tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC July 14, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
say, we're the congress, article i of the constitution. if the president of the united states is constantly lying, you have to say he's lying. and they haven't done it. it's a real problem, it seems to me. because it creates permission for him to continue. >> former senator, bob kerrey, thank you for joining us tonight. thank you. >> any time. >> bob kerrey gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. good evening once again. day 176 of the biden administration. we're getting some bracing new revelations about donald trump's final year and final days in the white house. they come from friends of this broadcast, and the new book, "i
alone can fix it." the authors detail the concerns ofhe army general mark milley about an attempted coup in our country. saying he told his closest deputies, they may try, but they're not going to, expletive, succeed. you can't do it without the military and the fbi and cia. we're the guys with the guns. and the exchange between nancy pelosi and mark milley. pelosi reminded milley of the oath he swore to the constitution, and asked for him to review precautions for preventing an unstable presideni from initiating a nuclear
strike. he said, i guarantee you have we checks and balances, and i guarantee you these processes are very good.ar there's not going to be an accidental firing of nuclear weapons. there's also important news tonight about the ongoing story of our time, the pandemic. what was supposed to be our summer of recovery now appears in someow places to be turning intoes a race to get ahead of t surge in new cases.ur this is being fueled by the rapidly spreading delta variant, which the cdc says is now 58% of new infections. nearly state is affected, and hospitalizations and deaths are rising with a it across the country. scientists say this latest spread is largely among the unvaccinated. each week, fewer and fewer americans have been getting the shots. "the new york times" highlights the twoti americas, those vaccinated and those who are not. a
the white house is now focused not just on getting people to get the vaccine, but at the same time on fighting rampant disinformation. >> all of us, social media companies, platforms, where a lot of this misinformation ti travels, the media, state and local officials, it's important for everybody to step up and spread the word about the vaccines. the pushback against disinformation, information that is, you know, literally a matter of life and death, is something that is going to be a continued focus of this administration. >> now the administration says that it will lay out more details of the plan tomorrow. earlier today, the emphasis was on convincing younger americans to get vaccinated. when olivia rodrigo visited the president and dr. fauci. saying getting the message to adults and young people will be the key to stopping the virus. >> unless you have all of the
adults and adolescents vaccinated, transmission will continue to accelerate. delta, what the conservative lobbyth says is that the death rates among young people is low. and that's true. but what they omit telling you is that long haul covid is common, 10% to 30%. >> let's bring in our leadoff guests. shannon pettipiece, claire mccaskill, and general barry mccaffrey. he retired as a four-star general in the u.s. army. good evening, and welcome to yoy all. general, it's you we must begin with tonight because of the news at the top of our broadcast. i want to get your reaction to
the stunning quotes out of general mark milley. i knowma you've been a fan and supporter of his. and remembering he is the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, he as well as you know that there is supposed to be civilian control of the military. but you also shared a worry about those final days. what the president might attempt, and you were also looking for the guardrails. >> there's no question that the president of the united states, mr. trump, was literally unhinged, certainly during the last year in office, and following his defeat in the election. it was a very dangerous situation. mark milley, i've known him since he was a colonel. one tough customer. most of his life has been deployed in combat or operational areas. 39 years in uniform, princeton
columbia educated. a very bright, capable officer. he doesn't command any soldiers, airmen, or sailors. they're under the control of the secretary of defense and the president of the united states. so we really have a dilemma. the chairman has open access to the president, to the national security council, to senior members of congress. and he holds a lot of influence. but whenf trump appointed a retired lieutenant colonel acolyte as secretary of defense and fired mark esper, if i was a foreign intelligence officer, i would have thought he was thinking about a coup against the government. and ith think that's what he wa noodling as the days went by.
