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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  January 11, 2017 3:00am-6:01am PST

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officials were in agreement that the city's water system is improving. some good news there. and the first family's farewell tour continues. michelle obama set to make her first talk show appearance at first lady. she appears on "the tonight sho stevie wonder. that will be a good show. you know what is coming up. need we even say it? it's "morning joe." take it away, guys. what it represents and its hateful ideology. >> if you were to build a walk from the pacific to the gulf of mexico you still have to back that wall up. >> be aware of the russian teddy bear. >> did he think donald trump was a likely winner? >> initially, no. they thought he was a fringe candidate. >> we are in the midst of a rescue to save the families of what is known at obamacare. >> nobody who has obamacare today will lose that coverage. >> a rising tide of authoritarianism and liberalism. >> we never confirm or deny a
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pending investigation. >> the irony of you making that statement here, i cannot avoid. >> for too many of us, it's become safer to retreat into our own bubbles for all off our outward citizens. we all share the same price. citizens. >> a lot of news in one day. >> welcome to "morning joe." >> a side of an dah you have an election or a run-up to election. >> it's wednesday, january 11th. we have everything for you. we have with us msnbc contributor mike barnicle and msnbc anchor steve kornacki and in washington columnist and associate editor for "the washington post" david ignatius back with us. on capitol hill, "the new york times" reporter jeremy peter and
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in london is writer max fisher. >> the day ended with not only a political event but a cultural event i think the president's victory speech in grant park eight years ago. it was the sort of thing, i know a lot of my friends not only sat and watched last night, but they told their children. come on. let's sit down and watch this. it just was a night unlike -- >> people talked about it all day. >> there just aren't a whole lot of cultural events that pulls us together but last night was one of those nights. >> we will play more highlights from president obama's farewell speech last night, including a really touching tribute to his family and some interesting moments about sort of the electorate. >> mike, what do you think about last night?
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>> whoever -- whatever friends of yours indicated that they told their kids to sit down and watch this with them, that is good parenting. that was a spectacular moment last night. you had the president of the united states going out the door. his presenidency now nine days left it. the speech, i thought, was spectacular, that it wasn't a partisan speech and it wasn't about yesterday, it was more about tomorrow and optimistic for the country. >> it was about tomorrow and it was also a good road map for democrats who got left behind this year on how to actually win elections moving forward. >> he echoed after the election what joe biden said that democrats need to start thinking about. i think the items he wanted to leave as his legacy, we can agree with that but i agree with you, mika, the family moments with his wife and daughters
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shows what kind of man he is and what kind of dignity he has. >> our top story is about the president-elect. donald trump is set to hif i guess his fuirst news conferenc at 11:00 tomorrow and alleged contacts between him and his campaign and the russian government. two u.s. officials with direct knowledge tell nbc news that briefing materials prepared for the president-elect, himself, included information that initially circulated among trump opponents and was passed to u.s. intelligence agencies, making damaging allegations about his dealings with russians. neither of the official said that the fbi was actively investigating the information which has not been verified by u.s. agencies. are you following me? do you even know what i'm talking about? because there is so many different not clarified, not verified. it's frustrating. but we go on because it's potentially explosive.
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buzzfeed made the controversial move last night of publishing a da who claims to be a member of british intelligence. inside the claims are is the russian government is cultivating and supporting and shifting the president-elect for five years, even gaining compromising information about him in an effort to blackmail him. in publishing the documents, buzzfeed acknowledged the claims are unverified and contain obvious errors. >> let's stop right there and we will get donald trump's reaction first. >> what are we talking about here? break it down. >> one thing not in there, max fish fisher, i saw a couple of things you tweeted last night. one of the things that aren't in there has to do with the fact that the person that was hired to gain this information actually was doing opposition research for trump's republican opponents and, later, his democratic opponents.
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one of these things where you said let's not -- after 2002, 2003, not get too far ahead of ourselves. you look at all of the alleged, all of the this and all of the that, it doesn't seem like we have -- at least this morning to hang our hats on, do we? >> there is really not much to go on in here. none of this is verified or verifiable. this is shopped around to media agencies for months and no one, before buzzfeed, agreed to publish it for exactly that reason. there is also a lot about it that strains credibility. the idea that this one former british agent has all of these high level contacts in the russian government just telling him, i guess, sure, here are all of our plots to discredit and own donald trump the last five years. it does, it sends my mind back to 2002, 2003 where we had,
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similarly, agenda-driven, unverified, but very salacious reports. in this case, a rocky government links to al qaeda of iraqi weapons. mass destruction. then, as now, those reported here are caveats but this unverified thing is out there and that turned out to be quite damaging and a big role in the run-up to the iraq war so i think we need to keep those revelations in mind. >> david ignatius, sorting through claims claims claims unverified and even the source saying inaccurate, but this was information that had been shopped around to news agencies for sometime. what can you tell us about what you know about this, when you first heard about it, and how much credence you are giving it this morning? >> i first heard about this some weeks ago. much news organizations have been aware of it and we have been trying as hard as we can to
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verify individual claims within it because it's, obviously, crucial material and goes to the question of contact between the trump campaign and russian intelligence. it goes to personal issues involving donald trump. we have gdone what news organizations should have done, try to verify it and we at the "the washington post" have not been able to do that and not written anything about the substance of this document. what convinced cnn last night that they should go forward is they learned that elements of the document had been briefed to both president obama and donald trump. >> which leads to my next question -- if you have -- i don't know what the correct answer to this is, and it's why we are so grateful for you to agreeing to come on this morning early. i'm just wondering if it's an unverified report, part of opposition research, and, as max fisher just said, in many ways,
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just strainge credibility to ths is this the sort of thing that should have been in that briefing document when they briefed the president and the president-elect? what was your gut on that when you first read that? >> when i first read it, i thought the following, in a sense, it was strange that they didn't wait until they had established precisely what they thought was true and false in the document, at the time when it is widely circulated. you could argue part of the job of the president's intelligence is to make him aware of issues that are out there and are going to be part of an ongoing investigation. this material is in the hands of james comey and it was put there by a prominent senator three weeks ago, but i think he already had it from other sources. so the fbi is looking at it.
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you could argue that donald trump needed to know that and needed to be told in confidence that the fbi was looking at it. the decision that is then a story, that the public needs to know, is not one that "the washington post" had made. it's one that cnn made and, again, i have explained why i think they did that. to me, finally, joe, the key thing here is our political system has got a big rock already over the past year, and i think it's important that there be a sober, sensible, traditional american investigation of this, the instruments that provide trust in our system, our legal system, the fbi, itself, u.s. attorneys, some sort of bipartisan congressional effort. that is the way to take some of the politics, some of the emotion out of it and get a judgment on this material, that the american people can rely on. >> max, let me ask you this and
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then turn it over to others who have a lot of questions here. a lot of things that can't be verified. one thing that can be verified right now, max, and may cause a concern is the fact that members of trump campaign, throughout the campaign, allegedly made contacts with russian government officials. is that something worth pursuing? >> i mean, this is the thing that is so tough about these kinds of unverified allegations. of course, that's something that you should be, and i think many people in many news agencies are looking into as aggressively as possible. the specific way that it is alleged in this report is laea little bit tough. the idea there was a secret meeting in prague, it's hard to imagine the russian government would do that given that leaves a lot of traces in a paper trail that then could be picked up. it's what concerns me about the decision to publish this report
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is that there are, i think, more credible allegations in ways in which it is possible there could have been contacts between the russian government and the trump campaign. this is not one of them. and that deepens the confusion and the uncertainty that i think a lot of people are going to have over exactly which allegations are credible and which are not and how do i sort through them and what is true and not true. all of that kind of deepens -- it makes it much easier to dismiss the next allegation even if it is much more credible, put it that way. >> to max's position about these meetings, michael cohen a lawyer for donald trump met secretly in prague with officials and changed information. cohen denies this saying he had never been to prague in his life. they say he was at university of southern california at the time of this alleged meeting and confirming he was not in prague.
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>> why would buzzfeed and cnn go with this? >> first of all, what is it that we are talking about? it's basically a collection of whispers and rumors. >> and, by the way, we are not even going to come close to what they put out there as far as -- >> correct. >> -- the allegations. what it is is an absolute bombshell and a molotov cocktail thrown on january 11th with no verification. >> but to david's point it's been out there for several months. we have all heard elements about it, gossip about it dating back to the fall. >> why do you publish that? why did cnn put it out? >> cnn, i think, had a hook to hang that story on, a small hook, but, you know -- and they used that hook to hang it on. >> what was the hook that just i
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have had -- justified? >> that the intelligence agencies told donald trump at a meeting with him last friday at trump tower. that is understandable too. jim clapper is leaving after 51 years in the business. >> right. >> john brennan, he is leaving because he is going to be replaced by mike pompeo. then you had admiral rogers there so they don't know when they get a chance to sit with the principal, the president-elect of the united states and they got that chance last friday. they don't know if he is reading the daily intelligence briefing reports that are afforded him. they don't know whether general flynn or donald trump reads them so they are going to tell him and that is the hook that cnn used. >> on this question of the media in the buzzfeed decision here, one thing that was striking to me last night watching president obama in that speech, i know
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you're going to talk about it a little bit later. >> a lot. >> he was talking about the tendency we have to retreat in terms of the information we receive and how we talk about it to retreat into bubleeds. what i watch happened last night when this broke online, when buzzfeed put these documents up, unverified claims that no reared has a-- reader has a way to verify. if you looked online last night, if you looked on social media, this stuff was spreading as accepted fact like wildfire. this happens on the left and it happens on the right. i heard that in the president's speech last night and i know a lot of people on the left online were saying he is going after republicans and going after fake news. i thought last night was a demonstration how the left can also have an appetite for this stuff because they want it to be true. >> something does not feel right. >> trump's response was in the form of a tweet. fake news. a total political witch hunt. sean spicer tweeted buzzfeed itself admits as we noted in our story there are serious reasons
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to doubt the allegations. just pathetic. here is the fbi director yesterday under questioning during a capitol hill hearing. >> the russian foreign minister was quoted in various news report saying that the russians had had contacts with people associated with the trump campaign. my question for you, director comey, is has the fbi investigated these reported relationships, and, if so, what are the agencies findings? >> thank you, senator. i would never comment on investigations whether we have one or not in an open forum like this. so i really can't answer one way or another. >> mr. comey, did you answer senator widen's question there is an investigation under way as to questions between the political campaigns and the russian -- russians? >> i didn't say one way or another. especially in a public forum, we never confirm or deny a pending investigation.
