tv MSNBC Live MSNBC January 8, 2017 6:00am-7:01am PST
hey, there! good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt here in new york at msnbc world headquarters. it is 9:00 a.m. in the east, 6:00 a.m. out west, and here's what's happening right now. we've got some breaking news. a truck used as a weapon with deadly force. this time, soldiers are the target and we've got the latest developments. outrage from the family of the airport shooting suspect. the brother of esteban santiago asking why he was allowed to keep his gun after talking to the fbi. new ethics concerns looming over the trump cabinet nominees as senate confirmation hearings are set to begin. plus, the legacy of president obama and what he means to so many americans. many tell us what it was like to see him win the nation's highest
office. >> i'll never forget that night. my granddaughter, she was looking, she said, nana, what's wrong, what's wrong? and i'm like, i'm just so happy. these are happy tears. i never thought i would live the day to see a black president. we begin, though, with the breaking news from overseas. four people are dead, 13 injured after a truck rammed into a group of israeli soldiers in jerusalem just as they were getting off a bus. nbc's lucy kafanov is following developments from our london bureau for us. lucy, with a good morning to you, what more do we know about this? >> reporter: alex, good morning. by all accounts, it was a busy, crowded sunday afternoon on this popular promenade near the old city of jerusalem. there were several busloads of young israeli military conscripts who had arrived to the area for some sort of cultural tour, when at about 1:30 p.m. local time, a large, white truck rammed into the crowd, killing at least four people, as you say, injuring 13
others, all of them in their 20s, so a very young crowd. israeli police have told nbc news that the attacker had been "neutralized" or killed. we were looking at the footage of the truck itself. at least nine bullet holes you can see there in the windshield. the driver, who has been identified as an east jerusalem palestinian, apparently rammed the truck into that crowd of israeli soldiers and pedestrians as they were getting off the bus. and there's also footage from cctv cameras we saw that showed the truck reversing and slamming back into the crowd, crushing more people before the attacker was shot dead. now, at least three female soldiers and one male were killed, all of them, again, in their 20s. we don't know if this was a planned attack or an opportunistic moment, but hamas, the islamic militant group that rules gaza, praised the assault, falling short of claiming responsibility. the police chief said as for the driver "the soldiers killed him and avoided more people killed." there is a gag order on further details. obviously, israeli security
forces will be looking into whether this is potentially a copycat attack from what we saw most recently in berlin and nice. and to that effect, the police chief in jerusalem said that, and i quote again, "there is no doubt" in his words, that "attacks like this in europe have influence on this kind of attack." police have closed off roads in the area as they investigate the incident. and alex, obviously, israel no stranger to this kind of violence. authorities are looking into more details on this. alex? >> yeah, and in terms of that, your last statement, no stranger to this violence -- do you know if there were any heightened security alerts in the area? and also, lucy, we're getting a live look and we see prime minister benjamin netanyahu has arrived on the scene, sort of dead center on your screen behind that one guard. for those of you able to see the video, he's been there to purr vay through the scene as well. any heightened alerts they were aware of? >> reporter: this was at a certainly dangerous -- not a
dangerous, but a significant time, a sensitive time in israel, coming on the heels of a manslaughter conviction of an israeli soldier who shot dead a palestinian assailant who had been on the ground. he had stabbed another israeli soldier. so, people were sort of expecting tensions to possibly flair. but again, even though there's been an increase of palestinian and israeli violence over the past year, the past few months have been rather quiet, so this is not an expected attack by any means. it's the first and deadliest terrorist incident in jerusalem in the past three months, alex. >> all right, lucy kafanov following things from london, thank you for that. the east coast is dealing with the aftermath of a deadly winter storm. five fatalities have been confirmed in connection with the blast of snow and ice and sleet which has hit areas from georgia all the way to maine. and the west coast is now preparing for a major storm. that is raising some fears of widespread flooding, mudslides and avalanches. joining me now, meteorologist bonnie schneider. so, bonnie, how's it looking out there? >> well, alex, we're getting the snowfall totals in, and we've
