tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 30, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
good evening. i'm ayman mohyeldin. you're watching msnbc live. great move. donald trump praises vladimir putin as smart for deciding not to expel any u.s. diplomats in retaliation to sanctions imposed by president obama. we're live in florida and hawaii and in moscow. two russian compounds here in the united states shut down, but what went on inside? new reporting on that straight ahead. and incoming white house chief strategist, steve bannon, speaks out. what he's saying this hour about deplorables? all of that, that's straight ahead. but we begin with that breaking news. president-elect donald trump praising russia's vladimir putin. trump tweeting, great move on delay by vladimir putin. i always knew he was very smart. now, the official twitter feed of the russian embassy in the united states also retweeted it, as you can see it, it's circled there, at the very top. trump was praising putin's
response to president obama's sanctions. putin saying, quote, although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible kitchen diplomacy, but will plan our further steps to restore russian/u.s. relations, based on the policies of the trump administration. now, vladimir putin essentially saying, he'll wait to deal with donald trump and let a cold relationship with president obama play out in the final weeks. also today, two russian compounds here on the east coast forced to shut down and senator john mccain announcing plans for a cyber hearing thursday. but tonight, president-elect trump raising russia's putin and this story is really just getting started. we've got a lot more to tell you about. nbc's hans nichols is outside the russian embassy for us in washington, d.c. hans? >> reporter: ayman, as you said, it's this embassy that they retweeted donald trump's praise for vladimir putin. but a senior u.s. official tells nbc news that, look, there's another theory on this. and that is that russia's failure to retaliate could,
indeed, be an acknowledgement by putin that they did, indeed, cross the line by their cyberinterference in the u.s. elections. now, one thing that is clear is that both the putin side and the trump side are working to make this relationship work. they're very clear on that. they want to give themselves plenty of room. mr. putin holding his fire, not criticize welcome not retaliating. giving trump the opportunity to move on. one question here is how will this play out o capitol hill? because it's very clear that congressnal republicans as well as congressional democrats want to pursue these investigations and want to continue these investigations. and remember, president-elect trump made that tweet before he met with intelligence officials. now, he was supposed to have another meeting with intelligence officials for more specific conversations on just what russia's role was in the hacking, in the interference. that's where we are now on this friday evening, before we head into a holiday weekend. and as we know, schoolchildren of diplomats in russia have been invited by president vladimir
putin to an event at their embassy in the -- it's not an embassy, excuse me, inside the kremlin. ayman? >> you know, there's always that little caveat on top of twitter feeds that says retweets are not endorsements. i'm curious to know if you think that the russian embassy's retweet is an endorsement of what donald trump said, since he was saying vladimir putin is a very smart guy. >> well, if they have that disclaimer in cyrilic, i would not be able to impart any knowledge. there's some behind me here. i think we all know that standard twitter disclaimers are actually ways to get you out of trouble with your employer should you ever offer an opinion on twitter that's contrary to your employer. i don't think that's the case here. >> hans nichols, great to talk to you. let's go straight to msnbc's kelly o'donnell covering the trump transition team for us from west palm beach.
