IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump on State visit with United Kingdom. TRANSCRIPT: 6/3/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.

Guests: Tim O`Brien, Rick Wilson, Laura Barron-Lopez

BILL KRISTOL, REPUBLICANS FOR THE RULE OF LAW:  But to simply have a bunch of disconnected hearings and subpoenas, some subpoenas, and not taking seriously as a body, I think there`s a real problem with that from the point of view of the rule of law and constitutional government.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR:  And Bill Kristol gets tonight`s LAST WORD.  Thanks for joining us Bill, really appreciate it.

KRISTOL:  My pleasure, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian William starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight, Donald Trump started his day by insulting the mayor of London as he landed in London.  He ended the day with the all pageantry Buckingham Palace could muster, a state dinner thrown by the queen.  Having already opined that the U.K. should crash out of the E.U., tomorrow he gets to meet with the prime minister who`s been done in by Brexit.

And while the President is away, Congress comes back in the gears of the investigation are grinding again tonight with a lot of attention now focused squarely on the President`s loyal attorney general.

And our look at the field among the Democrats tonight after a number of the candidates were tested this weekend, and as the first of the seasoned Miami debates become more real as "The 11th Hour" gets underway on this Monday night.

Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.  Day 865 of this Trump administration.  It`s now 4:00 a.m. in London where the President is about to start day two of his state visit to the U.K.  And while today was about ceremony, tomorrow is about politics, a meeting with the out going Prime Minister Theresa May and a news conference which will be interesting now that Trump has injected himself directly into british politics.

Tonight`s state dinner allowed the President perhaps a distraction from his problems back home.  In their remarks at Buckingham Palace tonight, the President and queen talked about what`s always been called the modern era of the special relationship.  This one forged in World War II.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF UNITED KINGDOM AND THE OTHER COMMONWEALTH REALMS:  After the shared sacrifices of the Second World War, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions to ensure that the horrors of conflict would never be repeated.  Tonight, we celebrate an alliance that`s helped to ensure the safety and prosperity of both our peoples for decades.  And which I believe will endure for many years to come.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This week we commemorate a mighty endeavor of righteous nations and one of the greatest under takings in all of history.

The bond between our nations was forever sealed in that great crusade.  As we honor our shared victory inheritance, we affirm the common values that will unite as long into the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  By the way, the queen`s message there of global institutions about as pointed as she ever gets.

The President is fighting with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.  This weekend, The Guardian published a piece by the mayor in which he said, "Donald Trump is just one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat.  That`s why it`s so un-British to be rolling out the red carpet this week for a formal state visit for a president whose divisive behavior flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon equality, liberty and religious freedom."

Today, the President blasted the mayor on social media and we quote, "Sadiq Khan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as mayor of London, has been foolishly nasty to the visiting President of the United States, by far, the most important ally of the United Kingdom.  He is a stone cold loser.

Khan reminds me very much of our very dominant competent mayor of NYC, Bill de Blasio, who has also do a horrible job only half his height."

As we mentioned this trip comes as Trump faces new political battles and mind fields back at home and here is the news on that front.  House Democrats are not backing off the investigations or oversight of his administration even as they wrestle with the growing calls for an impeachment inquiry.  The House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the Mueller report one week from today.

The special counsel isn`t expected to be there but John Dean will, former White House counsel under Richard Nixon, famously the star witness for the Watergate hearings.  Sources tell NBC News the full House will vote next Tuesday on whether or not to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena for the full Mueller report.

Trump`s threat of tariffs on products from China or Mexico as well as the risk of a wider trade war has a number of lawmakers on both sides of the isle worried about the impact of the economy.  Those same members of Congress are also facing pressure to come up with a budget and by the way, to raise the debt ceiling before the recess in July and August.  We can see that one coming.

There`s also the latest controversy created by the President`s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.  Here is what he told Jonathan Swan of Axios when he was asked about his response to the e-mail summoning him to that now famous June 2016 meeting with the Russians at Trump Tower.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN SWAN, AXIOS POLITICAL REPORTER:  Why didn`t you pick up the phone and call the DBI?

It was an e-mail that said Russia -- that said the Russian government was trying to help.  But why didn`t you do that?

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT:  Jonathan, we`re in a place where people are playing Monday morning quarterback and they are being so self-righteous.  Let me put you in my shoes at that time, OK?  I`m running three companies, I`m helping run the campaign.  I get an e-mail that says show up at 4:00 instead of 3:00 to a meeting that I`ve been told about earlier, I didn`t know what the hell was about --

SWAN:  It had Russia in the subject.

