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GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I believe I can do that better than anybody else. That`s the difference.
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LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: President George H. W. Bush gets tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight, the current president pays his respects to a former president, George H. W. Bush 41 has returned to Washington. Resting in the rotunda of the Capitol where he served in Congress. A somber day in the nation`s capital and we will talk about 41 tonight with three who knew him, a retired four-star army general, a former head of the CIA and his biographer who will be delivering a eulogy on Wednesday.
As for the 45th president, tonight, he is being accused of obstruction of witness tampering in real time and in plain sight because of what he said on Twitter today, praising Roger Stone, trashing Michael Cohen, the backdrop for what will be a revealing week in the Mueller investigation. All of it as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way on this Monday night.
Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. As we prepare to bring to a close day 683 of the Trump administration, tonight, it was the presidency of another man that has dictated the decidedly somber tone and tenor of our capital city. As this evening, President George Herbert Walker Bush 41 is resting in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol as members of the public are allowed to file in and pay their respects.
The casket arrived in Washington late this afternoon from Houston just a few hours ago. President Trump and his wife, Melania, was among those who came to the Capitol paying respects. We will have more, of course, on the life and the loss of our 41st president later in this broadcast, including the fact that his passing comes at a time of such great crisis for this current White House.
And soon after observing at least some period of respectful silence on social media, today, the president launched an attack on Twitter and this was unique in presidential history for its content. It came as he went after his former right hand man while praising a long-time political ally. Trump actually called for his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to get prison time. In response to a court filing from Cohen`s lawyers ahead of his sentencing next week in which they asked for leniency. Trump writes and we, "You mean he can do all of the terrible unrelated to Trump things having to do with fraud, big loans, taxis, et cetera, and not serve a long prison term? He makes up stories to get a great and already reduced deal for himself. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence."
One other detail that may have Trump on edge, the filing from Cohen`s lawyers also says he consulted with Trump`s legal counsel as he prepared for his false testimony about Trump Tower Moscow. Trump`s Twitter rant about Cohen was followed by an extraordinary message about Roger Stone reportedly under scrutiny by Mueller for alleged ties to WikiLeaks. Yesterday, Stone said this about Trump.
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ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: There`s no circumstance under which I would testify against the president because I`d have to bear false witness against him, I`d have to make things up. And I`m not going to do that.
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WILLIAMS: Here is Trump`s response today. "I will never testify against Trump. This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out-of-control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about President Trump. Nice to know that some people still have guts."
The president added this about the special counsel, "Bob Mueller who is a much different man than people think and his out of control band of angry Democrats don`t want the truth. They only want lies. The truth is very bad for their mission." Tonight, there`s a Yahoo news report that Robert Mueller`s prosecutors have told defense lawyers that they are tying up loose ends in their investigation. Either way, this could be a critical week in the Mueller investigation.
I know we say that a lot, that`s because tomorrow, Mueller`s prosecutors will file sentencing documents for the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Officials are telling NBC News that Friday the government will also submit a sentencing memo for Michael Cohen. Also on Friday, prosecutors are expected to explain why Paul Manafort`s plea agreement collapsed. So we could learn a lot. New reporting on Manafort from the "New York Times" also reveals that in 2017, and people are still processing this one, he tried to broker a deal with Ecuador to hand WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, over the U.S. authorities.
With all of that, let`s bring in our lead-off panel for a Monday night. John Heilemann, our MSNBC national affairs analyst, he is also co-author of "Game Change" and co-host of "The Circus" on Showtime. Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney himself, also a former senior FBI official. Welcome to you all.
Barbara, as you read the material in the president`s tweets, what does it read like to you?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I think those who are saying that this gets close to obstruction of justice have a point here. You know, if you were to say these things privately, I think many people would raise an eyebrow about obstruction of justice and I don`t think it makes any difference that they were said outwardly.
