Skip to main content

tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  December 11, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

9:00 pm
news headquarters in new york. all right. it's been a lot of news today, and there's been sort of two big political stories that have been happening simultaneously, and then one story that is totally off of politics but has riveted the nation's largest city and to a certain extent the country. new york city was the target of a terrorist attack today for the third time in 15 months. september of last year it was i pressure cooker bomb that detonated in the chelsea neighborhood in manhattan. which is on the west side of the city, north of greenwich village but south of midtown. that was september last year. then halloween this year it was a guy driving a truck down the west side bike path in northern manhattan, deliberately hitting cyclists and pedestrians. now today it was a 27-year-old
9:01 pm
would-be suicide bomber who appears to have affixed some kind of homemade explosive device to his torso. he was apparently trying to blow up the pedestrian passageway between the times square subway station and the port authority bus terminal. he ended up injuring himself. three other people were injured, although new york police are describing those thankfully as minor injuries. and new yorkers are as resilient as you can possibly imagine, but three al qaeda or isis-inspired attacks in the space of 15 months, all of which managed to kill or injury innocent bystanders, it's getting to be enough to even rattle a big tough city like new york. in terms of the attack today, the suspect is in custody. he's apparently been talking with investigators and he has reportedly told them he was inspired by ice tois carry out this attack. that was the inescapable news in the nation's largest city today. but the political world is
9:02 pm
focused quite intently on what is about to happen tomorrow in the great state of alabama. where honestly nobody knows what is going to happen in that u.s. senate race to replace luther strange. luther strange was an appointed senator who was installed in that seat in the senate to finish out the term of long-time alabama senator skref sessions who is now the nation's attorney general. luther strange had the misfortune of being primaried by the yosemite sam of unreconstructed hard right alabama republican politics, roy moore. even though lots of people would love to tell you what is going to happen in this race tomorrow and why, i honestly would not put a bet on it either way. special elections are notoriously hard to poll anyway, even in relatively normal races. this is not a normal race. and last-minute polls ahead of tomorrow's balloting show either a big lead for republican roy moore or a big lead for democrat doug jones. take your pick. demanding on the poll.
9:03 pm
honestly, there's no use speculating at this point. we will know how it's going to turn out by this time tomorrow. one thing you can know for sure in advance is that tomorrow's result will all depend on turnout. but that's just because it always depends on turnout. interesting late development, though, in terms of the relationship of that alabama race to our national politics. the national republican party as you know recently decided to start supporting roy moore again after they had initially dropped him in the wake of allegations of child molestation against him. well, the party is now having a very hard time explaining how it came to that decision to start supporting roy moore again despite the allegations and despite the fact the allegations were initially enough to sever ties between the party and roy moore. but now on the eve of the election in the republican party's effort to come up with a narrative explanation that makes it seem like it's a good idea for the national republican party to be endorsing him and
9:04 pm
supporting him, while they're trying now to come up with an explanation for why they changed their mind and reversed themselves on, that the party appears to have blundered into a big fight with someone on their own side who they really cannot afford to have a fight with on this issue. so it's a bit of an uh-oh story for the national republican party on the eve of that election. it's a late-breaking story in the alabama senate race. we're going to have that for you ahead tonight in just a couple minutes. the other big thing going on in national politics right now and s. a whole bunch of renewed political drama over the russia investigation. over the weekend and through the course of today and tonight it's starting to feel like a switch has been flipped in the fight or flight circuitboard that controls the conservative id on this story. over the last several days into today and tonight a pretty good portion of the american right has decided to declare that the new conservative crusade in america will be that former fbi director special counsel robert
9:05 pm
mueller should be fired. that's the new crusade. some switch somewhere flipped. and now on the american right we're getting this deluge of increasingly excited calls to action that special counsel robert mueller must be fired. and if it takes shutting down the whole fbi to shut down the russia investigation then so be it and good riddance. and it does almost feel like a coordinated messaging decision on the right. it's everywhere from conservative op-ed writer in "usa today" to the "wall street journal" editorial page, which has been leaning in this direction for a while but they're getting increasingly strident and insistent on this point. the fox news channel, honestly, they've been spanking this tambourine for a while now but as of this weekend and today they are just really going for it all of a sudden. i don't know what flipped for the right that is causing this freakout. but this fire mueller freakout on the right has led in turn to
9:06 pm
a whole bunch of ominous warnings from some very sober people about what this might portend, what this might be the preamble for in terms of action by the president. here's max boot writing at foreign policy today. "america is heading for an unprecedented constitutional crisis." "the republican party is ready to serve as an accomplice to the obstruction of justice." here's john chait at "new york" magazine. "the mueller investigation is in mortal danger." here's david graham at "the atlantic." "the partisan nihilist case against robert mueller." here's the good and great e.j. dee yoen at the "washington post." "the attacks on mueller push us closer to the precipice." so over the past few days everybody watching this story, everybody watching this investigation, left right and center appears to be feeling the same sort of tectonic shift signifying what might be about to happen next. and i don't know if the mueller
