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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  November 15, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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moment ago. we put up that main graphic again. talking about the fact this race was called by nbc news for the democrat jared golden defeating the congressman in maine's second district, it cruises ranked choice voting which means maine voters pick their first, second and third choices when they go to vote. and if neither candidate gets 50% on the first round of voting then what they do is go see who other people voted for. were there other people who voted for the green party candidate or libertarian candidate? who'd they pick second? those second choice votes then get retabulated for the top two contenders. it was that rank choice voting process which resulted ultimately in the democrat in that race unseating the republican incumbent. our graphic looks screwy because we all had the first round of voting on that. sorry. now it's time for the "last word" with lawrence o'donnell.
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>> and now i'm going to try to repeat that description of ranked voting thing that you just said. >> okay. >> i was listening and -- i'm going to have to replay it and listen again. >> they've always had a theory about it. i've always thought if they called it one, two, three voting we'd probably have it all over the country. you pick your first choice, if that person doesn't win, then you pick your second choice. and if neither candidate gets more than 50% you go through. it does away with spoiler candidacies. it totally makes sense. but when we put up a dumb graphic that doesn't show that complexity, it made it look wrong. >> my dear rachel, why weren't you an elementary schoolteacher when i needed you? i needed you teaching me math in
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sixth grade and seventh grade. >> in a way some of what we do on this job is kind of elementary school teaching adjacent in a way, sort of. >> kind of. it certainly just was right there. thank you, rachel. >> thank you, lawrence. well, it has been reported everywhere now that president trump has been in an increasingly wickedly bad mood since the democrats won the house of representatives on election night, and that means tonight he should be in a much worse mood than last night because the democrats have won again. the very last republican member of the house of representatives in new england lost his seat as rachel was just saying to the democrat in maine. state legislator jared golden is now the 37th democrat to flip a republican house seat. there are still six house races that have not been called. the associated press has called one of those races tonight in california for the democrats. nbc news has not yet made that call. unnamed white house staffers and other republican sources are telling anyone and everyone with
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a notebook that the election results and the mueller investigation have driven donald trump absolutely nuts. quotes to that affect have been appearing everywhere from the los angeles times to "the new york times" to "the washington post," politico. so, of course, the president had to begin his twitter day today by accusing someone else of going absolutely nuts. in his first attack tweet of the day the president said the inner workings of the mueller investigation are a total mess. they have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. on tuesday night at this hour we reported that the president and his lawyers were working on written answers to some questions from robert mueller. they've actually had these written questions for months, but they are cramming to do their homework at the last minute.
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and that means that we had every right to expect a crazed twitter attack on robert mueller, whenever the president took a break from his homework assignment of answering robert mueller's written questions. today was that day. the president delivered four attack tweets against robert mueller without one word of truth or sanity in any of them. historians will use them as a window into the deeply perverted mind of the president of the united states. msnbc's nicole wallace reports that a source close to the president told her today that, quote, his mind is the worst it has been since the campaign and that among the west wing staff there is a near universal sense of foreboding. politico quotes, that the trump white house is quote preparing for the worst. you can see it in trump's body language. all week long there is something troubling him.
