Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: October 3, 2018 Guest: Elisabeth Bumiller, John Kerry
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Breaking news we`re covering tonight. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, announces from the floor of the Senate the FBI investigation is over, the Senate will get to see it in the morning and they will vote on Brett Kavanaugh by the weekend.
Tonight the very latest on Kavanaugh, on what his former college roommate had to say tonight, the letter from 650 law professors who say, "Don`t put this man on the court," and the President`s role in all of it including the damage his words might have caused last night.
And from warrior to Vietnam protester to U.S. senator, the presidential candidate, the Secretary of State, John Kerry is our guest tonight.
THE 11TH HOUR on a Wednesday night begins now.
Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. Day 622 of the Trump administration. As we said, the breaking news we`re going to begin with tonight happened just over an hour ago on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: This evening the Senate will receive the results of the FBI supplemental background investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
So I`m filing cloture on Judge Kavanaugh`s nomination this evening so the process can move forward.
SEN. TIM SCOTT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: The Senate stands adjourned until 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: That`s all Senate talk, of course. It means the key procedural vote on Kavanaugh can begin one hour after the Senate convenes Friday. It means we can have a full and final Senate vote by this weekend.
Before that members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will get their first look at the FBI`s new background investigation into Brett Kavanaugh. NBC News has confirmed Chairman Grassley will be the first one allowed to review the findings at 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Then Ranking Member Senator Dianne Feinstein will have a chance as head of the Dems on the committee at 9:00 a.m. Senate Judiciary Republicans at 10:00 a.m., then Committee Democrats at 11:00 a.m. In all, about 109 people are allowed to see the investigation results.
This latest inquiry was a result of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford`s accusation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, an allegation he denies. Right now Senate Majority Leader McConnell has no plans to make the report public. But tonight there are major questions being asked about the way this investigation was conducted and why it didn`t take all the time it was allowed. NBC News has learned it was significantly limited in scope.
The "Washington Post" also reports tonight that the agents` work was curtailed, adding, "The White House and the FBI have treated each other warily throughout the process, people familiar with the matter said. Both sides were mindful that their written communications might one day be subject to subpoena, particularly if Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in next month`s midterm elections. President Trump has insisted publicly he was not curtailing the FBI probe, but privately the White House restricted the FBI from delving deeply into Kavanaugh`s youthful drinking and exploring whether he had lied to Congress about his alcohol use."
Sources indicate the FBI has spoken to at least six people, including Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh`s friend, who Dr. Ford identified as being in the room when she was allegedly sexually assaulted. Leland Keyser, Patrick Smyth, who Ford also said were at the house that night. Deborah Ramirez who alleged in "The New Yorker" that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party at Yale. Something he also denies. And two of Kavanaugh`s high school classmates and friend -- friends, Tim Gaudette and Chris Garrett.
But sources also tell NBC News more than 40 people, more than 40 people with potential information about these allegations against Kavanaugh have not been contacted by the FBI. Nor has the bureau interviewed Judge Kavanaugh or Dr. Ford themselves.
On Monday the President indicated he was open to FBI interviews with his nominee and all of the accusers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should Brett Kavanaugh be interviewed by the FBI?
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think so. I think it`s fine if they do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should the FBI interview all three of Brett Kavanaugh`s accusers?
TRUMP: It wouldn`t bother me at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Also today the White House has been forced to confront the bipartisan backlash over the President`s remarks at that rally last night about Dr. Ford`s accusation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: How many years ago was it? I don`t know. I don`t know. I don`t know.
Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don`t know. But I had one beer. That`s the only thing I remember.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Ford did testify the year was 1982, that she was 15 years of age, and the attack was upstairs. Today this was the defense strategy from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President was stating the facts. Certainly the testimony by Dr. Ford was compelling. But you can`t make this decision based on emotion. It has to be based on fact.
Every single bit of evidence and facts that we`ve seen in this moment have supported Judge Kavanaugh`s case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Let`s bring in our lead-off panel on a consequential Wednesday night. Elisabeth Bumiller is back with us, Washington Bureau Chief for the "New York Times." Frank Figliuzzi, Former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence. Ashley Parker, Pulitzer Prize-Winning White House reporter for the "Washington Post," and Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize- Winning columnist for the "Washington Post." We`re so very thankful to have you all to start off our broadcast tonight. Good evening to you all and welcome.
