tv MSNBC Live With Steve Kornacki MSNBC January 11, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
next steve, hey. >> hey, good afternoon everybody. live here in new york. happening right now, those senate confirmation hearings for rex tillerson, donald trump's pick for secretary of state. they are continuing. as we speak, we are listening closely. we will bring you any news that develops for those hearings. first though, topping our agenda this hour, russia, russia, russia. >> i think it's a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public. >> donald trump defiant in his press conference today. responding to unsubstantiated claims that russia has compromising information on him. is he right that he's the victim of fake news here? lots on that. we will dive into it straight ahead. and also on our agenda, rex tillerson in the hot seat. >> is vladimir putin a war criminal? >> i would not use that term. >> well let me describe the
snichgs aleppo and perhaps that'll help you reach that conclusion. >> some sharp questions already in those confirmation hearings for tillerson, including for members of his own party. now democrats would need at least three republican defectors to reject tillerson. could marco rubio be one of them. and rounding out our agenda, some historic opposition. >> senator sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requisite of the job. to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights -- >> history made today for the first time ever, a sitting center testifying against a fellow senator in a confirmation hearing. corybooker from new jersey saying he opposes his colleague jeff sessions for attorney general. we will have much more on the sessions hearings day two of those. ahead a little bit, but first, our top story, the trump press conference. for the first time in months, just hours ago, the
president-elect standing in front of the media, taking questions on anything they ask. there were a number of questions that were raised, but one topic far more than others that came up. and that was russia. aerofor good reason. the press conference today coming on the heels of an absolutely extraordinary 18 hours in politics with the series of explosive and also we emphasize completely unverified claims exploding across the internet and media outlets overnight. specifically, a document seen here, posted overnight on buzzfeed, it had been circulating under the radar in washington for months. it is purportedly the work of one former british intelligence official, and it claims -- and again, totally unsubstantiated detail that russia in possession of information that could be used to blackmail donald trump. now this document produced in conjunction with an anti-trump opposition researcher from rival campaigns during the campaign
season, it also includes information that has already been debunked. it's mere presence in the news conversation right now is raising serious questions. we will get into those, but no denying this, when donald trump stepped before those cameras today, this was the first thing on everyone's mind. and that includes the president-elect. >> i think it's a disgrace that information would be let out. i saw the information, i read the information outside of that meeting, it's all fake news. it's phony stuff. it didn't happen. and it was gotten by opponents of ours. it was a group of opponents that got together, sick people, and they put that crap together. as far as hacking, i think it was russia, but i think we also got hacked by other countries. and other people. if putin likes donald trump, ghaesz, folks, that's cled an asset, not a liability. now, i don't know that i'm going
toet along with vladimir putin. i hope i do. but there's a good chance i won't. and if i don't, do you honestly believe that hillary would be tougher on putin than me? does anybody in this room really believe that? so i tweeted out that i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals in russia, i have no deals that could happen in russia because we've stayed away. and i have no loans with russia. i thought that was important to put out. i certify that. russia will have much greater respect for our country when i'm leading it then when other people have led it. you will see that. >> trump eluding there to one of the unsubstantiated claims in that document that went online last night. we have one of our talk intelligence reporters joining us in just a minute to go through exactly what was reported in the last 24 hours. what, if anything, among is it is true?
