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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  January 11, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PST

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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 and other
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people. >> and later -- >> is vladimir putin a war criminal? >> i would not use that term. >> secretary of state nominee rex tillerson takes his turn in the hot seat. >> do you lack the knowledge to answer my questions or are you refusing to answer my question? >> a little of both. >> this is mpt day lay and it starts right now. good evening, i'm chuck todd here in new york, welcome to mtp daily, and boy was it. held his first press conference as president-elect today. and it was a crazy scene, it was a circus, it was volatile, it was trump. it came amid explosive claims obtained by intelligence officials that leaked that rush was very unverified allegations about trump and his dealings with and inside russia. senior intelligence official tells nbc news that those claims are unvetted disinformation.
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we're going speak with the ed nor chief of buzzfeed which made the controversial decision to publish the dose yay in full even as buzzfeed themselves and others noted how unverified and unvetted it was. their move is ignited a media fire storm. we'll deal with that. that's engaged the trump transition and the kremlin say it's considering a lawsuit. but folks, the toothpaste is already out of the tube. the office of the presidency has a serious credibility problem. it appears as if the incoming president and his intelligence agencies are in open warfare and american small democratic institutions are now caught in the cross fire. if we were observing this happening to a foreign country just nine days before their transfer of power. we'd probably come to the conclusion that and say that that coury's ldership is a bit unstable. and you've got to wonder if that's how other countries are describing us right now.
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today. donald trump escalated his feud with the u.s. intelligence community as tensions rose to a truly unprecedented level. >> i think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. i think it's a disgray. >> today's press conference left us with more questions than answers on a lot of topic, especially russia. trump seemed to acknowledge that trump's intelligence interfered in our election, then took it back a few moments later. at the same time, she scolded putin with, but also seemed to thank him for the interference as well. >> as far as hacking, i think it was russia. but i think we also get hacked by other countries and other people. but could have been others also. we talked about hacking.
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hacking's bad. and it shouldn't be done. but look at the things that were hacked. look at what was learned from that hacking. >> on that intelligence report that the second part of their conclusion was that vladimir putin ordered it because he aspired to help you in the election. do you accept that part of the finding? >> if putin likes donald trump, i consider that an asset, not a liability. >> trump's initial acknowledgment of u.s. intelligence findings base raised another question. which trump answered by again, criticizing the intelligence community. >> why did you spend weeks undermining the u.s. intelligence committee before simply getting the facts and then making a public statement. >> i think it's pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. first of all it's illegal. >> trump attacked the press for reporting on the story. he singled out buzzfeed. and he called them a quote failing pile of garbage.
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then he dismissed cnn as quote fake news. they did not publish the dossier at all. we have questions piling up, what is trump doing? what is the intel community doing? what's congress doing? how's the intel community going to react to being compared to the nazis? what were their motivations and including this salacious and unsubstantiated information in the realm they might have used. what about trump and congress? the office of the presidency has a serious credibility issue? who's going to restore it? will trump himself do it? or will he continue to steam roll the allegations and praise putin? arguably making things worse? and what about the democrats. ask yourself, do they want to clear the president's name or destroy it? what about republicans? do they want to restore the credibility to the office of the presidency for the good of the public or as revenge against the democrats? these are all questions that the world might be asking too as it tries to figure out what is
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going to happen next. joined now by the senior investigative correspondent, cynthia mcfda. . let's start with the straight up news. there's a lot of information about the dossier, trump, and russia, tell what you say we know to be true. >> so, first question, did u.s. intelligence believe that the russians had a dossier on donald trump that was contained in this 35 -- initially 35 page document. the answer chuck, based on numerous sources is no. the u.s. intelligence did not believe this was credit nl. in fact, u.s. intelligence officials tell us there is no credible evidence linked donald trump to russia in any substantive way, period. so, that's not true. >> the document prepared by the intelligence community ordered up by president obama, which laid out the case for why they
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believe the russians were involved in the u.s. election. in an addendum called an annex to that report, titled, disinformation, this two page summary of this 35-page opposition research essentially, a smear campaign, ordered up privately against donald trump was summarized. why as you propose? why would u.s. intelligence put it in a section called disinformation. why would he be part of it? the answer appears to be this. they wereriefing donald trump. two things, they wanted to be prepared if. will trump said to them, well what kind of political disinformation is out there? they wanted to say this, not that we believe it, but this stuff is out there. and two, in case mr. trump was having trouble believing that they had analyzed intelligence linking the russians to the election. they wanted to be able to say look, we're talking about our assessment. we're not talking about this kind you have junk that exists
