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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  December 18, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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later this week. still ahead, what made president trump so angry at neil gorsuch that is tonight's last word. still ahead, what made president trump so angry at his supreme court nominee neil gorsuch that he considered rescinding the nomination. that is in "the 11th hour" next. tonight the president said he doesn't intend to fire robert mueller but the smear campaign against mueller goes on. and this is the week that the trump and mueller teams sit down for a meeting. plus the warning that the camp received about russia in 2016.
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and how the president almost pulled his own pick for the supreme court out of contention when trump thought he wasn't being loyal or appreciative enough. "the 11th hour" on a monday night begins now. >> good evening once again for our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 333 of the trump administration. we have brand new reporting on what may be the direction of robert mueller's investigation and what that might mean for the president. "the washington post" reports it this way, tonight, "white house lawyers are expected to meet with special counsel robert mueller's office this week seeking good news, that his sprawling investigation's focus on president trump will soon end and their client will be cleared, but people with the probe say such assurances are unlikely and the meeting could trigger a new more contentious phase between the special counsel and a frustrated
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president trump. and people say it could go on at least another year, pointing to cooperation from witnesses. like george papadopoulos and former national security adviser michael flynn. this new reporting comes as the president's allies on the right including friendly media are escalating their attacks on the special counsel, his team and the fbi. >> we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes. and to disenfranchise millions of american voters. now, if that's true, we have a coup on our hands in america. >> there's nothing to this investigation. the president has been emphatic. the rest of us know there has been nothing to do with russia or any of it.
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it's a made-up fantasy. >> it just seems like there's a specific, intended purpose to undermine the president. there's nothing to hide. there is no collusion. >> the special counsel's team has also come under fire as recently as this weekend simply for obtaining access to thousands of e-mails sent and received by trump officials during the transition. the lawyer for the transition has said the documents were not illegally obtained, something mueller's team denied. here is the president on that. >> reporter: mr. president, do you believe your transition team e-mails were improperly taken? >> not looking good. it's not looking good. it's quite sad to see that. so my people are very upset about it. i can't imagine there's anything on them, frankly, because as we
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said, there's no collusion. there's no collusion whatsoever. but a lot of lawyers thought that was pretty sad. >> president trump, however, has tried to tamp down growing speculation that he might try to get rid of robert mueller. >> reporter: [ inaudible ]. >> no, i'm not. no. what else? >> this all comes amid fbi reporting that the fbi warned president trump in 2016 that the russians would try to infiltrate his campaign. our leadoff panel on a monday night as we start a new week, philip rucker, ashley parker, both are msnbc political analysts and with us as well, micah oyang. phillip rucker, what is this meeting likely to be like?
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is this the kind of meeting where mueller said i need to talk to you about talking to your client? >> potentially it's being build as a status conference meeting and the trump lawyers are heading into it optimistic. they believe they're going to get some sort of timeline from mueller that they hope will show that the investigation is winding up at least as it regards their client, the president of the united states, that is the only person that they really care about in this meeting. and they want to hear from the special counsel a few things, one, are there any more documents that they need. two, are there more interviews they need to conduct with white house officials. and as you mentioned, potentially there could be a discussion about whether the president himself would at some point been interviewed.
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we know the president has not been interviewed nor has the vice president, pence. it could be become contentious if mueller signals this investigation is no where near complete, which is la we're hearing from people familiar with the status of the investigation. you are going to have frustrated trump lawyers who may be becoming more combative as it regards mueller. >> so to put a final point on this, there is a risk going in that the president has been so buoyed by the rosy reports of his own legal team that swear to god, mr. president, this things is just about wrapped up, end of the year at most that he'll then be disappointed and angered at that point? >> that's right, brian. and that is in the view of some trump advisers an alternate reality. they don't think this investigation is anywhere near complete. they're very concerned that the president has been misled by his lawyers to think it's going to be over soon and when of course he finds out it's not over soon he could erupt, get frustrated and potentially try to take some action, such as making a change at the department of justice or something rash.
