tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC April 18, 2017 8:00pm-8:31pm PDT
development in metro atlanta. >> looks like brian williams is going to get the chance to make the call in this race. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. >> tonight the breaking news out of georgia, can the political newcomer, an upstart democrat pull off a win for his party and embarrass president trump who injected himself into this race? also working at the white house and selling hand bags on the side, new questions this evening about a big business deal for ivanka trump's company. and hillary clinton's apology to president obama, new behind the scenes reporting from election night that we have not heard until now. the 11th hour begins right now. good evening and a lot of news we're covering tonight as we greet you once again from our headquarters here in new york. day 89 of the trump administration and tonight all political eyesre on a special election for congress in georgia. 18 names on the ballot, but it's
the democrat john ossoff who has worked as a congressional aide in the past. he is hoping to get more than 50% of the vote, avoiding the runoff, pulling off an upset in this race. it's been a tight one all night. right now he's leading with 50.3% of the vote, 32 points out in front of his nearest competitor. the seat is open because its previous occupant, what was once newt gingrich's seat, tom price is now secretary of health and human services. and tonight's special election was already being sold as some sort of a referendum on the trump administration so far, but that was before the president jumped into the fray. first by recording robocalls to local voters, then at 6:38 this morning again on twitter. quote, democrat john ossoff would be a disaster in congress, very weak on crime and illegal immigration. bad for jobs and taxes. say no. 18 minutes he was back at it,
republicans must get out today and vote in georgia 6. force runoff and easy win. dem ossoff will raise your taxes, very bad on crime and second amendment. and then again this afternoon, just learned that jon ossoff running for congress in georgia doest even live in the district. republicans, get out and vo. here's how the candidate answers that criticism. >> i grew up in this district. i grew up in this community. of course no one knew there was an election coming. i've been by emory university about ten minutes down the road for the last few years supporting my long-time girlfriend alicia while she finishes medical school. i'm proud to be supporting her career. when she concludes her medical train, i'll be 10 minutes back up the road in the district where i grew up. >> president trump carried the district by a thin margin. it's a largely prosperous district with a high percentage of college educated voters. more on that in a moment. a loss ultimately could
spook republicans heading into 2018. still trying to find that balance between supporting their party's president being loyal, and yet dealing with voters who are critical of the man in the white house. it is possible we saw an early version of what we're talking about, what that could look like during a town hall with iowa's junior senator republican joni ernst today in wall lake, iowa. >> i would like to know how you can support a man that treats women the way donald trump does. [ applause ] >> and he treats disabled people poorly as well. >> i did support him because of his policies. but i would tell you, going back, i don't know that we've ever had a perfect president. if you can .1 out, i don't think we have. [ applause ] >> so, you know, that's how i feel. i think i support a majority of
the policies versus the actual person. >> meanwhile, at a jobs event at snap-on tools in wisconsin today, the president continued to sell his version of how his administration is doing thus far. >> no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days that includes our military on the border, on trade, on regulation, on law enforcement. we love our law enforcement. and on government reform. >> let's bring in tonight's panel, shall we. nbc news capitol hill correspondent casey hunt, and the national political reporter for the washington post, robert costa. co-anchors, look at them, both with us from the democratic ossoff headquarters in atlanta tonight. and here in new york, our friend long-time radio talk show host from his home state in wisconsin now the host of indivisible, and that's charlie sykes. to georgia we'll go.