>> senator, you heard what the general said there. and this constant chaos has brought numbness, compared to the frog boiling experiment. even the coverage of 1/6, we tend to shorthand as the riot or the insurrection. it was straight up an attempt to change the results of an election. are these books that are coming out in rapid succession, are they useful as a reminder to us to slow todown, look back, see w close we came, and realize the grave danger that continues? >> i hope so. i do think we forget how crazy this guy was at the end, after he lost.os i do think that we forget, and as somebody who was honored to work with both general mccaffrey and many other generals during myer time in the united states
senate, i got to tell you, when they started cleaning out the professionals at the pentagon, and putting in these trump stooges at thehe very end of hi administration, when bill barr said, i've had enough, and when esper was fired, and when others walked off the stage, there was a momentth where our country wa really in jeopardy. and i do think we've forgotten that. i think we dress it up in whose team are i you on, and are you pro-trump or anti-trump. a instead of, you have to be on the american team. and we can't allow there to be someone in that office that abused power the way that he did. thank goodness that general milley was there, and other generals, i think, all saw this guy's flaws, and what a terrible leader he was. i'll tell you one thing they get right at the pentagon, they teach them to be leaders.
they saw this was a flawed leader. and i do think mark milley and others a would have been a backstop had trump really gone off the reservation, off the rails. >> indeed. so many of the officers, that leadership training starts at the service academies and throughout their career. shannon, time to talk about your beat, and this president, and specifically the delta variant. can joe biden beat the clock or win the foot race between the spread of this variant and shots in arms? >> well, i mean, the administration certainly knows the urgency of this. and they've been trying to articulate that for weeks, and the threat to unvaccinated people, to younger people, as a way to urge them to get vaccinated. when you look at the numbers, the rate of vaccinations, what they're doing is not working. and you can argue that vaccinations would be slowing even more if it wasn't for what
they're doing. but at the pace that the vaccinations are going at right now, it's going to take a number of weeks to get to that 70% goal that the president wanted by july 4th. and even once you get to 70%, obviously, public health experts say that's not a stopping point. you can't end there. that will still leave millions of americans unprotected. they've thrown the kitchen sink at efforts you can try to deploy. they've called june the month of action. they had the free beer, free child care, paid time off, the lotteries. they keep going down the line. there's a pop singer at the white house today trying to incentivize people. and week after week, you see the numbers going down and down. i know a lot of public health experts are trying to talk about more of a stick approach like mandates, the frightening m-word that no one want to hear.
but they say they're not going to deploy any federal mandates, they'll have to be at the private or state or local level. but the numbers keep tick, tick, ticking down. >> general, quick follow-up on milley, then-u a question on anothern topic. another quote from the book, general milley saw parallels between trump's rhetoric of election fraud and hitler's insistence that he was both a victim and their savior. this is a reichstag moment. are you happy that there was a guy with his number of stars on his shoulder on the inside, speaking truth to power, or if not power, to his immediate staff? >> sure. look, i tried to deny any
comparison between mr. trump and his gang and hitler's administration. but there is a shocking parallel in some ways by their essential denial of the rule of law and the norms that allow this terribly brief constitutional document to work. in which we all agree that certain things are going to happen. that you're not going to spend money unless congress appropriates it, you're not going to violate the judicial system's decisions. and the trump administration, none of that was the case. and i think milley was in there, in the room, i by the way, i've heard a lot of these reports out of that book firsthand, contemporary to the events taking place. so there's no question in my mind that trump i walked up to e edge of using the armed forces
and the federal law enforcement to try tode carry out a coup to not leave office. he didn't have the guts or smarts to do it, he certainly didn't have any agreement, fortunately, in the executive branch behind him. but we were in some peril during that period of time. and mark milley, history will be kind to him as a hero of that era. >> next up, i want to play for you comments today by former president george w. bush. they have to do with the peril in the wake of our pullout from afghanistan. we'll discuss on the other sider >> i'm afraid afghan women and girls will suffer unspeakable un harm. >> is thissp withdrawal a mista? >> i think it is. i think the consequences will be unbelievably bad. and i'm sad. i spent, laura and i spent a lot of time with afghan women. and they're scared.
