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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  July 23, 2019 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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tonight less than 36 hours to go now until the reluctant and widely awaited testimony of robert mueller. and why the justice department seems nervous about what this now former employee might say and how far he might go. plus, the important question we were left with after the mueller report. would donald trump have been indicted were he not president? a look at the ten instances of possible obstruction found in the investigation. and entering a second week of attacks on four members of congress. the president today calls them racist and not very smart, all of it as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a monday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc headquarters in new york. day 19 of the trump administration, that puts us less than 36 hours away now from what will be robert mueller's 89th appearance before congress.
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likely the most consequential of his long and consequential career. on wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. eastern, the first of two back-to-back hearings will begin, and it sounded today as if the president might have given this some thought. i'm not going to be watching mueller because you can't take all those bites out of the apple. robert mueller, i know he's conflicted. there's a lot of conflicts he's got, including the fact that his best friend is comey. but he's got conflicts with me, too. he's got big conflicts with me. as you know, he wanted the job of the fbi director. he didn't get it. and we had a business relationship where i said no, and i would say that he wasn't happy. then all of a sudden he gets this position. but you know what, he still ruled and i respect him for it.
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he still ruled no collusion, no obstruction. >> again, mueller will testify before two committees starting with house judiciary from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. then it's the house intel committee from noon to about 2:30 in the afternoon. we heard mueller will have a brief opening statement and then offer the entire report of the special counsel investigation as his full statement from the hearing room. all will lay out his public comments that he laid out on may 29, remember the appearance that he wanted to be his last public comment on the matter. >> any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. it contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. we chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. and the report is my testimony.
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i would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before congress. >> and then today it got even more interesting when the justice department sent mueller a letter, reminding the now former doj employee that there are limits to what he talks about on wednesday. quote, testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege, including information protected by law enforcement, deliberative process, attorney work product and presidential communications privileges. earlier on this network, the former acting u.s. solicitor general neil katyal said this development concerns him. >> i think they're trying to gag mueller and say that anything that's not in the report is presumptively privileged. mueller is so by the book that that will influence him greatly. >> politico is reporting robert mueller has been preparing extensively for the hearings. if he didn't, it would be the first time in his life he was not prepared and that he's relied on veteran washington attorney jonathan yarowsky.
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yarowsky is a partner at wilmer hale. that's a law firm where mueller once practiced law. he was also general counsel to the house judiciary committee. starting in 1989 always as a justice official. there are 19 questions congress will be asking him and how. one goes to the heart of trump's actions, and we quote, if mr. trump were an ordinary citizen, would you have found there was sufficient evidence to charge him with obstruction of justice? we'll have much more on the question of obstruction coming up. here's what mueller had to say about it on may 29. >> the order appointing me special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could we'll have much more on the question of obstruction coming up. here's what mueller had to say about it on may 29.
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>> the order appointing me special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. we did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. under longstanding department policy, a present president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. that is unconstitutional. even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider. >> there is this tonight. the nbc news capitol hill reporting team tells us the judiciary committee plans to hold a two-hour prep session tomorrow and many members will attend. this past weekend, jerry nadler, democrat of new york, made it clear what he sees of this testimony of mr. mueller. >> it's clear that the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
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the president must be held accountable and no president can be above the law. >> here for a leadoff discussion, barry berger with both the eastern district of new york and southern district of new york. robert costa, national political reporter of the "washington post," moderator on pbs. and national reporter with the "new york times." welcome to you all. bob, it's not an elegant question. it's pretty basic. how big a deal is this this week? >> a significant deal for the trump presidency, because they know going into 2020, they feel
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confident about the white house tonight about the economy. but they know this mueller testimony, while mr. mueller says he will stand by his report, it could go in different directions. i want to see republicans on capitol hill question the investigation itself. they also know democrats are prepared, because everything is on the line for many of these congressional democrats, the house democrats who know that this will determine whether they move toward impeachment or not. they're looking for mr. mueller to give them political and legal ammunition. >> and, robert, help us back up to what we heard the president say when he came on the air. he repeated that mueller found no collusion, no obstruction, not true. again, i've asked you this probably six times on the air. this notion that mueller is conflicted, the president cites, comey is his best friend. the president cites he wanted the fbi job. the president cites some business conflict that we know has to do with the golf club. can you lay out what finally is this business of mueller being conflicted? >> the best way to answer that
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question is to go to the reporting on president trump's conversations with his own white house counsel at the time, don mcgahn, who, when he had multiple exchanges with the president about whether mr. mueller was conflicted because of a dispute over golf course fees at mr. trump's golf club. don mcgahn said that's not a conflict based on the "washington post" report, and you can't argue, mr. president, he said, that this is a real conflict at all. there wasn't a real dispute of any significance and it wouldn't matter in court about the way the president is presenting it. so the president is offering an opinion just like a tweet is an opinion. it's not a fact and reporting backs it up. >> annie, your colleague michael sheer writes this tonight. suggests that he is certain to be tuned in as democrats on capitol hill use mr. mueller's appearance to amp fi the damning report about the president and the people in his orbit.
