Trump reignites feud with “the squad.” TRANSCRIPT: 8/16/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Susan Page, Jonathan Lemire, Michael Moore

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  It looks like a great series.  Jacob Soboroff,

thanks for telling us about it.  Everyone should check this out, “American



SOBOROFF:  Thanks, Ari.


MELBER:  As mentioned, the finale this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m.  That`s

“Tonight`s Last Word.”  You can always find me on “The Beat,” 6:00 p.m.

Eastern.  But don`t go anywhere because “The 11th Hour” with Brian Williams

starts now.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, THE 11TH HOUR, HOST:  Tonight after a week`s worth of some

political and some diplomatic damage, the President continues to go after

two members of Congress in particular against a backdrop of real concern on

foreign policy and real fear that the economy may be in for a turn.


Michael Moore is here with us tonight to talk about the people of a big

American city who have been failed by their government.  Michael Beschloss

with us tonight as well to remind us where we all are right about now as

THE 11TH HOUR gets under way on a summer Friday night.


And good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New

York.  This was day 939 of the Trump administration, and here are two more

numbers for you on this Friday night.  This is the President`s 222nd day at

a Trump golf venue, his 290th day at a Trump-branded property since being

sworn in as our president.  Tonight finds our President at his Trump golf

club in New Jersey.


It`s been a week, and for this president, it brought the first really

indications that he economy he is running on may be running into real

trouble.  Financial markets signaling that a recession is a real

possibility and that his trade war is taking a toll.  The Dow posting an

800-point drop, the largest this year.  Trump blamed his own Federal

Reserve chairman, who he referred to as, “clueless Jay Powell,” citing his

actions on interest rates.





rates because every country all over the world is cutting them.  He raised

them too fast.




WILLIAMS:  While falsely saying China would pay tariffs and not American

consumers, just this week Trump delayed the next round of tariffs until

December.  He said out of deference to the Christmas shopping season.  Last

night in New Hampshire, he assured his supporters that his strategy would

lead to success.




TRUMP:  I never said China was going to be easy, but it`s not tough, and

they want to make a deal.  We just spoke to them yesterday.  They want to

make a deal.  They want to make a deal.  They have to make a deal.  And you

know what?  It will be wonderful to make a deal.


You have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k)`s down the tubes. 

Everything is going to be down the tubes.  So whether you love me or hate

me, you got to vote for me.




WILLIAMS:  Jonathan Lemire of the Associated Press, who will join us in

just a moment, reports on the administration`s concerns about the economy

ahead of 2020.  He writes, “Trump advisers feel a weakened economy would

hurt him with moderate Republican and independent voters who have been

willing to give him a pass on some of his incendiary policies and



Trump is now stepping up his attacks on one of two Democratic congresswomen

who were blocked from visiting Israel after he asked that nation to bar

their entry and after Prime Minister Netanyahu quickly complied.  Yesterday

we learned that Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were not allowed

to visit.  Today Israel did relent and gave Tlaib permission to visit so

she could see her grandmother who lives on the west bank.  Tlaib has now

decided not to visit on humanitarian grounds.


Tonight Trump weighed in, “Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a

complete setup.  The only real winner is Tlaib`s grandmother.  She doesn`t

have to see her now.”


“New York Times” columnist Tom Friedman writes that Trump`s battle with the

congresswoman is part of his effort to activate his base and we, “Trump`s

way of and motivation for expressing his affection for Israel is guided by

his political desire to improve his re-election chances by depicting the

entire Republican Party as pro-Israel and the entire Democratic Party as



This week Trump also engaged in veiled swipes at old adversaries by pushing

a conspiracy theory on social media that the Clintons somehow had Jeffrey

Epstein killed.  Trump then tried to defend his action by saying he was

just re-tweeting someone else`s theory.




TRUMP:  That wasn`t from me.  That was from him.  But he`s a man who has

half a million followers, a lot of followers, and he`s respected.




WILLIAMS:  Trump`s concerned about 2020 appears to be part of his

motivation to begin making plans to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. 

As “The Washington Post” first reported, Trump met with his national

security team.  Tonight he confirmed the meeting, noting that, “Many on the

opposite side of this 19-year war and us are looking to make a deal if



“Washington Post” reporter Anne Gearan says Trump has made it clear Trump

sees little reason to remain there.





this as a kind of pointless exercise.  He recently referred to the role of

the U.S. military in Afghanistan as policemen building gas stations.