KUSHNER:  Again, I would get about 250 e-mails a day.  And so I literally show up at 4:00, I show up at 4:00 --

SWAN:  Would you call the FBI if it happened again?

KUSHNER:  I don`t know.  It`s hard to do hypotheticals.  But the reality is, is that we were not given anything that was salacious.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  Here for our lead off discussion on a Monday night, Annie Karni, White House Reporter for "The New York Times" and as of tonight we`re so happy to say newly minted political contributor and analyst for this network.  Two more of our Robert Costa, National Political Reporter for "The Washington Post," moderator of "Washington Week" on PBS.  And Tim O`Brien, Executive Editor of Bloomberg Opinion who also happens to be the author of "Trump Nation, The Art of Being the Donald."  Good evening and welcome to you all.

Annie, are there any deliverables that are supposed to come home with this President to the United States or as we`ve come to know it, just the usual?

ANNIE KARNI, THE NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE REPORTER:  So far, it`s just the usual.  We`ll see tomorrow he has meetings with May.  He`s going to have a meeting with Macron and he`s meeting with the Irish prime minister, too.  So, there is more than just pumping (ph) circumstance to this visit.

But so far what we`ve seen play out is all most the same playbook we saw in the trip he just took to Tokyo.  Where if you`re just watching what he`s doing on the ground and the words that are coming out of his mouth so far, it`s all according to what he`s supposed to be doing.  His speech at the dinner was appropriate.

And there is another track playing at the same time, which is what he`s doing on Twitter, which is petty political fights, which is talking about politics at home and politics in the place that he`s visiting and it`s like a two-track thing where he is seem -- appears to be distracted from all of the pageantry that`s there for him and he appears to be a man who can`t focus on exactly what`s at hand.

WILLIAMS:  Robert Costa, the Queen of England often seen, rarely heard from as I said about as pointed as she ever gets talking about the global institutions that came about in the wake of World War II, i.e. NATO that are still proud and functioning to this day.  You, I know, have noticed a commonality of the President`s foreign travel.  What is that and what could go wrong when he takes questions tomorrow?

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER:  We wrote about it in tonight`s post for the paper on Tuesday about how the President often makes controversial remarks before he heads to a foreign country and then he makes controversial remarks when he`s there but he often doesn`t have a political project and ideological project he`s mounting.

For example, with this trip to the U.K. he has politicians who are sympathetic to the Brexit movement, like Boris Johnson, the former foreign minister, Nigel Farage, the head of the Brexit Party.  He`s not scheduled to meet with them even though he has made supportive comments, controversial comments and interviews ahead of this trip.  But it will be interesting to see tomorrow what the President has to say in that press conference with the prime minister who is out going, does he really lead in to supporting someone like Boris Johnson to be her successor.

WILLIAMS:  Tim, I want to play for something that transpired with Nicole Wallace this afternoon at 4:00 p.m.  This is Jeremy Bash`s assessment of the tableau in London today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY BASH, FMR. CIA CHIEF OF STAFF:  There in Buckingham Palace tonight, you have a study in contrast.  You have the Queen of England, she is the one individual who represents history of nobility, of patriotism, she`s the one individual who represents tradition and honor and he represents individual one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  Jeremy get it about right there?

TIM O`BRIEN, BLOOMBERG OPINION EXECUTIVE EDITOR:  I think he got it pretty close.  I think the thing to always remember about Donald Trump is he`s alternately attracted to pump and circumstance but he hates institutions.  He`s profoundly anti authoritarian.

And I think when Bob said earlier, you know, that he likes to pop balloons before he goes off on foreign visits, he does this routinely, and I think he actually does it without a strategy agenda other than to cause trouble and draw attention to himself.

When you look at any of those reels today of him at Buckingham Palace, he actually look like the guy who got off the tour bus accidentally, gotten up stairs, got into the party and then was suddenly bummed out that he had to stick around and he doesn`t like putting on a tuxedo.  He doesn`t like formal affairs, but he does love drawing the attention of the establishment.

WILLIAMS:  Will he ever show a sense of stewardship?  Will he ever represent us on an overseas trip?

