WH threatens clearances of intel. TRANSCRIPT: 08/17/2018. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams

Guests: Philip Bump, Mieke Eoyang

Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: August 17, 2018 Guest: Philip Bump, Mieke Eoyang

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight, John Brennan says Trump is drunk on power after the president revokes his security clearance. This as the "Washington Post" reports tonight the White House is already drafting more cancellations.

Plus, Steve Bannon tells MSNBC November will be an up or down vote on Trump. He salt down with Ari Melber today and Ari is standing by with details. And the Paul Manafort jury asks to be led out early without a verdict after nearly 15 hours of deliberations. They will be back on Monday. And "The 11th Hour" on a Friday night begins now.

KORNACKI: Good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. I`m Steve Kornacki in for Brian Williams.

Day 575 of the Trump administration and there is new reporting tonight from "The Washington Post" that the president is demanding more security clearances be pulled as part of his war on the Russia investigation. The "Post" reporting, "The White House has drafted documents revoking the security clearances of current and former officials whom President Trump has demanded be punished for criticizing him current and former officials who president trump believes is criticizing him or playing a role in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to senior administration officials."

"Trump wants to sign, most, if not all, of them, said one senior White House official, who indicated that communications aides, including press secretary. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Bill Shine, the newly named deputy chief of staff, have discussed the optimum times to release them as a distraction during unfavorable news cycles."

Wednesday, Trump cancelled this security clearance for former CIA Director John Brennan, one of his harshest critics. Brennan joined Rachel Maddow this evening and in a moment we`ll show you his reaction to Trump`s latest moves. Brennan, who is a senior national security and intelligence analyst for MSNBC and NBC News was one of the first officials to sound the alarm on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The week the White House also threatened to take away security clearances for several other former top intelligence and law enforcement officials with links to the Russia investigation, raising concerns Trump could make a similar move against special counsel Robert Mueller. This morning, the president again expressed his frustration with the Russia inquiry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, I say it, I say it again. That whole situation is a rigged witch-hunt. It`s a totally rigged deal. They should be looking at the other side, they should be looking at all the people that got fired by them. They should be looking at all these FBI guys who got fired and demoted. It`s not us.

It is a rigged witch-hunt. I`ve said it for a long time. Mr. Mueller is highly conflicted. In fact Comey is like his best friend. I could go into conflict after conflict but sadly Mr. Mueller is conflicted but let him write his report, we did nothing, there`s no collusion. But if he was doing an honest report he`d write it on the other side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: The president`s decision to target security clearances and to take away Brennan`s privileges has sparked intense criticism from the intelligence community including several former agency heads and dozens of former CIA officers. This morning Trump defended his action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I`ve had tremendous response from having done that because security clearances are very important to me. Very, very important and I`ve had a tremendous response for having done that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Trump also addressed the growing concern about a chilling effect on free speech saying he was attempting -- and he claims he was attempting to silence Brennan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There`s no silence. If anything I`m giving him a bigger voice. Many people don`t even know who he is and now he has a bigger voice and that`s OK with me because I like taking on voices like that. I`ve never respected him, I`ve never had a lot of respect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Now, as we mentioned, John Brennan spoke with Rachel Maddow tonight, his first sit down interview since that security clearance was revoked. And here is his reaction to tonight`s "Washington Post" story about Trump`s efforts to take other officials` clearances.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: The fact that he is using a security clearance of a former CIA director as a pawn in his public relations strategy I think is just so reflective of somebody who quite frankly -- I don`t want to use this term maybe but he`s drunk on power. He really is. And I think he`s abusing the powers of that office.

I think right now, this country is in a crisis in terms of what Mr. Trump has done and is liable to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Brennan also spoke about his concerns regarding the Russia investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRENNAN: Robert Mueller is a real national treasure. He needs to be able to continue with this investigation unimpeded. There is collusion I think in open sight now because so many things I`ve learned since I left office because of what has appeared in the press.

You know, the Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr. and others and I also when I was CIA director I didn`t know that it was the day that Mr. Trump basically gave a public call to the Russians to find Hillary Clinton`s e-mails that in fact that it was the same day that the GRU was actively looking for it. So there is collusion in plain sight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And let`s bring in our leadoff panel for Friday night, Jonathan Allen, NBC News national political reporter, Mieke Eoyang, an attorney and former staffer for the House Intelligence on Arms Services Committees, and Phillip Bump, national correspondent for "The Washington Post."

Phillip, on this issue of security clearances, John Brennan had his revoked. He hear him speaking out tonight in this same studio just a few hours ago. He talked -- you know, one of the things he talked about was trying to prevent this from happening to other former and current officials. Does he have any ability to do that?

