tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC November 8, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PST
i can't imagine what they're going through right now. when a hearst carrying his body to the medical examiner's when a hearse carrying his body to the medical examiner's office, every local television station in los angeles had a camera following the hearst. and californians occupied every overpass of the 101 freeway in a salute to a fallen hero. sergeant ron helus was 54 years old. "the 11th hour" with brip williams is next. >> tonight the new acting attorney general whitaker with no plans to recuse himself from the mueller investigation, having already voiced his opinion of it, having already argued there was no collusion with russia, and that's not all. meanwhile, some folks took to the streets tonight in support of robert mueller. the questions now are any members of the senate willing to
protect mueller, and is anything about to emerge from the investigation following an election season of quiet time? >> and new vote totals still coming in tonight in critical races, and others perhaps headed for a recount. we will update you on where things stand as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a thursday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 658 of the trump administration, and there are brand-new results coming in from a number of undecided elections around the country. don't forget, we have 11 house races not called. these numbers include the new number of seats the democrats have now won in the house. we'll have the latest on all of that still ahead. tonight, however, protesters have been marching in cities across this country, calling for the protection of special counsel robert mueller and his russia investigation. a number of the protesters also object, of course, to the naming of matthew whitaker as our
acting attorney general. a move they see as an effort to stop the russia investigation. as that unfolds, a new a.p. report out tonight says the white house is bracing for the mueller investigation to come roaring back, to accelerate and make its way back into the public consciousness. quote, trump's advisors are privately expressing worries that the special counsel who has been out of the news for the past month has been stealthfully compiling information and could soon issue new indictments or a damning final report. that brings us to the man who is now overseeing the special counsel inquiry, that would be acting attorney general matt whitaker. here he is saying good-bye to the old boss last night at d.o.j. he is now officially in charge of the justice department, hand picked by trump to replace jeff sessions. whitaker is known as a vocal critic of mueller's inquiry, but tonight we are learning even more about his views from interviews that are just now surfacing, interviews he gave long before joining the justice department. >> let's assume the president
asked him to stop investigating flynn. that doesn't rise to the level of obstruction of justice and it doesn't sound to me based on what's been reported that jim comey, as he sat there, believed that the president was telling him to stop the investigation. the truth is there was no collusion with the russians in the trump campaign. there was interference by the russians into the election, but that is not the collusion with the campaign. that's where the left seems to be just combining those two issues. >> none of that has been proven, of course. that and other comments caught the attention of democrats on the house judiciary committee today. they sent whitaker a letter asking that he take himself out, recuse himself from the investigation. washington post reports that's unlikely. quote, whitaker has no intention of recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe of the russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people close to him who added, they do not believe he would approve any subpoena of president trump as part of that investigation.
tonight, house democrats are already preparing for battle. nbc news reports leader nancy pelosi has already been talking with judiciary committee ranking member, the head democrat there, jerry nadler of new york and other key ranking committee members about confronting the white house over whitaker's appoint the while protecting the special counsel. nadler who becomes committee chair come january raised his concerns. >> the president is creating a constitutional crisis that is a moment of peril for our country. we think it is very important the president be put on notice that he is not above the law. >> more on this whole notion of a constitutional crisis a bit later on in our broadcast as well. the white house is not backing down from any of this, as you might imagine. it appears ready to support whitaker despite calls for him to step aside. >> we had an attorney general who was recused from it. we now don't have an acting attorney general who is recused from it. nobody wants to prolong it. we have done everything that we have been asked to do.