kelly, great to have you with us this evening. this is hitting a new level tonight. i don't think anyone would have really predicted that cities on such a personal relationship now that we're hearing from both president-elect donald trump and vladimir putin. where is this relationship going and what do you think we might be hearing from donald trump in the days ahead about this particular issue? >> well, part of what's made this so fascinating and complicated ed to watch unfold, ayman, is it's difficult to interpret exactly what donald trump means. are we to infer there's some admiration there, some friendship there? is there an arm's length respect for one leader who's got a style that donald trump may like? at the same time, we have also been very clear that there are a number of people in the trump kind of sphere, the future administration, who are quite critical of the role in the world that putin has played. so how will this shake out? in talki to seniorraditional officials, i've asked for more context about the tweets we've seen about this, the comments that have been made. and at this point, they don't
have anything further to add beyond what the president-elect himself has put out in a statement or a tweet. that makes it complicated. and when hans referred to congress and republicans in washington, that will again be uneasy territory for a new white house that is looking for allies on capitol hill. because there is disagreement. there are many more in the congress of the united states who look at what president obama has done with sanctions as a necessary step, even if it was later than they would have liked. and take a very harsh view towards putin. so, since we're upon another holiday weekend, advisers say not to expect anything in particular. they've given us what is known as a lid in the journalism politics business, meaning, no news events are expected, but we've already seen, that clearly does not apply to the president-elect's tweets. so if he wishes to weigh in further, he can. he's also tweeted later tonight about criticism of how this whole story has been covered, on
our network and cnn's. sort of poking the media about how we have handled this. so, what comes next? beyond that big meeting -- >> let me ask you about that. >> go ahead, ayman. >> let me ask you about that particular tweet. i i find it very interesting when he says both cnn and nbc news are being played for such fools. what specifically is he referring to in terms of how either one of these news organizations are covering it. are we too much -- i mean, what is he saying in terms of how we're covering, in terms of what's coming up out of that camp? >> well, it is hard to infer what's in the mind of donald trump in this way, because advisers are not filling in the gasp for us. we can take out to mean that he is a voracious consumer of media. we know that he likes to watch a lot of coverage, whether he watches it live or played back on dvrs. he is critical, which is part of what he's always been attempting to do, which is to adjust the story line, to keep some control in what is being talked about, and certainly, while there's
always room for criticism of media handling of any story, what would we be covering different? this is a very notable series of events where the u.s. is sanctioning russia, where there is a chill in an already difficult relationship. so, of course it's being covered. are there questions about the trump relationship? we would invite him to answer more fully, what he thinks of vladimir putin, what he thinks of these sanctions, what he thinks of the next stages in what will be his administration, having to deal with russia. we certainly invite the president-elect, if he's watching, we'd be happy to come ask you questions. >> i certainly hope he is watching. >> it's hard to interpret. >> kelly o'donnell live for us in west palm beach, florida. thank you very much. let's get the perspective from the current white house. nbc's tammy leitner is joining us live now from honolulu, hawaii, where the president continues his winter vacation. tammy, what are you hearing from the administration in terms of the back and forth that has unfolded on social media, between both president-elect
donald trump and the russian gassy or perhaps even moscow? >> reporter: ayman, not a word, actually. but we're not really expecting to hear anything from the obama administration. it's not really the obama way to go tit for tat with donald trump or with president putin. you have to keep in mind that it was just 48 hours ago that president obama called donald trump and they had a conversation that obama's aides characterized as a positive call, saying that the president is committed the to making the this transition very smooth. the timing, though, is certainly interesting, because that call came just before those sanctions. now, that doesn't mean, though, that donald trump got a heads up that the sanctions were coming down. in fact, a top adviser to the president actually tells nbc news that trump was told after the fact about the sanctions. and one more thing we do know, for sure, is administration was surprised by russia's response. now, as hans mentioned, this
