tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC December 24, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PST
on this special holiday edition of "the 11th hour," we'll bring you right into the center of some of the best discussions we've had here about power, about culture, and where we've been as we head into a presidential election season. the stories we have for you range from the roots of a deeply american musical tradition to the woman who is perhaps the most unlikely first lady in our modern history, to the generals who surrounded donald trump during the early years of his presidency and how they handled an unpredictable commander in chief. how impeachment may resemble brett kavanaugh's supreme court confirmation. a look back to when americans reached to the heavens and touched down on the moon,
all of it as this special edition of the "the 11th hour" gets under way. geegts once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. the holidays are here again. we are on the brink of a new year and it gives us another chance to revisit some of the conversations we've had here in this studio at this very desk with storytellers, journalists, and writers that we admire. throughout broadcast we're going to listen to the people who told those stories, the best and the most prolific documentary filmmaker of our time, biographers of the president's inner circle in the east wing and west wing of the white house. we will also hear from some exceptional men and women who were born outside of our country but decided to devote their lives and life's work to the united states and what they mean to all of us in this perilous time for our country's political life. but we begin this hour of
storytelling with one of the very best storytellers around, our friend ken burns. >> it comes from right in here, this heart and soul that we all have. >> you can dance to it. you can make love to it. you can play it at a funeral. it has something in it for everybody. >> let's say something here. when a final accounting is made of the age we're living in now, there will hopefully be a large section devoted to the thanks of a graeflt but distracted nation, thanks to those who have contributed to our culture like writers and composers and soldiers and astronauts like country music musicians and like the filmmaker ken burns. he has given us so much, reflecting ourselves back to us, our civil war, our vietnam war, our national parks, our national pastime, and now our highly decorated national filmmaker gives us country music, 16 hours
of it airing on pbs. we are so thrilled to have ken burns here with us. thank you for coming. >> thank you, my friend. thank you. >> how on earth is there a white board in your studio that we need to see? like a beautiful mind? are there post its? how do you take something this vast and organize them into pieces. >> well, most of the credit goes to my longtime producing partner and writer dayton duncan who wrestled the larger intertwining of this sort of russian novel of a story into the eight episodes. and our coproducer, julie dunn fee who found the photographs and the footage and conducting the interviews. it's been an amazing thing. i remember in jazz a lit critic told us of charlie parker perfecting the bebop that he
invented. between sets he's feeding the juke boxer putting in nickels, playing country music, playing hank williams, and the cats are going, bird, why are you playing that? and he goes, listen to the stories. and so when we said yes, when we got down on our knees and proposed to country music, we knew this was going to be about stories and a way in which you can surround the songs with those stories and lift them up. so when you find out why dolly parton wrote "i will always love you," a woman's declaration of independents. when you hear the story of why dolly wrote it, dolly taking nothing away from whitney goes to that level. >> the carter family early recordings, is it the equivalent of having the federalist papers on tape? >> it's exactly that. maybe with jimmy rogers offering the opposing views. the carter family, the original
american lead guitarist, sarah carter has the original voice of country, roseanne cash says comes from the bedrock foundation of us. a.p. carter is collecting those songs with an african-american song collector named lesley riddle who brings a song from the african-american church when the world's on fire. they dropped the lyrics, take the same moldy and that "little darling pal of mine" one of their big hits. guthrie keeps the tune and does this land is your land. you can't make any of this stuff up. i guarantee, brian, when hollywood hears the earl haggard story, there will be a biopic in the works. he escapes from juvenile detention 17 times. he's in san quentin, has a chance to escape, doesn't. the guy who escapes, murders a cop, he heard johnny cash play
and he becomes the poet of the common man whom harris says if you want to know about country music, get an earl haggard album, any track, and you will learn what country music is. >> your play list, which is available on the interwe say to the folks watching tonight is so extraordinary. tumbling tumbleweed. i meant to tell you, patsy cline singing "crazy" emily lou, bravo, you mentioned the essential, the elegant roseanne cash, and her masterpiece. if you hadn't done poncho and lefty, i would have lost hope. >> our entire seventh episode revolves around poncho and lefty
moving through snake of country music, starting with towns vanzant and going through all these permutations. tend of our longest episode which is over two hours and feels like our shortest one, you end up with it become sung again. and the journey it takes. we have one of the longest sentences we've ever written in our 40 years of making films. >> if there's a theme that runs through all 16 hours of this new ken burns documentary, it might be the country music is so uniquely american. it's origins and history are complicated and at one point we look up at the screen and we see just two words, "hard times." with that as the fusing, tell us how you take on the intersection of race. >> you know, i've had the great privilege to spend my entire professional life talking about the u.s., capital "u," capital "s." but i'm also talking about us, the two letter letter lower case
