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Trump's threat to close border. TRANSCRIPT: 4/2/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Guests: Susan Page, Juana Summers

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR:  That`s tonight`s LAST WORD.  "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts right now.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Tonight, the House Judiciary Committee set to vote on subpoena just hours from now as President Trump shifts his attacks to the origins of the Mueller investigation.

Plus, the White House security clearance whistleblower speaks exclusively to NBC News.

And after fireworks from Elijah Cummings and Jim Jordan today, we`ve learned those subpoenas have been served.

And a Chinese woman arrested after a security breach at Mar-a-Lago.  She was carrying two passports and a thumb drive with Malware.  THE 11TH HOUR" on a Tuesday night starts right now.

Good evening once again from our NBC News head quarters in New York.  I`m Ali Velshi, in for Brian Williams.

Day 803 of the Trump administration and as House Democrats intensify their scrutiny of the White House, the President is fighting back.  His administration is up against two powerful committee chairman, both are moving swiftly to have law makers authorize subpoenas demanding more information, testimony, documents or whatever they say they need to carry out investigations into the Trump administration.

Today, four subpoenas from the House Oversight Committee concerning White House security clearances and the 2020 census were served.

We are now hours away from what will be a closely watched move on Capitol Hill because tomorrow morning, the House Judiciary Committee led by Congressman Jerry Nadler is expected to vote to authorize a subpoena for Special Counsel Mueller`s report without redactions.  Attorney General William Barr did not deliver the report by the committee`s deadline which was today.

Earlier this evening, Chairman Nadler made his case for legal action.


REP. JEROLD NADLER, (D) NEW YORK CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY CMTE.:  We`ll use the subpoenas as necessary to make sure we get the whole report and all the underlying documents.

The Special Prosecutor said that he couldn`t role -- in or out he couldn`t exonerate the President of obstruction of justice.  So Barr took it upon himself to do that.  That`s not the job of the Attorney General.


VELSHI:  The President has said he wanted the Mueller report to be released.  Today he was asked about the upcoming vote to subpoena the report.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think it`s ridiculous.  We went through two years of the Mueller investigation.

After $30 million we`re going to start this process again because Jerry Nadler wants to start it or because Schiff wants to start it?  I`ll rely on the Attorney General to make decisions.  But I will tell you, anything that`s given to them will never be good enough.  You can give them more documents than they`ve ever seen and it will never be good enough.

So, I think it`s somewhat of a waste of time.  This is just politics.  I hope they now go and take a look at the origins, the origins of the investigation, the beginnings of that investigation.

The Mueller report I wish covered the origins, how it started, the beginnings of the investigation, how it started.  It didn`t cover that.  And for some reason none of that was discussed.


VELSHI:  The origins of the investigation.  Keep in mind, Donald Trump has not seen the Mueller report, we believe.  And the Attorney General has said, he does not plan to give the White House a copy of it before releasing it by mid-April.

Trump comments, they seem to echo some of his recent Twitter messages, "No amount of testimony or document production that can satisfy Jerry Nadler or shifty Adam Schiff.  It is now time to focus exclusive on properly running our great country.

And no matter what information is given to the crazed Democrats from the no collusion Mueller report, it will never be good enough.

Also, no matter what the radical left Democrats get, no matter what we give them, it will never be enough.  Just watch, they will harass and complain and resist.  So maybe we should just take our victory and say no.  We`ve got a country to run."

Today the White House Press Secretary also suggested efforts to find out what Mueller learned are nothing but partisan politics.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  We know by the actions we`ve seen from Nadler and other Democrats in Congress is that the President is right, they`re will never be satisfied.  They`re sore losers.  At some point they have to decide that they`re ready to move on like the rest of the country.


VELSHI:  All right, all of this is now fueling doubt over whether Trump still wants the Mueller report to be released.

Journalist Olivia Nuzzi of the New York Magazine has been reporting on the mood in the White House following the release of Attorney General Barr`s four-page summary that appears to clear the President.  She spoke earlier with our colleague, Chris Hayes.


OLIVIA NUZZI, NEW YORK MAGAZINE WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Both the President and members of the White House staff have been saying we don`t need the full report now.  They seem to be striking in different tone.  And they were at least in the initial wake of the Barr letter.


VELSHI:  Lots to discuss.  Let`s bring in our leadoff panel for a Tuesday night.  Here with me tonight, Susan Page, for USA Today.  She`s an author of an excellent new book, just out today, "The Matriarch, Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty," which we will get to later this hour.

Also here tonight, Maya Wiley, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, now with the New School.  Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence.  And Ashley Parker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning White House reporter for the "Washington Post."  Good evening to all of you.  Thank you for helping us out.