PHILIP BUMP, THE WASHINGTON POST NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so he -- one of the things that he mentioned that I thought was interesting is that he was trying to engage in a legal case actually and I`m not a lawyer so I don`t know the extent to which that will be successful.

But it`s clear that he recognize what`s the threat here is. I mean President Trump is absolutely right. Clearly, this has done nothing to silence Brennan. I mean he was probably harsher in his language tonight than he`s been at any point in time in recent past. But what he wants to do is he recognizes there is a particular threat.

If you are someone who Donald Trump still has power over in the government who -- someone like Bruce Ohr who works for the Department of Justice, if he gets his security clearance or vote, that changes his career, that essentially makes it so he`s not able to work which is the point that Brennan made.

And Brennan clearly wants to make it so that Donald Trump can`t use this to punish his enemies within the administration within the executive branch of the government, which is I think the broader threat and I think that the outside chance that people are wondering about it, curious about and concern about is whether or not he tries to exercise that threat against Robert Mueller or his team.

KORNACKI: And I want to get to the name Bruce Ohr a little bit more in a minute. People may be hearing it this week for the first time. The president talking about it a lot but, John, I just want to pick up too on something the president said in one of those clips we just showed and Philip just alluded too there. When he talked about Brennan, he talked about the idea of, hey, he says I think I`m elevating here -- him here and I want to elevate him here.

This fight over security clearance, Brennan speaking out like he is, this is something the president is very intentionally doing, he thinks to some political benefit.

JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, first of all, he likes to fight with people and he likes to elevate people to fight with him. But I think what we`re seeing here, Steve and I would disagree with Philip on one thing. He said, you know, the president`s enemies within the administration.

What`s fascinating about what the president has done and I think alarming to some is he`s using not only the informal powers of the presidency but the formal powers of the presidency not just to go after political enemies and political adversaries but to go after institutions that could stand to thwart him, to go against career professionals in the intelligence community and the law enforcement community.

He`s basically weaponized all the parts of the federal government that he really controls to try to beat down those parts of the federal government he doesn`t functionally control right now which means Mueller and to some extent the Justice Department and to beat down every independent institution, whether it`s the media or you`re talking about the intelligence community outside of the government right now.

KORNACKI: Yes. And, Mieke, let`s talk about Bruce Ohr here. So the president, he revokes John Brennan`s security clearance, John Brennan former CIA director out of the government, not in the administration. So he`s somebody not in government right now. Bruce Ohr who the president was tweeting about again tonight in government, in the Trump Justice Department right now, is there a difference legally when it comes revoking a security clearance for somebody who`s not in government versus somebody who is?

MIEKE EOYANG, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE STAFFER: Yes, there is. When there is someone in government, there are certain things that would be legal to do except or if you`re doing them for a prohibited purpose.

So for example, you can`t say -- you could fire someone but you can`t fire someone because of their race or gender. Or you can`t fire someone if they are whistleblower. So the question here is, is he firing Bruce Ohr for cause -- or sorry, is he revoking the clearance for cause or is he doing it for prohibited purpose because he is concerned that this person is opposing him politically or saying something that he does not like that may be in fact be true. So these are the questions that internally they would have to investigate if the president were to take an adverse action against the current employee.

KORNACKI: And does he -- in general though, does he have more latitude if we`re talking about folks who aren`t currently in the government? Does he have more latitude? Is that an area that`s gray if it needs to be sort of worked out in the courts? How does that break down?

EOYANG: It is gray. It`s also because in the security clearance area the president has absolute power. It`s not regulated by Congress. It is just his and his alone to decide. So when he starts taking these actions the real question is, well, what are the collateral consequences for removing the clearance? Is he trying to silence people? Is he obstructing justice? Is he doing things that will have other impacts on the way the government works when we`re talking about the formers?

KORNACKI: We mentioned the president very interested in Bruce Ohr. Let`s listen also to a bit of what he had to say about him today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think Bruce Ohr is a disgrace. I suspect I`ll be taking it away very quickly. I think that Bruce Ohr is a disgrace, with his wife, Nellie. For him to be in the Justice Department, and to be doing what he did, that is a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And again, Philip, this is a name, this is a character in this drama and I think he`s new to a lot of people. Why does Bruce Ohr have the president`s attention? Who is he and why does the president cares so much about him?

BUMP: I mean two different answers to that question. He has the president`s attention because Fox News and Sean Hannity have been talking about Bruce Ohr nonstop for the past week or so that`s why he has the president`s attention.