I don`t know that anyone would charge him for any one of these statements alone, but when you look at the pattern of behavior, it all makes a compelling case, I think, for obstruction of justice. A jury would be told to look at the totality of the circumstances and draw a fair inference as to whether the person had a corrupt intent when they were talking about witnesses or the outcome of a case. And I think that these two tweets fall into that pattern along with many others like the firing of Jim Comey, the alleged request for a loyalty pledge. And so I think this just adds to the pile of evidence that would suggest there may be obstruction of justice here.
WILLIAMS: Chuck, I`ll give you the fact that it takes some getting used to coming from an American president. As I keep calling it this Scorsesean (ph) language about rats in effect and people turning and people remaining strong under questioning. But having said that, keeping what Barbara just said in mind, does this read to you actionable or does it just read foolhardy?
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER SENIOR FBI OFFICIAL: You know, Brian, I always keep what Barbara says in mind. It reads to me actionable for precisely the reason that Barbara stated. The hardest thing for prosecutors to do is prove intent. And as Barbara noted, one where you prove intent is by looking at pattern of conduct.
So one hyperbolic or Scorsesian tweet at a time, no, it`s not sufficient. No one of those tweets is. But when you lay them on top of each other or you lay them end to end or whatever sort of metaphor you prefer, that`s your pattern and that`s how you show intent. One false tax return is probably not actionable. The filing false tax returns for a decade is because in the latter scenario, Brian, you`ve shown a pattern of conduct and it takes away the excuse that it was an accident or a mistake.
WILLIAMS: John, your role around here is often to answer the question, what is going on here? We had the body of a former president en route to Washington today, the current president saying all this on Twitter, trying to affect the jail sentence with the federal judge and again, kind of supporting someone for not cooperating in a federal case in his own government.
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL ANALYST: Yes, well, I mean, look, the -- there have been moments in this presidency where the hand of fate and mortality have given us some kind of contrast but have been the subject of much discussion. The death of John McCain is one example, now the death of George Herbert Walker Bush is another, where to try to summon an idea of your head that either one of those man, one who was president and one who wanted to be president very much and could have been, whatever, have been behaving in a way that was remotely within the same solar system as our current president is behaving is beyond most people`s comprehension. Anybody who knew those men or even anybody in -- the American pubic would watch them on television with any degree of care or acuteness.
Look, I think we are in the -- we are -- you know, we`re seeing this reporting that says we`re in the endgame. I think the president recognizes that we`re in the endgame. You look at the calendar now, where we`re going to see -- in short order, we`re going to see filings from the Mueller team that relate to the Manafort plea deal being rejected and why it was rejected. We`re going to see Michael Cohen`s sentencing. We`re going to see a detailed filing on the matter of Michael Flynn. All before Christmas. We`re going to see all those things.
And, as the calendar compresses and as we look up and realize we`re now a year since President Trump`s lawyers were telling him and telling the public that it would be over by a year ago. And we`re not, it`s not over and things have just gotten worse and worse and worse. I think the president`s behavior is symptomatic not just of the kind of potential legal violations that Chuck has talked about and others have talked about, Barbara has talked about, but also just a man who may be finally starting to see the writing on the wall.
WILLIAMS: Barbara, it`s not exactly sexy of our viewers at 11:00 Eastern Time to promise them court filings coming up in the next several days. But, the truth is, we`re getting court filings in the next several days. Tell us, help us understand what they may say and what we may know by this time next week.
MCQUADE: I agree. I think they might be very enlightening. When someone is sentenced to this customary for the prosecutor to write a sentencing memo that tells the judge all about the person`s conduct, misconduct and cooperation, all of the good things that the person has done by way of cooperation and all of his crimes, including what`s known as relevant conduct. So for example, even though Michael Flynn was only charged with and pled guilty to false statements, he may have done some other things that the parties will agree get discussed as relevant conduct. All of that gets included in a sentencing memo.
