tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC January 12, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PST
susan, and your tremendous relationship and your family. and i know that will be a great asset to the nation as well. and so thank you for stepping up to do this. your whole life changed a month ago when you accepted the possibility of the nomination for this. and so thanks for stepping up and doing it. let me ask about the role of the cia and its face and the direction -- >> the 12:00 noon hour has arrived here on the east coast. we have along with you been bouncing a little bit back and forth from hearing to hearing because we have three of them going on concurrently. upper right is the veteran, now retired marine general james mattis being confirmed fsecretay of defense. we've been watching congressman pompeo, the trump nominee for cia. and in the lower right a hearing we have not been dwelling on but is going on nonetheless, dr. ben
carson for housing and urban development n. a moment, we will play for you one of the more heated exchanges from that hearing between dr. ben carson and senator elizabeth warren, democrat, of the commonwealth of massachusetts. some highlights, though, from the other two hearings that have a military and intelligence, slash, national security bent. the headline by one way of viewing them is that both nominees, mattis and pompeo are way out ahead of donald trump, the president-elect. that is to say, a much more traditional view of u.s./russia policy and u.s./putin policy. looking at the quotes i have wrich down from general mattis on the subject of putin, first of all, senator mccain started
off by saying putin will never be our partner. general mattis said of russia, they are an adversary. there are an increasing number of areas where we are going to have to confront russia. he said, they are trying to break the nato alliance. pompeo agreed that the senior leadership of russia was guilty of at least approving if not commissioning the hacking against the united states. but, again, both men have been much more huing within traditional lines of how russia and putin are viewed in this country. whatever his motivation, donald trump has been part of this normalization effort. continued quotes as recently yesterday on russia on putin. joining us here in new york, medal of honor recipient and retired u.s. army colonel jack
jacobs, micolle wallace, former communication direct for for the bush 43 white house. katy tur who has covered the trump for president effort from the beginning. and in honolulu where it's early but still paradise, he reminds us retired four star general barry mccalf re. jack jacob, starting with you, it's been notable how traditional the opinions expressed on russia by messrs. mccain, mattis and pompeo -- >> you could argue they were selected precisely because they were traditional thinkers on national security to counter-ball anna lot of what president-elect trump has said. they have been extremely traditional. one of the things that has been interesting about their testimonies has been the following -- in a contentious situation when you are asked do your views differ significantly from trump's, the response has always been from both of these people, i'm going to follow the
law. basically, telling the congress that it's up to them to tell us what to do, and we will do it. and i think that's going to contribute in a very major way to, i think, probably smooth confirmation for these people. >> nicole, as someone who knows and loves john mccain, he has been having as much of a blast as you can have at a confirmation hearing. he just went at it very affectionately with mattis. >> like a party hopper. >> yes, exactly. >> from one -- so i was thinking this watching this, that he's having the time of his life. and this is the moment that almost everything that he has accomplished and endured in his whole life has built up to. i know it won't be the stuff of headlines or front page stories tomorrow, but if you want to feel good -- i tell you, even trump voters have a a lot of anxiety about the way the transition has gone. they have got a lot of skepticism about the media, trump skeptics are deeply,
deeply concerned. if you want to feel better about this country, watch the first 30 minutes of the mattis hearing. you saw the democrat and the republican and the ranking member and chair than affectionately sort of talking about the logistics. it's not the stuff for headlines or leading news reports but you want to see places where our government is still working exactly as it should. >> just two colleagues. >> two colleagues. at the beginning of that hearing there were democrats and republicans inside a committee with the same concerns about russia and putin and the hacking into the dnc. there were democrats and republicans with the same amount of respect for a trump nominee. and there were democrats and republicans really working together to make sure that people are in place who donald trump will listen to. and i thought the questions about how he is going to go about working with donald trump were among the most cons consequential of the day. >> yes. shutly. >> yes. >> katy tur, you have been monitoring an unusual story that comes to us from mid town manhattan blocks from here,
really the focal point of mid town manhattan since election day, and that's trump tower, notable for the people coming in and out these days, and a notable visitor today. >> absolutely. a good reminder although we are watching these confirmation hearings there is still a transition effort on the way and still a lot of activity at trump tower where the president-elect and his team is at the moment. so few minutes ago maureen la penn who is the fund national as we would say it here, the far right political party in france was seen in trump tower having a coffee right there. you can see from this twitter picture that she's having a coffee in the downstairs atrium of the trump lobby. after this she was seen getting into that elevator that we see on television so much. trump gets in and out of it. his team gets in and out of it. other people that work in the building do get in and out of it. she was seen taking that