what isn't? and whether trump has a case when he says he is the victim of fake news here. we're going to dive straight into that in a in just a minute. also though another major development in that press conference we to want tell you about first. this dealing with the questions of conflicts between trump's business and his role as president and how he plans to deal with them. for more on that, let's bring in kristen welker, she is over at trump tower. kristen, this was we thought a week or so ago this would be the headline coming out of today, how donald trump will handle the conflicts of interest that arise between his business interests and the presidency, what did he reveal on that front today? >> reporter: well, first, you're right, this was just one of many headlines that we got today. but the president-elect announcing that he's not going to fully divest from his vast business empire, instead he's going to turn it over to his two adult sons. he's not going to put his profits into a blind trust either. his attorneys making the
argument that if he were to try to fully divest, it would actually create more complications and made the case that because he is president, technically, there can't be conflicts of interest. so she's making the case that out of an abundance of caution, the president-elect taking this step. take a listen to what he had to say about this matter earlier today. >> my two sons who are right here, don and eric, are going to be running the company. they are going to be running it in a very professional manner. they're not going to discuss it with me. again, i don't have to do this. >> reporter: the president-elect announcing that any profits that the trump organization gets from foreign entities will go to charity. he was pressed on whether he would release his tax returns. so that the american public could actually see with their own eyes that this was all in
fact the case and i said i'm still under audit, and by the way, americanss don't care about that issue. that's a media created issue. the reality is 75% of americans think the president-elect should release his tax returns, but steve, this will undoubtedly be a decision that continues t comender scrutiny because you have a lot of ethics attorneys who say that he should be putting his holdings into a blind trust and he decided not to take that step. so, that was the big headline as it relates to his vast business empire here today, but of course as you've been reporting, the other big headlines relate to russia. the fact that he for the first time acknowledged he does seem to agree with u.s. intelligence officials assessment that russia was in fact behind the hackings we saw during the 2016 race, but he opened up that news conference today, steve, that extraordinary news conference again taking aim at those same intelligence officials. i pressed him on whether he trusts his officials. he dodged that question instead saying he's appointing a
committee to try to come up with a better way to deal with it and protect against cyber attacks within 90 days, steve. >> don't worry, kristen welker at trump tower across town in new york. we are going to turn back now to that question of donald trump, russia, the explosive unsubstantiated reports coming out in the 12 hours leading up to that press conference today. obviously trump reacting strongly to them for more now we're going to bring in nbc news has been doing reporting on this, national security reporter, ken delaney is here to takes through this. i want to take a step back here and just go through pretty much a timeline of what happened starting about 24 hours ago and we have the first report here, a lot of this unsubstantiated leading into this press conference today. this is something i have seen take off like wild fire on social media. a lot of this i have seen treated as fact when that is very much in question and bled over, we will show you into these confirmation hearings today. let's just establish some facts here because there's a lot of that's circulating. the two key pieces of
information that sort of came out about 24 hours ago. two things here. there was this report, not report, there was this document that went up on buzzfeed. this was about a 35, 36 page document, they say this was compiled by opposition researchers, campaign opposition researchers who talked to one former british intelligence official made all sorts of accusations about donald trump and about the russians having information that could blackmail with him with this. thing went up and cnn said a two-page summary of this document was presented to trump when he had that briefing with intelligence officials. sop that's what started all of this. what do we actually know? let's start on the question of this 35-page document. because this thing has been circulating as i understand in washington for months. is there any reason to treat anything in there as verifiable? >> absolutely not. the only reason we're reportingen to steve because u.s. intelligence officials chose to include a summary of it in this highly classified
compartmented document that was about the russian hacking of the election. nothing to do with the other stuff necessarily. and that's why cnn reported on it, we quickly confirmed that yes, this was presented in the briefing papers that went to the trump organization to president obama d to senior members of congress. as to the facts alleged in this 35-page document, they are unverified, in fact some of them have been debunked -- >> let's mention this. the thing that's been debunked, there was a claim that michael cohen, lawyer, aid to donald trump had a meeting in august 22016 with russian officials. he's proven he's never been. >> proven, he's asserted he's never been to prague and shown his passport. that's his argument. >> okay. so that is -- and this thing is getting reported in some places or treated as if it's a dossier, i've heard that word put throughout. this is really not reading through 35-page thing, this is written in the language of
political opposition research, it felt to me, this was more a lot of leading language, a lot of jumping to conclusions here. this is not fair to say it's a dossier, is it? >> it is written like a political opposition document. now there are some very serious allegations in it and we believe and people that have done reporting that the fbi has investigated, has looked at some of these allegations, but we're not aware that any are confirmed. >> when you're saying the two page distillation, this was the other key report. cnn had this yesterday saying a two-page distillation was presented to trump. you're saying it was prepared for trump, but not actually presented to it. >> yes. we have reported that it was not orally briefed to him in that room. whether with the senior intelligence officials, but that it was included in the briefing papers that went to the trump transition. >> and the purpose though of doing that is different than what's been originally suggested here. >> that's murky, the purpose. i personally don't feel like i understand the purpose. i've heard theories from informed sources, one of which
is to show trump that the russians have information on a lot of different people. republicans, democrats, including him, but only leaked stuff that was detrimental to hillary clinton. another theory that's been floated out there, this was a brushback pitch to trump. you know, there's this information floating out there, he's been saying a detrimental thing about the intelligence community, we don't know, steve. >> ken dailyny. thank you. back ho now to the confirmation of rex tillerson. we're keeping an eye on it. pick for secretary of state. russia obviously featuring prominently in the senate hearing. long time ceo of exxonmobil, tillerson has close ties to russia, also to vladimir putin. that has become an issue today for senators on both sides of the aisle. they're question whether tillerson would put national security ahead of those business interests. here's some of what's gone down toda >> while russia seeks respect and relevance on the global stage. it's recent activities have disregard america's interests.