WILLIAMS:  In addition to all that, Trump will now face the prospect of the

House Intelligence Committee taking a more active role in the impeachment

effort, the investigation.  This as his former campaign manager Corey

Lewandowski testifies before the House Judiciary Committee next month.


And here`s a bell weather that will get the attention of the President`s

political party, perhaps even the Majority Leader of the Senate. 

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine may be more vulnerable than first

thought in defending her seat in 2020.  The Cook Political Report has

shifted her seat from lean Republican to officially a toss-up now.


And on that note, with us for our leadoff discussion on this Friday night,

Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief for “USA Today.”  She also happens to

be the author of “The matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American

Dynasty,” Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for the Associated Press,

and Jonathan Allen, a veteran political reporter who happens to be our NBC

News National Political Reporter.  Good evening and welcome to you all.


Susan, I`d like to begin with you.  Where the shattering of norms are

concerned, how big a week have we just witnessed, remembering this is

summer vacation for the President?



the controversy over Israel denying entry to two American members of

Congress at the urging of the President was shocking.  Even in 2 1/2 years

of things that we say break the norms never happened before unprecedented,

but this is one I think crosses a new line, for the President of the United

States to encourage an ally, one of our closest allies to refuse to let two

American citizens, members of Congress, into their country I think is on

the list of the most far-reaching and serious undermining of democratic,

national, and international norms that we`ve seen.


WILLIAMS:  Jonathan Lemire, with Susan`s comments in mind, is it possible

to gauge what the White House made of this week and how fearful they really

are of the economy down the road?



the President`s on vacation this week, and there`s sort of been a series of

summer storms that have gathered over Bedminster, New Jersey, where he has

been staying, and we can assume they`ll shift south to the White House when

he returns there at the end of this week.


But the one that has the most attention, the darkest cloud if you will on

that sky, is about the economy.  This President and the team around him

have made it very clear that the strong economy, the President`s sort of

overseeing and supervising this economy is his number one argument for re-

election, to ask the American people to give him another four years in



And let`s be clear.  He inherited an economy that was doing well under

President Obama.  It`s certainly an economy that is not perfect for every

American, but most of the fundamentals of the economy have been good.  The

White House believes that is his best argument.  And as we wrote in that

story, allows some Republicans some independence, even that sliver of

disaffected Democrats who voted for him last time or at least considering

voting for him again, you know, to ignore a lot of stuff that comes with

him, the baggage, the tweets, frankly some of the racism because the

economy is doing well.  And if that argument goes away, that becomes a lot

harder just to – for this President to keep him on his side.


And there`s been real warning signs in the last week or so.  The R word,

you know, the recession, is for the first time being bandied about.  We

don`t know that one is coming and we don`t know when it would come, but

there are at least some forecasts that suggest if they were to happen,

maybe the middle of next year, just a few months before the President were

to face voters again.   And that, for this White House, is a terrifying

prospect.  I think that`s why we`re already seeing, according to our

reporting, some of the pivoting the last week or two that start to stir up

other issues.  This thing with Israel and the congresswomen, the attacks on

those same congresswomen a few weeks ago, on Elijah Cummings and cities,

the minority/majority cities, where – culture was issues, even plastic

straws.  That that sort of stuff is going to be in the President`s arsenal

right now as he tries to distract from the impact his China trade war has

had on the economy and the very volatile markets.


WILLIAMS:  No doubt about it.  Jon Allen, the President gave us positively

cat skills material tonight on social media.  At least her grandmother

won`t have to see her.  Is there a strategy here?  Is someone with a

straight face able to make a mathematical argument that this is a path to

victory which all efforts ideally in the White House political shop should

lead to?



anybody has ever had a borsht belt strategy for winning before, Brian.  The

stand up comedy routine may not extend that far.  There`s been bible belt

and southern strategy.  I`m not sure that will work.  And if he gets down

to the point where he`s talking plastic straws that may be the last straw

for the American public if that`s all he`s got to talk about.


I think it was very weird today, speaking of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib

and her grandmother.  He put her grandmother in quotation marks in one of

those tweets, I guess trying to stir up some sort of conspiracy theory

about whether her grandmother is actually her grandmother.  It has been a

very, very strange week indeed, Brian.


But I don`t think at this point the President or the folks around him are

sure exactly what their next steps are.  They`re looking at really bad

polling.  I think the strategy has been to try to find more people who

support the President and try to get them ready to go out to the polls next

November.  And what they`re seeing in polling is really scary to them

because a big portion of what had been expected to be his base has peeled

away since the midterm elections or in the midterm elections and since

then.  He`s losing support from non-college educated women, for instance,

particularly non-college educated white women.