O`BREIN:  Well, I think someone who has a sense of stewardship and leadership and build strong teams is so is typically thinking about someone other than themselves and Donald Trump is a profound narcissist.  Usually the first thing on his mind when he get into a room is what in it for me and how can I play this to great effect?  He`s a very effective messenger because of that.  But he tends not to be someone who`s either parental or a steward.

WILLIAMS:  Annie Karni, the Jonathan Swan interview Jared Kushner also in the 4:00 p.m. hour earlier today, Nicole Wallace said she found Kushner to come off as weak and mealy-mouthed.  What has the reaction been in House?

KARNI:  In House, it was not as negative as what we`ve seen with the reaction via on Twitter and elsewhere.  What I was told was that Jared was actually has been wanting to do something like this for a long time.  He wants to get past some of these questions by Deutsche Bank about the June 4th meeting, about his security clearance.

He has wanted an outlet where he can just sit down, answer all these questions so that in the next interview, they don`t come up and he can say I`ve already answered that.  So he was eager to do a sit-down.

And the view from inside was that it reinforced what everyone already thought.  They said people who hate Jared already -- will probably continue to hate Jared after this.  People who think he`s in there trying to do his best probably think well, he answered the questions.

So he -- I didn`t hear a huge disappointment or huge thinking that this was a horrible mistake to put Jared down with Jonathan Swan amends that.

WILLIAMS:  And Annie, I know you have new reporting tonight about his role in 2020 already?

WILLIAMS:  Yes.  So if you think Jared doesn`t have enough portfolios yet, he is expanding into another one.  He is kind of becoming the point person on the 2020 campaign and the way that`s manifesting itself most is that he convened a dinner in the White House a few weeks ago claiming that there is a problem with the status of the fund raising for the reelection campaign and that he needed to step in and fix.

And this was controversial in part because the RNC run by Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and others at the dinner said there really isn`t any problem here, we`re hitting our goals.  And Donald Trump who was there actually left the dinner before it was over saying I don`t really care about this as long as we`re breaking records, I don`t care.

So, but it was seen as another way that Jared is trying to take over and run point on yet another massive portfolio in addition to Middle East peace and immigration and other things he`s overseeing now.

WILLIAMS:  I was just going to say, you`d think Middle East peace would be enough for any one man.

KARNI:  Yes.

WILLIAMS:  Robert Costa, snap us back into the reality of Capitol Hill and what awaits the President upon his return with Congress now back at least marginally on the job, a potential vote against Don McGahn and Barr, possibility that both of those gentlemen will be held in contempt of Congress.  And the appearance, I imagine it will be dramatic after so many years of one, John Dean.

COSTA:  It will be dramatic but this is a House Democratic majority that`s not just playing a one-note tune.  They want to make sure they are putting an emphasis on issues like health care, infrastructure, immigration because they know based on polling both public and private that they are reviewing, that voters want to hear about more than investigations.  But their party and many Americans want to see an aggressive posture on investigations.

But it`s about balancing that aggression in terms of scrutiny of the Trump administration and the President`s conduct with the impeachment question and not moving so quickly until some of these investigations flower a bit more in terms of the witnesses and the documents that come to the hands of House Democrats.  And so it`s a balancing act for people like Speaker Pelosi and leader Hoyer and they`re trying to give their committee chairs as much operating room as they can without having the process dominate the entire House majority.

WILLIAMS:  Tim, this is from The Daily Beast tonight.  Pro-impeachment House Democrats speaking of whom have begun recruiting fellow lawmakers to their camp in an effort to put more pressure on the House Speaker.  Lawmakers are hoping to build a critical mass of members that will force Pelosi to choose between defying the majority of her own caucus or moving forward with a process of removing the President from office, a step that has not been taken on in more than 20 years."  Consequential.

O`BRIEN:  It`s consequential, but there are still a long road that tow there.  That I think she`s going to need to get to 220, 225 members supporting this.  And right now, I think it`s several dozen.  So there is still a lot of work to be done if there is going to be a big majority forge there.  That`s going to get behind in impeachment.  And I think there is still a lot of Democrats in the House who are queazy about it.

I also think that they can make a lot of hay out of the committee hearings.  With that I mean walk all the way up to the front door of an impeachment.  And I think that Pelosi is probably hoping for them to strike that balance.  There`s a lot of work to be done on Trump`s finances, Trump`s taxes, his charitable organization, the inauguration, the Southern District still has an investigation in play.

All of this stuff is very meaty and it still in its early stages.  And I think some of that could come to the floor.

