tv Deadline White House MSNBC November 26, 2021 5:00pm-7:00pm PST
trump's hair or something and you just show up and do brilliant stuff. jordan klepper. thank you very much, man. thank you for all that you do. >> and that's tonight's "reid out." enjoy your holiday turkey, and msnbc. hi there, everyone. the blockbuster report igniting a new round of questions around the insurrection on january 6th. a massive investigation by more than 25 reporters at the "washington post" who interviewed more than 230 sources and combed thousands of pages of documents and law enforcement reports to produce what will become the definitive report of the january 6th insurrection. the events as they played out before, during, and afternoon the worst attack on our nation's capitol in centuries. their work is now in many ways a
road map for the investigation by the january 6th select committee, one that has now ensnared more than a dozen top allies of the twice-impeached, disgraced ex-president, who can shed light on the 187 minutes of inaction by donald trump, exposed by the "washington post" report. as the people's house came under attack by a mob of his radicalized supporters. over the course of the next hour we will talk to three of the reporters whose work lies at the heart of this mammoth investigation for a deep dive into the evidence they unearthed. stuff like this. "paralysis in law enforcement that led to one of the biggest security failures in the nation's history, driven by unique breakdowns inside each law enforcement agency and exacerbated by the patchwork nature of security across a city where responsibilities are split between local and federal authorities." the post also describes this. "an extensive pressure campaign by the president and those around him to get pence to block
certification of the election result including a last-ditch appeal on the night of january 6th after the riot was over by attorney john eastman, who urged pence to reject electors as congress reconvened." and this, "trump as the driving force at every turn as he orchestrated what would become an attempted political coup in the months leading up to january 6th, calling his supporters to washington, encouraing the mob to march on the capitol," and even this. "freezing in place key federal agencies whose job it was to investigate and stop threats to national security." we have troves of evidence on the january 6th insurrection to get to over the course of the next hour, but the case against the disgraced ex-president is laid out by the "washington post" is very stark today. with some of the reporters who also happen to be some of our favorite reporters and friends. ashley parker is here,
washington white house bureau chief. carol leonnig, "washington post" national reporter and phillip rucker, senior correspondent. carol and phil are the authors of the book "i alone can fix it," and lucky for us all three of them are msnbc contributors. carol, i want to start with you and this sort of ongoing conversation we've had since january 6th of the lack of interest in one of the two political parties in the united states of america to dive into this evidence as has been unearthed by this investigation and the 1-6 committee. is there anything revelatory about their posture on all of this content that you guys unearthed? >> you know, i'm really glad that you mentioned that, nicolle, because the lack of interest on the part of members of the republican party in the house especially to investigate what happened january 6th, which was not 9/11 but as close as we can get to 9/11 since that
moment, kind of watershed moment in terms of an attack on our democracy and on the country but from within, it was really the catalyst, the republicans' lack of interest was the catalyst for all of we three and 20-plus more journalists and another 50 designers, et cetera, to launch on this subject, to investigate this exact area where you have trained your lens so often. i think the revelatory material we produced is essentially that a lot of the president's close allies were working alongside him to try to help him block the peaceful transfer of power. there were many moments when those individuals were in lock-step with the president, trying to convene with him how could it happen. people like the actual members of congress who don't want to look into this themselves met with the president in late december.
people like professor eastman, who during the actual attack on the capitol, people were breaching the building, the vice president was fleeing for his life along with his family, john eastman was arguing with a trump -- forgive me, a pence attorney about how you brought this upon yourself. >> and trump's targeting and i would add lampooning of pence, so much of it happened in full view. and so the investigative journalism that has ensued since january 6th is sort of the -- rounds out what we saw in full view. let me play some of that from donald trump on january 6th. >> if mike pence does the right thing, we win the election. mike pence is going to have to come through for us. and if he doesn't, that will be a sad day for our country. >> so carol leonnig, that was
donald trump targeting and singling out mike pence the morning of 1-6. but his targeting of pence and his reliance on pence to overturn the will of the voters was undergirded we've come to learn by the eastman memo and other, shall we say, obscure and highly dubious legal theories. talk about everything that went into pressing pence. >> you know, at this particular moment it's important to remember, nicolle, and i know you do but many of your listeners who want to focus on this, for nearly four years vice president pence has sat noddingly, silently, approvingly by donald trump's side, at his shoulder, agreeing to things that were improper, potentially illegal, unconstitutional. and at this particular moment donald trump is exerting the most extreme pressure on the vice president because he's gone through every possible other
route to try to avoid losing power and pence is his last chance and also something the president considers his ace in the hole. this is someone who's been incredibly loyal, some would argue blindly loyal, and president is now at his last card essentially to play and he and a series of allies pressure pence to come through, both in the speech that you laid out but also with a law professor who sends a memo, john eastman, arguing why pence has to behave like jefferson, essentially, this incredibly patriotic exhortation, he has to behave like jefferson and reject these electors from specific states where trump believes he could win if those electors were rejected. and literally during the attack on the capitol, when pence is evacuated along with his family,
basically running for his life, people have breached the capitol, eastman we now know from other people's reporting is communicating directly with the vice president's lawyer and saying you brought this upon yourself, this is your fault. other great reporting in our series shows that eastman and a series of other people were pressing pence through his aides to please give up the ghost and let donald trump hold on to power by rejecting these electors. the problem is of course that their legal theories were bunk. their legal theories were immediately discarded. there is a moment that we reveal in our series in which several people who are on trump's side explain this is not true, this does not hold. eastman himself eventually concludes and admits to pat cipollone, the white house counsel, that he doesn't really
think his legal theory will work. pat cipollone, the white house counsel, explodes, you have been arguing this to the president, you've been arguing this to the vice president and now you think the legal theory isn't really solid? why did you do that? >> i mean, why did you do that will be the question for the ages for one john eastman. phil rucker, the "post" series gives us really clear pieces of evidence about the eastman efforts ahead of january 6th to pressure pence, which seems to be sort of at the heart -- i mean, adam kinzinger called it the blueprint for a coup, the eastman memo. let me just put this up. these are from your series. the eastman draft memo arguing that pence could ignore the electoral college vote starts circulating. it argues that pence could delay it to allow any legal challenges to come out. we've since heard voicemail messages being left by other trump advisers to target the michigan slate. we know all too much about the
effort to overturn the georgia slate. on january 4th there was a meeting on pence's legal we'll call them options to disrupt the vote. on the 5th trump had a conversation with pence asking him for the delay. that's leading up to -- this points so clearly at premeditation to do exactly what transpired on january 6th. i read your series and came away checking off how many things were successful. they succeeded in delaying the vote. and but for the revelation in your book and carol's that pence got to the basement and refused to leave the building, they might have pulled off the eastman coup plot. >> yeah, nicolle, this country came harrowingly close to a coup, to democracy falling in effect. and what you just laid out, all of the actions by john eastman and others in the days and hours leading up to january 6th show how not only premeditated this was but how close it came to succeeding. and one of the more striking
