RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight. Now it`s time for The Last Word with Joy Reid, sitting in for Lawrence tonight.
Good evening, Joy.
JOY REID, HOST, MSNBC: Good evening to you. Well, I cannot wait to watch that. And it takes a lot to have me not watch zombies on a Sunday night. It takes a lot.
MADDOW: I will record your zombies for you. This is pretty good.
REID: It is pretty good. It is one of the most fascinating periods in American history, and I love what yo do. And by the way, congrats on your podcast which is also amazing.
MADDOW: Thank you very, very much. I`m going to go slip in (ph) a little history for the weekend.
REID: Slip (ph) is good.
MADDOW: Thanks, Joy.
REID: Thank you very much. Have a good night. All right, well, he`s there. You can`t see him, you can`t hear him, but Robert Mueller is there. He`s waiting in the wings, working very patiently, very quietly. And at any time now, maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow, but at a time of Mueller`s own choosing, any number of Trump`s allies and maybe even family members could be staring down the barrel of an indictment.
Trump officials seem to know it`s coming. You`ve heard reports all week that Donald Trump and West Wing staffers are waiting, waiting for the bad news to break. It seems like it`s only a matter of time. Even George Conway, Kellyanne`s husband, thinks that Trump is in trouble with the Russia investigation. He spoke to Yahoo News about his decision not to take a job in the Justice Department. Here is what he said.
GEORGE CONWAY, ATTORNEY (voice-over): The administration is like a (bleep) show in a dumpster fire, and I`m like, I don`t want to do that, I don`t know. And then it`s like, then you`ve got the Comey firing and then you`ve got him going on T.V. saying, I have Russia on my mind, and it`s like, oh, no.
And then it`s like -- then, you know, I`m driving home one day from New York and it`s like, Robert Mueller appointed special counsel because I realize, you know, this guy is going to be at war with the Justice Department.
REID: So that -- that is how the husband of the counselor to the president sees the Russia investigation. Well, today Donald Trump faced the cameras again and insisted that he`s not worried at all, and that he`s already done his Russia homework. Trump claimed that he`s completed his written responses to special counsel Robert Mueller and that he wrote the answers himself.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I write answers. I was asked a series of questions. I answered them very easily, very easily.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): And you submitted the answers.
TRUMP: I haven`t submitted them yet. I just finished them, but it didn`t take very long to do them. They were my answers. I don`t need lawyers to do that. Now, you need lawyers for submittal, you need lawyers to go over some of the answers, but they`re not very difficult questions.
REID: Donald Trump has been sued like dozens of times throughout his career, and even with the quality of lawyers that he`s hired or at least one of whom, at least one of whom is now in his own legal hot water, there is literally a zero chance that Trump or any client even of Donald Trump`s lawyers would ever write their own answers to a prosecutor`s questions. It literally does not happen that way.
The president also said that he hasn`t turned his answers over to Mueller`s team yet. Well, if the questions were as easy as he claimed, why hasn`t he turned them in? Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump`s not so high quality lawyers, had this to say to The Washington Post about those questions.
"There are some that create more issues for us legally than others" And adding "that some were unnecessary, some were possible traps, and we might consider some irrelevant."
I don`t know what questions the president and his lawyers chose to answer, but news accounts suggests that Trump answered some questions about Russia- related matters and possibly nothing about obstruction of justice.
One thing we do know from The New York Times reporting earlier this year is that some of the questions Mueller wanted to ask Trump involved his interactions with former aides who are now cooperating witnesses for Mueller. One of those cooperators, Trump`s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
Late last night, we learned that Mueller and Manafort asked for a delay before updating a judge about Manafort`s cooperation in the Russia investigation. Today, the judge granted that request. And tonight, ABC News reports that more than three dozen sealed criminal indictments have been added to the federal court docket in Washington, D.C. since the start of 2018.
One legal expert called the number unusually high. Several others told ABC that it`s very possible that at least some of those indictments could have been filed by Mueller`s team. So the walls seem to be closing in on Trump world, and comments like these from the president are rather difficult to believe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m not agitated. It`s a hoax. The whole thing is a hoax. There was no collusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: If Trump is really not agitated right now, well, maybe he should be. Joining us now, our Eugene Robinson, associate editor and Pulitzer Prize- winning opinion writer for The Washington Post and he`s an MSNBC political analyst. And Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney and deputy assistant attorney general under President Clinton.
