tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC January 4, 2017 11:00pm-11:31pm PST
you can always reach me at e-mail at email@example.com. lawrence even e-mails me there sometimes. msnbc's live coverage continues into "the 11th hour" next. breaking tonight in the midst of an increasingly heated showdown with the american intelligence community, news that donald trump wants to shake up the cia. also tonight, the president-elect takes sides, saying he believes wikileaks founder julian assange, over the government agencies he's about to run. and president obama storms the hill as the president allows to tear apart obamacare. do they have a plan to replace it? the 11th hour begins now. good evening, i'm nicole wallace, brian has the night off. the tension between president-elect donald trump and the intel community he will soon lead is only growing tonight.
tomorrow john mccain convenes the first hearing in the u.s. senate on russian hacking. before we talk to the former chief of staff to the cia, kristen welker joins us with the latest developments, thanks for being here tonight. >> great to see you. thanks for having me. it is going to be a big day on capitol hill tomorrow. the director of national intelligence, james clapper is going to be testifying at that hearing that you mentioned and it comes against the explosive report in the "wall street journal" that president-elect donald trump is planning to reform that agency, take a look. >> reporter: tonight's report from the "wall street journal" trump plans to revamp the agency in part by cutting back on staching at it's virginia headquarters and pushing more people out into field posts around the world. in response to that report, a senior transition official would only tell nbc news there's a lot of discussion about this topic and they're focussed on streamlining. today vaccinate-elect mike pence defended trump's distrust of the intelligence community. >> the president-elect has expressed his very sincere, and
healthy, american skepticism about intelligence conclusions. >> reporter: the conclusions he's talking about, that according to u.s. intelligence officials, the russia hacking was done in part to interfere with or influence the u.s. election. >> wikileaks, i love wikileaks. >> reporter: just this morning, trump brought back a theme from his campaign, touting the opinion of the founder of wikileaks, which published the hacked e-mails of hillary clinton's campaign manager before the election. trump posted on twitter, julian assange said a 14-year-old could have hacked podesta. why was dnc so careless? also said russians did not give him the info. information from a source believers of his own party like paul ryan does not trust. >> i think he's a sycophant for russia. he leaks, he steal das that, and compromises national security. >> reporter: now people inside the intelligence community are firing back at the president-elect. one senior official, a career
intelligence officer, directly involved in the intelligence briefing on russia tells nbc news, if intelligence was merely reporting the obvious, we wouldn't need it. analysts need to admit degreeses of uncertainty and mr. trump needs to trust the professionals. and from the intelligence community to capitol hill, the bipartisan blowback is growing. >> i'm running out of adjectives and expletives to describe the situation. it is really so appalling and here he is taking the side of julian assange. >> i hope the president-elect will get his information and trust the american patriots who work in the intelligence community who swear oath and allegiance to the constitution and not some guy hiding from the law who has a record of undercutting and undermining american democracy. >> reporter: tomorrow, president obama is expected to be briefed on the final russia report. intelligence agencies have not confirmed this, but the trump transition team says the president-elect will receive his own briefing on friday. face to face with the three men
who run our u.s. intelligence operations. james clapper, james comey, and john brennan. the three men who trump has publicly said he does not yet buy, and does not yet trust. and in december, president-elect trump targeted those u.s. intelligence officials saying they were the same officials involved in the missteps over weapons of mass destruction. it was something that infuriated the entire intelligence community, nicole, and the rift just getting bigger tonight. >> it's a community 15 years in the remaking post-9/11. you're staying for the entire program. story about that in advance. joining me now is former chief of staff to the director of cia and the secretary of defense in the obama administration. not at the same time, but he had both jobs. he was at cia director leon panetta's side during the raid that dills osama bin laden and overseeing and planning the operation. jeremy, thank you so much for staying up with us and for being with us. and i want to first get your
thoughts about this late breaking wall street journal piece. and i wonder i heard you say you and dan were on a program earlier. there was room for reform inside the intelligence community. i wonder if in this climate what feels like an increasingly sort of hot war between donald trump and his team and the cia and the intel community, if it feels punitive. >> well, hey nicole. first of all, i think we havele to address these issues not as democrats, not as republicans, but as one team, team usa. because when our adversaries go against us, they don't care if we're democrats, republicans, they're going to attack us all the same. and so, if we think about in that frame, we really think about what's the best for american national security? and first and foremost, i think there may be some merit to repositioning our intelligence assets around the world, making sure we're properly araid against the threats against the next decade. that's appropriate, that's good. i'd advise any team to take a
hard look at how the cia is strurd, nsa is structured and how the whole intelligence is structured. that is a separate issue and i don't want it to distract from the important issue of the fact that we have a president coming into office, going to raise i had right hand and take the oath here in two fridays, and he is going to be the number one cyber target in the world. he's going to be the target of the russians, the chinese, the iranians, and the north koreans, and every other country that wants to understand the way he communicates and the way he operates. and he needs a strong intelligence apparatus to warn him of the threats and to help protect himself and the rest of the government. and so he's going to really need to have trust and reliance on the intelligence professionals, all of whom are dedicated to this mission. many of whom risk thafr lives for this mission. some of whom have lost their lives nor mission.
