tv Politics Nation MSNBC February 2, 2020 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
♪ good evening and welcome to "politics nation." tonight's lead, 2020. this is it. the top democratic presidential candidates are wrapping up their primary election pitches in iowa making final cases ahead of tomorrow's caucuses that they are uniquely suited to beat president trump who seems clear to focus on his re-election going into the final days of his impeachment trial. the verdict all be certain to be
acquittal when the senate votes wednesday. in between all of that, the president delivers his state of the union tuesday on the verge of -- in his mind -- vindication. but before he struts too hard, a brand-new nbc "wall street journal" poll finds roughly half of america less forgiving of his actions than senate republicans. 46% of americans think the president's actions on ukraine merit his removal from office. 52% think he at least abused his power. 53% think he obstructed the impeachment investigation and despite his supporters' warnings about overreturning democrats in november, that same poll has former vice president joe biden, senators bernie sanders and elizabeth warren, and mayor pete
buttigieg all winning in hypothetical matchups with the president ahead of tomorrow's iowa caucuses. but we begin with impeachment. joining me now, a juror in the trial, democratic senator bob casey of pennsylvania. senator casey, can you tell us whether or not at any point you felt that maybe some of the republicans were going to give at least four votes in favor of bringing in more of the documents, evidence, and even witnesses or whether it just was a hill too high to climb? >> reverend al, i think there was a point earlier in the trial where i thought we might have a shot. but i have to say, i was pessimistic from the beginning. in this current republican
majority, the president has a firm grip on the republicans and they didn't seem to be willing to do anything but to -- what i think happened, which was to perpetuate a cover-up and rig the trial in that fashion. but we're hoping that the nation, through this process, heard and i think some of the polling that you just cited indicates that. when you have more than half of the american people saying the president of the united states abused his power and almost the same number saying he obstructed congress, that's a substantial finding in the poll. so i think the house managers did a great job of proving their case, but the idea that republicans would leave this trial behind without any new documents or any new relevant witnesses was a miscarriage of justice and they will pay a price, i think, in some fashion. >> when we look at the whole question of three equal branches
of government, the larger picture here that is so disturbing to me is are we now on the brink of where we have in many ways made real ridicule of the concept that the executive branch is coequal to the legislative branch when the president can say, i'm not cooperating and i'm using executive privilege for anyone that works in my white house to cooperate. where do we now have the balance of power between the three branches of government? >> i think certainly the trial began to shift that, unfortunately, in the direction of the executive in a way that i don't think we've ever seen. i think it's also clear from the evidence that was presented in the house and in the -- and in the senate trial, but without witnesses, it could have -- it could have reestablished some of
these same points. there's no question now that the president of the united states believes that he can do anything he wants under the constitution. he literally believes, in my judgment, based upon his conduct, that his power exceeds that of the legislative branch, that the executive branch is always the branch that should be accorded more deference and more power. and that's, i think, for a lot of americans, a disturbing point of view. but now senate republicans, each and every one of them who voted against witnesses and documents, have given -- have given legitimacy or strength, at least, to the president's argument. so we're going to have to re-establish that balance of power that you spoke up. >> for the state of the union address which is set for tuesday, do you think that president trump will deliver an impeachment acquittal speech or just a direct case for his re-election?
>> i don't know. but, reverend al, you know for having watched him for many years, every time you hope that he would act in a manner -- in accordance with typical presidential behavior, which means to be a unifier, not a divider, which means to try to bring people together to focus on common problems and challenges, he does the opposite. he does a lot of fear and smear and demonize and divide, and i worry that this state of the union speech will be more of that as well as kind of chest-thumping instead the kind of -- the kind of approach most presidents of both parties would take. >> well, as you know, we always believe in faith. but coming into a speech by donald trump, you might have a sign outside saying abandon all hope. thank you for being with us.
for more on this, let's bring in my panel, diane moody mills and brett stevens is an op-ed columnist for the "new york times." brett, the balance of power between the three branches of government, i think, is seriously, as senator casey agreed with me, seriously damaged by these proceedings. what do you think? >> it's damaged by the fact that republicans, even those who understood that trump had disgraced his office and violated the law, refused to draw the meaningful lessons. i think the most disappointing senator in my view was lamar alexander. his mentor was the late howard baker who was the republican who was really most instrumental back in 1974 in ending richard nixon's reign.
