Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: January 21, 2019 Time: 23:00 Guest: Jill Colvin, Chuck Rosenberg, Barbara Res
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: That`s tonight`s LAST WORD. THE 11TH HOUR with Brian Williams starts now.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight, just how long did the President discuss a Moscow deal in 2016? Rudy Giuliani today attempted a walk back after suggesting negotiations went on through election day. Does that make Rudy the worst defense attorney ever or crazy like a fox? A look back at some of his wildest revelations and retractions as Donald Trump`s personal attorney.
And Trump loves to tell his art of the deal. But we`ll ask a former Trump staffer why the president seems to be lacking in the deal department. THE 11TH HOUR on a Monday night starts right now.
Good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here New York. I`m Nicolle Wallace in for Brian. Day 732 of the Trump Administration now halfway through the President`s first term in office. The end of these first two years is now marked by the longest government shutdown in history. By the time this broadcast is over, the government will have been closed for one month.
This is the day the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Trump spent two minutes at his memorial in Washington today, accompanied by Vice President Pence. And "The Washington Post" noted this milestone for the administration. The paper`s fact checker database shows that two years after taking office, Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims, misstatements and shifting claims also seem to be the hallmarks of the explanations about the president`s ties to Russia.
Over the past 24 hours, remarks from Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, appear to raise more questions about those ties, particularly where they involve Michael Cohen and a potential Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen is expected to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month.
Back in 2017, he had testified to Congress that discussions about the Moscow project ended in January of 2016. He later admitted that was a lie while pleading guilty to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And just yesterday we got a new version of the time line from Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S ATTORNEY: Well, it`s our understanding that they went on throughout 2016, weren`t a lot of them, but there were conversations. Can`t be sure of the exact dates. But the President can remember having conversations with them about it.
CHUCK TODD, "MEET THE PRESS" HOST: Throughout 2016?
GIULIANI: Yes, probably up to, could be up to as far as October, November. Our answers cover until the election. So any time during that period they could have talked about it.
TODD: So just to clarify, talks of Trump Tower Moscow went as late as October or November of 2016 even in some form?
GIULIANI: Could be.
TODD: As far as the president was concerned, an active project to at least October or November of 2016, an active potential deal?
GIULIANI: Yes, I would say an active proposal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Our answers cover until the election. Unless you think that was a slip-up, Giuliani went on to give an interview to "The New York Times" the same day in which he quoted, Donald Trump as saying the Trump Tower Moscow discussions were, quote, "going on from the day I announced to the day I won." The Times adds all this would mean Trump was seeking a deal while calling for an end to sanctions against Russia while questioning the legitimacy of NATO.
And in July of 2016, when he called on Russia to release hack democratic e- mails.
Late today, Rudy Giuliani tried to clean up his comments regarding Trump and Cohen`s discussions on Trump Tower Moscow telling NBC News, "My recent statements were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the President. My comments did not represent the actual timing or circumstances of any such discussions."
Giuliani isn`t alone when it comes to giving new and different accounts of Trump`s dealings with Russia. Trump`s own explanations have shifted, starting with his comments during the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have nothing to do with Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. And even -- for anything. What do I have to do with Russia?
We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to. I just don`t want to because I think it would be a conflict.
It was a well-known project. It was during the early part of `16 and I guess before that. It lasted a short period of time. I didn`t do the project. I decided not to do the project. So I didn`t do it. I was focused on running for president. There would be nothing wrong if I did do it . There is a good chance that I wouldn`t have won, in which case I would have gone back into the business. And why should I lose lots of opportunities?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Meanwhile a "New York Times" Peter Baker, who`s standing by to join tonight, raises new questions about Trump`s motives concerning the Kremlin. Baker looks at the disparity between Trump`s statements and his administration`s actions.
He writes that when it comes to responding to Russian aggressions, "According to current and former administration officials, Mr. Trump has gone along with such actions only reluctantly or under pressure from advisers or Congress. He has left it to subordinates to publically criticize Russian actions while personally expressing admiration for Mr. Putin and eagerness to be friends."
And with that, let`s bring in our lead off panel from Monday night. Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times, Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and Jeremy Bash is here, former Chief of Staff at the CIA and the Pentagon and former Counsel to House Intel.
Peter Baker, it`s your papers. Great reporting and your great piece on this sort of gulf between Trump`s statements and sentiments that he`s revealed in tweets and in public comments and private meetings and things that the national security apparatus has tried to do or has pulled him toward. Talk about the state of play tonight.
PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, that`s exactly right. Look, I mean, what we looked at was the President`s own defense in this Russian matter. He says, look, I`ve been far tougher on Russia than any of my predecessors. And, you know, he has a point to the extent that you talk about what his administration has done. His administration has taken actions that have been tougher on Russia in some ways than his predecessors than the Obama or Bush administrations. Among them, you know, sending javelin weapons to Ukraine, increasing sanctions that hadn`t been put on before, you know, threatening to cancel the INF Treaty and so forth.
But what you find in some of these instances anyway, the President seemed to be going along only because he`s been pushed into it or basically pressured by Congress. Congress, for instance, passed legislation mandating sanctions on Russia almost unanimously, bipartisan majorities. The President grumbled about it, he was very unhappy about it but realized he couldn`t veto it because it would be over ridden.
So there is this disparity between his defense which is I am tough on Russia and his own sort of reaction to these policies that his own administration has put in place.
WALLACE: Peter Baker, is there a single example of a single policy that your paper has covered or any other news organization that you have seen in two years where Donald Trump has led a single policy discussion to a position that`s tougher on Russia?
BAKER: Well, it`s hard to find one. I mean, I think that, you know, what you heard from some of the people in his administration is the decision to cancel or withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Reagan Treaty from the 1980s was something that he himself kind of got out in front on. There were allegations that Russia cheated on that treaty.
But you`re right, in general, when it comes to, for instance, expelling diplomats in response to the poisoning of the former Russian spy in Britain, that was something his advisers told him to do because they told him, look maybe there are Russians assassins here in American territory. They`re planning to do the exact same thing here and if you don`t take a tough enough action they might actually not be deterred. He went ahead with that and afterwards then grumbled that Europe hadn`t done enough of their own expulsion.
So, if this sort of push and pull between President clearly desire to have a good relationship with Vladimir Putin and the dynamics around him including his own administration is pushing the direction.
WALLACE: Jeremy Bash, Peter Baker is as straight of a shooter as you can find and he has a whole lot about this part of the world. But isn`t the stack of actions he`s taken that are pro-Russia just staggering? And now on top of that the revelation that the FBI was so concerned that he was actually not just pro-Putin but an agent of Putin that they opened a counter intelligence investigation. What else are we waiting for?
JEREMY BASH, FMR. CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, I don`t think I can buy the argument that somehow Trump`s been tough on Russia. In fact, I think just the opposite is in fact the case. With respect to the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, that`s something that Putin has long desired which is to scrap the treaty. In fact, Russia has been developing weapons that have been an aggregation of that treaty.
So, in some ways by us pulling out, we`ve allowed Russia to go forward with the development of these hypersonic weapons. And right down the line on issue after issue, the Trump Administration has resisted sanctions. The Trump Administration has not put in place aggressive sanctions, second wave of sanctions in response to this scruple attempted assassination. We have not called out Russia obviously for their election meddling. In fact, Trump next to Putin took the word of the KGB spy master over our own intelligence agencies.
And here again with the withdrawal, the hasty withdrawal from Syria, that was a gift to the Kremlin because the Kremlin has had Assad as their client for many, many year and they wanted to see Russian hegemony in the Middle East. So, again, I don`t think there`s any merit to the fact that the Trump Administration has been, quote, tough on Russia.
On the broader issue, Nicolle, as you point out with respect to these Giuliani comments, the heart of every counter espionage case looks at financial leverage, it looks at whether or not the target of an investigation is somehow beholden, somehow indebted to a foreign hander. And if, in fact, it`s true as Giuliani seemed to acknowledge that the financial transaction was going up, up until the day that Trump took office or up until the day he was elected President, I should say, then in fact we see the extent the breath of the financial leverage that the Russian Federation has had over the putative President of United States.
WALLACE: Barbara McQuade, Jeremy Bash just there at the end of his answer made a correction to reflect Rudy Giuliani`s current position, that the answers they gave Robert Mueller. And that was something that he said that I heard like a dog, a hunting dog. Here`s a high pitch whistle, turn my heard to this side.
Rudy Giuliani in his public appearances is being faithful to sort of one thing, and that is his belief or his understanding of the written responses that Donald Trump turned into Robert Mueller. And what I heard in that response is that we have turned in an answer to a question from Robert Mueller that must have been along the lines of how long or when did you discuss Trump Tower Moscow with Michael Cohen? And Rudy seemed to reveal yesterday in front of all of us that that answer allows for Donald Trump to have been talking and I believe 10 times is a figure either in the sentencing memo for Cohen or somewhere else.
