tv Morning Joe MSNBC December 19, 2016 3:00am-6:01am PST
police officer charged in the fatal shooting death of philando castile is set to appear in court. the officer faces three felony charges, including the deadly july traffic stop. casti castile's girlfriend live streamed video from after the shooting. >> that does it for us on this monday morning. "morning joe" with mark halperin starts right now. ♪
♪ >> isn't that fitting for today's news. good morning, everyone. it's monday, december 19th. welcome to "morning joe." with us on set we have managing editor of bloomberg politics. >> slow down for a second. joey scarborough's birthday today. >> can he run for congress yet? >> not quite yet. not there yet. >> managing editor of bloomberg politics mark halperin here. veteran columnist and msnbc contributor mike barnicle. "the new york times" reporter jeremy peters. and in washington, columnist and associated editor of "the washington post."
>> we can do legendary for him too. >> all right. i know it's funny that open for "saturday night live." >> that was funny. >> very funny. >> can i do a little debriefing with david ignatius for a second off the top of the show. >> talk about the phone calls you had over the weekend. >> i don't really want to. david doesn't want to talk about that. a couple names have risen, beat reporter jeremy peters has been talking about them, but a couple names. one, david mccormick as general mattis' number two. what can you tell me about david mccormick? >> an intelligent person. he works for a big hedge fund called bridgewater. he's been top flight in running one of the largest and most successful. he has a defense background. i'm told that he's a favorite of bob gates and one of the things
that i'm hearing over the last few days is that the most interesting figure behind the scenes in this inner circle recommending people, encouraging this one, being negative about this one is bob gates. >> i know. can you believe that bob gates, who donald trump i think called stupid on this show. >> a loser. >> a loser. it shows you again how willing the new president coming in, unlike barack obama who said we don't want to make new friends, donald trump is all about making new friends. you're exactly right. that's an extraordinary fact. bob gates, rex tillerson was his idea. david mccormick, a champion of david mccormick. we're hearing about steven hadley over at state. >> there's someone associated with this show who you're hearing a lot of talk about as deputy secretary of state.
>> richard haass. >> it is all of these people that we're naming though would -- not only the foreign policy establishment washington, d.c. but also internationally, david, what would that do to the standing of this administration across the globe? >> it would make it a lot easier for donald trump to conduct the foreign policy that he wants if at this deputy's level he's got solid people who are well known. the fact that he's listening to bob gates -- i covered bob gates. bob gates understands how this government works in national security better than anybody i ever met. he came out of cia to nsc. he was so solid at defense he was kept over. he served for george w. bush and then obama kept him on. this is somebody who really knows how it works. if he's the guy that donald trump is listening to on these key appointments, you would have to say this is a good thing. >> more on this coming up. let's get to our top story. today members of the electoral college will cast their votes for formally elect donald trump
as the 45th president of the united states. electors will meet in their respective state capitols where they each are supposed to cast two votes. one for vice president and one for vice president. republican members of the electoral college have faced intense pressure to go against their states and not vote for trump. in pennsylvania, some are receiving police protection. the pittsburgh post gazette reports that thousands of e-mails land in their inboxes every day. copies of the federalist papers and other books urging political courage are being mailed to their homes. they're even getting phone calls in the middle of the night. an elector in michigan said he received dozens of e-mails threatening his life, including one talking about putting a gun in his mouth. one pennsylvania elector estimates he receives 3,000 to 5,000 e-mails, letters and phone calls a day from as far away as france, germany and australia.
i'm a big boy, he said, but this is stupid. nobody is standing up and telling these people enough. knock it off. >> we heard the same arizona death threats for electors in arizona. it's really gotten out of hand. >> trump said this weekend if my many supporters acted and threatened people like those that lost the election are doing, they would be scorned and called terrible names. >> and at the end of the day the effect of this is going to be -- >> truest trump tweet ever. the net effect will be that this will be a decisive day rather than a day when we have a constitutionally mandated moment that people who voted for trump will be very happy about. this is not covered either side in much glory. it's great for people to speak out and try to affect the electors. that's their constitutional right. to threaten violence or to make claims about their responsibilities. >> what do you mean it's the truest trump tweet? what are you saying? >> in terms of the accuracy.
if trump supporters had done this and hillary clinton had won, i mean, we in the media would continue to be crushing his supporters, which were widely misread prior to the election, and the candidate himself. >> the net effect of this is going to be nothing. maybe one or two electors to change, right, jeremy, that's it? >> haven't we seen this movie before? remember the contested convention that never happened. ted cruz broached the subject on stage at the republican national convention and was booed out of the arena and his wife had to be escorted out by security. i think a lot of this is the press. we love a narrative of tension. the idea that somehow this could get thrown open at the last minute while a great story is just not going to happen. >> and people making money off of it. give us money and we'll run ads to try to stop trump. people just, it's scam artists.
>> here we are. it's the lead story that we're talking about. it's a huge nonstory. >> trump is right. one trump supporter made a threat -- it would be a huge story. these people shouldn't be making threats of violence against electors. >> let's look at the second story and see if this is connected in some way. there are new audio recordings of hillary clinton speaking candidly and pointing fingers for her election loss. addressing a gathering of donors in new york city, she blamed the fbi for sinking of her campaign. and said her 2011 comments about elections in russia motivated president vladimir putin to target her. >> take it from nate silver who pointed out that swing state voters made their decisions in the final days, breaking against me because of the fbi letter from fbi director comey. and nate silver believes, i happen to believe this, that
that letter most likely made the difference in the outcome. we have to recognize that as the latest reports made clear, vladimir putin himself directed the covert cyberattacks against our electoral system, against our democracy, apparently because he has a personal beef against me. >> mike barnicle, what's your take on hillary clinton, john podesta, everybody going out? >> i think all of us have a lot of respect for the former secretary of state. former senator from new york. former first lady. this is a sad way to step off the stage. the comey letter certainly had an impact on the election in that it reminded voters of what she had failed to do for many, many months and that's to address specifically and
credibly her e-mail problem. her larger problem is she went to the country with really no story. she did not have a story to tell. americans love stories. she had no narrative to tell. she was basically when you strip it all away, her campaign came down to the phrase "it's my turn." >> jeremy? >> incapability for self-administration. it's the russians thought. comey's thought. it's obama's fault. it's fake news' fault. it's media's fault. what all of this allows them and the democratic party to do is to avoid the tough questions about why they lost and how they alienated such a large block of voters that they needed to win and the fact that none of them saw this for the election it was, which was a change election. she was not the agent of age that americans wanted.
>> if you look over the past six or eight years, mark, you've been out there covering this on a daily basis, the number of governorships they've lost, democratic have lost in this country, and the democratic party's problems are going to continue for quite some time. >> 68 house seats lost. 12 in the senate. 10 democratic governors lost over the past eight years. you can make all of the excuses you want to make. this is a party that right now is not connected with middle america. >> the press narrative leading up to the presidential election was the republican party is in crisis. that was always a silly narrative. democratic party was in crisis and because of the clinton campaign's level and now at the presidential level as well and they face, depending on how donald trump conducts himself in office, potentially being lucked out of lots of levels of
government for a long time and lack of introspection on our part is not going to help the party come back. >> the lack of introspection is stunning. i've been bringing up an article i read in the spring when everybody assumed the republicans were going to get wiped out. but you know what? if they win the presidency, the republican party for all of this hand wringing that we're doing about the republican party, he wrote the republican party will be the most dominant electoral position they've been in in almost a century. he was right. they are. but there doesn't seem to be -- are we missing something? there doesn't seem to be sufficient speculation as to why the democrats have been swept aside the way they have over the past eight years. >> i think hillary clinton's comments that we played there are painful to watch are part of this process of sorting out what happened. i like the quicker, cleaner barack obama version after the
2010 midterm elections when he said we got shellacked. he looked in the eye and said we got shellacked. i think that was good. this will go on for a long time. we'll never know the impact of the comey letter. i do think that one point that hillary clinton made in that little piece we saw about this being a personal beef of vladimir putin, that's possible. i think one value of a bipartisan congressional investigation through a select committee is that it would get to issues like that. we would see this and understand it. not to excuse hillary clinton but to understand what happened to us. >> i think if she did not say this first and had a unifying message not only for the party on where things went wrong but also for the new president, the incoming president respect for him and that everybody has to press reset and try to help the president, which is something
that president obama has said, and then she started to look at these things as well and call for some introspection but also some inspection on the russians and the other issues that may have played a role, i think that would be perfectly line because all are pretty important. president obama held his last news conference -- >> i want to say they need to understand -- everyone needs to understand, this investigation is coming. it's going to be wide reaching. it's going to be bipartisan. mitch mcconnell has bought in on it. paul ryan is going to be bought in on it. so that investigation is coming. >> no one is denying it. >> we're going to learn all of this. it is time for the democrats to actually look and say why are we so disconnected from america? what has happened over the past eight years? >> and on the investigation, if it's not a select committee, there will be lots of competing investigations and that will hamper it because you'll have people fighting over subpoena power and mcconnell right now doesn't want a special
committee. on the democrats, what i found is part of why they're not acknowledging and being introspective is because they look at the way republicans won and say they won with fake news and by lying, by being aggressive, by giving no quarter. they say we need to emulate that. we can't admit any weakness. we have to go to positive strength aggressive and those traits aren't compatible. >> i have one race to talk about to talk about how bad things were that had nothing to do with vladimir putin. ron johnson won wisconsin in a presidential year. if you asked me over the last six years from the day he was elected would ron johnson be re-elected in a presidential year after being elected the first time as a tea partier, i would have said no for six years running. the fact that the democrats lost to ron johnson, a hard right conservative in wisconsin in a
presidential year tells you all you need to know about how far this party has fallen. i'm not knocking ron. that would be like a northwest florida conservative winning in wisconsin. >> to show you how little the democratic party seems to have absorbed the lessons or has an understanding of what's happening in the country right now, who do they put up against ron johnson? russ fieingolfeingold. it was another older candidate who failed for represent the change that voters wanted. >> president obama held his last news conference and to this point i'm going to play what we were going to play second and that is he says after listing all of his successes that his success didn't really transfer over. we can talk about why. but first, let's listen to the president. >> i think that the thing we have to spend the most time on because it's the thing we have the most control over is how do we make sure that we are showing
up in places where i think democratic policies are needed and where democrats are characterized as coastal liberal latte sipping, you know, politically correct out of touch folks. we have to be in those communities. i've seen that when we are in those communities, it makes a difference. that's how i became president. it's been something i've been able to do successfully in my own campaigns. it's not something i've been able to transfer to candidates in mid terms and build a sustaining organization around. that's something that i would have liked to have done more of. >> so he's saying i could do it but none of the democrats could do it.
