tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC November 21, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST
happy thanksgiving. that wraps up this hour. coming up right now, more news with peter alexander. happy thanksgiving. thanks to everybody at home for joining us this thanksgiving eve. i'm in for halle johnson. new details about the president testing the limits of his power. a new report saying president trump wanted his administration to go after two political opponents. toying with ordering the justice department to prosecute james comey and hillary clinton. why that didn't happen and the west wing conversations about abuse of power as the president submits his questions for robert mueller. on capitol hill it's not over for ivanka trump. republicans turning up the heat over her use of personal e-mails. the information republican lawmakers want and the deadline that's now being set. fight night in mississippi. the matchup that's become
unpredictable. cindy hyde-smith apologizes in part for joking about public hangings but will it be enough to stop the damage to her campaign? >> i don't know what's in your heart but we all know what came out of your mouth. >> my comments were taken and twisted and used as a political weapon against me. we begin this morning with two big headlines out of washington. they are significant as we focus on them. one concerning the president calling for a special counsel and the other concerning president trump cooperating with one. the new york times out with that eye popping headline.wanted to department to prosecute comey and clinton. something don mcgahn told the president he had no authority to do. mr. mcgahn had white house lawyers write a memo for mr. trump warning if he asked law enforcement to investigate his
rivals, he could face a range of problems including impeachment. >> if i win, i'm going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation. >> it's just awfully good that someone with the temperament of donald trump is not in charge of the law in our country. >> because you'd be in jail. >> comey is leaker and he's a liar. not only on this stuff, he's been leaking for years. he is guilty of crimes. >> if i win, i am going to ask my attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to look into her crimes. >> special prosecutor. here we come. >> that brings us to another bit of news. the president and his legal team have submitted legal answers to questions from robert mueller
but only ones related to russian interference, pre-presidency. joining me is chuck rosenburg, senior fbi official and msnbc contributor. one of the times reporters who broke that story, michael schimdt and anna palmer. we have got a lot to do right here. we're glad that on the eve of this holiday we have you guys with us. let me start with you about your reporting as it relates to this not so much a threat but a desire for the president to order the prosecution's of these two. we heard what he threatened in the past. why is this different and this one so startling and alarming to many? >> he was having the discussion in private with his white house counsel. i think some people make it -- there's a difference between being on the campaign trail and saying things for red meat for his base. >> no doubt.
he was acting. >> in another way behind closed doors talking to the person who is spoked to be the liaison. the president had this conversation while he was under investigation for obstructing justice. clearly not deterred at all by that to walk up to the line, if not over it. >> you're right it's unclear if he read the memo that was presented to him. >> it's not clear if he reads a lot of what the would you say counsel's office produces for him. >> no doubt. he's backed away from that. this one raised alarm bells among his staffers. what are you hearing from them? >> what they were concerned about is if he were to -- he can't force the justice department to prosecute anyone. he can ask them to investigate different matters. if he were to do that, it would really blow back him on him because it could be seen as politically interfering with criminal investigations.