Same thing for Michael Cohen, we`re going to learn about not only all the things he did, but all the information about his cooperation as well. And with regard to Paul Manafort, I think we`re going to find out Robert Mueller`s promise to share the crimes and lies that caused them to severe their relationship. So, I think all three of those documents are going to be very enlightening and start to fill in some of the pieces of the puzzle.
WILLIAMS: And exactly there, along those same lines, Chuck, you are often telling us that Mueller has told this story in slow motion, but in real time through these filings from his associates. Do you expect by the end of this week a new chapter will exist?
ROSENBERG: I think we`ll have more pieces of the puzzle. The funny thing about this jigsaw, Brian, is that we don`t know what the box top is, right? We don`t know what the final picture will look like. But Mueller has been filling in pieces of this as we go.
And here`s the important thing about it. I hope people appreciate the level of professionalism and dignity that Bob Mueller and his team bring to this task. It`s not an easy one. They`ve been pillared by the president of the United States. I`m sure they would love to, you know, speak out, defend themselves, but the only thing they do, over and over again, is quietly and in a dignified and professional way speak in court. We`re going to get a lot more of the puzzle pieces this week. I don`t think we`re going to get all of them and I`m not so sure we`re quite at the end yet. I think there is more to come.
WILLIAMS: Wow, that gets our attention. Can you help us out a little bit there?
ROSENBERG: Well, yes, this is what I`m getting at. We believe there`s clues that the Mueller team wants to charge other people, Corsi perhaps or Stone perhaps. If that happens and they want to go to trial, which is their constitutional right, that could be months and months away. And if they want to flip those people, get them to cooperate, that would have to follow a conviction. So there are probably some loose ends that he`s tying up, Brian, but if others are charged and go to trial, this thing ain`t over.
WILLIAMS: See, John Heilemann, this is why we have legal guests of this caliber and then on the journalism side --
WILLIAMS: -- we have a guy like you and question number two to you is this. What is it likely to be environmentally for this president? He is one of five in the national cathedral in mid-week, a week that will see the kinds of details come out that Barbara and Chuck are talking about.
HEILEMANN: You know, the president has not exhibited, I would say, and I`ll speak here with great understatement, has not exhibited always grace under pressure in public settings. And, it`s obviously been galling to him to have been excluded, for instance, from the McCain funeral which I mentioned earlier. The notion that he`s least going to be allowed to attend this funeral must give him some degree of comfort, although he`s not being asked to speak. And I`m sure that that is galling to him on another level.
I think the president is remarkably unreflective, he`s remarkably an introspective. He`s not a person, he`s always thinking about himself, but he`s thinking about how other people think about him. He is a classic narcissist. And I mean that in a strict (ph) psychoanalytical sense. He has no sense of how people see him.
So, it`s possible that what for any other normal human at this moment would be a remarkably awkward moment to be seated among other former presidents and all of the heads of state and all of the other grandees will be in Washington. But he will not be feeling the kinds of things that you and I would be feeling in similar circumstances. It`s also possible that given his state right now, the agitation and rage, that regardless of whether he has (INAUDIBLE) reflection, he will still be in a world of hurt and a world of discomfort as he sits there stewing in the understanding that he`s not and I think he does understand this, that he`s not like the rest of them.
WILLIAMS: And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the new week of coverage we begin effective here tonight. To John Heilemann, to Barbara McQuade, to Chuck Rosenberg, our thanks -- can`t thank you enough for starting off our broadcast on this Monday night of yet another consequential week.
And coming up, as the nation stops to mourn and remember our 41st president, we are joined by three people who knew George H. W. Bush and later, an important moment arrives tomorrow for the president`s CIA director. THE 11TH HOUR is just getting under way on this Monday night.
WILLIAMS: Our former president, George H. W. Bush 41, is being remembered for many things tonight, but for a lot of people, chief among them is the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the old Soviet Union. And upon his passing, there were actually words of praise from the Kremlin that read to some as a kind of trolling of our current president even given all the Russia entanglements he`s got.