Why he is important in this drama is that his wife Nellie worked for this firm Fusion GPS which was the firm that was hired by this law firm working for the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign to hire -- which hired Christopher Steele who cobbled together this dossier of report which is alleged various interactions between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals.

And so Ohr had had repeated conversations with Steele over the course of 2016, I forgot the exact timeline, but this has been something that because there have been repeated efforts to try and find potential weak spots within the Russia investigation, we saw this memo from Representative Devin Nunes of California which tried to draw attention to the FISA application of Carter Page. We`ve seen other allegations so on and so forth.

They`re constantly looking for weak spots, this is the new weak spot in which people are focused. And that`s why because Fox News has been so adamant about him this week, I think that`s why President Trump has drawn so much attention to it.

EOYANG: But I think there`s also an important point here that with Bruce Ohr the president is punishing him not for what he did but for the actions of his spouse. We saw this also where the way -- in the way the president was treating Andrew McCabe whose wife had been a Democratic politician and he really focused on her partisanship as a way of explaining why these people were biased. So he`s holding people accountable for actions that are not even their own. That is really problematic.

KORNACKI: And, John Allen, also that reporting we were reading from the "Washington Post" there earlier, the idea that this -- there`s going to be potentially a rollout here, a planned coordinated rollout by the president, by the administration of the security revocations, almost to make events out of these.

ALLEN: Right. This is going to be done in public and done, you know, on the president`s timetable perhaps to distract from bad news for him at certain times. You know, we saw on the original release of the statement it had a date last month. They were going to roll that out before.

Look, I mean obviously this is intented to have a chilling effect. We`ll have a chilling effect. I think the question in particular of Bruce Ohr who works in the government now is being targeted because of his -- essentially because of his wife`s affiliations.

When you read Admiral McRaven in the "Washington Post" op-ed yesterday in which he condemned the president, and basically said the badge of honor, this is a four star admiral saying the badge of honor right now is to have your security clearance revoked by Donald Trump.

When you have a situation going on, you know, you`ve got this guilt by association, I think that`s why McRaven used the term McCarthy era tactics. It`s not just about Brennan, it`s about some of these other people, guilt by association targeting people because of the political affiliations of their spouses in the case of McCabe. You know, this is stuff that generally has not been witnessed in this country in a long time.

KORNACKI: And the other question that`s raised here, Mieke, is if this campaign by Trump on security clearances, if that will intersect at all with Robert Mueller?

EOYANG: Yes. I think there`s a real challenge here. For example, if the president says you can`t speak to Brennan anymore about classified information, if the Mueller team needs to question him about things that happen that were classified at the time, if he`s read out, they have a greater challenge of trying to say to him, hey, remember that thing that you did in the summer of 2016, they can`t explain what that is to him so that he could be reminded to be able to answer and think about what his actions were at the time. That`s really problematic and it could potentially impede the Mueller investigation.

KORNACKI: It`s interesting. We`re going to talk to Ari Melber here in a minute about his interview with Steve Bannon tonight, but listening to Steve Bannon in there, it struck me. He talked about the idea of sort of the, I think, the permanent political class, permanent political elite, exactly how he phrased it, I can`t remember.

But the idea of Trump being at war with them, I think perceiving, from his standpoint, a political advantage to the president from that standpoint And I`m watching this and I`m saying that is the benefit they see here, isn`t it? Visually, it`s Brennan, it`s the former CIA, it`s Obama -- it`s the permanent political class getting upset by him.

BUMP: It`s the deep state. Absolutely. I was out in Wilkes-Barre when Donald Trump was there a week or two ago and the thing I heard repeatedly from Trump supporters over and over was that they were there to show support, to stand up in defense of a president who they saw as embattled from me as a member of the media, from the deep state that existed in Washington, from obviously political opponents within the Republican Party included.

Donald Trump has done a very good job of fostering a sense from his base of support that he needs their support to stand with him and that is actually potentially going to pay off in November. We`re already seeing polling that suggest the Republican base is more engaged to support the Republican president than we`ve seen in past recent midterm elections with the party base of the president being willing to come out and show their support for him. There`s a Pew Research poll that said that.

And I think that that is what Donald Trump wants to do. He wants to give the sense that he needs voters to come out because he is constantly engaged in these fights, whether or not those fights exist.

KORNACKI: You know, and Mieke, taking a step back here too, this is one of those moments we`ve had many in the Trump presidency I think where an action of his or a pronouncement of his has shined a light on an aspect of sort of the bureaucratic procedure that we`ve never paid any attention to before. I think this idea of former officials, security clearances, I don`t think anybody had ever really given any thought to this.