we cannot afford to ignore violations of international accords as we have done with iran. we cannot continue to accept empty promises like the ones china has made to pressure north korea to reform only to shy away from enforcement. looking the other way when trust is broken only encouraging more bad behavior. and it must end. >> let me ask you this question, is vladimir putin a war criminal? >> i would not use that term. >> well, let me describe the situation in aleppo and perhaps that'll help you reach that conclusion. >> what are you going say to vladimir putin when he said rex, sanctions were bad? >> senator, i think it's important to acknowledge that when sanctions are imposed, they by their design are going to harm american business. that's the idea is to disrupt america's business engagement in whatever countries is being targeted for sanctions. and so broadly -- >> would you permit exxon to lobby the state department under
your leadership? >> well senator, as to any issues involving exxonmobil that might come before me if confirmed to secretary of state, i would recuse myself from those issues. >> more now, i want to bring in bob menendez who we just heard on that panel today questioning rex tillerson. thanks for joining us. do you feel through today's hearing through your questioning, through the questioning of your colleagues, are you walking away from today's hearing feeling you've learned something new about rex tillerson? new information that's relevant to how you're going to vote? >> well, i've learned that he's not an advocate of sanctions which we probably knew even though he's tried to walk that back. i get concerned that at a big entity like exxon and the state department is also a big entity that he supposedly didn't know that he was paying millions of dollars to lobbyists to lobby against sanctions on russia, iran, and other entities, and i
get concerned that at the end of the day, he acted in b ed ied i were beyond kpoon's briz interests, but subvertd u.s. policy in iraq. and with state-sponsored of terrorism. so i'm not feeling comfortable that he has die cot miezed his role as a business executive and in fact what he would do going forward as the senior -- the key advisor to the president-elect on foreign policy matters. >> do you think there are valid concerns there that he's bringing to the table and he's raising when it comes to sanctions and how they specifically would affect businesses? you know major companies in the united states saying basically, hey, if we're going to do sanctions against russia or any country, we need to be maybe a little bit more mindful of making sure those sanctions aren't negatively impacting business in the united states too much? >> well, look, you know, the reality is is that in iran, it's universally acknowledged by all
sides, those who oppose the agreement like myself, those who embrace the agreement as others, that in fact what bought the iranians to the table were sanctions. when i offered those sanctions at the beginning, it was not universally embraced. and it took u.s. leadership to then build a global coalition in which those sanctions became really booiding and that bought iran to the table. takes such a global coalition to sanction russia to make sure that they're not violating the international order with impunity when you annex crimea or bomb indiscriminately in aleppo. then it's broader than that. and by the way, it's not always that u.s. companies are affected. if we deny, for example, russia, access to our capital markets. if we deny them access to financial transactions where sanctions have proven to be the among the most effective as in
iran, it's not about hurting a specific u.s. company. so while some companies like an extracting company like exxon which goes to an extracting economy like russia to extract oil ultimately may be affected. that is not universally the case. in any event, if you say no to sanctions because it may hurt some business interests, you have muted one of the most powerful peaceful diplomacy initiatives. >> we talked at the top of the show and we just talked to one of our intelligence reporters about the unsubstantiated speculation about donald trump and the russians maybe somehow having compromising information about him. information they could blackmail him with. i'm asking you about this because it came up, one of your colleagues, sen cardon from maryland stated matter of factually that news accounts indicated russia may have information about mr. trump that they could use to compromise his presidency. that was just put into the record during this hearing today. i wonder, do you think ghaichb these are all entirely
