tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC November 22, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
black today and why my producer is wearing all black today. it's because it's her last day so we are in mourning and we want to say thank you very much, bobby. one of our segment producers is going back to seattle. what did you learn? >> the definition of emoluments. >> that's great. >> yeah. >> seattle. fresh air. outdoors. you're not going to wake up to the smell of garbage every morning. >> nope. >> lucky girl. ali velshi. >> that is amazing. i don't know anybody who doesn't love seattle. you're going to have a great time and i've never really seen you speechless or stumbling on words. >> that's not true. >> obviously, you are going to be missed, bobby. good luck. >> thank you so much. >> have a good afternoon. and it is friday, november the 22nd. the story has always been in plain sight. that's the final point from nbc's political unit after the country saw roughly 34 1/2 hours of televised testimony over the past two weeks. outlining the overall facts of the case that begs the question. did the current sitting american president commit an impeachable
offense? now, the intelligence committee is going to work on a report to send to the house judiciary committee, which will then decide on drafting articles of impeachment. it is likely that their report will not include crucial testimony from key figures with firsthand knowledge of the scandal, all of whom adhered to white house directions not to comply with congressional subpoenas. rudy giuliani. vice president mike pence. secretary of state mike pompeo. acting chief of staff mick mulvaney. and former national security advisor john bolton. we're not entirely sure what's happening with bolton just yet. nbc news reports house democrats expect to hold a floor vote on impeachment before christmas. and according to "the associated press" quote democrats now face the prospect of a house impeachment vote that is split along party lines. that would mirror public polling, which shows that americans are divided over whether trump should be impeached for his dealings with ukraine and removed from office. but it's important to note after
hearing from 12 witnesses, one thing is indisputable. president trump attempted to use the power of his office to force a foreign government to launch investigations. the investigations would be based on the debunked conspiracy theory and the purpose of that would be to hurt his political rivals and help his 2020 election efforts. >> i found the july 25th phone call unusual because in contrast to other presidential calls i had observed, it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic/political matter. >> i was concerned by the call. what i heard was inappropriate. it is improper for the president of the united states to demand a foreign government investigate a u.s. citizen and a political opponent. >> in hindsight, i now understand that others saw the idea of investigating possible corruption involving the ukrainian company burisma as equivalent to investigating former vice president biden. >> i asked ambassador sondland if it was true that the president did not give a
expletive about ukraine. ambassador sondland agreed that the president did not give an expletive about ukraine. i asked, why not? and ambassador sondland stated that the president only cares about big stuff. and ambassador sondland replied that he meant big stuff that benefits the president. like, the biden investigation that mr. giuliani was pushing. >> specific instruction was that i had to go to the lawyers, to john eisenberg. that was senior counsel for the national security council. so basically say, you tell eisenberg, ambassador bolton told me, that i am not part of this whatever drug deal that mulvaney and sondland are cooking up. >> what did you understand him to mean by the drug deal that mulvaney and sondland were cooking up? >> i took it to mean investigations for a meeting. >> we were playing the hand we were dealt. we all understood that if we refused to work with mr. giuliani, we would lose a very important opportunity to cement relations between the united states and ukraine.