i don't know why he'd be recused. >> but there are objections to this matt whitaker coming from other corners, including but not limited to kellyanne conway's own household. her husband george conway and former obama acting solicitor general neal katyal are editors of a "new york times" op-ed that said whitaker is unconstitutional. these are two high wattage washington lawyers. they write, quote, so-called principal officers of the united states must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate under its advice and consent powers. mr. trump's installation of matthew whitaker as acting attorney general of the united states after forcing the resignation of jeff sessions is unconstitutional. it's illegal. and it means that anything mr. whitaker does or tries to do in that position is invalid. neal katyal says trump's action demonstrate a clear disregard
for our constitution. >> here what you have is president trump reaching into the bowels of the justice department and appointing essentially a constitutional nobody. when you look at what the president did yesterday, it stimpgs to high stinks to high heaven. >> trump still has to find and appoint a permanent attorney general. today former new jersey governor chris christie and lindsey graham both met with the president. both are reported to be possible candidates for the job. graham contends he's focusing on supporting trump in his search for a new a.g. >> i talked pretty good at length with the president about the attorney general selection. he deserves someone that he trusts, that he has confidence in, but the american people also have to have confidence in this person and they have to get through the senate. i'm going to stand by this president's ability to make a selection of his choosing. >> with that, let's bring in our leadoff panel on a thursday night. john heilman, msnbc national
affairs analyst, veteran journalist, co-author of "game change and washington circus. barbara mcquade, eastern district of michigan. counselor, i'd like to begin with you. as a d.o.j. veteran, how troubling is it to you to have this man appointed who has, by the evidence, just looking at it, just listening to it, kind of prejudged large portions of this russia investigation? >> yeah, brian, it isn't even just what he has said, which is very troubling on its face. but when you look at the unusual nature of his appointment, that suggests to me some concern as well. president trump has repeatedly said that he was very unhappy with jeff sessions for recusing himself. that seems to be his original sin that caused him to lose his job yesterday. and so instead of going the normal route of having the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein step in and replace him, instead he hand picked matt whitaker, someone sort of
unknown, to come in and do this under the vacancy's reform act. somewhat obscure provision to replace him. some argue an unconstitutional provision. i don't know whether it is or it isn't, but it suggests to me that president trump very much wants that person he's always wanted as attorney general, his roy cohn, someone who is going to protect him. >> kim, i want to listen together to elijah cummings, a very serious voice, a senior member from maryland poised to become chairman of the oversight committee. we'll talk about it on the other side. >> he had already judged this situation, rachel, before he even knew the facts. i'm shocked that he has not already recused himself. most lawyers in this situation would voluntarily say, you know what? i don't want to even have the appearance of a conflict. >> that was the congressman tonight with rachel maddow. kim, how ugly does this get?
>> it could get pretty ugly. i mean, it's a complex set of problems with this appointment, and one is the constitutional issue that you pointed out, which is an open question. you have the issue of whether the president had the statutory authority to appoint him when there was a deputy attorney general in place. but i think the most important issue is this one, this political issue, that it seems pretty clear that the president decided to put someone who he wanted in charge of this investigation. that's precisely what just about every rule in the justice department, every ruling by the supreme court and other courts, the idea of that is exactly what it's guarding against. this is not supposed to be a role where someone answers directly to the president when they have essentially acted on behalf of the president as a spokesperson for the president, almost as the president's attorney, all this time leading up to this appointment. this is why we have senate
confirmation of attorneys general and other cabinet positions. and while in an emergency, you can put someone in in an interim capacity, that's not meant when you already have a deputy in place. what should have happened is rod rosenstein should have moved up to this role until there was somebody else who was senate confirmed to take it over because rosenstein himself was senate confirmed. but the politics of this is pretty clear. the president has been pretty transparent in his objectives here. >> so, john, the left got very frothy with hope during kavanaugh when the flake/koons partnership was born in the u.s. senate, jeff flake about to depart the institution. it went nowhere. kavanaugh's on the supreme court. there are further fever dreams tonight that the departing republicans would perhaps change their party affiliation to independent, making the majority leader chuck schumer for the few