unsubstantiated allegations coming apparently from one former british intelligence official. one of the claims apparently is already at least been debunked, is it responsible for anyone in politics right now to be talking about that possibility? >> well, look, i'm not going to speak to them and give them any credibility until, and if, they are verified. or some of them are verified. if none are verified, that, you know, we've all been subject, i know i've been subject in the past to that type of false information that ended up being false stories. so the bottom line is i'm not going to give it credibility until and if, in fact, they are substantiated. having said that. i would not be surprised, and this is the one thing that does bother me. that the president-elect's warmth towards vladimir putin and russia at a time that is globally recognized that russia is an adversary to us at best, if not an outright enemy, on critical issues, on sooer kwa, on violating the international
order, on pushing the edge in eastern europe, on georgia or so much more that we are not in sync. yes, would we like to have a relationship with russia? but it has to be a russia that is based on common interests and common values. and that's hard to achieve with putin who really is kgb and wants a greater russia. >> senator bob menendez from new jersey, member of that committee talking with rex tillerson. thank you for joining us. quick break. coming up more on donald trump and his announcement in a he has no plans to enter into a blind trust or fully divest his assets and he's going to leave his sons in charge of his company. does that increase the possibility of an ethics problem? plus, congressman and civil rights icon, john lewis joins senator corybooker in testifying against the nomination of jeff sessions for attorney general. >> we need someone who are going
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i know that some of my many colleagues aren't happy that i am breaking with senate tradition to testify on one of my colleagues, but i believe like perhaps all of my colleagues in the senate that in the choice between standing with senate norms or standing up for what my conscience tells me is best for our country, i will always choose conscience and
country. >> senator cory booker this afternoon making history. he becomes the first senator to testify against a fellow senator during a confirmation process. booker's testimony, one of seven impassioned pleas, you said judiciary opposing donald trump's pick for attorney general. that's jeff sessions. take a listen to what they heard today. >> first, i want to express my concerns about being made to testify at the very end of the witness panels. to have a senator, a house member, and a living civil rights legend testify at the end of all of this, is the equivalent of being made to go to the back of the bus. there is no office for which the duty to apply the law equally is greater than that of the attorney general. in my capacity at chairman of the congressional black caucus, i urge you to reject senator session's nomination. >> senator sessions has not
demonstrated a commitment to a central requisite of the job. to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, e kwul rights, and justice for all of our citizens. in fact, at numerous times, he has demonstrated hostility towards these convictions. and has worke to frustrate attempts to advance these ideals. >> we need someone who is going to stand up, speak up, and speak out. for the people that need help. for people discriminated against and it doesn't matter whether they are black, white, latino, asian american, or native, straight or gay, muslim, christian, jews, we all live in the same house. the american house. we need someone as attorney general who is going to look out for all of us. and not just for some of us.
>> all right. i want to bring in vermont senator patrick lei i had, he is a member of the senate judiciary committee. thanks for taking a few minutes. let me start, that was an explosive comment i think there we heard at the top of that set of clips from sedwick, a member of the house of representatives. he was before your committee today to testify against jeff sessions. he said he likened it to being sent to the back of the bus the fact that he, cory booker, and john lewis were put to the end of the proceeding to enter their testimony. he raised a basic question of fairness, has this been a fair hearing? >> you know, i'm the dean of the senate, i've been here longer than anybody else. i cannot remember a time when another member of congress who wanted to testify at a hearing -- and we have members of congress testify at hearings all the time, are put at the end. they're always allowed to testify early.
