Writer Anand Giridharadas joins Mehdi Hasan to argue for a redistribution of second chances after Kellyanne Conway made a cameo on American Idol.
Former Trump Administration White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal talk to Zerlina Maxwell about the Trump campaign’s attempt to overturn election results and why it won’t work.
Former Trump Administration White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal talk to Zerlina Maxwell about the Trump campaign’s attempt to overturn election results and why it won’t work.
joining me now is former white house communications director for the trump administration anthony scaramucci and justice correspondent for the nation ali mastal uh the mooch let me start with you uh to to the extent that you can happy birthday take us inside oh thank you thank you so much i appreciate that um you know take us inside the trump orbit what is the president’s end game here i mean obviously he’s throwing everything at the wall but what ultimately is his goal does he actually believe any of these efforts will make a difference well i think the end game is a non-prosecutorial agreement and so that’s different from a pardon remember a pardon you have to be accused of the crime indicted of the crime and then you get pardoned he wants a non-prosecutorial agreement in new york state new york city and the federal government and so he’s going to wreak havoc on our society in an effort to do that so he’s going to act like the tasmanian devil trapped inside that non-scalable wall around the white house uh i don’t think he’s leaving that white house by the way watch he won’t go to mar-a-lago for thanksgiving he likely will not leave the white house for christmas because he’s afraid they’re not going to let him back in the white house and he knows if he has the white house he has some leverage over other people so that’s what i think is going on right now i think he wants that for his family and for himself uh and that’s why he’s stirring the power spot excuse me the pot so vigorously so we do have some breaking news nbc news can confirm that donald trump jr uh just tested positive for covid19 anthony i can’t even believe that people in trump’s orbit are still testing positive like they did not take the hint from the first person in their orbit and then start wearing masks what the heck is going on here what’s your reaction to donald trump’s junior testing positive if you if you if you poll them they think it’s a hoax and they were saying repeatedly that on november 4th no one would be talking about the covet 19 crisis or the pandemic so it’s no surprise to me that every day you’re going to read about more people i understand and i like andrew giuliani a lot and i wish him well i like don jr i don’t agree with his politics of course but i i wish these people good health it’s just it’s unfortunate that nobody would listen to the epidemiology behind this and it was ultimately the president’s undoing that they took this path uh somebody told me today that he had a bad october i’m like what he had a bad march through october he mishandled the pandemic he lied about everything and that’s why we are where we are and that’s why everybody’s getting sick and i feel like if he had handled the pandemic just at all i mean like i feel like he’s done so little that if he had just you know been like wear a mask and i’m gonna you know make sure that we have rapid testing the the election could have gone a lot differently ellie a lot of people are looking at what’s happening in michigan um also in pennsylvania where the trump campaign is fighting in the courts today georgia obviously certified uh their election results and their recount um but trump says there’s a major lawsuit on the way and so i i’m i feel like people are getting nervous um you know they hear legal experts say you know joe biden will be the president trump cannot overturn the results of this election um make me feel confident about the fact that that is true there’s nothing that donald trump can do to stop this from happening legally we are now well into the illegal phase um of his attempting to run you know it’s it’s it’s it’s a coup d’etat brought to you by four seasons landscaping i mean that’s that’s kind of where we are right now um look there there’s no there’s no legitimate argument for for trump to be doing any of this does anybody remember i just want your viewers to think does anybody actually remember the legal argument that they’re making in michigan no nobody that’s not a legal argument they’re just straight up saying we should throw out votes of black people that’s the only argument that’s not legal um uh uh a congressman um bill parcell jr today filed bar complaints ethics complaints against rudy giuliani that’s what needs to happen now because donald trump literally admitted on twitter that the entire point of his michigan lawsuit was to delay certification of the vote that is an extra legal means that is using the court to get an extra legal um outcome that is textbook unethical there is a rule it is called rule 11 that is supposed to be used to sanction lawyers who bring frivolous unethical lawsuits and it should be used against all of trump attorneys it likely won’t be because people are cowards but like that’s where we are now okay so when i when people want to feel safe and feel and feel better about where things are going make no mistake there’s no legal grounds