Ten times Michael Cohen briefed the President and his family members about Trump Tower Moscow. That`s what Rudy Giuliani said yesterday. That in and of itself having worked on presidential campaigns would have been decisive, would have been devastating, that this man was running for president while trying to build a hotel in Moscow. What does that revelation mean legally?
BARBARA MCQUADE, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: I think it`s hard to know exactly what it means, but I think it is significant when coupled with what Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to and that is lying about the timing of the Trump Tower Moscow project. Because in order for that to be a crime, that lie has to be material. So when President says things like, I had every right to continue with my business in case I lost. It was very legal and very cool. All of those kinds of things.
Robert Mueller doesn`t think so. By having Michael Cohen plead guilty to that, he is saying that he thinks it is material that those negotiations continued into the summer and perhaps, if you take Rudy Giuliani at what he said yesterday, even up until the time of the election.
And so that timing is going to be very important to their understanding of, as Jeremy says, perhaps a motivation about Russians having leverage over President Trump. So I don`t know exactly what it matters, but it matters.
WALLACE: So, Donald Trump Jr. was on Fox News tonight. Let`s watch and talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENTIAL SON: The reality is this wasn`t a deal. You know, we don`t know the developer. We don`t know the site. We don`t know the -- anything about it. Ultimately it was Michael Cohen essentially trying to get a deal done. You know, he`s there for a long time. He wasn`t exactly a deal guy. He didn`t bring too many to the table so I don`t think anyone took it that seriously. That`s the reality of what went on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Jeremy Bash, he wasn`t a deal guy. Yet, my father and my siblings and I were briefed 10 times on the deal by the guy that isn`t a deal guy. That doesn`t make any sense.
BASH: And Michael Cohen was the top lawyer of the Trump Organization, and he had been working to go to Moscow as early as late 2015 to try to get this deal done. And it was so significant because, as we know, the Trump Organization was facing a variety of financial difficulties, and for them monetizing the Trump campaign, monetizing the presidential campaign was job number one of the Trump Organization. The ability to extend the brand to a new market, an emerging market, in this case Russia, this is a market that Trump himself had cultivated going back to the Ms. Universe Pageant and all of the financial ties with the coterie of Russian oligarchs and all of the financial efforts by the Russian oligarchs to park money in the United States as a sort form of money laundering, I mean, this is well documented.
And so the fact that this was somehow unimportant to the Trump Organization or to Donald Trump himself, I don`t think carries any merit at all.
WALLACE: Barbara, again, I can see the public relations problem with that statement. But the legal problem seems to be, they didn`t say we weren`t trying to do it. Don Jr. didn`t say we didn`t want to do it. He just said Cohen isn`t a deal guy. What does Robert Mueller hear?
MCQUADE: I think it sounds like they`re trying to minimize this deal, trying to minimize Michael Cohen`s involvement in it. It`s, you know, in other words, don`t look here, folks, nothing to see here. But in fact it seems that Robert Mueller is really zeroing in on this transaction. I`ve heard others talk about this.
And one thing -- and it gives you a clue that this is really important to Robert Mueller is the fact that he made Michael Cohen plead guilty to it. Michael Cohen had already been convicted of eight felonies relating to his work in New York with tax evasion and other things and was facing plenty of time. But in addition, he pleaded guilty to lying about the timing of the negotiations in Trump Tower Moscow. That says that it is likely that Michael Cohen is going to be used to try to prosecute other people about this. I don`t know if that`s family members or Trump himself, but look for this matter to come up again and for other people to be charged with this crime.
WALLACE: Peter Baker, I talked to a source close to Rudy Giuliani tonight and I said what`s going on with him? I mean he`s always been scatter shot, but he seems more off than usual. And this source said that being this far inside the Trump legal operation is disorienting. Where does your reporting suggest the Rudy-Trump-Sekulow legal team relationship stands?
BAKER: Yes. And that was a great question. If you talk to people near President Trump these days, they express exasperation with Mayor Giuliani`s handling of this. This doesn`t help them obviously. It creates more questions rather than answering them. He says one minute to my colleagues that that quoting the President directly saying "I was talking about this up to the day of the election." And then he says, "Well, that was just hypothetical, I didn`t talk to the President." Which is it?