plural pro-noun. what country music showed me is there's only us and no them, which are dialectic, our binary media and computer world would like to convince us. at the heart of us and the u.s. is this startling credit cards that we proclaim to the world that all men are created equal but the guy who wrote that sentence owned more than 200 human beings. most of my work charts the indignities that flow from that. one of the amazing things is the banjo comes from africa and the fiddle comes from the british isles in europe, and the influence of african-americans on this music that comes down to us as essentially white and ruler, we think, though nashville is the capitol and southern, is, in fact, completely interrelated with all american forms of music. it's not an island nation in
which you need a passport or a visa or some relaxed immigration laws. it is abutting the blues. it is abutting jazz. it is abutting rhythm and blues. it is, in fact, with rhythm and blues, the parents of rock 'n' roll. it abuts rock 'n' roll and gospel and folk and pop and even classical and rap. what you find is that a.p. carter needs that black song catcher. hank williams said the only education he needed was from rufus pane. even bill monroe, the father of bluegrass had schultz, an african-american fiddle player, interwoven into all of this music is the blues and our history that we don't always focus on, but is there and is there in country music from the very beginning. and so we shouldn't be surprised that lil nas x a black gay
rapper has just had the number one country song of all time this year. we ought not to be surprised, but we continually allow ourselves to be surprised because we forget in our top-down version of the past is race is central to the u.s. and to us in both the intimacy of that and the majesty and the breadth and the complexity and the credit cards and the controversy. >> what a pleasure. thank you so much for spending time with us. still ahead this hour, we will talk about the most unique first lady of the modern era, melania trump, immigrant, eanything massachusetts we'll look at what goes on inside her world as we hear from the author who covers the first lady full time. later, the men donald trump referred to as my generals. what it was like for mattis, kelly, and mcmaster to work with the first president with no public service on his prior résume. we'll also fly this broadcast ever so briefly to the
face of the moon to commemorate a landmark in the event human history. and what devin nunes got wrong about george washington, what these nonstop hearings in the city named for our first president should have taught us about our own democracy. this holiday edition of "the 11th hour" just now getting under way. with advil, you have power over pain, so the whole world looks different. the unbeatable strength of advil. what pain?
(pirate girl) ahoy!!!!! (excited squeal, giggling/panting) gotcha! (man) ah! (girl) nooooooooooooo! (man) nooooo! (girl) nooooo... (vo) quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker, and is two times more absorbent than the leading ordinary brand. (man and pirate girl) ahoy! (laughing) (vo) bounty, the quicker picker upper.
. >> that was a rough day in the life of our first lady. melania trump rarely makes public appearances, even less frequently addresses the public. that appearance in baltimore marked the first time she got booed during a solo event. the first lady largely remains an enigma to the people of this country a revealing new biography out this week offers some fresh insight and we, quote, she can and does lead by her intuition and not by a preconceived or pubically held notion of what a first lady should be. the secret to melania trump's confidence and to her sulfur as first lady, she doesn't care what anyone thinks about her. as goes trump and his rule-breaking presidency, so goes melania and her rule-breaking first ladyship. here with us, kate bennett, author of "free melania: the unauthorized biography." also happens to cover the first lady full time for our friends
at cnn. i was joking she was only here to steal our corporate secrets tonight. the first thing that strikes you upon seeing your book is the comma, free, comma, melania. explain the comma. >> remember the meme the hashtag free melania? she was tapping on the window. >> like she needed help. >> and looked very miserable. it grew from that. my title is -- i happen to think she's probably the most free first lady in terms of what's expected of her in modern history and also maybe the most free person in the trump orbit. she can do or say or act or not act or do or say as much as she wants or as little as she wants without fear of repercussion, and she's certainly not miserable inside the white house. >> i have a cluster of questions that all speak to how in on it is she. does she get the irony of be
best? what's the political effect on her husband? >> it's quite strong and deep. she aligns with him in most ways politically. i think people would be surprised to hear that because she doesn't really talk about her political theories that much. she's a very strong influence in his life. she's not addressed the birtherism since she talked about it on "the view" those years ago. i've tried to get answers and that's not been forthcoming of the she's certainly someone not to be underestimated and i think she prefers it that way. i don't know if she doesn't understand the irony of be best. she certainly takes it very seriously. but i think she uses her silence, uses that most people think she's a atrophy wife to her advantage. she's sort of in some ways the secret weapon and eyes and ears for her husband. >> your book is a reminder of so much. i forgot that the two of them met at the kit kat club in new york city just like john and abigail adams did.