And I`m just curious what is the universe of folks who are not in the administration at any time who have these clearances? What`s the origin of that? What`s the purpose of a former administration staffer still retaining that clearance? How did that come about in the first place?

EOYANG: So there are a lot of former administration officials who once becoming eligible for clearance when they leave they take other jobs for which they need a security clearance. And so there are former officials out there who are working on defense contracts, and law enforcement and other areas where they need ongoing access to the information to be able to their jobs because they`re doing things in the private sector on behalf of the security of the nation.

Now some of these former officials that we`re talking -- that Trump is targeting are not in that category but they are in the category of so senior that people want to be able to bring them back to get their advice on things because they have so much experience. And so there are occasions where they say, hey, we`re facing a situation now that may be similar to something you faced. We`d like to talk to you about it.

And to be able to call them in quickly and not have to wait six, nine months, a year to reclear them at which point it`s too late to talk to them about it. It`s the urgency of the situation that allows you to bring them in and that`s why they have these clearances where they are eligible to be read into things.

KORNACKI: And there is an explanation of a system and a procedure that`s probably been there for a long time and nobody, like I said, outside of that even thought about it until the last couple of days. Mieke Eoyang, , Philip Bump, Jonathan Allen, thank you all for being with us.

Coming up, Steve Bannon sat down with Ari Melber for his first MSNBC interview. Ari is going to join me next to break it all down.

And later, the mysterious, nameless friends Trump loves to mention at rallies. What one reporter found out when he asked the White House if they exist. "The 11th Hour" just getting started on a Friday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, TRUMP FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST: This is an up or down vote on President Trump. You know, this election is going to come as a referendum on him. He permeates the entire political culture. And I think those that are around him are telling him that hey, it`s OK to lose the House, you can work with the Democrats and you can run against a Democratic House in 2020. That`s bad advice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: President Trump`s former chief strategist is looking to mount a comeback bid ahead of the 2018 midterms. That was Steve Bannon talking to our own Ari Melber on this network earlier today. Bannon`s comments come as he launches a new effort to support Republicans in the midterm elections. And as Bannon put it, to save the Trump agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BANNON: And I`m all in. Donald Trump is a winner. I mean Donald Trump is a closer. That`s one of the things in the -- when I first came in the campaign. Hillary Clinton really never closed the main deal. And Donald Trump is a closer. He closed the primaries, he closed the presidency and I think when everybody is totally focused on the stakes here on November 6 that Donald Trump will close.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Bannon is singing Trump`s praises in an effort to get back in his good graces. He has formed a new pro-Trump political group made up of many other former West Wing and campaign staffers. Bannon has returned to the fray, also includes a pro-Trump documentary that he wrote and directed and characterizing Bannon`s new efforts.

The "New York Times" reports, "His approach to the midterms represents the kind of all or nothing proposition that at times endeared Mr. Bannon to Mr. Trump but also helped create some of the administration`s most serious self-inflicted crises."

Whether it will be enough to once again endear himself with the president remains to be seen. The two had a very public falling out, but the president issuing a formal statement back in January saying "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. When he was fired he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."

The White House is in the midst of dealing with another nasty departure of a former staffer, Omarose. Trump claiming she signed a non-disclosure agreement. Ari asked Bannon if that was his experience as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: Did you sign an NDA regarding your campaign experience or your White House experience?

BANNON: I think everybody signed the NDA.

MELBER: Did you?

BANNON: Yes, I think everybody had to sign an NDA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: With me now, Ari Melber who, as we mentioned, sat down for that exclusive interview with Steve Bannon today. He`s also host of "The Beat" at 6:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Ari, great job with this. Let me ask you. What is your sense of who the audience he had in mind -- he is stepping out of his sort of normal media ecosystem here. He`s issuing a sort of a dire sounding warning to Republicans. Who is he trying to reach here?

MELBER: I think it`s clear that, a, he want to go beyond the usual echo chamber. Indeed, as we`ve noted, it was his first ever MSNBC interview and not for lack of outreach because we cover administrations, we certainly cover White House advisers in both parties.

So he wants to step out beyond whatever the normal conservative space that he perceives may exist and talk to other news networks in a wider community, number one.

Number two, I can`t rule out the idea that just like the video showed, "a war" that he`s seeking in the midterms that he thought there was some benefit to fighting these issues out.

