tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC March 16, 2018 1:00am-2:00am PDT
buzz feed he spend two decades as an intelligent asset for the u.s. government. might have gotten osama bin laden's phone number at some point. felix sater will be my guest tomorrow. you do not want to miss that. that's "all in" for this evening. ready to replace mcmaster and mulling over candidates for the job. other moving parts tonight, the trurch organization subpoenas by robert mueller. the u.s. announces sanctions for interfering in the 2016 election and for hacking into our power plans. when asked when putin is a friend or foe it is up to russia
to decide. that and more as the 11th hour gets underway. another busy thursday. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters. day 20. robert mueller -- the latest shake-up in the white house it has been expected for some time. you may recall wallis reported earlier that the president was preparing to replace mcmaster as early as the end of this month. there have been multiple reports that the national security adviser and the president have not seen eye to eye. the washington post writes trump is now comfortable with ousting mcmaster with whom he never personally gelled but is willing to because he wants to make sure the three star army general is not humiliated and there is a strong successor lined up. it is part of after broader
potential shake up that is likely to include officials at the white house. tonight white house adviser addressed the shake-ups in the administration. >> people say i see chaos. a lot of us see streamlines of some parts and sophistication because we had too many people over time. we had too many of the wrong people. >> just a short time ago sarah huckabee sanders pushed back sending this out via twitter. just spoke to potus and h.r. mcmaster, they have a good working relationship and there are no changes. look at that wording. are no changes. we should quickly add the washington post has joined the
reporting of the -- wall street journal has joined the washington post that mcmaster is likely out. president trump has been down playing the chaos inside the white house. there are reports veterans affair secretary could be next. his job has been in question since it came to light. he used a trip to europe with his wife. among the names being mentioned as possible replacements fox and friends according to the washington post is a trump confidant. trump reportedly called last week on speakerphone for policy advice. he is a veteran but has no prior government experience and the v.a. is a massive bureaucracy. the mood inside the white house in resent days as trump keeps his own council to determine between rumor and truth. at times they say they are anxious and nervous, wondering
what each new head it's line may mean for them personally. we are peter baker for new york times and anita. all right. phillip, we owe it to you having just heard -- and i highlighted the active wording. that is the white house push-back. it is 11:04 and change eastern time. we have to say this because things change quickly around here. what's your reporting at this hour? >> they do change very quickly, brian. we standby our reporting that the president made a decision he want to remove h.r. mcmaster. figures out how to execute this decision which is to try to preserve humility and wants to make sure there is somebody in place to take his seat when he vacates it. we were told by sever senior officials he decided to make this and they have been talking about this decision as being final in their conversations inside the west wing. so that's our reporting at this hour.
we standby it. >> phil, how is dangling a departure for long -- this is a rhetorical question i guess. >> yes. >> and you raise that this is unique. he is an active duty three star. his next assignment, his next posting, his next deployment is critical. they would like to give him a voice in that i'm sure. >> there is a desire inside the white house by the president by also by kelly and others in the administration to find app safe comfortable landing spot for mcmaster, perhaps a promotion and somewhere outside of washington. it is unclear what that vacancy is at this time. there is an effort to carve out a path for him so he won't be dismissed the way rex tillerson is. certainly an effort to preserve some type if it were surrounding mcmaster. it's been a stream of reporting.
it is over the last 24 hours or so is that the president has arrived at a decision to remove him. it is now a matter of when and how it becomes executed. >> to peter baker who is another part of this newspaper war we are living through, is there anyone but the president who knows what's going to happen next? >> that's the real question, right? nothing is really final. another story saying that rex tillerson was on the way out and mike pompeo would be on his way out. you never really know. i think that's the trick. it's one of the thins that happened and they may have brought him a little more time. that tweet that he saw the story and he got mad about it. that happens. he doesn't like to be backed into a corner and doesn't like anybody to say what he will do. we write stories saying she on the verge of doing this or doing that. the other thing is john kelly's hand in this. he seems to be the one who is agitating about mcmaster.