Thank you both for being here. I`m going to go actually to you, Harry, you`re at a disadvantage here in the box, but I`m going to ask you about what Rudy Giuliani said about these questions that Donald Trump says he answered all by himself.
He said that some create more issues for us legally than others and some are unnecessary. This is the interesting part. He said some are possible traps. Is it possible for a lawyer to look at a question and determine it`s a trap, and if the client intends to answer truthfully, how could it be a perjury trap?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Right. So first, I think it is. I mean, I think you can sort of see if you have any sophistication about the matter where Mueller might be going. But you`re right on the second point. Perjury trap here is the sort of slogan they`ve advanced repeatedly. The other way that you could call it would be a request for honest information.
So I think they perceive if he answers it truthfully that he could be in a legal sticky situation. That`s not a perjury trap, but it does call for, you know, strategy, prudence and legal advice. And as you say up front, it`s beyond implausible that he actually just went ahead and breezily answered these questions himself. They have to have been drafted by the lawyers.
REID: You mean an attorney would not just hand the questions over to the client and just say here, answer these questions and turn them in at your leisure?
LITMAN: Not this client.
LITMAN: And not of those attorneys, yes.
REID: So one more question before I go to Eugene. This is Donald Trump and this is him trying to explain what he means about what he thinks of as questions that might be a trap. Here`s Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m sure they`re tricked up because, you know, they like to catch people. You know, was the weather sunny or was it rainy? He said it may have been a good day. It was rainy. Therefore, he told a lie. He perjured himself. You have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Can you perjure yourself by saying it`s rainy when it`s actually sunny? Does that make any sense to you at all?
LITMAN: It makes legally no sense. It can`t be. It has to be knowing and the material. This has been the framing (ph) of team Trump for a long time, and it`s just simply inconsistent with the way Mueller has approached this and any prosecutor would. These are -- and it would be a waste of their time.
These are requests for bonafide information that has important relevance to the investigation. He could easily give false responses, but not perjurious ones if they were trivial or insignificant or tricky as he`s suggesting. Those just have to be mischaracterizations of the questions he has received.
REID: Eugene, just if you go from the Donald Trump press conference in which he went off on Jim Acosta and moving forward reading The Daily Caller interview, reading the way that Trump sort of carries on and rambles, you know, I wonder if he`s displaying maybe a certain level of agitation he doesn`t want to admit to.
I want to play you George Conway who again is married to Kellyanne Conway, and he`s asked a question that should be fairly straightforward. Does he think Trump is fully stable? Here`s his answer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Do you think President Trump is fully stable?
CONWAY: No comment on that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Well, I mean certainly your tweets would certainly suggest that you have some questions about the stability of this president and the truthfulness of this president. By the way, here`s --
CONWAY: Yes, sir.
REID: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, sir.
ROBINSON: What can you say? I think George Conway is a perceptive analyst of this administration. You know, it`s an early description of it and a description of the president`s state of mind. Look, Donald Trump has gone into freak out mode various times during this administration. This seems to be one of those times.
I think that`s clear. I think he`s wondering who might be in a sealed indictment. I think he`s wondering what might be coming down. Remember there was this hiatus in sort of Mueller announcements at least until the election. The election is over --
ROBINSON: -- in a sour mood because Republicans got smoked in the election.
ROBINSON: And now turning toward the Mueller probe, he`s facing -- I think he believes he`s facing something unpleasant.
REID: You`re a denizen in Washington, when you travel around the circles in Washington, the Republicans obviously don`t have a lot of courage when it comes to Donald Trump, but is there a general sense among them that he is fully stable? Is George Conway an outlier in questioning the stability of this president?
ROBINSON: Not at all. No. Not at all. And that`s what`s been so I would say fundamentally dishonest about the Republican majority in Washington for the last two years because you talk to people off-the-record in the green room before they`re ready to go on the air to defend the administration, and they will tell you, they will use the language that George Conway used.
They will tell you about this administration, about this president and how unstable he is and how crazy everything is and how they`ve never seen anything like this before and it`s outrageous and who knows if it`s all going to fall apart tomorrow.
REID: And yet they`ll follow him.
ROBINSON: And yet they will follow him because they`re afraid of him. They`re frightened of him --
ROBINSON: -- because he controls the Republican base. He probably comes out of this election still with enough control that I wonder if they`re going to buck him even now --
ROBINSON: -- and even despite their losses in this election. They may conclude they have no choice but to stick by this guy even though they know who he is.
