tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC February 18, 2020 12:00am-1:00am PST
that is our broadcast as we start a new week. thank you so much for being here with us and good night from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. including a republican former deputy attorney general who joins me live. then -- >> i will tell you that swap is much worse than i thought. >> new reporting on trump's ruthless search for the anonymous resister inside the white house. plus, is michael bloomberg about to make his first debate stage in nevada? and on this presidents day -- >> this is the crap we have to put up with.
>> a look at how the decisions candidates make can shape generations to come. >> man, i'm going to fight for working people. come on, man. >> "all in" starts now. good evening from washington, d.c. i'm joy reid in for chris hayes. well, it has now been approximately one year since donald trump got his roy cohn. one year and three days since bill barr was sworn in for his second stint as attorney general of the united states. the department of justice is supposed to be nonpartisan. that's foundational to our entire system of democracy. but during his second time around, the doj has been deeply partisan under attorney general barr. in just one year, barr has lied about the contents of the mueller report to spin it trump's way. he backed trump's absurd claim that the government had spied on the trump campaign. and he forced justice officials to defy congressional subpoenas tied to trump investigations.
not to mention the fact he has been going after trump's enemies one by one by targeting them in deeply politicized investigations. and that was just a warm up. just this month we found out that bill barr personally intervened to overrule federal prosecutors in their sentencing recommendation for trump buddy roger stone who was convicted of lying to congress in order to help trump. that was the last straw for many former justice officials of all political stripes. more than 2,000 have now signed onto a letter circulated by the group protect democracy, calling on barr to resign. in the letter, more than 2,000 former justice department officials agree that barr's behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice, and that a person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they're a close political ally of the
president. they add, governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics. they are autocracies. and tonight we learned the national judges association, the federal association of judges, they have called for a meeting to address concerns of the intervention of justice department officials and trump into politically sensitive cases. meanwhile, we keep getting new revelations about barr doing trump's bidding. cnn is reporting over the weekend that barr tried to block the u.s. prosecution of a turkish bank after the president of turkey asked trump to intervene. then there is the rudy giuliani situation. late friday "the washington post" revealed that federal prosecutors are continuing to contact witnesses and collect documents in their investigation into giuliani and his efforts in ukraine. but even though the justice department is currently investigating giuliani, barr has created an intake process to
funnel the dirt that giuliani is peddling about the bidens directly into the doj. it doesn't exactly give you a lot of faith barr is overseeing an honest investigation into one of trump's most loyal allies. but that's just how bill barr does business. and my next guest daniel ayer who was deputy attorney general under george h.w. bush and worked with barr in the doj has had enough. in a new op-ed in "the atlantic" titled, "bill barr must resign," ayer writes, the fundamental problem is that barr does not believe in the central tenet of our system of government that no person is above the law. bill barr's america is not a place that anyone, including trump voters, should want to go. it is a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen. joining me now is former u.s. attorney, deputy solicitor
general and deputy attorney general, don ayer. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> i told you during the break i read your letter, it frightened me, but i'm glad you wrote it. the thing you presume about a attorney general of the united states is they understand their job is to be the attorney of the people. it has been very clear from the very beginning that mr. barr believes he's donald trump's personal, sort of the hand of the king. you called what he has tried to do unamerican. >> right. >> can you explain why you say that? >> well, i do. i think the one thing that i think we can all agree on and i think certainly people in this generation since watergate when our justice system really was reformed in some pretty significant ways have taken for granted the idea that you can count on the system of justice and it's going to be fair and it's going to be impartial and it's not going to be politically influenced. and the reality is -- and we know this from all the things you've mentioned and some other things he's done. we also know it from things he's said in great detail. he does not believe that the president should be above the
