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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  April 17, 2018 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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cohen, operating as a shadow chief of staff, according to a new story out tonight. one of the roars who broke it is standing by. also alongside the japanese prime minister, donald trump admits to highest level talks with north korea. "the washington post" breaks the story tonight, cia director mike pompeo has apparently met with kim jong-un. plus larry kudlow crosses nikki haley and probably won't do that again. the bigger question is what happened to those new russia sanctions she announced? and remembering the wife of one president and the mother of another. the formidable former first lady barbara bush has died at the age of 92. "the 11th hour" on a tuesday night begins now. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. former first lady barbara bush, wife of the 41st president, mother to the 43rd, died this evening the at the age of 92. we'll have a remembrance of her a bit later on in this broadcast tonight.
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but we begin with day 453 of this trump administration. tonight the president is hosting the prime minister of japan at mar-a-lago. when he's at his estate, donald trump has been known to call on a wide variety of friends and outside advisers, and tonight we have a new picture of just how influential one of those people is. robert costa of the "washington post," who is standing by to join us in just a bit, has co-authored a report tonight on sean hannity's role in the world of donald trump. costa and his colleagues write it this way, quote, the phone calls between president trump and sean hannity come early in the morning or late at night, after the fox news host goes off the air. they discuss ideas for hannity's show, trump's frustration with the ongoing special counsel probe, and even at times, what the president should tweet according to people familiar with the conversations. the revelation this week that the two men share an attorney is just the latest sign of how hannity is intertwined with trump's world and increasingly powerful confidant who offers the media-driven president a sympathetic ear and shared grievances. the piece is referring to the
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revelation that sean hannity, of course, is also a client of trump's longtime personal attorney michael cohen, who is now under criminal investigation, has been for months. that came out in federal court just yesterday, but the details of exactly what cohen did for sean hannity are still not clear. today hannity spoke out again today on his radio show about his relationship with cohen, what it is and what it is not. >> yeah, i did have attorney/client conversations, mostly over real estate. you know, it just is so corrupt. it is such a double standard. and it so obnoxious on so many different levels, but it's never going to go away because the mission, when you really look at it, is been and has been to never let trump get elected. and then from the day he was elected, to undermine donald trump. >> hannity failed to mention his connections to michael cohen when he criticized the fbi's raid on cohen's home and office last week. fox news issued this statement today. quote, while fox news was
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unaware of sean hannity's informal relationship with michael cohen and was surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we have reviewed the matter and spoken to sean, and he continues to have our full support. tonight hannity is being connected to three more lawyers in the president's orbit, victoria toensing and joe digenova, husband and wife, both attorneys who were slated to join the president's legal team, as well as the top lawyer left on that team, jay sekulow, all represented hannity in a case last year. amid all the scrutiny on sean hannity, the fate of michael cohen, of course, remains in question. today on this network we heard this from the attorney involved in another legal battle with cohen and his client, donald trump. >> from what i've heard, from what i've seen, there's no question that michael cohen's going to be charged. it's only a question of when, and i think it's going to happen within the next 90 days based on my experience in white collar
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criminal investigations and prosecutions. the likelihood of not rolling over is very, very slim. i can't imagine he's going to go to trial or potentially face 10, 15, 20, 25 years in a federal penitentiary for anybody, let alone a guy, donald trump, who left him behind when he went to washington, d.c. >> that gets your attention. and for more we turn to our leadoff panel for a tuesday night. robert costa, national political reporter for "the washington post" and moderator of washington week on pbs. peter baker, chief white house correspondent for "the new york times." and jill wine-banks, attorney, former assistant watergate special counsel. mr. costa, i'll begin with you. always uncomfortable when media folks are in the media as part of the story, though i note sean hannity's lead segment tonight was called "the media's hannity obsession." talk to us about the relationship between donald trump and sean hannity, and what
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does trump get from hannity that is missing elsewhere in his life and presidency? >> you just nailed it, brian. we're at an inflection point in this presidency, and throughout my reporting i keep hearing how the president wants to return to the way he operated his business from trump tower, that 26th floor suite. in that same style, he's reaching out to people in the media, and hannity is at the top of that list, someone he sees as combative, anti-establishment, has a mass audience, is also loyal to him. so you see hannity more than the president's own staffers in the west wing having an influence, talking the president through everything from policy to personnel to tweets. >> robert, it is not unusual that members of the news media have, in some cases, pre-existing friendships with presidents. in other cases, they cozy up to that president while they're in office. it's been the case as long as there have been news media and presidents. is there anything different about this relationship, these