so we followed the president's orders. >> we followed the president's orders. let's start the hour on capitol hill with nbc's jeff bennett. jeff, after people have been glued to this all week, they are asking what happens next? is there any question or dispute about what happens next? or do democrats have a roadmap for the next month? >> they do, in fact, have a roadmap, ali. house democrats, in fact, the entire congress, has already adjourned for the thanksgiving break. and so much of next week based on reporting we've learned that the house intelligence committee will use that time to draft a report. they'll stitch together all of the testimony and evidence that they've amassed over the last three months. and including in the last five -- last two weeks, last five days of hearings where there were 12 witnesses that came forward. to write a report that then goes to the house judiciary committee. the committee will use that report to consider articles of impeachment. already, you've heard house democrats talk about two
potential articles of impeachment. one, obstruction. the other on bribery. once the committee approves those articles and votes them out of committee, it then heads to the house floor. once it leaves the house floor, democrats of course control congress. the thinking is they have enough votes to move it from the floor. it then moves down the hall here to the senate floor. all we know about the senate trial is what is prescribed in the constitution. that it's a six day a week effort. monday through saturday. all 50 senators have to be behind -- all 100 senators have to be behind their desks and the chief justice of the supreme court will preside. yesterday, we learned from sources familiar, that there were folks at the white house, top republican senators meeting with white house officials. and that they advocated for a shorter than normal, and by normal i mean based on modern precedent, shorter than normal senate trial. about two weeks. there are democrats who will say, privately perhaps not publicly, that sort of timeline would be okay with them as well because you do have a handful of
senate democrats who are running for president who would much rather, even if they don't say this publicly, would much rather be in iowa or in new hampshire running for president than being back here weighing in on a senate trial when most people assume that democrats will not find the 20 republican votes they need to reach that magic 67 number to ultimately remove president trump from office via impeachment. ali. >> jeff, thank you very much. you and i are going to be talking many times over the course of the next month or month and a half. and i love the -- the look you're rocking. jeff bennett for us. >> it's a casual friday, man. >> it's fantastic. i might try that myself but somehow i think i might fall flat so i'll just keep watching you doing it. good to see you. as we head into the holiday week and the house intelligence committee prepares its report, the key question still stands. how effective were the public testimonies for the american electorate? to get that answer, let's bring in the experts. joining me now, former u.s. ambassador to iraq, the republic of korea, poland, and the republic of macedonia, chris
hill. he also served several positions in the state department. barbara mcquade former u.s. attorney for eastern district of michigan. she is also an msnbc contributor and current law professor at the university of michigan law school. and michael conway is former counsel to the house judiciary committee during the impeachment inquiry of president richard nixon. so, michael, let me start with you because you were involved in similar proceedings during the watergate inquiry. when you look at the effectiveness they had in turning public opinion, which then turned republicans in congress, on richard nixon. how do you compare what we've seen in the last two weeks? >> i think, as you've said, the witnesses were very, very powerful. and gordon sondland really just laid the wood to the president. he said the president directed me to do this. he did that to escape his own sense of personal liability because some republicans were arguing this was a rogue operation of giuliani and sondland and perhaps others. the three amigos.
he said the president told me to do it. so -- and he also implicated pompeo, mulvaney, and others. i think it was very powerful and i think you're going to see that the intelligence committee is gonna write a very powerful report. hopefully, a short report and to the point so that the american public can look at that, as well. >> ambassador hill, there was a lot of compelling testimony over the course of the last two weeks. but in talking to people, the -- the -- the testimony of fiona hill, no relation i assume to you, was uniquely impactful. why do you think that was? >> well, first of all, i mean, she was clear and concise with her answers. she was obviously around the action. and really knew what she was talking about. but to me, the most important thing she said was not only to debunk this fictional narrative that somehow ukraine is the cause of -- of any manipulation of the 2016 election. but she went on to point out that this issue, this -- this
narrative about ukraine is something created by the russian -- the russian security services. and she said that if you believe that, you're essentially doing the bidding of russian security services. very strong and, in my view, very accurate statement. and i think that was probably the most important thing anyone could have said over the last couple of weeks. you know, joseph stalin, who had a line for everything, used to refer to useful idiots that as people who would essentially parrot a line even if they didn't understand where it came from. >> barbara mcquade, there is some sausage to be made now. the intelligence committee has to do something with all of this evidence, 30 hours of public testimony. more than 100 hours of close-door testimony. they've got to do something with this. present a report to the judiciary committee, which then has to do something in terms of drafting articles of -- of impeachment.
