tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC April 25, 2019 1:00am-2:00am PDT
i think everyone acquitted themselves in fine fashion just by being there. it's an important electorate, and they had to be there. that's it for "all in" this "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight the threat from russia that donald trump won't discuss as a former cabinet secretary reportedly wasn't allowed to bring it up around the president. our security experts are here with us tonight to talk about the danger that russia poses to our next election. plus the dual roles on display from this president. victim of a witch hunt, never getting credit for his accomplishments versus the victor totally exonerated if you ask him. and taking on angry democrats and investigators. and the new michael cohen recordings among our other stories tonight as we are joined by four pulitzer prize winners over the course of the next hour as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a wednesday night.
well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 825 of the trump administration. and a new report from "the new york times" about this president and 2020, our election that year is raising alarms. it points to an unwillingness to focus on a potential russian threat to our next presidential election, and it raises concerns about trump's ability to follow through on some very important words that he agreed to. >> i, donald john trump do solemnly swear. >> preserve protect and defend. >> preserve, protect and defend. >> the constitution of the united states. >> the constitution of the united states. >> so help me god. >> so help me god. >> "the new york times" reports that in the months before former homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen stepped down she became increasingly worried about russia's continued activity during last year's
midprm elections. she, quote, tried to focus the white house on one of her highest priorities preparing for new and different russian forms of interference in the 2020 election. president trump's chief of staff told her not to bring it up in front of the president. in a meeting this year mick mulvaney the white house acting chief of staff made it clear that mr. trump still equated any public discussion of maligned russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. mulvaney said it wasn't a great subject and should be kept below his level. today mulvaney told nbc news and we quote, i don't recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting and that the white house has, quote, broadened efforts to combat meddling. nielsen does appear to have vindicated her concerns about the white house and russian interference during a senate
hearing over a year ago. >> would it help if the president were to simply acknowledge that this happened in 2016? >> yes, sir. i think he has said that it's happened but the line he's drawing is no votes were changed. that doesn't mean there's not a threat, doesn't mean we don't need to do more to prepare. >> earlier this year the heads of the nations six intelligence agencies delivered their own warnings about the ongoing cyber threat to our elections. >> we assess that foreign actors will view the 2020 u.s. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests. we expect them to refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each others experiences in each of the election. >> he cast doubt on their judgment russia interfered in our 2016 election even before he won and he continued to do so of
course while in office. >> it could be russia. but it also could be china, lots of other people. could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. i think it was russia but i think we also got hacked by other countries and other people. i won't be specific, but i think a lot of people interfere. i believe that president putin really feels and he feels strongly that he did not meddle in our election. my people came to me, dan coats came to me and some others. they said they think it's russia. i have president putin, he just said it's not russia. i will say this, i don't see any reason why it would be. >> special counsel mueller's report is definitive when it comes to finding that russia did intervene in our election. mueller's team found that russia's disinformation campaign used social media throughout
2016 to publish, quote, an increasing number of materials supporting the trump campaign and opposing the clinton campaign and promoted pro-trump rallies that included three in new york, a series in florida in august 2016 and a series of pro-trump rallies in october in pennsylvania. russia also target, quote, individuals and entities involved in the administration of the elections. state boards of elections, secretaries of state and county governments as well as individuals who worked for those entities as well as private technology firms responsible for election related software and hardware. such as voter registration software and electronic polling stations. that passage should get everyone's attention. today in an op-ed for "the washington post" hillary clinton
called for hearings on mueller's finding and a 9/11-style commission to figure out how to guard against future cyber attacks on our elections, if it's not too late. quote, this is necessary because the president of the united states has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger. just this evening we learned that attorney general william barr scheduled to testify before the senate judiciary committee about mueller's report a week from today. meanwhile, trump has been trying to defend himself from what he sees as an effort to remove him from office. this morning he wrote, quote, if the partisan dems try to impeach i would first head to the u.s. supreme court. not quite sure how that works. he also criticized house democrats who are pushing for hearings. >> i have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far. the democrats are trying to win 2020. they're not going to win with the people that i see, and