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it's not just a couple of staff screw ups with melania. it led me to believe the walls are closing in and they've been notified by the counsel of action. folks are preparing for the worst. a deep anxiety is about to set in and that any number of trump allies and family members may soon be staring down the barrel of an indictment. "the new york times" reports that the president has spent the last three days in private meetings with his lawyers, something barack obama never had to do. given what we know about the president's attention span, it would taken enormous pressure to keep him in those meetings over a three-day period. it has been a week in which the public developments in the mueller investigation would be enough to worry the white house. what the mueller investigation is doing secretly is usually much more threatening than what
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we are able to see publicly. but what we did see publicly earlier this week is we saw the president's former personal lawyer michael cohen, in washington, d.c. on his way to meet with robert mueller's team. robert mueller again pushed back the sentencing of former campaign official rick gates because he is still cooperating on, quote, several ongoing investigations. and we saw two days of jerome corsey, a friend of roger stone's predicting in online video he will be indicted by the special prosecutor for perjury. the attorney general followed justice department rules and reaccused himself from overseeing robert mueller's investigation of the president. president trump has been very public about this reasoning for well over a year. donald trump is so relentlessly ignorant about history or ethics or norms or what integrity looks like that he actually has no
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idea that he was not supposed to ever say publicly i want to fire my attorney general because he's not protecting me from an investigation. but now that he's done that, there is not yet any evidence that the person he installed to control the mueller investigation is actually controlling the mueller investigation. republican senator lindsey graham will be the chairman for the senate judiciary in january with direct oversight and so today he met with matthew whitaker who donald trump illegally installed as a so-called acting attorney general. and after the meeting senator graham said this. as to the mueller investigation, i am confident that it is not in jeopardy. there's no reason to fire him. i asked him, do you have any reason to fire mr. mueller. he said he has zero reason to believe anything is being done
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wrong with the mueller investigation. now, big if. if what lindsey graham is saying is true, that had to be even worse news today for donald trump than losing another house seat in maine because as of today according to lindsey graham, matthew whitaker doesn't believe anything is being done wrong with the mueller investigation. that would logically mean that matthew whitaker as of today has no intention and has no right or reason to fire robert mueller and no intention of limiting the investigation in any way. leading off our discussion now lisa graves former chief counsel for nominations for democrats, deputy assistant attorney general in the justice department. matthew miller, msnbc contributor. and jill wine-banks, the former assistant watergate special
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prosecutor and msnbc legal contributor. and there's a big if here, but if lindsey graham is telling the truth, which i think is the biggest if i've used in a long time, that's a very good report of his conversation with matthew whitaker today. >> it would be very encouraging to anyone who cares about justice but very discouraging to donald trump and could certainly explain his foul mood today if he thinks he's not being protected by the man he put in to protect him. then he would be very upset. and i would be very upset if i were him, too, if i had done something that was illegal and it didn't pay off. so he has every reason to now feel like he should be issuing all the phony tweets that he issued, all the lies that he told today. >> lisa graves, you know lindsey graham, you worked with him on the senate judiciary committee. what's your reaction to what we heard today? >> it's surprising especially
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what we know mr. mitt kr has said in the past and what we know from trump's own tweets about why he wanted to put someone new in at the justice department. i'm not sure if lindsey graham is telling the truth here. i'm going to hope that he is, and i would hope that whitaker would know that lying to him to his face would be at his peril. but i think it's hard to tell given what we know about trump's intent, which trump made clear in terms of his efforts to try to obstruct and end this investigation that surrounds him. >> matt miller, if there was some interference going on already with the special prosecutor's investigation, would you expect to hear something? would there be some kind of leaked reaction to that? some kind of public resignation? rod rosenstein -- some signal from rod rosenstein? what do you think would be the first indicator that something -- that matthew whitaker's interfering?
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>> i think it would depend on the level of interference. if say malthue whitaker was willing to do something that was a complete inappropriate interference. let's say there were indictments returned under seal and ordered with no cause at all, i think you would see resignations over that. if it's more subtle i think there would be those types of mass protests. i think you'll see the president respond to the fact he's more confident he has someone who will block mueller from taking aggressive steps right away in answers to these questions. i think you're right, lawrence. i think the act of having to sit down and answer those questions is likely to get under the president's skin. but i bet what we're going to find is he actually isn't in any real jeopardy because he looks at these questions differently. they know they can blow questions off. they don't have to answer some
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of them, because the leverage the special counsel has to enforce compliance has now been taken away. >> matthew whitaker is surrounded all day every day by experienced fbi agents, experienced prosecutors at the highest levels of the justice department. all of whom have reason to treat him like a potential criminal suspect on an obstruction of justice case, based on his own public comments before he ever was installed in this position. i would assume that they were all at the end of the conversation with him going back to their desks and writing james comey style notes of everything he has ever said to them. i can't imagine that he is sitting in there not knowing that and that wouldn't be extremely inhibiting for him no matter what he thought he might be willing to do before he sat in that office. >> i think you are right on target. and he is someone who really needs to recuse himself.