what -- what do you do with all of this information? because most of the witnesses, whether they were fact witnesses or they could create context, had a very similar story. two of them who didn't, volker and -- and sondland -- ended up revising their stories to be a little more in line with everybody else's. so there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of dispute despite what some republicans are saying about what the facts of this situation are. >> yeah. i think that the facts have come into focus. and i would imagine if i were drafting this or involved in it, i would suggest three articles of impeachment. one, quite clearly, i think is bribery. it seems to fit the conduct here best. bribery is defined by statute, which is a little different from the impeachment standard, but if you were to look at that by analogy, it is demanding a thing of value in exchange for the performance of an official act. and here, i think you can say that president trump demanded these investigations in exchange for performing the acts of releasing the military aid and granting a white house visit. i think another article of
impeachment is obstruction of justice by refusing to permit certain witnesses to testify. and certain documents to be handed over. they impeded congress's ability to investigate the facts here. even gordon sondland said it would have been much easier for me to testify truthfully if i had had access to all of my records. but the state department would not grant those to me. and finally, i think abuse of power. this is not a crime. it doesn't appear under the federal statutes. but i think it can accurately encompass the real essential harm of what president trump did here. he invited a foreign country to interfere in our election and he withheld military aid that not only harmed ukraine but also harmed the national security of the united states against russian aggression. and our place in the world as a credible ally who fights corruption. >> and -- and, michael, in watergate, you were that guy who was involved in the making of that sausage. right now, we saw the counsel for the intel committee questioning the witnesses. now, they're going to have to come up with something and then
the work's going to go to the judiciary committee. >> right and i agree with barbara. i think there should be three articles of impeachment. abuse of power article can include the obstruction of justice elements that robert mueller identified. and the investigation interfering with the congressional investigation also has another way of phrasing it, which is that he's impeded the investigation of impeachment. and in the watergate, we did have three articles of impeachment. very much along what barbara suggested. obstruction of justice, abuse of power, which was an umbrella term for many things president nixon did, including wiretapping journalists and having the plumbers unit in the white house. and the third one is refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. and i think one thing that allows is different congressmen back then voted for different articles. in one case, they were not all party line votes. in one case, two democrats voted against the article having to do with the president's refusal to turn things over to congress and
two republicans voted for it. so i think it gives the members of the house, and ultimately the senators, a chance to say i don't think he's necessarily should be impeached for this. but on -- for example, on the ukraine thing, i think he should be. >> ambassador hill, there's -- there's sort of a separate side current going on here. and that is the degree to which fiona hill articulated but others did as well a political process undermined or a partisan process undermined the type of work that it is important that the state department and ambassadors do. i think one thing that we have to make clear is that some ambassadors are political appointees. that doesn't actually disqualify them from being capable of carrying out their responsibilities. but the point she was making was that really, really important national security work that the united states was doing with ukraine was irundermined by something that seemed to be designed to serve president trump's personal/political purposes. >> oh, you got it. i mean, they had two extra -- i
mean two too many -- of the special envoys. and they were, as fiona hill said, on a -- on a domestic/political errand and it was quite outrageous that the state department was sort of sidelined. as was the nsc. i think another very important secondary story to this whole impeachment. i mean, whether the democrats are finally able to get 20 republicans to join them, i think it's going to be tough. but one person who really ought to be looking in the mirror and wondering whether he's the right guy for the job is secretary pompeo. he went from being someone who was kind of respected. a lot of people didn't like his policies but at least he was kind of leading the department. and now, i mean, he has absolutely no supporters right now among the career services in the state department. he was not honest, not clear about his involvement in ukraine. and so i think the real -- the person who might actually lose his job over this is maybe not the president and may be the
secretary of state. >> thanks to all three of you for your analysis. chris hill is the former u.s. ambassador to iraq, to the republic of korea, to poland, and the republic of macedonia. barbara mcquade. michael conway served as counsel to the house judiciary committee. next, i'm joined by congressman fresh off impeachment town hall. from bribery to whistle-blowers, he's going to tell us what people outside of washington are most concerned about. plus, a new report, what one writer says has been the republicans '30-year plot to take over the supreme court. you are watching msnbc. these days, we're all stressed. (honk!) i hear you sister. that's why i'm partnering with cigna to remind you to go in for your annual check-up, and be open with your doctor about anything you feel - physically and emotionally. but now cigna has a plan that can help everyone see stress differently. just find a period of time to unwind. a location to de-stress.
well, now that the nation witnessed back to back impeachment hearings, lawmakers are headed home to their districts to hear what constituents think about the possibility of impeaching president trump. congressman don buyer hosted a town hall where voters were able to ask him some questions. >> what's going on with your republican colleagues now? because it strikes me and i think a lot of people in the audience that they're willfully dishonoring their oaths of office. >> ambassador sondland's testimony yesterday reinforced how much rudy giuliani, rick perry, and mick mulvaney know about this illegal scheme and we can't let them get away with not answering questions. let's put them under oath and get some answers.