as jeremy brought up in the break, now bill clinton is blaming barack obama. the clintons are blaming absolutely everybody. no introspection. now they say it's obama's fault that they lost. part of barack obama's problem, and i go to you on this because we get the same phone calls from the democrats who are running the senate back in 2009 and 2010, we heard the same thing that this guy wasn't a partner. the frustration was from democrats running the senate. it was just this guy was -- he was a solo act. he didn't communicate with him. he didn't bring him in. i think that's probably why barack obama did well in his two elections but the rest of the democrats got wiped out. he just never connected with them on the hill. democrats. i'm not talking republicans. i'm talking democrats. >> a few things. first of all, that press conference on friday was artful. i mean, truly artful. that was barack obama nearly at the height of his game.
secondly, to your point, barack obama's entire career has been a solo act. he's a democratic. i happen to think he's had great presidency with a few minor ripples like syria. but i think his presidency has been outstanding and his behavior and his family's behavior has been exemplary. his loyalty to the democratic party is his loyalty to himself, his administration, and the direction that he wants his administration to take. there's been no outreach to the democrats. >> joe manchin was quoted the other day saying he's talked more to donald trump during the transition than he talked to barack obama during eight years. >> with i understand great impact. >> and actually, david ignatius, i hear from a lot of ambassadors and some leaders who were saying we're not so sure about this trump guy, but we've had longer talks with him than we had with
barack obama over the past eight years. and are very excited that whenever they call, the guy on the other side picks up the phone and talks to them. >> there is a dryness with barack obama. i've always felt that he's a man that just doesn't like politics. i hear the same thing from world leaders who are cueing up to talk to him to visit trump tower who feel here's a new start and someone we can try to influence. trump has a way of if you say nice things about him, he says nice things about you as he said about himself. i give obama one thing in the comments that you played. he did exactly what we were saying democrats need to do. he was effectively saying she didn't show up in wisconsin. she didn't show up in michigan. that's the import of those comments. that's the debate the party needs. if the president in his waning days says we need to talk about this, that's good for all of the mistakes he personally made. he is still leading the right
debate. >> i think, david, one of the most constructive things that he said to democrats right after hillary clinton lost was i would go to places where i had no chance of winning but instead of losing by 50 points, i lost by 20 points. it was politics 101. you show up. i saw this graph that 538 did this weekend where they had dots where donald trump went the last couple of months of the campaign and where hillary clinton went. and the donald trump red dot was going like this nonstop, and hillary's was slower. a much slower pace all over. >> the trump people realize this. at the end of the campaign they were saying to themselves -- >> looking at her travel schedule and her advertising, what are they seeing that we're not? it turned out that the clinton people were just missing the mark all together. they stopped polling in the key swing states two weeks before the election essentially flying
blind into the final stretch there. >> they told us there was no way trump would win michigan. there was no way he would win wisconsin. and minnesota wasn't going to go. and north carolina. do you remember them mocking, everybody mocking donald trump no going to minnesota. everybody. they had a poll, internal poll, that showed them two points behind. how much did they lose minnesota by? one. i think they lost minnesota by one. how could you have as much money as the clinton campaign had and have such bad numbers? you remember -- not picking on them but you remember the bloomberg story that said that trump's number machine and all their data was a complete disaster. no. they called it. they were calling it all along. we're close in minnesota. we're going to minnesota. we think we can win minnesota. they almost won minnesota. so how is that? how do you have all of the money in the world and have bad data?
like the clinton people had. how do you do that? >> how do have such bad data through the sunday prior to the election. >> monday. >> we'll talk about the numbers they had sunday and monday. she was going to have 20 electoral votes. >> i'm not talking about, by the way, nationwide. i'm talking about the states that mattered. wisconsin, michigan, ohio and pennsylvania made him president. he didn't even have to win florida. >> no, he didn't. it's funny. someone said to me the other day, as she's blaming the russians and comey for this -- >> and barack obama now. >> the russians didn't go into her calendar and delete her rallies in wisconsin and michigan. so this is -- >> that election day when they had that sort of pop-up celebration. >> we did not poll two weeks before the election in those key swing states. it's malpractice.
>> i have to bring up something, mika. i know it's a sore subject. i'll say it and we'll go to break. you said something about this campaign the last two months and you got in so much trouble for saying it. you told them -- you said this as a democrat that would vote for hillary and wanted hillary to win. you said get off your high horse. start campaigning like you haven't won this thing. get off your high horse and everybody went crazy. it was their arrogance and overconfidence that cost them the election. >> this was their candidate. >> if their candidate had gone into wisconsin five times like donald trump or however many times, gone into michigan five, six, seven times. they probably would have won the election. >> she went to michigan the day before the election. >> all right. coming up on "morning joe," how an american jihadist climbed the ranks of isis the atlantic's graham wood follows the story of one terrorist from texas to the
battlefields of syria and the new yorker steve coll who wrote the book on exxonmobil's rex hi tillers tillerson. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. this is the sound of sonic technology cleaning deep between teeth. hear the difference? get healthier gums in just 2 weeks vs a manual toothbrush and experience an amazing feel of clean. innovation and you. philips sonicare. save now when you buy philips sonicare. ♪
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about the past and not the future. i'm telling you, we have tremendous hope. we have tremendous promise and tremendous potential. i actually think she made that statement not meaning it the way it came out. i really do. because i met with president obama and michelle obama in the white house. my wife was there. she could not have been nicer. i honestly believe she meant that statement in a different way than it came out. >> that's very gracious. >> extremely gracious. good for him. >> surprisingly so. >> good for him. >> i like the other night when people started to boo president obama and he stopped them. then he attacked president obama, a spokesman. i did like it is nice in this blood sport to see him actually giving the first lady the benefit of the doubt and telling people don't boo your president. it's a nice change. >> he made a reference to a
great element of this ongoing story about the transition and that's the relationship, increased relationship between the president of the united states and president-elect of the united states in their phone conversations. i'm told by a couple different people that there have been really, really cordial, friendly conversations. >> they have been. >> they both need each other right now. they need each other -- president-elect needs a president very much. and he understands that. and the president, the current president, needs to try to influence the president-elect as much as possible on his key legislative achievements. >> he is still worried, president obama, i'm told is still worried about the thing donald trump has said and done and might do and say as president. >> who have an influence. >> that's what he's trying to do. >> that's what he's trying to do. you stay in there. the president, i really commend the president of the united
states. he's staying in there. and having that open line of communication. actually helps not only the continuity but gives him the ability to have an influence on the issues that matter to him the most. >> you know what else i think is going on here though? trump for the first time realizes he's inside their head. it's not the other way around. so he's being as gracious as he can be because he knows that he's got the upper hand for now. >> for all of the appointments that this white house does not like, e fact they're consulting bob gates, the fact they're consulting all of these other establishment figures is confusing to them but very comforting. >> all right. we've got much more ahead. we'll be right back. >> you people were vicious, violent, screaming, where's the wall? we want the wall! screaming prison! prison! lock her up. i mean, you are going crazy.
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in syria, evacuations are reportedly back on in eastern aleppo after multiple restarts since thursday. it comes as russia and france agreed to plan for the united nations to monitor the evacuations and distribute humanitarian aid. a vote is scheduled for later this morning. on friday president obama addressed the criticism that his policies contributed to the crisis in aleppo. >> i always feel responsible. i felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers. i felt responsible when millions of people had been displaced. so with respect to syria, what i consistently done is taken the best course that i can to try to
end the civil war while having also to take into account the long-term national security interest of the united states. i cannot claim that we've been successful. that's something that is as true with a lot of issues and problems around the world, i have to go to bed with every night. >> it doesn't stop there. front page of "the new york times" talking about the fight for mosul. it sounds like it's shaping up to be every bit as grim or at least in the same accoucategory aleppo. this is probably going to be the first major challenge regarding isis that the new president is going to be facing. >> the mosul fight will continue. it will be on donald trump's desk in a month. the coming fight for raqqah,
islamic state's capital, same thing. the difference from what president obama was talking about is we have a dog in the fight. we have a significant military commitment to the mosul battle and an operations plan that's well thought through. it's going slowly because people realize it will be intense fighting. don't rush it. the battle plan for raqqah from what i know is basically pretty solid. what was really painful listening to obama is he watched the suffering, watched the kids getting shot and thousands and thousands die and the u.s. didn't really do anything in aleppo. that's the president's legacy that's so painful and mosul and raqqah he's got military force engaged. >> joining us now, national correspondent for "the atlantic" graham wood. author of the new book "the way of the new strangers." good to have you onboard this morning.
tell us about the book and how it applies to the news that we're seeing. >> i talked to as many isis supporters as i could find over the last couple years and asking them essentially what's wrong with you? asking them -- >> that's a good way to start an interview. you have thrown in your lot with the craziest people on earth. tell me how that looks to you. what is this world that you think you're going to create by joining this group. it's telling me their stories finding out where they come from and discovering -- >> where do they come from? >> they come from this country, japan, australia, egypt. >> why are they doing it? >> because they're idealists. the ideas they have chosen are not our ideals but they have a view of a paradise that they think they can create and they think that it's being made real in syria right now. >> how is the last year of bad news from the front impacted their zeal? >> so there's some of them who are there right now who i think
are actually undiminished in their zeal. they think the world united against them is a sign they're on the right track. they think that they're trying to purify islam and they believe that the fact that muslims are against them means that the impurities of islam will be filtered out through this difficult process. >> the caliphate is crumbling. do they believe they'll take the caliphate or go elsewhere? >> with the difficult slog in mosul, they see it as a war of attrition that they'll win and time sis on their side because the coalition will fall apart and who is left standing? the true believers in mosul and raqqah. >> can i ask about some of the harsh political discussion in
our election. do they see that as more of a reason to fight and hate america? >> they think everything is wrong with america. >> they didn't need donald trump for that. >> donald trump was icing on the cake. they would have found plenty of reasons to hate hillary clinton too. what they like to see is rhetoric that they can direct toward american muslims, western muslims, say you'll never be at home in the west. you have to come here. that's the only choice to you. any divisive rhetoric is working in their favor in that way. >> david ignatius, jump in. >> what do you think the effect of this immense military campaign against isis will be not just on them, they're there, they'll fight it out, on their cousins, uncles, their friends where they grew up. will people see this defeat and say i don't want to do that or will they see these people as martyrs they want to emulate?