elevator up to some unknown floor in trump tower. the trump transition, shawn spicer, the spokesman, said that she is not meeting with donald trump or anybody else in the transition. and when asked for further guidance on why exactly she was in trump tower, it's certainly an auspicious place for her to be, spicer said that it is a public building. this is pretty interesting. one -- why the leader of a french political party would be in trump tower is notable, number one. number two, steven bannon, donald trump's close adviser on par with reince priebus, his chief of staff in his incoming white house, has met with maureen la penn's niece in the past and expressed confidence in her that breitbart is expanding into europe, france being one of those places. and maureen la penn's party is -- and she is doing better than expected. she's leading in the first poll for president in france. and that's a -- that's a huge
turnaround. >> a big poll. >> in just the past year and a half when talking about her political prospects in france back when i used to visit france quite a bit, most people would say to you that it -- it seemed very far out of reach for her, that this was not a bid that was likely to go anywhere. certainly wasn't one to make headlines but her prospects were not seen as good. but things have changed so much in the past year and a half. this populous uprising, the effort to close bore doris. brexit winning, donald trump winning. all of these thing are changing the political atmosphere around the world. and suddenly maureen la penn, if you want to write her off or not, seems like somebody who has much more of a chance than she had before. and why in the world is she in trump tower? that remains to be seen. >> it's the reason why all eyes
are on the largest economy in europe, angela merkel. as they often are. but a lot of people are nervous about the future of europe generally. as i mentioned, one of our military affairs analysts, and retired u.s. army four star general barry mccaffery remains at our western-most post this morning, honolulu. general i'm listening to the hearings, especially the point we just raised about this effort by donald trump to kind of so-called the normalization of russia and putin. you were a combat veteran in vietnam. and having come up as a combat ant commander in that era that makes you and our friend jack jacobs here cold war yors as well by era. and have you been struck by this talk that that we have a been hearing, the normalization effort of russia and putin? >> well, certainly.
you know, i spent a lot of time in and out of russia dealing with national security people, their parliamentians. but putin has been a drastic change from the very positive things that were happening as the -- you know, soviet union came apart. generously, you can say that russia today internally resembles more a criminal oligarchy than an open democracy in any way. and when you look at putin's conduct in foreign affairs, he clearly has been a threat to nato interests as well as u.s. national interests. so i personally anticipate there is going to be a problem ahead. you know, we talk about the six roles of the president of the united states. and when it comes to being chief diplomat and commander in chief, he is least constrained in those two roles by other checks and balances. so i think down the line you are going to see the second of
defense, if mattis is confirmed -- and i hope he is -- as well as the cia director and others being in a real difficult position with mr. trump. >> right where you are of course is where a superb new book on pearl harbor recently argues that the modern america was born. say what you will about 1776. but on december 7th, on that day in the winter when no one was expecting it on a sunday morning modern america was born because of the change it forced in us and the fight we found within us with the help of franklin roosevelt. having said that, general, do you think there is generally a risk that time and space compact too quickly these days. we've forgotten who some long
term enemies are. we've forgotten where we've been, and that could lead us astray as we look at the world in the future? >> well, no question. look, one of the -- principle lesson number one for our intelligence is don't tell me about their intention. tell me about their capabilities. the second thing is look at what they do, not what they say. when it comes to dealing with some of these principle national security threats, and that's number one probably in the short-term north korea. also iran. russian adventurism. for that matter, china in terms of their actions in the south china sea and dealing with the japanese. we have some major threats to be concerned about. so you know in the days ahead -- i think general mattis who is a remarkable individual, and listening to congressman pompeo's hearing, these are two very qualified people.
we ought to be fortunate they are willing to step forward and serve. >> general, thank you very much. and those tuning in to see andrea mitchell usually on at this hour we are going to be going to her in just a moment. first i promised a rather heated exchange between the senator from massachusetts, elizabeth warren, and dr. ben carson at his confirmation hearing for secretary of housing development. we have that for you now. >> my concern is whether or not among the billions of dollars that you will be responsible for nd thatting out in grants and loans can you just assure us that not one dollar will go to benefit either the president-elect or his family? >> it will not be my intention to do anything to benefit any american. >> i understand that. >> it's for all americans,
everything that we do. >> do i take that that you may manage programs that will significantly benefit the president-elect? >> you can take it to mean that i will manage things in a way that benefits the american people. that is going to be the goal. >> to the best you understand that -- >> if there happens to be an extraordinarily good program that's working for millions of people, and it turns out that someone that you are targeting is going to gain, you know, $10 from it, am i going to say no, the rest of you americans can't have it? i think logic and common sense probably would be the best way. >> what we lack, of course, was the context going into that conversation, micolle wallace. but all things emoluments have been under discussion. >> yeah. >> because we've never been here before. we have never elected a president of the united states whose name is the subject of