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out there. >> isn't it reasonable to assume though if you're donald trump and they bring this piece of information that they're not just doing it because they think you should know sir, maybe there's an implied threat behind it. which it seems to me how he is taking this. >> yeah. listen, and i'm not sure it could cause a kerfuffle prior to being released. it appeared there were no documents that changed hands of the intelligence briefing. one of the questions is, this was an oral briefing led by the head of dni, mr. clapper. it was a verbal briefing. they never got in the verbal briefing to this matter. i have to tell you, i just got off the phone with former commander of nato, james, and he says -- i said what is mr. trump doing, everybody's got to go. the heads of the intelligence agencies have got to go. because we are not going to be able to conduct a sensible
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foreign policy -- >> right now. has been sort of both was in trump transition rumors and on the hillary clinton short list. pretty much one of these bipartisan guys, he'd fire them all. >> he says i'm going to read it. i want to get this precisely right. i think the relationships between the president-elect and the current leadership of the cia, the nsa, and indeed the director of national intelligence are ir rep bli broken. that the point, let's get a new director of national intelligence, let's get a new head of the cia and after he's sworn in, we need a approach because we have complete dysfunctionally in the national security otherwise. >> left out the fbi. that was interesting. we'll leave that aside. he is replacing the other two. >> the forensics. >> there it is. i will let you go back to work. >> great to be with you. i'm joined by jeremy bash who served as chief of staff at pentagon and cia. let me begin with you responding to the advice that the admiral would give, which is let's, at
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this point, you have a relationshipetween the intel community and the incoming president that appears to be in a really bad place. is the only option to essentially clean house? >> well staff has got it basically right. we have to have a restart. we're going to have one, chuck, as you noted, we have a new director of national intelligence nominee, senator dan coates. we have a new cia nominee. his hearing is tomorrow. mike povrp poe. okay, that leads a career officer who i think his tenure is coming up soon. we're going to have that. the trust between the new president and the career professional intelligence at this these agencies. that is what i think needs to be repaired. putin's ex-kgb, he loves nothing more than tension between the cia and the president. this plays right into his playbook. i have to defend the intelligence community for a second. people are con flating a lot of things, chuck.
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in my view, here's the way the conversation went down. and i wasn't there and i haven't talked to anybody about it they were briefing about the way russians are trying to influence the election. they were briefing about the way russians use information potentially embarrassing to impact our politics. i think they said to him at the end of the briefing and said hey, the russians could do this to you if they wanted to. now they might do it through allegations that unfounded. might do it through fake news. by the way, one 67 of clapper's main points was that the russians do use fake information. disinformation. and that's one of the ways that they try to influence. i think that's kind of a warning, it's not a threat like they have something over you. don't you think he would have
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accused them of hiding the ball? >> is being run down or has been run down by the intel community? >> not necessarily. i don't think actually the intelligence community, the cia is interested in whether or not something happened to donald trump in moscow. i think the fbi, because they investigate violations of federal criminal law and they want to know if campaign advisors were conspireing with the service. that's a violation of law.
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the actions and cape ublts of foreign actors. that's what they're doing here. they're not saying that mr. president-elect to get to a 35 report. i don't think that's what they did. they basically threw it out and basically wrote a short document that said, russia uses disinformation in our political system. they definitely did it against the democrats. they might try it against you. >> and the level of sophistication or what the russians. it toitly never happened and i'm
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quoting trump. here's what i was told, here's what i wasn't told. he shouldn't use kremlin spokes people defend himself. it plays into the hands of his critics. >> very quickly. is there going to be some resignations in mass from sort of intel officers rank and file? the civilian, the non-political types? >> we have heard that unfortunately many people are preparing their resumes and they have been deep concern at other
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agencies about what's going to happen. and it really didn't stem from this episode. it was the last few weeks denigrating the intelligence community, dredging up the iraq war wmd intelligence estimate. things that showed that they were going to bring forward. help defend the country. jeremy bash, former chief of staff. both the pentagon at the cia. thank you very much, sir. appreciate having you on. editor at the nation, rick tyler, and former communication director for the ted cruz campaign and katie tur. covering trump since the infamous escalator. welcome to you all. let me start with you. what's your reaction to donald trump and russia?