ROBINSON: They see this clearly as you and I do, they just won`t admit it.
REID: They just don`t want to admit it. Let`s go back to sort of what, Harry, what is swirling around him. The Daily Beast reporting that a former Dick Cheney aide is under scrutiny for Mueller.
This isn`t someone like John Hannah, that is pretty much known to the public, but when you get to other names that Donald Trump really does know, the Roger Stones of the world, obviously Paul Manafort, and we haven`t seen the total conclusion of Michael Flynn, the people who were involved in this campaign, it kind of leaves the people without a chair, the people you don`t hear being mentioned in any of this being related to him, people like Jared Kushner and Donald Trump, Jr.
As a prosecutor, if they`re not being mentioned, does that mean that they are in jeopardy of being the target?
LITMAN: Yeah, it may well be. So there are many portents here. Rule number one, only Robert Mueller knows what Robert Mueller knows. But there`s a lot of portents of the climatic if not the climatic series of events coming up in the next few days.
As you say, Corsi and Stone seems squarely in the crosshairs. That matters a lot because Stone was in communication with Trump during the election. If he knows about the WikiLeaks, hacking of Podesta and the release, and he can tie that to Trump, that`s the exact collusion that Trump has been saying is missing.
But, yes, I think I have said before, I think Donald Trump, Jr. is in great peril. We haven`t heard that he`s been to the grand jury and the most natural explanation there is that his lawyer told Mueller that Trump, Jr. would take the Fifth Amendment. That`s the reason not to call him.
And he, along with Kushner -- Kushner I think is a different situation, but Trump, Jr. I think is in very much on the hot seat and may be in the next few weeks. Mueller has to know that if he actually brings charges against Trump, Jr., that`s going to be explosive and lead to a whole -- a whole kind of end game.
REID: Yeah, I`m sure. And the WikiLeaks potentially Julian Assange --
REID: -- you know, the sort of surprise accidental disclosure. What does that say to you, Harry?
LITMAN: That says, I feel so bad for that assistant U.S. attorney.
LITMAN: But I think it`s pretty significant because the Obama -- it says that he`s been charged. The Obama administration had declined to do a thinking that they had to treat him like a news organization that always stuck in the craw of the intelligence community, and I think there`s an indication that their view has now prevailed.
And of course if he`s to be charged, there`s much mischief he`s been up to in the last several years, but one of them, the most notorious is certainly the release of the Podesta e-mails, which remember happened three hours, three hours after the Access Hollywood tape that was such a crisis for the Trump campaign. So very good reason to think there was some coordination there.
REID: And can the Republicans, I`m thinking Lindsey Graham here who sort of takes the Devin Nunes mantle, I`m assuming now --
REID: I mean, but there is not much they can do about Mueller. Any talk of this idea protecting Mueller going anywhere. It looks like it won`t in the Senate.
ROBINSON: No, it looks it won`t go anywhere in the Senate. Jeff Flake has taken a stand. We`ll see if --
ROBINSON: You know, advancing judicial nominee. We will see if that lasts. I don`t know if that will be effective or not. I would guess because an indictment of Donald Trump, Jr. would be so explosive and the president`s head might literally explode, one would think that Mueller might keep that towards the end.
ROBINSON: Wrap up a whole lot of other loose ends there.
ROBINSON: And the other thing, just imagine the sort of psychological journey the president has been on. He was doing these rallies, two and three a day.
ROBINSON: His favorite thing to do in the world, the adulation of the crowds. You know, he got to just, you know, throw hay makers left and right --
ROBINSON: -- and loved it. And then the election. And then it looks worst and looks worst. And now he`s got to sit in the White House and wonder, you know, what is Paul Manafort telling Mueller? What is Michael Cohen telling Mueller?
ROBINSON: Is Roger Stone going to get -- I mean, it`s kind of a very steep path downward.
REID: Yeah, I think it`s like he`s eating sugary cereal for breakfast --
REID: Last word to you, Harry Litman, do you agree with Eugene that probably the prudent move for Mueller would be that any indictment of anyone whose last name is Kushner or Trump, you drop that right at the very end?
LITMAN: Very much. That`s the final sort of conflagration except potentially the president himself. And of course if he`s indicted, it depends. It was significant by the way that Manafort is only taking 10 days. And Manafort is mainly talking about Trump. So something is going to happen in short order. That doesn`t mean it will be Kushner or Trump.
