tv MSNBC Live With Steve Kornacki MSNBC December 13, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
is sworn in as president. topping our agenda, picking a fight. >> the secretary of state is the person who should be recognized as the person who is a leader in terms of our security, our values and our interest. in terms of the president-elect's nomination, the coziness with vladimir putin is alarming and should have eliminated him, frankly. >> it's official, donald trump nominating exxon-mobil ceo rex tillerson as secretary of state setting off alarm bells with democrats and big name republicans as well. this is already shaping up as the first major brawl of the trump presidency and we will break it down for you. also on the agenda, role reversal. >> the president-elect indicated his intent if elected president
to pursue warmer relations with russia. what better way to do that than to choose somebody awarded the order of friendship by vladimir putin to be the secretary of state. >> the republican president-elect is moving to thaw relations with russia. just years ago, democrats were ridiculing the republican nominee for the hard line stance on russia. why have the politics of russia changed so dramatically and so quickly? we will dive into that question. also on the agenda, canceled. >> what is the president-elect's plans to talk about divestment or getting rid of some of the conflicts of interest he might have? why did he delay his press conference? >> when you have massive real estate holdings and you need to find a way to extract yourself from all of that, it takes a lot of time. >> trump pulling the plug on the
major press conference he was promising to address his business ties. do people care about the potential conflicts of interest? a surprising new poll with numbers we will you about. all that and more and we begin with the cabinet pick we have all been expecting. it is now official. donald trump is named exxon-mobil's rex tillerson to be secretary of state. many saw it coming since last weekend, the highest profile appointment he announced in the past few weeks. a few more positions left to be filled in the trump cabinet and it has been a busy day today at trump tower here in new york. political and also big nonpolitical names walking through that lobby. our own cal perry is outside keeping an eye on the comings and goings. so, cal, the reality star president met a pop star
musici musician. what do you call kanye west? >> a rapper, i guess. a lot of people are calling it a distraction. why are they calling it a distraction and accusing the president-elect of distracting from his cabinet picks? you laid it out. rex tillerson, ceo from exxon are close to the president. when you talk about russia, when the state department is involved is russian sanctions chlg the company that could benefit the most is exxon. all of this as you sort of mentioned in the shadow of donald trump cancelling the press conference where he talked about his business conflicts of interest. that brings us to the secretary of energy. we heard from sources that that will be rick perry from the state of texas. he is on the board of the energy transfer partners in charge of building the dakota pipeline. not just the president-elect facing these questions about his potential businesses and
conflicts of interests, but individual cabinet picks and not just from democrats, but republicans as well. >> thanks for that. the nomination for secretary of state is finally official. donald trump apparently is looking for a fight. his choice of rex tillerson for secretary of state certainly stirring the waters in washington. setting the stage for a confirmation fight that will be all about one issue. that is russia. as ceo of exxon-mobil, cal perry talks about this. business ties with russia and russian president vladimir putin ran deep and already senators from trump's own party say they are concerned about this pick. marco rubio before the pick was announced tweeted being a friend of vladimir is not an attribute i am hoping for from the secretary of state. republicans control the senate right now and no republican senators have said they are going to vote against tillerson,
but it would not take many defections to sink him when his nomination comes to a vote in a few weeks. if that happened, it would be a very big deal indeed. it is rare for cabinet nominations to be defeated. the last time it happened, you have to go back almost 30 years to 1989. george h.w. bush nominated a former republican senator for secretary of defense. the senate voted down that nomination. that's the last time it happened. there is rare and really rare. think about this. in 1989, bush's party didn't control the senate. those were democrats rejecting a republican nominee. the last time the president's party controlled the senate like trump's party is going to control the senate and reject the nominee, you have to go back to 1843. recognize this? john tyler was the president back then. he was a member of the whig party. the whigs controlled the senate
and they were at war with their own president. they knocked down six of the cabinet nominees. that's the last time a president's party defeated the nominee for a cabinet spot. those are the stakes. keep in mind the balance of the senate is republican and will be republican in january. 52-48. that means republicans have the numbers to pass the president's nominee if they want to, but it means would not take many defections. take a look at this. marco rubio has concerns about the nomination and keep an eye on john mccain and susan collins and keep an eye on lindsey graham and the hard liners on the republican side. the fiercer opponents of vladimir putin and skeptics of a friendly relationship with russia. will they move against this nomination if they do that, it could be big trouble on the flip side. if you are the new trump administration, you are looking to pad republican defections. there are democrats to keep an
