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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  November 11, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST

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i am a techie dad.n. i believe the best technology should feel effortless. like magic. at comcast, it's my job to develop, apps and tools that simplify your experience. my name is mike, i'm in product development at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. that is our show for today. thank you so much for watching, a.m. e"a.m. joy" will be back n saturday. up my friend, alex witt.
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i miss you. >> i miss you, too. i was just writing an e-mail to your executive producer paying him a compliment. just saying. >> you win the week every week. i love you, have a wonderful show. >> it's a full on love fest between us. everyone knows it's legit. safe travels, see you in a bit. i'm alex witt in new york at msnbc world headquarters. here's what's happening right now. new insight on the sunday talks shows about democrats' plans to investigate the president and how far is too far. >> even in trump country they basically are saying we want transparency. >> the investigations are sexy, they're interesting. the legislative process is less so. >> the president may think he is above the law, he may think he will not be held accountable but he will be. >> we got a lot to do. this hour, the democrat who introduced articles of impeachment joins me. >> count every vote!
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florida outrage, where the situation stands after the start of a statewide recount. plus, historic wildfires in california take another deadly turn. we are following two major stories today, both with big political implications. first up, florida, the nation's largest swing state, is having its first-ever statewide recount. all 67 florida counties have until 3:00 p.m. thursday to machine count more than 8.2 million ballots. now in the line, two of the country's most closely watched races. then yesterday the republican leads shrunk even more. razor-thin margins in the battle for florida's governor. democrat andrew gillum has retracted his election night concession. the marquee race for the florida senate could be headed to a recount by hand. we have more on this major recount in just a few minutes but also developing right now, five days since democrats won control of the house. they are now strategizing on how to use their new powers.
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house democrats will be able to pursue investigations, they can issue subpoenas, they can compel testimony. so would that mean investigations on obstruction of justice? how about trump's taxes? maybe impeachment? for now, at least, a top priority is protecting the mueller investigation. all eyes on this trump loyalist, the new acting attorney general, matt whitaker. he has been a vocal critic of the mueller probe but he now overseas it. this morning, the likely future chairman of the house judiciary committee, representative jerry nadler, says they want whitaker to testify. >> our very first witness after january 3, we will subpoena mr. -- we will summon mr. whitaker. he's totally unqualified. his only qualification seems to be that he wants to be -- that the president wants him to be the hatchet man to destroy the mueller investigation. >> calls for whitaker to recuse himself keep growing and representative adam schiff who
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is set to lead the intelligence committee has this warning for whitaker. >> whether he's doing anything to interfere with the probe, mr. whitaker needs to understand that he will be called to answer and any role he plays will be exposed to the public. >> joining me now is democratic congressman steve cohen of tennessee and a member of the house judiciary committee. good day to you, sir. you heard congressman nadler and congressman schiff say whitaker will be held accountable, subpoenaed if he interferes with the special counsel's investigation. what is the first interview whitaker could be questioned about? >> well, i think right now we can question the basics of his appointment and that would be a legal action the senate would have to lead but in january i think we can look into that if he's still there and according to the testimony or statements of lindsey graham, they expect they won't have a nominee until after the first of the year so whitaker will still be around. there's no question but that whitaker was not put in because
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of his legal acumen, because of his sterling resume because neither have been proficient. he's there because he basically -- he's donald trump's roy cohn, he's a bulldog to go in there and try to do havoc with the mueller investigation, which he talked about openly on cnn when he was a talking head for the administration. >> there was a recent "new york times" report that found whitaker interviewed for a position on the president's legal team as a, quote, attack dog against the special counsel. so is questioning whitaker on his conversations that he had with the president about the mueller investigation a top priority and, by the way, do we even know if they have, in fact, spoken? because the president as you said said on fox he knows whitak whitaker.