revelations in our "washington post" series is that the eastman efforts continued even after the capitol was breached. the night of january 6th vice president pence reconvened the senate to order. this was after 8:00 p.m. and at about 9:00 p.m. eastman sends an e-mail according to our reporting to pence's lawyer, greg jacob, saying look, the vice president should continue -- or should still move to not certify that the electors from the state of arizona and from some of the other key contested states, he was arguing that there was some sort of a loophole in the law that would allow the vice president to do just what trump wanted him to do after the breach had occurred. that of course in the estimation of pence's lawyers and virtually any credible constitutional expert is bunk, bogus, b.s., you name it. but it speaks to the continuation of eastman's push to try to get pence to do just as trump wanted, even after all
of that violence had occurred at the capitol. >> phil, i'm going to put up the -- because the "post" piece sort of separates out the pressure campaign ahead of this and these are the be other action that's took place on the 6th. trump called him again on the 6th to pressure pence. he made that sort of attack in the speech. pence is either going to be good or bad, good meaning overturning the will of the voters. they talk that morning. the tweet at 2:14 as the insurrection was just really picking up steam. trump attacks pence. i think his evacuation by secret service from the office where he was waiting to certify the vote takes place around that time. the early afternoon eastman e-mails pence's counsel. and then this e-mail you're talking about at 9:00 p.m., the eastman e-mail to pence's counsel urging that pence not certify the results then. what's amazing is that by 9:00 p.m. it was clear how much danger the whole pence family was in. has eastman said anything since
seeing with his own eyes how harrowing the pence family escape was from where they were in the capitol, phil? >> you know, i don't believe that eastman has commented on the pences' jeopardy or sort of the emotions, the dangers of that day. if he has, i just haven't seen it. but it's worth pointing out that eastman has confirmed to our colleagues in the process of investigating this piece the details of those e-mails that you just mentioned, the early afternoon one and then the 9:00 p.m. one. so he's owned up to that. but i have not heard any sort of conciliatory comment from eastman about the danger of the vice president. >> and just to stipulate, i think carol makes the perfect point, that mike pence was no, you know, straight-talking sort of truth to power figure during the four years. he nodded dutifully through the abdication of responsibility during covid, through good
people on both sides, through people being from bleephole countries and on and on and on and on. but on the day of january 6th, you know, he sought counsel from dan quayle and he did the right thing that day. ashley parker, you've got some reporting, though, on just how close the rioters came to him. one minute after pence was hustled out of the chamber a group charged up the stairs to a second floor landing, chasing a capitol police officer who drew them away from the senate. it's scary stuff, and it renders it just mind-boggling how sort of stockholm syndrome he is that his line on the insurrection now is that the media's making too much of it. is there more? >> well, i also -- i'm so glad you asked that because to get to that point i want to go back and explain a little bit in those weeks leading up to january 6th how pence arrived there. so in addition to eastman and everything else my colleagues have just laid out you also had this other thing happening quiet
l. in the white house. one is that chief of staff mark meadows as someone described to us was talking out of both sides of his mouth. so mark meadows when he's talking to vice president pence and his team is saying don't worry, of course you can't overturn the election results, that's crazy, i'm going to make sure that president trump understands, you're not really going to be asked to do this. and then mark meadows is going in and talking to president trump and telling him the exact opposite. he's saying, i'm telling pence he has to do it, pence understands the constitutional argument, don't worry, pence is going to do it. and also during that time pence who, as you pointed out, has been so obsequious and so subservient to president trump for all four years, is basically saying -- the whole time he's saying i don't think i have the constitutional powers to do this, but. but i am willing to listen to any argument you bring me. i'm willing to listen to any expert or even not expert. i'm willing to read any memo and consider any bit of this.
and so if you were reporting on pence in real time as i and some of my colleagues were you had a pretty good sense that on january 6th pence was going to certify the election results. but if you were in that white house and you're president trump and you're having your chief of staff tell you don't worry, pence is going to do the quote unquote right thing, which is to overturn the election results in their mind, and you're even having a vice president who you're so used to being loyal and deferential to you saying basically the way trump hears it, i'm telling you, there's a chance and you're president trump and you believe deeply in your powers of persuasion, when january 6th occurs, what should be inevitable, that the vice president is of course going to certify the fair and accurate results of a free election, it becomes this big reveal and this big scandal. so when pence releases his letter, the crowd is there. they're angry. and they sort of believe president trump that pence actually might overturn the results. so this then ripples through the crowd. there's a murmur. and that just adds to the fuel
and fury as they march on the capitol. and getting back to your original question, are shouting "hang mike pence," come within seconds of him being whisked off his floor to his hideaway where he could have been in full view. we've seen those videos of those rioters racing up the stairs. so he very narrowly averted a close call. but to understand that, i think you have to start back to see how he got there. >> well, and to your point, ashley, pence says -- trump says about pence on the ellipse, "if he does the right thing we win. he's going to have to come through for us. if he doesn't it will be a sad, sad day." here's what he said about joining the rioters. his mission statement was to hang mike pence. >> we're going to walk down, and i'll be there with you, we're going to walk down, we're going to walk down, any one you want but i think right here, we're going to walk down to the
capitol. >> we fight like hell. and if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore. >> ashley, what trump makes abundantly clear, he's going to walk with them, and they wanted to hang mike pence. he puts himself squarely on the side of the insurrectionists who wanted to kill his vice president. >> well, not just that. president trump at that time, he creates this sense that mike pence might or might not do what he wants. and if he doesn't, that's when they're all going to march and he's going to be on the side of the insurrectionists and they're going to have to fight like hell. but our reporting shows that the night before, on january 5th, vice president pence conveyed to trump what he planned to do. and again that morning he conveyed to trump what he planned to do, which was certify the election results. so when trump is sort of inciting that mob that if mike pence certifies the election results they should all march and be furious and fight like hell for their country, president trump knows full well
exactly what pence is going to do and is saying that anyhow. >> it's unbelievable. ashley parker, carol leonnig, phil rucker are not going anywhere. coming up after the break the alerts in intelligence, the likes this country has not seen since 9/11, and why the warnings were ignored by law enforcement. plus chris christie making headlines for his reluctance to call out right-wing disinformation for what it is. my one-on-one conversation with him coming up when "deadline white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. don't go anywhere. you're never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your discover card. >> are you ready to start a great career? >> safelite is now hiring. >> you will love your job. >> there's room to grow... >> ...and lots of opportunities. >> so, what are you waiting for? >> apply now... >> ...and make a difference. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ >> man, i love that song!
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to the january 6th attack on the capitol begins with the story of donald harvin. he's the head of intelligence at d.c.'s homeland security office, described in the post's report as "growing desperate in the early days of 2021 when he and his team spotted mounting signs that donald trump's supporters were planning to violently disrupt the certification of the vote." the report goes on to describe a harrowing scene. "harvin asked his counterparts to share what they were seeing. within minutes an avalanche of new tips began streaming in. self-styled militias and other extremist groups in the northeast were circulating radio frequencies to use near the capitol. in the midwest men with violent criminal histories were discussing plans to travel to washington with weapons. 48 hours before the attack harvin began pressing every alarm button he could. he invited the fbi, the department of homeland security, military intelligence services and other agencies to see the information in real time as his team collected it. he took another extreme step.