casey hunt, set the scene, set the stakes and how do democrats claim victory with less than 50%? how do they make the case for just how red this district is? >> honestly, brian, the expeatns here, i think it got a little out of hand for democrats and this 50% threshold. you can see and kind of hear i think behind us that this party is still really going strong. frankly it's a bigger party than i saw for the republicans over the course of the 2016 campaign. they have been sort of steadily trickling out the door a little bit as we wait for the final returns in this race. right now ossoff is holding steady as you showed, just over 50%. but we're anticipating that the vote that is still out is likely to bring that number down below 50% and lead to a runoff. although we can't report that definitively yet at this point. now, democrats had gotten to the point where the expectation was
and republicans have been working on this, too, saying, look, if he doesn't have 50%, that means ultimately that they didn't pull off the goal that they set out to achieve. but this, of course, is much better than any democrat has done recently. so, clearly there are some signs hereof democratic enthusiasm, but so far just doesn't seem that they really have the numbers that they would need to win this seat outright. >> and, robert, you being one of the better follows on twitter, i saw you tonight telling your followers, as i'm going to ask you to tell our viewers, describe this district, the people in it. you mentioned sleek suvs, i think. >> look, as democrats think ahead, brian, to 2018, and the kind of districts they've got to win to pickup the house, they need 24 seats. they're going to need suburban districts like this, full of moderate republicans, college educated, a couple of those driving around this district. saw a lot of these blue ossoff
signs, sleek suvs, hip coffee shops called octane coffer ee. alltel the people were toting coffee. they have young kids. there is a clean-cut community. it's in the suburbs of atlanta. this is the place where democrats feel because of the president's temperament and some of his policies they could have an advantage and they've got a candidate in ossoff who is pretty on message, has been a congressional staffer, is not too out there in terms of how he espouses his progressive views. >> charlie sykes, what do you make of the president's decision to get in this? that doesn't come without risk. >> no, it comes with a lot of risk. now, of course, with the expectation game has been raised by both sides. i'm guessing that the election, the results will be spinable by both sides. republicans will say, look, you didn't get to the 50% so it was not the huge defeat. democrats are going to be able to say, look, we should not have even been competitive in this seat in the first 100 days. but it is interesting that donald trump cannot keep himself
from getting engaged in these issues. by the way, this puts it in perspective. i'm old enough to remember the scott brownie alexis in massachusetts. >> oh, yeah. >> everybody thought that was the end of obamacare and obama was going to be a one-term president and this was the biggest thing in the world. we look back on that, it was a speed bump. this is probably going to be a speed bump as well. but it's an indication of how everything is magnified in the era of trump. >> casey hunt, you and robert hang around capitol hill, a, way too much, and b, an awful lot. and you talk to a lot of republicans up there. what's it like right now? do they define themselves -- we saw a test on health care. do they define themselves as the party of donald trump? >> honestly, brian, i don't think so. i just don't see it. i mean, look, it's very hard to get republicans to say outright negative things about donald trump. i think what you showed from joni ernst actually at that town hall is one of the more interesting things i have seen out of a congressional republican so prominent as
ernst. it kind of gives you a sense that there is the potential for republicans to turn on donald trump if they don't think that he is going to get them reelected. and i think increasingly, the more that, you know, he makes decisions that to them feel erratic, one top republican once said to me we feel a little responsibility to be the ballast in the ship of state. if voters start to feel like the ship -- that ship of state is falling completely off course, i think you're going to see republican members of congress respond. and i think that's actually what you're going to talk about the broader implications of what's happening here. i think you start to buildup these collective signs of these different what happened here, what happened in kansas. you're going to get a lot of nervous republicans in congress that could actually affect how trump is able to govern. >> brian, you have to look at the republican field here in the 6th district. the republican is leading right now. karen handel. we have been reporting on her and interviewing her. she's really wearing the r on her lapel, republican r.
she's not wearing the big t for trump. if you look at the trump style republicans in this district, amy cramer, tea party activist for trump, trump chairman in georgia, they didn't go anywhere in this race. bob greg supposed to be embracing trump, he fell apart. so is senator perdue's candidate. dan moody. the suburban conservative district didn't really embrace trump and do well and they fell away if they were with the president. >> i asked handel specifically, brian, whether she would include president trump on her list of conservatives she was emulating. she had ticked off tom price, newt gingrich, johnny isaac son, a lot of names here in georgia. trump was not among them. she kind of paused and didn't kind of go straight -- she said, okay, i support our president, but i'm going to do what's right for our district. i think that's really telling. these are the kind of districts if the house is going to end up in play in 2018, these are the kind of districts, the kind of
candidates we're going to be talking about. it's not going to be those more conservative places that are foregone conclusions for donald. >> brian, one quick thing. i picked up here in this room behind me with all the reporter, if it becomes a runoff, it could be a race. as casey was saying, this is tom price's seat. democrats see this as a target. the guy, the official going after obamacare, the signature act of president obama came from this district and they want to make this whole seat a fight if it's a runoff. >> good point there. first of all, a couple of points here. to casey's point, ask former senator how tricky it is if you're asked about the guy at the top of the ticket. in this case donald trump. i also want to show you something casey talked another a little bit about joni ernst. this was an interesting give and take at her town hall. she was asked about the president's 28% of his term, has been spent at mar-a-lago in