"The Washington Post" explains the Kremlin reaction this way. "In Moscow, his death provoked an outpouring of nostalgia Saturday for an American leader who chose careful diplomacy over brinksmanship as the postwar order was thrown into disarray. Russians recalled bygone days of summits, treaties and transatlantic statecraft, a contrast to the present tableau of disruptions and uncertainties from the Trump White House.
With us tonight, John McLaughlin, the former deputy director of the CIA who also happened to serve as acting director in 2004.
And John, let`s start on the news. On Russia, I wanted to ask you this a few days back and then we`ll get to 41. What we learned about Russia in the past several days means among other things, especially in your line of work, they`ve known for two years that the president had someone around him who was telling a lie about Russia.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER CIA ACTING DIRECTOR: That`s right, Brian. And it is classic Russian behavior to take that kind of thing and use it against someone. You know the term kompromat. Some people say, isn`t that a little bit like opposition research in our political system? No.
Opposition research is generally done to weaken an opponent. When the Russians collect information like that knowing that someone is lying when the American public doesn`t know about it, they think of that as leverage, leverage. And so, in that period of time, had this never come to light now that it`s out in the open, perhaps that leverage is weakened or gone. But, had this never come to light, that would be important leverage on an American president as would be the exchanges that took place between Donald, Jr. and Russia prior to the famous Trump Tower meeting. Had that never come to light, that would be something in the Russian`s pocket to use as leverage in a crucial situation with us.
WILLIAMS: Now, let`s shift to the reason I will probably see you in Washington in the coming days. And that is the death of your former boss at the CIA and on that subject, while this is going to differ a bit in tone from our current president, here is 41 about half a dozen years ago talking about his time at CIA.
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BUSH: A very happy thing in my life. And because I loved the short time I spent there and I have great respect for CIA and for the intelligence community. And when I was vice president as the ultimate consumer of intelligence, I saw how great -- once again, saw how great they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: John, you were a junior man at CIA in 1975, I believe, when he started as your boss. Tell us about the Bush era at the Central Intelligence Agency.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, the CIA was about as flat on its back as it has ever been in 1975 when George Bush came as director. There`d been congressional investigations that left a string of accusations out there that had the American public thinking terrible things about CIA and for that matter, the Congress as well. People even talked about abolishing the CIA.
Actually, I`m going to read you a sentence that someone gave me just before I came here tonight that George Bush himself wrote to a friend before he came to CIA. I wrote it down. He said to a friend, I honestly feel my political future is behind me. But hell, I`m 51. And this new job gives me a chance to really contribute. So, he came in there at a time when it was not politically popular to do so. He picked people up. He was the kind of guy you -- all the things you`ve heard about him were in evidence there. Little things like he would ride the same elevator the troops rode every day instead of taking the director`s private elevator.
He was a runner so you`d bump into him outside. He`d pull you into his office for a quick briefing on something. He`d have a Saturday morning coffee with young people like myself then just to take the temperature of the place. And, he repaired the relationship with Congress. In that one year, he did something like 50 congressional briefings on the Hill.
And out of that came something that we did not have then in our country which was really organized and important to congressional oversight. It was in that atmosphere and with his encouragement that the congressional oversight committees were created for the first time. So he`s revered there. I was out at CIA today on another matter and I noticed as I walked in across the iconic seal in the lobby, that they have moved his signed picture from the wall where it normally is over to the center of the lobby at the top of the steps. So you see it as you come in.
