tv MSNBC Live With Tamron Hall MSNBC January 13, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST
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any moment now u.s. attorney general loretta lynch will hold a press conference to release the findings of a department of justice investigation into systemic violations of the constitution by the chicago police department, the second largest department in the country. the 13-month investigation reviewed the use of force and patterns involving racial disparities, prompted in part by outrage over this dash cam video of the fatal shooting of laquan mcdonald by a white police officer in 2014. you're looking at live pictures of where this news conference will take police. let's go to nbc's gabe gutierrez. he's our reporter on the scene covering the story for us. gabe, what do you know? >> reporter: this news conference is set to get under way, a packed room here in the federal building in chicago. the investigation that the chicago police department engaged in a pattern of
violating civil rights over a course of years. as you mentioned, tamron, this investigation started after the video of laquan was made public. >> she is there with the mayor of chicago, rahm emanuel, as well as the commissioner. let's listen in as this new conference is set to begin. >> here in chicago we have the attorney general for the united states here with us this morning to make an important announcement. very grateful for her presence and so without further adieu, attorney general loretta lynch. >> thank you, zach. well, good morning, everyone. thank you all for being here. i am joined by anita gup ta, rahm emanuel, superintendent eddie johnson.
they're all here with me because they're the indispensable member of the team. one of my highest goals is to ensure every american enjoys police protection that is lawful and transparent. but as recent events have made clear, far too many americans feel that they do not receive that kind of law enforcement. and far too many communities suffer because of painful divisions between police officers and citizens, divisions that make it significantly harder to reduce crime, to expand opportunity and to ensure that every american, including our police officers, can be safe and secure in their neighborhoods. now, in december of 2015 as part of that work, i announced that the department of justice after careful review and extensive consultation with state and local officials and community
leaders was opening an investigation into whether the chicago police department had engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of the constitution or federal statuary law. and for the past 13 months, our investigators have worked tirelessly to obtain a full and an accurate and impartial picture of policing in chicago. they have conducted hundreds of interviews with citizens, with officials, with officers. they have reviewed thousands of pages of documents. they have observed chicago police department officersn the job. and on the basis of this exhaustive review, the department of justice has concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the chicago police department engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force in violation of the fourth amendment to the constitution. our investigation found that this pattern or practice is in no small part the result of severely deficient training procedures and accountability systems. now, as my colleagues will
explain in greater detail, cpt does not give its officers the training they need to do their jobs safely, effectively and lawfully. it fails to properly collect and analyze data, including data on misconduct complaints and training deficiencies, and it does not adequately review use of force incidents to determine whether force was appropriate or lawful or whether the use of force could have been avoided altogether. all of these issues are compounded by poor supervision and oversight leading to low officer morale and an erosion in officer accountability. these are serious problems and they bare serious consequences for all chicagoans. as i said when i announced the investigation, the systems and policies that fail citizens also fail the vast members of the
chicago police department who serve and protect chicago. during our investigation the investigators heard from countless officers who were disillusioned and discouraged by strained trust, by inadequate training, poor oversight and inattention to officer wellness and safety. those officers are proud to wear the badge, but they recognize that they lack the support both from the community and from the city to properly do their jobs, and they understand that repairing trust with the communities that they serve will require difficult and meaningful reforms. now, to chicago's credit, the city has not been standing still since we announced our investigation at the end of 2015. under the leadership of mayor rahm emanuel and superintendent johnson, the chicago police department has taken a number of encouraging steps to improve oversight and to encourage community-oriented policing. but our report makes clear that there is still considerable work to be done, work that will
require federal partnership and independent oversight. and that is why i am pleased to announce today that the department of justice and the city of chicago have agreed to begin negotiations on an independently monitored court enforceable consent decree. in the days ahead, we will continue speaking to local residents, local authorities, to officers, to ordinary citizens to gather their perspectives about the challenges facing this city and the changes needed to address them. now, of course this announcement comes at a critical juncture for this proud city. chicago is grappling with a deeply troubling rise in violent crime, one that has already claimed far too many lives. now, fighting violent crime has long by a priority for the justice department as well, and we at the justice department have brought our full resources to bare on this issue, from the fbi, atf, u.s. marshall service and the dea, who have
participated in joint task forces to combat violence to the department's violence reduction network. our efforts to work closely with local authorities to fight violence in a number of ways began long before we opened this investigation and they will continue during and after this investigation. and no one understands that better than zach farden. under his outsatanding leadership, they have worked literally around the clock to tackle gang cases and other crimes that afflict this city and at the same time partnered with this investigation, the prosecutors in his office in 2016 charged the highest number of illegal firearm cases in any year since 2004. so the u.s. attorney's office here and federal investigative agencies have truly ramped up their efforts to help stem the recent rise in violence.