WILLIAMS:  One each to Robert and Annie.  Robert, first of all, how will we know, how will the speaker know when that rubicund is crossed of overwhelming public support saying nothing of her caucus?

COSTA:  They have to figure out how to paint a picture for the American people about the President`s intent, in terms of obstruction of justice.  The Mueller report only goes so far in making in any kind of firm conclusions and lays out different episodes.  Now, it`s up to the House Democrats through these committees to fill in the gaps, to bring someone like Don McGahn not just to have his testimony to Robert Mueller and interview with Mueller reflected in a written report.  But to see if he can actually come testify on Capitol Hill and tell the story in his own words, what he believed the President`s intent was in those direct conversations.

And that`s the way it becomes more than just a document for the American people, it`s a story that they could engage with and understand at a deeper level.  But most House Democratic leaders were speaking to "The Post" saying their party is not there yet in explaining all that and having that level of investigation and witnesses who can help explain it all.

WILLIAMS:  And Annie, do you have any reporting on whether it`s a femoral or seen by the traveling White House and ocean a way as a clear and present danger, the kind foot step factor back home in Washington?

KARNI:  Well, the thing about this traveling White House is that usually presidents use foreign trips to distract from their problems at home and use them as sort of a reset.  And we`ve seen in Tokyo here so far the President is going back to Japan this summer to Osaka, to the G20.  So far, we`ve seen that he doesn`t actually use these to distract, he continues to talk about his political problems back home, to talk about impeachment.

So, it`s on his mind.  It`s not going away, and he`s not using these sojourns abroad to take a break or to recast the narrative around himself.

WILLIAMS:  With great thanks to our big three on a Monday night, to Annie Karni, Robert Costa, Tim O`Brien, greatly appreciate having you on the broadcast tonight.

And coming up for us the latest on this 2020 race including what happened to one Democratic candidate that might have seemed like the longest two minutes of his young political life.

And later, a surprising update to a story out of North Korea we told you about here last week as "The 11th Hour" is just getting underway on this Monday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  If you`re reelected president of the United States, what would you say to Vladimir Putin the first time you met him?  Because you will get to meet him?

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D) SOUTH BEND, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well don`t mess with our elections for one.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  South bend, Indiana Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was also pressed on the issue of impeachment during that Hardball town hall tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUTTIGIEG:  First of all, I believe that the President deserves to be impeached.  (INAUDIBLE).  I would also say even though I have revealed myself to be ambitious and that I`m a young man running for president.  That I also would think twice before offering strategic advice to Nancy Pelosi.

MATTHEWS:  Mayor, I got a followup, it needs -- it`s to sort to nail you down.

BUTTIGIEG:  Yes.

MATTHEWS:  If you were voting in Congress right now in impeachment, would you vote to impeach?

BUTTIGIEG:  Yes, I would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  Most of the 2020 presidential candidates were in California over the weekend to speak at the state`s Democratic convention in San Francisco.

Let`s establish something here.  Let`s just say the gathering of California Democrats tends to skew a bit to the left side of the political ledger, more on that coming up.

Front runner Joe Biden did not attend, he was in Ohio speaking at the human rights campaign gala.  A few other Democrats also took part in moveon.org`s forum where these were these scary moments for Senator Kamala Harris.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hey, hey.  Hey, hey, hey, hey.  Hey, hey.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, hi.  Hi.

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Wait a minute, sir.

(OFF-MIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Asking for your intention to a much bigger idea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you so much, sir for your big idea but we want to make sure that we are able to get through this.  OK.  It`s OK, folks.  It`s OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  Very entitled animal rights activist.  Senator`s husband was among the people who helped to remove the man there on stage.  He later posted this on social media.  "We are good, I love Kamala Harris and would do anything for her."

Back on our broadcast tonight, Rick Wilson a veteran and Republican strategist whose views about our 45th President are best encapsulated in the title of his book, "Everything Trump Touches Dies".  And Laura Barron- Lopez is back with us, National Political Reporter for Politico.

Good evening and welcome to you both.  Rick, do you think in Mayor Pete, there is a guy who could at most take on but at least flummox Donald Trump.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  I think here are few things about Mayor Pete that would cause Donald Trump of disturbance.  He`s not really a guy who seems to respond to the Trump name calling and the Trump, you know, nicknaming and things like that.  And there`s also something else.  He`s a guy who went and served the military.

WILLIAMS:  Yes, there is that.