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>> the irony of you making that statement here, i cannot avoid, but i'll move on. >> we sometimes think differently about closed investigations but you asked me if i had any pending investigations and we are not going to talk about that. >> that is what he has done when it was closed. we all thought -- a lot of us thought it was inappropriate for him to go on as far as he did. david ignatius, you do have, as you said, many people who believe there should be an investigation here. and as nonpolitical as possible. >> i think that is the heart of what i would offer to viewers. at this point, there are these inflammatory charges. it's really important to understand if any of them have any truth and that is what we have our law enforcement agencies to do, in secret, hopefully, go through this material and then tell the
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country what they have found. i think that's in donald trump's interest. we are now a country that is just buzzing with all this allegations, insin situation. not a good ground for a president to take office on. i think it is in his interest to have a responsible, discrete inquiry, either by u.s. attorney or by a joint committee of congress, or some congressional panel. at the end of the day, if that investigation doesn't exist, we will have a substantial part of the country believing this is true. another substantial part of the country agreeing with trump that it's an outrageous witch hunt and not a good way for a president to start his term. >> we saw donald trump's tweet at 11:00 this morning and in a matter of hours, he coincidentally holds a press conference for the first time since july where he'll get to respond to all of it. >> that is absolutely right. i'm told by sources insidehe trump transition if you thought that tweet was provocative and
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combative, wait until you see the press conference today. i think going back to the journalistic questions here raised by the decision to publish this, look at the explanation that buzzfeed offered. they offered this -- you report, we decide. they used that as the defense, you know, the journalist mission to report the facts and let the people decide. it's always been a much more nuanced mission than that. we don't throw things out there that we don't know to be true and then let the public fight over whether or not it's true. and so while i do think that conservatives have taken this term fake news and appropriated it and aimed it at us as mainstream journalists in an attempt to on discredit us. it may be fake and trump may have a point here. >> that's what i'm concerned about. >> somebody said before you put out allegations and end up being false and you end up helping trump. >> or you do what we just did which is carefully dance around
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the topic for 19 minutes. seriously. we said nothing while we talked about something that might be true and we don't know! it's potentially incredibly explosive. but i don't know. at what point do you just wait until you know? >> jeremy, here is the problem. you can go back and look at the transcripts from the day he came down the escalator and i've been talking about it nonstop. this is an example, the most magnified example i think yet that donald trump will do something that is shocking and then the press reaction will not only cover that, but then go five steps beyond it and play into his hands, so the next time the shocking revelation comes out, he can say, they oversold that too and they oversold that and lied about this. i think in this case, you're
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exactly right. he's going to go out and he is going to call it fake news and the next time something comes up that might be legitimate, then he can discredit it again based on all of the overreactions the past year and a half. >> right. he is a master of misdirection and master of picking fights with the media. and distracting us. i expect to see more of that and then, i mean, the news cycle is operating at such a warped speed right now. we haven't talked about the messy confirmation processes unfolding on capitol hill. pretty soon, we will be on to chasing the next shiny object. and if this is any indication of how the next four years are going to operate, it's head spinning. >> yeah. >> speaking of that, we have got the confirmation hearings coming up. jeff sessions was in an absolutely confirmation hearing. >> rex tillerson today. >> we also are going to be talking about some of trump's
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cabinet appointees whose hearings have been delayed and happen to be a couple of people who are actually in trouble. word out of trump tower, a couple right now concerned about their confirmation prospects, as well as barack obama's speech. >> that we have to get to next block. we will speak with four members of the key committees voting on donald trump's cabinet picks. senators mike lee and dick durbin and jeff flake and chris coons will join the coming and joined by incoming chief of staff reince priebus. plus. >> after my election there was talk of a post-racial america and such a vision, however well-ended, was never realistic. race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. >> reverend al sharpton joins us to talk about the president's speech. >> and max fisher, we want to thank you for coming. i think it's worth noting, for
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all of our viewers, that as steve was saying last night, everybody was going off to the races and there were explosions going right and left online and max said, guys, hold on. >> it's a "seinfeld" episode! >> we have seen this before. 2003 and 2002. it may be true. take a deep breath and wait. thank you for that, max. appreciate you being here today. >> before we go to break, here is bill karins with a check on wild flooding out west. >> the floods, snow and pictures incredible. we had a couple of avalanches on interstate 70 in colorado. the cars parked there and saw it coming and this guy took the picture from the front of his windshield. thankfully the barrier stopped the avalanche of snow and made big plume of snowflakes and didn't hurt anyone. everyone all right there. pictures out of colorado and california -- i mean, look at the snow. they have had ten feet of snow. those are cars completely buried
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there near truckee, california and heading to lake tahoe area. today is the last big day of heavy snow. blizzard warnings continue in the sierra nevada range and intermountain west. powering rain happened last night in the northeast and about gone and areas of cape cod watching that. it cleaned the roads up from the snow out there. so that was good. talk about what is happening in the days ahead. the storm in the west heading through the intermountain days. 70s from texas through oklahoma in the southeast and mild after the rain is over with in boston to d.c. and new york. that continues into tomorrow. look at this spring break. 58, almost 60 in new york city! 65 in d.c. tomorrow so a little break before the cold returns as we head towards the weekend. new york city, rain is over with. nice two-day stretch coming up. you're watching "morning joe" opinion start here. or here. even here.
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. michelle lavone robinson, girl of the south side, for the past 25 years, you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend. you took on a role you didn't ask for. and you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style and good humor!
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you made the white house a place that belongs to everybody. and a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. so you have made me proud and you have made the country proud. >> nice! and the estimated 18,000 people came out to hear barack obama's final major speech as president. at times, he contrasted his successor and touted his record in office, reversing a recession, taking out osama bin laden and health insurance for 20 million previously uninsured under the affordable care act, and opening relations with cuba. he also made the case for a strong ghks while taking on the issues of race and economic inequality. >> after my election, there was
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talk of a post-racial america, and such a vision, however well intended, was never realistic. race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. and all of us have more work to do. if every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard working white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps, while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in american fixture. addicus finch, you never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.
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for blacks and other minority groups, that means tying our own really struggles to justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face. not only the refuge or the immigrant or the real poor or the transgender american but also the middle-aged white guy who, from the outside, may seem like he has got advantages, but has seen his world up-ended by economic and cultural and technological change. for white americans is means acknowledging the effects of slavery for jim crow didn't vanish in the '60s. that when minority groups voice discontent, they are not just engaging in reverse racism or practices political correctness. when they wage peaceful protesters not demanding equal treatment but the equal treatment our founders promised. >> that was fascinating on a number of levels. joining us is the host of msnbc
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"politics nation" and reverend al sharpton. >> good morning. >> reverend, it was a celebration, but it was a celebration that was filled, obviously, with melancholy, not just because the president is leaving, but also because who replaces him? talk about last night and the emotions, all of the emotions you were feeling and so many other americans were feeling. >> you know, the emotions are very mixed. i went to the party at the white house, the farewell the other night. and as i watched last night, president obama's speech, first, it showed me and, of course, the nation, the barack obama i became familiar with and had access to for the last eight years. he is very much a dreamer, but very practical, at the same time. and i think what he really was able to do last night in balance
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is say these are the lofty goals we wanted to reach and these are the things that i think we have done. but you've got to be practical and get things done as we go forward. and i think -- i think one of the things that you and i share, joe, though we may come from different sides of the political spectrum, is that we listen so often to academics who know nothing about what they are talking about or how to get anything done. >> right. >> when you have people like us who are practitioners, we have to try to balance our emotional dreams how you get things done and what that is what he was saying last night. yes, we have to deal with rachel and we have to deal with income and inequality but you have to go out and vote and get petitions and you have to run. it was that balance i've heard over and over again. when he said last night, my mom always told me reality will catch up with you, i've heard him say that in private meetings
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with us many times. and i would complain sometimes. they are relying on us civil rights leaders. he said we have to get this done in terms of legislation. i think the tribute to his family was so touching. to see his wife sit there and give her due and his daughter sitting there wiping away tears and his mother-in-law sitting there. it was the speech, all of it combined. i don't think anybody could do a better farewell address and how he started as a community organizer. >> the pregame i was watching last night before the speech, you sat there and they -- they were talking about the numbers, all of the economic numbers. and he said it just doesn't make sense that the democrat has
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followed this guy would have lost. once again, i found myself in the position asking the question -- how did the democratic party, with a guy who is leaving with close to a 60% approval rating and numbers any president would love to have when they leave office, how could that party lose? it's dumb founding. >> he said it. you have to organize on the ground and i think you got to be connected to people, and i think he said something important that i think willie reiterated, is that you can't say it's fake news on one side and not the other, which is why, you know, i wasn't in the first block this morning, but i was cheering. we can't, on the left, go for what could end up backfiring. >> right. >> nobody is opposed to donald trump's policies more than i am. i'm having a big march saturday with other civil rights leaders. but let us know go for every
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shining object because all of us have been subjected to fake news. so let's make sure. these are very serious charges and if they explode, they need to take him down, but let's make sure we know what we are talking about. >> reverend, eight years ago when barack obama was elected president it was seen as a great moment in the racial history of this country and, of course, it was. i think a lot of people maybe expected too much in terms of racial healing and he touched on that last night. in eight years that have been defined in many ways by racial politics, identity politics, police shootings and the things that came after that, do you think racial relations in america are, in fact, better off eight years later than they were when he was elected? >> i think they are better off in the sense we are talking more honestly about it. i think we still have a very polarized society. the differences are still very stark. you still are doubly unemployed
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blacks to whites but both blacks and whites are unemployed. he has double in the employment numbers but he is talking about balance. he is talking about it. i remember when we meant with him on trayvon martin, those of us protesting and some of the police shootings, he would discuss it. i've dealt with other presidents that we couldn't even get them to address the issues. i can't think of another president that would have said trayvon martin or would have said eric garner. i think putting it out there and then having some substantive groups that deal with it in policy, i think he has moved it forward and we have got to keep going forward. one of the challenges we have as we protest saturday is his challenge. how do you, at the same time, not get into just naming calling trump but keep it at a level where you're moving forward and
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not just end up with a heckling session. >> on the issues, yeah. >> reverend al, stay with us. up next inside the confirmation hearing for senator jeff sessions to be attorney general. tomorrow morning on our show, our conversation with senator bernie sanders. we will be speing with him after the show today. we are goingo bring you that interview torrow on "morning joe." we will be right back. ♪ if you're gonna make an entrance... [car driving upon the water] ♪
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43 past the hour. senator jeff sessions' confirmation hearing to be attorney general convenes at 9:30 this morning. yesterday, sessions faced questions from the very committee he has sat on two decades and his record from the 1980s that looms over his nomination. allegations of racial insensitivity during his time as u.s. attorney for southern laem led to a failed 1986 nomination for a federal judgeship. yesterday, protesters, some dressed as ku klux klan members interrupted the hearings nine
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times and sessions defended himself from the allegations of racial insensitivity. >> this caricature of me in 1986 was not correct. i supported as the civil rights attorney said major civil rights cases in my district that integrated schools, that prosecuted the klan, that ended single member districts that denied african-americans the right to hold office. i did everything i was required to d i did not harbor the kind of animosities and race-based discrimination ideas that were -- i was accused of. i did not. >> sessions faced tough questions on a variety of topics including torture, a potential ban on muslims entering the country, and abortion. >> would you support a law that says you can't come to america because you're a muslim? >> no.