but as i have seen firsthand from my community policing tour, that work is undermined if the community does not trust law enforcement. and that's why in addition to increasing intelligence efforts and enhancing crime fighting operations, we're also working with the city on a range of other critical initiatives, from youth outreach, to counseling for the victims of crime. and these efforts will continue, and they will only be strengthened by the reforms that we are announcing today because successfully reducing and preventing violent crime requires a collaborative and trusting relationship between officers and residents. and where that relationship is broken, as it is in far too many of chicago's neighborhoods, it's much harder to solve crimes and reduce violence. by making the changes necessary to bring constitutional community-oriented policing to chicago, the city and the police department will place itself in a much songer position to
combat the scourge of violence. and finally, i want to commend the people of chicago for their patience and for their resilience throughout this long process. community police relations is an especially difficult issue. it taps into long histories, deep beliefs and strong opinions, and there's no lack of strong opinions here in chicago. but it also forces us to honestly acknowledge the ways in which our society has fallen short in extending the protections of the laws to all americans. it does not yield to swift or simple solutions, but meaningful change is never easy. the task of realizing the promise of our country has always been hard, and here in chicago thanks to the determination and commitment of countless public officials, police officers, advocates and citizens, we've taken the first step towards meaningful change and a brighter future.
they've committed to see it through to the end and the department of justice will stand beside you along the way. i'm confident when we are finished, when this review is finished and the changes are set in place, chicago will be a stronger, a safer and a more united city for everyone who calls it home. and at this time i'll turn things over to vinita gupta, the head of the civil rights division, who will say more about our findings. >> good morning and thank you. i am deeply grateful for the extraordinary work of the d.o.j. team, of the civil rights division and the u.s. attorney's office here in chicago that has worked tirelessly over the last 13 months. i want to thank mayor rahm emanuel and superintendent eddie
johnson for their investigation and commitment to reform answered want to thank the city of chicago, including the police officers for engaging over the last months because you care about your city so much. since we launched this investigation in 2015, the justice department has deployed our largest team ever in a policing pattern or practice case to conduct a fair and thorough investigation of the chicago police department and independent police review authority. we reviewed thousands of documents and hundreds of force reports, we met with community members, city officials in each of the police unions, we visited each of chicago's police districts went on ride alongs. we met with over 90 community organizations and heard from over a thousand chicagoans. 11 former law enforcement
officials sassisted in this investigation. we found the department engages in pattern of using -- this includes shooting at people and tasing people. it erode police commute trust, trust that is the cornerstone of public safety. we found it's largely attributable to systemic deficiencies within the cpd and the city. we found cpd does not adequately train its officers to use the appropriate amount of force opinion we observed training on deadly force that used a video made decades ago with guidance inconsistent with both current law and internal policy. we found cpd officers do not fully report their uses of force and that supervisors are not appropriately reviewing these uses of force. we found chicago's accountability systems are broken. .
complaints that should be investigated are not and when they do occur, they're glacially slow. officers are too rarely held accountable for misconduct and when they are discipline is unpredictability and infective. we found cpd does not spot dangerous friend, respond with remedial training and sharing information that would be useful to the public and promotion systems are not transparent and cpd fails to provide officers with the support they need to deal with the stress and trauma of their jobs. we make these findings acutely aware that this is a time of significant challenge for chicago residents and police officers. gun violence has spiked, relations between police officers and residents is strained and officer morale is suffering, but really this context only heightens the importance and urgency of our
findings. the failures that we identified and that we heard about from residents and officers alike have deeply eroded community trust, particularly in african-american and latino communities suffering the most from gun violence on chicago's south and west sides. these neighborhoods are the har hardest hit by cpd. these breakdowns breed distrust and undermine legitimacy in the very communities that need fair, pro active policing the most. distrust makes it harder to share information and it makes it harder for officers to solve and prevent crime. addressing the distrust is a critical part of reducing crime in chicago. the mayor and superintendent are aware of many of these problems have to their credit been working to address them.