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then he said he doesn't know whitaker. which is it? >> i think kellyanne conway parsed statements. that of course he knows him but not like they're best friends. i guess there's degrees of no in trumpism. obviously he knows him. he was put in there as sessions' chief of staff because there was the hope and plan to get rid of sessions and to put this man in charge and his purpose is to be the attack dog, the hatchet man and that's what he's going to do. the mueller investigation is in jeopardy. i filed a bill and it's on the desk to protect mueller, similar to what the senate passed out of committee and mitch mcconnell never came to a vote that said he couldn't be fired except for cause and if he was fired for other than cause that he would have a right to go to a three-judge federal panel in d.c. and seek reinstatement. it's important we protect mr. mueller's investigation because that is the people's
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investigation. they should know the presidential election was interfered with by the russians and if the president and his campaign team or family worked to collude, to affect our elections and i think that the president's actions shows that he knows what he did and i think he's acting like a guilty man. >> let's say robert mueller were to be fired. is there anything that prevents him from speaking about the things he uncovered? this is a man who has gone completely silent. the pow over a man like this to take to the press and speak about what he knows, don't you think that could be persuasive and compelling in an interview like that? >> i don't think he would go to an interview with the president but i think if he was subpoenaed
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before the judiciary committee he would comply and if asked questions i think he would tell what he knows and testify. it's one thing about coming before a congressional committee and as the majority we can subpoena and another about going to a media source. >> let's talk about the president's taxes. do you think democrats should try to force the president to give up his tax returns and what do you think he would find? >> i think unquestionably we have the right to do it. the ways and means committee can see the tax returns of any individual and it was an effort to get them released. the senator from new jersey made several efforts to get the house to vote to have his taxes brought forward. richie neal will be the chairman of that committee and i feel sure he wants to see them.
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most americans would put their funds in a blind trust. trump hasn't done that. i'm sure he knows every single dollar spent at the trump hotel by the saudis, the qataris and the chinese. all of that has an effect on his policy. our foreign policy is not supposed to be affected by foreign princes as written fwin the emoluments clause. trump has not come to congress and nor have people from the ethics organization -- there has been a lawsuit brought which mr. blumenthal and me are members of going forward in washington to see what he's been hiding from the public and fwa what effect it's had on our decisions in
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foreign policy. the khashoggi killing was awful. we're not responding i think because i think we'll find that the saudis and trumps have close business ties and the saudis rent in trump -- the chinese and the saudis, i might be the qataris are buildings and leases in trump tower but the saudis have had a lot of meetings at the trump hotel. but the emoluments clause should be looked into, his taxes should be looked into and i think his taxes will show he didn't pay much. i thoughtn't it this morning. he's got enough chutzpah, he might have tried to get a credit, say the government owed him money. it certainly will show he's not a charitable individual. he used his charitable foundation in new york which is being investigated for fraud and which made payments to pam bondi of florida. they paid her a political contribution out of a charitable fund which is illegal and this
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is a lady he's considering for being the united states attorney general. the attorney general's office should be above reproach. >> lots to investigate relative to emoluments and other financial issues but the house democratic leader nancy pelosi said she's not interested in moving to impeach the president and according to an exit poll conducted on election day, a majority of the nation believes congress should not impeach the president. i know you've introduced articles of impeachment. now that your party holds the majority, is this something you will pursue? >> that is something i thought about very much. i made my -- put my stake in the ground and it was forced on me by charlottesville when he said there were good people on both sides, neo-nazis and klansmen. i had no choice but to go forward with what i felt in my heart for month, that president
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committed impeachable conduct. i was proud to follow that article of impeachment up. we have 18 sponsors. i've worked it and worked it but we only had 18 sponsors. it has to be tried by the senate. there's one thing about knowing somebody and feeling somebody has committed an impeachable offense and another thing about working with the leadership of your party and i will look to mr. nadler and leader pelosi and try to work within the framework of what they highlight. in 2016 when i was elected, big democratic year, we had what we called six for '06 and we had six priorities and they included better pay for women, quality pay, it included minimum wage, there were economic bread-and-butter issues we passed. i think leader pelosi we have the similar six for '06 for this class of '18. we need to do investigations and
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oversight and this president's conduct is such he will lead us to see he has probably done more horm and more questionable probably illegal or impeachable offenses and since impeachment is part of the constitution, it will have to be considered and if the facts that are produced by the mueller report or his continued conduct warrant it we have to look at impeachment because it's on the table in the constitution but it won't be day one. the first thing we'll do is protect people with pre-existing conditions, try to work on passing jobs bills and clean up the swamp that he has really created. he's a swamp builder. he's the okeechobee swamp. >> sir, thank you for joining me. a nail biting recount under way in florida as two big races remain undecided but there was a glitch before the recount began.