WILSON:  His bone spurs didn`t get in the way --

WILLIAMS:  Yes.

WILSON:  -- for going to serve in his generational war.  And so I think that`s something that Trump is always -- it`s one of the reasons Trump always hated John McCain and hated George H.W. Bush, because they were examples of physical courage that he could never rival.

Now I think the other thing about Pete that is appealing to a lot of folks is he`s very clearly very intelligent, very quick on his feet, very articulate.

WILLIAMS:  There is the whole road scholar thing.

WILSON:  There`s the whole road of scholar.  Those are the guys who is said to be brighter than the average bear.  And so I think that would bother Trump in some ways because if he can`t just go out and make, you know, jokes and mug around the stage in the same way that he got away with all the Republican candidates I think.  He`s an impressive performer.  Whether that gets him home is another question.

WILLIAMS:  Also, Trump`s first pass as a nickname for him generationally was just -- people had to rush to Google to look up who Mr. Newman was.

WILSON:  Correct.  And, you know, we`re creeping into that higher into the ark --

WILLIAMS:  Yes.

WILSON:  -- there is a demographic curve I hate to say it.  But, you know, for us, that`s like a memory and it sort of relevant from our childhoods.  But for the vast majority of Americans, it was just, you know, so out of touch with there -- it`s a reminder Donald Trump is something like 400 years old, so.

WILLIAMS:  Hey, Laura, let`s talk about this gathering in California over the weekend and as we do, I`m going to play the clips of the Democrats who came closest and this was a first for this early, early race to mentioning Joe Biden, though, not by name.  We`ll talk about this on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  There is a debate among presidential candidates who have spoken to you here in this room and those who have chosen for whatever reason not to be in this room.  We cannot go back to the old ways we have got to go forward with a new and progressive agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  OK.  So that was just Bernie.  Laura, what is it we`re seeing at work here?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, POLITICO NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER:  So, if you`re looking at the polls and if you`re looking at who is dominating media coverage, it`s Joe Biden and everybody else.  That`s the way the race looks right now.  So if you`re Bernie Sanders or if you`re Elizabeth Warren who also at the California gathering made a light ribbing of Biden, then you want to separate yourself as much as possible from him and to create that contrast.

So for Sanders, it`s trying to use Biden as that establishment foil and it still trying to project as though he`s the leading progressive.  That`s a lot harder this time around though because there`s 23 other Democrats in the race.

And Warren, we`ve seen her come out a bit forcefully in trying to strike that contrast specifically when it comes to her stance on Wall Street and big banks and saying that she`s been opposite Biden on this issue for decades.

WILLIAMS:  And Rick, I want to play for you now the long day that was had by two of the other Democrats when they mentioned a certain issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER, (D) COLORADO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer.  I was reelected.

FMR. REP. JOHN DEALANEY, (D) MARYLAND, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Medicare for all may sound good, but it`s actually not good policy nor is it good politics.  I`m telling you.  I`m telling you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS:  Just to review, that`s a former democratically elected governor of Colorado, --

WILSON:  Right.

WILLIAMS:  -- former three-term member of Congress from Maryland, the second Delaney was booed for a sustained one-minute and then they continued to ruin his day.

WILSON:  Yes.

WILLIAMS:  These are guys who just came out against socialism and Medicare for all as a fix for health care.  What does that Rick Wilson show us about this gathering in California?

WILSON:  Well, first off, let`s accept that California`s Democratic Party is the wokest of the woke.  They are as far to the left as they could be, it`s a one party monocle (ph) during this day.  The Republican Party is dead there completely.  And so they give way to all their impulses.  They really don`t care if those things play politically across the nation.

California is a forgone conclusion.  So they feel like they have a luxury of trying to push these guys to the left.

Now, does Medicare for all work as an issue at some point?  Maybe.  In some places, maybe.  But the Democrats have to play on a map called the Electoral College.

It`s not about what makes California happy, it`s the Electoral College.  They got to go back and recapture let say what Trump took.  They got to back and try to win Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida.  They got to go out and do some very hard work there.

And being as far to the left as California Democrats find is comfortable is not always salable in states that are not California.

WILLIAMS:  And Laura, he is so right.  So many people especially some older folks in the Democratic Party are warning if you embrace the far left, you will hand reelection to Donald Trump and the party has to go after electability in this race.