Obviously that only raises questions to everybody`s mind about whether he`s offering an effective defense to the President on television. Remember he was brought in specifically to push back in a public forum. He`s not really the lawyer you bring into the grand jury or the negotiations with Robert Mueller.
WALLACE: I wonder why.
BAKER: Well, he`s a guy you put on television and on the phone with the newspaper reporters to make a public case. In this case the public case is now so confused, so all over the map that whenever the truth eventually does come out, presumably they`ll be able to say, well, one of the versions we`ve put out was true. And it`s very damaging, I think, to the President`s case. His own people understand that. There -- I think there`s a real second guessing right now about whether Rudy Giuliani is helping or hurting.
WALLACE: It`s time for like fifth guessing. This is -- we`ve been to this movie before. I think we all know how it ends.
Peter Baker, Barbara McQuade and Jeremy Bash, thank you for staying up with us.
Coming up, more on the Rudy factor. Is he doing his client a disservice or are we all being played by America`s mayor?
And later, a former executive from the Trump Organization on why she believes Nancy Pelosi has Trump cornered. THE 11TH HOUR just getting started on a Monday night.
WALLACE: As we mentioned in the last block, President Trump`s lawyer Rudy Giuliani is once again in damage control mode, this time trying to clean up comments he made Sunday about talks for Trump Tower Moscow continuing throughout the 2016 campaign. But this isn`t the first time Giuliani has created headaches for Trump and the President`s legal team. Here is a look back at some other head turning moments from Giuliani starting with comments made last year about the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: It`s not campaign money, no campaign finance violation.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: So they funneled it through the law firm?
GIULIANI: Funneled through a law firm and the President repaid it.
HANNITY: Oh, I don`t know he did.
HANNITY: There`s no campaign finance law?
I`m not going to be rushed into having him testify so that he gets trapped into perjury. And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he`s going to tell the truth, then he shouldn`t worry, well, that`s so silly because it`s somebody`s version of the truth not the truth. He didn`t have a conversation --
TODD: Truth is truth. I don`t mean to go like --
GIULIANI: No, it isn`t truth. Truth isn`t truth. I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Yes, you have.
GIULIANI: I have no idea with -- I have not. I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you would commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Joining us to talk about all of it, Robert Costa, National Political Reporter for The Washington Post and Moderator of Washington Week on PBS, Jill Colvin, White House reporter for the Associated Press, and Chuck Rosenberg, a former US attorney and former senior FBI official.
Robert Costa, I have to start with you. You`ve covered Donald Trump for a long time. You`ve covered Rudy Giuliani for a long time. I have this like little soft spot for Rudy. And when I see the reaction shots from Chris Cuomo and when you hear Sean Hannity, oh, I didn`t know that, I mean you couldn`t make it up for SNL. What is Rudy doing?
ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: To understand the President`s relationship with his lawyer, you have to see them as generational peers. The President is already isolated, doesn`t have a lot of people he trusts around him, and he sees Giuliani, former New York mayor as someone who played at his level in the big apple for a long time. They knew each other socially, weren`t particularly close. But now that he`s part of the team, it`s really not so much a team. Jay Sekulow and others are part of it, but it`s really the President communicating with this generational peer, an isolated president trying to manage his legal case with Robert Mueller, with the media. And Giuliani is the only person who`s speaking with the President about those sensitive issues in that way.
WALLACE: Well, Chuck, that seems to point the blame right at the guy in the office with no corners because this does not -- from the PR standpoint, this is not helping. No more people think Donald Trump is innocent than before Rudy Giuliani was added to the team. And I wonder from your perspective if Rudy isn`t perhaps creating some questions about the President`s conduct by saying, oh yes, our answers to Robert Mueller include that Donald Trump was working on the deal from the day he announced until the day he won.
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FMR. SENIOR FBI OFFICIAL: Yes. You know, it`s not helping from a PR perspective. Nicolle, it`s not helping from a legal perspective. It`s really kind of hard to fathom what perspective it`s helping from -- you know, you ask these intelligent thoughtful questions and so I`m really searching for some, you know, unified field theory of physics here to try and explain what the heck he is talking about.
When I was a baby prosecutor and some defense attorney, some experienced defense attorney said something bizarre in court, I would automatically assume that he was smarter than me or she was more clever than me or he was more experienced than me. And sometimes it`s just bizarre. I mean, sometimes what the answer devolves to is that it`s just bizarre. There`s no coherence here. I see no strategy. I can`t make heads or tails of it. He changes his story all the time.
