tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC January 2, 2017 11:00pm-11:31pm PST
attack again. >> malcolm nance, appreciate it. msnbc's live coverage continues now into the "11th hour." tonight could donald trump be headed for his first showdown with republicans in congress before he even takes the oath of office? also, what does donald trump know that other people don't know about hacking? and whether russia was involved? and a statesman weighs in tonight on the dangers of president-elect trump's constant praise for vladimir putin. the "11th hour" begins now. happy new year, i'm nicolle wallace. brian has the name off. same year, i'm sorry, new year, same donald trump. he's confident in his own assessment of what is widely believed to be russian hacking of the dnc over the summer, leaving us in suspense tonight about why. when it comes to russia, two men who often share a news cycle
rang in the new year in two very different ways. here's donald trump on the hacking scandal on new year's eve at his florida club, mar-a-lago. >> i know a lot about hacking and hacking is a very hard thing to prove. so it could be somebody else. and i also know things that other people don't know. and so they cannot be sure of this situation. >> like what, what do you know that other people don't know? >> you'll find out on tuesday or wednesday. >> and then there's john mccain who spent new year's eve with ukrainian troops on the front lines of their fight against russia. it's part of a trip to several countries most threatened by putin's aggressions. >> the world is watching and the world is watching because we cannot allow vladimir putin to succeed here because if he succeeds here, he will succeed in other countries. we will be working for much tougher sanctions against russia. they attacked the united states
of america. the hacking was an attack and we should be treated as such. >> tough words from john mccain who plans to hold a hearing on this topic thursday. here to help us get behind the headlines, "washington post" national political reporter, robert costa. the man i started my day with 16 hours ago on the "today" show, msnbc's ali velshi. my tv husband is here for me tonight, thank you, "washington post" columnist, eugene robinson. so, gene, it's a little mean to show donald trump in a tux at mar-a-lago, that's where he has a home. the contrast is so stark, john mccain reassuring our allies america is going to be there for them while donald trump continues to heap praise on vladimir putin. >> this is what the phrase stark contrast was invented for. look, john mccain is very serious about this. as you and i both know, when john mccain is serious about
something, he does not stop. he is serious about the hack into our election and set aside the fact that it was in favor of donald trump, if it was in favor of anybody, it's uning a is unacceptable to john mccain. john mccain has never accepted russia's annexation of crimea, invasion of georgia. these are aggressive things that putin has been doing and mccain wants a more traditional sort of frontal u.s. foreign policy to say no. to counter this. and to -- he just called for stronger sanctions against russia. so that's going to be a real fight in congress. >> so he's going to air all that out. >> he's going to air it out. >> thursday. >> and donald trump is going to have to explain something. he's going to have to explain what he knows that nobody else knows, whatever that might be. >> exactly. robert costa, what do you understand to be team trump's strategy for dealing with friendly fire as president? it's one thing when you're running as an insurgent republican in a crowded field
when the public and the party is hungering for change. i know from being in the bush white house during the iraq war than when john mccain takes aim at your conduct in the area of foreign policy, he usually wins the fight. >> nicolle, privately there's understanding and acknowledge within the trump transition team that the hawks on capitol hill like senator mccain want to have this debate about russia and the investigation into the hacking now. but they don't want to have that fight on the trump side and many republicans, top republicans don't want to have that kind of interparty fight about important policy, hawks versus the trump wing. they feel they need to have togetherness when it comes to passing tax reform, going after the affordable care act and a whole slew of other issues so the debate is not so much about what the actual policy specifics are in foreign policy, about what russia actually did, it's about whether to have the debate.
many republicans because this is a new administration want to simply put it on the shelf, mccain does not. >> but how do they think they are helping their cause when the president-elect is sending out tweets calling vladimir putin a very smart man? >> trump has an entirely different world view than the type of republicans who are with senator mccain in 2008 and still with him who were in the george w. bush administration. ashe all know, doesn't see vladimir putin as a threat to the united states. in fact, my trump forces tell me trump wants to use the relationship with russia to rethink how the u.s. engages with china and how it frames itself with the rest of the world including with europe. he sees russia has an ally potentially in not only rethinking world order but -- >> a lot of reporting over the weekend about how putin's tactics that we saw here over the summer in hacking the dnc, are used all over the world.