Elisabeth, I`d like to begin with you. Your newspaper has teams at work on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, the Capitol and the White House. The Majority Leader comes to the floor tonight and says "We`re going full steam ahead, we`re going to vote on that thing." Is that, do you think, does your reporting bear out, because of any new sense of confidence he has? Can his whip count have possibly changed without anyone having read this FBI investigation?
ELISABETH BUMILLER, THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON BEREAU CHIEF: I think he`s feeling confident. But the main thing you need to know about Senator McConnell is that he is plowing ahead, he wants this very badly, this is everything to him. This is his legacy.
You mentioned earlier about President Trump`s remarks being not helpful. That`s certainly the case. But for Senator McConnell this is everything. Getting a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for the next generation, you know.
Never mind the midterms. That`s a two-year event. This is everything. And they are somewhat confident that they have the votes. Otherwise, they wouldn`t have don (ph).
He called for the vote, the procedural vote, the cloture vote, leading to the final vote this weekend without even seeing the FBI report. But they are -- they feel fairly confident about the three waverers. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Senator Flake. Also Senator Heitkamp and Senator Manchin they think might also vote in favor among the Democrats.
WILLIAMS: Frank Figliuzzi, I`ve been trying get you on this broadcast for a couple of nights. I have a couple of questions for you. Number one, about the process, this investigation, I suppose, should have been unrestricted. It should have been transparent. It should have been thorough. It is your position that this was held back from the get-go and here we are reporting tonight 40 people`s stories who have come forward will go unrecorded and unreported because this thing is done and dusted and already has arrived at the Senate tonight.
FRANK FIGLUIZZI, FMR. FBI ASSIST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Yes. I think the FBI could do amazing things in one week, Brian, but they simply weren`t permitted to do those amazing things. And the fact that Dr. Ford herself has not even been interviewed is just a basic failure of, you know, it`s classic how to do an investigation the wrong way.
So the American public needs to understand that the rules need to change regarding the relationship, the client relationship between the FBI and the White House when it comes to presidential appointments. That process needs to be looked at. But that`s down the road.
What we`re faced with right now is something less than a full investigation, an investigation dictated by politicians and handcuffs placed on the FBI.
WILLIAMS: You and I both know, I hope our viewers know you don`t speak for the FBI, but you can speak about the organization. You and I both also know that if Director Wray had come forward, perhaps even going public, held a press event, and said "I consider this free rein," we would have had a much wider, much deeper investigation, would we not?
FIGLIUZZI: Well, I don`t know if we would have had an FBI director anymore at that point. I think this is a real tough dilemma for the director of the FBI because there is existing protocol that needs to be followed. And we don`t know and it would be dangerous for us to speak about what communications went between the FBI, DOJ, and the White House. Someday, as has been said before, all of this could be discoverable via subpoena, via freedom of information act requests, or even Congressional hearings as to what really transpired and whether requests were made for additional investigation and turned down or not.
And all of the field office investigations saying to headquarters we`ve got people calling in, walking in, do we still have to turn them away? Answer yes. All of that`s potentially discoverable. We need to hear what happened.
WILLIAMS: I`ve got one more for you before Ashley and Eugene accuse me of showing favoritism to the "Times." I hold in my hand an FBI 302. This happens to be the 302 that`s been released following Hillary Clinton`s 2016 interview. The senators are going to view 302 forms tomorrow.
There`s no conclusion. There`s no summary page. But Frank, in your best non-FBI English for our viewers explain what a 302 is.
FIGLIZZI: Sure. It`s, you know, the government`s famous for having numbers on everything. The 302 just is the number of documents, federal document number 302, and there`s no magic or mystery to it. It really is a recitation of what the interview subject has told you. It always starts with the usual preamble.
On Wednesday October 3rd Brian Williams was interviewed by Special Agent Frank Figliuzzi. Mr. Williams was advised of the nature and purpose of the interview and he agreed to voluntarily provide the following information. At that point it might say that Mr. Williams requested confidentiality, and in that case the name would be redacted from people it`s being presented to.