>> a lot of people are going to look at what isis loses in syria and iraq and say -- they won't say it this way but they'll think i wanted to be on the winning team. you're looking like the losing team. they'll at least wait to make their commitments. we have to look also at the people who are isis sympathetic in places like the philippines, in egypt, in areas outside of the core territory of isis. they'll see this as their moment to stand up for the caliphate even if the caliphate fails where it started, they want to reignite it in those other places. >> they clearly have lost ground. what's their hope? worse case for us and best case for them on a comeback or revitalization? >> they talk about a retreat to the desert. if they're going to lose their cities, they'll go back into the desert and eventually come back just as they have before. and meanwhile, they find groups like in the philippines and say we'll get these people so sign
onto our project and again we'll have a satellite caliphate that will take place in lieu of the original one. >> the book is "the way of the strangers." thank you so much for being on the show this morning. up next, the must read opinion pages including mitt romney reflecting on being in the running for secretary of state. "morning joe" is back in a moment.
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neglected to bring up earlier that you brought up star as possible number two at state. >> yeah. bob kimmitt served in the treasury department. is another one of these military guys. the same as we discussed earlier david mccormick to be also a leading contender for number two at defense. so trump continues to surround himself with these people who have deep experience in the military. >> a james baker guy which is reassuring to the establishment. >> not only that, of what i heard over the weekend is correct, which i think it is, it is not a trump choice that he trusts tillerson and he'll have to sign off on it, but they want rex tillerson to take the lead in selecting the number two.
kimmitt makes perfect sense. tillerson is friends with james baker and he's a washington guy which makes the rest of the world breathe a sigh of relief. >> he's experienced. has many friends across both parties. one important fact is that he's not named john bolton. >> we noticed that. >> all of the people said amen. >> let's check that box. >> i mean, the trade up again for rex tillerson being able to get things done without open warfare inside state, whether you talk about kimmitt or you talk about hadley, that makes rex tillerson 75% more effective right there out of the gate. >> so tillerson doesn't want to have to battle the state department bureaucracy. his bigger worry will be battling the white house. that's what he has to think about.
i've seen too many national security advisers go to war with their secretaries of state. getting the right team and saying to the transition team i need my own person like a bob kimmitt, that's crucial. it gives you confidence he may get it right. >> our must read is by mitt romney. i was surprised but willing to serve. i was indeed very critical of donald trump during his campaign. but now he has been elected president and accordingly, if i could have helped shape foreign policy to protect the country i love, i would have been more than willing to do so. i was more than a little surprised that the president-elect reached out to me to potentially serve as secretary of state of the united states. i see it as a welcome sign that he'll be open to alternative views and even to critics. as the country's next president, i earnestly hope that he will be successful in fostering greater prosperity and peace. i believe all americans can join in that wish. you know, it's funny, i think a
lot of americans do, but i think there are some, especially those in sort of the washington circles, who are either in or out or around the scene there, whether it be the political scene or foreign policy community, really struggling with this and this should be as easy as it is for mitt romney himself who took a beating. >> mitt romney set a great example for all americans. i think mitt romney going in broke the ice. you had bob gates then going in who had been very critical. a lot of people critical in the past. you look at the tech round tabltablroundtable. i don't think they've ever been in the same room together with cameras on before. a lot of people that, again, had been out and been very anti-trump. now trying to have their voice heard. >> al gore. >> al gore is another great
example. mitt romney did a great service to his country. people saying that trump was doing that to humiliate them are just ignorant. the fact is but for the infighti infighting, but for the pushback trump was receiving for picking mitt romney as secretary of state, chances are better than even he would have been secretary of state but he realized he just couldn't do it without facing a full scale revolt. it was very, very close to happening. at the end he just couldn't go against absolutely everybody on the inside. >> romney became a lightning rod unlike anything else trump has done in personnel or policy or statements this whole transition for some reason romney became the lightning rod. all of these other names that we're hearing, again, a cognitive dissidence among establishment republicans. loves mattis but skeptical about tillerson is mccain. you'll see trump trying to calibrate to get easy
confirmation and effective people in place. >> if tillerson has hadley there and james baker picking up the phone calling john mccain saying, senator, we really need you on this one. with either hadly or kimmitt as number two, they won't vote it down. >> kimmitt knows the building better. >> this is all about coalition building as someone senior in trump world said to me the other day. they view it as world war ii. you take some people from over here and over there. you don't all have to like each other. you can all work together. >> david ignatius? >> joe, the one thing i would like to see is him reach out to a democrat or two. a lot of democrats need to be part of this government process going forward if it's going to work. also, he's got to find a way to sponsor a bipartisan examination of what russia was trying to do during our elections. if he owns that and says i'm for
this. i'm not threatened by this. i want it. then i think we'll be able to get to the bottom of it. good for him and his presidency. >> i think he has. a number of levels you'll see these people coming in in different ways. those who want to. look at the ceo of pepsi being put on a policy committee and is open to talking to donald trump. she was outspoken against him in a huge way. and a huge supporter of hillary clinton. he's open to hearing from his critics if they have something to offer. if at least they have the ability to press reset and understand they have to help the president of the united states at least try. >> david, before we get out of here, your sense of the importance of the story in the first few months of the trump administration of any potential conflict between the secretary of defense, the secretary of state versus the national security council in the white house. >> i've watched so many national
security advisers with head-strong presidents get in battles with their cabinet officers that the tendency to want to centralize when you have strong people at state and defense affects every administration. the meetings in the situation room with this team will be a shakedown cruise. it's going to take a while before they learn the language and president says he doesn't want to be briefed by intelligence agencies. just wait until he has his first real crisis. the idea he'll say i don't want my intel briefing, i don't think so. but they're going to have -- it's going to be a bumpy process. administrations come together in crisis. >> you always figure out how it works out after you have your meetings. condy rice was actually the first term pushed aside and knocked aside by rumsfeld and cheney and second in bush administration she actually was the one that gained the upper
hand. you never know what's going to happen. susan rice has been completely shut out by barack obama. that position has been minimized. john kerry too often pushed to the side. barack obama has picked one or two people inside the white house. so you never know how it's going to work out. i will say what's so fascinating about this is you have general flynn, headstrong. you have rex tillerson, headstrong. and you've got general mattis, headstrong. that is -- talk about a team -- >> i'm going with mattis and tillerson. >> all right. >> the thing is, general flynn actually has said he defers to general tillerson. said he has more stars than him. and he also says mattis is the smartest general he ever met. 538 people will officially decide the next president of the united states today. we'll talk to political analyst
gener jeff greenfield writing about the electoral college for years and also msnbc political correspondent kasie hunt joins the conversation as well. we're back in just a moment. world ugly and messy. they are the natural born enemy of the way things are. yes, ideas are scary, and messy and fragile. but under the proper care, they become something beautiful. ♪ i want a hippopotamus ♪ only a hippopotamus will do at the united states postal service, we deliver more online purchases to homes than anyone else in the country. and more hippopotamuses, too. you totanobody's hurt, new car. but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it.
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>> it's coming from the chimney. >> it is christmas after all. i got you a gift. this is elf on the shelf. he's fun. you just put it here next to your internet router. you keep it there all year. it's fun, yes? >> your secretary of state pick rex tillerson is here. >> merry christmas. merry christmas, mr. president-elect. puty, oh, my god. >> rexy, baby. >> my gosh. that's really good "saturday night live." they're doing well. it's really good. i think it's funny sort of. i don't think trump likes it. welcome back to "morning joe." >> we're getting nothing from this side of the table.
>> last week's was not good. >> this one was good. >> of love actually is amazing. >> she loses her at the end. she's, like, somehow even hillary in love actually scene could figure out how to lose a person at the end. >> kate mckinnon is great. >> amazing. >> with us we have mark halperin, "the new york times" reporter jeremy peters, columnist and associate editor for "the washington post" david ignatius and joining the conversation -- >> by the way, this guy so is s torn up. he writes these great books. what happens when alternative history becomes reality? he can't write a book now. >> this is the history. >> a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to
republican majority leader mitch mcconnell asking for a select committee to investigate possible russian interference in the election. the group includes senate minority leader-elect chuck schumer and armed services chairman john mccain who say they are concerned about the future of russian attacks. >> there's no doubt they were interfering and no doubt it was cyberattacks. the question now is how much and what damage and what should the united states of america do? and so far we have been totally paralyzed. >> yesterday senator mccain told the arizona republic it appears a select committee will not happen. so he plans to form a new standing subcommittee on cyberwar issues. mccain criticized president obama's original response to russian hacking, which the president explained at his news conference on friday. >> in early september when i saw the putin in china, i felt that
the most effective way to ensure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out or there would be serious consequences if he didn't. >> the president has no strategy and no policy as to what to do about these various cyberattacks that have possibly disrupted an american election. i'm sure that when vladimir putin was told cut it out, end quote, i'm sure that vladimir putin immediately stopped all cyberactivity. the fact is they are hacking every single day in other areas of our military and all kinds of different aspects of american life. >> so how do you counter that fact? cut it out won't work. >> this is -- people are shocked -- absolutely shocked that there's gambling going on
on the premises when david ignatius -- i'm not underselling this. i want a select committee. we need to get to the bottom of it. everybody got that. great. great. david, in 2014, the united states was caught tapping angela merkel's phone. barack obama's administration put a tap on merkel's phone. unfortunately not only do enemies do this to friends, friends do this to friends. i wonder how deep we want to go into the investigation before we start to figure out what we do to other countries. >> there's a history of u.s. covert action against other countries. the government of chile was toppled as a result of that. you have to differentiate between trying to take information from angela merkel's phone and then using that information to drive wedges in german politics to achieve your
aims. we did the first. no evidence we did the second. >> is that where the rub is here that it's not -- everybody taps everybody's phones. the governments get information and e-mails and hacking happens all the time but the rub here is taking that information and actually trying to affect the outcome of an election. >> weaponizing the information in effect. collection is a standard practice of every intelligence service. they are stealing information. and then you know the secrets you want to know. weaponizing that and using it as an instrument to achieve the political goals you want is known as covert action. it's in a different bin. it is deniable. the president is authorized to say he didn't do it if he did it. it's one of the unusual powers that is given to the president under the national security act of 1947. and that's what the russians
allege to have been doing to us. it's different from what they normally do. >> you talk about the political world turning on its head. in the years that you were involved in government and even through the '80s, if you're a democratic and wear a red shirt, you're a comy. now i see that republicans have an almost 50-50 view of vladimir putin. it's pathetic. >> it's one of those stories where if you did vip van winkle, he would go crazy. >> my entire life. >> soft on russia was not a charge. >> republicans have been driven. conservatives have been driven by an anti-russian instinct. >> here's the part of this that i almost despair of. it's the example where you see everything through a partisan
