Biden reverses on Hyde Amendment. TRANSCRIPT: 6/6/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: And he was proud that he wasn`t out in
the street marching.
When Donald Trump`s father got him that doctor`s note, that got him out of
the draft. The minimal morally responsible thing to do was to take to the
streets marching to try to stop that war, to try to save the life of the
boy who was going to be drafted instead of Donald Trump and Donald Trump
did not do that. Donald Trump did nothing. Because in war that`s what
Trumps always do.
That`s tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, while sitting in the midst of almost
10,000 heroic souls, Donald Trump uses a Fox News interview on hallowed
ground to take political shots back home. He calls Robert Mueller a fool.
Calls Speaker Pelosi a disaster.
Back in Washington, we can now hear the tape and we`ll play it for you.
The voice of Donald Trump`s lawyer urging Michael Flynn`s lawyer to do the
right thing. Today a former federal prosecutor said the tape sounds to him
like a federal crime.
And Joe Biden learns a valuable political lesson early in this race. Not
this issue, not this year. Tonight his complete about-face on abortion and
what brought it on. All of it as “The 11th Hour” gets under way on a
Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New
York. This was day 868 of the Trump administration. And to be candid, the
reviews of the President`s performance on this day in a cemetery in France
sounded at first almost unavoidably patronizing. Those watching, those
covering the event gave him almost universal credit and high marks for
reading the speech as was intended to be delivered and for showing respect
and deference and appreciation to the old men behind him who 75 years ago
today were boys dropped into the surf from ships and forced to survive
withering machine gunfire just to make it to the beach on their way to
saving the world. Well, the President did that right before we learned he
had done something else as well.
In an interview with Fox News, framed by over 9,000 grave markers, he
attacked the Speaker of the House and a decorated combat veteran named
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He made such a fool out
of himself the last time she – because what people don`t report is the
letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: It`s unclear what letter or testimony the President`s referring
to there. And there`s new material we`re about to show you from this
interview tonight. Robert Mueller did read that 10-minute statement at his
news conference in which he made clear his report did not exonerate Donald
As we mentioned, the President also aimed insults at Nancy Pelosi, who led
a bipartisan delegation today to the D-Day commemoration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She`s a nasty, vindictive, horrible person. The Mueller report
came out. It was a disaster for them. They thought their good friend,
Bobby Mueller, was going to give them a great report and he came out with a
report with 13 horrible angry Democrats who were totally biased against me.
Nancy Pelosi, I call her “nervous Nancy.” Nancy Pelosi doesn`t talk about
it. Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, OK? She`s a disaster. And let her do
what she wants. You know what? I think they`re in big trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Pelosi is at the center of this struggle in her party caucus
over whether or when to begin impeachment proceedings, even an inquiry
against Donald Trump. Today our NBC News colleague Andrea Mitchell asked
the speaker about the potential impact if the House were to move forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: We are so divided as a country right
now. Do you worry about the politics right now, impeachment and everything
else that`s on the – on the table and how that can further divide us?
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA, HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, again, with all
due respect to your question, I`m not here to talk about impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: There have been reports that Pelosi and Judiciary Chairman Jerry
Nadler of New York are at odds on this topic of impeachment. He said to be
opposed to her go slow approach. We have much more on that ahead.
There`s also new reporting on Nadler`s other project, and that`s getting
Robert Mueller to testify publicly. Politico is reporting he`s told
Democratic leaders had a close door meeting this week that he could issue a
subpoena to Mueller within two weeks if a deal for public testimony can`t
be secured. Just yesterday Nadler said he was confident Mueller would
appear at a hearing.
As all that unfolds, there are questions about the house Democrats efforts
to hold Attorney General Barr and former White House Counsel, Don McGahn in
contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas for Mueller`s full report and
supporting materials and documents. The full House is set to vote Tuesday,
but a new resolution released just today appears to speed up the legal
process by which Democrats can ask a court to intervene and force witnesses
to give up information, and by extension that could make a contempt vote
And amid all this, the legal battles over Mueller`s report. We`re also
getting new information about another key witness for the prosecution.
Notes from Michael Flynn`s interview with the FBI back in 2017 have now
been released, unsealed by a federal court. The former National Security
Adviser to Trump pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his 2016
conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak.