they're not going to win against me. the only way they can look out is by constantly going after me on nonsense. >> joining us for our lead off discussion on this wednesday night, ash lee parker, pulitzer prizewinning white house reporter for "the washington post." clint watts, former fbi special agent, former member of the joint terrorism task force. he's also a distinguished research fellow at the foreign policy research institute. happens to have written a book on this subject, messing with the enemy, surviving in a social media world of hackers, terrorists, russians and fake news." and frank figluzzi joins us. on the upside of your donald trump you finally have at least an acting chief of staff who's going to allow you be you in this job even though this team is playing with house money and
ignoring the rigor of protecting and defending elections. >> that's true, and this is the president's third chief of staff and he's sort of accepted the idea you cannot control this president, and he's going to do what he's going to do. and that's why we're seeing president trump -- what's interesting is that people thought when the mueller report finally came out and it was ultimately an embarrassing result for the president but a positive one in that he wasn't facing any criminal liability. we might see a president who could finally move on after this two year cloud had hung over his presidency, and be a bit more relaxed and kind of unwind and focus on the campaign or focus on governing but letting trump be trump means truly letting this president be this president. and this is president who's never going to really want to discuss russian interference because this is president who's always going to want to be combative and have a political opponent and a president who is still sort of going to be angry and vindictive and tweeting and
doing all the things we're seeing him do now that he did these two years before when it could sort of be chalked up to the mueller investigation. >> clint watts as of airtime tonight we still live in a free and open society. this brauld cast is going out and available for all to see around inplanet. is this nothing less than an -- >> part of the reason the russians haven't stopped since 2016 is there's nothing put in place to stop them since 2016. i know the department of homeland security is trying to get there. they're receiving literally no help from the white house as we see today. it's been extremely disjointed and what we may not realize is the mueller report is a blueprint on how to interfere in the united states.
it told you exactly how to go at our elections and how to compromise a presidential campaign. we now have dozens of democratic presidential campaigns. do we know their systems are protected? have we gone out and made sure they're not being hacked into? have we notified them if a mysterious person is offering dirt and wants to do a meeting with them inside one of their office buildings? how do we prevent these compromises? all of this would have been logical to pursue immediately after the 2016 election. but because the president won't acknowledge it, because he won't take the step to say despite what you might think of the outcome, this is important to our country, we have been in this hover for now three years, going on three years to figure out how we move past this. >> frank, i want to read something to you from the atlantic about donald trump. quote, his silence on election interference isn't just a matter of messaging, it has policy effects as well.
trump has treated the department of homeland security which has wide ranging and essential duties as effectively just an immigration and border agency. trump sees tough border policy as a political winner. he sees russian interference, meanwhile, as a political loser and challenging it as a personal affront. suddenly he's not so interested in his sacred duty to protect the country. frank, i'd like to think of myself as a patriot, not an alarmist. and i'm wondering from you do you think he's been faithful to his oath? and when people say thank god and god forbid our nation hasn't been attacked, is the correct answer we're under ongoing rolling attack right now? >> look, the president is not faithfully executing the duties of his offices. number one priority is to protect this nation and our democracy. and today's reporting seems to indicate that now we know why
there's so much inaction as clinton talked about. why we've been scratching our heads if you're in this line of work saying not enough is being done and now we know. people like mick mulvaney have choice to make. they can either choose to protect this nation or they can either choose to protect this president. but they can't do both because now the two things are mutually exclusive. and similarly with secretary nielsen, she's got a choice to make. she can either remain silent and become an accomplice in the next attack on our election process or she can speak out in a moral imperative on exactly what went on this administration. imagine this. imagine if our nation confirmed that isis was practicing and had successfully placed bombs as key infrastructure points, privileges and tunnels around the country and our president didn't want to hear about it, our president didn't want to do
anything about it. we'd be screaming from the rooftops. well the russians have practiced, rehearsed and succeeded in attacking local, county state election processes. getting into the manufacturers of election machinery, right? and that's an attack on our democracy. that's an attack on the credibility of our elections. bridges and tunnels can be repaired if they're blown up, but if you damage our elections and credibility in them, you're damaging our democracy and it may not be easily repaired and this president doesn't want to hear it. >> ashley parker, when robert costa had his phone call returned by the president earlier this week, as he said on the air here, he hung up and then got texts from staff members inside the west wing wanting to know what the boss had just said, in effect wanting to know what their policy was going to be going forward. based on your reporting what must it be like in that west wing?