because he understood what richard nixon had done was impeachable and couldn't support him and i thought that was going to be a lesson for alexander, a senator who isn't facing re-election, to understand that this was a historical moment for him so that he could at least provide -- at least provide an opportunity for witnesses to be heard. he refused to do that even while acknowledging that the president had behaved disgracefully. what it tells us is this is trump's party. i don't know if we should call it a republican party anymore. >> danielle, when you look at this and you hear brett even saying that, the thing that begs to question is now what is the possibility of any president being impeached if we now have set a precedent that a president does not have to cooperate with an impeachment proceeding and you have senators saying, as senator alexander said, yes, he did it, yes, it was
inappropriate, i think was the term he used. but i don't think it rises to the level of impeachment. well, then, what does? if you can abuse power and if you can obstruct the congress, then what is impeachable? >> nothing. according to senate republicans, nothing is ever going to be impeachable. they had a mountain of evidence that the house managers put forth. they have all information. they have pieces of bolton's transcript, they have mick mulvaney in his own words at a press conference, donald trump in his own words, there is nothing that is impeachable in their eyes. they have given this president the power of a king and i don't think that republicans understand this moment, what they have done to distort the presidency, to distort and damage the executive branch and throw out our constitution. they are very much focused on the now as opposed to what brett said, thinking about back in the time of nixon, thinking out,
this is not just about -- it wasn't just about nixon. it was about the office of the presidency and what we can expect of the leader of this nation. and now we know that they can do whatever it is that they want. and we know fact of the matter is, when we have a democrat that's back in office, these republicans will just play their sound clips. whenever they say that a president has gone over their executive privilege which is all the things that they said about barack obama, every single time, and now we can just say, oh, well, you've now anointed a king. the constitution no longer matters. >> john bolton's book is going to say a lot of what we assume he would have said if he were allowed to testify. so it's not like this won't come out unless the white house can in some way interfere, which they have threatened to do, saying some of it is national security. whatever that interpretation would be. will they -- if that book comes
out with the damaging things that we've heard leaked or we've seen parts in the "new york times," will that impact, in your opinion, the republicans that voted against him being able to testify because at least he'd been under cross-examination, under pressure there. now none of that. >> i'm afraid not. what's going to happen to john bolton is what happened to so many of us who were principled conservatives who opposed donald trump which is that there will be a systematic smearing. you can hardly think of someone who's more hawkishly consecutive than john bolton but he will be treated as a traitor, as a liar. he already is. as a publicity seeker. i've known john bolton for years. that's not what he's about, whether you agree or disagree with his policies and,
unfortunately, of course there's a first amendment issue, the book must be published, but it's not going to cut a lot of ice with republicans. >> danielle, when you hear now that the president is likely to be acquitted on wednesday, what stops him if he's re-elected from doing whatever he wants to do now. he can be emboldened now because he has really changed the rules and he already, i feel, has behaved in an irresponsible way. but now it's almost like giving him a license to do what he wants, including bringing foreign government intervention into our elections. >> i don't want people to lose hope, right. i think we were all aware of what the senate was going to do. they were going to create the most historic, massive cover-up we have ever seen in this country. we still have 270-plus days
until election day. i do not want people to think that this is done. that we can just go back to bed, turn off the television and throw up our hands and pretend that donald trump is king of the united states. he is not. we waited on the mueller report, we waited on impeachment, all of those things bored the truth which is that donald trump is a criminal and the senate republicans are accomplices. the american people are the last line of hope we have against donald trump and i want people to understand that. their vote, getting registered to vote, getting as many people registered to vote, that's what we have -- >> and making sure that your vote has not been purged. check your registration list. don't abandon all hope and protect your right to vote, whatever you decide, in terms of where your vote will be cast. we'll have more with danielle and brett in a few minutes. we're one day away from the iowa
caucuses. how the candidates are trying to position themselves ahead of the first electoral test of 2020. plus, why 2020 candidate michael bloomberg says it will take the grit of a new yorker to oust donald trump from the white house. part of my conversation with the former mayor next. and later, spike lee will join us to talk about his friendship with nba legend kobe bryant. but first, my colleague with today's other top stories. richard? >> stories we're watching this hour, including breaking news. the department of homeland security is taking steps to stop the spread of the coronavirus. the agency issued travel recollections for u.s.-bound passengers who have been in china within the last two weeks. those individuals will be diverted to one of seven u.s. airports that have public health resources for proper screening. the world health organization says the disease has killed more than 300 people so far.