BARRON-LOPEZ: This is the raging debate, Brian, that Democrats have been having this entire cycle and it started even after 20 -- immediately after 2016 and it`s whether or not Democrats just want someone that can beat Trump and right now Biden seems to be winning that argument and claiming that mantle but there is opposite which is that maybe we shouldn`t go the route we always go, which is with another older white male and with some return to normalcy.  Maybe Democrats should go towards a more progressive candidate and so that`s the argument that people like Sanders and Warren are trying to make as well as Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, which is that we don`t need more of the same, we need to shake things up.

WILLIAMS:  To Rick Wilson, to Laura Barron-Lopez, our thanks for coming on and explaining what it just was that we saw this weekend in American politics, especially in the Democratic Party.  Appreciate it.  It will take two nights and a scorecard but a reminder here.  Democratic presidential hopefuls are all hoping to make their case, make their mark at the Miami debates in just a few weeks.

Steve Kornacki is here to kick off a new series of reports for us leading us right up to those two critical days of debate.  That when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS:  The first Democratic presidential debates here ion MSNBC are now a little more than three weeks ago.  The two-day event, June 26th and 27th is taking place in Miami.  Something tells me we may mention it a time or two between now and then.

Tonight, we`re launching a brand-new series called the Road to Miami.  Every night our new, not our new Steve Kornacki, I mean he`s young but he`s been around for awhile.  Our own Steve Kornacki will be at the big board breaking down everything you need to know about the road to the White House.  He has chosen to report on one slice of our country, state by state, traveling the teaming interstate 95 all the way south to Florida.

Tonight, we begin at the beginning with the northern most state along that route, the great state of Maine.  So back at the big board tonight, our national political correspondent, the new Steve Kornacki. Hey, Steve.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Brian.  That`s right.  Well, here we go.  Beginning the road to Miami as you said, I-95 in the State of Maine and in fact, I`ve even got a snack with me here in the car for the trip because Maine, it`s interesting of course known for lobster on the coast but inland where I-95 starts, it`s actually something else.  Something you may not know about Maine but the kids in the northern most county of Maine, Aroostook County, the county they call it there, they get something called the potato break.  Three weeks every year they get out of school to harvest potatoes.

And think about that maybe the next time you`re enjoying potato chips as I am on this trip down I-95.  I`ll put those aside though because let`s talk politics.  Let`s talk about the significance of Maine as we turn towards 2020.  And of course, if you look back at the electoral map, everyone remembers this from 2016.  Maine stands out, doesn`t it?  Maine is the only state in the country that`s got those lines going through it like that.

Why is that?  Because Remember in Maine unlike any other state, they actually had a split electoral vote in 2016 so this is at two congressional districts in Maine.  Remember, Maine one of the only two states that gives out the electoral votes by congressional districts.

And so this is what ended up happening here.  Along the coast is geographically smaller district here.  This is southern Maine.  This is Portland, the suburbs outside Portland.  You get tend to have higher incomes here, more college degrees here and more Democratic friendly electorate.

In this part of the state, Hillary Clinton won by 15 points in 2016.  And then you`ve got the second congressional district that includes Aroostook County that I was just talking about where you get potato farms, that includes a lot of rural western northern part of the state.  This is a much more blue collar area.  This has one of the highest concentrations without college degrees of any congressional district you`re going to find and in this part of the state, Donald Trump won by 10 points.

So, Trump got the electoral vote for the second district.  Clinton got the electoral vote for the first district then they added them together to get the statewide winner and Hillary Clinton did win the state by three points in 2016.  So she got three electoral votes, Trump got one from Maine.  This is very interesting for 2020 because Trump and the Republicans look at this and say, hey, we came close to winning Maine out right.  We were only three points behind.  Maybe we could take that one electoral vote we got in 2016 and make it four, excuse me, make it three in 2020.  Win that district, win this state.

You got three of the four and of course, Democrats look at this and say, well, we won the state in 2016 and that congressional district that Donald Trump won, hey, we the Democrats won that back in the 2018 midterms so maybe we can get all four electoral votes in 2020.  So small state, very interesting way of doing the electoral math, Brian, and some interesting variables there in 2020 for Maine.

WILLIAMS:  Thank you for that.  Thanks for injecting just the idea of potato chips into our diet at 11:38 Eastern time. Steve Kornacki, we`re looking forward to these reports.  Thank you very much.

KORNACKI:  Thanks.