>> right. >> they're used in europe. >> sure. >> so is trump being played for a fool or is he just willing to let this go to get the other things he wants? >> well, signal intelligence has been going on forever. the issue is disclosing it to wikileaks and places like that, using it for something other than intelligence gathering. i think one of the things that we're seeing here with john mccain and lindsey graham, two guys with serious military histories, and amy klobuchar, a democrat, is a reminder to americans who may have forgotten that this expansionist russia has been something we've been dealing with for a very, very long time and the two things that vladimir putin real he doesn't like, the two global organizations he doesn't like, are the european union, which keeps swallowing up countries that russia used to have influence over, and nato. these are two things that donald trump very strangely and in a weird departure from presidents of the united states or presidents-elect on the democratic or the republican side, don't do.
so for him to have gone in and created this entree before he became president, in fact, before he was even the republican nominee to say, we don't pay for these countries, these nato countries that don't pay their own way and to support brexit and think it was okay, really plays into vladimir putin's hands. now, the question that guys like me, economic journalists, continue to search for, is why is he doing this? is there something else going on? we can't find a link between donald trump and russia that's direct. there are a lot of indirect financial links, but it's a very, very strange departure and it doesn't make sense. >> and where are the democrats going to be on this, eugene in you think the democrats will find a closer ally in john mccain's line on putin? >> absolutely. >> as payback for the election or a philosophy? >> they get to wave the flag and be hawks. because this is not like picking on russia just gratuitously, right? they hacked the election, you know, they -- >> i guess the democratic base thinks they stole the election. so this is good -- might be a
rare instance where it's good with the base to be aligned with john mccain. >> absolutely, it's good to be aligned with john mccain, and by the way, what you heard when robert costa was talking was the hair of various european leaders catching on fire when he talked about trump realigning european policy in the context of this new friendship with russia. the last thing angela merkel and the european leaders want to see is a more emboldened russia that thinks it can just, hey, take another chunk of ukraine. >> yeah. but robert costa, i have a sense that team trump is feeling pretty emboldened and they view their two forays into foreign policy as pretty successful. by their view and by their telling, they took a strong line for israel after john kerry's speech at the u.n. and while a lot of people were on vacation, they also weighed in and think that they got vladimir putin to not retaliate against american diplomats. so we talk about democrats being emboldened. my sense is team trump feels pretty emboldened. >> we're watching a whole new
group of foreign policy actors on the republican side. steve bannon, trump's chief strategist, his son-in-law, jared kushner, worked together on the israel statement with david friedman, the nominee to be ambassador to israel. rex tillerson come in with ties to putin in the business community and trump, himself, having a whole different view on russia. these are not traditional thinkers when it comes to republican foreign policy. that's why so many here in washington are alarmed. it's not so much that they fear trump's causing unnecessary trouble, but they don't understand where he's coming from. what's the ideology that's driving all these decisions? and when i talk to people who are close to bannon and trump, they say it's kind of a world populism that's driving trump and it's an ability and a willingness to shake things up even if they have consequences. >> ali, world populism good for business? >> well, it's actually caused by business. it's this inequality of wealth around the world. i think i saw a number a couple years ago to say the 85 richest
people in the world have more assets than the bottom half of all of humanity. it's what caused the arab spring, what caused the revolutions across europe and what caused brexit and this election. people are feeling disenfranchised. they feel a rising tide only lifts yachts and not the dinghies most people live in right now. so, in fact, it's -- it's because of business. if business could distribute wealth a little more fairly, this is not an american problem. this is a global problem. where people are feeling left out and it is fueling these fans and it's fanning these fires and that's what you're seeing. >> i want to get one more thing, question to robert costa, about what happened in the house tonight. do you have any insight on this story that broke while we were getting ready to come out here, without the approval of speaker ryan, the ethics process in the house may be getting turned on its head? >> the office of congressional ethics was essentially neutered by the house republican conference.
>> without the consent, direction, though, of speaker ryan. >> speaker ryan and majority leader mccarthy opposed it in the conference. i don't understand how the speaker opposes something in the conference yet it passes. >> not a good sign, right? >> of course, this is not, you know, a public roll call meeting. no roll call was taken. it just happened. so it's going to be presented as part of the rules package. generally speaking if the speaker of the house doesn't want something to happen in the house, it doesn't happen, so i'm not quite understanding how this goes through, but in it does go through, it's a fairly outrageous thing that -- >> little puzzled, how do you show this to somebody? taking away the independent oversight of members of congress? >> exactly, the first thing we're going to do, right, is just turn off the light and -- >> an interesting move when you control power. robert costa, i trust you may have picked something up we haven't heard yet here in the new york studio? >> so i've been speaking to a few members of the republican conference tonight. the way to understand this story from an inside perspective is that many house republicans have grown frustrated with the way the congressional ethics office has been running, and this oversight has been happening.
