Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: November 12, 2018 Guest: Arnie Karni, Jacki Calmes, Neal Katyal, Sabrina Siddiqui, Christopher Shays, Christopher Dickey, Nichole Jolly
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Tonight another Senate race has been called. The Democrats have picked up Jeff Flake, Senate seat in Arizona.
There is a recount underway in Florida where the President is alleging voter fraud though there were zero evidence of voter fraud. And the Republican governor there is trying to stop the counts, so he can be declared Senator.
Plus, the new acting attorney general Matt Whitaker agrees to at least ask about the ethics of his new Russia oversight duties as we learn Mueller may have another indictment looming.
And rather than properly mark a great ally victory in a staggering American sacrifice, it was a lonely President in France this weekend as our country has now been set apart from the rest. As THE 11TH HOUR gets underway on a Monday night.
And as we start a new week, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. Day 662 of the Trump administration. It is already clear the pace of news this week is going to be little different from last.
As we come on the air tonight, we`re going to begin with some breaking news just 21 minutes old. The story has just come out in the past half hour regarding the Trump administration. The "Washington Post" is reporting President Trump has told advisers, he has decided to remove Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security Secretary. And her departure, according to "The Post" is likely to occur in the coming weeks.
On the phone is one of the three by lines who broke the story tonight, our friend Philip Rucker, the Pulitzer Prize Winning, White House Bureau of Chief for the "Washington Post".
Phil, we know this has been a long time developing. A slow run-up, she is an acolyte of General Kelly, but what did this, apparently?
PHILIP RUCKER, WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF (via telephone): Well, Brian, the President has just decided according to officials in the White House that it`s time for her to go. She is nearing her one-year mark on the job. That would be December 6th, but the President told aides over the weekend that he wanted her out very soon.
He actually had a trip planned with Secretary Nielsen sometime this week to visit troops at the border in South Texas. And he decided to cancel that trip according to officials and has been grumbling about her for month`s tweets. You know, it`s been previously reported that he berated her at a Cabinet meeting. He had spoken, you know, poorly about her behind her back. And I think it`s time to go.
And it`s also, we`re pointing out Brian that there`s -- this is a little bit mutual. Nielsen has been frustrated in the job herself and she`s been thinking about leaving at some point, although clearly this is going to be the President`s decision.
WILLIAMS: Of course, the job could not be more important, among other things, fortifying our electronics grid, fortifying our computers against ongoing and sustained attack from the Russians among others.
And so, Phil, this will be another Senate confirmation of another nominee.
RUCKER: It would be, you know, one thing we should point out to the viewers at home, just a caveat that the President will sometimes tell that the adviser today that he made a decision and then change his mind, well, you know, once it gets covered in the media. So he could fall back on this.
And Chief of Staff John Kelly who has been Secretary Nielsen biggest protector at the administration at this hour is fighting with the President to try to save her job. He`s trying to postpone her dismissal. But we should also point out that Kelly`s own future at the administration is considered shaky with some White House official saying that he may not be long for this world, either.
WILLIAMS: Yes, it`s tough to see how she will want to say -- want to stay, rather, looking at some of the language you`ve reported out from your reporting sources in the story tonight.
Phil Rucker, again, one of three names on the byline, "The Washington Post" breaking the story in the last half hour that Kirstjen Nielsen is preparing to -- the President`s preparing to remove her as Secretary of Homeland Security. Phil, thanks.
And back to this unending midterm election of 2018. We have more news on that front just out tonight. NBC News has declared Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema as the apparent winner in the Arizona Senate race giving her a narrow victory over Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally. Sinema now makes history as the first woman senator from that state.
And more history because she has turned Jeff Flake`s Republican Senate seat blue and Sinema reacted a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYRSTEN SINEMA, (D-AZ) SENATOR ELECT: It won`t be easy, and it won`t happen overnight. But we can work together to meet the challenges our country faces. We can do this differently for our country, for our future, for Senator McCain, and for each other. I think we must. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Earlier this evening, McSally, flanked by a close friend, posted her own statement, her concession.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARTHA MCSALLY, (R) ARIZONA: I just called Kyrsten Sinema and congratulated her on becoming Arizona`s first female Senator after a hard fought battle. I wish her all success as she represents Arizona in the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Also tonight the State of Florida raising to complete a recount in the races for governor and Senate. These are automatic recount. Some counties are running machines 24 hours a day, trying to process the more than eight million votes cast by the Thursday deadline.