kind of licensing rights. >> right. >> and whose name is as ubiquitous in american business. >> right. and i think that elizabeth warren is one of those skeptics -- i talked about trump skeptics before -- you probably can go much further than that with her. she is someone who is not going to let this go, this risk that -- the conflict that will be inherent in someone like donald trump whose company is his name whose company is his brand and the way he licensed it and sold it. she i think is someone who is going to use every opportunity -- she finds herself on this committee with a very unlikely i think witness to this kind of prosecution of a case in ben carson who got pretty far in the republican primary without a lick of experience. granted, the guy that won didn't have any either. but ben carson -- it didn't look like he knew exactly what hit him with elizabeth warren coming steaming at him in terms of really prosecuting a much larger
case about donald trump and the conflicts that he is going to have in office. and i think that's something that you are going the see her leading the charge on, whom ever is in front of her committee. >> as i mentioned, andrea mitchell's start time today has been delayed for good reason. she is coming off a major interview in washington. and today in fact is anchoring her broadcast from remote location, though not that remote, and quite familiar to her. that's the north lawn of the white house. with that, good day to you, andrea. >> good day. a beautiful day here in washington brian. i am here at the white house on yet another very busy day on capitol hill. as you have all been watching, three confirmations underway for the secretary of defense and the cia director facing tough questions on issues of national security and intelligence. those are just two issues i discussed with the vice
president of the united states, joe biden, sitting down just moments ago for a farewell interview. thank you vice president biden. thank you for joining us. >> i'm happy to be with you. >> the -- took the president-elect to assure him that the intelligence community was not leaking al smear campaign, a document that had unverified allegations of what is.ha.ing to him. what's your eracks? >> look, i was asked when i came down here. i have been the intelligence committee, thought i was well informed. i got here and found out there is even more to be informed about. in one sense it's understandable that mr. trump doesn't understand the intelligence community. the hope is he has people around him who understand it is the crown jewel of everything we do. whether it's terms of our foreign policy decisions all our intelligence decisions. and i -- i hope that he has
people around him -- i know he has people around him who know a lot about the community. some i don't agree with, like general flynn. otherwise like mattis i do. but i hope they get to him and make him understand that denigrating the intelligence community just den grates u.s. interests. it makes us -- makes us more vulnerable. and so i hope the rhetoric changes. >> he tweeted yesterday morning comparing the spy agencies to nazis. what is the impact of that? >> it's really, really unfortunate. look, mr. putin, among others, but primarily, is spending all his time since he came back as president trying to convince the rest of the world that america is weak, it's not in control of its own assets, that basically saying to other parts of the world, look, you can count on, he ma.
they are not reliable. you should be changing your attitude here. it undermine -- it plays into his handled. it hurts our intelligence community. and, look, a lot of people you know andrea, are risking their lives. they are not just sitting behind a computer. they are risking their lives to get information that is essential for our physical security. and i just hope the lord these people who know more get around him quicker than they have. >> can he re-establish trust in he will have his own people in charge of the agencies, but the work force, thousands and thousands of men and women who as you say are on the front lines, whether they are here at home or overseas. >> that would depend a lot on the people put in charge. and i think they will look at the people, the thousands of people out there will look at whether or not what they are
supplying to their new boss at each of these agencies is being transmitted to the president and the president is absorbing it. so it remains to be seen. >> what have you seen so far with him going on twitter, with him attacking them? how bad is the damage? if i'm hearing it from men and women who work in the community, you live with them. >> the hope is that in the next week to ten days, once he is president and once he has his appointed analysts and experts in charge that he will be much more informed. >> you suggested you had differences with michael flynn who is coming in as national security adviser. you know better than anyone how important that role is. that's proximity. he could have great people at the agency and at the pentagon, but the person with him morning,
noon, and night is going to be michael flynn. >> but he is a very smart guy. he is very well informed of the importance of intelligence. we may disagree on the use of it and may disagree on emphasis, but look the one thing i found about the intelligence community, andrea, is especially since the advice relative to saddam having weapons of mass destruction, is that they are very, very, very careful about what they recommend, what they state. and they will state differences. they will state -- every morning -- i just came from a briefing, a presidential dailey brief, i have my little secure pad that has everything that happened the night before. one will say we have overwhelming conviction that this is going to happen. but within the agency, within the intelligence agency there is two others who don't share this view as well. there is space between us.
i mean they are completely thoroughly open to the president about what they think and where they disagree. and they are incredibly competent. >> well, that said, when 17 agencies all agreed that russia was hacking trying to interfere with the election, trying to improve trump's -- donald trump's chances over hillary clinton's, the motivations were put in there that it could only have happened with vladimir putin authorizing it -- that kind of consensus -- >> like i said, the -- once he has the mantle of being president sitting behind that desk every morning, my hope and expectation is that he will become significantly more informed as to how they work, how they function, how good they are. >> he said just yesterday that it could be an asset if vladimir putin likes him. is it an asset for vladimir putin to like the president of the united states? or is he playing us?