had so many records shattered, like this one in providence. this goes back to 1977, almost 10 inches of snow. but it topped out in massachusetts at near 20. the storm is departing, but we could still see some snow bands. important to note, the arctic air coming in behind this storm. so, looking forward to the next few days, your high temperatures sunday and monday will be in the 20s in many areas, starting to warm up towards the middle of the week. it's already in the single digits and teens to the south. be careful out there. lots of ice, even where you didn't get a lot of snow. plenty of moisture coming into the west. this is a plume known as a atmospheric river because it's a steady flow of moisture. today will probably be the height of the storm. you can see all that rain, a couple inches already from yesterday. in san francisco we had two-hour airport delays. hopefully, we won't see that today. lots of rain into california and the rainfall totals will really pump up this afternoon. keep in mind that as you get this warm system coming in over a 6-foot snow pack, we're likely to see a lot of that snow melt,
so the rivers and streams are watching very, very closely as that snow pack recedes. we're watching for the depth to come down, so it will drain into the rivers, and that could lead to flooding. but at the higher elevations, we're likely to see even more snow, 3 to 5 feet is forecast in some areas, all the way up to mt. shasta. so, a big snow event going forward. then further north into oregon, especially in the valleys, ice. it's a little too warm for it to be all snow, too cold for all rain. snow and freezing rain mixing in, half an inch of ice, but actually, some of the models are taking up to three quarters of an inch. this is an ice storm really in michigan. so, a mix of all kinds of weather in california up to the midwest. >> silver lining will really help with the drought conditions, but got to watch out. bonnie schneider, thank you. let's go to tammy leitner in norfolk, virginia. lots of weather to talk about in that area today. what's it look like?
>> reporter: definitely, alex. the good news, the snow has stopped. the bad news, the temperatures are dropping, and that makes for some dangerously icy roads. a dangerous combination of snow, sleet and ice wreaking havoc in the south. this vicious storm front unusual in these parts, proving deadly for drivers. a thick layer of ice on the roads in georgia causing hundreds of accidents and stopping traffic on the interstates. the snow-covered carolinas no better off. a statement of emergency declared. hundreds of accidents. cars and trucks sliding off the roads. a messy wintry mix of rain and snow paralyzing airports from the south up the east coast. >> nobody can really control the weather. >> reporter: plows working overtime at new york's laguardia airport. weary travelers wondering when and if they will get out. >> just kind of got stuck here for the night. >> reporter: philadelphia hard hit for a second time in two
days. neighboring new jersey blanketed with snow. luckily, no one hurt in this 20-car pileup in middletown, connectic connecticut, but plenty of damage. parts of massachusetts bracing for more than a foot of snow. >> i like the warmer weather better. i think most of my neighbors have gone south. >> reporter: out west, another storm system could bring devastation and some of the worst flooding in decades. in northern california, residents taking no chances. >> 300 sandbags on property, already put a bunch out. >> reporter: the truckee river in the tahoe basin expected to crest today, threatening homes and buildings. one more concern -- the rain coupled with melting snow could bring landslides. so, alex, regardless of which coast you live on, the next few days are going to prove very challenging weatherwise. >> well, i'll tell you, the snow plows made for a very pretty back drop there behind you with
all the snow, so you made your point there, tammy. thank you so much. from norfolk, virginia. we have new developments on the shooting rampage at ft. lauderdale's airport. the suspected gunman is now facing federal charges that could carry the death penalty. we're also hearing from the 26-year-old esteban santiago's brother. he is pointing the blame at the fbi. nbc's gabe gutierrez is at the airport for us. gabe, with a good morning to you. first up, let's talk about the charges against santiago, what he's facing, and then what we're hearing from his brother. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, alex. that brother and other family members saying that esteban santiago had a variety of mental problems leading up to this shooting, but let's get to those new charges from federal authorities. esteban santiago is now charged with committing acts of violence at an international airport as well as other weapons charges. he faces the death penalty, if convicted. he is scheduled to go before a federal magistrate here in ft. lauderdale at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. now, in the charging documents, we got a little bit more detail