he asked the city's health department to convene a call of d.c.-area hospitals and urged them to prepare for a mass casualty event. empty your emergency rooms, he said, and stock up your blood banks." that was the intensity and severity of the information d.c.'s head of intelligence, donald harvin, was shouting from the rooftops. and yet, and yet on january 6th complete failure to heed the warnings resulted in a capitol and a capitol police force completely overrun, at least five people dead, a branch of government under siege. we're back with ashley parker, carol leonnig and phil rucker. phil rucker, this is the part of the report i read more times than any and i still don't understand what happened. what happened to the call for blood from the blood banks? who heard that? >> you know, nicolle, the people at the blood banks heard it. but the problem that we uncovered in this reporting is that there were so many red flags that were missed and that
were not sort of put into context by the powers that be at the top of some of these agencies, especially the fbi, but also the military and other elements of the federal government. the warnings were there to be seen. the chatter was live for anyone who wanted to look for it on social media. and by the way, the red flags continued into the morning of january 6th. we obtained and listened to chatter from park police radio communications early that morning, 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., down at the washington monument and the lincoln memorial where there were hundreds of pro-trump demonstrators clashing with police. they were leaving backpacks unattended. some of them were carrying pitchforks down at the national mall. those are all signs that this was going to be a violent day. and yet there was not a robust effort by law enforcement or the military or the intelligence community to defend the capitol, to defend the city of washington
because they didn't actually think the threats they were seeing on social media and elsewhere were going to transpire the way they did. >> so carol, any of us who lived through 9/11 will read this section with chills and terrible flashbacks. you guys report this. "in the 20 years since the country had created fusion centers in response to the attacks of september 11th, for the first time from coast to coast the centers were blinking red. the hour, date, and location of concern was the same. 1:00 p.m., u.s. capitol, january 6th." it's just remarkable that if you take out who the threat was from and you make it al qaeda or isis and you read that center, in the 20 years since the country created fusion centers in response to the attacks of september 11th, for the first time since coast to coast the centers were blinkingroad. the hour, date, and location of concern was the same, 1:00 p.m. u.s. capitol, january 6th. and the threat was isis or al qaeda. what would have happened? >> well, it would have been such a more dramatic, forceful and i
would think deafening response from the federal government. i mean, we have seen, you and i have focused on this a lot together, we have seen incredible walls of law enforcement response to any kind of foreign terror operation. but even domestic terror operations to some degree much more with foreign. the federal government has much greater tools for an isis or an al qaeda plot in place. but as you rightly point out, after 9/11 our country poured billions, billions of dollars, trillions of dollars if you count the creation of the department of homeland security, into interrupting, intervening, spotting before they happen, getting in the way of these plots and stopping them. what many people call in the industry left of bang, stop it before it happens, spot it. in this case as phil points out
the red flaz were unbelievable. donnell harvin created as a wing of the department of homeland security to gather this intelligence was doing exactly what you said in the days before january 6th. basically clanging a bell saying everybody come on down to my office, you can see how scary this is. but what we revealed in this reporting and in this investigative series was even a shock to me. in late december, in the final sort of two weeks of december the fbi, the preeminent entity responsible for gathering, collecting and assessing the potential threat to our country was getting warnings on a scale that was stunning. one from december 17th in which a person involved in extremist chat alerted the fbi that they saw a conversation happening in which leaders of this organization were not only plotting to come to january 6th but were encouraging each other to weapon up, giving them
specific instructions for firearms they could bring without being detected, and also to be prepared to draw down on police. one of them wrote, you know, "are you comfortable killing the palace guards? be with me. we need to drop a few and the rest will flee." if the killing cop chatter is what the fbi was receiving, that kind of chatter and not investigating it on december 17th, on december 20th another guardian flash comes to them. guardian be being the word for this kind of warning. the fbi receives an alert from another tipster who says i'm reading chatter on a group that i'm monitoring and i'm warning you that these individuals who clearly plan to come january 6th are discussing targeting and arresting specific lawmakers, including mitt romney. an attack on a public official. a precipitated threatened attack on a public official.
also the fbi decided to close that without investigation within 48 hours. these are the things that are happening before the department of homeland security fusion center operator donnell harvin is getting to the point of really pulling all of his hair out in the first week of january. these are things the fbi wa alerted to and it's still unclear, nicolle, why they discarded it as not that important. >> and ashley, it's not hiding under anything opaque. donald trump told the proud boys to stand back and stand by. and we can debate who he's talking to and what he's asking them to do but he didn't. he responded. enrique tarrio, standing down, sir. i will stand down, sir. proud of my guys right now. it was a call and response that donald trump had with white supremacist associated militia groups in america. >> that's exactly right.
and these sorts of -- i hesitate to even call them dog whistles because dog whistles are quite subtle and can only be heard by dogs. that's the point of them. these sirens, as it were, were messages he had been sending to the proud boys, to white supremacists, to white national groups all throughout his presidency, was that there would be a public outcry starting with something like the deadly white supremacist attack in charlottesville and there would be the outcry, condemnation and trump would sort of signal i'm on your side. right? both sides are to blame. wink wink, nod nod. and you could just look on these social media threads and message boards that these groups frequented to understand how they took the president's words, which were as signs of encouragement, as signs that he was with them and in some cases as we saw on january 6th as very specific calls to arms. and one thing that is interesting in our piece and even just reading through the court documents of a lot of
those rioters and insurrectionists who did end up getting charged was that some of them very specifically said i was there because the president of the united states told me to be there, he called me and i heeded that call. for some of them and not all of them that was what brought them to washington and led them into the capitol on january 6th. >> ashley, carol, and phil are staying with us. after the break with the "washington post" investigation reveals about the aftermath of the january 6th attack and the radicalization of the right that is ongoing. that's next.
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it has to stop! mr. president, you have not condemned these actions or this language. senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions. this has to stop. we need you to step up and if you've taken a position of leadership show some. this is elections. this is the backbone of democracy. and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. someone's going to get hurt. someone's going to get shot. someone's going to get killed. and it's not right. >> it was a very public plea from republican georgia election official gabe sterling. it rang out across the country ahead of january 6th. of course it was ignored by the
president and his backers. obviously sterling's words were prescient. at least five people were killed on january 6th. but the incitement he warns about there did not end on january 6th. in many ways it was all just the beginning. we're back with ashley parker, carol leonnig and phil rucker talking about their incredible investigative piece on january 6th. i want to read this sort of final line of what the report lands on. "short of bloodshed, i don't know of any way to fix what we currently have going on." that was wade damms a 47-year-old from snowflake, arizona who works in construction. i'd take part, he continued. i just need someone else to be the leader. so willing to turn to bloodshed, phil rucker, to deal with what is b.s. chris krebs, lifelong republican, said there was no fraud. attorney general bill barr, who was right next to pence on the head nodding for donald trump, said there was no fraud.
left d.o.j. what do we do now? >> yeah. so nicolle, about 11 months have passed, nearly a year since the january 6th insurrection, and yet trump's big lie about the election continues and it continues to infect the republican party. and what i mean by that is if you're a republican office holder or you're seeking a political office in the republican party and you don't buy into the lie that the election was stolen, that biden's victory as president is illegitimate, then you're cast out. trump will come after you. he will seek retaliatory measures. you could be the next liz cheney where your state republican party disavows you effectively. it's remarkable what's happening all around the country and in every community where there are republicans running for office. our colleagues roz helderman and amy gardner as part of this investigative series conducted a survey. they tried to figure out how
deep has this lie gone. and of the 390 republicans who are running for statewide office in this next two-year cycle a third of them have either come out saying they believe the election was rigged or they've bought into trump's lie about the election or they have sought to downplay or diminish what happened on january 6th. that's a third. and that includes, by the way, ten republicans who are seeking to be a secretary of state in their state. and that's an important job because those are the people who actually oversee the elections in those states. >> and it's not for us to i guess presuppose who actually believes what they're saying, but we know that at least for a moment in the aftermath of the horror, ashley, that kevin mccarthy saw the truth. mitch mcconnell saw the truth. but they backed away from the truth because of this dynamic phil's talking about. i think a full 78% of republicans do not believe that president joe biden legitimately won the election. and that is because of the
cowardice in the republican ranks. this is from the "washington post" report. "after an initial burst of bipartisan horror at the capitol riot many republican officials fell back in line with trump. he still had the base, one gop lawmaker recalled, observing at the time. that conclusion was shared by house minority leader kevin mccarthy, who had paused his regular phone calls with the president after the insurrection but resumed them a few days later when herealized trump's hold on the gop appeared to be stronger than ever." what will history say about kevin mccarthy, ashley? >> well, that's for history. but it was so striking. it wasn't that they just fell back in line, these republican leaders, but how utterly quickly they did. you have kevin mccarthy, one of the few -- or the only member of republican leadership who spoke to trump on january 6th, basically begging for him to call off his supporters, saying you know, my staff is fleeing, they're cowering, they're hiding for their lives. you know, he was the first
republican after this to go down to mar-a-lago and pose with a photo with the former president that the president made sure went out and went viral and sort of served as a symbol that hey, republican leadership still backs me and still treats me as the de facto leader of the republican party. lindsey graham, who that night sort of condemned trump and said you know, it's been a fun ride but it's over, sir. and lindsey graham, who also said -- was urging the capitol police to shoot at the rioters. he got in air force one with trump just about a week later. so when history makes a judgment, those are the sorts of actions they will be looking at. >> and we can guess it will be brutal. ashley parker, carol leonnig, phil rucker, it's an incredible piece of reporting. thank you for taking the time to talk to us about it today. we're really grateful. up next by one-on-one interview with chris christie. and it's clear he has a lot to answer for.