police in south london shot and killed a man wearing a fake explosive device on his body after he stabbed two people and injured one more. officials are calling it a terrorist-related incident. the situation was quickly contained and is being investigated by the police's counterterrorism unit. more "politics nation" right after the break.
iowa ahead of tomorrow's caucuses. but one contender is noticeably absent in the hawkeye state, former new york city mayor michael bloomberg who has staked his primary strategy on a different approach, skipping all four early-voting states to focus on super tuesday. bloomberg had me as the first media guest to tour his brand-new campaign headquarters where he elaborated on his strategy to win this election. here is a small part of the sit-down interview. >> you made an appeal to black voters with your -- you came with an extensive program in tulsa where there was the black wall street destroyed many years ago. you've had your controversy with the black community. i've been involved in some of them, stop and frisk, central park, and you come out lately and said that you regretted the stop and frisk.
what is your appeal to black voters in this tulsa plan? >> number one, i was in tulsa about three, four months ago and i found out about it. in all of my years of reading history and studying american history in particular, i had never heard about it. and i was just shocked when i realized what happened, this was in 1921. there was this wealthy town called black wall street and one night a bunch of people came in and killed 200 people and burnt the town to the ground. i said if we're going to give a speech on economic discrimination and inequality, i can't think of a better place to give that speech than in greenwood which is just outside of tulsa. what i talked about was, for example, the difference between the wealth of a black family versus a white family. if you had said to me black
families had wealth less than white families, i probably would have believed that from what i know. but i never would have expected it to be 90% less. it's 10% of a net wealth versus 90% of the net wealth in white families. we have to do something about it. it's education. you can't compete in this world if you don't have a good education. and our public education nationwide has been going down. it used to be in the top ten worldwide. now it's barely in the top 50. somebody has to do something about that. >> and in fairness, i said where we disagreed, we worked together on education with president obama. >> and also in new york city the wealthy people score here on the tests or their kids do, and the poor people score here, and that has stayed -- that gap has stayed constant for decades. we cut it in half. you can do something about
providing better schools. >> my thanks to former mayor michael bloomberg. my panel is back, daniel moodie-mills and brett stevens. i brought that part of the interview back because tonight there are dueling ads in the super bowl between mr. bloomberg and president trump. >> the only two who can afford them. >> that too. but how do you view the iowa caucuses tomorrow and what scenario does a bloomberg make an impact or is he making a miscalculation here? >> i think bloomberg is a careful thinker. he's thought this through. he figures he has maybe a 15% chance, a scenario in which sanders or warren become the front-runners. biden or other moderates fade
and the democratic party has a freakout that a sanders candidacy can't definite trump and look to mike with bottomless pockets, roughly acceptable to most democrats as a savior figure. i say the likelihood of that, 20% or so. but it's not nothing. >> danielle, in that scenario he has baggage, as i said in the black community, which is a major bloc that you will need in the general election. i fought with them on issues that i raised there, central park five. he didn't settle that case. and the stop and frisk. but he's come with this tulsa speech giving a whole program, he said he would support the proposed reparations study in congress -- by the congresswoman.