>> the appearance of justice is just as important as justice itself and it doesn't matter if you're a republican or a democrat but it appears the democrats do have a different standard. why is biden and his son not being investigated? >> all right. joining me now is democratic congressman don buyer from virginia who held the town hall. he called for an impeachment inquiry into the president back in may. congressman, thank you for being with us. was there any sense of consensus? was there any discussion or did it mirror the polls that we see? where democrats seem to want to see the president impeached and removed from office and republicans typically don't. >> yeah, i think it pretty much refle reflected that. i'm in a relatively blue seat and we've been monitoring incoming calls and e-mails and it's about 3-1 for impeachment. last night, it was probably more like 4-1. at the beginning, i encouraged everybody to respect everybody
else's opinions. that this was not a town hall meeting for democrats. it was for everybody in the district. >> and did they do that? >> i think they pretty much did. you know, there was applause -- more applause with the democratic advocates. i thought one of the most interesting things -- but they were respectful of the people that came there to -- to, you know, make the case against impeachment. i thought it was interesting at the end of the night, as i looked back on those testimonies, most of the folks that had an anti-impeachment perspective was they talked about divisiveness. they talked about letting the election aside. in retrospect, i don't think a single one tried to actually defend the actions of donald trump. >> but that's a bit of a trick that's going around washington and congress right now, right? i -- i -- i think maybe people would find it more satisfying if there were a debate about here's what donald trump is alleged to have done and here's why that didn't happen or here's why it was justified. but, in fact, the conversation and republicans have been very successful at this, has become about process, has become about intention as opposed to fact.
>> in fact, one of the biggest applause lines last night was when we said that when you can't make the argument on fact, you have to turn to process instead. when the -- when the facts aren't on your side. one of the other things i was impressed by is how many people watched every minute of the different -- you know, of the intelligence committee hearings. so people were very well-informed. >> is there anything you heard last night that shapes your view or informs what you're going to do over the next month or so? >> no, because someone asked me last night whether i was going to vote based on the polls in my district. and i said, no, this is a republic. i'm there to do the best i can, follow my own conscience, and then if they don't like it, they can vote me out. but it was reinforcing that people weren't just taking the top lines of -- of a headline or a twitter feed. that they were actually really listening to what was happening on capitol hill. >> you -- john bolton's been tweeting that he's finally been let free.
very ominous stuff. you don't take such a generous view of why john bolton hasn't been seen in public or testified to what he claims he knows. he's dangling some carrots out there but the truth is none of us -- none of you -- who have to make decisions in congress have heard from him. >> no and we would love to hear from him because bolton clearly spoke with the president on a number of important strategic issues. the defense of the kurds being most obvious. bringing north korea to the white house, another obvious thing. or rather, the folks from the taliban. you know, so i think john bolton, who has never been afraid to speak what he thinks, could be a very valuable witness. >> good to talk to you. thank you for joining us today. congressman don buyer of virginia. coming up next, how the democrats might be looking to resurrect the russia investigation and the mueller report in the thick of the impeachment inquiry. and why it might or might not be an effective strategy. plus, with the public hearings now over and less than
two months to go before the iowa caucuses, we are talking to voters to see how and if the impeachment inquiry might influence their vote in 2020. you're watching msnbc. they're america's biopharmaceutical researchers. pursuing life-changing cures in a country that fosters innovation here, they find breakthroughs... like a way to fight cancer by arming a patient's own t-cells... because it's not just about the next breakthrough... it's all the ones after that.