i recently had a chance to interview chris christie, former new jersey governor, 2016 presidential candidate, who's sometimes a trump ally, sometimes a trump critic. his most recent book "republican rescue: saving the party from truth deniers, conspiracy theorists and the dangerous policies of joe biden," claims to give republicans a way forward, a path forward after four years of trump in the white house that has left their party fractured. but what struck us is that nowhere in this book about specifically on the cover
telling the truth and confronting conspiracy theories does he take on the biggest purveyor of them, fox news. i asked him why not. >> the book is called -- it's about conspiracies and lies. and you really don't take on fox news. why not? >> look, because the book -- >> the tucker carlson program? >> i don't wafrp it. >> are you aware of what he does? >> i don't pay a lot of attention. >> it says truth deniers and conspiracy theorists on the cover and you attack cnn and msnbc and "the new york times" but not fox. >> excuse me, i don't attack them as conspiracy theorists or truth deniers. i talk about bias. >> is bias animus to the country and conspiracy theorists? >> no. but that's the third section of the book. >> i read it. >> where i talk about the movement forward. in the center portion of the book we talk about the conspiracy theories and the truth denying that went on with things like qanon, pizzagate, the election situation, john birch society. and that's what i talk about.
these two sections of the book. i'm sure accidentally you're conflating them. >> i'm not conflating them. >> you are conflating them. >> i don't think it's an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on fox news. >> listen, then you can write that in your book. >> well, i'm not trying to rescue the republican party. >> i understand. well, whatever you want to write -- >> i guess my question is do you want to run for president? what's your relationship with fox news going to be? >> well, first of all, i didn't say i wanted to run for president. you said that. let's be clear about that. >> well, a lot of people have said that in the last few days. you haven't corrected them. you can jump in and correct the record. >> no, what i've said is i certainly will think about it but i won't make any decision for at least another year. >> do you think that fox news in prime time is good for the country or bad? >> listen, there are shows that i like on fox news. there are shows that i don't like. like there are shows that i like -- >> are you afraid to question the purveyors of conspiracy theories and -- >> by the way, but that's your opinion. you're welcome to your opinion like everybody else in this country is welcome to your opinion. i don't consider people like sean hannity or laura ingraham purveyors -- >> i didn't say either of their
names. tucker carlson. >> you said the evening news programs -- >> the 8:00 p.m. hour. >> well, as i told you, don't watch the show. so i don't know what tucker does from night to night. if i watch anything at night in news because most of the time i'm watching sports, but if i'm watching anything in news, i'm usually watching either sean or laura. >> so you may or may not support donald trump in 2024. you may or may not run for president. and a book about liars and conspiracy theorists doesn't have anything to say about fox news. >> no, the book talks about -- you continue to conflate it. >> i don't know how you talk about liars and conspiracy theorists without talking about fox news. i was a republican. think they've done more damage to the party than anything else. >> i'm sure you do. but if we want to go through it i think there are liars and conspiracy theorists on msnbc and on cnn also. so maybe i'll write a book about all that. but that's not what this book is about. in that section of the book i'm talking to republicans about the way i believe we need to deal with media to be most effective for winning.
the conspiracy theorists and truth deniers, which nobody else on either side of the aisle is writing about right now other than me. no one else is writing about that -- >> but you want to solve them, is my question. if you want to solve the proliferation of conspiracy theories without dealing with fox news it's like solving terrorism without dealing with the terrorists. >> that's your opinion. i disagree with your opinion. and i don't believe -- and i think it's irresponsible, nicolle, to analogize fox news to terrorists. >> i'm not analogizing them -- >> you just did. >> i'm talking about -- you write about being a prosecutor. >> you just did. >> i want to understand what your solution is to the title of the book. it's about truth deniers and conspiracy -- how do we purge the truth deniers and conspiracy -- >> from our party. from our party. and it's by telling the truth to our voters. >> where? >> to our voters. >> where do you do that? >> right in my book. >> no, where -- >> go buy it. it's on sale today and you can do it. >> where do you do it? speeches? >> sure. i did it at the reagan library in september. >> i saw your speech -- >> i did it at the republican jewish coalition just this past
week. >> i saw it. >> and every other place that i go i will be talking about the fact that the republican party must once again be the party of truth. and if we do that then we have a chance to be a winning party again. and if we don't then we're going to be consigned to what happened to our lost the house, the senate, and the white house, the only other time it's happened in republican party history and we were out of the white house for 28 of the next 36 years. i don't want to see that happen to our country, and so that's why i'm speaking out. and i can't be responsible for everybody else, nicolle. >> i hear you. >> i can be responsible for myself, and that's what i'm doing by writing this book and by coming out and talking to you about it, even in a place that may not be -- >> i appreciate that and i think you are a straight shooter and that's why you're here. i just think if you care about the party, i think liz cheney cares about the party, i think you have to deal with the places that echo the mistruths and conspiracy theories. i'm not judging you for not. i'm just asking if that's part of the solution or could be. >> what i'm saying to you is the battles that i want to pick are
the ones that i picked in that book. and there's no one else picking those battles, and so i've got to take those on and if there's more to take on, to make sure that the party is the party of truth and the party of solutions for citizens in this country, i'll take those on too because you know i've never hesitated to do that. >> there's more from that interview with chris christie after a short break. don't go anywhere. er plus cold . dissolves quickly. instantly ready to start working. so you can bounce back fast with alka-seltzer plus. now available for fast sinus relief. (vo) for fourteen years, subaru and our retailers have been sharing the love with those who need it most. now subaru is the largest automotive donor to make-a-wish and meals on wheels. and the largest corporate donor to the aspca and national park foundation. get a new subaru during the share the love event and
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and keep the public safe. ♪ i see trees of green ♪ and call pg&e right after so we can both respond out ♪ red roses too ♪ ♪ i see them bloom for me and you ♪ (music) ♪ so i think to myself ♪ ♪ oh what a wonderful world ♪ in his new book, chris christie details a frightening hospitalization with covid and
how close it came to putting his life in jeopardy. it turned out, trump and christie were hospitalized with covid at the same time. in our sitdown interview, i asked christie about how that complicated their relationship. >> did donald trump give you covid? >> i have no idea. there were seven of us in that room over the four days we were doing debate prep and six of the seven of us, including donald trump, got covid. the only one who didn't was jason miller. and so, someone was patient zero in that room. i don't know who it was. because when all of us get it, you know, you got to figure that someone in there gave it to someone and it got passed around. as you noted when we were talking off the air, it's the map room on the first floor of the white house is a relatively small room. we were sitting not close together, i mean, trump and i were probably about five feet apart, across the table, like a double table together, but we were in heated debate prep, like, there were times he yelled at me. there were times i was playing
joe biden, i yelled back at him. >> when you ended up in the hospital with covid, trump called you. how do you think you got it, he asked me. you write, i don't know. there was a pause on the other end of the line. i thought for maybe a second the call had dropped. are you going to say you got it from me, the president asked. i don't know that i got it from you, sir, i said, so i would not say that, no. he was very relieved to hear that. okay, he said, and that was the last call i got in the hospital from donald trump. was he worried about you? >> you know, the beginning of the call started with him asking me how i was feeling and how i was doing so i do think that there was a concern on his part about me but he quickly moved to that part of the conversation. >> my thanks to chris christie for sitting down with us this fall and facing our questions. and thank you for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. we're grateful. that does it for this hour. we'll see you next time.
