The Washington Post reports that highly classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago included information on foreign government`s nuclear capabilities. A Trump-appointed federal judge approved the former President`s request for a special master. And it was the first day of school for students in Uvalde following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary back in May.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: That is tonight`s "LAST WORD". THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight, documents at Mar-a-Lago included information on a foreign country`s nuclear weapons, so says breaking news from the Washington Post. Only the president and a few others would ever be able to see these documents. Damage to national security could be severe.
Then, NBC News reports on a scandal millions of dollars in federal tax money intended to help poor people redirected to fun speeches by a former football star. Those features never even happened.
Plus, an emotional day in Uvalde, Texas, as students returned to school for the first time since the massacre as THE 11TH HOUR we`ll get underway on this Tuesday night.
Good evening. Once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle and we begin with major breaking news in the Justice Department`s investigation into those documents seized at former President Trump`s Florida club. The Washington Post reports they included highly classified information about a foreign government`s nuclear program, quote, a document describing a foreign government`s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities was found by FBI agents who searched the former president`s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month. According to people familiar with the matter.
Some of the CS documents detailed top secret U.S. operations, so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Earlier, one of the reporters who broke this story said the discovery of this document is huge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: We don`t know how much we don`t know which foreign government is involved. We have some theories. But we published what we can establish with great certainty and that is that among the record seized, there were details so classified. So concerning that it was covered by this classification material that relates to a foreign government`s nuclear capacity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Carol Leonnig went on to explain that fewer than a dozen or so people will have access to these sorts of records, and that no one in Mar- a-Lago should have been allowed anywhere near them. The Post says the FBI and DOJ have not commented on the papers report.
Not long ago, Trump`s spokesperson posted a response accusing the post of working with the Biden administration to leak information from the FBI and the DOJ. There are no facts backing up that point.
And just a few weeks ago, Trump called reporting that he possessed nuclear documents a quote, hoax. Well, this new reporting comes just one day after a federal judge that was appointed by Donald Trump sided with his request for a special master to review with the FBI seized.
That judge Aileen Cannon, also temporarily stopped federal agents from reviewing the materials until the independent reviews done. DOJ now has to decide whether to appeal and risk a long legal fight or follow the judge`s order to work with Trump`s lawyers and submit a list of potential special master candidates by this Friday.
This afternoon, one time Trump loyalist and former Attorney General Bill Barr criticized the judge`s ruling, saying it is time for the department he wants led to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: The opinion I think was wrong and I think the government should appeal it. It`s deeply flawed in a number of ways. I don`t think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up but even if it does, I don`t see it fundamentally changing the trajectory.
The government has very strong evidence of what it really needs to determine whether charge is appropriate, which is government documents were taken, classified information was taken and not handled appropriately. And they are looking into and there`s some evidence to suggest that they were deceived. The law here I think is pretty clear that the Justice Department should be able to review these documents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: The New York Times reports a number of legal experts are now questioning Judge Cannon`s decision. With that let`s get smarter with the help of our leadoff panel tonight, Phil Rucker, a Pulitzer Prize winning deputy national editor at the Washington Post, Neal Katyal, Department of Justice veteran and former acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration. He has argued dozens of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and Frank Figliuzzi joins us former FBI Assistant Director for Counter Intelligence.
Phil, I have to turn to you first because it is your paper to be the first to report on possibility of nuclear information at Mar-a-Lago three weeks ago. What can you tell us?.
PHIL RUCKER, THE WASHINGTON POST DEPUTY NATIONAL EDITOR: Well, Stephanie, this is a report by my colleague Stefan Baron and Carol Leonnig, that among the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago by the FBI was a document pertaining to the nuclear capabilities of a foreign government. We don`t know which foreign government. We don`t know specifically what the document detailed beyond the nuclear capabilities, but it was such a closely guarded document, by classification level, that it has caused a great deal of concern within the intelligence and law enforcement community.
RUHLE: Describe to us, Phil, how sensitive this document is. I mean, only a very few people outside the President would even be able to access it.