Ashley, let`s begin with you and the subpoenas for the Mueller report that Jerry Nadler is going to be issuing.  Where does that fit in to the picture of how we are going to learn what`s actually in the report?

ASHLEY PARKER, THE WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE REPORTER:  Well, it`s unclear, frankly, how much will be forthcoming when he issues -- if he issues those subpoenas.  But I can tell you the White House thinks that from political point of view, which is the lens through which they view this all, they think it`s very advantageous for them because they believe that after the Barr summary of the Mueller report, which again to be clear is only four pages summarizing the 400 pages, but they believe it is a political kujal to go after Democrats for over reach.

And when any subpoena comes on this topic or frankly any of the other investigations that array underway or may yet be launched for some future potential bad behavior, they can just sort of say, "Look, we were cleared of collusion.  We told you for two years it was a witch hunt, and therefore this other thing, that other thing that we don`t like is also a witch hunt."  So they think it works in their favor politically.  In terms of what it actually yields, I think that`s an open question we have to wait and see.

VELSHI:  New York Magazine Olivia Nuzzi`s piece about this says, "as the excitement waned, cooler heads emerged in the White House with brand new anxieties about a president inclined to inflict self harm by taking things too far.  There will be plenty of unfavorable things about the President in the full report, which we think will eventually come out, so let`s not go overboard saying there`s no wrongdoing.  Let`s move on, one senior White House official told me."

Frank, what could be in the report that -- while the President claims exonerates him and that`s not what William Barr said?  What else could be worrying the President?

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASSIST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE:  So first, Bob Mueller and his team don`t work for two solid years, have dozens of FBI agents and prosecutors detailed to them, dig into crimes and counterintelligence and come out and say the President is a boy scout.  We`re going to see in this report if we`re allowed to some dirt.

Now, what that looks like, whether it`s on the counterintelligence side, whether this so-called lack of criminal elements on the conspiracy with Russia is not there, but rather is incredibly inappropriate conduct.  And of course on the obstruction issue, what we`re all waiting to see is Mueller`s intent.  Is there a footnote or a paragraph that says I believe question needs to go to Congress and we`re beginning to see the President slowly but surely back away from his assertion that he wants that whole report to come out.

VELSHI:  Maya Wiley, William Barr says he is working with Mueller on the reductions.  And those reductions stated four different things.  One of them was grand jury testimony.  And there`s some debate about whether or not we absolutely shouldn`t or won`t see grand jury testimony.  And the fourth point was about other characters involved or not otherwise named, unindicted people or people who were in the investigation.

What do you make of the reductions and what we`re going to end up seeing?

MAYA WILEY, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTY. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY:  Well, I have to start with the fact that if William Barr, as he said in his confirmation hearing, were really interested in making as much of this report public as possible.  He himself would have already petition the court to release grand jury material.  I mean, he has the power to do that and is the highest law enforcement officer of the land.

If he said it was in public interest and that he it should be revealed, it`s very hard to imagine a judge would say no.  And so, I start there because we`re already talking about redactions in a context where if he were truly interested in transparency, he would have already taken steps to make it public.  And I think that`s part of why you see Representative Nadler really being quite on top of saying "I tried. I gave you some time.  I am not confident that I`m going to get the cooperation on transparency."

But I also think there are legitimate things that could be redacted, right.  And there are ongoing investigations.  Anyone who`s prosecuting a case is going to want to say there I gave you time. I`m not confident. But I think there are legitimate things that could be redacted, right?  And there are ongoing investigations.  Any officer of the court, anyone who`s prosecuting a case is going to want to say there are some things we may legitimately want to hold back.

Certainly, if you went through a court process, you could make those recommendations to the court to say what should be public and should not be.  And protecting the privacy of witnesses is another legitimate form of redaction.  So I -- but I think the point here is, I personally have not seen some of the decisions I would expect from an attorney general that believed it was in the public interest to understand that the public understands what the evidence was and what the evidence wasn`t

VELSHI:  Susan, let`s go back in history a little bit to the Starr report, Donald Trump made a reference to the fact that Jerry Nadler is now going to subpoena to get the Mueller report earlier today.   Let`s listen to what he said.


TRUMP:  Jerry Nadler thought the concept of giving the Starr report was absolutely something you could never do.  But when it comes to the Mueller report, which is different on our side, that would be something that he should get.  It`s hypocrisy.

NADLER:  It`s being used hypocritically by the White House now.  Congress had everything and the question was how much of that was going to be made public and what had to be redacted to protect individuals.  Congress is going to make that decision.


VELSHI:  So they`re both accusing each other of hypocrisy in comparison of the two reports.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIED:  And they`re both right.  Because both approach this from the place where they sit at this moment, not from when they it was the Clinton investigation.