about what federal authorities say happened here. they say that esteban santiago got to baggage claim on friday afternoon and then he picked up his gun, which was in checked baggage, went to the bathroom, and took it out of the checked baggage in a stall, put it in his waistband, then came out and started shooting, firing 10 to 15 rounds. now, in november, he was admitted, as we've been reporting, to a mental health facility in alaska after telling fbi agents that he was hearing voices. he said that the government was controlling his mind and forcing him to watch isis videos. his brother, brian santiago, who lives in puerto rico, says that was a cry for help and that the u.s. government failed him. >> they have responsibility in that. they knew it, that he have psychological problems, you know? when fbi meet yesterday here, they told me that they knew it,
that he went to fbi office. so, if they knew it, why they have him free? they set him free? >> reporter: authorities confiscated the weapon back in november but later returned it, and that is raising some questions with bryan santiago as well as others as well. the investigation continues. alex? >> and have they put together that they know the gun which they confiscated for that period of time is the one that was used in the shooting? >> reporter: and that is part of the investigation right now, alex. authorities in alaska yesterday wouldn't confirm that. they said there was some speculation that that was the same gun, but that is part of the investigation right now, something that authorities are looking into, alex. >> all right. gabe gutierrez in ft. lauderdale for us. thank you, gabe. let's head to politics. with just two days until the start of the senate confirmation hearings, new ethics concerns are looming over the trump transition team. a top ethics official is calling plans to confirm the president-elect's top cabinet choices before background checks
are complete unprecedented and are overwhelming the government investigators who are responsible for all those reviews. that was the official's assessment following an inquiry by democratic leaders who are now trying to delay all those hearings until all the paperwork is completed. the senate confirmation hearings will mark one of the first tests for the trump transition team. senator jeff sessions is the first nominee who will be questioned on tuesday, followed by five more nominees on wednesday alone. and after a barrage of tweets calling for a reset on u.s./russia relations, trump tweeted saturday he's looking ahead to meeting british prime minister theresa may. let's go to nbc's ron allen. he's at trump tower to talk about all this. first up, what's ahead for the trump transition team this week? >> reporter: well, as you said, it's a very busy day with all of these confirmation hearings happening. it's national television. it's very dramatic. and it's a time when the democrats can really make a case against a lot of the policies that donald trump has talked about. a lot of these nominees are not
well known to the public, nor to politicians. a lot of them are very wealthy people. there are a lot of questions about transparency and whether they have completed these ethics inquiries about finances and so forth. you never know what's going to pop up at one of these things. the bottom line, though, is that t because of the structure of the congress, it's likely they will pass, but the question is will the democrats try to slow this process down or try to shape the agenda for the trump administration by highlighting certain issues during the process of these hearings. we know when sessions comes up first, for example, immigration, civil rights, those are going to be the issues. when tillerson comes up, rex tillerson, the nominee for secretary of state on wednesday comes up, russia will be a big issue because he's had business dealings with that country. so, down the line there will be issues that will be brought up, there will be challenges. again, it's the expectation of most that many of these nominees will go through, but it's essentially a proxy war, if you will, between the democrats and donald trump. and on wednesday, the
expectation, the hope, i won't say promise, is that donald trump's going to hold a press conference on wednesday to discuss how he's going to separate his business dealings from his presidency. we'll see if that actually happens. but if he faces the press for the first time in over 150 days, i think it is -- i'm not quite sure of the count, but it's been a long time -- there are numerous questions that could go on for hours and hours. the question is, will he answer them? alex? >> that is a question. and we'll see if it happens on wednesday, as you say there, ron allen at trump tower. thanks, ron. bundle up. it looks so cold there. still ahead, how questions about russian hacking of the presidential election could impact cabinet hearing confirmations this week. my arthritis pain used to make my favorite things to do...