kidding. the jacket episode you write about with rich detail. as someone who has covered a lot of campaign trips and political trips and gone from motorcade darting up to stairs, you admit that you missed the jacket, the feature of the jacket we're looking at. by the way, it wasn't entirely clear at first blush, but you also admit it grew up and blew up into a huge story while you were in the air on that trip. remind us where the trip was and also let the viewers in on the person you think the message was for. >> right. so the trip was down to texas, to the border in the thick of the first pictures that we were seeing of family separation. and she told the president i'm going whether you want me to or not to bring more publicity, the well-intentioned meeting was negated by the fact that she wore this jacket on and off the plane. we were under the wing and as
she got in the front, we got in the back, we are the press. we saw writing but didn't understand until we were downloading the pictures from the photographers on the way home. on the ground in texas she didn't wear the jacket, she had changed clothes. i'm probably the only reporter who lost sleep over what does that jacket mean. i have a theory that it was directed towards ivanka trump based on both reporting and having operated in the melania trump orbit for so long. and perhaps was saying i worked on this. i worked behind the scenes to get him to sign this executive orders stopping zero tolerance. this was me. ivanka trump has a tendency to say i worked on this and behind the scenes they tried to get this done. she's very savvy with the media that way. and i think this was melania's moment, i think, to say i did this, i really -- i think there was a translation miss there, but her message was directed at ivanka trump. >> the message i got was
serially underestimated first lady, and you tell a really, really interesting story. kate bennett, our guest tonight. the book is "free melania" on sale now. our next guest has a shocking report about the bizarre ideas the president gave voice to when discussing the korean peninsula. and where are the guardrails? when "the 11th hour" continues. does scrubbing grease feel like a workout? scrub less with dawn ultra. it's superior grease-cleaning formula gets to work faster. making easy work of tough messes. dawn is a go-to grease-cleaner throughout the kitchen, too. keep a bottle in the laundry room to pre-treat greasy stains. and keep dawn in the garage to lift grease off car rims. it's even gentle enough to clean wildlife affected by oil. dawn's grease cleaning power takes care of tough grease wherever it shows up.
we're watching it. we'll see. i'll be disappointed if something would be in the works. and if it is, we'll take care of it. we'll see. we're watching it very closely. >> the north koreans say they have conducted two more tests in recent days aimed as countering any nuclear threat from the u.s. south korea warned if they conduct a test, it would be, quote, most unhelpful in the effort to resume peace talks. the north has said the u.s. has until the end of the year to make concessions in these nuclear negotiations. and mind you, this is all happening just as we are hearing a devastating story about
president trump's unique perspective, shall we call it, on north korea. in peterbergen's new book, he where i s writes trump was regularly briefed that north korea possessed vast numbers of artillery batteries that could potentially kill mols in seoul, no, i didn't, -- in any event of a war. trump said they have to move. the officials in the oval office weren't sure if trump was joking. trump repeated, they have to move. no one knew what to say. the book goes on to point out that seoul is one of the largest cities in the world with a population of roughly 25 million, give or take, more than the population of australia. the author is here with us tonight, peterbergen has half a dozen books to his name. he's a professor, a veteran, global security expert, and to our great ever lasting daily frustration, he is also an on-air analyst at cnn.