he blames the national security adviser. he blames him for tillerson's ouster. john kelly may be trying to undercut mcmaster. john kelly could be out any single day. >> so h.r. mcmaster has been given -- in addition to his genuine scholarship his book in the vietnam era is among the best written on the subject. i suppose to my question to phil, there is really not going to be any elegance in his departure at this point. >> no. i mean that's one of the things about this. peter mentioned tillerson was on his way out in december. people were questioning should anyone trust him, should he be speaking for president for months. the same thing is going to happen for mcmaster. we have known for weeks and also we have known for a long time, the two of them did not gel. you're questioning is he speaking for the president. are they own the same page? it's just a problem. >> i have to question your shakey reporting based only on 19 sources. i will quote from another portion. >> that's the real question, right? nothing is really final. another story saying that rex tillerson was on the way out and mike pompeo would be on his way
out. you never really know. i think that's the trick. it's one of the thins that happened and they may have brought him a little more time. that tweet that he saw the story and he got mad about it. that happens. he doesn't like to be backed into a corner and doesn't like anybody to say what he will do. we write stories saying she on the verge of doing this or doing that. the other thing is john kelly's hand in this. he seems to be the one who is agitating about mcmaster. he blames the national security adviser. he blames him for tillerson's
ouster. john kelly may be trying to undercut mcmaster. john kelly could be out any single day. >> so h.r. mcmaster has been given -- in addition to his genuine scholarship his book in the vietnam era is among the best written on the subject. i suppose to my question to phil, there is really not going to be any elegance in his departure at this point. >> no. i mean that's one of the things about this. peter mentioned tillerson was on his way out in december. people were questioning should anyone trust him, should he be speaking for president for months.
the same thing is going to happen for mcmaster. we have known for weeks and also we have known for a long time, the two of them did not gel. you're questioning is he speaking for the president. are they own the same page? it's just a problem. >> i have to question your shakey reporting based only on 19 sources. i will quote from another portion. trump some times expressed confusion about what agencies are in charge of what duties a senior administration said.
for example this official said he complained to pruitt about regulatory processes for construction projects even though the epa is not in charge of the regulations. this is germane because so much of what we are being told about this further staffer churn, why this mump and why now is the president was unfamiliar with the job when he first arrived having no prior experience and he is now kind of learning the contours of the jobover presidency, this reporting not with standing. >> he is very comfortable in the job now. he feels like he doesn't need to be man ajd in the early months when there was such a heavy hand. he feels like he is make some of his own decisions. he did that on the tariffs with aluminum and steel. he did that with decision to meet with kim jong un and as he looks at his cabinet he is trying to figure out who do i like having around and who does he think gets him?
that is is it somebody like linda mcman that he has a real sort of comfort level with and fellow billionaire who really understands how trump operates? >> peter, a question i always ask you, how did the trump agenda advance today any where in washington? >> that's a great question. it's hard to find something to put your finger on. they are so consumed with their own personnel issues it's hard to imagine there being a chance to advance policy. the president did -- and you'll talk about this later. he did put sanctions on russia for the election meddling. it's the first time they have done that. it is a significant act.
otherwise it's hard to imagine people wondering who will be there being able to put together a plan for action. phil's story did a great job capturing that instability and uncertainty and confusion. your effectiveness and able to do the job and many months and even though he still held that title. mcmaster is certainly now questioned about whether he is representing the president. >> and jefr sessions, it remains the attorney general of the united states. presidents have the right to surround themselves with the people they want. on big jobs the lawmakers in washington have consent and
ability and right to that. and also the american people have the right to see some stability in their government. anita, it's another place where there's no viewer's guide. >> there are many people in the last day or two or week say it feels like the transition, the presidential transition. this is what we went through 14 or 15 months ago. the president is picking who he wants to be surrounded with. you would expect that during transition. you wouldn't expect for us to be in this point now where he is trying to, you know, take trips around the world, push out policy and do all sorts of other things. it is almost like 14 months in he is surrounding himself with the people he wanted.
the president said he learned a lot about people. it is a shame he sort of has taken it for long. >> we'll close on this quote. i have gotten to know a lot of people very well over the last year. i'm really at a point where we are getting close to vk the cabinet and other things that i want. we'll let him speak for himself on that quote. much obliged. thanks for a terrific conversation. coming up as we continue, mueller movers closer to the president in this special council investigation delivering
documents including some related to russia from the trump organization. they write it is the first then instance demanding records directly related. it was not clear why mueller issued it. the subpoena is the latest indication that the investigation which mr. trump's lawyers assured him would be completed by now will drag on for several more months. listen . -- >> the white house was asked if >> the white house was asked if
the president still considered this investigation of his finances crossing a kind of red line. >> as we maintained all along and as the president said num rous times there was no collusion regarding a trump organization. i would refer you to them. we'll continue to fully cooperate out of respect for special council. we are not going to comment. >> the lawyer issued the following statement. it reads we have advised the public that the trump organization is fully cooperative with all investigations including the special council and is ri responding to their requests. this is old news and our assistance and cooperation with various operations remains the same today. we have veteran journalist and frapg is back with us. former managing editor happens to be nelson mandela's biographer.