LITMAN: But at the end of the day, not only may they come be a sort of final move, but Trump could potentially be an unindicted co-conspirator in any of those indictments plus the indictment of Stone. That obviously is a big final move.
REID: It`s a big deal. At least they`ll have the masculine toilet guy in place to try to help them out.
REID: That will help a lot. Eugene Robinson and Harry Litman, thank you both. Coming up, Donald Trump says the reports and chaos inside the White House is total fake news. Why are so many people inside the White House telling reporter after reporter that there`s a frightening level of chaos inside the White House? That`s next.
We learned tonight that the president doesn`t just refuse to believe the CIA when it comes to Russia, he also doesn`t believe CIA reports about Saudi Arabia. The president`s dangerous disbelief is coming up.
REID: Well, another day another congressional seat flipping from red to blue. Just adding to Donald Trump`s anguish as the House slips out of his party`s grasp. Bye-bye Devin Nunes, committee to protect the president. NBC news has now called the race in California`s 45th. Democrat Katie Porter has defeated two-term Republican incumbent Mimi Walters.
Democrats have picked up a net 36 seats in the House of Representatives with five House races still to be called. And with no rallies and locker up (ph) chance to keep him distracted, Donald Trump is isolated and growing more furious by the day. And the worst Republican midterm losses since Watergate are just one reason he is so miserable.
Frank Rich (ph) writes in New York magazine it has dawned on Trump that A, he lost the midterm he thought he won. B, the Robert Mueller investigation has moved faster than his efforts to thwart it. C, any of his legislative fantasies notably the funding of his border wall are doomed. And D, and his pouting in Paris elevated his international image as a buffoon to a whole new level of notoriety.
Trump plans to travel to California on Saturday to view the damage caused by the catastrophic wildfires ravaging the state. Seventy-four people have been killed in those fires. More than 1,000 people are missing. And these are new numbers just announced a few minutes ago.
Of course, the president`s initial instinct is blaming the deadly wildfires on poor forest management. Ahead of his visit to California, he doubled down on bizarre message in an interview airing on Fox News Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was watching the firemen the other day and they were raking areas, they were raking areas where the fire was right over there. And they`re raking trees, little trees like this that are not trees, little bushes that you can see are totally dry. Weeds. And they`re raking them. They`re on fire. That should have been all raked out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the argument?
TRUMP: You wouldn`t have the fires.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the argument that it`s climate change, that it`s dryer, it`s hotter and that`s contributing to it?
TRUMP: Maybe it contributes a little bit, the big problem we have is management.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Wow. Joining us now is Tony Schwartz, co-author of Donald Trump`s best selling book, "The Art of the Deal." Tony, one of the kind of seeming features, if I may, of Donald Trump`s personality is that he`s always been able to kind of be has (ph) his way through things as sort of seem to be successful and just get through it because there was never any deep scrutiny of his claims.
He could just say, i`m the most successful businessman in the world and no one would really need to check it because why would they bother? It feels like this job is something he doesn`t know how to handle the fact, that the things he said actually do get deep scrutiny, and he`s sort of exposed. Is that unfair?
TONY SCHWARTZ, AUTHOR: No, I think he is at a particularly difficult moment because absolutely central to his identity is I`m a winner. And even if it`s based on a mountain of lies, he has been able to make that case all the way through even significant parts of his presidency with the support of two Republican branches of government.
SCHWARTZ: Now he looks at a world in which first of all from the perspective of the midterms, he`s a loser. I`m a loser is what`s going through his head. Now, actually it may not be going through his head. What`s going through his head is rage, and the rage is, my identity has been destroyed.
And so I think if you really -- if he didn`t hold the future of the world in his hands, you could almost feel sorry for him right now, because imagine the stress that this guy is under. He believes he can`t trust anyone. I would say that would very easily include his own family, but his vice president who is the most (INAUDIBLE) vice president in the history of the world, even he apparently is not trusted by Trump.
He is facing these Mueller charges. He is facing a Democratic Congress that he knows is going to go to and investigate him. And that is overwhelming. And I do think that he is in a period right now, a moment of really great fear. I think that fear is such that he cannot -- he`s never a good thinker, but he literally can`t think straight right now.
SCHWARTZ: And I think the delusion and the paranoia, and those words are easy to throw around, but I do believe he`s deluded and he is -- he deeply believes that the world is out to get him.
REID: Yeah. Along the delusion part, if somebody is at such great risk of exposure, putting himself out there and essentially saying the midterms are about me, these are my midterms, and making it such that if Republicans lost, that he would be branded with loss.