This year`s Florida recount invokes memories of nearly 20 years ago, the time is ranching at times comical recount that ended when the U.S. Supreme Court awarded the presidency to George W. Bush. Now two races are undecided, Rick Scott against Bill Nelson for the Senate, Ron DeSantis against Andrew Gillum for governor. While both races may have been called earlier by news organizations, a reminder that has no force of law and instead the elections of course need to be certified by the states.
Tonight the Republicans, Scott and DeSantis hold narrow leads in their respective races.
Today Trump who campaigned for both men weighed in on social media. And we, "The Florida election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible. Ballots massively infected must go with election night."
A couple of things here, there is no evidence to support what the President says there. There is zero evidence of voter fraud, the President is talking about. And going with an election night count of ballots would disenfranchise for starters, votes sent in from Floridians serving in the military, stationed overseas on Veterans Day weekend no less.
While normally candidates don`t interfere in recounts, Rick Scott of Florida is trying to. He is the sitting governor who was attacking the count and his opponent hard because this would make him a U.S. senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Bill Nelson is clearly a sore loser. He can`t stand the fact that he`s not going to be elected for what the first time in decades. And he won`t -- he`s just here to steal this election. That`s what he`s done. His lawyer came down here and said, "I`m here to win the election." I`m not here to get a free and fair election and make sure votes are counted. No, he wants to win the election. That`s his only purpose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: The incumbent, the former astronaut and long-time Democratic senator Bill Nelson has fired back accusing Scott of trying to suppress votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN BILL NELSON, (D) FLORIDA: One fact is that Rick Scott isn`t interested in making sure every lawful vote is counted. And the second is that he`s using his power as governor to try to undermine the voting process.
He`s thrown around words like voter fraud without any proof. He should remove himself from any role in the recount process so that people can have the confidence in the integrity of the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Again, and for the record, Florida authorities say there is no evidence of voter fraud and there is no investigation into possible voter fraud. There are, however, multiple lawsuits being filed over this recount, including one from Rick Scott to impound voting machines and ballots. Today a Florida judge ruled against that request and issued his own warning to both sides.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JUDGE JACK TUTER, FLORIDA 17TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIR COURT: I`m urging, because of the highly public nature of this case to wrap down the rhetoric.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: With all that, let`s go back to the big board because the midterms will never end. Our National Political Correspondent Steve Kornacki back with us tonight. And Steve, I understand since we`ve been talking we have breaking news on the Georgia governor front.
STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you got the Florida Senate situation here, but I am going to jump over and tell you what we know in Georgia right now. Here is the situation. Brian Kemp, the Republican, right now he`s declared victory, but the question is does that 50.3 percent in his share of the vote, does that go under 50 percent that would trigger a runoff, that could trigger a recount.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting just in the last few minutes that a federal judge has ordered the state of Georgia to delay certifying this gubernatorial election. The state of Georgia had been planning to do that tomorrow. All counties were to have their counts finalized, submitted to the state. The state then do to certify it, the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
And we`re trying to get our hands on this room and to find out more about it. But the Atlanta Journal Constitution is telling us that the federal judge had said, this must be delayed now until Friday at 5:00 P.M.
And the reason for that, again, according to the Journal Constitution is that the lawsuit deals with provisional ballots that were not accepted, provisional ballots that currently are not part of the count here in Georgia.
We know the provisional ballots are overwhelmingly favoring Stacey Abrams. If there is a different standard that`s applied here, if there is more latitude given to these counties in terms of trying to verify that this voter cast, this provisional ballot, that could have potentially expand the pool by thousands of provisional ballots that are part of this count. And that could potentially, on top of whatever else was going to be counted between today and tomorrow. That could potentially, we don`t know, but potentially bring that number down for Brian Kemp into that range where the Abrams camp needs it.
So this is we`re going to find out more about this. We want to see this ruling, read it exactly for ourselves, but what we`re being told from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution just in the last couple minutes is that the Federal Judge has said two more days, at least, three more days at least before certifying this election. And that the reason is these provisional ballots the Abrams camp is trying and hoping to get included potentially in the count. So that`s the significant development there.
You mentioned Florida as well, that is where the machine recount is now underway. If the machine recount shows a similar result, then this Senate race is going to head to a manual recount. There is one giant issue, I think, looming in this right now.