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>> which trump has called intelligence briefing, and then we have two people speaking on behalf of the trump administration saying i can't talk about something that's been made public. so, i thought the press conference was fairly defensive, somewhat obnoxious. so here we are. it's going to be a long four years. >> but in many ways, it was very trump. >> it was very trump. and, you know, i thought he was going to come out and he did have a contentious moment where he tried to belittle cnn and jim acosta, i was expecting him to come out on the defensivend angrier given last night's ne. but he came out with more of a jump in his step. own the cycle, own the news conference, own the press, spin it in his direction. i find it interesting that he's co-opted the term fake news since fake news was -- it's
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origin really was stories on facebook and social media that helps him campaign. stories that were, you know, promoting the sometimes unfounded conspiracy theories that he was talking about on the campaign trail. he's used that now to just try and write off any sort of critical news to him. >> yeah, he knows thousand use a press conference. >> he's very adept at it. all those -- everybody that's been coming, more and more press conferences. if i'm donald trump, i want more. >> he's loving it. give him the razzle-dazzle. the number of aghast moments in the course of this conversation were -- and the course of that press conference, you can't add them up, you can't keep up with what you should follow. there are so many questions on the table. there are so many unanswered questions about his personal financial entanglements. whatever is true or not in this
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document, chaz scary to me is that in ten days, when we have an overhaul, we are at the end of o ability to answer some of the questions. >> and that was the purpose. was to talk about that pile of paper. what does a republican do if you're in the senate and you're uncomfortable on the putin stuff? but sort of the walking this line here. you're uncomfortable being as a public antagonist. make this decision when it comes to poout. . you defend him uncomfortably, or do you go after him and realize that it's politically uncomfortable. i'm not going to prejudge. what's your sense? >> i think it's the attention for the entire presidency. and i think the only way these republicans on the hill can overcome it is really to get personal relationship and have some trust in the people that are surrounding him and the decisions he's making while they're doing it. otherwise, you just don't know from day-to-day. >> i'm going to take a quick pause. we have a packed show.
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coming up on the bottom of the hour. the buzzfeed editor and chief, ben smith joins me since he made the decision to release the controversial trump dossier. plus, rex tillerson gets grilled on the hill. i'll talk with one of the senators who had some tough questions from tillerson. rand paul, stay tuned. 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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welcome back. president-elect trump's press conference was not the only major political event today. it wasn't even the only russia-related major political event of the day. secretary of state nominee rex llerson' confirmation hearing was going on >> does russia have a legal claim to crimea? >> no, sir, that was a taking of territory that was not theirs. >> is vladimir putin a war criminal? >> i would not use that term. >> do you support creating a national registry for american muslims? >> i would need to have a lot
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more information around how such an approach would even be constructed. >> let skme you, do you lack the knowledge to answer me questions or refusing. >> a little of both. >> i have a hard time believing you lack the knowledge to answer my question. >> up next i'm joined by one of the senators who questioned tillerson today. kentucky republican rand paul. me i have age-related macular degeneration, amd, he told me to look at this grid every day. and we came up with a plan to help reduce my risk of progression, including preservision areds 2. my doctor said preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula the national eye institute recommends to help reduce the risk of progression of moderate to advanced amd after 15 years of clinical studies. preservision areds 2. because my eyes are everything.
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donald trump's pick for secretary of state rex tillerson has been appearing before the foreign relations committee today. he's been fielding a wide range of questions from the committee. everything from russia to latin america to middle east. for instance, senator rand paul asked tillerson about regime change in iran.
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what do you think of that advocacy and what do you think of i guess the donald trump statements with regard to regime change? >> well, i think -- and i think you've described it in many ways in the same way i would see it. what is in the best interest of our national security? >> well joining me now is senator rand paul. senator, welcome back to the show, sir. >> thanks. >> let me -- before i get into some details of the confirmation process itself. i want to know big picture for you, when you're deciding, and i'm in particular rex tillerson and jeff sessions, when you're deciding whether to support somebody, whether to confirm them for a job what is your line between having the ability to do the job, but i disagree with how they're going to go about it, versus deciding, you know what, i just can't confirm this person because i am so die metically opposed to their positions. tell me your line in your head on that.