anywhere they are one for 32 one for 31 in court and the one that they won was whether their poll walkers watchers have to be 15 feet away or six feet away that’s their win so there’s no legal argument anywhere to be found here but trump doesn’t care and so and that’s what we’re trying to so i think that leads me to my next question anthony in terms of who is advising the president obviously ellie points out that none of these arguments are legal arguments so likely donald trump who is not a lawyer you know isn’t coming up with sort of some of these theories but do you think he’s listening to anyone who is giving him advice or is this just all coming from him no this is 100 coming from him and i would tell you that the last six weeks of that campaign 100 coming from him his movements the strategy what he was preparing to do after he got him himself kovac 19 all of that is coming from him and so he’s hunkered down uh you’ve got people inside the white house that i’m still close to that have said okay we got to begin the transition process we have to release the funding we have to start the process i mean he lost by six million plus votes five states flipped but i do think uh that he did something very cunning he delayed the absentee ballot counting and so what ended up happening was if we got every single vote counted by 11 pm on election night it was a route he had five states flip on them lost by six million votes it was a total repudiation of trumpism but by switching up the mail servers taking away the post office boxes delaying the count delaying the ballots uh he’s trying to convince and he’s got 50 60 million people convinced of this uh that those ballots that came in afterwards totally legitimate totally legal were false and there’s a problem with the election so he believes that 50 or 60 million of his followers believe that but ellie knows the court system doesn’t believe that america doesn’t believe that by december 1st all of the battleground states will be certified and then my question to the gop is then what what are you going to do after that you know the the the you know the thing is is over as it could be yeah it feels to me like you know they’re accepting the wins and losses in their congressional races i say it every day like mitch mcconnell accepted the win in his race but somehow the election was fraudulent it doesn’t make sense to me ellie and with the president refusing to concede um you know there’s a question about short-term damage to the biden transition team as we try to prepare for a vaccine hopefully and the long-term damage it does to just the whole democracy um we know joe biden will become the president but what worries you about the long-term damage trump is doing to the democracy right now well this is how i understand your breaking news about don jr who i don’t know and don’t wish well um these people are the ones who are leading to additional unnecessary deaths in this country that’s the cost it’s not to me i’m pouring down i’m hunkered down and quarantined i basically have a moat around my house right it is to it is to the people um who are being led astray by this administration um and the people who cannot get the help and the services they need and the delay that there’s going to be in distributing a vaccine that we apparently are on the verge of having a proof these that’s the hurt that’s the harm it’s the harm is death and biden said it directly more people will die because of the charade that the republican party led by mitch mcconnell um sorry led by donald trump endorsed by mitch mcconnell and republicans up and down their entire ticket that’s that’s what the cost is of this anthony to that point do you think that the president cares about the death happening um and additionally do you think he will ever admit that he lost this election we saw him for the first time in public today uh in many days and you know he couldn’t he he basically stood there like i won and and walked out yeah talking about prescription drug prices as an aside uh do you think he’s ever going to you know get it through his head yeah well the short answer is no and no but just remember one thing about him when he’s doing a news surge he’s searching trump he is not searching usa and he’s definitely not searching y-o-u he could care less about y-o-u so when ellie says he doesn’t care about donald trump jr uh donald trump jr and donald trump senior don’t care about us so i i hear you and i will say this i thought i had good hair until i met you ellie i mean that thing is absolutely terrific i’ve never seen it like it so i mean i have hair envy tonight but uh but what that’s because you got a moat around the house a barber can’t get in there with like actually but but i gotta i gotta tell you though you know we gotta move past these people and i’m going to make a prediction on the peacock that once we move past these people the half-life of power of trumpism is going to decelerate very very quickly uh because you’ve got all these ambitious geopeers they’re going to be throwing the trumps into the prairie fire as quickly as they possibly can and then they’re going to have to have a reckoning in that party because you’re going to have a reconciliation with the truth and where were you when we needed you related to life and safety and principle so if they’re not careful the republican party is heading for the ash heap as well it’ll be an aging group of white