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how worried is this white house? >> first of all, i think it's very interesting that trump is trying to indicate that he's not even going to watch. before the first democratic debate, his aides floated the idea that he might live tweet. so it's interesting to see the different ways they use his interest in the television program to indicate how we're there. they're trying to make it this is the phrase he keeps repeating, another bite of the apple. the white house messaging, today we heard kellyanne conway speak saying, america, this is congress saying you're too stupid to read the report yourself. they're trying to downplay there is anything new here and say that the barr letter really set the playbook here, and that is that there's no collusion. there is no rapid response plan they've been previewing. last week mr. mueller was supposed to testify and they
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were planning a program rally. the program rally was rescheduled and the president spoke about the, quote, unquote, squad. they are watching but they're in an inactive mode other than to say there is nothing to see here. >> let's talk about the letter from the justice department. if this were a baseball game, we might all be saying, hey, i wonder if that fastball near my chin was a brushback, a message. as difficult as it may believe that the doj is trying to tell the programmers of the opening statement. is that what we're seeing here? >> the letter is interesting, too. there are almost some snide comments in there that the letter writer says at one point, normally we would not let a prosecutor like yourself testify before congress, as if robert mueller was just an ordinary prosecutor and not a primary
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investigate or in one of the most significant investigations in history. so the tone of the letter was interesting. ultimately, though, my view is i don't think this letter is going to have much of an impact. i don't think we were ever going to see a version of robert mueller that was going far beyond the four corners of his report. so whether it's guidance from the doj or whether it's mueller's own sort of internal compass, i'm not sure this moves the needle for the substance of what we should get from his testimony. >> i have something else from the "new york times" to read you here. it says, even as mr. mueller's appearances over his 12 years as fbi director over mr. bush and president barack obama remain mostly respectful, members of congress often praised his stewardship.
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they featured a regular amount of political preening that made mr. mueller deeply uncomfortable. what do you think? if you were counsel to house judiciary or intelligence, what is the best way to bring out a deeply reticent, and in this case, reluctant career public servant? >> right. so we know he's reluctant to be there. in his statement, he told us there pretty directly. the way you're going to draw him out, the way you're going to see some energy from him is if people are misstating his work. because as much as he doesn't want to be there, he also doesn't like people misreading what he's done. >> how are people misreading it? >> if there's questions out there like, clearly you found no collusion or obstruction, i can imagine he would take umbrage to it and sort of push back a little bit. another area he might start fighting back is if people impune the investigation. if you don't like what the person is saying, you say, well, this was a witch hunt to begin with and you have such conflicts. i think you could expect him to push back if the questioning goes that way as well. >> and robert costa, as much as
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the democrats have decisions to make and as much as the democrats have to worry about appearances. don't forget, this is the committee that brought a bucket of chicken the day the attorney general stood them up. the republicans, it seems to me, also have a huge decision to make individually and as a group to grandstand or not to grandstand. >> there is a real debate among sources tonight about how to handle this. some republicans inside of the house tonight are arguing to each other. they're saying don't make this a scene. >> there is a real debate among some of my top republican sources tonight about how to handle this. some republicans inside of the house tonight are arguing to each other. they're saying don't make this a scene. let it fade that the network is covered on wednesday. let it just trickle away as a news story. others are saying this is their moment to prove to president trump their loyalty, to tear into the mueller investigation. they've been waiting for this chance for months. and there is a tension there on the gop side. there is also tension on the democratic side. mr. mueller says he's going to stick to his report, so what is the strategy? if that's his approach, a lot of democrats tonight are saying the
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real area to target is attorney general bill barr and the way this was rolled out. mr. mueller has written a letter expressing his concerns about the rollout. if they go at that and try to peel that apart, maybe that's one area where mr. mueller could unravel a bit from his tight presentation and hew into the report. >> and among other things, as the area of complete frailty, what do you think happens tomorrow when the president is hosting the gop senate leadership at 4:00 p.m.? >> well, i don't know if he will talk to them directly about this, but one thing that we need to be watching here is if mueller's testimony sticks to an outline of the report which on one level will be new to a lot of people who haven't read it and it will be a televised version, a big question here is how does the president react to it? does he create another news cycle like robert is saying.