legislative days left, passing, in effect, the protection of robert mueller act. the question to you is, is there enough republican support? is there any to cross the aisle and cast a vote for good government and process and protect mueller? >> well, brian, you said fever dreams. i think that's an apt description of what people are thinking now in certain quarters. not just fever dreams, but fever dreams fueled by heavy duty narcotics and hallucinogens. the reality is it is the case that koons and flake are bringing forward that legislation. they would like to see it. they've been behind it for a while. they'd like to see it taken up in this period. there is a theory in the world in which the departing senators, people like corker and people like flake are free now of political pressure and the
need, and political equities and the need to think about their political futures so there ever, they'll act with courage. i haven't seen any evidence of that in the course of the last two years even after some of those people had made it clear they weren't coming back to the upper chamber. and the reality is that flake would like to see this legislation passed. in general, if you are now departing the body, what you are looking forward to is a lucrative job in the world of lobbying, most likely coming out of the u.s. senate, and for those people they have not any political equities to worry about any more, but they have financial equities to worry about. they have been loath to take hard votes and do hard things that oppose donald trump when they were in office. i can't see any reason to be hopeful they will take hard votes in these closing days, in this lame duck period. >> barbara, neal katyal makes a very convincing argue that this is all unconstitutional. he told a story at 8:00 on this network, if i have this right,
he argued a case yesterday that may have been named pennsylvania versus sessions. by the time he got out of court, there was no sessions. and part of what he's arguing is the a.g. becomes a name sake title on cases like this. when the a.g. is not senate confirmed, all it's going to take are some really crafty lawyers and federal judges out there, maybe they're representing death penalty cases, maybe they're representing big civil cases, to realize that whitaker is not confirmed by the senate and not valid. >> yeah, he wrote a very interesting op-ed with george conway, as you mentioned earlier, that talks about the idea that the appointments clause of the constitution says that the president may appoint, but the senate must confirm anyone who heads an agency, like the attorney general at the department of justice. and there was someone in place under the ordinary department of justice succession statute, as we said before, that person would be rod rosenstein who would act in that temporary
capacity until a new attorney general can be appointed. and the difference there is that rod rosenstein is a senate confirmed appointee. having gone through that process when he was appointed back at the beginning of 2017. and so to have someone in that role now who is not senate confirmed removes that check and balance that we have written into our constitution to protect us against abuse of power by the president. i don't know that the argument is clear-cut. there could certainly be exceptions for temporary vacancies. this statute puts a limit of 210 days on it, but i think it is certainly a valid argument and one we might see argued in the courts. >> kim, some people say all of you guys are overlooking this word "acing." they point to the presence of those two gentlemen at the white house today to prove that the west wing is, indeed, thinking long term, an actual attorney general confirmed by the u.s. senate. are you hearing any of that? >> look, i think right now i'm
not getting a sense of urgency to make a formal -- make a formal nomination of someone to replace jeff sessions. i think the president is very happy to have acting attorney general whitaker in that role as long as he could be there, particularly now that it looks like the mueller investigation is entering its final stages. to have him there to be a protector more or less. we don't know what someone else who comes in might do. i have questions as to whether one of the people, former governor chris christie who is being considered, he also worked in the trump campaign. i'm sure there will be calls for him to recuse himself from this, too. there might be problems there. i think that is a lot of uncertainty. i think right now he would love to keep whitaker in there as long as this -- the mueller investigation lasts. >> hey, john heilman, it does occur to us that tomorrow is a friday. >> yeah. >> tomorrow is the first friday following the midterms. and this has been a quiet time
for robert mueller, et al. when you put your head onto the railroad traction, something we don't recommend anyone do, do you think it's going to be an eventful friday or a boring friday? >> the president is planning >> the president is planning on going to paris tomorrow. you can argue that either way it augers for activity. the president won't be reachable. if something bad, something that would trouble people was about to happen, the president might prefer to be out of the country at that point or up in the air during that period. that's one point. it's also the case that, i don't know, i don't think i was alone in thinking that if the election, if this midterm election gave donald trump a sense of either fear or emboldenment, and i think he ended up with a little bit of both, he would move quickly to get rid of jeff sessions. we knew sessions was going to leave by the end of the year. a lot of people didn't think it would be literally 12 hours after the polls closed. i thought that was possible. the other thing that's been in my mind, that rod rosenstein,