people that are buying my pillows and catheters from fox news commercial interruptions there’s definitely weird commercials on fox news i just have to say that as an aside ellie and john they can’t get any real responses that’s true i remember when it was very very strange commercials at what during one of the boycotts um ellie it seems to me that the president uh to anthony’s point is not going to accept the results of this election he’s obviously doing at you know to your point extra legal things in order to muck up the works here um are there laws being broken like are there additional things he’s doing in order to make pay over this election result which we all know is one where joe biden won are there any additional laws he’s breaking i mean i i assume that the presidential records act is being shredded every night uh um um who knows uh uh what access to information we are being denied um by this holdup but again i don’t think that this is a i don’t think right now he’s breaking laws he’s still the president until january 20th at noon right at 1201 um he becomes potentially a trespasser in the white house but until noon on the 20th he’s still the president um so i don’t think that their laws being broken by his shenanigans again their their ethics and and i i say ethics not not as a dodge as a thing that used to be important as a thing that we used to expect lawyers to uphold the ethical violations of this administration that we’ve all just kind of gotten used to because it’s just every day is a violation right we’ve gotten used to them like we shouldn’t be because that that that that is the ethics are the guard real and that’s what we don’t have right now so again these this attempt by by this congress person um the attempt to hold trump lawyers accountable like jenna ellis needs to needs to fill the the sting of a rebuke right like at some point these people who help him these people who enable him have to feel like they themselves will be rebuked in some way um to warn them off of doing it like that that’s actually at least as important um as you know at some point obama joke the other day like at some point the navy seals will get into the white house and and deal with trump if he’s if he’s still there right but i need something to happen to jenna ellis i need something to happen to rudy giuliani i need them i need i need the the legal structures yeah because there are there actually are to your point about the ethics of it you know lawyer lawyers get a bad rap while i’ve never practiced i’m gonna defend lawyers like you can’t just straight up lie like you can finagle uh and and spin but you can’t just straight up live that’s actually unethical and a lot of these folks are getting up in front of microphones on tv just straight up lying about the law and the fact and it’s not because trump is the bad guy like i think that one of the best things that lawyers do is defend the indefensible like i i i am proud of lawyers who will defend terrorists and criminals and this guy right but you can’t lie you can’t stand up in court and make purposefully frivolous arguments that actually breaks the whole system down so again we need we need these people to be held accountable for their misdeeds i agree anthony scaramucci and ali mestal thank you as always for being on the show tonight
The position of director of national intelligence was created after the 9/11 terror attacks to prevent another such assault on the American homeland. The DNI, as the director is known, must oversee 17 intelligence agencies with a total budget of about $60 billion. There are few jobs more important in the federal government — or the entire country. Yet President Trump treated the selection of a DNI with less care and forethought than he would give to picking an interior designer for Mar-a-Lago.
When Dan Coats decided last month that he had suffered enough as Trump’s DNI, Trump reportedly called Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to ask what he thought about Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) as a replacement. “Burr responded that he didn’t know much about the lawmaker but would consult with a few people,” Politico reported. “But less than a half hour later, Trump tweeted that Ratcliffe was his choice.”
Trump picked Ratcliffe, it seems, because he liked the congressman’s obnoxious questioning of former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in July hearings and his role in spreading cuckoo conspiracy theories about a nonexistent “secret society” of FBI agents supposedly out to get the president. But it soon emerged that Trump didn’t know much about his new nominee.
In the days after Trump impetuously announced Ratcliffe’s nomination on July 28, The Post and other news organizations discovered that the three-term congressman from Texas had greatly embellished his résumé. He had boasted that he had “arrested over 300 illegal immigrants in a single day” and had “firsthand experience combating terrorism. When serving by special appointment in U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation, he convicted individuals who were funneling money to Hamas behind the front of a charitable organization.” Turns out that Ratcliffe had played only a small role in a sweep of undocumented immigrants and an even smaller role in the Holy Land case; an aide told the New York Times that Ratcliffe only “investigated side issues related to an initial mistrial.”