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congress has taken an action now that makes it absolutely improper and illegal to use waterboarding or any other form of torture in the united states by our military and by all our other department and agencies. >> you have referred to roe v wade as, quote, one of the worst colossally erroneous supreme court decisions of all time. end quote. is that still your view? >> it is. i believe it's -- it violated the constitution and really attempted to set policy and not follow law. it is the law of the land. it has been so established and settled for quite a long time, and it deserves respect, and i would respect it and follow it. >> jeremy peters, how does a trump team see the sessions hearings going yesterday, even though on some instances, just like general kelly, there seemed
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to be a difference between what he was saying there and what donald trump had said on the campaign trail at different points? >> i think, joe, that the trump team has already, in their minds, moved on from jeff sessions and jim kelly and are intent on focusing on some of the potentially more problematic hearings, the ones involving betsy devos education secretary and andy puzder and steve mnuchin at the treasury department. these are nominees who tch on issues that the democratic base is likely to get very riled up over. >> is that why some of the hearings have been delayed? it seemed like they tried to do too much too fast and they have found that they may be having problems with some of these candidates, some of these selections? is that why they are pushing them off? >> all three of those names,
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mnuchin and devos and pued puzder are all very wealthy people. they say they need more time and democrats are applying pressure saying the nominees are not receiving the proper scrutiny. that is holding it pup in the case of devos, real political problems. the teachers unions, as a trump aide said to me yesterday, see her as an existential threat to them and that is going to complicate their hearings. >> reverend al, jeff sessions' nomination do you think the hearings are being held the right way? >> i was at the hearing yesterday and sat with other civil rights leaders. other than one, i didn't see an aggressive type of questions.
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>> what would be the question? >> i think they should ask him specifically about the cases where he did the indictment of the civil rights, voting rights workers and what was the basis of that, even the jury came right back. i think they should deal with specifically what his votes. he voted in support of things that would bring down what i think is the voting rights act. you can say i didn't say this, i did say that and who knows. you can't argue with your own votes and your own records. and what you did as u.s. attorney and what you did as the state attorney general. and i don't think he was press odd on that. today, when john lewis comes who was beaten on the bridge in selma -- >> i have a feeling he'll have those questions. >> i think also something he has to deal with today is "the washington post" has come out with a letter from mrs. coretta
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scott king wrote against him being a federal judge so he has a lot of issues to deal with today. >> joining us is co-author of "the playbook" jake sherman. good to have you on board this morning. >> questions the past couple of days whether trump's selections were going to fill out all of their financial disclosure forms and do everything that the ethics office had asked of them. are we moving in that direction now with some of these delays that all of trump's nominees will have these forms finished off before they go before the senate on a vote. >> they will. a few points here. the trump team shouldn't really care if these nominations and these hearings get delayed. it doesn't really matter much. it's mostly optics. i want to make a quick point about jeff sessions. the trump team should be dancing in the end zone because today is the really tough day for sessions with john lewis, as reverend al said, cedric
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richmond, of the black caucus. when they come to testify, it's the same day donald trump is going to be giving his press conference. today is a wash. jeff sessions has gotten out of the biggest day of his hearing basically unscathed. it was a pretty friendly affair. even dick blumenthal, the senator from connecticut, who pretty sharp and smart attorney, was relatively light on him. you saw as we discussed last week, the collegiality of the senate because jeff sessions got out of the day basically unharmed. >> steve, if we had a score card on all of trump's cabinet selections, which one, right now, would you go ahead and check off sessions looking like he is going to get through and maybe it sounds like tillerson is probably even, enter what we heard from what they said, he is going to get through. who are you looking at going -- >> keep in mind every time you try to handicap these
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republicans have the vote on paper so you need something that is going to come out with any one of these nominees and move republicans to say i'm going to deny a fellow republican nomination. i thought tillerson was more interesting but i don't think reach that level because of the queson of russia and john mccain and lindsey graham who might want to rough him up to make a point on that issue. i think you might have to look to the guys you mentioned a minute ago like mnuchin for treasury because of how complicated the finances are and i look at those two right now in terms of actually potentially facing something that republicans might say, wait a minute, we can't abide this. i think that is where you got to look. >> i think that is the question, mika, on some of these. republicans are going to go lock step. >> right. >> you look at mnuchin. again, if there are 20 stories coming out of him being accused
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of throwing grandma out for 80 cents delinquent on her rent. that will be interesting. >> jake sherman and jeremy peters, thank you both very much. still ahead, former ambassador michael mcfaul knows a lot about russia even though he ask banned from going there. he joins us on moscow's latest move and how he sees foreign policy playing out under donald trump. we will be back with much more "morning joe." boost
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getting ready for a jam-packed next hour of "morning joe." before you go, reverend al, you have big plans on saturday. tell us about it. >> this saturday at 9:00, we are gathering in washington at 15th and independence and marching to
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the martin luther king memorial to say to the incoming administration and the democrats, don't back up on the things martin luther king. it's king weekend. what he stood for in terms of voting rights and in terms of health care and in terms of criminal justice reform. it's really combining king's dream with barack obama's legacy. thousands of people are coming and kicking off king weekend by putting the administration and the congress on notice. democrats need to show some backbone. that is what this rally is about. >> reverend al, thank you very much. ahead on "morning joe," republican mike lee, who recently said he would not say no to a seat on the supreme court. plus, the senate's number two democrat dick durbin and senator jeff flake said he didn't always agree with the president, i appreciated his service. and senator chris coons. we are back in a moment for a very packed morning. ♪ even while we sleep start here.
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the most important office in the democracy, citizen. that is what our democracy demands. it needs you. if you're tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try talking with one of them in real life. if something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. if you're disappointedy your
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elected officials, grab a ipboard and get some signatures and run for office yourself. >> welcome. >> there you go! >> i know. >> that is a call to action and that is actually -- jean is on set here. gene, for me, there was so many highlights of that speech. for me, that was the greatest thing that he told people, which was stop whining. if you're not happy with what is going on, don't yet at other people. go knock on doors, tell people this is why we democrats deserve to be in office and not republicans. it was a call to action. >> it was a call to action and i thought that was a really fascinating part of this speech. two moments of the speech that riveted my attention. that was one. number one, it was a great civics lesson, right? but it was also political because it kind of touched on
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one of the great fault lines in american politics which is participation. who participates? who goes out and knocks on doors? who works for a candidate who runs and who votes? and, you know, we all know about the two different electorates. one who showed up in two election years for president obama and the electorates in the intervening off year which is completely different. one senator left country and one senator right country. participation is a key thing and i think that is something he is going to be working on in his post-presidential years. and the other moment was the touching salute to the family where there wasn't a dry eye in the nation, you know? when you saw that, you know is in the first black family in the white house, living in the white house had to be a fortress and it had to be a perfect family
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and the obama's really pulled that off. >> they really did. obviously, i've aired it out over the past eight years, and i had concerns about his economic policies and, obviously, i had concern about his foreign policy. but america will forever be indebted to him, steve, for the character that he showed and for the class that he showed and the dignity that he showed and his wife showed and his children showed and the family showed. beyond reproach. their character -- again, i ask all of the people that don't like barack obama, clear your brains of your ideological thoughts. that is what i'm doing right now. as a man, as a husband, as a father, as a person, in his eight years in the white house, his character was beyond reproach.