florida. and watch this very interesting answer. remember, she came to fame with the castrating hugs ad, iraq war veteran, iowa ans like her. here was her answer. >> with the trips to florida, i do wish that he would spend more time in washington, d.c. that's what we have the white house for. we would love to see more of those state department visits in washington, d.c. i think it's smart that he does business in washington, d.c. i have not spoken to him about the florida issue yet, but that is something i think that has been bothering not just me, but some other members of our caucus. >> so, charlie sykes, interesting. they're kind of testing the push back waters. >> well, it's interesting. robert's point about the other candidates in georgia is fascinating. what is trumpism, and how deep
does it run in american politics including republican politics? the candidates that associated themselves most closely with trump and trumpism actually did not do well tonight at all. the candidate who if there is going to be a runoff is an establishment-type republican. you're also seeing what are republicans then doing when they're asked about donald trum are they going to throw themselves across the tracks for donald trump? and they're not. on my radio show i was talking with paul ryan and i asked him, you know, are you ever going to break with -- criticize donald trump if he crosses the line, for example, when donald trump says i don't think bill o'reilly did anything wrong. i asked speaker ryan, what do you think about that, do you agree with donald trump, his defense of bill o'reilly? and his answer was, well, i hadn't heard the story. i don't read "the new york times." what i'm thinking, what i'm reading there is that right now they don't want to criticize trump as long as the policies are hanging fire. but they are also not prepared to defend him. >> charlie sykes, thank you so
much. casey and robert, our co-anchor duo down there in georgia where you could be in for a long time. thank you both for your always excellent reporting. we're going to fit in our first break here tonight. coming up, if the trump family business became everybody's business, the minute they went on the federal payroll, what should we make of the latest development in ivanka's world? when the 11th hour continues. there's thing more than my vacation.me so when i need to book a hotel room,
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hire american. >> on the day president trump signed his new buy american hir american executive order, there are new questions involving his daughter's business and china. the associated press reports, quote, on april 6 ivanka trump's company won provisional approval from the chinese government for three new trademarks. that night the first daughter and her husband sat next to the president of china and his wife for a steak dinner at mar-a-lago. with us here tonight, msnbc host stephanie of the business and banking world and the television world as well. this is a weird diagram. you have ivanka's business as a subset inside the trump family business at mar-a-lago, which is inside the presidency. so, what did we learn today? >> we learned today that, again, it may be legal. there might not be an actual violation. this adds to this idea that the trump family is willing to
self-deal, is willing to put family first. ivanka trump may have stepped away from her company so she is not the person making decisions. but we know it's her name sake brand and conveniently does she get three trademarks on a specific day, and that day she sits down and has dinner next to the president of china? one of the issues for so many people, give me a break, please stop making fun of us as americans. please put country first, please don't make fools of us. >> as michael said, don't insult my intelligence. >> yes. >> on taxes, the american people may soon begin to see the tie between you want us to approve tax reform, and yet we're not allowed to see your tax returns and potentially ways that you might profit from changes in the law. the tax returns are going to come roaring back. >> this is something the president probably didn't forecast. remember, two days after the inauguration when kellyanne
conway said president trump won, he doesn't need to release his taxes. that has already been litigated. well, it hasn't. and over the last 89 days, when many americans have seen president trump change his positions on things, change his views on things, the fact that here we are with taxes again and he's saying, i have an extraordinary win. why are my taxes coming back again? the fact that he's unwilling to show his taxes have people uneasy and to your point saying hold your horses. you want to reform taxes, we're going to need to see how you could benefit. at this moment, don, jr., or eric, they may be on a computing network doing an interview. it was very clear they were going to run the family business. they weren't going to be part of the administration yet you see them on tv talking about their father's foreign policy. more and more people are saying, we're going to need to understand your business better before you want to reform taxes. >> 30 seconds left. whatever people think about new york-based bankers, a lot of them, some of the professionals
in the west wing, have gone there to serve the administration. they must be antsy on this topic. >> they're frustrated on this topic. they went down there, the steve mnuchins, the gary cohens, the wilbur rosses, they went down there bausehey understand tax reform. they undstand big business. being held up, not being able to move forward because they're stuck with, well, the president doesn't want to release his taxes so the resistance is showing up, they're kind of saying, give me a break. this job is hard enough as it is. steve mnuchin did not want to have to come out and say, well, august looks aggressive. don't think we're going to get tax reform done then. many, many people voted with their wall et cetera. they wanted tax reform to happen. they were willing to hold their noses look the other way to president trump's behavior. but they voted with their pocketbooks. if he cannot get tax reform done, what can he get done? it's a matter of are you going to show your taxes, mr. president? it doesn't look like he is. and if not, why? >> stefr knee ruhle, a former and reformed new york-based
banker thankfully now in the television business. we appreciate you coming by tonight. appreciate it very much. coming up, remember that armada president trump announced was headed to the korean peninsula? we reported on it. turns out it was heading in the opposite direction. we'll sort it out when the 11th hour continues. data plans from at&t and never pay overages again. so now the whole family can binge,... ...surf, shop, navigate, listen, game, stream and more. all without the hassle of worrying about overages or running out of data. only with at&t, you can now get unlimited data with hbo included. and remember, it's our best, wireless unlimited deal ever. so get at&t, get unlimited and get everyone more for less. it's time for you and your boys to get out of town. (laughing) left foot. right foot. left foot. stop.
