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The 11th Hour With Brian Williams for November 15, 2018, MSNBC - Part 2

November 16, 2018

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<Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS>

<Date: November 15, 2018>

<Time: 23:00>

<Tran: 111501cb.473>

<Type: SHOW>

<Head: The 11th Hour With Brian Williams for November 15, 2018, MSNBC - Part 2>

<Sect: News; Domestic>

<Byline: Brian Williams, Steve Kornacki, Maya Wiley, Frank Figliuzzi,

Richard Engel>

<Guest: Michael Schmidt, Sam Stein, Tamara Keith, David Fahrenthold>

<High: Trump blasts Mueller and Russia investigation. Trump met with

lawyers this week to draft answers to questions posed by the special

counsel. Multiple reports describes Trumps anger, White House in chaos.

Sen. Flake vows to push for vote on Mueller protection bill. Mueller says

that Manafort`s lawyers asked court for extension file status report. Trump

and Graham defends Whitaker as calls for recusal grow. WAPO reports that

Julian Assange has been charged under seal. There is renewed focus on

Donald Trump Jr. amid Mueller indictment anticipation. Florida Secretary of

State orders manual recount in Senate race. Democratic congressional lead

over GOP widens. U.S. sanctions 17 Saudi officials over Khashoggi murder.

Brexit deal crisis plunges U.K. into chaos.>

<Spec: Donald Trump; Robert Mueller; Mueller Probe; Trump Tweets; White

House; Mueller Protection Bill; Paul Manafort; Matt Whitaker; Julian

Assange; WikiLeaks; Donald Trump Jr.; Hillary Clinton; Rick Scott; Bill

Nelson; Jared Golden; Bruce Poliquin; Mimi Walters; Katie Porter; Gil

Cisneros; Jamal Khashoggi; Mohammed bin Salman; Theresa May; FBI; Brexit>

According to a new Politico report, he has told friends in recent weeks he believes he could be facing charges from Mueller. “Half a dozen people in contact with the White House and other Trump officials say a deep anxiety has start today set in that Mueller is about to pounce.”

Don junior maintained a high profile on the campaign trail despite initially saying he would focus on running his father`s real estate empire. In a new profile, David Fahrenthold writes, “It`s not clear where he`s headed. The President has often worried aloud about the possibility that Mueller will seek to indict Trump Jr. as he moves toward the conclusion of his probe.

But the son shows no sign of pulling back. Here to talk about it, the author of that piece, David Fahrenthold Pulitzer prize-winning Washington Post reporter who covers the President`s businesses and conflicts of interest.

David, let`s talk about this still young man who Jimmy Kimmel humbly suggests we all refer to as D.J. T.J. Donald Jr., what was Don Jr. before, and what is he now?

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Before his father ran for president, he was sort of kind of a mini me for his father. He was doing all the things that his father did, but for a much smaller audience, and sort of at a much lower level.

So, Don, one great example his father announced one of his engagements, engagement for the second marriage on national TV to Regis and Kathie Lee. Don Jr. gotten engaged at a mall in Short Hills, New Jersey in exchange for a free diamond ring.

He`d always been sorts of seeking fame but always kind of in the background, never quite reaching when his father`s had. He`s father ascension to politics has kind of given him a new opening, a new chance to become a political hero for some.

He`s still in his father`s shadow, but the shadow is a lot bigger and given him a lot more room to roam. We looked at all the things Don Jr. said he was going to be while his father was in office. He was going to be a businessman. He was going to be a conservationist. He was going to be sort of be uniter for the country.

And found that really hasn`t done many of them. What he`s done and said is kind of returned to the role as his father`s mini me and that was occupied greatly on the campaign trail.

WILLIAMS: Everyone knows the broad confines of the Trump Tower meeting by now. I`ve heard it said any meeting where you need a Russian interpreter probably should have got your attention if you`re running for President. What kind of real legal exposure do the experts tell you he may face?

FAHRENTHOLD: Well, I should caveat this. That anything involving the Mueller investigation, there`s a huge capacity to surprise us. Mueller has done a lot of things that we didn`t see coming. But what we can see now, the legal questions for Don Jr. are, a, that he accept a thing of value? That`s the legal standard here that matters. A thing of value, or did he solicit a thing of value from a foreign national.

In this case that would be opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Did he violate the campaign finance laws by soliciting a thing of value from the Russians? The second thing would be did he lie about that?

In subsequent investigations in front of Congress or maybe in front of the FBI, did Don Jr. lie about what he had done in the Trump Tower meeting? We don`t really know how Mueller is going to interpret either one of those questions, but you think both of them have to be true, both of them have to be bad for Don Jr. to produce some kind of indictment.