RUCKER: That`s right. It`s accessible by the president, by people at the cabinet level of the government. And that`s really it. And this is a document that`s supposed to be kept under lock and key. It`s among the nation`s most closely guarded secretive documents. It obviously had no place at a private home and club and wedding and event venue, which is what Mar-a-Lago was, and it`s one of the reasons why federal law enforcement was so concerned about doing the extraordinary search last month into the property to seize all of these documents.
RUHLE: That`s a really important reminder, people keep talking about it Trump`s Florida home, it shouldn`t have been there to begin with, but it`s not a home. It is a giant club that hosts weddings, bar mitzvahs, hundreds of people make their way in and out of this place every day. Trump has a few rooms, he eats there, he sleeps there, he plays golf. It`s a private club, getting very, very open space.
Frank, every morning, tomorrow morning at 7:00, I will be talking about this show with my children at the breakfast table. Answer this for me, because they will ask why would a former president of the United States have classified information about a foreign government`s nuclear program at all? Why would he have it?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTER INTELLIGENCE: Stephanie, if I were to be asked what the highest price tag or highest value might be on what kind of classified U.S. government information? Certainly among the top of my answers would be nuclear related information, and particularly as the Post is reporting nuclear information about a foreign country`s nuclear capabilities. Why is that of the perhaps potentially the greatest value if you were to actually try to market it, and capitalize on this?
Well, first, a country would give its right arm to learn what the U.S. knew about its nuclear program and capabilities, not only for the obvious reason of, hey, they figured this out, but also because it would signal what we don`t know about their program. In other words, what seems to be working for them, because we haven`t figured it out yet, or found it.
Secondly, let`s move to that country`s adversary. They would give their left and right arms to find out what their adversary is doing in terms of nuclear capability. So this kind of information possesses the highest potential value, it was located in a place that has some of the lowest security, you can imagine because we`ve documented foreign nationals penetrating in and out traipsing in and out, we know there`s a huge staff, regular guests that have access to the place.
So it`s a real problem. And it`s definitely the problem is magnified by the fact that while people listening to us right now must be saying, Well, surely the FBI is going to jump right on this investigate this as rapidly as possible and get to the bottom of it. The answer is no, they`re not. Why? Because we have a judge in Fort Pierce, Florida, that has said, You know what? FBI, DOJ, you can`t use the documents seized in the search warrant in your criminal investigation. You got to stop till we figure out this special master thing.
So no, the FBI is not moving criminally to investigate this because it`s among the documents seized during the search warrant. And why is it if you`re going to discuss this with the kids at the breakfast table? Maybe you should ask them. Why is it that a former president saved this didn`t turn this over voluntarily, didn`t turn it over when he was commanded to do so in a subpoena, didn`t turn it over when DOJ officials visited Mar-a- Lago? Agents had to go in with a search warrant and only then find the nuclear related material. Why is that?
RUHLE: And that`s going to fly, Neal, this one specific judge in Florida, Aileen Cannon, who made the ruling yesterday who our audience should know, was appointed by Donald Trump, five days after the election was called by Joe Biden. This judge is now going to be able to control the health of our national security because No, the FBI can`t continue to look the buck stops with her.
NEAL KATYAL, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: Well stuff when you`ve lost Bill Barr and your Donald Trump, I think you know, that`s a very bad place. I don`t think the fact that she was appointed by Trump does the work here. It`s just that she wrote an opinion that`s inane, and insane. There are two parts to the opinion. One is the appointment of a special master someone through sift through the documents. But the other and this is what Frank was just mentioning, was that she enjoins, she stops the investigation in its tracks.
I don`t think I`ve ever seen anything like that a special masters one thing, but this stopping an entire investigation in its tracks and for why because she says there are some potentially privileged documents, so she can, you know, end the entire investigation for now.
I mean, that is a bazooka solution when what you should be doing is providing a scalpel. And the nuclear information that Phil was referring to, I think just underscores the problem because this is material that was so sensitive.