9:07 pm
investigation is now so unnerving the white house that they are going to try to dismantle it or blow up that investigation somehow. but if we get to that kind of a crisis point, at least none of us will be able to say that we weren't warned. everybody's throwing red flags over the possibility of firing robert mueller on both sides of the aisle right now. we know that the president's long-time close aide not just for this year at the white house but also in the campaign and the trump organization before that hope hicks, long-time donald trump aide, has had a two-day-long interview with mueller's investigators on thursday and triof last week. "the new york times" has also since reported that hope hicks was given at least two defensive briefings, both in the situation room at the white house, both from senior counterintelligence officers at the fbi warning hope hicks about how many russians were trying to contact her. as the trump administration took office. "american intelligence and law enforcement agencies became alarmed by introductory e-mails
9:08 pm
that hope hicks received from hugs government addresses in the weeks after mr. trump's election. after trump took office senior fbi counterintelligence agents met with hope hicks in the white house situation room at least twice. they gave her the names of the russians who had contacted her and said that they were not who they claimed to be. the fbi was concerned that the e-mails to hope hicks may have been part of a russian intelligence operation. the meetings with hicks, what the fbi calls a defensive briefing, went beyond the standard security advice that senior white house officials routinely receive upon taking office. defensive briefings are intended to warn government officials about specific concerns or risks." so after hope hicks had her two big days of interviews, testimony with the mueller investigators thursday and friday, that was the reporting from the "new york times" that followed. now, today nbc news has this scoop. "special counsel robert mueller is trying to piece together what
9:09 pm
happened inside the white house what happened over a critical 18-day period when administration officials were told michael flynn was susceptible to blackmail by russia. questions over what happened between january 26th and flynn's firing on february 13th appear to relate to possible obstruction of justice by president donald trump. mueller is trying to determine why flynn remained in his post for 18 days after trump learned of sally yates's warning about him. mueller appears to be interested in whether trump directed flynn to lie to senior officials cluck vice president mike pence or if he directed flynn to lie to the fbi and if so why." if truch knew his national security adviser lied to the fbi in the early days of his administration it would raise serious questions about why flynn was not fired until february 13th and whether trump was attempting to obstruct justice when fbi director james comey says the president pressured him to drop his flynn investigation.
9:10 pm
so this is the new scoop from nbc news today. really important story. and it's important for -- i'm p saying it's important because it's nbc news. this is important for two reasons. first this reporting would seem to confirm that obstruction of justice including potentially by the president himself is the focus of interviews that are being conducted now by mueller's investigators. and you know, it is one thing to sense that might be an area of interest for the investigation. it's one thing to know amorphously that the president didn't like the russia investigation, that he tried to figure out ways to make it go away. it would be a much stickier wicket for the white house and the president personally if they're put in the position of having to explain why 9 president of the united states kept this national security adviser in the white house for 18 days after he knew that the national security adviser had commit aid serious crime, a crime for which flynn has now pled guilty. if the president knew, if the president was aware that flynn
9:11 pm
had lied to the fbi and nevertheless kept him on staff as national security adviser, if the president was aware that flynn had committed a crime and he nevertheless tried to stop the fbi investigation into that crime, that is easy. that's easy. that's like the fifth-grade civics textbook explanation of obstruction of justice. and that will become very hard for even the most partisan and ardent admirers of the president to explain away. on this first important point the president's potential culpability for obstruction of justice. nbc makes one other factual point which i think the white house is going to have to sort out soon. i don't know if they can sort it out in the next day or so but i can't imagine they can let this go that many more days before they just come up with something. and that is that the white house refuses to answer, refuse to characterize in any way when the
9:12 pm
president first learned that flynn had lied to the nba. this is from nbc's scoop today. "trump's legal team and senior white house aides are refusing to say when and how the president first learned that flynn had lied to the fbi. white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders has repeatedly referred questions to lawyer john dowd about when trump knew flynn had lied to the fbi. john dowd has declined multiple requests to answer that question." so the first reason this new nbc reporting is really important is the obstruction of justice issue. the president's criminal culpability on that may now hinge on when the president knew that flynn lied to the fbi. the white house will not characterize that information. the white house has no answer to that question. i mean, there is an answer empirically clearly in the world. there became a time when for some specific reason the president came to know that mike flynn had lied to the fbi. this is a knowable empirical
9:13 pm