something that white house post-nixon have tried to avoid. if charges were brought for them, judges may be able to throw them out and if congress found out about this, they could target him. they could investigate him. they could even try to impeach him and ultimately the memo said they could -- the public could vote him out of office. >> this is what he said earlier today. >> if the president asked me to convey that order to the attorney general, i would have had a very candid conversation with the president as to why that would be inappropriate. >> are you scared this president sees it the way he does? >> my sense is this president says things that reflects frustration and maybe a bit of desperation, but nothing really comes of it. >> is that a sufficient explanation that maybe he's frustrated or reflects some
desperation but nothing becomes of it? at the end of the day this is question of intent. >> not a sufficient explanation. words matter and words from the president of the united states matter more than anyone else's words. by the way, mr. gonzalez is right, at least in the following regard. he served as attorney general and white house counsel and he knows how improper it is for that type of direction to go from the president to his justice department. it's fine for presidents to set policy. it's fine for the president to ask the department to carry out a certain initiative, safe streets, for instance. it's not fine, it's not nearly okay for the president to direct the prosecution of a particular individual. mike is precisely right. >> we heard from matt whittaker, the acting attorney general, someone the president praised
just yesterday. the question is since whittaker said he would have indicted hillary clinton, are the guardrails effectively gone now. don mcgahn is gone. you have a trump loyalist serving as the top law enforcement in the land. >> the guard rails are always under threat. the rule of law is a construct. it's not an absolute. it's not like the law of gravity. if the people who are tending to the rule of law, people who are tending to the guardrails don't take it seriously, it's always under threat. i wouldn't over index on what mr. whittaker may have said when hef he was a television analyst. while i think we know what we're talking about, we don't have all the facts. what he says as attorney general matters mump moch more. if he can put aside the views he formed as a pundit or as an analyst and do the job he took the oath to do, maybe the
guardrails hold. we got to wait and see. >> michael, let me ask you about robert mueller. yesterday marked a major milestone. the president about 18 months of complaining about it, turned over the written responses. they are pre-presidency. they don't deal with obstruction of justice. we have new reporting out. rudy giuliani said if they try to go further, we're just not going to cooperate. this is as far as we're willing to go. >> that's the real question is the other part of the mueller investigation, whether the president obstructed justice. the president's lawyers have taken position he does not have to answer those questions. mueller is looking into those matters and has -- needs to know or his investigators want to know whether the president had criminal intent when he took these different measures. was he trying to obstruct the russia investigation when he fired jim comey or asked him to
end the investigation. if you're doing that type of investigation, trying to figure out what were the president's intentions, you probably want to request question the president about that. mueller says i need to ask you these questions. they're going to say no and there could be a subpoena fight if mueller were able to get a subpoe subpoena. remember, under the remember construct with jeff sessions as the attorney general, rod rosenstein had the final say in whether to sign off or not. now if matt whittaker does not recuse himself, matt whittaker will have that final say. >> if joyou're adam schiff, wha are you thinking? >> i think you're sending letters. you want to preserve documents. you're going to want to investigate this. clearly an overreach from the white house, from the trump administration. there's a lot of people who say trump doesn't know how washington works. this is clearly beyond the
bounds. >> this is a very good example of why president trump should be taken literally and seriously. a lot of his critics says he says things he doesn't mean them. he has these instincts, some of them border on authoritarian. in this case the institutions seem to have hemmed him in. there's a pattern here where he is upset with people when they are part of institutions that are designed to be independent. jeff sessions was a good example of that. >> chuck, what should we be watching robert mueller to do next. you get a sense when they talk to the big fish, the president that this thing may be winding down. what does he do next? what should we be looking for? >> i think there's some more indictments to come. a couple of folks like roger stock market and jerome corsi are running around telling people they will be indicted.
that's a strange thing to walk up and start telling people. what bob mueller does ultimately is write a report. i imagine it will be as compelling as the indictments that his team has been filing in open court. i would be broke if i bet on what bob mueller would do next. like you i'm anxious to see it. >> we didn't get to is the president expressed disappointment with his fbi appointment, christopher wre yerwrey. >> upset with the fbi not moving more quickly and aggressively to investigate hillary clinton. >> have a great holiday. chuck, thank you very much. also this morning, president trump is saying thank you to saudi arabia for quote, oil prices getting lower saying it's quote like a big tax cut for america and the world.