eye on. joe donnelly and joe manchin. would they want to oppose a nominee for a major, major position? that's the politics at work. trump's advisers are hard at work trying to deter a contentious process here as incoming chief of staff, reince priebus touting his qualificatio qualifications. >> it was chemistry and presence and vision and the ability to rex tillerson had to maintain relationships across the world in many places that are not the easiest places to have relationships in. during many different administrations. obviously he is very good at being a diplomat. someone like him as a diplomat that happens to drill oil. the good lord didn't put oil in
freedom loving democracies across the world and he was able to make this work. >> for more now on the fight that is coming, i want to bring in katie turr. those are the stakes, but there are interesting personality battles here. marco rubio is already coming out with skepticism here. the history between donald trump and marco rubio in that campaign was ugly. you have to wonder if there are personal aspects. rubio may be getting a chance to pay trump back. >> marco rubio saying he doesn't want a friend of putin in that office and doesn't think that is a qualification for the office. unlike ted cruz, he did not come around to donald trump in a whole hearted way at the end of the campaign. he begrudgingly supported him in the end and i believe he said he voted for him, but he didn't come calling if are a cabinet position the way ted cruz did.
he was not gaining favor with him. he won in florida despite donald trump's tepid support for him. he could feel as if he has the ability to be more independent from trump. marco rubio and the senate foreign relations committee could have a lot of impact if he doesn't allow this pick to get out of that committee. if they try to shoot him down, they have friends on both aisles in that fight. he has the senator who said he is absolutely basically not supporting tillerson unless he shows that the relationship with putin would not get in the way of the interest of the american public. is it going to get out of the committee? if they manage to take it to a vote, is marco rubio going to be able to convince lindsey graham and susan colins to say this is not the right pick for the
country and make sure that he and joe manchin says no to this pick. i don't suspect that rex tillerson will be as difficult of a confirmation as people are believing he might be. why is that? ultimately people are in well-respected positions that said yes, he might have close ties, but he does seem to know the field and have relationships. he is not as much of a hawk on iran as the other picks in donald trump's cabinet, especially when you are looking at mattis and farland and flynn. he is somebody who could balance them outgoing down the line. secondly, who would donald trump get to replace him? what nominee would he offer? would it be rudy giuliani again? is this person better than rudy giuliani and the other picks that donald trump may go with down the line?
romney was somebody that people held out hope for, but tillerson is controversial at the moment, we will have to find out come january where the senate stands on him and whether mitch mcconnell is able to get his republican team in line for trump. >> always feels like at least one nominee for a spot where it becomes a close thing on the confirmation. it looks like this is the early favorite. >> absolutely. of all the ones out there, this is one that is drawing the most controversy especially among the republican party. that says something. >> that is the most interesting part. richard engle is on the ground in moscow. you have spoken with oil experts in russia. what's their reaction to tillerson being the nominee? >> it's interesting that even some analysts and former officials here in russia say there is a potentially huge conflict of interest for the ceo
of exxon-mobil to be secretary of state. a lot goes down to one massive oil deal that was signed between exxon-mobil at a company close to the kremlin. they are extracting oil from the arctic circle. russia the deal was put on hold after sanctions were put on russia. the question is, if the exxon-mobil ceo becomes secretary of state, he would be in a strong position to lobby for the sanctions to be lifted and open the door for this deal to go forward, enriching not just exxon-mobil and those who
hold its stock, but enriching this russian company which some in this country say is effectively a piggy bank for the kremlin. even analysts here at a former official we spoke to said it is a profound conflict of interest and represents potentially a new phase of relations between the kremlin and the next administration. steve? >> in moscow, thanks for that. conflict boils down to a fight. the role reversal is playing out between the parties and the issue. it was mitt romney who called them the top geopolitical foe. democrats including president obama who had a field day, calling romney clueless and hopelessly out of date. >> i few months ago when you asked what is the biggest threat