it's a courtesy we extend to senators and to members of the house. we all represent the congress. at least in the hearing, i have been to, i have been been to thousands, we have always had members testify first. so i can imagine his concern and ask mhy he had to wait until the very end. >> do you think that reflects intent on the part of the republicans running this committee to try to help jeff sessions in some way? >> it reflects the way they have changed the norms. i've been hearing both democrats and republicans in charge. i've never seen a case where members of congress were forced to wait until the very end to testify. no matter how they're going to testify. we have had senators vote against other senators. we did with john tower when he
was up for secretary of defense. it was a republican-controlled senate, the chairman was strong thurman when they voted not to accept jeff sessions for judgeship. so it's not unusual, but what is unusual is being required not to be able to testify at the beginning. >> you mentioned the 1986 case there, jeff sessions coming before the judiciary committee, you were a member back then as well, being rejected for a federal judgeship, now back 30 years later up for the position of attorney general. one of the reason why is that move by cory booker today, a fellow senator to testify against jeff sessions is so unusual, so historic is because of -- the opportunity that senators get to know each other personally. and i just wonder, you voted against jeff sessions 30 years ago. i don't think you knew him that well personally back then. now, for the last 20 years, you've had an opportunity to work there very closely with him in washington, on that committee, has that 20 years of
working so closely with jeff sessions changed your view of him in any way? >> well, i get along well with him. he's a good family person. but what i have to look at -- this is for the chief law enforcement officer of the country. i was a prosecutor. i know how the justice department works. i know the justice department has to be there for everybody. what i am concerned about with senator sessions, his votes against immigration, his vote, even one of the very few people to vote against the expansion of the violence against women act. which added native americans. lgbt community. immigrants. and included a reauthorization of sexual trafficking. he voted against that. very few people did. that bothers me. because the attorney general has to prosecute these kind of
cases. his vote against my resolution which said that in the united states between all religions equally, he's one of the very few that voted against that. that's in our constitution. it's in the first amendment. these kind of things worry me greatly. >> all right. patrick leahy, democrat from vermont, thank you for joining us. appreciate that. >> thank you very much. squeeze another quick break in here. reaction from russia to donald trump and what he's now saying about election hacking. we are going to go live to moscow. that news conference from trump today. he was carried on state television over there. . what shall we call you? tom! name it tom! 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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russia has compromising personal information on him. those reports we should stress they are never completely unsubstantiated, everything presented in public so far. also trump conceding that russia was probably behind the hacking of democratic party e-mails. that's something he has previously been skeptical about. the president-elect announcing he will nominate david the undersecretary of veteran's affairs to be department's next lead per. he is confirmed, he will be the first non-veteran to lead that department. and secretary of state nominee rex tillerson facing some tough questions today about russia. telling senators he will work closely with congress on new sanctions, some lawmakers though critical of tillerson because of his close business ties with russia and vladimir putin. and donald trump's choice for transportation secretary, elaine chau defending his infrastructure plan during her
confirmation hearing today. a bold vision. now she is a former labor secretary, also the wife of senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. so far, she faces no significant opposition to her nomination. the senate also expected to take a major step forward tonight in the effort to repeal and replace the affordable care act. obamacare. senators set to vote on a budget resolution that will set up the process for repealing what is president obama's signature domestic achievement. republicans to want repeal the law through a process known as reconciliation basically they only nee 51 votes to do it. couldn't be filibustered where they wld need 60. and the justice department announcing that volkswagen is pleading guilty to three criminal charges. it'll pay a $4.3 billion fine for cheating on emissions tests. this is the largest ever find against an automaker. turn back to politics now. to the transition. more on our top story, president-elect donald trump had
his first news conference today since the election. and really, since many months before the election. trump answering questions about russian hacking and interference in the election. also reports that russia has information that could be used against him. and again, those reports completely unsubstantiated. bill neily is joins us from moscow with the russian reaction to what donald trump is saying today. interesting. i understand this press conference was televised over there, how are they responding to it? >> reporter: yeah, it was carried live and in full by two 24 hour news channels, although it only made report number five in the evening news broadcast tonight. any official worth their salt will have been watching it. we're not sure because we haven't had an initial confirmation that he was watching that news conference. i think two things will have struck those officials, steve, first of all that donald trump said right at the beginning of his news conference that he respected the kremlin for saying that that dossier alleging that
ian officials had salacious information on him was pulp fiction. this is completely unprecedented. for an incoming u.s. president to use a kremlin statement to defend himself. and indeed, for moscow to defend that incoming u.s. president by saying that this is a political witchhunt, picked up his hysteria in the u.s. extraordinary. the second thing is that donald trump began by attacking u.s. intelligence agencies. any hawk in this country will be absolutely delighted at what he or she sees, the disarray and division in the united states at the moment. the third thing is we did hear donald trump say that maybe he would get along with vladimir putin, maybe not. putin liked me, he said, that's called an asset, not a liability. but it was noticeable that donald trump was quite soft on putin. he didn't call him a war criminal. he didn't call him out for the russian bombing of aleppo and
syria, but an extraordinary news conference that will have seemed just as extraordinary here in russia, steve. >> bill neily over there in moscow, thank you very much for that. and donald trump's press conference today at trump tower, it got heated when a reporter from cnn tried to ask a question. take a look. >> mr. president-elect -- >> go ahead, go ahead. >> no, not you. not you. not you. you're organization's terrible. your organization is terrible. let's go. go ahead. >> sir -- >> quiet, quiet. >> mr. president-elect -- >> go ahead, she's asking a question. >> can you give us -- >> don't be rude. >> can you give us a question. >> no, i'm not going to give you a question. i am not going to give you a question. you are fake news. >> again, that exchange was cnn reporter earlier today, cnn publishing a report last night saying that donald trump had been confronted with information from intelligence officials that she had potentially been compromised by the russians. that report followed up moments later by documents from buzzfeed
purporting to be the -- excuse me originating information, all of which has been unverified. reporting from nbc today refuting both the cnn report and the information in those documents posted by buzzfeed. now buzzfeed's editor in chief ben smith defended putting up that unverified document. publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017. obviously raising some major issues here for journalism in the age of trump. joining me to talk a little bit more about this, eric, he is the media critic at the washington post. joins us now, thank you for taking a few minutes. let me start on the basic question. ben smith, buzzfeed, they're using the word dossier, i don't know if that's how you can describe this document. some looks like has been debunked, this is all unsubstantiated, there's opposition researchers involved. is he right though? do you see this as the role of reporting in 2017? >>. >> i do not.