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as he fought back against the impeachment inquiry, president trump also brought another investigation back to the forefront. the president talked about debunked conspiracy theories related to russian interference in the 2016 election and attacked key players, including former fbi director james comey. >> if i didn't fire comey, i would have been in some trouble right now. >> and maybe you should've done it right away. >> i wouldn't have known that he was a phony and that all of these people, mcabe. turned out to be the best move firing comey because they were looking to take down the president of the united states. >> and what was not the greatest example of journalistic curation, the president spoke on
fox for almost an hour by phone today. a top lawyer for the house of representatives told the federal appeals court earlier this week that the house is looking into whether donald trump lied to special counsel robert mueller. politico reports said house democrats want to hold at least one public impeachment hearing on alleged offenses by the president that were outlined in the mueller report after long-time trump associate roger stone's trial raised questions about whether trump provides false statements to the special counsel's team. joining us now to take a closer look is danny savalas who we need here because really any time roger stone gets in the news, it becomes confusing for people. >> it becomes very legal. >> right. so what exactly did roger stone's trial bring up about why donald trump may have lied or -- or whether donald trump lied to robert mueller's team? >> in roger stone's criminal trial, he did not testify himself but others came in and testified against him. including an individual named
gates who you may remember from several months ago who pleaded guilty and was cooperating against stone. >> this is manafort's number two guy. >> this is manafort's number two guy. when he took the stand, he testified that, in fact, there were communications between trump and stone. the reason that's so significant is if you go back even further, ali, there was a time when the president was giving written answers instead of submitting for testimony or a deposition, the president instead would only agree to give written answers that were curated by his attorneys. >> which was supposed to save him because he could avoid a perjury trap. he wouldn't lie if he had to write it down. >> but even then, observers cautioned that those written answers can be just as dangerous, especially if his lawyers are relying on what he says because those statements, sworn or not, are a crime whether they're perjury or they're false statements, those can be criminal. so now, you connect up the roger stone trial where there's evidence that there may have been communications. and then in those written statements many months ago --
>> let's show our audience. this is what donald trump said. he said i spoke by telephone with roger stone from time to time during the campaign. i have no recollection of the specifics of any conversation i had with mr. stone between june 1st, 2016, and november 8th, 2016, which was election day. i do not recall discussing wikileaks with him, nor do i recall being aware of mr. stone having discussed wikileaks with individuals associated with my campaign. although, i was aware that wikileaks was the subject of media reporting and campaign-related discussion at the time. >> can i unlegal ease that for you? >> please. >> that statement has been carefully lawyered and it really means in some i spoke to roger stone, can't remember what we talked about. i was aware people were talking about wikileaks in the news. that's it in a nutshell. and that is a very well-lawyered statement to really commit president trump to zero. he hasn't really said anything. >> right. >> the reality is, is it realistic that he doesn't remember talking to roger stone about something as important as a wikileaks connection?
>> can he be in trouble for that, though? it's so well-lawyered where he didn't kind of say anything. is that the kind of thing that congress is interested in investigating? >> he still could and the key is whether congress believes it can prove that it's completely unreasonable that he did not remember the substance of that conversation. if, for example, those conversations happened many times and under very serious circumstances. >> but as a lawyer who has to go to court, it feels like proving a negative, right? that they would have to prove that donald trump really did remember even though he said he doesn't. >> be warned, all witnesses who think they can just claim they don't remember. often, circumstantial evidence will show that it's absolutely unbelievable that you don't remember something, especially something important that you talked about on numerous occasions. so for those witnesses who claim amnesia, beware. it can come back to bite you. >> donald trump talked about wikileaks a lot. we've got all the tapes of that stuff. danny, good to see you as always. thank you. the past two weeks of public
