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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  January 3, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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it there. that's it. that is tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour" starts now. breaking tonight, fire and fury. open warfare. president trump versus steve bannon. trump says his one-time strategist lost his mind. bannon calling don jr. and jared's meeting with russians treasonous. an explosive new account of what's happening inside the west wing, and the reaction, total meltdown. "the 11th hour" begins right now. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. i'm nicolle wallace sitting in for brian williams. day 349 of the trump administration. a day in which donald trump and
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steve bannon face off in a war of harsh words and accusations. bannon one of the architects of trump's populist agenda during last year's campaign, went on to serve as chief white house strategist before being demissed in august of 2017. he is leveling stunning charges in a new book by emichael wolf called "fire and fury." the author's account based on more than 200 interviews and more than a dozen visits to the white house, most of them as bannon's guest. among wolff's most explosive revelation is this quote from bannon about the trump tower meeting promising dirt on hillary clinton. quote, the three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside trump tower in the conference room on the 25th floor with no lawyers. they didn't have any lawyers. even if you thought this was not treasonous, unpatriotic, or bad
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[ bleep ], and i happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the fbi immediately. the chance that don jr. did not walk these jumos up to his father's office on the 26th floor is zero. and bannon reportedly adds later, quote, they're going to crack don jr. like an egg on national tv. president trump has denied having knowledge of the meeting until it came to light a year later. and the russian lawyer tells nbc news that she and her cohorts at the june 2016 trump tower meeting did not meet or see then candidate donald trump. here is how white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders responded. >> did the president's son, donald trump jr. commit treason? >> i think that is a ridiculous accusation and one that i'm pretty sure we've addressed many times from here before. if that's in reference to comments made by mr. bannon, i'd refer you back to the ones he made previously on "60 minutes" where he called the collusion with russia about this president
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a total farce. so i would look back at that. >> michael wolff also wre writing priebus relationship with kushner. kushner on one of the steepest learning curves in the history of politics and often exhibiting a painful naivete as he aspired to be one of the world's savviest players was advocating doing nothing fast and everything in moderation. and wolff also describes how bannon viewed trump as he campaigned for white house. quote, donald trump was a setup. and early in the 2016 race, trump became the breitbart totem. many of trump's positions in the campaign were taken from the breitbart articles he had printed out for him. indeed, bannon began to suggest to people that he, like aisles, had been at fox, was the true
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force behind his chosen candidate. responding with this comment, steve bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. when he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. steve was a staffer who worked for me after i had already won the nomination by defeating 17 candidates. often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the republican party. steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the white house leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. it is the only thing he does well. steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me, and only pretends to haved a influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books. now to our lead-off panel three. reporters who have covered bannon and this trump white house extensively. jeremy peter, political reporter for "the new york times." ashley parker, white house reporter for "the washington
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post," and robert costa, national political reporter for "the washington post" and moderator of "washington week" on pbs. ashley parker, let me start with you, because you and i started this conversation earlier today. and i want to ask you two things. one, what other details have emerged since we last talked? and what is the white house's current posture on someone who was indisputed -- is beyond dispute that steve bannon was for a very long period of time not only an ideological soul mate of this president's, but one of the closest advisers, someone that donald trump didn't dare subject to reporting to a chief of staff. when donald trump became president, reince priebus was given a rather extraordinary title in that he was named basically an equal to then chief of staff reince priebus. >> i'll answer your second question first, which is the white house's posture is
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basically steve who? he is but a mere staffer. don't know the guy. can't really remember the guy. was he ever really even in the white house that much? and the answer of course is he was. he was an integral player during the campaign and in president trump's white house until he was forced out. in terms of new details emerging, one of the things i find most interesting is something the post just reported, which is that today bannon lost the financial backing of rebecca mercer, who was one of his biggest patrons, sort of the dollars behind a lot of his projects. and so today we saw a great palace intrigue story which we all love to report about and soak up the gossip on. but for steve bannon, he lost his chief patron in terms of politics in the form of president trump and his chief financial patron in terms of the financial support that the mercers provide him. and again, to be clear, this could all change. no one is perpetually ex-communicated from the president's circle. people come and go.
