tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 19, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
titans are a reality tv stars. she was married multiple times, was sued, and sued others again and again. and she showed you could grab news headlines if you favored the flashy. nothing was too over the top. that's all for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more "mtp daily." ari melber picks up our coverage right now. good evening to you. i'm ari melber. 6:00 p.m. on the east coast. you're watching "msnbc live." making it official, the electoral college putting donald trump over the threshold. also tonight, reports that donald trump will keep a private security force. this is even after he becomes president. this is a weird one. we'll get into it with a former secret service agent. and those deadly attacks overseas. a truck plows into a christmas market in germany. and the russian ambassador assassinated in turkey at point-blank range. we begin with our political story, though.
today, they made it official. donald trump has won electors to win the electoral college. the votes coming from those 538 members of the electoral college and trump crossing the 270-vote threshold, just moments ago, when texas voted. let's be clear, this is a final constitutional victory over the never-trumpers who have been bran storming different ways to stop trump since back in the republican primary. you remember all of that delegate chatter. and then, of course, this long-shot effort to try to peel out of some electors after recent reports that vladimir putin was personally involved in the russian hacking to help trump win. here's how some of it all sounded in wisconsin today. >> the votes are 10 votes, donald j. trump. [ yelling and shouting ] [ chanting: shame ]
>> this is my america! >> they have a right to protest and donald trump has a right, as we've seen, to win under our constitutional system. now, electors never got that intelligence briefing before the vote, but there is a push right now for an independent investigation into the russian hack. you may remember, last week, republican leaders were saying that the intelligence committee, which is run by republicans, could do an investigation. now, though, some republicans like john mccain want to go farther. they're joining democratic calls for an independent select committee to probe how russian interfered in our election. >> there's no doubt they were interfering. and no doubt that it was a cyberattack. the question now is, how much and what damage and what should the united states of america do? and so far, we've been totally paralyzed. >> now, the thinking here is that an the independent investigation ensures stronger accountability than one controlled by republican leadership. and it's notable today we can
tell you that the top democrat in washington, chuck schumer, is making this russian hacking the controversy the first fight that he's formally picking with donald trump's administration. not trump's cabinet picks, not trump's string of outlandish comments since the election. no, senate minority leader chuck schumer is drawing his line in the sand on russia. whether that's because it's such an important national security issue, or maybe it's an issue where he thinks democrats can beat trump, or maybe because he's betting on both. howard dean, former dnc chair and former governor of vermont, and katon dawson, a national republican consultant and the former chairman of the south carolina republican party. we should also mention, an elector in past election cycles. so the right day to have you. governor dean, let me go you on the national security piece here. does it make a big difference if this is an independent inquiry and why has chuck schumer decided to draw this line.
>> i can't tell you why chuck schumer has decided to draw the line, but he's probably the smartest guy in the senate right now, so i suspect it has something to do with politics. but i do think it's the right call. and the problem is, donald trump is going to do this to himself a lot when he's president. he did it to himself by his denials and poo-pooing of the cia, he's affected his own credibility and forced the republicans to choose between their republican president and finding out what really happened. and given what went on in the benghazi hearings and all that money that was wasted, i think the only thing you can do is have an independent investigation of the kind that schumer and mccain are calling for. >> eric, from your reporting, where are we now when you have this incoming president-elect, still basically defying what has been described as the conclusion of most if not all of the intelligence agencies? >> there's been some slight movement in statements from his spo spokespeople in recent days
suggesting that he's opening up to the possibility that this could have been a russian government operation. and he's just awaiting, perhaps, some additional briefings and consensus between the fbi and cia. and i think -- >> almost makes you wonder whether a daily briefing might be helpful, then, if what he wants are more briefings. >> right, i mean, the suggestion being that he perhaps maybe has not been taking the daily briefings, for reasons that are hard to understand. i mean, the thing that really distinguishes this is while there has been espionage by the united states and russia and other countries for many, many years, and the united states elections, what really made a difference here is that they took this espionage and made it actionable. they poured oit into the public domain, and had an impact on how the race played out. we can't say that they chose who won and who lost, but they certainly impacted the discourse during this debate. so you want to understand, how did that happen? and you want it to be as bipartisan, nonpartisan of an investigation as possible. >> yeah, and katon, that goes to the weirdest part of donald
trump's overreaction to all of this. is he could have just said, yeah, i remember when these leaks first happened and they were described as more or less russian. and yeah, there's a lot of information swirling out there. it's odd that he doubled down so harshly on defying and denying what appears to be, by all accounts, if anything, a regular or expected activity at this point. >> i think president-elect trump has been able to ebb and flow the entire time and he'll get through this. i think what eric just said, this is espionage. the koreans do it, the chinese do it, the russians do it and hopefully we're the best at it. whether it impacted the election or not, are we going to continue to spend, as governor dean just said, millions and millions of dollars on investigations and select investigations to find out exactly the level of what they're doing? i feel should the nsa and cia can come tell us. at least tell the people who need to know that.