were he still running the show, might be bringing forth or announcing some indictments. people that we've been hearing about that he seems to be near to indicting someone like roger stone, for instance, there's ing about ring about been some discussion an indictment of don junior trump might be coming. now i think there is a lot of question whether an indictment -- it's the case if there are indictments, that the grand jury already has under seal, it may be the case whitaker cannot stop those indictments from coming forward. it would take an extraordinary act for him to go through to go back to the court and try to undo those indictments if they are sitting out there. so, it's possible that even though whitaker can undermine the mueller investigation in various ways, that is obviously what donald trump wants him to do, it's also possible there are indictments out there under seal and is it possible we might see one of those or more of those tomorrow? i would not be surprised if we did. >> which is why we tell people to stay tuned, and it looks like heilman wins scrabble with emboldenment. john heilman, kimberly atkins,
barbara mcquade, our great thanks for starting off our broadcast tonight. coming up for us after our first break, a deeper look at what mueller may be preparing to do next from two of his former colleagues. and later, an update on the latest american tragedy, the latest staggering death toll in a mass shooting. this time in thousand oaks, california. "the 11th hour" just getting started on a thursday night. i'm alex trebek here to tell you about the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85 and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three p's. what are the three p's? the three p's of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price. a price you can afford, a price that can't increase, and a price that fits your budget. i'm 65 and take medications. what's my price? you can get coverage for $9.95 a month. i just turned 80. what's my price? $9.95 a month for you, too.
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that's it! this feud just went mobile. with xfinity xfi you get the best wifi experience at home. and with xfinity mobile, you get the best wireless coverage for your phone. ...you're about to find out! you don't even know where i live... hello! see the grinch in theaters by saying "get grinch tickets" into your xfinity x1 voice remote. a guy just dropped this off. he-he-he-he. with jeff sessions out and acting attorney general mark whitaker now overseeing the special counsel, we are getting new reporting tonight on where the mueller/russia investigation
may stand. politico reports that according to rudy giuliani -- and that would mean we're under a mandatory caveat warning -- trump and his attorneys are, quote, planning to meet next week to decide whether to submit any of their written responses to special counsel robert mueller about what trump might have known about russian hacking during the '16 campaign. giuliani added, the president's lawyers have prepped answers for trump to review, but have made no final decision about sending them on to mueller. politico goes on to report, quote, based on the questions mueller delivered to the president's lawyers, giuliani said he would be surprised if the special counsel wasn't already writing at least a final report dealing with topics related to the trump campaign and the russian hackers. we repeat, mandatory caveat warning. with us to talk about it all, frank figliuzzi, former
fbi assistant director for counter intelligence who in the past has worked for, among others, one robert mueller. and chuck rosenberg, a former senior fbi official, also a former u.s. attorney. so, frank, what do you think is happening with robert mueller behind the scenes? what tea leaves have you traditionally looked for that have steered you correctly in this investigation? >> well, i've got a theory, brian, and it's just a theory. but perhaps bob mueller has already indicated to us what he's going to do. and by that i mean it's possible that since mueller has given us indictment after indictment that tell us very detailed stories of what happened -- more detailed than you ever usually see in indictments of this nature -- perhaps that's a strategy. perhaps what we'll see is bob mueller telling us the story of a corrupt president through
indictments. and you say, well indictments of who? i think the whitaker appointment steps up the time line and i think perhaps if mueller sticks to the strategy of telling us the story through indictments, the indictments speak to us, that he'll speak to us soon, very soon, with additional indictments, perhaps that tell the story of a corrupt president. i'm not saying he's not going to go the route of filing a report. i think he will. i think that's pretty traditional, and he'll do that. but i think he'll choose what he's comfortable -- >> we appear to have lost the satellite connection between us and frank figliuzzi. do we still have chuck rosenberg on the line? we do, i'm told. chuck, please stand by. i'm going to read you as we try to effort getting our coms back with frank. let me read you this out of vanity fair. this just hit. in recent days, according to three sources, don junior has been telling friends he is worried about being indicted as early as this week.