peter, it's great to have you, longtime fan, first-time caller. i'm holding your book aloft for all of our viewers. tell your version of this story in the eyes of those who were in the room for starters. >> thanks for having me on the show. this was -- i guess to trump supporters this is a kind of example of out-of-the-box thinking. i mean, you know, he seems to be pretty serious in the oval office instructing his team that the inhabitants of seoul had to move. the city of seoul is 10 million people. 25 million people in the entire metropolitan region around seoul. the officials didn't really know what to say. i mean, he also at one point, you know, just to extend this, another scene in the book, he heard jack keen on fox, a fox news analyst retired four-star general say that the way to really get the north koreans'
attention would be to basically make any military family that was in south korea to basically to leave. and trump, you know, sort of said we should get these guys to leave. and basically this whole thing was slow rolled and the national security advisers around trump sort of said, look, you're going to crash the south korean market. you will definitely signal to the north koreans we're really serious about having a war. and in the end it didn't happen. like a lot of these ideas trump has had, the more extreme or outlandish ones, his adviser kind of rolled past it and kind of ignored >> it no one needs to tell you that the national security establishment has its own brand of white collar cattiness because their standards are so high and long lasting. so i imagine a story like this gets into the blood stream and spreads quickly. and so how much -- how widespread was the concern about
the boss after incidents like this? >> certainly secretary of state defense jim mattis, i quote him directly in the book, he said, you know, we have to make sure that -- reason trump's impulse. sadly mattis was concerned about this but in president trump's defense, i think trump has proven less effective. he's proven to be somewhat reluctant to use american military power, pulling out of afghanistan as we speak, going on about having troops in syria, calling back the troops in iran and dialing become the rhetoric on north korea. now the one thing that he's also being lucky, unlike every president since fdr, he hasn't had a major foreign policy incident to react to.
how would he react in a foreign policy crisis? he hasn't had a nylon or a saddam invading kuwait or other problems modern presidents have had. he's got another year left or potentially another five years. by the law of averages, crisis do happen. >> about the general donald trump famously said this at his own inauguration event. >> my generals, generals are going to keep us so safe. they're going to have a lot of problems. they're going to look at -- they're going to look at a couple of them. these are central casting. if i'm doing the movie, i'd pick you, general, general mattis. >> peter, i can understand why his generals have in some cases interrupted their retirement but have generally dropped everything duty, honor, country, to go work for him. that list of tributes, is that why they have been less than fully candid since leaving his
employ to talk about donald trump? >> you know, secretary mattis obviously released a book and lots of interviewers tried to get him to talk about trump and his view was i'm not going to talk about a sitting president. in his book he was critical of president obama and joe biden, so perhaps when trump is out of office, it's possible he will be critical of president trump. home run mcmaster said nothing about his time, and i think if you're a retired senior military officer, i think there is a kind of code of honor that they want to follow that is not to be critical of the president. so i don't anticipate either mattis or mcmaster getting out there and criticizing the president. obviously we have had bill mcraven and also stan mcchrystal, two of the leading military officers of their generation, both publicly taking a stands against trump, but neither of them served for trump. one of the stories i have in the book is general mcchrystal was
offered secretary of defense on november 16, 2016, and he turned that down because he didn't think donald trump would make a good commander in chief. that has remained his view. >> you start with a, quote, from dr. strange love, those are the first words in the book. and the last chapter deals with a glittering washington book party. which do you think best describes where we are as a country right now? >> well, you know, i start with a scene in the war room at the pentagon where there is a great debate between steve bannon on one side and jim mattis advertise and rex tillerson on the other side and they're laying out to president trump how the united states is operating in the world and the intent on the bannon side to show we're overextended and the intent on the mattis and tillerson side is to say, look, this is thousand world works, this has worked in our favor
since would recall. at the end of that meeting trump blows up and basically says, you know, our allies are ripping us off, china, these trade deficits matter, we're not winning wars and makes it clear front of his war debate six months into his presidency that he is really going to follow the america-first nationalist kind of approach that he campaigned on and that he was going to govern on that. i think this meeting was kind of one of the key meetings of his presidency. >> peterbergen is the author. the book is "trump and his generals: the cost of chaos." great pleasure having you on, peter. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, sir. coming up, a, americans by choice. we hear words of gratitude from career public servants after the united states offered them a place to call home. i am all about living joyfully. ♪
hello. the united explorer card hooks me up. getting more for getting away. rewarded! going new places and tasting new flavors. rewarded! traveling lighter. rewarded. haha, boom! getting settled. rewarded. learn more at the explorer card dot com. and get... rewarded! skip to the good part with alka-seltzer plus. now with 25% more concentrated power. nothing works faster for powerful cold relief. oh, what a relief it is! so fast! male anchor: ...an update on the cat who captured our hearts. female anchor: how often should you clean your fridge? stay tuned to find out. male anchor: beats the odds at the box office to become a rare non-franchise hit. you can give help and hope to those in need.