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>> so ashley philip used the phrase, alternate reality. do you hear a president trying to discredit a guy by the name of robert mueller. who in his circle, where is this coming from do you think? >> sure. i want to make two points on that. the first is discrediting people and especially institutions, especially democratic institutions is nothing new for this president. we've seen him try do it with the media, we've seen him try do it with the federal judiciary, we've seen him not take all the intelligence his own intelligence community is providing him and take that seriously. so the idea that he would add one more agency or one more person to that list is not surprising in terms of a strategy. that said, in terms of where it's specifically coming from,
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there's a number of people in his outer orbit, not necessarily in the white house but people like steve bannon, friends and confidantes he talks to who believe what phil just said, which is the probe is not wrapping up any time soon, it's going to be a problem for the president and they for quite some time now have been arguing for a more combative approach. so he's certainly hearing it from them as well. >> mika, was this effort to go after mueller getting all those e-mails this weekend a part of that larger effort to just discredit and throw mud on the investigation? the way most folks read it, mueller got those e-mails through regular process, the transition lawyers complained to congress but we didn't see both sides in court first thing this
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morning. >> that's right. the trump lawyers don't understand .gov e-mails, what you write on that e-mail like when you write on your work e-mails is available. this is part of a larger campaign to try and discredit mueller. every time just prior to indictments you see them ratcheting up these attacks, trying to accuse them of partisanship and undermine the integrity of the investigation. >> what is it that "the washington post" thinks as to mr. mueller and his leadership at the justice department? >> he feels he's done nothing wrong, there's no collusion between the trump campaign and russia and that they will near its conclusion very soon. trump feels very confident about that. he feels very differently about the leadership at the department of justice. we know for some time he's been
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very upset with the attorney general jeff sessions and in the last couple of weeks privately has just been bashing him, calling him weak, criticizing him at every turn and he's aimed his ire at rod rosenstein which is important because he's acting as attorney general for the mueller matter. it's rosenstein who technically is overseeing mueller and trump has been bashing rosenstein in private, calling him a democrat, even those he's a republican appointed by president george w. bush. >> and the president from various sources looking for a statement clearing him somehow. he's clear of the wreckage of this. what if this doesn't go well? >> i think by a number of accounts it's probably not going
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to go well, at least in terms of what the president wants. and if it doesn't go well, i think we're going to see a very frustrated, putting it mildly, president. keep in mind this is a president who way earlier sort of floated the idea of firing robert mueller and then his aides got him under control, largely by giving him this really rosie assessment. they first said the probe would be over by thanksgiving and that didn't happen. they now said it will be over by the new year. i think his aides think if this probe does not wrap up and not only does it look like it's going well into 2018 but also delving into the president, people close to him, family members, his finances, their finances that he's going to be incredibly frustrated and angry and, again, there's when we see that behavior where he tweets and he says things in public and in private, frankly, that he shouldn't necessarily say. and that's what everyone right now is worried about.
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>> professionalism will probably keep you from answering this but what do you make of the legal advice he's received, at least the part of it that we know of publicly? >> i think there are a lot of lawyers around town who are really shaking their heads at the legal advice the president has gotten both from his legal team but also from the white house council don mcgahan. you see this in some of the advice he's given in the way in which he handled the flynn matter. i think the president is probably ill served by lawyers around him and are probably not willing to force him to face the truth. >> ashley, you have a major exclusive tonight about neil gorsuch. usually every president and every surrogate speech we see has neil gorsuch in it as one of the crowning achievements of this presidency so far. but as you report it almost didn't happen. tell us the background on that story. >> sure. as you mentioned, this is
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something the president has repeatedly touted as a signature achievement and especially until tax reform passes, it's perhaps his only major achievement but basically what we found out happened was early on when neil gorsuch was going through the confirmation process, you may remember he was up on capitol hill having private meetings with members and he did what justices and nominees often do in these situations, which is he was in a private meeting with senator blumenthal he was forced to distance himself from some of the president's comments, calling them disheartening and disappointing. and the president was not prepped for this and our reports say he was incredibly say he was incredibly frustrated and angry and began venting to advisers saying justice neil gorsuch would be ungrateful and i have to say the white house has pushed back a little and it was a bit unclear if the nomination was in actual
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jeopardy or whether it was just the president venting his frustrations allowed, as he often did, but people in the white house were deeply worried and everybody scrambled to remedy the situation. >> let's lay aside for the moment the president's sister is a federal judge. what would this story show a misunderstanding of on the part of mr. trump. >> well that, a federal justice on the supreme court is not -- doesn't have to have personal loyalty to the president. i mean, neil gorsuch was nominated by president trump and, therefore, you know, it fits president trump's mold ideologically. but he's not there to serve the president. he's there to be a justice on the supreme court. it's a separate branch of the government. >> philip rucker, ashley parker and our in-house counsel tonight, mieke eoyang, thank
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you. coming up, new information on the rush front, including reporting that the trump campaign was warned that russia would want in. and congress is getting very close to handing the president his first major legislative victory. a vote could come as soon as tomorrow. the problem is we're still learning what's in the bill. "the 11th hour" back after this.