prism. if it helps your guy, it's no big deal. if it hurts your guy, it's terrible. this was a hack on the american political system. i would hope there would be a point -- i think you saw it in the senate with the bipartisanship where everybody says this is beyond the pale. what david just described. this is weaponizing against us. it would be, i think, a wonderful thing in the next couple days in president-elect trump, which he'll be by the end of the day, would say this is irrespective of it's my guy, it's your guy. an attack on us. >> what does it cost at the end of the day? the investigation is coming. republicans are going to be investigating. democrats are going to investigate. in a less favorable light they'll be seen. what does it hurt the administration and transition team to put out a statement
saying if the russians were actively involved in not only getting information but weaponizing it, that's very serious and we look forward to the investigation. >> some view what reince priebus said yesterday on one of the sunday shows as opening the door to that and some speculate -- >> what did he say? >> if there's more information forthcoming from the fbi and unity among intelligence agencies and fbi about what happened, they would be more open to it. >> i thought i read a report that fbi and cia agree with each other. >> he is asking them to say it more publicly and formally than they have and trump will feel more free to do this. i still think -- you said there will be a select committee. i still think -- >> i said there should be. >> misheard you. i would be curious to know what kasey thinks about this. if mcconnell can be moved off this, he's a flexible guy. he understands the political winds. as of now his opposition to a select committee is a serious thing whether he's carrying
water for the incoming administration or not. >> i think that's exactly the one to watch. marco rubio is one of the few republicans who during the campaign said i'm not going to take advantage of this because this could happen to republicans as well. i think the real question for the hill is mitch mcconnell wants to put this in the intelligence committee, which has broader powers in some ways but greater capacity to keep things behind closed doors. mccain and graham want to pull this further out into the open. compromise we'll end up instead of a select committee is going to be the subcommittee on armed services, which of course mccain controls. i think there's going to be some back and forth between mcconnell and the mccain/graham wing about how much to push forward. they're not out trashing donald trump right now. this is a way to put pressure on
him on an issue that they care very much about. so i think what we ultimately learned about what happened is going to depend on how that dynamic plays out. >> can anyone tell me what happened with peter king this weekend? you see peter king talking about he wants an investigation of brennan. what's going on there? i did not follow that. is he leaking things and not reporting to the intel community? what can you tell us? >> i thought king was a couple news cycles too late. the initial briefing that set this latest round of discussion in motion was made by cia briefers to members of congress and then it came out in "the washington post." subsequent to that, both the fbi director comey and the director of national intelligence, clapper, joined in embracing the cia in its conclusions and
brennan feeling embattled sent a note to his workforce saying we're all on the same page here, folks. i didn't understand -- i didn't get that. >> if we're not mistaken, we're all lined up here, jeremy peters. intel communities now have come to the conclusion obviously there was hacking and there was hacking to impact the u.s. election. >> i don't know what trump does with that. i still think that after talking to people inside the transition team, he's not budging off this. >> we always learn, this is what you learn. jeff greenfield, you know this. if you're out swimming and the rip tide takes you, we see tourists drowning all the time in pensacola because they fight it. when the rip tide takes you, you go with the rip tide and when it stops, you swim parallel to the shore and you come back in. the rip tide is now going to take this transition into this area. they have no choice.
they go with it. >> if it was any other president-elect i would say that's a perfectly unacceptable thing. >> anybody. >> i think it's another example dealing with someone unlike anything we've ever seen before. >> a relationship here that people are not focused on. people talk about trump and paul ryan. trump and mcconnell is key to watch. trump is actually closer to chuck schumer, democratic minority leader than the republican majority leader of the senate. you can see jared kushner making overtures to chuck schumer. he wants to keep mcconnell on his toes. that's what he's doing by strengthening his relationship with schumer and if this russian things comes to a head -- hiring his wife. >> we always think about if you're donald trump, you have to hold every republican -- if you
lose two or three, it's all over. it works the opposite as well. if you want to pass something with the democrats, you only need two or three and you suddenly have a working coalition. >> he won't be reluctant to do it. if you look at the stuff he did during the campaign, muslim ban, lots of things he did, there was an upside to it. as uncomfortable as it is to admit. upside within the republican party to do the things he did. one of the things democrats remain confused and suspicious about, what is the upside of praising putin and so reluctant to criticize putin's behavior and that's why -- >> are you saying within the republican primary process? >> just raw politics. there was a downside to do it. it was wrong. >> the calculation was there. >> the calculation was there. >> what's the calculation in putin? >> i never understood.
you said before you thought it would be a bipartisan investigation with true cooperation. i'm skeptical. we haven't seen one of those in a long time. it seems that this is not something trump wants to do and try to build bridges to moscow. if you assume there's no secret deal with putin, it's an uncomfortable thing to do to investigate it fully. >> unless you assume -- somebody i know says this guy may be playing more chess than checkers. unless the country doesn't like the fact that we've been at war for the last 16 years. >> and speaking of playing chess instead of checkers, let's look. i'm sorry. i know we got to go to hallie but let's look at two controversial choices he's made. their big hope on foreign policy is they broker a middle east peace deal. if you're donald trump, why not. go for the biggest that nobody
has been able to do. let's look at the two picks. israeli ambassador who is so off the charts -- to the right of netanyahu. >> to the right of netanyahu. so offensive, right. that will kill hopes of a peace plan. until you look at their secretary of state who is closer to arab countries than any major foreign policy leader i would say did dr. brzezinski. loathed by a lot of israeli leaders but trusted like jimmy carter. you put this together and you actually have -- again, two things that make absolutely no sense if you play checkers but if you play chess, david ignatius, you suddenly have two extremes that actually may be able to bring people to the table. i am not predicting peace in our time. >> i would be careful about that.
>> yes. >> it certainly is true that the arab leaders i've talked to over the last month are eager to work with trump and see trump as a welcome break from obama. they see trump as a person even tougher on iran than they are. you do have to remember that in the arab world even now the palestinian issue may be diminished in importance but if friedman comes in and capital moves to jerusalem, it will be difficult for people like king abdullah in jordan to ride that storm. it's one thing trump has to think about. how many problems do i want to cause for my potential allies in this part of the world. >> he trumped m ee eed mick mul director of office of management
and budget. he has four more high ranking posts left that require senate confirmation. >> i think, mark halperin, you will be ag secretary, right? >> i do have a deep ag background, but no i won't. >> joining us now hallie jackson. the electoral college is set to vote on the next president today and much like the 2016 election, today's vote comes with just a little bit of drama. >> this is the latest twist on a campaign that's been full of them at least this year. bottom line is these electors are going to vote today to cast their ballot. 538 electors. there are protests happening
around the country to try to convince these electors and protests have been happening including from people like martin sheen to convince electors to not cast ballots for the candidate who won their states and who in effect break with their state. that's very rare. only happened nine times since 1948. so if it does happen to work, donald trump to prevent him to get the votes, it would be unprecedented. last ditch effort to make it happen. so let's say on january 6th when votes are counted, vice president joe biden will preside over senate that day. count the votes. announce results. let's say if you game it out, those 37 electors to flip. donald trump does not get to 270. what happens then? it goes to the house of representatives. the election itself does. unlikely scenario. trump himself, the president-elect, is aware of this. he's tweeting about it just over
the weekend tweeting if my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned and called terrible names. a new poll shows that more people, 46%, believe that there really shouldn't be a revolt that electors should vote for the candidate who won their state. guys? >> all right. nbc's hallie jackson. thank you. you wrote the book on this issue. you said you want to talk about the electoral college. it is frustrating for people. >> it is a legitimate argument that trump said if we had a popular vote i would have campaigned differently. with 3 million vote spread, that's a less powerful argument. it's kind of grace leless to sa lost the popular vote because 3 million illegal aliens voted. that's not true. this is my feeling having
written a fantasy about this. you can't take a 200-year-old machinery never been used and suddenly plug it in and expect anything but chaos. we never had electors asked to deliberate about the temperament or character of the person that won their votes. so to call it into question now would be queen elizabeth saying i'm going to take that power back from the house of commons. there are arguments on both sides of the electoral college issue. if you had a popular vote, you would have to get rid of electors and make that vote automatic. >> you're right. that makes the most sense. these electors are not selected with any thought that they're going to be changing their votes.
>> this case looks like a good one. it would be in that sense a kind of a coup i think. >> i do actually buy the argument that these were the arguments of the game going in. hillary clinton knew what the rules of the games were going in. they both did. i always say as a university of alabama fan, if a national championship was won by the team that ran the fastest, then nick saban would recruit differently and you can believe he would have the fastest football players in america. it wasn't. this just required hillary clinton to show up in wisconsin. this just required hillary clinton to show up in michigan. i'm sorry. those were the rules. everybody went in with. >> trump knew that.
he had that map. he knew which states he had to hit. myself included. we all doubted that he would be able to pickoff pennsylvania, michigan, wisconsin. you know what? he did because he played harder there than she did. >> all right. jeff greenfield, thank you very much. kasie hunt, thank you as well. still ahead on "morning joe," our next guest says the u.s. relationship with russia hasn't been this bad since there were cuban missiles trained at america. princeton professor wrote a book on the new cold war and joins us next to explain. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. ♪ music playing
did you know slow internet can actually hold your business back? say goodbye to slow downloads, slow backups, slow everything. comcast business offers blazing fast and reliable internet that's over 6 times faster than slow internet from the phone company. say hello to internet speeds up to 250 mbps. and add phone and tv for only $34.90 more a month. call today. comcast business. built for business. >> i think putin saw the united states withdrawing from around the world. i think there's actually the problem has been that president obama's actions often have not matched his rhetoric. his rhetoric has often been tough.
there's been no follow-up and no action. i think it sent a signal that the u.s. was in retreat. >> all right. 28 past the hour. joining us now, steven, contributing editor at the nation and his book soviet fates and lost alternatives is out. good to have you this morning. >> is anyone pushing back on that? >> why don't you make that argument. are we in a new cold war? >> yeah. >> what's happened? >> what's happening? >> whose fault is that? >> that's too long a story for the segment. i would put it maybe 75% ours, 25% russia's. >> obama specifically? >> no. it goes back to the 1990s when clinton made the decision to push nato to russia's borders. >> let's start christmas day
1991 and do an alternative reality. when its soviet union collapsed. since then, what should america have done? what have we done instead? >> sometimes it's what you don't do that's the most important. we never should have pushed nato to russia's border. anybody that will tell you that you move your military alliance to the border of another country, you know what they say in russia today? there's a big nato buildup going on in russia's borders now in the baltics, right? they say at the very top kremlin level and down on the street the west has never amassed its powers on our borders as it's doing today since june 1941. that is the day hitler's armies crossed into russia and 27 million soviet citizens died. the anxiety in russia today political, social anxiety about this wild hysteria of putin stealing our election coupled with the military buildup on
russia's borders is creating a situation in russia where you have high political anxiety and nukes on high alert. it's the most dangerous situation i have seen since cuban missile crisis. >> the anxiety here in america is that the incoming president will be close, too close to russia, too close to vladimir putin. is that a concern of yours? >> 1988. i'm that old. i walked across red square following ronald reagan who had called soviet union an evil empire. he was working with gorbachev. some american reporter shouted, president reagan, is this still the evil empire? he said no. that was in the past. what are we doing today with these charges about what russia did to our election? you are going on the premise that it's true. a few people said allegedly.