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we haven't heard yet what the ethics advice he's getting is. but he is not only conflicted because of his prejudgment of the evidence and not only because he said that the investigation is a hoax and witch hunt, but because he himself may be a witness. aside from his relationship to sam clovis, he's been meeting with people in the west wing. he's been possibly meeting with the president. he's been possibly meeting with white house counsel. he possibly has been giving information to the white house that he has gathered as the assistant, as the chief of staff to the attorney general. and that makes him a witness as well as a potential target for obstruction himself. so he is really conflicted. and he's also conflicted because he is the subject possibly of an investigation about the company he's been on the board of that's been accused of scamming people out of a lot of money.
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so there's no reason why he shouldn't feel that every word he speaks is being monitored and recorded. and that should inhibit him. but people forget about that. i mean in the same way that nixon forgot he was taping himself and that he should be careful what he was saying in the oval office, he went right ahead and said things like go ahead and pay a million dollars, i know where we could get it. so you do think people forget these things and they just go ahead and say what they want. >> criminals surprise you. jeff flake has now blocked possible confirmations in the senate judiciary committee because mitch mcconnell is not giving him a vote on the so-called protect mueller bill that has bipartisan support and was passed by the judiciary committee. it's ready on the floor to be voted on. let's listen to what chuck grassly, chairman of the judiciary committee, said about that today. >> what do you make of senator flake saying he's going to vote against judicial nominees?
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>> since that bill came out of committee i think it's legitimate that the bill be brought up. i don't think it's going to do any good or any harm. and if it satisfies me if it became law because i voted for it. >> lisa graves, it sounds like chuck grassly would just as soon get the jeff flake problem solved by having a vote in the senate on this protect mueller bill. >> that's right. that's interesting given how much protection grassley gave to trump over the kavanaugh nomination. here you him singing a different tune and saying that bill should get a vote. i really hope jeff flake exercises his power to deny consent to those judges until there's a vote on this measure. i'm glad to see that there are some republicans as well as democrats standing together to say this thing needs a vote and be enforced in order to protect the integrity of this
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investigation. because really what's at stake here is whether the president is above the law, basically going to be allowed to act like a king or we're going to enforce the rule of law. and the senate holds in its power the power to affect that. >> and he also said today he'd be ready to vote for the bill on the senate floor because he voted for it in committee. but grassly said an interesting thing in the middle of that quote where he said i don't think it'll do any good or any harm. and one reason why it might not do any good is the bill still allows for the firing of robert mueller. it just establishes an appeals process where robert mueller could appeal that action. >> yeah, that's exactly right. and another reason this is an easy thing for chuck grassy to say even if the senate were to take this bill and pass it, there's no way the house is going to take this bill if it's under republican control which it is for the next month and a half. bringing up the bill, pushing it
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through, even if it doesn't make it into law, there's utility in this effort just as there is with jerry nadler telling matt whitaker he's looking over his shoulder and he's going subpoena and investigate the way he was appointed and whether he interferes with the mueller investigation. all of these things are inhibiting in the same way the culture at doj with the compliance of rule of law and compliance with norms and whitaker knowing people are watching him. knowing people are on hill are watching has that same affect. you don't have a way to remove him from that job, so we have the attack on the constitutionality, calls for recusal. we're looking at ways to try to cobble together different solutions when in reality the kind of entire political system is failing us to some extent when the president feels he has the leeway to make an out of bounds appointment in the first place. >> and once again when asked a question today about the whitaker situation donald trump
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has robert mueller on the brain. he was asked about his thinking about the attorney general position, meaning have you thought of who you actually want to nominate to be the next attorney general given that matthew whitaker is just the so-called acting attorney general. the daily caller in a softball interview they said, could you tell us where your thinking is kurmtly on the attorney general position, and donald trump immediately says whitaker is just somebody who's very respected. i knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with jeff sessions. and, you know, look, as far as i'm concerned, this is an investigation that should not have never been brought. it should have never been had. it's something that should have never been brought. it's an illegal investigation. and jill wine-banks, no one
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asked him about the investigation. but as soon as you mention attorney general, as soon as you mention his thinking about attorney general, he's thinking about the mueller investigation and saying it's an illegal investigation that never should have been brought. >> exactly. well, first of all, me thinks thou doust protest too much, donald trump, and it's time to stop blaming everyone else. i'm sure you're tired of hearing it's a witch hunt, a hoax and there's no collusion. these are things simply not true. we know how many indictments have been brought, we know what's going on, and it's time for him to stop blaming hillary. i don't want to hear him say her name again. >> i'm sorry, jill. you're going to hear him say her name again. i'm sorry. >> i guess so, but i don't like it. >> jill wine-banks, lisa graves, matt miller, thank you for starting us off tonight.