could be an indicator that russia is acknowledging that they crossed a line. ayman? >> tammy leitner, live for us in hawaii with that perspective. thanks for joining us, tammy? nbc's lucy has made the jump from london to moscow for us. she joins us now, on a snowy night in moscow, as was predicted. not so predictable is that the russian embassy retweeted donald trump's tweet from earlier in the day. talk to us about how this is all playing out in moscow and the perception of donald trump there. >> reporter: sure, ayman. it's been really interesting, actually, to watch the evolution of russia's response, which effectively went from fing finger-pointing and name-calling yesterday when these sanctions and expulsions were announced, with the russian embassy tweeting a photo of a lame duck, trolling obama. the russian embassy spokeswoman calling the obama administration a bunch of foreign policy losers, to the indignant response that we're seeing now, that president putin weighed in
with his surprise announcement of not retaliating. he's being portrayed here as sort of taking the high road, taunting washington, even, as you and hans were talking earlier, by personally inviting the children of the american diplomats here to holiday parties at the kremlin. there is a shift in the russian response, but there's two things that putin is doing here. one is he's winning the news cycle, at least domestically, the way that this is playing out here, as he's perceived as sort of being above the fray, as effectively magnanimous, not stooping to obama's level, as some of the politicians level here have described it. the other thing he is doing is he is not antagonizining donald trump. clearly, the president of russia expects a friendlier russia policy from the incoming president-elect. he was certainly rewarded for it today with that tweet from donald trump calling putin a very smart man, but it could backfire in the future. take a listen to how one analyst i spoke to earlier today
described the situation. >> donald trump doesn't owe putin anything. and now he's going to be donald trump, the donald trump we know, in charge of the united states and the u.s. military, which putin himself has acknowledged is way bigger. and those two guys are now the two heads of the two largest arsenaling. t the unpredictable russian president who has made his gain by acting in places you don't expect him to forcefully when you don't expect him to, and the businessman who has done that to make his career. >> reporter: so that was david phillippe of "the washington post" moscow bureau chief, making the point you have these two very unpredictable leaders who make their name, their claim to fame by being unpredictable. the point he made to me off-camera is that president putin has one aircraft carrier. you take that to the mediterranean and surprise everybody, donald trump is going to have 11 of them and they're huge. that's a lot of unpredictability, ahead. ayman? >> lucy cavanaugh live for us in
moscow, russia, this evening. thanks for joining us, lucy. now to someone who knows more about russia than anyone i know. nina khrushchev is associate dean at the new school here in new york. great to have you with us. >> thank you. >> i've got to ask you straight up, who do you think is playing who in this situation? who has the upper hand? are these two men kind of feeling each other out or is one or the other more dominant in the driver's seat? because you had trump yesterday with what some described as this watered down approach, not biting on to the sanctions talk, and that s reciprocated almost as equally friendly with the message from vladimir putin today, not reciprocating with sanctions and as we saw the russian embassy retweeting donald trump. >> i think they are feeling each other out. they've been doing that for a year now. they've been sending each other signals hello, i'm going to be a friend of yours if you're elected and i'm going to be friendly with you, vladimir putin and try to really shape the relationship better.
i think they are feeling each other out. it's also part -- this is clear. i think everybody was expecting an asymmetrical response from putin. here is your asymmetrical response. he could have gone all the way sanctioning back and expelling half of the american embassy or he could have said, oh, come to the christmas tree celebration at the kremlin, it's a wonderful thing. so he chose that kind of softer, kinder putin, thinking that that will bring the -- >> so what is the mind-set in doing so? i remember 24 hours ago, most of the analysis was saying russia is going to probably reciprocate by doing something similar to what we did to them. that's kind of been diplomatic standard protocol over the year between many countries, but you're introducing something different here. he saw this, analyzed it, and he said, i'm going to totally do some reverse psychology on this whole thing. >> and he does. he often, you expect something, and everyone talks about his unpredictability. i think it's actually not unpredictability. if you think very hard, you can figure out his actions, you just
have to know which way he's going to go. he'll either go all the way or go no way, giving himself an opportunity to use strength later on when it's more beneficial. and it was clear even if he's going to retaliate, which i was saying yesterday, it's not going to be too much or not at all, before trump comes in. because he needs to see what the relationship will be. he doesn't want to make it more difficult for trump to walk back all the sanctions on both sides. >> if you were to make a list of all the foreign policy issues that the united states and russia has disagreed upon over the past eight years, who do you think stands more -- who gains more from co-opting the other leader? if trump is trying to co-opt putin by being friendly to him and saying, we're not going to be confrontational the way obama has been, is he trying to shape some russian policy in the region? so far we haven't seen that yet from the trump side. he hasn't said, oh, we want to try to solve some of these pressing issues and that's why