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what we owe this man and his family for bringing that example to all of our children and our nation. >> i think there is something people are starting to realize now. it took the 2016 election to realize this about barack obama but i think that character that you're talking about, those personal traits that he brought to us, i think -- in a limited way allowed him to talk about the political divide, the re blue divide in a way people didn't presappreciate. not people who voted for barack obama who weren't voting for hillary clinton. if you listen to the attacks on obama no way you would vote for hillary clinton. what they found out there are voters out there who liked and admired barack obama even if they didn't agree with him and they lived in wisconsin and michigan and pennsylvania and they were presented with a different democrat and democrats thought those voters would also vote for hillary clinton and they didn't. there was something about barack
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obama that could talk across that divide, i think a little bit at least. >> i think there was something great how he talked about the way we have been dealing with each other lately over the last few years, online, ideological, red state, blue state. he said if you're fighting with somebody online, on social media, don't fight with them. go out and meet them. he talked about assuming the best of the person across the aisle. there is this thing now where you can't just disagree with somebody, you have to tell them that they are evil. he says, no, assume we all love the country qael. we just feel different ways about how to go forward. i thought that message was really important and hope it takes hold. here is a little bit of it. >> for too many of us, it's become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods, or on college campuses, or places of worship, or especially our social media feeds. surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions and,
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increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles, that we start accepting only information, whether it's true or not, that fits our opinions. instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there. >> david, that is something that affects both republicans and democrats, people on the right, people on the left, and it's one of the reasons why campaigns may be shocked when they wake up the next morning and find out that they lost a part of america they thought they were going to win. you've got to go out and talk to people who disagree with you. >> we often say that barack obama as a president who doesn't really like politics, but i thought we saw last night, the part of politics that he truly loves, which is about engaging change, which is about dealing with this sensitive division in the country. every time i've been with him over the last years and had a
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real conversation, it's come back to this, this anger. he can't figure out a way to bring a divided country together. the president has got to choose how we last see them and their last moment on our national stage. he chose a really an almost perfect moment. the last seconds with his beautiful family, i don't think any of us will ever forget, looking at him, looking at michelle and the way we felt. >> also joining us is a columnist the washingn examiner, christine anderson and former director of the graham talent m.d. commission and at the atlantic council, dr. evelyn farkus joins us as well. a huge day on hearings on capitol hill. rex tillerson goes before the confirmation committee this morning to make his case to be secretary of state. he is expected to face tough questions over his ties to russian president vladimir
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putin, particularly on the heels of that intelligence report reporting that putin ordered a campaign to help president-elect trump. according to remarks released last night, tillerson is expected to call for a clear eyed assessment of the u.s.' relationship with russia. he will argue that russia poses a danger to the u.s. and its allies and its resurgence happened in, quote, the absence of american leadership. tillerson is also expected to face tough questions of the u.s. role in ending the syrian civil war, israeli settlement policy, climate change, and u.s. support for the iranian nuclear deal. >> david ignatius, if you just take the prepared remarks as they pertain to russia, that is music to the ears of the critics who are going to decide whether he becomes secretary of state or not. john mccain, lindsey graham, and especially coming into sharp focus now, marco rubio. that's something that marco
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could have said himself? >> absolutely. that wing of the party is going to really want to know somebody who is going to be soft and conciliatory towards putin who will reinforce the desire the president-elect has, that is for some sort of new amicable buddy/buddy relationship with putin. i think tillerson will show a harder face. tillerson has been leading world class company and has learned i that process how to deal with tough people all over the world, like many members of trump's cabinet. he is a tough guy. you could say the same thing about jim mattis. i think we will see that face as he is quizzed. he is also a smart guy and knows how to run technology and engineering firms. exxon has been involved in iraq and qatar and russia and places with lots of political problems and lots of illegal issues. i think the questioning on those issues will be sharp and we will have to listen to what tillerson
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says. >> the core of the concern we have heard from graham, mccain and rubio is about russia. rex tillerson and exxonmobil had personal relationships in rusch a -- russia and received an award from vladimir putin. senators will be listening for any margin of error where he says -- shows some affinity for vladimir putin. >> no. he has just got to lay it all out there between his business dealings and russia and he needs to be forthright about that and talk about them. and talk about his views of russia right now and that should occupy, you know, a big substantial chunk of the hearing but also other parts of the world that don't have oil. his main experience is with the countries that have got a whole bunch of oil and that will be covered. but i'd be curious when he is
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asked, for example, about north korea and what are -- i'll ask david ignatius, if i can. david, do we have a sense of tillerson's views of world potential hot spots like north korea? >> gene, i don't about north korea. i do know the incoming administration team is focused very much on north korea, fears that north korea is going to be the first test for a trump presidency and is trying to sort through the options that the u.s. would have to make clear to north korea that having a nuclear weapon that can strike the united states is unacceptable. how do they do that? i think a lot of thought is going into that. what tillerson will contribute to that discussion, i can't say. but i think that is topic one. >> let's bring in democratic senator chris coons of delaware. he sat on the judiciary and
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foreign relations committee. senator coons, what do we look to hear from rex tillerson today and especially given this explosive report that is so unconfirmed, it's knots even funny, but it's out there. it might perhaps make your questions on russia even sharper if it's possible. what are you looking for specifically on russia to hear from rex tillerson? >> mika, i was initially alarmed when rex tillerson was announced as the nominee for secretary of state given his long, close working relationship with russia and in particular with vladimir putin. in my hour and a half private meeting with him last week, he gave very strong answers to my very pointed questions about whether he can really transition from running a global oil company and delivering shareholder value from countries that have oil in them to being secretary of state and fighting for america's values for a free press and human rights and ghks and whether he would stand up to putin and see him clearly as a thug and autocrat and opponent
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of western democracies. i'll be asking him similar questions today as will other members of the panel. if he doesn't give strong and firm answers, i think he will struggle to get confirmed. >> did you see that strength and firmness in your private meeting? >> yes, i did. he gave very strong answers about the importance of nato, about holding russia accountable for the massacres in aleppo, the invasion and occupation of crimea in the ukraine and i hope he is as forthcoming in the hearing today. that opens up another problem which is the yawning gap between his statements and president-elect trump. similar challenges emerged in yesterday's hearing for jeff sessions where he gave acceptable answers on a number of issues from muslim ban to torture and the respect of our law preventing tore furor where there is a big gap between what president-elect trump's nominees are saying and his positions, at least during the campaign. >> how do you reconcile that?
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if jeff sessions gave acceptable answers, if rex tillerson gives acceptable answers, i know general kelly gave acceptable answers yesterday, but in all three cases, i suspect they will be different, if not, in fact, at least in tone from the message donald trump delivered to americans over 15 months on the campai trail. how do you reconcile that? >> that is one of our very real challenges. as we move forwards possible confirmation votes we have to dig into the background of these nominees. they are still, in many cases, finishing their edgeics disclosures and financial sdlos disclosures and we have to make a values judgment. jeff sessions to be clear is one of the most conservative senators and he gave a number of answers on civil rights and civil liberties that were very troubling to me. mr. tillerson i think is a widely experienced,
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well-traveled senior citizen business executive but we have different priorities and values when it comes to climate change and the role of human rights and a free press in our foreign policy. so a number of us are going to have to make tough decisions because these gentlemen will be serving president-elect trump and explosive but yet unconfirmed allegations will make this an even more important hearing today. >> dr. evelyn farkas, i know you are aware of this report that is unreportable that is a report that is unconfirmed. weeks ago. what would keep you from jumping on the phone and perhaps calling and telling us about it and coming on the show? what was the barrier there? >> first of all, i think while this is a bombshell there is a reason and i really encourage senator coons to ask rex tillerson about his approach to intelligence, would he listen to the intelligence professionals? will he get briefed? i'm very worried that this administration will go out. i went up to the hill to actually talk to them with bwhat
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i've been hearing from my various sources at the beginning of december, because i was worried that this administration would leave without telling congress everything it knows. and there is much more, i think, behind the bombshell. whether this report is credible or not, the intelligence community was telegraphing to president-elect trump that the russians have information on him, whether it's true or not, they have information on him, they are willing to use it. and also that he should pay attention to his intelligence professionals. so i guess the question for senator coons is, you know, you've done a great job on the committee, i know that you're going to work really hard to make sure that rex tillerson gives you guys the assurances you need that he is going to put the u.s. national security interests first and foremost, ahead of academic interests and thepresident-elect's personal interests, perhaps. bui hope that you'll also be le to ask him, and i guess the question is will you also press him on the use of intelligence, getting intelligence briefings and getting all of the information that he needs on
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russia and what russia is doing to target the incoming administration, as well as the campaigns. >> yes. and i'll be watching very closely what president-elect trump says today in his first press conference. it's critical that he both distance himself from his potential conflicts of interests by explaining to the american people how he is going to come clean, how he is going to release his tax and how he is going to sever his ties to potentially conflicting business interests. and he needs to speak directly to his very troubling and very now long pattern of overly positive statements about putin and his seeming blind spots to putin's threat to the united states and, in particular, the cyber attack that affected the american presidential election. i am expecting, hoping that rex tillerson is comfortably clear about the importance of the american intelligence communities and his respect for them as independent and nonpartisan professionals and his intention to rely on their professional advice. >> okay. >> all right.
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thank you very much, senator chris coons. we greatly appreciate it. christine, in your latest piece from "the washington examiner," entitled "the disrupter cabinet." you write in part this. i guess you're saying hold your fire? >> what i'm saying is there are going tor a lot of folks coming through the senate the next couple of days and weeks who are not your conventional type of pick for these positions p.m. somebody like betsy devos coming in in education. she is considered a disrupter he in that field, calls herself a disrupter in her own biography and deeply hard for teach
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unions andex tillerson also. these are folks not conventional. my encouragement for folks in the senate to realize america voted for a wrecking ball and voted for a disruption and doing things dramatically different than before gives me a little heartburn and a little pause but i think that is what this election was all about. it will be interesting for me to see how the senate grapples with so many thefs nominees who do come from fairly intentional backgrounds for the positions they have been nominated. >> steve, let me ask you a question. how did the senators, the country reconcile the fact that you have general kelly going up and actually saying things far different than what donald trump said on the campaign trail on the wall and then on the muslim ban? and then jeff sessions saying something different regarding the muslim ban than what donald
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trump said most of his campaign. and the same thing you will have with rex tillerson. you can look at it one way, these people will be a moderating influence on donald trump or you could look at it another way they are saying what they have to to get through. >> it was interesting watching the sessions' conference yesterday. you're telling us you will follow the law as congress has written it, as it's been enacted into law. but what happens if a president trump, if your boss were to come to you and say i want to do it this way or i actually -- i'm actually, you know, want to go sort counter to what your policy has been. and basically asking him about his willingness to stand up to a president he might disagree with on something that fundamental. one striking mok where jeff sessions said if it came to that it would be my duty to resigns attorney general. i suspect -- i don't know how much you can really -- you're ultimately taking these nominees
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at their word but i expect that is all you can get, basically a recognition if a situation like that emerges that the attorney general understands the gravity of is it. >> traditionally and typically, let's take rex tillerson, for example. a secretary of state is not carrying out his own foreign policy but carrying out the foreign policy of the commander in chief of the president of the united states. in this case it's interesting because donald trump has no foreign policy experience so the people around him prep assumably have more expertise in the field they are carrying out than he does. could they be influences on him? in other words, is it not prurl directed from the white house that donald trump is telling rex tillerson what to do or is rex tillerson saying, mr. president, i think we should do this and he can shape and mold the foreign policy? it's not just pure donald trump? >> it's going to be this is who i am because he has -- this is going to be so fascinating in so many ways to watch this. >> gene, one example we have general mattis actually talking to him for five minutes on torture. >> yeah. >> and donald trump changing his
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mind. >> and i'm not saying that is definitive the way things are going to work but this guy has, in the past, surrounded himself with experts listened to. >> you put your finger on one issue that is ongoing which is that donald trump is changeable. he has taken various positions on various issues at various times in the campaign and in the post-campaign, and so which is the real position? right? you know, he was for torture and against torture and i assume he is against it because his attorney general is against it. >> you could say the same to some news organization, what is the real story? what is the real story? is there a story there or not a story there because they want to put out there because they hate him so much, or is t intelligenceommunity literally putting the screws to donald trump because he insulted them? so many layers happening here. >> lots of possibilities. >> a lot of possibilities.
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>> there are a lot of possibilities. i think you also look -- >> it's so outlandish that we ought to be so careful. >> you talk about the disrupters going on the hill. i think you look at the arc what is happening from the very beginning to right now. at the beginning he was talking about putting, say john bolton in at secretary of state and rudy giuliani and ended up with rex tillerson. the department of homeland security talking about somebody who actively had a muslim registry and ended up with kelly. it seems when he is given a lot of alternatives he does shift his position. and at least over the last month or two in many ways, if you look at these picks, towards a more moderate stance. >> sure. and i think for the whole time during the presidential campaign, folks kept asking when is donald trump going to pivot? when is he going to turn that corner and become presidential? we were all waiting and the pivot never came.