WILLIAMS: Donald Trump, Jr., has cultivated an image out on the road and across this country. He is proudly a part of the hunting community, including but not limited to majestic animals on other continents. He has drawn big applause in front of kind of like-minded audiences.

Your article takes pains to point out that he`s been a brand extension for his dad. He`s been valuable on the trail, but compared to his siblings, some people diminish him. There is a killer quote in here that you have as a pull-out quote.

“I`ve never been in a meeting where somebody said, let`s check with Trump Jr. before we make a move”, said a White House official who declined to be named to comment on internal discussions. That`s telling.

FAHRENTHOLD: That`s right. So Ivanka, his sister, who had always been sort of the golden child in the business days before Trump ran for office, she obviously is a really important role and her husband Jared Kushner also has really important role in the White House.

Eric Trump the younger son has sort of taken the lead in running the business. That leaves Don Jr. kind of in between. So he has taken on this role as kind of a brand extension on the campaign trail. The question is, we tried to look back and say look at all these places he went, sort of stumping for his father in Montana, Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia, place that`s were important in the Senate battle grounds and where he went out and sort of used his credibility as a hunter.

Somebody who knew these places from his days as a hunter to sell his father and his father`s candidates. It`s hard to look back and said that Don Jr. really swung any of those races either way. The places he seemed to put the most emphasis was Montana and a Democrat won there.

WILLIAMS: Yours is among the by lines we are always looking for and it`s always a pleasure to have you on. David Fahrenthold with the Washington Post. Thank you so very much.

FAHRENTHOLD: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Coming up, for us tonight. The ballot counting in Florida continues now by hand. Steve Kornacki is here at the big board to break down the latest on what we know when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Busy night already, and as promised, we have updates in the ever-tightening race for Florida Senate seat. Because current Governor Rick Scott currently leads Senator Bill Nelson by less than a quarter of a percent, the Florida Secretary of State has ordered that manual recount.

The results are due no later than noon Sunday. This comes as Broward County -- and take a moment to let this sink in -- Broward County missed the deadline to turn in its machine recount results by two minutes.

The ballot confusion across the state led a federal judge to say Florida is, quote, the laughing stock of the world election after election, and we choose not to fix it. The judge gave Florida voters an extension until Saturday to fix any mismatched signatures on mail-in ballots.

Farther up the eastern seaboard, Democrats have notched yet another flip in the House. This time in Maine. Jared Golden toppled Republican Bruce Poliquin, the last remaining Republican House member from New England.

Democrats currently have a net gain of 35 seats. This is their largest gain since 1974. We have another way to show you what that means in terms of historic midterm elections. In the lifetime of most of the people alive in this country today, back again at the big board for us, Steve Kornacki, our National Political correspondent. Hey, Steve.

STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brian. Yes, there are more on the way for Democrats it looks like when it comes to House gains. Let`s show you where things stand right now. You mentioned that net gain of 35.

The blue are all their pickups. There were three Democratic seats that Republicans picked up. But here, the uncalled races and you mentioned the milestone in New England with Republicans being shut out. Here`s another place where Republicans are now on the verge of being shut down.

It is shockingly Orange County, California, the cradle of modern conservative Republicanism. Here, one of the uncalled Orange County races, the Republican incumbent Mimi Walters has fallen behind by more than 6,000 votes.

The Associated Press, I should say, has now called this race for her Democratic challenger, Katie Porter. Our decision desk has not gone that far yet, but you can certainly see where this looks like it`s going. That would be a Democratic pickup in Orange County.

And that would leave only one Republican seat left in Orange County, which is this one, the 39th district. And look what happened there tonight. Every night some more votes are being reported out here, and tonight for the first time, the Democrat Gil Cisneros has taken the lead over young Kim, the Republican in this district.

Cisneros now leads the trend, clearly favors him. The trend favors Democrats in these late voting races. If this holds, and if the 45th district holds, there will be zero Republican members of Congress from Orange County, California, Bastian of Reaganism once in the next Congress. That would be another major milestone.

A couple other races uncalled still. Democrats could be at about 39 seats when this all shakes out. Probably a few more days from now.

Also in Florida, you mentioned the fiasco there with the various recounts going on at county level. Basically here`s the deal. They went through the machines, as you mention. Broward didn`t end up getting it`s in in time, but the major issue in this race remains Broward County, and what accounted for, you see Bill Nelson did extremely well here.

Gigantic Democratic county, 26,000 fewer votes cast in this race for the U.S. Senate in Broward County than in the race for governor. On the same ballot, 26,000 more had the governor race checked off, not the Senate race.