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joining me from tallahasse, florida, msnbc political reporter ali have tallvitale. tell me what happened. >> in broward county what's happening is they were supposed to start counting vote nrc recount that was ordered yesterday. they were supposed to start counting around 7:00 a.m. and according to our colleague they didn't start counting until four hours after that so, yes, they are an hour under way but here's what happened. all of the machines they're using for recount which was what was triggered at a.5% margin, they're recalibrated before they start feeding the ballots through. one machine in broward county had an issue that held up the process that's been rectified but it took four hours to fix the process so they have about 700,000 votes they need to count and this is a big county. of course it's a democratic stronghold, one we've been talking about because it's had
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issues, same goes with palm beach county but the county you have to look at for machine recount that have a number of ballots to count are places like memorial day, br miami-dade, palm beach county. so we're hoping all of those counties can report by the deadline which is thursday at 3:00 p.m. so that's the next deadline we're looking towards, alex. >> ali vitali, thank you for the wrap from tallahasse. the president wrapped up speech in france. kelly, i suspect the president is just heading back to washington but let's talk about the headlines from the visit to paris. what were they? >> certainly this has been a weekend of reflection but there's been underlying tension to be sure so the president is heading back to washington to
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par paris. he made remarks about meeting with the french people and that fighting together is a unity that should be preserved in a way this commemoration has sought to do to show there can be a coming together for peace. the president at the same time appeared to be the targets of some comments of his good friend on the world stage, french president emmanuel macron who, of course, was the host of this event and spoke extensively about the lessons of the great war that ended in 1918. here's part of what he had to say. he chose a word in particular, nationalism, something president trump has used at times to describe himself. here's emmanuel macron through a translator. >> translator: as the very opposite of the selfishness of a nation which only looks after its own interest because patriotism is exact t exact opposite of nationalism.
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nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying our interests firsts, who cares about the others, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential, its moral values. >> so a call for unity, a call for a global community and rebuke of nationalism, something that is in in ways part of president trump's america first agenda according to him. he says it's not america alone, but america first. that seemed to be one of the targets from emmanuel macron. they've also had differences on a range of issues and saturday they met for a bilateral meeting, the two men talking about issues. it was clear there was tension between them. officials say that was worked out and there were friendly exchanges but after being so close and so publicly demonstrative about their
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relationship, this was certainly a standoff. there was of course some cease-fire because president trump didn't attend an american cemetery on saturday. marine one was grounded. they said it was due to weather and they opted not to take a long narendra modi go motorcade. today he was a part of a number of events which brought together many nations of the world. vladimir putin was here, they had a brief hand shake, a brief hello but no side meeting. >> we should note that american cemetery about 15 miles outside of paris, probably would have been an hour drive. kelly o'donnell. that you can so much from paris. my next guest writes about how the president's life is about to get much harder. he's going to explain that next. here we go.