When the FBI agents found it, they said, Look, we`re not even cleared to look at this material. It`s that secret, and only a handful of people him and you`re absolutely right stuff. Mar-a-Lago hosts, weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, and also hosts spies, because spies have been caught there. And the idea that, you know, any classified documents will be there as frightening enough, but the idea that it`s these documents, and now you have a federal judge, that is thoroughly interfering with this criminal investigation.
No, I don`t think it`s going to hold up at all. I think it`s a question of delay. And that`s, of course, Donald Trump`s MO. He`s hoping for a delay. I think there are some strategies the Justice Department can use to try and move this along.
RUHLE: And that`s my question, hold up where and to whom? Because you may be right when you lose Bill Barr, you`ve lost the room. But Bill Barr has no power. He`s a TV commentator. He`s an author.
KATYAL: Yes. So I think the Department can do two things. One, they can go back to the judge and say, Look, you made a ton of basic legal errors, like the center of your opinion was President Biden hasn`t said whether executive privilege applies or not. She just didn`t read far enough in the government`s brief. There`s a whole letter about exactly that.
But they can, you know, explain that say, we need you to clarify, are you really stopping this investigation or not. Give her a chance to, you know, possibly, you know, change things. You know, if she doesn`t, then they can take an appeal to the court of appeals.
The other possibility is her opinion went so far into creating this kind of Presidential Records Act review. And she acknowledged us in a footnote, footnote 16, that she may have actually lost jurisdiction over the case, because the Presidential Records Act requires only DC judges, Washington, DC judges to rule over this.
So the Justice Department also has the possibility of trying to say, look, Judge, because your opinion went so far bonkers out of the mainstream and now wants to reach Presidential Records Act determinations, you`ve now essentially pled yourself out of court, and now the case belongs in Washington, DC.
RUHLE: Frank, John Brennan said earlier, this type of information, these documents should be on lockdown every day, every night accounted for every minute. So who are the people in charge of them in the White House that ever let them out the door? Donald Trump wouldn`t know where to find them or how to read them?
FIGLIUZZI: Yes, we were learning of course, as we`ve learned over the last four or five years, Stephanie, that the rules seem not to have applied to Donald Trump. And so even in office, we see reporting now from multiple outlets that he would occasionally or actually more than occasionally 15 boxes worth perhaps stuffed things in his coat go upstairs to the residence. Kash Patel claims there was a standing order whenever he left, the oval went up to the residence, everything was declassified, I don`t buy that.
Of course, I don`t buy that particularly where nuclear material is concerned, because I think we may be talking about things that fall under the Atomic Energy Act, which I don`t believe he has any authority to declassify, but the rules seem not to have applied.
So that`s part of the damage and risk assessment that the DNI thankfully has been permitted to conduct by Judge Cannon. They`ll be figuring out where the lapses were who tried to tell him no, but he blew by it. Maybe he secretly snuck the documents up to the residence. We don`t know.
But why did he choose this particular set of documents? Why a document that gives up the nuclear capabilities of a foreign country? Why did he hold it until agents had to execute a search warrant? That`s the question of the night.
RUHLE: Well, let`s talk about the risks the global implications of this information being out. I want to share a bit more I mentioned John Brennan, of what John Brennan, who`s the former director of national intelligence had to say earlier tonight.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE OF THE UNITED STATES: Once again, called to question the U.S. is ability to protect sensitive information. And that in turn could have a chilling effect on allies of ours who in the past have willingly shared it. Sensitive information that they collect they share that with us.
RUHLE: My mistake, Phil, it was James Clapper, how devastating is this to our allies who trust us with this sort of information could be only one of eight countries?
RUCKER: Well, it`s an important point that that Clapper raised there because he`s right. There are a number of countries around the world that for years, have shared intelligence with us back and forth in a trusting relationship. And you know, they don`t want to see this information in Washington Post headlines, they don`t want to find out that this document was that a basically a country club in Florida.
You know, that`s not safe keeping for the United States. I think it`s one of the reasons why, as my colleagues report tonight, intelligence officials within the U.S. government are so deeply concerned about what happened to these documents.