And then recites what was said but it`s not a verbatim description. Sometimes when you`re in a sensitive interview you`re seeking a confession, it doesn`t help to have a notepad out or you`re clicking on your laptop in front of the subject. But rather you`ve got to have eye contact and report. So you get very good as an FBI agent of leaving the room and immediately documenting what was said and remembering.
And if you`re putting quotes in from the subject, you need to put those in quotes. What`s not in there, Brian, is conclusions and opinions of the agent. That would be a separate section and only in the event that the subject is clearly indicating deception.
The subject sweated profusely during the interview. The subject looked down and closed his eyes for the entire interview. That would be put in a separate section away from the 302.
WILLIAMS: As I recall hearing, a former FBI director followed that very same protocol after dinner with the President. Frank, thank you for that.
Ashley, I`m going to play you something from Senator Ben Sasse on the Senate floor tonight. We`ll talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BEN SASSE, (R) NEBRASKA JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We all know that the President cannot lead us through this time. We know that he`s dispositionally unable to restrain his impulse to divide us. His mockery of Dr. Ford last night in Mississippi was wrong, but it doesn`t really surprise anyone. It`s who he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So Ashley, what is that? Is that kind of, forgive the phrase, senator, having it both ways? A senator who`s going to end up as a yes who wants broadcasts like ours to do what we just did and air that sound bite with the whiff of criticizing the President?
ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I was struck by those comments too, especially because that sounds like a senator who is going to vote no. But he`s not even one of the ones of those sort of three to five we hear about in that mix.
What Senator Sasse is saying, for instance, is he`s saying publicly something you frequently hear privately from members of Congress in both parties. But if you just want to focus in on the real three Republicans right now everyone is paying attention to.
What`s so striking again about all of this is they all came out, Senator Collins, Senator Murkowski, Senator Flake, and condemned what the President did when he mocked Dr. Ford in Mississippi the other night. That said, Senator Flake said quite overtly that it wasn`t going to affect how he voted on Judge Kavanaugh. Some of the other senators were a little more circumspect, but there is this interesting thing where much like some of the President`s own voters and supporters they don`t like the language. They don`t like the tone. But they ultimately more often than not end up supporting him.
WILLIAMS: Eugene, I want to show you some video and have you react to it. Last night of course we pored over the words of the President at the rally in Mississippi. Tonight it`s DJTJ, Donny Jr., at a Cruz event who gives us our sound bite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Donald Trump JR.: Now, I know that in this week in particular you`re not allowed to have a beer if you are a conservative. Now, if you`re a liberal, you can do cocaine and you can be the president. But that`s OK. It`s OK. We`ll hold ourselves to a higher standard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Eugene, you comment for a living. Go ahead.
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: You know, he`s becoming much more visible and frequent spokesman for the administration. And maybe they like that. I don`t think that`s going to work out very well for them in the long run because --
WILLIAMS: He had said he may face great legal peril.
ROBINSON: Yes, exactly. And he doesn`t have his father`s charisma or swagger or any of that.
But you know, let him go ahead and say what he wants to say. Look, this is -- it sounds like they`re going to push this through. I mean, that`s what it sounds like to me. And Mitch McConnell could be bluffing. He could be putting pressure on the wavers by saying we`re going to vote on Friday and push ahead.
But he usually doesn`t bluff. He usually has the votes. He counts very well. And he thinks they`re going to vote with him in the final analysis. We should not be surprised that the investigation is not a real investigation because it never was going to be. I mean, it was constrained to one week from the beginning. No matter what you find just one week.
And then there was a negotiation of, you know, do you do a transparently inadequate investigation or do you cover for a bit to make it look more a like a real investigation? They decided to go with plan a.
WILLIAMS: Elisabeth, rampant speculation from you, tempered by years of experience. How do you get Flake, Collins, and Murkowski given all we know about them and all the ink that`s been spilled this week to a yes?
BUMILLER: Well, I think that Collins is -- Senator Collins is the most likely. She has said publicly that she is not concerned about Judge Kavanaugh and whether he might overturn -- vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. She thinks that he is -- he will not do that.