he's doing this. >> i think trump is a novice, it's clear, he sort of wings it the way he would do on "the apprentice." sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, most of the time it doesn't. but putin is very clever. his job we remember in the kgb was to read the audience. he reads the audience better than everybody we've ever seen in politics or anywhere else. so he sees what his opponent is like and he plays the weak hand of that opponent. i think the weak hand of trump is trump has shown he's vain. we know that. he likes a deal. he likes to be flattered. and he probably can be negotiated with. and that's what we've seen with putin doing very cleverly, responding to trump's advances. >> very quickly, do you think that russian embassy tweet that was sent out by donald trump and retweeted by the russian embassy was approved by vladimir putin? >> i don't think we need to go that high. it was just, hello, we're going to have great relationship with the united states. >> and they're following each other on twitter, i guess. >> absolutely. >> nina khrushchev, thanks for
being here. more on that breaking news ahead, including a look at donald trump's evolving statements on the hacking. and what will republican leaders in washington have to say about all of this? stay with us. so, mr. harris, we have your fingerprints on the safe. a photo of you opening the safe. a post using the hashtag "#justrobbedthesafe" so, what are we supposed to think? switching to geico could save you a bunch of money on car insurance. excellent point. case dismissed. geico. because saving fifteen percent or more on car insurance woo! because saving fifteen percent or more on car insuran is always a great answer. whfight back fastts, with tums smoothies. it starts dissolving the instant it touches your tongue. and neutralizes stomach acid at the source. ♪ tum -tum -tum -tum smoothies! only from tums
welcome back, everyone. will donald trump's praise of vladimir putin spark a political fight with the republican party from day one? well, as we mentioned, trump hailing putin for not reacting to president obama's sanctions, and here's that tweet once again. great move on delay by vladimir putin. i always knew he was very smart. it's the latest in a string of statements, putting trump at odds with president obama, and in fact, many republicans. more importantly, the cia. yesterday, he called on the country to move on to bigger and better things. on wednesday, he said, people should just get on with their lives. >> i think we ought to get on with our lives. i think the computers have
complicated lives very greatly. the whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what's going on. >> and here's what trump said earlier this month about the cia's conclusion that russia meddled with the election to help him win. >> i think it's ridiculous. i think it's just another excuse. i don't believe it. nobody really knows. and hacking is very interesting. once they hack, if you don't catch them in the act, you're not going to catch them. they have no idea if it's russia or china or somebody. it could be somebody, sitting in a bed some place. >> joining me now is clarence paige, a member of the "chicago tribune" editorial board and rich galen, republican strategist, who worked for newt gingrich. gentleman, great to have both of you with us this evening. clarence, if i can begin with you, try to help us understand with what trump is up to here. the last statement, that one we were just showing, praising putin, i think, is by most measures, pretty remarkable. is there a political strategy, do you think, behind it? >> well, you know, you had nina
khrushchev on the show a little earlier here. quite an expert she is. and she pointed out that putin is very good at reading audiences and also reading the weaknesses of people with whom he's dealing with. he has had a hard time with president bush, with president obama, but he's really trying very hard to make friends with trump and trump is just eating it up, as we would expect him to do. exactly what strategy is at work here? i expect we're going to see quite a bit of this bromance going ton here in the early stages, but we're dealing with a couple of colossal egos here, which i expect and saybout months' time or so, we're going to start seeing some real differences and some friction. but trump is still feeling his way around, and putin is feeling his way around trump. >> rich, let me ask you, this -- what i think is kind of this kind of contradiction, if you will. during the campaign, donald trump made a big deal about hillary clinton's servers and her e-mails and the contents of