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candidate donald trump that russians might try to infiltrate his campaign. this exclusive campaigning by ken dilanian, who joins us shortly, reveals that the briefings were timed to occur around the time the candidate received briefings. by the time of the warning in late july or august, at least seven campaign officials had been in contact with people in russia or linked to russia. there is no public evidence the campaign reported any of that to the fbi. we're also getting new details about a conversation between president trump and russian president vladimir putin. it's the second time the two men have spoken in four days.
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"the washington post" putting it this way tonight, the white house did something very unusual sunday, releasing details of a call between president trump and russian president vladimir putin that included information about u.s. intelligence that was shared to foil a terrorist part in russia. the wording of this official readout state that the white house traditionally puts out after a phone call like this, this one was a departure from traditional language we're used to seeing as to some people, you'll see it sounded familiar, quote, president putin extended his thanks and congratulations to cia director and president trump then called director pompeo to congratulate him. his very talented people and the entire intelligence community on a job well done. exclamation mark. that's why we said it sounded familiar. james clapper shared his thoughts on cnn today about putin's motive here. >> i think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer vladimir putin is. you have to remember putin's
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background. he's a kgb officer. that's what they do. they recruit assets. and i think some of that experience and instincts of putin has come into play here, and his managing a pretty important account for him, if i could use that term, with our president. >> that was chilling. here to talk about all of it, the aforementioned ken dilanian and nbc news and also with us moderator and political analyst here on msnbc. ken, throw caution to the wind and your usual modesty out the window, tell us the chief takeaway from your own reporting
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today. >> and this is with my colleagues. we spent a while trying to break this out. this was a standard, high-level classified briefing given to both candidates shortly after they were officially nominated at their conventions and it was tied to their first intelligence briefings and it was designed to tell them they are now targets of foreign adversaries. of course hillary clinton had been secretary of state. she had had many kind of these briefings. it wouldn't have been news to her but it would have been the first time donald trump would have received a briefing like this. the fbi was learning there had been a pattern of contacts between members of the trump
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campaign and russia and they were starting a counterintelligence investigation. and what our sources are telling us, it's very unlikely they would have wanted to compromise that investigation by telling donald trump and the people around him in that briefing too much about what they knew. at the same time, they did feel like they had a duty to warn and try to protect the republican nominee for president and explain to him he could take steps to protect his campaign and also to put him on notice that he could inform the fbi, that he should inform the fbi if there were any suspicious overtures going toward. what we really don't know is how president trump reacted and what he did subsequently about any information he received about russian contacts. >> and reporters and law enforcement are normally obsessed with timelines. it takes us back, we match it against the calendars, we can match it against contemporaneous newscasts, news videos, and files. what was going on then? >> he was the republican nominee
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and he was pursuing a totally different perspective policy on russia than we've seen in the mainstream of the democratic party or within the republican party. that's what has made him such is an outlier when it comes to u.s. foreign policy. members of the intelligence community are at times appalled as former director james clapper. >> describe how unusual this trump putin business is just in these last four business days. these calls are usually preceded by some staff work. they are events in the kremlin and white house. they are studied for and picked apart later. this was unusual and this almost clearly dictated readout statement to follow. >> it is very unusual. if you look at american
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presidents in the past, if they've had frequent calls with the prime minister of the united kingdom, we don't bat an eye in the press or both major political parties. at the same time because of the longstanding hostility with the former soviet union, then with some russian leaders in the last 20, 25 years, this kind of relationship is outside of the norm. and you're seeing president trump really challenging the foreign policy establishment. he's really pushing his party to the brink. so many republicans i speak to on capitol hill wonder about this relationship but the white house believes that they can reimagine u.s. foreign policy but there are strains in that effort within the gop. >> what did you make of the words of james clapper, ken? a lot of people found that really chilling. we should emphasize that for people in the establishment in washington who have been around this world and politics for a long time, i have to believe clapper's view is the norm. >> that's right, brian.