facing america, you said russia. not al qaeda. you said russia. they are calling to ask for the foreign policy back. the cold war has been over for 20 years. >> now of course it's a republican president-elect who is calling for closer ties and a cooperative relationship with russia to move past cold war mentality and it is democrats who are howling about the threat that russia poses. for more on the role reversal, i want to bring in a former political director to george w. bush and a columnist with the daily beast. let me start with you. four years ago, mitt romney said top geopolitical foe and talked about russia as an expansionist mind set. he talked about the trampling of free speech and free press over there. this in many ways, what is playing out in terms of developments with putin and a moment of vindication for that. that view and assessment of russia and let the new
republican president-elect said he wants closer ties with russia. are you comfortable with that? >> i think vladimir putin is a thug and a bully and a problem. we have to deal with him. i don't think anybody wants to go to war with him, but we have to make sure we project strength. i don't think anybody sees anything other than the fact that he will project strength. it was the hillary clinton campaign that had a throw back ad with barry gold water not being trustworthy. we heard that over and over from the hillary clinton campaign that donald trump was an aggressive war monger. my guess is neither is true and it's smart to start off the administration trying to use the relationships to forge strategic alliances and i don't think he will be deceived by what vladimir putin is and intending to do. >> the democrats, we played barack obama four years ago and
mitt romney said top geopolitical foe. they are not number two or three. the line was talking about russia as an adversary. it was an outdated relic of a cold war mentality. the democrats have changed on this before the revelations about the hacking. why did that change come about? >> there have been major events and putin went into crimea and began threatening ukraine. there were questions as to whether he might go into the baltic states. president obama drew a line there and said if you come in here, it's war. it did seem like a revival of the cold war expansionist ambitions of the former soviet union. >> let me ask this. when romney made that at the same time, russia had invaded georgia. they had shown expansionist flair. the stories about the murdered
journalist and putin had changed the constitution. the signs were there, weren't they? >> ukraine was a different story. you are getting into the east-west trigger points. you are getting into the role of nato. what is the role of the western alliance. the stakes went higher and higher and the former chief is clamping down harder and harder and politics makes strange political reversals and bed fellows. i would ask the republicans, are you really comfortable with voting party solidarity with donald trump, a candidate many of the republicans don't think has the temperament to be president and said so during the campaign and got the support of no former presidents when he ran. all of these investments with the russians and we don't know how many because he hasn't released his taxes. he is a pointing people with all kinds of business connections with the russians.
are you comfortable with the assessment with the interest like russia. this is a question of where allegiances are. is this the business? let me ask you that. >> these are good americans. >> let me just ask you. you called putin a thug when i asked you about him. romney said top geopolitical foe. do you think donald trump shares that view that he is a thug and they are a foe or does he want to be friends? >> i want to correct the record which is these folks are good americans. >> i didn't say they weren't. >> their allegiance is not questioned. it is should he be secretary of state and i think republicans have a role to play as democrats do with all the nominees and inserted tillerson to ask the tough questions. in the end i think he gets
confirmed and you have to answer the questions and as far as a ceo who leaves a company like he is like dick cheney did, no matter what you divest, you will be associated with the company where you were the ceo. it's a fact. he will have to deal with the question of where his allegiance is. he needs to be clear and stay far away from the line which i'm sure he will do and do a good job for the american people. that's what is before them. it's great that we are picking outsiders, but it comes with complications. >> i want to stay on the point of the changing politics of the issue. i remember back to 2012. a major point of emphasis. the very idea of thinking of russia in an adverse aerial framing was wrong and outdated. he was ahead of his time. >> a more subtle post cold war
analysis is certainly within bounds. we are down to very specific questions now, steve. rex tillerson will have to answer. as head of exxon-mobil, he was against sanctions on russia for their move into ukraine. is he still against the sanctions? if he is not, he's is out of step with what is the foreign policy that is supported not just president obama, but the vast majority of republicans in the senate. he has a decision to make. it will cost his old company a lot if those sanctions stay in place and bite. if he comes out for lifting them, it will look like he is siding with the interest of his own company where he worked for his entire career. he has no other experience. he is a talented smart man. he has the support of people like jim baker and bob gates. that will probably lead his confirmation and he never had any other perspective than that of an oil company.