Next to a bust of George Bush, the compound is named after him. And people have been putting flowers there. So he`s a revered figure. In his remarks in 1999 when the compound was named after him, I took a look at those, he said some moving things. But the one line that stuck for me, he said I came here and this place became part of my heartbeat. I thought that was - - you know, he just was a remarkable individual in that regard. And it frankly doesn`t surprise me, Brian --
MCLAUGHLIN: -- that the Russians have this reaction because I happened to have briefed George Bush a couple of days before the Berlin Wall came down. He was going to a summit with Gorbachev and even then, it was evident in the way he talked about it and thought about it that while he was realistic about everything and protective of U.S. interest, he also knew that Gorbachev would be quite tender because of the way the satellite countries were dissolving. And, he knew he had to handle him very carefully and respectfully in the way he handles -- handled the -- his American friends.
WILLIAMS: He was better at predicting that, it turns out, than his own political future. John, that`s why we wanted to have you on tonight to talk about the former director as a former director yourself. John McLaughlin, thank you, sir, for coming on our broadcast tonight.
And coming up, the first President Bush was a decorated veteran, will always remain close to the military. We`ll talk to one of his former military commanders and the former president`s biographer when we come back.
WILLIAMS: Well, welcome back and let`s speak English, shall we? While this is no night for name calling, it`s been well established that Donald Trump is no friend of the Bushes. A close ally of the Bush family said on television tonight that an inviting President Trump to 41`s funeral, the Bush family was saying to this current president, this is how it`s done.
And so, while he will not have a speaking role, this current president will be one of five U.S. presidents in attendance in the National Cathedral. According to a Bush family spokesman, there will be eulogies from George W. Bush, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and presidential historian Jon Meacham.
With us tonight, the four mentioned Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meacham. Jon is the former President`s biographer, the author of Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, which I admit a number of us are now rereading for a second time.
And retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey decorated combat veteran of Vietnam and a former battlefield commander in the Persian Gulf who served of course under the command of his Commander-in-Chief, George H. W. Bush.
Jon, do you think that inviting 45 was one of the last official acts of 41?
JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN & BIOGRAPHER: I think it`s part of the ambient reality. George Herbert Walker Bush, the first president he met was Eisenhower. There was a wonderful picture of him talking to Mamie Eisenhower, actually use to hang on stair way up to his office. Where he is big and charming and she is clearly being charmed.
Through President Trump, he always had a extraordinary deference to and respect for the office. And the last thing he would want would be to embarrass or somehow cause any sort of pain to do the incumbent president.
And so, I think it`s a totally characteristic gesture on the part not just of the late President Bush, but also the family at large.
WILLIAMS: General McCaffrey, you and 41 have a couple of things in common. You both went to Phillips Andover and you both made the choice for the U.S. military though in entirely different eras we hasten to point out.
Then there comes a day when you are placed in command of the 24th infantry prior to Desert Storm, give or take 25,000 U.S. troops. Tell us what that was like as your commander in chief was George H.W. Bush.
GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, Brian, if you remember at a time, there was enormous anxiety the Iraqis having seized Kuwait were well- entrench. They had a gigantic ground army with modern equipment.
What was allegedly at the time be the forth largest air force in the world with very modern aircraft. They`ve been at war for seven years. So when we went in initially, we thought we were on the verge of an outnumbered battle.
But one of the things that was enormously comforting to people like me and I met President Bush several times, knowing that when you looked at the senior leadership with U.S. government, principally our commander in chief who had seen warfare when we lost 400,000 kill in World War II, we also had the Chairman JCS Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf both wounded in combat.
We had a lot of confidence in a people who are running the government, Secretary Baker. And the atmosphere within which we deployed the war, then of course I had the President on the ground with me at Thanksgiving.
It was a marvelous experience. Thousands of troops in a natural amphitheater in the sand dunes and in came Barbara Bush and the President and Prince (INAUDIBLE) and the senior leadership of Congress and we felt mighty good about this man.
WILLIAMS: Jon Meacham, Patti Davis was on TV tonight and she was talking about the mourning process for a public family, talking about her own experience with her dad and her mom and now the Bush`s with the first lady and the president.
There is public grieving, which you are forced to share with all of us on lookers in HD live television. Imagine how intrusive any of us would find it if someone brought a single iPhone to a funeral of a family member and tried to snap a picture and then multiply that.