thing. but they will not say anything. they will not characterize it. why not? and how long can that be left hanging in the breeze? you're going to have to come up with some answer. it's find outable. have you asked him? here's the second big implication of this nbc story, and i will leave you with this. mike pence is in trouble. now, it is possible that the vice president did nothing wrong, nothing criminal. but he really has been left out in the cold by the white house when it comes to the michael flynn story and michael flynn's guilty plea. the white house is still telling a story about how and why and when mike flynn was fired, a story that all depends on this account by and about the vice president that is now disproven, that doesn't make any sense. and they are trying i guess to stick with this thing. but they really do need a new account now of how michael flynn was fired and why because the
9:14 pm
old one can no longer be operative. i mean, what had been their operative explanation for why flynn was fired is that the white house was shocked, shocked to learn that mike flynn had lied to vice president mike pence about his conversations with the russian government. that's their story, right? >> did you direct mike flynn to discuss sanctions with the russian ambassador -- >> no, i didn't. >> -- prior to your inaugurat n inauguration? >> no, i didn't. >> and would you have fired him if the information hadn't leaked out? >> no, i fired him because of what he said to mike pence. very simple. >> that is how the white house up to and include the president himself have explained the firing of national security adviser mike flynn. fired him because he lied to mike pence. that story has now been disproven. that account cannot be true. first of all, mike pence himself says he realized with shock, shock, on february 9th that he had been lied to by mike flynn about his contacts with russia. the vice president says he
9:15 pm
realized with shock, realized he'd been lied to by mike flynn when the "washington post" reported on february 9th that flynn had in fact talked to russia about sanctions. if that news was literally news to president trump and vice president pence and the white house and if that news was shocking and a clear firing offense for mike flynn, then why did they wait another four days to fire mike flynn? they didn't fire him on february 9th. they fired him four days later, on february 13th. but here's the part that has fallen apart in an even more damning manner. since mike flynn pled guilty to lying to the fbi about his conversations with russia, we have since learned that those conversations he had with russia, those were not exactly a personal secret that he was only whisper about to his diary. mike flynn had phone and e-mail conversations with trump transition officials about those calls while they were happening. we know that an e-mail discussing his talks with russia about sanctions was sent to trump adviser tom bossert, soon to be white house spokesman sean spicer, soon to be white house
9:16 pm
chief of staff rooens priebus, soon to be white house looming specter steve bannon, and others. in december they all knew in december the details of mike flynn talking to russia about sanctions. and therefore at least some of them started lying about that publicly. >> the subject matter of sanctions or the actions taken by the obama administration did not come up in the conversation. >> they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call. that was it. plain and simple. >> they did not discuss anything having to do with the united states' decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against russia. >> i can confirm that those elements were not part of that discussion. >> those were all false statements. sean spicer and reince priebus, we now know, had been notified otherwise. had been notified of the truth of the matter when they made those false public statements
9:17 pm
about flynn and russia. why did they then lie about it publicly? and when it came to the vice president, either he was lying too just like sean spicer and reen apprecia reince priebus were, which is possible. the vice president's assertion that's he was telling the truth on that matter as far as he knew, i think those assertions should no longer be taken at face value. when it comes to the vice president, there are really only two options, and neither of them are the white house story about what happened. either mike pence like reince priebus, like sean spicer, lied about flynn and russia, he knew the real story and he just told a fake story to the public, or he thought he was telling the truth. but if he thought he was telling the truth, he wasn't just lied to by mike flynn. he was lied to by mike flynn and k.t. mcfarland and tom bossert and steve bannon and sean spicer and reince appreciateus and who knows who else. all of whom were in on what flynn had done with russia. and all of whom stood by and let
9:18 pm
the vice president make all these false statements about it multiple times on national television, on different networks, with different interviewers over and over and over again, false statements. i mean, the white house version of events here has fallen apart when it comes to the vice president. if lying to mike pence is such a shocking firing offense, then that ought to have been the reason to fire all of those people from the transition and from the white house. but it wasn't. they say that was only a shocking firing offense for mike flynn. that doesn't make any sense. choose your own adventure here. either vice president mike pence is totally truthful and everyone lied to him while he was running the transition and all these people who answered to him they all lied to him, they all allowed him to take public lies knowingly and for some reason he has never minded that at all, never bothered him, or the vice president told the same lies to cover up for flynn that everybody else did too. in which case, why? why did he do that? and why did all these other
9:19 pm
senior members of the white house staff all tell lies to cover up what mike flynn did when they knew otherwise? mike flynn has now pled guilty to lying to the fbi, and he is cooperating with the mueller investigation. the white house explanation for why flynn was fired is athat he had to be fired because he lied to the vice president. that explanation is plainly not true. and robert mueller's investigators are now reportedly on that like lions on a gazelle. this part of the white house explanation for its own behavior around russia has never made sense from the very beginning. but now i at least finally have a sense that somebody's going to figure out the real deal. but some people still like cable. just like some people like wet grocery bags. getting a bad haircut. overcrowded trains. turnstiles that don't turn. and spilling coffee on themselves. but for everyone else, there's directv. for #1 rated customer satisfaction over cable, switch to directv.