>> this will be a confirmation fight about the issue of russia. certainly a lot to play out between now and when the final vote is taken. thanks to both of you. appreciate it. >> thanks. >> donald trump's promise to remove himself as businesses as president. >> i won't be involved in my business as all even though i have a legal right to be because the president has a certain doctrine that he can do things. i just don't want to do it. >> he promised a major press conference to explain how he would divest himself from the businesses. now he has called it off. the question, do americans really care about potential conflicts of interest? we will look a a new poll and talk it over with chris hayes. that is coming up and also what the un officials are calling a complete melt down of humanity in syria. the disturbing reports emerging out of aleppo including families
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i'm very proud of him. male vo: comcast. donald trump pulling the plug on a press conference to reveal plans for separating himself from his business. now he said even though i am not mandated by law to do so, i will be leaving my businesses before january 20th to focus full time on the presidency. two of my children, don and eric and executives will manage them.
new deals will be done during my term or terms in office. i will hold a press conference in the near future to discuss the business. busy times. americans agree that trump needs to divest himself from current operations. they say it's important he do so, but americans somewhat undecided on how much he needs to remove himself. 42% said he only needs to get rid of some or none. the host is taking to twitter suggesting the tweets are another distraction and we are exactly where we have always been. joining me now is chris hayes. he was asked in a business debate. he will be placed in a blind trust. it's a great answer if he said the kids are going to run it. i don't know if that's blind. that's not blind.
a blind trust is liquidating your assets and you don't know what is on the other side of that account. >> he said during the campaign, we have been through numerous rounds of him saying technically the president can't have a conflict of interest and i can write checks from the oval office if i want to. now his kids will run it. the conflicts remain in place. the problem is this is a black box that contains 400 llcs and businesses across 200 countries. there is a taiwan or turkey is that a deal and on and on and on. all of that stays in the black box. that is the problem. park issue how much do you think this matters to people? >> i don't know frankly. i think it matters with the first order i think it matters. it is entirely unprecedented. we had george w. bush came in with a lot of assets and divested them and same with dick
cheney with halliburton. that is not public in any way. halliburton was a public enemy and you can see where the stocks went. >> we're had shadowy stuff with lbj. >> that's totally true and lbj had a lot. nothing of this scope and nothing that is singular to the definition of the person at hand. here's what i think happens. it's hard to get the notions of the conflicts, but if a crisis happens and it is then later revealed ex-post facto in the midst he had business interest there, people will care. we don't know what's around the corner. if we get into china with the desire for a land deal. >> i'm trying to figure out how people filter this. he ran for president he is not
releasing his tax returns. never been done and poking holes in the rationals for why he wanted to do that and gets elected anyway. the message was almost some people viewed it as drain the swamp and i will clean it up. other people thought i will play as dirty as they play. >> one of the things that is important. like dividing the trump voters. the question is about the more marginal voters and whether they care and at what point they care. the broader fact is he won the election. he is dividing all political gravity and he is the most unpopular president-elect in the last or five presidents in terms of polling we have done. can he continue to defy the gravity? maybe. but events in the world will have a big, big impact on how much a story like this plays. >> chris hayes, i wanted to talk about this and we are out of time. >> i learned a lot from it.