this confirmation process has become a national disgrace. the constitution gives the senate an important role in the confirmation process. but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy. >> "washington post" veteran columnist roourt marcus provides striking new details about the confirmation fight to put that man, brett kavanaugh, on the
supreme court. it's in her new book just out. in her column she writes about the parallels between that confirmation fight and the current impeachment inquiry, and i quote, from the conservative vantage point, perhaps the greatest similarity is the deep sense of aggrievement about the motives of kavanaugh's critics then and trump's now, those seeking to impeach the president over his conduct with respect to ukraine have long been searching desperately for something, anything with which to take down the designated victim. we're happy to have ruth marcus with us here tonight. by day she is deputy editorial page editor and columnist for "the washington post." she also happens to be the author of "supreme ambition: brett kavanaugh and the conservative takeover." it is great to have you, and i have to tell you, ruth, i have a democratic friend who says here's the only viewer's guide you need to what's about to happen. and he points to a picture of jeff flake's concerned face.
jeff flake gave his concern face a good, long ride during the kavanaugh hearings, especially after he was made aware of those women's concerns in the elevator. jeff flake just decided to confirm the guy, left for arizona, didn't look back. is what is past prologue in your view. >> i think it is without the beer. thank you so much for having me to talk about this. i think that we're going to see some degree of concerned face, perhaps, from republican senators, and then they are going to move on and not vote to convict and remove the president from office. at least senator flake -- and i write about him extensively in
the book and the longest night he says he had in the senate, woke up deciding to vote for then-judge kavanaugh to confirm him, then decided to go forward with this fbi investigation but didn't push to have the fbi continue its investigation where it should go. and i think that we may look back at jeff flake and other republican senators' conduct in the kavanaugh investigation and wish we had jeff flake back to deal with the impeachment trial because right now, as i see it, there's not a lot of appetite for really getting to the facts here. there's just a fear of donald trump, fear of voters, and a desire to just move on from this. >> one of the newsier bits in an already-newsy book concerns the contact between two fathers,
justice kavanaugh's father and blassy ford's father. >> please go to your favorite book seller by tomorrow morning, if not tonight. this is a really difficult scene in the book. it's the morning after justice kavanaugh is confirmed stt happens in the small, clubby world of conservative and elite washington, ralph blassy, christine blasey ford's father is a golf club friend and colleague at the elite burning tree country club of ed kavanaugh, brett kavanaugh's father. and the morning after the confirmation, ed kavanaugh opens his email and he sees an email from his friend, ralph blassy, and it says both of you our families have been through a lot. i'm glad brett was confirmed.
now, ralph blase was privately supportive of his daughter. he and his wife did not go to her hearings, but they went to visit her afterwards. she did not ask them to go to the hearings. he told her repeatedly that he was proud of her but there is the fact and it is a fact of this email, and it's a pretty shattering fact that somebody whose daughter said that brett kavanaugh sexually assaulted her would say he was glad he was confirmed. perhaps this was the objean obs. it's a pretty astonishing email. >> i hold in my hand most of his research and writing by a veteran journalist a substantial book to add to what we may think we know about this matter. our thanks to ruth marcus. coming up here, we switch our focus from an era of
american political gridlock to an era of american greatness, when we were in a race with the soviets and won. historian doug brinkley, much more from the "the 11th hour" when we come back. frustrated that clean clothes you want to wear always seem to need an iron? next time try bounce wrinkle guard dryer sheets. just toss it in the dryer to bounce out wrinkles.
we dried these shorts with bounce wrinkle guard, and a pair without. the bounce wrinkle guard shorts have fewer wrinkles and static, and more softness. it's the world's first mega sheet that does the job of three dryer sheets. it also comes in unscented. if you don't love bounce wrinkle guard, we'll give you your money back. billions of problems. sore gums? bleeding gums? painful flossing? there's a therabreath for you. therabreath healthy gums oral rinse fights gingivitis and plaque and prevents gum disease for 24 hours. so you can...