9:20 pm
and for a limited time get a $100 reward card. call 1-800-directv 3 toddlers won't stop him.. and neither will lower back pain. because at a dr. scholl's kiosk he got a recommendation for our custom fit orthotic to relieve his foot, knee, or lower back pain, from being on his feet. dr. scholl's. born to move.
9:21 pm
9:22 pm
9:23 pm
this past summer when it was michigan's turn to cast their votes at the republican national convention the actual word, the actual person speaking to the microphone, the announcement for michigan came from the chairwoman of the michigan republican party. a proud, very proud niece of a former republican presidential nominee. >> secretary, my name is ronna romney mcdaniel. >> ronna romney mcdaniel! emphasis on the original. after the election ronna romney mcdaniel went on to become head of the national republican party but as we know that promotion came with a catch related to her name. according to the "washington post" before she took the reins at the rnc president trump came to her with a request. would she be willing to stop using her middle name, please? and ronna romney mcdaniel said
9:24 pm
yes. to avoid giving mitt romney any free advertising in trump's new republican party, his niece would drop her name. she dropped the romney, stopped using her full name on party communications on the official republican website, and in media appearances. >> joining us now to discuss is ronna mcdaniel, republican national committee chairwoman. >> ronna mcdaniel, thank you very much. >> ronna mcdaniel. >> ronna mcdaniel, gop chairwoman. >> ronna mcdaniel thanks so much. >> ronna romney mcdaniel, now she's got a new public name. and now we know a name change for the party chair was not the only awkward trump request for the republican party. last month after the "washington post" published allegations from four named women that roy moore had pursued sexual relationships with them when he was a grown man and they were teenagers as young as 14, the national republican party responded to that news a few days later by cutting off all its financial
9:25 pm
and then staff support for roy moore's candidacy in alabama. that principled stand from the rnc lasted all of 20 days. about a week after ronna romney mcdaniel was summoned to the white house the party decided to jump head first back into that race to support roy moore. we know that decision happened after the rnc chairwoman was invited to the white house for a meeting. but who ultimately made that decision about getting back in bed with roy moore? on what basis did they make that decision? does anybody want to own up to that and explain it? before now we didn't know. nobody at the rnc was saying on the record about how the money for roy moore decision was reversed. but now has a report that at a republican fund-raising dinner last week when ronna romney mcdaniel was confronted by a party donor who said she opposed this decision about roy moore, party chair
9:26 pm
ronna mcdaniel gave her explanation saying at this fund-raiser that she made the decision "in agreement with the entire alabama delegation in the house and senate and the alabama rnc delegation to help fund moore's campaign." the entire alabama delegation in the house and senate wanted the rnc to start funding roy moore again? really? that's what you're going with? are you sure? because those are knowable people. and the senior u.s. senator from alabama didn't want you to do that. and the reason i know that is you can see and hear for yourself because he speaks for himself. >> there's a time, we call it a tipping point, and i think so many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip drip drip, when it got to the 14-year-old story,
9:27 pm
that was enough for me. i said i can't vote for roy moore. >> the national republican party explaining its decision to support roy moore by saying they started supporting roy moore again after the allegations because senator richard shelby told them to. that would not seem to be true. today we asked both the republican party and senator shelby's office for comment. the party declined the opportunity to clarify chairwoman ronna romney mcdaniel's remarks. but meanwhile, senator shelby's office disputed her account vociferously telling us, "the senator did not play any role in the rnc's decision." despite the fact that the rnc says he did. joining's now is kyle witmeyer, columnist for the alabama political group. thank you for joining us. nice to have you here. >> thank you, rachel. >> let me ask you about the richard shelby factor. obviously he's the senior senator in alabama. a well-known figure, a name figure in the state for decades.