>> we all did. thank you for stopping by. the post of all in. 8:00 eastern. next, bill cosby is back in court. a key hearing in the sexual assault case. at issue. will more than a dozen accusers take the stand when they begins in the spring. the attorneys fight to keep the women off the stand. that's next. american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. find out how american all finished.umm...ervices you wouldn't want your painter to quit part way. i think you missed a spot. so when it comes to pain relievers,
electoral college signing on an open letter asking the director of national intelligence for a briefing on whether they are investigating links between the trump campaign and russia. most are democrats from states won by hillary clinton. her campaign chairman said he supports this effort. tom perez told several senior democrats that he is going to run to be the next chairman of the democratic national committee. ray buckley is the democratic chair jamie harrison. a four-way race. bill cosby returning to a pennsylvania courtroom. watching the heated clashes between his lawyers and prosecutors over a request to have 13 other women who accused him of sexual assault testify at his trial set to begin in the spring. cosby denied all allegations. in tennessee officials say the
wildfires in the great spoky mountains caused more than half a billion in property damage. at least 14 people were killed. the flame destroyed or damaged more than 2400 structures. a big day on wall street. the dow jones inching closer to the 20,000 mark. dow closing at a new record high for the 16th time since donald trump was elected president. now to south carolina, winding down the case against dylann roof charged with killing nine people in a black church in charl 1207b. jurors getting to see the images found in the gunman's camera. this as prosecutors object to the witnesses the defense said it is going to call. roof is being tried on federal hate crimes and firearms charges and faces a state trial for murder. if convicted he could be put to death. joining us from charleston with the latest. the prosecutors don't like the
people the defense plans to call. who do they want to call. >> we don't know, but this was unexpected, steve. early on in the trial, they said they didn't expect to call any witnesses. the judge has not said whether he will allow the witnesses to come forward. the prosecution tries to block the defense witnesses saying they didn't think the testimony would be appropriate appropriate in the phase of the trial. the guilty phase. inside that courtroom, jurors see what seems like a trail of bread crumbs that dylann roof left, connecting him to the shootings. dylann roof in the gun store looking at the case of glocks. the murder weapon and a glove in his car and his racist manifesto he wrote. i was able to speak to the father of one of the victims and asked him, sir, what is the most
disturbing piece of evidence you have seen in the courtroom? he mention the the manifesto and could not believe someone would do that based on ideology. meanwhile today in the courtroom we heard from the agent tasked with searching roof's home that they shared with his mother and his mother's boyfriend. he described getting to the home and the boyfriend raising his arms and saying he is not here. the mother telling this agent there is something you should see and led him to a camera that had thousands of photos of dylann roof in plantation farms with the confederate flag if his mouth and a burned american flag as well as with a white pillow case on his head portraying the kkk look. meanwhile, the defense is saying no cross-examination. we heard from 11 people today and the defense has not had any
exchanges with any of them. you mentioned at the top that was so surprising. they do want to bring in witnesses to testify on behalf of dylann roof. >> down there in charleston, thanks for that. now to syria and what could be a turning point in the deadly civil war. rebels say a deal has been reached to allow civilians to leave eastern aleppo. as the government said they control nearly all of the area that had been held by rebel forces for the past four years. the united nations received reports of intense bombing and the government forces are rounding up and killing civilians. msnbc joining us now with more on what we know. we have a conflicting account here. the bottom line is everyone is horrified about the civilians there. what is the state of their safety? >> what we are working off of is the un as well as the russians and the syrians. they have given the biggest
indication that military operations have concluded. they are walking into the council meeting saying that russia and syria will cease operations and that is the biggest indication that is the syrian government reclaimed all of a lep oro parts that they wanted. there may be one or two pockets that are being held out, but for the most part, we know from them that the situation on the ground now reached beyond the tipping point. the syrian government is in control of eastern aleppo. this is a dire humanitarian situation. that is being echoed by aid situations, saying it's a dire situation. some are pulling out and suspending operations and we are getting the accounts of people describing for us horrific scenes. some saying that men and women and whole families buried under the rebel of the buildings as a result of the bombardment and we hear reports that men are being executed after being separated from their families.
you brought up a good point which is the ceasefire. what we are hearing is that there will be a humanitarian corridor for the families to leave aleppo and make their way to other rebel-held areas starting wednesday morning at 5:00 a.m. local time. whether or not that is followed through or successful remains to be seen. >> bigger picture in terms of the policy behind this and barack obama a couple of years ago made the statement that assad must go. now a pretty good sign that the assad government got control back. as barack obama leaves office, what is the state of syria that he is happeneding over to donald trump? most will say a complete disaster. it has not been successful in helping defeat the syrian regime
which is what the stated objective is. donald trump will inherit a country in the status of a civil war. but certainly one that the syrian government and the russian forces have an upper hand in against the rebels fighting to oust the syrian regime. isis was able to score a massive victory a couple of days ago by retaking from the syrian government. with the fight in the front against isis, they have not scored decisive victories. it seems with the rebel groups, they have. this is a defeat for the united states and allies and going to be interesting to see how a pro russian or more cooperative administration with the russians comes into syria and deals with the disastrous humanitarian crisis now. >> buyer with the latest from syria and aleppo, thanks for that. the most important number of the day. i like to give you a hint.