he was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security foreign policy and those two things had just diverged and i did say to him, ambassador sondeland gordon, i think this is all going to blow up, and here we are. >> you heard the president's voice on the call. >> i didn't. >> and you heard him raise that subject again that ambassador sondland had raised before about investigating the bidens, right? >> i did. frankly, i couldn't believe what i was hearing. my worst fear of how our ukraine policy could play out was playing out. >> it's still shocking to hear.
we may never have known the truth without them. the officials from inside the trump administration who, in so many respects, set a new standard for public service and patriotism. fiona hill and alexander vindman, who today for the very first time are joining us together for a joint interview on what they witnessed then and their fears for american democracy now. two years ago, they crossed the rubicon, exploding into public view after lengthy esteemed careers in government. ing conducted largely behind the scenes, putting the oaths they swore to the constitution ahead of their livelihoods and their jobs to expose the scheme by the president of the united states to rope a foreign ally into a political power grab. of course, it was the basis for the historic first impeachment of donald j. trump, and today, two years later, from their blockbuster testimony, what they exposed then matters now. their testimony, an enduring reality check on the campaign that has unfolded in the wake of
that first impeachment to downplay, excuse, and even embolden the disgraced former president's attempts to cheat in the 2020 election and undermine its result. his aim since he made that phone call to ukrainian president zelensky in july of 2019 was singular, to beat joe biden at any cost. it remained the underpinning for his pressure on election officials to find the votes he would have needed to win the 2020 election, to galvanize his supporters, to storm the capitol on january 6th, and to lie to the american people on an ongoing basis, falsely claiming their votes aren't safe at the ballot box, so that maybe, he seems to hope, he can find a way to grab power back for himself again. it is against that backdrop that today the warning lights are flashing red. the republican party having surrendered its identity and ideals to a twice-impeached disgraced one-term ex-president,
penalizing its few members who dare to criticize trump's role, tell the truth about it and the insurrection, emboldening baseless election audits in more and more states across the country, even failing to condemn threats of violence against democratic members of congress. but luckily, for the sake of democracy, the patriots who spoke out in november of 2019, people like alexander vindman and fiona hill haven't retreated. today they are speaking out on the threat to democracy posed by a divided america and a radicalized far right. both vindman and hill are immigrants to the united states who have spent decades looking outward at democracy struggling or outright failing to thrive. they've each spoken on this program about their alarm at what's become of their adopted country, the united states. >> i never thought i'd be looking at the united states in the same way i looked at backsliding democracies somewhere else. i spent most of my time, my
career, looking externally at how to help those countries. now i have to reshape my mind to help the united states harden democracy for the next time it's challenged, for the next time there's an authoritarian leadership because donald trump was not an effective authoritarian. he didn't have what it takes. he didn't have the capabilities to do that, but he did as much damage as he possibly could and he continues to do that damage. >> telling the truth should be a matter of course. and you know, the fact that the united states should be propagating lies and conspiracy theories, you know, for me, it's incredibly shocking. i never thought i would see this here in the united states. this is not the united states that i came to, and there are millions of other immigrants like me who feel the same way. many of my friends from countries that have been ripped apart by civil war, who came here because the united states stood for the truth and was a beacon of hope, the land of opportunity, they're looking at themselves, their families, they're saying to me, what's going on here? how can't people see this?
>> that's what we're all asking and that is where we start today. joining us now is dr. fiona hill, former senior director for europe and russia at the national security council, now senior fellow at the brookings institution and author of the book, "there is nothing for you here." also joining us, former director for european affairs for the national security council and author of the book, "here right matters." it's a pleasure to see you both and see you together for the first time. we dug around a little bit to see how you all first crossed paths but i want to first ask you about this moment, this extraordinary moment where almost a year after the election, we are still, still listening to and enduring a large swath of our own country who does not believe in the sanctity of our election and our election result. to you first, dr. hill. >> yes, well, unfortunately, i mean, this is just demonstrating for all of us about how much a
lie and how much conspiracy theories can really take hold in a country. we'd thought of ourselves as exceptional. we thought we were inured to this and we were, after all, the country that was helping to spread democracy around the world, especially after world war ii. during the cold war, we were the bastion and defender of democracy against authoritarian systems and we've always really set the tone by the power of our example in a positive sense. now i fear that other countries are looking to the united states as a negative example of what can actually happen. >> dr. hill, i just want to follow up with you and read something along those exact lines that anne applebaum writes in "the atlantic" this month. as part of the american left has abandoned the idea that democracy belongs at the heart of u.s. foreign policy, not out of greed. did you ever think you would read that?
>> no, i didn't and there's lots of other polling, not just the articles that anne and many other people that are writing and analyzing this but there's a lot of polling showing abroad that people no longer see american democracy as an example. pew polls and other international polls. and here, in the united states, showing great dissatisfaction among the population with party politics, representative democracy, people feeling that the two mainstream parties, the republicans, the democrats, are just not representing their interests, and a larger group of people are describing themselves as unaffiliated, disinterested or disturbed by party politics. this is also, i think, a great stain on us because our representative democracy, the roles of those two parties, the republicans and the democrats, they've always had an outward manifestation. the international republican institute, the national democratic institute. they've always been at the forefront of democracy, promotion and supporting democracy overseas as well.
>> colonel vindman, i asked you last time you were here if the bad guys were winning. it's clear they're gaining a whole lot of ground. my question for you is, can this be turned around? can you recapture a faith in democracy and can you recommit to it? >> i'm glad to be back with you and i would just be happy to sit here and let fiona talk. it's wonderful to hear her speak on these issues. but i think the question is, can we afford to not recapture our democracy and make this country a beacon again? what happens if the u.s. isn't here? who steps in and fills that vacuum? we know already who that is. that would be russia and china, and we already see the backsliding of the foothold that democracy gained in the late 20th century, the reversals that we have seen reported on, 15 consecutive years of decline in democracy, and we see the
results of that. greater instability. more flash points, greater probability for some serious conflagration that could potentially put the humanity on the brink. we know climate change is one of those things that we have to deal with and if the u.s. is not there to lead, i really am deeply concerned about the future of the world. but all that does is add some urgency. it adds to this notion that we're on the precipice, and we really need to recapture what makes america unique, what makes america great, and i think the political parties are missing it. certainly one of them is completely off the reservation, and there's a complacency even in the democratic party that thinks that there's an opportunity to return to business as usual instead of focusing on the fundamentals, and that's what we need to do. we need to focus on the
fundamentals right now. >> yeah, i mean, dr. hill, i wanted to ask you about that. i'm from california so i'm going to use sort of extreme weather analogies here. it seems that losing your democracy is not the big one, the big earthquakes. it is more like erosion, you know, you lose a little bit and you see that every year, the edge of the freeway is a little closer to the edge of highway 1 going off there into the pacific. and i wonder if you think the fact that it happens slowly, but it is clearly -- it is clearly in the dna of the body politic of the republican party to restrict access to the right to vote, predicated on a lie that there was fraud in 2020, that has been debunked by republican after republican after republican. there is an effort to overturn reproductive freedoms that are -- have been affirmed by the court, were viewed as settled law by the sitting current justices. there is an anti-democratic embrace against freedoms of the press.