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concluded russia interfered in the u.s. election. here's what trump top adviser kellyanne conway said moments ago. >> how can you say that the hacking had no impact on the election when mr. trump kept invoking wikileaks, which was printing, publishing things that the russians had hacked? obviously, he thought it was going to have an effect on the election. >> well, it had an effect on his debate answer and it had an effect on the clinton campaign, because it was quite embarrassing to watch her closest advisers question her judgment, questioned whether she would ever find her voice, wondering aloud why she was testing 84 slogans to find out what she was and what she would run on. this guy had "make america great again" and it never changed. i know it's embarrassing, and some of them calling chelsea clinton a spoiled brat. that's very uncomfortable, but that's what was hacked. apparently, there was an attempted hack on the rnc, but they had sufficient cybersecurity firewalls in
place. >> for more analysis, let's bring in tara palmierie with politico and cnbc contributor and kaitlin huey burns with real clear politics. i'll reach out to you, tara, in d.c. your reaction to the president-elect and the team's reluctant to accept the findings of this report. >> president-elect trump is never going to accept that he had an unfair advantage in the election because it questions his mandate as president of the united states. if it's clear that he had an unfair advantage from an outside source, then he's clearly not -- he doesn't have the confidence of the american people to go through with some of his more aggressive plans for the country, so he is going to say, you know, we were in the same position as the dnc, but the rnc had stronger firewalls, russia didn't have an impact. and even you heard from his adviser, kellyanne conway, that they should be embarrassed because the truth is embarrassing and what they had to hide was embarrassing. so, you're just going to hear a
lot of deflection. i thought it was interesting, his first reaction when president obama announced sanctions against russia was, it's time to move on. it sounded a lot like hillary clinton when she said it was time to move on from the e-mail scandal. in a way, this has been trump's hillary clinton moment. >> yeah. so, okay, kaitlin, tara's saying basically it would undermine his mandate if he talked about is this and accepted the report in full. is it that? is it that he understands the gravity of this report but just can't voice concerns because members of his own party, they're raising some about russia? >> yeah, it's really interesting to see, donald trump is either incapable or unwilling to separate the issue of a cyber attack from a foreign entity, distinguish that between hacking into the outcome of the election. and so, you have seen, though, republican leaders like paul ryan make that distinction,
saying the outcome of the election was clear, but it's also clear that russia was behind the hacking. and that's not a distinction that donald trump has been able to successfully make. and it is interesting, though, to see republicans on capitol hill try to navigate this kind of world in which trump is operating. you have some who are taking a more forceful approach, saying we need to be more aggressive on russia, china, all of these foreign entities trying to do this sort of thing, having done this sort of thing. then you have others who are kind of taking a trump approach, saying, well, this information coming out, you know, served the public. you know, of course donald trump talked about wikileaks frequently during the election. and you have other republicans trying to kind of play both sides of this here, defending the president of their party and also trying to keep with the republican line. >> yeah. so, tara, the trump twitter barrage yesterday, what's your reaction to that, particularly the call for sort of a reset of u.s./russia relations? >> it's really interesting to hear that because it's a total
shift from our traditional policy when dealing with russia. we've always been tough -- sanctions, building -- we haven't been building bridges with russia, we have been playing the defensive. so to see this is interesting, especially when people are expecting from trump to be tougher in foreign relations, especially from countries that have been known to bully us, to, you know, to try to steal trade. so, if he's trying to build bridges with russia, i mean, we'll see how that turns out. how long can you really become friends with a country that has traditionally been your foe? and americans, though, a lot of them on the right, feel that we haven't been tough enough. so, this is sort of contrary to a lot of what's being said on the republican side as well. >> so, caitlin, how contentious do you think the confirmations will get for those with ties to russia, especially rex
tillerson. >> yeah, you have senators like lindsey graham, mccain, rubio, expressing concerns about tillerson and his ties to russia, but also kind of the broader trump policy here. so, i think they do want tillerson to acknowledge that he could support sanctions, for example, to kind of separate himself from his position at exxonmobil and say what he would do differently as the top diplomat, but i think they're also really looking for what trump's policy is going to be here, not only on russia, but also when it comes to receiving intelligence, whether trump is going to trust his team more or use that as a way to say he'll trust the intelligence community then. i think all of those issues are going to play out there. and i think democrats who are looking to undermine the administration, looking for ways to delay or possibly block some of these nominees will really, i think, place their bets on the tillerson nomination because they could potentially have bipartisan support for opposing him.
those will be really interesting to watch, especially since republicans only need a simple majority threshold to confirm some of these nominees. >> all right, caitlin huey-burns and tara palmieri, thank you so much. coming up, pride and passion. a roundtable discussion on the obama legacy and what his historic presidency means to so many americans.