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>> i think it's a great question. because quite a few of these wouldn't have been my first pick. i don't mean that in a mean way, had i won, i would have picked my own people. these are people that agree more with donald trump than i do. there is overlap. i don't say i disagree with their viewpoints, but for secretary of state, it's one of the most important cabinet positions, if not the most important. to me temperament is important. i'm not going to agree with tillerson on every issue, but i want someone who, who's going to be the chief diplomat to be diplomatic. i want them to understand that war is the last resort, not the first. but i also want them to understand that the world is not very easily placed always in black and white terms. that russia's neither all evil nor all good, that there are shades of gray, and that we have to talk with people that we don't think are perfect humanitarians or have perfect human rights records, particularly russia because we have to communicate so we don't have an accidental war. so we don't have an accidental nuclear launch, and we've had
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that communication even at the very height of the heat of the cold war. i know that metaphor doesn't quite work, but the whole point is even when we were greatly at odds with russia in the cold war, we still talked with them. many people in washington, and i met many people in the presidential debates who i didn't think were reasonable in the sense that we could hunch russia in the nose and no longer have dialogue with him. i was impressed with tillerson, he understands dialogue and engagement is the chief part of his job. >> the reason i ask on both tillerson and jeff sessions, i want to go to jeff sessions -- somebody that worked for you in the past, elise jordan who is a contributor on our network here, she is not a big fan of his views on criminal justice reform, and i know she worked for you, i don't want to pretend that he aspouses your exact viewpoint. is jeff sessions' position, basically opposed to yours on certain parts of criminal justice reform, enough for you not to confirm him?
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>> you know, i think that's also a great question because i do have is to weigh those things. on criminal justice in our opposite sides, many civil libertarian issues, opposite sides. whether or not an american citizen could be detained that is declared some sort of enemy combatant by the state or the executive branch, we're on different sides. these are issues that are very important to me. but i think it's also the understanding i didn't win i don't get to pick. it wornt be my first choice. i believe jeff sessions is honest and i think it's unfair people are characterizing him as a racist. i mean, one of the worst things you can be called and frankly that's how far we have come. and the thing is that when you look at people who have worked for him, the one young man, i don't know him, but i read this article, african american in his office is now a chief of staff. the only chief of staff for a republican congressman based on
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their merit and i think it's so wrong and so unfair because people disagree with his point of view. i want to go to the russia question here. donald trump admitted that rooub was behind -- okay, probably behind the dnc has. refused to condemn putin over it. and he seems to have said, if putin likes trump, i consider that an asset. and i understand, i heard what you said, all russia is evil, all good, there has to be a gray area here. do you think donald trump respects that gray area enough? >> you know i think this is something that'll be played out over time. i think tillerson definitely does, and tillerson will be the face of the state department. i think when you say what is understood about russia or not understood, one of the questions in the hearing was do you think putin is a war criminal?