I will say our report is not with the legal -- sharp legal minds that are - - who is sitting next to me, but politically, this report is going to come out.  This report is going to be released and it`s going to be released because eight of t10 Americans, including an overwhelming number -- majority of Republicans want to see it.  So one way or another is going to come out.  I don`t know how -- it is a risk for Democrats, though, to look like they`re concerned only about investigating the President, not about doing some other things.  But that is a risk Democrats are going to be willing to do.

VELSHI:  Because poling has changed since the Mueller report has come out.  People are, perhaps, not as -- not as interested in Congress doing everything it`s doing.

PAGE:  People want Congress to do things that effect their own lives, but we continue to see overwhelming numbers of American saying, "Yes, we want to see what`s in that report."  And that includes people who are inclined to believe that the President will be exonerated in the report as he says, and certainly includes Americans who are very skeptical if that`s what he`s going to say.

VELSHI:  Frank, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preey Bharara was on "Deadline White House" today.  And he said this about this topic exoneration.  Let`s listen.


PREET BHARARA, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY:  One of the most terrible things for the President in the underlying report that we know about is that it explicitly says we will not exonerate the President on obstruction of justice.  What`s interesting is that, they felt the need to sort of anticipate that rhetoric and refute it.  Then, of course, Bill Barr comes in and put his own exoneration gloss on top of it when I think it was meant for Congress.


VELSHI:  It`s an interesting topic, the report -- I anybody who can read can see that it said it did not exonerate the President.  And yet, the message at the White House it`s been sticking with is that it did.

FIGLIUZZI:  So Bob Mueller is someone who carefully memorializes this thought process.  He`s done that as FBI director.  I`ve seen him do it, that`s how he operates.  And there`s a reason why that got through to the Attorney General and the Attorney Generally felt compelled to include that in his summary.  There`s going to be some tension there on this very issue, which is again, why we need to see it this report.

But every day that passes, that the Attorney General doesn`t release this report, he looks more politicized.  And the tide could turn back publicly and go, why is he taking so long?  Isn`t there a declassified version that Mueller would have handed the Attorney General?  I believe there is.  Mueller is not the guy who throws the report on the desk, closes the --

VELSHI:  Because he would have known that this discussion was going to take place.

FIGLIUZZI:  Of course.  And I think he would have gone and predictably said, "Here`s my suggestion on declassification.  It`s there for you.  You don`t need to go through the declass process.  I did it for you."

VELSHI:  Maya, Americans have depended on the fact that as unusual as this White House is we have institutions that hold firm.  But the fact is, this Attorney General who has a storied history in past administrations, the fact is he was chosen by the President and the President knew that the biggest job for the Attorney General of the United States right now was how he going to handle the Mueller report.  Is there some danger that Americans start to loss faith in the institution of the Justice Department as separate from the administration?

WILEY:  Well, I think that`s already something that`s come into question because even the conversation about recusals before William Barr got there had already created this conversation for the American public and the President himself.  Frankly, you know, I think we`ve all been sort of astounded by a sitting American President really undermining and destroying the morale of an independent law enforcement agency of the United States government.  And -- so this has been a significant issue.

The thing about William Barr story, career storied history, lots of conversation about his commitment to the institution of justice.  At the same time, you know, that memo that he wrote --

VELSHI:  The unsolicited memo about --

WILEY:  -- basically the unsolicited memo that he wrote.

VELSHI:  -- the Mueller investigation.

WILEY:  About the Mueller investigation.  And the fact that he took what was a shockingly broad view of both executive power, something that legal scholars, some were quite astounded by and certainly those of us who read case law thought when it was a quite an over statement and then hue (ph) of obstruction of justice.

And even in his four-page summary letter, you know, he adds in his kind of litany on obstruction of justice that not proving the underlying crime, in this case the conspiracy or the --

VELSHI:  Is why there can`t be obstruction.

WILEY:  -- is why there can`t be obstruction.  Legally --

VELSHI:  And every lawyer and FBI agent I`ve spoken tells me, that`s just not true.

WILEY:  It`s just not true.  So the fact that --

VELSHI:  I can obstruct the case that has nothing to do with me --

WILEY:  Of course.

VELSHI:  -- where I`ve not involved in any crime whatsoever?

WILEY:  Of course you can.  So I think, it`s issues like those --


WILEY:  -- which are very kind of concrete legal arguments or extraneous comments that is made that kind of give us all pause.

VELSHI:  Make people wonder.

Ashley, let`s bring this full circle.  Because it`s been a little over a week since we`ve all had news of this report.  And the President I acting strangely.  He is talking about shutting down the southern border.  He was discussing the origins of the report today.  Several times he mentioned that his father was born in Germany.  His father was born in New York.  The stress seems to be getting to the President.