The notes reveal that on December 28 of 2017, the day Obama expelled
Russians from the U.S. for election interference, Kislyak “asked Flynn to
set up a VTC,” a video teleconference” between President-elect Trump and
Russian President Putin for January 21st of 2017.” One day after the
Michael Flynn, a reminder, is still awaiting sentencing. Today his
longtime attorney, Robert Kelner, notified the court he was no longer
representing Michael Flynn.
Prosecutors have also released a voicemail that left by that same attorney,
Robert Kelner by President Trump`s one-time personal lawyer, John Dowd.
This call was made not long after Flynn agreed in 2017 to cooperate with
the special counsel investigation with the Feds.
Now, we`ve already been able to read the transcript of what you`re about to
hear and we`ve read it on the air, but sometimes hearing the human voice
helps. So hear now the actual recording of this voicemail message from
Trump`s lawyer to Flynn`s lawyer.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOHN DOWD, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Hey, Rob, uhm, this is John again. Uh,
maybe I-I-I`m – I`m sympathetic, I understand your situation, but let me
just see if I can`t state it in starker terms. If you have – well, it
wouldn`t surprise me if you`ve gone on to make a deal with and, uh work
with the government. Uh, I understand that you can`t join a joint defense,
that`s one thing. If, on the other hand, there`s information that
implicates the President, then we`ve got a national security issue, or
maybe a national security issue. I don`t know. Some issue. We`ve got to
– we`ve got to deal with not only the President but for the country.
So, uh, you know, then – then we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for
the sake of protecting all our interests if we can without you having to
give up any confidential information.
So, um, and if it`s the former then, well, remember what was always said
about the President and his feelings toward Flynn and all that still
remains. But, in any event, let me know, and uh, I appreciate your
listening and taking the time. Thanks pal.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So much to talk about there. Just an hour to do it. Here for
our leadoff discussion on a Thursday night, Mimi Rocah, former Assistant
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, now a Distinguished
Fellow in Criminal Justice at the Pace University School of Law. Eugene
Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist for “The Washington Post.” And
Anita Kumar, White House Correspondent and Associate Editor for Politico.
Good evening and welcome to you all.
Mimi, you get to go first with a very simple question. What do you learn
from listening to a human voice on that recording?
MIMI ROCAH, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTY. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: You learn a
lot, Brian. You know, as you said, it`s one thing to read the words, but
when you hear his intonations, when you hear, frankly, his hesitancy, he`s
struggling with the words because there is a certain consciousness of guilt
going on here. He knows he shouldn`t be doing this.
Now, you can question why would someone leave this in a voicemail? It
seems pretty dumb, frankly, but he`s uncomfortable with it. I think he
knows on some level, you know, I really shouldn`t be doing this, but it
tells you the importance of what he feels he`s doing because he`s doing it
And he is – there are so many clues in what he says. I mean, for example,
he says you know what we`ve always said about how the President feels about
Flynn. Well, first of all, this isn`t the first time this has come up.
They`ve had these conversations before. That`s what that says. We have
always said. I mean, this isn`t Dowd going out and saying how Trump feels
about the President. This is how – Trump feels about Flynn. This is what
Trump has told Dowd about how he feels about Flynn to pass it on.
So, look, Mueller didn`t go there. Mueller didn`t subpoena Dowd and try to
sort of pierce the veil of the attorney-client privilege and find out how
involved was Trump in this, how – what discussions did they specifically
have about this?
It`s clear to me that Dowd is committing a crime here. The question is,
how involved and what would the evidence be against Trump? I mean, common
sense tells us he`s involved, but what would the proof be? But Congress
can go there. They don`t have to stand by the attorney-client privilege in
the way that Mueller did.
WILLIAMS: You know your way around a recording as a former Fed. Most of
them, of course, organized crime and not presidential politics, but there
is that certain element that reading a flat transcript on a page doesn`t
ROCAH: Yes, absolutely. I mean, I`ve listened to dozens and dozens of
recordings of organized crime and other people, and, you know, if you play
a recording for a jury, I mean, every trial lawyer knows this, it just
brings home what is happening in a way that a transcript doesn`t. And this
shows you, you know, we`ve seen this again even with Mueller`s 10-minute
press conference. Hearing words, hearing someone speak as opposed to
reading a report is so compelling. And this is why Congress needs to get
going as best they can on having witnesses, whether it be playing
recordings like this.