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in terms of presidential tone it's hard to imagine donald trump giving an address similar to the one we saw president obama last night or an address like a george w. bush type of address. donald trump certainly is going to break a lot of norms and i think is unlikely to pivot and become traditionally presidential on things like style. but in terms of policy, it seems as though he is very willing to listen to people around him that he trusts and to the extent that those folks are people like reince priebus and mike pence, they are able to, i think, steer him on some issues in a direction that is a little more conventionally republican so it remains to be seen how much steering can occur and how much friction will be raeted created and reduced between the white house and cabinet and capitol hill as we move forward the next four years. >> let's bring in arizona senator jeff flake. he siton the two committees that seem to matter the most right now regarding jeff sessions and also rex tillerson. david ignatius is in washington.
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jeff, we will start with the first question. mr. ignatius? >> i want to ask whether you have personally been concerned by any of what you've read or heard about the president-elect and russia and his positions on russia. what are the questions you're going to want to push with rex tillerson to make sure that u.s./russia policy stays on a steady appropriate course? >> i think anyone would be concerned if the documents turn out to be verified but they are unverified. in fact, seem to contain some falsehoods that have been pointed out already. obviously, in the hearing, these questions are going to come up. i suppose by the time it gets to me, they will have been asked many times but if there are other things to explore about the russian relationship, i'll certainly bring it up. but i've met with mr. tillerson and i've been impressed with the answers he has given me and i assume he'll give the same answers to the committee that
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he'll put his past aside in terms of arguing for shareholders and for the best interest of the company, and put his experience and knowledge to good use for the country. >> senator flake, it's willie geist. in your meeting with rex tillerson, did you feel he had a grasp of the world beyond russia? we all understand his business relationships and ties to russia but places north korea and the middle east and syria and where he and donald trump would take our country in regards to those places? >> i think it's hard for anyone to have a grasp of every region that is going on but he is a very smart man and done business in a lot of countries and has an inquisitive mind. i was impressed by that. i'm particularly concerned about africa. i am on that committee so i asked several questions what the u.s. is doing there and where he thinks we are being effective with our s diplomacy and where we could be more effective
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and i was impressed byis answers. he's a knowledgeable man and i think he is inquisitive and that will certainly help. >> senator flake, i don't want you to give away anything classified, obviously. but just looking at the report, based on what i know, some of the information in there does ring plausible. and the fact that the intelligence community would bring this to the president-elect does seem to indicate that some of it may, in fact, be plausible, may, in fact, be verifiable. what do you say to that? >> i think donald trump will address that at 11:00 at his press conference. i'm sure that he'll be asked and just because it seems plausible doesn't mean that we ought to run with it. so i think that he'll be asked that and probably will answer it. >> steve? >> senator flake, this is steve kornacki. i'm curious, too, just in terms of the republicans and how they
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approach these hearings, specifically the rex tillerson hearing, is there an opportunity here for some republicans who may be just in terms of the philosophy of the u.s. relationship with russia, the u.s. relationship with putin, donald trump has talked about putting that relationship on a different track. that i know makes a lot of republicans uncomfortable. is the tillerson hearing an opportunity for republicans to use these hearings to deliver a message to donald trump about where they would like to see him go when it comes to russia and putin? >> i certainly expect that to happen. marco rubio is on the committee and he has very strong thoughts about our russian relationship. i'm sure that you'll hear that from him. rand paul has been outspoken about our role in the world. he is on the committee. we will hear that. and like i said for those on who chair committees, regional committe, like mysf with rica, there will be questions about u.s. policy toward those regions. and it isn't always questions as you mentioned.
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i have certain opinions with regard to cuba. i think the opening there has been good. i've asked mr. tillerson about that in private and i'll probably have some questions in public as well. >> gene? >> senator flake, gene robinson. as chairman of exxon, mr. tillerson has had to make a lot of deals with a lot of autocrats and your interest in africa the family that runs guinea. places where there is oil, he has dealt with them. did you get a sense that he is sort of shifting his approach to one that would be more appropriate, frankly, for a secretary of state? we don't always deal with dictators in the way that an oil company executive might. our interest is not just to protect the interest of the shareholders, it's, you know, it's the government of the united states. >> very much so. he said as much directly that in
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the past, he has represented the shareholders of exxon and in the future, he'll represent the state department, the president, and the american people. i do think that it's certainly a different role, but having said that, exxonmobil had various programs of corporate responsibilities in africa, some of which i think have been effective with regard to malaria and i think that he brings some experience that will be useful from the state department there. >> senator jeff flake, thank you so much for being on the show this morning. evelyn farkas and david ignatius and kristen anderson, thank you all for being on our program. coming up reince priebus. you're watching "morning joe." studies show that toms have the highest average earning potential over their professional lifetime. see? uh, it's a girl. congratulations! two of my girls are toms. i work for ally, finances are my thing.
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right now let's bring in incoming chief of staff to the white house reince priebus and with us is also tom brokaw.
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thank you both for being with us. >> you bet. >> there was an explosion last night. >> but nobody can talk about it bauts it because it's not confirmed or verified. >> what is the president-elect's response to the buzzfeed and cnn reports and will he talk about them at 11:00 today in his press conference? >> well, i mean, the buzzfeed memo is total complete garbage is what it is. i -- look. buzzfeed, themselves, said it was garbage. "the new york times" would not even print the document because it was unverifiable. tens of thousands of retired agents around the world and you got some agent, somewhere, maybe in the uk who hangs a shingle and says pay me a rate. i'm going to do opposition research. he or she does a memo. the thing circulates for months and it's unsubstantiated and viola, it shows up. i talked to michael cohen, the basis of this entire report is
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michael cohen who works for the trump organization went to prague and had a meeting with russian agents. he had never been to prague in his life. i don't know what it says about the report. in fact, the coach of usc baseball in southern california said, wait a second, he wasn't in prague. he was with me in southern california with his son. the guy has never been to prague. >> there are parts of southern california that are prague-like. >> wait. on top of it, this is serious. because we are really hot about this. i said, okay, michael, give me your passport. i want to see it. so he gave me the passport. i looked at the passport and i questioned him. he had never been to prague. have you been to eastern europe? have you ever talked to anyone that you thought was a russian? have you ever had a conversation -- nothing. it never happened. and here we are. here we are with -- it's not u.s. intelligence document. i was in the room, okay, on
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friday. the first i heard of all of this salacious garbage is when someone printed out this document last night, so it's not like we are sitting around talking about hotel rooms and meetings in prague for four days now and, suddenly, we are acting like, oh, my gosh, this is crazy. it never happened. >> gene robinson? >> then why did intelligence officials apparently include a two-page summary of this report that you say is total garbage with the intelligence briefing? why would they even bother if it's totally beyond the pail? >> because it's classified, i have to answer it this way. it's up to you to find out whether this buzzfeed article is included in anything, okay? so what i'm telling you, you have to understand what i can say and can't say, what i'm telling you is that the first i saw this document, the first
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that i saw these salacious details, and you know which ones i'm talking about, and these secret meetings, was last night. >> so the two-page summary was different? >> i can't -- >> did it not cover this ground? >> i can't -- i can't -- >> you know i can't get into that. what i can tell you is it's based on garbage. it's total crap. >> just for our viewers, you can't get into that, why? >> because it's classified information. honestly, i can't even verify whether there is -- i can't even verify whether the two-page document exists. here is the deal. what i'm telling you there was no craziness in russia. there was no meeting in prague. this was opposition research done by some campaign or operative that somehow leaked out. it is not an intelligence document. cohen has never been to prague. >> all right. >> and all of this stuff isn't
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even fit to print in "the new york times." >> i want to get tom brokaw and willie geist. >> two thgs. with all due respect if you can't comment on it and it's classified but at this point you're taking it down in very vivid language, aren't you a violation of what the rules are for saying that kind of thing? >> no, no. you can ask me whether these salacious details were discussed and i can answer no. >> all right. >> this has been around for a while. i first heard about it four months ago. >> right. >> and it had a fair amount of detail and we have been chasing it and a lot of other news agencies have been as well and never been able to close the book on it. >> right. >> we did take it, richard engel and i have been working on it. we did take it at one point. very senior american intel official said, i have no idea there is something like this going on. it's not even reportable because we don't have the verification of the various charges that were
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there. so it's been around. and a number of organizations have been looking at it for sometime. i was surprised when it showed up in this form. they got to the intel agencies and they included it in a report to the president without any kind of conclusion about the veracity of it. i think from the organizational point of view they have a legitimate claim here. >> willie? >> reince, was there anything in that presentation from the intel community to president-elect trump the other day that suggested there was some potentially compromising personal information that rang true to the president-elect? did he recognize any of it? and, if so, how concerned was he about it? >> so i didn't hear any of those crazy things that are in that report. and i can tell you last night when this came out i mean, look. he would tell you the same thing i'm telling you that this is total complete garbage about him personally. it's embarrassing.