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two individuals? >> what makes this so striking is sean hannity has really ascended within the american right as the republican party has gone through convulsions during the trump era. it is hannity, his platform, and others at fox news who have often had the president's ear, who are, in their own way, shaping the way different things play out with the trump administration, urging the president to stick to its hard-line positions on immigration, to move forward in a conservative way on health care. and as the president really just turns to his family and more and more, hannity is seen as a trusted friend. and i can't emphasize enough in my reporting how that trust for hannity, that confidence in him as an associate really underscores everything that's happening. >> and one more before we change topics, and that is your reporting that it was hannity who knew sekulow first and may have handed off jay sekulow, the idea, the lawyer, to president trump who was in need of counsel. >> because of that trust he has with hannity, when he has to
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make crucial decisions like with his legal team, of course he talks to his family and his staff. but he's looking for hannity's guidance. he sees him as a fellow traveler, a new yorker, someone who has a connection with the conservative community, someone who is connected to his base. so, yes, he looked at jay sekulow because he had the imprint of hannity. victoria toensing, joseph digenova, these are people who are seen as hannity-blessed. that doesn't mean they have full say, that they're going to go all the way with president trump, but they have an entry because of hannity. >> peter baker, let's swing back around to the west wing. this president by all accounts needs counsel. he needs lawyers, needs them urgently and badly, though it's tough to find especially because this case already has left the station. a million documents or thereabouts have changed hands. he needs an agenda. so what is the level of unsettledness in the west wing
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that you can report? >> well, you know, the thing is we ask that question a lot, and the truth is they get sort of inured to these constant gyrations. people who have been there 15 months and people that have been there only the last few months have learned that topsy-turvy is the order of the day. so they are stressed. they're beaten down, and they're tired, but they're not surprised i think by a lot anymore. they feel that each day is going to bring more and more surprises and more and more challenges, the likes of which most presidencies would see only over the course of a full term, much less in a single day. but that's the nature of working in this white house. and i think that anybody who has worked there now for any period of time has to come to accept that. otherwise they're going to have to look for ways out. >> jill, i feel the need to go back all of about a week in this
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administration and re-ask of you how rare is a no-knock search and seizure on the home, office, and hotel room of a white collar lawyer in new york? and, part b, how much trouble is michael cohen in, in your view? >> it is unusual to have a no-knock search, but in this case apparently there was at least some ability to obtain e-mails, which obviously created a sense that something might be destroyed. and so for the second time in an investigation related to donald trump, there has been a no-knock search in order to avoid evidence being destroyed before it could be gathered together. and i would say that michael cohen is in a lot of trouble when you add, in addition to all the evidence that mueller might be getting -- i'm sorry, not mueller -- the southern district of new york. this does not involve mueller at
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all. you also have the mcclatchy scoop that there is evidence he was in prague, which means he may be related to collusion, not just to some kind of bank fraud, the payments of hush money, which would be a serious problem for him. so there's a lot going on, and he does not seem to have a legitimate legal practice. he has, at most, three clients according to his own claim. one of those clients saying, not so sure he was really my lawyer. and one probably had a one-time deal with him for settling a hush money claim as well. >> hey, robert, let me read you the work of some of your colleagues. they write, quote, trump's team has reached out to robert c. bonner, a former federal judge, former member of president george w. bush's administration, about representing trump too. people familiar with the outreach said bonner is a former customs and border protection commissioner and is credited with ushering in a more consolidated government approach to securing america's borders in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. i understand an upside of counselor bonner would be that he's retired and would not bring any complications with partners
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objecting to him taking on this client, robert, but any indication he wants work this badly? >> it's a revealing report from my colleagues tonight for that reason that so many attorneys at the white shoe washington law firms are declining the president's legal team offers because they say there's too many conflicts. it's also a political risk. they don't like to articulate that publicly but they do so privately. you see bonner. he's inching closer. still at this point it's still the hannity friend, jay sekulow. ty cobb is there. john dowd is gone, another retired lawyer gone from the legal team. they're also recognizing inside of the white house tonight, even though the president's at mar-a-lago, that he's not going to be likely doing an interview with the special counsel.