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>> he should recuse himself because he has expressed total hostilities to the investigation. he's said the information shouldn't go forward and someone who said that should not be in charge of deciding on the investigation. currently the democratic ranking member of the house judiciary committee, jerrold nadler, calling on acting attorney general matthew whitaker. joining me now the staff writer for the hill, sean sullivan, congressional reporter for the "washington post" and gabe sherman, special correspondent for "vanity fair" and an msnbc contributor. melanie, you first here. the congressman also said that
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protecting mueller's probe is a top priority and you're writing about that in your laste elates. what are democrats doing to keep it protected? >> a couple things. and they're not waiting until janua january. there's urgency to protect the mueller probe so nancy pelosi organized an emergency conversation with rank-and-file democrats and leaders of these investigative committees to talk about their next steps and they're talking about attaching protections to a must-pass spending bill for a few agencies so that could be a big fight and could lead to a shutdown if they demand that. >> they're sent letters demanding critical documents are preserved and if documents are destroyed that would be a crime. on the senate side they're talking about suing the trump administration over the whitaker
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appointment. it's still in the early stages but that's another example of the things they are doing and they are not waiting to get something done. >> sean, now that the democrats have won the majority, is there an indication they'll open another probe into russian interference even though republicans put out that final report? >> we're going to be in a different dynamic now and this is a reminder of the situation that is about to descend on washington when the democrats take control of the house. they're going to have subpoena powers and the ability to hold these hearings and launch new investigations if they want to to determine. so it's an open question what democrats will do. certainly looks like there will be some debate within the democratic party about how aggressive they want to be against the trump administration, how aggressively they want to investigate him, particularly during the first few months of next year versus trying to let the american
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people know this is what the democratic party stand for now that house democrats have power so we'll see that debate ramp up in the next few weeks about what democrats should do the minute they take power. >> gabe, you've said and are saying so with your writings that things are about to get harder for president trump. the latest headline reads the president is very depressed with don jr. facing possible indictment and endless house investigations forthcoming, no wonder trump is in a bad mood. what are you hearing about his state of mind and how he plans to fight this? >> that is a great question. we saw just the other day a very combative press conference with that flash point of the exchange he had with cnn's jim acosta. so we clearly are seeing the president posted my terms embracing this kind of defensive posture where he feels under attack from all sides. as i reported, the president's son donald trump jr. has been privately telling associates according to three people familiar with the conversations
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that he is worried about being indicted as early as the comes day s and weeks. the conventional wisdom is that the mueller report is largely complete. rudy giuliani has been privately working on a counterreport they plan to release to rebut all of the charges or whatever, find it is mueller investigation turns over to the justice department and by extension congress, the president wants to present a counter narrative so this is clearly a white house that realizes both on the congressional side with democrats controlling the committees and the legal side with the mueller report coming down the pike that this will be choppy waters coming up. >> melanie, gabe's piece is referring to not only the mueller investigation but a fleury of them expected to hit the president. let's put up a full screen of a list of a number of them. how committed are democrats in following through on these
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probes and politically is it wise? >> democrats are salivating right now over the new subpoena powers. they've been in the minority. they are promising to conduct rigorous oversight but nancy pelosi and other democratic leaders have kept impeachment calls at arm's length. they want to choose their battles and there is the risk they could over step their bounds. what what you saw was backlash to how democrats handled it. so i think you could see the same tensions playing out within the democratic party about how far is too far and how far should they go? but tax returns, investigating the sessions' firing, democrats will look into those and we should expect subpoenas to be flying out of the house like confetti. >> i want to play what congressman elijah cummings was asked about. >> i'm not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody's
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handing out candy on halloween. i take this as a lawyer and an officer of the court, i take subpoenas seriously and if i have to use them they will be used in a methodical way and it must be in the public interest. >> melanie used the word salivating to describe how democrats are looking at this and i don't think she's wrong. will they be able to do that as elijah cummings is outlining? can they restrain themselves? >> i think what he is speaking to is afternoon some democrat vsz about the path forward which is to not look to the american people as if they are being reckless, as if they have going after trump on a political basis. they want to communicate to the american people. that's a difficult balance.
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they say look, there's an opportunity for trump and the republican party moving ahead to 2020 to campaign against house democrats. to cast them as people who are overreaching. who are trying to wage a political fight against the white house so this is the balance democrats have to find a way to strike if they'll be convincing to the american people about the way they're using their powers. >> he talked about it being war like in terms of tenor. how do you see it playing out. >> do you think one of the lessons the democrats are taking away from the 2018 cycle is that the health care issue really resonated with their voters and helped turn a lot of these suburban districts that had been republican, turned them to
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democrat so i feel like to the question of these nvrgss, one thing the democrats want to display is that they can govern and have an agenda so i wouldn't be surprised if the democrats, while it's a walking and chewing gum question, try to put forward bills to shore up obamacare and other health care programs to show they are capable of governing which would build the argument toward giving the democrats the white house in 2020. >> gabe sherman, shawn, melanie, thank you very much. next, a history making new comer to capitol hill. how far does she want democratic subpoena power to go against the president? ♪
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i'm deb haaland and i pushed through law school as a single mom to become a champion as our schools and kills. >> that's representative elect deb haaland.