cpd's greatest resource is its officers. the men and women who every day put their lives on the line to keep the nearly 3 million people in this great city safe. many officers feel let down. our investigation determined that for too long you have been forced to do your jobs without the training and republic source and equipment that you need and when accountability systems are broken and individual miscon didn't goes systematically unaddressed in your midst, it hurts the entire police department and the city. this can change. the city and cpd need to consistently incentivize and reward effect uf, ethical and active policing and hold to account misconduct when it is found. we know that for both resident and officers, the days when the justice department announces our findings are difficult. but today is also a moment of great opportunity where we begin from -- where we move from identifying problems to developing solutions. cpd must undergo broad and fundamental reform.
the city and the justice department have entered into an agreement and principle which commits both parties -- >> we've been listening into an explosive report ordered by the attorney general loretta lynch on findings that after a review from the justice department of the chicago police department, the second largest in the country, some of the details include that chicago police officers shot people who were not threats, there is a lack of training and accountability within that police department. you also see on the side mayor rahm emanuel, who we should hear from very soon, but let me get some insight on what this report could mean, not on for chicago but for other agencies throughout this country. i bring in former federal prosecutor jeffrey cramer, as well as retired police officer, professor at the college of criminal justice. mr. cramer, let me bring you in first. you have ties to chicago, as well as some. investigations of the police department. what is your reaction here that
you have a number of instances where officers were not trained properly, there was no accountability. many of the things alleged by people in minority communities now in this major review from the department of justice? >> yeah, i don't think there's anything in the report that's going to be a shock to the citizens of chicago or people that have been following this for the last few years or even decades. i think what's interesting is it's a city which has made stride the last several months towards reform has already agreed to the descent decree. they didn't wait -- similar to baltimore, they didn't wait for the new administration and they agreed to have a federal monitor come in, a monitor under a federal judge. it was a very cooperative situation. you have rahm emanuel sitting up there, the police cooperating. i think it's an acknowledgement that police reform and aggressive policing are not mutually exclusive, they need to go hand in hand. >> this acknowledgement seems to come after the death of laquan mcdonald, a young man sat 16
times on dash cam video that showed a very different account than the officer who was eventually charged in that and after many months and many years, quite honestly, i lived in chicago for ten years of settlements happening. i do think people would be surprised that you have the second largest police department and to hear the attorney general say there was a gap in training for officers to be prepared to face these situations. that doesn't come as a surprise, you think, to most people? >> not in chicago. maybe that's because you're in the middle of it but john burj, former commander of police, had been torturing suspects for decades. >> indeed, i covered that story. >> exactly. and i led the prosecution team that indicted john burj. so again, it's not necessarily a disconnect. the mcdonald shooting brought national and even international attention what's going on in the chicago police department.
i guess i'm making a distinction between those who had been following this for a generation and those whose attention just got turned in the last year or so. that video was visceral and appropriate tat precipitated this. but this report could have been written in the 2000s. >> it's now 2017 and it's now just coming to a head. professor, what's your reaction? again, we saw a report out of ferguson, a smaller police department, the magnitude of this report, the size of this police department, also with a high-profile mayor who was fighting for his political career after the laquan mcdonald and it's also the home of the president, having it stain on this police department whether they are now following these new guidelines or not, it does not go away. >> certainly this is not going away. like your previous guest just
said, this has been going on for so long, i'm saying what took them so long to find out that you're using training videos from two decades ago, to not having the right equipment, to not be able to properly supervise. what about leadership classes and all the things within the department that makes it work. supervision ands d s didiscipli those officer that step out of line is paramount. this sound like a pandemic thing from t all the way down. the mayor sounds like he had a hand in this, too. this was held up until after the election. >> in chicago there were still regular protests of the police department and of the mayor in this ongoing discussion of how the city got there and what, as you said, professor, took so long. but you mentioned the code of silence, a part of the observation and review from the
department of justice, is it your point, training, the stunning lack of training in a city that size with that kind of revenue, even with its budget issues but also this code of silence we've talked so much about in other major cities. >> certainly. i mean, they have a police culture in chicago that not too many people are aware of. it's something this administration are going to have to be able to examine and how to be able to get somebody who is going to be able to reform this. i don't know if the current chief is going to be able to do that. you need somebody in there that's going to make the tough decisions, who is not worried about keeping his or her job. that's what we've seen from police departments all across the country. people are more worried about their political careers than making real change. this is a department that needs it and it needs it now. and unfortunately you have a situation where you have, you know, 762 homicides on top of this and you have many police officers that are going to be sitting on the fence and being very reactive. and that, unfortunately, is going to take a long time to get them back into the game.