law -- i'm sorry. he doesn't believe the president should have to play by the same rules as everybody else. >> right. >> he believes the president should be above the law. and he made that the clearest in a memo he wrote back before he was attorney general in june of 2018 when he wrote a memo, it seemed some people have said maybe he was trying out to be attorney general. but he wrote a long memo arguing that the mueller investigation at that time was totally unsound and shouldn't be going forward. and the centerpiece of his argument was that constitutionally the president has total control over all processes of the executive branch, including the processes of the justice department and criminal investigation. so any idea that the president had obstructed justice while president is a nonstarter because the president, he said, literally has the complete power to control all criminal investigations, including investigations of himself. so, one of the ironies that i found is that the president's own statements in recent days when he's talking about, i have
the right to interfere, all he is doing is quoting what bill barr has told him. >> yeah. >> and so i think that fundamental tenet is not consistent with what i think pretty much all americans believed to be true, and the real problem is he is getting to try and he's making real progress on carrying it out. >> that's what's scary. he's called the cover up general. william safire, a conservative columnist called him that back during the george herbert walker bush years when he was pushing mr. bush to pardon people who were involved in the iran-contra affair. so he had these tendencies going all the way back. what you are describing and his speech he gave to the heritage foundation describes someone who is essentially a monarchist. what would be the difference between donald trump and essentially the leader of a banana republic if he can prosecute all the president's enemies, if he can undo the investigation into the russia gate by saying i'll just put people in jail for trying to find out if russia was helping him, and if he can let donald
trump's friends off the hook. what's the difference between that and a king? >> there may not be very much. i think the important thing to realize and why he's making so much progress is he's doing it piecemeal. and so you're seeing a drip, drip, drip. you're seeing an event that occurs and it seems odd. you know, when he did the whitewashing of the mueller report -- >> right. >> -- a lot of people said, gee, that doesn't seem right. but it was just the one thing. then we got the report and looked at it. a lot of people said hey, you know, there is a lot of evidence of obstruction. gee, that's a shame. mueller had written a letter about it saying that wasn't quite accurate. and then you wait a while and then the next thing comes along, and it's a series of things and they're not all the same. so a lot of the things his justice department has done have been in the nature of office of legal counsel opinions that are justifying stonewalling, capitol hill, stonewalling traditional requests for witnesses to appear, request for documents to be provided, sort of an ironclad
refusal to do it across the board and writing legal opinions to justify it. you know, refusing to turn over the president's tax returns, even though there's a statute saying the congress be has a right to have them. >> sure. >> a lot of these things seem odd. a lot of people aren't paying attention to some of them. they accrue over time, a month later, two months later and something else, and if you don't focus on the whole picture, he's not standing out and giving a speech saying, i want a king. he's actually just implementing a step at a time. >> very quickly, he isn't going to resign. he is wielding more power than any attorney general has wielded. so he's helped by it. donald trump has the inclination to be a king, and so he wants this kind of a.g. do you believe that there should be -- that if massive amounts of people begin resigning from the department of justice, that might be the one thing that might make a difference here? because he isn't going to resign. >> well, you know, i don't know. i mean, i think everybody has to do what they feel right in their conscience, and, you know, i'm a citizen and i've watched this for a while.