>> it's exactly that. you talk to people in the west wing and frankly you talk to people in the campaign and there's a sense they can plan policies, they can write speeches, they can have an infrastructure week planned. they can have a direction. but at the end of the day everything will be dictated and dominated by the president, by his tweets, by what he says when he's walking up to marine one. by what he says when he returns the call of my colleague bob costa, and that they all ultimately have to readjust, scramble, rally around that and row in his direction. so on the one hand you ask what it's like, and it's sort of incredibly tenuous and frantic and uncertain, but they've also been living with this
uncertainty for two years now, and it has become a bit of the norm and a bit routine, and they have sort of accepted it. and i don't want to say it is blase but it's certainly standard operating procedure and just sort of a day in the life they are okay with at this point. >> i want to play yet again a clip we should probably play every day from the senior advisor to the president. >> the whole thing's just a big distraction for the country. when you look at what russia did buying some facebook ads to sow dissent, and it's a terrible thing, but i think the investigations and all the speculation that's happened for the last two years has had a much harshering impact on our democracy than a couple of facebook ads. >> here's what the journalist seth abramson said on twitter. the president's son-in-law said today that bob mueller, a u.s. law enforcement officer, has caused more damage to america than vladimir putin who tried to rig a u.s. presidential election. and that's not front page news everywhere in america right now because i guess nothing matters. do you concur? >> yes.
it's odd coming from jared kushner who stumbled into some meetings with the russians in trump tower. it's curious he wants to minimize something that ensnared him. i think it's also just reflective of the white house attitude, just like we heard in "the new york times" about you can't talk about russia in the white house. well, clearly if you don't take it serious and you minimize the scope of it and how serious the american public takes it, how can we not defend against this? what we've seen consistently over the last two or three years whether it's jared kushner or saudi arabia or it's the white house, they have played to authoritarians. they've played to strong men at the dechriment of americans. and one way or another this is not defending the democracy. this is the trump administration
and trump's son-in-law going and defending their interests wherever it might be around the world. they only support those americans that either give them votes or give them dollars to line their pockets. and they have never gone to protect all americans until america first becomes all americans first, we're going to be in a desperate time in this country. >> frank figluzzi, we try to scare folks too much. it's 11:17 here on the east coast. but as they head off to bed in your view how vulnerable is our next presidential election? >> so let me answer that question by saying something odd. i'm going to say that i actually agree with something the president said, and it was in the clip that you played and it shows us the danger we're facing. the president said in that clip it could be china, russia, some guy sitting in his bed. and you know what? he's right. ital it will be each of those entity and more of those entities if we don't do something right now and stop inviting the world from hackers,
individual hackers to nation states to terrorist organizations. we stop sending the signal that we're okay and open for attack. that has to start right now. that's the danger we're facing as we head into the next election. we'll eventually have secret service protection physically for the major democratic candidates in the election, but who's going to protect them from the cyber threat? who's going to protect us when we try to go and vote in our local precincts in november? >> our thanks to ashley parker, clint watts and frank figluzzi. and coming up for us, the whole world is watching, so is our next guest, our second of four pulitzer prize winners in the course of just this hour tonight. nick crist off with "the new york times." and later we'll uncover another star of the mueller report who's back in the news tonight just 12 days before he becomes a federal
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but the department was stymied by the white house's refusal to discuss it. a reminder from the mueller report just how invested russia was in the outcome of our election. quote, at approximately 2:40 a.m. november 9, 2016, news reports stated that candidate clinton had called president-elect trump to concede. this part of the report is redacted but presumably someone close to russia wrote to a putin ally putin has won. the atlantic sums up trump's reaction or inaction this way. quote, at the moment trump is declining to protect the united states from foreign interference in its elections because it's politically inconvenient and personally irritating to him. we're happy to say that back with us tonight is nick christof.
