tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC January 1, 2020 3:00am-4:01am 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. plus, how impeachment may resemble the fight over brett kavanaugh's supreme court confirmation, and a look back to when americans reached to the heavens and touched down on the
moon. all of it as this special of "the 11th hour" gets underway. greetings 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 story tellers, journalists, and writers that we admire. throughout the 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 people inside the president's innermost 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 their 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 story telling with one of the very best story tellers around, our friend the award winning documentary filmmaker ken burns. >> country music 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 grateful 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, any of the topics you've handled, and organize them into pieces? >> well, most of the credit goes to my long-time 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 co-producer julie dunphy who set off a team that was finding the photographs and finding the footage, and conducting the interviews. it's been an amazing thing. i remember in jazz the late critic gn
critic nat told us of charlie parker perfecting the beat box. he's playing country music, praying hank williams, playing i'm so lonesome i could cry 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 could 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 kind of declaration, a woman's declaration of independence. we all remember whitney houston's version. it raises the hair on the back of our necks still, but when you hear the story of why dolly wrote it and dolly's version taking nothing away from whitney goes up to that level. >> the carter family early recordings, is it the equivalent of having the federalist papers on tape? >> it's exactly that. and maybe with jimmie rodgers
offering some of the opposing views. the carter families, the original american lead guitarist. sara carter has the voice of country that roseanne cash says comes from the bedrock of us. ap carter is out collecting those songs with an african-american song collector named leslie riddle who brings a song from the african-american church when the world's on fire, they drop the lyrics, take the same melody and do little darling pal of mine, one of their big hits. woody guthrie takes the thing, drops the lyric, 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 merle haggard story there will be a bio pick in the works. this guy 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 becomes merle haggard the poet of the common man, who emmy lou harris says if you want to know about country music, take a merle haggard album, put it on a track, any track and you will learn what country music is. >> your play list, which is available on the interwebs to the folks watching tonight is so extraordinary, tumbling tumble weeds. hank williams, patsy klein singing "crazy." willie nelson's opus. emmy lou, waylon, merle, girl from north girl, chris tofrson, bravo. you mentioned the elegant roseanne cash and her masterpiece "seven year ache" and if you hadn't done poncho and lefty, i would have lost hope. >> our entire seventh episode
reinvolvr revolves around poncho and lefty starting with towns van sand and going through all these permutations and at the end of our longest episode you end up with it being sung again and the journey that it takes. we have one of the longest sentences we've ever written in our 40 years of making films, which dayton wrote as beautiful as you can get. >> if there's a theme that runs through all 16 hours of this new ken burns documentary it might be that country music is so uniquely american. its origins and history are complicated and at one point we look up at the screen and we see just two words, hard times. so 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 and we and our. and what country music showed me is that there's only us and no them of which our dialectic, our binary media and computer world would like to convince us. at the heart of us and the u.s. is this startling contradiction that we proclaimed 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 and country music is not immune to those indignities. but one of the amazing things is that the banjo comes from africa, and the fiddle comes from the british isles and europe, and that the influence of african-americans on this music that comes down to us as essentially white and rural we think, though nashville is the capital, and southern is, in fact, completely interrelated with all other 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 and roll. it abuts rock and roll and gospel and folk and pop and even classical and rap. what you find is that ap carter needs that black song catcher. hank williams said the only education he needed was from rad roofust. top payne and bill monroe the father of bluegrass had arnold schultz 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 that race is central to the u.s. and to us in both the intimacy of that and the imagi imagine city and the breadth 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 area, melania trump, immigrant, in enigma. and 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 resume. we'll fly this broadcast ever so briefly to the face of the moon to commemorate a landmark event in 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 underway. great riches will find you when liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. wow. thanks, zoltar. how can i ever repay you? maybe you could free zoltar? thanks, lady. taxi! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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that was a rough day in the life of our first lady, melania trump rarely makes public appearances, even less frequently addresses the public, and 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 publicly held notion of what a first lady should be. the secret to melania trump's confidence and to her survival 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 this new book "free melania," the unauthorized biography also