And so you see in these approval ratings, you see in this head to head

polls with Democrats, you see in the internal numbers here, it is – the

path for him to win is getting narrower and narrower and narrower.  It

looks like a White House that`s just flailing.


WILLIAMS:  I want to read, Jonathan Lemire, a tweet we got today from the

Greenland Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Greenland, a man of – a land of

stark beauty and lovely people, suddenly on the market as a potential

hostile takeover for the United States.  They have tweeted, “Greenland is

rich and valuable resources such as minerals, the purest water and ice,

fish stocks, seafood, renewable energy and is a new frontier for adventure

tourism.  We`re open for business, not for sale.”


Jonathan, where did this story come from, and how real is it or just

another shiny object?


LEMIRE:  Well, we`ve been saying that the Trump campaign was looking to

expand the Electoral College map.  This would be one way to do it, although

I don`t know how many vote you`d get from Greenland.  Perhaps they were

confused by those none globe maps –




LEMIRE:  – to be the size of Africa or so.  So this is somewhat serious. 

The President has had a few conversations in recent weeks floating the idea

of purchasing Greenland.  It is possible to purchase a territory like

Greenland, which we should be clear, is under the control of Denmark, and

Denmark has made very clear today it is not for sale.  He`s not the first

president to suggest this.  Harry Truman did as well more than half a

century ago.


Greenland is abundant in natural resources, particularly energy.  It is

also because of its location near Europe, not too far from Russia, a pretty

important strategic location as well.  The U.S. has a military base there. 

They have looking to develop others.  They`ve blocked China from trying to

expand there.  So there are reasons why one might be interested in



However, there`s no serious plan here.  This is something that was place –

a bug caught in the President`s ear through dinner conversations according

to our reporting.  He`s raised it with a few advisers.  You know, he`s

raised it with a few advisers, he`s raised it with friends on the phone,

you know, makes those calls from the White House residence or this week

from Bedminster, and he`s floated the idea.  Sort of one of those legacy-

defining things, something that he could say he acquired an island.  But

there`s no real suggestion that this is going to happen anytime soon.


WILLIAMS:  Susan Page, snap us back into the reality of present-day

politics.  A lot of head-to-head polling match ups are out this week and

these days with all the necessary provisos.  It`s summer.  We`re more than

a year out.  It`s not a national election, we hold, rather 50-state

elections.  But here are the head to heads.  And they do kind of snap your

attention back into focus.


Biden puts Trump way underwater, Sanders, Warren, Harris and so on.  What

does any of this mean to you?  What can we glean from this?


PAGE:  I think there`s something very significant in these Fox News match

up, and that is no matter who he runs again, President Trump gets 38

percent or 39 percent of the vote.  That is his core support.  I think we

should expect those voters who will be with him no matter what happens,

whatever happens with the economy, buy Greenland or not, they`re going to

be with him next year.  But that is not a majority. That does not get you

even a majority in the Electoral College unless you have a serious three-

way race.


So the President needs to do exactly what he said in his rally last night. 

He needs people who don`t like him to vote for him.  And the reason that –

they`re going to give voters two reasons to do that.  One is if the economy

is good.  We have no history of ejecting presidents from office when the

economy is as strong as it`s been.


The other is to use culture as a wedge.  And you certainly see that almost

every day with this White House trying to use cultural issues from race and

urban settings and Muslim members of Congress and plastic and paper straws

in an effort to make that work for the President.  But 38 percent or 39

percent, that is a sobering number to be so consistent for the President

regardless of who he is running against.


WILLIAMS:  Jonathan Allen, I have a piece of reporting from “The New York

Times” to read you about Obama/Biden, and this went up tonight.  “While

initially skeptical of Mr. Biden`s decision to run, Mr. Obama driven by

affection and loyalty has been more active in advising his campaign than

previously known, going so far as to request a briefing from the campaign

before his friend officially joined the fray, according to people close to

both men.”  Jon, do you buy it, and to what end?


ALLEN:  Well, look, the fact that this is out there at this point and that

folks talked about the interaction between these two men suggests to me

that there was some interest in having it known that Mr. Obama was not so

keen on the idea that Mr. Biden run in the first place, but also that he

recognizes that Vice President Biden is, in fact, still the front-runner

here.  And that it`s a possibility that Vice President Biden will, in fact,

be the Democratic nominee.  And that`s still kind of playing both sides of



President Obama did not set up vice President Biden to be his successor. 