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welcome back, everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters in new york at the half hour. here's what we're monitoring for you. latest word on that truck attack in jerusalem. at least four soldiers are dead, 13 others wounded. a truck rammed into a group of soldiers just as they were getting off a bus earlier today. the driver of that truck was shot and killed. back here in the states, the fbi says the suspect in friday's
airport shooting spree in ft. lauderdale is being cooperative and talking, but there's still no word on a motive for the deadly attack. esteban santiago has been charged with committing an act of violence at an international airport, which is a death penalty-eligible offense. he is expected to make his first court appearance tomorrow. seven people remain hospitalized this morning in the aftermath of that deadly attack. let's go to nbc's jacob rascon. he's outside that hospital in ft. lauderdale. jacob, with a good morning to you, what's their status? >> reporter: so, yesterday, in fact, there were eight people who were here, and one of them was allowed to go home. and today, as you said, there are now seven. five of those are in good condition and two of those, though, are in critical condition. as you know, initially there were six people who were injured by gunshot wounds, but there were dozens of others injured during the evacuation. that's where the other number comes from. most of those who came here initially were treated and released. of those that were admitted, all of them were released except for that one person who was trampled
or something else during that evacuation right after the initial shooting. we talked to the hospital's ceo yesterday. here's what he had to say. >> it was like an organized symphony. we didn't miss a hiccup, and they accommodated all of the shooting victims as well as the nearly 30 medical patients that came from the airport. >> reporter: last night there were memorial services for olga wolterle. she was killed at the airport. married more than 60 years and her husband unharmed. also, michael olney. his wife survived, but he died as well. it appears that all of those whose identities we know who were killed, it appears were going on a cruise. alex? >> heartbreaking. jacob rascon, thank you so much for that update outside the hospital. let's bring in msnbc law enforcement analyst jim
cavanaugh, retired special agent in charge and hostage negotiator. always good to see you, jim, despite the circumstances. let's get right to it. we heard that this guy, esteban santiago, he was admitted to a mental health center in alaska after telling the fbi agents the government was controlling his mind. so, santiago's brother says the u.s. government failed him. did it? >> well, i think the lawmakers have failed us all in this regard, alex. the fbi and the anchorage police did all they could do under the existing law. you know, we're not a dictatorship. we can't throw people in a gulag, can't take your property away, your guns. there has to be a law to do it. and we're dealing with a guy here who is suffering from mental health issues, walks into the federal office saying voices, the cia's programming me. i've had these same people come in when i was the agent in charge of atf and dealt with them as a uniformed officer as well. most police officers have. it's not unusual at all to deal with these kind of folks.
but when he comes in there and he says that and isis, i'm watching isis videos, all the isis videos are urging you to kill and murder. and then he has a gun in his car. anchorage pd does the right thing. they take him for mental health evaluation. that's what we all do with these guys. but there's no tool in alaska or in the federal law to deal with the gun violence restraining order, and that's what should have happened in this case. the guns taken, he's flag ged i the national check system so he can't buy a gun and he's evaluated. and then a court judge is presented with the facts, and it's determined whether or not this restraining order to bar him from getting guns or having guns should stay in effect for a while until, you know he's evaluated. that tool's not available in alaska. it is in some states, but it's not available in federal law either. it really needs to be there. this guy could have been stopped in alaska. and you know, alex, baggage claim area's a public area, and everybody's got to remember that. you know, you get to an airport, you think oh, i'm in a secure
area. you're in a baggage claim, it's a public area, like a bus depot or a train station. and everybody and anybody has access to it. >> yeah. you talk about the weapon there. let's take a listen to what the fbi said yesterday about that. >> what type of gun did he use and did he follow tsa procedures? as i briefed last night, he used a semiauto handgun. it was a 9-millimeter. we're not ready to release the make of the handgun. and every indication is that he did follow tsa procedures in checking in the weapon. >> was there a loophole in security that has been, you know, portrayed here because of this attack? because rules are in place designed to keep someone from firing a gun on a plane, but not at the airport. >> right, alex. well, the make of the gun's been released in the federal
complainance, a walter 9-millimeter, like a pps pistol. whether that's the same gun he had in alaska or not they haven't released. >> right. >> now, as far as getting the gun in the airport. you can put a gun in checked baggage as long as you declare it to the airline and as long as it is in a locked container that you only have the key to. >> and it was. this was locked. >> yeah. and see, all the security around airlines and airports as far as firearms has always been in the cabin, to secure the cabin from hijacking back in the '70s or from terrorism in the current venue. that's what it's all about. the fear wasn't for, you know, guns in the checked baggage. the seminole case that comes to mind is the case in us central 1972 at the airport. that's the first thing i thought of when this guy got the gun out of checked baggage when terrorists working for the palestinians flew from rome to load airport in israel and they pulled out checked assault weapons out of their violin cases and killed 26 people. but that was such an unusual case.