And I say that with respect because I think the back-and-forth we had reflected basically hashing some of these issues out. I pressed him on Charlottesville, I pressed him on the so-called populist agenda left undone with regard to infrastructure bill, with regard to the middle class being left out of the vast majority over 80% of he benefits of the tax cut. But he wanted to be at least in an environment where that would go back and forth and reach different people.

KORNACKI: What is your sense to the state of the relationship with Trump? Did you get a sense that this is a guy who thinks there`s a way back in there?

MELBER: He was very careful about that, Steve. It`s a great question. And you`re a keen observer of this type of political relationships and crazy things can happen in politics. People can be enemies and make their comeback but he did not try in any way, I would say, explicitly or implicitly to imply a greater closeness to me with Donald Trump or the White House than he may have or then the statement you just showed that was so rough.

Indeed at one point, I read to him reporting this week that said White House aides just roll their eyes when they hear about Bannon`s new effort. I pressed him on that to his face and he said that`s fine, people will do what they do. The president doesn`t need me. His inner voice is stronger than anything I gave him which is his form of perhaps public flattery. But he`s going to raise his money which he told us, and this is new, is somewhere roughly over $5 million, including from hedge funds and try to make himself relevant and impactful for Republicans in this midterm.

Steve, you could say that Steve Bannon is back saying he`ll help Republicans in Congress whether they want his help or not.

KORNACKI: It is also interesting there`s this sort of -- we`ve got these signals coming out of the White House that there`s folks there and I think he alluded this -- to this with you too, there`s folks maybe in the president`s orbit telling him hey, maybe it`s for the best if you lose the House, maybe it`s for the best if you take a beating in the midterms. Bannon obviously going in the opposite direction.

But the other thing I noticed is the message he was kind of delivering to you there was different than what we were hearing from Bannon six months, 12 months ago when he was talking about all out war on the Republican Party establishment. Now he was basically talking about there`s rally around all the Republican candidates.

MELBER: It`s such a great point that you raise. It`s something I think people forget even though we all followed politics around here in the newsroom which is he was at full tilt war through Breitbart attacking people like McConnell, Ryan, Boehner, Cantor. He publicly celebrated the ousting of Cantor as a senior incumbent Republican and that`s why he originally said that he was interested in Trump going against the Republican establishment.

When you take that building behind me and Steve Bannon says tonight in this new interview, well, what I`m trying to do is save them and keep them in power, that is a different Steve Bannon. I think critics will say, well maybe that comes out of his currently reduced stature and it`s his way of getting back in. I think others will say that you can only do so many revolutions at a time and the reason -- and this is again up for debate.

But one politically logical reason you could argue that he has got a different stance is that that building back there has become a much more of a pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party that people leaving the Republican caucus or the moderates. And so the Steve Bannon of 2015 who was working on simply changing it is now a Steve Bannon of 2018 trying to back up Try and what he sees as anti-establishment populism quote/unquote although as I struggled to show in pressing him, it involves hedge funds and finance here and didn`t involve much middle class tax cuts.

But putting the debate to the side he would argue and I think to people around him that now this is about Trump but it`s going through the bank shot of this first midterm.

KORNACKI: Let`s play another clip from this. He made news a while back when he talked about the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower as treasonous, the idea of that meeting. You pressed him a little bit on that. Let`s play that for second.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER: If a candidate knows about that in advance then are they part of treasonous behavior by your standard?

BANNON: I think you have to call into question if somebody is actually out there trying to get information from foreign parties, you have to question that.

MELBER: So if Mueller could prove that about Donald Trump that would concern you?

BANNON: It would definitely concern me, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: I thought that was so interesting because, you know, you sort of asked him there we know his son was at the meeting, we`re certainly well aware we know all these folks at top levels in the campaign were there in the meeting and he`s basically telling you there, hey, if you could just have a link that Trump, the candidate himself knew they were there at that moment that that would rise to that level?

MELBER: It was a huge moment. I don`t think there`s any double about that. Of course we just broke this news here within the last half hour and there was so much different aspects of news and he`s such a controversial person that there`s all sorts of reactions.

But as you know when we`re handing off the program to you tonight, the one thing that all our panelist agreed on, a Republicans strategist, a former Clinton aid and a journalist was wow that seemed pretty big. Because again what he said about Don Jr., treasonous, crack like an egg and he applied it to Manafort, that was all at the staff level. None of that involves the eye wear to impeach him of presidential abuse of power issues because it doesn`t involve directly the president.

.What he just said in our interview that was so fascinating, as you put it, Steve, is that if that`s provable it would be terribly concerning for Donald Trump. Well, as I pressed him he initially said that he thought Don Jr. did tell Donald Trump about the Russia meeting, getting Russia`s help, trying to do that is election conspiracy.