more on that at a later date. welcome to you all. goes without saying. frank, they didn't ask, they subpoenaed these documents, a distinction of great interest to you, i know. >> brian, many experts have already said there is a strong obstruction case already involving the president. so if you have got that why would you then ask pretty please for the trump organization to turn over what they can if you suspect they might not be cooperating. you want to lock them in, lock them down, do it with a subpoena that commands their cooperation.
>> another distinction, do you explain for me and our audience the documents, some of them are about russia, not all. what could it mean for the other requested documents? >> there's a couple of reasons why this is a significant subpoena. first, clearly it could show past dealings with russia that clearly would go towards possible masking of moneys. money laundering, maybe a violation to the constitution. maybe everyday of obstruction. maybe shedding light on why they want it to go away. it might show shady business dealings or debt problems with russia. but going beyond that, going
beyond russia could be showing evidence of other compromise, other entities involved in this picture. the special council is a prosecutor. he will keep going and he is not going to restrain himself to one country only if he sees compromise as possible. we have thrown together about business interesting or lack there of. we'll watch it together and talk about it on the other side. >> i have nothing to do with russia. i promise you i don't have no dealings with russia. >> i have no deals that could happen in russia because we stayed away. i have no loans with russia. >> i have nothing to do with russia. i have no investments in russia, none what so ever. i don't have property in russia. >> sounds like he has nothing to do with russia. those are his comments based on his own understanding, all the more reasons it may be a scary thought.
>> right. if he has no dealings with russia that mueller is going to get and will be extremely small. it is what you expect. none of us think that is the case. it does seem that over the years they have dangled the prospect of business deals or loans in front of donald trump. he has been interested in having a trump tower built and the question for the special prosecutor is was there some financial misdealing between the trump organization and moscow that would have given moscow some kind of leverage over the trump administration that could have gotten some kind of a quid pro quo.
that is one of the areas the mueller investigation is looking into. >> all of this matters. people can hear it and see it. >> you know, that story about when he said that he actually confessed to lying to a world leader, we would wonder does he know when he is lying when he was lying? today he confessed he knew he was lying. i have to say with mueller's subpoena today i have to think maybe he actually ran for president so that he could build that hotel in moscow. it has been a white whale for him. for a man who is imprecise with his language he is precise when he is talking about russia. he is always talking in the present tense. i have no investments in russia. he has had cascades of russian
money over the years. it was russian development deals and he always wanted to have that there. i agree with what they said. mueller is looking at are there connections. this is forcing donald trump's hand. it's something that's disturbing to the whole world if russia has leverage over the president of the united states. >> there has to be normalization. all of our guests have agreed to stick around. we'll take a break. when we come back we'll take a look at today's rare action against russia that the united states was a part of but will it be enough to silence the critics
actions yet against moscow since this president took action. it was at the same thing with u.k. france and germany announced for the poison attack saying it was highly likely russia was responsible. during a meeting today which accounts for fact that it looks like a plant was growing out of the president's pocket the president said it looked like russia buzz behind the attack. >> it looks like it. i spoke with the prime minister and we are in deep discussions. a very sad situation. it looks like the russians were behind it. it is something that should never ever happen. we are taking it very seriously as are many others. >> it does happen to be shamrock season. peter baker pointed out in keeping with his reluck dance to
blame moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign trump did not mention the sanctions or election interference. during today's white house press briefing peter alexander asked this question. >> reporter: is putin a friend or foe of the united states? >> i think that's something russia will have to decide whether or not they want to be a good actor or bad actor. >> so they are all back. we were talking in the break. you feel these are real and were a positive thing. >> yes.
i think they are a positive thing. the statement was very strong. it was about cyber activity. you couldn't be more straight about it. it was hard to be rhetorically stronger. you can actually go online and see them. i mean they are mainly focused on the internet research agency which was the place that did all of this disinformation. it is the russian intelligence agencies. that's what he is most most sense tifr about. >> the part of the story is this. the administration took the unusual step. the intrusions into american mower plants and the computer networks. the attacks known as dragon flies conspiracied many layers. the lights are still out. imagine what a bad actor could do on the switch.