>> look, it's important that the next president, mr. trump, understand all that vladimir putin has done and continues to do to try to undermine america's influence and to try to undermine the unity that exists in europe, euro poll, free and at peace. it is a been clear to every observer, left, right, and center, that putin believes a united europe is a problem for him. so he has done everything he can to -- to splinter consensus in europe, to weaken the eu as well as nato. and i can't believe after being immersed for several months in this as president that that's not a consensus that -- i'm
confident it is a consensus that the experts in his administration understand and will be communicated to him. but i can't divine what president-elect trump is likely to do. >> was it a mistake for the intelligence community to even include that unverified opposition research disinformation material, the two paged addendum -- even to include it in the briefing papers? >> we asked that question. and their argument was that this is something that the press already had. not just here in the united states but other places. that it would be -- they would be -- they didn't use the dereli derelict, but it was there are obligation to inform not only us but the president-elect that this was out there so that it didn't come out of the blue and have any impact on the conduct
of our foreign policy. they were clear that they just mentioned it. they made no judgment about it. they did not say any of this was substantiated. but they felt it was obliged. it was totally separate and apart from what the president asked to be done, which was to go in and do a thorough analysis and scrub of to what extent did russia engage in trying to impact on our election of 2016? was it directly related to orders by putin, how involved was he, et cetera? they made a concerted and coherent and unified recommendation that, yes, it was designed to impact the outcome of the election. yes, it was approved by putin.
and i've been doing this for a long time andrea. they have hard data. this isn't a guess. they have hard data. what they didn't opine on is whether or not it had any effect on the election. that is not their judgment. the question was, did russia attempt? the answer was yes they did. yes putin knew, yes putin authorized. >> and by also weaponizing it, transferring it to wikileaks so that it came out. that is different than what mr. trump is talking about when he talks about what china did two years ago which is why we reported it at the time with the personnel records. is that the difference? >> well, let me tell you -- it was different. it is. it was thorough. it was comprehensive. it was fully intended. it was -- and whatever vehicle was available to mr. putin to disseminate information that would be hurtful was used.
so -- by the way, it's not just the united states. you know, i'm confident our friends in germany are wondering what mr. putin is lickly to be doing. i can tell you that they have been very act any in maldova, in a number of other places in eastern europe. they have been active in funding organizations that you wouldn't expect them to fund surreptitiously that were designed to undermine everything from european energy dependence to economic sanctions. >> looking back now, president obama said he could have defeated donald trump. could joe biden have defeated donald trump? >> oh, i don't know i am not going to speculate on that. >> in your heart of hearts. the criticism was a lack of a
economic message, that's your ballpark. -- regrets? >> no. no. i -- look, i -- i'm about to hurt your reputation, you are a friend. you know my family, you know of my relationships with my family and i just wasn't prepared to do it after i lost my son. and so i -- i have no regret in the sense that did i make the wrong decision? i made the right decision. and -- but do i -- do i regret that my point of view is not going to be reflected in the next administration because we have mr. trump? yeah, i do regret that. >> i mean he says that he can get obamacare repealed and replaced on the same day in the same hour. what is he missing here? >> i'm much older than you but remember the expression you would have when you would pass around your yearbook to be signed and someone would say lots of luck in your senior year? lots of luck in your senior
year, mr. trump. look, there is a lot -- here's what i think? >> what does he need to know? >> the public has moved far beyond where mr. trump is on all of those issues relating to the social agenda as well as health care. the public has concluded that health care is a basic right, as much a right as getting an education. >> but he was elected on those slogans. >> he was elected on the slogans. but there wasn't -- look he lost the popular vote but for 175,000 votes in three states it would be a different outcome. so there is a thousand reasons why you could attribute our candidate's loss. it could be anything from the failure to speak to the constituents i'm giving her credit of having a relationship with, working class and middle class people. it could be what happened with the fi. it could be a whole range of things but this is one election andrea where i don't think the
issues really up attituded. a school you know well, yurtd of pennsylvania, the annenberg school, they did a study showing how few minutes were devoted to any issue. look, i'll lay you 8 to 5 that you go ask any foreign person who is not in the news media and say what was hillary's position on free college? can you explain it? what was hillary's position on helping people with child care? what was hillary -- those issues never -- never got into the game. i was going to make a speech. i did 83 events for our candidate, for hillary. and i was frustrated as heck and i think i was going to youngstown or cleveland. i can't recall. and i didn't understand why i was so angry with what was going on. and then i realized all the outrageous things that were said and done by the candidate sucked all the oxygen out of the air. so there was never a discussion about the economic issues. it never got there. it wasn't the press's fault. i mean if you get a chance to