The Nelson campaign continues to insist this was a machine error. That when you have a manual recount which has now been triggered, which is now as you mention is going to happen, that that will reveal Nelson will get upwards of 10,000 more votes, probably more than 10,000 more votes and it could reverse the statewide outcome.

If they are wrong, though, if it is that design issue we talked about, Bill Nelson is plum out of luck it would look like, because again his gap here statewide, 12,600 votes now and change. The idea of that changing clearly, you saw how little it changed in the machine recount. Unlikely a manual recount is going to reap any kind of shift of that magnitude.

So it really comes down to that under vote in Broward County. Is there something to it with this machine issue or is it what it looks like it really might be, and that is ballot design and a small but significant chunk of voters in Broward just not seeing the race on their ballot, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Unbelievable. Some day maybe we`ll fix our elections. In the meantime, the midterm goes on. Steve Kornacki at the big board tonight. Our thanks as always.

And coming up for us, the Trump White House issues sanctions against a number of Saudis for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Not on the list is that man, the crown prince. More on that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATHER NAUERT, SPOKESPERSON, STATE DEPARTMENT: Today in conjunction with the department of the treasury, we put out a statement as did treasury, imposing sanctions on 17 Saudi Arabian individuals for serious human rights abuses resulting from their roles in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: That is important right there. Sanctions issued by the Trump administration for the brutal killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi come on the same day that the results from the Saudis` own investigation are made public. And we`ll let you draw your own conclusions on how thorough that investigation was.

Our Chief Foreign correspondent Richard Engel has our report on the latest developments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Saudi prosecutors allege today when Washington Post Columnist Jamal Khashoggi walked into that Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Saudi agents waiting inside, were only supposed to bring him back to Saudi Arabia. That killing him was an on the spot decision that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew nothing about.

ADEL AL-JUBEIR, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SAUDI ARABIA: I believe that any rational thinking person will recognize that you sometimes -- things -- mistakes happen.

ENGEL: Saudi prosecutors will seek the death penalty for five of 11 suspects indicted for Khashoggi`s murder. But Turkey doubts the alleged Saudi hit team which reportedly brought a bone saw with them just winged it.

Multiple U.S. officials have told NBC News the U.S. intelligence community believes it`s inconceivable the crown prince had no connection to the death while one official tells us tonight the Saudi explanation is, “A great work of fiction”.

But the question tonight, will the Trump White House accept the Saudi explanation. The State Department is calling it a good start, but critics say this is just the accused hit men becoming the fall guys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Our thanks to Richard Engel for that report there. This is important, too. Khashoggi`s former employer, the Washington Post, released a statement after today`s developments calling for an independent investigation. They write in part, and “From the start the Saudi investigation has been an effort to shield those ultimately responsible for this heinous crime when there is every reason to believe that it was authorized at the highest levels of the Saudi government. It is impossible to have confidence that we have gotten to the truth when the purported investigations were neither transparent nor independent, and when evidence continues to be withheld.”

The statement from the Washington Post.

Another break for us. And coming up, big trouble tonight an ocean away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From Downing Street, this is ITV News at 10:00 with Tom Bradby.

TOM BRADY, ITV NEWS REPORTER: Good evening from Downing Street. Still home to Theresa may for now, at least. This famous door has been the backdrop to many a drama over the years, but few in modern times can match what is playing out now for sheer visceral edge of your seat tension. Where will it all end?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Well, that`s what we`re here to talk about. Last thing before we go tonight, if this is one of those nights for our viewers, we admit they happen when, after listening to us for an hour, you go to sleep fearing for our republic, tonight we suggest that you look at things in the U.K.

This is about Brexit. And while we may never know if the vote by the people of the U.K. to leave the European Union was, in fact, the first successful election infiltration by the Russians, barring a fresh vote, the will of the people stands. And as headline writers have become fond of saying, breaking up is hard to do.

Theresa may is in big trouble tonight, as is her government, as is that compromise plan she has presented to get Great Britain out of the E.U. by next March. She may face a vote of no confidence. She may lose her leadership.

Today she suffered a big loss when her Brexit secretary, the guy in charge of making it happen, resigned. Just as the last Brexit secretary resigned just four months ago. Britain`s break away may not get through parliament, while the British pound got pounded today.

And while just over three months remain, it is possible that this plan to break away is indeed breaking apart. As everyone needs to remember and as a brand-new “The New York Times” three-part video series superbly spells out, the Russians “end game” is to split us apart. The allied nations that they see as their enemies, the allies, like the U.S. and the U.K. that are currently dealing with divisions from within.

That is our broadcast on this Thursday night. Thank you so very much for being here with us. Good night from NBC News headquarters here in New York.

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

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