they think sometimes they're getting unfair scrutiny way some of these investigations are floated. the way their names are attached to certain inquiries and want to lessen that ability and wanted to make it more private so if a matter came up that it would be more privately handled than publicly revealed, of course, is going against the drain the swamp ethic that was talked about by trump in the closing days of the campaign and why speaker ryan and top leaders were against it. rank and file members don't like having this entity inside of the house making them feel vulnerable all the time. >> i'm going to do with you did to me, going to give you 20 seconds to respond. as a brand matter, is this good for the trump brand? >> the one thing about branding, it needs to be understandable. it's very, very hard to understand what donald trump is trying to achieve from a domestic policy and foreign policy perspective.
he's got to some kind of a narrative before this makes sense. >> i think he has to oppose the ethics move. i think he has to say, i don't like it. >> results would probably be better for him. all right. you guys aren't going anywhere. you're sticking with me for the whole show because i need it. coming up next, straight talk to the president-elect from an american statesman who's worked with republicans and democrats to protect our allies from vladimir putin. this is the "11th hour" on msnbc. listerine® kills 99% of bad breath germs. this is 100% useful for a 100% fresh mouth. just ask listerine® users. the very people we studied in the study of bold. people who are statistically more likely to stand up to a bully. do a yoga handstand. and be in a magician's act. listerine® kills 99% of bad breath germs so you can feel 100% in life. bring out the bold™. go to boldpercent.com to join the bold percent for the chance to win a trip of a lifetime.
anything with a screen is a tv. stream 130 live channels. plus 40,000 on demand tv shows and movies, all on the go. you can even download from your x1 dvr and watch it offline. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. download the xfinity tv app today. welcome back to the "11th hour." earlier i spoke with former u.s. senator joe lieberman, a man whose opinions are still sought
out around the world and a man who spent much of his time as senator traveling the world with colleagues john mccain and lindsey graham. together the group was known as the three amigos. i began by pressing senator lieberman about president-elect's affinity for vladimir putin. where does trump bear responsibility for the flattery, admiration, and almost denial of putin's role and russia's role of hacking the dnc over the summer? >> yeah, the president is not yet the president. donald trump is not yet our president. >> he's getting intel briefings. >> he's our president-elect, he's not the candidate for president anymore. he's going to be president very soon, and so his words matter. and i'm just so puzzled by his willingness to accept always the better explanation for why putin is doing what he's doing even though the entire american intelligence community agrees that the russians intervened in our election process. we know that they've been
supporting friendly candidates and european politics, that they've been using cyber intrusions in european politics, so it's not a surprise that they're doing this to us. i think the only way, look, donald trump is a strong leader, i hope, he certainly looks like he's going to be a strong leader. the question is, what is he going to use his strength for? i think he's going to find out if he pulls back too far or tries too hard to make a deal with putin, america's going to suffer. our freedom's going to suffer. our prosperity will suffer. and our security will suffer. so he's got some people around him, general mattis, incoming secretary of defense, get this, and they get the threat that putin's russia represents to us and our -- >> so do you think they just haven't had enough time with him yet to explain it? i agree with you, general mattis clearly gets it. donald trump tweeted "great move
on delay, v. putin." like he's batman to putin's robin. do you think he's not spent enough time with general mattis, do you think he has a delusional idea he and putin can save the world? do you think undergirds his affection for vladimir putin? >> i can't explain it, honestly. >> do you think john mccain has met with him and talked to him about the brutality putin shows to the former soviet -- >> i know, of course, john is pretty blunt, putin's a thug. >> and a butcher. >> and a butcher. unfortunately, the record shows john is absolutely right on the facts. the best explanation of what donald trump is saying what he's saying about putin is he's really trying to set this up for some kind of a global deal, but what is the deal you make -- >> right. >> -- with an expansionist tyrant who leads a terribly corrupt and repressive government?
he's, you know, going to try to eat your lunch and donald trump may be the master at the deal, but in this kind of deal, when you're dealing with trump, you got to be strong. you got to be tough. he's got to at some level be afraid of trump and that's what -- that's what i hope will come out of the coming months, but the reaction to the alleged russian attempt to corrupt and exploit our political campaign here this year by donald trump has been mystifying. >> tomorrow or wednesday, donald trump is going to tell us what he knows. he made this announcement on new year's eve -- >> right. >> -- at mar-a-lago. you've consumed intelligence for the vast majority of your career. i know you don't anymore as a diplomat emeritus, but what can he possibly be sitting on, what bombshell could he possibly have that the current president doesn't have or that we don't know about? i mean, just -- >> yeah.