and i think that the clear message here is that he is trying to say, i think, that if biden can't carry the ball with the moderates, i can. even the people saying today that there was an overheard conversation weeks ago with john kerry was saying he was thinking about running. is the problem that the party can't produce a moderate candidate? >> no, i think that the problem is that all we do is produce moderate candidates. i think, honestly, that we don't need a moderate after donald trump. donald trump and trumpism has pushed us so far right off of a cliff that the only way for us to get back right, to get back on track is with somebody with big, bold ideas. i don't think a moderate is what this moment is calling for, frankly. i don't necessarily know if it's bernie sanders, but that's what the polls are saying right now. i don't think that he is necessarily -- that we need a moderate and that bloomberg is
going to come in as somebody's savior at this moment. >> earlier a story was posted that john kerry was overheard talking about running for president. he has responded with a tweet denying he's interested in a 2020 run. the reporter, jonathan allen and nbc news stands by this story. we do not need a moderate to beat donald trump, what do you say? and you're not a democrat -- >> i used to be of the other view. i'm increasing coming around to danielle's point of view, just in an analytical way. look, i just looked at what happened to the republican party at this stage in the cycle four years ago. people said donald trump isn't even a real republican, he
doesn't share our ideas, sure, he's got a deep well of support of people who are passionate about him, but there's a hard ceiling on his candidacy. he can't break out of that shell and he's totally unelectable. all of those points proved wrong because donald trump was speaking to the true beliefs, to the heart of a large segment of the republican electorate and once he tipped the balance and showed that he could win early states, he became unstoppable, and for all of the differences between him and bernie sanders, that -- i think that same logic applies. >> danielle, the key to any race is turnout. and it's going to be that this year. is there not a concern -- and i keep racing this, that we deal with the problem of voter suppression. the purging of voters off the rolls, in georgia, 300,000, north carolina and other states, and the new rules they're putting in some states like
photo i.d. and all, shouldn't the democratic party, if they're serious, or the candidates that you have two billionaires on the democratic side, shouldn't they be putting resources in making sure these impediments are not there? >> one would think so. i believe that the two billionaires that are in the race could do more right now than just continue along with a vanity project and investing in flipping the senate and making sure that people who have the eligibility to vote can vote. the fact is, we are going to need to turn out an unprecedented historic numbers in order to defeat donald trump. and the person who is at the top of the ticket whether it be bernie sanders, if it's biden, they need to be able to pull those numbers. the -- there is suppression from the republicans, there is suppression from russia, there's suppression from other entities outside and inside of this country that are trying to prevent americans from having a voice in their own elections. we're going to need to turn out en masse. >> we'll have to leave it there.
thank you. and a quick note, stick with msnbc tomorrow night for special coverage for live results of the iowa caucuses. it's the first real test of the 2020 election cycle and we'll break down how it will shape the democratic race going forward. it all gets under way tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern. coming up, the super bowl kicks off in about an hour. make sure you order your wings and pizza. just be sure not to order from the supreme court cafeteria. i'll explain next. imagine, feeling fearless when you walk into the dentist.
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cafeteria committee and his contributions are decidedly unappetizing pizza. he even joked that pizza will be on his legacy on the court. well, i have some bad news for justice kavanaugh, your legacy will have a lot less to do with food and far more to do with the allegations of sexual misconduct that dogs you since your sham of a confirmation hearing. and if you're lucky enough to have those chapters in your past overlooked, it will be because of the permanent harm you and your consecutive colleagues cause this country. your latest decision to allow the trump administration to bar immigrants unless they're sufficiently wealthy was a slap in the face to lady liberty. but you seem likely to cast deciding votes in a lot more
terrible 5-4 rules, like prevents lgbt americans from accessing civil rights protections, allowing deportation of hundreds of thousanders of dreamers, denying millions of americans the right to control what happens to their own bodies, and shredding the first amendment division between church and state by allowing public funding for private religious schools. and those are just the cases being decided in this year's session. so luckily for you, your terrible taste in pizza won't be your legacy. instead, we'll remember you for your horrific positions in cases that could roll back the clock on civil rights in america by half a century more. decisions that will be about as popular as pizza with pineapple and anchovies. th me, cologuard.