I think they should subpoena Dowd. I really don`t see any barrier to that.
You know, I`m not saying he`ll just willingly come but there, frankly, are
not a lot of legitimate privileges he could invoke on that. And having
Mueller testify, even though he doesn`t want to.
WILLIAMS: Eugene, it won`t surprise you to learn that, shall we say, Fox
News did not dwell on this story tonight. Here is how they went
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Speaker Pelosi now apparently telling
senior Democrats she`d like to see Trump behind bars. Based on no actual
crime she wants a political opponent locked up in prison? That happens in
banana republics beyond despicable behavior.
And, by the way, they would literally turn in many ways, the USA, into a
country we no longer recognize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Back on to what we`re talking about –
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: I`m sorry. I missed part
of that. I was hearing this vague chant of “lock her up,” “lock her up.”
WILLIAMS: And Michael Flynn may have said that at the convention.
ROBINSON: And Michael Flynn, I believe I heard him say at the convention.
WILLIAMS: Why leave a voicemail like that on somebody –
ROBINSON: I don`t know. I don`t know. But, you know, i read the
transcript like everybody, and I didn`t get all of that out of the
transcript. You`re right about that.
And it is the hesitancy and the consciousness that this isn`t – and, you
know, I`ve got to sort of talk my way around this because I can`t go at it
directly because I really shouldn`t be going at it at all.
ROBINSON: This is, like, not something I`m comfortable with, but I got to
do it. And also a sense that Dowd is thinking about the President,
thinking about what he might not know about what Flynn and Trump might know
and so he`s trying to maneuver and find that out as well.
WILLIAMS: Anita, how will we ever know, based on the beat that you cover
every day, the level of concern inside the West Wing, whether, for example,
the Departure of Mr. Flynn`s counsel is based on the knowledge that this
audio was coming out today.
ANITA KUMAR, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, I think
there is concern. You can see from the President`s remarks that he feels
concerned or he`s feeling that he wants to – that he`s thinking about
things, he wants to comment about them. He`s clearly still thinking about
the Mueller report and how that`s going to play out in his testimony, if he
does testify in the next couple of weeks.
They were – knowing that this was coming out, they`ve known each little
piece that comes out, obviously they`re following that. I have to say, the
White House, though, is really – so much is going on right now about these
tariffs with Mexico. It`s all we`re hearing about. You know, it`s a whole
different subject, I know, but this feels very different than some policy
that the President usually has because it feels like a lot of people think
this is going to happen and a lot of people were unprepared for it,
including his aides.
WILLIAMS: Yes, here, here on a good point for us to remember. Hey,
Eugene, when people walk to the U.S. military cemetery in Colville Sermur,
France, they`re often struck dumb, speechless. It`s sacred, hallow ground.
T he President came so close to having a good day.
ROBINSON: Yes. Yes. Yes. And so, how can you sit there with that
backdrop and go where he went in that interview? And why would you do
that? I mean, you know, if it was just an unconscious sort of thing, he
just would naturally, you know, say those things about Nancy Pelosi –
about the Speaker of the House and –
WILLIAMS: Bobby Mueller.
ROBINSON: – and Robert Mueller, a war hero, in that setting. But I think
there was some design there. I mean, and it indicates not strength but
weakness. It indicates this is so – he`s so wrapped up in this. He`s so
thinking about the Mueller probe, the prospect of impeachment hearings,
whatever, Pelosi, it`s so working on him that he made a decision to do that
interview and to do it in that way. And it strikes me as sort of a
defensive posture that he`s taking there. It`s interesting.
WILLIAMS: Anita, we also know folks in the business of advance, and what a
hard job that is, advancing a trip like this, going on ahead for the
President, getting every last detail taken care of. A public ceremony that
had to go perfectly today with easily half a dozen flyovers, the leader of
nations, all of these veterans there for, really, their last major
gathering for an anniversary.