happens to cover the first lady full-time for our friends over at sncnn. the first thing that strikes you upon seeing your book is the comma, free, melania. i know you get asked it wherever you go. explain the comma. remember the meme, th the #freemelania, like she was tapping on the window and looked very miserable. it sort of 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 the most free person in the trump orbit, she can do or say and act 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? does she understand that
birtherism was the original sin, and what's her political effect on her husband? >> her political effect on her husband is quite strong and deep, and she aligns with him in most ways politically. i think people would be surprised to hear that. she doesn't talk about her political theories that much. she's a very strong influence in his life. she's not addressed the birtherism issue since she talked about it on the view those years ago. i have tried to get answers. that has not been forthcoming. you know, she is 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 what she does do is sort of i think use her silence, use that most people think that she's a trophy wife or an accessory to the president to her advantage, and she's sort of in some ways the secret weapon of 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. and 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 the air stairs into the plane, 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 where you want me to or not to bring more publicity, whatever it might be. i'm going to go see for myself. the sort of well intentioned meaning of that was completely negated by the fact that she wore this jacket onto and off
the plane. we didn't see it. we were on the wing. we saw some writing but didn't quite understand until we were downloading the pictures on the way home and realized oh, my goodness. on the ground in texas she county wear the jacket. 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. it's based on 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 the executive orders stopping zero tolerance. this one was me. ivanka trump has a tendency or her people do to say i worked on this. behind the scenes she tried to get this done. she's very savvy with the media that way. i think this was melania's moment, i think, to say i did this. i really -- i think there was a little translation missed there but the message was directed not
at the media but i think at ivanka trump. >> the message i got is a serially underestimated first lady, and you tell a really interesting story. kate bennett has been our guest tonight. the book is "free, melania." it is 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 guard rails in an administration that has shed its senior ranks at a faster rate than any other when "the 1st 11th hour" continues.
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>> we're watching it. we'll see. i'd be disappointed if something would be in the works, and if it is, we'll take care of it, but we'll see. we're watching it very closely. >> the north koreans say they've conducted two more tests in recent days aimed at countering any nuclear threat from the u.s. today in seoul the top u.s. envoy on north korea warned that if the north conducts a major weapons test in the coming days, 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 peter bergen's new book, trump and his generals, the cost of chaos. had e write thats back in april of 2017 trump was regularly briefed that north korea possessed vast numbers of artillery batteries that could potentially kill millions in seoul in the event of a war. referring to the inhabitants of seoul, 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, peter bergen 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. long-time fan, first time caller. i'm holding your book aloft for all of our viewers. repeat the -- 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. you know, this was -- i guess to trump's supporters this is kind of an example of out of the box thinking. he seemed to be pretty serious in the oval office instructing the team that the inhabitants of seoul had to move. the city of seoul is 10 million people. there are 25 million people in the entire metropolitan region around seoul, and you know, 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, who's 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 that we're really serious about having a war, and in the end it didn't happen. and like a lot of these ideas that trump has had, you know, the more extreme or sort of outlandish ones, you know, his advisers just kind of roll past it and ignore it. >> no one needs to tell you that the national security establishment emphasis on 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 bloodstream and spreads
quickly and so how much -- how widespread was the concern about the boss after incidents like this? >> well, certainly secretary of defense jim mattis i quote him directly in the book. he said we have to make sure to reason trump's impulse. i think he would say that fairly often. in president trump's defense, i think trump has proven less impulsive than certainly his rhetoric would allow us to believe. he's actually proven to be somewhat reluctant to use american military power, pulling down in afghanistan as we speak, going back and forth about having troops in syria, calling back a military operation against iran, and dialing back the rhetoric on north korea. now, the one thing that he's also been kind of lucky unlike every president since fdr he hasn't had a major foreign policy crisis on his watch to react to. the interesting question is how