i reached the point where i can't stand to watch and say nothing. i think people have got to stand up and act in good faith to assert what they believe. i believe that he should resign. i believe that if enough people in the country stand up and believe that he should resign, he might resign. it might become politically untenable for the president to have as an attorney general someone who is enabling a system of government. if enough people learn what they're doing, they're creating a system in which the president can be a dictator. that's really what they're doing. bill barr would never admit to that, but that's what they're doing. he wrote in the memo that the president is above the law and can control all criminal investigations. and he's argued vociferously for all these policies that, you know, he doesn't even want the courts to play a significant role. >> that's right. no one can stop him because in his mind, i do believe he does want a dictator. he seems to. donald ayer, thank you for being here today. now i want to turn to former
u.s. district judge nancy gertner, senior lectures after harvard law school. paul george, among many calling for barr to resign. paul, i'll go to you first. i find to hard to believe that he would resign. if he doesn't, what can be done? >> so, there could be oversight hearings by the house judiciary committee. they could subpoena barr and have him come in and explain why he is enacting policies that benefit the president's friends and punish the president's enemies. so, why is he ordering a do-over on investigations that clear the president's enemies and why is he directing prosecutions against people who trump sees as his enemy? there is a concern that if things carry on, we might be
drifting towards political prosecutions. joy, we're there right now. the president is ordering and the attorney general is implementing investigations on behalf of the president that are inconsistent with the rule of law. >> and you had, ms. gertner, judge gertner, i should say, donald trump get on twitter and ask why hasn't person "x" been prosecuted? and names people in his twitter account. it's hard to have any faith that william barr won't just turn around and prosecute them. what happens if donald trump decides to find ways to use his executive power to go after whoever the nominee is, to say this person is a criminal, they should be investigated, they should be in jail. that's what happened in the congo or used to happen in the congo or other states. that we know as autocracies. what could stop that? >> presumably barr would be the one to stop him, but he's
obviously not interested. what happened the past week is not just the fact of barr's interference, but the way that he did it. you know, you have to step back and say it's not unusual for main justice to call up the prosecutor and say, maybe you should soften the recommendation. but to do it as a second memo the way he did it now is a shot across the bow saying i'm in charge and you guys are not. to your point about he went after other political enemies. in addition to what paul is talking about, there could be impeachment proceedings. there could be impeachment proceedings against barr. i think we've been down this road against trump, but there could be impeachment proceedings against barr for basically doing what he said he wouldn't do, which is enact political interference in prosecutions. >> but the problem, paul, is that even if william barr, bill barr was impeached by the house, republicans are in on this as well. they have also decided that the
president is essentially a king. so if you have donald trump's political party in control of the senate, they will never convict any republican or any member of this administration. and you have william barr who will not enforce subpoenas, who has said that the president is essentially above the law, he doesn't have to be -- doesn't have to listen to courts, doesn't have to listen to congressional subpoenas, what is the check, then, on this executive? >> there is no check. under the constitution, attorney generals may be impeached just like the president. good luck with that. we saw what happened with president trump. and so donald trump wants to be a dictator whether it's ideological or political, bill barr is enabling him. and the concerns are that the stakes are extremely high. barr claimed last week that trump's tweets and interference make it difficult for him to do his job. well, trump has continued to tweet and interfere. i think when barr complained last week all he was saying was
when he takes directions from trump, he wants it to be on the down-low so it's not as obvious and blatant that what he is doing is acting in a corrupt way to enable the president's own venality, his own obstruction and his own, again, assistance, erosion of democracy. >> and let me play for you, judge gertner, senator kamala harris questioning mr. barr. this was on may 1st, 2019. and let's listen to that. >> mr. barr, has the president asked you to open an investigation against anyone? >> i wouldn't -- >> yes or no? >> could you repeat that question? >> i will repeat it. has the president or anyone at the white house ever asked or suggested that you open an
investigation of anyone, yes or no, please, sir? >> um, the president or anybody else? >> seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us. >> yeah, but i'm trying to grapple with the word suggest. i mean, there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open an investigation, but -- >> perhaps they suggested? >> i don't know. i wouldn't say suggest. >> hinted? >> i don't know. >> inferred? you don't know? okay. >> judge gertner, that sounds like someone who is trying very hard not to perjur himself in front of congress. there are previous attorneys general who have not been prosecuted. could he be subject to criminal liability in a next administration, should that next president decide to investigate him? >> you know, he could be. the question is -- her question was a little bit -- he was playing around with her question
the way witnesses sometimes do, you know. she said suggested, anybody in the administration. he certainly -- he could be -- the question is whether the question was clear enough. but as someone has, has reported recently, the president doesn't any longer have to direct him to do anything. barr knows what the president wants. and so even with respect to what just happened in the roger stone case, barr insisted that he had not been directed by trump to do anything with respect to that recommendation. i don't -- i mean, that could well be the case, but he understood the significance of a heavy sentence on roger stone and he was going to act accordingly. so whether that, you know, back and forth would lead to impeachment is one question. he was clearly accepting direction from the president, that's an entirely different one. >> the only adjective left out by the senator that might have caught him was tweeted. maybe someone tweeted to him he ought to investigate people.