them. he wanted them exposed for what they may reveal. now there's evidence from our intelligence community that a foreign government interfered with our elections, regardless of what that result is. so, is trump simply afraid that his election is somehow going to appear illegitimate if he acknowledges that there was a hacking of the electoral system here, or even the fact that it may have favored one party over the other? >> well, it appears that way. and you know, the irony is not lost on any of us that donald trump spent, what, seven years trying to delegitimatize barack obama's presidency with the whole birther thing. so, you know, you can say that, you know, it came around, back to him again. but i want to go back to something that clarence said, that i think is very important. and that is that, you know, donald trump is -- praises himself for his negotiating skills. what i think -- and i don't know him, but what i think happens is that when you think the
negotiation is over, he doesn't think that. the negotiation is never over, until all the bills are paid and all the lawsuits are settled, and maybe even after that. and i think what parent -- what clarence pointed out is, we'll see what happens in six months is a very wise observation. because if something, god forbid, goes wrong isyria or wherever or putin begins to press the advantage in syria that was left by president obama, we could see a change pretty quickly. so i wouldn't -- i wouldn't bet a lot on these two tweets. i would just say, that's the current state of negotiation in donald trump mind. >> clarence, let me play you this sound bite from kellyanne conway, talking about the term that a lot of people say president obama is trying to backseat in president-elect trump with some of these foreign policy issues. take a listen. >> i will tell you that even those who are sympathetic to president obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this today was to,
quote, box in president-elect trump. >> is he trying to box in the president-elect? >> of course he is! >> what's he trying to do? >> of course! >> so you heard there kellyanne conway, former mayor rudy giuliani, close trump associate. any truth to that idea that obama is trying to box in trump? or is he just trying to get things off the table before he leaves office, so to speak? >> i don't have inside word on that. i found it curious that obama took so long to decide how to respond to the hack attack, if you will. at the same time, though, i think putin correctly assesses that obama was trying to put him somewhat tonight defensive or in an awkward position that putin refused to go along with. instead, he went the other way, doing the -- while playing the nice guy, apparently taking the high road. which leaves him free now to be
friendly toward donald trump and try to put obama behind him. and i think that's what putin wants to do right now. >> so this further complicates -- let me just jump in here. >> yeah, go ahead. >> this further complicates what's going to start next week when the senate comes back and they begin hearings on donald trump's appointments. this is going to further complicate secretary of state and some of the other important positions. >> to that point, let me ask you this two-part question. one, i want to read you very quickly some reactions to obama's measures from top republicans. mitch mcconnell, a good initial step. paul ryan, overdue. marco rubio, wants to strengthen this panel, these mccain and graham impose stronger sanctions. are we about to see a clash between republicans in congress and donald trump over this issue about russia, and the second part of that is, are we expected to see the rest of trump's administration, including secretary of state, nikki haley, others, general mattis, are they expected to take the same line? >> well, they'll follow the
president's lead. i mean, or else,thal lose their jobs. these people aren't being appointed pope. they serve at the pleasure of the president, so, yes. but i think there may be something else, too, in terms of the litany of names you used. i think in washington, there is always tension between what we call the article i branch, the congress, and the article ii branch, the executive. the president, president obama is going up to the hill, allegedly, to try to push his guys to save obamacare. i don't think he's going to have to work that hard to do that. but i also suspect there's going to be not a plea, but an undercurrent of, don't make this guy's life any easier than they made my life and remember how they treated me as president and feel free to block whatever you think you need to block. >> clarence, thank you very much for joining us. happy new year to you. rich, we'll see you a little bit later in the show so stick around. ahead, we heard of those two
all right. two russian compounds have been shut down here in the united states, part of that sanctions package that was announced yesterday by the white house. one inn centerville, maryland, n your left, just outside of washington, d.c. another on long island, not too far from where we are, also shut down with russian diplomats driving away as state department agents looked on. but what were these buildings and what exactly went on? who used to go to these compounds. msnbc senior editor cal perry has been following this story for us all day. so what have you learned from your reporting? >> the one in d.c., just outside d.c., corsica river, it's in maryland's other than shore. this is some of the most prime and reveled real estate, if you live in d.c., this is where you head to vacation, especially during the summer. it was bought in 1972 by the russian government.