and this is where -- >> i'm sorry, go ahead, professor. finish up. i'm sorry. >> and this is where the supervisors need to get these cops in order to back out their working. it's going to be very difficult. >> jeffrey, as the attorney general pointed out, the majority of the officers in the force obviously not involved in this activity but nevertheless this leaves this imprint on the department when you hear, for example, the antiquated training. we often hear from the unions after a police-involved shooting and the reaction from the fraternal order of police is to obviously side with the police officer, try to protect the officer. why not try to protect the officers, ensuring that they have the proper training that they would need in this new world? >> you're exactly right. and you do hear some of that usually after a pretty well-known shooting that gets a lot of press. the training has all been a problem in the chicago police department. i think officers that i know and have worked with, they acknowledge that but it's hard to get things done.
and the union, and they're doing what they have to do to protect their members, they've also been banging the gong, as it were. but it always comes down to money and that's always a tof part in chicago, especially in illinois. >> we greatly appreciate your time. a lot more to digest. they are calling for transformation within the chicago police department. coming up, reviewing the fbi in an extremely rare move, the department of justice is looking into how director james comb c handled the clinton e-mail investigation. and we have congresswoman maxine waters after members of congress were just briefed, her explosive word after the break. maybe it was the day your baby came home.
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. new reaction this morning to the news that fbi director james comey's actions before the presidential election are now being reviewed. the "wall street journal" is now calling on comey to step down, stating the best service mr. comey can right-hander h rey now is to resign. in july he criticized the way clinton and her aides handled her e-mail, calling it extremely careless. and 11 days before the election, he revealed the fbi had to review new e-mails found on anthony weiner's laptop, the sunday before election day and he said those e-mails did not warrant new action. comey said he is grateful for the review and that the fbi will cooperate fully.
hans nichols joins me from capitol hill and we have maxine waters, who had some interesting comments for us. >> reporter: it's very clear that colledirector comey had a skeptical conference and is facing a skeptical and irate audience. it's clear he has a credibility problem. listen to what maxine waters has to say. >> it's classified and i can't tell you anything opinion a. all i can tell you is that the fbi director has no credibility. >> they want him to investigate and actually talk to chris steele, the mi-6 agent, several law enforcement agents calling for that.
they're behind closed door, there's a great deal of reluctance. two things we do not think was mentioned, one, that phone conversation between michael flynn and the russian ambassador, which now the trump campaign was saying was simply a matter of planning, reported in that david ignatius column. and importantly, the whole idea of inspector general report looking into comey's actions, russia was the main focus and the role that they played potentially in influencing the election. tamron? >> lieutenant flynn, i don't know if a lot of people are aware of this, but according to the report, lieutenant flynn was in contact with the ambassador -- the u.s. ambassador to moscow on the day the president announced that he would be expelling diplomats as a result of this hacking. >> reporter: it was the russian ambassador to the u.s. there was exchange back and forthcoming from sean spicer, the spokesperson for the transition, saying they were
trying to arrange a call for president-elect trump for trump and putin. that's the transition side by a pretty explosive story by david ignatius, a story he had in a column today saying there was that contact on that day. the transition is saying this had to do with planning and logistics. >> let me bring in hillary clinton's former presidential campaign manager. robbie, thank you so much for your itime. >> my pleasure. >> you've been quoted as saying, it's a troubling pattern that the fbi seems to have chosen a horse in this election and you've welcomed this investigation. also hearing what maxine water said regarding mr. comey in her words having no credibility, what do you see playing out here? >> well, i'm glad that finally someone's blowing the whistle and that we're going to get all the facts on what happened here. it was troubling that director comey held that press conference
back in july. it is a well understood protocol at the justice department that you don't comment on an investigation. you simply refer something to prosecutors or you don't. that was unprecedented and it was a breach of protocol. and as you outlined, those two letters that he sent, there's typically a ban on doing anything related to an investigation about somebody who's running for office, let alone so close to the election. and the other piece to this that isn't being talked about very much is comey claimed he had to write those letters because his agents -- he was concerned fbi agents were going to leak information about it. well, if director comey can't control the agents at the fbi, that's another issue, too. and you don't make that a candidate for office's problem, you need to get your house in order. so i think this is first and foremost about director comey, but i think there were larger issues within the fbi with these