PARKER:  Well, I think it`s two fold.  I think when it actually comes to the report itself, there is a recognition within the White House that no day was going to be better than when Barr`s summary came out.  When, you know, 400 pages are released, especially on the obstruction side, there`s going to be stuff in there that the White House -- the President likely will not like and could be problematic for him, even if he still goes on the offense.

And also this is a president who is most comfortable not just on this issue, but on any issue within with an opponent, with a rival, with someone to attack.  And so, with the Mueller report sort of temporarily out of the way, you`ve seen him move on some issues to domestic policy and kind of flounder in there with his sort of healthcare 180 saying Republicans are going to own it and then oh, wait, they`re actually not going to come up with a plan until after the 2020 election on immigration.  Saying he`s absolutely potentially going to closedown the southern border, but -- well maybe not the entire southern border.

And so, in a weird way I don`t think Donald Trump wanted this cloud hanging over his presidency at all, but he`s sort of most comfortable when he is fighting something rather than trying to say legislate on some of these policies.

VELSHI:  Thank you to all of you for taking us off on a Friday night, Susan Page, Maya Wiley, Frank Figliuzzi, and Ashley Parker.

Coming up, tensions erupt between top committee members on Capitol Hill over whether to force Trump insiders to testify.

And latter the President declares the border maxed out as he repeats his promise, Ashley just mentioned, to shut it down despite the economic fallout.  "The 11th Hour" just getting started at a Tuesday night.


VELSHI:  Today the House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena a former White House official accused of overturning security clearance denials by a whistleblower.

In a party lying vote, the committee authorized to subpoena for Carl Kline.  He is the former White House personnel security director to testify about his role in approving security clearances.

And tonight we`ve learned that Kline has been served the committee subpoena.  White House whistleblower, Tricia Newbold, also told law makers that she was targeted with retaliation after declining to grant security clearances based on protocols.

Our own Peter Alexander sat down with Newbold and asked her what kind of retaliation she faced.


TRICIA NEWBOLD, WHITE HOUSE WHISTLEBLOWER:  The most recent suspension, 14 days unpaid.  Probably the worst is it the retaliation against my disability.  So moving the security files out of my reach, not once, not twice, three times.  And moving other office equipment out of my reach.

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Literally putting on shelves that you couldn`t reach?

NEWBOLD:  Yes.  Yes.  So it`s definitely humiliating.


VELSHI:  OK.  So that`s not a euphemism out of my reach.  Tricia Newbold has a rare form of dwarfism.  So moving things out of her reach is clearly a terrible way of retaliating against her.  Newbold also told the committee 25 security clearance denials were over ruled by the Trump administration.  She said the denials were issued for multiple reasons including foreign influence and conflict of interests.

And we should know, today`s Oversight Committee vote to authorize a subpoena for Carl Kline.  Didn`t happen without a few fireworks.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (DF) MARYLAND OVERSIGHT CMTE. CHAIR:  He came forward because the system at the White House is so dysfunctional that he believes that Congress needs to intervene.

REP. JIM JORDAN, (R) OHIO OVERSIGHT CMTE. RANKING MEMBER:  First a Saturday deposition, then yesterday a press release after talking to just one witness where you hand pick a few parts of her testimony.  And now today, not today we`re going to subpoena a guy who just send us a letter saying he`s willing to come here voluntarily.  I`ve been on this committee 10 years, I never seen anything like this.

CUMMINGS:  Oh, please.

JORDAN:  Never seen anything like this.  I have it.

CUMMINGS:  Yes, you`ve done it.

JORDAN:  I have it.


VELSHI:  Carl Kline`s attorney released a statement saying Kline wish to appear voluntarily adding, "The subpoena issued today does not change Mr. Kline`s willingness to appear before the committee to answer its legitimate questions truthfully.  The facts will prove that he acted appropriately at all times."

Back with me, Maya Wiley and Frank Figliuzzi.  What is left out of that, Frank,  He will answer general questions to which Elijah Cummings said, "No, no, we actually want specific questions about what you did about this woman who told us this."

FIGLIUZZI:  We need to know specifics.  We need know what positions in the White House are currently being filled by people who should not have security clearances.  And then what access do they have?  Is it top secret?  Top secret compartmented?  Is it secrete confidential?

And then lastly, what are the real issues for each of those positions that surfaced drug abuse, substance abuse, financial indebtedness, foreign entanglements, what is it?  Let`s get it out and work with it.