i've dealt with candidates for years and years and i think people have to understand in this e-mail process, that that's what some of the concerns are, is once you hit the button into cyberspace, you're not the only one reading this stuff. i try to make it real simple with clients and real simple as i can, that we all understand in america, the people i talk to today, that these things are going to happen. and the voting public saw through a lot of it, and much like the fake news that you talked about earlier, ari, that a lot of this stuff might have been had impact, but the election probably still would have been the same. >> governor dean, how about that? katon's arguing that we don't need to know more, that this is done. but you have a lot of followers of donald trump taking their cues from him. the polls show half of them think that there was illegal voting that didn't occur. that he won the popular vote, which didn't happen. and now running the risk that they're going to be very confused about what the facts are on this foreign espionage, which matters. >> well, the problem is, over the last years, the political situation in this country so
divided that nobody trusts anybody else. i personally wouldn't trust a partisan investigation in the congress, based on what's going on. i daresay there are a lot of people on the other side that wouldn't trust a democratic investigation. so it seems to me, what you do, you have a bipartisan select committee finding this out. this is not trivial. this is not some attempt to damage a presidential candidate, as the benghazi hearings were, which were quickly adjourned, of course, right after the election was over. this is about the vulnerability of america to, what i think now is the most dangerous country to our democracy on the face of the earth. i think mitt romney turned out to be right about that. and i think we ought to find out. i think the american people have a right to know what the hell went on. donald trump is the president. that was taken care of today. this is not about donald trump, this is about the russians interfering in a democratic country, which is probe the most democratic country on the face of the earth. >> yeah, eric, take a listen to
reince priebus. there's a lot that trump says he wants to do different, fine. but sometimes what they say they want to do different sounds really weird compared to how normal, secure, intelligence works. take a listen to reince here. >> you would expect the conclusion, if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report, show the american people they're actually on the same page as opposed to third parties from "the washington post." we haven't heard from clapper. i mean, we haven't heard from comey. i mean, so, look, i think that these guys should be straight with the american people and come out and say it. i don't think they've been clear about it. i think that it's been all over the map. >> so john brennan, his statement is not enough for you? >> not when you have multiple people saying different things coming through third parties and media reports. >> eric, i want to be as fair as possible but the incoming chief of staff and the president, do they think that every time the
intelligence community comes to the president in the morning with intel, there's a burden of proof at that level or public. because certainly that's not the standard for all kinds of necessarily secret matters. >> well, i guess, you know, as to why there would need to be a select committee, an independent investigation on this points to exactly what he's saying. is that there's differing opinions as to what happened here. so i guess if you leave an investigation like this in partisan hands, just, as howard dean has said, i happen to agree with him here. that you're going to have half of the population that's going to question the outcome. >> let me jump in there. that goes to the public legitimacy, which is why more public information is good. i'm pinpointing the incoming chief of staff, which seems to suggest that he and the president won't accept this, until there's a higher burden of proof met. that seems different than the way most clients approach the intelligence agencies on a daily basis. >> i think the thing they're
pointing to, there apparently has been some disagreement, reported by some media, there's been some disagreement among different committees of the intelligence committee. so they're saying, we want a consensus before we say publicly, we agree, that this was a russian-motivated incident. i think that's what he's saying, he wants a full consensus. this statement was put out on october 7th by the consensus of the intelligence agencies that this was a russian hack. across the federal government, there is complete agreement on that. what there is perhaps some disagreement, there has been, as to whether or not this was specifically done to help donald trump or hurt hillary clinton. that, there has been some open question on. but they're playing with that small amount of disagreement and suggesting that the whole matter is up in the air. and at least if you listen to the intelligence agencies, that's not the case. >> and that disagreement could be accurate in a sense that there may have been more than one motivation from some of the