leaks. again, i'm glad that this intervention and the intervention by the russians are both being investigated. this should never happen again. >> robby, you said you're happy that someone has finally blown the whistles. you could hear sirens by people in the democratic party and people generally disturbed by how this was playing out. when we look at motives and motivations, going back to your line of the fbi seems to have chosen a horse in this race or this election, i'm sure there are very few things that you and the president elect agree on but he is making the same assertion about intelligence officials well, this culture of leaking out of these so-called confidential briefings that are supposed to be exclusively those involved. we saw members of congress have to ditch their phones for security reasons just today in that meeting. >> well, i actually would take a little bit issue with that. you saw director comey at the senate hearing on the russian
intervention said he could not comment on an ongoing investigation into trump and officials on his campaign having communications with russia. he certainly didn't apply that standard to secretary clinton and that's what we need to get to the bottom of here. look, the information that you're discussing, the media had with regards to mr. trump and his relationship with the russians, the media had that information for some time. that information was out and about. and i don't know where that leak may have come from, but there was a clear pattern by the fbi over this campaign of having one set of standard for secretary clinton and another for mr. trump and i'm glad we're going to get to the bottom of that. >> the "wall street journal" is calling for him to resign. what's your thought on that? >> that's his decision. i think we need to let this
investigation play out, get all the facts out there. once he and the american people have had a chance to look at that, i think he needs to make that decision. >> what reaction have you received from secretary clinton in wake of these breaking developments in the last 24 hours? >> well, i think she's very concerned, like we all are, that the bedrock of our country, of our democratic process, our free and fair elections and the idea that either government officials like the fbi who are supposed to be very far above politics or foreign aggressors like vladimir putin are intervening in our elections. that's a big problem. and i think she's glad, like we all are, that this is going to be investigated, addressed. we should make sure, democrats and republicans, that this never happens givagain. that's a really important point here. i've been concerned the president elect has tried to make this a partisan issue. this isn't partisan. the election is over.
democrats and republicans need to come together as john mccain and lindsey graham and others have to make sure these things never happen again. >> you mentioned you think this is how secretary clinton feels. did she directly respond or talk with you about this latest development and this investigation? >> i haven't discussed the matter of mr. comey with her but we were living with this for a very long time during the campaign and, you know, i'm obviously glad that this is getting dealt with now. i went out in july and said it was the russians who hacked us. i was ridiculed a little bit for that. we all expressed some dismay with how the fbi was handling this and the leaks that led to false stories that had to be retracted. so i think we're all a little bit frustrated that it took until after the election for things to come to light. but we are where we are and we just have to make sure this never happens again.
>> i appreciate your time. today on capitol hill the house is set to vote on a budget resolution that could start the process of appealing the affordable care act, as we know it as obamacare. donald trump treating out "the unaffordable care act will soon be history. zek emanuel, thank you so much for joining me. let's get where we are in this process. we have yet and still don't, i believe, have a replacement. we are still churning over the repeal of this and now many years into it, even before the affordable care act passed, nothing presented that you could see republicans solvently getting behind. they are also still divided. >> correct. they've had seven years to get a proposal and a coherent plan, and they have yet to develop one. there's at least three different republican plans out there. they don't agree on a lot and
they have never put forward a unified plan. and i should say probably the most important finding we've had over the last few days is both the president-elect and speaker paul ryan saying it not going to be repeal and delay, which was the original gamble by the house, but people have realized that would create disruption, havoc in the insurance markets. the replacement is going to be simultaneous with the repeal. the issue then somebody you have to actually develop a bill. that won't happen in the next few days. it will take months to really craft that, especially if they want it to be bipartisan, and many of the things that they would like to have modified cannot be done in the reconciliation act with just 50 votes, they will require 60 votes and, therefore, will require a bipartisan bill. so we're at the very earliest stages. it will i think take many months to evolve. >> let me go back to your meeting with the president-elect