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but right now it's not a great die for steve bannon. >> jeremy peters, you pick up on that thread? do you have any sense of what motived? it's important to point out that the white house defense today was to release visitor logs, which simply in my mind bolstered much of what was in here. at least the quantity of it. in 17, what sound like many occasions, day-long trips to the west wing of the white house, you could certainly paint an accurate picture of the atmospherics. and in a lot of these books, oftentimes it's the scene that's depicted more than any individual anecdote that's the most devastating. but i wonder, jeremy, did you pick up any sense of what motivated steve bannon put so much of what had to be ground or off the record conversations on the record for this book? >> nicole, this has always been the tension in bannon's mind. on the one hand, there is the
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doubts that he harbors about trump's leadership, about the people that trump surrounds himself with and their qualifications. that includes first and foremost the trump children and his son-in-law jared kushner. and on the other hand, you have bannon's belief in the trump movement and the ideas that trump ran on and this notion that the people that trump represented finally had a voice. and so reconciling those two conflicting impulses was always very difficult for steve. and his frustrations spilled out in a rather impulsive way himself. an impulsive way for steve here by mouthing off to a reporter and saying some very indiscreet things that ended up making the man who is leading the movement that steve sees himself as kind of a shepherd of look very bad. >> robert costa, this is clearly
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a divorce between steve bannon and donald trump. and i want to know who gets what. who gets the sean hannity relationship. who gets editorial control, political control of breitbart and the other levers of communicating with what has been a powerful really the most fiery part of the republican party. the republican base has been completely altered by the enthusiasm and excitement for trump that was largely created by steve bannon. >> nicole, this was always a political marriage of convenience, a transactional relationship where the president when he was a candidate was searching for an ideological core that could connect this movement, this pop liulace instinct. they did marry those two things together and they found a way to win the electoral college and win the white house. when it comes to the split, the real challenge for bannon now is what is his goal in 2018.
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we're seeing tonight many candidates across the republican party express some concern can about his comments, distancing themselves from steve bannon. we see the president asserting his own political capital within the republican party as senator mcconnell and others rally behind him. bannon will have to reeevaluate in the coming weeks what was his aim this year politically. what is this project, especially if he is not as closely aligned with the white house. >> actually, parker, some of the biggest and most dramatic headlines were around steve bannon's observations about the different players that we've all mentioned now, jared kushner, hope hicks, and others as it pertains to the russia investigation. and i know some of the conversation tonight has shifted to what in michael wolff's book is precisely accurate. what is accurately described and what is not. it was pointed out to me that to the degree that any of it is relevant to the russia probe, bob mueller likely already knows the answer. or if he is first learning of
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any of these observations, he soon will. let me read you some of what's in here on the topic of russia. this is a quote from bannon. in the book, he says, quote, if he fires mueller, it just brings the impeachment quicker. why not? let's do it. let's get it on. why not? what am i going to do? am i going to go in and save him? he's donald trump. ashley, any reaction today from the white house to that analysis? >> so the white house has sort of, as we saw privately and then publicly in today's press briefing has painted the book in broad brush strokes as patently false and untrue. i think that's an overly broad assessment of the book. it's certainly convenient for them. i will say i haven't read the entire book and i don't have firsthand reporting on every detail in the book. but my sense of it is some of it deeply tracks with what i know and what i've reported myself and what the post has reported. and some of it feels closer to