When the system works properly, you get to sit down with the employee and work through the issues.  You even make referrals to employee assistance, counseling to deal with financial indebtedness or perhaps an alcohol abuse problem.  And you make your work force a safer, more secure work force.  When you`re looking the other way and just granting the clearance, you have a spiraling out of control work force in terms of security.

VELSHI:  But, you know, Maya, it`s more serious than letting someone through because you want them to work in the White House.  If the protocols that Tricia Newbold found indicated a vulnerability, the reason somebody doesn`t get a security clearances because there maybe vulnerability.  Those vulnerability exist.  Those vulnerability still exist.  And someone else may know about it.

WILEY:  Well, that`s right.  We already know from Jared Kushner that at least four foreign governments were looking forward to finding ways to exploit his businesses --

VELSHI:  Right.

WILEY:  -- in order to gain some superior position for themselves.

VELSHI:  He`s a guy who always needed to raise money for his properties.

WILEY:  He always needed to raise money.  He was -- so, and Donald Trump himself, obviously, this has come up under the muniment (ph) lawsuits.  But -- I mean, just as a point of comparison when Barack Obama was going to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he went to get an Ethics decision about whether that would be taking a benefit from a foreign government.

VELSHI:  Wow, whether that`s an --

WILEY:  The Nobel Peace Prize.  That is the level of attention we would expect a sitting president to pay to -- paying attention to the rules and making sure that you`re not crossing a boundary, right?

And when you`re talking about national security, I mean, that`s the most primary boundary any country has.  And remember that we`re already in a context where we already knew that Russia was actively trying to infiltrate our election system and not just in 2016 but had plans to do in the midterms.

And in this context --

VELSHI:  Right.

WILEY:  -- in this context of very explicit vulnerability, we already have a situation in which the White House is said.

VELSHI:  So Tricia Newbold knew of 25 times in which someone didn`t pass muster.  And you`re from the FBI.  There are reasons people don`t pass muster which we may not know about.  And she was over ruled.

And the way in which it was done was kind of remarkable.  She`s short and they raised the level of her files.  But regardless of what -- how they treated her because whistleblowers get treated this way, there is a national security issue here to be concerned about.  If there is a protocol and it`s just ignored, that should worry Americans.

FIGLIUZZI:  Here`s the deal.  The same factors that go into deciding whether we should have a clearance or not are the same factors that foreign intelligence services assess for your vulnerability whether they can recruit you, co-opt you, get you on their side.  So we`re all looking at that from the counterintelligence perspective.

VELSHI:  Right.

FIGLIUZZI:  And you`ve got to work through that.

My measure on this is the system is broken and needs change.  Here is why, yhis notion that the White House is a client for the FBIs background investigation and they get to ultimately make the call is flawed.  We need to give that decision to career security professionals so that it`s kept pristine and objective.

VELSHI:  Not politicize people.

FIGLIUZZI:  Congress needs to look at the system --

VELSHI:  Right.

FIGLIUZZI:  -- that allows the White House to override the career professionals.

VELSHI:  Maya Wiley, a Chinese national made their way into Mar-a-Lago with a bunch of cellphones and computers and apparently a thumb drive that may have had Malware on it.  I don`t even know what to make of this.

WILEY:  Well, this -- I think this falls into the category of not paying attention to the appropriate boundaries, to the appropriate protocols, to the appropriate processes to protect us.  It`s just that simple.  It`s an outstanding story.


WILEY:  I do want to just go back to Newbold, one other thing that I --

VELSHI:    Yes, yes.

WILEY:  I just -- because this matters.  We have laws in this country that protect people with disabilities from discrimination.

VELSHI:  Right.  Right.

WILEY:  To have it the White House mistreat someone who is a career nonpartisan public servant --

VELSHI:  Right.

WILEY:  -- who cannot reach a shelf that falls directly in the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is abhorrent that we would have a White House that would behave that way.

VELSHI:  This isn`t a ramp that wasn`t there and took too long to get there.  They moved the shelf.

WILEY:  That`s right.  So, that level of vindictiveness --


WILEY:  -- is also a violation of our anti-discrimination law.  So, we`re violating national security.  We`re violating human dignity.


WILEY:  We`re violating out anti-discrimination laws. There`s so many problems with these stories.  And all of it comes down to a basic lack of respect for government, its processes --


WILEY:  -- its rules, its norms, and its service, what its here to do.

VELSHI:  Thank you to both of you again, Maya Wiley and Frank Figliuzzi.

Coming up, catastrophic.  That`s how Mitch McConnell describes Trump`s latest threat to close the border.  So, will Trump`s policy spell catastrophe for Republicans in 2020?  "The 11th Hour" back after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you worry about the impact on the U.S. economy by closing the border?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Sure, it`s going to have a negative impact on the economy.  It`s one of the biggest trade deals in the world that we`ve just done with the USMCA.  It`s a very big trading partner.  But to me trading is very important, the borders are very important but security is what is most important.  And we have to have security.