so, i don't remember any other case like that. and really, because it's a public area, it really is sort of meaningless to deal with the checked baggage. >> very quickly, jim, motive still unclear. where do you go in trying to figure that out as an investigator? >> yeah, you're always trying to figure it out, but likely the motive is a voice in his head. so, i think the federal prosecutors have done the right thing here. they're not going toward terrorism. that's really not what this is. if the cia's talking to you, you're not, you know, in your mind, you're not a terrorist, you're mentally disturbed. this guy will not get the death penalty. the attorney general will not approve a death penalty, no matter who's our attorney general. certainly, senator sessions won't approve it or anybody else, because he's delusional. the charge carries it, alex. it's a capital offense. but i would very seriously doubt they pursue it. >> well, particularly -- >> and they don't even need to pursue it for a plea, because the evidence is so overwhelming. it's on videotape. >> right. >> there's 100 witnesses. they caught him with the gun by
uniformed officer at the murder scene, you know. he's going to be life in prison. >> and to have mental health issues, of course, that's a mitigating factor there. jim cavanaugh, thank you very much for the discussion, as always. >> thank you. happening now, the west coast is bracing for a major storm that could cause widespread flash flooding in some areas. let's head to nbc's steve patterson. he is right in the middle of it in reno, nevada. tahoe not far away there, so skiers are happy at least. steve, what's happening? >> reporter: hey, good morning to you, alex. well, the rain has been coming down solid for the last few hours. it's expected to be 100% precipitation for quite some time. the result of that, you can probably see to my right, or maybe you can hear it better than you can see it. this is the truckee river. this thing has been raging! started off at about 6 feet this morning. it's expected to crest later on tonight at about 13 feet. that is well above flood stage. that's in the danger area of well above flood stage. so there has been widespread
preparation for this storm, but they do expect this to cause some possible damage. that's the big fear for people who live here in the communities that surround the sierra nevada and onwards up this river. meanwhile, this storm predicted to be one of the biggest storm events the west side of the united states has seen in the last ten years, particularly when you're talking about the sierra nevada, when you're talking about california. it's already caused its first death, unfortunately, yesterday. a woman was walking in san ramon on a golf course. the wind gust took a tree, pinned this woman and killed her. horribly tragic, freak accident. but this storm was predicted to be possibly fatal. it's already proven so, just a sign of how dangerous this thing is. as this moves on, it's going to start really in earnest tonight and it will move on into monday and into tuesday. rock slides, mudslides, you know, washed-out roads, widespread flooding all
predicted for this storm as people continue to prepare for the worst. alex? >> your report certainly will incite people to prepare. thank you, steve patterson in reno. eight years after president barack obama's historic election win, four americans look back at that moment and the impact he's had on their lives. and coming up next on "am joy," pulling federal funding from 2.5 million patients a year. a look at the political fight over planned parenthood. [burke] at farmers, we've seen almost everything,
so we know how to cover almost anything. even a rodent ride-along. [dad] alright, buddy, don't forget anything! [kid] i won't, dad... [captain rod] happy tuesday morning! captain rod here. it's pretty hairy out on the interstate.traffic is literally crawling, but there is some movement on the eastside overpass. getting word of another collision.