from time to time i just ask you what you make of the world. i heard your colleague mr. krugman say on cnn last night if this doesn't scare the hell out of you, you're not paying attention. do you concur? >> absolutely. and after 9/11 we understood the threat from 9/11. we explored ways to explore our infrastructure. the attack on the election in 2016 was somewhat parallel. we don't have any commission like that and in fact we're not trying to learn any lessons from that experience, and of course it wasn't even a one off. it didn't just happen in the u.s. something similar may have happened with brexit. so from the paifb of russians, chinese, other players, this is phenomenal way to get leverage to bring about change, to bring
about results you want and great division abroad. so of course they'll be trying again and they'll have new technologies to do so including things like deep fake videos which will -- it'll be really hard to discern what's real and what isn't. we'll see things with our eyes that will appear a given candidate is taking money or is in some kind of sexual situation, and that will appear real to us but it may simply be a deep fake. >> remind me, i want to do a segment here on that, whole new area of frightening technology. the scary part to so many people is elections are local entities, they're local undertakings. if you're the commissioner of elections in lake county, ohio, and you see numbers that don't make sense to you, what are you to do if it turns out that the russians have reached into your
local organization? >> and one of the problems is as you say elections are locally run, the system is so decentralized that on the one hand that makes it little more difficult to manipulate elections from abroad. but it means that the local people who are managing it they don't have intelligence clearances. they don't know what the threats are, and, you know, i think that one thing we will look back on and to think of it this way it's kind of shameful is the congressional leader's refusal in 2016 to transmit a threat, to tell the country as the intelligence leaders wanted there was this threat to the 2016 election. and the gop leaders refused and, you know, that threat was carried out. and we in journalism, you know, we talk a lot about the russians manipulation of facebook, et cetera. the most important manipulation
of the 2016 election was the theft of those democratic e-mails that then used those of us in the media as an asset to -- >> pass along stolen goods. >> and will we do the same with deep fake videos? i don't know what the answers are, but we have to work through our own responsibilities as journalists to the country. >> one of the reasons we have you on is to scare the hell out of everybody watching, so in that vein thank you for coming on. >> thanks, brian. >> thank you as always. always a treat to have nicholas kristof with us in new york. coming up when we continue, tonight there is another new recording of michael cohen talking about donald trump and hush money payments. this time he wasn't the one doing the recording. more on that when we come back.
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causing serious symptoms. alert your doctor right away, as difficulty swallowing, speaking, breathing, eye problems, or muscle weakness can be signs of a life- threatening condition. side effects may include allergic reactions, neck and injection site pain, fatigue, and headache. don't receive botox® if there's a skin infection. tell your doctor your medical history, muscle or nerve conditions, and medications, including botulinum toxins, as these may increase the risk of serious side effects. with the botox® savings program, most people with commercial insurance pay nothing out of pocket. text save to 27747 to check your eligibility, then talk to your doctor. trump's former personal lawyer michael cohen is back in the news specifically about the guilty plea he agreed to with the feds, and hang on for this one. "the wall street journal" obtained audio of a phone call as one does between cohen and
actor tom arnold, an outspoken critic of the president recorded march 25th of this year. the journal reports cohen was not aware he was being recorded. cohen is heard saying he's innocent of tax evasion and of understanding his debt in husband an application for a home equity line of credit. >> i lost my business, i lost everything, my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? all for what? because trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star. that's really what this is about. this isn't tax evasion. and i lost 18% to 19% value on my home. >> i said understanding, understating the value of his home. the white house has denied allegations trump has had an affair, we should point that out.
the journal also reports, quote, cohen said he pleaded guilty of the charges in august because they had me on campaign finance and prosecutors were targeting his wife. as part of our series, uncovered, we're diving deep into portions of the mueller report which have not received a whole lot of news coverage. and we're focusing tonight on cohen. after the fbi searched his home and office a year ago according to mueller, after the searches trump called cohen and told him to hang in there and stay strong. cohen said he also heard from individuals who were in touch
with the president. the report reads this way. quote, cohen recalled that redacted, a friend of the president's reached out to say he was with the boss in mar-a-lago and the president had said he loves you and not to worry. cohen recalled that redacted for the trump organization told him the boss loves you. and cohen said that redacted, a friend of the president's told him everyone knows the boss has your back. with that we bring in emily jane fox, national correspondent for vanity fair. also happens to be the author of, born trump. emily jane fox, what have we learned here other than number one if cor sasse comes to you and says no i have better dialogue and tell him he's crazy. and number two if tom arnold calls you just know anything you say could end up on the front page. >> it just had every little piece of the trump story we watched play out over the last three years. what i think what happened today, obviously you never know who's recording your phone call. and he thought basically this would be helpful to cho00 because cohen has been relatively silent especially about the charges against him.