And number two there are reports that Michael Cohen will testify that-to- that effect. And the number three, although I did press him, he understand would not reveal to me what he said to Mueller`s investigators over what he described as a lengthy interrogation.

But if Steve Bannon is even half as smart as many people think he is, he would presumably try not to lie. And so, if he has any reason to know or have talked to people who know whether Donald Trump was in on that meeting in advance, he may have already told Mueller that.

So I can`t tell you exactly why that`s coming out tonight, new in this interview. I could tell you, we pressed him on a lot of things. But it sure goes back to the point of why talking to the people who were in the room, who were in government, whatever you think of them, can reveal new information.

KORNACKI: Ari, it was fascinating to watch. He seems very challenging to interview but you kept him on point and kept it moving. You did a great job with that. Congratulations.

MELBER: Well, I appreciate that. I know there`s all sorts of views on that but I really appreciate you saying that as a colleague, sir.

KORNACKI: All right. Ari Melber, thank you.

And coming up, no verdict and an early dismissal for the Manafort jury today, while the president called the trial sad but what did Trump have to say about a pardon. THE 11TH HOUR back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I think the whole Paul Manafort trial is very sad. When you look at what`s going on there. I think it`s a very sad day for our country. He worked for me for a very short period of time but you know what? He happens to be a very good person. And I think it`s very sad what they`ve done to Paul Manafort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: President Trump today weighing in on the Paul Manafort trial, calling his former campaign chairman good and the trial against him sad. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of bank and tax fraud. The jury spent the second day deliberating today before leading for the weekend. They will be back at it Monday morning at 9:30 am. Tonight, Manafort`s attorney said he is feeling good about how things are going.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does a long deliberation work in your favor?

KEVIN DOWNING, PAUL MANAFORT`S ATTORNEY: I think it does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Downing, what was your reaction to the president today?

DOWNING: I`m very happy to hear from the president and that he`s supporting Mr. Manafort.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Here with me to discuss it all, Josh Gerstein, a Senior White House Reporter for POLITICO who has been at the Alexandria Court, has covering this trial, and Attorney Jill Wine-Banks, former Assistant Watergate Special Counsel, both are MSNBC analyst.

Josh, let me start with you. So you got Manafort`s lawyer there, saying, hey, good news. It is the prosecution saying the same thing. How was each side reading the jury not having a verdict yet?

JOSH GERSTEIN, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes. Well, the prosecution puts on poker faces here, so it`s hard to know. And remember, this jury is also -- this judge, I should say, this judge is also faulted the prosecution on several occasions for making facial expressions and so forth that he doesn`t like. So they`re even more state than usual.

You know, we heard the prosecutor earlier today, say he was happy at the moment but that was mainly because he was able to get some sleep because they weren`t up till 1:00, 2:00 in the morning every night, trying to prepare for the next day`s testimony. I think the questions that came in on Thursday had to be unsettling for the prosecution if they thought that maybe they would get a verdict here within a matter of a few hours that this case was a slam dunk.

Some of those of questions that came in suggested that jurors really want to pour through this evidence in detail and that we could be here a while. So I think the defense may be overstating their enthusiasm about where things stand a little bit at the moment. But I do think the prosecution has at least some reasons to be somewhat concerned.

KORNACKI: And we showed the President weighing in on all of this earlier. We showed Paul Manafort`s attorney saying he was happy the President did that. Also our own Peter Alexander there asked the President about the possibility if there`s a conviction of a pardon for Paul Manafort. Here`s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Will you pardon Paul Manafort?

TRUMP: I don`t talk about that now. I don`t talk about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Well, Jill Wine-Banks, what about the possibility that President didn`t want to talk about it there but those comments certainly have people talking about it.

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, the President has I think abused his pardon power which is I admit completely unlimited. But it`s perhaps time for a constitutional look at that because without any restrictions on him he has pardoned people who have been held in contempt of court. He has pardoned people who have violated very serious laws. And I don`t know that he would pardon anyone here because it doesn`t do him -- that is Donald Trump -- any good. And Donald Trump seems to protect mostly himself.

If Paul Manafort were pardoned, he would have to testify. He could not avoid that. He would lose his Fifth Amendment privilege. And that would be a detriment to Donald Trump.

Now, it`s true Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio for contempt of court in that following court orders. And so, he could do the same in this case if Manafort refuses to testify, and is held in contempt.

