have
seen a revolution about their expectations. i used to think months ago maybe the president would change and these poll numbers with you. 73% don't trust all or some of what's coming out of this white house. six in ten americans define this presidency as a failure thus far and don't find the president honest thus far. they have to in effect run on this. >> that is very true. in the last six months we have seen a revolution about their expectations. i used to think months ago maybe the president would change and be more of a main treem republican. just like thoughts on the staff those are gone out the window on
capitol hill. with health care having been paused or maybe even dead there's a prayer among republicans that the economy continues to be pretty steady. i think a tax cut and business growth more than anything they could count on is what will protect them next year when they try to keep the house and senate. >> where is he getting the notion of it expanding? >> i don't know where he is getting that because it's just not. one of the most striking statistics is that his base is actually softening. it's a real problem inside the white house and they are aware of it. they are trying to work on it. trump what he sees are these rallies. it was sold out last week. he sees the enthusiasm. he sees the attention on twitter. when you actually measure the support out in a country it is softening from where it was last
november. >> we have not heard a lot since the numbers have -- >> he thinks they all fake. >> that's right. >> seriously. his political operation in the white house, especially kelly ann conway, they are look at these very closely. they do some of their own measurements internally and keeping an eye on it. they are keeping an eye on the softening of support. >> is there a metric of judging the general kelly administration as a subset within the trump west wing? what do you think he would be
comfortable in being judged on? >> my sense is that he would prefer not to be talked about all of the time. one is how much fighting you see. i think the mcmaster scenario is an interesting one to watch. he effectively helped to on some level shut that down. you see this really active campaign continuing. part of the mandate will be to stop the very public fighting among some of these kind of cross currents. the early indications are he demands a good degree of fear. i think it will take several weeks to understand his thinking on all of the personnel moves as well as his thinking of how the president can reset some of his relationships with congress. >> and you are is new head of the white house correspondence association i guess because you had so much free time as it is. >> i wasn't doing anything else.
>> i know we were able to see this as of late. do you think it's a trend that's here to stay? >> i think it is back by default unless we hear otherwise. president seems to be okay with it. general kelly seems to be okay with it. she certainly seems comfortable. i would expect the press corp. to expect it is a matter of course. >> you want to get anything in before we take a break? >> on the point about general mcmaster, we have all of the reporting that the trump base is very unhappy with him. the president thinks it's a crucial decision to increase number of troops there. it's one of the key decisions for him so far in this presidency.
it is about more than steve bannon. it is what does he really want to have in the middle east. >> we'll take our first break here. thanks to our initial panel. coming up the president may be on vacation but there's one man still working back in washington this week. that would be robert muller, the latest on the russia investigation, when the 11th hour continues. we are just getting underway. hi.
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we don't engage in fishing expeditions. >> in the course of the issues he is looking at, if he finds evidence of a crime, can he look at that? >> if he finds evidence of a crime that's within the scope of what we agreed is the appropriate scope then he can. >> that is rob rosenstein discussing the ongoing investigation. as the president and his aids continue to dismiss it as a hoax, a witch hunt, a fabrication, robert and his team continue to investigate any role russia may have played in the 2016 election. joining our conversation tonight
joyce advance back on the broadcast, a 25 year veteran federal prosecutor. she spent almost eight years and was among the first u.s. attorneys appointed by president barack obama, robert costa and phillip rucker remain with us. >> did you find his commented pointed or routine? zbli thought they were pointed. he is concerned with the law with the facts, with doing the right thing. i don't see him as being someone who would be very interested in political spinner buffeted by the politics surrounding this investigation. i think you hear him saying that here when he tells you he can investigate anything that's fair lifr within the scope of the special council ground. >> what's the motivation for you to grant an interview? he has been an inside player. he has been the kind of guy that has not enjoyed the limelight.