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fiction. but it is convenient for the white house. by udismissing the entire book, they're not forced to grab well the russia allegations which are the most problematic parts for this president and this administration. >> and we should point out that we have not as a news organization verified everything in this book either. but jeremy peters, if you could pick up on this idea, though, that the things that are described in here are being commented on tonight by reporters who like all of your news organizations, have covered this white house in realtime. and the suggestion is that they by and large corroborate or are consistent with much of the russia reporting. and there is -- i want to read another excerpt. this is wolff on the increasing involvement of the white house staff in dealing with russia and the air force one statement on the trump tower meeting. because this goes directly to the second track. everyone believes robert mueller to be investigating not just
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potential collusion between the trump orbit and russia, but also whether or not obstruction of justice took place. and he writes, "most problematic of all, hicks -- that's hope hicks -- were now directly connected to russian in efforts to spin it, deflect it or indeed cover it up. miller and hicks had drafted or at least typed kushner's version of the first letter written at bedminster to fire comey. hicks had joined with kushner and his wife to draft on air force the trump directed press release about don jr. and kushner's meeting with the russians in trump tower. jeremy, i don't need to tell you, because your paper did a lot of this reporting, that story fell apart almost immediately. and bob mueller's investigators turned over two the white house a list of six names, some of them believed to be individuals who may have been tied these specific events. so i wonder what you're hearing
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today from folks close to bannon about whether he intended to throw staffers under the bus or whether he intended to suggest that maybe the president wasn't well served by his own aides? >> well, that's just the thing there is no overarching strategy here. and for somebody who has crafted an image of himself in the public eye as a master strategist, this was not a very masterful move to throw the leader of the movement that you aspire to be an heir to under the bus. but the reason, nicole, this is so problematic for trump, the reason it riled him up to the point that he saw the need to issue as scathing a statement i think as any of us have ever seen him issue about a former aide of his is this cuts right to the heart of two very sensitive issues for trump. first is his children. when you go after his family, that is a line you do not cross.
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second, the russia investigation. trump is deeply unnerved by the fact that this is clouding his administration. and in bannon's remarks, he seems to give legitimacy to the claim that don jr. told his father about this meeting with the russians. and of course that is something that trump has vigorously denied and in fact just fake news, a phony made-up story. >> robert costa, let me get your insights on the tone and tenor and ferocity of the statement. it's my understanding that what we saw was dialed back. i think both of your newspapers have reported this. that there was an original version that was much harsher, and that was the president's desire. what do you make of the president's statement, essentially calling steve bannon crazy and again seeking to diminish the role of someone who was at one time one of the most powerful white house aides? >> based on my reporting, it was
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totally in character, but also his voice inside of the white house today. the president was furious. people close to him say he wanted to personally be involved in the response to the revelations and the remarks made by bannon in the book. and the president believes, if you look back at his experience in the 1980s in the tabloids of new york city, his experiences as a real estate investor, he wants to be out there publicly fighting, not walking away from a fight, but engaging. and if it's bloody and messy, most politicians try to walk away from the scene. trump, he dives into it. and you have these two major personalities. and bannon and trump who work together in an uneasy way at times, but a close relationship, now just spilling out in public. and people in the white house and around trump think it could only now get messier because of the nature of both men. >> and i have to add that the president's silence on twitter is deafening. we'll see how long that lasts. jeremy peters, ashley parker,
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robert costa, some of the best reporters covering this white house. thank you so much for starting us off. still ahead tonight, what this book reveals that could be an asset for the special counsel's investigation. plus, a new lawsuit filed by paul manafort against robert mueller and the department of justice. and later, the feud between jared, ivanka and steve bannon, who reportedly called ivanka, quote, dumb as a brick. "the 11th hour" just getting started on a wednesday night. cannot live without it.