i think about all the interpreters and people that helped not only u.s. but nato troops. and they're just -- it seems like they'll be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people. and it breaks my heart. >> general, his sentiment aside, i'm entitled to one point before i ask the question. he did not make comment during theak trump years, but do you agree with hisyo sentiment? >> i have no argument with the biden administration decision to withdraw all forces from afghanistan. there's zero political support for that war. none of the presidents involved built a base of understanding
among the american people. so i think the decision was politically the only one they could make. but we need to be ruthlessly objective in understanding the consequences. u.s. combat forces are already out. u.s. air power, intelligence, special operations, are no longer engaged. we're not going to be able to send money to a corrupt central regime in afghanistan in the coming year. there will be no americans to monitor, it will be going right in somebody's pocket. it looks like the taliban, they're claiming to control 85% of the country, i think it's more likely around half the districts are under their control. it's going to be a sad outcome. millions of people will be fleeing to the adjoining nation-states. it's not 2,500 interpreters, it's tens of thousands of afghans that cast their lot with
the nato forces. cia commandos, special forces, political leadership. theyl all have families. we're walking away from them. they'll be left to a brutal fate. the only thing that may push back on this, afghanistan is now devolving into ethnic civil war, and the militias will re-arm and try to protect their own people. but, you know, they're in great peril of genocide. it'sri going to be an ugly coup of years coming up, if it lasts that long. >> claire mccaskill, we careen into a domestic topic you're familiar with, the spike in coronavirus cases in your state. is this coming home to roost?
>> it has. and it's the abject failure of the political leadership of the state, which is dominated by the republican party. the governor, all of the statewide elected officials, except one who is a democrat. you know this part of my state. you used to hang out there many years ago. but we're talking about southwest missouri. i would say, we've talked about po stars and community leaders.m i don't need to tell you that maybe the most important people that need to do some soul-searching and read some of the new testament are the evangelical ministers that are having problems with the vaccine that trump not only developed but took. this was trump's vaccine until he left office. if we don't get beyond the political issue and get to the
health and safety issue, we're going to -- we have more people in icu units in the hospital now in missouri than we had a year ago. that's primarily because of the failure of the republicans in this state to take it seriously. and i think the failure of evangelical ministers in rural missouri, they're failing the people that come to them for guidance. they should be helping them talk to their doctors, find doctors, and do the right thing and take the vaccine. it's heartbreaking to see how many people are in icu units right now. >> i agree with the point you just made.e and shannon, this gets to you and the white house effort to counter disinformation. >> right. we'll see. they've highlighted some report that the surgeon general will present tomorrow at the press briefing. we're six months, well beyond
six months into this disinformation campaign. but slightly over six months into this administration. and just now, they're getting to the idea of disinformation. this disinformation has been out there for 18 months, since the pandemic began, when people questioned whether it waseo eve real, or if it was made up. and it's only continued now into the vaccine. there's been disinformation vaccines for well over a decade now. so it's beyond trying to put the horse back into the barn. the information is out there. and, you know, it's also out there outside of the white house's control. we'll see what they have to say about it.o they have been trying to get counter information out there, through a number of cdc websites, through local community groups and organizations. there's -- they're countering
it, it makes it a really difficult problem to take on. im think that's why you see public health officials saying they just have to slug the zone with a message, and hope they can drown out the information that is coming across on social media and other platforms. but they have been trying to do that for months now. it's going to be difficult to change that trajectory. and i will add, too, it's not just disinformation. the vaccination rates are lowes among younger people, 18 to 24-year-olds. and a lot of them just say it's because they're not as concerned about it because statistically the virus doesn't affect them as much. and that n'afis, you know, it'sn a statistical fact. they have to counter that information with the new reality we're living in of the delta variant. >> shannon, claire, general
mccaffrey, thanks for starting us off. coming up, more on the bracingon details emerging abou the trump white house. and a later, maybe the form president just needed a best friend. there's a new book out, it's all about an underrated, rarefied small group of americans. the people who have served as bfps. best friends of the president. we'll talk to the author, as "the 11th hour" is just getting under way on this wednesday evening. dnesday evening. . . dog tested. dog approved.