You look at the difference between these candidates. It is 12,562 votes right now for Rick Scott. Here is that big issue within Broward County hugely Democratic, Nelson getting 70 percent of the vote almost here.
Twenty six thousand fewer votes were cast in the Senate race than in the governors` race here. That is a disparity not seen, not even approached in any other county in the state. Something is up in Broward.
The Nelson campaign is saying this is a machine reading issue, that there are tens of thousands of votes that Nelson`s probably winning disproportionately. A manual recount, if that`s the case, would catch that, but the other possibility here is that the design of the ballot played a role here.
The design of this ballot in Broward County, you can see the Senate race here, it`s buried under a long column of instructions. There were parts of the county where there wasn`t even a House race under it.
The federal agency that did advise states on how to design and develop their ballots has specifically told states not to do this because in their test and in their studies, voters would miss sometimes a race located here on the ballot. So if it is a machine error like the Nelson camp is talking about, you are talking about a major development that could eat significantly, maybe entirely, into that lead that Rick Scott has right now, if it is a ballot design issue, a very different story.
WILLIAMS: Steve, maybe in time for our grandchildren someday, we will fix elections in this country and in all 50 states. We thank you so very much for starting us off at the big board, Steve Kornacki.
WILLIAMS: Let`s bring in our lead-off panel on a Monday night into this conversation. Jackie Calmes is back with us, White House Editor for the Los Angeles Times. Annie Karni is back with us, White House Political -- White House Reporter for Politico.
Annie, I want to start off with the message of the Sinema victory in Arizona. There are so many aspects as you know you`ve got Jeff Flake who wore facially the weight of the world, the torture he went through during the Kavanaugh mess right before agreeing to send it through. And then you have Donald Trump campaigning in Arizona. We had that marauding caravan En Route North.
ANNIE KARNI, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes well, one thing that Sinema`s Republican challenger did not do was to raise questions about voter fraud the way other Republicans have done in close races.
The RNC and the White House pressured her, pressured McSally to raise these issues, and she wouldn`t do it. And there was some frustration with her for not going that route.
One reason she might not have wanted to go that route is because there`s potentially another Senate seat open for her. The replacement for John McCain, Kyle may not want to survive his full term and she could have a seat waiting for her. That`s one thing that has been speculated about her very nice and moderate tone tonight, her unwillingness to go voter fraud route is because she has another chance at this. But this race was different from what we`re seeing in Florida for that reason.
WILLIAMS: So, Jackie, if you stick around long enough, you run the risk of people asking you what it was like back then. And you and I are both able to talk about the Florida recount almost 20 years ago. One thing we didn`t have then was one of the candidates and the President of the United States trying to diminish the integrity of the process.
JACKIE CALMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES WHITE HOUSE EDITOR: Well, that`s right. Bill Clinton as President, of course, wanted his Vice President Al Gore to win. But he was never heard from throughout the long recount in that December of 2000.
And, you know, that was -- and nobody questioned that. He was expected to be quiet and that`s what makes, you know, this is just yet another norm that Donald Trump has broken, but it`s, in fact, one of the biggest norms he`s breaking because undermining our Democratic process, our elections, is just undermining democracy itself.
It really has undercut people`s trust in elections. And you don`t have to believe me, you can believe that judge in Florida that you showed, Judge Jack Tudor, who is, in fact, a Republican appointee. He was appointed by Jeb Bush to that Florida court. And he today and he`s admonishing the parties for the rhetoric.
And you know what he didn`t say, is the rhetoric is coming from the Republican side when it comes to talking about election fraud. That, you know, he said they are undermining voter`s trust in the election.
WILLIAMS: Annie, what did we hear from Donald Trump going back to the start of the campaign? It`s rigged, a folk, the election is rigged. The system is rigged. He loves talking about voter fraud. He alleged there were three million cases of voter fraud in the last campaign. This does, as they say, fit nicely with his narrative.
KARNI: I don`t think, knowing what Donald Trump says shouldn`t come as a surprise that he raised these issues. He claimed there was massive voter fraud in New Hampshire, a state he lost in 2016.
I claim that one of his most loyal solders, Corwin Lewandowski, his former campaign manager came out and said, you know, Cori is from New Hampshire that I never saw any of this, it`s not true.