foreign actors or that it morphed over time, which is what some of the reporting suggests, as well. katon, the final word before we go. >> it gets down to being about russia. and first we had george w. bush, who tried to get close to putin. then we had the reset with clinton and obama, now we've got president trump saying nice things. look, they're the russians. their 148 million people. we're three times they're size, we're more powerful. certainly, they're going to spy on us. they've been spying on us since the beginning of time and they'll continue to do it. i think once we with cut through all of this, we'll see we're loving in a dangerous world with the united states of america. we've got a new president coming in, a new administration coming in. i think the russians will find us to be a very serious country and take most of these things that they're doing in an appropriate matter and let them know exactly where our country stands on the spying and espionage. >> all right. katon dawson, howard dean, eric lipton, very interesting conversation. thanks for your toime tonight. >> thank you.
ahead, we have an update. at least five dead in berlin after a truck drives right into a crowded market. plus, playing with fire. that's what one former secret service agent says when it comes to donald trump and his plans for private security. it's a new story and it's pretty disturbing. we have it for you up ahead. (war drums beating)
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donald trump said he would do things differently when he got to washington, and that is certainly the case with some decisions leaking out of trump tower. politico is reporting that trump is settling on an unprecedented approach to security as president-elect. instead of relying on the secret service for security, as every president has done since 1865, aides are saying that trump will continue paying and deploying private security contractors in addition to the secret service. now, let's be clear. trump has not confirmed it, but politico is reporting that, quote, people familiar with the plans say trump will continue
deploying a battalion of retired cops and fbi agents. that plan is unusual for a few reasons. first, federal law and secret service protocol don't even allow private security to bring guns into the white house or near the president, so those paid guards can't do much for the president himself. second, security experts say unleashing a whole separate group of armed guards alongside the service does risk havoc. quote, you never want to co-mingle a police function with a private security function, is what one agent told politico, it creates greater confusion and creates greater risk. so why go to these lengths and expenses? well, it may not be about personal security at all. it may be about muffling dissent. trump's personal security has been led by this man, keith shiller, for 17 years. he takes a pretty aggressive stance with protesters. here he is with trump as they direct an ejection from a recent michigan rally.
>> no, the election's over. [ booing ] get him out of here. >> the politico article goes on to explain, we're just quoting here, that part of the purpose of this unusual private security is basically to clamp down on protesters. there are many limits on what the government can do and law enforcement can do against free speech, because it's a protected right. and the first amendment restricts government crackdowns on speech. but there are, by definition, far fewer limits on what private parties can do, because the first amendment doesn't govern private parties all that much. and that's why all of this is raising questions. questions that come up anytime any politician starts building what could amount to a private police force. joining me now is a security expert, evy poumpouras, also a
former special agent of the secret service, who served on protective details for president obama and president george w. bush. is this unusual? >> if the way it's being reported, yes, that is unusual. typically, that doesn't happen. a security detail will not come in and intermingle with the secret service security. but in reference to the political piece, and i've looked at that spees. i think what they're referring to is his security people are going to either come in as an aid, which is fine, as long as they're not carrying weapons, as long as he has his head of security, he can have that as a gatekeeper. what you really don't want to see is his actual security intermingling. i can't see that happening. the only gun carriers -- >> when you say "intermingling," you're referring to armed guarding of the president and the president's body? >> yes. it would be very, very unlikely to see that. to actually see private security doing physical security for the president of the united states. >> which would raise real chain of command issues. >> i just -- this is the thing.