Nicolle, it`s just nonsense.
WALLACE: Well, let me press you then, Chuck, because what -- the revelation seem to be when this sentence came out of Rudy`s mouth yesterday the answers we gave include the President having those discussions about Trump Tower Moscow basically up to election day, meaning that he was sharing with us, with the world, that there was a question from Robert Mueller about Trump Tower and how long those conversations went on.
If you could work backwards from Rudy`s description of the answer to what you think that might be describing in terms of an answer and tell us what Robert Mueller is asking and looking for.
ROSENBERG: Well, Robert Mueller is looking for the truth not to be clear but he`s looking for the truth. I`m not sure that Rudy Giuliani`s characterization of what the President said or wrote or what he thinks the President said or wrote is even accurate. So I think it`s so hard to divine what it is that Mueller knows from what Rudy Giuliani is saying. That disconnect between those two things just seems to me to be enormous.
What`s Mueller looking for? He wants the definitive answer. He wants the truth. And with all due respect to Mr. Giuliani, truth is truth. Truth is truth. Mueller wants that. And there is going to be a way to get it. It may not be from the President`s written answers. It certainly is not going to be from Mr. Giuliani. But there are documents. There are e-mails. There are other folks recollection of how long the negotiations with Moscow lasted, how long that attempt lasted. Mueller will find it. Mueller will know it. We`re not going to learn it from Rudy Giuliani.
WALLACE: Jill Colvin, I want to read you something that "New York Times" reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted tonight. She writes "several people close to Mr. Trump have grown exasperated with Mr. Giuliani`s public appearances. They also expressed concern that he is increasing prosecutor`s anger with the President and potentially creating a misimpression about the Trump Tower project in Moscow."
That seems to be what was on Donald Trump Jr`s mind when he went on Fox News earlier this evening and said, oh, you know, he was a bad deal guy, basically, giving Michael Cohen, the coffee boy description after we all know that Michael Cohen briefed the President and his family ten times. So that`s a lot of interactions with someone who wasn`t a deal guy.
JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Absolutely. With those concerns that Maggie tweeted it out there, those are concerns that you have heard from allies of the President, especially outside advisers for months now questioning whether Giuliani is actually being helpful to the President, wondering what his strategy is, questioning why the President has decided to keep him in this public relations role, going out on television. We saw for a period of time that seems like he`d pulls back. We weren`t seeing him as frequently.
The President was actually quite happy about the way that the coverage was going for a while there where we were hearing less and less about the Russia investigation. But what Rudy Giuliani did here in his conduct this weekend which he took this "BuzzFeed" story that was obviously receiving a lot of criticism after that Mueller statement contesting -- no, we don`t know what the contesting the story.
And then Rudy went out there and, you know, brought the attention back again to the Russia investigation, raising questions about the timeline for the Trump Tower meeting, suggesting that maybe it wouldn`t have mattered if Trump even had advised Cohen to write that misleading statements and he`s just making -- for shining the spotlight on things the President does not want things to be talking about right now.
WALLACE: Chuck, can you knit together some of what we`re talking about tonight about the Trump Tower Moscow conversations going on through election day. The "New York Times" has reported that the President made all this con -- we now know that the President called on the Russians to find Hillary Clinton`s e-mails, to hack those e-mails. He made his statements incredibly hostile to NATO. He was constantly plugging them, promoting Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and other stolen information.
What does that look like in the context of a man who the Russians knew what Donald Trump is doing? The Russians knew everything. So the American voter didn`t have the information about the negotiations for Trump Tower Moscow but Vladimir Putin surely did. What does that look like if the FBI counterintelligence investigation is still ongoing and some capacity?
ROSENBERG: Sure. I mean, that`s an absolutely critical question to the counterintelligence folks, right? How long was the President trying to negotiate with Putin, with the Russian government to build a Trump Tower in Moscow? And what was he doing during that period of time? With the statements about NATO because the President really believed that this was not a useful alliance or the statements about NATO intended to appease the person, Vladimir Putin, who could grant the go ahead, the green line, to the project? Was he calling for Russia to hack the DNC computers because, you know, he was in debt or in hoc some way to the Russian leadership?
The length of those negotiations is a very important question because it gives counterintelligence investigators some window into Mr. Trump`s soul, at least into his financial soul, if not his moral soul. It`s a way for them to determine, right, to whom he owed these financial and political allegiances. So we need to resolve the question.