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there is some disagreement, republicans just want to get over this and move forward. will the republicans allow that to happen? a lot of coverage about the white house is how he reacts to things. will this provoke him to see it read out loud and on television different than just the release of a written report? will that ricochet and he creates another news cycle out of it? that is a big question. we will see. >> and robert, another question about how they present themselves to the public watching this on television, both parties, really, they have among them superb questioners and they have among them not so superb questioners. they all have great lawyers of counsel to these committees. that will be interesting as well. >> it will because you have the ranking member, house judiciary, you have chairman nadler. out of intelligence you have devon nunez and alex schiff. that's the way a lot of republicans feel uneasey.
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if you let the back bench members pull the rankings away on the republican side, then you could have a political vulnerability for the gop. >> so ber it berger, robert costa, annie karni, thank you for being with us. as we imagined, the mueller report is dense with specifics that might surprise a lot of americans, perhaps. the list of ten items that donald trump may fear the most. and later, the insults targeting four members of congress and during their second week, tonight a new response to the president's continued as we imagined, the mueller report is dense with specifics that might surprise a lot of americans, perhaps. the list of ten items that donald trump may fear the most. and later, the insults targeting four members of congress and during their second week, tonight a new response to the president's continued attacks as "the 11th hour" is just getting started on this monday night. here, it all starts with a simple...
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>> mueller told about ten instances where the president could have been found on obstruction. the 448 pages go into explicit details on these. trump's pressuring to james comey to end the flynn probe,
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trump's response to russia inquiry, the firing of comey and aftermath, efforts to remove the special counsel, efforts to curtail the russian investigation, efforts to stop public disclosure of evidence, attempts to push sessions to take over inquiry, trump ordering the white house counsel to deny he tried to fire mueller, trump's actions toward flynn, paul manafort and several other witnesses, and trump's actions toward michael cohen. there was also this clarification from robert mueller in his only public statement thus far. >> if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. we did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.
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>> remaining with us, veteran federal prosecutor berit berger, and joining our discussion, jonathan lemire, white house reporter for the associated press. to you both, welcome all over again, and jonathan, we have, i think, established and agreed the report was perhaps written for an america of another time, a time before social media and a time of great attention spans that no longer exist. to use nicolle wallace's theory, how much damage do you think mueller can do, if, indeed, he stays within the four points of the report? >> i can certainly tell you that people in the white house still feel like he can deliver quite a bit of damage. as somebody put it to me in the last day or so, the report was 448 pages. it was dense. a lot of it was sort of very lawyerly and there is a sense that a lot of lawmakers and a lot of americans didn't read it. someone said to me, they may not have read the book but they might watch the movie. that's what we're going to get on wednesday, is robert mueller sitting before congress, his
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hand in the air taking the oath and testifying, only his second public statement. the other one clocked in about nine minutes. this one will go nine hours. even if he doesn't stray from the report, he is going to detail -- and that's the key word here, detail -- all the incidents of obstruction, and of course the matter of collusion and the investigations into the conspiracy between russia and the trump campaign, and though he didn't find enough evidence to charge it, there is going to be certainly some smoke there, if not necessarily fire. but the obstruction, i think, is where democrats really want to spend their time, and i think they are going to press him on these questions. and to hear mueller outline case by case those instances and others is just going to be damaging to this president, politically if nothing else. then it's going to reset again where this term goes the next year and a half. that's the fear around the white house, seen as they're trying to -- you've seen the president attack special counsel's credibility time and time again.