VELSHI:  Those comments likely caught the attention of some Republicans on Capitol Hill who are worried about the economic impact of the President`s threat to close down the southern border.  Here`s what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to say earlier today about a possible border shutdown.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER, KENTUCKY:  We certainly have a crisis on the border.  I think the President`s right about that.  Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that sort of thing.


VELSHI:  OK.  Meanwhile, many Republicans are likely relieved by the President`s announcement that he would delay a push to replace Obamacare until after the 2020 election.  The President`s chief came after a conversation with McConnell on Monday.  The Majority Leader said he told the President the Senate would not be talking up comprehensive health care reform before the election.

Back with us tonight, Juana Summers, National Political Reporter for "The Associated Press" and Jeremy Peters, Political Reporter for "The New York Times".  Welcome to both of you.  Thank you for being here.

Juana, let`s start with you.  The closing of the southern border.  There are all sorts of people who have said why he wouldn`t do that.  That`s President Trump redirecting people and misdirecting attention from things.  Remind people he did shut down the government when he didn`t get a deal he wanted and it didn`t end up getting him a better deal.  At this point, there seem to be a lot of conservative interest, a lot of business interest, a lot of Republican interest who are whispering in his ear, this is really not one to joke about.

JUANA SUMMERS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:  You`re absolutely right.  The evidence has certainly been made not just by outside experts but by members of the President`s own party, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell being one of them.  But other things that I`ve noticed in following the President on this particular issue is it is one that going to meet his base.  It is literal what he was running on from Day One when he launched his presidential campaign and it`s something that he has carried on.

Now, he seemed to have left some wiggle room as to whether or not he would actually do that.  And his remarks today, you know, he suggested he was happy with some of the actions that Mexico is taken.  And some of his aides are now looking at partial closures that might ameliorate (ph) some of the potential economic impacts.  Completely shutting down that border.

But the question that I have is whether or not he continues to talk about it and use it as a rallying cry and what politically kind of position that could put Republicans in --

VELSHI:  Right.

SUMMERS:  -- who are listening to Democrats at home and in their district particularly in the House who are campaigning on this issue of immigration and quite a few of them see that as an area where they want to compete with the President, they want to compete with Republicans and show a contrast between how the President views the immigration and the situation at the border.  And how they would --

VELSHI:  So for the first two years of this presidency, Jeremy, there were some sense that what the President goes out and speaks to his animated base at rallies about would be different than what policy would be.  And this, as Juana says, does seem to be one of those instances where the President does not have alignment of thought with Republicans or other conservatives or the business community or most Americans on actually shutting down the southern border.  Maybe we just don`t have enough of an understanding of the consequences of that.  I assume the President does and that his advisors have told him that that would be economically disastrous.

JEREMY PETERS, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Couple of things there.  I think Trump is always going to do what Trump wants to do.  You`re not going to push him into a corner, as all of his advisors who know him well enough by now and known not try to control him will say.  He ultimately will make up his own mind and he resists any efforts to try to push him in a particular direction he doesn`t want to go in.  He`s always been that way.

I think, though, Ali, there is a difference between Republican voters and Trump voters.  Those are not always the same thing.  There`s overlap of course.  But Trump voters by and large will back this President as a matter of tribalism.  They see him as their defender.  They take on his battles and his scars as their own.

And in a situation like this, I think they`re probably not thinking of what the ramifications of a border shut down would be in specific detail.  They`re looking at in the abstract and they think, hey, you know what, he`s being tough.  He`s honoring his promise.  He`s keeping his promise.  There`s a reason Trump travels the country with signs behind him at rally that say promises made, promises kept because that`s all he has to his base.

VELSHI:  And one of those promises made, Juana, was the repeal of Obamacare.  He talked about how he would have a replacement the same day, maybe the same hour if you recall him saying that.  Some of those people who take on Donald Trump battles as their own.  Raymond Ellis (ph) was in West Virginia today, a state that probably stands to lose the most if Obamacare is repealed.

Where even Trump voters said we can`t have a repeal of Medicaid and the repeal of Obamacare which doesn`t allow people to be insured if they have preexisting conditions.  There is no Republican effort underway whatsoever to draft some replacement to Obamacare.  The President seemed to come out with this this week and throw everyone off guard.

SUMMERS:  Absolutely.  And he sense back off of that and a signal that that`s not something he`ll take up until after the 2020 election.  If he wins, he would be in his second term.

The thing that I found really interesting about this and that the President step down and started talking about health care again is in one back in 2017 when his party controlled both the House and Senate.  They tried to do this and they were not successful.