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well, we could have a variety of discrypters for vladimir putin, and if you're a right wing talk show host kul calling him a war criminal is probably perfectly fine. t if you're going to be the secretary of state, those aren't the words i would use nor are they for the president. does putin outside normal international boundaries, has he done thing was aggression to other countries that should be condemned? should we have sanctions to modulate his behavior? we can discuss that, but i think calling -- whether someone is calling him a war criminal i don't think is basically useful to trying to live with this. >> do you think donald trump takes the threat of vladimir putin when it comes to undermining -- he seems to want to undermine western alliances and the idea of western democracy. do i think donald trump will negotiate? yes. i think what he is showing you
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as far as the bully pulpit on trade. i don't think he's going to wake up tomorrow and say, oh, well we're going to give putin some great deal on trade because i like putin. i don't think he's also going to say ohio poout condition invade the baltics. tillerson was asked that question on article five, defending nato allies and he gave a firm response to that. and so, there's a difference between the bully pulpit and twitter, and actually policy that comes out. and so i think that donald trump uses twitter like a bully pulpit probably more effectively than any president ever has before or any political figure has before, if i would have known how to use it better, maybe i could have won. but the thing is, is that i don't think we're always going to get a final public policy pronouncement from 140 characters and there is some danger to that. i'm not discounting the danger, but i will say that his example, i'm for passing replacement. i think the president has the ability through twitter and travel to convince eight
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democrats in the senate that it is worth their while to consider some replacement or he's going to be in their state every week with 20,000 people listening to him rally the republicans for their seat. >> just to wrap quickly, and by the way, i've seen your fest vus tweets, don't sell yourself short when it comes to twitter. quickly, has rex tillerson said anything that makes you less convinced he's ready to be secretary of state? >> you know there was an exchange about cuba. and i don't necessarily agree, but his words are very careful there. hopefully he will be persuaded that engagement with cuba helps the cuban people. it is the way we overthrow communism. and that the embargo hasn't worked. things like that are a detail where i may not necessarily agree with his position now. but i think he's a broad-minded enough person, but i think he will listen to reasonable points of view. and i just think he's going to be a good secretary of state. and i think people are going to be surprised to see ceos who
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through merit have risen to the to want instead of through the nepotism and sometimes luck of politics. i won't say we all got here by luck, but i will say it's interesting, it'll be interesting to have some people at the top echelons of government that through a 40-year career got to the very top. i think that'll be interesting. >> senator rand paul, i'm leaving it there. always interesting. appreciate you talking to share your crew views. >> thank you. and happy post-festivus. buzzfeed comes under fire for relesion explosive and unverified information about his supposed dealings with russia. i'll have an exclusive interview with the ed nor chief of buzzfeed, ben smith, right after this about why he made that decision. ♪ look at you, saving money on your medicare part d prescriptions. at walgreens we make it easy for you to seize the day by helping you get more out of life and medicare part d. now with zero-dollar copays on select plans...
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i could actually run my business and run government at the same time. i don't like the way that looks, but i would be able to do that, if i wanted to. he laid out the details on how to avoid conflicts of business from his vast business empire while serving as president. here's what we learned, despite bipartisan calls from ethics experts, he will not divest from his business. instead into a trust and it's not a blind trust. just simply a trust. he's going to hand over management of the trump
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organization to his adult sons don jr. and eric. both in one other executive who's not a relative. donald trump, the president-elect is resigning from leadership posts of all other trump entities. the trump organization will not make anymore foreign deals while he's in office. and all new domestic deals will require written apovl by an ethics advisor. the trump organization or the government. mr. trump also said that as recently as this weekend, he turned down a $2 billion deal in dubai. and we heard once again that no, we will not be seeing his tax returns any time soon. >> you know the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters. >> you don't think the american public is concerned? >> i don't any so. i won. >> coming up next, we've got the fist interview with the editor of buzzfeed news. the online outlet that's under fire from some corners. for publishing these unverified and salacious allegations about
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the president-elect and his travels and dealings with russia. you won't want to miss this. we'll be right back.
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and they're absolutely right. they say that it's hot... when really, it's scorching. and while some may say the desert is desolate... we prefer secluded. what is the desert? it's absolutely what you need right now. absolutely scottsdale. 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.