impeachment hearings have brought national attention to house intel member elise stefanik. thanks to her attempts to shake up her democratic colleagues. >> ambassador yovanovitch, thank you for being here today. >> the gentlewoman will suspend. >> what is the interruption for this time? >> the gentlewoman will suspend. you're not recognized. mr. nunes, you are minority counsel. >> i just recognized. >> you're not allowed to yield time except to minority counsel. >> the ranking member yielded time to another member of congress. >> nope, that is not accurate. >> that is accurate. ambassador yovanovitch, i want to thank you for being here today. >> gentlewoman will suspend. you're not recognized. >> so to have our democratic colleagues say these untruthful statements just wreaks of political desperation in their continued obsession to manipulate mainstream media coverage. >> but stefanik's performance may also be shaking up her chances at a fourth term in new
york's district. democratic challenger uses the hearings to fund raise. cobb says her campaign has raised $1 million in just the last few days. joining me now from watertown in new york's 21st district is msnbc correspondent trymaine lee. trymaine, what's the response been there to elise stefanik in the last few days? >> i tell you what, she uttered what could be a curse word in this sleepy, rural district. she described elise stefanik as a washington insider and said her performance during the hearings made that clear. so supporters of cobb say this might actually be an opportunity to shake up this, again, very sleepy, very rural, very big district and this race next year. now, again, i spoke with tedra cobb. let's hear from her own mouth what she had to say about elise stefanik's performance. >> so there's been a lot made about elise stefanik's performance during the inquiry hearings this week. what do you make of those performances? >> you know what we expect as
americans, we expect objectivity and we expect that the people on the intelligence committee will lead with objectivity and will find -- follow the truth wherever it may -- it may take us. it is unfortunate that elise stefanik has chosen a partisan path. >> in some ways, all the attention on elise stefanik has kind of bolstered your campaign in some ways, right? >> yes, it has. i think what it has also done is it has highlighted that she is truly a washington insider. that she has put her party before the constitution. and i think that is the biggest takeaway from -- from the last few weeks. >> ali, people in this district consider themselves and pride themselves on being fiercely independent. now, that independence is slightly being tested after the -- the performance by elise stefanik last week with those on the right and the conservatives
seeing a rising star in elise stefanik. but those who are hoping to not only unseat donald trump but unseat elise stefanik are putting their money behind tedra cobb hoping she can take advantage of the moment. >> thank you, trymaine lee in watertown new york for us. deepened the impeachment divide between democrat and republican leaders and motivated undecided voters at home to tune into the many hours of revealing testimony. especially, in jefferson county, florida, which is a swing county that voted twice for president obama. and then for donald trump in 2016. all three wins were by very thin margins. nbc news political reporter ali vitali joins us from florida in jefferson county. what's the situation down there, ali? >> ali, we know from the polls that voters are really split for the most part on the issue of impeachment. we also know from the polls that most of them are watching these hearings. and that's exactly what we've seen play out on the ground both here in jefferson county and
also in neighboring leon county where we spent some time last night. and the most striking thing to me in all of these dozen-plus conversations that i've had is that everyone is watching but the opinion that they came into these hearings with before is pretty much the opinion they still have now that the hearings are over. listen to what they told me. >> what's motivating you to watch them? >> just curiosity. see what it was. trump's doing a good job and it's just kind of disappoints me that they started the impeachment hearings on the evidence i've seen is just kind of ridiculous. >> so you went in thinking there's no there there. >> that's what my opinion was. you know, because i like trump and the job he's doing. but i figured there must be something for them to start an impeachment inquiry and there ain't been nothing. >> have you been watching the impeachment hearings? >> as much as i can. i think it's pretty clear to me that, you know, that trump and
his -- the folks around him are -- you know, have violated some basic principles. >> ali, with very few opinions changing, it just sort of leaves you wondering what would move the needle here? what moves the needle here for voters? >> yeah. one wonders did anybody you talked to feel that the needle got moved for them? >> no. a lot of people really felt that their biases from before were confirmed. and then when you look at that frankly through the lens of 2020, another thing that really stuck with me was the conversations that i had with people who already thought that the president was being impeached unfairly. i asked them if there was anything that they could be shown that would change their mind on this and they said no. they really do think that the conversations that he had with the ukrainian president were just the president doing business. and also, they pivot to the economy. to them, that's worth sticking with the president over. >> ali, good to see you. ali vitali in florida for us.