there is an embrace of violence against politicians based on policy differences. how do you capture the damage that's happening in slow motion but every single day and draw attention to it that inspires that urgent action? >> well, nicolle, you've really laid it all out there and i really like your analogy of the erosion of the coastline there, and of course, you know, if you were thinking of that wonderful highway that runs along the california coast, of course it did get blocked off by a major landslide at different points as well. it's kind of subject to fires and floods and all kinds of other, as you say, major climate events and that's a really great analogy for what's happening right now to our democracy. and really, we're all basically the victims here or the prisoners of other people's political parties and games. because we actually see in all kinds of other polling that most americans have interest in the
issues that are quite common. we all want to see certain things done. if you start to kind of pull apart all of the different elements of democracy, all of our different freedoms, there's still a great deal of support for them. just people have lost their faith in the actual system to work. it's not just the gridlock on capitol hill. but just this whole idea that we have representatives that are, you know, basically faithfully putting forward all of our different views and we've got all bogged down in these culture and identity battles that are making us lose sight of being americans, which is fundamentally, you know, what we are. and i think that what we're going to need is action taken by, you know, people across the country in other settings. the media is going to have to step up. we've lost a lot of voices from local media because of the shift on the internet and advertising. local papers have disappeared. the kind of local news that people used to refer to has gone, particularly in the print realm. we've lost our sense of our communities.
there's been the nationalization of local government as well, national level debates are being pulled down into school boards, you name it. we need to have a grassroots action. we need to get everybody into motion again to reclaim our own voices and to kind of mobilize and work together and remember that we're americans first and foremost, not these different identity or affinity groups. >> but what do you do, dr. hill, when those local fights are being run by at least on the right, the school board fights are being populated by the far-right disinformation? so in some ways, the grassroots is as toxic on the right in american politics as what you see in washington. >> well, look, it doesn't have to be. there was all kinds of other community groups that are doing entirely different things. there's groups that are engaged in sport. i would actually encourage people to look at a group that i've been getting affiliated with in portland, maine, who are getting a whole community action around squash for kids in school and their families and they're taking this national and they're
actually showing that people from all kinds of different backgrounds, socioeconomic, political, you name it, can come together and work on a shared endeavor. there's so many examples like this across the country. we're seeing new forms of grassroots labor activism emerge outside of unions and outside of the conventional ways of doing things because people are getting fed up. and actually, when you look at it, an awful lot of people don't like this partisan, toxic framing of issues. they want to get on and get things done. we saw that during covid. i think we can mobilize. we can have public-private partnerships for this, and i think we can look at communities and other examples of ways of people getting together to show that there is a different way of doing things. >> colonel vindman, the view of the members of the january 6th select committee, the republicans who sit on it, congresswoman liz cheney and congressman adam kinzinger and all the democrats who sit on it including its chairman, is that you can't get beyond it
until you go through it and that january 6th was a deadly insurrection, an attack on the seat of government. you said you could listen to dr. hill talk so i will read from dr. hill's january 11th piece that lays out the areas of the government that donald trump infected in sort of softening the ground for his coup attempt. she writes about the military, the march through lafayette square with trump testing the military, seeing how far they would go. general milley, obviously, apologized for his role in that but he was seen there in combat fatigues. communications. donald trump's sort of standing up almost a right-wing media echo chamber that goes way beyond in terms of disinformation and extreme nature of its content, way beyond fox news. the judiciary. donald trump just calling the justices on the supreme court and federal appointees his judges, my judges, and then the purging of the cabinet. we tried here to spend time trying to figure out who
anonymous was talking about, and he said they were for the 25th amendment, and whipping votes to try to get rid of donald trump. but he really hollowed out the cabinet. most everyone was acting. how do you, you know, this administration is trying to build back the country, but how do you build back those institutions that we maybe took for granted before donald trump? >> well, i think we have a -- we could maybe gauge a two to four-year reprieve while president biden has his office until 2024. it's quite possible the house and senate might revert back to a republican control by 2022, so it's a really small window in which to effect change, in which to legislate in a way that hardens our democracy, returns some power to the legislative branch that is there to check executive power, and also to
uncover the really nefarious coup attempt that failed but all those -- the players that participated in it and hold them accountable. so it's -- we really fail to realize how little time we have to effect change, how little time we have in order to make sure that the next time this is -- there's an attempt to do this, which there very well might be, there's a template and an effective template by president trump, but there's a template. next time that we're -- that government is more resilient to deal with this. we talk about resilience in foreign governments. we talk about resilience to russian attacks and chinese information operations, all these things. we need to build resilience for our democracy against the erosion of our democracy and that's something that i think this administration really needs to focus on for the next 14 months, 15 months. >> and it's clear that you feel
time is of the essence, which is chilling in and of itself. dr. fiona hill and retired army lieutenant alexander vindman, thank you very much for spending some time with us. coming up, emmy award winning actor jeff daniels speaking out on what he too sees as the crisis threatening american democracy. and he is not holding back. plus a very special extended sitdown with huma abedin, known for being hillary clinton's confidante and the ex-wife to a disgraced former congressman. she's opening up on anthony weiner's sexting scandal next. my auntie called me. she said uncle's had a heart attack. i needed him to be here. your heart isn't just yours. protect it with bayer aspirin. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
he's known the world over for playing giants on the large and small screen, leaders like jim comey and will mcavoy, famous for using their voices to speak up for what they believe is right. and just like his characters, jeff daniels is now speaking out on the decline of civility in a divided america. i spoke to him this year as america remembered the tragedy of september 11th. 20 years later, here's part of my conversation with jeff daniels. >> you were never shy about speaking out about where you're from and what trump wrought there. talk about what you see when you see people looking back to the most horrific day in modern history, 9/11, and missing some of the unity that resulted. >> right after 9/11, in the days after, i remember a moment when
we were one. we weren't democrats, we weren't republicans, we were americans. we had been attacked. one nation under god, indivisible. there was a moment. and then it didn't last very long, and then it went away, and we started to divide, and there was another moment, particularly for the republican party, after romney lost to obama, and claire would know better than i, but reince priebus said, we need to open the tent and he got the doors slammed in his face. there were the days of tip o'neill, ronald reagan, took a couple of drinks into the room, shut the door, came out with a deal. boehner and obama were talking about a grand bargain and then boehner got his leash jerked and he took it and went right out of congress.
i think it's up to the republican party, you know, republican party that i grew up in that house. my dad was a republican. my mom was a republican. i guess in the old sense, you know? and they're there. they're still there. i agree with your previous guest who was saying that, you know, voting rights is the death knell for them, but for the republican party. i've had a prominent historian tell me in the run-up to the 2016 election, the historian said it's the end of the republican party. which, for me, you know, started when they tried to get sarah palin through a heartbeat away from the presidency. they've just been off the rails, and i think out in the midwest, where i live, in michigan, we're not stupid.
we know b.s. when we see it. and i think at least the people i'm around, and yes, there are those who are very pro-trump and flying the flags and still, you know, singing the songs, but there are a lot of people who are just over it. and they just want somebody to tell them the truth. like in mccomb county, this swing county in michigan. you know, they were reagan democrats or biden republicans, and trump came through michigan in 2016 and promised these guys, these men and women of all races that we're going to get your job -- i'm going to get you job back, that specific job that you lost, i'm going to get it back. and he didn't do it. they voted for him. he didn't do it. he lied to them. and they don't like being lied to. so, michigan went biden. you know? they're just looking for somebody, a democrat, a republican, anybody who will tell them the truth. and make this world a better place for their kids and their
grandkids. i don't know if party unity is possible, but i think 60/40 is. i think if some of the republicans start looking at the polls and go, hm, maybe i should stand up to him. maybe now is the time. and i would hope that there would be people that could do that, you know? in the next year or so, and that there would be a change, that we could get the guardrails of the rule of law and a compromise and nobody gets everything they want, democrats or republicans, and everybody has got to compromise and you come out with a deal and the country is better for it. that's what a democracy is. democracy is a tool for people who disagree to stay in the room and get a deal. >> we got to -- yeah. i'm just going to say, first of all, to make sure you and i are always good, you know i played a hand in sarah palin being foisted upon this country. >> you were in the room. you were in the room. >> i was in the room.