I think Senator Flake in the end, I think, you know, I think what -- one argument that Senator McConnell can make is that we need to look at the entire life of this man, not just these wild years in high school and college, look at the women who have worked for him more recently. They all -- they have supported him. You know, look at his entire life.
I think that -- I think Lisa Murkowski is the one who`s under the most pressure in Alaska from the governor and lieutenant governor. But I think that is how -- that is how you do it.
Also we know that Senator Heitkamp and Senator Manchin under enormous political pressures in their states. So I think that`s how you do it.
WILLIAMS: Ashley, about that place you cover for a living, how can this not -- if this goes either way how can this not split us further apart as a country? How can this not increase our tribalism?
PARKER: Well, it`s a great question. It`s not one that this White House is particularly concerned with. This is a President who came in and unlike most of his predecessors did not move toward the middle but in fact doubled down on his hardcore base. So if this does go through we may see a backlash among female voters, more moderate voters, independent voters. That was one of the concerns about the President going after Dr. Ford, Republicans being very careful at least initially not to attack her credibility.
But what the President seems to have internalized in recent days is that there was a real enthusiasm gap going into these midterm elections. And one of the things rallying around Judge Kavanaugh specifically and then more generally getting a win, getting a conservative on the Supreme Court is something that as you said may tear the country apart but the President believes will be very good for him, very good for his base and potentially at least in the short term, quite good for Republicans.
WILLIAMS: Eugene, the freshman year roommate of Kavanaugh appeared on CNN tonight. I want to show it real quick. Speaking up on behalf of his Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES ROCHE, KAVANAUGH ROOMATE: At the end of the day it feels like there are not enough people who are willing and can credibly say, "You know, I know this girl and she didn`t lie and she wouldn`t lie and I can`t see any reason why she would." And so it felt to me like somebody had to get up and speak for her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Another guy not interviewed by the FBI. Another log to throw on the pile.
ROBINSON: Exactly. And you know, what he`s talking about, look, we found an example of what it`s like to be a woman in this country and to report allegations of sexual misconduct against a powerful man. And you know, that apparently has not changed. That is a dangerous thing to do.
And it is unbelievable that in what we thought was the "Me Too" era the accusers, the victims are being treated in this manner. The way that they would have been treated 10 or 20 years ago. So we haven`t changed a lot.
WILLIAMS: Frank, I`m going to be severe and limit you to 15 seconds. I`ve been asking our guests how three senators get to yes. You tell me how does the FBI get to pride in their work product when we eventually hear about it tomorrow?
FIGLIUZZI: Wow. That`s beyond 15 seconds. But I think the first thing that needs to be done is we do need to hear from the FBI director at some point. I don`t know when that point is. But the restoration of public trust is going to take time, Brian, and it`s way beyond 15 seconds that we`ve got tonight.
WILLIAMS: And the first 20 minutes of our hour and we`re of course just getting started. I can`t thank our guests enough. Elisabeth Bumiller, the boss over at "The New York Times" in Washington. Frank Figliuzzi, Ashley Parker and Eugene Robinson, representing the fine "Washington Post," our thanks.
Coming up, former Secretary of State John Kerry, plenty to say about today`s headlines. We`ll ask him about this story and his new book just ahead.
And later, new polls on the Brett Kavanaugh controversy, Steve Kornacki at the big board with the latest numbers. Talk about the new book he has written.
THE 11TH HOUR just getting started tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, (R) ALASKA: I don`t approve of the comments from last night. I thought that they were wrong and extraordinarily unfortunate.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: It`s just not right. I wish he hadn`t have done it. I just would say it`s kind of appalling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything anybody says, any of us, that say -- that may say something that, you know, accentuates the polarization is just not a good thing and not helpful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: We just heard there from three key Republican senators highly critical of President Trump mocking Dr. Ford. Some of them highly critical of President Trump on a good day. Their condemnation of the President comes as their votes are necessary to confirm his Supreme Court pick.