SUMMERS:  And they`re taking on this issue at a moment where there actually divisions among the Republicans running for president on how to best address health care whether that`s a single-payer system or what have you.  And you`ve seen other Republicans, not Trump Republicans necessarily, come out and let (ph) those people say that they are socialist.  They want to push a single-payer government-run system and do away entirely with private insurance that people like.  And that to me seems like a strategy that Republicans could use in the general election depending on who the Democrat is that gets elected, rather than kind of going at this right now.

VELSHI:  Right.

SUMMERS:  And it`s not clear that they would necessarily be successful.

VELSHI:  That`s an interesting point, Jeremy.  Wait until the Democrats have nominated a candidate.  So that person`s got a position on what the new health care plan for Democrats will look like after 2020.  At the moment, the President is now promising something in his second term that he wasn`t able to do in his first term as Juana points out when he controlled both Houses of Congress.

PETERS:  Exactly.  And frankly, Ali, it`s something that no president has been able to do.  No entitlement program benefits to voters, to American citizens has ever been taken away once it`s been given out by Congress.  It just has not happen.  So I think that`s kind of a fantasy that Republicans continue to have.  There`s a reason they haven`t been able to do this since Obamacare was passed in 2010.

So I think when, you know, you`re looking at this in terms of 2020, it`s all sort of interesting questions about what Republicans are going to run on because right now what they have is a message of about how awful and radical and leftist the Democrats are.  That`s what they`re going to say.  That`s what the President is already saying and he`s done very effective job talking to Democrats, this is what they`ve told me, very effective job, of branding aspects of their agenda like the new deal in very negative terms.

This is what he does.  He reduces serious people and serious ideas to punch lines and childish nicknames.  And right now, Democrats are very worried that the way he`s attacking things like the Green New Deal, their efforts to broaden health care coverage, the way they`re doing that is-- the way the Republicans and Trump together are doing it is going to be damaging to whoever the nominee is.  And from here on out, their job as they see it, the Republicans are going to try to tie whoever the nominee is to this idea that the Democratic Party is so far left and so radical that it`s essentially a socialist party.

VELSHI:  Thank you to the two of you tonight for your analysis.  Juana Summers and Jeremy Peters.

Coming up, the untold stories of a First Lady revealed by diaries kept private until now.  Susan Page is back with that story when "The 11th Hour" continues.


VELSHI:  An important new biography is out today giving us a very personal look at the life of one of America`s most iconic matriarchs.  Susan Page who`s back with us in a moment extensively interviewed former First Lady Barbara Bush in the final months of her life.  And remarkably, she was given access to her private diaries.

From them, we are learning never before shared details including about one of the darkest times in her life.  Page writes, "Overwhelmed by pain and loneliness, she contemplated suicide.  She would pull over to the side of the road until the impulse to plow into a tree or drive into an oncoming car had passed."

And from her very last diary entry written 12 days before her death, Barbara Bush wrote -- pardon me, "The doctor came in and had a very sweet talk with me.  As she robbed my arm, she told me the most ghastly thing.  She told me the next time I go home, I will have hospice.  I said, doesn`t that mean I`m dying?  She said yes.  It was like being hit in the solarplex.  I asked her to keep it a secret."

Back with me to talk a moment while I clear my throat is Susan Page, the Author of the remarkable book, "Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty."  I heard you talk about this, Susan, and I heard you talk about when you were first given access to her diaries and what you found when you went through them.  It was much more personal than you expected.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY:  It was extraordinary just having access.  The first time I interviewed her she said, don`t even ask to look at my diaries, you`ll never seen them.  And in the last time I interviewed her, the fifth time I interviewed her, she said I`ve decided to give you access to all my diaries.  And my reaction --

VELSHI:  But you didn`t really see coming.

PAGE:  My words back to her were, are you sure?


PAGE:  Which is not what you should say in that situation but later --

VELSHI:  I`m going to give you documents, take them.

PAGE:  Exactly.  But for whatever reason she gave me access to these diaries which started in 1948.  She kept the diary from 1948 until 12 days before she died.

VELSHI:  In remarkable detail.

PAGE:  In remarkable detail.  And she kept track of who she saw and what she thought about them and how she felt and it was really -- it`s an extraordinary gift to historians.

VELSHI:  This is a woman who went through a great deal.  She was thought of as one of the strongest people around.  In fact, from your book, you write in some ways Barbara Bush the walk of feminism.  She was competent and confident, she had strong opinions and wasn`t afraid to express them.  That said, she didn`t talk the talk.  She refused to call herself a feminist.  And you pressed her on that.