>> right. that's true. >> because he clearly takes directions from president trump's twitter feed. nancy and paul, thank you for being here. up next, the most infamous leaker of the trump administration. new reporting on the behind the scenes hunt for anonymous, and who is leading the charge. that's in two minutes. [ fast-paced drumming ]
folks here may have seen an anonymous column written in "the new york times." are you any closer to knowing who did it and what should be done if you find out who did it? >> number one, the times never should have done that because what they've done is virtually -- it's treason. you can call it a lot of things. but it's very unfair to our country and to the millions of people that voted really for us. they voted for us. >> wow, donald trump crying treason back in 2018. a few days after a senior official in his administration published an op-ed in "the new york times," parts of an active
part of an in-house version of the resistance, about a year later that same anonymous author published a book "a warning." at the time the white house mocked the book. but we now know that since the start of the president's impeachment, donald trump has been obsessively trying to find out the identity of the author. the daily beast is reporting today that the president tasked his point man on trade. peter navarro with uncovering anonymous. quote, people familiar with navarro's efforts said he had zeroed in on one likely suspect and compiled information in the report which he has shared with white house counsel pat cipollone who is leading internal efforts to unearth anonymous' identity. joining me is coauthor of the report, white house reporter for the daily beast. owe author of a book, sinking in the swamp, how millions and miss fits poisoned washington. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> let's start with the weird choice. why is the trade guy searching for the leaker?
>> it is unclear if trump specifically tasked peter navarro with this. what we do know based on our reporting is starting at least during the impeachment process, peter navarro, who is trump's top trade guy in the administration, he's not a private investigator who is tasked with figuring things out in the administration or anything like that. but he took it upon himself to conduct his own little personal investigation into figuring out who this mysterious anonymous is, which is a question that's, of course, bedevilled trump and the administration for about a year and a half how. and in doing so, he has gone about his investigation with forensic linguistic analysis into the writings of anonymous and basically trying to pair that with matching language of other public figures, some of whom, of course, ended up working in the trump administration. and in this process, he went about compiling this written
official-looking report. again, this is basically on his free time. this is not a function of trump administration trade policy, of course. so he has compiled this report. it's unclear to us at this point if he has shared it directly with the president. but he has shared it with the white house, his counsel's office, specifically white house counsel pat cipollone who in a an official capacity is leading the charge in figuring out who exactly this man or woman is. >> yeah. >> so, this gets at the heart of how trump's top lieutenants, even if their job description has nothing to do with the sort, have enlisted themselves or been enlisted in figuring out who this -- what they would probably call a snitch is in their midst. >> yeah. and i'm glad you put it that way because there is a certain sense in which donald trump is sort of running what seems like a
mafioso organization, a republican commentator friend referred to as a sycophant. donald trump claimed he was going to root out the swamp when he came to washington. when he first got here he arrived trying to bring in rnc type people, the reince priebus types. he pretty soon got rid of all those folks. the paul ryan folks. those are all gone. now he seems to be sort of cherry-picking people he sees on tv like his trade rep who he got off television or people that he's seen on fox or cnbc. where is he getting these people and are they actually technically qualified for the jobs they're doing for the most part? >> well, some of them are and some of them aren't. you're right. the more sycophantic you are to donald j. trump, the higher chances you have of surviving within his inner sanctum. we call it in the book the autocratic game show personality cult. i'm sorry, as comical as that may sound, is a perfectly apt description of how to survive in
donald trump's -- within trump world. about the mafioso aspect, how trump likes to conduct himself in his administration. about the mafioso aspect, to go to the premise of the book, fund inspiration for the premise of the book was itself mafioso literature. it was a story of la kocosa nostra. it was about as told through the eye of the foot soldier henry hill. we went about trying to find as many henry hills in trump world as we could and tell the story of donald trump and his presidency from the worm's eye view up. >> and what you find is that, a, you have to -- unless you're related to him because that's another great way to get a job in the administration. one way to get in. the other way, you have to praise him, you know, in sort of
almost ridiculous manner and prostrate yourself in front of him. once you've done enough sucking up, then he'll let you into the circle. did you find when you were looking at these figures that they genuinely respect donald trump or that they're doing it in much the way people believe like lindsey graham is doing it in exchange for power and proximity to power? >> totally. and even republicans who came into the trump administration or ended up -- excuse me, buddying up to the president in the way lindsey graham did who obviously was no fan of his during the election in the republican primary. there is a certain aspect where they're doing it for policy ends. and then there are others who, um, actually do buy into the maga agenda and trumpism. i think it's a misstated downplay the support he has in official washington. >> yeah. but it's all quite a game show and sounds like a really good read. congratulations on the book.