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by donald trump. we're joined by jeremy bash, former chief of staff at the cia and pentagon, and matthew miller, former chief spokesman for the justice department. matt, let me start with you because your tweet earlier today inspired the first part of our show at 4:00. you tweeted the rivalry and dysfunction inside team trump has always been bob mueller's biggest asset. if they can't even maintain a united front for a book, just think what the prosecutorial powers are able to do. it doesn't matter much, does it, if every word in here is true or not. because every interest of bob mueller and his inquiry to either collusion or obstruction of justice, those people will have to go and be under oath at the risk of perjuring themselves and tell the truth. >> that's exactly right. if you're bob mueller and his team, and you look at this book
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and see things like steve bannon and saying the meeting in trump tower, it's almost certain that don jr. took nattial veselnitskaya upstairs to meet with donald trump sr., whether that happened or not he's going to want to talk with him. when you see the spokesman saying he believes that meeting that statement they crafted on board air force one denying the meeting was obstruction of justice, that's someone bob mueller's team is going to want to talk to. >> if he hasn't already. >> he hasn't already. and if you look at the rivalries that come to the surface in this book, the knack you have people on the president's team talking about each other, disparaging each other, disparaging the president, they cannot -- they clearly are not all pulling in the same direction. michael wolff, all he was doing was going around asking questions. >> right. >> right. >> he doesn't have subpoena, to put people under oath, to read people's e-mails. he has none of the investigative techniques that bob mueller and his team will have to find out what really happened. >> jeremy bash, let me bring you in on three big themes -- money
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launders -- well, let's just start there. one of -- one of the bannon quotes that got a lot of attention, and people are still talking about is this one. steve bannon seemed to understand the severity of staffing choices by robert mueller, warning there was one clear direction they would take. saying, quote, you've got the lebron james of money laundering investigations on you, jervanka. you realize where this is going. this is all about money laundering. their path to [ bleep ]ing trump goes right through paul manafort and jared kushner. it's as plain as a hair on your face. they're going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me. your thoughts? >> first of all, is this the bomb cyclone or is that something else? >> that's tomorrow. this is the cyclone before the cyclone. >> okay. because we're not sure what's hitting washington tonight. but on this issue of moneylaundering, to your point,
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i think it's fascinating that steve bannon who obviously was privy to a large number of conversations with both candidate trump, president-elect trump and then president trump focussed a lot of his comments here in this account at leasting on the issue of moneylaundering and the kushner organization and the russian federation. noting that the key point of vulnerability for all of them are the financial ties, and i think it points up to this larger issue, which is that, yes, we know mueller is investigating russian propaganda, russian hacking and russian efforts to recruit agents of influence inside the trump organization. but there's this fourth pillar to the mueller investigation which is the long-standing financial ties between donald trump and the russia federation to try to find out where russia might have leverage over the current president of the united states. >> i want to read one more excerpt. according to this book, trump's decision to fire james comey changed the tone in the white house interest the worst, saying, quote, the president seemed to find himself
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trapped, incredulously on his part by comey and mueller. nothing seemed to move on from those two events. in the instance of comey and mueller beyond all the dodging and weaving rationalizations, there really wasn't anybody other than the president's family who didn't very pointedly blame trump himself. this is the point at which an emperor's new clothes threshold was crossed. now you could doubt outloud his judgment and acumen and advice he is getting. he's not only crazy declared tom barrack to a friend, he's stupid much i should point out we have not independently verified that quote as coming from the president's friend, tom barrack. but there is a lot of reporting in the book that people did not hold donald trump intelligence in very high regard. >> yeah, that's certainly true. you see members of his cabinet saying it, members of his staff saying it. and with respect to this decision, look, this decision to
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fire jim comey, donald trump, we don't know if he entered the white house with any criminal liability. whatever happened during campaign, whether there was conspiracy, whether he was involved in it or not, that's still being investigated, but we do know he brought criminal liability on himself through his actions, nut just to fire jim comey but to intervene in that investigation, to ask jim comey to back off, to ask members of the intelligence community to get the fbi to get the fbi to back off. there's this pattern that led to him becoming under investigation for obstruction of justice that he brought completely on himself apparently against the advice of steve bannon as he very clearly wants to let us know. >> nicole, i think that's important where. bannon is going to be most credible as you referenced earlier is on the decisions the president made as president in his removal of jim comey from the leadership of the fbi when comey was investigating the president. because, of course, in june 2016 during the time of the trump tower meeting bannon was not
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formally part of the campaign. he didn't come on into later. some could argue and trumps a defenders might try to argue bannon's views of the trump tower meeting are all secondhand. i think they're still relevant, but thaw may not be firsthand. as opposed to the white house decisions for which almost nobody had a better vantage point than steve bannon. >> and he was one of the constant people in conflict with jared kushner, so that is spilling out into the open. all right, you guys aren't going anywhere. we could keep you for six hours tonight. coming up, paul manafort indicted and now unleashed, filing a lawsuit today against bob mueller and the justice department. details on that when "the 11th hour" continues. i realize that ah, that $100k is not exactly a fortune.