So we`re seeing a bit of a preview, also, I`ve heard Democrats say, "This is very worrisome, because what`s it going to look like if Trump is trailing in the polls in 2020? What`s he going to do? What`s he going to claim? What apparatuses of government he now controls will he put into motion to swing the race in his favor?"
One -- another thing we`re seeing with the rhetoric in the Florida race is a bit of a do loop. I think that if you walk -- track Trump`s tweets on this, they track very closely with Governor Scott`s appearance on Sean Hannity`s program on Fox News where he started to claim that there was -- that liberals are trying to steal the election and the tweets came soon after that.
You could also say the Governor Scott knows who watched Hannity and knew what Trump might want to hear and told him what he wanted to hear and he went with it. So it is unprecedented for a President to speak like this and to get involved.
But when it comes to Trump, I don`t think there`s much surprise at issue. He started the voter fraud commission. It`s an issue that he likes to bring up when the results don`t go in his favor.
WILLIAMS: And Jackie, here we are perhaps at the expense of a trip to Arlington or to Walter Reid. The President seems obsessed with the Florida race.
CALMES: Yes, you know I -- well, not I, alone, a lot of people were shocked that he didn`t go to Arlington. I can`t remember a President who didn`t go to Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. And there`s no explanation why. It did rain today but it wasn`t raining earlier in the morning, and this comes two days after he skipped a visit to the American Cemetery in France that he was scheduled to visit as a commemoration of the end of World War I 100 years ago.
So it`s actually inexplicable considering that Donald Trump has sort of wrapped himself in the cloak of veterans and bragging about his administration`s solicitude toward veterans. They`re really no explanation for it.
WILLIAMS: Jackie Calmes and Annie Karni, thanks for starting us off on this Monday night that starts this new week. We appreciate it.
And coming up. New talk of indictments in the Mueller investigation, despite growing concerns about the investigations future.
And later, new member or Congress orientation getting underway in Washington as the 115th Congress, a model in good government is about to give way of the 116th. The THE 11TH HOUR just getting started on a Monday night.
WILLIAMS: This is a lot but it`s important. We`re tracking important developments in the Mueller investigation as criticism mounts over the new acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker`s role in overseeing the special counsel.
Earlier today Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi told NBC News, you don`t hear this lot, he expects to be indicted for perjury by Mueller. Corsi said Mueller`s team delivered the news about a week ago. He told the NBC News, "I don`t recall ever meeting WikiLeak Founder Julian Assange or getting information from anyone about what he had including the Podesta e- mails, Corsi said Monday. But they have all your e-mails and phone records. They`re very good at the perjury trap."
Corsi told viewers of his Youtube channel today, he expects to be indicted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME CORSI: I`m going to be commonly charged. Now the subpoena came that I`m home three days before my 72nd birthday, and this has been one of the most frightening experiences of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, as some Democrats demand this acting A.G. recuse himself from the Russian investigation just as Sessions did before him. A DOJ spokesperson released a statement today that read quite surprisingly, "Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at DOJ, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant refusal." More on that in just a moment.
Earlier today, former acting solicitor general under President Obama, Neal Katyal, who helped draft the special council regulations wrote in an op-ed, "no one, and I mean no one, ever thought the regulations we wrote would permit the President to install some staff member of his choice from the Justice Department to serve as acting attorney general and thereby oversee the special counsel."
Well, with us to talk about all of it tonight, Attorney Neal Katyal. He was formerly the government`s top lawyer before the Supreme Court. He is now a professor of law at Georgetown University.
Counselor, because your words, along with George Conway, drove the news cycle late in the week last week, it`s so important to have you on, and thank you for coming on. If he approaches this process organically, if he honestly goes to the ethics officials, the kind of standing army inside the Justice Department, in your view how can they not come back and say you have to recuse because you`ve prejudged the Russia matter in the media?
NEAL KATYAL, FMR. ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: First of all, it`s such a treat to be with you, Brian. And I think you`re absolutely right, that if they went to the Ethics Office, the Ethics Office applies the standards they always have applied that you can`t have a kind of deep personal relationship with the subject of an investigation or the matter. It`s really hard, given all the things that Whitaker has said about this investigation, for him to continue.
And there`s a deeper problem which is, you know, it`s not like Whitaker is, you know, Oliver Wendell Holmes or Louis Brandeis, or something. Some brilliant person known for his judgment and his independence and picked for that reason. This guy is, you know, from the bowels of the Justice Department, he is Trump`s lackey. And, you know, I think that`s what makes this really stink to high heaven.