have to talk about whether or not a candidate groped somebody or whether or not the other candidate's position is how they fund college tuition, what's going to get in the news is whether or not somebody groped somebody. and so we never got a discussion. we never got it up and running on any of the -- on the seminole issues that would affect the lives of working class and middle classmen. >> one of the issues he said drain the swamp. yesterday he repeated that he is not going to release his taxes, ever. and says he doesn't need a blind trust he is just going to turn it over to the sons. has he donna enough. the government of the ethics says what he has done is meaningless. >> he hasn't done enough. if he doesn't, he may sink in
the swamp. >> you are one of the -- with all due respect, sir, one of the poorest people to ever emerge from public office. you were approximate the poorest guy in the senate. you have got a house. i don't know what other assets you have, but he said that he could reason his business as we as run the government. if the law does say he can. >> i don't doubt that he can. but he shouldn't do both. are you going to be president or are you going to be a businessman? you don't do both. you ran for the most coveted office in the world, the most important office in the world. the thing that the american people looks to most for their security, opportunity, guarantees. and focus on your job. that's the job. i found it bizarre to talk about, well i could have made a $2 billion. i could have done both but i decided not to. as if you are doing me a favor. i mean, the country a favor. i just think it's -- look, this
is a place where the public's going to decide whether or not the failure to divest, the failure to meet what were considered to be the basic minimum ethical standards of disclosure. and if the public turns around and 50% say no problem or 80% say no problem that's going to alter the outcome. >> i know so close to your heart is the cancer moon child. >> yes. >> i'm talking to researchers in the ih community in cancer they were worried after talking to transition frls the new team doesn't believe in federal dollars they think the pharmaceutical industry can do it all. what is your basic hope? >> i raised this with governor -- vice president-elect mike pence who i like. he is a good guy. and i told him i'm prepared to do anything i can to continue to
work with him. we made significant progress in the last year in narrowing the space. and one of the thing, andrea, that you covered. i know your foreign policy experts, you covered the so-called cures bill. no one thought we could pass in a divided congress, at a period where only a week left in the congress -- we were able to pass a $6.3 billion spending bill on research and development. $1.6 billion -- $1.8 billion of this for cancer. this is a by part san consensus. and i think that -- i hope that they will continue to deal with the reforms we made along -- on the government side of the agenda and continue to work with a lot of people on the outside. that's why i'm going to be
setting up a biden initiative that is going to be designed to follow on the work we did in the private sector. >> i want to ask you about -- there was a moment. i was in baghdad with you on july 4th some years ago and you and dr. biden, you were swearing in new citizens. they were american troops. >> that's right. >> many from immigrant backgrounds. i was thinking about the dreamers and all these kutd executive orders that are going to be reversed. what is our thought as i saw those soldiers -- bo was still in service then. >> some of them were decorated soldiers, silver stars, bronze stars. a cluster. these were people that were more american than america. do you remember the looks in their faces? >> yeah. >> in that palace. they came up and they were so proud. so proud. i think that if -- if he does what he is talking about doing,
i think it does great damage to our country, to our image and to -- look, there is two thing that are unique about america. one is that we've had a constant from the 1700s a constan wave of immigration making us stronger. we get the best of every single solitary culture. the people who pick up and leave and say let's sell everything we have and move to a country we don't know and we don't speak the language, won't that be fun? they have courage. they have optimism. they have commitment. that's why we are the people we are. they have done so much. and there is this notion that somehow it makes sense to tell a kid who when he was 2 years old his mother theoretically walked him across the rio grande and said -- he is going to say mommy no, don't have me go. let me stay here. i mean, this is bizarre.
>> your life, affected with so much tragedy, and also so much success. when you think back to the decision you made -- you hadn't even been sworn in as a senator. you had lost your wife and your child. you had two very sick damaged children to take care of, infants. you made the right decision? >> i made the right decision. and my family has grown because of it. look. an degree, i was lucky. i had a group of six or seven senior senators including republicans who said, joe, come down. in retrospect, they safed my sanity. i was supposed to come down and get sworn in and decided i wasn't going do it. that's why i got sworn in -- they sent somebody to the hospital to swear me in so i wouldn't change my mine. it turned out to be the right decision across the world -- i mean across the family. it has been a unifying effort with my family. it kept us close.