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a new attempt today to discredit the russia investigation. paul manafort is suing the department of justice and special counsel robert mueller. the former trump campaign chairman was indicted in october for money laundering among other charges. the lawsuit claims the doj granted mr. mueller carte blanche to investigate things beyond the scope of the special counsel investigation. in a statement the doj spokesman tells nbc news, quote, the lawsuit is frivolous, but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants. we're back with jeremy bash and matthew miller. jeremy, take this on for us. paul manafort seeing the justice department and robert mueller for going outside of the scope
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of what he was supposed to investigate, is that going to hold any water legally? >> zero. it's completely baseless. the rod rosenstein memo which established robert mueller's authority said his authority was unlimited by time and also unlimited by subject. i believe there was a quote in the rosenstein memo that says bob mueller has the authority to investigate, quote, all matters that arise. i'm not sure what part of the word "all" paul manafort doesn't understand. but clearly, clearly, bob mueller has the authority to investigate money launder, tax evasion and efforts by paul manafort to engage in financial crimes involving the russian federation. >> and matt, modern political history, every prosecutor, every special counsel has ended up indicting people for crimes that are often very much unrelated from the original. scooter libby was charged with perjury. president clinton was -- i mean
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people lie. people commit other crimes during the process of any investigation. >> yeah there is a long history of this. in fact, rod rosenstein, when he testified before the house judiciary committee a couple of weeks ago said he has talked with bob mueller several times about what his mandate encompasses to the extent there was any uncertainty about what he was allowed to pursue, rod rosenstein has given him authorization to do everything that he has been doing. i think jeremy is right. this is completely baseless. >> let me ask you this. is a big night for lawyers. no offense, jeremy. >> none taken. >> so nbc news and the "washington post" both reporting that president trump's lawyers have sent a cease and desist letter to steve bannon. it appears this is based on a nondisparagement agreement that steve bannon may uhave had or allegedly had during his time on the campaign. i want to ask you, one, if that is something that can be
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enforced. and two, if that can include a special counsel investigation like what bob mueller is doing. and/or if it's possible to hold any white house staffer who is an employee, someone whose sally rhode island is pa -- salary is paid by the u.s. taxpayer to such agreement. >> let me start by saying what a snowflake. can you imagine the president you worked for or i worked for ever threatening to sue a former aide because of something that happened while in the white house? i mean this a presidential tantrum, not the threat of a lawsuit, i think. and precisely for the reason you get at. whatever steve bannon talked about during the campaign, perhaps that could be enforced, although i still question whether he would file a lawsuit. given that that could lead to the president himself being deposed. when you work for the government as steve bannon did, all those conversations are not conversations that donald trump owns. they can't be enforced by a nondisclosure agreement. those are conversations that steve bannon had, information steve bannon had when he was working for the public, when he was working for american taxpayer. it certainly wouldn't be covered by that nondisclosure agreement.