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in right wing media he's being excoriated for accusing the president for being an asset of russia. that's not what he was saying. but you're absolutely right, he's a 50-year intelligence veteran. he's not a partisan. he's a retired general. and he was saying what he firmly believes and things he's said before, that vladimir putin is a master manipulator and former kgb agent and he's playing the president like a fiddle. he thinks it's going to get him something he badly wants out of this administration. intelligence cooperation between russia and the united states is not common and if it happens, it's often behind the scenes. vladimir putin would not be praising the cia unless he thought he was going to get something out of doing that. that's certainly what james clapper means. >> the name jill stein, the independent candidate for president, when you look at the dinner, mike flynn, vladimir putin sponsored i believe by
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russian television, there closest to the camera was jill stein. even though it sucked up the oxygen from that scene, a, what was she doing there and, b, why was her news in the news today tonight vis-a-vis the mueller investigation? >> she's in the news because richard burr, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee said his committee would like to investigate connections between the russian interference effort and his campaign, which was remarkable. you're right, she was at that dinner and there's been a lot of speculation surrounding her appearance there. she has said that she was not paid, her train was not underwritten by r.t. the way mike flynn's was a famously. her margin of victory in wisconsin and michigan was more than trump's. she played a crucial control in this campaign and there's a lot
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of questions whether there was any russian support to her campaign. so far no answer but questions. >> robert costa? >> she was a frequent guest during the course of her campaign. she has pushed back very hard against the notion she was in collusion with russia. she calls her critics mccartyites, harkening back to joe mccarthy about the 1950s. senator burr, who is running the committee in the senate for the intelligence committee, he's saying the r.t. connections even as a desk, maybe a dinner, these are all things that come under their purview and scrutiny. >> just when you think this story is pretty much weird enough, it gets even weirder on a monday this close to christmas. gentlemen, thank you. ken dilanian, robert costa, thank you for being here tonight. >> and coming up, steve schmidt
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is here to weigh in on russia developments and then some. we're back right after this.
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we are back for a conversation we always like forward to with our friend steve schmidt, an msnbc political analyst. steve, a lot of folks in the -- what i define as the political and geographic center of this country and it is still there are rattled by what they see as a public campaign to diminish and smear a guy like robert mueller, who we all guess could be doing other things and making a fortune in private practice and diminish and smear the federal bureau of investigation. in your view is it already bearing fruit for those behind
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it, is it already taking hold or doing damage? >> of course it's doing damage because, brian, it's aimed squarely at important institutions in this country. all through the trump presidency we've seen a proclivity to attack essential institutions that define objectively what truth is. essentially that in this country is the free press protected by the first amendment, journalists and news organizations, his smearing and demeaning them with the fake news label, confusing the american people. we also see on the other hand another important institution in this country aimed at getting at truth and that's the american justice system. above the supreme court is inscribed "equal justice under the law." our democracy, our
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constitutional republic, its foundation is the rule of law. and so we see abetted by a news organization, which has really become a propaganda arm, and is deliberately spewing misinformation, just like would you see in a number of any one of autocratic companies to deliberately undermine faith with nonsense and pernicious lies, of course it's damaging and it needs to be confronted and talked about. we've never seen anything like it in the modern era in this country. and you have to go back to the mccarthy era to see the deliberate smearing of the good men and women serving this country, oftentimes in harm's way, the likes of which we're seeing emanating now out of fox news and out of the right-wing allies in his administration and media. >> steve, i get approached by
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people who are throttled and a little bit scared about what they see as the possibility that some form of the president attempting to fire robert mueller or the top leadership of the justice department happens. and all these folks are depending on the sobriety of institutions like the united states senate to rise up and take hold and take control. while i'm aware that one of your heros and your former boss john mccain is out of the game for a bit while he recovers from chemo, are you confident given your knowledge of members of the senate and house and the kind of standing army in washington that that will happen, that cooler heads and greater minds will prevail? >> every one of those members of congress, brian, has sworn an oath to preserve, protect and defend the united states constitution. we've seen an unwillingness of the majority party to stand up and confront this president over
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his indecency, over the divisions he has brought in to our public square, and so my confidence is low that the republican majority would step up and confront what would be an unprecedented attack on the rule of law by a president. and i think it would have the effect of precipitating a constitutional crisis and i suspect what it would do is it would turn the 2018 mid-term elections explicitly into a referendum on impeaching president. >> one of your jobs was to shepherd around the man who is now the chief justice roberts and justice alitos after their nominations. can you believe this ashley parker story tonight that because neil gorsuch felt the need to stick up for federal judges under fire from the very
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same president who put him up for supreme court the president considered pulling the nomination? >> it's another extraordinary story in a series of stories from "the washington post" that really detail the fragility of this president's ego. it affects how he's briefed in the morning with regard to the intelligence briefings. he clearly doesn't understand the system of checks and balances, doesn't understand the role of an independent judiciary and a constitutional republic, the demands for loyalty above all else, above even fidelity to his oath and to the country is shocking. but it just confirms what we know. this is somebody with a titanic ego, an ego that is paper thin, somebody who is guided by a narcissism the likes of which we've never seen in an american head of state. >> steve schmidt, thank you, my friend, as always for coming on my broadcast.