And then same question as my first one to you, how do you gauge if there
was actual disappointment in the West Wing at what the day will now be
KUMAR: I think there has to be some disappointment. I mean, there was
clearly some people very pleased that he did, you know, you were saying he
read from the TelePrompTer, and he did do that, but you and I both know
that it`s been two-plus years with President Trump in the White House where
he does occasionally have these good days. And I shouldn`t say
occasionally. He does roll out things. He does have good speeches where
even his critics praise him, like they did today, but he often steps on his
And he did, not only in the Fox interview but he did in other ways. He`s
done it all week. He`s been gone all week and he is been through all these
ceremonial things, particularly with the queen. He talked a lot about her.
You know, the prime minister. He`s had all these other meetings. But he
is very much paying attention to what`s going on back home.
He is tweeting. He is giving multiple news interviews much more than he
usually does overseas. And he`s very much paying attention to what`s going
on. So, you know, people were happy with his speech, but then he stepped
all over that, and this is what we`re going to remember, is this – is this
WILLIAMS: Mimi Rocah, to back up a bit, what do you think he was talking
about with Robert Mueller and submitting the letter and the testimony, what
is that about?
ROCAH: I mean, as usual –
WILLIAMS: You`re suppose to help us out.
ROCAH: Yes, well, he`s got this word salad and it`s hard to try to get
inside his head, but I think he was talking about after Mueller gave his
press conference. There was this sort of joint letter that went out
between the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel`s Office saying,
oh, no, we don`t really disagree on whether or not there would have been a
finding that Trump committed obstruction if it weren`t for the OLC policy,
which was, frankly, kind of ludicrous because there really was – there is
a gulf. There is a gulf between Barr saying no obstruction and Mueller
saying, well, I can`t say there is obstruction but I can`t say there`s not
obstruction, so I don`t know why they put that out, but I think that`s what
Trump is talking about.
And clearly, it seems to me someone told him, oh, look, see, Mueller had to
correct himself. That is – but really what happened is Mueller got up and
spoke, he was very clear. It wasn`t as sort of, you know, it wasn`t follow
of hyperbole. It wasn`t as exciting as, you know, people want it to be,
but he was clear in his point that in a way that I think terrified Trump
And Barr has really stepped up his attacks on Mueller since that press
conference. Which if you think about it is really remarkable. It`s not
just Trump, you know it`s Barr going after Mueller directly saying Mueller
should have done this, he should have made an explicit finding and, by the
way, he`s wrong on the law. And he`s trying to paint Mueller as this sort
of, you know, rogue prosecutor. And –
ROBINSON: Robert Mueller, a loose cannon.
ROCAH: Right. Exactly.
ROBINSON: Those things don`t actually go together.
WILLIAMS: Nor is he known as Bobby.
Hey, Anita, one last question. We first noticed you because of your
questioning at the White House briefing long ago. Tell me how long it`s
been since the last White House briefing.
KUMAR: Remember those days? It was March 11th, it was the last one, so
that`s 87 days and we`re not counting the one that Sarah Sanders gave on
take your kids to work day for the kids. So 87 days, which is I believe is
a record for her, you know, almost three months.
Now, to be clear, they do have these little sporadic gaggles or little, you
know, impromptu things that happen after they give T.V. hits on the
driveway of the, you know, the driveway of the White House. But it`s
definitely not the same thing.
WILLIAMS: Well, we like to record keep on the disappearance of norms, a
lot like the frog boiling experiment in 87 days as 87 days. To Mimi Rocah,
to Eugene Robinson, to Anita Kumar our thanks on this Thursday night for
starting us off.
And coming up, as House Democrats wrestle with the impeachment question,
we`ll talk to a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate, Wisconsin Democrat,
Tammy Baldwin is here to talk impeachment and what, in her view, should
happen to this President.
And later, on a day of such historic significance, we call on a historian
of significance to guide us through everything. “The 11th Hour” is just
getting under way on this Thursday night.
WILLIAMS: NBC News tonight has confirmed reporting that House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi has said she wants to see Trump in prison. And it`s very
clear from his comments today in Normandy that Nancy Pelosi now has the
attention of this President.
Equally clear, the choice Democrats have to make on how to play this. Is
impeachment truly the solution given the beyond slim chance of conviction
and removal by the Senate or is the remedy here the ballot box in 2020?