so we're evilizing russia. >> back to my question though. not about this. what do we do over the next four years? are you concerned that the incoming president will be too close to putin or do we need to have a thawing of what you say is a fierce cold war? >> i'm not concerned about president-elect trump being too close to putin because i have yet to see any evidence that he's been corrupted by putin or anybody else. everything is an allegation. if they show us evidence that he's on the kremlin payroll or as "the new york times" put it, kremlin lackeys are around trump, then i would be worried. failing that, i think we don't have to wait four years. >> what would you advise him to do? >> i would advise him privately and publicly to move toward what used to be called daytont was a
republican presidential tradition that began with eisenhower and went to nixon and reagan was the great. the place to begin is syria but there are other places to begin. >> what do you think about what russia is doing? >> they want a settlement. germans and french brokered a negotiated settlement. the kiev government, which we support, won't sign it. i don't know what trump is going to do about it. it's a negotiable settlement and the alternative is war. >> what should american allies think about what's going on in crimea today? >> what should they think? shouldn't they be concerned and welcome influx of nato support and american support? >> into crimea? >> no. into other areas bordering the former soviet union that may be concerned that russia may do the same thing to them. >> you're operating under the assumption that what russia did
in crimea may be a precedent? >> i'm not the only one that raised that concern. people that live in the region. >> they were the ones begging the united states to allow them to enter into nato. >> that's absolutely true. let's be grown-ups, can we? >> we'll try. >> nato is a security organization, correct? >> right. >> it's not a nonselective fraternity. you get in our security organization if you enhance our security. bringing those countries in with their historic grievances against russia may be legitimate. >> i mean, i think i would have historic griefstoric grievance. >> this goes back hundreds of years. >> you said historical grievances. >> which may be legitimate, i
said. why would you bring countries with a chip on their shoulders into your security administration which may result in diminishing of your security -- >> what would the landscape look like right now if we had not done that? >> you talk about bringing all these countries in? we wouldn't have provocations they run against russia, which punched the bear in the nose and hide behind the state. you know what's going on in poland today, right? not exactly what people would happen in poland, correct? so what was the alternative? what was the alternative? the alternative was to give them bilateral security agreements instead of bringing them into nato and at the same time telling them that god put you little folks in the neighborhood of the bear. have you heard of diplomacy? get on with it. >> why did putin go into crimea? >> we don't have time to go into that, but his people told him and there was a debate in the kremlin -- by the way, he didn't go into crimea.
there were 20,000 russian troops there by agreement by contract with the ukraine ran government at the naval base. he took over crimea shall we say. they were already there. there was a debate in the kremlin and two points of view after the elected president of ukraine was overthrown. you know that happened, right? that was illegal and constitutional. whatever you think about the guy. he was given two alternatives. don't do anything in crimea. wait and see what the west does. use it as a bargaining chip. in the other intelligence people told him you can't wait. nato is coming to the naval base. one way or another. you either do it now or you're going to have to fight tomorrow and he made that decision. i think he made the wrong decision. he should have waited. leaders, you know best of all, are given scenarios, alternatives and the leader decides and that was his decision. >> we have to get you back here. do this again sometime soon. >> coming up, rex tillerson was
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then why settle for slow internet? comcast business. built for speed. built for business. donald trump officially announced he's appointing rex tillerson to be secretary of state. he was three cents cheaper than the chevron ceo across the street. >> joining us now, staff writer at new yorker and dean of the graduate school of journalism at columbia university. he's the author of "private empire." he may know a thing or two about rex tillerson. >> wow. i bet you had no idea what you were getting into when you wrote this book in 2012. >> did you ever imagine? >> no, i did not. >> tell us about rex tillerson. >> he grew up as a son with
administrator of boy scouts of america. he's been with exxon for 40 years. only worked at one corporation his whole life. >> what drives him? >> exxon. that's where he made his life. he rose to the top. closed corporation. all top executives come from inside. he made his way through external division that deals with foreign countries. russia was one of his accounts. he also worked to develop oil in places like yemen. and all around the arab world. he's got a lot of contacts with foreign leaders. last ten years he's been running the place. it's best understood as a kind of transnational sovereign of its own. has its own political intelligence department. >> i had an ambassador tell me they're in 200 countries the state department is in 150. >> in some countries they're more powerful than the state department. countries in africa that authoritarian leader gets a check from exxon for $5 million a year and state department is spending $10 million a year. >> what's he like as a leader?
what's your takeaway from his leadership style and what we may be able to take from that? >> he's strong. he's comfortable in his own skin. exxon is very systems based. researched based. engineering led. >> data driven. >> data driven organization. it's also about negotiating with authoritarian leaders for deals where personalities matter. >> what kind of negotiator is he? >> you know, you hear these stories about theatrical throwing the book across the room or walking out when they don't agree, exxon is formula led. they know how to persuade different dictators that it's in their interest to do business with exxon. main selling point is we'll deliver. we'll deliver on time and on budget. you'll get your check. we're not here to mess with your politics but be solid business partners.
>> do you see anything with the relationship of vladimir putin outside of the realm of what a ceo wants to do to make billions of dollars for his company would have. >> it is a business relationship. it doesn't necessarily translate to what he would say as a public leader. he has spent in his career a lot of time with putin and with one of putin's most powerful allies and runs the russian oil corporation. >> why did he spend so much time there? >> exxon among international oil companies have figured out how to stay in russia through all kinds of political weather when other companies failed. >> how did they do that? >> they deliver technology that russia needed essentially and they drilled in really harsh climates off siberia and then later had plans to do it in the arctic. the russians have plenty of technology but there are some things on the frontier of modern oil drilling that they don't have the capacity to do. >> david ignatius is still with us. >> steve, i want to ask you about tillerson managing up and
down. in other words, is this somebody who will be able to talk back to president donald trump if he disagrees with him and in terms of managing down, how will he get along with the state department? >> great questions. i think he probably would be good at the former. that depends on what he really believes as a public leader of the united states and what views he develops about american foreign policy which are not questions he had to manage in his career. i don't think there's much evidence in his career that he's a big admirer of the state department diplomatic service. that's one of the really odd fits here. exxon operated independently from the state department not because it can but because it doesn't actually find the diplomatic service to be very helpful to their business negotiations. if he's going to come in and make himself a friend of the career service officers there who really dominate diplomacy for the united states the way colin powell did when he came in and walk the building and say i got your back. we'll do this together.
that would be a real departure from his relationship with the state department in the past. you know, he is an experienced leader at a high level. he knows how to do that sort of thing. whether he has a conviction that he wants to make the state department really his own or just stay up there on the seventh floor and deal with the white house and run around and negotiate with foreign leaders, which i think is more likely. >> jeremy? >> you talk about one institution that's had a profound impact on his life and that is exxon. the other institution i think that has really informed his world view has been the boy scouts. can you talk a little bit about how that has shaped him as a leader and what he has picked up from the boy scouts that might change the way that he approaches the secretary of state job? >> i take it at face value. he was an eagle scout. the values and integrity and the sort of mantras of the boy scouts shaped his sense of how a person should live in the world, and i think one of his sons was an eagle scout. you know, the boy scouts are a
really important organization. they are also a somewhat nostalgic idea of what civil society ought to be and what virtues are and so he has, nonetheless, modernized exxon mobi exxonmobil and brought things along slowly. he sees himself as a compromise shaper and not someone who has take big public stands. this is the thing that worries me the most. foreign policy of the united states is not just about deals. it's about ideas. it's about values. it's about being there when human rights activists and dissidents and democracy organizers and small minority religions and little churches in muslim majority countries and mosques and christian majority countries come under pressure. people don't understand the u.s. embassy around the world is the last resort for people under pressure. you expect the secretary of
state to lead on those things. they are the most important spokesperson for american values after the president. >> he was getting ready to leave this job. why do you think he accepted this huge responsibility at a time when he was getting ready to do more relaxing things? >> i don't know. when someone calls you and asks you to be secretary of state, you think it might be a good thing to do. he is qualified. i'm sure he understands the world well enough to do the kind of foreign leader part of the job and assessing foreign leaders, taking in complex intelligence and making up your mind about what matters. but, look, i assume that he did it because he was asked and i don't resent that. i do think it's sort of slightly not to put this on his shoulders but just in general. spent a whole life never having
served in government, never put your arm around an ambassador and work together on a hard project involving dissidents or human rights groups and think that you can translate all of that without, you know, any kind of apprenticeship. your father spent his whole life preparing for the jobs that he had toward the end of his life. you would think in government service that we would be better served by people who had done that. >> if you get a call from the president saying i need you to be my secretary of state, what do you say? >> you say yes. steve coll, thank you very much. >> always great to have you here. we've been looking forward to it. still ahead, hollywood legend zsa zsa gabor passed away at the age of 99. a look next at her long and glamorous life and career. we're back in a moment.