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it's disgusting. it's not true. and, unfortunately, i think y'all understand this because you cover every second of politics the last year and a half, i just have to say, unfortunately, i have to say, th folks here are just starting to get used to this kind of craziness that comes up. you get used to it in your daily life and you become teflon what are we going to do? here is another thing, here is the game plan and deal with it. >> why wouldn't the president-elect say to the intelligence agencies i want you to run this down and clear it up and present to the public with a clean slate? if it's not true, if it's all all that you say it is, why doesn't he tell the intel agencies i want you to run this down to the last period and any of the statements that have been made and make it clear to the public? like fbi director comey did with the questions about the e-mails for hillary clinton, they took three days and went through them and came out and said there is nothing to it. >> we are going to be there in
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nine days and in the release that president-elect trump put out on friday in the last paragraph, we say that -- and he said we are going to do a full examination of this entire episode. we are going to have a report in 90 days after taking office as to this issue and potentially what our reaction needs to be, based on the things we have been talking about over the last several weeks, and we are going to do that. he is going to do that as president of the united states. but as to the buzzfeed memo, this is not an intel document. the intelligence community doesn't hand -- you all know when you see these documents what an intel document is like. it's not. >> it's not even classified and it's opposition research that republicans running against donald trump generated and then democrats running against donald trump generated. willie has a quick question. i know you're out of your window. we apologize. one more quick question. >> it sounds based on what you said not just the buzzfeed
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report but the cnn report is also wrong is what you're saying? no two-page summary presented to the flcket? president-elect? >> i can't. listen, i can't get into that. all i can tell you is that the buzzfeed memo, the salacious details in that memo, all of those things are total phony baloney garbage and it never happened. it isn't true. and what created the buzzfeed article and, i think, most of what cnn has been talking about, i'm not watching it 24/7 is based on this document from this opposition research guy that is -- it's based on nothing. it's not true. we are stuck with b we have got to answer it. >> i'm going to stick with you on this one for now, because i agree. thank you very much. i know you have to go. >> you bet. >> thank you, reince. greatly appreciate it. >> thank you. >> tom, i agree, you and engel everybody should work on stories
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that look like they are worth looking into and we should continue to do so. when you can triple source it and you have evidence then you have a story. right now there is no story here. and i think the people who are going with it at this point and even if we continue this conversation we are a part of it, but the two outlets going with this and releasing it are continuing to make the same mistakes they have made in the run-up to this election which is let their bias get in the way of actually finding out what facts are and putting them out there. this is the whole -- the whole thing has felt wrong from the beginning of this show. >> i question willie. he has a good question. i do believe if there were no two-page summary, i think he could have said that, right? i don't think it's a felony to say that. >> he can say this is the first time he heard about it was last night. the first time he knew about any of this was last night. he also said he was there in the meeting. the question is if you were
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there in the meeting and you were not given something, i think you would not be violating any laws by saying i was never given that. >> i donhink that would a violation of the law. >> i think that is the idea because he was able to say we were not told go. >> right. >> but he did not say i never read it. >> the possibility there was a two-page of something. it doesn't have a lot of this information in it that was presented. he left that open. we don't know. >> this is around in a tertiary way so long and hard for me to believe the trump campaign had not heard these stories as well. over the weekend, i was with a corporate pao who had been talking about something and then he said to me, what about the russian story? he had all of these kind of, quote, details. i said how did you hear? he said, "it's around a lot." it's not something that just suddenly popped up. it's been out there in the underground for a couple of months. this is not unusual in a
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presidential campaign that this kind of thing pops up. richard ran it down hard in europe and other places and has never been able to tie it off at this point. >> tom brokaw, thank you very much. still ahead, we will be joins by republican senator mike lee and senate democrat dick durbin. we are back in a moment. afoot and light-hearted i take to the open road. healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever i choose. the east and the west are mine. the north and the south are mine. all seems beautiful to me.
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democracy, freedom and the rule of law are under attack around the world. a rising tide of authorize terrorism and american diplomats -- >> that was hillary clinton speaking yesterday, joining john kerry and warning of the rise of the authoritarianism over the world. joining us now, german ambassador to the united states. very good to have you onboard this morning. >> good to be here. >> your reaction to hillary clinton's comments? >> it's a challenge for the whole of the west, and we see it in europe happening, and it's important that we count this as a western alliance, and that's an important point for strong
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nato, and we want to be good allies with the united states in the framework of a strong nato, and we have to be a resilient set of democracies, or so in the european union and that's why we do our best to make the european union together with the usa a strong set of countries challenging and countering our challenges, terrorism, a new assertive russia, and also economic resilience. >> yesterday we had the president of the council of foreign relations on, and he talked about how europe over the past several years has gone from going from the liberal democracy to being under threat by many of the forces hillary clinton was talking about right there, and we have seen it in germany. what is the state of europe right now? is it -- are we over playing the
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affects of brexit and the election of donald trump? >> well, the stakes are high for europe. we have had to face a lot of challenges. the refugee crisis and brexit and et cetera, and it's important to remember the european union is not just an economic club, it's a peace project and it's probably the most successful peace project in the his tory of europe, and it provided stability and prosperity, so there's a lot at stake. what we hope is that stronger lines with the new administration, and counter the threat of terrorism, and counter a new assertive russia, and make our economies prosperous together. so those are the stakes for us. >> part of the pressure that chancellor merkel is feeling domestically and internally in
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germany is from the policy of accepting refugees, and nearly 1 million over the last two years, there's blowback from inside germany. does she acknowledge or believe the policy over the last two years has been a mistake? >> she took that decision together with the government and with the support of the vast majority or the people, it was a totally extraordinary situation in 2015. it was a human catastrophe. hundreds and millions at our door steps and we could not have decided otherwise, and we could not have deported those people back to greece or italy or austria, and i think she did the right thing, and now the numbers today are dramatically down. we are in control of the people coming in, and they are properly vetted, and now the situation is more ordinarily and more regular.
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>> post brexit, germany has an even bigger leadership role in europe, i would argue. how does that sit with the german public? is that an uncomfortable place for the germans to be? >> we are a political powerhouse and a decisive country politically speaking, and chancellor merkel now, if i may say so the last man standing in terms of the leader in europe, and we also know in europe you cannot lead alone, you can only lead as a team, and you have got to bring along small and big, north and south, and it's a challenge, b chancellor merkel so far has risen up to that challenge. >> thank you very much for being on the show. good to have you with us. still ahead, much more on the jam packed weakek unfolding
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now in the political world, and we are hours away from donald trump's first press conference as president-elect, and he is pushing back against the allegations of ties with russia. trump's pick for secretary of state, rex tillerson takes the hot seat. things are expected to get tougher for sessions today, and more from president obama's farewell speech last night. and then we are going to replay a conversation we had with priebus earlier, and come righted back to us and we will have a lot of reaction live at the top of 8:00. see you in a few minutes. ♪ ♪
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nobody has sourced it, and they are all unnamed spoken
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sources and it was based on a russian investigator -- >> it was based on an mi-6 russian investigator. >> yeah, one of those. and it also said groups that wanted hillary clinton to win may have been behind the investigation as well, and most importantly, the fbi said it's trying to confirm this, and i have to say, you should be concerned intelligence officials leaked to the press and won't go and tell the president-elect or president obama himself, mr. obama, what the information was. >> but the report -- the press report was about them going to the president. >> and it says they never briefed him on it and they appended it two -- >> i believe it said they did brief him on it. >> he said he is not aware of that. >> okay, that concerns me.
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>> welcome to "morning joe." it's wednesday, january 11th. we have mike barnicle and gene robinson. you said something stood out to you with reince priebus. >> what i heard. we will play it again. i heard him indicate he was in the room last friday when the intel heads briefed the president-elect and he did not hear them elude to this report that is -- that buzzfeed put out and that cnn reported on last night, and it was not given to the president-elect last friday. >> see. i heard that, too, kind of. i thought he was sort of noncommittal on the question of whether there was a two-page
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appendix, and so perhaps he was saying it was there but not talked about, and it was unclear. >> similar to what kellyanne conway just said, he is not aware of it, and that's the quote from her about this last friday. >> and reince priebus saying he was not told of it at the meeting. was there a two-page addendum? was it given to him and nobody else? we don't know. that's the only ambiguity, and one thing reince said, donald trump was not briefed on it. >> he said i can't even verify there was a two-page -- he did not say there was not a two-page report. and one thing, the press conference three hoursm now with donald trump is setting up to be a doozy, and the
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president-elect has been up tweeting about this all morning, and his most recent one, intelligence agencies should never have allowed the fake news to leak into public, and one last shot at me, and he goes on, are we living in nazi, germany? that's from the president-elect. >> boy, and what is the quote from "anchor man "? >> i'm a really big deal. >> that escalated quickly. >> you know what? what are the people supposed to think right now, especially the news agencies that actually are reporting this? i think we need to take a step back. >> we don't know who leaked the report. >> it's irresponsible. >> we don't know if it was intelligence -- >> we don't know if they -- >> it's irresponsible. >> we don't know if it was leaked, and if there's a
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two-page addendum out there, and we will find out if that's the case or not in short order, and it's important to remember this document -- and dan was talking about this last night or this morning, this document is not even classified. somebody went to an opposition researcher who spread this story and spread it not only to republicans that were running against donald trump, but tom brokaw just told us that he learned the information from a democratic operative, so how did this, quote, leak out? well, it's not qualified. >> tom brokaw said this has been kicking around for a few months, and therefore it leaks out, right. it happen >> you are in the business, gene, and we e all in the business, and we heard these rumors for months and months and months about donald trump, and
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about personal stuff included in the buzzfeed report and specifically about money stuff and russia and the rumors have been floating out there for months and nothing has been nailed down or cube rated. >> and they are saying how did this one guy in london, this one opposition researcher being paid for those against trump, how is he the one entail officer in all of the world that has the secrets. did the russians say, yeah, come on, and let us show you what you would like to peruse through the aisles? i think it does strain credibility. >> yeah, you know, there's a lot of stuff in that unclassified document, right, and he
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mentioned the possible financial entanglements the donald trump may have with russia, and this has been a question all along, and a lot of reputable news agencies have been working on it and i think at some point stories will surface of what is known and verifiable about financial connections and what is not, and i guess we wouldn't what is not, but if there's something there i have a feeling it's going to come out. you can't nail this stuff down. >> which is why reince priebus just pushed back moments ago. trump's incoming chief of staff strongly denied the allegations years worth of contract between his campaign, him, and the russian government. here's a little interview with reince priebus. >> with total respect, if you can't comment on it and it's classified but you are at this point taking it down in very vivid language, so aren't you in violation of what the rules are for saying that kind of thing?
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>> no, you can ask me whether these salacious details were discussed and i can answer no. >> this has been around for a while, and i first heard about it four months ago and it had a fair amount of detail and we have been chasing it and a lot of other news agencies have as well and never been able to close the book on it. we did take it -- richard angle and i have been working on it, and it has not been reportable because we don't have the verification of the various charges that were there, so it has been around and a number of organizations have been looking at it for sometime. i was surprised when it showed up in this form, where they got to the intel agencies and they included it in a report to the president without any kind of conclusion about the veracity of it, so i think from a temporal
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organization view, they have a legitimate claim there. >> was there anything that suggested that there was potentially compromising personal information that rang true to the president-elect? did he recognize in any of it? if so, how concerned was he about it? >> i did not hear about any of the crazy things in the report, and i can tell you last night when this came out, look, he would tell you the same thing i'm telling you, that this is total comple garbage about him personally. it's embarrassing and it's disgusting and it's not true, and unfortunately, and i think you would all understand as you would cover every second of politics for the last year and a half, and unfortunately, i have to say the folks here are just starting to get used to this kind of craziness that comes up that is just not -- you get used to it in your daily life and you
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almost become teflon to it and you think here's the game plan. >> why wouldn't the president-elect say to the intelligence agencies i want you to run it down and clear it up and present the public with a clean slate, if it's not true, and if it's all you say it is why doesn't he tell the intel agencies i want you to run it down to any of the last period and any of the statements that have been made and make it clear to the public? comey did that with the e-mails from hillary clinton, they took three days and came out and then said, there's nothing to it. >> we will be there in nine days, and in the release that president-elect trump put out on friday, in the last paragraph we say -- and he said, we are going to do a full examination of this entire episode and we are going to have a report in 90 days after taking office as to this issue, and potentially what our reaction needs to be based on
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the things that we have been talking about over the last several weeks, and we are going to do that, and he is going to do that as president of the united states. but as to the buzzfeed memo, this is not an intel document. the intelligence community doesn't hand -- you all know when you see these documents what an intel document looks like. >> it's research those running against donald trump generated, and democrats against donald trump generated. i know you are out of your window and we're sorry. >> the cnn report is also wrong, is that what you are saying, there was no two-page summary presented to the president-elect? >> i can't -- listen, i can't get into that. all i can tell you is that the buzzfeed memo, the salacious details in that memo, all of those things are total phoney bologna garbage.