WALLACE: And you think Robert Mueller has all that information? You think Robert Mueller knows the answer to that question?
ROSENBERG: I do. I think Robert Mueller knows -- look, every time, Nicolle, he drops an indictment or a guilty plea or a sentencing memo into the public domain we learn a lot and we get information upon which we can rely. Do I think Bob Mueller knows the answers to these questions? You bet I do.
WALLACE: All right. We`re all eagerly awaiting. Robert Acosta, Jill Colvin and Chuck Rosenberg, thank you so much for staying up.
Coming up, this coming Friday will mark another missed payday for hundreds of thousands of federal workers hit by the Donald Trump shutdown. And still no deal in sight. What to expect tomorrow when the Senate returns to Capitol Hill. We`re back after this.
WALLACE: In just about 30 minutes from now, the longest government shutdown ever will enter its 32 day. And there are no signs of life in terms of negotiation to end it. On Saturday President Trump proposed a deal, offering three years of protections to Dreamers and other immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion for his border wall or slats or whatever we are calling it these days.
Senate Republicans plan to vote on a package to reopen the government this week. That includes Trump`s proposal, but seven Democratic votes are need for it to pass.
From the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the deal a nonstarter. And today her office said Pelosi hasn`t spoken to anyone from the White House since Trump`s announcement. So there you have it. One month into the shutdown and we`re stuck at square one.
It`s important to note, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are bracing to miss a second paycheck come Friday. Robert Costa and Jill Colvin are still here.
Robert Costa, you and your colleagues have reported that Saturday`s proposal or offer from the President was the brain child, I believe of Jared Kushner and the vice president. It landed with a thud. Was any of the normal stuff done before? Were there any calls to the hill, any meetings? I mean, did they know it would fail so completely?
ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: There is not a lot of urgency inside of this administration to end this shutdown. There`s more urgency actually to try to secure something close to that $5 billion plus request for a border wall. Why is that?
If you think about the ideologs (ph), the conservatives around this President, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Vice President Pence, Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow, Budget Director Rosenberg (ph).
These are all people who`ve come out of a hard line conservative tradition of rattling the government of supporting past government shutdowns. This context, when is it going to end? When it`s going to end? When will Republicans break?
We have to remember that a lot of people around the President want it to end only when they get what they want. They`re not necessarily shaken up by these stories of the federal workers and all that.
WALLACE: I don`t think a curer (ph) thing can be said than what just said, Donald Trump is not shaken up by the human calamity of the shutdown by this pain and suffering, not just to the federal workers but of all the damage or potential risk of the public has, from the federal government being shuttered.
However, I believe he looks in the mirror and sees his poll numbers plunging, deflating, shrinking and we know how he hates it when that happens.
COSTA: That is true. They`re trying to put the burden now on the Democrats if they can get this legislation moving this weekend in the Senate, it`s hard to say I`ll be able to survive a filibuster attempt and get actually to the floor for a final vote.
But they`re just trying to move that burden away politically on to the House Democrats. With speaker Pelosi maintains that she has leverage. And you don`t see any member yet speaking out forcefully from the House at all about support for this President`s proposal. And that tells you a lot about Speaker Pelosi`s power.
WALLACE: Speaker Pelosi`s power, Jill, also seems a lie in the fact that if his numbers are deflating going down, hers are going up. I mean, no one blames the Democrats for the Trump shutdown, mostly because Donald Trump branded it just that, the Trump shutdown in the Oval Office.
He`s also got a problem though on his right. Ann Coulter tweeting today Trump proposes amnesty. We voted for trump and got jack. What do you make of the sort of advice that Donald Trump is in with Pelosi not budging as Robert Costa reports, and the far right not giving him any room to maneuver?
JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Yes, Nicolle, I think you describe it well. The President is really boxed in here. Look, as much as there are some people around the President kind of urging him to continue this fight, there are also others who want to find an off ramp here, who want the President to be able to notch some kind of win.
And he is in this very tough spot. You saw him now trying this weekend to reach out, at least try to pick off some moderate Democrats hoping that maybe this plan that just as you said landed with an absolute thud might potentially appeal to some Democrats. After 48 hours, not a single member of the party so far has come out in support of the plan.