9:28 pm
he has said he wouldn't vote for roy moore. he's now contesting the story from the rnc that he told them to get back in the race in support of roy moore. what do you think the richard shelby effect is going to be if anything? >> i think it would have been more effective had he come out this strongly a couple of weeks ago before other state republicans sort of retreated to, you know, the nearest corner before -- excuse me. i keep calling her lieutenant governor kay ivey. she's now governor kay ivey. but that's another story. she said that even though she believed these women, that she was going to vote for roy moore. but it can have an impact. i mean, don't -- i'm not trying to dismiss that right now. and it is a pretty strong stand he's taking. he went on television this weekend. he's not really one for the sunday talk shows. he went on tv with the purpose
9:29 pm
of -- let's face it. he basically cut an ad for doug jones with his statements this weekend and gave a lot of republicans here in alabama license or permission to do the principles thing. and even if they don't want to vote for a democrat, find someone, anyone, maybe diane bentley, someone like that, to write in as their candidate and not someone like roy moore. >> you mentioned diane bentley, who is the now divorced ex-wife of of the governor of alabama who was felled by a sex scandal. that's how lieutenant ivey went from lieutenant governor to being governor. that followed another scandal that took out the most powerful legislator in the state mike hubbard who was turfed out of office after being convicted of multiple felony corruption accounts. and that of course followed roy
9:30 pm
moore being thrown off the bench as chief justice of alabama not once but twice for defying federal court orders. alabama has had -- a trifecta is what you're hoping for when you're covering far away stories to make them seem relevant and scandalous and interesting. alabama has been suffering under scandal trifectas upon trifektdas for a long time now. that state-based history of so many things going wrong in the republican party at the highest levels, does that affect the way people are feeling about this vote tomorrow, do you think? >> i think it certainly affected the gop primary. every alabama scandal seems to connect in a very tangential way to the one that came before it. remember, the reason why luther strange lost the gop primary was because alabamians were mad at him because he solicited his appointment to the u.s. senate from a governor he was supposed to be investigating. i think there's fatigue, though. and i think that there are a lot
9:31 pm
of voters out there who have just been worn down by one scandal after another after another, and doug jones has an opportunity right now to leverage that and take advantage of that. i think just tonight he has in his final rally charles barkley of all people speaking pf and basically telling the crowd, alabama, we've got to quit doing stupid stuff here and put someone in office we can be proud of. and you know, we need a two-party system again in this state if for no other reason than to keep republicans here on their toes and let them know that they can't get away with anything that they -- just to let you know that people are looking. >> kyle, one last question for you. we know you are a keen observer not only of the characters in all these stories but also the political dynamics at work.
9:32 pm
the polls obviously are all over the map, just wildly different polls. tonight we've got polls saying one candidate's ten points up and another poll says that same candidate is nine points down. what's your sense of what's going to happen tomorrow? you want to venture a prediction? >> no. i think there's one important thing to point out about the polls. if you look at the polls that have been taken, the ones they've used, robo-polls, auto-dialing, automated polling, all of those have gone toward moore. but those don't tap into cell phones. they aren't allowed to call cell phones on those. so only people with land lines get those polls. those skew older and they skew more toward white households than people who just have cell phones only. those polls have have live people, real people who are talking to real people and asking them questions, those polls have all skewed toward jones.
9:33 pm
so it's not just that these polls are all over the board, you have two distinctly different outcomes in polling based on methodology and maybe getting a little bit too wonkish here, but i think tomorrow we're going to find out which is the best way for you to poll people in alabama. and if i were to -- >> go ahead. >> if i were doug jones tonight i would be feeling pretty good because i think this is at least an even shot and that was not what he thought he was going to have when he got into it. >> fascinating. sorry for jumping in on you at the end. kyle witmeyer, political columnist with the alabama group. i know ewe guys are going to be really happy to get the national media off your backs for a while once this race is gone. thanks for being here tonight. >> thank you, rachel. >> much more to come here tonight. stay with us.
9:34 pm
lower back pain has met its match aleve direct therapy. the only remote controlled tens device that's drug free, wire free for deep penetrating lower back pain relief. get aleve direct therapy with $10 back and extra bucks rewards at cvs pharmacy.