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it never happened and it isn't true. what created the buzzfeed article and, i think, most of what cnn has been talking about -- i am not watching it 24/7 -- is based on this document from this opposition research guy that is based on nothing. it's not true. >> you know, mike, there was a part earlier this morning, a couple hours earlier, one part of this should be tracked down is the report that you had -- that trump associates, like michael cohen meeting with a secret meeting in prague. why is it always prague where there is secret meet stphgz >> if you are going to go somewhere -- >> yeah, that's right, there was. >> prague, the city of secrets. >> yeah, and it's a city of meetings that never happened and i said that three hours ago, and so here suddenly michael cohen saying i never been to progress
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in my life, and reince priebus says i asked him to show me his passport and he never has been to europe. >> we have must-watch tv with the press conference. the president-elect has a plateful of assertions that have been made that he has to address and ought to be addressed. >> mika? >> yep. >> handed donald trump a big fat gift on his first press conference -- >> they won't ask him anything he has to be answering. >> he would have been asked about sessions and -- >> foreign policy. >> this is what we have been warning the media about since the morning he came down the escalator, and it's on tape. you overreach, and you play into his hands.
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the press has played into their hands again. he goes to the press conference -- >> oh, my god. >> and the media created a circus, and when there is a circus, he's the winner. >> well, we will see. >> you understand what i am saying? >> i understand what you are saying. i think most news organizations were presented with a very difficult question last night, right, because this thing gets published on buzzfeed and gets instantaneous global distribution and it's out there, and news organizations have been working generally on the story, and that certainly believed they confirmed the question of this two-page addendum being added, and thus having been presented in the intelligence briefing, i think were compelled to go with that story, and that's as far as most news organizations -- >> i totally agree, and i don't
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think it was buzzfeed, i think it was when cnn picked up the buzzfeed story, and at that point -- >> i can't -- "the new york times," everybody in the wld has to go with it. i can't speak for cnn or buzzfeed -- >> they don't have to go with it. >> yeah, you have to -- cnn has the report. that's legitimate. you will report that cnn has this story, and that's -- >> has what story? >> i don't think you can say, you know, the media at large has given him a gift. >> i am talking specifically about cnn and buzzfeed. >> okay. and i just think there will be journalist at that news conference who want to talk about a range of things, and obviously this, you know, big headlines and bright and shiny object is going to be the first question, but it won't be the last question. i certainly hope -- >> this in the "new york times," they have it right at the fold,
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not below the fold, trump was told of claims russia had damaging details on him, and right now willie, that, of course -- i don't know that it's in question. reince did not say he was told of it at the meeting, and "the times" are reporting there are two intel officials with knowledge saying there was a report. >> and reince telling us he could not confirm it. there's a reason that tom brokaw and richard angle have known about it. it was an unsubstantiated claim, and if the new standard from one news organization last night wants to put it out there and let the people decide, that's
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crazy. >> here's the nugget that will come into question. the two-page summary, first reported by cnn was presented as an appendix to the intelligence agencies report with the alleged russian hacking, and we don't know whether that was true whether it was presented to him or not. >> we don't know that to be true, but that has been reported by the new york times and the "washington post" reported it. >> it's based on the cnn report. >> no. >> let me read because we have an answer to that. the chief of american intelligence agencies present donald trump and president obama with reports where there are two officials of the briefing said, and if the new york times put that in their lead i suspect
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"the new york times" has verified that part of the story. later they talk about cnn, and the thing is, though, it's important for people who now have say why did all the press run with this because they are unsubstantiated reports, and when it's on cnn at night and they are talking about it at night i think the press has to at least say this is what is being reported out there and we can't substantiate it, and the only thing "the new york times" and "the posts" is saying out there, the only thing we can substantiate is there's a two-page addendum added to this. i would suggest, mika, and you may disagree here -- >> i do. >> -- when the intelligence agencies f. they did put a two-page addendum to the end of his security briefing on russia, if they did that, that is news. >> what i disagree with is just because cnn is running with a
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story doesn't mean you all jump around it because they could be wrong and until you have your own sources and own evidence and your own reporting, don't do it. >> right, but people went with what they could report on their own sources. >> this is a mess, and i am embarrassed. if there's a story, great, i can't wait. >> hold on to the instantaneous global duh seu de-sim -- >> the question is this. did the intel agencies attach opposition research to a security briefing on a russian question that is central to america's security, cyber security? that's the question. if it's answer they did, then the question becomes, willie, why did the intel agencies -- mika, can i finish, please?
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>> there are other reasons. >> this is a critical question. again, we are trying to sort it out for the viewers. then the question becomes if that is answered yes, they did, then the question is why would the intel agencies attach an unsubstantiated report to something that they knew would leak out eventually? that becomes the question, i think. >> the british intelligence officer is considered competent and reliable and ties to russia, and maybe they thought he was reliable enough you should know this is out there. doesn't mean they confirmed it, but they just wanted him to know and president obama and his gang of eight senators to know this is in the atmosphere. >> we should be concerned, however to, joe's point, if there was no other reason to attach it other than the source
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was somebody we know and seems to be generally reliable, if there was any sort of credibility or not even confirmation but an indication that se of this might be true, and there was none of that, then it's a very good question as to why you would attach something like that to an intelligence briefing? >> you would attach something like that, because your job for your client, the president-elect of the united states is to make him aware of anything and everything that might affect his position. >> but, mike, they would not have done that with barack obama. let's not pretend they would have done that with obama or george w. bush, somebody would have taken him aside and said i want you to know -- fill in the blank. they know when they attached it, what happened would happen. >> again, the attachment, whatever it was, two pages, whatever it was, we have kellyanne conway saying about
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it, that speaking about donald trump, he's not aware of it. okay? we have reince priebus, the incoming chief of staff saying earlier this morning, i was in the room and i never heard that. so what did they do? we don't know what they did. >> we have to go to mike lee, and it's hard to believe that kellyanne conway, donald trump, and all of these other people were not aware of this rumor that tom brokaw and the "washington post" and the "new york times" and everybody else was chasing around for the past six months. you knew about it for the last six months, and i suspect they did know about it but not in the briefing, though. >> republican senator mike lee of utah, what a morning to have you on, sir. >> mike, it's always great talking to you. senator, we want to go to the confirmation hearings that you were part of yesterday that matter, and first i have to let you weigh in on the issue of the moment, and that's the report from cnn and buzzfeed of this
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wild tale that has been unconfirmable for the past six months by people in the media? >> yeah, i have not read the memo. i didn't know about it until a little while ago and i know little about it and i wish i could give you more on that, joe, but i am just not familiar with this. >> let's talk about jeff sessions. tough questioning yesterday. i will ask you what i asked chris coops and others, how do you balance what jeff sessions said yesterday in front of your committee with what donald trump said on the campaign trail, because sometimes the two are not in exact alignment? >> sure. well, look, i can say this, and i know jeff sessions well and he has been one of my favorite colleagues over the last six years, and he and i don't always agree and there are issues where we disagree, and i found him to be unique in the senate and he
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shows respect to every colleague, and he was extremely well prepared yesterday and i think he will make a good attorney general. >> senator lee, it's willie gei geist, good morning, and what do you make of booker appearing to speak up in opposition of his colleague, senator sessions? >> i work closely with senator booker. he and i-teamed up on legislation, and i consider him a friend and i look forward to what he has to say, and i am not sure what he is going to say, whether he is going to speak broadly or specifically, and it wouldn't surprise me if he came -- it would surprise me if he came wi paerpbersonal attack and i am looking forward to the testimony and i am not sure what it's going to include. >> do you agree it's --
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>> i wonder if he is coming to speak broadly about a topic perhaps related to the work in the department of justice and not specifically on senator sessions. >> what is your current relationship with the incoming administration, and what is your attitude towards how he is handling the transition right now? >> look, like many americans, including those who supported mr. trump and those who didn't, i look forward to seeing what this president can do. he has won the election, and i think we need to give him the opportunity to step in and to do good things for the american people, to return power back to the people where it has been taken away from them. i am optimistic, and ready to do my job in event from the legislative branch. >> are conservatives on the hill going to push back from what appears to be a onslaught of big
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republicanism where we saw where the national debt was doubled and all fiscal discipline was thrown out the window, and we, of course, can talk about medicare part d and a lot of other things unfunded and do you have a group of conservatives that are going to push back against bthat? >> yeah, and there are many that want to make sure we don't relive that experience, and it was a time that put more power and money and influence in washington and it's one of the many reasons why six of our nations ten wealthiest counties are now suburbs of washington, d.c. in an area that manufactures nothing and is not a banking hub or tech innovation hub, and the money is here because the power is here concentrated among the hands of a few elites here in the beltway. >> senator mike lee, thank you
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very much for being on this morning. we have a packed show this morning. ahead, we get set for another big day of confirmation hearings, including rex tillerson that gets under way at 9:00 a.m. on capitol hill in half an hour, and plus donald trump's news conference at 11:00 this morning. we will be joined by democratic senator, dick durbin, and rick steen tkpwul, and -- >> you know he is not allowed in russia.
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tadirectv now. stream all your entertainment! anywhere! anytime! can we lose the 'all'. there's no cbs and we don't have a ton of sports. anywhere, any... 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. only xfinity gives you more to stream to any screen. president-elect trump, beware of the russian bear, if we get a vote for russian sanctions and the president is resistant, that would bother me. he seems to get iran and china and north korea, and i am perplexed about him and russia.
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>> we are half an hour away from the next session on capitol hill. up next, we will bring in the senate most powerful democrat, dick durbin joins us when "morning joe" returns. with my moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, the possibility of a flare was almost always on my mind. thinking about what to avoid, where to go... and how to deal with my uc. to me, that was normal. until i talked to my doctor. she told me that humira helps people like me get uc under control and keep it under control when certain medications haven't worked well enough. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis.