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pleasure to be with you on a monday night. when we come back, a look at emerging trump doctrine.
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with every decision and every action, we are now putting america first. we are rebuilding our nation with confidence in our standing in the world. >> president trump today echoing old campaign promises in a speech that was supposed to unveil his national security strategy. trump again said nato countries should reimburse the u.s. for the cost of defending them, called for the construction of that wall on our southern border and touted the importance of massively building up the u.s. military. our own vivian salama writes "in a departure from past administrations which stressed the need for diplomacy and dialogue with adversaries, trump declared his administration will use military power as a means from earning respect from allies
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and keeping adversaries in line. with us tonight, the aforementioned vivian salama and retired four-star general barry mccaffrey and now msnbc military analyst. vivian, people saw two things happen today, the president's speech, the executive summary and the report itself, two very different things. >> the speech was very trumpian, you heard the same rhetoric that we heard in the campaign. in terms of needing to strengthen border security, perfecting america first, prioritizing homeland security and really prioritizing alliances in a way that really emphasizes american national security. so that was the core and the crux of his language in the speech.
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the actual document, the national security strategy, which is something that his predecessors have put out as well, very much moderate. it did not go off too dramatically from his pred -- predecessors, a lot of it was similar in tone to that of president obama and president bush. some of the key differences, no climate change as a national security threat, that was a very, very significant departure and was not a surprise given that the trump administration has pulled out of the paris accord and has made it a priority to revision their view of what climate change does. also in terms of democracy, promoting democratic values abroad, that is something the trump administration has emphasized on time and time again they do not want to push on others, it's their decisions.
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but for the most part, the strategy itself very much in line with his predecessors and that was the major surprise of this strategy today. >> general, how can you give a statement on your foreign policy and not say in some form, folks, russia is not our friend, they electronically hacked and interfered with our last presidential election and we are in all likelihood under constant electronic attack by them as i speak? >> vivian had it entirely right. there's a big difference between the 27-minute speech down at the reagan center and the 55-page document. i've worked with these documents for years. they're supposed to be the overarching architecture of the national military strategy and other documents. i'm one of the few people you'll deal with in the coming week who actually read the document. and as vivian says, it's a pretty good piece of work if you change 500 words in the 55 pages, it could have come out of bush '43 or the obama
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administration. so i think h.r. mcmaster, some very competent people in the national security council and probably the pentagon wrote it. the introduction looked like mr. trump. just a main example, there were a couple of dozen hostile references to russia in particular and china in the body of the 55-page document but during the speech, one sort of neutral comment and no mention of the electronic warfare hacking of the election. so i think, you know, at the end of the day this document won't change much. it's the budgets of national security that we want to see as they roll out in the coming years. >> and yet, general, it all gets wrapped up for delivery in the kind of language of toughness
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mixed with the language of self-congratulations. >> no question. this wonderful movie coming out about churchill. i'm glad churchill didn't have the tone dealing with alliances and being dependable and standing for our values, that sort of thing. the tone's been all wrong with the president on foreign policy and national security. >> with our thanks to general barry mccaffrey and vivian salama for her pre-and-post speech coverage for us all day today, our great thanks to both of you for joining us tonight. coming up next, a major overall of the nation's tax system, that appears to be imminent tonight and unstoppable, though we still don't know everything in it. that story when we continue.