it is strong condemnation hearing about the sajss and from the white house spokesperson. they come out strongly and to hear the president come out and say extradition and symbolically. i want extradition of the 13 people and i don't want this to happen again. it is that circle tightened up and i lover the fact that we are naming and shaming the entities that are nothing more than cutouts. they could hurt us. they had known a dragon fly. >> well, i hope we are allowed to say outloud we hope the home team has similar tentacles just because that's the nature of this kind of warfare. i think you'll agree with me that today's joint announcement by the allies felt so two years ago. it's the kind of things allies used to do. it is the kind of thing the u.s. used to sign onto all of the time. an attack on one is an attack on all. >> yeah.
it seems in his conversation the british prime minister managed to nudge donald trump into position. he dropped ambiguity. there was no whom ever it are was attached to that. he fingered russia. he said he was standing by the brits in that assessment. so that's new. the question now is going to be whether it's on the other side of the atlantic and the kind of really hurts with what we have heard. so far we haven't seen that. if it has come that russia has gone far enough that they need to stop the kind of med 8ing that we have seen in elections in the u.k. and we have seen with the poisoning with this former russian spy they need to do something that is tougher than they have done so far. it probably means hitting is russian hold on the london property market. it is new but what we need is a sanction. >> we were the only ones that went on the web site to read
>> yeah. it seems in his conversation the british prime minister managed to nudge donald trump into position. he dropped ambiguity. there was no whom ever it are was attached to that. he fingered russia. he said he was standing by the brits in that assessment. so that's new. the question now is going to be whether it's on the other side
of the atlantic and the kind of really hurts with what we have heard. so far we haven't seen that. if it has come that russia has gone far enough that they need to stop the kind of med 8ing that we have seen in elections in the u.k. and we have seen with the poisoning with this former russian spy they need to do something that is tougher than they have done so far. it probably means hitting is russian hold on the london property market. it is new but what we need is a sanction. >> we were the only ones that went on the web site to read them. thank you from three of our favorite guests. thank you. coming up the only thing the u.s., u.k., france and germany's leaders could agree on today. we'll go live to paris when we come back. allies are saying this is a part of activity we have seen from russia in their interference, their disruption they have perpetrated. it happened in the u.k. and it could have happened any where. we take a united stance against it. i'm never gonna be able to sleep with this cold.
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allies are saying this is a part of activity we have seen from russia in their interference, their disruption they have perpetrated. it happened in the u.k. and it could have happened any where. we take a united stance against it. >> responding to england's stance against russia following this chemical weapon attack on british soil. on march 4th a former russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent developed by the soviet union during the cold war so potent it's not allowed in warfare. the mover profited the prime minister to kick 23 russian diplomats out of the u.k.
today the leaders of the u.s., france and germany joined the u.k. in a formal condemnation of moscow. the
joint statement reads in part and we quote we share the united kingdom's adeszment there is no plausible explanation and note the failure to request -- we call on russia to add dress -- address all questions related to the attack. christopher dicky currently world news editor for daily beast and msnbc contribute to and willing to wake up at 4:40 in the morning to talk to us. u.s. managing editor of the financial times. i'm told there's a delay of a couple of a seconds to paris.