we have been lead to see that he has received or seeing his name in the media. >> it is an interesting point. i can't remember the last time a sitting deputy attorney general made a sunday morning television appearance like this. he is not someone who enjoys the limelight. he is not someone that feels the need to self-promote. he is a very serious career prosecutor, probably one of the longest running u.s. attorneys in our country's history serving both republican and democratic administrations. if mr. rosenstein is doing something he thinks it is important. he referred repeatedly to doing the right thing and his goal was to do the right thing. >> imagine the pressure on all of these players, the fbi, special council, all of the cocouncils he has hired. here we are day 200. when we reach 300 will the them still be russia? >> there are deep concerns in the law enforcement community, in the justice department about preserving the integrity of the
institution and also explaining how this is all unfolding. when you ask where we'll be in day 300, you get the sense they stepped in because attorney sessions recused himself. so by putting himself out there rosenstein is trying to better explain where this institution that may be a bit fragile because of these investigations stands. >> kellyann conway said >> there are deep concerns in the law enforcement community, in the justice department about preserving the integrity of the institution and also explaining how this is all unfolding. when you ask where we'll be in day 300, you get the sense they stepped in because attorney sessions recused himself. so by putting himself out there rosenstein is trying to better explain where this institution that may be a bit fragile because of these investigations stands. >> kellyann conway said something, the defense appears to go on offense about the team and kind of this whiff of conflict of interest.
they keep saying he hired attorneys who are democratic donors. what are they saying? >> looking at the 16 attorneys he hired and finding a number of them have made campaign donations in the past to democrats sort of at the hillary clinton specifically. there is a different change in tone when you look at what some of trump's are saying. they are taking it much more seriously. there is a new lawyer at the white house trying to take it seriously. i think it's a shift in tone because they know it is becoming more serious. it's escalating, looking into finances and other issues as well.
>> when you first heard this argument going against some of the players that he had hired did you think it was kind of a ground softening operation to lay a predicate argument for potentially going after him or justifying his dismissal? >> we hear a lot of that coming out of the president specifically. he is trying to lay some ground work with his base to denigrate to indicate he doesn't have integrity so if this investigation breaks bad against him or against members of his administration he can say they were playing with me all along. >> 535 elected members of congress where do you think muller would poll?
>> i think the key example is republican of north carolina, a conservative has taken action along with senator of delaware to try to protect let mueller stay in place. >> can't thank you enough. coming up after another break north korea threatens revenge. does the trump administration have a plan to stop a potential nuclear?
have not taken some type of provocative action. >> rex tillerson speaking after the u.n. security council voted to approve the tough new sanctions over the repeated missile tests. a defiant north korea has threatened to retaliate against the u.s. thousands fold is the quote adding that the u.s. is wrong to believe it is safe. joining us tonight, robert, director of international security studies having served on the national security council and the clinton administration. gordon is back with us. is author of nuclear showdown, more on that in just a moment. how big of a diplomatic victory was it this weekend? i'm sorry, robert, forgive me. of course you're not going to respond until i use your actual name.
how big of a diplomatic victory was this and how normal are the comments from tillerson as opposed to going back two or three presidents? it. >> it was a significant accomplishment. it will cut off perhaps one-third of north korea's exports, about a billion dollars out of 3 billion. south korea has half a trillion dollars. it is also a state that is on the cusp of acquiring a nuclear arsenal. in three years could be half the size of great britain. it is about 100 nuclear weapons. they have been putting out mixed messages about the possibility of jump starting diplomacy. if that does begin the focus would be on capping or freezing
the program which is estimated to have about 15 to 20 nuclear weapons. it wouldn't be a total roll back. >> we have heard hot air going back and forth with north korea a lot of our adult lives. in your view how dangerous is this period right now? >> i think it's dangerous because we have about a year or so before the north koreans may won't have good guidance. if you're firing at a big city it doesn't matter if you're a couple of miles off. >> a year. >> a year. that's what they said according to the washington post about a week and a half ago.
you know, we can be a couple months more, a couple months less. they are making accelerated progress towards this. all of this is an indication we have got to confront very difficult issues. it undercuts all of our assumptions about getting help from other countries. >> and robert, when you hear talk about a preemptive american strike, about any kind of u.s. military planning in this part of the world, what do you make of it? >> well, i mean the military option is one of three very bad options. you can, you know, bomb negotiator. the problem is that the south korean capital is as close as washington is to baltimore. any military action, even limited strike on north korea's infrastructure could escalate. 20 years ago when i was on the clinton administration's national security council staff there was a conflict it would have a million casualties and trillion in economic costs.
that was 20 years ago. you can use it to work out what a second korean war now that they have obtained that capability would entail. >> when you hear that kind of talk what are they talking about or is it just for consumption? >> there is the monothat all options have to be on the table. you go back to the three that are there, bomb negotiator and people are talking now about the diplomatic option, and the focus would be on freezing capabilities, not on fully rolling back. if they could have real again ben fit for united states because as gar don mentioned there is still time north korea needs to demonstrated a long range launcher but yet to demonstrate it mastered the war heads and difficult re -- it took the united states a number of years to master. that type they will need for
additional testing creates space for diplomacy. >> last time you were on i asked him what he would do. he has not inprecise with words. he doesn't trust any of these other realms to ever work anything out because this is a criminal state we are up against here. >> well, missile defense is good. the north koreans with overwhelm it. the message to the united states was yeah, you have interceptors but we have more missiles than you can knock out of the sky. until we get to a directed energy weapon our wlils defense will help a little bit but we can't rely on it. there are things we can do though. we can impose sanctions much more severe than we have. we can clean up a lot of the money where we haven't spent as much time doij that. we can start sanctioning china for money laundering.