would he react in a major foreign policy crisis. we haven't had one. he hasn't had a 9/11 or a global financial crisis or is a dsadda invading kuwait. be by the law of averages crisises do happen. about the generals donald trump famously said this at his own inauguration event. >> my generals are going to keep us so safe. they're going to have a lot of problems. they're going to look at a couple of them. these are central casting. if i'm doing a movie, i 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, chain of command, commander in chief to go work for him. is that all -- that list attribute s also why they have
been less than fully candid since leaving his employ to talk about donald trump? >> well, you know, secretary mattis obviously released a book and lots of interviewers try 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 pretty 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. hr mcmaster has said nothing that i'm aware of about his time criticizing trump. if you're a retired senior military officer, i think there is a kind of code of honor 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 mccraven and also stan mcchrystal, two of the leading military officers of their generation both publicly taking stands against trump, but neither of them served for
trump. in fact, one of the stories i have in the book is general mcchrystal was offered secretary of defense and on november 16th, 2016, he basically turned that down because he didn't think that trump was either honest or would make a good commander in chief, and that of course has remained his view. >> you start with a quote from dr. strangelove, 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 mean, i start with a scene in the war room of the pentagon where there is a great debate between steve bannon on one side and the -- you know, jim mattis and rex tillerson on the other side, and really they're laying out to president trump how the united states is operating in the world. and the intent on the bannon side is to show we're
overextended and. the intent on the mattis side is to say this is how the world works. at the end of the meeting trump blows up and basically says, you know, our allies are ripping us off. chinese trade deficits matter, we're not winning any wars and basically makes it clear six months into his presidency that really going to follow the america first nationalist kind of approach that he campaigned on and that he was going to govern on that, and i think this meeting really was kind of one of the key meetings of his presidency. >> peter bergen 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, 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.
striking new details about the confirmation fight to put that man, brett kavanaugh, on the supreme court. 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 today. by day she is deputy editorial page editor and columnist for "the washington post." as i might have mentioned 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 viewers 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 concerned 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. thanks 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, and at least senator flake and i write about him extensively in the book and
the long night he says he had, longest night of his life in the senate, just woke up deciding to vote for justice -- 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 nomination 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 fear of donald trump, fear of voters, and a desire to just move on from this. >> one of the newsier bets in an
already newsy book, concerns the contact between two fathers, justice kavanaugh's father and blasey ford's father after the vote to confirm. tell us as much as we should know to force us into our favorite book seller by tomorrow morning. >> 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. as it happens in the very small cl clubby world of conservative and elite washington, ralph blasey, christine blasey ford's father is a colleague of ed kavanaugh, brett kavanaugh's father, and the morning after the confirmation ed kavanaugh opens his e-mail and he sees an e-mail from his friend ralph blasey, and it says both of our families
have been through a lot. i'm glad brett was confirmed. now ralph blasey 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 e-mail, 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 observance of a man who was just being gracious. it's hard -- i don't do miend reading. i just do reporting. but it is what it is, it's a pretty astonishing e-mail. >> i hold in my hands months of research and writing by a veteran journalist, a substantial book to add to what we think we may know about this
matter. our thanks to ruth marcus. we switch our focus from an era of american political gridlock to an era of american greatness, when we were this a race with the soviets and won. historian doug brinkley celebrates the america of a half century ago when we chose to go to the moon. much more from "the 11th hour" when we come back. i've always br had a zest for life. flash forward, then ra kept me from the important things. and what my doctor said surprised me. she said my joint pain could mean permanent joint damage. and enbrel helps relieve joint pain, and helps stop that joint damage. ask about enbrel so you can get back to being your true self. enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders and allergic reactions have occurred. tell your doctor if you've been someplace where fungal infections are common. or if you're prone to infections,