>> what kind of category, could he have intel from another country? >> i have no idea. in order, if you're the president of the united states -- >> you have all the intel, right? >> you have an enormous intelligence apparatus. >> right. >> which was reorganized after 9/11. i think it's functioning effectively, cooperatively. they're not perfect, but you got to rely on them. and where's he getting other information? not from the europeans as far as i know. is is he getting it from the russians? i hope not. here's what i hope would have happened, which is when these stories came out, instead of president-elect trump being skeptical about them -- >> a 400-pound person in a basement. >> yeah. he should have said, i've got a -- i'm going to get briefed by the intelligence -- i want the same briefing that the members of congress got and then i'm going to reach a conclusion. >> how about our relations with the u.s. congress? i worked in the white house that
was under siege from harsh critiques from senator mccain over the conduct of the war in iraq. he was no fan of then-defense secretary don rumsfeld. do you think that donald trump is inadvertently setting himself up for a showdown with members of his own party on putin? i mean, john mccain will have one of this -- he's such a strong leader, he's so great, on his watch. you and i both know that. >> no, absolutely. so i think inadvertently president trump is putting himself in a position to have a battle with his own party, the republican party. actually the republicans in congress have really in some ways been stronger in response to the allegations of russian intrusion in an electoral election with cyber attacks than the democrats have been. >> marco rubio called it stolen material and warned republicans against -- >> absolutely. mitch mcconnell has been very forward leading on it, the wall, john mccain and lindsey graham. john mccain later in the week is holding a hearing in which he's
bringing in some of the leaders of the intelligence community. now, they're not going to tell the american public even before the senate armed services committee what they said in a classified briefing, but we're going to get a much better idea this thursday of why our intelligence community has reached this conclusion about russian meddling in our election. and we can't have it. i mean, this is our democracy and they're a dictatorship. they're not our friends. i mean, we got to just recognize that. they're our enemies. >> my thanks to senator joe lieberman. another u.s. enemy in the news, donald trump weighing in on north korea. our panel weighs in on that when we come back. image matters. i want some gray...but not too much. only touch of gray uses oxygen to gently blend away some gray, but not all for that perfect salt and pepper look. satisfaction guaranteed. just you and the look you want. just for men touch of gray
the last thing before we go tonight, new tweet this evening from president-elect trump on north korea. "north korea just stated that it is in its final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the u.s. it won't happen." we're back with our panel. robert, ali, eugene. robert costa, no sign that candidate trump is morphing into president trump any time soon, huh? >> nicolle, throughout my time reporting on the 2016 race, observing trump up close, he would often have a stack of papers printed out for him every day to read the news and he would sit there with the marker and underline key stories and circle them that he wanted to insert in his speech. i think what we see from his twitter feet is not random musings, though they seem like
that, someone who's reacting to exactly what's put in front of him in terms of news coverage. i think that's what happened with north korea. >> ali, you have a theory somewhat of what's being put in front of him has to do with china. >> after that tweet he sent out another one. i don't know who got it. says "china has been taking out massive amounts of wealth and money from the u.s. in a totally one-sided trade but won't help with north korea. nice." i don't know whether he was taking the north korea thing -- he keeps trying to distract from the russia thing by getting tough on china again. bottom line is i actually think that kim jong-un doesn't make a lot of moves that china doesn't allow him to make. he's got a box, he probably pushes the envelope a little bit. but this is within the bounds of what he's still allowed to say. if he were to send a missile off without china's approval, it would only show china's not in control of north korea, make china look bad and it would create a war. so i don't think this is real. >> i'm going to end with the unanswerable. what is donald trump thinking? >> um -- okay, "a," i have no
idea, "b," possible -- >> might he be on to something? >> since nixon went to china, the basic u.s. policy has been to encourage china as a potential friend, as a potential, you know, eventually co-equal in the world economy, to encourage the growth of freedom of china, encourage free markets and to kind of push russia aside. first to smash the soviet union or dissolve it, also to keep the success of russia at arm's length. donald trump is clearly reversing that. it seems very clear he wants to reverse that. he wants to be, you know, bad cop to china, and good cop to russia. >> it is important that we all remember, though, north korea is a client state of china, so you want to control north korea, you got to engage china. >> he thinks he has a mandate for change. that's going to have to be the
last word. thank you so much. thank you to robert costa. that does it for this edition. ending as i started. stumbling over my words. "hardball with chris matthews" starts right now. the coming of trump. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris good evening, i'm chris matthews. back in washington. well, we're at the start of a very busy month politically, of course. a transformative one for the country. in just 18 days donald trump will be sworn in like it or not, actually, as the 45th president of the united states. get that into your head. today, president obama returned from vacation in hawaii with the obvious goal of trying to protect his legacy which is now an endangered political species. the white house announced the president will deliver his last major address next week from chicago. president-elect trump returned to new york today from his vacation and he continued