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longer are accountable to the voters. all voters. >> that's the political strategist, matthew dowd. underscoring why texas democrats traveled to d.c. and "the washington post" writing, the direction of texas' anti-voting measures reflect a lack of confidence in their own popularity, and a toxic disdain for democracy. joining us, eugene robinson and mike murphy. gentlemen, good evening and welcome. eugene, i want to get your reaction, i want to put another
quote on the pile from "i alone can fix it." liz cheney describing being alone with jim jordan. while these maniacs are going through the place, he said we need to get the ladies away from the aisle. let me help you. i smacked his hand away and told him, get away from me. you, the word is, f-ing did this. eugene, if there's a quote you need on a subject about the unraveling of the trump west wing, it's in here. >> yeah, it's in there. as you know, i've said before, the first rule of column writing is, you know, don't go for the hitler analogy. don't go for the nazi analogy. but the fact that the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff went there, as it was happening,
and saw january 6th as potentially a reichstag moment for an attempt to undemocratically seize power, the way hitler did, it's just -- this is gobsmacking. and just when you thought you couldn't be surprised at how bad it was, it was much worse. and the fact that rudy giuliani just declaring to say, just say we won, that surprises me much less than the fact that the chairman of the joint chiefs was so concerned at that moment of what might happen and what donald trump might do. it's just stunning. >> mike murphy, the texas democrats meet with joe manchin tomorrow. at this point, i should point
out, it would be easier to enumerate the americans who have not met with joe manchin about voting rights. who or what will turn manchin on voting rights? >> well, you know, manchin is holding the power in the 50/50 senate, as we all know. he's put out his own framework of something he could support. and i don't think you have to be a rocket scientist if you're a democrat to kind of take the hint and get onboard that. when the guy holding the control lever says, here's what i need to pull the lever, i would listen to him. hr-1 in my view is kind of an overshoot bill. it's politically not viable. and i would listen to the guy with the vote and we'll see. republicans are making a complete dog's brakfast out of this, with what is happening in
texas. when you have half the legislature running away in the middle of the night, that tells you how divisive it is. i don't think the meeting will have any new outcome. >> both of you have agreed to stay a bit longer. coing up, biden is asking for a lot more money from democrats. and it's not easy, even if it is money from the folks at home.
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it's kind of a big gulp. it sounds to me like their approach is to increase taxes. if that's the case, i don't think you'll have a single republican. >> well, the $3.5 trillion is a shocking figure. i think the infrastructure plan is a separate plan. what impact this will have, i can't tell you at this stage. >> republicans already casting doubt on the democrats' go it alone package. and the road ahead is tough. it's been summed up this way, past legislative fights may be instructive, but there's not
much prcedent for a party trying to pass a bill with 50 votes and almost no margin for error. we're in uncharted territory. eugene, republicans have the vapors. does biden have a chance of pulling this off? >> well, actually, i do think he has a chance of pulling it off. you know, the bipartisan hard infrastructure bill is one thing. and as mitt romney says, he and others who agree with that want to keep it separate from the soft infrastructure, climate change, human infrastructure, $3.5 trillion separate bill that the democrats would have to do by themselves. i think that, if they can keep it separate, if they can keep that idea of division, these are two separate things that we're
talking about, apples and oranges, i think he's got a chance. i don't know if people get the full $3.5, but it's a lot of money. i think joe manchin and kyrsten sinema will get onboard for a lot of money. and you know how the senate can do when it comes to packages and deciding how it's paid for, with dynamic scoring and there are ways to get this through. it's going to take a while, i think. but there are ways to get it done. >> let's go up to mike murphy, joe allen writes, this is something you have been predicting and talking about. the serious question democrats must start asking is if or when will moderates and independent voters rebel against such record levels of spending, and the, wait for it, higher inflation that might follow, said one
democratic strategist. if they do rebel, we will get slaughtered in the 2022 midterm elections. so, mike, the point here is, inflation may take the place of defund the police as a way to beat the democrats. >> yeah, look, inflation is political nitroglycerin. you have to be careful playing with it, and at least now, we see real signs of inflation. the democrats need to curb their appetites. you see $3.5 trillion, in english, it's about 82% of the cost to the u.s. government of the second world war. which was around $4 trillion. this is a very big ask. i think gene is right, it's going to get whittled back. in a 50/50 senate, it's hard
enough to order lunch with that. doing $3.5 trillion, we'll see. this infrastructure thing as a standalone would be a big political win for joe biden. it's not in their interest to get into a huge spending war, an issue that may become more relevant, particularly in the suburbs. they almost have a bird in the hand, they need to keep an eye on it. >> i'm only noting the sign behind you that says winnipesaukee. you can go over and interview the romneys and make some news. >> it's true, they're not far away from here. i drop by and haunt him once in a while. i'm going to go check his pulse after that spending number if i see him tomorrow. >> our friends eugene robinson and mike murphy, our thanks.