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and when we come back we'll have more of the president's lies about the mueller investigation. and the democratic house of ren representatives is going to have to decide which, and nbc news has new reporting on the president's attempts to help saudi arabia. and zack walls will join us. long time viewers of this program will remember zack in his first appearance here in 2011 when he was 19 and he was speaking out for his two mothers'right to marry each other.
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[ phone rings ] what?! ready for christmas? no, it's way too early to be annoyed by christmas. you just need some holiday spirit! that's it! this feud just went mobile. with xfinity xfi you get the best wifi experience at home.
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and with xfinity mobile, you get the best wireless coverage for your phone.'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. when the democrats take control of the house of representatives they will have to decide which committee will investigate president trump's dealings with saudi arabia especially in the aftermath of the murder of jamal khashoggi by the saudi government inside the saudi consulate in turkey. including a close aide to the saudi crown prince who has said that he never acts without the crown prince's direct approval,
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but the sanctions did not include the crown prince mohamed bin salman. nbc news in important reporting today found that the trump administration developed a plan to help the saudi crown prince by doing a very big and very illegal favor for turkey's president. the white house reportedly asked the justice department to figure out how to legally expel from the united states an opponent of the turkish president and send him back to turkey? he has a legally obtained green card, the same permanent resident status that melania trump had in the united states before she became a citizen.
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he has lived legally in pennsylvania for 20 years. the trump white house has been trying to find a way to help send him back to turkey where he would surely be imprisoned and possibly put to death after some kind of show trial. the white house wanted to send him to turkey even though the justice department found he had broken no laws in turkey, no turkish laws. the white house had been trying to find a way to face charges of helping to organize a coup against president erdogan. quote, trump administration officials then asked for other options to legally remove him. a senior u.s. official involved in the process described the reaction among career officials at the justice department say, quote, at first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious.
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joining us now is former ambassador robert jordan, former u.s. ambassador to saudi arabia from 2001 to 2003 in the bush administration. he is the author of "desert diplomat." your reaction to nbc news reporting to what the trump white house seemed to be trying to do with the justice department. >> lawrence, this is horrendous story. it's almost mind-boggling that this administration would try to extradite or send back to turkey someone who's been living here for 20 years peacefully in the small town of pennsylvania, and against whom there is no credible evidence that he's committed any crime particularly a crime that would be considered a crime within the united states, which is part of our extradition law and judicial interpretations. i think it's really important
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for us to take note of this. this guy should not be become a bargaining chip in some game, some monopoly game that this administration is playing with the saudis or with turkey. >> and michael flynn was very interested in trying to accomplish the same thing for turkey since he's cooperating with the special prosecutor, he may have told robert mueller after pleading guilty e, he may have given him more information about what exactly the whole history is of this. chuck schumer said this tonight. i hope this story isn't true. it was a bad idea when general flynn proposed it and still a bad idea. u.s. residents should not be used as pawns to appease foreign leaders who flout the rule of law. i think we can be sure that donald trump will not be confirming that or probably just stay completely out of this story. talk about the tensions that
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exist or you experienced as ambassador to saudi arabia. the saudi versus turkey tensions that you see at play in this story. >> well, let's remember that turkey is not really an ally of the united states, even though they're a member of nato. they have frustrated us at many turns including when we were planning to invade iraq in 2003. they refused to allow the fourth infantry division to come through turkey into northern iraq. they're proposing to purchase the russian s-400 missile defense system which is designed to shoot down our f-35s. at the same time they're trying to buy f-35s from us. so let's remember they are not our ally and there's no u.s. national interest at stake here, unless there's an ulterior motive. and that ulterior motive may be to curry favor with the saudis in the khashoggi affair. and if so i think that's behavior that needs to be condemned. we have got to find a way to