yes when you take those three options, yes but we can also use ohhersive diplomacy to get a much better deal when in fact we get to negotiating. >> sadly we are going to have both of you gentlemen back. we hope not too quickly after tonight. we hope the news does enforce it. it's another way of saying thank you for coming on. robert from washington tonight. coming up a new chief of staff has not stopped a vacationing commander in chief from hitting social media. can the new man running things on the west wing change the work product of this president? former white house chief of staff will be with us tonight
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i won't be distracted by these bullying tweets. if anything they strengthen my resolve to work for protecting the special council against these tactics of bullying and intimidating. >> more there from democratic richard blumenthal defending himself in the attacks on twitter. we have not heard from the vacationing president except for his 13 separate posts on twitter. trump's comments on twitter have been reserves to comments on policy. it lead to some speculation that his new chief of staff was having some effect. today that changed. he was back again to personal attacks. with us now is a man with experience in running a west wing.
he was president bill clinton's first chief of staff. it's great to be with you again. >> it is great to be with you tonight. >> if you were facing six in ten americans thinking the administration was a failure and you came into this job what would the rules of the mclarty rules be? >> let's focus on what people voted for us and get results for the american people, brine. -- brian. they need to get focused and move it forward. they will have to reach out to congress as well. that's where you start making the poll numbers change. when bill clinton was elected, as you recall he got 43% and ross perot got 19%.
he was stepping on the world stage his approval was 58%. >> you have a 71-year-old american president who is a fully baked person. what he is is what she going to be. everyone says will trump change? will kelly change trump? what do you do with what doesn't fit any set rule book? the fact that this guy as he proved again today will be this guy. >> well, when someone runs for president of the united states and you have to have some self-confidence do that, that's an accomplishment. no question about that. brian, you followed many presidents. you reported on them. they have to grow and learn on the job. no one is fully prepared to
serve as commander in chief. i think there is some learning curve every president faces. i think this president is no exception. whether he can step up to the enormous responsibility to this complicated and dangerous world and very complex committee as well. >> what if bill clinton had social media at his disposal? >> he was an acting communicate to. he would generally understand staying on message. he would step off of that as every president has. he liked -- he certainly loved to campaign. he loved to engage with people. i can't say he wouldn't have used twitter. i think he was much more of a one on one let's -- he was a big believer that the voters need to feel that he was on their side and he was a big believer, as i was, even if they didn't vote for you shlgs you were still
president of the united states and if they liked you a little better and trusted you it would be good politics as well as the right thing for the nation. >> final question, do you get this preference for generals in this administration, do you have any problem with the role these generals are playing thus far? >> they are all people of distinction and accomplishment. i think we have always had a careful separation of our military and age maturity. general mcmaster i have been with on a few occasions. a man of real accomplishment. i'm okay with it. i don't think we should be completely oblivious. you can have too much of a good thing. i think they are all three very capable people. >> great to see you. >> great to see you again! thank you for coming.
hypothetically if the president were to decide not to run in 2020 which is something that could happen are you saying that vice president pence would not step up and try to take that role? >> all i know -- >> you do talk about hypotheticals. are you ruling out that possibility? >> what i'm talking about is that we are all operating under the assumption every day that the president is seeking re-election in 2020. that's our goal in delivering his agenda and make sure we are in a position where the president can be re-elected and continue to lead this country. >> that was a man doing his job. the vice president's press
secretary this morning with our own hallie jackson responding to the growing speculation that pence and other republicans may have their eyes on a presidential run in 2020. "the new york times" reported over the weekend that mr. pence has been the pace setter though it is customary for vice presidents to keep a full political calendar he has cemented his status as mr. trump's heir apparent and the vp was quick to respond in a statement yesterday saying today's article in "the new york times" is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. the allegations in this article are categorically false. there is so much to talk about here. before we even get to our conversation i want to read two people on twitter.