we've all been engaged in it. it's been -- it was the right thing to do. and what i always think of -- and i remember thinking when i left my law firm, to be sworn in, the woman work out front in the reception, married, single, two kids. and i thought to myself every day she gets up and does her job without any of the supportive. i had a great job. i have an incredible family. think of all the people who have lost as much -- much more than i have who every day get up and put one foot in front of the other. that's the reason to keep this job. help those people. >> barack obama called you a brother. what have he and michele meant to you and jill? >> a great deal. you know, i knew -- i rr emembe
my mother asking me when i said i didn't want to do the job when i was asked. she said joe, he is a good man, isn't he? i said yes he is good man. and she said -- she had known about my involvement in civil rights. you are telling me the first man, african-american to be president says he needs you to win and you said no? i said mom that's not fair. we did it. we got started. and one of the things about him is that i watched how he treats his children, his wife. i kid mrs. robinson, michele's mom -- >> the president's mother-in-law. >> she could have been my mom if she were older. the same values, the same -- one great thing among the four of us, there is nothing missed between the cup and the lip. we have the same value set. and the second piece of it is, you know, he kept his commitment. i asked him whether or not he asked if i have any quote
demand. i said no demanded. i just want to make sure that i get to be the last guy in the room on every decision. i will back you unless there is some fundamental disagreement we have, in which case i'll deve p develop -- cancer and leave. but he has kept his commitment. as well as that, i've watched him under pressure. i admire him. this man has more backbone, more integrity than any president i have ever worked with. and i have worked with eight presidents. he is a -- he's a truly, truly decent man. and what i've learned was that his affection and his loyalty to my boys and to my daughter and to my granddaughters -- and i to their family -- is real. i remember, you know, when bo was first diagnosed. rushed to the hospital.
he came literally running down the hall in his shirt sleeves, is he all right? is he all right? i mean everybody thinks this guy is sort of so cool and detached. i told the story because i want people to understand when i thought bo would have to leave because of aphasia, part of his brain was affected by the cancer, beginning to affect his speech. and bo was so proud, i was worried he -- even though he had the cognitive capability to run the justice department, he was attorney general, that he would leave. and i said, you know, he may have to leave. and i said but he has no income with that but i said we are in good shape. i can sell the house and we'll be okay. he gets up from -- we're having what we do once a week, a private lunch. he and i talk about everybody, he grabbed me said joe, promise me, promise know me you won't sell the house. i'll give you the money. i'll give you the money. joe, don't sell the house.
so this is real. this is -- and i feel the same way about he and his children. his -- one of the reasons. you know, malia -- excuse me. sasha wasn't able to be at his farewell speech. do you know where she was? sitting in the living room with my daughter -- my granddaughter studying for a chemistry exam together. this will become our -- my granddaughters, his daughters each other's best friends. they have been friends for eight years. in the same small class. they vacation together. they hang out together. this has become a family. and i really -- and michele -- i think michele is the finest first lady in history. i mean history. there has been wonderful first ladies. but she is so smart. she is so, so decent. and she is so inclusive. i mean, i can't -- looking at her, and the whole world looks at her and says -- she conveys
such a -- she conveys america. so it's been -- i'm going on too much. but i really. i don't like them. i love them. and i -- and it's -- it's a mutual thing. we have had each other's backs and i will be there for him anything he ever wants. >> onto the next phase. >> yeah. >> thank you. thank you so much. >> well thank you. i appreciate it. sear to go on so long about that. >> as always, it's a privilege. >> thanks. >> thank you mr. vice president. vice president joe biden on a range of subjects. and as we've been talking here, sitting here at the white house, the committee, the armed services committee has voted with three negative votes boo 24 in favor of the waver for general mattis to be defense secretary even though he has not had the required -- the ordinary seven years of retirement from
active duty. he has only been retired for three years. so that nominationing proceeding. with me are david sanger of the "new york times," julie pace of the "associated press" and washington post colleague chris alyssa joins us from the bureau. david sanger i heard a be in of things from intelligence. top line on that he said that he had on the russian and putin hacking and the larger disinformation campaign as well -- they had hard data. translate for laymen, when they talk about hard data they are saying something significant? >> i'm not entirely sure how to read it but i think that the best guess would mean that either have an intercept in which they are hearing vladimir putin or someone right around him discussing the results from the dnc hack or one of the related hacks or they have computer intercepts from implants put in the systems that link the top leadership.
one of the things that's happened gradually in this case andrea is the move from saying the top leadership almost certainly knew which is where we were on october 7th to what we were hearing from general clapper at a recent hearing which is that vladimir putin himself had ordered this. when you hear that you know they must have had some kind of piece of evidence to make them say that. >> at that hearing, general clapper did say that they had received even more information, more data, in the intervening weeks from that first conclusion of october 7th. this was a robust defense of the intelligence community. and julie, you have covered the white house a long time. he is saying i hope -- i hope -- lord help all of us -- that he, once he gets into office hyped that desk, that he understands that this -- these are the crown jewels and that he has to rely on these people. >> and i think this is an important point because donald trump obviously has picked who
he wants to lead the cia, who he want to lead the office of the director of national intelligence. but those are the leadership positions. the people who are out in the field collecting the intelligence or analyzing the intelligence are the same people who are providing the information on the russia hacking and he is going to be faced inevitably with decisions he is going to have to make as president based on that intelligence. and did message that he sends about how he respects the intelligence community, how he views their reports is going to be crucial to these decisions he is going to be making in office. >> that work force i have been told there is extraordinaryis stress especially about the tweet comparing what happened with that most recent briefing to the nazis. using that kind of terminology against the men and women in the intelligence community has had a really bad effect. there is talk about a brain drain, of people that take decades to train in top positions are even talking about leaving? >> well i've heard that from
friends in the intelligence community. i have heard about it from friend in the diplomatic corps and elsewhere. we don't know how many of them willy. but there is something i think the trump administration is going to discover, which is that at that intelligence community doesn't live off in some completely separated world the way you might imagine from the movies. they are integrated with the policy community here, the journalistic community here, and others. and if the president den grates their work publicly they are going to have a very human reaction. and we saw moments during the bush administration -- you remember this well, andrea, when president bush went after the cia for the 16 words of what saddam hussein was seeking uranium in africa and so forth. and we saw a lot of leaking back from the intelligence community. so this is a game that can be played in both directions. and my guess is that's going to be a little bit of a surprise to the incoming administration.