it has a dozen cottages on this facility, each of them with four apartments, we understand that in all, it could accommodate up to 40 families. four lighted tennis courts, a swimming pool. this was a hideaway for many of the families who worked with the russian government, especially in d.c. >> so are we kind of assessing this to be more of a punitive measure against these diplomats and their families, or are we more of the thinking that this was probably used for some kind of covert operations and based on its location and stuff? >> based on what we've heard from the neighbors and stuff, it seems to be more of the first. this is a place where they would throw parties, interact with other diplomats, there would be other embassies there. we talked the to some locals who said, you know, it was obvious to us what was going on there, because these would be loud parties. there would be vodka served at these parties. i spoke to a friend of mine who retired out there. he said, it was a camp with row boats, small sailboats, tennis, horseshoes, a big kitchen and a calf fear feteri
cafeteria, and they served great food and good vodka and finished, these were really good parties. >> the compound in long island, it was bought in 1954 for $80,000. it has to be worth 100 times that right now. it's nicknamed the nor wich house. you're looking a to the aerials of it there. the state department took control of this pound you're seeing it there from the air. the state department took control of this compound at noon today. they shut it down. they'll be the ones who control it from this point on. they're working with local authorities to try to sort of seal it up. unclear what's going to happen to these properties, if the russian government will be able to sell it back. one of the interesting things about this is we have similar compounds in russia. the u.s. diplomatic corps uses a similar-type system. and some of these compounds are actually linked together. so we have a compound outside moscow that's linked to this one outside brookville. so there might be some kind of a trade y-off down the room. >> and interesting enough, vladimir putin has not ordered any of chose shutdown.
>> cal perry, you have a train to catch, for new year's eve festivities or more reporting? >> new year's eve festivities, with the kids. controversial steve bannon speaking out about what he says about so-called deplorables. and donald trump will talk to intel officials next week, but before that, he's got a meeting with sylvester stallone. we'll explain that one for you. stay with us. lifitegrast ophthalmic solution. the first eye drop approved for the signs and symptoms of dry eye. one drop in each eye, twice a day. common side effects include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and an unusual taste sensation. do not touch the container tip to your eye or any surface. remove contacts before using xiidra and wait for at least 15 minutes before reinserting them. if you have dry eyes, ask your doctor about xiidra.
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out about deplorables, and president obama heads to the hill. let's bring in our political panel to break all this down for us. harry sevugan, former dnc press secretary, and victoria grain, "boston globe" political reporter, and back with us is rich galen, former press secretary for speaker gingrich. he's now back as well. so harry, let me begin with you. republican president-elect praising putin. is this a fitting way to end 2016, do you think? >> yeah, it's an astonishing way end to 2016. the president-elect of the united states is giving aid and comfort to the dictator o a former government that all 16 u.s. intelligence agencies have confirmed attacked our country. >> right. >> there was a time that republicans wouldn't abide that kind of behavior, let alone praise it. >> and victoria, quick reaction from you as well? >> i think it's a good foreshadowing of what's to come. there's a lot of interrepublican
party tensions that donald trump is stirring up and russia is front and center as part of that. senate republicans have already -- are already planning to hold a hearing next week on the russian hacking of the election, and now you have the president-elect praising putin. so, you know, i think there's going to be a lot of tension over issues like this between trump and his own party. >> rich, we learned today that president-elect donald trump is going to be spending new year's eve, he's going to have a party with i think more than 800 people, including a few a-listers, including sylvester stallone. >> not including any of the five of us, by the way. >> we're not a-list enough. i'm not, for sure. quincy jones, silver stallone, just to name a few people were going to be there. all of this taking place at mar-a-lago in the grand ballroom. he is literally waiting to meet intel officials until after the party. that's going to take place next week. this weekend is all about partying and bringing in the new
year. what do you make of that? >> i think the optics of it are dreadful. i don't think there's any question about that. >> he could have squeezed in an intel meeting on saturday morning and partied out the rest of the year. >> exactly. that's what i said, the optics are dreadful. but i think that if his advisers thought that there was new material that he needed to know now, they would press him to take that meeting. so i think his people think, and i suspect that the democrats in the white house -- or the democrats in the white house -- the white house does, too, that everything that everybody needs to know that they can publish is already out there and none of the private stuff really adds much other than context, which is no small deal, but it's not going to change the course of history. >> i want to try to look a little ahead into 2017, victoria. you said it's a fitting way to finish the year with the relationship between these two men, let's talk a little bit about the political battles that may be on the horizon. we know that the republicans control pretty much everything