greatest abuse of power i have ever seen at the hands of this president who has no, no sense of decency or understanding of the constitution. >> former vice president joe biden spoke with nicolle wallace today. besides calling on attorney general bill barr to resign, he also talked about the race for the democratic nomination. >> are you ready to take on mike bloomberg's money in the super tuesday states should you win in south carolina? >> well, the answer is any one of those states from north carolina to georgia to the whole range of them have significant minority populations. and right now that poling data shows i'm doing incredibly well in all those states, including texas and florida as it relates to the primary. but also as it relates to the general election. >> that's an important point. while a lot of people have been quick to pronounce the biden campaign over, the reality is his campaign is no more dead than senator elizabeth warren's
because almost no one has voted yet. and the people who have voted, as lovely as they are, they are not representative of the democratic party, almost entirely dependent of people of color. we don't know if joe biden is viable yet until those voters have their say. one of those states has already started voting. the nevada caucus is coming up. we'll talk about it next. colonial penn can help. hi, i'm jonathan, a manager here at colonial penn life insurance company. and with coverage options starting at just $9.95 a month, you can get a whole life insurance plan to help close that gap with a benefit check paid directly to your beneficiary.
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there's a company that's talked than me: jd power.people 448,134 to be exact. they answered 410 questions in 8 categories about vehicle quality. and when they were done, chevy earned more j.d. power quality awards across cars, trucks and suvs than any other brand over the last four years. so on behalf of chevrolet, i want to say "thank you, real people." you're welcome. we're gonna need a bigger room. the next contest in the race for the democratic nomination is
this saturday in nevada. it is a caucus, but early voting kicked off this weekend, and so caucusgoers have already started heading to the polls. john ralston, editor of the "nevada innocent," who closely follows this tweeted, 50% of voters on saturday were first-time caucus goers which means they did not participate in 2008 or '16 caucuses. that would seem to indicate it would approach or surpass 2008 levels by the end of the day saturday. john ralston is here with me along with natalia salvado, with the progressive group that has endorsed bernie sanders. thank you for being with me. john, i'm going to start with you. can you please explain to me how this caucus has early voting? how does that work? >> how much time do you have, joy? >> let's see. not enough. explain it quick. >> so, the dnc mandated this cycle that they had to expand access. so the nevada democratic party chose to do that by having four days of early voting starting
the weekend before the actual caucus day. now, it is somewhat complicated. i don't want to get in the weeds, and they haven't explained all of it yet, by the way. but basically, all of these votes, you have to choose at least three candidates when you go to vote in these four days. and those results are going to be transferred to the correct precincts, we hope, on saturday to establish viability. you have to get to 15% viability to continue forward in a caucus. so it was done to expand access. and so far, by the way, joy, it appears to, you mentioned the large turnout, 26,000 people in the first two days. >> can we just confirm, john, that they are not using that app that they used in iowa? >> no. in fact, i think the word app has been banned in nevada completely, joy. they are using, they are using something akin to a calculator. they've called it a tool, but don't call it a app. >> you know what they used to use, paper and pencil.