And as that vote draws closer, members of the committee are publicly quibbling about whether they had previous concerns about Kavanaugh`s past. The GOP-run Senate Judiciary Twitter account posted that nowhere in the previous six FBI background investigations "was there ever a whiff of any issue at all related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse." That prompted this rebuke from the Democrats, "we are compelled to state for the record that there is information in the second post that is not accurate."
Well, joining us tonight, Former U.S. Senator, Former Secretary of State, Former 2004 Democratic Presidential Nominee John Kerry, who also happens to be the author of a brand new book, it is called, as you can see there, "Every Day Is Extra."
Mr. Secretary, your Senate years are just a portion of a long story that covers the width and breadth of your life. So I`d like to start there. Has the Senate changed or have the senators changed since the time you served?
JOHN KERRY, FMR. SECY. OF STATE: The senators have changed far more than the Senate has changed. There have been some very minor rules changes. A couple of things like the simple majority for the procedure at the end of filibuster on a judicial nominee. But fundamentally the people have changed, Brian, and it`s for the worse.
I mean, people could put in place a legitimate process that would guarantee that America would not be more divided at the end of this process than it was at the beginning, which is already bad. I think this is a very, very dangerous. It`s obviously sad. It`s unsettling. But it`s also dangerous.
It`s dangerous for the Senate. It`s dangerous for the country to accentuate the divisions that exist. And to have a process which clearly will leave people untalked to who say they have something to add to this. To have kept Merrick Garland for 14 months from not only having a hearing but not even having a meeting.
And now they have to rush to do this vote, it is going to leave a scar. It`s going to leave an open wound that`s going to take a long time to heal. And I think when you hear those three senators say "Oh, the President shouldn`t have done that" or "I`m disturbed by him saying it," that doesn`t do it.
You can`t just say you`re disturbed, you don`t like it. There`s a fundamental issue here of whether or not a woman who came forward who everybody deemed credible including President Trump is simply going to be cast aside in order to bum-rush a nomination to change the court. And that will have a profound, long-term lasting impact on the procedures, on the attitudes, on the approach of people to their duties and to future choices. I think to create that kind of clearly questionable process is an enormous mistake.
WILLIAMS: Having already known a lot about you or so I thought I was surprised at what I picked up in this boat. Scenes like sailing with John F. Kennedy, what that must have been like? Your friendship with Ted Kennedy, what that must have been like? The way you blanched the first time you were introduced as the senior senator from Massachusetts after his death from cancer.
And just the drudgery, the work, the airplane flights of being Secretary of State. Interrupted by minor and major tragedies. The loss of a young state department aide in Afghanistan. It`s merely two paragraphs of the book. But as you note, some family had just been shattered and you were on the phone with the next of kin. That is all by way of asking you to explain this title, "Every Day Is Extra."
KERRY: Well, the title, Brian, is a reflection of an attitude and a saying that a lot of my friends and particularly my crew and others came back with from Vietnam. We were the lucky ones. And believe me, it was luck.
There were countless bullet holes in the boat. There were any number of occasions when anybody could have been killed. And those who came back weren`t. And I think it`s a reflection of the sense of a gift, with it an enormous responsibility to live a life of purpose, to live a life that respects the legacy of those that didn`t come back, and to try to make a difference.
And as I said in the author`s note, you know, there are a lot worse things than losing a Debate or losing in election. And probably the worst in today`s world as our democracy is challenged would be there have indifference or just to sit in the sidelines and stare at a problem.
WILLIAMS: The combat details are also just as gripping. Mr. Secretary, stay with us. We`re going to fit in a break. And when we come back, we will ask the Secretary about the day the President insisted the world body was laughing with him and not at him at the U.N. that and more when we come right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In less than two years my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. America`s -- so true. Didn`t expect that reaction, but that`s OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: It was said that day it was almost as if the President confused the United Nations for the audience at one of his rallies. That is a response to a U.S. President we`ve never seen in the history of the U.N., and it came as the Trump administration is engaged in sensitive talks with North Korea, Iran, importantly our NATO allies.
Back with us, former senator, former Secretary of State John Kerry. And Mr. Secretary, you are in a position to answer this. What are they saying about us overseas?