And so there are constitutional problems, there`s statutory problems, there`s ethics problems. And you have to ask why would Donald Trump and his Justice Department risk all of that. And there can only be one answer and it`s because they`re afraid of Mueller.
WILLIAMS: Please tell the story about how last week you were arguing a case in federal court and Sessions` name was part of the title of the case as attorney general. By the time you got out of court, he was no longer the A.G., and more importantly, make the tie between the fact that Whitaker`s name now is, and yet because he was not Senate confirmed, this could technically, if you have a creative lawyer, affect some federal cases?
KATYAL: Yes, I don`t think you need to be that creative. I think it`s going to affect every federal case. So last week I was arguing the sanctuary city`s challenge to President Trump and its called -- the case is called "City of Philadelphia versus Sessions," or that`s what it was called when I walked in at 2:00 p.m. Attorney General Sessions resigned in quotes during the "argument." And by the end of the argument, I don`t think we really know what it`s called.
And I don`t think it is called, you know, "City of Philadelphia versus Whitaker" because Whitaker happens to be a fake attorney general, and I expect litigants to start making those challenges as early as tomorrow morning. I think we`re going to hear some pretty massive ones, and they will be coming and coming all throughout the next weeks and months, because this is an attorney general who does not have the power under our constitution on laws to serve as attorney general at all. And then specifically, he cannot serve with respect to Mueller for the reasons we`ve talked about.
WILLIAMS: So if you`re telling me, if I represent a death row inmate who I feel has been unconstitutionally imprisoned. If I`m representing a client who has been nicked three times on narcotics charges which I feel are unfair because of race or socioeconomics and Sessions` name is in the title of that case. If I am crafty about it, I can say this attorney general doesn`t have the proper standing?
KATYAL: You got it. Everyone is going to be coming into court making exactly these arguments, and not just in the criminal context but in the civil context. The Justice Department is the nation`s largest litigant in the federal courts by far. And, you know, there will be lots of people making these arguments. And, you know, no President has ever done anything like this with respect to an attorney general.
There`ll be one thing if it`s an emergency situation or the like. This is something which Trump already has his own two guys in there, the deputy attorney general and the solicitor general, but importantly, both of those gentlemen were confirmed by the United States Senate. Matthew Whitaker has not and our constitution requires it.
WILLIAMS: What about this Corsi gentleman who says he doesn`t recall meeting Assange. I think if you got buzzed upstairs in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, you`d remember experience seeing Assange, you know 2D.
And secondly when he says, but they make a pretty good perjury trap, what happens when a lawyer like you hears an expression like perjury trap?
KATYAL: Yes. So, I mean, you know, it`s pretty easy to avoid a perjury trap. You just have to tell the truth. Evidently that`s not what happened here because he says they got my e-mails and realized I was lying, you know.
And, you know, if your story is I can`t remember meeting Julian Assange, that strikes me as not the best foot on which to stand. So yes. So I think that underscores a fundamental thing about the Mueller investigation.
It is bearing massive success. There have been so many indictments, indictment and guilty plea of the president`s national security adviser, his campaign chair and the like. And that is why Trump is doing what he`s doing, installing a lackey who is his loyalist to try and supervise and ultimately destroy the Mueller investigation.
WILLIAMS: Neal Katyal, counselor, it`s always such a pleasure having you on. Thank you for making time for us tonight.
KATYAL: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: Coming up for us, tomorrow is the first day of orientation on Capitol Hill for this new freshman class of lawmakers. While no one has been sworn in yet, that`s not stopping the Democrats from talking about how they intend to come after this president. More on all of it when we come back.
WILLIAMS: You may have heard, oh, I don`t know, a mention of this on this network. Democrats have flipped control of the House, and thus, Washington is bracing for an onslaught of investigations.
Our friends over as Axios reporting today that Democrats are loading what they`re calling a subpoena cannon with more than 800 Trump targets. Topping the list, the President`s tax returns, his family business, his dealings with Russia, a hush money payment to a porn star, the firing of the former FBI director, that`s just the start. The same Axios piece adds that, "Top Democrats who had largely avoided the subject during the campaign now tell us they planned almost immediately begin exploring possible grounds for impeachment."