When Hillary Clinton wanted to move forward and run in 2016, Vice President

Biden did not have President Obama`s support.  It`s important to remember

even after President Obama had twice told the nation that Joe Biden was the

next best person to be president, gone out and campaigned with him that

way, he wasn`t ready to endorse him back then.


So I don`t think it`s shocking that President Obama didn`t think Biden

should run this time in the first place and suggested that to him, maybe

not in so many words.  But there is a reality here, and I think that

President Obama would like to be influential with whoever the Democratic

nominee is going to be and would like to be helpful to them to try to

defeat Donald Trump.


WILLIAMS:  Some important recent history there to remember.  Our thanks to

three terrific guests to start us off on a Friday night and end this week. 

Susan Page, Jonathan Lemire, Jonathan Allen, thank you all for being here

with us.


Coming up, most people know the city as EWR, its airport code on your

luggage tag.  But tonight the real people who live in Newark, New Jersey,

are dealing with lead in the water and a failure of their government. 

Michael Moore, who has seen this movie where he grew up, is standing by to

talk with us.


And later, the phrase the President keeps repeating that seems to be

catching on, particularly on his news network of choice as “The 11th Hour”

is just getting started on this august Friday night.




WILLIAMS:  Welcome back.  And as we have been reporting, the biggest city

in the most densely populated state in the union, Newark, New Jersey, eight

miles from where we sit here in our studio, is in the midst of a crisis

over lead in the drinking water.  This involves an estimated 15,000

households.  It has exposed once again the intersection of race, class,

poverty, health, and infrastructure.  In plain English, well-off cities and

towns would never put up with this.  But in Newark, where they have known

for years that there`s been lead in the water, it`s a different story.


A filter giveaway program for home faucets, that was botched.  Tonight

there`s still no plan to get bottled water to the thousands of homes other

than telling people to come and get it.  And now a federal judge is

deciding if people in an eastern section of the city are eligible for

bottled water as well because their lead levels tested lower.  If it sounds

like Flint, Michigan, there`s a reason why this situation has a lot in

common with Flint, Michigan, starting with benign neglect and continuing

tonight with paralysis, which brings us to our next guest here in the



We are pleased to welcome a Michigander, a movie maker, a muckraker in the

finest tradition, Michael Moore, is with us tonight.  Thank you for coming





WILLIAMS:  At the very top, an obvious difference between this and the

Michigan situation is a sea of blue – governor, mayor, both senators. 

Hey, one senator has a Newark address and is the former mayor.  Why do you

think this story hasn`t received more coverage?


MOORE:  Which is so strange consider, as you said, it`s just across the

river –


WILLIAMS:  Eight miles.


MOORE:  – from the media capital of this country.  People in Newark, I

would guess tonight, are very afraid, and they should be.  If Flint,

Michigan, is any example of what could happen here in Newark, the, you

know, it`s not just, as you said – it`s not just the main pipelines that

are going down the streets, under the streets.  It`s every line into every

home.  And once that gets contaminated, then that carries into each

internal plumbing of everybody`s home.


WILLIAMS:  Of course.


MOORE:  And from the internal plumbing into every washing machine,

dishwasher, bathtub, it`s such a phenomenal crisis.  And it`s not just

Flint, and it`s not just Newark.


Now, the other difference between Flint and Newark is that, yes, we had a

Republican governor.  When his staff found out, they tried to cover it up. 

They tried to say it was something else or whatever, and it went for a long

time.  And, you know, the new attorney general is still saying that they`re

going to investigate this, and there`s going to be charges hopefully.  We

all hope there will be, because they knew that people were being poisoned.


How long have they known?  I watched your show last night.  How long have

they known in Newark?  They`ve known for a while –


WILLIAMS:  Known for a while.


MOORE:  – there`s a problem.  And my guess is any other mayor of a mid to

large size city right now, if they`re watching this, they know they`ve got

the problem too, especially if they live in the eastern half, the older

part of the country, where these pipelines were laid down in the late 19th,

early 20th century.  This is a huge problem, and I don`t think they know

what to do because they`re not going to have the money to do it.  They

haven`t fixed Flint yet.


We`re – tomorrow will be – at the end of this show, actually, it will be

day 1,940 of people having contaminated, poisoned water in Flint.  Those

lines are not fixed yet.  They either don`t want to spend the money, they

can`t spend the money.  There is a Democratic governor now and lieutenant

governor and attorney general, so there`s a lot of hope that that will get

fixed, but that hasn`t happened yet.