training is very different. a lot of these people that president-elect trump has employed, they have law enforcement backgrounds and navy backgrounds. and that's great in that arena. but doing physical security is very different. look, when you see a picture of the president walking you see secret service agents around him. to the layperson, it looks like, that guy is standing there, that guy is standing there, when in reality, the minutia and k choreography of what goes into what position people are in -- >> sure, but what we've seen on the trail, and this includes rallies since the president-elect became president-elect, is the use of the private security in the audience, in a way the secret service might not be bothered with or comfortable with if they're focused only on security. and take a look at the total spendings so viewers can get a sense of this. when you look at total campaign spending, he spent on the $320 million. clinton spent $560 million plus. you do that by spending more on
everything. one area he spent more was $1.3 million on private security, clinton only spending $530,000. that was an aggressive approach we saw in the stands. what do you think about the notion of a government official, not a candidate, using so much private security to patrol things that government law enforcement might not be able to do? >> so you're actually write about that. we can't. as secret service agents, when you go up there and the president's speaking, a lot of people donate like him, they'll boo him, they say things, they never get involved unless there's an immediate threat. obviously, there's a constitutional right, freedom of speech, as government law enforcement, they can't do that. they're not there to shut people down. how do you get around that? you have the host committee or whoever's doing private security at that event, who's responsible for that site, they would have the right to go there and escort people out. they could do that. if you have a private security company or private entity working there, could day work with the host committee there and do it in that way? yes, they can. >> are still doing it under the
color of the president's orders? >> technically, they cannot do it. the president or the government of the united states cannot use a force to shut people down. but if the president of the united states comes here and he's speaking and somebody does something in the audience or employees do something here, your private security here, they could come in and say, you need to leave. so that kind of rings true at any venue you go. >> it may ring true as a loose transition. the question is whether this is being formalized and expanded in a way that has free speech ramifications. we don't know yet. we're reporting to keep an eye on it. evy poumpouras, thank you for your expertise, as always. >> thank you. ahead, more on that tragedy in germany. nine dead in berlin after a truck drives right into a crowded market. and later, the billionaire cabinet. what donald trump's inner circle might mean for the middle class. and later, we'll show you first lady obama's final interview with oprah. what she said about her private meeting with melania trump.
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now to that breaking news on a deadly truck crash in germany. at least nine people dead. 50 injured. a truck plowed through a busy christmas market in berlin. the driver attempted to flee at the scene, but was arrested by police and a passenger in the truck among those killed. the white house calling it an apparent terrorist attack. german officials have not yet indicated if they are sure this was a terror attack. joining me now for more is ayman mohyeldin, nbc foreign correspondent. senator feinstein and other intelligence officials talking about this as a terror attack. what do we know? >> at this stage, not much, officially, as you were just saying. the german police or the berlin police that were leading this investigation have not come out and definitively say one way or another that this is a terrorist attack. they are trying to establish a motivation. they have an individual believed to be the driver in custody. they're certainly going to try to piece together, what is the connection between that individual and the truck. one of the interesting pieces of information that we've learned within the last couple of hours has to do about the ownership of that truck that was used in that
incident. and we believe, according to our reporting, that it is a company out of poland. we've tried to make contact with the owner of that company, who has told us that it is a relative of his who was the person driving that car. now, whether or not that truck may have been stolen while it was being in some sort of delivery or some type of transportation, that remains to be seen. so we don't know yet if the relative of that individual and the person who was driving the truck at the time of this deadly incident is the same person. >> and the other story, this horrific incident, this attack on the russian ambassador, what's being called an assassination, and russia is calling terrorism. >> yes, it is terrorism. it is an assassination. the russian government, obviously, is going to expect a lot of answers. turkish officials coming out saying they believe this is the work of what they're calling the gullenesque network. they've been blaming a lot of the incidents in turkey over the last several months including the coup to be part of his