Pelosi has said the need to impeach must be overwhelming. So far, 61
members of her chamber, the House, are in support, including just one
We are happy to be joined tonight by one of the Democrats in the U.S.
Senate, Tammy Baldwin of the State of Wisconsin. Senator, thank you for
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN, (D) WISCONSIN, APPROPRIATION CMTE.: My pleasure.
WILLIAMS: This is where I`d like to begin.
WILLIAMS: Where do you stand on impeachment and/or how this President
should be treated?
BALDWIN: Well, first of all, I think it`s too early in terms of the
progress of oversight in the investigation, and yet I think it`s important
to always start remembering that the Mueller report made it clear that
Vladimir Putin directed Russia to interfere with the U.S. elections, our
democracy. And there are at least 10 instances where the Mueller report
describes Trump lying, Trump asking someone else to lie on his behalf,
Trump instructing someone to fire Mueller.
I`d like to hear Mr. Mueller testify. I`d like to see Don McGahn testify.
The instances involving K.T. McFarland, I think that we need to hear
But I would also say there`s many remedies depending on what we uncover.
One would be censure, another would be impeachment, another, as the speaker
just said, the ballot box followed by a criminal inquiry. And another is
passing laws to make sure we protect our democracy from this type of
interference and curb presidential abuses moving forward. And almost
everyone agrees we should be doing that.
WILLIAMS: When you`re home, do people come up to you to talk about the
Mueller report? These days, do they come up to you to talk about tariffs?
BALDWIN: I hear mostly about health care.
BALDWIN: Well, I think –
BALDWIN: – we`re in court with the President asking the court to strike
down in its entirety the Affordable Care Act.
BALDWIN: Anyone with a child with a pre-existing condition got to be
frightened to death that this could happen. And there`s all this other
sabotage. But I would say secondly I do hear a lot about tariffs. We have
a dairy farm crisis. I represent America`s dairy land. We have lost 1,590
farms since Trump took office. That`s well over 15 percent of our dairy
WILLIAMS: Unsustainable rate.
BALDWIN: Unsustainable rate. And when we see the heightening of the trade
war and the tariff threat with Mexico, we see no easy way to get that
Mexican export market back for our cheese producers.
WILLIAMS: I want to show you something from tonight. Joe Biden reversing
his position on the Hyde Amendment, which withholds federal funds that are
used for abortions. We`ll talk about this on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We now see so many Republican
governors denying health care to millions of the most poorest and most
vulnerable Americans by refusing even Medicaid expansion. I can`t justify
leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the
ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right. If I believe
health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that
makes that right dependent on someone`s zip code.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So two things there. Our producer just alerted me to the fact
that he`s clearly reading off notes and not the TelePrompTer which had the
rest of his remarks on it. Number two, was that a necessary change
BALDWIN: Well, I think that, you know, that`s ultimately up for the
viewers to decide. However, I think that – first of all, let me state my
clear opinion that I oppose the Hyde Amendment because of precisely the new
words that Biden has found, which is your income, your zip code, none of
those things should affect a woman`s access to full health care, full
reproductive health care or abortion services.
The other thing I think is important to note here is this comes in a
context of an all-out attack on Roe versus Wade. We`ve seen several states
act. By the end of this week it`s possible that Missouri will have no
abortion services provider in the entire state.
And others are clearly set on passing laws that would put doctors in
prison. There is obviously an attack going on. And I think people are
looking for clarity of do you stand with women to make their own choices
about their bodies and should they have – should all women have access to
comprehensive health care?
WILLIAMS: Final question is about pride.
WILLIAMS: As the first in our history LGBT member of the U.S. Senate, the
NYPD – I`ll give you four more letters. Apologized today for their
reaction, what`s known for 50 years now as the Stonewall riots in Greenwich
Village. A bellwether event. Step in the right direction?
BALDWIN: Absolutely. You know, I think about what happened those 50 years
ago, and as we celebrate pride, it is a remarkable anniversary. I think
about brave people who spoke out, who after nightly acts of police
oppression finally became visible and pressed back. It started the modern
WILLIAMS: It did.
BALDWIN: – gay liberation movement. Now LGBTQ movement for civil rights.