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tonight. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell is telling us this evening secretary of state rex tillerson has notified the speaker of the house paul ryan that president trump is reviewing whether the u.s. should stay in the iran nuclear deal, negotiated by the obama administration, or cancel it. the agreement with iran, as you may recall, negotiated with six world powers including the u.s. based only on the goal of halting iran's nuclear program for the next decade. but the trump administration says iran's continued support for terrorism might be grounds, might be reason for the u.s. to drop out of this deal. here to talk about this and one other big topic today, jeremy bash, former chief of staff, director of the cia and the director of the secretary of defense during the obama administration. jeremy is also former counsel of the house intelligence committee. and msnbc military affairs analyst four-star u.s. army
general barry mccaffery. gentlemen, welcome to you both. jeremy, just to start off, your take on what we just reported. >> yeah, i just reviewed the tillerson letter. it's basically three terse sentences. it says that iran has complied with the nuclear deal. that's something that democrats and other people who supported the deal will say, aha, see, they are in compliance. but the second sentence says, notwithstanding that,he president has determined that iran is a major state sponsor of terrorism, which is something that isn't in fact the case. and third, they say in the letter, the secretary of state says, and, therefore, we have directed the president has directed nse-led review and inter agency review of all the cabinet departments and agencies as to whether we should stay in the deal, whether we should continue to waive the sanctions on iran. so, i think the main headline is as andrea noted, that there is an evaluation underway as to whether or not the administration will stay in the iran nuclear deal. >> i want to illustrate the
reason that motivated our invitation to both of you to come on tonight. i want to show you two interactions, two pieces of sound about a u.s. navy carrier strike group that was apparently headed to the korean peninsula. here is the president and then the secretary of defense. >> we are sending an armada, very powerful. we have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that i can tell you. and we have the best military people on earth. and i will say this. he is doing the wrong thing. >> she's just on her way up there because that's where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time. there is not a specific demand signal or specific reason why we're sending her up there. >> it's just unusual for us to know about a ship movement in
advance. that was sort of what got everyone's attention. so, why was that? i mean, why was it put out in advance? was it just to signal to north korea that there would be a show of presence there? >> i believe it's because she was originally headed in one direction for an exercise, and we canceled our role in that exercise and that's what became public. so, we had to explain why she wasn't in that exercise. >> the "she" is the aircraft carrier vinson. while that armada, as the president called it, was allegedly steaming toward the korean peninsula, it was actually, it turns out, thousands of miles away and headed in the other direction. it was indeed taking part in military exercises and it's still a long way from the peninsula. all of this was correctly reported this weekend by courtney kube who you saw there, our veteran pentagon producer and today's "the new york times." so, general mccaffery, in this time when misinformation and lies and fake news are getting
such wide discussion and circulation, i know you're reluctant to criticize your colleagues in the navy, except for one football game each year. this doesn't look good, general. >> no, you're right. i mean, as an element of keystone cops all over this. couple observations may be helpful. the u.s. navy knows where every ship in the global surface fleet is instantaneously, 24 hours a day. there is no question about that. it's all on electronic grid worldwide system. second observation, when yo send a carrier battle group, they don't steam along the shore three miles out from the beach. they're out there as a presence and normally we announce them. north koreans can't follow anything at sea. so, i think, you know, what happened was the administration canceled the australian deployment, but picked up the maneuvers that were close to where the ship was, and then they said, look, we're getting the same threat outf