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so really do they need an expanded legal team? perhaps if things ramp up. but at this moment, they're sliding by, not comfortably, but doing so with their limited team. peter, neil cavuto conducted a revealing interview with mitch mcconnell that aired tonight. i want to air a piece of it. we'll talk about it afterwards. this has to do with the question to mcconnell, are you going to put to the floor any piece of legislation that protects, codifies, envelops robert mueller. here's the answer. >> well, that's not necessary. there's no indication that mueller is going to be fired. i don't think the president is going to do that. this is a piece of legislation that's not necessary in my job. i'm the one who decides what we take to the floor. and we'll not be having this on the floor of the senate. >> in fairness, he went on to say he thinks trump should not fire mueller in addition to thinking he will not. but what is this all about, do you think? >> well, look, that's the line of a lot of republicans these days is this is not necessary to actually pass legislation because we don't think the president's going to do it, and we don't think the president should do it.
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they're sending him a message. they're sending him a warning, please don't put us in this position because we don't think this is a good idea for either you or the party. they think the idea of actually passing legislation, of course, would outrage the president, maybe even provoke him in a way that might be counterproductive and would only increase the dysfunction within the party where they have a congress and a president in effect on opposite sides. it would be a verdict of the congress if they passed legislation like this that the president can't be trusted, that he in fact isn't able to restraining himself and abide by the rule of law as they see it. so they're trying to straddle a pretty tough line here between both warning the president away from doing something and actually trying to take action on it. >> let's put this on the screen. it took our friend bill kristol no time to say on twitter, i didn't realize that in choosing mitch as majority leader, all the other duly elected republican senators were abdicating all their authority and responsibility. now, jill, i have something for
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you to watch and listen with us, and that is eric holder's appearance on this network tonight. and something he said about robert mueller, how mueller goes about the business and the structure of this investigation. >> he's building from the bottom up, you know. and people have to understand that this is going to take some time. i always thought this was about a two year case. >> a two-year case. jill, does that sound about right? >> you know, we were very lucky in watergate. we were able to go from may of '73, the verdict in the obstruction case was in january of '75. so it was very quick. but we had extraordinary luck in having the tapes and having a very terrific cooperating witness in john dean. so two years is not excessive in a prediction when you have so many additional crimes beyond just obstruction or collusion. in this case, there may be many, many other crimes. so i would say that's a pretty
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accurate thing, and i've often said that we have to be patient because getting it right is really important. and you don't want mueller acting any way ahead of his own schedule. he has to have a really solid case, stronger than he would need against almost any other defendant. so you want him to be very careful and take the time that he needs to proceed with this. >> robert? >> the real question to ask leader mcconnell, it's not about firing mueller. it's if the president decides to fire deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, who oversees the mueller probe. that's the really challenge moment for republicans because it doesn't look like the president's going to move directly on mueller. it's does he shake up the justice department, and how do they respond to that kind of crisis in. >> so much to discuss on a tuesday night. our thanks to three of the very best in the business to do that. robert costa, peter baker, jill wine-banks. thank you all. coming up, after being hung out to dry on the matter of those russia sanctions, a fight broke out today between nikki
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haley and larry kudlow, and here's a hint. kudlow didn't win. plus the latest developments on a breaking story. the highest level meeting between the north korean dictator and the american government. and later, nicolle wallace and john meacham join us with their memories of the matriarch of the bush family, barbara bush. "the 11th hour" is back after this. . crisis? . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . play "do it like this".