our friend over at cnbc, he says not so fast. the price drop is actually the result of more global supply driven by american oil producers. all of this following the president's decision not to pun you shall saudi arabia for the brutal murder of jamal ka shhasi saying the alliance is too important. >> i have no business with saudi arabia. couldn't careless. >> top republicans in congress are pushing back on all of it. >> here is what i believe, saudi arabia needs us more than we need them. it's not too much to ask an ally not to butcher a guy in a consulate. >> we have a crown prince that i believe directed the killing of a journalist. i just, the language that was used. it was as if they were writing a press release for the saudi arabia, not for the united
states. >> my colleague at the white house, kelly o' donell traveling with the president in west palm beach. this is on the president's mind. we know he will try to hit a couple of golf balls. he is still keeping the focus on saudi arabia. >> reporter: that's right. the president is at his golf club now enjoying some of his holiday. he has been trying to give people who are especially his supporters reasons to understand his way of thinking when it comes to this because it is unusual you have such a bipartisan push back. the senators who are republicans, you played clips there. i'll add one more and say that rand paul sthays this is a saud arabia first policy, not an american first policy was well as democrats critical of the administration's position. the administration has sanctioned 17 individuals linked to the killing including so called hit squad. his position on the crown prince
has been a head turner for many people with an assessment from the cia that points to the crown prince ordering or directing this killing. the president saying maybe he did, maybe he didn't. the president has a history of a relationship of saudi arabia. so do other past presidents. the president in this context has really made it personal. he chose to visit saudi arabia first in 2017. the first foreign country he visited while in office. he's been talking about saudi arabia for a long time. we went back to the video vault and put together some clips from 2015 which shows you how the president thinks about saudi arabia. >> saudi arabia, i get along great with all of them. they buy apartments from me. they spend 40 million, 50 million. i like them very much. i love the saudis. many of them are in this building. >> they're very nice. i make a lot of money with them. they buy all sorts of my stuff.
all kinds of toys from trumps. may pay me millions and hundreds of millions. >> reporter: he boasted about so called trump toys in 2015. now as president, of course, he has sort of distanced himself from his business although he's not done what other presidents have done which would be to have a blind trust or to disinvest from his companies. now the president says no business with saudi arabia. it's mixed signals from the administration and from the president who has not wanted to offend the royal family while at the same time there are many in congress and there are some steps that congress could take to try to bring about additional sanctions to try to respond in perhaps a louder voice in o outrage over the death of jamal khashoggi which the president said it's terrible and shouldn't have happened but the president is not going further.
>> enjoy hour holiday. >> reporter: we're missing you. >> we'll see you next time. the committee that investigated hillary clinton's e-mail wants more information but this time they want it on ivank trump. trey gowdy says he's planning an investigation and he's not the only republican alerting the white house. what the lawmakers want and the chances they will get it is flexion. ♪nflexion. eflexion. flexion. tfle. . . . . . . . n . n . . r parts of her body. she's also taking prescription ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor, which is for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive her2- metastatic breast cancer as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole was significantly more effective at delaying disease progression versus letrozole.
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. it's no longer just house democrats demanding information on ivanka trump's use of personal e-mail account to conduct government business last year. the top republican on the house oversight committee sent a letter to the white house requesting a full accounting of exactly how many e-mails mrs. trump sent and received and on what subjects. the letter warns her e-mails may implicate the presidential records act and other security and recordkeeping requirements. the white house has two weeks to provide the material to meet a december 5th deadline. president trump is defending his daughter responding to my question on the south lawn before departing the white house tuesday. insisting this is different from hillary clinton's use of a personal e-mail account during her time as secretary of state. >> early on and for a little period of time ivanka did some e-mails. they weren't classified like
hillary clinton. i looked at it very briefly today and the presidential records, they're all in presidential records. there's no hiding. there was no deleting like hillary clinton did. there was no service in the basement like hillary clinton had. you talking about a whole different -- you talking about all fake news. >> we're joined by andy card, former white house chief of staff under george w. bush and msnbc political analyst. andy, i want to get to you off the top. this was the back and forth we had with the president where he acknowledged she did write e-mails from her personal account but then later he said it was fake news. no one accused her of using classified information. that information remains unclear. we don't know the answers to that right now. what do you make of the president's defense? >> first of all, i think she should comply with the law and be transparent in dealing with congress. she should make sure that
privileged communication that helps the president do his job, article 1 is congress. article 2 is the president. the president has the right to have privileged information but she should be transparent with congress and cooperate with congressman trey gowdy's investigation, respond to it. make sure lawyers look at it to make sure there's no privileged communication and obviously nothing classified. i think she should just get it done. i have a feeling she thought she was doing something okay but she wasn't. i bet also if her communication went to -- >> to be clear, how could she do something that was okay when she stood by her father through the course of the 2016 campaign when he repeatedly attacked hillary clinton for using private e-mail. she even acknowledges in some of the e-mails that we have seen publicly, we should be using a different e-mail. >> you're exactly right.
i understand that. it was a stupid thing to do. i hope she knows it was stupid. it was i don't thi it was wrong to do. come clean. do everything right. make sure the president's ability to do his job hasn't been compromised but get it done with and comply with the records act and meet the obligation to share whith congress. >> what were the ramifications have been if this was happening under your watch when you were serving? >> i would be not too happy and i'd say comply with the law. you have to comply with the law. if it was managsomething that w done where she knew she was breaking the law, there would be significant consequences. i don't think she gave it much thought. she never served in government before. >> rules still apply, right?