>> the other big issue that i thought was interesting was on ethics, on separating his business dealings. julie first you and then i want to bring chris alisty in. he said he is knots going to drain the swamp he might fall into the swamp, by not separating himself, sink in the swamp i guess was the trump. >> trump has to also grapple with that. there is a difference between what he has to do as president what he is legally required to do and what a lot of people including some people in the government think he should do this. idea that he can't have conflicts of interest. he can have conflicts of interest. they just not necessarily prohibited. but certainly this idea that the trump organization is going to continue to do domestic business dealings -- as we get some noise in the background. >> the leaf blowers that always start-up. >> getting ready for inauguration. but the idea that the trump organization that can continue to do domestic business deals, not foreign but domestic creates
a potential for conflicts of industry because potentially his business is going to be dealing with cities and states every day. >> chris, you talked about the perils of all the executive orders being canceled as have been promised. the campaign promises he said. i hope when he gets into office he will realize that the dreamers for instance represents the best of america, those who have gone to school, volunteered for military services and are contributing and only came here without their volition as children or infants. >> well look i think the broad sweep of this from ethics to intelligence to cuttive orders, andrea, what i take from listening to that interview is joe biden, i would say candidly hoping against hope but hoping that donald trump of the campaign and even donald trump of the transition is not donald trump of the white house. that the office itself, sitting in the oval office, being not the candidate for president, not the presidential nominee, not even the president-elect. but being the actual president will alter tonally and from a
policy perspective what donald trump will do in office. i would say none of us know -- donald trump has made unpredict. his mall, ma. he clearly cherishes his unpredict. . but i would be skeptical there is in eight day's time there is a different donald trump waiting. custom is what i feel like in almost all those answers that joe biden gave you about trump that's what he is hoping for. it's the same reason i think barack obama. you heard this in his farewell speech talked about. he is hoping to sort of show -- lead by example, show donald trump what it means to be in the traditional definition presidential. like i said i'm not sure that that is an exercise -- it may well be an exercise in futility but i do think that's what you see frommed bien and obama in
they waning days of their time in office. >> joining us, correspondent bill neely in moscow who has come from an interview at the kremlin with putin's spokeman. tell us what he had to say about all of this, the reaction from moscow. >> good afternoon, on a very cold day from moscow. very, very warm words from the spokeman. remember, he is the man whose words have so often echoed those of donald trump when he talks about a witch-hunt. when he talks about fake news. and he mentioned both of those phrases today. he said there would be a welcome for donald trump. he listened to donald trump's news conference yesterday. he welcomed the new language, what he described as the new tone. he said they respect donald trump's readiness to talk, not confront. his readiness to try to understand what's fake and what's not. but he did not agree when donald trump said on hacking, i think it was russia.