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[music plays] when everything's connected, it's simple. easy. awesome. . >> so you will see that russian sanctions will be coming down. secretary mnuchin will be announcing those on monday, if
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he hasn't already urks and they will go directly to any sort of companies related to equipment and chemicals assad used. >> that was u.n. ambassador nikki haley on sunday morning, highlighting this new round of sanctions on russia that she said would be rolled out on monday. but on monday, white house officials said trump had not yet decided on those sanctions. then earlier today, chief white house economic adviser larry kudlow told reporters, quote, she got ahead of the curve. she's done a great job. she's a very effective ambassador, but there might have been some momentary confusion. well, that turned out to be a mistake. nikki haley fired right back, telling fox news, quote, with all due respect, i don't get confused. and now larry kudlow has apologized to nikki haley, telling "the new york times," quote, she was certainly not confused. i was wrong to say that, totally wrong. as it turns out, she was basically following what she thought was policy. the policy has changed, and she wasn't told about it, so she was
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in a box. with more tonight, we welcome anita kumar, white house correspondent for mcclatchy newspapers, and jonathan lemire, white house reporter for the associated press and an msnbc political analyst. anita, as they say, this is not a good look. >> it's not. there were so many -- so many things wrong with what happened today or this week. but nikki haley stood her ground, right? i mean she had the right information at that time, and the white house put out talking points to surrogates, potential surrogates, saying the exact same thing. so she had the right information on sunday. it's that the president or the administration changed their mind, but what larry kudlow did today is what you don't do in your first two weeks or ever at the white house, which is you make this argument, you make this fight public. right now people looking at what's going on in the white house don't know who is speaking for the white house. this is the problem they've had for the last 15 months.
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so, you know, they're contradicting each other, and they're having these policy fights in public. so none of that was very good, but you were right. nikki haley ended up on the right end. she stood her ground, and he apologized. but still not a good look for the white house. >> jonathan, i agree with katy tur who came out today in defense of retiring the phrase got out over one's skis. so let's put that aside and let's say that nikki haley has earned high marks in her brief time in this job. let's say she has proven to be a quick study and we all thought enjoyed a good working relationship with the president. so having said all that, how do you think this happened? >> first of all, somewhere rex tillerson, i assume in texas, is nodding his head very sympathetically about being the sort of voice of the trump administration on a world stage and yet seemingly undermined and undercut by a colleague or the president himself. you're right. nikki haley to this point does
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enjoy -- has enjoyed a good relationship with the president. they speak often. they speak often in the same language. they have been known to consult. haley will call the white house, consult with the president before she goes out there before the u.n. or makes some sort of significant public statement to make sure she has the language right, that she's capturing his essence. this is a moment, though, she also, however, has gotten on the white house's radar and the president's in particular for her own ambitions. there was a sense that she wanted rex tillerson's job in foggy bottom, you know, last fall, before of course he eventually was fired and pompeo is going to be in instead. there is a belief among some trump advisers that she's eyeing the white house, that she could certainly be looking at 2024, or if this president is particularly damaged, maybe even 2020. so i think there is a little bit of tension there. but on the whole, she is someone who has been seen as -- the president views as a good soldier, has said the right thing. but the lesson here more than anything else is the only person who speaks for trump on the world stage is trump.
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>> anita, i do note joe scarborough said this week in this studio he thinks she could beat donald trump. we'll see how that argument goes over in the west wing. but i want to show you something glenn thrush tweeted out today. it's under the heading "what a difference a day makes." on the left, monday's a-1 headline in "the new york times." trump to punish russia for aiding attack by syria. on the right, as we were saying, here's tuesday's lead story. trump declines to add sanctions against russians. anita, two points here. number one, in some parts of the world, this kind of thing still matters greatly, and a lot of the world is watching if not the whole world. and, number two, here we are back again to the central issue of russia. >> right. i mean it's not lost on a lot of people that the issue that the president changed his mind on again is russia. so he's done a lot of things in
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the last couple weeks that have been really tough, tougher than he's ever been on russia, calling out vladimir putin in that tweet, you know, obviously the syrian strike. you know, syria supported by russia, so that was just as much against russia. the sanctions which had been long waited for, but still we're hearing language from him and his spokesperson, sarah sanders, saying he still would like to meet with vladimir putin. he still hopes they have a good relationship. you know, on and on. it just seems that he's still very conflicted about it. so, you know, the administration has been tough the last couple of weeks. but here he is again saying they were going to do something and then changing his mind. >> do we have the tweet from steve schmidt, who tonight has been very active on social media. the first person to resign from this cancerous administration on principle will look back on that day the same way powerball winners look back on the moment they bought their golden ticket. trump has made haley look like a fool. if she stays, it will be at the cost of her dignity. jonathan, steve is often very direct.