With Senate opposition growing, Trump withdrew Ratcliffe’s nomination on Friday just five days after putting him forward. He had lasted less than half a Scaramucci. In pulling the plug, Trump both credited and blamed the media, saying, “You are part of the vetting process. I give out a name to the press and you vet for me, we save a lot of money that way. But in the case of John [Ratcliffe], I really believe that he was being treated very harshly and very unfairly.”
Ratcliffe was treated “very harshly and very unfairly” — but by Trump, not the news media. There’s a reason presidents normally vet nominees before, not after, they’re announced. It’s better both for the prospective appointee and for the president to have any skeletons uncovered before swinging the closet door wide open.
By ignoring the traditional way of doing things, Trump subjected his personal physician, Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, to considerable embarrassment in 2018 by nominating him to become secretary of veterans affairs and then having to withdraw the nomination after stories emerged accusing Jackson of “freely dispensing medication, drinking on the job and creating a hostile workplace.” The Defense Department inspector general even launched an investigation of Jackson. Learning nothing, Trump repeated the same mistake this year when he nominated Herman Cain and Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors — posts for which they were utterly unqualified. Facing Senate resistance, Trump had to withdraw their names — but not before unflattering details of Moore’s divorce became public.
And those are the good-news stories: the nominees who never took office. Much more common for Trump has been his discovery, after the fact, that his appointments were terrible mistakes. His clunkers have included a secretary of state
- (Rex Tillerson) who devastated morale at the State Department; a national security adviser
- (Michael Flynn) who was convicted of lying to the FBI; three Cabinet officers (Interior Secretary
- Ryan Zinke, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Health and Human Services Secretary
- Tom Price) who were forced out for improper travel expenses and other ethical improprieties; a secretary of labor
- (Alexander Acosta) who had given a sweetheart deal to a wealthy sex offender; and of course a communications director
- (Anthony Scaramucci) who was fired after 11 days for giving a profanity-filled, on-the-record interview to a reporter.
Coats is the 10th Cabinet member to leave the Trump administration. In President Barack Obama’s first two years in office, not a single Cabinet member departed. Trump also has a record-setting rate of 75 percent turnover among senior, non-Cabinet officials. The cost of this constant churn and chaos is high: It becomes nearly impossible to develop or pursue coherent policies.Trump is a president straight out of “The Great Gatsby.” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of his protagonists: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” In Trump’s case, the thing that he has smashed up is America’s government, and the cleanup cannot begin until January 2021 at the earliest.
Bret: Anyone who survives a half-dozen bankruptcies and goes on to win the presidency should never be written off.
Gail: Sigh. Good point.
Bret: Trump is a master of inventing new dramas to make us forget the old ones. And if unemployment and growth figures remain good a year from now, he’ll still have a powerful argument for a second term.
Bret: I’m not too worried. Capitalism survived the transition from horse-and-buggy to the Model T. It survived the transition from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy to a service-based one. And it survived the creative destruction of countless other forms of employment. Where, for instance, are the typesetters these days?
Gail: Well, they’re not creating hot new social media sites.
Bret: Now the question everyone is asking is what will happen to all those truck and cab and Uber drivers — a total of three million professional drivers — once driverless cars become ubiquitous. There’s no doubt the transition will be painful for some of them, and policymakers need to be sensitive on that point. But if history is any guide, things will work out. Many of those drivers will find work in industries that currently don’t exist. Just ask yourself, where was the mobile apps economy at the turn of the century? Where was the internet economy in 1990, or the personal computing industry in 1975?
Gail: I still don’t see the truck drivers working on mobile apps. And if you’re worried about the left’s solutions, I don’t see a whole lot of candidates running around talking about the state taking over the means of production.
Bret: Just wait an election cycle or two.
Gail: But if we’re moving to an economy in which trucks are automated, robots do all the warehouse work and some kind of artificial intelligence is taking orders at the restaurant, we’ll need a government that can create a whole lot of useful public service employment to make up the difference.