but your point about democracy, you know, one thing the anniversary afforded us was the opportunity to talk about the men and women on flight 93 that before they charged the cockpit, they held a vote. so, even in what may have been their final moment on this earth, the values of a democracy were dear to them, important enough that they weren't going to do it unless everybody was for it. what do we do now to move back toward thinking about doing something that might cost you your life to spare another tower from being flown into? what are the things that we can salvage going forward? >> i think one of the things that we can do is recognize that there's a new america. there are people in this country who do not want that to come. and it's a lot of it's based on white people now being in the minority. they want white minority rule in a country where the majority is
supposed to carry the day. and those -- there are people that -- i think if we get in the same room again and we're able to do that, then maybe -- maybe we can, you know, come to an agreement on something. i don't know. it's hard right now. i don't think we need another tragedy to come together. i think we need some people to understand that maybe this new america will be better. maybe an all-inclusive america will be truly the best and the brightest. you know, aaron sorkin wrote that speech in "newsroom" that will mcavoy delivered at northwestern. it's going to outlive me and aaron. people go, it's the speech about, it's not the greatest country in the world and yeah, that's how it starts. the second half of that speech is, yeah, but it could be. and it's going to take work. it's going to take compromise. it's going to be taking -- take people to sit in the same room
and listen to each other instead of yell at each other. people need to put their phones down and stop reading things that only they agree with. all of that stuff matters. we don't have time for any of this with climate change, with covid killing, what, almost 700,000 people now. we don't have time for this. and this is really -- the adults need to get in the room and get back into congress and get back into the white house and lead this country like we want them to lead us, take us to tomorrow. take us to this new america that's going to be better for all of us. i think it's a great moment in history and i hope we're all able to see it through in a positive way. >> you can catch jeff daniels' new show, "american rust" on showtime. up next for us, a very special one-on-one interview with huma abedin.
this fall, we were lucky enough to have a chance to sit down with a woman who has seen it all, huma abedin, who for decades has been hillary clinton's right hand but who might be better known for her husband, anthony weiner's, sexting scandal, one that destroyed her marriage and ultimately upended hillary clinton's presidential campaign. in our extended one-on-one conversation, huma abedin opened up like we have never seen her before. getting personal about the scandal that shattered her life as she knew it. >> i was eight weeks pregnant. i was a newlywed. i was deeply in love with my husband. he was the first man i was ever with, the first man i ever loved, my first valentine's date, and you know, it was a big decision to decide to marry a public person. i knew that came, you know, with
advantages but also disadvantages, as you well know, as somebody who's lived out in the world for a lot of your adult life. but it was perfect. i mean, i opened the chapter with waking up in buckingham palace and writing a letter to my husband. >> beautiful. >> saying, we have to be grateful to god that we've been blessed with so much and then a week later -- >> on that stationery that's like this thick, right? >> on that beautiful blue stationery. it felt like i was in a dream. and to have this secret, carrying this child, i had, you know, i wasn't considered an older mother at the time, even though i was 36, which i don't believe is an older mother, but anyway, i was -- so i was nervous, but i was also excited and then four days later, to get this earth-shattering news that, you know, his twitter had been hacked and then it turned out to be true that he had sent -- he had been exchanging these inappropriate messages with people online. >> there's a really raw scene where he admits the truth to you. will you tell us that story?
>> it was days after he had told me, morning after morning, he hadn't sent it and we'd gone away to a friend's house for the weekend and he'd seemed not himself the last couple days and i couldn't figure it out. i was so sure he was right. i didn't know anybody at the time who had been hacked like the idea of being hacked. i know maybe now it seems like much more common place but in 2011, it just seemed like this shocking news, and as we were -- >> pre-2016 election, right? >> pre-2016 election, so much of what happened in those days predates what happened in 2016. and i remember we were getting ready to leave and he has our bags by the door, and he looked at me and said, it's true. i sent it. and it all just sort of poured out of him, and he immediately wanted to drive back to the city and come clean to the world because i think the line was sort of eating him up inside, and that was it. i recount the scene of walking outside and just basically looking at, you know, at this
backyard, at this pond, and thinking, what is happening to my life? i was in such shock. i didn't even know what was happening. >> you write about -- he goes to therapy in houston, in texas, and you go with him. you write about sort of being in and out of sort of acute scandal. you continue to work. your state department colleagues are somewhere between pretending it didn't happen to being completely supportive, is that accurate? is that the right range? >> exactly right. >> having worked in government, that is sort of the emotional capacity we discover, either i will support my colleague by pretending it didn't happen. or sort of being there for her. but you're really in and out of scandal for the duration of your pregnancy. what was that like? >> there were two chapters in the book, one called elephant in the room and the other is shame, shame, go away, and i did -- we did go to texas for therapy right away, and i wasn't somebody who understood the
benefits of therapy, and that's one of the reasons why i write about that entire process. and in part, because at the time, i thought it was this juvenile -- i mean, outrageous thing, but also behavior that's easily manageable. i had no -- i actually found my notes from that trip which is what i included in the book. i didn't understand. it just didn't make any sense. but simultaneously, as you know, the outside world, i think, also couldn't figure out how to, you know, deal with us, and to some extent, it did feel like we were in a bunker together. like there was so much shame that comes from being in this situation. i don't think i'm the only woman who's ever gone through what i went through. i just had to do it on the front page of the paper. and so with that shame, this isolation, this not knowing where you were welcome. i tell the story in the book about volunteering at a food bank and then being asked, you know, not to return. that does something to you. it really takes something out of you. >> i have one of these sections,
because i think, like i said, i read this with, like, just on the -- on your wi-fi. i don't know if it was because i went through motherhood on the exact same calendar but i pulled this out. this is about sort of being uninvited from a destination weekend. you write this. "a day before we were to leave, i received an apologetic email from the hostess saying another couple had asked her to tell me they would not attend if we did. the couple could not appear as though they were condoning immoral behavior. i read the words over and over until they started to blur. then i heard from the couple directly. as much as they wanted to be supportive of me, they couldn't be in a room with anthony." what's so clear is that you and anthony are jordan's family unit, and every effort, regardless of where the scandal was on the richter scale, you maintained that unit. why? how? >> well, i did it mostly for my child in that moment. it is -- it's visceral. i think any mother can relate. the minute i knew there was life growing inside of me, i wanted
to protect it. i wanted everything possible to make the world okay that he came into, that maybe i wasn't okay and maybe i wasn't going to be okay, and gosh, nicolle, as i sit here, i mean, there were many moments i was not okay, but god, was i going to do everything to make his life okay. and so, i do write about this in the book and i also now have the hindsight, the benefit of hindsight, which it would have been a terrible way to end. they were all right. i mean, people loved me. and some people, which i feel blessed that i was loved that way, but some people, you know, so much of it is -- it goes back to this notion of empathy. some people just don't understand and if you don't understand, there are women who come to me today and say, i just will never understand this behavior. anthony's behavior. and i look back at them and say, you're lucky. if you have been untouched, you are lucky. it's why that letter my friend wrote to me in 2011, i write about returning from that trip,
you know, getting ready to go to texas, and a friend writing me a letter saying, do not blame yourself. one day, your life is changed forever, and one day, you will move past this. after all this sadness has been heaped upon you, but you will be a changed person. even i didn't understand it. >> the full interview is streaming on demand for msnbc's the choice on peacock, but when we come back, more from our sitdown with huma about the bombshell jim comey dropped on the clinton campaign days before the 2016 election.