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let's talk about damage to this. does kudlow, the new kid in the white house, someone known to a lot of us because he was at cnbc for many years -- does he suffer damage, and does haley remain kind of an untouchable? does she take on even more aura because of standing up in this case? >> well, the president is fond of the new toy, the shiny new object, and that's what larry kudlow is right now. he's only been there a couple weeks. he to this point is seemingly in the president's good graces, although it must be pointed out he was informed of the tariff decision after it was made. this was two weeks back or so when the president decided to up the ante against china. he made the decision and then told him as opposed to consulting him ahead of time. i think kudlow saying, look, you misspoke or whatever, perhaps that buys him some good will among others in the administration. this is a president we know doesn't like apologies. it will remain to be seen how that is viewed.
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as far as nikki haley goes, i think she is watched warily by some, who are concerned perhaps about her ambitions, but i think she's seen as an effective spokeswoman. she is someone when rex tillerson was seemingly undermined by the president on a near daily basis, haley seemed to be more in lockstep with the oval office. she will be, as we enter into, with tonight's news, you know, the next stage in negotiations with north korea, she's going to be seen as an important player in that, you know, especially when we don't actually have a secretary of state just yet. so, you know, as with any trump adviser, to be determined what her long-term future is, but for now i think she remains an important voice for this white house. >> brian, i just got to tell you one thing that happened last week. on larry kudlow's fifth day at the white house, they had a little briefing for reporters, just an on the record
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conversation. there was really no news from it. but he had a little joke in there. he said it was his fifth day, and he asked us all how long anthony scaramucci lasted. if you'll remember, it was ten days. he said, i'm going to beat that. i'm going to beat that, and we all kind of laughed, and here he is two weeks later. >> another way of looking at it. if larry kudlow was the shiny new toy on christmas morning, tomorrow is december 26th for larry kudlow. our thanks to the both of you as always for coming on our broadcast. coming up, the secret meeting between mike pompeo and kim jong-un of north korea. truly historic. "the 11th hour" back with that after this. but i'm relentless too. mbc doesn't take a day off, and neither will i. and i treat my mbc with new everyday verzenio- the only one of its kind that can be taken every day. in fact, verzenio is a cdk4 & 6 inhibitor for postmenopausal women with hr+, her2- mbc, approved,
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stay together with the lantus $0 copay. ♪ let's stay together talk to your doctor or visit i look forward to meeting with kim jong-un and hopefully that will be a success. and maybe it will be, and maybe it won't be. we don't know. but we'll see what happens. but i can say this. they do respect us. we are respectful of them. we've also started talking to north korea directly. we have had direct talks at very high levels, extremely high levels, with north korea. and i really believe there's a lot of good will. a lot of good things are happening. >> that came out of nowhere today, and for the first time we are learning the u.s. is communicating directly, as you heard, with north korea.
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the white house won't say who is doing the communicating, but "the washington post" has the story tonight. quote, cia director mike pompeo made a top secret visit to north korea over easter weekend as an envoy for president trump. the clandestine mission, which had not been previously reported, came soon after pompeo was nominated to be secretary of state. trump's revelation came at the start of a two-day meeting with japanese prime minister shinzo abe. the president also addressed the seemingly improving relations between north and south korea, giving himself plenty of the credit. >> north korea is coming along. south korea is meeting and has plans to meet with north korea to see if they can end the war, and they have my blessing on that. and they've been very generous that without us and without me in particular, i guess, you would have to say, that they wouldn't be discussing anything including the olympics would have been a failure. instead it was a success. they do have my blessing to discuss the end to the war. people don't realize the korean
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war has not ended. so subject to a deal, they would certainly have my blessing, and they do have my blessing to discuss that. >> with us tonight, sue mi terry. she happens to be a former senior analyst at cia and was in charge of this region while on the white house national security council. so, sue, the head of the cia would have had to have spent several days in north korea to equal the time dennis rodman has spent with this leader, who is rumored to have only met with two other americans not including pompeo since he's been leader. how big a story was this tonight? >> this is a big story. i don't think there was this kind of high-level meeting since secretary of state madeleine albright went to pyongyang in 2000 and met with kim jong-il, kim jong-un's father. so this is historic. it's a big deal.