last month. you said afterward you believe he really does want a system of universal coverage and that comes through bipartisan effort. what did he say specifically to you you can tell us and do you see signs from the republican party, the leadership, specifically speaker ryan reiterating what you heard from the president-elect? >> i'm not going to say anything about that meeting. that's for the president-elect to discuss if he wants to. he has said on the campaign trail and recently he does want to get every american insured and he doesn't want to play around with medicare. he's made some of his provisions very clear. affordability is a major goal he wants. i think that's a major goal for everyone in america. health care is very expensive and we need to make it more affordable. i think that's a very noble goal. he wants everyone to get coverage, including people who have had diseases. so i think those are principles
that have bipartisan appeal. obviously putting them into actual provisions of a law and making it workable, that is hard work. and i think that's really what we need to have in the next phase. >> yesterday there was a town hall with speaker ryan. he ran down a laundry list of states where people were seeing a huge increase in their premiums and he also talked about privatizing medicare. let me get your reaction to what he said there. >> there are some states where premiums in the affordable care act have gone up much more than people want. there are also states where they've gone negative, indiana and massachusetts being among them. there are states where the increases have been moderate, like california and new jersey. but in general, we all want more affordability. that requires us to change how we deliver care. the idea that we're going to privatize medicare is a
nonstarter. the president-elect has made clear he's not interested in it. i think the senate's not interested in it. we should focus on areas where we can get bipartisan agreement and that really has to deal with the uninsured and with cost control in the system. and that really needs to be the focus. i think medicare's privatization will be a total distraction and will ensure that we actually get more stalemate and not progress. >> dr. emanuel, thank you for joining me. >> glad to be here. >> and the president elect vowed again this week to not release his tax return saying the public doesn't care at all. but at least one republican congressman, who is also a trump supporter says he does care. mark sanford said his tax returns should be made public. it didn't move forward since the primary and certainly not after the general election. what makes the congressman believe anything will change?
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well, i'm not really saying the tax returns because, as you know, they're under audit. >> every president -- >> gee, i've never heard that. >> as president, sir -- >> the only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters. they're the only ones. >> reporter: you don't think the public is concerned about it? >> i don't think so. i won. i became president. no, i don't think they care at all. i think you care. i think you care. first of all, you learn very little from a tax return. you should go down to federal elections and look at the numbers. >> joining me now republican congressman mark sanford of south carolina, trump supporter, who is calling on the president-elect to release his tax returns. thank you for your time. you heard the president say he won and that's the end of story. what could you or anyone else say to change this? >> well, wrong that should be the end of the story. this is about the validity of his word.
it was donald trump himself who said prior to becoming a presidential candidate back in may of 2014 that if i run, i'll absolutely produce my tax returns. those were his words, not mine, not yours. this is one to the the degree to which we can look at donald trump's words is is he going to deliver on the promises he's made? it's about that and i think it's about this process we've had in place for 50 years. presidential nominees on both parties have released their tax returns. that's been the tradition in this country. the question is do we want to continue that? this isn't ultimately about donald trump's tax returns. do we want him to allow him to kill off something that's been in place for 50 years? i was once governor of south carolina. i had to release my tax returns. it's a tradition in our country and in many states is because the president releases their tax returns, executives in other roles release their. that's going to go by the wayside. >> and you still supported
donald trump. he said if he decided to run for president, he would release his taxes. >> which is why i'm calling on him to do so. >> but you still supported him through the general election. there was a stopping point the day before you voted perhaps to say he's not kept his word, he did not keep his word up until the very end. so now that the votes are counted he is now on his way to the white house, why are you ringing the bell now? >> well, i'm not ringing the bell now. i rang the bell when i ran an op-ed in the "new york times," in my hometown papers -- >> but you didn't hold back your support, right? >> no, i said from the beginning he was not my first person within the republican ranks to support, not my second, not my third, not my fourth, not my fifth but he was my last choice but at the end of the day he was the republican nominee and i said i would support the republican nominee and i held true to my word.
but i'm also holding true to my word on him doing exactly what he said he would do, which is release his tax returns. >> thank you for your iur time. >> coming up president-elect's divisive topics to say the least. what does that mean for policies put in by the obama administration? up next, i'll talk with the outgoing education secretary. we'll be right back. is life. we have 18,000 people around the world. the microsoft cloud helps our entire staff stay connected and work together in real time to help those that need it. the ability to collaborate changes how we work. what we do together changes how we live.