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republicans are planning to celebrate their first legislative victory since the president took office almost a year ago. the house set to vote on tax cuts tomorrow. the senate will follow shortly afterward. all signs point to passage, in both houses of congress. republicans are pushing forward despite the immense unpopularity of this bill. it drew protests on capitol hill today. a new monmouth university poll
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shows 47% of people disapprove of it. "new york times" analysis breaks it down this way. "president trump rarely misses a chance to offer himself up as the champion of forgotten americans. men and women who feel ignored or derided by elites and believe as he frequently says that the system is rigged against them. but this week the president hopes to sign with great fanfare a tax bill that would deliver its largest benefits not only in dollar terms but also as a percentage increase in income to corporations and the wealthiest americans." with us to talk about it tonight anita kumar, white house correspondent for mcclatchy newspapers. and anita, they must be very confident that they have the votes and they have flipped a lot of previously reluctant people. >> yeah, they are feeling pretty confident. the white house are feeling pretty confident on capitol hill. they've counted the votes. the house i think was not so much of an issue.
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they've obviously counted on the senate. they're losing senator mccain, who is not in washington. he's back home in arizona. but now they feel today they got the last person that they needed and they feel really pretty confident about it. you did see that the vice president mike pence decided to hold off on going to the middle east. he was scheduled to leave on tuesday. and he's going to go now in january just in case his tie-breaking vote is needed. >> i did notice that just to be cautious. tell me about bob corker. he is on so many ten best lists at the end of this year. he is on so many people's profile and courage lists. so how did this guy who stood up to the president fueled by the fact that he's not running again now become associated with the phrase "corker kickback"? >> right. he was just really hating that today and really pushed back hard against that. if you recall it was only a few days ago that senator mccorker announced he was supporting the bill.
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and this is after weeks of saying that he really had some problems with it, he was worried about the deficit, and really the compromise between the house and the senate, the bill that they're ending up with, doesn't really do anything to alleviate those problems, right? it's still going to be a problem with the deficit. so some people were really surprised to see that he said he would vote for it. i saw some reporting fade that said -- some interviews saying it looks like it was going to pass. he had to sort of weigh is this going to be better for the country, do i think it's going to do some good despite his reservations and he decided yes. but you saw some big pushback, reporting over the weekend that said there's a new provision in the bill that would help those that invest in real estate. and he is an investor in real estate. and then that's why he did it. he absolutely says that is not true and it's not a new provision. >> anita, a whole lot of
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republicans will cast their votes and leave town, and some of them have indicated to reporters we know we're going to take a bath, a bloodbath in 2018. and in that respect it's such a weird time at the end of 2017. >> oh, it is. what a weird year it has been, right? and here we are at the end of the year. and you act as though they're leaving town and they're going to fund the government. so i hope you're right. because remember, the government runs out of money in a few days. >> oh, right, there's that. >> there's that on friday. we'll assume they're going to pass this tax bill, the government's going to keep on going, christmas and the holidays are going to come and they're going to be back next year. but look, it has been not a great year. the president's approval ratings are very low. but we can't discount what a big win they're going to call this. all year we've been saying they don't have any legislative achievements. they just got one. and they didn't just get one. don't forget there's a piece of health care in there. there are some other things in there. drilling in alaska. things they wanted they can now say look, we got more than just gorsuch on the supreme court.
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>> anita kumar, always a friend on 24 broadcast and an explainer of things complex. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> the peak holiday travel season getting off to a terrible start this week. we'll look at what happened today in the pacific northwest.
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before we go tonight, this was tough to watch today. especially the loss of three innocent lives. the amtrak accident in washington state was all the more sad, all the more tragic when you consider this is what passes for a new train line in the pacific northwest, in our country. and today was its inaugural run. old freight track bed was modernized. old freight cars were repurposed. and while we mourn the loss of life and the injuries and we await the investigation, this happens to be a metaphor for what's become of train transportation in this country.
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we've allowed it to happen. we've gone backwards. we're apparently okay with it. many trains used to crack 100 miles an hour with regularity back in the 1930s. well, today our high-speed line on the east coast, the acela, averages 87 miles an hour. much of the world from spain to france to china is zooming down the rails while we regress. we travel back in time. then there's hartsfield airport in atlanta, the world's busiest, when they have electric power. they did not yesterday, thanks to an underground fire that also toasted the backup line. and as a result over 1500 flights were canceled along with all the holiday hopes and dreams of tens of thousands of air passengers idled. there's speculation tonight a power line was gnawed on by a rat. and if that's true, if something with whiskers and a stale can take down hartsfield, imagine what a determined hacker from
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north korea can do. all of this goes by the decidedly unsexy and clunky washington label of infrastructure spending. put another way, we get to spend our money on new stuff if we decide we want it. we then leave to washington to decide how to spend it and what could go wrong there. that is our broadcast tonight as we start a new week. thank you so much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york.

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