it never gets wrong. you can even erase stuff if something goes wrong, you can fix it. let's get you both in here. natalia, your guy, your candidate, at least in the latest polling is leading. senator sanders is at 35%, warren 16. buttigieg 15 and it goes on from there. the fight with the largest union in the state, the culinary workers union did not seem like a wise political move. do you believe that the sanders campaign has that under control and have their fans under control regarding, you know, reaching out in negative ways to those union members? >> yeah, i think that for me, just being on the ground here in nevada, one of the things that has been so telling for me, spending time with make the road nevada, and going out and talking to people at the doors. i ran into someone by the name
of angelica romero and she's also a culinary union member as well as a make the vote member. she said she's voting for sanders. she said she believes in medicare for all. i think at the end of the day what we don't want to do is pit union member versus non-union member. ultimately the union decided to not endorse in the primary and their members are going to go out and they're going to vote their conscience. and they're not going to just vote for their plan. they're going to vote for their spouses. they're going to vote for their families. they're going to vote for their neighborhoods. they're going to vote for the community and what is best for the body at large. >> john, that sometimes is a conflict, right? you may have a union member whose kids really love sanders, but who also like the plan the union spent five years getting for them and may say they don't want to vote for a president who is going to remove it and replace it with government health care.
that doesn't seem like such an easy decision in some families. >> i think that's right. and i think that anecdote that you just heard is -- i picked that up as well, and the sanders folks are pretty confident, joy, that they have some support inside the culinary union among the rank and file. listen, some of this is unfair to bernie sanders. he didn't pick a fight with the culinary union as much as some of his very extreme supporters, and i keep saying this, joy. they're not the majority of bernie sanders' supporters, but they got very upset. yeah, you're sighing, too. i hear it, you're sighing. you and i talked about this four years ago, remember, after the state convention ended in chaos. but some of these folks are really out of control. and after the culinary said that bernie sanders was going to end their health care, they went berserk on social media, which is their hobby, right, joy, or maybe this is' their job. and so then the culinary union does not believe that bernie sanders has done enough to disassociate, to condemn what his supporters have done. they're upset about it, but they
did not turn that anger into an endorsement of joe biden, which i think joe biden hoped for. that could have really made an impact in this race. they did not do that. and i do think that some union members are conflicted because they do like bernie sanders, but they love their health care. the culinary here negotiated amazing health care for its members with the casinos here. >> let's talk about -- i know you have a candidate you prefer, natalia. what has been the on the ground presence in general? are these candidates pouring attention on nevada the way they did iowa and new hampshire? >> i mean, my general sense is that, yes, i think that people, moderates like bloomberg have bucket loads of money and they are willing to burn through it. >> are there a lot of bloomberg ads on tv? >> i've seen a lot of bloomberg
everywhere. now, i've been in three different cities in the past, like 72 hours. so i can't recall exactly where i saw the last bloomberg ad, but i think i saw it everywhere. pete buttigieg -- it's constantly playing, joy. you know, tom steyer, pete buttigieg, tom steyer, we're seeing the money pouring in. unfortunately for them, i think when it comes to my community that makes up 30% of the electorate here, that is only going to take you so far. we very much believe in the sort of human-to-human touch. as i like to say gente y gente. we like to talk to our people. we like to know the source of the information and look at someone in the eyes and know what we're getting the information that they're giving us. i think the bernie campaign has gone in deep and found latinos on the ground who are not just speaking the literal language. they're not only speaking spanish, but they're speaking to the issues that our community
cares about. >> all right. we shall see what happens. john ralston, natalia salgado, thank you very much. still to come on this presidents day, a look at one of the most important decisions a candidate has to make, picking their running mate. that is next. (sensei) a live bookkeeper is helping customize
february and both of whom are frequently ranked as two of our greatest presidents. being a great president has a lot of components. it's about the tone they set for the country. it's about projecting american leadership around the world. most importantly, however, it's about the decisions -- the decisions that presidents make that make a great president. in a year where we are once again picking a president and choosing a democratic candidate for president is something we are thinking about, one of the ways of judging the president is by the decisions they make, namely, who they name as their running mate. that's one of those decisions that doesn't seem to matter much until it really, really matters. which brings us to mr. lincoln. his first vice-president was a guy hanible hamlin. he was not against making presidents listen to congressional subpoenas or obey the laws.