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welcome back to "politics nation." the first test of the 2020 white house race comes tomorrow. but there are many more elections this year that could have major impact on the u.s. government. for example, later this month, voters in south carolina will decide which democrat should represent them in the fight to take the crucial u.s. senate seat currently held by republican senator lindsey graham. it won't be an easy task, though. in the last three months of 2019, graham raised nearly $4 million for his re-election campaign marking yet another record-breaking quarter for the lawmaker. my next guest intends to take on senator graham in november. he recently told a local newspaper that graham is, quote, not worthy of south carolina. jamie harrison joins me now.
it's associate chairman of the democratic national committee and is challenging lindsay graham for his u.s. senate seat in south carolina. why is senator graham not worthy? >> he's not worthy because he doesn't spend the time here to really address the issues that the people here in south carolina desperately need him to address. this is -- this is a great state with amazing people. as you know, south carolina, you know south carolina so well, beautiful landscapes and all. but we've had four rural hospitals that have closed over the past few years, we have 12 counties in this state that don't have any obgyns. about a third of the state does not have wi-fi correcti wi-fi c. i can go on and on and the problem we have is that we have a senator who's focused on things in washington, d.c., and the politics in washington,
d.c., and not focus on doing what he was sent to washington, d.c., to do which is the work of people here in south carolina. that's why i say that lindsey graham is not worthy of the state. one, you know, he doesn't even care about the state. he cares about being important in washington, d.c., whereas i'm focused, each and every day, on how to improve the lives of the people here in south carolina. how to make sure that everyone gets the opportunity to live the american dream. >> when you announced you raised more money last quarter than any democratic senate candidate in your state's history, to what do you attribute the enthusiasm behind your campaign? >> there's a grassroots movement that is being here in south carolina. we're seeing larger and larger crowds. we raised $3.5 million, very close to senator graham's 3.9 million. and part of that is, people are hungry for change.
people want real leadership here in the state. we go around in the state, rev, we do a program where i go and partner with community organizations to address the issues that people are dealing with on a day to day basis. the contrast is, my opponent is golfing, you know, probably this weekend, he's probably eating wings and pizza with the president. but we're focused on the people here in south carolina. and that's why this movement is growing and that's why we encourage everybody, go to jamieharrison.com, sign up to volunteer, but also contribute to make sure we have the resources to take it to senator graham and send him home. >> the polling numbers that have been higher and it seems you are focusing on the issues in the state of south carolina, unlike you're saying your potential opponent, because i don't think
you have any opponents in the primary. so you're focused on the general. if i am someone in south carolina, what do you feel are the three critical issues a u.s. senator representing that state ought to be focused on? >> the three issues, the first is health care. we have to tackle the issues of health care disparities in the state. almost 300,000 people don't have health care because republicans like lindsey graham stood in the way of medicaid expansion. a lot of our rural communities have huge disparities. we have to tackle that. the second thing i would say, the infrastructure in the state as well, broad band, we need to make sure that roads, bridges, the resources are building there and then i would say both education and the environment are huge issues for us in this state. our number one industry is tourism and the climate change has had a huge impact on our
state. bigger storms, thousand-year floods are happening every other year and there's huge environmental justice issues. at the same time the education issue is very, very big. in our state, all it says is that the state had to provide a minimally adequate education for the people of south carolina. we can do better. the people of south carolina deserve better and that's why we need to get rid of senator graham and so many of these folks and replace them with brand-new visionary leadership. >> all right. jamie harrison, thank you for being with us. coming up, spike lee is well known for being the biggest new york knicks fan, but it turns out he also had a huge soft spot for kobe bryant. his reflections on kobe's death and much more right after this. (janine) ghostbusters!...
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the bryant family has yet to publicize funeral details and the city is still making plans for bryant's memorial. his mark on the city, the iconic lakers franchise, and on the sport of basketball globally is irreplaceable. joining me now on the phone is legendary oscar-winning filmmaker spike lee. spike, thank you for coming on by phone. >> any time you call me, i'm there. no doubt. >> you always lived up to that. i remember at michael jackson's funeral, your wife and i went together. and after i spoke, kobe was seated in the row right behind us and we talked and it became apparent that you and him had an unbelievable friendship. >> i wouldn't go that far. but we -- you know, we worked together.
i did a documentary on him and several commercials and we were not close. but as the saying goes, game respects game. we both had the utmost respect for each other in our different fields. and a lot of people have been going, you know, to recently, but no disrespect to anybody, this one, this is -- rev, you ask tonya, i've been out of sorts since this whole thing happened. i'm like -- i'm not even -- rev, i'm not well yet, you know. it's going to take time. this is big. it's a -- with the daughter, that's the -- and no disrespect to the seven others, peace and love and respect, but his daughter, oh, my god. >> wow. >> it's a tough one.