KELLY: Well, there`s a Gallup poll that just came out the other day that shows that there`s only a 30 percent approval among foreign leaders, et cetera, for the current relationship with the President or how he`s doing overseas.
It`s the lowest rating of any President in modern times. And I think rather than have me qualify it let that make its own statement together with the laughter at the United Nations. I`m unaware that there are actually talks taking place. Maybe there are with Iran. I don`t know about that.
But I think that Europe, the NATO folks, many countries are rushing in where there`s a vacuum and you can see that. President Xi and President Putin are pushing very hard the narrative that the United States is in decline that the liberal order of the West is in decline.
I think there are many ways in which we could strengthen ourselves and do better here. But it`s clear that leaders are confounded. They don`t quite know how to deal. They don`t quite know what is happening. And when you stand up and pronounce a new theory of diplomacy which is patriotism rather than multilateralism or engagement and so forth, patriotism is something we all feel.
We all love our country. But it`s not a theory of diplomacy. You need to have a way of bringing people to your side and building coalitions and building strength, particularly in a world in which there are other countries that have much greater economic strength now than they ever used to, as well as military strength.
WILLIAMS: And yet you are sunny about the future. Here we are on the eve of this moment in the U.S. Senate. It almost doesn`t square.
KELLY: Well, I am sunny about the future because this will change. We have an opportunity in 34 days for a major course correction election in the United States. People have to go out and work for it. It doesn`t happen because you simply wish it or want it to happen. You have to do the hard work of diplomacy. I mean not diplomacy. Of democracy.
And I feel confident about that. I think we`re doing things, extraordinary things. The private sector is doing amazing things in America. Average citizens are still living by the Paris agreement. Governors and mayors in 38 states in America are all committed to try to keep the Paris agreement.
The other week, last week in New York, France, Germany, Britain, China, and Russia all met. And by the way, they met with the Iranians to try to keep the Iran nuclear agreement in place. So I think the overwhelming push is in the right direction.
I might just comment this, sort of amusing because we`re talking about the book a bit. I`ve led a kind of Forrest Gumpian life in a way. You mentioned sailing with President Kennedy, which was extraordinary. But I got to introduce John Lennon at a rally in New York in the 1970s.
And later I got to break my nose in a hockey game, a bum hockey game, and I jumped over a guy and didn`t make it. When I turned around, who was the guy? It was Forrest Gump. Tom Hanks. And I write about it in the book.
It`s been a great journey. And it`s been fun to be able to write about it. And I`m thrilled with the response thus far to the book.
WILLIAMS: it didn`t even get to your one-time classmate Robert Mueller. Maybe next time. The book --
KERRY: Well, Mueller, we played -- we did. We went to high school together. We played a lot of sports together. He was the best athlete in our school. And captain of my hockey team. The hockey team I was on. He was -- we played soccer, hockey, lacrosse together, and he went into the service. He served with great distinction in Vietnam. He was a marine, is a marine for life. And he`s a very strong-minded, straight human being, and America is lucky to have him on the job.
WILLIAMS: His name comes up around here from time to time. This book is called "Every day is Extra." it is written by former Secretary of State John Kerry, who`s been our guest tonight. Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your time.
KERRY: My pleasure to be with you. Thanks, Brian.
WILLIAMS: The Kavanaugh confirmation tonight, the numbers concerning American approval are on the move. Steve Kornacki has them at the big board when we come back.
WILLIAMS: We`re back live. Three things have happened at, near, or during our air time tonight. Number one, Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow of "The New Yorker" are out with an article, this time on people who knew Kavanaugh who have not been interviewed for this investigation.
Number two, Dr. Ford`s legal team has reacted to not being interviewed as part of the FBI investigation. They write, "An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony, cannot be called an investigation.
We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth." That`s from them. The third thing that happened is the President has tweeted tonight, touting the poll numbers, approval behind his nominee.
Steve Kornacki, our National Political correspondent, is at the big board, and Steve, I hate to begin with a curveball question, but what polls perhaps is the President talking about?