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keeping your oysters business growing renew has you swamped.r skin you need to hire. i need indeed indeed you do. the moment you sponsor a job on indeed you get a shortlist of quality candidates from a resume data base claim your seventy-five-dollar credit when you post your first job at indeed.com/promo welcome back. we talk all the time around here about first ladies, first children, and even first pets. but often the most influential person is left out of the history books until now. on that topic, our next guest rights in "first friends," the deeper i delved into dozens of presidential friendships, the more i became convinced that those presidents who had first friends were almost always the better for it, and so was the country. with us, gary ginsberg.
author of "first friends," it's already a "new york times" best seller. number one, gary is my friend. number two, your humble host thought he knew just about everything about presidential history, especially in the modern era. had read every book. i learned a ton and had a hard time putting it down. to my friend, well done. let's start at the beginning, the most recent past president. who were donald trump's friends, and did this most transactional president of all time have a best friend? >> i wanted to do a chapter on trump, we went around and around
for about two months, until a person confirmed that the president didn't really have a first friend. basically, it's just not part of his emotional makeup. he spokes to ike perlmutter, but really it was his twitter feed before it was shut down. i think all he needs is public affirmation. and one person said, and this gives some flavor to it, he would take a big group of family and so-called friends up to camp david for weekends, and would just sit by himself in the cabin, all day long, talking to supporters on the phone. that was his idea of hanging around with friends. the reason why i raised it in my preface, you wonder, had he had that close friend, would he have made the mistakes that resulted in his second impeachment?
history could have been different. >> your chapter on harry truman reads like a fiction novel. tell me about the rarest of friendships forged in warfare, that went on to have a great effect on u.s. and global policy. >> it did. i think it's the single most powerful example of how a lifelong friendship can change the course of history. eddie jacobson and harry truman ran a haberdashery before it failed. but because of their long friendship, a relationship that i think was built on complete trust and candor, they were midwesterners. jacobson could march uninvited into the oval office, and convince the president to meet
someone he had previously refused to meet with. a war hero from the first world war, trying to get him to recognize an independent state of israel. only somebody who had an equal relationship, who neither needed nor wanted anything from him could do that. eddie says, get over your childish anger, do what you need to do. truman turns around, okay, you win, you bald-headed son of a "b." then two months later, he's the first foreign leader to recognize the independent state of israel, 11 minutes after it's declared. it's a great story. >> your chapter on nixon is no less interesting. anyone our age or older, i have
a few years on you, anyone our age or older knows the name b.b. ribozo, right away. dick nixon's closest friend. you go there, however, on the really shaky optics that polite people didn't talk about, about the inconceivable amount of time these two guys spent together, and how it had tongues wagging, again, among members of polite society. >> it definitely did. it went everywhere from, what was going on, to were they gay lovers, which i don't think was ever remotely proven. but they were so different in personality and temperament. nixon was this dark, brooding, intellectual.