RUHLE: Let`s talk about appointing this Special Master, how long does it take and who gets to approve it? Is this all in the hands of the Judge, Frank?
FIGLIUZZI: Well, the judge has ordered both parties to show up by September 9 with a list of possible candidates and they are to, quote unquote, confirm meaningfully about this list before coming to the judge. I`m not confident about a meaningful conference between these two parties. I imagine a list that no one can seemingly agree with. Maybe Trump team shows up with people who have been disbarred people practicing law in Venezuela. Who knows but imagine a scenario where they show up at judge Canons chambers and say, we can`t agree. We just cannot agree on this list.
And then ultimately, a decision is going to have to be made, right? Well, it`s not quite clear, but it looks like the special master would weigh in at that point, and then more delay, because if the person that ultimately selected doesn`t have all these clearances, and remember, the Washington Post has reported the agents, the FBI agents on the surge didn`t have the proper clearances and their counterintelligence agents. So can you imagine what`s going to have to be done with a special master to be cleared to look at some of this stuff unless DOJ can get the judge to agree to narrow the role of the special master down to just attorney client privilege material? I think they`re going to try to attempt that.
RUHLE: Well, Bill Barr is saying the DOJ should act and if Bill Barr is saying that is something. Phil Rucker, Neal Katyal, Frank Figliuzzi, thank you so much for joining us tonight. When we come back. Right after President Biden warn the nation about threats from Trump. Former President gives a speech filled with fiery rhetoric yet again, former Alabama Senator Doug Jones is next.
And later, an NBC News investigation but your tax dollars that were meant to help poor people instead they went to a former football star. The 11th Hour just getting underway on a busy Tuesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It`s clear which way the new MAGA Republicans are, they`re extreme, and democracy is really at stake. You can`t be a democracy when you support violence when you don`t like the outcome of election. You can`t be a democracy you call yourself one if you continue to do what they`re doing. Trump for the MAGA Republic has made their choice. We can choose to build a better America or we can continue down this sliding path.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: President Biden spent Labor Day weekend sounding the alarm about MAGA Republicans while Trump`s spend the weekend seemingly proven him right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: You`re all enemies of the state. He`s an enemy of the state. You want to know the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: This as tonight the former president finds himself in the middle of even more controversy. As we`ve been talking about the Washington Post says the FBI is now investigating foreign nuclear secrets found at Trump`s Florida club. Here with us to discuss former Alabama Senator Doug Jones. Senator, I first want to get your reaction to this new reporting.
DOUG JONES, FORMER ALABAMA SENATOR: You know, Stephanie, I can`t tell you I`m surprised. Nothing that is coming out of Mar-a-Lago these days surprises me anymore. Nothing that came out of Trump`s mouth surprises me. But I want to emphasize, you know, everything that I`ve been saying now, since this story first broke, this is not about Donald Trump and a prosecution. This is about national security. And I think people are seeing more and more now, potential issues that were at risk with these documents that were sitting down in a Florida golf club somewhere.
This needs, the focus is going to be on national security going forward. Donald Trump and a prosecution will either come or not come. But the focus is on national security. And if the Washington Post reporting is true, have no reason to doubt that it`s not. There are even more serious issues floating around out there, especially when you consider that there were empty folders as well. So we got a long way to go over this to look at thing.
RUHLE: Well, then let`s talk about that. Where do we go from here? Because let`s say Russia now knows what the U.S. knows about their nuclear capabilities, then clearly, they would be able to outsmart us in any sort of nuclear treaty going forward. What do we do with that?
JONES: Well, first of all, we`ve got to determine if that`s the case, and the one thing that the judge did not do, she didn`t enjoin a review for national security purposes in this document. And so some of that is still going.
Don`t I think those assessments are still being made. And we`re going to have to continue to look at that. And I think our national security, people are very concerned about this. And we`ll have to adjust accordingly. We don`t know what is all is in those documents. We don`t know which country may have been involved with the nuclear secrets. There`s a lot to have to be determined that our experts are looking at, but I think they`re doing that. And they`re going to continue to do that, as we go forward.