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donald trump's controversial pick for education secretary could face an unusually tough confirmation hearing next week. betsy davos a billionaire from michigan and prominent republican donor was scheduled to have her hearing wednesday but put off after democrats raised concerns her financial and ethics reviews were incomplete. with only a week left on the job the nation's current education secretary john king is reflecting on work he did and what the agency was able to accomplish and secretary king joins us now, live. thank you so much for joining
us. >> thanks for the opportunity. >> let's talk about what you see as the greatest accomplishment that you would put in front of the parents and the children you are education department is supposed to serve. >> the three most important accomplishments i would say in k through 12 education, we've raised expectations and reached the highest graduation rate we've ever had as a country at 83%. in early childhood education we've added tens of thousands of high quality early childhood seats in quality pre-k and in higher education we've worked to increase the affordability of college by moving $50 billion that's been going, would have been going to banks and instead going to students and taxpayers. >> do you believe, is there information or statistics that show these changes improved what our students are receiving in the public schools? >> we've certainly made progress. i think having the highest
graduation rate is a reflection of really significant reductions in the dropout rate, particularly for african-american students and latino students. we recently graduated not just the largest graduating class we've ever had from college but the most diverse graduating class we've had from college so that's promising produce but there's certainly a lot more work to do. president called for investing in universal access to pre-k, and we weren't able to persuade congress to get there, but we think that's still an important priority for the country. >> you have advice for the new administration and the new education secretary, invest in public schools. you and i know secretary king, that is very controversial, when you look at some school districts, for example, newark has often been a focus. the dollars spent on students and yet globally, where our students fall in test scores when it comes to math, science and reading that an investment or dollar figure does not always result in the advancement these students need, particularly s.t.e.m. and other important
curriculum. >> the key thing is that public education is at the foundation of long-term success of our economy and our democracy, and we have work to do to strengthen that public education system. we've got to provide better professional development and support for teachers. we've got to make sure that low income students have access to quality pre-k and to advance course work like ap classes, and international baccalaureate classes so there's work to continue improvement but i do worry there are voices calling for disinvesting in public education, which would be a huge mistake. >> are you referring to vouchers and charters which of course is a big part of the pick for secretary education secretary miss davos? >> i wouldn't speculate on the priorities of the next administration but i would distinguish between public charter schools and the context of a strong charter law, a high standard for getting a charter, careful review of the charter's performance, and real accountability for delivering for students, distinguish between that, which we see in
some states like massachusetts and new york and vouchers where you have money going from the public sector into private calls. >> let's talk about the initiative my brother's keeper, something the president is very proud of. it's important to you as well. it's been instrumental in providing a strong path for young men especially in this country. are you worried that initiatives like that won't get the same attention under the next administration? >> you know, it's critical for the country's future that our boys and young men of color are prepared for success. we've made important efforts matching young people with mentors, who will help guide them towards high school graduation, ensuring that folks who have gotten involved in the criminal justice system have an opportunity to get their lives back on track, in a meaningful second chance, through education. so we've made a lot of good progress that my brother's keeper, and there's strong support, bipartisan support. there's hundreds of communities around the country that have
committed to the my brothers keeper work, democratic mayors and republican mayors, the president will continue to be engaged in the my brothers keeper work after the administration. so i'm confident this work will continue. it's in the best interests of the country for all of our students to be prepared for success. >> secretary john king thank you for your time. we greatly appreciate you joining me today. thank you. as we look back at the president's legacy, nbc's lester holt interviewed president owe pa ma on board air force one this week, part of a one-our special, barack obama: the reality of hope, airing tonight 10:00 eastern/9:00 central on your local nbc station. xpress on help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services
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russian diplomats over that hacking controversy. today the trump transition team's explanation. >> the call centered around, ah, the, ah, longistics of setting up a call with the president of russia, and the president-elect, after he was sworn in and they exchanged logistical information on how to initiate and schedule that call. that was it, plain and simple. >> was it plain and simple? we'll dig deeper into what else could have happened. under review, the justice department's independent watch dog investigating james comey's reopening. the clinton email issue, only days before the election. that prompted another early morning twitter storm from donald trump saying among other things, clinton was "guilty as hell" but nothing will change the election results for team clinton. >> it isn't like an nfl game where you can throw your