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deal with the saudis. i found this after 9/11, it's very difficult to deal with a regime that gives no credence at all to rights, religious rights and human freedom. and at the same time you have to find a way to cower together some relationship. this really goes beyond the pale when you have essentially a rogue regime now or at least rogue actors within saudi arabia which could include the crown prince, somehow manipulating this administration into somehow making this new figure a trading chip in some really black, awful kind of a devil's bargain here. >> ambassador, it sounds like in order to help the saudis after their murder assassination of a
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dissident, they want to help turkey possibly do exactly the same thing through a more formal legal process and kill one of their dissidents. that seems to be the trade that the trump administration has been trying to broker. >> he would certainly be a great risk of his life and certainly his freedom if he were sent back to turkey. and again what's the evidence that suggests he should be sent there? there's really nothing that we know of. two years ago the administration looked at this, they decided not to extradite him. anything else that they try to cobble together to figure out a lame excuse to remove him i think would be a green light to dictators and authoritarians all over the world, if you've got someone within the united states you want back, just make a deal with donald trump. that is not what america stands for. >> ambassador jordan, thank you
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very much for joining us tonight. >> thank, lawrence. when we come back the first draft of history of the trump presidency that every future historian of the trump era will depend on. that's next.
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daniel dale is writing a first draft of history. he is the washington reporter who is keeping an invaluable record of donald trump's lying. all future historians of the trump presidency will be reading daniel dale's work. daniel dale's meticulous record of trump lies shows us that
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during the campaign season trump did the impossible or at least what many of us would have thought was impossible. donald trump actually increased his lying. daniel dale of the toronto star who has tirelessly fact checked every single trump lie reports that in the month leading up to the mid-term elections donald trump made 815 false claims. that's the same amount of lying told in his first 286 days in the presidency. daniel dale reports that, quote, trump made 664 false claims in october. that was double his previous record for a calender month, 320 in august. trump averaged 26.3 false claims per day in the month leading up to the mid-term election on november 6th. in 2017 he averaged 2.9 per day.
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donald trump made more false claims in the two months leading up to the mid-terms 1,176, than he did in all of the previous year, all of 2017, 1,111. the three most dishonest single days of the donald trump presidency were the three days leading up to the election. 74 on election eve november 5th. 58 on november 3rd, and 54 on november 4th. but the lying didn't work. the democrats won back the house of representatives, which means that special counsel robert mueller has at least the house of representatives supporting his investigation, and so of course today donald trump resumed his relentless lying on twitter about the mueller investigation. joining our discussion now is
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first draft of history historian daniel dale, washington bureau chief at the toronto star and matt miller is back with us. i know you're not normally introduced as a historian, but that's the way i'm looking at your work. i know it's going to be an invaluable asset. what did the numbers tell us? a lot of us read the words of the tweet, and i take all sorts of interpretations about the state of the president's mind and the collapse of the president's mind and what he's trying to accomplish with a tweet when i look at the words of the tweet. but you're looking at something else. you're looking at the size of the whole lying system. what do the numbers tell us? >> i took a few things from this period. one i think that the sheer frequency tells us that the president and his team knew that he could not win this election campaigning honestly. it turns out he couldn't win it even campaigning dishonestly but he knew he couldn't do it telling the truth.