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. what does this milestone mean to you in your community? >> it means we have a strong voice in our politics. there's so many issues that native americans face. one of those i talked about for a long time on my campaign, missing and murdered indigenous women. it's an epidemic in our country. so we need to make women across our country safe. >> is that the first issue you want to talk about and tackle or is it perhaps the schools which you mentioned in that advertisement? >> we have 310 days of sun per year in new mexico so it makes
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sense that we would work toward renewable energy. so public schools, early childhood education, missing and murdered indigenous women and this election highlighted so many -- how far we have to go in ensuring every single american has a right to vote that is unencumbered. we saw that in north dakota, georgia, kansas. so i'd like to make sure that i am bringing that issue to the forefront. >> so you're expanding your "the nation." how far do you want to see your
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party go with investigating the presiden president. we have to be measured in some degree but we need as much information as possible. we have to get to the bottom of what the president is doing and has done and do not want to stop the mueller investigation. that needs to move forward unencumbered. >> some of your freshmen have signalled they want a changing of the guard. and here's representative elect max rose told me yesterday. >> i was -- i forthrightly won't support her and there seems to be an assumption that because i got elected i'm going to flip-flop. that's what's wrong with
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politics. it should be assumed i'm going to do what i say. i dent intend on breaking a promise i made in my first couple days as an elected zblishl that was re official. >> do you support nancy pelosi? what would you advise max rose to decide when deciding whether or not to vote to her? >> i can't -- i don't have influence over anyone else but i have stated all along we need to -- we won the house back, we need to make sure that we are navigate i navigating. i have statedly support leader. i think this -- she will do an excellent job. she is experienced and, of course, knows how to keep democrats unified we will make
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sure that we will do everything. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. a new take on election night numbers and whether they teach a lesson about trumpism. that's next.
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let's go to breaking news. officials in northern california are warning the worst is far from over. fires are ranging in both the north and south of california. the campfire in butte county north of sacramento the most destructive in state history. it's claimed 23 lives. officials say strong winds could make the state's most destructive fire even more dangerous. let's go to nbc's kathy park joining us from bell canyon near the two fires burning in southern california. kathy, rough times in california. what is it like there today? >> alex, this certainly is a doing situation out here. we are in the middle of the woolsey fire. the big headlines today are the
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strong santa ana winds. it looks like this fire is under control but there's another fire over the canyon in front of me. that's the burn scars from the recent fires but it gives you perspective of how quickly these fires are flaring up. it's because of these strong winds and dry conditions so embers are just flying in the area, if there are any, landing on to vegetation, potentially trees and homes. this home is a total loss. we are in this cul-de-sac in bell canyon and it's gutted out. he was trying to save his whom his son. take a look. that's all that's left. that's the shell of the garage. over there, that canyon is where
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he mentioned the fire was coming on friday and speaking of those winds, it's starting to kick back up again. dust and ash flying all over. embers are sparking and coming on the vacation as well as homes, alex? >> it's a lot to worry about because those santa ana winds can be devastating. they'll stay with you until tuesday so best of luck for the firefighters. thank you so much, kathy park. from there to politics. new voting totals tell a story about the blue wave. according to updated numbers from nbc news, democrats netted 6.3% more of the house popular vote than republican candidates. that difference is a whopping 6.7 million votes. it's more than double the difference in the 2016 presidential popular vote this came in at 2.9 million more votes for hillary clinton. let's bring in former vermont governor howard dean and republican strategist susan del
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percio. you guys, i count on you on sunday. is there a lesson about trumpism in here? >> yes, trumpism only works for donald trump. when you start looking at candidates that try to embrace him, they may win primaries but it will hurt them in the general election. we saw in this blue wave that donald trump hurt republicans in the suburbs. >> that's in the house. what about the senate? we still have a couple races too close to call but does that extend to the senate? >> let's not forget donald trump was in red, red states and if you look at texas. donald trump won that handily and it didn't help trust come in with as much support of the vote as donald trump had. trump helps himself. >> how do you read this, howard? does this say more about the
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president or the democratic party? >> one very little covered aspect of this is the youth movement in our party. i've long advocated that it's time for young people to take over the democratic party and that's what they did gains came from young candidates who i predicted are not as liberal as we are. the average millennial, i hate to use that term, first global, is very inclusive in the way they look at the world but in terms -- so socially liberal, if you will but conservative fiscally and there are a lot of moderate democrats elected all over the country. that's been an undercovered story. so i think this is the beginning of the remaking of the democratic party. trump is helping because he's branded the republicans as such a ghastly brand.