That to me is priority number one, is making sure that our national secrets are preserved, and that we react accordingly. However, we determined those things were at risk, and you have some even left more logic.
RUHLE: Well, let`s talk about the power of that judge. You are a U.S. Attorney in Alabama, how does the health of our national security end up in the hands of one single federal judge who was just appointed by Trump?
JONES: Well, it is a constitutional balance. I mean, it is we have three branches of government with supposedly checks and balances. And I agree with most everything I`ve been reading about in your panel beforehand about the decision she made that I thought was quite flawed.
The one thing though that I`d like to mention, Stephanie, that I may disagree with a little bit on a lot of the commentators is whether or not this stops a criminal investigation in its tracks. I`m not so sure that it does. Remember, what she did was enjoined the Justice Department from continued review of the documents and use of the documents themselves. But these documents are not like documents you would normally seized in a drug case or a fraud case, where the documents have evidentiary value contained in the contents of the documents.
I think that the U.S. Attorney`s Office of the -- U.S. Department of Justice can continue with this investigation, because without the use of the documents, because the facts are going to speak for themselves. They don`t in and of themselves contain content that is of evidentiary value.
So I think the Justice Department is going to have to weigh that when they look at the possible appeal versus going forward. But in any event, it is an incredibly flawed decision, especially with regard to the executive privilege. It makes no sense whatsoever, in my opinion.
RUHLE: And despite being in this heap of trouble, or at least an investigation, the former President Trump, over the weekend, got on a podium, and he called our current president, an enemy of the state. You`re in a deep red state with a lot of hardcore MAGA followers. How dangerous is this rhetoric at a time like this?
JONES: I think rhetoric like this has always been dangerous. Not only I`m in a deep red state right now, but its rhetoric. But I grew up in a Jim Crow era when rhetoric like this was just dog whistles for violence. I mean, we have seen just since the execution of the search warrant, you know, attacks on the FBI, you know, United States senators are saying that there will be riots, not that they`re concerned that there were riots, it would be rise, but there will be riots.
Now you got the former president who`s not only calling the President an enemy of the state. He`s called also saying that this will be a backlash, backlash, like you`ve never seen. Those are -- that`s the kind of rhetoric that I think is incredibly dangerous.
We`ve got to do something about that, you know, the president in the White House are having a summit in a couple of weeks on this very issue. And I think everybody needs to take a few deep breaths and understand what`s going on in this country. Because people have different views about democracy and where we`re coming. We can`t let that lead to violence against the child.
RUHLE: Okay, Doug, but let me get real here. I`m applauding the President for his efforts. But is a summit on hate speech going to do anything to stop this? Come on?
JONES: You know, look, I don`t know if it will or it won`t. But you damn sure got to do something. You`ve got to talk about it. You got to connect the dots. Stephanie, that hate summit is going to be held on the same day as the sixth of the 59th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing here in Birmingham, that quilt for little girls. You got to connect the dots sometimes between what has happened in the past, and is what is going on now. And what`s happened in the recent past, whether it`s Charlottesville, whether it`s Buffalo, you name it, there`s a lot going on. And I think the more people can talk about it and have dialogues about it, the better.
So I applaud the president for doing it because it`s got to be said and done. And folks like MSNBC and your other stations, everybody needs to be talking about this, but they need to be talking about it, not in an accusatory way, but a way about coming together as all Americans that to understand that this is a real threat to each other that we don`t have to go there. It is not about that we need to come together as Americans to try to make sure we preserve as human.
RUHLE: As humans if we do not have decency or respect. We got nothing. Doug, standby, when we come back the real reason why I wanted you to come here tonight.
We`re going to talk about the stunning corruption down in Mississippi. You already know about the water crisis. But what is happening to money that was meant to help poor people? Well, I`ll tell you where it went to a former football star for doing nothing. The NBC News report that as heads shaking. The 11th Hour continues.
RUHLE: Outrage continues to pour in over another shocking story out of Mississippi.