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and anything that he said, whether it was on the campaign and would have been covered by this nda or in the white house certainly bob mule worry be able to get to either through an interview or if he needed to with a grand jury subpoena. >> jeremy bash, one of the most extraordinary things in my view is someone who worked in a white house where lots of books were written. people that were very critical of george w. bush personally, people who were very critical of george w. bush's foreign policy. i never had the experience, though of -- and i was a communications director. i knew a loft the context in conversations that were going on, especially in times of crisis of having either a report they're was waved into the west wing 17 times sit in and sort of observe and hang out for that much sort of unfiltered off the record time with someone who wasn't a press person. nor did i ever witness an occasion that on a day when a book like this came out, white house staffers were frantic to find out what had been written about them.
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i wonder if you put the roots of that in sort of this "game of thrones" nature of this theme, team, or if you think there are also people who are worried about whether or not there are new threads, new strands of a potential investigation revealed in this book. >> and even if half of the political dysfunction accounted in this book is true and accurate, it's very disturbing. it paints a very disturbing concerning portrait for the country. because after all, these are people who are not just part of a political operation. they're charged with enforcing the laws and defending the country during crises. and if they can't even organize themselves into a publicity formation for a book, god help us when they actually have to defend the country when we're under attack. it is remarkable revelation. matthew miller and jeremy bash, thank you so much. >> thanks. coming up jared kushner, ivanka trump, and steve bannon. "the 11th hour" back after this.
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michael wolff's new book "fire and fury" is giving us a glimpse into the remarkably toxic relationship between president trump's daughter and son-in-law and steve bannon. the role they played in the white house coming under intense scrutiny by bannon and laid bear in this book. joining us now steve schmidt my colleague from the bush white house and mccain presidential campaign. eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winning columnist. eugene, let me just throw this out there. so i have read just about every presidential memoir frto everything written during the bush years and a lot what was written during the clinton years, memoirs and tell-alls. i have never read anything in which a former senior staffer
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suggests that the president is a dunce, that the president's son committed treason and that the president's daughter is dumb as a brick have. you? >> no, i haven't. and i don't know that we'll ever read anything like that again, except about this administration. i mean, first of all, it's not every administration or really any administration in which the president who has no experience in government immediately appoints both his daughter who has no experience in government and his son-in-law who has no experience in government to high positions inside the west wing. and lo and behold they have no idea what they're doing. lo and behold they don't know anything about anything. and the thing that's really striking to me about the excerpts of the wolff book that we heard so far is just how, you know, dysfunctional -- and dysfunctional is being generous, i think -- this white house is. and how little it knows what it
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needs to know to be an effective executive branch of the united states of america. it's just appalling. >> steve schmidt, on the topic of the dysfunction, a former national security official from the last republican administration, the one in which you and i worked, suggested that people often compare disastrous campaigns or white houses to the titanic. and they suggest efforts to pass legislation as moving the chairs around. he says this is the first political operation where you could suggest it's like the titanic but instead of moving the chairs around they're eating each other. it's basically cannibalism aboard the titanic as its sinking. can you speak the fact these are people who by and large do not like each other, do not trust each other, and are so brazen and disrespectful not just to the president they serve, but of the office of the presidency? >> well, the year has been every day a debasement of the office
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of the president of the united states by this president, by his staff with the consistency of the lying, the misinformation, the nonsense that's spooned out to the american people. but what we see in this book, did tom barak say this or that, we'll figure that out in the next couple of days. but certainly the larger issue is it paints a portrait of dysfunction and chaos that just beggars the imagination. these people work in proximity to an office where life and death decisions are made. and the portrait that's painted in this book, and we know. we know from a president whose inventing conspiracy sis, attacking the intelligence community and the justice department with his deep state talk or whether it's attacking the spirit of the first amendment or blustering about nuclear weapons and nuclear war
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with north korea. what we see increasingly is a president who is under pressure, out of his depth, ignorant, unprepared and fundamentally unfit for the office. and this is apparent to everybody. it's apparent to the members of congress. but they don't say it publicly. they say it to journalists. they say it privately in the bars, but it is dangerous unfitness. i think it's something out of this book and these other actions on the third day of the new year are increasingly going to become part of the political narrative in 2018. because though it may be uncomfortable, it's increasingly clear the question of this president's manifest on unfitness for this office is no longer something we can avoid discussing for the sake of politeness. >> eugene, can you respond to that? >> steve absolutely right.