Here is how President Trump reacted to questions about these investigations a day after the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re saying that if --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: (Inaudible), not at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- if they start investigating you, that you can play that game and investigate them.
TRUMP: Better than them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can compartmentalize that?
TRUMP: Because I think I know more than they know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you compartmentalize that and still continue to work with them for the benefit of the rest of the country or are all bets off?
TRUMP: No. If they do that, it`s just all of this is a whirl-like posture.
WILLIAMS: Here is to talk about it, former 11 term Republican member of Congress, Christopher Shays of Connecticut. He left Congress as the last Republican member of Congress from New England from 2007 until his departure in `09. And Sabrina Siddiqui, Political Reporter from the Guardian. Welcome to you both.
Sabrina, what is the -- is there a consensus in the Democratic caucus? Is everybody on board with this attack job before ink is dry, before hands have been raised and other hands placed on bibles and such and people sworn in?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICAL REPORTER, GUARDIAN: Well, I think you`ve heard a bit of caution from Democratic leaders in Congress who certainly don`t want to give off the perception that they will only use their newfound majority to investigate and not to legislate. But you are hearing from the incoming committee chairs a sense that there is a desire and appetite to really restore a sense of having a check and balance on this presidency given Congress does have considerable oversight powers that frankly were not really used in the two years that the Republicans were in control of both chambers and of this administration.
And so, you have that very exhaustive laundry list of avenues they intend to pursue. I think there is consensus that the priorities should be on the Russia probe and any ways in which the president has sought to interfere with the work of the Justice Department, the circumstances around the dismissal of top officials both at the DOJ and at the FBI, particularly amid the appointment of Matt Whitaker and calling into question, of course, whether or not the President is seeking to obstruct justice.
A lot of the other items you mentioned, I think it remains to be seen how quickly they intend to move on with those, particularly as it`s going to escalate a confrontation fairly quickly with this President.
WILLIAMS: Congressman, how many Republicans voted no in impeachment of Bill Clinton the House of Representatives?
CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: There were four of us.
WILLIAMS: A lost, my other of saying you were one of --
SHAYS: Yes, I mentally weeped when we went through this process. We were on a roll with Bill Clinton. We were getting so much done. We balanced the budget for four years, no deficits for four years --
WILLIAMS: Nobody talks that way anymore. We were getting so much done.
SHAYS: Yes. We had welfare reform. It was exciting. All of a sudden Republicans begin to said, we could be in power for the next 20 years if we impeach this guy.
And my view is that elections are sacred and you have to have a really good reason. I thought the impeachable offenses weren`t impeachable. And the proven offenses weren`t impeachable. But the most important thing is, you kind of have checks and balances.
I understand that the Republicans didn`t do their job. You know, they lost in part because of Trump. They lost in part because they weren`t doing their job. So this Congress needs to do its job. It needs to do oversight, and some of the issues that were just mentioned. The family wealth, the tax returns and so on.
WILLIAMS: So when you see Jerry Nadler, your former colleague in the House from New York City, give almost hourly interviews this weekend, talking about impeachment, indictment, tax returns. Is that a good look?
SHAYS: No, it`s not a good look. And, first off, Jerry is a top notch member of Congress as is Cummings. Cummings, I have total respect for. But do it slowly. You know, be specific in what you need -- go after five, don`t go after 85.
WILLIAMS: Yes, i get it. Sabrina, what do you think the eventual embrace is for something like -- and I can`t believe we`re using this term, tossing it around, impeachment, among the Democratic Caucus in the House?
SIDDIQUI: Well, both Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and others have been very reluctant to use the "I" word.
SIDDIQUI: I think that they recognize the political fallout, especially considering at the moment, they don`t necessarily have what they believe are grounds for impeachment. You know, the fact to the matter is, that even if Democrats had the votes in the House, they wouldn`t have sufficient support in the Senate to convict, so it would ultimately not necessarily produce any result other than, you know, swaying the court of public opinion.
And I think a lot of it really depends, of course, on what special counsel Robert Mueller eventually does recommend by way of potential charges in his report, but right now that`s largely an unknown. And I think both Pelosi and Schumer, you know, they`ve had some I think degree of showing their tactics in terms of potentially tying, for example, legislation to protect Robert Mueller to a government spending bill.
But even then they`ve stopped short of saying they would be willing to shut down the government. So, I think they`re being very cautious at the moment, really trying to strike a little more of a bipartisan tone than what you`re hearing from some of these committee leaders, so I think a lot of this -- there will be an effort on part of the leaders to tamp down some of the expectations when the new Congress takes shape in January.