Investigators say that the nation`s poor state used welfare money to pay NFL star and multimillionaire Brett Farve for speeches that he never actually made. Our own Ken Dilanian has more tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TAMARA EDWARDS, MISSISSIPPI RESIDENT: You know you have to make a choice whether you want to pay your light bill or whether you want to put food on the table.
KEN DILANIAN, NBC JUSTICE AND INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tamara Edwards raised four children on her own in Mississippi applying for welfare benefits just once for childcare while she worked. Each year Mississippi gets $86 million in welfare money from the federal government. The state rejects 90 percent of those who apply including Edwards.
EDWARDS: When I reapplied I was not able to be on it. Again, because they told me that they didn`t have the fundings for it.
DILANIAN: But the state was dispersing millions more of its welfare dollars, just not to families that urgently needed.
DILANIAN (on camera): In court documents in audit reports the state alleges that the head of Mississippi`s welfare agency squandered more than $70 million intended for children in poverty. Instead, using it as a private slush fund to benefit his family and friends.
DILANIAN (voice-over): Tens of millions of dollars on items like hiring retired pro wrestlers, first class air travel, a horse race, and $5 million to build this women`s volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi. That building with ties to an NFL Hall of Famer. Brett Favre`s daughter played volleyball at the university.
Text messages obtained by Mississippi today show Favre saying he helped secure government grant money for a new arena and he personally was paid more than a million dollars to give three motivational speeches that never happened.
Far have declined to talk to NBC News, but his attorney says he has been questioned by the FBI. Favre says he never knew it was welfare money and paid it back after demands by state officials. Favre still owes $228,000 in interest imposed by the state auditor.
BRAD PIGOTT, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I wanted to at least collect the facts.
DILANIAN: Former U.S. Attorney Brad Pigott was hired by the state to find the money.
DILANIAN (on camera): How is Brett Favre getting money that`s supposed to get kids out of poverty?
PIGOTT: It`s a mystery to us. Here we had a tens of millions of dollars set by the country to do the thing that we need done the most and it was squandered.
DILANIAN (voice-over): In July he issued a subpoena to get more answers about that volleyball arena, including any communications between the university and former Governor Phil Bryant, who Pigott says directed the spending. Bryant says he was unaware that welfare money was involved.
DILANIAN (on camera): What happened to you after you filed your subpoena?
PIGOTT: It was terminated.
DILANIAN (voice-over): The state welfare agency says they fired Pigott because the client and the lawyer were not on the same page. The investigation has only recently resumed. Welfare agency had John Davis was arrested and charged with bribery and conspiracy. He pled not guilty. The agency declined an interview saying they are committed to rebuilding the trust of the citizens and making all future grant decisions by committee. So far, just $1.1 million has been recovered.
EDWARDS: We`re real people. There`s real people out there that really need that money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Former Alabama Senator Doug Jones still with us. Doug, how the hell does this happen? What`s going on down in Mississippi? Even if Brett Favre gave these speeches, it`s a poor state in the country. They`re given millions of dollars to football players and pro wrestlers for what?
JONES: You know, Stephanie, the initial question is the most important one. How does this happen in a state like Mississippi? I tell you exactly how it happens. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And in states like Mississippi, and in Alabama, we saw the same thing happen after Republican took complete control of the state in 2010. They ran on an anti- corruption platform and one of the first people that went to prison for the new ethics violations, the new ethics laws, was our Republican Speaker of the House.
Absolute power corrupts. Absolutely. They have no checks. They have no balances. And sthey have quite frankly no media left except for this young lady and this group Mississippi today that is trying to get to the bottom of this. And so when you have no checks, when you have no balances, you can be both illegally corrupt and morally corrupt. And that is clearly seems to be happening in Mississippi.
RUHLE: Then how do the poorest states remain so deeply red if absolute power corrupts and people are suffering why the Republican legislators keep getting elected?
JONES: Because they`re gerrymandered only number one. Number two is that people don`t know again go back to what I was saying when you don`t have good investigative journalism. And that is as you know that is own. That is so in such a decline in this country these days.
Investigative journalism was the backbone of so much that we saw on the South. Jackson Clarion ledger help break the case that convicted Byron De La Beckwith for the murder of Medgar Evers.