But at some point, I think the Republicans will grow a spine and that the Trump voters will say enough is enough. And we can`t let him keep going this way. And we need to get the truth out. So I do agree with everything Josh said earlier about the concerns about the trial. I would be shocked if there was a verdict before three or four days.

There are 18 counts that they have to consider and juries take their responsibility very, very seriously in a complex case like this. So it`s not surprising that there`s no verdict.

KORNACKI: And, Josh, no verdict at least until Monday as Jill saying possibly a little bit longer than that, while this process plays out. This is a jury that`s not sequestered, is that correct?

GERSTEIN: That`s right. They`re not sequestered. The judge warns them everyday that they shouldn`t be spiking to anyone in the media. They shouldn`t be watching any media. But, you know, that`s easier said than done in this day and age of push alerts and kinds of other ways that you come across information, and almost every venue including getting it from people in your own family, associates and so forth when you`re out on the weekend.

So it`s one thing to have a little bit of media coverage or even a lot of media coverage out there. Quite another thing to have the President of the United States opining essentially on the guilt or innocence of the person whose fate is being deliberated by a jury. In a sense, it would be simpler if the President did just go forward with the pardon instead of sort of the dangling of this pardon.

But I guess as Joe points out, maybe dangling the pardon keeps the President away from whatever ammunition Paul Manafort may have. And Manafort just has to endure this trial and the one to come in September and maybe the pardon comes down the road once the President feels that he`s off the hook in the Mueller investigation.

KORNACKI: Right. And, Jill, as Josh have said, there`s this trial, there`s another in September, there`s all sorts of different pieces and component to this Russia investigation. Maybe there`s more going on that we don`t even know about. We`ve seen that happen a few times.

But how crucial to the broader question, the broader picture of a Russia investigation, of Mueller`s investigation, how crucial is getting a conviction in this trial right here? How crucial Was it?

WINE-BANKS: I think in terms of public opinion, it probably is pretty important that if would be a conviction or at least a hung jury because. Remember, it takes only one juror to hold out. And it`s a hung jury. There would be no verdict and, of course, Manafort could be retried for this case. And I assume would be retried if there was a hung jury.

And given the impediment that the judge created, I think he alone created the possibility of a hung jury with his comments like to gates, well, Manafort couldn`t have been watching so closely if you were able to steal that much money from him. That`s a devastating comment who have had the jury here. So it`s distressing.

And as Josh said, with the non-sequestered jury, the chances that they didn`t hear about Donald Trump`s tweet that Manafort was a good man. And remember, he also said that the Nazis had a few good people in them. So saying that you`re a good person is not a compliment necessary in my opinion coming from Donald Trump. But it`s a bad thing for the jury to hear and it could create a problem.

KORNACKI: All right. Josh Gerstein and Jill Wine-Banks, thanks to both of you. And coming up, 81 days and counting until the midterm elections. We are seeing more and more women and minorities running for office, getting nominations. Is there more diversity in the voting booth? So I`m going to head over to the big board and break down some very interesting numbers on the changing face of the political parties when THE 11TH HOUR continues.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP CHIEF STRATEGIST: And Donald Trump hasn`t abandoned women. He has not abandoned women at all. I think if you look at the economy, if you look at what he`s doing across the board, they are the beneficiaries of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: A little more there from Ari Melber`s interview with Steve Bannon earlier. Of course, Ari there asking Bannon about the gender gap. Donald Trump struggling in 2016 with female voters, a wave of female activism against Trump since he became president. Now, we have been talking about this story all spring into the summer.

Democrats for the midterm elections nominating a record number of female candidates. It gets to the demographic changes we`ve been talking about, the changing face of each political party, something that has really been accelerated in the Trump era. And we have numbers we can show you that really illustrate this.

So first of all, let`s take a look here. This is from Pew. Pew Research, they track these demographic trends. Take a look at the Democratic Party, number one here on the question of the racial composition of the Democratic Party. Look at this change in a generation. If you go back to 1997, a little more than 20 years ago, three out of every four people in the Democratic Party were white. It was 75% white party.

Now, when you asked folks, basically a generation later, if they`re Democrats, 59% of Democrats are white. So the white share the Democratic Party has come down from three out of four to under 60%. It continues to trend in that direction, the Democratic Party in the last generation. You know, America`s gotten more diverse and that diversity has been going increasingly politically into the Democratic Party.

That`s one of the big picture trend that trend certainly, that seems to be keeping pace, maybe accelerating under Donald Trump. The other one, what we were just talking about there, though, gender. How about this? Over the last generation, put in the perspective like this, 1994. If you ask folk, if you ask women are you a Democrat or Republican, the gap was only six points, 48% said Dem, 42% said Republican. That was back in 1994.