larger network, saying he's trying to destabilize the country. there's another aspect of this, this guy was a turkish police officer, a riot police officer, who's been watching the images coming out of aleppo, as the rest of the world has, and has been totally self-radicalized or impassioned by what he's seen and wanted to take action and express himself in this very heinous way, because he's been watching the politics of the country to his dissatisfaction. there are going to be a lot of questions whether he was acting alone, whether he was connected, but it seems at this stage of the investigation, early on, no clear indication that this is an individual who was perhaps associated with a larger terrorist network that we know of from inside of syria, according to turkish officials. >> all right. two big developments today. ayman mohyeldin, thanks for your reporting. appreciate it. we will be right back. crest complete presents sugar shield
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it's the best thing that ever happened to me. can you say thanks nicoderm cq? every great why needs a great how. today president-elect donald trump nominated vince viola for army secretary. that brings the net worth of trump's cabinet picks to over $10 billion. viola is worth $2 billion all by himself. trump's new picks also include leaders from exxon, goldman sachs and top financial firms. we're looking at the richest cabinet in american history. and while one's bank account doesn't determine their policies or qualifications, to be fair, taken together, this list of names, critics say, is a hypocritical sellout of trump's pitch on the campaign trail, which, if you remember, warned
picking a cruz or clinton would put goldman sachs in charge. >> i know the guys at goldman sachs. they have total, total, total control over him. just like they have total control over hillary clinton. >> he obviously didn't want the voters to know that he is totally controlled, lock, stock, and barrel by citibank and by goldman sachs. >> okeydokey. but if anything, trump has done cruz one better. goldman bankers don't have to have "total control." they are literal in the government itself. what's lacking so far is any economic diversity, like labor leaders or economic reformers from someone other than wall street. in fact, there aren't many normal americans, at all. think about it like this. last year, the median household income in the u.s. was $56,000. but there aren't many americans from that bracket in trump's cabinet. and to give you a sense of this disparity, consider this report from quartz, which found that trump's 17 cabinet picks have more money than 43 million
households in america combined. joining me now is bill cohn, author of "money and power: how goldman sachs came to rule the world." and ambassador norm eisen, who served as special counsel and special assistant to president obama on legal ethics issues, some of which are raised here. bill, does this matter? is it worse than normal? >> well, it's so contrary, ari, to what he spoke about on the campaign trail. >> yep. >> that it sort of boggles the mind. i think -- and i may get, you know, massacred for this, but i think it goes to donald trump's deep insecurities as a businessman. what better way to overcome your insecurities. what's he really worth? we don't know. he said he's worth $10 billion or $11 billion, he's never justified that publicly, never released his income tax returns. so we don't really know. but what we do know, what better way to publicly affirm your
wonderfulness as a businessman than by getting all of these guys from goldman sachs and wall street to come kiss your ring. >> it's almost salvish. there's a grandiosity in american culture about success. but we're past about bragging about success. we're now into the governing period. on the politics for you, take a look at the $50,000 to $100,000 income bracket in the united states. these are people that went for trump by four points. these are -- we can put it up on the screen. these are people that traditionally would be democratic voters. so, what is he saying to them? >> you know, it's unclear what he's saying to them, because, you know, he hasn't even been inaugurated yet. and we know very little about his economic plans. however, it's saying about him that, i really value these guys who are billionaires, and i really value these guys who are traders and deal guys. and somehow, these guys who are
traders and deal guys are going to inoured to your benefit as a middle class voter who supported him. i don't know how they took comfort as a guy who is a billionaire and lived in a pink mausoleum cared anything about people in the middle of the country. but he's got the electoral college today. he will be inaugurated on january 20th. so i guess we have to have give him a chance and wait and see. >> norm? >> ari, good evening. thanks for having me. >> what do you think? >> stacks and stacks and stacks of conflicts, ari. people who have billions of dollars like this plutocrat party that trump is bringing to the government, bring conflicts with them. that means that they have their own financial ties. they have their own business ties. of course, trump himself the grand daddy of all conflicts. he won't get rid of them.