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it goes to show you they are afraid, even at this late date, two-plus years in this investigation, that he can still say something that will make donald trump's life harder going forward. >> jonathan barrett, a great quote, they didn't see the book, will they see the movie? will they make a case of seeing the movie perhaps in front of a grand jury of our peers. how do you put this into ways that a public reluctant to curl up with a 400-page report may now stand up and take note. >> especially in a situation like this where you do have a reluctant witness, you do what's called a friendly cross. you're not trying to break him, you're not trying to get where he crumbles on the stand. you can take his words and put it into a leading question. you could say, did you find substantial evidence that -- and then fill in the blank. describe in detail each of the obstructive acts, then robert mueller can simply say yes. he doesn't have to elaborate, he doesn't have to go beyond the four corners of the report. right there you have a soundbite
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in direct contradiction with there is no obstruction. here you have robert mueller saying, in fact, there was obstruction. i think they have to sort of work through those ten instances, go through them in detail, sort of lead robert mueller through them using his own words. i think that's how they'll get the most success here. >> what's the danger of a broader question like, when the president says no obstruction, no collusion, total exoneration, is he telling the truth, is he correct? is there a danger to a question like that? >> i think the danger is he's not going to want to answer that. you're not going to get a clear answer, and for the democrats, they're not going to get the sound bite they want. they're going to get a long explanation of, well, as we said in the report, and we're bound by the -- you're going to get a lawyerly explanation. i don't think that's really what they want. to the extent the audience for
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this is the public, right? if the audience is just fellow democrats trying to make a decision about whether or not there is enough to go forward with an impeachment proceeding, then maybe that's what they want to do. maybe they want to ask open-ended question that they really don't want the answer to. if the audience is the public and they're sort of trying to drive home points that were in the report, i think they want to keep the questions narrow and sort of lead him to the answer. >> jonathan lemire, there has been growing concern close to the president that mueller's appearness could push undecided or reluctant democrats toward impeachment. even so there appears to be little evidence of an organized white house response plan to the hearings. is it your testimony in the associated press, mr. lemire, that this president and his cell phone is the rapid reaction force on the white house? >> it predominantly is. first of all, let's remember the
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north carolina rally which, of course, the headlines came -- stem from the senator back chance, that rally was supposed to be the president's rebuttal to robert mueller. the president would take the stage and be able to tell his response. there is no rally scheduled for wednesday night. the president will be in west virginia for a fundraiser that evening, but otherwise has a relatively light schedule. and he will be watching from the residence of the white house, and if needed, from air force i on his way to west virginia. according to our reporting, people i've talked to in the last day or so, there is not a broad planned response. there will be certainly some republican strategists who will be issued talking points. there will be some that hope there's republican lawmakers. we hope they'll deliver sharp questions to robert mueller, though that's easier to do on fox news and twitter than in the chambers looking a war hero in the eyes which, of course, mueller is. they're hoping they'll carry some defense.