one person close to don junior speculated that mueller could indict him for making false statements to congress and the fbi about whether he had told his father about the june 2016 trump tower meeting with russians to gather "dirt" on hillary clinton. i think that's what you lawyers call legal exposure, chuck. >> that's legal exposure, brian. and, by the way, i don't think frank figliuzzi, and i hope he rejoins us because he's a lot smarter than me or you or our friends, have ever spent a day in their lives telling their friends that they expected to be indicted. that's just a remarkable thing to say. what would prompt someone to say that, brian? well, i think it's rather simple. and like frank, i also have a theory. i would imagine that donald trump, jr.'s lawyer has been in constant contact with prosecutors. and so perhaps they have told him to expect this and he, of course, has told his client. whether or not that turns out to be true, we'll see.
but i can tell you, you don't tell your friends you're about to be indicted unless you know something is coming. it's more than a premonition. >> frank, you missed it. we said nothing but great things about you while you were gone electronically. >> sure. >> those of us who spend any time in corporate america or civil service are used to the phrase short timer. and you used affectionately the phrase in talking with one of our producers tonight about bob mueller, what did you mean? what context did you put that in? >> well, i think his days are numbered. i think this is a blatant attempt by the appointment of whitaker is a blatant attempt by the president to make mueller go away in the form of either removing him or greatly constraining his mandate, or funding. so mueller knows that. he's, you know, he's been there, done that. he's prepared for this. that's why when we had lost our satellite feed i was explaining i think he's ready to indict some folks. and through those indictments will tell the story of what he's
found against the president. i'm not saying he's indicting the president. i'm saying there's a middle ground where he tells us the story, locks it into the court system by indicting others. then files a report with whitaker. whitaker can look very partisan by refusing to release the report. congress can subpoena it. there can be this battle going on. but while that battle is going on, the indictments of others that tell us the story of trump are sitting in the court system. >> chuck, i'm not going to ask you to pass judgment on the appointment of mr. whitaker, who like you, is a former u.s. attorney. but i am going to ask you for a definition. we have already used this phrase "constitutional crisis" once on the broadcast and we're hearing it on a daily basis in this country now. for folks who may not have as much mileage on them as the three of us do, sharing a generation, define it, not whether this rises to it, but define what a constitutional crisis is, and do you know it when you see it? >> yeah, i think there is a
fairly narrow definition of a constitutional crisis properly told, brian and that sometimes it's used in a hyperbol lick way. a constitutional crisis, for instance -- and i forget which presidents were at issue. it might have been polk. i know people will check me on this. a constitutional crisis occurs let's say, when a president dies in office and you don't know whether his successor is the president or an acting president, meaning the constitution literally doesn't answer the question. there is no answer. and so i don't know that we're in a constitutional crisis defined that way. i think we are in an uncharted waters. i'm concerned about it. i think about what might happen every day to my beloved department of justice. i also have something that keeps me grounded, and i think frank will agree with this. the men and women of the fbi or the department of justice, the career prosecutors and agents are still doing their work.
and i've told you this before. that gives me great comfort. i hope that the gravitational pull of the department of justice is such that even matt whitaker sort of feels the weight of his new job, feels the gravity, if you will, of the new job. and that it moves him in the way it moves all of us in the department toward the norm, toward the rule of law. that's what gives me hope. i think describing it right now as a constitutional crisis is a bit hyperbolic. >> thank you for that last point. two of our most learned and experienced guests we get to call on from time to time. frank figliuzzi, chuck rosenberg. gentlemen, thank you, as always, for coming on with us. and coming up for us, with votes still being counted in several states, we will ask a prominent member of the house intelligence committee what the president can expect from the democratic party when we come back.