ribozo was a high school graduate, whose first job was an airline steward. nixon was a loner, but he knew he needed company. pat nixon said he was a sponge, he could entertain him, stay silent, mix martinis, grill steaks. in fact, as you said, they would sit together for literally hours. john dean tells me about sitting in the boat, and the secret service agent peers in, and they're just staring at the sea for literally hours. but where it goes wrong, b.b. was loyal to a fault. and he couldn't say no when nixon was president. when nixon asked him to raise illegal campaign funds, that was his great failing. he accepts this $100,000 bribe from howard hughes, and i think that leads to watergate and ultimately i think his
impeachment and resignation. >> our guest has been gary ginsberg, author of "first friends: the powerful, unsung, and unelected people who shaped our presidents." if there's a presidential history buff in your life, or if that buff is you, i recommend it. gary, thank you, and best of luck with this book. >> thanks a lot, brian. coming up, why this year's fire season in the american west is now weeks ahead of schedule, with one megafire already burning out of control. burning l winner, seven years in a row. in fact, subaru has won most trusted brand for more consecutive years than any other brand. no wonder kelley blue book also picked subaru as their best overall brand. once again. it's easy to love a brand you can trust.
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early fire season, but wildfires have consumed more than 1 million acres. jacob ward has a report from california. >> reporter: tonight, dozens of wildfires raging out of control in the west. >> we've had three or four fires in the last month and it's scary. >> reporter: california, idaho, montana, washington, and oregon. the bootleg fire has burned more than 200,000 acres. now nearly seven times the size of san francisco. and drought conditions are making it worse. >> it's never been this low. it's unprecedented. >> reporter: lake mead is at its lowest levels since the 1930s.
this week, officials will close this boat ramp in nevada. without enough water, vegetation dries out and becomes ready fuel. >> it's like a stocked fireplace. tinder packed, ready to go up. >> reporter: symptoms of climate change fueling the fires. this fire season is six weeks ahead of schedule. firefighters are preparing to not only fight fires overnight to avoid heat exhaustion in triple digit temperatures, they're trying to grapple with the new behavior of fire. walls of flame higher and moving faster than we've ever seen. >> and we thank jacob ward for that report from california tonight. coming up, where were you 25 years ago tomorrow? when we come back, why tomorrow is a big day around here.
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the world is an amazing place. every day, it changes. the problem is, until now, you haven't always been there to see it. a lot of people don't get to see the early news, and think the late news is on too late. with our primetime news hour on msnbc, you can get into the news. when the day is just about done, the world isn't going anywhere.
it will now be there waiting for you. >> the news with brian williams, next only on msnbc. >> that was from a quarter century ago. and i'm still working nights and cable. which brings us to the last thing before we go. i hope you'll indulge the briefest reminiscence. anniversaries often bring about wistfulness. for those of us present at the creation of this network 25 years ago tomorrow, there's a lot of wist in the air. these were lean years. when we first got started, we felt like we were just like a real cable news network, only without the viewers. but we kept at it, with people in front of and behind the camera, and with big stories to cover, we found our audience. in fact, in our third night on the air, we got word that twa
flight 800 had gone down off of long island. our early graphics department couldn't render a long island map. so we used a road atlas from someone's trunk in the parking lot and pointed to the crash site. the march of news just kept coming after that. much of it tragic. diana was killed just over a year later. then came the clinton impeachment. 9/11, the dual wars that 9/11 spawned, a few contested elections, a few spectacular elections. a threat to our democracy, and look at the time. here we are. the network asked 25 of us to write an essay, and asked me to sum of the previous 25 years, and asked me to keep it to 300 words. starting tomorrow, you can read the mini opus on our website,
which includes the early mystery as to what those first two letters stood for in our name. importantly, thank you for being with us, bearing with us, for watching all or part of this journey. without you, we would all just be talking to ourselves, just like the first few nights on the air. with that, that's our broadcast for this wednesday night. thanks for being with us. on behalf of all of my colleagues at letter is the letter is dated today, it went out today in the house of representatives and it is addressed to the ceo of cyber ninjas. a man named doug logan. the overseeing committee and congress has now sent this letter, they said that they rented to a mailbox