STEVE KORNACKI, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: It`s very interesting, that combination of Donald Trump talking about polls, Donald Trump talking about Brett Kavanaugh, because what it seems to be happening here, one way of looking at public opinion and how it`s breaking down on this nomination, raises the question is there really any difference in how people view the Kavanaugh nomination, in how they view Donald Trump?
Let me show you what I mean. Check this out. This is the latest poll, Marist poll for NPR and PBS, just out today. Forty percent is the support number. Forty percent of voters out there say they support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Hey, guess what Donald Trump`s approval rating is these days? Forty-one percent. Almost identical to that. How about this? What do we always talk about with Donald Trump when it comes to his approval rating? One thing is the gender gap. Check out this.
Here`s the gender gap on the Kavanaugh confirmation. Men, one point negative. Meaning one point more say they`re against confirming him than support it. A one point gap right there. Among women, look at this. Huge gulf there. Twenty-four points underwater Kavanaugh is with women.
Does that mix of numbers look at all familiar? Well, it probably should because it is not that far off the gender gap or really the gender chasm that we see when it comes to Donald Trump. And so that really may be the story.
I think we`re starting to see emerge here with Kavanaugh, with his confirmation. Opinion on Trump is tracking pretty closely right now to opinion on Kavanaugh, and that means polarized opinion. And we have polarized, almost tribalized opinion.
The question then becomes one of, which of those two sides is more motivated? And that`s where things start to get interested here. Over the summer this is has been the story we`ve been following for a long time. Democrats seem to have a pretty marked edge over republicans.
It`s a question here voters reading the midterms as very important, very likely to vote. Seventy-eight percent of Democrats over the summer were saying that ten points less. Only 68 percent of Republicans. Well, the same poll today asked the same question, what does it look like now?
Look at that. That Republican number has leapt up to 80 percent, 82 percent for the Dems. The gap almost erased by Republicans. It would appear based on this poll, based on a few others we`ve been seeing, that at least for now the state of the Kavanaugh nomination being in limbo, being under attack from Democrats, has motivated Republicans and maybe done a little bit to eat away at that energy gap that they faced for a long time now, Brian.
WILLIAMS: All right, Steve Kornacki. If Steve is willing to take that long walk from the big board to the desk, he`s going to stick around after the break. We`re going to talk about this. His role as an author. He`s written the book that answers the question, since when did we become red America and blue America? We`re right back.
WILLIAMS: There`s that music. Thirty-four nights from now we will be in this studio at this hour, but it will look and seem different. It`ll be tense. It`ll be bustling. Because we will be covering at this hour the most consequential midterm elections in easily a generation.
And behind us will be a national map that will show red and blue states. But we didn`t always look at ourselves and our country that way. Our friend Steve Kornacki notes in his newly released book "Red America and blue America as we now know them were born on November 7th, 2000. The productive an entire nation torn perfectly in half. But these divisions were created in the decade that precede them."
Steve is back here with us, but in this segment he appears as author of a new book called "The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism." It is our pleasure to have you, obviously. It`s unbelievable that you and I are having this conversation on the eve of tomorrow in the Senate.
WILLIAMS: Which either way can only increase our tribalism. Tell us why you chose to write about this specific era, which I am too close to, I was on the Air Force One flight with Gingrich going to the Ravine (ph) funeral. I am too close to, to have any perspective on whatsoever.
KORNACKI: Yes, and going through the library, going through the video from that era, I saw you come up once or twice in there.
WILLIAMS: I`m so sorry.
KORNACKI: I wrote about it because it`s still with us. Because it shapes our world. It`s the structure of our political world right now, and as that excerpt you put there a minute ago showed, I think it was election night 2000 that it really kind of took hold and hasn`t given up that grip since then.
That idea of red and blue, and it`s not just red for the Republicans, blue for the Democrats, but it has cultural meaning, it has demographic meaning, it has Individual meaning for people. There`s been this rise, people associate their own personalities, their own identities, their own sense of almost existence with which one of those colors, which one of those parties they`re apart of.
There`s a poll that was taken in 2016 that found more than 60 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans ask the question, would you be upset if your child married somebody from the other party, more than 60 percent in each party said yes, they would be.
I mean, we`re getting numbers almost like it used have with interracial marriage and now we`re talking about political party. So those colors red and blue, they meant nothing at the start of the `90s. And by the end of that decade, they meant everything.