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and protect american interests not corporate interests. the fact that buzzfeed and cnn made the decision to run with this unsubstantiated claim is a sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks. >> as far as buzzfeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, i think they're going to suffer the consequences. they already are. >> welcome back to mpt daily, that was the president-elect as well as the president-elect's white house press secretary, lashing out at buzzfeed after it published a dossier that had been circulating among reporters and government officials since the summer. and as we reported, at the top of the show, it included highly salacious, unvetted and unverified information. it went as far, apparently the intelligence community actually labelled it disinformation. now buzzfeed was the only news outlet to publish it. most news organizations weren't
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disclosing details from it or even eluding to the details. in an e-mail to staff last night, the editor and chief defended the move writing this, publishing this document was not an easy or simple call, publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017. full disclosure, nbc universal, which is the parent company of nbc and msnbc is an investor in buzzfeed. it's important to note that our news operations are independent of each other. ben smith joins me now. ben, welcome, sir. >> thanks for having me on, chuck. >> okay. i want you to explain this sentence, publishing this dossier refers how we see, referring to yourself, the job of reporters in 2017. that makes me think this is a decision you would have, you would not have made the same decision in a pretrump era? >> i think more the pre-internet era. there was an era i think there are reasons to be know stall jik for it, reasons to have issues with it where we could act as
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gate keepers. we could say you know what, crazy people are claiming that barack obama's birth certificate is forged, we're not going to write about that, that's crazy. if you remember, we were both there during the first campaign. that was the first approach. and you see these things spread and you have to engage. but i think there was an era when you would be the gate keeper for information, and you would say -- and you would say to your audience, trust us, we're keeping things from you, but you should trust us. i think you could say that was gad or bad, that was not the present day. i think this -- so there were and in this that context. there were really two reasons that we did decide to publish this. and we like many other organizations have had it for weeks, reporters in europe and the united states trying to stand up or knock down specific details. and -- but this was a document that was not just circulating at the highest levels, the most powerful intention officials in the country referring to it in briefings, the president-elect, reportedly, disputedly, the top
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elected officials, gang of eight, and i think, we're starting to act on it. harry reid written the letter referring to it. i think when you have an object that is in play, that is having consequences for the way the leaders are acting. you have to ask, why should i suppress them. there are then good reasons. once though it emerged in the public conversation that there is this secret document floegt around, full of dark allegations that we will not repeat to you. that i feel like in this era, you have to share your readers what that is. in an appropriate context and our original report, if you read what we wrote, it stressed that there were real solid reasons to distrust this and noted to specific era. you talk about context and you talk about putting responsibility on the readers, but at the same time, don't off responsibility of not spreading false information?
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are you knowingly spreading false information? >> i mean, i think as with the obama birth certificate thing, this is an incredibly difficult balance that everybody in our business navigates every day -- >> but you're not publishing a false -- >> you are quoting people saying -- >> false birth certificate? >> we certainly quoted the president-elect of the united states making false claims about it and years ago we debated whether we should quote regular citizens in iowa saying i don't believe his birth certificate. and i remember thinking at first, we shouldn't pass that on and then saying, this has become a force are now these factors in the conversation. >> haven't you just participated? >> didn't you just -- and i'm sure -- i know this wa not yr intent, i've known you a long time, but you just published fake news. >> we just published a dossier -- i think that's a really -- >> why is that an unfair description? >> i think people love to throw
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the term fake news around. >> trust me, i'm aware to diminish anything they don't like. >> but i think this was a real story about a real document that was really being passed around between the very top officials of this country. and then the question you say is it's okay for you to chuck todd see this document, it's okay for me to see it, okay for john mccain okay with for the cia. why is it not okay if for your audience? which of your audience members comfortable showing it to you? making not just seeing it, making decisions baseden to. it is appropriate to tell you audience and respect the fact that they can say this looks like nonsense. >> all right. it seems to me it's almost as if you're saying there was -- there was only two choices you had here. not publish or publish. there is a gray area. i understand this idea in this day and age that there are many readers that feel as if proof -- show me you have the goods. there is such thing as rediamondbackss. and you could have redacted. you could have said, here it is, and you know what, you didn't do
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many. you did very, very few and in some cases, not enough as far as even i believe one of the people who contributed to it. so, why not do that? why not go that middle ground? i understand, you're making a case here, hey, all these lead verse this. we know this is available. cnn made the decision to say, to do what you just do, hey, this is out there, we know that this report exists, it's a dossier, it's unverified information. stop. >> there is a spectrum in decisions and reasonable people can disagree. to me to say as some organizations did, there is a secret document, here is our summary of it, we are going to protect your eyes from it. is an very difficult to explain or mainin. beuse, so you're apply loued to take false claims, u guess our impulse and i think it is to show the audience the underlying document, let them make their own decisions and respect them
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to be able to doubt that. >> i understand this and the transparency, transparency can turn into a crutch to turn into laziness. i mean, the job of the reporters is we're doing our best to find truth. okay. at the end of the day, it's the best truth we can have. and you are -- >> we had an unlimited -- >> you made a knowing decision to put out an untruth. >> if we -- >> or at least something you hadn't proven true yet. >> if we got that -- if there had not been a public conversation about secret documents that no one was allowed to see, we would have continued as i think we did and other competitors and prague and other places to report this out. i agree with you. when you get a tip, when you get an anonymous document, as we do every day buzzfeed news. when we -- >> but why aren't you? go down that logical road. you're getting -- there's a lot of sources on there. why aren't you reporting all of them? why in this particular case? kbl i think it was reported that the president of the united states was being briefed on a salacious personal report about
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me or about some other piece of gossip, we would -- i think we would feel a -- >> by the way, it's not confirmed that he was definitely briefed on this document. >> i saw your report on that. we have not done that. >> it was reported last night. i realize -- >> did you make an effort to confirm whether or not he actually was briefed on this? and would that have made a difference in your decision? >> we did a lot of reporting about extent to which this was -- this was widely distributed at the highest levels. i think there was a report last night that was part of that. we did not have all of that ourselves. >> quote, market sullivan, says this flatly, it's never been accept to believe publish rumor and innuendo. do you agree? >> you know have to engage in false statements. i mean, i guess, i think it's an environment -- you no longer have the luxury. and where the legacy media which has -- at times turned away from saying, wow, there is all of this crazy stuff in the internet, we're not going to touch it. we're going to stay out.