i do not. it would be another thing, steve, if this were the considered opinion of u.s. intelligence agencies, but it's not. as you mention, this has it's prove pans in in opposition research and the 2016 campaign. first by republican-based groups and then was subsequently, i believe, financed by some democratic leaning groups. so it has the tinge of, you know, having been involved in a presidential campaign. so there's no way that buzzfeed should be putting it's banner behind this information. and the fact that they even admitted before publishing it that there was some mistakes they had already caught, yet they dropped the entire dossier on the public and i think it's quite wrong. and for them to say that they're going to let americans make up their own mind about these exotic allegations, steve, i don't have the ability to make up my own mind about that. and i doubt you, being a smart
guy have the ability to make up your own mind about allegations either. they're completely, thousands of miles away. and based on sources that who knows who they are. >> and i'm curious what this means. obviously that was a very combative press conference today. that's not new with donald trump, he's been combative with reports before, he is saying look, he is the victim of fake news right here. that's a term that's come very much into circulation the last few weeks. does he have a point and does this effect, i'm thinking ahead to the next time the media raises questions that are justified, on the record information, if donald trump can claim fake news here, does this give him cover the next time the media actually does have a point? >> i think there's no question about that. i think there's no question about that. all they have to do and they've been working on this already with the michael cohen situation, all they have to do is debunk one significant representation in that dossier, and it's a done deal. nothing else in that dossier makes a difference if they can
prove one thing wrong, then trump's entire pr campaign has been validated. and indeed that'll be a weapon he uses over and over again to delegitimize the media. and i might say here steve, he would have a point. and that's what's really so painful about it. >> let me ask you from the standpoint of what i think a trump supporter might ask him, might say look, the media, generally speaking, the mainstream media suffers from, call it trump derangement syndrome, they don't like the guy, they are alarmed by the guy, and they were so alarmed in fact and have been so alarm, they've suspended some of the normal practices. some of the normal customs of journalist because of a strategic desire to beat him. to beat donald trump to take down donald trump. do you think there's anything to that criticism of the mainstream media? >> well, i mean, as it relates to this particular instance or more broadly? >> well i think they would say this is an example of that. i've heard this term trump derangement syndrome thrown out there before. i say this must be what they're
talking about. >> i think it's important, steve, to notice that buzzfeed is on an island. right. we have thousands of of news organizations and hundreds really in the mainstream media, and buzzfeed is the only one to drop this entire dossier, at least the first one to do it. and they were alone. and they remain sort of isolated here. trump himself in the news conference today before he started attacking cnn, he commended many news organizations. he didn't mention them by name, but commended many news organizations for basically pursuing restraint on this matter and sitting on this information. so i think it's -- there's a lot of complication and nuance here, it is significant that trump himself was impressed with the actions of a lot of news organizations. he credited their restraint. and i would say, steve, that that has been basically, you know, throughout the campaign i think a lot of news organizations proceeded the same way. they didn't print information negative information on donald trump until they knew it was true. >> yeah, worth remembering this,
apparently this so-called dossier was in circulation far while was snot popping up all over the place until last night. eric from the washington post, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. millions of americans tuned in last night for president obama's farewell address. while it will ultimately be up to history to judge his legacy. we are getting a sense of how americans feel right now about their outgoing president. it's our most important number of the day. and it is next. i'm all the techy stuff you got crammed into your brand-new car.