Bret: Heaven forfend.
Gail: And underwrite free college education for everybody who needs it.
Gail: And assure lower-middle-class people decent housing.
Bret: My soul is dying.
Gail: All of which would have to be paid for by large taxes on the very rich.
Bret: Now it’s dead.
.. Bret: I’m all for universities figuring out ways to become more affordable for those who need and deserve it, but making college free for everybody makes it bad for everybody. We would wreck a university system that’s still the envy of the world.
.. Bret: As for affordable housing, I’d sooner trust the invisible hand of the market than the heavy hand of the state. Large taxes on the very rich won’t raise the kind of income you need, and sooner rather than later those taxes will land on the decidedly less rich. And A.O.C. should start mastering her facts rather than getting into Twitter wars with fact checkers.
Gail: Hehehe. Knew I’d get you with A.O.C. That’s what people love about her.
.. Bret: I was with you until you mentioned taxes. Purely theoretical question for you (and our readers) for our next conversation: If Congress would agree to cut the top marginal rate to 33 percent in exchange for a pledge by Trump not to run again, would you take it? I’m sure we’ll be hearing from readers on the comments page.
A television show featuring Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who is suing President Trump on behalf of a pornographic film actress, and the former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was pitched to two cable networks in recent weeks, people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.
.. Before becoming a fixture on cable news as counsel to Ms. Clifford, Mr. Avenatti had made a name for himself in California legal circles by mixing serious cases — like a $454 million verdict he won against Kimberly-Clark and Halyard Health for claims they were selling defective surgical gowns — with more tabloid-friendly suits against the celebrities Paris Hilton and Jim Carrey.
.. He had an early mentor in the aggressive use of media in Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, a veteran of the Clinton and Obama administrations. Mr. Avenatti worked during college and law school at Mr. Emanuel’s political communications firm, the Research Group. The firm specialized in so-called opposition research, or digging up potentially embarrassing information on opponents for future use in the press.
Other than Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the lone remaining enforcer is Kelly. But his power as chief of staff has been diminished. Officials said the days of Kelly hovering in the Oval Office morning to night and screening the president’s calls are over. Trump is largely circumventing Kelly’s strict protocols.
The president recently reached out to some people Kelly had sought to excommunicate, calling former communications director Anthony Scaramucci to banter about politics and inviting Lewandowski and Bossie to dinner in the residence.
“He’s rotating back to the people who actually like him and is more willing to take advice from those people,” Scaramucci said. “They’re more honest with him, and he’s more comfortable with them.”
Allies said Trump is reverting to the way he led the Trump Organization from his 26th-floor office suite at Trump Tower in Manhattan. There, staffers were functionaries or lawyers, and many of his advisers were outside the company — rival business leaders, media figures and bankers. Back then, Trump controlled his orbit himself from behind his cluttered desk, relying on assistant Rhona Graff to field calls.
.. Ascendant in the West Wing are advisers who play to Trump’s gut: Kudlow on tax cuts and deregulation, Bolton on a muscular approach to foreign affairs, Peter Navarro on protectionist trade policies, Stephen Miller on crackdowns on undocumented immigrants and Kellyanne Conway on an open press strategy and tangling with reporters.
.. Like Conway, Bolton and Kudlow are seasoned cable news commentators who share Trump’s hard-charging instincts and have no illusions about his governing style. Officials said they are expected to cater to the president’s wishes and seek to avoid the internal knife fights that have befallen many a Trump aide.
.. “Gary was really good, but I don’t know if Gary ever embraced the Trump economic ideas. He was more of a traditional Democrat or moderate Republican. Kudlow is a real cheerleader for the tax cuts in a way Gary never was, although he helped get them passed.”
.. Trump has been frustrated by news stories of White House tumult and has ordered aides to contest the notion that there is chaos.
.. “The top story, number one, is Stormy Daniels,” King said he told Trump. “I told him it’s utterly ridiculous. I just came back from Hamburg, Germany, and they were just laughing at us.”