So you`ve got, Democrats not interested at all. But on the other side, you`ve got conservatives and the right wing media, people like Ann Coulter who described what the President proposed, just a three year extension of DACA and CPS as amnesty.
You saw the President yesterday speaking out on Twitter saying, no, this isn`t amnesty. There`s I think permanent about it. But he`s got very, very little wiggle room here to be able to come up with a solution. That`s why you`ve heard this administration talking about ideas like signing an emergency declaration in order to get out this, find some king of offering.
As you mentioned that his polls are going down, but we`re also seeing impacts on the economy. If there`s one thing that this President has been able to point to as a measure of success, it`s been the economy. If that becomes a problem for him, he`s going to be in serious trouble.
WALLACE: Now, I wonder what he`ll tweet about then. Robert Costa and Jill Colvin, thank you so much for staying up with us.
Coming up, does Nancy Pelosi have Trump`s number when it comes to dealing making? One former Trump executive thinks so. She`ll join us next to explain, THE 11TH HOUR back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I`ve watched the politicians. I`ve dealt with them all my life. If you can`t make a good deal with the politician, then there`s something wrong with you. You`re certainly not very good.
I want to make great deals. That`s what it is, for the people.
Everybody wants me to negotiate. That`s what I`m known as a negotiator.
We like to it, when we know how to close deals. I close. I`m a closer. Even in sports, I`ve always been a closer. I win.
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WALLACE: President Trump often brags about his deal making acumen. But it hasn`t gotten him far in the government shutdown standoff with Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats. The "New York Times" spoke to former long-time Trump Organization Executive, Barbara Res, who says Speaker Pelosi is a new challenge for Donald Trump.
"One blind spot she observed was that Mr. Trump believes he`s better than anyone who ever lived and saw even the most capable of women as easy to run over. But there was never a woman with power that he ran up against until Pelosi", she said. "And he doesn`t know what to do with it. He is totally in a corner".
Joining us now, Barbara Res. She was the vice president for the Trump Organization for almost 20 years. She`s also the author of "All Alone on the 68th Floor: How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction." It`s a pleasure to have you here.
So, talk about the bad deals and the shortcomings in terms of dealing making because he has put his own spin on this, but it`s not reality.
BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATON, VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. I`m a mediator and I`ve been so for many, many years. So, I sort of teach negotiation as part of that job. And there are certain basic tenants to negotiation that Trump does not believe in. And Michael D`Antonio put it very well. Trump was asked about a win-win situation when you do a deal and Trump said, "No, I want an I-win situation".
And that is so very talent (ph). I love that quote because actually that`s what he`s about. He knows nothing about collaboration. He doesn`t go into approach a deal from the point of view of what can I give you the make you happy so that I can get what I want. He goes in with I demand and this is what I`m going to get.
And it has worked for him in certain circumstances where he had all the leverage like my experience with him mostly in deal making is making deals with contractors and architectures and things like that.
And, of course, he had all the leverage. In more case he had the money. Another case he had the ability to sue, which will kill a contractor. Another case he had the best jobs, which the architect would wanted any cost. So he always had the power and the leverage. Now he doesn`t have either.
WALLACE: What do you think it is about Nancy Pelosi? I loved your comment that he`s never run up against a woman with power, and she doesn`t just have power, she has all the things you just described. She has dealt with (INAUDIBLE) or she has made deals. She has made big deals and she`s made deals where she`s certainly come out ahead. But she understands everything you just described. She understands how to compromise.
RES: Well, what he said, if you can`t make a deal with a politician you can`t make a deal. What was he saying? It was such an insult to politicians. The implication being number one that the deal he made with politicians were politicians that he had in his pocket, and that`s -- sort of to quote him.
And the other thing is that, they don`t know how to make deals. That`s all they do is make deals. It`s just an automatically actual truth of what happens when you`re dealing with people and you have to come to a settlement. So, no, he doesn`t know from this.
And then being a woman, Trump has always felt that men are superior to women. He told me that. He said a good woman is better than 10 good men. And he mentioned this, this enormous compliment because he thought that women were inferior.
So in his mind, any woman would be inferior to him even the best of the best. And here is Nancy Pelosi, she`s probably is the best of the best. Problem is, she is match, she is not inferior to him. She is, in my opinion from a point of view deal making far superior.
WALLACE: I mean, I believe everything you are saying. And you`ve got the insight to know that it`s true. It`s certainly what you into it when you watch him. But it`s terrifying. How is this person going to navigate our foreign policy to begin with if he can`t sit down and make a deal with anybody?