>> the rules still apply. you have to meet the obligations. >> the fact that trey gowdy is involved here, obviously the democrats are involved. trey gowdy saying we need answers in two weeks on this. >> he's leaving congress. he's free a bit more than the typical republican who will be serving under trump's administration right now. i do think it is critical that they are giving democrats some cover. they will investigate into this. this is something where donald trump, the president, on the campaign trail, hit hillary clinton over and over and over. >> lock her up. crooked hillary. they were all launched by this assault on hillary clinton. >> i think you'll see democrats think we have some red meat here. we're going to pounce on this. absolutely. i think the question really is what we don't know. what was the substance of those e-mails. >> we appreciate it. we hope you two will stick around with us.
southern hospitality is coming up after the break. right out the door in the mississippi race. the candidates getting into it last night over race and the controversial comments by the republican incumbent. cin cindy hyde-smith blaming her opponent about what she said about public hangings. nent aboud about public hangings. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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voerters in mississippi wil decide on tuesday whether they will send a democrat since 1982. mike espy, and republican senator cindy hyde-smith faced off. the two sparring over health care, president trump and race with hyde-smith joked about attending public hangings. >> for anyone that was offended by my comments, i certainly apologize. there was no ill will, no intent what so ever in my statements.
i also recognize that this comment was twisted and it was turned into a weapon to be used against me. a political weapon. >> no one twisted your comments because your comments were -- it came out of your mouth. it's given our state another black eye that we don't need. >> in mississippi the jackson free press reports that hyde-smith demanded audience and no outside press at that debate. give us the state of the race now. what is the reaction on the ground there in mississippi just days away from this potentially historic vote? >> reporter: good morning. we focus on those comments from hyde-smith about the public hanging because when you talk to the voters about the state over the last couple of days, that's
the issue that's come up and in this state with deep, dark history of lynchings and public hangings it's at the forefront of minds around the subject of race. the espy campaign, joe tripy is the senior strategist. doug jones is working on this campaign. they have to pull off about 25% of the white electorate here in this state which is largely republican voters. i want to bring in those here. we're up here in mississippi. you've got about, how many acres of land here? >> 18,000. >> you have pecan, cotton but you're also a republican. >> i'm absolutely a republican by nature. >> on tuesday. >> on tuesday i'm voting for mike espy. >> tell us why. >> i personally was around when mike was a congressman for sick yea -- six years. >> this was his district. >> this was his district. he took over from a republican who was worthless, in my
opinion, in my family's opinion. in his six -- he done us the kind of good that jim eastman's did. jamie whitman's. he was on that level. >> follow up to that, cindy hyde-smith made the comment about hangings. will mike espy pull off the white population. what do you think about the comments? >> i thought the excellents were very much out of line. i understand how in the heat of a campaign things can get said. i have certain things in my vocabulary that i try my hardest not to say but public hanging is not one of them. that's not anything i would have envisioned saying. >> are there going to be enough republicans like you to vote for mike espy? >> i've seen a lot of republicans who were die hard cindy smith people that over the last two weeks willing to talk
about mike espy and can't believe that she made those comments. they are scared to death of what she's going to say down the road. >> peter, with six days left in this race with thanksgiving, squeezed in here in the middle, it's going to be people like cliff that we'll be talking here to see whether a democrat here in mississippi much like doug jones in 2017, has a shot coming this run offe. peter. >> demonstrating that politics is local. thank you very much. joining me right here is naacp president is derek johnson who lived in mississippi for a couple decades, 20 years if i have it right. derek, let me ask you, we heard from the president on the south lawn yesterday. he's sort of dismissed these latest comments from cindy hyde-smith. take a listen. >> cindy hyde-smith is a spectacular woman. she's a great senator.