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to mankind or more important for 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 moon shot," historian and author doug brinkley 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 circling the globe at 18,000 miles per hour. sphere tracked in four crossings over u.s. brinkley writes quote, other newspapers were equally
breathless, america's pride had been deflated by a satellite come poise r po orbiting the earth e liptically every 90 minutes at an altitude of 140 to 560 miles. all the u.s. government could do is 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 accomplishing the president's goal. on july 20th, lunar module landed on the surface. neil armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon, buzz aldrin followed him out the door. michael collins was circling above in their ride home the command module. we are so happy to be joined by douglas brinkley, author of the new book "mesh moonshot," john
f. kennedy and the great space race, which will debut at number ten on the "new york times" best seller list. doug, my friend, it's great to see you. sick of watching you on that 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 of deal. some people were calling it a grapefruit 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 and the idea that the soviets had a nuclear weapon they detonated in 1949 and had hydrogen weapons and now are beating us into space with
satellites and jack kennedy seized on this. he started saying that there was a missile gap, a space gap, so did lyndon johnson. in fact, lbg helped create nasa in 1958. our whole creation of nasa was a response to sputnik. in the late '50s, everything became nik. we put a vanguard rocket that blew up on cape canaveral, and it was flop nik. sputnik kind of motivated jack kennedy, in 1960 in the debates with richard nixon, kennedy charged nixon if you're president i see a soviet flag on the moon. if you elect me president there, will be ab american flag on the moon. >> 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, that -- i think when john f. kennedy became president, he was part of the world war ii generation where we did big things. after all, industrial mobilization or the willow run plants, you know, on ginning up airplanes. we created radar in world war ii, the manhattan project, eisenhow eisenhower did the interstate highway project. what kennedy did right is 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 a lot of nasa budget 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, and we had an
apollo 13, a near disaster and president nixon canceled the last few apollo missions. by 1975 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 that 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. by the late '60s due to vietnam and agent orange and environmental degradation, we didn't honor scientists on 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 the kind of belief in doing technology in a big project that brings the country together. joe bid joe biden's talking about a cancer moonshot to cure cancer. buzz aldrin thinks the next moon shot is the mars shot to go to mars. there are many people that think we need an earth shot, something here on the planet to take care of our oceans and environmental degradation of our forests and wetlands and wildlife corridors. >> some other of the sunbjects 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. >> 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. ted states offered them a place to call home we made usaa insurance for members like martin.
an air force veteran made of doing what's right, not what's easy. so when a hailstorm hit, usaa reached out before he could even inspect the damage. that's how you do it right. usaa insurance is made just the way martin's family needs it - with hassle-free claims, he got paid before his neighbor even got started. because doing right by our members, that's what's right. usaa. what you're made of, we're made for.
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 haranking member mr. nunes writing, quote, no, devin nunes trump in 2019 is not like george washington in 1794. our first president sought, quote, a deal on behalf of u.s. interests, the interest being not getting into another war. while the trump impeachment inquiry is, quote, 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 take great pride all this country has given to me and my family. >> that gave my family refuge from authoritarian oppression. >> i'm an american by choice. i became a citizen in 2002. i was born in the northeast of england in the same region that 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 b olshevik revolution. and she grew up stateless before 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 towards the united states and great empathy for others like the ukrainian people who want to be free. >> everyone immigrated to the united states at some point in their family history and this is what for me really does make america great. >> 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 safe holiday season. thank you for being here with us a the o at our nbc news headquarters in new york. happy new year, i'm frances rivera on this first day of january, and here's what's happening. u.s. troops are scrambling to keep a bad situation from getting worse at the u.s. embassy in baghdad. marines fired tear gas into crowds of protesters amassed outside the gates. one day after dozens of shiite militia members actually broke in and destroyed the reception area. the protesters include members of an iranian backed militia targeted in u.s. air strikes over the weekend. the secretary of state mike pompeo said the crowd also