Look, about a generation later it`s exploded, especially in the Trump era. Now, 56% of women say they`re Democrats, 37% say they identify as Republicans, nearly a 20-point gap there. Again, it`s that there are only six points a generation ago.

And also, generation this, generation that, a generational change here, a generational transformation. How about this? Millennials, the rising generation of voters, look at this. Millennials on the whole a lot more Democratic than other generations. But look at this, a gender gap among millennials, this is kind of amazing.

Female millennials say by a 70% to 23% margin that they`re Democrats. 70% say they are Democrats, 23% say they`re Republicans. Among millennial males, it`s 49% to 41%. So you`re getting a generational divide. They are millennials. If you just look at the whole number, they`re more democratic. But what`s really driving that is millennial women.

I mean, look at that, a 3 to 1 margin of millennial women identifying with the Democrats over Republicans. That`s one of those big pictures trend. So, again, the face of the Democratic Party. We have seen it changing for a while, and that change seems to be accelerating in the era of Trump. Some interesting numbers, we thought we would show you.

Coming up, plans mixed for a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. We`ll tell you who the President says is to blame. THE 11TH HOUR back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. I do want to say that I was your guest at Bastille Day. And it was one of the greatest parades I`ve ever seen. It was two hours on the button and it was military might. I don`t know. We`ll have to try and top it. We had a lot of planes going over and a lot of military might. I don`t know, I have to (inaudible) but we a lot of planes going over, we had a lot of military might. And it was really a beautiful thing to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: President Trump`s dreams of a military parade here in the US, like the one he witnessed in Paris last year, are shelved at least for now. This morning, the President took to twitter to announce the cancellation and to assign blame writing, "The local politician who run Washington, DC poorly know a windfall when they see it. When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I canceled it. Never let someone hold you up. I will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date and go to the Paris parade celebrating the end of the war November 11th. Maybe we will do something next year in DC when the price comes way down. Now, we can buy some more jet fighters."

To which the mayor responded, "Yes, I`m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, DC, the local politician who finally got through to the reality star in the White House with the realities. $21.6 million of parades, events, demonstrations in Trump America. Sad." All of this comes after CNBC reported that the total cost of the parade was an estimate the $92 million. That`s $80 million more than originally estimated.

The Washington Post reports tonight that President Trump knew the parade was becoming a problem. "White House Chief of Staff John Kelly briefed Trump earlier this week on the growing cost of the event and several logistical concerns in an effort to discourage him from holding the parade," according to a senior administration official.

He also told the President if the parade occurred in Washington in November, he would not be able to attend the event in Paris with other world leaders scheduled to be held at the same time to the celebrate the centennial of the end of World War I.

Coming up, the friends, President Trump loves to mention who remain anonymous to the rest of us when THE 11TH HOUR continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: The last thing before we go tonight, one of the President`s unique rhetorical devices getting some new attention, the President backing up his policies by citing opinions from a cast of unnamed characters. This was noted in a new piece by Toluse Olorunnipa, White House Correspondent for Bloomberg.

He notes the President`s tendency to cite an "anonymous figure important and powerful who invariably supports the President`s position according to Trump himself." These nameless individuals are fixtures of Trump`s speeches defying conventional wisdom and popping up to back the President on issues including prison reform and immigration in addition to trade.

In some cases, Trump`s accounts are rebutted by the people he seems to describe. Key details change when he repeats the stories. Here are just some of the examples we collected.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The United States has a rotted infrastructure. We have roads that are crumbling. I have a friend who is a big trucker, one of the biggest in the world actually. And he says he buys brand-new magnificent trucks that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and he`s never had this problem before. My friend told me, he said he`s never had a problem like this before.

I have so many friends there. I like them and they like me. And we do well with China. We do well with China. By the way, I have a friend.

In one case a friend of mine hired ten people. He hired three people. And it`s all because of the economy that he did it.

I was with one of the greatest companies in the world, the chief executive officer. He said you know what? This does affect our company but, Mr. President, keep going. You`re doing the right thing.

I have a friend. But I have a friend. He used to like France. I have a friend, every year he goes to Paris. He loves the City of Lights. He loves Paris.

And I said, Jim, let me ask you a question. How is Paris doing? He said I`m not going to France. Paris is no longer Paris. France is no longer France.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: When asked by Bloomberg about all of these quotes, the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

That is our broadcast for tonight, Brian will be back on Monday. Thank you for being with us, and goodnight from NBC News Headquarters here in New York.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END

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