she came in, she's done a fantastic job in a short period of time. she made a statement, which i know she feels very badly about it. it was just sort of said in jest. >> he said it was said in jest. is that a sufficient explanation? >> it's completely insufficient. he set a tone across the political landscape that allowed for that level of racial tolerance to come directly out of white house. in mississippi we have a dark history as it relates to race relations. any candidate that runs for office should be sensitive to that history. for the state of mississippi to move beyond its history, we must promote a more inclusive, open minded political landscape so people can understand that in a democracy, all citizens should be treated equally and racial
tones such as the words spoken by cindy hyde-smith shouldn't be tolerated. >> just to make this point clear to our audience, let's put up this graphic. this shows you mississippi's rank at the top when it comes to a history of lynchings. 581 lynchings in mississippi. beating out georgia and texas there. we heard yesterday for the first time from hyde-smith in what is best cast as a limited apology where she was reading off of her notes and delivering that statement yesterday. do you accept the apology where she said she apologizes to anyone who was offended? >> you know, i think her apology was both insufficient but also calculated. the statements were calculated to appeal to the lowest common denominator of mississippi's
past. it's my belief she's trying to generate energy from a base of white voters who hold certain beliefs. over the last few weeks there's been several pictures to surface with her displaying con f ining hats and guns and celebrating that culture. in the state of mississippi many people really believe the south will rise again around the concept of white supremacy. we must move beyond that in order for this state to progress and be much more inclusive and productive state. >> we saw how president trump said after the midterms, remind you they lost 30 plus seats in the house, but gained seats in the senate. the president viewed it as a big victory and said for those candidates who supported me, they won. the president goes there on monday. is this enough to put her over the top? >> it may be. mississippi is about as tough as
it gets for a democratic. the last time a democratic senator there was 1982. >> worked in alabama. >> also to do better among white voters. doug jones won 30% of the white voter and that was enough to win him a narrow victory. that 70% of white americans who voted for roy moore. >> roy moore, cindy hyde-smith had one gaffe. roy moorehad repeated stories for weeks. >> derek johnson, we thank you very mump. hope to visit you again before today. >> thank you. new complaints filed against the man leading the justice department as many damaging headlines from matt whittaker coming out this morning.
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conflict of interest. it's based on newly released financial forms. since coming to washington four years ago, he's made more than a million dollars from a conservative non-profit group that will not disclose its donors. this comes as senate democrats have taken legal action arguing his appointment as acting ag requires senate confirmation. whittaker still enjoys the support of the president who told reporters before leaving yesterday that every one is telling him whittaker is doing a fantastic job. let's get right to pete williams. i thought we might here from him but basically said he's doing a fantastic job. i want to get to you the latest on the complaints and who is behind them. >> this is a group called american oversight. it's formed by a former obama state department lawyer named austin evers. it has to do with his campaign for the senate. matt whittaker's campaign for the senate in 2014.
he ran and lost and placed fourth in the primary. what the group says is two problems here they claim the government should look into it. it's the violation of the hatch act that says federal employees can't get involved many political activities. part of it restricts them from soliciting or accepting come pain contributions. the first of these complaints says that in january and february, there were four contributions to that 2014 political campaign totaling $8800. you might ask why would anyone contribute to a campaign that was four years ago. this was common if there's a debt and somebody is trying to retire the debt. that's the first thing they want to look in. secondly, they say his financial disclosure forms that were released by the justice department yesterday failed to account for a $50,000 loan that
mr. whittaker made to his own campaign. that should have been listed as an asset. they want the government to look into that as well. >> pete williams with some of the latest as it relates to matt whittaker. we're joined by washington post investigative reporter robert o'ha o'haro. bob, let me start with you. this is a ton of new reporting as it relates to matt whittaker's. this charity group for which he worked. give us an understanding about what we know about this group and what we're hearing where he was its only employee. >> it's fascinating tale. he came to washington after losing his senate bid in 2014. some how lands at this charity. the charity is interesting because it was started and approved by the irs well before his arrival under a different name with a different purpose.