9:35 pm
your privacy makes you myt number 1 place to go number 2. i love you, but sometimes you stink. febreze air effects doesn't just mask, it cleans away odors. because the things you love the most can stink. and try febreze small spaces to clean away odors for up to 30 days. breathe happy with febreze.
9:36 pm
9:37 pm
they will fix this at some point, i am sure. but tonight anybody looking for the office of arizona congressman trent franks, anybody looking for the arizona office number or anything at all from congressman franks gets sent instead to the u.s. house of representatives list of current vacancies. the name trent franks is supposed to be right here about the names of the previous two congressmen driven from office with some form of scandalous behavior. they're not even listing trent franks as gone yet. but he's gone. at some point congress will get around to adding the name trent
9:38 pm
franks to this list of vacancies. it was a very sudden departure. when we left the story last week, congressman frankds had just confessed to my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates. surrogacy as in someone to carry a baby for the congressman and his wife. trent franks made a vague self-exonerating statement about him seeking surrogacy for him and his wife and some of his staffers and even though he said he'd done nothing wrong he nevertheless announced he would be quitting. he'd leave congress at the end of next month on january 31st, 2018. that's where we left it. but congressman franks did not make it anywhere near the end of january. the very next day, after his self-exonerating statement and his announcement that he would eventually leave, the next day on friday the associated press reported new details of his discussion of surrogacy with his former staffers. one former aide telling the a.p. "the congressman repeatedly pressed her to carry his child,
9:39 pm
at one point offering her $5 million to act as a surrogate." the former staffer said the congressman at least four times asked if she would be willing to act as a surrogate in exchange for money. the former aide said the conversations took place in private, sometimes in the congressman's car, and that she repeatedly told him she was not interested. quoting the staffer, "during my time there i was asked a few times to look over a contract to carry his child and if i would conceive his child i would be given $5 million." that was from the a.p. then according to the "new york times" women staffers said they believed the congressman didn't just mean surrogacy the way you might be thinking of involving a doctor's office. women staffers say they think he meant to impregnate them in the old-fashioned way. and then back to the a.p., "the aide cited the surrogacy requests as a main reason for leaving franks's office, adding she felt retaliated against after turning down the congressman, ignored by franks and no longer given many
9:40 pm
assignments." as that news was appearing, trent franks went from resigning, oh, sometime next month to gone so fast they couldn't even add his name to the list of vacancies before they unplugged his website. the arizona governor did today set the dates for electing a replacement for congressman franks. that arizona primary will be on february 27th and general election will be april 24th. maybe by then we will all be over the shock of this particular shock resignation story. maybe. nick was born to move.
9:41 pm
3 toddlers won't stop him. and neither will lower back pain. because at a dr. scholl's kiosk he got a recommendation for our custom fit orthotic to relieve his foot, knee, or lower back pain, from being on his feet. dr. scholl's. born to move.
9:42 pm
anif you've got a lifee. you gotta swiffer a farmer's what's in this kiester. a fire truck. even a marching band. and if i can get comfortable talking about this kiester, then you can get comfortable using preparation h. for any sort of discomfort in yours. preparation h. get comfortable with it. ♪when sundown pales the sky i want to hide a while behind your smile
9:43 pm
ah, but i may as well try and catch the wind♪ our mission is to make off-shore wind one of the principle new sources of energy. not every bank is willing to get involved in a "first of its kind" project. citi saw the promise of clean energy. we're polluting the air less. businesses and homes can rely on a steady source of power. this will be the first of many off-shore wind farms in the u.s. ♪for standing in your heart is where i want to be and long to be ah, but i may as well try and catch the wind♪
9:44 pm
we think of u.s. presidents in terms of major world issues they have to deal with being stuff like wars and recessions and civil rights and stuff. but often it is not the macro, you know, big historical issues that occupy much of their day-to-day time. it's the micro level business of staying in power and getting your way. and a lot of times that's the micro-level business of counting. how many republicans in congress, how many democrats on a key committee, how many seats could be flipped to help you the president or harm you on something important to your presidency. two weeks before richard nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974 he was doing a lot of very specific counting. the house judiciary committee was considering articles of impeachment against him to be submitted to the full house. 38 members of the house judiciary committee. 21 of them were democrats. democrats were nixon's opposition. that meant that he really needed some democratic votes. four votes or so could make or break his presidency, could