and i think they should be respected and listened to. >> do they feel respected and listened to today? >> i think at this hour, there are a lot of questions because we now have a record of questioning them, of publicly denigrating them, of trejing up the fact that 14 years ago the intelligence estimate on iraq was wrong -- by the way most people working on the counterterrorism problems of today, the cyber security problems of today, the russia threat, the riefz china, were not involved in that assessment. i think you've got a lot of people on the job today who at this hour are in an austere corners of the world taking risks to get the information we need. and they're like why are we being attacked for something that's happened 14 years ago. let's talk about today. >> the interesting thing about the intel from 14 years ago, russia agreed with the u.s. assessment on iraq. it's clear that there is some knowledge about russia, but not where all intel is concerned. i want to ask you to sort of
walk us through how the intelligence products are consumed by a president. because we're talking about donald trump's views on the intel community in the context of something that clearly gets under his skin. his team clearly feels that john mccain's hearing tomorrow is an effort to delegitimize by raising questions about russian influence in our election, his victory. he doesn't seem to see both things as possible. something, dan is going to join us later, i think i just blew a surprise, the talk about how intel is consumed by a president. >> well, first most presidents in recent years have started their day with an intelligence briefing. usually a binder with a number of either late-breaking intelligence reports from overnight or articles actually short discussion pieces about a particular intelligence problem. something happening in pakistan. something happening in europe or latin america. and this kind of informs foreign policy decision making and then the president can decide which foreign leaders he wants to
call. where he wants to get briefings or what direction he wants to give say the secretary of defense. >> it's more basic than that. jeremy, even before a president calls a great ally, there is an intel briefing on maybe what that ally is grappling with or, you know, it's not all -- >> there's an intel briefing in something that we used to call a leadership profile which is really a two-pager on what makes that leader tick. what are they interested in? what are that are backgrounds. the president knows what issues to raise and what not to raise. then it can get a lot more tactical. if there's a particular threat as there was in 2009 against say the new york city subway system and when naji was making his way from aurora, colorado, to new york, that's an opportunity for the intelligence community to come in and say mr. president, we have a threat, we have to get the fbi on this case. we have to interdict this threat, and the president can make a decision. can make a call.
he can make a call about what to do about kim jong-un about a missile aimed for seattle. also in indications and warning. warning about threats. and then, and i think this is really important, every meeting in the situation room or the oval office where the national security decision is going to be made really starts with an intelligence lay down. usually the director of national intelligence with a cia director or the subject matter expert will come forward and say here mr. president, here are the facts as we know them. here's what we think russia is doing in crimea. here's what i think sooiz planning with regard to those operatives they've moved into germany. here's what we think is going to happen in the south china sea. so that the president and his team have the benefit of facts. it's very hard to make decisions -- >> isn't that where we are? he doesn't accept the facts. he said last night or this morning on twitter that he takes julian assange's version of the russian hack over the intel community.