right now. this is their chance to run the table if they want. but where do you see, if you can give us really quickly, like the one or two issues that there could be synergy and the one or two issues that there could be some differences on? >> well, i think tax reform or some sort of tax cut package is very likely to get done. republicans on the hill seem very united in wanting to do that. and so does donald trump. of course, the devil is always in the details and there's been kind of conflicting signals from the trump camp and sort of exactly what his tax plan will be and it could be different than senate republicans. but that seems like something everyone around town kind of thinks could happen. i think on other things, infrastructure spending, which is one of the things that donald trump has talked a lot about and steve bannon, his chief strategist, has talked a lot about, that's going to be a hard sale for some republicans, the deficit hawks and the conservatives. and that's where you might also
see donald trump's, you know, famed deal-making skills come out, if he can win some democratic support on that. but maybe they poison the well by, you know, repealing obamacare on day one. so it's really hard to kind of see where all of this is going to go at this point. >> so hari, let me ask you about steve bannon. obviously, a person who kind of keeps quiet and hasn't spoken out very frequently, i would say. he appeared on breitbart's sirius xm radio show earlier and he was embracing the narrative of deplorables and it's interesting they've totally spun it or made it now, they've owned it, after hillary clinton referred to trump voters as deplorables. take a listen to this sound bite. >> the hobbits or the deplorables had great run in '16. everybody mocked them and ridiculed them, and now they've spoken. so i think the key in '17, and i think '17 is going to be very, very exciting, a very exciting
yea year. >> obviously he's doing an interview on very friendly territory, but what do you make of the fact that he's sort of embraced this deplorables label that was used in a derogatory way against trump supporters and now they're owning it. >> yeah. well, it's not all that surprising. i know he doesn't speak out a lot, but his influence is all over the administration. you know, the headlines from breitbart have been racist and misogynist, pro-russian. and you're seeing that played out in the policies of the incoming administration. to the degree that they're embracing these labels, they're being embraced right back. i mean, the appointment of steve bannon as a senior adviser to the president-elect earned the praise of david duke and the ku klux klan and the nazi party of america. that's a symbiotic relationship
they'll need for the next four years if they have any -- >> that's ridiculous. that's just not right. >> it's not right that david duke praised -- >> you can't let that go. you can't help who praises you. >> are you telling me that david duke didn't praise steve bannon. he did. >> let me go back to owning the deplorables -- >> guys, guys, hari -- hold on one second. go ahead, rich. >> let me finish. >> yeah, go ahead. >> it's exactly what the democrats did when david corn of mother jones released that 77% crack by mitt romney. they owned it, because it was valuable to own. so all the republicans are doing -- or at least the trump version of republicans are doing, is reversing the table on them. but don't say that they've embraced david duke. that's just wrong and you know it's wrong. >> go ahead, hari. >> david duke has embraced steve bannon's appointment. that is a fact. >> but that doesn't necessarily mean that -- that doesn't necessarily mean that they agree -- and there have been some rebuke of, you know, the comments that have come out from
people like david duke and others. >> no, they've definitely earned -- they've done something to earn that repeated embrace, right? it's not because -- >> no, not right. >> it's absolutely correct. then what explains the embrace of the administration by extremists in the united states? >> guys, unfortunately we're out of time. i know we could go on and talk a lot about this. there's a few other things we wanted to get into, but i appreciate you guys coming and joining us. this is friday, a happy new year to all of you and hopefully 2017 will bring us a lot closer. >> thanks for having me. >> thanks, guys. ahead, breaking news out of syria and where a cease-fire is holding now 24 hours into it. stay with us. what's the best way to get
in raqqah. "the washington post" with some extraordinary reporting, getting within miles of the city where the paris and brussels attacks were allegedly planned. now, talking to residents of nearby villages, traveling nearby bombed out buildings, the conclusion, isis appears to be capable of holding it for the foreseeable futures, despite all the efforts to rout it. joining me now, graham wood, who has reported extensively on isis throughout its rise. grap, great to have you with us. let's start with the cease-fire. obvisl isis not a part of it, isn't goingo sign on to it. do you think isis will now actively work to undermine it? >> well, the cease-fire is mainly with groups in the western part of the country, where isis is not really active, certainly not in the same way that it controls territory in the east. so i think it's largely a separate thing and you know, it's a cease-fire between assad and rebel groups. and since assad has not been fighting against isis with much vigor, it doesn't seem to matter
too much to isis' long-term prospects. >> yeah, but do you think the assad government, since it does sign the cease-fire will change or move its forces to fight isis more rigorously now? >> it's possible, but the assad government, it does not at this point even have the capability of doing that. it has had so much difficulty, even securing the area between aleppo and damascus that for it to extend itself to raqqah i think would require an infusion of manpower, probably a lot of support from russia, with as well, that is not really forthcoming. i don't see that happening. >> let me ask you about the battle for both mosul and raqqah. when we started this, there was a lot of intense coverage. it seemed that the iraqis were maki making gains, but that seems to have stalled. why does it seem to be so hard to retake mosul and push isis out of raqqah?