SHAYS: They`re being cautious but they have a membership that isn`t cautious. Donald Trump`s whole strategy is to conquer and divide. You`re either with me or against me, he`s push through. The Republicans to the right, he pushed the Democrats to the left. There are very few sensible people in the middle. And so there going to be a lot of people who feel their constituents want them to go after Trump in the Democratic Party. It would be a huge mistake. A huge mistake.
WILLIAMS: Chris Shays, long time member of the sensible middle. Thank you very much. That was a pleasure to have you on. Sabrina, I`m shaking your hand in the television sense. Thank you for joining us --
SIDDIQUI: Thank you so much.
WILLIAMS: -- from our Washington Bureau.
Coming up for us, if the president stands alone, does it mean our must as well? Donald Trump`s very solitary weekend on the world stage with the whole world watching.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying, our interests first, who cares about the others. We erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: An unbelievable scene framed by the Arc de Triumph, because these times call for bluntness. This was not to pull it -- to put it bluntly, a proud weekend for the American president overseas.
The as the free world gathered to mark 100 years since armistice day, ending the Great War, look at that as the other leaders walked shoulder to shoulder for armistice day, Donald Trump was nowhere in sight.
They traveled together on a bus. Trump arrived separately and late. The only other exception was the Russian President Vladimir Putin who also traveled alone.
His arrival was received with a smile and a pat on the arm from the American President. The White House said security protocols were the reason for Trump`s solo travel. It was just a day earlier Trump elected to stay in his hotel room rather than attend a rainy ceremony at the American cemetery in France. Weather was blamed. It did not prevent others.
The trip was capped off by the remarks you heard there delivered by French President Macron, remarks about patriotism versus nationalism, remarks directly aimed at our President. When the President did appear and spoke yesterday in the rain, his aversion to discomfort, even while appearing in front of our war dead, led him to say this to the assembled American vets from World War II.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Frank Devita, thank you, Frank. Thank you very much. You looks so comfortable up there under shelter as we`re getting drenched. You`re very smart people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: As our next guest, Christopher Dickey, wrote this weekend, quote, "The truth is Trump never wanted to be here in the first place. He wanted to be in Washington reviewing a massive military parade all his own."
With us tonight, Jeremy Bash, former Chief Of Staff at CIA on the Pentagon, and the aforementioned, Christopher Dickey, Veteran Foreign Correspondent, author of the Paris-based World News Editor for "The Daily Beast."
Christopher, one is tempted when we have foreign correspondents who are American to start with this question. What are they saying about us over there?
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, WORLD NEWS EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, you know, people are extremely uncomfortable with Donald Trump. I mean, basically his fellow world leaders think that he`s ignorant and he`s dangerous. But they`re also coming to terms with the idea that they may be stuck with him for a while.
They were looking very closely at the midterm results, and the conclusion as expressed in Lamond, a major newspaper here, was that, you know, a huge part of the American population, maybe not a majority, but a very big part still supports Donald Trump. And he may be reelected in 2020. As a result, they`re trying to find ways to either convince him to change or to find alternatives to American leadership.
WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, ignorant and dangerous. And add to that a kind of sadness that a lot of us watched with this weekend.
JEREMY BASH, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, Brian, what a missed opportunity not only to honor our nation`s fallen heroes, those who have sacrificed so much for all of us, and to transmit those values onto those who are currently serving. But also missed an opportunity to make a foreign policy statement that America counts on its aligned structure, and is involved and dedicated to those allies that support American prosperity and security.
And, of course, we didn`t do that either, because the President, through his imagery but also through his words, made clear that America stands alone. And that our aligned structure is not is not fundamental to his American policy vision at this time.
WILLIAMS: Christopher, one more question about the backdrop there. There you are in front of the Arc de Triumph. Talk about the staging, the framing of the event this weekend, how important it was to the French, to the Brits, to the Germans, how important it was where you are? We saw how it was treated from our end.
DICKEY: Well, you know, I think the people in the United States don`t have a sense of how massive what they call the Great War really was. The French lost 1.4 million young me. They lost a tenth of a generation in that war.
United States only participated for under a year and lost about 10% as many people as the French had done. So there was this sense that there was this huge war that took place and it was time to end wars like this. And then, of course, World War II came along.