breathe easy, there's therabreath at walmart. male anchor: ...an update on the cat who captured our hearts. female anchor: how often should you clean your fridge? stay tuned to find out. male anchor: beats the odds at the box office to become a rare non-franchise hit. you can give help and hope to those in need. nice rock. it's time to drop gold. go digital. go grayscale.
the long-range exploration of space. and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. >> john f. kennedy joint session of congress, 1961. this nation was able to do what he challenged us to do there. about four years earlier in october of '57, the space race took off when the soviets launched a satellite about the size of a basketball named sputnik into orbit. in his new book "american moonshot," doug brinkley describes how massive a wake-up call that moment was for our country. he points out "the new york times" devoted nearly half its front page to the satellite with the headline "soviet fires earth satellite into space. it is circle the globe at 18,000 miles per hour, sphere tracked in four crossings over u.s.." other papers were equally breathless. america's pride had been
deflated by a satellite and a fan-like cooling device, orbiting the earth elicense platically every 90 minutes at an altitude between 140 and 560 miles. all the u.s. government could do was ask the 70,000 members of the american radio relay league, a society of ham radio operators or buffs to help them track the soviet beeps. and as we know, a decade later in the summer of '69, the u.s. beat the russians to the moon a accomplishing the president's goal. on july 20th, lunar module landed on the lunar surface. neil armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, buzz aldrin soon followed him out the door. michael collins was circling above in their ride home, the command module. we are so happy to be joined tonight by approximate douglas brinkley, presidential historian, author of the new book "american moonshot: john f. kennedy and the great space
race" which will debut on number ten on "the new york times" best-seller list. it's great to see you. sick of watching you on the other network. very happy for you. i have read and finished the book. let's start with how crazy it sounds today that this thing, i said basketball, somewhere between basketball and beach ball, showed up in the skies over this country. it scared a lot of people in this country, including my late parents, and it scared president john f. kennedy. >> absolutely. i mean, dwight eisenhower was president and he kind of tried to just say it wasn't that big a deal. some people were calling it a grape future satellite, but, lo and behold, with the headline you just showed on "the new york times," a panic kind of swept the land. this was the era of mccarthyism, red scare. the idea that the soviets had a nuclear weapon and had hydrogen weapons and now are beating us into space with satellites, and jack kennedy seized on this.
he said there was a missile gap a space gap remembrance so did lyndon johnson. in fact, lbj helped create nasty in 1958. our whole creation of nasa was in response to sputnik. everything became nik. that he put dog out and called it pooch nik. sputnik kind of motivated jack kennedy. so by 1960 and the debates with richard nixon, kennedy charged nixon that if you're president, i see a soviet flag on the moon. if you elect me president, there will be an american flag on the moon. >> doug, this calls for a judgment, but you're a historian after all. how would lbj and jfk take the news that in this very day, if we want to get our astronauts up to the international space station, our ride is the russians. we don't have a spacecraft ready for the task. where did we lose it along the
way? our jets still fly at the same speed they carried john f. kennedy and we can't build a high-speed train in this country. >> what a great question. you know, i think when john f. kennedy f. kennedy became president he was part of the world war ii generation where we did big things. after all, you know, industrial mobilization or the willow run plants on joining up airplanes. we created things like radar in world war ii. obviously the manhattan project. eisenhower did the interstate highway project and the st. lawrence seaway. so kennedy was part of that world war ii generation. what he did right was pick technology as the golden number. it becomes the new frontier. and we went to the moon, and the only problem with it was we funded it by the space race, we're going to beat the soviets. well, we beat them in '69. and some of the tv ratings started dropping off. we had apollo 13, a near disaster. and nixon, president nixon
canceled the last few apollo missions. and by 1975, brian, with gerald ford as president we did a joint docking with the soviets in space. and so it was kind of the end of the space race. and we never caught the fervor again to be number one. and without the competition of the soviet union, maybe now china will be the new spur, you know, but without that competition you wouldn't have gotten the $25 billion it costs to go to the moon. that's 185 billion in today's terms. >> can you still make the case that we would profit from getting back in the business? there's more science in the phone in my hand than was on board apollo 11. there's more science in the chevrolet i drive than was on board apollo 11. but they made life better. >> that's absolutely true what you're saying. some people might think that's hyperbole. this was very primitive and early technology. in 1960 "time" magazine picked scientists as the men of the