>> and tom arnold is the arbiter of what should be made public or not. >> that's what he chose to do with this conversation. but he made clear he believed he was doing this without cohen's knowledge of the recording. and from all my reporting on this cohen did not know he was being recorded and many of the things that he said were actually in the sentencing memo that his attorney, his former attorney had filed in december of last year, and so he was not going back on his guilty plea. these were arguments he had made in that initial sentencing memo. >> in covering michael cohen you have discussed on this broadcast his fear for his family members. i believe his wife was the book keeper of the small law firm. we've also seen michael cohen's family publicly threatened over social media.
so he had grounds for that fear. >> sure. and i think that is actually one of the most interesting parts of the mueller report for me as someone who was looking closely at the cohen portion of it. what mueller laid out is the obstruction of justice was happening in plain sight. as you read earlier the president was sending these messages to friends to stay strong but publicly he was calling cohen a rat and saying members of his family should be investigated and looked into it. and so those pieces of the mueller report were particularly interesting to me because mueller gave credence to cohen's fear and said we understand why this can look like potential witness tampering or potential obstruction of justice. it was just happening in plain sight. >> is it fair to say, and this calls i guess for a judgment on his state of mind, that michael cohen as he prepares 12 days from now to enter the federal prison system, expected to be viewed as a more heroic figure than he is viewed as today?
>> i don't know what he expected. i think this is someone who has spent -- since he pleaded guilty since the summer has spent a tremendous time with investigators in the special counsel's office, the southern district of new york and congress cooperating with investigators in a number of different investigations. his testimony has led to investigations of many others including the trump organization, members of the trump family. his testimony led to i think upwards of 80 people being asked for documents from different congressional committees. so i think he believed his cooperation would be considered. but as you said in 12 days he is due to report and the southern district of new york has not made a move to limit his sentence. >> emily jane fox, thank you for always sharing your reporting with us. appreciate it. coming up for us, during times like these, it helps to hear from a couple of pulitzer prizewinning writers. we happen to have a pair of them
we just went through the mueller witch hunt where you had really 18 angry democrats that hate president trump. they hate him with a passion. they were contributors in many cases to hillary clinton. hate him with a passion. how they picked this panel i don't know. and they came up with no collusion, and they actually also came up with no obstruction. >> president trump or as he calls himself president trump, seems to have a love-hate relationship with the mueller report. as our friend peter baker at "the new york times" wrote today, quote, in mr. trump's world there is a fine line between victor and victim.
he adds, even when trump is on top he lapses into anger and resentment convinced he has been unfairly treated and wanting to strike back. it's a subject worthy of not one but two pulitzer prizewinning recipients. eugene and john meacham, author, presidential historwherein and now we learn country music enthusiast if necktie enthusiast. he's co authored a book. it comes out on june 11th no doubt followed by john's next book on june 12th. gentlemen, welcome to you both. and john i will begin with you despite you being out of uniform for this broadcast. the presidents have wallowed in self-pity, we have learned they've eaten their young and lashed out against their enemies through the capable eyes and hands of historians like you. seldom in realtime are we treated to as mr. baker put it victim and victor often in the
same sentence. >> it's another example of how president trump is the most vivid manifestation of many of our least attractive forces. he's that in a broad political sense, and in this case one of the darker and more disorienting possibilities of presidential temperament. as you say linden johnson talked about teddy white writing about johnson, talked about the politicians optic, how they could read a story and it would be 90% positive and the eyes would go to the 10%. words leaping off the page. president nixon would get it on the tapes but that was later as you say. part of the trump era is that it's realtime -- it's like the old comic books where you wore the x-ray glasses and can see everything. he tells lester holt he wants to stop the investigation. he talks about -- oneself aware thing is he said can you imagine
how terrible i'd be if i drank. that was one thing that was self-aware as opposed to self-pity. and self-pity is in many ways as much a part, it seems to me, of the human jet fuel here that runs his ambition. >> and a big chunk of the self-pity i think is his notion, his internalized notion that just talking about russia meddling in our election process diminishes his electoral victory, the biggest greatest electoral victory in the history of elections, according to president trump -- which it wasn't. but it was an electoral victory. nonetheless he thinks it makes it illegitimate and people are trying to take a part of that away from him. and he says that. apparently you can't bring up the subject of russian meddling in his presence.
>> i want to put this tweet on the screen while we have this conversation. i was going to add beschloss and i have listened to all the johnson phone recordings at the library, and you hear this in his voice but late at night not for posterity but he thought was in the confines of a phone call, will i ever be given credit for anything? john, i'll word this carefully. i've had a former president indicate to me that once you're briefed about the nuclear submarines it dawns on you you have the job. >> right. >> and all that comes with it. >> even george h.w. bush who was vice president of the united states for a year and held all those jobs told his diary in january 1989 when he's preparing to become president that the magnitude of it was only then sinking in right after that briefing. so there's the guy who had been there through the reagan
assassination. >> the head of the cia. >> yeah, he was the keeper of the secrets. >> and here's this man at that .62 years old, 64 years old was realizing this is what he had to do. self-pity's fine. henry v suffered from self-pity. the night before the speech he talks about what have kings that privates have not too. he has a self-pity moment in the dark and then he goes out and he rallies the troops. that's what you want from a president. >> yeah. >> it's fine -- >> don't show us your homework. >> right, kick the dog -- don't -- >> eugene, we're coming to you after the break. both of our guests have agreed to stick around. more on the president on the offensive.