9:45 pm
decide if the impeachment went forward or not. president nixon tried to give those votes a little nudge in his direction. he made a bold decision that he would call up alabama governor george wallace, a segregationist stalwart who had run for president a bunch, he still wielded a lot of influence among segregationist conservative southern democrats. the president called governor george wallace in alabama and asked him to persuade certain members of that judiciary committee to vote against the articles of impeachment. he asked governor wallace, "are you with me?" and this could be the make or break for nixon's impeachment, if wallace would just swing some democrats for him. "are you with me, governor wallace?" george wallace answered, "no, mr. president, i'm afraid i'm not." then the president hung up and he turned to his chief of staff alexander hail and he said, "well, al, there goes the presidency." and two weeks later he was
9:46 pm
right. it has been 43 years since that phone call. tomorrow we are facing another collision between national and alabama state politics when the alabama voters will send to washington, d.c. a senator who can make or break this president's first attempt at a legislative agenda. doug jones or roy moore gets elected tomorrow, tax bill vote could be as soon as the day after that. joining us now is michael beschloss, nbc news presidential histori historian. mr. beschloss, lovely to see you. thank you for being here. >> thank you. lovely to see you, rachel. >> in bringing up the relationship between president nixon and alabama politics at his time of crisis, i am borrowing your attention to that precedent. is that just a historical echo that's uncanny? are there lessons we can take from that? >> it really is uncanny. i think the team tonight of that story is a saying that nixon knew well, which is "revenge is a dish best served cold." wallace was getting revenge
9:47 pm
because 1970 wallace was running in the democratic primary for governor against the incumbent albert brewer. nixon wanted to wipe out wallace in this gubernatorial primary because he was worried that wallace would run third party in 1972 again and rob him of the presidency as he had nearly done in 1968. so nixon poured all sorts of secret money into brewer's campaign, gave brewer all sorts of secret help, which wallace knew and the result was that in the end wallace narrowly won the primary for governor, became governor again, and wallace remained furious at nixon so that, you know, nixon as you said when he calls wallace up in '74 and says please, help me stop impeachment wallace says forget it. >> do you think that wallace -- i mean, just for historical purposes do you think wallace could have swayed democrats if he wanted to on that committee? >> i think he certainly could. the key one was a congressman named walter flowers who was an
9:48 pm
alabama democrat who was very close to wallace and wallace could have had a lot to do with that. and as you suggested nixon thought that flowers and maybe one or two others were the difference between being impeached or not. >> michael, the president this time around as obviously put his chips on roy moore, endorsing him, making a robocall for him, during campaign events trying to help him. >> that he has. >> is there a way to look at this from a historical perspective to see if there's likely to be a cost to the president if judge moore loses? is this basically just a free play for the president? do these things pay up instead of just paying down when they go wrong in terms of endorsements? >> oh, i think they do. and in this case i think donald trump may feel that he's gaining a vote if roy moore wins, but i think during the next year if roy moore wins he's going to be to many people the face of the republican party with these very weird views that are racist and,
9:49 pm
you know, his own background as a child molester by all these accounts. that is not something that a wise president would want as the face of the republican party for next year. so i think donald trump may think he's being very shrewd and machiavellian in trying to help roy moore become a senator a year from now if that happens i think he may be sorry. >> michael beschloss, nbc news president historian, thank you very much for your time tonight. and thank you for always -- always helping us connect back to this stuff that makes stayed make much more sense. you are invaluable, my friend. >> thank you very much. my pleasure, rachel. >> we'll be right back. no, thanks , santa. i got this. santa: uh, it looks a little tight. perfect fit. santa needs an f-150. that's ford, america's best selling brand. hurry in today for 0% financing for 72 months across the full line up of ford cars, trucks and suvs. for a limited time, get an additional $1,000 cash back on top of 0% financing for 72 months.
9:50 pm
get these exclusive offers during the ford year end sales event.
9:51 pm
get these exclusive offers i love you, droolius caesar, but sometimes you stink. febreze car vent clip cleans away odors for up to 30 days. because the things you love can stink. ...stuff happens.old... shut down cold symptoms fast... ...with maximum strength alka seltzer plus liquid gels. ♪ tired of sore throat lozenges that only last a short time? try new alka-seltzer plus sore throat relief. the melts dissolve quickly. plus, the powerful pain reliever
9:52 pm
provides long-lasting relief for up to six hours. try new alka-seltzer plus.