year. and by the late '60s due to vietnam and agent orange and environmental degradation we didn't honor scientists in a special way as we did in the early 1960s, the experts. today many people, you know, just disregard scientists. the trump administration kind of calls climate change a hoax quite often. and so we're lacking that kind of belief in doing technology in a big project that brings the country together. joe biden's talking about a cancer moon shot to cure cancer. buzz aldrin thinks the next moon shot's a mars shot to go to mars. but there are many people that think we need an earth shot, something here on the planet to take care of our oceans and our environmental degradation of our forest and wetlands and wildlife corridors. >> some other of the subjects doug has written about in his career. and ladies and gentlemen, in our audience the title of this book
is "american moonshot: john f. kennedy and the great space race." doug brinkley, the author, thank you for your kindness over the years. it's great to see you. good luck with the book. >> thank you, brian. coming up, americans by choice. we hear words of gratitude and sacrifice from career public servants who made serving the united states their mission in life after the united states offered them a place to call home. red them a place to call home there's a lot of talk about value out there. but at fidelity, value is more than just talk. we offer commission-free online u.s. stock and etf trades. and, when you open a new fidelity brokerage account, your cash is automatically invested at a great rate -- that's 21 times more than schwab's. plus, fidelity's leading price improvement on trades saved investors hundreds of millions of dollars last year. that's why fidelity continues to lead the industry in value while our competition continues to talk. ♪ talk fidelity.
the democrats fake outrage that president trump used his own channel to communicate with ukraine. i'll remind my friends on the other side of the aisle that our first president george washington directed his own diplomatic channels to secure a treaty with great britain. >> here's the problem. a few weeks back the "washington post" was quick to fact check the house intel committee ranking member, mr. nunes, writing, "no, devin nunes, trump in 2019 is not like george washington in 1794." they go on to point out that our first president so the "a deal on behalf of u.s. interests, the interest being not getting into another war. while the trump impeachment inquiry is "looking into whether trump was trying to negotiate a deal not for u.s. interests but
for his own political gain." as democrats have tried to build their case, it has occurred to a lot of people that some of the most emotional testimony we saw throughout, some of the most eloquent and patriotic words have come from immigrants to this country who have sacrificed for our country and consider it an honor to serve the united states. >> my service is an expression of gratitude. >> i'm grateful. >> i take great pride. >> for all this country has given to me and to my family. >> i decided i want to spend my life serving this nation and gave me family -- that gave my family refuge from authoritarian repression. >> i'm an american by choice. i became a citizen in 2002. i was born in the northeast of england in the same region as george washington's ancestors came from. both my region and my family have deep ties to the united states. >> my father fled the soviets before ultimately finding refuge in the united states. my mother's family escaped the
ussr after the bolshevik revolution, and she grew up stateless in nazi germany before also eventually making her way to the united states. >> when my father was 47 years old, he left behind his entire life and the only home he had ever known to start over in the united states so his three sons could have a better and safer lives. >> years later i can say with confidence that this country has offered me opportunities i never would have had in england. >> my personal history gave me both deep gratitude toward the united states and great empathy for others like the ukrainian people who want to be free. >> everyone immigrated to the united states at? point in their family history. and this is what for me really does make america great. >> and with that that is our holiday edition of "the 11th hour." on behalf of all the good people who put on this broadcast five nights a week all year long, our producers, our crew, we wish you a warm and wonderful and safe
holiday season. thank you for being here with us at our nbc news headquarters in new york. good evening. thanks for being with us this hour. all right. it has only happened six times in history. there have been six times that the republicans and the democrats have had their presidential nominating conventions in the same city in the same year. 1884 a former speaker of the house named james blaine was the republican nominee for president that year. his convention happened in june at chicago's lakefront interstate exposition building. the following month grover cleveland had his convention in chicago, too, from the competing party but they had the same convention venue, the same building by the lake where james blaine had had his convention just a few weeks earlier.