it was inactive since he arrived. it's paid him well over a million dollars. >> in the past we know he was making $79,000 with a modest law practice he had in iowa. what is the suspicioissuesuspic? what is going on? >> it's a fascinating thing. we're pulling on this and it will take a while to get to the root of it. effectively it was a shell organization according to specialist we spoke with. it had no funding and when they changed its name and its purpose, an anonymous donor gave 600,000 to jump start it in 2014. since then has given a total of $3.4 million. >> they haven't clarified what the new mission was despite some inquiries to find out more detail about it. there are a lot of conservative groups like this that exist and
collaborate together and share a mission in that. >> the charity is called fact. it's part of a national network of non-profits that are not supposed to be engaged in politics but create this political ecosystem that's been strongly in favor of donald trump. they echo one another's messages. in this case, it's enriched acting attorney general whittaker to a degree he's never seen before. >> you said $1.2 million. what are the red flags that are raised by this reporting? >> there's so many red flags about wlit khittaker. he's got these reporting requirements and he's had to change them five times. there's real question about whether he's been violating the rules about briefing the president on the mueller investigation because when you look at timing of briefings and the president's tweets, there's a real question about that. there's nothing but red flags about this guy.
i think the biggest surprise we have is that trump hasn't taken care of this problem and appointed somebody else to fill the job and actually get the senate approve. looked like hef was going to do that but he didn't do anything. it's surprising he doesn't solve this problem. >> the bottom line was in 13 days there's been amended financial disclosure forms. you deal with financial disclosures. you know the way this works spp th . is that a red flag or just common place? >> what we do every year as federal prosecutors is we have to fill out this mountainous paper work. there's still come corrections that whittaker will have to make. he's had to correct his own
filing five times in 13 days. the reason we are so careful, i've never had to correct mine in the ten years i had to file them. the reason we're so careful is we need to make sure we're conflict free from every representation we make on behalf of the american people as federal prosecutors. i'll tell you, when we talk about red flags, the fact he had to correct them five times and looks like there's still some mistakes and this dark money that's being reported in his very recent background with this non-profit, these problems are very consequential. >> one of the key things is where did the money come from and what role it might have played in his being appointed to acting attorney general. >> just the 501c3s are supposed to be nonpolitical. he shouldn't have that status.
>> the president said is did he put him into place. the president described it as a stupid question. >> i think we know the answer. >> we appreciate you being here. coming up, what a difference a day makes. things are looking a whole lot better for nancy pelosi becoming speaker of the house. getting a backing from a former president. making the path to the speakership a bit easier but is her last battle over? that's the question posed in the cover piece of new york time's magazine. we'll speak to the author behind that, next.
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i think nancy pelosi when the history is written will go down as one of the most effective legislative leaders that this country's ever seen. >> former president barack obama getting comfortable with a little fresh praise for nancy pelosi who appears to be a step closer in her bid to become house speaker. that's because ohio congresswoman marcia fudge, the only democrat publicly considering a challenge has announced she is now supporting pelosi after pelosi agreed to reinstate a subcommittee on elections naming fudge chair of that panel. "the washington post" describes the endorsements from fudge and obama as an unmistakable show of political strength, and pelosi is also getting a boost from a
new poll from "politico" that finds democratic voters want her to be the next speaker by a margin of two to one. that brings us to sunday's cover story in "new york times." the "new york times" magazine specifically, nancy pelosi's last battle. robert draper is here to talk to me about his new piece. robert, let's start with you very quickly. she can be a tough interview, nancy pelosi. it's clear there was some message she was trying to get across in the course of this conversation. what struck you most? >> she was, very loose, for her i think very, very confident. there certainly wasn't a whiff of desperation at all. she used language that i felt was rather strong for nancy pelosi describing donald trump comparing him to moussalini. she made it clear this a guy who typically does not negotiate in good faith. she made it clear she feels it