You`ve got those cases in Alabama that sent a number of people to prison. Without that spotlight, nobody answers and you can cover up things you can give money to your cronies. And if the, you know, the lady that was interviewed, how the how she got to find out that her money was squandered on a volleyball court or something else that either Brett Favre or a pro wrestler did, there`s no way she can do it.
RUHLE: Information is power. Doug, thank you for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
JONES: Thank you, Steph.
RUHLE: When we come back students and Uvalde, Texas return to school three months after the shooting at Robb Elementary, as we get new reports of an investigation into law enforcement in that town, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
RUHLE: Take a deep breath for this one. Students in Uvalde, Texas returned to the classroom today. Kids were greeted by new security measures like high fencing and extra police officers put in place after the horrific mass shooting at Robb elementary back in May. NBC News Morgan Chesky has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This morning as buses rolled in, parents walked alongside their children the trauma still fresh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) can happen again, you know, try to make it out the window run, don`t scream, you know. Call me
CHESKY: Those first day nerves hitting some harder than others.
KIMBERLY RUBIO, UVALDE RESIDENT: I told him all my kids that I loved them and we pick them up after school. It`s the same thing I told Lexi, same thing I promised her.
CHESKY: Kimberly and Felix Rubio brought their children to school today remembering their daughter Lexi, who last year was among those who didn`t come home.
CHESKY (on camera): Do you feel safer dropping them off today more so than three months ago?
RUBIO: When my children aren`t with me, I don`t feel like they`re safe. I don`t want my daughter to just be remembered for what happened to her. I want her to be remembered for change.
CHESKY (voice-over): Schools remembering Uvalde statewide as students, teachers, even police officers Don Coyote Maroon everyone showing support for the town forever honoring those 21 lives lost. Morgan Chesky, NBC News, Uvalde.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
RUHLE: With us tonight Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, whose district includes Uvalde and Tony Plohetski, an investigative reporter for the Austin-American Statesman. He covered the school shooting. Senator, I cannot imagine what today was like for everyone in your community. How are people doing?
STATE SEN. RONALD GUTIERREZ (D) TEXAS 19TH DISTRICT: Well, most of it`s been a long trying day. You know, it`s been a long trying 90 plus days now. This community is they`re just tired, and they`re frustrated, and they want answers. And they haven`t gotten any answers. Government has continued to fail them.
It`s astounding to me. I went out there today to see what the security measures were like. It was astounding to me to see that some of the schools had yet not been secured. It was also astounding to me to see the schools that looked like prisons. And yet we still don`t have a discussion on guns in Texas because we have a governor that doesn`t want to have that discussion.
RUHLE: Your constituents, those parents, they don`t care if you`re a Republican or a Democrat, you`re in office. Are you assuring them? Can you assure them that their kids will be safe tomorrow?
GUTIERREZ: So reality already safer now than we were on May 24. The fact is that this governor has refused to have a special session on common sense gun solutions. These families like Kimberly Rubio and Felix Rubio, they`re not asking for the moon here. They`re asking for an age limit increase to 21 years of age.
And last week, Greg Abbott tells us it`s unconstitutional. He`s lying to the people of Texas. He`s trying to play legalese with us. He`s dead wrong. 18 states have age restrictions, as does Texas. We deserve better. We deserve a whole lot better.
RUHLE: Tony, you`ve got new reporting today about the investigation that is going on. It`s not that nothing is happening. But there is an investigation into the Department of Public Safety. What can you tell us?
TONY PLOHETSKI, AUSTIN-AMERICAN STATESMAN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, certainly over the past three months, there have been continued calls for accountability from the shooting from the people of Uvalde. And in particular, the parents of those 19 children and authorities for the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed this evening that two deputies, two troopers have been placed on paid leave, five had been referred to the agency`s Inspector General`s office for possible disciplinary action for an action on May 24. But it will be some time before we know whether or not they will possibly face termination or some sort of disciplinary action, including suspensions.