but this cabinet is going to be governed by law. they are going to have to address their conflicts. they're going to have to recuse or they're going to have to divest or they're going fight. they're going to look for loopholes. it is going to be a mess. we've never seen such a wealthy collection of cabinet nominees and it is going to lead to tremendous clashes between the public interest and their private financial interests. >> well, and let me show you on this question of how much the public is going to zero in on this. this is new polling we have out today. nbc/"wall street journal" on trump's appointment of such high net worth individuals in the cabinet. 43% say it's a good thing. that's less, of course, than his total vote share. 47% say it's a bad thing, and some people saying mixed. so already, before he's even taken office, there is some erosion, norm, into people who are sympathetic to him, but either don't like this idea or thought this were getting something else. from the perspective of, as you say, conflicts, ethics, and
controls, your specialty, what are the controls on people here who are vacating big firms to take these government positions? >> well, the basic rule of government service, ari, is that when you come into government, you've got to put your personal interests, your business interests, your friendships, your baggage. you leave that on the other side of the divide. you come in and you serve the public interests. now, what do you do when you have these billionaires coming in who have very complex financial portfolios item number one, they're going to have to get rid of some stuff. they're going to have to divest, we call that in government ethics lingo. number two. if they can't divest, they're going to have to recuse. that means they can't work on issues that relate to their finances. or number three, they could do what mr. trump thihimself refus to do. i don't know how he's going to ask his cabinet nominees to do it when he won't. have an independent trustee set up a blind trust and let
somebody else manage. >> and let me go back to bill on one more point. moving beyond trump and zeroing in on goldman. let me be clear. they seem to be in power no matter which party is in power. they had people in under clinton, obama, now under trump. you wrote a book act how they rule the world. as we often do in television, i want to ask you, why do they rule the world in 40 seconds or less? >> well, they rule the world, because they are giving donald trump and previous administrations instant credibility in the financial markets. what better way to solve any questions about your bona fides on wall street than by hiring goldman sachs? i mean, the fact of the matter is that goldman sachs never wanted to do busy with donald trump. what better way -- >> they wouldn't loan him money. >> they wouldn't loan him money. he was a poster child for not doing business. this is the client we do not want to do business with, donald trump. what better way to have them kiss his ring than to appoint
them top secretaries. >> does this mean in the world of goldman that donald trump is like an opaque credit default swap, because we don't know what's inside the assets? >> well, winone of us know what goung on with donald trump at the moment. but he's a phoenix rising from the ashes with donald trump. >> wow, you saw my financial crisis comparison and raised me. ahead, bill clinton not holding back on who he blames for hillary's loss. and the trump/putin relationship got the "snl" treatment. how satire is playing here and in the u.s. we have a very special russian novelist right after the break. ♪ gaviscon is a proven heartburn remedy that gives you fast-acting, long-lasting relief. it immediately neutralizes acid and only gaviscon helps keep acid down for hours. for fast-acting, long-lasting relief, try doctor-recommended gaviscon. ♪
>> since it is christmas, after all, i got you a gift. this is elf on the shelf. it's fun. you just put it right here next to your internet router. and you keep it there all year. it's fun, yes? >> your secretary of state pick, rex tillerson, is here. >> merry christmas, mr. president-elect. >> puty! oh, my god! >> rexy, baby! za, tee, day! >> that was "snl" satireizing the newfound russian influence over american policy, which has some heads spinning, after decades of cold war tensions.