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is, though. with president obama's time in office winding to an end, we met with a group of african-american seen yor citizens at the urban league of palm beach county, florida. they reflect on his historic presidency and how personal his win felt to them. >> what you see this and you see that many people in grant park in chicago on election night -- >> wow. >> it still brings tears to my eyes. it still brings tears to my eyes. >> you go back to election night, and for the first time, that family, president barack obama, his wife and two little girls, and they were little then -- time has gone by, they're bigger now -- but when you see that family take the stage and you see people in the audience, many crying, the excitement, how did y'all feel watching that? >> it takes you back, yeah. because i mean, i never forget that night. my granddaughter, she was looking, she said, nana, what's wrong, what's wrong? and i'm like, i'm just so happy.
i said, these are happy tears. i never thought i would live the day to see a black president. >> and that's it. i mean, my hopes are today, just based on this event, i never thought in my lifetime in my lifetime that i might -- only regret is that my mother died in 2006. i say if only she could have seen this. but in my lifetime there they are in the white house, honorably in the white house, and successfully in the white house, doing great things, functioning under circumstances that anybody else, i mean, would probably have thrown up their hands. finding ways to get things done despite all the obstacles that were being thrown in his way. >> but much of that wasn't because he was the first african-american president. it's because who he was and what he was and what he was bringing.
because when you look at these young, white college kids who went, who came down here and got their grandmothers and their mothers out of these nursing homes and whatever and took them out to vote, they knew. >> president barack obama represented so many things for black people. >> he did. >> for people who are progressive. but not just using your head thinking about his politics, when you think about that moment and the first black president, what did you feel in your heart? >> he was just to me, the family, the family. that's what african-americans really, really needed, empowerment. that family empowered our families also, you know. that's the power that brought to me, that you've got his wife, his mother-in-law and the children. you're protecting those kids with his mother-in-law being there. >> but you feel a part of something greater, because he wasn't just a black man. he's one of the most intelligent men who has hit that white house, black or white.
>> we all agree that president obama inspired them to look at the future of our nation with hope and optimism. you can watch president obama's farewell address to the country live from chicago this tuesday. special coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. confirmation hearings on six cabinet-level nominees in the next three days. is that too fast? why one government watchdog agency says yes. my insurance rates are probably gonna double. but dad, you've got... ...allstate. with accident forgiveness they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. indeed. it's good to be in, good hands. i never want to miss these cmoments due to my pain. i live for this. arthritis used to get in the way. but now with blue-emu maximum arthritis cream, i'll never miss another hug. blue-emu maximum arthritis cream. beat the pain and enjoy life.
a political fight for the new administration is brewing on capitol hill. the office of government ethics is raising red flags over some of the president-elect's cabinet nominees. senators will begin those hearings on tuesday. they'll continue throughout the week. first up is one of the most controversial picks, alabama senator jeff sessions who trump wants to be attorney general. with me now, msnbc political analyst and columnist for "the daily beast" jonathan alter, along with msnbc contributor
robert trainem. let's get started right now with you, jonathan. so we have wednesday. that day alone there are hearings or hearings and discussions for these five cabinet level nominees. why does it look like the transition team and republicans in the senate are really trying to rush through this? >> well, all presidents want to have their cabinets in place by the time they take office ideally. but the difference this year is that a lot of these nominees haven't completed the paperwork. you know, the senate is charged by the constitution with giving advice and consent on presidential nominations. and that consent requires that they understand whether there are conflicts of interest. the only way you can do that is if they fill out these disclosure forms. they haven't filled them out in a lot of the cases. >> how is that? i understand one person maybe being tardy with that, but you're talking these six that we showed the graphic for.