RUHLE: Senator Gutierrez, if people are demanding answers if they`re demanding change, why wouldn`t lawmakers respond to it? Right? The governor is governor, not an emperor. He needs to get reelected.
GUTIERREZ: You know, Stephanie, Tony and I were talking earlier about this drip, drip of information that we get from the Department of Public Safety. They`re playing us like we`re living in some kind of soap opera. They have all of the information. They have all the videos, they have all the body cams, they know which officers were there and what time they arrived.
These are the questions that I have been asking since day one. And they have refused to give us any information. What this agency has done, and by their director specifically, has constantly spread misinformation. First, Arredondo was in charge. Then they blamed a teacher for 10 days that she had propped open that door. They knew that she had removed that rock from the door. That woman is completely traumatized in PTSD now, right, at this moment. We, this governor can ask for accountability, but he has refused. DPS direct reports to Abbott, and he`s refused to ask for accountability in this space.
RUHLE: Tony, you cover this every day? How do they all get away with it?
PLOHETSKI: Well, in Texas, frankly, the law in some ways makes it easy for them. The law protects information, as long as an investigating agency can establish that there is an ongoing investigation. The law allows them to shield information.
I do want to point out that there is a coalition of media outlets here in Texas and beyond, including the Austin-American Statesman and our parent company that is actually suing the state to require them to release information.
Because ultimately, the public deserves a chance sooner rather than later, might I add, to see the entire body of information so that we can all understand as deeply and as broadly as possible. everything that went wrong that day.
RUHLE: And a whole lot did. Tony, Senator, thank you both for joining us. I appreciate it. And we were thinking about your entire community tonight. When we come back. Don`t worry, darling. We`ve got you covered on all the drama at this year`s Venice Film Festival when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not everyone gets this opportunity. And if you keep talking like this, you`re going to put it all at risk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re worried about it to motion that`s what you`re worried about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our life, Alice. Our life together. This we could lose this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight, "Don`t Worry Darling." Or should we? It`s what everybody`s talking about today. As Vox put it, don`t worry darling futures a Harry Styles love triangle, a possible feud, and maybe some spit. And that`s just behind the scenes.
So given how heavy the rest of the news seems to be these days, without a little celebrity gossip might just be what the doctor ordered. That is right there is drama surrounding the star studded film, and it was out in full force at this weekend`s Venice International Film Festival.
Florence Pugh who plays the movies lead character is rumored to have had a falling out with Olivia Wilde. The film`s director, Pugh fueled that rumor when she did not participate in the Venice news conference. You will notice the Wilde is not sitting anywhere near her boyfriend pop star Harry Styles, who is also co-starring in the movie. They are presumably not together to keep the focus on the film and not the romance, which has been a hot topic of gossip ever since she split with her ex Ted Lasso himself, Jason Sudeikis.
When asked about the rumored feud with Pugh, Wilde brushed it off as endless tabloid gossip, then is if there was not already enough drama to fill the Venice Canals. The most controversial moment of the day happened as everyone sat down from the premiere screening of the movie. Watch this closely.
Let`s watch that again. And here`s the multibillion dollar question that basically broke the internet today. Did Harry Styles just there in that moment spit on his co-star Chris Pine? Well, internet sleuth as always quickly got to work trying to get to the bottom of this possibly monumental loogie of all things.
They examined slowed down versions of the footage as if it were the JFK`s Zapruder film closely looked at everyone`s faces in every frame. People at home wondering had the drama between the cast members gotten so bad that Harry resorted to spit in?
Well, don`t worry, darling. A rep for Chris Pine confirmed to Vanity Fair today that Harry Styles did not spit on Chris Pine, adding this is a complete fabrication. And is very good news.
Now the big question remains, will this movie be good as the behind the scenes drama? We`ll have to wait a few more weeks to find out. But here`s the good news for you. Tomorrow morning. When you`re at the breakfast table, you will be absolutely in the know with your teens with all the things they are talking about Harry Styles and Chris Pine.
And on that note, I wish you all a very, very good night. From all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News, it is good to be back with you.
Thanks for staying up late with us. I will see you all at the end tomorrow.