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tremendous volume. in florida, democratic incumbent bill nelson has moved within a half percent of governor rick scott. the narrow gap likely will trigger an automatic recount. earlier tonight, however, governor scott accused democratic county officials of working to swing the results against him. >> we've all seen the incompetence in vote tabulations in broad and palm beach for years. here we go again. i will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election from the great people of florida. >> and, oh, look, he's getting air support from the white house. just a while ago the president added this on twitter. law effective forcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with election fraud in broward and palm beach, florida, voted for rick scott. that's the president of the united states. the florida governor's race is now also within the margin for a recount. but because the democrat andrew gillum conceded, our network's
designation stands as apparent winner for ron desantis. in the state next door, republican brian kemp resigned today as georgia secretary of state conveniently declaring himself the winner of the state's race for governor. his opponent, however, the democrat stacey abrams, currently trails by about 60,000 votes, but her campaign says she's going to stay in this until every ballot is counted. meanwhile, the scope of the democrats' dominance in the house is still today coming into focus. just today, nbc news called democrats katie hill the apparent winner in california house 25. kim schrier washington state house 8 the an apparent winner. lucy mcbath, the apparent winner in georgia house 6. that was the seat ossoff tried but failed to win for the dems during the special election last year, the seat that had been held by republicans since 1979 when that young man, former house speaker newt gingrich, won it. 11 house seats remain undecided,
but here's the number that snuck up on people who went to bed on election night and haven't checked back in since. the democrats have already gained a net 30 seats in the house. another way of looking at it, 317 congressional districts swung toward the left on tuesday. well, joining us tonight, democratic congresswoman jackie spire of speier of california. her new book, undaunted, surviving jones town, summoning courage and fighting back is available now and we'll get to that in just a moment. but congresswoman, looking at the results, how do you think your party should play it, recognizing that parties have played a sudden accumulation of power wrongly in the past? >> well, first we have to have a very specific plan that we are going to execute on day one. we have been articulating it all through the campaign. that is, securing the affordable care act, securing protection for preexisting conditions, making sure that the
prescription drug benefits can be reduced in terms of the cost of prescription drugs, doing an infrastructure bill, and dealing with the corruption of this administration. those are our marching orders, and i expect that we are going to execute on them. >> you tweeted this yesterday about the departure of sessions. firing sessions and replacing him with a man who has repeatedly publicly talked about the ways the attorney general could shut down the special counsel's case, or as he calls it, the mueller lynch mob puts us firmly into constitutional crisis territory. whitaker must immediately recuse himself. my question is what if he's here to stay? what if there is absolutely no plan to move him? >> well, then the question becomes, to what extent is he going to try to reduce the mueller investigation by shutting down the budget, by trying to remove him, by tampering with the evidence? and that's when we need to step in and step in in a very forceful manner.
i also think that the special counsel is a very smart man, and he has anticipated all of these actions. i'm certain that the attorneys will go to court much like they did with the watergate situation when president nixon attempted to take all of the documentation and bring it under his control. they will go to the courts to make sure that that documentation, that evidence is held appropriately. so, there are steps that can be taken. there are steps that the house democrats can take to subpoena special counsel mueller if he is, in fact, removed from office. there is ways we can make sure there is proper funding. so i'm confident that even though mr. whitaker who is the now acting attorney general, may, in fact, be there under unconstitutional grounds because under article 2 section 2, as you pointed out earlier in your
show, really requires the advice and consent by the senate for any principal officer, and he is certainly a principal officer, being defined as someone who is only directly responsible to the president. >> our viewers may not know something about you, and i think i'm correct that you have the unusual distinction of having the most bullet wounds of any member of congress, and here's why. an event in our history, the year after i graduated from high school, 1978, called jonestown, its lasting effect in our culture, it left us with the phrase "drinking the kool-aid." but as more and more people come up behind the generation in charge now, fewer and fewer people know the story. it was a religious cult. you flew down as a young aide to congressman leo ryan, and right before the largest mass suicide in contemporary history, over 900 people drank poison kool-aid.