And for the people of Newark, if think this is going to get fixed tomorrow,

it`s not.  And let me tell you about those cases of water.  I hate to just

put a – because so many people were so good to Flint.  I mean people like

Jay-Z and others, just millions of cases of water were sent to Flint.  But

the average American uses 50 to 80 gallons of water a day.




MOORE:  OK.  That`s cooking, cleaning, drinking, bath.


WILLIAMS:  They`re bathing with a 16-ounce bottle of water.


MOORE:  No, it can`t happen.  And, in fact, you will need so many cases.  I

can`t do the math for you right now, but there`s 16 ounces in those





MOORE:  Just to get 50 gallons for one day, 50 gallons per person, so

you`ve got four people in the house, so that`s 200 gallons of water, you

know.  And –


WILLIAMS:  There`s the National Guard.  These are Flint pictures.


MOORE:  Yes.  Right.


WILLIAMS:  The National Guard was at least there.  We`ve yet to see them

called out in New Jersey.  The only sound the people of Newark should wake

up to is the thud of water being delivered to their homes –


MOORE:  Correctly.


WILLIAMS:  – by either volunteer Fire Department or the National Guard.


MOORE:  And these large water trucks –




MOORE:  – that could come in with their big hoses.


WILLIAMS:  Park it at the end of the street.


MOORE:  Exactly.  And so that people could fill up there.  But imagine now,

if you live in Newark, if you`re watching us right now, imagine doing this

for the next five years.


WILLIAMS:  And it`s going to be over 90 degrees again this weekend.


MOORE:  No.  I`m telling you right now if you are waiting for the State of

New Jersey, for the city of Newark, for the National Guard, for anybody to

come and save you, let me remind you that you live in Newark.  You live in

Newark, and in this country, as we saw with Flint, as you`ve seen in other

cities, cities that are poor, cities that are black, Hispanic, they`re not

at the top of the list as to who`s going to get help.  And you`re not going

to get help in Newark unless you demand it, unless you fight for it, unless

you rise up nonviolently to say, “We cannot and will not live like this.”


People in Flint, who live in Flint, still they don`t bathe.  They can bathe

once a week.  They take the kids down to a relative in Detroit or Ann

Arbor, Lansing.  They drive for the once a week shower because it`s still

not fixed in Flint.


WILLIAMS:  In a country that won World War II as we tried to point out last



MOORE:  This is – no, no – exactly.  And I mean this is going to take a

massive effort, and it`s not just Flint, and it`s not just Newark.  And

there`s no real commitment to this to making this happen.


Now, again, if this was a wealthy city, if this was a white city, this –

well, as you lay it out, you can imagine what the response would be

tomorrow.  But the response tomorrow in Newark is going to be – and it

just needs to be said plainly and bluntly, Brian.  You are black, and you

have the money to contribute to any of our campaigns, and you are not on

our list.  And we`ll show up – you know, watch this happen, politicians,

celebrities, people will show up, they hand out the water, make it look

like something`s happening, and nothing happens.


And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I watched your show last night

when you reported on this, and I saw your personal reaction.  This is where

you`re from.  You said it plainly.  If this was Bedminster, if this was

another –


WILLIAMS:  Yes.  Summit, Rumson, all these beautiful towns.


MOORE:  Yes.  If this what your gross point –




MOORE:  – your Bloomfield Hills –




MOORE:  – your Ann Arbor, you`re right, that`s – but that`s not where

it`s happening, and no one`s coming to the rescue.  And I hate to be the

one on a Friday night at the end of the week here –


WILLIAMS:  I understand.


MOORE:  – to say this, but unless the people realize this, the one thing

that the people of Newark have is there`s more of you and the people who

support you in all the other New Jersey cities than there are of them, the

them who are not going to come and help you.  You have got to politically

rise up immediately, or you will be the Flint of New Jersey, and you do not

want that.


WILLIAMS:  To the political leaders listening, if you want to make a liar

out of Michael Moore, it`s right there before you.


MOORE:  Please do.


WILLIAMS:  The solution is right there.  We`re going to take a break. 

Michael has agreed to stay with us.


Coming up, the uproar over two of the four members of the squad, two women

that Michael has praised for speaking truth to power, they`re back in the

news.  We`ll talk about that when we come back.