necessary for the democrats to be seen as the party of governance rather than a party after one investigation and then the next. >> she said i do see the role as less workhorse and more show horse now. what did she mean by that? >> she realizes that the party has to communicate. after the president litigates most of his beeves vefs very pu on social media, and the democrats are going to have to respond in kind. she said she prefers that others do that work for her. she recognizes her limitations in other words. >> there is a big push within, there's a big push among democrats right now. now is the chance we've taken over all these committees in the house. we've got a full assault on donald trump, subpoenas, let's have investigations flying all over the place. the bottom line is her takeaway is that's not the calculus. >> she's well aware there are people in her caucus that want that. i think she believes that's bad politics. i also think that she really does believe that until the
facts are in, it's just simply not the right way for the party to proceed. >> let me ask you about this. first of all, about marcia fudge, she played that pretty darn well. she got herself a subcommittee on voter suppression, those are big key issues for her as a strong african-american woman in the house op representatives. nancy pelosi does she still face the potential of a challenger or is this her speakership? >> she certainly doesn't have the votes she needs to clear the speakership on the house floor. i think the last couple of days you've seen momentum for her where you've had more members coming out supporting her. even some of the new member elect, recently said i'm going to take my time. i want to be with my family over thanksgiving. i think there's a lot of fatigue of members getting hit day in and day out, are you going to vote for her. >> if you win in orange county you can't look like you're immediately supporting nancy pelosi. >> she's handing out different appointments left and right.
there's a new policy committee and communications committee chair that is going to be named. i think she's trying to recognize that she needs to kind of spread the wealth a little bit. >> this is gamble for nancy pelosi and democrats. the next two years until there's a 2020 contender it's trump versus pelosi. >> and the 16 democrats signing the letter saying they're not supporting her, that means if all those 16 stick to no, that does mean some democrats in tough districts, republican leaning districts like abigail spam burger might have to walk the plank, someone like connor lamb saying he will not support nancy pelosi, but the lack of alternatives makes it very difficult. >> our time is limited. we have a couple of extra seconds. i want to keep you guys for one more moment for what we call our sources are saying. you take off anna as we head
into the holiday, what are your sources telling you? >> we're all looking forward to turkey but what we should be focused on is a government shutdown. negotiations are nowhere. the president has dug in on this border wall and republicans and democrats in the senate and house are really nowhere. >> my sources are telling me democrats are planning to wage a major fight against the judicial nomination of thomas far. he is known for being an author of the ricketiestrictive voter north carolina. the math is that jeff flake said he was going to vote no on any trump judicial nominee until the mueller protection bill is brought up. they need one more republican to defeat this prospective judge. >> the last one to you robert, what does nancy pelosi make of the president saying i think she deserves to be speaker? >> is this a gift i really want, it's kind of like being passed a monkey's paw or something, which is why she didn't want republican votes either. sources telling me or speculating to me by the way,
that perhaps since pelosi's still on the bubble they may be able to extract a concession from her to serve just for two more years. >> happy holidays. nice to see you. good to see you my friend. today's big picture from cambridge, massachusetts, jim park got some incredible news. park won the rhodes scholarship making history as the first undocumented immigrant to receive that award. after the south korean immigrant won, he delivered a strong message saying i am one of 11 million, and this accomplishment shows that if you give daca recipients a chance, we can contribute to this country. the photograph courtesy of harvard university and our proudest congratulations to him. we thank you for watching this hour of msnbc live. i'm peter alexander. right now more news with my colleague, my friend, craig melvin in new york. craig, if i miss you, have a great holiday to you and your gang. >> you as well, buddy, happy
thanksgiving, and a happy thanksgiving eve to you. craig melvin at msnbc headquarters in new york city. now what? president trump has finally and officially answered robert mueller's questions about russia, but not about possible obstruction. trump's lawyers say it's time to wrap it up. so after 18 months of waiting, will they? and trump backlash, the president dedefending his handling of saudi arabia. some senators in his own party aren't having it. this hour a brand new interview with the saudi foreign minister. and talking turkey and politics as many of our family get ready to gather around the thanksgiving table, a lot of us are deciding whether it's even wo worth it to talk about politics. we've got just the guest to talk about the state of our national conversation. we'll get to that in just a moment. we start with the president finally answering robert mueller's questions after 18 months of investigation. however, the answers only cover the time