>> why do you think kobe has such an impact on the world? they're doing memorials all over the world. >> yeah. because he wanted to be the best. even though he said i might not going to try. when people see dedication, it could be acting, whatever the field is, but when someone is committed to being great, and you see evidence of that, that's something to be cherished. and that's the impact he had on the world, that he was not messing around. you know, he was not backsliding. none of that stuff. he was putting in work, no pun intended. >> now, you did a documentary on him. how was it to work with him? >> always great. it was one game against the san antonio spurs at the end of the year, and he wore a microphone, and we had 30 cameras on him.
30 cameras. and we picked him up when he drove in to the left, holding one daughter gigi in his arms and the other by the hand and they were dancing to thriller. >> wow. >> and then the thing is the next season, before we put the film out, we wanted kobe to do a commentary for it. and so, you know, west coast teams only come to new york one time. kobe says, spike, we can't do it in l.a., but with i come to new york, we'll do it after the game. that's the game he scored 61 points. >> wow, wow. >> up to that moment, that was the record for a player. but he was -- and he said spike, it's all your fault. that's why i scored 61 points. your fault. so another thing, every time,
here's how kobe greeted me when we would see each other. spike, the knicks suck. i don't care where we were, that is not hello, how you doing. spike, the knicks suck. and i could never say nothing back to him. >> how do you think kobe would want people to remember him and know about him, and what would be his legacy? >> well, who's going to speak other than his wife vanessa and close people, but i would say i'm going to take a leap and say i was a family man. i loved my family. you know, i'm going to say that, even above his exploits in sports, that he loved his family. loved his wife, loved his daughters. over everything. everything. >> wow.
>> it's a guess, but i'm guessing. >> yeah, i got you. and i appreciate you coming on. have to ask you on the way out, because i know the activist side of you, have you been following the impeachment? >> yeah, those -- you know, let me ask you a question. do they have to put their hands on the bible when they took the vow? >> i don't know if they had a bible out there, but i think they had the bible up on the podium. why do you ask? >> well, because they're going to burn in hell if they put their hands on that bible. >> i should have known. >> and as you would say, they were on the wrong side of history. the wrong side. the wrong side. so everybody, here's the thing, i'm not speaking for anybody but myself. whoever, this is just me
speaking, everybody. whoever comes out of the democratic convention i'm voting for because we cannot have another four years of agent orange. >> all right. spike lee. >> one last thing, rev. one last thing. everything night before i go to bed, i think about agent orange has the nuclear codes. >> wow. >> hopefully they gave him the wrong number. all right, rev, love you. >> spike lee, love you. >> when this thing happens, i want to be with you in l.a. >> yes, sir. we'll find a way to make it happen together. spike lee, thank you. up next, my final thoughts. stay with us.
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yesterday started black history month for 2020. it was also the 60th anniversary when four young black men walked in a segregated woolworth's store in greensboro, north carolina, and sat down at a lunch counter. and their sit-down sparked a whole wave of activism among young americans, black and white, against segregation and for civil rights. five years later, reverend jose williams and john lewis were
tear gassed among others on a bridge called the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama, as they walked across the bridge, asking, demanding the right to vote. sacrifices have been made throughout history to get the right to vote to those that by law was denied it. all of us, whether you're black, white, asian, latino, whatever your background, owe it to those that opened up the voting process to everyone to make sure that that vote is protected, that vote is not in any way impeded, and that you use it no matter who you vote for. the way to celebrate black history is help make some for blacks and for everyone else. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here next saturday at 5:00 p.m. eastern. up next, "meet the press" with chuck todd.
this sunday, impeachment and iowa. >> we are adjourned. >> the senate now poised to acquit president trump even as many republicans concede he's not innocent of the charges. >> that still doesn't rise to the level of impeachment and removal of a president of the united states. >> democrats call the trial a sham. >> the acquittal will have no value because americans will know that this trial was not a real trial. >> the key vote not to call witnesses, tennessee's lamar alexander. >> if you start out with a partisan impeachment, you're almost destined to have a partisan acquittal. >> this morning my exclusive interview with senator alexander. plus the iowa caucuses.