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heart attack yesterday at the age of 99. here's kristen welker with a look at her life and career. >> hello, darlings. i'm zsa zsa. >> zsa z gabor, that unforgettable accent. >> hello. hello. >> her string of husbands and jewels. and a wit that would steal the show every time. >> you're just in the room, you and the champagne. >> her film career began with "lovely to look at" in 1952. followed that same year by perhaps her most famous movie "moulin rouge." >> i see them as i want them to be, not as they really are. >> she appeared in more than 40 films and television shows, in everything from horr movies to comedies. >> we have two cars. one limousine and one jeep. >> i'll take the limousine. >> her acting career was soon eclipsed by her glamorous image, which she happily played up. >> i always say marriage should be 50/50 proposition.
he should be at least 50 years old and have at least $50 million. >> born in budapest, hungry, in 1917, zsa zsa was the middle of three beautiful sisters. her many lovers included some of her era's most famous and desirable men, and she headed to the alter nine times. hotel magnate conrad hilton was her second husband and the father of her only child, francesca. on her final marriage, she found her prince charming, frederick prince von an ult. >> i was a simple person who got involved with crazy people in hollywood. >> zsa zsa had her share of legal headaches. in 1989, she was convicted of slapping a beverly hills police officer in a traffic stop and spent three days in jail. in her later years, medical problems began to take their toll. in 2002, a car wreck left her partially paralyzed. then, a broken hip kept her in and out of the hospital. and most recently, her right leg
was amputated. but to the end, zsa zsa maintained a persona of flirtatious fun and a touch of old hollywood glamour. >> wow. what a life. still ahead, the electoral college will vote today for donald trump as president of the united states, but it comes as some electors are reportedly being harassed to change the results of the election. plus, democratic fault lines. hillary clinton points fingers at fbi director james comey and a five-year-old vendetta from vladimir putin for her loss. "morning joe" is back in a moment. world ugly and messy. they are the natural born enemy of the way things are. yes, ideas are scary, and messy and fragile. but under the proper care,
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good morning, everyone. it's monday, december 19th. welcome to "morning joe." with us on set, we have managing editor of bloomberg politics -- >> hang on. can you slow down for a second? >> yeah. >> joey scarborough's birthday today. >> is it? >> can he run for congress yet? >> yeah. >> wait three hours to say that at least. >> not yet. he's not there yet. >> managing editor of bloomberg politics mark halperin here. veteran columnist and msnbc contributor, mike barnicle. "new york times" reporter jeremy peters. and in washington, columnist and associate editor of "the washington post," david ignatius. >> legendary. we can do legendary for him, too. >> all right, so it was funny, that open for "saturday night live." >> that was funny. >> very funny. >> can i do a little briefing with david ignatius for a second off the top of the show? >> yeah, maybe talk about some of the phone calls over the weekend. >> i don't really want to.
david doesn't want to talk about that. >> i think you should. >> a couple names have risen. beat reporter jeremy peters has been talking about them. but a couple names. one, david mccormick as general mattis' number two over at defense. i hear nothing but good things about him. what can you tell me about mccormick? would he be a good choice? >> david mccormick is a very intelligent person. he works, i believe, for a big hedge firm. he's been top flight in running that, one of the largest and most successful over time. he has a defense background. i'm told, but he's a favorite of bob gates, and one of the things i'm hearing over these last few days is that the most interesting figure behind the scenes in his inner circle recommending people, encouraging this one, being negative about that one, is bob gates. >> i know. can you believe that? bob gates, who donald trump i think called stupid on this
show. >> called him a loser. >> a loser. it shows you, again, how willing the new president, coming in, unlike barack obama, who said we don't want to make new friends. donald trump is all about making new friends. you're exactly right. that's an extraordinary fact. bob gates, i guess, rex tillerson was his idea. >> yes. >> david mccormick, a champion of david mccormick. we're now hearing about stephen hadley and not john bolton at state. >> or someone associated with the show who you're hearing a lot of talk about as deputy secretary of state. >> richard haass. >> that would be richard haass. >> i tell you, it is, though, all of these people that were naming, though, not only the foreign policy establishment in washington, d.c. and also internationally, david, what would that do to the standing of this administration across the globe? >> well, it would make it a lot easier for donald trump to conduct the foreign policy that
he wants if at this deputy level, he has solid people who are well known. i think the fact that he's listening to bob gates, i covered bob gates. bob gates understands how this government works in national security better than anybody i have ever met. he came out of cia, to nsc. he was so solid at defense that he was kept over. he was serving for george w. bush and then obama kept him on. so this is somebody who really knows how it works, and if he's the guy that donald trump is listening to on the key appointments, you would have to say that's a good thing. >> let's get to the top story. today, members of the electoral college will cast their votes to formally elect donald trump as the 45th president of the united states. electors will meet in their respective state capitols where they each are supposed to cast two votes. one for president and one for vice president. republican members of the electoral college have faced intense pressure to go against their states and not vote for trump.
in pennsylvania, some are receiving police protection. the pittsburgh post gazette reports that thousands of e-mails land in their inboxes every day, copies of the federalist papers and other books urging political courage are being mailed to their homes. they're even getting phone calls in the middle of the night. an elector in michigan has said he has received dozens of e-mails threatening his life, including one talking about putting a gun in his mouth. one pennsylvania elector estimates he receives 3,000 to 5,000 e-mails, letters, and phone calls a day from as far away as france, germany, and australia. i'm a big boy, he said, but this is stupid. nobody is standing up and telling these people enough, knock it off. >> we heard the same, arizona, death threats for electors in arizona. it's really gotten out of hand. >> trump said this weekend, if my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned and called
terrible names. >> and another fact on this at the end of the day, is going to be -- >> that's the truest trump tweet i think ever. this will be a divisive day rather than a day when we have a constitutionally mandated moment that people who voted for trump will be very happy about. this is not covered either side in much glory. but it's great for people to speak out and try to affect the electors. that's their constitutional right. but to threaten violence or to make claims about their responsibilities. >> what do you mean, the truest trump tweet? what are you saying? >> in terms of the accuracy. if trump supporters had done this -- >> oh. >> and hillary clinton had won, i mean -- >> oh, yeah. >> me in the media would continue to be crushing his supporters, which were widely misread prior to the election. and the candidate himself. >> so the net effect of this is going to be nothing. there may be one or two who
change. that's it. >> haven't we seen this movie before? remember, tested convention that never happened. you know, ted cruz brooched the subject at the republican national convention and was booed out of the arena and his wife had to be escorted out by security. i think a lot of this is the press. we love a narrative of tension. the idea that somehow this could be thrown open at the last minute while very titillating is a great story is not going to happen. >> no. >> and people making money off of it, too. give us money, and we'll run ads to try to stop trump. i mean, people just are scam artists. >> here we are, it's the lead story that we're talking about. and the huge nonstory. >> but trump is right. one trump supporter made a threat, it would be just a huge story. these people shouldn't be making threats of violence against electors. >> well, let's look at the second story a see if you think this is connected in some
way. there are new audio recordings of hillary clinton speaking candidly and pointing fingers for her election loss. addressing a gathering of donors in new york city, she blamed the fbi for sinking her campaign. and said her 2011 comments about elections in russia motivated president vladimir putin to target her. >> take it from nate silver who's pointed out that swing state voters made their decisions in the final days, breaking against me because of the fbi letter from fbi director comey. and nate silver believes, i happen to believe this, that that letter most likely made the difference in the outcome. we have to recognize that, as the latest reports made clear, vladimir putin himself directed the covert cyberattacks against our electoral system, against
our democracy, apparently because he had a personal beef against me. >> mike barnicle, what's your take on hillary clinton, john podesta, everybody going out -- >> i think all of us have a lot of respect for the former secretary of state. former senator from new york, former first lady. this a sad way to step off the stage. the comey letter certainly had an impact on the election. in that it reminded voters of what she had failed to do for many, many months, and that's to address specifically and credibly her e-mail problem. her larger problem was she went to the country with really no story. she did not have a story to tell. americans love stories. she had no narrative to tell. she was basically, when you strip it all away, her campaign came down to the phrase, it's my
turn. >> jeremy? >> just this utter incapability for self-examination. the russians' fault, comey's fault. >> huma's fault now. >> anthony's. >> obama's fault, fake new's fault, the media's fault. she took another gratuitous strike at the media. what this allows them to do is avoid the tough questions about why they lost and how they alienated such a large block of voters that they needed to win, and the tact that none of them saw this for the election it was. which is a change election. and that she was not the agent of change that americans wanted. >> and all of this was not for the first time. if you look over the past six or eight years, mark, you have been out there covering this on almost a daily basis. the number of governorships they lost, the democrats have lost in this country, the number of state legislators controlled by republicans, gerrymandering, fixing up congressional districts. the democratic party's problems are going to continue for quite some time. >> looking right now, 68 house
seats lost. 12 in the senate, 10 democratic governors lost over the past eight years. you can make all the excuses you want to make. this is a party that right now is not connected with middle america. >> the press narrative leading into the presidential evection was the republican party is in crisis. that was always the silly narrative. the democratic party was in crisis except at the presidential level. because of the clinton campaign's failure, now they're at a crisis add the presidential level as well. they face, demanding on how donald trump conducts himself in office, potentially being locked out of lots of levels of government for a good long time, and the lack of introspection, at least publicly on her part, and i'm told privately, is not going to help the party come back. >> the lack of introspection is stunning. i have been bringing up an article i read in the spring when everybody assumed the republicans were going to get wiped out. dan said, you know, if they win the presidency, the republican party actually, for all of this
hand wringing we're doing about the republican party, dan wrote, the republican party will be the most dominant electoral position they have been in in almost a century. and he was right. they are. but there doesn't seem to be -- are we missing something? there doesn't seem to be sufficient speculation as to why the democrats have been swept aside the way they have the past eight years. >> i think hillary clinton's comments that we played are painful to watch, part of this process of sorting out what happened. i like the quicker, cleaner barack obama version after the 2010 midterm elections when he said we got shellacked. just looked in the eye and said we got shellacked. i think that was good. but this will go on for a long time. we'll never know the impact of the comey letter. but i do think that one point that hillary clinton made in that little piece we saw about this being a personal beef of
vladimir putin. that's possible. and i think one value of a bipartisan congressional investigation through a select committee, as mccain and graham want, or whatever way, is that it would get to issues like that. so we would see this and understand it. not to excuse hillary clinton, but to understand what happened to us. >> i think if she did not say this first and had a unifying message, not only for the party on where things went wrong, bualso for the new president, the incoming president, respect for him, and that everybody has to press reset and try and help the president, which is something that president obama has said, and then she started to look at these things as well and call for some introspection, but also some inspection on the russians and the other issues that may have played a role, i think that would be perfectly fine because all are pretty important. >> everybody needs to understand, this investigation is coming. it is going to be wide-reaching.
it's going to be bipartisan. mitch mcconnell is bought in on it. paul ryan is going to be bought in on it. so that investigation is coming. >> no one is sdnying it. >> we're going to learn all of this, but it is time for the democrats to actually look and say, why are we so disconnected from america? what has happened over the past eight years? >> on the investigation, if it's not a select committee, there will be lots of competing investigations, and that will hamper it because you'll have people fighting over subpoena power and divided, and mcconnell right now doesn't want a special committee. on the democrats, what i have found is part of why they're not acknowledging and being introspective is they look at the way republicans won and say they won with fake news, they won by lying, by being aggressive, by giving no quarter, and they're saying we need to emulate that. we can't admit any weakness. positive, strength, aggressive. and those traits aren't compatible with introspection.