your view? >> well, ig think today's statement is condemnation without consequences as far as russia is concerned. and i think that in fact people are missing it if they don't understand that putin is benefitting from this entire controversy. putin has a -- it doesn't really do anything to anybody else m they are con -- constantly attacking it. he will win a huge majority. everybody expects that. one reason he will get that is because he convinced them he is standing up against all of this pressure he claims is totally unjustified. >> i'm not just asking this question because of your upbringing. we did just hear her theorize that maybe the british prime minister is what it took to prod the american president into a position that sounds much more like american presidents tend to
sound. >> it is good news for teresa may in that we do have this coalition forming wean the u.k., u.s., french and german governments at least to make a statement of criticism. it is a bit premature to say they are on board with the u.k. right now and there will be a crucial meeting on monday. we'll see whether will is a strong coalition here or not. there is a sign that for the first time you actually got something of an agreement. >> christopher, we devote as you may know, a lot of talk about this new kind of odd russia normalization with this new administration in the country of your birth here in the united
states. what's your view of europe? has europe stayed closer to the way we used to think say two years ago in ancient history? >> well, i think that europe is tied to russia in ways that are inkresingly uncomfortable. there is a lot of energy dependence on russia for russian gas. so there is always a reluctance to come down too hard on it. even great britain. what measures are they going to take against russia for this horrendous offense? one thing that obviously would
hurt putin, that would hit him where it counts would be if there were an international boycott of the world cup coming up this summer which he worked very hard to get and which is the kind of sports event that he thinks brings enormous prestige. if there were this by germany and france that would be important but it's not happening. so i think that there's a sense in which the europeans are reluctant to take strong measures and he knows that. he knows he can get away with this stuff. he has gotten away with it and he will continue getting away with it. >> yeah. that's basically symbolic measures. we have had muttering about them not going to the world cup. a boycott isn't on the table yet. the question is london has benefitted hugely by essentially dealing with russian money. it is public relation groups, lawyers, a whole group of people
that have benefitted. if london was to seriously clamp down on russians and clamp down on holdings and seize assets and prevent them from enjoying london and the u.k. it would hurt putin and the u.k. >> our thanks to our two guests tonight. as we say, christopher gets the trophy for being willing to get up at 4:40 a.m. in paris. any time in paris is pretty great. thank you so much. it's a conversation i would like to continue and repeat with both of you. coming up separating fact and fiction when it comes to the president's remarks on trade and why it all matters. as we said, the whole world is watching when we continue.
on this day when president trump issued that joint statement with allies in europe, he found himself in trouble with another ally closer to home, directly to our north in fact. "the washington post" reported late wednesday that trump boasted in a fund-raising speech earlier in the day that he made um information in a meeting with prime minister justin trudeau incorrectly stating the u.s. run as trade deficit
with canada. nbc news has since obtained the audio. >> nice looking guy comes in, donld, we have no trade deficit. he's very proud because everybody else, you know, we're getting killed. so he's proud. i sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, i said check because i can't believe it. well, sir, you're actually right.
we have no deficit but that doesn't include energy and timber. and when you do lose $17 billion a
year, it's incredible. >> the post writes this, quote, the office of the united states trade representative says the united states has a trade surplus with canada. it reports that in 2016 the u.s. exported 12.5 billion more in goods and services than it imported from canada, leading to a trade surplus, not a deficit. president trump fired back on twitter, "we do have a trade deficit with canada, as we do with almost all countries, some of them massive. p.m. justin trudeau of canada, a very good guy. doesn't like saying that canada has a surplus versus the u.s., but they do, they almost all do and that's how i know. our own r canada and trade, ali velshi, reduced to using trump in all caps, this isn't hard even for you in the white house.
"canada buys more from america than america buys from canada. america has a trade surplus with canada, said ali velshi, who we know was born in canada. but wait, there's more. tonight the canadian press reports there is confusion over whether trump's comments ever actually happened. they write, quote, for starters, the canadian government is unsure what meeting he's referring to. a quick break for us. "the 11th hour" continues right after this.
but i'm not standing still... and with godaddy, i've made my ideas real. ♪ i made my own way, now it's time to make yours. ♪ everything is working, just like it should ♪ last thing before we go tonight, south florida dealing with yet another tragedy, this one stemming from a catastrophic structural and engineering failure. a pedestrian bridge, a new overpass walkway still under construction collapsed on to a busy highway in miami. the death toll thus far standing at four. many others were injured and have been hospitalized, some critical. there were workers on the bridge
at the time and cars were underneath it at the time. eight vehicles that rescuers could at least see sticking out from the wreckage. urban search and rescue teams responded along with heavy equipment. the ntsb is sending a team as well. the bridge want scheduled to be fully open till next year. it was built to correct the florida international university with the town of sweetwater where about 4,000 of the students live. the bridge was just lifted into position saturday. rescuers were using listening devices to try to detect signs of life from beneath that wreckage, but an awful scene this evening in miami. that is our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters in new york.
the robert mueller has reportedly used his subpoena power to get documents from the trump administration. plus, the 2016 elections, russia is hit with sanctions for meddling. and at least four people have died after a pedestrian bridge collapsed in miami, florida. search and rescue efforts have been going on all night to find anyone who may still be.trapped.
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