And now they have lost. This is the most catastrophic loss since Watergate. Democrats trounced Republicans in the House races and held Republican losses to maybe a net plus one. So he did lose. But it seems that, to your point, he`s the one who took that risk. No one told him he had to make the midterms about him.
SCHWARTZ: Well, and he obviously believed that this was not going to happen.
SCHWARTZ: In fact, he continues to say it didn`t happen even though it did happen.
SCHWARTZ: Today, he`s tweeting that, you know, it was a historic win for the Republicans and he did great. Well, you know, from what planet? What I`m hoping is that the Democrats are not simply focused, although I think they should be somewhat focused on investigating many of the things that have been left untouched for the last two years that Trump has done. There are plenty of them.
But that they are also talking about, first of all, character. We lost character in all of this. Trump has dragged down the level at which and the degree to which we take seriously the issue of character. And it`s what do you believe in? Not just the what, which has become the focus of attention, particularly in the Republicans, whatever it takes, whatever I have to sacrifice, however I have to sell my soul, that`s OK, so long as I get the end I want.
Certainly true of the massive evangelical support for Trump. Those are people who presumably are deeply invested in their values and they`ve traded them for the small number of issues that he seems to be supportive of.
REID: But some of them are not small. We`re thinking about the far nominations coming up, we`re talking about lifetime seats on the judicial bench of people who have really extreme views. We`re talking about massive voter suppression. There have been real consequences for real people who have been denied their rights to vote.
From those poor military people down at the border eating rations instead of Thanksgiving dinner with their families, doing absolutely nothing at the border, waiting for a caravan on foot. People are actually suffering. So I guess the question would be what in your view could be done to mitigate the harm that Donald Trump could do in this state?
SCHWARTZ: Well, I think some amount of attention has to be focused on what could be done, not what could be done to Trump, which certainly that will play out and I`ve believed as I`ve said for a long time, that Mueller is going to come up with a wrath of of indictments that make it clear he committed crimes.
But in addition, we`ve got a catastrophic world threatening crisis with the climate. We`ve got a level of income inequality right now that is unprecedented, and you look at this story about Facebook and all of these - - you look at Jeff Bezos sitting there with $160 billion, 159.8 of which neither he nor five generations of his family is ever going to be able to spend.
What about taking on some of those issues in an affirmative way? What about not simply talking about how bad Trump is? I do believe that the Democrats in order to really prevail in 2020 have to create a narrative that has -- has an addressing of these critical problems at the heart of it.
REID: Yeah, absolutely. We`re going to talk later in the show about a very real human being who could be in real jeopardy because they`re not protecting someone who is living under the protection of a green card. It`s pretty scary. We`re going to talk about that. Tony Schwartz, it`s always a treat to talk to you. Thank you very much.
SCHWARTZ: Thank you.
REID: Thank you. And coming up, it turns out not only do reports say that Donald Trump and his administration is considering trading a U.S. resident to Turkey in exchange for easing the bad news for Saudi Arabia. It turns out the bad news for Saudi Arabia includes evidence that its leader ordered the killing of a U.S. resident journalist, according to the CIA. That`s coming up.
REID: We have breaking news tonight concerning the death of "Washington Post" Jamal Khashoggi. "The Post" reports that an NBC News has confirmed that the CIA has determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi. Khashoggi as you recall went missing and was presumed dead after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Turkey early last month and never walked back out.
For many weeks now, it has been widely suspected the Saudi Crown Prince was responsible for Khashoggi`s death with Turkish officials providing mounting evidence to back up the allegation. But tonight for the first time, "The Post" and NBC News are reporting that the U.S. intelligence agency believes with a high degree of confidence that the man nicknamed MBS ordered the killing. That assessment complicates things for Donald Trump who has been reluctant to point the finger at the Saudi Crown Prince and has even contemplated the idea of handing over to Turkey a different U.S. resident, a Turkish dissident who holds a legal green card.
Handing that dissident, Fethullah Gulen, over to Turkey whose leader accuses Gulen in fomenting a failed coup in order to get Turkey to back off its criticism of Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Khashoggi killing. In a statement to NBC News, the Saudi Embassy in Washington said, "The claims in this purported assessment are false. We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations."
And joining me now, MSNBC Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analyst Malcolm Nance and Nick Price, former CIA Analyst and former CIA director and spokesperson for the National Security Council during the Obama administration. He is an MSNBC National Security Contributor.