it certainly has russians looking back across the water at an unusual new president. for those who see trump as a potential authoritarian bent on bullying civil society, some thinkers are pointing to the example of the artistic resistance within communist russia itself. to that end, russian american novelist gary stineguard was hailing that skit, noting satire was a major form of resistance in the ussr and should play a similar role in, wit for it, trumpistan. our very special guest is gary shtyngart. his books have been named best books of the year by "the washington post" and "chicago tribune." he's received numerous words including the award for best first fiction. which means if somebody at home hasn't read your books, they should. thanks for being here. you are really perfectly positioned for this. what did you like about that "snl" parody and why does it matter when you look at donald trump, who seems to respond to
alec baldwin a lot more than he responds to newspapers? >> it was an absolutely brilliant parody. in a way, it's the opposite of fake news. what we saw was the real news, through a satiric lens, but this is exactly what people need to know about how russia is manipulating the election, how rex tillerson who has dealings with putin is, you know, the shirtless putin and tillerson are beautiful together. so it explains to people in a fun, informative way. and like i said, it's the truth, as opposed to all the lies that people get when their facebook browser gives it to them. >> what we see in closed societies are those that are more on the authoritarian spectrum is a squeezing of speech, a squeezing of civil society. in russia, what was the outcome of that, in terms of culture? >> well, culture existed -- so if we wanted to be dissidents under the soviet area and increasingly under the putin area, you and i would be in the kitchen and i would be whispering stuff to you over
borsht. something like that would not be aired in russia today. there are a couple of small channels but they only reach a very small percentage of the populous. so maybe "snl" in a way is a canary in a coal mine. if alec baldwin can't do what he does so well, so we're truly not in a good place. >> and you wrote trumpistan. what is trumpistan. >> people always ask me, gary weber going to have this new regime. should i read "1984" by orwell, or one of the dystopian novels? these are all great choices. but to understand trumpistan fully one has to watch "the sopranos." it's as close as we can get to a closed insular family we can get look like. the way tony talks to a.j. is so
reminiscent as the way trump responds to his own children. there's so much in there to tell us what life will be like in trumpistan. >> part of what you're getting at is there's a difference between the gasp in policies that democracy and elections are supposed to address. right? people want different things. and corruption itself, which undermines a government or a people. i mean, one of the most amazing parts of the trump university litigation was that people who were the most die-hard trump supporters were the customers. those are the people who spent thousands of dollars to go to trump university. and over time, many of them felt conned. what does a con look like in what you call trumpistan or in a society where true believers have taken in and become boosters? what turns them, if anything? >> well, we've seen -- you talked in a previous segment about the goldman sachs administration. it's absolutely unbelievable. but, in some ways, satire flourishes best when evil and stupidity collide. it's not just evil people, but also stupid people. and, you know, when you have ben
carson doing hud and rick perry doing energy, you got a little bit of each. but the important thing is, i think, that there's something not funny, even though this is satire, there's something not funny that the war against the powerless is about to truly ramp up in this administration. and many of the people that will suffer will actually be the people who voted him into office. it's saturdd, but again, as art, as satirical artists, there's no way we can't laugh and encourage others to laugh. because i don't think there's a better weapon against somebody like donald trump, a thin-skinned individual like him, than alec baldwin just being himself. >> laughter is the best medicine. gary, thanks for being here today. >> thank you. coming up, who bill clinton is blaming for his wife's election loss. also, first lady michelle obama and oprah provide a very revealing interview. we'll show you some of that, next. from the first moment you met it was love at first touch and all you wanted to do was surround them in comfort and protection
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the first lady brings on the real talk with oprah. clinton's allies get blunt about their loss. we're going to talk about all these new topics with our political panel of the day. jake sherman from politico, and aisha moodie-mills, president of the victory fund. good evening, you guys. let me get right to oprah winfrey's interview with the first lady, talking about her advice to melania trump. >> we talked about the kids, but, you know, my offer to melania was, you know, you really don't know what you don't know until you're here, so the door is open, as i told her, and
as laura bush told me. >> and they talked about racial divisions in america. >> color, wealth, these things that don't matter still play too much of a role in how we see one another. and it's sad, because the thing that least defines us as people is the color of our skin. it's the size of our bank account. none of that matters. >> aisha, what did you think of that exchange? >> you know, i think that michelle obama is always inspirational. one of the things i loved she talked about is hope, though. she talked about, as a nation, what was really inspiring about her husband's presidency and candidacy is that he talked about hope. i am hopeful that we get back to a place where we have an administering that's about bringing people together, no matter what walk of life they're from, no matter what their documented status might be, no matter who they love. s so i thought her interview in