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let's also remember, press secretary stephanie grisham has not had an on-camera appearance for nearly a month since she's been on the job. there's really no places outside of rudy giuliani's statement where this white house can hit back, so it's largely going to fall to the president and his twitter account. >> berit, jonathan raises a good point. he has taken over from the professionals and has had a bullet wound in the knees. so i suppose the republicans really have to watch angering robert mueller in a way that is sympathetic -- that the audience would find sympathetic. those close to him say he has a way of kind of flaring his jaw that gives you an indication this is not welcome terrain. >> yeah. i mean, i think to the extent they are going after his credibility or trying to impune sort of the nature and the
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integrity of the investigation or the members of his team, i think you are going to see robert mueller with his backbone. you are going to see him defending the people that worked for him so hard, so intensely and so thoroughly putting together this 400-plus-page report. so i think that is a quick way for them to anger him, and i think they have to be careful because he does come to the table with an immense amount of credibility, both from his past and i think the way he handled himself throughout this investigation. so i do think they have to be careful to sort of not go overboard on that. >> submitted for your approval, berit, berger, jonathan lemire. our thanks to you both. he says they're racist, inexperienced, not very smart. how the president's continued attacks on four women in congress are being heard along the campaign trail for starters, when we continue. if you have medicare, listen up.
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what do you look for i want free access to research. yep, td ameritrade's got that. free access to every platform. yeah, that too. i don't want any trade minimums. yeah, i totally agree, they don't have any of those. i want to know what i'm paying upfront. yes, absolutely. do you just say yes to everything? hm. well i say no to kale. mm. yeah, they say if you blanch it it's better, but that seems like a lot of work. no hidden fees. no platform fees. no trade minimums. and yes, it's all at one low price. td ameritrade. ♪ today the president's attacks on four duly appointed congresswomen of color all week. today he went to pay his respects to the late justice john paul stevens.
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trump had this to say. "the squad" is a very racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced and not very smart. representative rashida tlaib spoke back today. >> he said he's going to bring steel mills back, he's going to do all these things. even if i disagree with the policy, i wish he would work on specific actions that will help people in poverty. instead he attacks working people and tries to distract them from what matters and what's important. >> on that note, let's talk to our guest, reporter for the "new york times," and wanda summers, reporter from the associated press. wanda, i want to start with this story in the "washington post" to begin with. many in both parties, well acquainted with trump's history of racially charged rhetoric
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were stunned at how far he had gone this time. republicans were fear fortunately of the potential damage but reluctant to confront or contradict trump. people were horrified. the president continues on his own. yet i had some very smart people in the studio last week say this felt different. how is this instance different? >> i think what's different about this instance is that he's doing this, first of all, at the beginning of what's going to be an incredibly contentious presidential election in which there are 25-some-odd democrats who are vying to challenge him in november of 2020, and i think what is frankly really different here is the fact that leaves an opening where there might be a political cost to him. when the president says these things so far, there hasn't been a cost that i've seen when he makes these comments that are racist in nature. he hasn't exactly been in
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penalty. he launched his campaign going down the escalator talking about mexicans as racist and yet he won. do i think that people in mass exodus will move away from him? that i don't see, but i've talked to people in not necessarily deep blue areas, and there is concern when he says these women of color need to go back, people hear something different there that they don't particularly like. >> jeremy, here's mr. miller. we'll talk about this on the other side. >> i think racism has become a label that is too often deployed by the left, democrats of this country, to punish, silence people they disagree with speech that they don't want to hear. talked to people in not necessarily deep blue areas, and there is concern when he says these women of color need to go back, people hear something different there that they don't particularly like. >> jeremy, here's mr. miller. we'll talk about this on the other side. >> i think racism has become a label that is too often deployed by the left, democrats of this
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country, to punish, silence people they disagree with speech that they don't want to hear. the rally for this president has been a president for all americans. >> jeremy, as you well know, this has been the concurrent effort, this kind of dual i'm not a racist but you are, and the moving of the goalpost, the attempt to change the definition of racism. >> that's exactly right, and this is something you've heard not just from the white house but from conservative commentators up and down the board from ann coulter to sean hannity. it is very res anatomy with a number of americans. i think that it is something that works for trump because these people who make comments like -- the "new york times" over the weekend when we reported this story from michigan, just trying to see how well these remarks were playing of the president's, and one person referred to these women as colored.