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i guess mr. pompeo was trying to lay the groundwork for this potential summit between kim jong-un and president trump. >> seldom would the president go into a high-level meeting like this without a guarantee that he was going to be welcomed, that there was going to be something to come out of it. to a lesser degree, pompeo wouldn't fly halfway around the world and take the risk of exposure if he didn't have an expectation he was going to meet with the guy and something was going to come of that meeting, correct? >> yes, absolutely. and i do think pompeo wanted to absolutely make sure and clarify certainly things because i think washington and pyongyang might have had very different expectation going into this potential trump/kim jong-un summit. even just concept of denuclearization, mr. trump tweeted that north korea is committed to denuclearization,
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but to north korea that used to mean very different thing. they're always talking about denuclearization of the korean peninsula, and there's a lot there. what that means normally for north koreans, mean end of u.s./south korea alliance, getting rid of u.s. forces from south korea, to really guarantee regime security for north koreans and end the extended nuclear umbrella the u.s. has over south korea. so i think pompeo's role was to clarify these things to ensure that trump/kim jong-un summit goes well or at least doesn't fail. >> and shinzo abe has a huge interest in all of this going well. what do you think he was thinking sitting there listening to the president? >> well, abe has to mile and grin and bear it, but he's in a very difficult spot domestically, and he needs to ensure that japan's interests is protected. and if this summit between kim jong-un and trump goes in a way that does not protect japan's interests such as freeze for freeze deal or a deal on
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intercontinental ballistic missiles that does not really do anything for japan's security, then abe is in trouble domestically. >> sue mi terry, thanks for appearing once again. coming up for us, we'll look back at the life and legacy of a woman whose role in american life and history is already recorded. that's when "the 11th hour" continues. ohn's disease. you're more than just a bathroom disease. you're a life of unpredictable symptoms. crohn's, you've tried to own us. but now it's our turn to take control with stelara® stelara® works differently for adults with moderately to severely active crohn's disease. studies showed relief and remission, with dosing every 8 weeks. stelara® may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before or during treatment, always tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have flu-like symptoms or sores, have had cancer, or develop any new skin growths, or if anyone in your house needs or recently had a vaccine. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems,
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you've got two choices in life. you can like what you do, or you can dislike what you do. i've chosen to like what i do, and i think i'm the luckiest woman in the world. >> former first lady barbara bush has died tonight at the age of 92. you'll hear it said many times in the coming days. barbara bush and abigail adams are the only two women in u.s. history who were the spouse of a president and the mother of a president. and unlike abigail adams, barbara bush lived to see her son's presidency, including all the towering pride and the exquisite torture that comes with that.
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barbara and george h.w. bush just celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in january, and that is a record for presidential couples. while first lady, she championed family literacy, and for 73 years she was the chief operating officer and enforcer of a sprawling and storied american political family. her oldest son, former president george w. bush 43 said in a statement tonight, quote, barbara bush was a fabulous first lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. to us, she was so much more. mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. i'm a lucky man that barbara bush was my mother. with us tonight to remember, nicolle wallace, host of deadline white house, friday afternoons here at 4:00 p.m. eastern time. and of course the former white house communications director
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under president george w. bush. she was also press secretary for jeb bush while he was governor of florida. we're also joined tonight by pulitzer prize winning author and historian and bush biographer, john meacham. he happens to be an msnbc contributor. his biography of bush 41, destiny and power, the american odyssey of george herbert walker bush. nicolle, yes, this was a family of means, and they had a good life, especially from the cheap seats looking at it outwardly. but when i think of barbara bush, i also think of burden and sacrifice. this is a woman who moved her family 29 times in the course of being married to h.w. bush. and this is a woman who lost a small daughter to leukemia, something no one gets over. >> the word i keep thinking of tonight is just her grit.