So, I guess I`m asking about their ability to proceed with what`s going to be painful, private grieving. This has been their north star for three quarters of the American century.
MEACHAM: Absolutely. And I remember in Mrs. Bush`s diary, Barbara Pierce Bush`s diary. She writes about both the Kennedy funeral in 1963 and RFK`s funeral in 1968 and reflecting on just the issue you raised about how painful it is for Mrs. Kennedy, for Jacqueline Kennedy and then for Ethel Kennedy for the children and how glaring and upsetting that must be.
Interestingly, the Bush`s are shaped by attention between two forces. One is absolute dignity and the other is absolute tear duct activity. It`s incredible. President Bush would cry if there was a heavy due or lost a golf ball. He was an incredibly emotional man.
All of the kids are -- all of the children are like this. President Bush used to call it the BAWL club. B-A-W-L. And so, I think there is going to be a lot of that. One of the things that strikes me most is while there was a great difference between the public persona at least in his political career for President Bush and his private self.
One of the reasons I wanted to write about it is I found him to be a quietly persistently charismatic figure. And then he had not been seen that way back in the Dana Carvey (ph) years. It`s pretty clear to me though that of the next generation, what you see is what you get in many ways.
And so, there`s not a great secret private drama going on, I don`t think. Can I tell one story to General McCaffrey`s point?
WILLIAMS: Of course.
MEACHAM: The Sunday night before the air war began in January of 1991, President Bush is up in the treaty room which he uses as a study. And he had kind if an LBJ-esque three or four TVs inside an armoire. At least he covered them up, I guess that`s the difference between the Democratic and Republican in that sense.
And he was watching CNN, so dominant at that time. And saw parents hugging their kids as they were going off to Desert Shield, which is about to become Desert Storm in a matter of I think of 72 hours.
And his talking into diary and his mind looking at those images, went straight back to 1942 when the only time he ever saw his father cry, Prescott Bush, was when he took George H.W. Bush to Pennsylvania Station and put him on the train to go to basic training in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
And as President Bush recalled later, there I was, scared little guy going off and didn`t know anybody. And he understood what was going on at the deployment`s unfolding in 1991 because he experienced a deployment in 1942. Character in many cases is destiny and so is experience.
MCCAFFREY: Well, to add to that, while we were deployed, not only did the president come visit us in the field, before the attacks started. But he also went to Fort Stewart, Georgia and visited our family.
And so my wife, Jill spent the day with them and the entire experience, thousands of people came from all over coastal Georgia to see his talk to the families. At the end of the day, it was clear that he literally loved these families and was looking out for them.
Just I think an American nobility at the end of the day. I worked with a lot of presidents and admired all of them, but this is one of the finest characters we ever had in public life.
WILLIAMS: Jon, I know the general joins me in wishing you, I don`t know, I guess you wish someone luck. Because the view you`re going to have looking out of five presidents in that very sad Bush family is going to be really something.
And we will be watching and hanging on every word and supporting you as you go. Jon Meacham and General Barry McCaffrey. Thank you gentlemen both.
Coming up, it is already made for uncomfortable moments and uncomfortable comparisons because the death of our former president comes during this particular presidency. We`ll talk about contrasts when we come back.
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GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is never holy herself unless she is engaged in high moral principal. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: That`s part of what we were talking about. President George H.W. Bush at his own inauguration in `89. This week Bush is being remembered as the last of his kind in a stark difference to the leadership style of our current President.
While Bush 41 encouraged that kinder gentler nation, President Trump came into office with his talk of American carnage at his inauguration, having all right declared the American dream in his words, is dead.
And as "The Washington Post" headline points out both honorable, gracious, and decent, in death Bush becomes a yard stick for President Trump.
With us to talk about it tonight, David Jolly both a former member of Congress from the state of Florida and member of the Republican Party and Philip Elliott Politics correspondent for "Time" magazine.