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you know,
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test.
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we're back. eugene and steve are still with us. eugene, i want to get your thoughts on the this is a breakup between donald trump and steve bannon, who gets what? who inherits the hannity relationship? who inherits breitbart? who inherits the trump base? >> well, okay, so the president gets the hannity relationship. >> it's like to records, right? let's split them up. so hannity goes to trump. >> hannity goes to trump. breitbart eventually i think goes to bannon. that's where the allegiance. >> right. >> and the base, what's left of the base is confused. mostly, i think, with trump, because they still have faith in him, but i don't think they're ready to -- i don't think en masse they will completely reject bannon at this point. we'll have to see. i -- you know, it will be
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interesting to see. will he now continue to go around the country trying to put up his candidates for, in republican primaries? maybe he will. it will be harder if he doesn't have the mercers' cash behind him. >> gene, you are always right. we just picked this up from breitbart news tonight on siriusxm. take a listen and we'll discuss it on the other side. >> first of all, i think trump made a huge mistake, steve, bashing you like he did today on twitter. that was devastating to me. i hope in the future you can forgive him for that when we come to 2020, because i'm sure he's going to need your help. >> the president of the united states is a great man. you know i support him day in and day out. whether going to the country, giving the trump miracle speech. i don't think you have to worry about that, but i appreciate the kind words. >> so eugene robinson, you accurately predicted the breakup record division of assets. and breitbart still loves steve bannon. >> i guess i'd be a good divorce lawyer.
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>> but to your larger point, the trump base loved the bannon stuff. i've been out interviewing them, they loved the idea of getting out of nafta, they wanted economic and national security isolationism. that's not really reflected in the tax bill, it's not really reflected by the advisers who remain around donald trump. >> no, it's not. and look, there's -- this anti-establishment feeling that's out there, and this feeling that the establishment republican party isn't speaking to the issues that the base wants to hear about, as you said, is still there, it's not going away. it will sit there and fester and intensify, and it will need an outlet. and it doesn't look as if the president is in a position to sort of deliver on that stuff in any sort of meaningful way, because, again, he came up with this tax bill, which isn't exactly populist. >> steve, let me get you to weight in on this idea of the trump base. who do they belong to? do they belong to steve bannon
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or do they belong to donald trump, if this continues to be a messy breakup? >> well, some of them will stay with steve bannon. this was always a marriage of convenience. you know, look. the president has the lowest approval numbers of any president this early in his term. some of the lowest numbers in the history of polling for any president. as we move into a 2020 election cycle, you know, if he's at 32%, 33% of the support, and 6% goes with steve bannon, it pulls donald trump potentially into the 20s, which is absolutely disabling for any conceivable chance of re-election. not to mention, when you look at the terrain for 2018, you know, there are very, very ominous warnings for the republican majority in washington, d.c., because, you know, upwards of about 70% of the country is just unalterably opposed to what they're seeing in the white house.
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>> steve schmidt and eugene robinson, two of the wisest and the smartest guys doing this. thank you so much for spending time with us. "the 11th hour" we'll be right back.
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tonight on "all in" -- >> you knew damn well i was a snake before you took me in. >> donald trump and steve bannon go to war. >> it's not going to get better, it's going to get worse every day. >> he levels explosive accusations in a new book. >> did the president's son, donald trump jr., commit treason? >> tonight, fallout from "fire & fury" including an irate president. >> i think furious, disgusted would probably certainly fit. >> an inner circle describing trump as an idiot and a dope. and an intense trump family soap opera behind it all.

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