It allows us to think about how much progress we`ve made, but also how much
more we have to do. We have to pass the Equality Act so regardless of
where you live people won`t be evicted or fired or discriminated against in
But I have to say that symbolism from New York Police Commissioner O`Neill
was really powerful and it reminded me of some of the recent re-enactments
of the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, when they observed
through re-enactment then the Alabama police, state police line up and
salute the marchers.
BALDWIN: So much in contrast to what happened all those years ago.
WILLIAMS: To show that things have changed.
BALDWIN: Yes, indeed.
WILLIAMS: Senator Tammy Baldwin, thank you very much for spending time
with us tonight.
BALDWIN: My pleasure.
WILLIAMS: Appreciate it.
Coming up for us, the Road to the Miami Democratic debates happens to
travel through a small state with outsized politics. When we come back.
WILLIAMS: We`re now just 20 days away from the first of the Democratic
debates here on this very network, and helping us to get to that big event,
our series, “The Road to Miami,” where Steve Kornacki boldly tells us what
we need to know about presidential politics within all those important
states along the vital corridor of Interstate 95.
Tonight, we`re crossing from Massachusetts, south into the ocean state, the
great state of Rhode Island. Back again with us, Steve Kornacki, our
national political correspondent. Steve, this remains in my power
category, my favorite uncle Billy, Aunt Fran, cousins Wendy and Laurie and
our friends, the Candomos (ph) love Rhode Island.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And I have been
looking forward to this leg of the trip. Little Roady, The URI Rams, The
Providence College Friars.
WILLIAMS: There you go.
KORNACKI: And how about colorful politicians and colorful being a
euphemism for indicted. There is a rich political tradition and rich
political history. Lots of interesting characters in politics have come
from Rhode Island. You recognize this guy. This is Vincent A. Cianci Jr.
Buddy Cianci, he was the mayor of Providence. He pleaded no contest to
charges. He had to leave office. Staged a comeback. Became the mayor
again. Got convicted of racketeering. Had to leave office. Went to
prison, came back, ran for mayor again. That was Buddy Cianci`s life in
politics in Rhode Island at the end of it. He died a couple of years ago.
Toward the end he was honored with an unveiling of an efficient portrait at
city hall at the ceremony. You see Buddy Ciani here. He turned around, he
looked at that portrait and he said, you know, I always said the government
was trying to frame me. One of the great lines from one of the great
characters in Rhode Island politics.
In terms of Rhode Island politics in its significance on the national
scene, well, look, this is a blue state but it`s a very interesting kind of
blue state. It probably has a higher concentration of Obama/Trump voters
than just about any other blue state.
Here`s what I mean. Look, Hillary Clinton won this thing by 16 points.
Pretty overwhelming. Not a suspense on election night. But that was a far
cry in some ways in from 2008. Obama had won the state by 28. The Clinton
margin was down to 16, 15 in after. A 12-point swing toward Trump.
If you look at every blue state in the country in that swing from Obama to
Trump, look, some of these states got more blue, some of them, you know,
pretty much stayed the same, between 12 and 16, but there it is, Rhode
Island and Maine among all the blue states swung the hardest toward Trump.
So, you`ve go – and we talk about it all the time in places like Wisconsin
and Pennsylvania and Michigan, those Obama/Trump voters. They exist in
Rhode Island. There`s a lot of them in Rhode Island because there are a
lot of those blue collar white working class voters in Rhode Island. Also
the most catholic state in America is Rhode Island. So you certainly find
those Obama/Trump voters there. Just not going to be enough to ever swing
the state in the near future toward the Republicans.
WILLIAMS: Two more note point, point out the obvious, Buddy Ciani stopped
wearing his hair piece in prison, kept it out when he got out. And also
the headquarters of Dunkin` Donuts is Rhode Island. You got to love that.
KORNACKI: There it is.
WILLIAMS: Steve Kornacki, our thanks for the entire series. We`re loving
it. Appreciate it very much.