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take out the master mind of 9 1 9/11 -- >> president obama last night back in schik. his adopted hometown, his farewell address as president of the united states, he is claiming success at end of eight years. how do the people who elected him and maybe the people who didn't vote for him? how do they feel about his presidency now that he's about to go into the history books. most important number of the day today, 57 as in brand new poll, what is president obama's approval rating as he leaves office? well this is about as high as it's been. eight years as president, he is going out on a high note, he is up near 60% right now. 57%, look, some of this is pical. final days of an administration usually there is a bit of an uptick. also, let's face it for the last year, he wasn't being attacked every day as much as say hillary clinton was when it came to who republicans came after. the last president, george w. bush, he went out with a lower
number, 40%, again, that was actually an uptick for him in the final couple of months-his presidency. he was down in the 20s in some polls in the final months of his presidency. how about bill clinton? look at that, there's a familiar number, 57% for him when he went out of office in in january of '01. here's george h.w bush, highest number we see, 62%, guess what, he's the only one-termer. the only guy who couldn't win a second term. highest approval rating and yet, voters wouldn't give him a second term and bill clinton instead. anyway, 57. the most important number of the day, a quick break here, and i promise you this will be lightning fast, you will not to want miss the other side. we are going to be here live, he is going to break down donald trump in what he is saying about these possible conflicts of interest. >> i could actually run my business. i could actually run my business and run government at the same time. i don't like the way that looks,
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all right live on capitol hill. the action continuing there been that's the confirmation hearing for rex tillerson, president-elect donald trump's nominee for secretary of state. that continues live. tillerson of course the former ceo of exxonmobil, how's wall street reacting to seeing a former ceo in the hot seat? here's the cnbc market wrap.
>> volatility is back. it was a choppy session on wall street as investors digest that. took a hit on trump's promise to target high drug prices. nasdaq hitting another record high in it's seventh straight day of gains. dow and s&p 500 finishing higher as well. investors still looking for details and clarity. the dow still yet to hit that level. that is your cnbc business update. or fill a big order or eand your office find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com.
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interests. he instructed us to take all steps realistically possible to make it clear that he is not exploiting the office of the prency for his personal benefit. he's voluntarily taking this on. the conflicts of interest laws simply do not apply to the president or the vice president, and they are not required to separate themselves from their financial assets. >> all right. donald trump bringing out a lawyer today using much of that first news conference he held in a long time to outline how he says he's going to separate himself from his businesses as president. to avoid conflicts of interest while in the white house. msnbc's ali vel she is joining us now. you hear the lawyer say all steps, realistically possible to assure everybody, no conflicts of interest here. is he doing that? living up to that promise? >> not at all. he is separating himself in some fashion from his business in no more complicated a fashion than you could do if you walk to your bank and set up a trust and put
somebody in charge of your mutual funds. there is nothing here that separates him in a meaningful way. his last words were i'm putting my sons in charge and if they don't do a good job in eight years, you're fired. in other words, the entire implication, they're holding it from him. spent an entire campaign talking about somehow close he is to his family. this issed no believable. turning over control to his sons and an executive whose been very close to the company. the sons won't talk about the business with him. the lawyer says the only way he'd find out about anything is if he reads it in the paper. he's holding his assets and real estate. the lawyer went on to say he can't a blind trust couldn't be done, couldn't sell his assets. none of which is true. that lawyer, who spoke like she was a judge, was categorically incorrect in saying it couldn't be done. he doesn't want to. it is the most powerful office in the world. maybe he should have. this doesn't satisfy any ethics
people that this is meaningful for me. separation of himself if from his business. >> okay. thanks for stopping by. appreciate that. that is going to do it for this hour. i am steve kornacki, coming up at 6:00, house minority leader nancy pelosi joining greta van susteren for on the record, first, mtp daily starts. buzzfeed editor and chief, ben smith. if it's wednesday, donald trump holds his first press conference as president-elect. so what does he think of the russians now? tonight the president-elect slams report was a secret russian dose yay. i think it's a disgrace. >> is this escalating war of words putting the u.s. in a dangerous place on the world stage? plus -- >> as far as hacking. i think was russian -- >> why is putin immune to trump's condemnation? >> i think we also got hacked by other countries