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trump's lying is often him going off script, him ad-libbing, deviating from his prepared text. this was a strategic decision to lie as a campaign strategy. i think it was also interesting what he was lying about. of these 815 in the 31 days leading up to the mid-terms 201 of them had to do with the immigration. these were massive -- massive fabrications. this was him saying democrats are going to abolish the borders. democrats are going to let illegal immigrants vote in this election. he was making stuff up to scare his base and it turned out it didn't work. >> you mentioned a lot of this was written to the text. i noticed that at several points where i saw oh, he's reading the teleprompter right now and the lies are in the teleprompter, and that wasn't as common in the past as it is now.
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matt miller, what does it tell you in terms of where we're going and especially with this new concentration on the lies are now focusing -- now that the election is over, they're focusing on robert mueller? >> i think there have been two political strategies since day one. one has been the constant attacks on minority groups, immigrants. and the second has been the attempt to delegitimize any independent arbiter of the truth. you see that with the attacks on the media and the justice department. he has to convince you in the case of the mueller investigation, he knows that actions people have taken that were close to him are illegal. he knows peejs his own actions to obstruct justice are illegal, and he knows what the end game looks like. he knows that mueller is most likely going to produce a report. and he has to try to delegitimize the special counsel on day one.
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i saw private polling as recently as today showing that while his attacks do some work, vast majorities of the american people want the special counsel to be able to finish his investigation. they're deeply suspicious of trump's attacks on the justice department including his appointment of matthew whitaker, and they want to see a report at the end of it. i do think there's a strategy of his. >> here is one of daniel's tweets today, and it says one more stat here. here are the top four topics of trump's false claims during his wildly dishonest month leading up to the mid-terms, more or less what i'd have guessed. democrats 214, immigration, 201. economy, 127, health care, 113. and daniel, there's so many fascinating elements of this including 127 lies about the economy when the economy is doing very well.
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when the truth is actually a good story to tell. >> yes. and i think that speaks of the fact that republicans realize that this election was not the economy's stupid election. this initially was supposedly going to be the election of the trump tax cuts. that's what was going to carry republicans to victory and then maintaining strong economic growth. i think what trump and his team realized was that opinions of the president's own conduct, behavior and actions superceded any economic growth people were seeing. he had to exaggerate and he had to embellish and he had to lie about that, too. >> it does seem that the tweets especially the attack tweets and the robert mueller tweets today are indicative of what's on the president's mind and what he thinks his job is today.
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"the washington post" has some reporting today about where that stands in terms of answering the written questions for robert mueller. and "the washington post" reports there are at least two dozen questions all of which relate to activities and episodes before trump's election. according to rudy giuliani and others briefed on the question wshz there are some that create more issues for us than others, giuliani said. he said some were unnecessary, some were possible traps and we might consider some as irrelevant. matthew mill, your reaction to giuliani's view of the question. most attorneys would come out and say, look, we're happy to cooperate and answer all of the questions. we think our client did nothing wrong. and then he tells you oh, there are some of these questions that present legal problems for us. that is i think an unusual legal public relations strategy.
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i do think at the end they're going to look at this question and answer exercise and going to pick and choose. some they're going to answer, some they're going to choose not to answer because they probably think a subpoena is coming and they're going to largely i think blow this thing off. >> daniel dale, thank you for the work you do. someone had to do it, and it turned out to be you. and matt miller, thank you as always for joining us. really appreciate it. and when we come back zack wahls will be back after an electrifying statement he made to the iowa legislator when he was a teenager in support of his mothers' right to marry each other. he is now iowa state senator elect zack wahls. one of the hundreds of democratic winners of state legislative seats around the country. zack wahls will join us. country.
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time for tonight's winner. on election night we didn't have time to hear from all of the big winners. some of the biggest winners for the democrats happened at the state level where democrats flipped more than 300 state legislative seats. one of election day's winners was zack wahls who won a seat in the iowa senate's 37th district after defeating his libertarian opponent by 57 points. yes, 57 points. zack wahls was 19 years old in 2011 when he made his first appearance here on the "last word" after a video went viral
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in which he argued in favor of his parents' right to marry. >> you were telling iowaens that some among you were second class citizens who do not have the right to marry the person you love. so will this vote affect my family? would it affect yours? in my 19 years not once have i ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that i was raised by a gay couple. you know why? because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero affect on the content of my character. thank you very much. >> after a quick break, tonight's winner iowa state senator elect zack wahls will join us. i am a family man.