>> i have one race to talk about to talk about how bad the race for democrats were. ron johnson won wisconsin. >> yes. >> in a presidential year. you know, if you had asked me over the last six years from the day he was elected, would ron johnson be re-elected in a presidential year after being elected the first time as a tea partier, i would have said no. for six years running. the fact that the democrats lost to ron johnson, a hard-right conservative, in wisconsin, in a presidential year, tells you all you need to know about how far this party has fallen. i'm not knocking ron. that would be like a northwest florida conservative winning in wisconsin. >> to show you how little the democratic party seems to have absorbed the lessons or has an understanding of what's happening in the country, who did they put up against ron johnson but russ feingold. so they knew him, it was another
older candidate who failed to represent the change that voters wanted. >> still ahead on "morning joe," donald trump responds to michelle obama's comments that since his election, americans know, quote, what not having hope feels like. but first, here's bill karins with a check on the forecast. >> speaking of not having hope. >> bill. >> rain, sludge, come on, man. >> yeah, a fun weekend, wasn't it, joe? arctic blast number one, a lot of snow across the country. then arctic blast number two really locked the slushy, easy stuff in place. wisconsin is one of those places, too. ten fatalities, storm related over the entire weekend from this blast of too cold blast and one snow storm. one area of madison, only two or three inches and then it got slushy and froze in place. black ice is still a problem in many areas. this is about as cold a weather map as you're going to get. salt lake city at 4, chicago takes the cake as you did all weekend, negative 21 this morning. it's going to improve slowly.
only storm is snow in the cascades and rain for you moving to the coast, if you're driving i-5, kafrlg south of seattle. there is snow on the roads. chilly highs in the east will give way to a warming pattern. as we go throughout this weekend, we go up to the 40s in raleigh, even chicago will go into 30s. today's forecast, we're looking good for travel. this will be a very busy travel week, and i'm happy to report, no big storms across the country during the week. may have a christmas surprise in the northern plains. we'll talk more about that in the days ahead. leaving you with a shot of the christmas tree in new york city where we got a coating of snow over the weekend but it has since melted. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. one of millions of orders on this company's servers. accessible by thousands of suppliers and employees globally. but with cyber threats on the rise, mary's data could be under attack. with the help of at&t, and security that senses
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now. >> yeah. >> see now, we're feeling what not having hope feels like. you know? hope is necessary. >> michelle obama said yesterday that there's no hope. but i assume she was talking about the past, not the future, because i'm telling you, we have tremendous hope. and we have tremendous promise and tremendous potential. i actually think she made that statement not meaning it the way it came out. i really do, because i met with president obama and michelle obama in the white house. my wife was there. she could not have been nicer. i honestly believe she meant that statement in a different way that it came out. >> that's very gracious. >> that was. >> extremely gracious. >> good for him. >> surprisingly so. >> very gracious. i like the other night, too,
when people started to boo president obama and he stopped them. of course, then he went and attacked president obama's spokesman. but i did like, it is nice in this blood sport to see him actually, actually giving the first lady the benefit of the doubt and telling people, don't boo your president. >> he also made a reference to a great element of this ongoing story about the transition, and that's the relationship, increased relationship between the president of the united states and the president-elect of the united states. and their phone conversations. i'm told by a couple different people that there have been really, really cordial, friendly conversations. >> they have been, but there still is some intrajewelty on part of the incumbent. >> they both need each other. the president-elect needs a president very much. and he understands that. and the president, the current
president, needs to try to influence the president-elect as much as possible on his key legislative issue, obamacare. >> he's still worried, president obama, is still worried about some of the things donald trump has said and done and might do and say as president. >> so have an influence. >> stay in there, that's what he's trying to do, stay in there. the president, i really commend the president of the united states, he's staying in there. and having that open line of communication. actually helps not only with the continuity, but gives him the ability to have an influence on the issues that matter to him the most. >> knryou know what else i thins going on? trump for the first time realizes he's inside their head. it's not the other way around. so he's being as gracious as he can be because he knows that he's got the upper hand for now. >> for all the appointments that this white house does not like, flynn and sessions, et cetera, the fact they're consulting bob gates, the fact they're consulting all of these other
establishment figures, is confusing to them, but very comforti comforting. >> still ahead, evacuations of civilians and rebels resume in aleppo as the u.n. prepares to vote on whether to send monitors into the region. we'll get the latest from bill neely who was in aleppo this morning. my business was built with passion... but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on all of my purchasing.
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28 past the hour. the evacuations from aleppo, syria, have restarted this morning after the syrian government and rebel groups agreed to evacuate more than 2,000 pro-government residents from two rebel-held towns outside the city. ten buses with civilians have reportedly left the two towns. that was after at least six buses were torched by a group of armed rebels as they were heading to their pick-up points. they were empty at the time, but one driver was reportedly killed. nbc chief global correspondent bill neely is in aleppo with the latest. >> reporter: good morning. in the chaos of a city that has fallen to president assad's forces, civilians are finally being freed after six months under siege. these buses are evacuating thousands of civilians from east aleppo. but even freedom will prove
tough for them. escape from a deadly siege to an uncertain future. buses crammed with desperate people left the ruins of aleppo taking them to safety. dozens more buses lined up around 30,000 people are waiting to go. among those freed, 7-year-old bana, safe in the arms of a doctor. for months on twitter, she's been telling the world of the suffering of her city and her fears she would die in the bombing. also unconfirmed reports that dozens of orphans who tried for days to escape, have finally reached a safer area. but for these new refugees, safe doesn't mean happy. they're now enduring winter at a syrian army camp. they have just come from rebel-held aleppo where hunger was never far away. so when food suddenly arrives, they chase it.
men, women, and children in a crush to eat. this is what desperation looks like. these people haven't had access to proper food for years. the syrian army had tried to starve them to surrender. the food is being thrown from the back of the vehicle, and people are fighting to try to get their hands on it. proud people reduced to beggars by siege warfare. rebel aleppo has fallen to its president's army, almost lite l literally. the damage to buildings is clear. the damage to its people incalculable. this evacuation could prove to be the end of the siege warfare that has been so cruel, so brutal, for civilians on both sides. many of them children, some of them orphans who have known nothing but war. back to you.
>> joining us now is contributor to "time" magazine, msnbc political analyst and former aide to george w. bush white house and state department, elise jordan. good to have you onboard. those pictures are just unspeakable. >> that's a legacy. that's a legacy, elise, of america. and the west. we sat back. we did absolutely nothing. this is what, live pics coming out of aleppo, is this not what the world looks like when america does nothing? >> it's just, you see how the pendulum swung in that direction of inaction. and this is the horrible result of it. i think that there was that critical moment where barack obama could have acted, and it was a very small window at the end of 2011 when these uprisings started and our half measures really made the situation a whole lot worse. >> it was half measures, you had david ignatius writing that it was the half measures, going in
halfway. that actually took a bad situation and as elise just said, turned it into the nightmare. >> this is the chapter of the obama administration that president obama will not want to read. this is the chapter of the obama administration that will spell out as history unfolds, perhaps in detail, the divisions within the obama administration, where you had, we're told, the secretary of state wanting to be much more aggressive in terms of doing something to assist the people of aleppo. because they knew these scenes that you're looking at right now, this administration knew what was taking place. things like, not like this, but on a daily basis, the systematic starving of a population, the barrel bombing of a population. the assassinations, the outright genocide on a daily basis. they knew. >> and knew, elise, drew a red line, and knew, actually, that assad was breaking every international norm. using chemical weapons, weapons
of mass destruction, and america and the west did nothing. >> that red line, when barack obama demonstrated that he wasn't going to really draw the line in the sand, the world responded accordingly, and our adversaries responded accordingly. it's played a huge moment getting us to where we are right now, even talking about the russian hacking. and you know, in october, barack obama didn't want to overpoliticize it. it's every measure. they know our people don't fear us the way that they have in the past. >> and mark, in "the new york times" today, there's a story about how our asian allies are nervous about how weakly we responded to what happened in south china seas. again, we have sent the message across the world, not only with the crossing of the red line, but even in incidents like that. t"the new york times" reports that we have very nervous allies who have seen for the past eight
years barack obama sit back and do very little. let people push america and the west around. >> there's small data points, into the big ones, the cold war, 9/11, and now you have a very unsettled world. the arab spring seems like a distant memory, but in both asia and the middle east, the new president is going to have to figure out how to speend messag to stop trend lines which are not great. the exception of economic development in asia, both regions are really unsettled over the last eight years. >> it's been 15 years since the deadly anthrax attacks on the u.s., and over two years since the outbreak of ebola, and this country still lacks a centralized leader to respond and coordinate prevention of these kinds of biocrises. joining us now is the first secretary of u.s. homeland security, former republican governor of pennsylvania, tom ridge. governor ridge co-chairs the bipartisan blue ribbon study
panel on biodefense, which last week released a new report that payments a tough picture about america's readiness to handle a biological attack. >> mr. secretary, we're not ready for the next biological attack? >> we're not. we're not. we're ill prepared. you know, joe, we spend billions of dollars and well intentioned to deal with this, but frankly, there is no centralized leadership, there is no central strategy. there is no comprehensive budget. we don't set priorities. we have billions of dollars floating around out there, but frankly, none of it is targeted to what we shouldiment the real challenge going forward, either from mother nature, we know that terrorists would like to get access and yuutilize it, let ale the nation states that particularly could throw it against us as well. between mother nature, terrorism, and the fact of the matter we use in some of our labs and once in a while there's a report that there's been a leakage there. we have real challenges ahead of us.