why have they not filled them out? >> it's a great question. i think a lot of them have very tangled finances. but i also think they have a disregard that comes from donald trump on down for the sense of propriety and normal way these things are done. so you have a nonpartisan office of government ethics that is now raising real questions as to whether these nominees should be approved before they're fully vetted. >> so let's talk specifics with you, robert. a lot of these folks, rex tillerson, ben carlson, betsy devos, steve mnuchin, they have never served in government so they really need to be vetted. how complex is that? >> it's a very complex job. to serve at a cabinet level, there's a lot of financial obtleds that you have to disclose, personal information
that you have to disclose, particularly when it comes to taxes and the nannies and the housekeepers which actually trips up a lot of cabinet officials when it comes to not paying the wage tax. and the president-elect, i've said this about president obama, about president bush and clinton, they reserve the right to nominate the people that they feel is qualified for the job. you can make the argument that not having any government service might be a good thing, i don't know. but the question becomes whether or not they are ready to answer the tough questions that members of congress will throw at them and whether or not these things will be able to make that official feel comfortable but also transparent when it comes to answering republican and democrat questions. >> robert, the oge, the office of government ethics, says they haven't even received some preliminary disclosures from some of these nominees, so why should their nominationing and the whole process go forward if the standard background check has not been performed? >> well, i can't speak to that. at the end of the day you have
to make sure this person, meaning the nominee, has filled out the paperwork. that's just the basic application process for any job, whether it's for mcdonald's or for secretary of health and human services. the reality is that this needs to be done. the reality is, is that's just the way the system works. and the reality is if in fact they do not have their paperwork done, then the united states senate has an ethical but also constitutional obligation not to vote that person out of committee. it's a two-part process. one, they have to go through the committee hearing, get voted out of committee and secondary all the united states senators have to vote on that nominee. so we're not there yet. >> okay. affordable care act, guys. this week on capitol hill republicans are expected to move forward on the plan to repeal obamacare. are we going to see every single congressional democrat united to fight this? or are there fractures in the lawmakers from the purple and red districts or states? >> no, i don't think on the democratic side there are any
fractures. there might be on the republican side where you have two or three senators, and they just need three, who have problems with getting rid of planned parenthood, which is in the house repeal bill, who have problems with the fact that there are literally millions of trump voters in red states who would lose their health insurance under full repeal. the republicans are in a really hard position on this, alex, because repeal only takes 50 votes. and they probably will eventually, despite what i said about planned parenthood, probably get that. but then to replace it, it takes 60 votes for parliamentary reasons. so they might get caught in this trap where they have repealed it, they have thrown a ton of their constituents under the bus. >> without a replacement. >> without any kind of replacement. it's now dawning on them they're kind of like speaking of the bus, they're like the dog that caught the car or caught the bus. now they have got this problem
and we're looking at possible chaos in the weeks and months ahead. >> so to that point though, robert, with replacement, it has been almost six years since the president signed the affordable care act. the gop has been wanting to get rid of it from day one practically. why after six years have we not yet heard a replacement plan? >> well, that's a good question, but i want to step back here and not to be overly optimistic here. i've worked in the senate for ten years and actually had lunch with someone who understands this process fairly well yesterday -- excuse me, on friday. the sky is not falling. the senate will probably repeal the obama -- the affordable care health care through a thing called reconciliation. but to suggest millions of people will be thrown on the streets tomorrow is not accurate. what the republicans most likely will do is probably sunset this over five or ten years and then that's more than enough time i would presume for the republicans to be able to either replace the obamacare act or at least to strengthen it in some way, shape or form.
but this draconian rhetoric to suggest millions of people will be thrown out on the streets tomorrow is simply not accurate. in fact it's really not fair. >> really quick, jonathan, quick. >> so people like rand paul are beginning to understand and some other senators you can't do this repeal and delay. it doesn't work. if you repeal it, you've got to replace it with something and soon or the whole thing does unravel and there will be peep thrown under the bus. >> guys, i have to let that be the last word. thank you so much. that's because "a.m. joy" is up next. good to see you next. up next on that show, the effort to kill obamacare. more conversation on that as well as defund planned parenthood. i' see you at noon eastern. triples the budget. we'll be totally behind schedule, right? (laughschedules. schedules. great, okay. wouldn't it be great if everyone said what they meant? the citi® double cash card does. it lets you earn double cash back: 1% when you buy, and 1% as you pay.
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i discovered a woman my family tree, named marianne gaspard. i became curious where in africa she was from. so i took the ancestry dna test to find out more about my african roots. ancestry really helped me fill in a lot of details. do you believe that you'll be able to ensure as many people as currently insure -- >> i'm not going to get ahead of our committee process. we're just beginning to put this together. we haven't even gotten scores from cbo get on these things.