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69% of people under 30 voted for ralph northam. that's bad news for the republican party. >> it is. >> do you think these millennials realize that to effectively govern you have to govern more from a centrist position? idealism is one thing, putting out the ideology that can be very right or left to whatever extreme can motivate a party but when it comes to governing and getting things done you have to do it more from the center. you don't think they realize that? >> i don't think that's a political calculus, i think it's who they are. they're our echo. the baby boomers' echo. they're more pragmatic and less ideological because they've learned what not to do from their parents as well as what to do. they've absorbed the principles about including people and caring for others different than you are but they are more practical and less ideological. >> and they also saw the
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financial crisis and what it did to their parents and this goes to their faith in government as well. >> we also saw 60% of women backed democratic candidates compared to 47% of that for men. the significance of that for the gop is what? >> donald trump is destroying the republican party one election at a time, when you start losing women in these numbers and you can't win the young vote, they're turning towards moderate democrats, there's no place for the republican party to grow. it will literally start to die out versus growing and that is the biggest problem we're facing in the republican party and i don't see that changing any time soon. >> this one was short but sweet and we got a lot of good stuff. thank you so much susan and howard. >> thanks a lot. fresh criticism of president trump from a key player on the world stage.
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new today, fresh criticism apparently aimed at president trump during his weekend visit to paris. french president macron demanding nationalism, extremist speech and isolationism as he and other leaders marked a hundred years since the end of world war i. the "washington post"
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characterizing macron's word as a rebuke to trump, vladimir putin and others in the audience. joining me now, u.s. ambassador to russia and analyst. welcome, ambassador. is this discussion by macron, is it a rebuke to trump? >> it's a rebuke to history first and foremost. remember, nationalism was the major cause of world war i, and as we celebrate the end of that, he wants to remind people of that, but of course it is also a rebuke to president trump because president trump in some ways is going back to those ideas that helped to cause world war i. he's going against the ideas of multilateral cooperation, and it's his multilateral cooperation, like the creation of the european union, like the creation of nato, that has helped keep the peace for several decades in europe. remember, this was the most war-torn continent in history.
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its mu it's multilateralism and cooperationism that have helped to keep the peace, things that donald trump criticizes. >> you mentioned creation of nato. i want to go to what bob said. >> trump says, why are we doing all these things, investing in nato, and finally the secretary of defense said, well, we're doing all these things to prevent world war iii. now, think about that. this is a year into office that the president has to be tutored on what the job is. job one, prevent world war iii. >> you know, president trump has also withdrawn from the imf with russia. do you think the president fully understands what's at stake? >> i'm not sure, i want to be
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clear. i don't know if he understands the consequences of pulling out of the imf treaty. he hasn't articulated that to the american people. he hasn't explained to us what the american national interest -- and i'm emphasizing the word american there because he does all the time -- how are we better off by pulling out of the imf treaty or the multitude of things he's pulled away from? i think philosophically he does have the idea that we're better off going it alone and being isolated, and i don't think history is on his side. i think we as a nation, if we are leading and getting others to cooperate with us, that makes us better off. and that's the fundamental difference. he sees the world in zero sum terms. if it's plus two for france, it's minus two for the united states, whereas other american presidents, republicans and democrats, by the way, have seen the benefits for the united states from cooperation. plus two for france, plus two for the united states. >> i've got to ask this one
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quickly. russians were -- i guess "the daily beast" was reporting russians might be bracing for sanctions. they were saying the midterms could make for a negative outcome. does that score with what you're hearing? >> absolutely. the russian press is filled with -- one even said today our agents in the white house has failed us. i think the investment that they made in 2016 to try to help president trump win has not yielded results, and now with this -- you know, the return of the democrats in charge of the house, i think there is very little opportunity for them to see a return on that investment. >> all right, michael mcfaul, come see me again. thank you very much. >> sure. thanks for having me. the democrats' number one priority? strategists are weighing in on that in the next hour. i say, "i'll go my own way, with anoro."
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