DANA PERINO, `THE FIVE` CO-HOST:  For example, the squad has become now the

face of the Democratic Party.  The President doesn`t even need to run

against Joe Biden, right, because he can just run against them.




WILLIAMS:  That, what she said, that was Dana Perino on Fox News recently. 

And then sure enough just tonight, we get this from the President of the

United States.  “Like it or not, Tlaib and Omar are fast becoming the face

of the Democrat Party.  Cortez, AOC, is fuming, not happy about this.


Michael Moore remains with us.  So, Michael, when your political opposition

tells you this is the play we`re going to run and the President underscores

it, and they`re running this play, is there any – is the squad blameless

for giving the President a steady stream of oxygen and ammunition?


MOORE:  I`m so glad he`s that frightened of them, both he and Netanyahu are

scared of them.  And the reason they are is – and this is why Trump isn`t

as dumb as he comes off.  I`ve always felt that it`s important to respect

him on some –


WILLIAMS:  He did a TV show out of this building for 14 seasons.


MOORE:  Yes.  How many people have been on TV for 14 seasons?  That`s not

an idiot.  I`ve always thought that we should treat him the way Patton

looked at Rommel.  He respected Rommel.  He read Rommel`s book.  He thought

we`re only going to beat him if we understand him and actually respect his

mad genius.


And the – Him saying that Rashida and Ilhan are the face of the – by the

way, it`s called the Democratic Party.


WILLIAMS:  I know.  That goes back to –


MOORE:  I know.  No, I know.  They`re still taking –


WILLIAMS:  Make it sound harsher.  That was a dick army staffer.


MOORE:  Yes, yes.  Well, that it lives on is I guess some credit to their

mad genius too.




MOORE:  But – No, let`s hope that Alexandria and Rashida and Ilhan and

Congresswoman Pressley are the face because that`s how we`re going to win. 

We`re going to win with people who believe that climate change is real. 

We`re going to win by getting behind people who want to raise the minimum

wage, who are going to fight for all these things that the American public

wants.  That`s the squad.  They`re the force out there.


WILLIAMS:  But the President`s telling the people in Michigan they`re scary



MOORE:  Yes.  Well, first of all, Michigan has a long history, as does

Wisconsin and Minnesota, the upper Midwest, of what you would call

socialism or Democratic socialism or farm labor Democratic Party.  We`ve

never trusted the banks or the large corporations.  General Motors was

founded in Flint, Michigan, in 1908.


A year of General Motors trying to turn this into a company town, people

were so upset at it, in the next election.  Flint elected a socialist mayor

to remove the pro-G.M. mayor when the corporation first began.  So that`s

who we are.  And the 13th district that Rashida Tlaib represents also has a

strong history of – sadly right now it`s the third poorest congressional

district in the country.


But it also has another history.  The congressman back in 1972 – I

remember this.  I was a senior in high school.  Charles Diggs was his name. 

He`s one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus.  He represented

Rashida Tlaib`s district in the `70s.  And he wanted to go and see the

situation in South Africa.  And the South African government would not give

him a visa and they banned him from visiting the country.


So all these years later to have our congresswoman from the 13th district

in Detroit facing a similar thing, what is it that they`re afraid that

they`re going to see?  What is it that – what doesn`t the Israeli

government – I mean I watched earlier Ali Velshi had on one the refused

things, one of the Israeli army veterans.  And he said, I was going to be

her guide through Hebron, and I was going to take her down the main street

of Hebron, where it`s now vacant.


All the shops are gone.  The Israeli army calls it a sterile street. 

That`s what he said right on this network, a sterile street because there

are no Arabs around.  Our members of Congress need to see that, and that`s

what unfortunately they`re not going to be able to.


WILLIAMS:  We`ll break on that point.  We`re back on the topic of guns

after this.






TRUMP:  We are working very hard to make sure we keep guns out of the hands

of insane people and those who are mentally sick and shouldn`t have guns. 

But people have to remember, however, that there is a mental illness

problem that has to be dealt with.  It`s not the gun that pulls the

trigger.  It`s the person holding the gun.




WILLIAMS:  No real specifics there on gun restrictions from the President. 

That was last night at his rally in New Hampshire, just an emphasis on

mental illness.  And the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee want us

to know they`re cutting short their summer recess and coming back to

Washington early just to tackle the issue of gun violence.


The truth is they`re coming back September 4th when summer is over, but

they want the credit for working.  They want to put no fewer than three

bills before the House for a vote.  Again, the truth is nothing matters

unless Mitch McConnell says it does, which brings us back to tonight.