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i am a techie dad. i believe the best technology should feel effortless. like magic. at comcast, it's my job to develop, apps and tools
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that simplify your experience. my name is mike, i'm in product development at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. i'm running for this seat because i will never forget how it feels to be excluded and how hard we had to work to get a seat at the table. i'm running for this seat to fight for your family the same way that i fought for mine. >> joining us now, tonight's winner iowa state senator elect zach walls. zach, congratulations. and welcome back to the to show. and when did you decide to run? >> a pretty incredible story. i think like a lot of people, after the 2016 election, i found myself wondering what could i do to try and turn our country around.
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last year i got a phone call from a mentor and my former u.s. history teacher who told me that there was going to be a state senate seat opening up where i live and that he was thinking about running, but he was leaning towards not running and that he thought that i should take a look at running. and when i had the opportunity to run, i knew that i had a responsibility to try and do my part. and like so many young people, i know you mentioned a moment ago hundreds of seats across the country have flipped in state legislatures, and over 150 young people have been a mart of that. i just knew that i had to do something and i had to do my parts. >> all right. let's listen to zach wahls 2011 right here on this show. let's listen to this. >> you're 19. you're two years away, two years away from being legally eligible to run for the house of representatives in iowa. any thoughts of doing that?
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>> you know, lawrence, i'm an engineering student at the university of iowa. i'm planning ongoing into engineering. you know, it's of course not to say there aren't some public policy things i'd like to see accomplished. personally no, no plans yet. >> typical politician. i have no interest in running. typical politician there sitting with your mothers. so -- >> yeah. >> what happened? >> well, you know, i think if i recall correctly, we spoke i think on a thursday or friday night literally dozens of hours after i had given the speech. i had the opportunity over the next several years -- some of your viewers may remember i actually appeared on this show talking about my campaign to end discrimination in the boy scouts of america as co-founder and executive director of scouts for equality. and along the way i started to really get an understanding of the impact that i could have as a potential -- as an advocate
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and as somebody who would be able to, i think, make a difference in politics. and so the 2016 election was definitely, i think like it was for a lot of people, a flash point where i started to think about it much more seriously. at that point i was studying public policy in graduate school and i knew that i wanted to work around politics or in policy in some capacity. but it wasn't until i had the opportunity to run for my own state senate seat back home. and i saw what was happening right here in iowa where, in fact, iowa had the largest swing from reelecting president obama in 2012 to supporting president trump in 2016. that was a 16-point swing from 12 to 16 and i knew the republican agenda that was being enacted wasn't in step with the values that represented our state. and so when i got that phone call from my former high school history teacher, i knew that i had to say yes. >> zach wahls making me feel old. the kids are growing up too
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fast. >> we're trying to save the world, lawrence. >> this is a lot for me to process. zach wahls, congratulations, state senator zach wahls. thank you for joining us. >> thanks, lawrence. >> tonight's last word is next.
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time for tonight's last word. >> the former first lady also referencing the current one, and how when they met after the 2016 election, obama told melania trump she's just a phone call away. >> has she reached out to you for help? >> no, she hasn't. >> michelle obama gets tonight's last word. and that word is no.
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"the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. the worst it's been since the 2016 campaign. meanwhile, a late indication tonight from the feds that something may be coming. we will show you the late legal filing and go through what it might mean. and a manual recount ordered tonight in the mess that is the florida senate race. it's a job big enough for steve kornacki at the big board as ob "the 11th hour" gets underway on a thursday night. and good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 665 of the trump administration. the president has unloaded a new barrage of attacks on special counsel robert mueller, attacks on mueller from this president aren't new, but today's were a