you went out to the airport. there was gunfire. there was a massacre. if i'm not mistaken, you were shot five times, waited 22 hours for medical attention. talk about the part of that that lives with you, because gun violence, for one, is in our news on a daily basis. >> well, gun violence is a scourge in this country. 12,000 deaths already this year, tens of thousands probably had have been injured and you have those scars with you, certainly both physically and mentally, the rest of your lives. so this book is really about how you take that kind of trauma and turn it into triumph, how you find ways of healing from the grieving. and it's my effort to try to talk to my kids and to young people throughout the country about how there are many low points and some high points in every life, and the importance of moving forward with grit,
with true grit. >> there is a memorial to the two nbc employees we lost in that massacre, no more than 50 yards from where i'm speaking here. so we have cause to think about that incident here every day. congresswoman, look forward to seeing your book. thank you so much for joining us on the air tonight. congresswoman jackie speier from the state of california. >> thank you, brian. >> coming up tonight, gridlock and grandstanding, how the trump white house is preparing for a democrat led house of representatives when we continue. democrat led house of representatives when we continue today is the day you're going to get motivated... get stronger... get closer. start listening today to the world's largest selection of audiobooks on audible. and now, get more. for just $14.95 a month, you'll get a credit a month good for any audiobook, plus two audible originals exclusive titles you can't find anywhere else. if you don't like a book, you can exchange it any time, no questions asked.
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well, it turns out the trump white house did see something of a blue wave coming. jonathan lemire of the associated press writes it this way. as polls showed for months that the democrats were likely to flip the house, covert work began in the west wing to t prepare for a new more contested chapter of the trump presidency, though no formal war room was established.blit t
senior aides convened meetings to map out the administration strategy for combatting newly emboldened democrats. trump himself at times took part in informal conversations about the future. we are fortunate to be joined by jonathan lemire, white house reporter for the associated press.nee, so, two things are -- well, one thing is true. the president enjoys having a foil, an enemy. but does he have a sense of how they're going to come at him? >> he's starting to. all our reporting suggests that he was slow to grasp what a inan threat this is to his presidency. but in recent weeks, last couple months, as the campaign really accelerated into the as homestretch, he started to recognize what it would mean if the democrats captured at least one houses of congress.at and, yes, there's no -- these talks, these preparations are going to pick up dramatically between now and january. the white house still has two months to prepare for the st democrats taking charge.r they are getting ready on a at couple different levels.th there will be at least a fe measured attempt for some bipartisan legislation.