WILLIAMS:  Coming up for us, foreign intrigue from the darkest country on the planet as a big name in North Korea who was reportedly purged is back in the picture when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS:  That man a top lieutenant to Kim Jong-un is either back from a short purge or was never purged at all, even though there were reports that he had been sent away as punishment for the failed nuclear summit with President Trump.

As reported on this broadcast, a South Korean newspaper first reported last week and we quote, Kim Jong-un`s erstwhile right-hand man, Kim Yong-chol, was sent to a labor and reeducation camp.  But then Korean State media shared this photo today.  Make of it what you will but said to show Kim Yong-chol at a public performance sitting in the same row as the dictator.

It`s not clear if he was ever sent on even a mini purge or if reports that a second nuclear envoy was executed for his role in the failed summit are indeed true at all.

Now "The Washington Post" explains the mystery this way.  The reemerging of Kim Yong-chol, a powerful hard line former spy chief and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo`s counterpart in talks with the United States under lines how opaque the North Korean regime remains to the outside world.

The only reason for Americans really to remember Kim Yong-chol is this, he`s the guy who delivered the giant letter from Kim Jong-un to our grinning president.  Trump later talked about how beautiful a letter it was.  The envelope was the size of one of those retirement cards that gets signed by everyone in the break room at work, but we digress.

Back with us tonight to talk all things North Korea, Sue Mi Terry, Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, former senior analyst at the CNIA (ph) who was in charge of this region while on the White House National Security Council.

Sue, do we believe the new photo first of all?

SUE MI TERRY, KOREA CHAIR AT THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES:   Yes, I do believe the new photo but that doesn`t really disprove Kim Yong-chol has not been purged because in North Korea, many top officials get purged and get sent to reeducation camp and they come back.

Right now number two guy, Char Yong He (ph), if you remember, he has been also purged on the Kim Jong-un sent to reeducation camp.  In fact, his sister and her husband has been executed but not his number two guy under Kim Jong-un.

So, these things happen all the time in North Korea but what is factual is that Kim Yong-chol has not been in the scene or it has not been seen for 51 days since the Hanoi summit.  He has not accompanied Kim Jong-un to Vladivostok to meet with Putin.

So that was all unusual.  So my point is, he could have been purged and he could have been reinstated because all western media has been talking about purges and, you know, Kim Jong-un said, you know want, I want to look like a normal leader.  I don`t want to look like this weird person.  I`m going to bring this guy back.

But the fact that Kim Yong-chol was not sitting next to Kim Jong-un or sort of sitting down the row also says that he has not in a different situation, like before he was sitting next to Kim Jong-un.  So, I would say he could have been purged and he could have been reinstated.  That is not unusual in North Korea.

WILLIAMS:  What happens at a reeducation camp?  I`m assuming there are no camp counselors and you don`t sleep in a log cabin.  What goes on there?

TERRY:  So, there are labor camps.  There`s gulags.  There were political prisoners are sent.  There are some 120,000 people in political prison camps.  They are separate from the regular criminal system.

That said, you know, at this level of high level, it depends on the crime committed.  It could be hard labor or it could just be, you know, you sit there and you think about loyalty to the regime and you`re back and at some point get reinstated.

Remember Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong-un`s uncle --

WILLIAMS:  Yes.

TERRY:  -- was assassinated.  Jang Song-thaek himself has been purged several times under his father.  So, this kind of, you know, checking people`s loyalties, sending people to camps and reeducation, all of that is all part of how North Korea works.

What is also, though, I have to say is that no matter what, Hanoi Summit was epic failure for Kim Jong-un, it was a huge embarrassment for him, for him to travel to 65 hours on the train ride there and another 65 hours back without having gotten anything back, somebody had to be a fall guy.  Somebody has to take blame.

So, there is something going on.  Also Kim Hang Cher (ph), Steve Biggs` (ph) counterpart, he`s also been missing.  He`s still missing and there is some report whether he`s been executed or he`s been purged.  We don`t know.  But he`s also out of the picture.

WILLIAMS:  Wow, this is all so sad, it`s fascinating to watch what we think we can see from the outside and in this case, something they wanted, they wanted us to see this picture.

TERRY:  Yes.  They wanted to make a statement.  But it`s also interesting that he`s covering his face like this.

WILLIAMS:  Yes.

TERRY:  That`s also unusual.  We don`t know why.  I mean I don`t know if he was beaten up or why is he covering his face and why is that picture being released?  This is what we call North Korea hardest of hard counties for a reason.

WILLIAMS:  Wow.