Gentlemen, good evening to you both. And Congressman, I`ll start with you. Already, I noticed tonight on Fox News, they`re doing segment after segment on all the networks where the Bush tributes are coming at the expense of Donald Trump. So we`ll put that out there, you spoke today about how 41 has elevated our country in death.
DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: He has. Look, we are recognizing tonight a loss. A loss of frankly adult children who lost their father and grand kids, who lost their grandfather, a nation who lost a president.
And we honor him with the highest honor of draping an American flag over his coffin, a flag that a country that he served.
WILLIAMS: So that ordinary people may pass by.
JOLLY: So that ordinary people might pass by as his body lays in state on the very roster that was created and constructed for Abraham Lincoln. But we also recognize that Bush 41 was a member of a very exclusive club.
And if we`re honest tonight, it is a club that really does not hold much respect for the current occupant of the White House, Donald Trump. The gift that Bush 41 gave us tonight, not Donald Trump, but gave us as a country is that he invited Donald Trump into that club.
Donald Trump will be a part of the memorial services for Bush 41, honoring alongside the Donald Trump`s predecessors, the passing of Bush 41. We know the tension. We know the very strong disconnect between the Bush family and Donald Trump.
The Bush 41 and his passing gave us as a nation the gift of reminding us of civility and the ability to invite others in despite our differences.
WILLIAMS: Phil, of all things, Trump mocked points of light. The volunteer and civic and charitable organization that has raised so much and changed so many lives. So we`ll start the conversation there by way of saying I wish Wednesday were going to be just a simple way of everyone reminiscing about another president and another time, but it`s going to be fraud in so many ways as you pointed out earlier today.
The first time we think we will have Trump and Hillary Clinton in the same place since Inauguration Day.
PHILIP ELLIOTT, POLITICS CORRESPONDENT, TIME: That is correct. And that is going to be a very awkward conversation to say the least. President Trump continues to have rallies declaring that he wants Hillary Clinton to be locked up.
It`ll be on everyone involved to see how much of an adult they can be. And on this we have an opportunity that perhaps we did not have at Senator McCain`s funeral. The pointedly the McCain family did not have President Trump there in the front row.
He will be there now. He will be as part of the President`s club as Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs coined it in their history of this ultra exclusive fraternity. And it`s going to be interesting to see if President Trump rises to the occasion.
He has been known to do so in fleeting moments. He has been known to comport himself to the norms of the office. I would suspect that there is a lot of conversation in the west wing preparing him for what is expected of him not just in this moment, but for a moment this will live in history and for a lot of people, not just reporters, but historians when we look at this digital footage when the next generation Meacham comes and looks at this, how did the president of the United States conduct himself in the (INAUDIBLE) Washington National Cathedral.
WILLIAMS: Jon would say that`s redundant. He is the next generation Meacham as he has no plans to stop writing books every two weeks. And our mutual friend Nancy will be part of our coverage as well this week.
Both of our guests have agreed to stay with us. We`re going to sneak in a quick commercial break.
And coming up after skipping an all senators briefing last week, the CIA Director Gina Haspel will address the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi tomorrow in a meeting for a small group of senators as the business of Washington comes roaring back.
We`ll talk about that for a moment when we come back.
WILLIAMS: Despite what the Trump administration has said about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the role that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have played in the killing, there are senators in both parties who remain apparently unconvinced.
After being noticeably absence from the last weeks briefing, the CIA Director Gina Haspel is coming to Capitol Hill tomorrow to brief a small group of senators. Haspel traveled to turkey and October you may recall and reportedly heard that audio recording of the brutal murder.
Tomorrow`s briefing comes just days after a "Wall Street Journal" report revealed that the CIA intercepted several messages between the crown prince and an aide directly involved in the murder.
Our guests are still with us, David Jolly, Philip Elliott. David, what would be rigorous? What would be the right path in this? And has the Trump administration affected even this?