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i believe the united states of america should be the country that ends cancer once and for all. we will closer than a lot of folks think. we want to thank what i consider to be the finest vice president in history. joe biden. >> president obama just a few hours ago praising vice president joe biden. the president was there to sign what's called the cures act. that will provide $1.8 billion for biden's cancer moon shop program. joe biden getting praise for the president and outgoing vp and in the news a lot lately, suggesting maybe he is not quite done with politics and that brings us to our most important number of the day. i told you you will want to kill
me. 1,421. why would you want to kill me over a number like this? folks, it's 1,421 days until exlection day 2020. i'm sorry. it is never too soon to start. we have the first poll for the 2020 democratic presidential nomination. it's wide open because hillary clinton lost. the outgoing vice president joe biden, this is a new ppp poll. 31% for biden and 24% for bernie sands. 16 percent per for elizabeth warren. cory booker, al frank in and kirstin jill brand from new york. absurdly early, but these things measure with name recognition. i remember a december 1992 poll that had bob dole in 50 place which he went on to win. sometimes it plays out. as we enter the trump era and
enter the trump presidency, biden, sanders, warren. they are the biggest name democrats left in the game right now. they are all older. in 2020 biden will be 78 and sanders will be 79 and warren will be 71. they need to develop a bench and new talent as they head into the trump presidency, the biggest names when you ask democrats who do you think of, they are going with the older. it will be interesting to see if they changes over the next 1,421 days. that is the most important number of the day. bring all the hate mail. it's never too early to talk about 2020. a long time adviser to donald trump raising eyebrows to say he met with mitt romney to torture him. was it pay back for the sharp criticism? why some believe that might have been the case.
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pa pa this is this is not going to work, is it? >> i don't think so. >> you can't say they didn't see it it coming. he was considering romney for secretary of state and passing on mitt romney for the job and tapping on rex tillerson from ek on mobile. what is next for mitt romney. he was one of donald trump's top critics and could he ever credibly ever criticize donald trump again? now over to wall street with the dow closer to the 20,000 mark. here's the cnbc market wrap. >> stocks closed higher as they kept their eye on the fed meeting as well. the dowing 115 points and closing in on the 20,000 milestone. contributing the most gapes. the s&p inching up and the
. he won and is entitled to his appointments, but he is also responsible to do so in a way that is worthy of the positions he is appointing people to. >> that is house democratic leader nancy pelosi earlier today criticizing president-elect donald trump's decision to go with exxon-mobil chairman rex sitillerson as secretary of state. he had been a top candidate and trump calling him and saying he was not going to get the gig.
he's going with tillerson instead. msnbc. welcome back. this was an interesting post election soap opera. mitt romney, not a republican or a person in politics more critical of donald trump in the presidential campaign and two days after the election, we hear by the way, romg me in might be the secretary of state. that has been the story for the last month. it wasn't romney. is this where they get revenge or considered mitt romney and didn't go with him? >> if he did this to mitt romney this way, it would elevate grudge holding beyond anything you saw in a mob movie. i was thinking of that phone call like miss universe. if for any reason he cannot serve as secretary of state, he is completely -- whatever his motivations were, he is
completely neutralized mitt romney. you said he criticized him. romney threw him down a flight of stairs. this was about romney's ambition and trump giving him even an opportunity to be relevant again and back in play, the things he said in the press conference which even in a campaign with a lot of nastiness, that's nasty. >> he had to come out and make a public statement or making it sound like i didn't mean it. the outgoing leader in the senate saying he lost had been because of that. romney saying i was critical of him and if i could have shaped foreign policy, i would have been more than willing to do so. >> it's the famous line from the boxing promoter. yesterday i was lying, today i'm
telling the truth. it will be difficult for him to criticize this president ever again. is there a missed opportunity for druchlt and they have been so critical for such a centerpiece role. with the process, i don't think he gu at the start of the process that it would hold this sort of fascination for people. he realized he could build up the drama.
when he realized he would not do the news cycle. >> we will see how long he can keep going. in morning, mtpdale we chuck todd starts now. >> if it's tuesday, another kremlin connection is making waves in the trump transition. tonight, why the president-elect could be his own one of the enemy in confirming his pick for secretary of state. plus, another postponement. just when we thought we might hear from donald trump about his business dealings, he cancels his news conference. when will he address his conflicts of interest? in case you missed it, the house benghazi committee closed its doors. a spectacularly successful failure. this is mtpdaley and it starts