>> you have put together 87 recommendations. we don't have time to go through those. >> no, you don't. >> boil it down. what is the big takeaway from this study? >> thank you for that. basically, a couple of major poles in that tent. it's serious enough that this bipartisan commission of three republicans and three democrats said you ought to locate the authority and responsibility in the white house of the united states. secondly, we said you need an overall strategy. you have disparate agencies, five or six of the cabinet agencies and literally dozens and dozens of programs spending money, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. you need a comprehensive strategy, and then finally, you need somebody working with omb to set priorities. when you do that, you can phase in the other 30 or 40 recommendations we have made, and you build up a biodefense capability. it's a serious challenge. we can't ignore it any longer. >> elise. >> governor ridge, most of these recommendations don't require that much extra funding, yet so
many of them haven't been acted on. why has there been so little traction making these recommendations enacted and making the country safer? >> i think there's a couple reasons. first of all, congress did respond last year and in the past couple weeks with the recommendations. one dealing with the comprehensive strategy of the national defense authorization act. frankly, i think we'll have a lot of bipartisan support. toward the end of last year, senators johnson and tom carper took the lead over in the senate side. we have some champions on the house side. so it's interesting. president-elect trump in 1999 in a book entitled "america we deserve" talked about it, having medical countermeasures to deal with bio incidents. he can make america great again, and we want the vice president to make america safe again, particularly from biological agents. >> tom ridge, thank you so much
for being on the show. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> good holidays. merry christmas. >> up next, the year ahead. "time" magazine is looking at what's in store for 2017. inside their new issue, and predictions next on "morning joe." there is no typical day. there is nothing typical about making movies. i'm victoria alonso and i'm an executive producer... ...at marvel studios. we are very much hands-on producers. if my office... ...becomes a plane or an airport the surface pro's perfect. fast and portable but also light. you don't do this 14 hours a day, 7 days a week for...
that was a portion of "time" magazine's new multimedia project entitled "finding home" which follows four syrian refugee mothers and their infants born in greece. the story is featured on four separate covers of the magazine's new issue, 2017, the year ahead, and "time's" executive editor joins us now.
that's powerful. >> we're going to talk about that in one minute. in the magazine, you talk about the new world order and that the era of american global leadership is over. what comes next? >> well, that's a great question. you know, i think, and you have been talking all morning about what happened in asia when the united states appears to be pulling back. and it's not that some alternate power is going to fill the void, but i think a lot of our allies are beginning to think about hedging their bets. you see it all over the world already happening. >> with china and russia? making bets with china, making bets with russia. >> certainly, certainly. and you know, wee in for a period, a rocky period where we don't really know what's going to happen, but we know a lot of countries are thinking about what happens when american power is deployed in the world in a different way. you see already things realigning quite a bit. >> when america and the west specifically do not deploy
across the world when red lines are crossed, we actually see results in thousands of different ways, many of these actually illustrated on the front of your cover this week. >> that's right. so the world is pulling apart, countries are pulling away from each other. we have entered this period of retrenchment and isolationism, and human beings get caught in the spaces in between. that's what we're trying to do with this project, really show what happens to people when they are in these stateless sort of undefined positions. and that's why we have decided to sort of follow these families. >> tell us about these mothers. >> our african bureau chief aaron baker is working with a war photographer and a multimedia journalist, and they're following these four families for the next year to find out what happens, what the process of trying to find a home is like. that's why we called it "finding
home." and normally, when you go out and report a story, you write your stuff down in your notebook and write your story and you close your notebook and move on to the next thing. this project is sort of premised on the idea of what happened if you don't close your notebook and your follow through. the thing about refugees, i think most people when they think about refugees, they think about people who are maybe on the margins of society to begin with, or were homeless before they were stateless, but the thing about a lot of these seriosea syrian refugees trapped in places like greece is they were middle class before it started. >> middle class, well educated. >> exactly, so that leads to, you know, a different level of dislocation, not just physical dislocation, but psychic dislocation. >> think about next year and all the focus on donald trump, but you all had a smart piece on mike pence and what his role might be like next year. talk about that. >> i think we're all looking, all of us in the media, i would
say, are looking for barometers of what is going to happen because we have a more chaotic and unpredictable situation at the top. so, you know, mike pence is one of those barometers, a person who knows better than most that a lot of the governing that happens in government is not really at the top. it's the undersecretaries, the people underneath, and we have seen him move from trump's orbit to really to the center of attention and become a central figure, make recommendations on staffing and appointments and that kind of thing. so i think you will be all looking to him to see what's really happening in the administration, if the signals from the top aren't clear, let's say. >> you also have a piece by our friend ian bremmer on the u.s. role in the world. matt vella, thank you so much. "time" magazine, 2017, the year ahead. up next, one way not to be like donald trump. that's what "new york times"
columnist pete wehner writes about in his latest piece. he joins us next to explain. keep it right here on "morning joe." they are the natural born enemy of the way things are. yes, ideas are scary, and messy and fragile. but under the proper care, they become something beautiful. tit's what's inside the person insidwho opens it. give ancestrydna, the simple dna test that can reveal their ethnic origins. order now at ancestrydna.com
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♪ i want a hippopotamus for christmas ♪ ♪ only a hippopotamus will do at the united states postal service, we deliver more online purchases to homes than anyone else in the country. and more hippopotamuses, too. ♪ so whatever your holiday priority, our priority is you. we've got to think about what's happening to our political culture here. the russians can't change us. or significantly weaken us. they are a smaller country. they are a weaker country. their economy doesn't produce
anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. but they can impact us if we lose track of who we are. over a third of republican voters approve of vladimir putin. the former head of the kgb. ronald reagan would roll over in his grave. >> all right. joining us now, senior fellow at the ethics and public policy center, pete wehner, contributor opinion writer to "the new york times" and has served in the last three republican administrations. >> looks like that winning streak is over. >> his latest column is a defense of political moderation entitled "one way not to be like trump" and pete writes in part this, even before mr. trump set foot on the political stage, america was becoming a bit more like the sahara or the arctic circle than a temperate zone. that moderation was passe in
both parties and that no politician would defend it as a political virtue. moderation is a difficult virtue for people to rally around since by definition it doesn't arouse fervor or zealous advocates. but in a time of spreading resentments and rage, when truth is increasingly the target of assault and dialogue is often viewed as betrayal, moderation isn't simply a decorous democratic quality. it becomes an essential democratic virtue. >> pete, we have talked about this before, you and i. a good bit together. this is nothing new. i recommend being skewered in 2009 for simply suggesting that republicans listen to barack obama. i was killed for suggesting that we not declare him evil right out of the gate. and you look at the clinton/bush administrations. 2004, george w. bush wins. that week, "the new york times,"
two writers compare him to osama bin laden and say his followers have more in common with osama bin laden than the rest of america. >> yeah, that's right. look, this has been a trend that's been going on for decades now. and the temperature is rising, and the acrimony is going up. there's a kind of intemperance and immoderation in our politics and you see it in terms of the rhetoric. my concern is it doesn't stay contained in rhetoric. that that kind of thing can spread into real-world actions as well. that's partly why i wrote the piece, because i think we have the most temperamentally immoderate person to be president, at least since andrew jackson and that's grounds for worries. it has been going for a while, you were right to call it out earli earlier, but it's gotten worse since you were speaking about it in 2009. >> mark halperin. >> you're a man who loves silver linings. who has been nominated or pick for the government so far that makes you think moderation may have its day in the trump
administration? >> well, it's hard to tell. i mean, there have been some picks i think that general mattis is a very impressive person. i think reince priebus is good to have in the white house. and i think that there are others. but there are also some troubling signs. steve bannon is certainly one of them. i think general flynn is another. but look, mark, at the end of the day, i think what is really matters is the president himself. i have worked in three administrations. as joe said, that streak is about to come to an end among republicans. and i understand how important it is to have people in key positions and the bureaucracy and all that. but the presidency is the most powerful office in the world, and it is the president that sends the signals and sets the tone. and there can be people around donald trump to mitigate and moderate him. but they tried that in the campaign, and it didn't work too well. i just hope during his
presidency, there are enough institutional checks, and i'm talking about institutions within the federal government and the presidency, but also congress, paul ryan and mitch mcconnell, who can check him, and who can temper him when that's necessary because it's going to be. >> pete, could you extend your definition of moderation? moderates. is it ideology? is it rhetoric? is it legislative proposals that might be made in this definition of moderation that you would have, that you would give us? how does that impact a specifically hard block of ideologues in the house, especially? >> yeah, it's a good question because it's a term that i think a lot of times gets confusioned, and people think that moderation is simply the midpoint between two extremes. i was describing it and think about it not just idealogically, but temperamentally, and what i mean is a disposition against
fanaticism, a certain calmness and understanding that life is complicated. that in the case of governing, you have to balance competing principles. it doesn't divide the world and the children of light and darkness, so it's a certain attitude and outlook and disposition toward the world, how one conducts themselves, and that manifests itself in different ways. it manifests itself in terms of rhetoric, but it manifests itself in terms of governing. but it's a very deep thing. i think actually moderation contrary to a lot of people on the right today, is a conservative virtue. i think it's an ancient, certainly an ancient virtue, but i always associated it with a kind of conservatism. that sort of conservatism is a bit on the outs these days. >> pete wehner, thank you so much. we greatly appreciate you being with us. >> great to be on. merry christmas, everyone. >> merry christmas. >> so elise, ron fournier has a great tweet this morning, following up on what we were talking about before, the democrats blaming everybody in
the world but the democrats for losing the white house, as if they won the governorships and the senate and house. they lost everything. ron fournier, comey's fault, media's fault, putin's fault, obama's fault, staff's faul fault, #democraticfaultlines. is this a democratic party in denial? >> i think so, and i think it's made all the more worse because it's hillary clinton's loss. they always blame anyone but hillary clinton when she loses. >> why is that? >> i think it's their failure to take accountability and to actually take a hard look at what went wrong. going forward, i feel like they're laying the groundwork to just repeat another failure by not owning up to, hey, maybe we weren't where our electorate was this year. >> yeah, seriously. now we understand they're blaming barack obama. last night, i read a "vanity fair" article, they're blaming
huma. it starts at the top. if this show succeeds, it's everybody who works for this show and wakes up and works through the night. if it fails, it's on me. >> and karins. >> but he's a clubhouse poison. you understand what i'm saying. that's not bs. that's the truth. >> yeah, but again, a sad way for her to step off the stage, i think. but if you look at one of her better days in the primary, when she had lost a primary, come close to losing a primary, and she went on a fairly emotional for her sequence of statements about how she's not as good as her husband is, or barack obama, and it was very appealing. and then she gets to the nomination, and that aspect of who she is disappeared. >> the party has divided, and again, they're trying to emulate what they think a lot of republicans succeed, which is just bullying ahead, denial, partisan warfare. i don't see any introspection. i'm talking about at the white house, the democratic party,
congress. >> but if you look at the past eight years, the trend lines are devastating. >> look at the state legislatures. >> look at this. 188 seats they have lost in the house, or 68 they have lost in the house, 12 they lost in the senate, 10 governorships they have lost. they have lost 900 state legislative seats. their bench is getting wiped out. they have got no bench. a bunch of 70-year-olds running around in washington, d.c. running the party. >> all right, that does it for us this morning. >> wake up. fix yourselves. >> yes, okay. thank you. >> and thank you for watching and thank you for your patience. >> stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. >> thanks so much. hi, there. i'm stephanie ruhle. this morning, college drama. the electoral college meets today in the most heated vote in generations. massive lobbying efforts to sway electors. many even receiving death threats. >> i have received a cou