it is certainly a poisonous relationship between the republicans and democrats, but they think whether it's opioidsl or criminal justice reform, hi there might be a few things where there can be agreement across the aisle.e beyond that, the president said in his news conference yesterday they are going to be on a war footing. they an advertise pay a flurry of subpoenas from the new democratically held house fl committees. the allies of the white house are going to try to hit back. they're going to do so by running the clock on investigations, stalling.go but more than that, they're going to vilify the democrats who come after them. as one senior said sutherland, they are going to make a chairman, nadler, cummings, household names for all the wrong reasons. they're going to go digging in their past, attack them, the president will attack them on
twitter sa sign them a derogatory nickname. they will try to fight back and point to the overreach of their own party, back in the late '90s when the republicans impeached bill clinton, but more than that, there was a real sense of government over reach and they're going to try to make that comparison again. >> i have to ask you about a fellow member of the press board, jim accosta from cnn. cnn has tried not to give this shiny object status beyond what it already has, but his hard pass was pulled. he can't get back on the white o house grounds because of what e y eady happened during the news conference, an intern was trying to wrestle the mic away from him. the press office put out a video that appears to be originally produced by an acolyte of info wars. the alex jones folks. "the new york times" and politico have done a slow-motion forensic study of this video that came out with the impromatur of the press secretary. here's the washington post version. on the left is real life as it happened, on the right for sharp-eyed viewers there are said to be a few frames that have been alter today make it
more of a downward karate chop motion on this intern. sarah huckabee sanders said he laid hands on her. what do you make of all of this? first of all, tweeting out video that appears to have been altered. >> right.ut certainly this president has vilified the media to a degree that none of his predecessors have. every president has complaints about the press coverage. no one has made press part of the story like donald trump has, as candidate and now the commander in chief. >> that's for sure. >> he has used the phrase "enemy of the people" and so on. there are many people who fear he's going to incite violence against members of the press. this moment here, it was a fast confrontation in the room obviously. there was some contact. the video here seems altered or doctored and that is obviously, of course, inappropriate. more than anything, the white te house correspondents mo association, the associated press believe any attempt to curtail press freedom is wrong. we oppose that.
we urge that the white house return jim accosta his card pass. >> all we say is other news organizations have done their forensic study of this video and have come to that conclusion. our thanks to fellow member of the white house press, jonathan lemire, associated press. coming up, the tragedy in thousand oaks, a dozen lives lost, a tragic pathetic sameness settles in across our land. that angle of this story when we come back. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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attended and survived the concert in las vegas. considering the definition of a mass shooting is four or more victims, there has been a mass shooting almost every day of 2018. after the president ordered flags at half staff today, someone said on social media, we can probably just leave them at half staff at this point. nbc's stephanie gosk has our report tonight on this tragic sameness in our american life. >> reporter: the scenes look and feel so familiar. the police run in while terrified students, concert goers, regular people run out. >> he was shooting everybody, and there was dead people everywhere. >> i was hoping that we could get out and looking for all of our friends. >> reporter: this year alone, parkland, santa fe, pittsburgh, and now thousand oaks. and that just skims the surface. there have been 307 mass shootings with four or more people shot. 328 people killed, and the year is not over. many americans woke up this morning and had the same thought.
oh, no, not again. because they knew what to expect. the phrases we use had become part of a grim lexicon. makeshift memorials, candle light individual ills, thoughts and prayers. for a moment we reflect on the victims. for their families, that moment lasts the rest of their lives. the challenge for the country is this. how do we not grow numb? some of the young people at the borderline bar and grill also survived the concert in las vegas. that fact alone should shatter this mass shooting routine. we may not agree on how to stop the gun violence, but we can't forget that we must. stephanie gosk, nbc news. >> and coming up, a big tradition in a small place that the rest of this country could do well to emulate when we come back.
last thing before we go tonight is a big hearted tradition in our second smallest state. in the state of delaware, this was return day. it has nothing to do with retailing, and everything to do with civics and a civil society. since about the start of the 1800s, people of all parties have made a tradition of flocking to georgetown, delaware, county seat in the most southern and most conservative delaware county. they parade through the streets. they eat and drink. businesses are closed for the day. and it's really a great-american political tradition. the results of the election are read aloud and the winning and losing candidates take part in the parade. while it's meant to celebrate the political process, this is politics, after all. so the losing candidates do have to sit backwards in the parade carriages that take them through town. that, along with some teasing, some light booing, and occasional scattered hissing is about as rough as it ever gets. they even bury the hatchet. meaning they bury an actual
hatchet in the sand every year to symbolize coming together. the local constable is there to make sure people don't overcelebrate, but worse than being rowdy or drunk in public, there is one unforgivable offense. you don't call it returns day. do not put an "s" on it. in delaware today was return day. and that is our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being here with us, and good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. tonight on "all in." >> it is not over. [applause]. >> the votes keep coming and the