general reminded us about the values of our country. and i do think she was giving us a charge to get back to that. >> jake, on the politics, michelle ball has been hugely popular with the democratic base. and over time, has been a big asset for the whole white house, as first ladies tend to be. melania, on the campaign trail, has been more muted. where do you think the politics go from her from here? >> the you watch that clip of michelle obama, you could totally see the tension sort of simmering not so far underneath the surface. i think what michelle obama is doing and what she'll have to continue to do is serve the role that other first families have in the past, that she alluded to. she needs to be gracious and she is being gracious. first family needs to and has traditionally welcomed the next first family into the white house. i think it did raise some eyebrows, that hope comment, certainly among republicans, who thought it was a little bit out of line to say that the entire country has no hope as donald trump prepares to take the white house. >> yeah, and it was just
notable, because donald trump claps back so frequently that he tried to find the nicest reading of it, he's like, i don't think we meant it, we're not going to get into it. maybe he's turning a new leaf as we head into the new political year. in clinton world, some blunt talk about why their candidate lost. politico note among others that former president bill clinton talked about this election to a small local paper right here in new york, saying, james comey cost her the election. on the topic of russia interfering, he said, you would need to have a single-digit iq not to recognize what was going on. and when asked about trump, he reportedly said, he doesn't know much. one thing he does know is how to get angry white men to vote for him. secretary clinton's former campaign manager, john podesta, basically struck a similar tone when he was talking about her loss on "meet the press". >> a foreign adversary directly intervened into our democratic
constitution. and tried to tilt the election to donald trump. i think that if you look back and see what happened over the course of the last few weeks, you see the way the votes broke, you know, i was highly critical of the way the fbi, particularly the fbi director managed a situation with respect to the russian engagement versus hillary clinton's e-mails. i think that all had an effect on the election. >> aisha, is this the right tone for the clintons? and if so, it would be aggressive and almost sort of contesting the mechanisms is necessary, why didn't they do it night of the election, day after? this seems, by any measure, late. >> here's the thing. if my wife would have just won the lure vopopular vote, but lo election, i would be frustrated, too. so i don't know what i would say. but the thing that most concerns me about this entire conversation is that we're having a political conversation about the fact that the russians literally tried to invade our
election system. this is an issue of the sanctity of our democracy. and we're playing politics with it. that concerns me. the fbi, the cia, the white house, congress, all should be investigating and acting. this is not, you know, a conversation that we should be jostling around as if it's a saturday nightlife joke. we need to be doing something. >> to your point, i think you make a great point, but even to your point, is bill clinton hitting it the right way. then the criticism should be, the fbi was inappropriate, period. whether or not it ultimately did what he claims, which is cost her the election. >> i think that what we should be doing is figuring out what we're going to do next. we're monday morning quarterbacking, at this point. the question becomes how do we deal with russia and how do we hold them accountable. that's what i would like us to be talking about. >> jake? >> i think there are two issues here and i think you both hit on them. there's the one issue that our election infrastructure seems to -- we need to investigate how a country could get into e-mails and do what russia allegedly did. but then on the other hand, you
have this conversation about comey and about how people think he is the guy that cost hillary clinton wisconsin, pennsylvania, michigan. i mean, these are two distinctly different issues. democrats are fed up and want nothing more than people to stop talking and stop giving excuses. what most democrats, aside from it appears the clintons, want to talk about is, like, how they start winning seats again. how they get the senate back. how they get the house back, how they have more than 13 governorships around the country. and if you keep talking about jim comey and his flipping -- allegedly flipping the election, you're not going to get to that substantiative conversation about how the democratic party is going to claw its way back to relevancy. >> right. and i think the key point there is it's got to be about the rules being followed, not whether or not it would have saved your side, because that, itself, can become at least misread as a political point only. jake sherman, aisha moodie-mills, thank you both. >> thanks. >> thank you for watching at home. i'm ari melber.
you can find me on facebook at facebook.com/arimelber. and if you want, you can e-mail me at email@example.com. i'll be guest hosting again tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern. see you then. "hardball" starts right now. the electoral college makes it official. donald trump surpasses 270 and wins the white house. let's play "hardball." good evening miami joy reid in new york, in tonight for chris matthews. we're following breaking news at home and abroad. a gunman shot and killed the russian ambassador to turkey earlier today. the attack was caught on camera, as the ambassador was speaking at an art gallery in ankara. the gunman, an off-duty police officer, shouted in turkish, don't forget aleppo, don't forget syria. meanwhile, there was devastation at a