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we're back with more from our one-on-one interview with huma abedin streaming on msnbc's the choice on peacock. huma opening up on the moment then fbi director jim comey may have changed the course of history with his october 28th, 2016, announcement that he was reopening the clinton email investigation because of messages discovered on her husband, anthony weiner's, laptop. here's more from huma abedin. >> well, the word "shock" doesn't do justice to that feeling. as i write in the book, at that point, it felt selfish to feel anything. it was such an earth-shattering piece of information for me, and i write about -- there's actually a picture. it didn't make it into the book of jennifer palmieri and i telling hillary as she was about to walk on this stage that this -- something about a letter and something about anthony, and you know, the biggest surprise
was the unprecedented nature of this announcement. i mean, here we are 11 days before an election. there are other investigations going on that did not become public. i had cooperated in this investigation. it's why i write the scene in the book when the campaign began, i'm sitting in a conference room with hillary and seeing articles saying, senior staff from the state department had been asked to provide information. no one had contacted me. so i marched down the hall. i'm that person. i marched down the hall and say -- >> confessional. >> can i help? can i provide information? so, that was the part that was so shocking and surprising. if somebody had contacted me or anthony or any of us which said, we found this, can we look through it, the answer would have been, absolutely. and when you're in an election, you know this, when you're in an election, that close, every little thing counts. and this was a huge thing, and then for two days before the election to say, you know what, never mind, we've looked through it and there's nothing to see here. they're all duplicates.
it was such an earth-shattering -- of course i blame myself and i felt reporters blamed me or some reporters blamed me, and i carry that very heavily. i didn't understand why they had to do that. and to the point that you just made about hillary and things now, that she said in 2016, that people thought, oh, she's so crazy, how can she be suggesting there's an intervention from another country? how could she be suggesting that facebook is manipulating -- >> crazy democrats. >> what are they talking about? and now everything -- 100% of what she said -- >> charlie sykes and bill crystal literally sound like hillary clinton circa 2016. >> that's exactly right. so that was a very hard thing for me to reconcile. it took a lot of therapy for me to get to the other side. >> have you talked to jim comey since? >> i have never had a conversation with him, no. >> his sort of accounting, and i think his wife views a lot of it the same way you do, but his
accounting is that he thought hillary would certainly win and he thought if this came out after that the fbi would have no credibility. if you look at what happened to the fbi under donald trump, donald trump didn't think they had any credibility anyway. does that change or alter any of how you view him? >> you're telling me something, actually, i -- i was not aware of. i have had no, you know, interaction or even middle person communique. i actually haven't said this, and i didn't end up putting it in the book, but i write in the -- i do suggest in the book that i had to go, after the election, i had to go in and answer more questions, and i sat at that table and i just fell apart. i mean, they had to stop the interview. i just -- it was all i wanted to say, and in that particular instance, these very kind fbi agents are sitting across the table, and i just, you know, the
question of why, why, why, and i physically collapsed. no one's ever shared that story. they've, you know -- i appreciate that they honored that privacy, but i couldn't understand, nicolle. i just couldn't. and now, to know the what ifs, you know, i write in the book that hillary and i are different in that i live in the world of sliding doors. i constantly do the, what if you ran in 2004? what if you didn't vote for the war in iraq? and she's constantly in the, we have to be focused on the future. she doesn't explore these conversations. but the what if about hillary clinton being president is something that lives with me every day, and when you asked, what? as many people who died from covid in this country, that would not have happened if hillary clinton was president. that deadline in afghanistan that people, you know, constantly blame joe biden for pulling us out, he was -- he didn't inherit a plan.
>> negotiated by mike pompeo and donald trump. >> thank you. he inherited a deadline negotiated by the previous administration that he then had to enforce. hillary clinton had been president, there would have been a plan, and we would not have left these afghan women. it just -- it wouldn't have happened. every day, i get up and there's something. >> i think that might be our generation that lives these sliding doors lives. >> i think so too. >> if i hadn't, you know, if i hadn't done this or that. i want to ask you about your future. do you still believe in marriage? >> i don't know. that i do believe in marriage. i do think you can have a partner, and i mean, i would love to -- people are surprised that i acknowledge anthony at the end of the book. >> it's amazing, though. tell people what you say. he gave you two things. >> he gave me two things, but they're heartbreaking. he gave me two things. number one, he gave me my son, who is my reason for living. >> i get that. >> and he gave that to me, so how can i not be grateful to him for that? secondly, i know what it is to be loved, to feel loved, to feel like i'm the most special person in the room, and that is a gift,
so if you have that as a woman, as a human, as an individual, it's a very special thing, and it was brief, but i had it. >> but on the second one, and i -- i can't hear anyone talk about their child without crying. but on the second one, do you want that in a more durable, that in a more durable, long-lasting way again? do you want jordan to see mom in love? >> yes, i do. i am optimistic. i mean, i'm not saying i would never get married. you know, i would love it if i found the right partner. it can be lonely. i mean -- >> single motherhood is -- there are all sorts of challenges. >> i had the benefit of having a partner who was an equal partner. a lot of my girlfriends, you know, couldn't relate to me. they were like, what do you mean, you go home and anthony has food ready and the laundry done and your shoes fixed, and my spouse, my partner does not
do that. in many ways i had it really good in my marriage. and the others, it was beyond disastrous. and i was a single parent when anthony was away, when he was incarcerated for those 18 months. and it was really hard. i believe single parents are she-roes. now that anthony is back, he's back to being a full, you know, partner. that's how i'm out on this book door, the only way it's possible is my son has a dad who is really present. >> don't go anywhere, more with huma abedin is next. huma abedin is next. we've been married 53 years. we love to walk on the beach. i have two daughters and then two granddaughters. i noticed that memories were not there like they were when i was much younger. since taking prevagen, my memory has gotten better and it's like the puzzle pieces have all been [click] put together. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
in the wake of the devastating sex scandal that tore her family apart, here is more with huma abedin on what she tells her son about his father's infamy. what does your son know about what anthony did and his time in jail? he visited. you write you took him there. >> in that chapter with the lion's shame is something we teach our children not born of their authentic experiences. jordan has always been close to his father, he's still close to his father. he knows his parents are somewhat public. we've consulted with therapists about how to talk to him at appropriate times. >> age-appropriate. >> age-appropriate conversations, we've had those with him. in fact the first time -- when he was 3 he asked us at dinner, mommy, why do strangers talk to you and daddy on the street, is
it because you work for them? i stopped for a moment and -- our children are so much smarter than we realize and they're soaking in everything. but when i told him i had a book coming out, the first thing he said was, mommy, does this mean those men are going to come back? >> photographers. >> yes. so he has some sort of understanding that mom and dad being out in the world is something public. but we've decided that our son is going to only know the truth from us. >> wow. >> yeah, we're going to have to -- he's going to need to learn some hard truths and with love and support he's going to be okay. we will be right back. ack. ♪♪it's a most unusual day♪♪ ♪♪feel like throwing my worries away♪♪ ♪♪as an old native-born californian would say♪♪ ♪♪it's a most unusual day♪♪ ♪♪it's a most unusual sky♪♪ ♪♪not a sign of a cloud passing by♪♪ ♪♪if my heart won't behave in the usual way♪♪ experience the power of sanctuary
hour special hour-long in-depth interview with huma abedin streaming on msnbc's the choice on peacock. thank you for letting us into your homes. we are grateful. we'll see you next time right here on msnbc. to let a former boeing consultant to be on the board is appalling to me. it is wrong to fail to protect our water source is wrong. >> thank you. >> hi, my name is melissa bumstead. i live in west hills. i'm the mom to started the change.org petition that has over 600,000 signatures. you're going to hear a lot today. we've got a lot of facts. we know the facts. we're all intelligent people here, but i think what is