what is your greatest fear about the reality that the president-elect at this moment doesn't trust the basic facts that a president relies on just to go about his day? what is the most dire potential consequence? >> my greatest fear, nicole, is that when a kim jong-un and north korea tries to fire a missile or when isis tries to stage a terrorist attack against the united states, we get a warning, we get a little bit of a heads up, but the president and his team don't believe the heads up, don't believe the intelligence, and we let our guard down and then we're hit. and then, honestly, i don't know what will happen. we'll have a major scandal, a major crisis on our hands, and fundamentally the american people won't believe that their government can protect them. and that's the great unraveling that i think we all fear. >> god, i'm going to need a sleeping pill tonight. thank you for staying up with us. kristen welker is back, a surprise i blew who is a former policy adviser to mitt romney,
my former colleague in the bush administration, and a former senior vice president to paul ryan who gets more involved in all of these issues. also joining us, former rnc chairman and msnbc political analyst, michael steele. why aren't you out here with us? we need you at the table we my friend. >> that's the crew right there. >> right. all right. >> he didn't get the spoiler alert. >> well, you know, i thought that at least your mother would approve. >> she'd be fine. >> pick up where jeremy left off, please. >> look, this is a complicated issue obviously. i think context matters. >> we will get hit is simple. >> contest matters, first of all, where you began the discussion, which was about the wall street journal article which your piece was on, jeremy and i agree. i think there is a robust debate needed about the future of the office of dni. >> is that what's happening or is he just messing with them? >> there's been a big push among
policy makers and the number of folks for some time that think that this sort of bureaucratic structure is problematic. and that needs to be shaken up. so if they're working o than, i'd be encouraged and sort of reassured that there's a serious discussion. the problem is the frame. the frame are the tweets. and so you sort of pair the tweets with this story and that too i think has everyone history on it. >> dan's right. based on my conversations, there is a sense that there's been a lot of people saying, hey, we need to take a hard look at this. is there a way to pair back to make this agency more efficient and more effective. i got the sense based on my conversations tonight that there is a little bit of a divide going on within trump world that some of his top officials are starting to realize that this gap is growing between the president-elect and intelligence communities. and one official saying look, the wall street journal report is overblown. ultimately, fundamentally, the president-elect supports the intelligence community. we're going to have to see -- right. and he's been with these tweets sort of waging war.
>> yeah. >> michael steele, do you see a great crack-up in the republican party along foreign policy lines? i asked three republicans in the last 24 hours, people you and i both know, you're going to be a julian assange, sean hannity republican -- >> hello. >> no, i'm a john mccain republican. i think this may dwarf the divides in the party that were sort of revealed in the primary. >> well, i've just been struck, nicole, by the fact that over the last three or four weeks, watching republicans in this town morph into something unrecognizable when it comes to russia. and now julian assange, to try to explain or somehow condition or excuse what is hitting everyone in the head right now, is that russia's had their fingers all up in our election, and julian assange is a part of that. and i think you put your finger at the top of the segment on
exactly where this thing starts and stops. donald trump has concluded that any analysis that russia was involved is tied to somehow undermining his election victory. and therefore, should be delegitimized. and that's not what this is about. this is not about any of that, this is about the fact, substantively and for the longer term discussion about the russia's role in how they informed and disinformed or, you know, engaged in this election in a way that goes counter to everything we value. and we expect in a serious way, for the president of the united states to be the forefront leader in charging up that hill to do something about that. >> dan, you're still very close to speaker ryan. are you on the phone with him urging him to be a strong voice? he is condemned donald trump before over the muslim ban. he's condemned him after the access hollywood tape has come
out, he has condemned julian assange. i want more. are you burning his phone? >> i'm not going to talk about my conversations with him -- >> do you want to see him? do you want to see all the people in the political party formerly known as republicans stand up to assange and putin? >> i am -- i'm a hawk when it comes to putin and russia as much as anyone. i think what speaker ryan is trying stood strike this balance between trying to get trump to head in the right direction and still being able to work with him on a number of issues that they're plotting for the first 100 days. so i think you saw that in that interview today where he's basically saying, once the president-elect gets the briefings, he'll see what we all know. but let me tell you, this issue with -- i'm not going to defend what trump is doing, however, i do think this is more than just the intel communities making a purely analytical play and that's the beginning and the end. there is something else going on. separate from the intel community which is parts of the left in this country, are trying to raise serious questions about the legitimacy of this election.
>> john mccain isn't. >> separate from there -- there are some of the left pushing this agenda. raising questions about was the election hacked. and i think the way he's handling it is not appropriate. i think there's a way to say basically, i should be open minded about what the -- what is alleged here. i should actually get to the bottom of it. i want to meet with the intel community. hear what their observations are and analysis are. at the same time, the notion that millions of americans who rose up in this election were unwitting tools of some foreign power is absurd. this is a change election and the change candidate won. let's put that to bed and now let's talk about the real threat which is this potential scenario where we have been hacked by a foreign power. >> michael steele, we are supposed to do when it's too good a commercial. hold that passion. we're all speaking with us. we'll continue this conversation where we left off. we're also going to address whether or not this is the end of obamacare. take a listen.