PAGE:  In one of the interviews we went round and round because I think of her as a feminist.  And she expressed feminist principals but refused to say she was a feminist.  And we went round and round and I finally gave up.  I said, you`re being so slippery on this and she said, yes, I am.

And, you know, I think that was a residue of some resentment she felt at the start of the women`s movement.  When women who chose to stay home and raise her children felt they were being ditched by the movement.  She felt that way.  She felt that way when students at Wellesley College signed a petition saying she wasn`t in appropriate choice to give their commencement address in 1990.  In public she was brassy (ph) about that.  In her diaries she makes it clear that she was hurt.

VELSHI:  On equal pay day we recognize the value of women who did make that choice to head their families, to raise their children.  She is a testament to the power of doing that.  Everybody in her family, her husband, her sons, it was very clear that she was, in many ways, the boss of that family.

PAGE:  She was the enforcer.  Jeb Bush, her son told me she was the traffic cop.  She was -- you know, her husband had this wonderful career, building a private business, running for office.  But she was the one who was at home making the trains were on time, making sure their kids got to school, exerting the discipline when that was necessary.  And building extraordinarily close relationships with her children and then later with her grandchildren.

VELSHI:  What did she tell you about Donald Trump?

PAGE:  She did not like Donald Trump and that went back a long way.  In her diary decades ago, she said that Donald Trump was a symbol of the greed of the 1990s.  And she liked him even less when he attacked her son during the 2016 primaries.

And one of the most surprising things she said to me in these interviews, the last interview I had with her, I said, do you still think of yourself as a Republican in the age of Trump?  And she said, no, I think I don`t.

VELSHI:  What a remarkable book.  There are things in here for all of us who thought we knew about Barbara Bush that we just didn`t.  What a remarkable piece of history.  And, of course, we lost here in the last year.  So to be able to have this book out and have you talk to her so close to her passing is remarkable.  Congratulations.  "The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty" by Susan Page.

"The 11th Hour" is back after this.


VELSHI:  We have several reminders for you tonight specially for our time shifting viewers.  You can watch "The 11th Hour" any time you like by downloading the MSNBC app on your phone.  You can listen live each night on SiriusXM satellite radio channel 118.  And the show is also available as a podcast, so there`s no reason why you`d have to miss a single broadcast.

Coming up, across upon, Britain Prime Minister talks postponement again with Parliament still paralyzed over Brexit, when "The 11th Hour" continues.


VELSHI:  The last thing before we go tonight is an update on our close ally across the pond.  It`s been a truly wild week in the United Kingdom.  Say nothing of the group of climate protesters who used yesterday`s Brexit debate in the House of Commons to strip down and protest of climate change.  Twelve of them were arrested for perhaps the most British sounding crime possible, suspicion of outraging public decency.

But it was an unfolding slow motion drama of Brexit that took a very unexpected turn.  After a marathon seven-hour meeting today with her cabinet, British Prime Minister Theresa May came to the microphone and spoke.  She said she is seeking a further delay to the Brexit deadline which was triggered when the United Kingdom formally informed the E.U. of its intend to leave two years ago until a deal can be reached.

And then she said something very unexpected.  That she would sit down with her political opponent, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to try and find a compromise.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:  This debate, this division cannot drag on much longer.  It is putting members of Parliament and everyone else under immense pressure, and it is doing damage to our politics.  So today I am taking action to break the logjam.  I`m offering to sit down with the Leader of the Opposition and to try to agree a plan, that we would both stick to, to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal.


VELSHI:  Now, and put this into some kind of perspective.  Think about Donald Trump turning to Nancy Pelosi to enact a policy that would impact this country and the rest of world for generations.  A partnership between Theresa May and Labour`s Jeremy Corbyn threatens to destroy May`s own Conservative Party, something that was noted in tonight`s coverage in London.

Here`s ITN`s (ph) Julie Etchingham.


JULIE ETCHINGHAM:  There`s no doubt what happened in Downing Street today.  It was momentous potentially tearing the Conservatives apart and heralding (ph) a shift to a softer Brexit and that`s before we even get about the E.U. make of it.


VELSHI:  May`s announcement that she`d work with Labour comes after another member of her own party Conservative M.P. Nick Boles announced on live television during yesterday`s Brexit debate that he`s now ex-Conservative.


NICK BOLES, EX-TORY MEMBER OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT:  My party refuses to compromise.  I regret therefore to announce that I can no longer sit for this party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh Nick.  Nick, don`t go.  Come on.  Return.


VELSHI:  So tonight the future of the United Kingdom and its relationship with the European Union remains unknown.

That is our broadcast for tonight.  You can catch me back here again tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Eastern.  Thank you for being with us and good night from NBC News headquarters in New York.


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