first joe scarborough who works the morning shift in this very room, one, first vp to set up a pac. won't deny 2020 run, building contributor race not disgraceful, more than likely. and not saying pence has his eye on the oval office but his secret service name is frank underwood. is pence talking to an audience of one and does he just protest too much. >> that statement was to an audience of one but also to the trump base. i think pence wants to endear himself to that 30% of americans out there. but there is nothing false in that story. he does have a pac and is raising money and doing all of these things that one would be doing if he were preparing for a presidential run. they didn't report that he was
going to primary his boss or challenge his boss. they were reporting if trump were not to run in 2020, puns is doing the due diligence to be in a position to run, himself. >> let's be clinical about it a little bit. we opened with the poll numbers tonight. none of them good. there is a new grand jury sitting in washington, d.c. with a special counsel with unlimited resources. anything could happen at any time. >> right. it's politics. it's not having tea with your next door neighbors. it's a nasty business and everyone has to assume the next guy is getting ready. if he is getting ready you get ready.
maybe four years for now you will be glad you were ready early. you can be hoping your boss doesn't have any more hardship than he is already facing and at the same time taking care of your own shop. and this is obviously an incredibly awkward story for the vice president and they went out there and did what they needed to do. number one, to protect his brand which is one of decency and loyalty and appropriateness, number two to give the president this exceptional public assurance there is nothing he needs to worry about from in his own shop and to signal to both the base and to the donor class that you know, the vice president is staying inside his lane. but nevertheless, precisely because of these poll numbers and because of so many division inside the republican party and a sense of uncertainty. if the republicans hang on in the mid-terms it may help president trump. if there's a problem in 2018 it could be problematic. and you know, at that point, all bets are off.
>> one of the more pernicious charges the president makes repeatedly as recently as today is to paint all the news media and the free press as fake or false. some of his greatest hits on the subject and when we come back we'll talk about why it's in the news again tonight. but here, a sampling. >> i have a running war the media. they are among the most dishonest people on earth. >> fake news. >> fake news. >> the leaks are real the news is fake. >> you're dishonest people. i'm changing it from fake news, very fake news. >> the fake news, the dishonest media. we are fighting the fake news. it's fake, phony, fake. >> they are the enemy of the people. >> they're very dishonest people. >> fake. fake. >> i kept a know what newspaper you're reading but that would be another example of fake news. >> the fake media, the fake news. >> we don't want fake news.
>> fake media, fake news. >> it makes it quaint that spiro agnew called us -- on this front there is something called trump tv we saw it a few months back. it went dormant, kelly mcniny has resigned from cnn and doing at trump news what she did at cnn and that is push the trump cause. what do you know about this venture? >> it's an effort to speak to the trump voters and that the rnc where kale where is going to be working in concert with -- >> the old sean spicer job. >> to get a message out there and promote the news that president trump feels like is not being covered enough, economic numbers, whatever the line of the day is going to be from this administration to create their own outlet for it.
but it's the equivalent of state media we see in russia and other countries. we'll see whether it becomes a newscast and catches on. >> with that our great thanks to two purveyors of actual genuine news for staying late with us on a monday night. coming up after another break there, has been another leak and again to "the new york times" because someone on the inside fears a government gone wrong. that story when "the 11th hour" continues. when you're close to the people you love, does psoriasis ever get in the way of a touching moment? if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you can embrace the chance of completely clear skin with taltz. taltz is proven to give you a chance at completely clear skin. with taltz, up to 90% of patients had a significant improvement of their psoriasis plaques. in fact, 4 out of 10 even achieved completely clear skin.
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last thing before we go, new findings on the effect of climate change in the u.s. revealed in a draft report from scientists from 13 federal agencies. this report obtained by "the new york times" and awaiting signoff from the administration finds the average temperature has risen rapidly since 1980 and says human are to blame which contradicts claims by president trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human impact on climate change is uncertain. some are concerned that the administration could hide the report. the national academy of sciences has approved the draft. "the guardian" newspaper is reporting on internal e-mails from the division of the agriculture department which says it should be replaced by weather extremes and the climate section of the epa website was
taken down this spring after trump took office pending review, they say. and for us for now that's our broadcast for a monday night as we start a new week. thank you for being here with us and good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. not that he wants to. from our cities to our corn fields, from the heartland to the coast, mike pence has no interest in overseeing any of those places. mike pence has the kind of foreign policy experience to keep america safe if he wanted to do that, which he doesn't. president mike pence would always fight for you, but he is not president and has no plans to be one. mike pence 2020, the year he won't be running for