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we're just going to let it spread. and i think that this is a place where is important to show your audience what you have. >> the was a line -- when does the line become yelling >> i think that you're absolutely right that there's -- that you can -- reasonable people can disagree. i mean, i'm not sure you would say the effect of -- that the effect of publishing this has made people think it's more credible, by the way, do you think that? >> no, but do you believe you have helped the credibility of the media with the public or hurt the credibility of journalism with the public? >> i think in the long term, we all have to reckon with the reality that we've got to engage information that is out there true and false, do our best to verify it and be as transparent as we can with our readers about what we know, what we don't know, what we doubt. it's an incredibly uncomfortable thing for everybody. >> are you still comfortable with this decision -- >> absolutely. i think this was absolutely the right thing to do. >> all right. ben smith. we could go on and on but my producer is yelling at me because the clock keeps ticking. anyway, i appreciate you coming in. >> thanks for having me on,
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chuck. >> not easy debating these things yet i love having these media debates. they are exciting in newsrooms. ben smith, thank you. we'll be right back. 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 and we'll handle the legal stuff that comes up along the way. legalzoom. legal help is here.
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i made ben smith stay because we started having a debate about the idea of does a news outlet have a responsibility of protecting the
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reputation of the press overall? you say no. why? >> i'm not sure you're quoting me accurately there. >> okay. what did you lemean by that? >> when you think about your decisions, you think about your responsibility to your readers. >> no doubt. >> i absolutely -- >> what about journalism in general? >> i think we have an obligation to our readers to be honest and transparent with our readers, if we start thinking of ourselves as public relations people, that's a big mistake. i understood when we did this that certainly some of my colleagues in the media would not think this was a good call, and that -- but that i do -- i think that, particularly in the sort of brand of media i think we represent, you know, the presumption is transparency, the presumption is you publish things. you have to have really strong argument to suppress a document -- >> why is that -- >> suppress that information. >> i understand transparency, why isn't -- what should come true, first, truth or tranarency? >> it is a luxury to choose. >>hy d it take you -- why is that a luxury? >> we spent weeks -- >> truth or transparency, how is truth not first? >> we spent weeks like you did chasing and trying to stand up
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or knock down the specific claims and then when it emerges that there's a public national conversation about a secret dump document with dark, mysterious claims that we can't show you because it will burn your eyes out, that to me is the moment when responsible organizations ought to say to your audience, we can't tell you to trust this but this is what your betters are talking about and refusing to show you and we feel we should share that with our audience. >> well, journalism professors around the country are very thankful because they now have an easy second semester class. at least syllabus to write. >> thank you for the extra minute. >> ben smith, thank you very much. we'll be right back.
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that's all we he for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more "mtp daily." obviously i wish i had more time. greta has for time. tonight "for the record," he said it, president-elect donald trump saying i think it was russia. that's the first time admitting russia was behind the election hack, but that's not all. trump launching new attacks on america's spy agencies and some favorite targets, the media. a wild day in politics with tense hearings on the hill, and at this very moment, just a block from where i'm sitting, the real start of the fight over obamacare. we'll talk about it all with the democratic leader of the house, nancy pelosi, right here with me in the studio. and from trump tower, a top adviser to president-elect, kellyanne conway. it's a b

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