TERRY:  It`s hard to figure this out.  But, somebody has still had to take the blame for Hanoi failure.

WILLIAMS:  Sue Mi Terry is going to stay with us over this break.  When we come back, a follow-up to a prediction she made in this very room a week ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS:  The United States has no plans to resume those joint military exercises with South Korea, despite a breakdown in nuclear negotiations with the North.  "New York Times" putting it this way, quote, acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Sunday he did not see a need to restore the large-scale joint military exercises that the United States and South Korea suspended over the past year as a concession to North Korea.

This decision comes despite North Korea`s continued missile testing, which brings us back to our guest in the studio here tonight, the veteran North Korea analyst, Sue Mi Terry.

Sue, we wanted to ask you about something that you said that kind of silenced this entire room.  You made a prediction that before the end of the summer, we would likely see a medium-range missile test by the North that would fly over Japan.  It`s a weighty prediction and it got our attention.  Tell us why you believe that.

TERRY:  Because what North Koreans want is maximum sanctions relief and that`s what Kim Jong un-un asked in Hanoi Summit.  And the whole talks fell apart because we were not ready to give that.

So, if the U.S. is not going to give sanctions relief, North Korea has no choice but to continually escalate.  I would call it controlled provocation and controlled escalation.  They`re not going to test intercontinental ballistic missile or nuclear test because they said Trump administration has until the end of the year to change their mind on that.

And Kim Jong-un knows if there`s an ICBM test, intercontinental ballistic missile test or nuclear test that`s going to be a red line for the Trump administration.  But anything short of that, they will have to continually escalate tension and pump up (ph) the pressure so that Trump administration will return to talks with concessions.

This is what they do.  This is their playbook.  Provoke, create tensions to get concessions.  This is what they`ve been doing for 25 years.  Kim Jong- un is following his father and grandfather`s footsteps on this.  I don`t see that he`s a changed person.  People say, wait, maybe he`s a different guy from his father and grandfather.  It`s already almost the anniversary of the Singapore Summit and we know that North Korea have not move any -- you know, made any kind of progress in talks of denuclearization.

WILLIAMS:  There have been joint military exercises.  This is the work of your life, all during your adult life, until now.  Are you surprised they`ve gone away with a whimper and not a bang?

TERRY:  Well, I am surprised, because I think this is something that we just gave away without getting anything back from --

WILLIAMS:  No leverage.

TERRY:  And if you remember, this is something that President Trump decided to do in Singapore without even coordinating with our allies.  We did not coordinate with South Korea when President Trump just decided to give this to Kim Jong-un on a promise that Kim Jong-un would take steps to denuclearize, and of course, North Korea has not done a single thing in terms of denuclearization and we have just given away a major leverage.

WILLIAMS:  And that is just that --

TERRY:  Readiness issue.

WILIAMS:  Yes, yes, and communications in case the worst happens.  Sue Mi Terry, thank you so much for always being available to visit us in the studio and for your expertise.

Another break for us, and then coming up, sometimes when people talk about a special relationship, it really means they`d like to see other people.  The story and a preview of tomorrow when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS:  Last thing before we go here tonight.  75 years ago tonight, the Americans and the Brits were preparing to take back Europe from the Nazis.  Something we later knew to call D-Day.  It`s called a special relationship for a reason, and the friendship was never closer than it was between Roosevelt and Churchill, it was never stronger than the days after the war when Britain and its friends in the free world had prevailed.

It`s a living testament to the queen of England that her family was so welcoming today.  The visit by the American president went so thorough well.  After all, prior to touchdown in London, the president upped his call for Britain to leave the E.U., he attacked the mayor of London and Meghan Markle, let`s not forget, the American whose infant son is now seventh in line to the throne.

Donald Trump`s unfavorability rating in the U.K. is somewhere around 72 percent right now.  Tomorrow, outside of the warm embrace of the royal family, he may well feel it.  Here are just some of the people and slogans and public works of protest art greeting him since his arrival there.

One group has launched a prolific public trolling and taunting campaign of the American president.  Given the reception the president has been getting around by helicopter and not motorcade, which may be a very good idea for tomorrow when a quarter million Brits plan to fill the streets on work day accompanied by the now famous Trump balloon to protest the visiting American.

While the relationship remains special, a friendship is under strain.

That is our broadcast for this Monday night, as we start off a new week.  Thank you so very much for being here with us and good night from our NBC News headquarters here in New York.

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