The last of the El Paso funerals and a heart-wrenching sight.  When Antonio

Basco lost his wife in that Walmart shooting, he had no other living family

in the world, and he was worried that no one would show up at her memorial. 

So he invited El Paso, and by all accounts, they showed up tonight along

with flowers from around the country and around the world.


Michael Moore is back with us.  And Michael, it strikes me that unlike

coastal Democrats, you are driving distance away from a Bass Pro Shops and

Cabela`s, and you know from gun culture.  You know your way around Mitch

McConnell.  What`s the least we can expect from Washington on guns?


MOORE:  Well, I`m also in a state that`s a half a mile across the river

from a country where their boys watch violent video games, where they have

mental health issues, where they have all the stuff – oh, and by the way,

hunting`s the number one sport in Canada.  There are more guns than hockey



WILLIAMS:  Are AR-15s a problem?


MOORE:  No, because they don`t allow this.  And to get a – To be able to

have a gun, a certain kind of gun in Canada, you have to get – you have to

have your wife, your girlfriend, and your ex-wife all have to sign a piece

of paper saying that you`re not a violent person, and you can have a gun,

you know.  I think that Canada just does this in a very sane way.  They let

hunters be hunters, but they don`t allow children to be able to take guns

into schools.


It`s – It – That was that was a very sad thing you just showed there from

El Paso.  How will this end?  You know, I made “Bowling for Columbine”,

this is like 20 years ago –




MOORE:  – and we started the afternoon – I said, we came in.  We saw it

on the news that morning, and we were working on it that afternoon.  I

thought we`ve got – because this was the first.  We`ve got to make sure

this never happens again.


And not only did that movie not stop it, nothing has stopped it.  It`s only

gotten worse.  The good news is that 78 percent of the American people do

not own a gun.  78 percent.  But there`s 320 million guns in this country,

and 3 percent of the population owns 160 million of them.  This is a

dangerous situation.


We`re going to have to face it down sooner or later.  But this is just one

of so many problems that we, whether it`s climate change, whether it`s

this, you know, I was thinking about this earlier today because Peter Fonda

passed away –




MOORE:  – today.  And this, today, is the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. 

And it`s the 50th anniversary of his movie, “Easy Rider,” this summer. 

And, you know, the baby boom generation, the `60s generation, `60s and `70s

generation, we – our promise to the next generation was we`re going to

leave you a better world –




MOORE:  – than the one we inherited, not one that`s polluted, not one

where there`s all this violence, not one with war.  And in thinking about

it – and actually, I was talking to Peter Fonda just a couple months ago. 

He was going to come to my film festival that I have in the summer in

Michigan, and they couldn`t make it because he was not well.  And it`s that

sense of now as we get older, how do we feel that this is the world we`ve

left behind?


WILLIAMS:  You can hear that baton being passed.


MOORE:  Well, we have ruined it for these kids.  We have choked the planet

to death.  We send them into debtor`s prison when they graduate from

college.  They`re in debt for the next 20 or 30 years in ways that we

weren`t when we went to college.  All these things that we didn`t fix and

that I think everybody over the age of 50 has to redouble their efforts to

turn this thing around.


All these things can be fixed.  There`s good news around the corner, but we

have to go and get it.  It won`t happen on its own.


WILLIAMS:  It will all be better in Greenland.  I`ll see you there.


MOORE:  Yes.


WILLIAMS:  Michael Moore, our guest in the studio tonight.  Thank you.


MOORE:  Thank you, Brian.


WILLIAMS:  Very much.


Coming up, the potential purchase of Greenland making news this week, for

real.  Our look at five days of this presidency, including the late, great

Peter Fonda coming up after this when we`re joined by Michael Beschloss.







of the most astounding things President Trump has done.  We looked back. 

There is no – we could find no evidence of any other American president

ever pushing a foreign country to bar the entry of U.S. citizens, let alone

democratically elected members of Congress.  So this is way off the charts. 

It`s off the charts even for President Trump.




WILLIAMS:  Each week of this administration seems even more astounding to

some than the previous one.  Back with us again tonight Presidential

Historian and Author Michael Beschloss, the latest of his many great books

“Presidents of War”.  And Michael, there you have Elisabeth Bumiller,

Washington Bureau Chief for the New York Times as the commercial says she

knows a thing or two because she has seen a thing or two.  Do you agree

with her that in the pantheon of pliant foreign leaders, the place

Netanyahu now takes is something we could not have anticipated ever before?



case where President Trump is shattering president and doing things in a

way that we haven`t seen before and pursuing that confrontation with the

Democratic House.  And part of this, you know, Brian is really political.