hamlin was so hardcore that he not only wanted to emancipate enslaved africans, he wanted to arm them for the civil war. but lincoln who made some great decisions in his six years as president made one really, really bad one. he dropped hannibal hamlin when he ran for reelection in 1864 and chose this guy, andrew johnson. the tennessee senator and former governor who was pro-union, but very much anti-racial equality. lincoln swapped him in as vp to help himself with southern voters. then he was assassinated a year after the election. and then andrew johnson became the president. and he proceeded to defy the radical republican congress who were trying to vindicate the 600,000-plus deaths in the civil war. not to mention lincoln's death. by doing things like passing the first civil rights act of 1866, which president johnson vetoed. the congress also passed a law saying the president could not fire the secretary of war, who was in charge of the union troops who were occupying the south to protect the formerly enslaved.
andrew johnson promptly fired him anyway and got impeached. it's hard not to wonder on this president's day how history might have played out if lincoln had not made the worst decision of his presidency and hannibal hamlin had become the 17th president instead of andrew johnson. when can he come back, the daunting task the primary electorate is facing in trying to beat donald trump. colonial penn can help. hi, i'm jonathan, a manager here at colonial penn life insurance company. and with coverage options starting at just $9.95 a month, you can get a whole life insurance plan
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this is totally customizable, so you focus only on what you want. okay, it's got screeners and watchlists. and you can even see how your predictions might affect the value of the stocks you're interested in. now this is what i'm talking about. yeah, it'll free up more time for your... uh, true crime shows? british baking competitions. hm. didn't peg you for a crumpet guy. focus on what matters to you with thinkorswim. ♪ today former president barack obama might have found a way to troll the current president with this tweet. quote, 11 years ago, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, i signed the recovery act. paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in american history. which president deserved the credit for the economy? donald trump hasn't yet responded to that, but he did
mark president's day with a simple happy presidents day. but oops, he inserted an apostrophe before the s which could be a guy who didn't listen to teachers in his exclusive private school or maybe he thinks today is all about him. meanwhile democratic primary voters appear to be far more preoccupied or might i say stressed out about how to decide who the next president should be and what qualities they should be looking for in a nominee to ensure that donald trump is a one-term president. joining me now to help guide us through all of that is blair kelly, an associate professor of history and david jolly, msnbc political analyst. professor, i'm going to go to you first, professor kelly. people are stressed. everywhere we've gone, myself and my producers, people are freaking out trying to figure out, how do i pick in order to make them president and be a president who can clean up the mess trump is taking? how would you advice somebody who is afraid? >> so, fear is an interesting motivator. you know, thinking back to the
obama election, hope was theme of so many people at that time. a vision for something different, something that would be possible. this time i think we're in a very different place, but we have a lot of folks who are still in that space of hope, who are still imagining what might be possible, and then you have other folks who are too fearful to hope, right? really worried about what the odds are on any given candidate. and as an historian of the african-american experience, it makes me think about african-american voters through the years. since they've had the right to vote in the american south, for example, many generations of people had to vote for the lesser of two evils or the person they figured would best meet their goals, but not ever match their ideological outlook. and so i think america might be in that place of, you know, coming out of a hard time and really trying to figure out who
is the closest, who can win? >> yeah, and, you know, david jolly, i think that's a really good point. african-american voters have been voting for presidents who are demonstrably racist. woodrow wilson wasn't a fan. neither was abraham lincoln. not that black people could vote for him. they were not great promotors of racial equality or fairness. there were very few. so does the rest of the electorate need to become as clinical and get somebody reasonable to deal with once they're they're and not always look for the hope you got with obama. >> clinical's an interesting term, joy. i wouldn't express it that way, but say recognize the context in which we are going into this election and how donald trump has intentionally tried to create the anxiety that we're feeling. because as an american people we are stronger than the anxiety that he's injecting upon the november election.