Malcolm, I`m going to start with you because you`ve made a lot of predictions out of borne out over what happened on the Khashoggi killings out of this with MBS. What do you make of the CIA assessment and the concurrent information that the Trump ministration was considering handing a Turkish dissident over to Turkey knowing what we -- well, what would you make of those two pieces of information?
MALCOLM NANCE, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Well, first off, the CIA assessment is not surprising at all. These are intelligence professionals. They are going to make the call as they see it. And it`s not just coming from one bit of information.
When they do an analysis like this and give you a high confidence report, they are using all of the collective knowledge of the United States government. They are packaging it and then they are going to come up with a straight assessment. Now, whether the Trump administration does anything with that or believes that at all, that`s entirely up to them. They`re the consumers of this intelligence.
On the other hand, it is also no surprise that Turkey would have leveraged the information that they had about Khashoggi`s murder and they would have done what they`ve done which was drip out this information a bit of a time in order to bring an enormous amount of pressure on to Riyadh. And then use the relationship with the United States to try to get something to stop releasing the definitive information which is pictures of the body and audiotape out to the public.
And to do that, they would want to get Fethullah Gulen, a U.S. resident here in Pennsylvania, the same person that Michael Flynn was supposed to be secretly paid $15 million worth to extraordinarily rendition him back to Turkey and most likely to his death.
REID: Yes. And that is the disturbing piece, right, that the idea of turning this man over an exchange of information, some of the information we know. And this is not confirmed by NBC but "Washington Post" reporting that the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince`s brother, Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. told Khashoggi that he should go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it will be safe to do so.
In a normal administration, what will be the response have we had this kind of information about a country that we are allied with in many ways like Saudi Arabia?
NED PRICE, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Well, Joy I could tell you what the response wouldn`t be. The response would not be to send the secretary of state over to meet with Mohammed bin Salman days after this murder when it was already quite clear there was at least a circumstantial case that Mohamed bin Salman himself had ordered this murder at that time.
We knew that close associates of Mohammed bin Salman were in Istanbul for the operation, took part in the operation. We knew it was premeditated. We knew that the Turks were claiming that there was a high level of Saudi complicity in this and yet Mike Pompeo went over there and he stood there shaking hands with Mohammed bin Salman, smiling the whole time.
I think the response would be something akin to what we have seen in other punitive cases where there are sanctions leveled, where a re-evaluation of the relationship takes place. And we have not seen that and we`ve not seen that because the administration made a very strategic choice even during the transition to hitch its wagon to Mohammed bin Salman.
Mohammed bin Salman has essentially dictated our foreign policy in the Middle East as it pertains to Iran, as it pertains to the rest of the Gulf, and as it pertains to this devastating war in Yemen, now home to the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the face of the earth. And the Trump administration to this very day shows no sign of recalibrating that relationship even in spite of this numbing evidence.
REID: Yes, absolutely. And indeed, the other sort of disturbing element of this, Malcolm, is this meme about Khashoggi that circulated on right- wing sites like Breitbart and others after his death. And just a little bit from "The Washington Post" the theory the CIA has developed is that Mohammed bin Salman believes that Khashoggi was a dangerous Islamist who was too sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to people familiar with the assessment. Days after Khashoggi disappeared, Mohammed relayed that view in a phone call with Jared Kushner, his friend, and John Bolton, the national security adviser, who has long opposed the Brotherhood and seen it as a regional security threat.
So the idea that the same memes that were circulating on right-wing websites were sort of feeding this animosity toward this journalist.
NANCE: And many of those memes that were out in the information battle zone so to speak were coming from Saudi Arabia. I mean they had a very sophisticated, you know, anti-opposition information attack process and, you know, one of the closest friends of Mohammed bin Salman was his chief propagandist.
But that being said that this would enter our information sphere and go into right-wing media especially with regards to the, you know, the accusation of him being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Which by the way, if you don`t know it, in the Arabian Gulf, you know, the Arabian Peninsula, the Muslim Brotherhood is considered, you know, far, far more dangerous and insidious to them than Iran. And they just have a pathological hate of that group.
And so mention the Muslim Brotherhood over there, you can get practically anything that you want. And so it`s not surprising that these ideas would have been picked up by American right-wing media and that would have made its way to the White House.
REID: Disturbing information. Malcolm Nance, Ned Price, thank you both very much. Appreciate you.
PRICE: Thank you.