politically aware at this moment in time than at any time i can remember in my adult history. >> this is a time when he's a famous musician and wades into something that is very politically sense ty at the time and you don't get that. it's a side of him we never saw. >> that's absolutely right. george found his political voice over the years. obviously, when people think about wham and in the early to mid-80s, as a kind of disposable
pop band. he found his own musical voice and own musical path. as time went on, as an lbgt spokesman and as we just saw in the early 2000s, quite outspoken about tony blair's -- in his view, capitulation to george bush's war in iraq and other issues, as well. he did a cover of a don mcclain anti-war song that was very moving. and i think, as time went on, george just felt more and more empowered to speak out. >> talking about carrie fisher and debbie reynolds, take a listen to this iconic sound bite from the "star wars" and i'll get your reaction to it. >> i'm a member of the imperial senate on a diplomatic mission to alderon. >> you are part of the rebel alliance and a traitor. take her away! >> tell me a little bit more about her impact on the culture of america with one of the most famous movies of all time, the "star wars" trilogy.
>> well, you know, no matter what you think of "star wars," that character resonated with more than one generation, and generation after generation. her character meant something. and sort of laid the groundwork for a whole new kind of heroine on screen. she was a damsel in distress who didn't think she was in distress and didn't want or need anybody's help. d i think that's why that character meant so much to so many people 40 years after the movie came out. >> and ben, talk to us a little bit about muhammad ali and the fact we've lost a voice like his, an icon for civil rights. it seems like civil rights is have once again regained a debate in our country. is there anyone filling that void that muhammad ali used to champion? >> i don't know whether anybody could possibly fill that void. i think for younger viewers, it's easy to forget or not realize that for a time, muhammad ali was the most famous
person in the world, in all likelihood. and he decided to use that fame not solely to enhance his own pocketbook, but to take a stand that diminished his ability to earn money, because it was something that he believed in. muhammad ali may be the greatest loss of the remarkable number of sort of meaningful celebrities that we lost in 2016, but muhammad ali made an impact for a lot of people for a long time. i hope somebody steps up to fill that void. it's a pretty big void to fill. >> john, we have 30 seconds left, but we had prince and david bowie, two icons in fashion and music. what does their loss mean for the music industry? >> they are iconic and completely independently minded. these guys were absolute free spirits and did things their own way, wrote their own rules. didn't play by the conventional rules and i think that, you know, when we -- we didn't just lose three awesome talents, we lost in those three --
>> we lost a lot this year. >> we lost a ton this year. >> i don't know how our cture is going to recover from it. we certainly hope it does. john norris and ben mankiewicz, thank you to have you both. i'm sorry, we could spend hours on this subject. thanks for watching. i'm ayman mohyeldin. "hardball" is next with a special look back at some of the hardest-hitting moments from the presidential campgn. >> the best of "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. we'll call it a political earthquake, an unraveling of the system or even a revolution. 2016 changed the fac of american politics forever. there was the nationalist and populist ascension of our next president, donald trump, the collapse of the clinton dynasty, the revolutionary fervor that reshaped the democratic party with the socialist senator from vermont, bernie sanders. even a growingal