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having headaches and migraines more than half the month? it could be chronic migraine. text track to 50334 for our migraine tracker, then talk to your doctor. back with our bonus round where we double the points for this segment. one point i've been harping on this week and i want to get you on record, the mueller report comes out. it's nothing but texture and tonage and footnotes and data points. it's counters by no obstruction and no collusion. the simplest branding and it's not a fair fight. what do democrats do in your view and how to handle this topic of possible impeachment? >> i've told various people in the obama white house at various times that they should start a department of phrases because republicans in general have been
much better at that than democrats have been and donald trump is brilliant at branding. that's what he does. >> coal is now clean. i don't know if you heard. clean coal. >> that he does very well and consciously and market tests it with his friends and he knows what he's doing. democrats need to raise their game in exploiting things in concise and simple and impactful ways and that's not the democratic party for the last years. they're just not great at that. it's to their detriment. they would win more elections and have more impact if they can do that. donald trump patented the phrase make america great again in
2012. that was years ago. >> well i had a poster in my office, the reagan 1980 poster was let's make america great again and if you read bill clinton's announcement speech in little rock arkansas, 1991 it's time to make america great again but what trump meant of course by that was let's make america 1956 again. >> make america white again. >> with a free hat. and i'm not reducing the future of the republic down to a marketing phrase but you see my point, the inequity. >> i would argue that it's slightly different with my colleague and say that republican or democrat, the great leaders have been. the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. ask not what your country can do for you, what you can do with your country. i totally agree with you about president obama. it's interesting, one of the most elegant presidents with
language and yet there aren't many sound bites. tear down this wall. whatever -- whether you agree or disagree with these great political rhetoric is often brief, but it worked in the bible, so we shouldn't be snooty about it. >> one way of thinking about it the best newspaper column in the world if no one is reading because there was no headline to bring people in. >> exactly. >> no pulitzer. >> #no pulitzer. >> no, that's right. as john said, let's not be snooty about it. let's be effective. there's a tradition of short ways of phrasing important things and -- >> there is a way where you can be antisimplicity which is just as fatal sometimes.
>> right. now tomorrow i should note will mark one week since the mueller report came out. it seems like months. >> i had a moment on sunday, easter sunday, sitting in church being startled when the rector said of course when notre dame was on fire this week. and i thought, wait? >> it's the compression of time in space. that's why these two gentlemen each have a pulitzer prize. our thanks to our friends eugene robinson and john meechum. always come back. the ranks of the republican party decreasing by one just today. we're back with that story after this. this is not a bed...
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last thing before we go tonight is about two republicans from iowa. both very different men. the first is one of the best known iowans for all the wrong reasons. congressman steve king whose comments on race and white nationalism earned him a rebuke by the house of representatives where he was stripped of his committee assignments. in iowa yesterday king has gone and said he this easter season has a better insight into what jesus went through for us following his treatment by his fellow members of congress or as he called them the accusers.
the bigger question for king is whether his iowa constituents are going to keep sending him back to congress. it's normally through committee assignments that members of congress take care of their districts. the other iowa republican in the news is no longer a republican as of tonight. the longest serving republican legislator in iowa, state rep andy mckeen says he has made the very difficult decision to leave the party and become a democrat. he spent 50 years in the gop, in the legislature for that. he said unacceptable behavior should be called out for what it is and americans of all parties should insist on something far better in the leader of their country and the free world. he added, if this is the new normal i want no part of it. mckean's constituents get to decide whether to return him to office as a democrat in 2020. that's our broadcast on a
wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquaters in new york. . this morning a growing firestorm on capitol hill after weeks of clashing with house democrats, president trump has declared that the white house is quote fighting all subpoenas. plus former vice president joe biden is expected to jump into the 2020 race this morning. he'll be the 20th democrat to officially launch a presidential bid. north korean kim jong-un and russian president put met for their first summit. it comes two months after talks between kim and president trump ended without an agreement.
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