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and he didn't see that as racist. and so regardless of, you know, just political incorrectness and the prejudice behind some of these views that many americans still hold, they don't see it that way. and they see the president when he is attacked and called a racist as themselves, because they don't think they're racist and they don't think the president is, either. so it has this certain reinforcing effect of all of the anger and the grievance that trump has brought out in the american people. >> indeed, wana, something about this story freed up a number of people in our business to go ahead and use the word racist without the usual polite qualifiers as we classic trained journalists try to tag on. today i saw hannity did a numeric count of the number of times the word "racist" was used to describe the president on this network and cnn as a way of coming back at us.
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>> yeah, there's been a debate playing out in news rooms across the country as to how to talk about these terms in a way that gives readers the best information we can. i think that's really at the root of it, and what we've done at the ap, we updated our style guidance earlier this year so that instead of using euphimisms in racially charged moments like about these terms in a way that gives readers the best information we can. i think that's really at the root of it, and what we've done at the ap, we updated our style guidance earlier this year so that instead of using euphimisms in racially charged moments like this, when things seem to be racist we should call them that, and the best thing we can do as journalists, at least in my view, is to be as straightforward with our audiences to repeat what we're hearing and to be as accurate as possible in those descriptors. i don't think there are frankly any easy answers here. >> imagine predicting that the ap style book would need that kind of revision in 2018. jeremy and wana have agreed to stay with us. we'll fit them in after the break. and parts of the country not
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named washington and los angeles, for starters.
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if they don't like it, let 'em leave. let 'em leave. they're always telling us how to run it, how to do this, how to -- you know what? if they don't love it, tell them to leave it. it's their choice. they can come back when they want. but, up, they don't love our country. i think in some cases they hate our country. >> a little more now from jeremy's piece we just mentioned before the break, and we quote, michigan could be one of the purest laboratories to test a central paradox of the president's reelection strategy: to win while he is wildly unpopular. he is trying to ensure that happens by inflicting as much
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damage as he possibly can to the democrats' brand. with us still, the aforementioned jeremy peters and juana summers. jeremy, i want to take this in another direction, and that is the republicans watching and listening. let's talk about some prominent senators who have been mostly silent, people with names like portman and blunt and sasse. you cover republican reaction or lack of it often for your newspaper. what's going on there? >> it's an absolute paralysis by fear. they are terrified of getting on the wrong side of trump's base, which has to be their base if they want to win reelection. they are also mindful that they would be seen as causing strife within their own party, and they don't want the president's wrath. this is a guy who is known to attack opponents regardless of their partisan affiliation for the sin of speaking out against
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him. this is not a republican party that toll rates dissent. i think what is also going on here is this fear they have of being caricatured and attacked in the conservative media. the conservative media is also very unkind to anybody who is not seen as sufficiently pro-trump. so all of those senators, i think, until they see that they have no more political power drawn from standing with donald trump, they're going to continue to stand with donald trump through moments like this, you know, with the exception of an isolated, oh, i disagree with what he said, i don't like his tone, but i have yet to see anything that would change the course of that. >> and juana, beyond the abject hurtfulness of an old racist trope like "go back where you came from," to look at just the brass tacks politics of it, are these four women placeholders for this president, his time, energy and attention and barbs until there is an actual decided
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democratic nominee? >> i think that's exactly right, brian. it's clear to me in looking at this that he intends to take these four progressive members of the democratic caucus and make them the placeholders for all democrats at large. look, this huge democratic field has quite a bit of diversity. you have far left progressives, you have moderates and centrists. he is essentially saying this is what democrats stand for. they are people who don't love our country, they are people who should go elsewhere. they're not like you and me. i'm taking some liberties here, but that's essentially what he's saying. so i think you'll hear him for as long as this story continues to be out there to continue to point back to this group of women who are highly visible members on capitol hill and continue to tie them to the fate of the larger democratic party, and i think this will start to
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get tricky for democrats running for president, because they're going to have to figure out a way to message around that and to speak to voters as the president continues to paint the party with broad brushes in an area where there actually are some really significanting policy distinctions. >> jeremy, i can give you 30 seconds to talk about the following the power of the mueller hearing to knock the president's attacks on these four women off the top of broadcasts like this one. the president knows full well that that's a danger. >> absolutely. and he's also very skilled, as we've seen, at diversion. in moments like this when donald trump faces an unfavorable news cycle, he loves to change the subject. now, i think depending on what mueller mueller's testimony is, that's hard to do, brian. i do think, though, one thing i learned from the reporting we did on this piece is while trump
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has a lot of weaknesses, he is still stronger than you might think in some of these swing counties, these counties where you went for obama, obama and then trump. he hasn't broken yet. i think that's going to remain constant as we go through the next 16 months. something will have to give. >> as we always try to remind our viewers, two of the bylines to look for out there, jeremy peters, juana summers. our thanks for helping us with our conversation here tonight. and coming up, the american citizens who hit the streets, shut down a major highway today despite the rain, despite the heat, demanding that their head of government step down immediately, when we continue. here, it all starts with a simple...