REID: Thank you.
And coming up, the price that Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis could pay for their outrageous gubernatorial campaigns, campaigns in which they fought ugly. That`s next.
REID: Tonight, Democrat Stacey Abrams announce that she will suspend her campaign to be the first African-American woman elected governor of Georgia or for that matter, any other state. But Brian Kemp`s victory will be forever tainted by accusations of voter suppression. As Secretary of State, Kemp closed hundreds of polling locations, canceled hundreds of thousands of voter registrations, and place another 53,000 on hold, nearly 70 percent from would be black voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS, (D-GA), CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: More than a million citizens found their names stripped from the rolls by the secretary of state, including a 92-year-old civil rights activist who cast her ballot in the same neighborhood since 1968. Tens of thousands hung in limbo, rejected due to human error, and a system of suppression that had already proven its bias. Citizens tried to exercise their constitutional rights and were still denied the ability to elect their leaders. Under the watch of the now former secretary of state, democracy failed Georgia.
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REID: Well that is now the lasting impression that the world has of Georgia, a state with a booming economy and a growing population, a thriving music film and television industry, a southern state that was seen as moving forward but which now has a reputation for moving decisively backward. It could be the same story in Florida where the pressure is mounting for Democrat Andrew Gillum to concede in his close race for Florida governor against Republican Ron DeSantis who opened his gubernatorial campaign like this.
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RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA GOVERNOR-ELECT: The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.
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REID: Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson is also fighting for every vote to be counted in Florida during a mandatory recount, hoping to keep his Senate seat out of the hands of current Florida Governor Rick Scott, best known for his former hospital company being slapped with a $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud. At the time, the largest case of health care fraud in the country.
And then there`s Mississippi where appointed incumbent Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith faced intense backlash after she was caught on camera joking about attending a public hanging.
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SEN. CINDY HYDE-SMITH: If he invited me to a public hanging, I`d be in the front row.
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REID: Hyde-Smith defended her comment calling it an exaggerated expression of regard. She refused to apologize or explain what she meant when pressed by reporters. But then yesterday, she took her campaign to a whole new level telling a crowd that it would be a great idea to make it harder for Liberal college students to vote.
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HYDE-SMITH: Then they remind me that there`s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don`t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. So I think that`s a great idea.
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REID: Hyde-Smith`s campaign but she was just joking and doesn`t support voter suppression at all.
Hyde-Smith will face Democrat Mike Espy in a runoff election for Mississippi State, Mississippi United States Senate on November 27. It`s an uphill battle for Espy who if elected would become the first African- American Senator to represent the state since the Reconstruction Era, just after the Civil War.
Well, after the break, we`ll discuss what happens to the south that was rebranding and that has now been rebranded right back to the 1950s. LaTosha Brown and Eugene Robinson will be here to discuss.
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ABRAMS: Pundits and hyper-partisans will hear my words of the rejection of the normal order. You see, I`m supposed to say nice things and accept my fate. They will complain that I should not use this moment to recap what was done wrong or to demand a remedy. You see, as a leader, I should be stoic in my outrage and silent in my rebuke but stoicism is a luxury and silence is a weapon for those who will quiet the voices of the people and I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right.
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REID: That was Democrat Abrams challenging voters in Georgia to channel their outrage in anger into future action to stop voter suppression.
Joining us now is LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Votes Matter and Eugene Robinson is back with us.
All right, LaTosha, so your reaction to Stacey Abrams concession speech tonight.
LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTES MATTER: You know I actually think one, she said it wasn`t a concession speech.
REID: That`s a good point. It wasn`t a concession speech.
BROWN: Right. What it was is she acknowledge that moving forward that Brian Kemp will be certified as governor.
BROWN: But she also I think that we needed to hear that message, that she really she didn`t step over the fact that voter suppression is part of what delivered this particular -- this so-called victory to Brian Kemp. And I think she did it with so much class and with so much clarity and also making sure that she elevated the voices of people who really have been impacted by this voter suppression.
REID: Yes. I`m not going to back up play. We don`t have a ton of time but she said "This is not a speech of concession" --
BROWN: That`s right.
REID: -- "because concession means to acknowledge an action is right through and proper. And as a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that but my assessment is the law currently allows no proper remedy." So it was the opposite of a concession speech. It was a fighting speech.
BROWN: That`s right.