WILLIAMS: I made a list. It`s almost not fair, the characters you got to write about Mrs. Clinton, Ailes, Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and I`m limiting the list, but what a collection of characters.
KORNACKI: Pitchfork Pat, right? Pat Buchanan in may ways people kind of forgotten about him I think over the last decade or two. He was the precursor to Donald Trump.
WILLIAMS: Oh, I could draw a line, Buchanan, to Palin`s convention speech, to Donald Trump.
KORNACKI: I mean, tell me if this sounds familiar. A presidential candidate who that wants a wall on the U.S./Mexico border, who wants a five-year freeze on immigration coming into this country. Who talks about how we are losing our sort of western cultural identity.
Who says he`s going to revive America`s manufacturing base by tearing up unfair trade deals, who rails against wars that needlessly get Americans killed when we should be spending the resources over in this country.
That was Pat Buchanan in 1996, running for the Republican nomination that year and scaring the daylights out of the Republican leadership in `96. He won the Republican primary over Bob Dole, there was a moment Republicans thought he might run off with their nomination, they were able to stop him then, but a generation later, Donald Trump took pretty much that same platform, in a different America, America changed by 9/11, changed by the great recession, changed by those wars, Donald Trump was able to get elected president on it.
WILLIAMS: I need 45 seconds of brilliance. Here we are sitting in one of the networks that came from that era, and you talk about how our media were changed forever.
KORNACKI: Yes, absolutely. And the origin story there, you mentioned the name Newt Gingrich, it was Newt Gingrich, I think who was the first to really get this. The old era of three big networks and almost nothing else, Newt Gingrich was one of the first politicians to come up with a way around that.
And Newt saw it with C-SPAN. The cameras trained on the floor of the House in the 1980s and `90s, he`d give speeches at 11:00 at night to an empty chamber, but an audience of whoever around the country wanted to watch.
And he was essentially producing a cable news show on the floor of the House and it took him around the broadcast networks. He built a grass roots constituency. That was the source of his power, the source of his rise and of course media has just proliferated since then, and a lot of other politicians have figured out a version of what Newt Gingrich first figured out in the `80s and `90s
WILLIAMS: To our viewers who are engaged in our current story and engage as viewers of this network, to find out how we got here, this is the way. Steve Kornacki, author of the new book "The Red and the Blue." always a pleasure, friend. Thank you for stopping by.
KORNACKI: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Coming up, a member of the Trump family with a job for life, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight has to do with the President`s sister, and how remarkable it has been that the President`s sister hasn`t been dragged into the drama of the Trump administration until now, and still, only really tangentially.
The President Trump`s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry is a federal judge, and more than that, she is a widely respected senior federal judge now inactive member of U.S. court of appeals for the third circuit based out of Philadelphia.
Doesn`t it make it all the more interesting, considering the President attacked that federal judge during the campaign for his Mexican-American heritage? All the more interesting given the current debate surrounding sitting Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the President`s mocking attack on his accuser at his rally last night.
Maryanne Trump Barry, she of the head of Anne Richards-style hair is 81 years old now. She was first nominated to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan and promoted to the court of appeals by Bill Clinton. She was notably once criticized by Senator Ted Cruz, who called her a radical pro- abortion extremist.
She herself, while a critic of excessive political correctness, said in a speech in 1992, quote, I stand second to no one in condemning sexual harassment of women. The judge is said to be extremely private, said to be extremely close with her brother, the President.
And here is why Maryann Trump Barry is in the news. The front page "New York Times" story that pretty much destroys the notion that Donald Trump is somehow a self-made billionaire, one of "The Times" reporters looked at Judge Trump`s disclosure forms, dating back to her Senate confirmation hearing days, and, "Noticed a $1 million contribution from an obscure family-owned company, all county building supply and maintenance".
It turned out to be something of a shell company "The Times" says padded the family`s finances, and thus, senior federal judge and sister of the President of the United States, Maryanne Trump Barry finds herself in the news.
That is our broadcast for this evening. Thank you so very much for being here with us. Good night from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.
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