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you know, her grit, and i think the things you describe can either harden you, or they can make you just live in all of the good. and that's what she did, and that's what she demanded of her kids and her grandkids. she was a hands-on political strategist. she advised three generations of bushes politically, her husband, her two sons, one who became president. she was on the campaign trail, though, with jeb bush all the way till the end of that brutal, brutal primary campaign. and i sat at a table with her right after the 2012 failed presidential campaign of mitt romney where she was slicing and dicing what had gone wrong in that national political contest and dispensing advice to george p. bush, who was on the ballot for statewide office in texas. and she had more political savvy than anyone i had ever worked with in national politics. but i think what has everybody, you know, she's 92. i deep hearing that. for people that know the family, her health has been of much
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graver concern to people than his since the summer of 2016. and so even though people should have been prepared, this is such a blow. she was the beating heart of everything the bush family demanded of the people in it and of the people around it. and it wasn't just about blind loyalty. it was loyalty to all that was good about public service, to all that was good about working in the republican party. and i think there's a whole generation of us who thought we were republicans when in reality, we were bush family loyalists. >> john meacham, a family of nobles oblige. a family, most of all, of public service. she married into that notion. i guess she got a strong hint when her husband became the youngest aviator in the u.s. navy. >> she really is the first lady of the greatest generation.
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they met within three weeks of pearl harbor if you can imagine that. she was wearing a red and green holiday dress that caught young poppy bush's eye and married in january of 1945. she like so many millions of other americans sat in the watches of the night during the second world war, wondering if first her fiance and then her husband would come home. she had every expectation when they were married in the rye presbyterian church in new york on that january day, that her husband was going back to be part of the invasion of the home islands of japan. she remembered the news of the atomic bombs, the news of vj-day, this moment where a personal burden was lifted from her. but she was someone, as nicolle said, who in a way sought out burdens. she lived a full and uncompromising life. i think that's the word that comes to my mind about mrs. bush is unapologetic, uncompromising.
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she called them as she saw them. and i've got a couple of scars. i suspect nicolle does too. i suspect you might, brian, from some of the x-ray vision glances through the years. but, you know, i was thinking all of our political history at the moment was shaped about this time at night, actually, on a july night in 1980 when the talks between gerald ford and ronald reagan collapsed in detroit about ford going on the ticket with governor reagan. and reluctantly, governor reagan picked up the phone and asked for george bush. and at that time that moment, it set in motion three presidencies at least -- the reagan presidency, the first bush presidency, the second bush presidency. but the key moment was the next morning. a lot of distrust. a lot of tension between the
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reagans and the bushes, and they had sort of an awkward cup of coffee as these things unfold. and afterward, as they were parting, mrs. bush walked up to ronald reagan and said, governor, we're going to work our tails off for you. and mike dever recalled that at that moment, ronald reagan was sold and never had a second thought. and they did. they worked their tails off for him. they worked their tails off for their own campaigns, for their sons, and for so many causes. they've raised so much money through the years for everything you can think of. and it's a sad night. >> it was pointed out tonight as a couple they have raised in their years together over $1 billion for charities. hey, guys, just hold those thoughts. we're going to fit in a commercial break and keep our discussion going on the other side.
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we are back, continuing our discussion on the death tonight of barbara bush.