>> obamacare is a story of broken promise after broken promise after broken promise. >> the republican plan to cut health care wouldn't make america great again, it would make america sick again. hey there, hi. why do people have eyebrows? why do people put milk on cereal? oh, are you reading why people put milk on cereal? why does your tummy go "grumbily, grumbily, grumbily"? why is it all (mimics a stomach grumble) no more questions for you! ooph, that milk in your cereal was messing with you, wasn't it? yeah, happens to more people than you think... try lactaid, it's real milk, without that annoying lactose. good, right? mmm, yeah. i got your back. lactaid. it's the milk that doesn't mess with you.
let's lose the 'anywhere, anytime' too. you can't download on-the-go, there's no dvr, yada yada yada. stream some stuff! somewhere! sometimes! you totally nailed that buddy. simple. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. ly xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. welcome back. michael steele was in the middle of a moment when we went to commercial break. >> thank you. i was just going to say quick to dan's point. and i appreciate everything dan said and agree with wholeheartedly, but at the end of the day, can we stop back and recognize that the president-elect, won, and his opponent yes, got three million more votes than he did in this
process, but when it's all said and done, this idea that anything the russians did somehow contributed to a victory, it just takes it to a space we don't need to go. that piece is less worrisome and bothersome than the overall effort by the russians to somehow try to manipulate, to be engaged, to find thier fingerprints on the election. >> i agree. and i would add that one of the biggest challenges for intelligence analysts is trying to determine motivation. so they can track behavior, but actually trying to understand what is actually pushing the buttons of a leader's decision. so, is it so obvious they would have wanted trump to win. quote, rebuild our military, rebuild our nuclear arsenal, launch more sophisticated missile defense and basically unleash a shale oil and gas revolution. like all these things -- we are a threat to putin. so actually trying to understand why putin would want trump to win, maybe he did.
i have no idea. >> chris, and i think you and i both have put this question to trump, probably the same way. you probably more than me. every time i ask him to explain his affection for all things putin, i get gobblety gook, what is the best explanation? >> it's so hard to put your finger on. this goes back way before he was a candidate. >> right. >> he held the miss universe contest back in moscow and tweeted maybe putin and i will become best friends. >> maybe. >> maybe. but you know, there's a thought that he sort of admires the fact that he's a strong leader, talked a lot about that. he sees some policy pay off there in terms of working with him to fight isis. then there's also questions about his financial interests. >> never get a clear answer except that they all -- i mean, uniformly seem to say, look, we fleed to change our relationship with russia. we need to find a better way to work with them to deal with the crisis. >> how much is on the obama administration for, you know,
not enforcing the red line that they drew and for the perception that america withdrew a bit? >> yeah, look, in 2011, 2012, when president obama told him, you know, i'll have more flexibility after the election, and that famous third debate, presidential debate in 2012 when he told romney, you know, the '80s are calling, they want their foreign policy back because of what mitt romney had said about putin. i think it was a general sense in russia that we were not only withdrawing from that part of the world, but generally our foreign policy was retrenching. i would just say that far be it -- i mean, i don't to want ascribe a world view to what trump is doing on russia. i think that's a dangerous place to be. >> yeah. >> but i will say there is -- i think a growing and worrisome strand not just at trump tower, but in the conservative movement that does believe that everything should be subordinated to the threat of radical or fight against radical jihadism. and in that fight, the point
about isis, putin is an ally. i don't belief herself an ally. some republicans are challenging that notion, but there is that sense that if the fundamental threat is there, question work with putin, our enemy is his enemy. >> and it's complicated, very quickly the president would say that putin is not helping them fight isis. >> all right. we have to go to break or i'll never be asked to sit here again. we're going to dive into the rest of the hot topics. stay with us.
welcome back. this is a real live lightning round because we all went on too long. obamacare, who owns it and who has to fix it? >> oh, the house republicans have to fix it. i think they'll get three things done this year. i think they'll get the republicans in congress will get a supreme court justice confirmed, tax reform done, and they'll repeal and replace obamacare. obamacare is going to be the hardest of those three to do. >> i think there's a question mark about whether or not they can replace obamacare, kellyanne conway acknowledged it could be several years. president obama's drawing a very hard line. he's on capitol hill today telling his fellow democrats, do not dave. do not agree to anything that doesn't meet the standards that we set with the first obamacare. >> the last word goes to michael steele. >> it'll be the republicans owning obamacare, which will be deemed trumpcare by the summer -- >> rebranded, right? >> rebranded. absolutely. >> i believe it. i agree with you. i agree with you. >> it'll be rebranded. >> there are things he likes, i agree. >> to dan's point this. they will not be able to get it
all done because there are a lot of loose ends. put it that way. >> all right. thank you so much. kristen welker, dan, michael, you just made the case for a one hour show. that does it for this edition. hardball with chris matthews is up next. barely. trumping the media. let's play hardball. >> good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington on what was a very busy day on the capitol. president obama and vice president-elect mike pence were both on the hill today meeting with their respective parties. mike pence held a pep talk focussing on killing obamacare. the president huddled with democrats and strategizes to safe the health care law. meanwhile, president-elect donald trump continued his