KORNACKI: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: And coming up, as “The New York Times” reports, this was the day
the president carried politics with him beyond the water`s edge. We`ll ask
a historian why that is so unusual when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The blood that they spilled,
the tears that they shed, the lives that they gave, the sacrifice that they
made did not just win a battle, it did not just win a war, those who fought
here won a future for our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And that right there is what our presidents or supposed to do,
pay tribute to the men who when they were young saved the world. Starting
at that beach. What presidents aren`t supposed to do is what are president
also did today. With over 9,000 grave markers over his shoulder, he
attacked the Speaker of the House and he attacked a decorated combat
veteran who was air lifted off the battlefield in Vietnam named Robert
We are blessed to be joined on this 75th anniversary of D-Day by the author
of “Presidents of War.” Among his other books. The presidential
historian, Michael Beschloss. Michael, I`d like to begin with how “The New
York Times” put it. “Mr. Trump had never visited Omaha Beach, and as he
has done in other similar first-time encounters, he reacted with an almost
childlike wonder. When he sat down later to meet with Mr. Macron in the
nearby city of Caen, the president marveled at the high fatality rates
suffered by the first soldiers on the beach.”
Michael, what have we come to expect from our American presidents?
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, we usually
expect a president to have read history and know that most presidents
before they become president, they know about D-Day, they know about the
high casualty rate, they know about the cost of war.
Donald Trump is someone who has exalted in the fact, you know, he boasts of
the fact he doesn`t read books and doesn`t particularly read history. OK,
you know, if this is the way he had to learn it, I`m glad to see that he
did, but I was just heartbroken when I saw that image of him denouncing the
Speaker of the House, denouncing an official of his own justice department,
the special counsel Robert Mueller, in front of those gravestones. And all
I could think of, Brian, and I know you`ve seen it. Last night I watched
again the special that was on Walter Cronkite.
WILLIAMS: So did I.
BESCHLOSS: 1964 on CBS.
BESCHLOSS: Ninety minutes.
WILLIAMS: Dwight David Eisenhower.
BESCHLOSS: Dwight David Eisenhower went back to that cemetery and went
back to the battlefields and he walked past those same gravestones almost
crying because of the memory of all those deaths that came because of
decisions that he had made. How an American president on foreign soil
could talk this way and especially do it in front of those gravestones, I
just can`t imagine how that could have happened.
WILLIAMS: I`ve been thinking so much about Dwight David Eisenhower, one of
the spectacular American lives, a product of Abilene, Kansas.
WILLIAMS: Went through West Point. Worked his way up the military chain
of command. A controversial call by FDR to give him the job he had, but
looking back at it, it`s hard to think that we could have had anyone better
in charge of this massive undertaking. And, Michael, I assume you regard d-
day, twinned as it is in history with Pearl Harbor –
WILLIAMS: – to have been part of the formation of our modern world and
the United States as we know it.
BESCHLOSS: Absolutely. D-Day was one of the most important days of the
20th century. Very close to being the most important day. Good versus
evil. The Americans coming back to cinch the victory in Europe. Showing
us Americans at our best. Soldiers risking their lives for world freedom,
risking their lives for their fellow soldiers. These were citizen
soldiers. Most of them had not been trained, but they demonstrated a
competence that you could not have imagined from people who before then
were farmers or merchants or students.
WILLIAMS: Do you think, and god forbid, I hope the answer for historic
reasons is no. Do you think we`ll ever again ask what we asked of that
generation of young people, as you said, mushed together from Madison,
Wisconsin to Brooklyn, New York to San Diego, California, all of them on
these landing craft on that gray morning.
BESCHLOSS: That`s the responsibility of any president and going back to
that Eisenhower show that you and I have both seen. Do you remember what
he said near the end when he was talking about what happened on d-day? He
said that makes it even more imperative for Americans of the future to
somehow find some kind of universal peace to make sure that no supreme
commander, no president has to send Americans into harm`s way that way
WILLIAMS: Michael has agreed to stay with us. We`ll just interrupt our
conversation. Work in a break here. We`ll come back with more on this day
that FDR infamously labeled a mighty endeavor. That and more right after
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Almighty god, our sons,
pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle
to preserve our republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set
free a suffering humanity.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: It`s hard to find any American alive today who still speaks with
that accent that FDR used in his spoken voice.
BESCHLOSS: That`s right.