what i mean by that is donald trump often leads with two tactics, disinformation and division. we know the disinformation. you used the obama jobs tweet, if you will. we know that jobs under obama were created annually at a higher clip than donald trump, but he would tell his voters and the nation otherwise. the russian freedom activist said the point of dense information isn't to manipulate the truth, it's to exhaust your critical thinking. to exhaust your critical thinking. that's what we're experiencing as voters. he also relies on division. i had a colleague in a meeting in the roosevelt room and trump said, have you ever seen the nation so divided? the colleague said, no, i haven't. trump said, i love it that way. this is a currency he's pedaling as a political strategy, but voters don't have to accept the anxiety that comes with trump's disinformation and division. >> professor kelly, i think there is anxiety and division on the democratic side despite what
david said being true. you talked about black households. a lot of households like my godmother's household saying we need the pragmatism of joe biden. he rode with barack obama. i trust him. his grandkids are saying, no, you have to vote for bernie sanders because they want to flip the tables and turn the economy upside down. there isn't a hope they can have what she has economically. how are people dealing with those intergenerational fights. you talk about the black community, that's one that's there. >> yes, absolutely. i think in my intergenerational household, i have an obama kid, a kid that went with me and sat on her dad's shoulders talking about yes we can at age 4 who really loved andrew yang. who really was like, what's possible, what's different? she's intrigued by sanders. she's intrigued by a new possibility because that's the world she grew up in. and then you have the older people in my family who are not so sure.
they were like we tried hillary clinton. the electorate maybe doesn't like women. maybe that's not a safe thing to do in this election. and so the -- i think i sort of fall somewhere in between in that spectrum, and so what's possible even across a black household is complicated. in this election season. and i think a lot of people are completely and honestly torn. >> yeah, absolutely. and, you know, david, how does michael bloomberg then disrupt and complicate this? because he is somebody who all of his positions other than on guns and climate change are republican positions, the things he's talked about in the past would be perfectly fine had he run as a republican. he actually might have been more of a disrupter and more of a threat in a lot of ways to donald trump than if he ran as a democrat. how does he factor in, if your view? >> yeah, look, democrats have a tough decision to make between sanders and klobuchar, mayor pete, bloomberg, biden, perhaps.
i'm a never trumper but not a democrat. it's not my price to tell democrats to nominate. it's my place as a never trumper to support who they nominate. i want to make that very clear. i will share an observation, joy, and it actually has to do with the issue of race that i think is critical. to my democratic friends, don't lose sight of the chief offender in donald trump. when joe biden came out he got hit on his actions on the crime bill for what it meant for race, mayor pete, over firing and dismissing the law enforcement officer. bernie sanders, things he said 40 years ago. bloomberg, stop and frisk. anyway apologized, said hold me accountable, i want to do better and work with communities of color. the person who hasn't apologized is donald trump with the central park five, the discrimination lawsuit. don't tear down your own candidates on this race issue that we know could be a fatal blow ultimately to the democratic nominee. >> yeah, he is generous, donald trump. no matter who you nominate, they
ain't him. blair kelly, david jolly, thank you both very much. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight on this presidents' day holiday, the current president takes his post-impeachment powers out for a spin even as a court prepares the next phase in the case of his old friend and convicted felon roger stone. and just tonight, john bolton has broken his silence on at least more stories from the inside. plus the transformation of the modern justice department and the colossal number of former feds, now over 2,000 of them, who are calling on this attorney general to resign. and as for the democrats, as they race to make sure the nevada caucuses look nothing like iowa, they debate in vegas two nights from now, and that means bloomberg might finally take the stage, and things are heating up between him and bernie and biden.