You know, Donald Trump is the last person who would say that he is a

historian.  But one way the presidents have made the other party seem

unpalatable is to take a few people within the party and identify them with

the rest of the party.  You remember 1940, the Republican candidate was a

moderate named Wendell Willkie.  But if you listened to Franklin Roosevelt,

you`d think the candidates were three congressmen named Martin, Barton and

Fish who were extreme isolationist and very reactionary so it`s a political

device that goes back in the history.


WILLIAMS:  What are we watching in realtime with Joe Biden that has echoes

in your life`s work of history?


BESCHLOSS:  Well I think one thing is that it reminds me a bit of Ronald

Reagan at the beginning of 1980 where Reagan was extremely popular within

the Republican Party.  Some people said that he had perhaps been there too

long but in the end he was the one nominated, although there were other

candidates running against him who seemed to be more brisk and adventurous. 

And I think we may see the same thing happening here.  Who knows.


WILLIAMS:  And when you hear about the possible purchase of Greenland

there, insisting of course they`re not for sale.


BESCHLOSS:  Well, what it reminds me of is, you know, we heard a panel

earlier saying that there were all sorts of danger signs for Donald Trump

this week.  What Greenland reminds me of is how much a president, an

incumbent president can do to reverse his fate.


In August of 1971, Richard Nixon was behind in the polls.  The economy was

going bad.  There was a war.  And he reversed those things, did wage and

price controls that helped for a little while.  He went to Russia, he went

to China.  Wound down the war and went on to win one of the great

presidential landslide in history.  So events these days seem to be

happening with all sorts of velocity but we are 13 months from an election

and I think it doesn`t have too much predictive ability.


WILLIAMS:  If we had a podcast, I`d ask about James Knox Polk but we`ll

spare the cable audience for now.  Michael –


BESCHLOSS:  Director`s cut.


WILLIAMS:  – Michael Beschloss has agreed to stay with us over this break.


And when we come back for one American generation, you heard Michael Moore

talk about this earlier, a big anniversary, and a big loss, all in the same





WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight.  As we`ve often said while

corners of Twitter are indeed the world`s social media bile duct, there are

places and moments for great value and sharing and education, none more so

than the social media feed of our guest tonight, Michael Beschloss, where

today you would have seen his Woodstock remembrance on this 50th

anniversary of the groundbreaking music festival.


And tonight you would have seen this, Peter Fonda, as we remember him the

son of Hollywood royalty, the brother and father of Hollywood royalty, and

easy rider for an entire Woodstock generation gone today at the age of 79. 

So our friend Michael Beschloss remains with us.  Michael, talk about the

anniversary and today`s loss.


BESCHLOSS:  Well, it – our sympathies to Peter Fonda`s family but it`s

almost as if the stars came together to give us a message.  Because on this

weekend you have the sad death of Peter Fonda, as you said the beginning of

the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock fair Upstate New York.  And also this

is a month after the premier “Easy Rider” with Peter Fonda and Dennis

Hopper and Jack Nicholson, that great counterculture film.


All of which suggests to me the question, you know, was 1969, was that a

time when America was more divided than it is in 2019?  And I would say yes

that was a time of an ugly war in Vietnam, a division between the

generations that ran through absolutely every American household.  And

anyone who despairs about a time when America is divided I think has to go

back to a moment like August of 1969, 50 years ago, to see how quickly we

were able to overcome it.  And how much the DNA of the United States draws

us together in the end.  I would never bet against the United States and

our ability to bring our people together.


WILLIAMS:  And in 30 seconds or less, let`s remember Max Yasgur a

Republican by inclination and registration who loaned his land to host all

those kids.


BESCHLOSS:  And got up and you probably have seen the film just like –




BESCHLOSS:  – he gets up and says I`m a farmer and everyone cheers.  Never

did he remotely imagine that those acres would become such an historic site

that we would be honoring that day with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and

everyone else 50 years ago as it began today.


WILLIAMS:  To our friend Michael Beschloss, our thanks.  Have a good

weekend.  Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Michael, as always.


BESCHLOSS:  Thank you Brian, be well.


WILLIAMS:  And to our viewers, that is our broadcast for this Friday night

and for this week.  Thank you so very much for being here with us.  And

good night from our NBC News headquarters in New York.





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