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on the nation's highest court. it happened in a private moment with president trump in the white house. according to ruth marcus's upcoming book "supreme ambition," the former justice asked trump to consider cavanaugh despite him not being on the president's first two lists of candidates. in an excerpt published in "the washington post" earlier today, marcus writes quote the justice's message to the president was as consequential as it was straight forward. and it was a remarkable insertion by a sitting justice into the distinctly presidential act of judge picking. ruth marcus joins me now. she is a washington post deputy editorial page editor and msnbc contributor and her book "supreme ambition." brett cavanaugh and the conservative takeover comes out december 3rd. ruth, good to see you. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having me. >> give us a sense of the factors at play in getting brett cavanaugh into the president's consideration. the president had prior to even
running, prior to becoming president, had bragged about the fact that he had a list. it was vetted by all the people that doctrinery conservatives would want to vet the list. the federalist society. brett cavanaugh wasn't on those original lists? >> he was not on those lists for one chief reason, which was that he was viewed as being too bushy. he, brett cavanaugh, not only worked for president bush. he married president bush's secretary. and so he was not the kind of flavor of judge that president trump was originally looking for. but he got convinced, including by the prospect that it would tempt justice kennedy to step down. that brett cavanaugh, and this is very ironic, would be the easy choice for him because don mcgahn, the white house counsel, argued that brett cavanaugh would be the most easily confirmed. but the book is called "supreme ambition" for two reasons. and that scene with justice
kennedy is just one of the behind-the-scenes things you think you know about brett cavanaugh because you watch the hearings. but there is so much more to this story. supreme ambition refers to two things. it refers to brett cavanaugh's ambition. he had been positioning himself from back when he was a young prosecutor for ken starr to be on the supreme court someday. his colleagues on the appeal ts court used to joke about whether he was auditioning for the job when he put out another dissent or another concurring opinion. but it's also, in some ways, more important story of the ambition of the conservative movement that was finally brought to fruition with brett cavanaugh. of managing to get a majority on the supreme court. and so when brett cavanaugh's confirmation ran into trouble, conservatives and republicans in the senate were going to do whatever it took to get him across the finish line as one of the main lawyers involved in the confirmation, mike davis, told me cavanaugh was too big to fail.
>> why did -- why did this matter to anthony kennedy? >> well, it -- brett cavanaugh has a actually remarkable ability to find extremely powerful mentors. one is just -- one is ken starr, who i mentioned. one is justice kennedy. another is president bush, who really went all out to get one of his favorite aides confirmed. but justice kennedy, like all of us, we like our protéges to have positions of power. justice kennedy was stepping down. he had one of his former clerks join him on the court in the form of neil gorsuch. but the idea you could be preceded by the -- justice kennedy is known to have a significant ego. many of us do. and that idea just really, really appealed to him. and also, quite honestly, it was very surprising to those of us who watched these things that brett cavanaugh's name was not on those original two lists
because he was an obvious choice really for any republican president. >> ruth, thank you for joining us to talk about -- >> thanks so much for having me. >> ruth is the author of "supreme ambition." it is out december 3rd but it is available now for pre-order. coming up next, early prime minister netanyahu is indicted on fraud, breech of trust, and bribery charges. he insists it's -- hope you're sitting down for this -- witch hunt, a coo, and a political vendetta. you are watching msnbc. watching, can be tough. you diet. exercise. but if you're also taking fish oil supplements, you should know, they are not fda-approved, they may have saturated fat and may even raise bad cholesterol. to treat very high triglycerides, discover the science of prescription vascepa. proven in multiple clinical trials, vascepa, along with diet, is the only prescription epa treatment, approved by the fda to lower
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- [announcer] shark, the vacuum that deep cleans now cleans itself. it looks like the political uncertainty that has gripped israel for the past few months is only going to keep growing. prime minister benjamin netanyahu is facing pressure to resign a day after he became the country's first sitting prime minister to be charged with a crime. netanyahu was indicted yesterday on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach trust stemming from three long-running corruption cases. he has denied any wrongdoing and denounced indictment as a witch hunt. the charges followed in announcement by netanyahu's chief political rival, former army chief benny gantz that he was unable to form a new