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rex tillerson put exxon's interests before america's.. i'm not here to represent the us government's interest. instead, tillerson sided with putin. with billions in russian oil deals... he opposed us sanctions on russia... ...for war crimes forced to pay hundreds of millions for toxic pollution... ...putting profits ahead of our kid's health. tell your senators to reject rex tillerson. and protect american interests
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not corporate interests. to joe biden -- [ cheering ] the scrappy kid from scranton, who became delaware's favorite son, you were the first decision i made as a nominee, and it was the best. [ cheering ] not just because you have been a great vice president, but because in the bargain i gained a brother. and we love you and jill like family and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our lives. >> one of the lovely moments from president obama's farewell address last night and there were many of them. >> so many. >> i just got an e-mail from evelyn farkas saying be careful
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to be too dismissive of the report and i get that, and just for the record i am not dismissing the report, i just don't think there's a story yet. i don't know if there is a story and we have to be so careful about that. when there's a story, believe me, we will be talking about it, if there is one. that's all. i know what y'all think is going on, and i'm not defending anybody, but i don't think there's a story until there's a story. >> there's a reason why the major news agencies held off on it until last night and the reason they jumped on it last night is because cnn went with it, and there are times other papers have independent confirmation that this was part of the addendum document, and we will follow that story going forward. right now, we have senator dick durbin of illinois. always great talking to you. and i want to get to jeff sessions, but i want to talk
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about what happened last night, the good-bye. >> my heart was in chicago, but my old beat up body was here at the senate judiciary committee where i continue today. i couldn't be prouder of barack obama, and almost ten years ago i sat down and said you have to run for president, and i was the first senator to endorse him and it was a great ride and what he has done for the nation created a legacy we will talk about for a long time. >> let's talk about the decade ahead or a good chunk of it with jeff sessions as the potential attorney general. you were there and you heard the testimony, and there was -- let's say distance set between what donald trump said as a candidate and what sessions said yesterday, and how are you sorting through that and what are your concerns with jeff sessions? >> the context of the hearing is changing by the minute.
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we were focusing on the values of just sessions and asking questions and bringing up issues in the past and the current time, but during the course of this hearing these disclosures about what our relationship with russia, what their involvement was in the last campaign and the relationship with the president-elect raised this to a different level. we are now talking about the integrity of the attorney general, and questions have been asked over and over, and will he continue this investigation if one is under way through the fbi, or if he receive as message this is a fake news and a witch hunt, suspend it. these are fundamental issues we need to have answers because the allegations even though unconfirmed are serious. >> gene robinson? >> on that score, i am not sure there has been a formal investigation under way. >> exactly. >> seems like they would want to look into it. i want to ask about a different
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issue, which is voter suppression. were you satisfied with what you heard from senator sessions yesterday about at large, the voter restrictions and i.d. laws that have had a negative impact on african-american and latino voters? >> i raised this issue privately with senator sessions and it came up in the hearing yesterday, and let me tell you where i stand on this. these efforts at voter suppression, and requiring voter ids and they are not based on voter fraud. i made this point to him in private meetings. nobody can vote to the incidents of voter fraud that justifies these burdens on the electorate. what they are doing is trying to discourage people and as was found in one state, it's precise to go after people who are poor and minorities and that's the reality and i don't believe senator sessions accepts that. >> the session yesterday with
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senator sessions, it was gentle questioning of the colleague, and everybody understands that, i guess, human being what it is, and roe v. wade and immigration, and i assume you talked to him behind closed doors as well as yesterday during the question, and the question i have, do you believe him, his sense of change and moderation that he seemed to be trying to give off yesterday, do you believe it's true? >> some parts are tough to accept because i served with him for over 20 years in the united states senate, and i heard his speeches and we debated one another and we worked on some things together, don't get me wrong, and on the issue of immigration, he didn't back off an inch yesterday, and 8,000 dreamers could be subject to immediate deportation, and he didn't offer any kind of approach to this that showed any humanity or concern, and when it came to basic issues on law and order he was proud of the fact that he is pretty tough on these
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things, so when he says he will follow the law as he did on roe v. wade and such, i accept, and in his heart of hearts i know he has an approach that came out yesterday. >> i don't want to speck on the lead, cubs coming to the white house monday, are you going to be there? >> i wouldn't miss it. i want to tell you, the fans in chicago have waited for over a century and it's an exciting opportunity for us to be there in the white house and welcome the world series champions, chicago cubs, and i wondered if i would ever be able to say that. >> you just did, and congratulations. >> thank you so much for being on. >> thank you. day two of the confirmation hearings for jeff sessions for attorney general start at 9:30 this morning, and before that rex tillerson goes before the senate foreign relations committee, and that hearing starts at 9:00 a.m. sharp. >> that has added weight to it this morning, to because --
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>> it sure does. >> -- of what went out last night. >> we are back with important coverage of today and capitol hill.
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looking at live pictures n. just a few moments, rex tillerson goes before the senate committee to make his case to be the next secretary of state and that's where it's all going to be happen. we will all be watching that today live. we will preview the important confirmation hearing with rick stengel. keep it right here on "morning joe." just like the people who own them, every business is different. but every one of those businesses will need legal help as they age and grow. whether it be with customer contracts, agreements to lease a space or protecting your work. legalzoom's network of attorneys can help you, every step of the way. so you can focus on what you do
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my fine lines and wrinkles in one week. and the longer i use it, the better it works. retinol correxion® from roc. methods, not miracles.™ joining us now former under secretary of state, and rick stengel. stepb tkpwul. >> also at the table, professor of political science and director for the institute of international studies, and former ambassador to russia. going there soon? >> i can't. i am on the list.
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>> the rex tillerson hearings today -- >> they start in about nine minutes. >> they take on added weight given unsubstantiated reports. >> things he was hoping he wa no want to go talk about today. >> do yo suspect there will be more pointed questions regarding russia? >> they were planning for it already, i know that for a fact. this creates more attention, for sure. they are all questions he has no answers to, and he will hear a lot, and i don't know anything about that and i can't comment on that and he can't because he doesn't know anything about it and we are all just learning, you know, the fidelity of the information and it's going to take a while, and we may never know it, by the way, and the russians collect a lot of data that you have never heard about, okay? that's the thing that is striking to me. we hear about the dnc hack and learned about that, and there are literally operations every
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day all over the world you will never hear about and my suspicion is you will get a bit of the story but never the whole story. >> state department considers russia a hostile information space, and when you go there you are not allowed to take your phone and they tell you not to talk to strangers, and you are being monitored 24 hours a day and you need to be aware of that. >> because you are being monitored 24 hours a day. >> and nobody knows that better than rex tillerson, and the issue for me with tillerson is is our foreign policy transactional or on the continuum of foreign policy, and he's a guy that makes deals and foreign policy is not just about making deals but it's about embodying our values and as secretary of state you are the embodiment of american foreign policy values, and when we go around the world knows, mike
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knows, we talk about freedom of the press and religion and diversity, and that's the things i want to hear -- >> if he has any expertise or basic conceptional understanding of. >> yeah, and rule of law, nato, and the imf, all of these postwar institutions and ideas that the u.s. is the architect of, he has to be able to say, i support those things. >> so ambassador, maybe you can answer this question for me, and it's a question we tossed around the question last week, why is it that u.s. leaders have been lulled into believing that they could personally connect with vladimir putin in a way that would erase natural conflicts that we have with russia, and most likely will always have, and you can talk about bush in 2001 and hillary clinton in 2009 with the reset button, and you
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can talk about barack obama's hot mike moment in 2012 and mocking mitt romney in 2012, and now you have donald trump, and donald trump acts as if it has not been tried before, but it has been tried repeatedly for 16 years, and putin always ends up making our leaders look like fools. >> being very disappointing. >> i think when you say you look into eyes and it's vladimir putin, you look foolish, and then the reset button, youk like a fool, and it looks like donald trump is about to make that mistake again. >> i started my job working for the president on january 21st, 2009, and a very senior former bush administration official, as i was going in, and we had the
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reset idea, and i am not so sure the button was good, and he said -- i am writing a book about it, and he said you will be in eight year's time where we are right now, with the cycle. one, all leaders, great leaders, think they can use personal persuasion to get big deals done. that's not anything -- >> fdr and -- >> that's not unique to president-elect trump, and what is unique so far is he has defined getting along as the objective of foreign policy. that's flawed in my view. for whatever criticisms have of the reset and they are valid and we should go through them, but the reset was about getting concrete things done, and we want to get a start treaty done, and we want to open up a supply
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route to afghanistan through russia so that we weren't dependant on pakistan and can still bin laden, and right now he's putting getting along as the outcome, but then what? then what? what are we going to do? >> as mike knows, i had at the state department george marshall's old office, and i went back a few months ago and went and read the so-called -- >> yeah. >> it was in 1947, and man, it's still relevant today because he said people will always want to do a reset to russia, but the russian character has n changed in 1,000 years. you can not ever overestimate how insecure they are, insecure in their boundaries and self-esteem. >> it's remarkable about how that letter in '47 reflects, actually, willie, the character and nature of russia's
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leadership in 2016. >> yeah, here we are and not much has changed. i want to ask both of you guys, and basically what you said about being followed and monitored all the time, and putting aside the details we have not mentioned about the buzzfeed report, and does russia have a dtkaurb yea, is it likel they do have information on him? >> absolutely. they have a duh see yea, and they collected information on him, and i don't know what the content is, and i don't want to speculate about it, and that's the job of the kgb. >> you should not cross against a red light in moscow because they will have that on a red light somewhere. >> for 20 years, i had to assume every conversation i had even sitting in my bedroom, i was being monitored.
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that's the way it works. >> on that fascinating note -- >> nothing fascinating about it. >> what a way to live. thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> will be back next week. >> we will need it. a lot to talk about. this has been one of the busiest shows in "morning joe" history. the confirmation hearings for rex tillerson starts in moments from now, and mr. williams picks it up from here. >> welcome to the live continuing coverage, as mika said this is going to be one of the busiest days we have had in a long time. we are going to be looking here on the left side of the screen at the hearing room, the senate foreign relations committee is going to be hearing from rex tillerson, and there he is on the lower right-hand side of the screen. we are going to get underway with some introductions, as we
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did yesterday, and we are letting our viewers know there are going to be a fair number, likely, of protester interruptions, and we have seen some of them already, members of the group code pink have taken their place in the gallery behind the row of reporters and staff, and most of the members of the committee, the senators themselves are already there and seated behind the desk, and we are going to hear from the two current republican senators from the state of texas, rex tillerson's home state, senator cornen and senator cruz. we will hear from a legendary name in the u.s. senate, former democratic senator, sam nunn, and his name still carries a lot of clout on capitol hill. you see the scurry as rex tillerson comes in the hearing room. we will be hearing a lot more about him as the morning goes on

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