REID: So the question, you know -- both of you are, you know, from the south, I lived in Florida which is (INAUDIBLE) south. And the thing about the rebranding of the south, particularly states like Florida and Georgia is they were on the leading edge of creating a new paradigm for business investment, for tourism, to say this isn`t the south of the `50s.
Now, these two states are sort of defined by voter suppression and by very racial campaigns of running for governor. What does that do to the south`s viability economically?
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, you know that`s a good question that there`s going to be -- we`re going to go through a period of a lot of friction because participation in elections, that`s the issue. That`s -- it all hinges on participation who gets to vote, who gets to participate. And the more people will get to participate, the more progressive the policies are that will be enacted in these states.
And, you know, they`re both -- both states are kind of -- and Florida is a purple state. Georgia is nearing a tipping point. And so there`s going to be just fierce pushback by the powers, by the established white power structure in those states against this wave of participation.
REID: But that`s --
ROBINSON: And so that`s where voter suppression comes from.
ROBINSON: And that`s going to be the battle.
REID: And it`s very difficult because look, The Walking Dead is shot in Georgia.
BROWN: That`s right.
REID: All of these shows --
BROWN: That`s right.
REID: We talked to Will Packer when we were down there in Atlanta.
BROWN: That`s right.
REID: This is actually the tension of Atlanta and places like Columbus and Atlanta that are trying to be new south.
BROWN: That`s right.
REID: And now you`re going to have a governor who has made it very clear I will decide these people can vote and these people can`t. How does a governor state like that?
BROWN: You know I think --
REID: With the Super Bowl coming.
BROWN: With the Super Bowl coming. I think there are two -- I think we`ve got to think about there are two narratives and there are two stories. So one, I think Kemp represents this I think is a dinosaur of age, right. That while it seems like it`s coming back and there are -- what we`re seeing is we`re seeing a particular kind of white southern candidate, right, that I think it`s coming back and we see that in Mississippi, with Cindy Hyde-Smith, with DeSantis, we see this with Brian Kemp.
But I also think that we can -- we`ve got to acknowledge that what we`re also seeing is this uprising, a progressive alliance that we`ve not seen in the south, that there is a rise in the south. If you look at the vote in terms of Stacey, she came closer than any candidate as a Democratic governor -- gubernatorial candidate in the last 20 years.
REID: And she carried Gwinnett County.
BROWN: She carried it.
REID: You had huge change --
REID: -- for Andrew Gillum. They actually changed the map, especially the suburban map.
ROBINSON: Look at, you know, Karen Handel lost, you know, the Republican. I mean look at the congressional races.
REID: That`s Newt Gingrich`s seat by the way.
ROBINSON: A Newt Gingrich seat.
BROWN: That`s right.
ROBINSON: Now held by an African-American woman.
BROWN: That`s right.
REID: So there is a lot of change.
ROBINSON: So there is a lot of change happening but the old order is not at all easy. They`re not going easy.
REID: That`s right. What are activists going to do in response to Brian Kemp, in response to people like Gillum now governing? What are they going to do?
BROWN: You know activists have been working really diligently around pushing this idea of voter suppression. They`ve actually been working on the suppression issues prior to this and been screaming we really are talking about the full restoration of the Voting Rights Act and people were saying in 2013 when the stripping of Section 5, the Pre-Clearance Clause, that we would see this. And we`re witnessing what activists have been doing.
So I think there`s a lot of organized, there`s a lot of energy on the ground, and we`re going to see the rising up. I think that there`s the negative connotation of this but there`s also a lot of positive work.
REID: I think the case about voter suppression in Georgia was Kemp fielder.
REID: Because Kemp was the one saying, "No, no, no, don`t worry about it."
BROWN: That`s right.
REID: "We don`t need pre-clearance. We`re fine here as far as voter suppression. Let me just take these 1.2 million people off the rolls so I can be governor." Wow, what a world.
LaTosha Brown, Eugene Robinson, thank you both very much.
BROWN: Thank you.
REID: Tonight last word is next
REID: Time for tonight`s last word.
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SETH MEYER, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYER: President Trump yesterday expressed his support for prison reform that would reduce certain mandatory minimum sentences. And I have to wonder about his motivation because he also said the prison shouldn`t have walls and they should serve KFC and they should just be Mar-a-Lago.
Thanksgiving is one week away. So if you like dry, tasteless white meat, say hello to GOP`s incoming freshman class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: That is tonight`s last word.
Be sure to join me for my show, AM Joy, Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10:00 a.m. to noon Eastern Time.
"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" starts now.
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