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we are denouncing the ongoing corruption that has been going in puerto rico. >> there has been rampant corruption and we need a change. and we need the governor to resign. >> if you still have respect for the island, resign, please. >> hundreds of thousands of protesters, american citizens all flooding the streets of puerto rico demanding the governor step down. look at the pictures from above. the protests have been building for ten days since the once-private messages between the governor and his friends and allies went public. they reached a fever pitch today after the governor agreed this weekend not to run for reelection but refused to resign. according to an nbc news review of the documents, the chats revealed profanity-laced and homophobic comments as well as barbed and cynical remarks about different topics including jokes about deaths following hurricane maria.
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the messages appear to be a tipping point especially since the storm. eechben as the governor was filleted by shepard smith on fox news this afternoon, he remained defiant. >> so attacks on women, attacks on gays, attacks on the dead relatives of your own residents and who is left to support you? is it even safe for you to continue to attempt to governor? >> again, i have apologized for that. i'm making amends for those efforts. >> you apologized for what, specifically? >> for all of the comments that i made on the chat. that is one thing. there is another effort that needs to move forward which is the corruption. >> president trump has hopped on the governor must go train while also painting himself as something of a heroic figure in puerto rico. >> he is a terrible governor. the congress of the united
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states handed him $92 billion. and that $92 billion is in the hands of incompetent people and very corrupt people, but the governor has done a terrible job and the mayor of san juan is horrible. she is so bad for her people. i think the government of the united states, i have to be careful. i'm the best thing that ever happened to puerto rico. >> $92 billion figure is incorrect. puerto rico's house of representatives has now taken steps to begin impeachment proceedings. it is not clear who would take over as the number two to the governor as the number two is already out as a result of this. coming up, he was all about control and he shaped our nation's identity as a result. last thing before we go tonight.
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♪la la la la la. [music playing] across the country, we walk. carrying flowers that signify why we want to end alzheimer's disease. but what if, one day, there was a white flower for alzheimer's first survivor? what if there were millions of them? join us for the alzheimer's association walk to end alzheimer's. register today at last thing before we go tonight. another sign that an era has come to an end. we marked the 50th anniversary of the apollo 11 moon landing. just today we learned the man who did so much to make that possible has died. viewers of what we like to call a certain age remember the name chris kraft because during the space race with the old soviet union chris kraft the man had
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the awesome title of flight director. it meant no flight happened without him, not the first chimpanzee, nothing. there is a reason mission control at the johnson space center bears his name. christopher columbus kraft was born in virginia where he watched -- that probably set the aviation hook in the young man. he designed mission control before there was a mission, before there were computers. he was competitive and it broke his heart that our guys thought the rocket wasn't ready and the russians beat us into space. he also thought jfk was crazy to try to reach the moon in under a decade. chris kraft lived long enough to see the 50th anniversary of the famous first step. and neil armstrong famously said that the control in mission control was christopher kraft. he was 95 years old at the time of his death. that's our broadcast for this
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monday night. thank you so much for being here with us. good night from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. good night from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. justice department issues a warning to mueller, stick to the report. telling himic t to limit his congressional testimony to his public findings. >> the white house and leaders struck a deal that would extend the debt limit until 2021. with tensions ramping up, president trump is hitting back afterit iran claims to have arrested 17 alleged cia spies. trump says it is totally false and there is zero truth to the claim.


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