This continent has suffered enormously from the divisions created by nationalism, precisely the kind of nationalism that Donald Trump and his acolytes in Europe now advocate. And I think that the leaders who are empower now wanted to say enough of this, no more of this, patriotism and nationalism are not the same thing just as President Macron told the audience here.
WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash of course part of your service, you`re proudest of was working at the Pentagon under Leon Panetta. Presidents usually take a ride to Arlington, sometimes they go to Walter Reid unannounced. There was none of that kind of even if you want to say ticking of the boxes of norms, the things we see on this weekend every year.
BASH: And it`s dispiriting because one could easily conclude that now that the election is over, the President shows no interest in saluting the flag and showing reference for our troops and those who served and it might lead someone to conclude that his instinct to do before is only political and not substantive. I hope he reverses that and he shows in the future and other future remembrances just how much we honor not Democrats or Republicans but anybody who has had the courage to put the uniform on in service of our country.
WILLIAMS: The ceremony we`re looking at, the Sunday ceremony here at Arlington. Of course we had another ceremony there today. Chris Dickey, how has in the seconds we have left, how has the standing of Macron changed or given Trump kind of a foil for all of things, the French President?
DICKEY: Well, I think his international standing is high. Here in France he pushed through legislation that`s not very popular. Its stuff that people have known or it`s needed in the economy for a long time but the French don`t love it.
And so his ratings are pretty low domestically. But I think internationally, it`s understood. He is the one person now who stands tall against Trump.
WILLIAMS: Christopher Dickey, his famous blue raincoat high above the (INAUDIBLE) on a rainy windy night in Paris, Jeremy Bash safety in the confines of our D.C. offices. Gentlemen, thank you both for coming on and having this conversation. And coming up for us, an update from out west when we come right back.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight. Once again our attention is focused squarely on California and try to wrap your head around this number.
So far 6,800 homes have been destroyed, 6,800 homes. That`s more than an entire town. It`s actually several including the town of paradise, California. It burned down in about eight hours.
There are two major fires burning in the state that gives each one a name, the so-called, "Camp Fire" up north is already the most destructive in the history of the state. It has killed 42.
The scariest part may be the 200 people who are still missing. Many people died in their cars, surrounded by fire unable to move. We heard from one woman today, a nurse who was stuck in the fire behind other cars. She looked forward, noticed the paint melting off the car in front of her. She called her husband and said she was going to die.
NICHOLE JOLLY, SURGICAL NURSE PARADISE, CA: I`m in my car. And there is flames everywhere, and California said I`m going to die. And he said don`t die, run. Get out of your car and run.
And I did. I got out of my car, and even though the flames were right on my window, I ran. Firefighters came out after I knocked on the door and picked me up and put me into their fire engine and it was a miracle. It was an absolute miracle that I was even a surviving at that point. And then when I was in the fire engine, the chief in the front seat said, we need air support. We`re not going to make it. It was so hot and just everywhere was just -- we were breathing in fire it felt like and we got -- we got dispatched on the radio and they said it`s impossible, we can`t bring in air support and so--
WILLIAMS: Your heart must have just sunk.
JOLLY: -- it was terrifying. It was absolutely terrifying. I never want to hear those words again. And they were able to kind of creep forward. They kept trying to creep forward as much as we can. We were just at a dead stop. Everybody stopped in the road. Everyone`s vehicles were on fire. We were able to pick up a few extra people in the fire truck, they were letting them in. We were just crammed in there like--
JOLLY: -- sardines and next thing we know, out of nowhere, this dozer came in and pushed cars out of the way and made a path. And we were able to turn our huge fire engine around and got out of there and headed back to the hospital because it was the safest place they said.
WILLIAMS: The other fire still grinding through Malibu down south is the Woolsey fire and the winds, the Santa Ana`s are picked up again tonight.
The president`s first instinct was to blame California and threaten federal funding this weekend. Hours later he mentioned the victims. There are 8,000 firefighters working tonight, best wildland firefighters in the world. The most -- most of them well past the point of exhaustion.
Here in New York, the empire state building is in blue and gold for California because it`s at least some way of saying publicly we care. What a helpless feeling we now have as we watch this slow motion disaster on the other side of our country.
For us, that is our broadcast on a Monday night as we start a new week. Thank you so much for being here with us. Good night 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
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.