remember, donald trump said that yesterday in what s.e.a.l.s seemed to be a bit of a change. -- on hack ridiculous, something that deeply surprised us in the kremlin. but the most interesting thing, andrea, i think, and listen to his words were when i asked him about those other unconfirmed, unverified reports that donald trump might have been compromised in some way on his visits to russia. here's what he said. did any russian official, any intelligence agent, gather any information on donald trump when he was in russia at any time? >> no. no. definitely not. >> donald trump wasn't bugged? >> no. >> wasn't followed? >> no. >> wasn't watched? >> no. >> and remember, donald trump said the russians have got nothing on me. i asked the spokesman have your
intelligence agents gotten anything? >> he said i've never seen a file. >> i said with respect, sir, that is not a denial? >> and he said i don't work for the intelligence services. so make what ulf that exchange. apart from that, they are counting down the days to the end of the obama administration. he again blamed president obama for souring relations, damaging relation. that's a very serious mistake, he said. and blamed obama for narrowing donald trump's room for maneuver. they are counting down the days. and as i asked him, finishing, when do you expect the first talks will be between donald trump and vladimir putin, he said the sooner the better. andrea. >> bill neely, fascinating. what a great get. thank you for that as well. david sanger, one of the issues that i raised with joe biden was asking the vice president, was it a mistake for the intelligence community to include that unverified smear
campaign summary, the two page summary in addition to the regular briefing that was given to both the president and the vice president -- or at least that was prepared to be given. and he said when he asked them about that, he said we asked them that, and they said, we have an obligation, really would be derelict in our duty in so many words if we didn't share what the disinformation is that's out there. that it was out there with the press and everyone else in the community knew about it and that they felt it was -- it was necessary to share. >> it was a fascinating answer because usually when you see intelligence reports you are seeing information that has been vetted and tested and only then reaches senior leaders. so the argued here is, we had to show mr. trump information that we don't necessarily believe but is out there about him. and that is sort of hard to read because, you know, mr. trump may have already known that information was out there about
him. and it may be that the intelligence community doesn't have the totality of the disinformation. what i thought was interesting in bill neely's interview with the russian spokesman is this sense that they have that they can't wait for barack obama to leave and they can't wait for mr. trump to come in. and yet when you heard the testimony yesterday from tillerson and others you began the hear more of a separation from the trump line about -- >> the campaign. >> about the nature russia has. >> vladimir putin certainly front and center at all of these confirmation hearings. joining us now from capitol hill is former defense secretary william kohn who while serving under bill clinton as defense secretary was a republican senator from maine and before the that a house member from maine. thank you very much. >> andrea, good to be with you. >> -- for joining us. putin foout and frump's relationship with vladimir putin
is such an important piece of. i just interviewed the vice president while you were on championship and he said he hopes donald trump once he sits hyped that desk in the oval office will have a different view about the intelligence community and about vladimir putin. >> andrea, i think the cloud of doubt is going to hangover the president-elect as long as information about his interests, his ownership interests, that means his assets, his liabilities, to whom he owes money -- there will always be a cloud unless the american people are satisfied that russia does not have undue influence on the president because either they have money invested in his enterprise and he is in debt in some fashion or another. but notion that any president would take office without the american public having satisfaction that there are no potential conflicts, i think, et cetera aimportant so these kinds of allegations, alatious or
otherwise, will continue to surface. and i think the best way to handle that is just be open. three questions, what do you own, what do you owe, and to whom do you owe it? that's it. i think that would clarify the whole issue of the bromance with president putin. >> mr. secretary, you were introducing general mattis today at the armed services confirmation hearing. he has gotten the waver. they already voted in session to wave that requirement. so you are hardly a partisan in all of this. you were representing the best interests of the defense secretary nominee. for donald trump. yet how damaging do you think trump comparing the intelligence agency to nazis and being so critical of them and suspicious of their briefing, how damaging is that to him as he becomes commander in chief? >> well it's going to undermine certainly the credibility of the intelligence community. the president of the united states has to rely upon the
information that is furnished to them. if he continues to denigrate the quality and the character of the information and the people who are presenting it, then ultimately, he is going to say, well, what are you acting on? who are you trusting? are you trusting wikileaks? are you trusting president putin? where are you getting your information to base decisions upon actions the united states should take or not take? i think that's something the president once he gets into the oval office will have to understand, that if you undermine the very people that you depend upon for making intelligent decision, then it's going to affect and undermine your presidency as well. not to mention jeopardize the security of the united states. >> and what about vladimir putin then, how moscow is seeing all of this? >> well, president putin is going to act out of his own self interests and that of his country. so i don't expect that he will take this with any seriousness. he will dismiss it as he does any other allegation. i think what has to happen is
the united states has to take action, which are in our best interests and that of our allies and to show that yes we will increase our capability in the baltic states, yes, we will continue to confront russia when it serves our interests and that of our allies. so i think yes president-elect trump is correct, let's have a good relationship with russia but not on president putin's terms, let's do it on good order and rules that have been established and not to be divided. >> bill kohn thank you for joining us from capitol hill. thanks to david sanger and julie pace and chris alyssa. that does it for this special edition of andrea mitchell reports live from the white house. remember to follow the show on line at facebook and twitter at mitchell reports. craig melvin is up next here on msnbc. >> that was a fascinating conversation with the vice president andrea millimitchell. good morning. >> all eyes are on capitol hill
this afternoon. confirmation hearings for three of president-elect donald trump's top choices for cabinet positions. those hearings wrapping up just moments ago. in the hot seat today the president-elect's nominees for head of the cia, secretary of defense, and secretary for housing and urban development. let us start with mike pompeo, one of two men today hoping to serve on the president-elect's national security team. the kansas congressman is trump's pick to lead the cia. he and other leaders of the intelligence community have a unique challenge. trump is off to quite the contentious start with our intelligence community. just wednesday you might remember he compared them to nazis. here are just some of the highlights from the pompeo hearing. >> the central intelligence agency will play a role for this administration it has for every previous administration. i'm confident the president-elect trump will not only accept that but demand that. >> the president-elect