WILLIAMS: Michael Beschloss is still with us. I have two graphics to put
up on the screen. Number one, FDR`s private calendar. This actually made
me chuckle. Invasion day, June 6th. He put it next to 8:00 a.m. That was
for his eyes only. And secondly, Michael, a photo you put out on social
media today that says it all.
We should remember that he was dying and certainly his cardiologist, Dr.
Bruin, seemed to know secretly that the old man was dying and he didn`t
live to see the end of this endeavor, but that`s a photo taken of him after
at least first wave reports that the invasion look like it was going to
BESCHLOSS: Absolutely. And you see it in his face and the fact that he
was seldom this way in the Oval Office in that chair with no suit coat on.
And that same day 75 years ago today, Roosevelt writes to Churchill about
what he calls the stupendous events that are going on and he says how I
wish I could be with you to see our mighty war machine in operation, and at
the same time that was the day, d-day, that Winston Churchill had begged
King George to let him sail into the battle along with the seamen and
soldiers and airmen who were going to invade the continent of Europe. The
king said, no, you`re indispensable.
WILLIAMS: Michael, we love labeling eras, the gilded age, the post-war
age, the roaring `20s, the depression era, I was thinking about Eisenhower
today. He died believing he had defeated the Nazis. He died in `69. By
`71 we had the measles vaccine. Could you make a case we`re living in the
regression? We have Nazis back in American society and 1,000 active cases
of measles because of a campaign against vaccinations.
BESCHLOSS: Yes, I think one can make a case that, you know, society does
not always move forward. And oddly enough that`s a lesson that Franklin
Roosevelt`s mentor and minister and head of school Endicott Peabody used to
say that society usually moves forward, sometimes moves back.
But I think if FDR were here today, if Dwight Eisenhower were here today,
they would say teach your children and grandchildren about d-day and what
Americans were able to accomplish on that day. That expresses the center
of America, what America is really like, all the way back to George
Washington and the revolution than perhaps some of these other things that
we`ve been talking about.
WILLIAMS: I hope someone in Groton, Connecticut is smiling that Beschloss
just quoted the old head master. Michael, thank you, as always. A great
pleasure to have you on at the end of this history making day.
BESCHLOSS: Me too. Thank you so much Brian.
WILLIAMS: Another break. We`ll be back with much more right after this.
Including a progress report from 75 years ago tonight.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight is one more update. 75 years
into the future on the progress of the fight in Normandy region of France,
on this night 75 years ago. With day breaking on D-Day plus one, the
Americans and their British and Canadian brothers in arms were in the thick
of the fight, really. Not all the landing units had been able to link up
as of yet, and yet by the end of that first day, the allies had punched
inland in a number of places, capturing entire towns along the way.
But for that first 24-hour period, the beach was either the place where you
died or the place where you survived. The great war correspondent Ernie
Pyle famously said about the Germans firing down from the hillside, “The
advantages were all theirs. They had four men on shore for every three men
we had approaching the shore,” and yet he said in a characteristic
understatement “We got on.”
The best estimate is the one-day death toll on that beach was 4,414.
Here now the story of just one of the veterans, Jake Larson, the last
surviving member of his platoon. Here`s his memory of that day, as told to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE LARSON, WORLD WAR II VETERAN: When we landed and I finally got out of
that water, the water was up to my chin, and I found – it just seemed like
in front of me came this burrow, and at that time two machine guns were
shooting at me from two different angles, cross-firing right at – right at
And that little burrow kept them from hitting me. So I lay behind that
burrow and they were shooting it and I dug out a cigarette out of a
waterproof cigarette holder, put that in my mouth and reached in for my
matches and my matches were all wet.
Not 3 1/2 feet behind me on my left-hand side, I looked back, there was a
GI there. And I said, buddy, have you got a match? And he didn`t answer.
I looked back again and there was no head under the helmet. To this day, I
think that soul of that boy inspired me to get up get a move to the cliffs,
which is exactly what I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: How about that? June 6th of 1944. Changed history. Well,
today was history, too. Likely the last time we will see these survivors
at a major anniversary gathering. And to those beneath all those crosses
and stars of David, almost 10,000 of them, including 45 sets of brothers
and four women, we owe them everything because they helped to save the
That`s our broadcast for this Thursday night. Thank you so much for being
here with us. Good night from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the