9:53 pm
this is the memorial bridge that connects portsmouth, new hampshire and kittery, main, over the pascataqua river. the big chunk in the middle lifts up so boats can go through it. when it's up boats go through it. and when it's down you can drive across it or you can walk. this weekend in the blustery snow the memorial bridge looked like this. >> yes, you can! stop the scam! >> this was the maine side of this bridge between maine and new hampshire this weekend in the storm. protesters marching across state lines in the wind and the snow to demonstrate against the republican tax bill. hundreds of people gathered in the park just over the bridge to rally their senator susan collins to vote no on the bill and frankly to threaten to turf her out of office if she votes yes instead. this was oklahoma city this
9:54 pm
weekend. better weather. still a little cold. donald trump won every single county in oklahoma last year. but on saturday hundreds of oklahomans rallied outside the oklahoma state house against the republican tax bill. they wrote down messages in sharpie on a big poster board to send to one of their senators james lankford to let them know how unhappy they are about his support for that bill. in louisville, kentucky this weekend there was the trump chicken at their big rally. there were trash bags full of fake money at the big rally in boston. there were a bunch of cold people outside the courthouse in frigid milwaukee, wisconsin this weekend. for months now the treasury secretary steve mnuchin, the guy in charge of all the money, he has been insisting that the treasury department would churn out a super-detailed analysis of all the wonderful things this tax bill would do. he's been saying for months that hundreds of people at the treasury department had been working day and night, crunching the numbers for their big report. today we finally got that
9:55 pm
report. this is it. this is not like the cover page. this is it. this is the entire analysis from the treasury department. it fits on one page. it is 470 words long. and that's only if you include the footnotes. there are no calculations in this report. there are no statistics of any kind or data to back up anything it says. but obviously they say it's going to be awesome. their cracker jack report looks more like a haiku than a detailed economic projection, but republicans in congress are moving as fast as they can to try to get this thing passed. the house and senate are reconciling their two versions of the bill right now, and when that wraps up they hope to put it to a vote next week. we think they will start probably working on some sort of conifered version of it as soon as the end of this week. they'll send it to the president's desk before christmas if they get what they want. but maybe they won't get what they want. right now people at home will have a lot to lose if this bill passes are letting their representatives and senators know how they feel about this
9:56 pm
bill and how they feel about the people who may vote for it. watch this space. ♪ if you wear a denture, you not only want a clean feeling every day, you want your denture to be stain free. did you know there's a specialty cleanser that's gentle enough for everyday use and cleans better than regular toothpaste? try polident cleanser. it has a four in one cleaning system that kills ten times more odor causing bacteria than regular toothpaste, deep cleans where brushing may miss, helps remove tough stains, and maintains the original color of your dentures when used daily.
9:57 pm
for a cleaner, fresher, brighter denture, use polident every day. use polident every day. when you're clocking out. i'm the one clocking in... sensing your every move and automatically adjusting to help you stay effortlessly comfortable. i can even help with a silent night. does your bed do that? i don't actually talk, but i can tell you how you slept. i'm the new sleep number 360 smart bed. let's meet at a sleep number store. turn up your swagger game with one a day men's. ♪ a complete multivitamin with key nutrients plus b vitamins for heart health.
9:58 pm
your one a day is showing. okay. here's the thing. i'm going to note this without comment. i just want you to know that this has just happened. as you know, as we've been talking about tonight, tomorrow is the big u.s. senate race in alabama. tonight at a rally in midland city, alabama republican candidate roy moore was introduced by his wife, kayla.
9:59 pm
and then this is a thing that happened. >> fake news would tell you that we don't care for jews. i tell you all this because i've seen it all. so i just want to set the record straight while they're here. [ cheers and applause ] one of our attorneys is a jew. >> well, that settles that, then. that just happened. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. give me a second from my speechlessness. but it makes me recall donald trump. and the people working inside the trump operation, what they said donald trump said when he actually saw a black accountant
10:00 pm
working in the trump operations on accounting and saying he wanted all of his accountants to be wearing yamakas. which was, you know, this trump vision of where the jews fit in his life at the time. >> apparently, priceless look, the next thing she said was, we have very close friends that are jewish and rabbis. so, i just -- i mean -- we can -- making me -- >> yeah, yeah. >> we get paid to talk for a living but there isn't enough money in the world to talk properly about this. >> there is a way to render us speechless. >> yes. >> roy moore's wife has done so. >> yes. thank you, my friend. good luck. >> thank you. well, alabama has not voted for a democrat for united states senate since 1992 when both of alabama's united states senators were democrats. the democrat who won his senate race in alabama in 1992 was richard shelby.