JOLLY: Well, I think the Senate is on the right path, particularly Lindsey Graham. Brian, I had the opportunity with Lindsey Graham to meet with the crown prince and his private quarters about two years ago.
Lindsey Graham was a true believer in the crown prince who has since become somebody who does not believe on him at all. Lindsey Graham took great offense to the fact that Gina Haspel who`s agency suggested that the highest likelihood is at the crown prince directed the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Notice when Gina Haspel refused to brief the Senate. Lindsey Graham said I`m withholding my vote for any critical legislation that has to pass the Senate by the end of the year. I think the administration has realized between Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake saying, I`m withholding my vote because you won`t protect Mueller, it`s a number game.
The question for Lindsey Graham and Senate Republican is this, once you get the briefing that suggest our CIA believe that crown prince is behind the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Now, you`re in the same position Donald Trump is. Now, the eyes of the world are on the United States Senate to say what are you going to do about it?
That will be a corner the Republicans might find themselves and come tomorrow night.
WILLIAMS: Philip, how about something completely unrelated, though it is foreign affairs. I`m going to be quiet for a moment and share with our viewers, in the weekend of coverage this moment may have been lost.
This was supposed to be an extended appearance of a photo op with the president of Argentina and our President at the end of the G20.
It got a lot of talk. He just took off and left the president of Argentina. Phil, with your knowledge of the beat and such things political, where is our standing at the end of this weekend around the world?
ELLIOTT: Well, we got out of there. The President was able to spike the football. He got to announce that we have, apparently, a new trade deal with China. We haven`t seen any of the details from it.
But the President is telling us that this is happening. The calming of the trade war, although there was confusion today, about when exactly the tariffs would -- the dates that we should circle on our calendar, if they had to walk back. Larry Kudlow`s remarks to press.
We got the president back on U.S. soil, which is always -- it`s always a challenge. These international summits are exhausting. And if the worst thing that we found out to happen is the President broke decorum and protocol.
We`ve certainly seen worse. At previous summits we`ve seen him shove world leaders out of the way so he could be at the front of the pack. This breach of protocol, it`s not even in the top ten in how I see it.
WILLIAMS: Philip has learned the art of optimism in the Trump era. And I think we should go out on that quote, because it`s been a fairly subdued broadcast all night.
To our guests, David Jolly and Philip Elliott, both regulars around here, gentlemen thank you both so much.
Coming up after a break, a dedicated servant to the very end.
WILLIAMS: The last thing before we go tonight is that photo yesterday that just took our breath away. It helps to understand it, of course, if you`ve ever loved a dog, and that, of course, means you`ve been loved by a dog.
That is Sully, who served President George H.W. Bush as a service dog. And he`s lying there in front of the former president`s casket.
We then saw Sully arriving with the family today at Andrews Air Force Base. And as we watched the pictures, we wondered aloud, how much do they know? Is sully just as sad as the humans who are missing this man so very much?
Just from his photos on social media, it is clear Sully is a very good dog. He`s met former presidents. He celebrated birthdays and Christmas with equal gusto. Sully is a 2-year-old lab. Yes, he was named after the miracle on the Hudson pilot. He was raised by a group called America`s vet dogs, headquarters on Long Island, New York.
And sure enough, Sully went on to serve one of America`s foremost veterans. After 41 lost Barbara, his wife of 73 years, and because the former president has been in a wheelchair for years due to Parkinson`s, the family thought a service dog would help.
Indeed, Sully opened doors and picked things up and learned how to press an emergency button in case of emergencies. And yes, he had customized socks. But most of all, the two were just friends. And provided that Sully understands that his first friend is now gone, that he`ll see him again someday.
Sully has new friends waiting for him at Walter Reed, where other veterans will now get to know the unconditional love of a very good dog.
That is our broadcast for tonight. Thank you so much for being here with us. Good night from NBC News headquarters here in New York.
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