government. that raises the possibility that the israelis could go to the polls, another national election for the third time in less than a year. gantz said in a statement on facebook he will do all he can to avoid that. joining me to make some sense of this is nbc news correspondent cal perry who's done extensive reporting from the middle east. this is a hard one for people to sort of keep track of. they really had two essentially hung elections right now. but one of the reasons why benjamin netanyahu wanted to stay on as prime minister is that he could put off this idea that he was going to be indicted. >> so our audience is probably going to recognize the similarities here. you have a leader in prime minister benjamin netanyahu who is saying this is the deep state that's out to get him, that this is a conspiracy, not only led by the deep state but he uses the phrase witch hunt, something that he seems to have borrowed from president trump. the idea here as you have said is as long as he stays in office he can avoid these charges. the israeli constitution says that if you are a minister, a cabinet minister, you have to resign your post if you are
indicted. it does not say you have to resign your post if you are the prime minister. so this is a legitimate constitutional crisis, a question that is not answered by israeli constitution. >> and complicated further about. fact that no one has been able to form the new government. for most palestinians who live in the occupied territories, benny gantz versus benjamin netanyahu doesn't really make much of a difference. israeli arabs account for 21% of israel's population. some of them vote they elect members to the kinesset. is there any influence they can have in the next election to move that issue forward? >> i don't think so. and part of the problem here is intimidation. that is a community that has been intimidated against when it comes to voting day. we have heard accusations that the opposition party is putting cameras in these neighborhoods to monitor israeli arabs as they vote which has, at times kept
people from voting. part of this is the u.s. is no longer a fair and honest broker. we have thrown our lot in with the israelis. >> we've got something called the deal of the century, but it doesn't seem to -- the palestinians weren't even consulted. >> it feels like we are going to wait another century for the deal of the century. we just had the president of the united states flip the u.s.'s position on settlements which is a nonstarter for the palestinians. benjamin netanyahu is no longer an address for a viable peace plan. a peace plan is only as strong as the leaders who sign it. and the palestinians view benjamin netanyahu as the israeli donald trump, as somebody who is a nationalist, as somebody who is for settlements, somebody who is for the occupation. they view the americans and specifically this administration as funding that occupation in the face of this corruption. so what palestinians see is the american government going around the world saying we are not going to stand for corruption in the ukraine, for example. but when it comes to israel, nothing has stopped our aid to that country. >> including the fact that it is deemed illegal to build
settlements. >> and including the fact that we are funding what most of the world views as an illegal occupation. >> good to see you, my friend. cal perry, nbc news correspondent. you are watching msnbc. t. you arwae tching msnbc it's tough to quit smoking cold turkey. so chantix can help you quit slow turkey. along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting. chantix reduces the urge so when the day arrives, you'll be more ready to kiss cigarettes goodbye. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. stop chantix and get help right away if you have changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions, seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking, or life-threatening allergic and skin reactions. decrease alcohol use. use caution driving or operating machinery. tell your doctor if you've had mental health problems.
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so while moving may still come with its share of headaches... no kidding. we're doing all we can to make moving simple, easy, awesome. go to xfinity.com/moving to get started. all right. we are back with breaking news. former cia officer jerry lee was sentenced to 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to provide american intelligence secrets to the chinese government. it's a case that many current
and former officials say dealt a major blow to u.s. intelligence operations. lee served 13 years as a cia -- at the cia and is the third former u.s. intelligence officer in less than a year to be convicted of conspiring with the chinese to give them national defense information. all right. take a wee look at the stock market. stocks rose slightly today. the dow is up more than a third of a percent. they look to be headed for a weekly decline though because there are some concerns about what is going on with this u.s./china trade talk. we don't have enough information on it. the president keeps on hinting that there is one coming, and it's going to be signed in the u.s. and there's a phase one, but nobody can actually confirm that there is a trade deal. all right, that wraps up the hour for me. i'm going to see you right back here tonight at 10:00 p.m. for "the last word." you can now watch or listen to this show on sirius xm radio,
msnbc.com/now, the msnbc app and apple tv. and you can find me on social media, twitter, facebook, instagram, snapchat, linked in, all that stuff. thank you for watching. have a great weekend. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace begins right now. ♪ hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. donald trump today resorting to a familiar tactic spreading lies and smears on one of his favorite cable news programs in the wake of the house democrat's public hearings this week providing irrefutable evidence that donald trump conditioned refused military aid could tukt informations. the "new york times" writes, quote, president trump unleashed a series of falsehoods on friday on an effort to invalidate the impeachment inquiry and counter sworn testimony from officials in his own administration. after a week of damaging public