RES: Well, because he is negotiating on foreign policy. You can see who knows what kind of deal he`s made with Putin but he seems to, go along with whatever Putin says. And you can see his approach to Kim initially, rocket man and now he says he`s got love with him.
I mean, it is just there is no -- he plays it all right off the hip. He thinks on the spot and most of the time his thinking is flaws. Here he is dealing with these people. Look at what he`s doing to the country right now. It is 100 percent in his power to stop the shutdown. He can`t see that. He doesn`t see the value of the shutdown. All he sees is the wall.
And it`s -- he is so blinded by his ego in the fact that he went out on the limb for the wall, does he realize that he could go out on a limb now and save the country or save the economy, whatever, save people`s jobs, save the government. He could do that right now by going out on a limb and saying, OK, we have to make a compromise here. I am the bigger man.
They are holding us up and then fix it and then do that. But I don`t think he will.
WALLACE: Has he ever in any instance you`ve ever witnessed said "I`m the bigger man?"
RES: Oh, no. I mean, he`s still always says he`s the bigger man. But no, he has never done anything that would be indicative of that, that he would take a position that would be the higher road, so to speak.
WALLACE: So how does this end?
RES: I don`t know. I think eventually somebody is going to have to blink in terms of making an offer less than what he asked for the wall or more than nothing, which is what they`re willing to pay. Now, if the Democrats come up and say, "OK, we will take that million and dedicate it to your wall". And Trump says "No", I think he is going to be in very big, big trouble.
WALLACE: It`s a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much for being here.
Coming up, why the latest 2020 contender chose today to make her big announcement. That`s when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
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SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values. That`s why I`m running for president of the United States. I`m running to lift those voices, to bring our voices together.
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WALLACE: California Senator Kamala Harris announcing her run for president, the first African-American candidate to join the 2020 race. Harris chose to make her announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. She is also the first Indian American woman to run. Harris is in the company of three other women who are running, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
Taking a moment to recognize history in the making, Gillibrand shared this on Twitter, "A pretty amazing thought today, four women are already running for president in 2020, which will mark exactly 100 years since women gained the right to vote. So proud of how far we`ve come and excited to see what we`ll do next."
Those four women joined three other candidates in the Democratic field. And it`s still early in the field for Democrats could be crowded with announcement from as many as a dozen more people expected. Including Senators Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, both senators were in the early primary stage of South Carolina for MLK Day, fueling the fire of possible 2020 campaigns. The first in the South State is a key stop for Democrats hoping to court primary voters.
Sanders resurrected some of his familiar 2016 rhetoric and minced no words about his feelings about the sitting president.
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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Today we talk about justice and today we talk about racism. And I must tell you, it gives me no pleasure to tell you that we now have a president of the United States who is a racist.
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WALLACE: Booker on the other hand avoided any mention of President Trump. A quick break for us, THE 11TH HOUR is back after this.
WALLACE: The last thing before we go tonight is the government shutdown. Now, nearly 32 days old and the people directly affected by it, government workers.
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DESIRAE BAGBY, FEDERAL EMPLOYEE: My husband and I just got married in November, so trying to payoff the wedding and dealing with our two kids, and paying for daycare. And maybe essentially have to go to work every day and for gassing the car. It`s hard.
Our daycare provider lives off of us, her hourly income, so to have to wake up and be one income household. We`re in the middle of building a house, and it`s just hard to wake up and know that your whole foundation is shaking.
CHRIS GALLO, EPA SCIENTIST: We`ve been out of work for about a month now. I started driving Uber last week just to pay the bills and to help out. My wife works, she`s a hairdresser in New York City but that still not enough, and it just drags on March and April. We`re looking at some real hard times in and we have to make some really hard decisions on what I could do next.
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WALLACE: We`re just seconds now until midnight in day 32 of the government shutdown. That`s our broadcast for tonight. I`m Nicolle Wallace, in for Brian Williams. You can catch me every day at 4:00 Eastern right here in this very studio.
Thank you for being with us. Goodnight from NBC News Headquarters in New York.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thank you all for joining this hour. All right.
If you ever wanted to put the FBI out of business, once cheap and cheerful way to do that would be to organize a federal government shutdown that went on for, I don`t know, some really long creative time like more than 30 days.
One of the things that you endure regularly, if you work for an agency like the FBI, is that they routinely do financial background checks on you.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END