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nicolle wallace, because it will be talked about in the coming days, let's talk about how barbara bush greeted all things trump. the trump era, the trump campaign, because that collided with her son jeb in the race, and sadly, a moniker, a cutting line, a label that donald trump has delivered to her son that has had some staying power, however fair or unfair. >> well, before we talk about trump, i think we should step back and i think john would agree, if jeb bush or george w. bush or george p. bush ran against the pope, her loyalties would be with her family members, so, you know, trump is not that. so, you know, the thing about trump, and i think the thing that, you know, you -- late at night on an emotional night, i may put this more bluntly than the family would like me to, but trump is just the anti-ethos of what service was and the republican party was to the bush
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family. and i would say the people for whom trumpism is the most galling are the people who served the bushes. the people for whom trump's bathing in how the office can enrich himself personally, how his companies can benefit from his high office, the people who are most galled by that are the people who watched the bushes in office. and, so, i -- you know, can't ascribe every sentiment to the bushes, but she was on the campaign trail with jeb bush to make an important point, not just her love for her son, but her belief that elections matter, that that election mattered. and that her son, or someone, i think, who at least saw public service the same way he did, would have been a better or more important person to carry the
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mantle, and john and i were there in the summer of 2016, talking politics with her, she was up on all of the news stories, she was up on all of the ups and downs of what was happening in the clinton campaign and the trump campaign. and she had some questions about gary johnson, you know, she went through the 2016 campaign the way a lot of people did, in a little bit of shock. >> john, sounds like you melt your match. >> always. she very generously, when i was working on the book about the president, she -- mrs. bush kept a diary from 1948 until quite recently, or perhaps even until this week, i don't know, and it's a remarkable document. and so, i used a very technical historical method to get access to it, i begged her. and she -- i think she enjoyed that. but it's a remarkable sign of a couple of things. one is her confidence in her basic role in history. her sense that they did the best they could, they didn't get
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everything right, lord knows. she would be the first to say that, and probably in a much more entertaining way, even than 41 or 43, who would also admit that, and the only condition on reading this volume luminous set of documents was, because there was so much about the family and personal things, she said, i just want to see anything you're going toe use from it, not what i did with it, or what i wrote, but what i said. and i took her 80 pages of transcripts and she took nothing off the record. >> wow. >> and i'll never forget sitting in maine in the living room, going over, just watching her read it, and at one point, she looked up and said, "my, i was an opinionated 42-year-old." and i wanted to say, ma'am, it hadn't changed much.
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>> that sounds about right. hey, listen. thanks to two friends of ours for talking about a friend of theirs on the night we learned of the death of barbara bush at the age of 92. thank you, friends, appreciate it very much. another break. we'll be back with more right after this. dray, when he was younger, he loved to smile; and we knew he would need braces because his teeth were coming in funny. that's when he had the bunny rabbits. we called him the bunny rabbit. now, those are the same two front teeth, there, that they are now. then dray ended up having to wear braces for 5 years because he never made it to appointments, because he was busy playing basketball. if he missed practice, he don't get to play in the game. this is the picture that was on the front page of the newspaper. all you can notice is the braces! then,
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once he got to michigan state, he broke the retainer! my bottom teeth, they were really crooked, and i just wasn't getting braces again. smile direct club fits into my lifestyle so well. the liner is so great. it's easy to just grab it and go and then i can change on the road. i did photoshoots with my aligners in and you can't see them. i wish smile direct club would have been around when i was paying for them. i wouldn't have to take him out of school. i wouldn't have had missed work. it's like a great feeling to have good teeth. a smile is a first impression, that's why i think having a great smile is so important.
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well, because i always knew that i was lucky and that life had been good to me, but i really remembered again how really good it had been. >> because some people, when they face the catharsis of a book, and in order for a book to be successful, has to be honest, have a difficult time letting it out. >> i loved writing the book. and let me just give you an example.
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i told george this on the phone this morning, or last night, before i went to bed, he called. i awaken monday morning in new york city having said good-bye to george bush and the airplane went into the white house, a lot of things happened, the pope, arafat met with rabin. a lot of things happened. darling jessica tandy died, and i thought, you know, i knew every single person, or place, that was on that television set, thanks to george bush. with the exception of arafat, and george did meet him this year, but every other person knew me and i knew them. >> quite a life. >> that's an amazing life. i knew it from writing the book. but i told george, i said, it really struck me how really great a life you've given me. >> last thing before we go tonight, that was barbara bush with larry king back in '94, looking at the blessings in her
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life in a way that can sound bracingly quaint, if that's still a thing in 2018. barbara bush will be buried alongside her daughter, robin, at the bush library in college >> barbara bush has died at the age of 92. first lady of the united states from 1989 to 1993. she was the wife of one president george herbert walker bush, the mother of the second president bush. one of the most remarkable lives in american political history. andrea mitchell, your thoughts at this moment. >> great sadness, great appreciation for all she did for the grace, for the courage, her loyalty to her family. for the wa


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