tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 24, 2017 7:00am-8:00am PST
merry christmas eve. my good friend, joy reid, has the day off. president trump with a new tweet questioning the integrity of the agency. could that back fire? post cards to the irs with your tax return, separating fact from fiction after ivanka suggests it would work for most americans. the latest forecast ahead here on "msnbc live." and then we begin at the white house. ramping up attacks since learning last night that mccabe will retire in march. here's white house legislative director, mark short, earlier on the agency's investigation of hillary clinton and also reiterating the administration's
argument of why robert mueller's investigation should wrap up. >> mccabe looks forward to move on and we wish him well, and the white house has cooperated in every single way with the investigation, and after millions and millions, no collusion has been proven. the president is saying we need to know our civil servants are doing the honorable thing and it's important for people to know what happened in that investigation peufp investigation >> kelly o'donnell is in florida with the president. she's joining me. why attacks now? >> reporter: one could offer the notion he is trying to undercut credibility with people that played a key role in the investigation related to russia and also to the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. the president is trying to say that the fix was in, if you will, with the hillary clinton investigation, and therefore it
should be less credible to believe the russia investigation. that kind of a backdrop to the criticism of the fbi, it's highly unusual for a president to attack members of his own justice department, and at the same time they pick on specific evidence and specific details related to individuals in the fbi where they have highlighted where they believed to be partisan bias. we saw that with the removal of a senior agent from the investigation by robert mueller, and in the case of mccabe, his wife ran for office of the democrat and allies of the clintons donated money, and those things you have to wave through to see if there's a partisan by us. some say this is an unfair attack from the president. it seems to be working with the president's base, and at the same time it's drawing criticism to the president for the way he is handling his critique of the fbi. he claims there have been changes at the fbi that have not been good and he will rebuild
the fbi. that's the backdrop there. we have also seen how the white house is pushing back on a story published by "the new york times," there was a meeting by the president and other top officials talking about the numbers of visas granted for the number of individuals around the world to enter the united states and the president was upset about this, according to the "new york times" reporting, and their sources, which are unnamed in the piece, one or two of those sources said the president used volatile language that were derogatory about haitians or nigerians or afghans admitted to the u.s., and the white house says the report is wrong. here's mark short, the legislative director, addressing those concerns today when he appeared on the sunday shows. >> i was not in that meeting, but the people in the meeting
said those comments never happened. i have no belief that actually transpired. let's talk about the temporary status for a second because it's an important case. the people from haiti are here from an earthquake that happened ten years ago, and we have tens of thousands of people in our country from honduras and nicaragua from a hurricane that happened in 1999, and the president has made the case that congress needs to change the laws. >> reporter: that's a policy debate over what should allow certain individuals from countries affected by disasters admittance to the united states, and they are rescinding the haitians, and many years later the white house is saying you can allow these citizens to come in or these individuals to come in and have a legal status, but it should be put into law and backed up by congress. there's a real policy debate on
that. others are saying it's harsh treatment of those living in the united states or closing the door to the united states for people in need around the world. the push back from the white house is part of what you heard there from mr. short. >> thank you very much. appreciate that. let's bring in our political reporter from real clear politics, and katie, a reporter for "the hill." the president's attacks against mccabe, what are you hearing from law enforcement officials particularly those at the fbi about the never-ending attacks? >> well, within the bureau there's a real culture of professional integrity and the idea is that you are supposed to be able to enforce the law without fear or favor, and there's a real sense within the bureau that this kind of attack
on the independence of individual officials suggesting that they can't do their jobs because they may or may not hold their own personal opinions is sort of a low blow. now, of course, from the other perspective, you also have republicans on the hill that say, look, this is a very concerning indication that there's political bias within the fbi that would make it impossible for them to conduct these investigations, to conduct these investigations fairly. it's very much an ongoing debate about how bureau officials are able to separate themselves from their personal opinions in order to do their jobs. >> you know, was mccabe pushed out because republicans were s
dissatisfied with his answers? >> what you bring up is a big part of this and why the president's criticisms of mccabe, because there are questions about objection of justice, and you have seen a divide among republicans in congress, and you have some supporting the broader investigations with the mueller probe and the russian investigations, and you also have others who have been undermining all of the investigations, particularly the mueller probe, and questioning the credibility within the doj and the fbi, and pretty much trying to speak to the president's point about this -- or argument, i should say, about this being a hoax and a witch hunt. what you are trying to do is sway public opinion for whatever the conclusion is, trying to raise questions about mueller and speak to, you know, try to
sway public opinion on that matter. so in some ways the president can kind of have it both ways here. he's saying he's not thinking about firing mueller at this point but also raising questions about the credibility and has republican allies in congress helping him with that effort. >> you know, katie, former republican congressman walsh said this, president trump quit attacking the fbi -- do you think it's a warning more about national security implications as a result of undermining our law enforcement agencies or what, exactly? >> i think there's a number of different ways that that can be interpreted. certainly one of the big questions that i think lawmakers across capitol hill, both republicans and democrats are grappling with this, how do you approach the russia investigation as you are on the
campaign trail. for democrats that appear question do you spend your time campaigning against trump and raising questions about the investigation or do you talk about the economic issues that some argue put trump in the office in the first place, and for republicans, it's how much do you talk about this and if this investigation is still ongoing by the time we see voters go to the polls, is this something they are going to be faced with in addressing day in and day out on the campaign trail. >> what about the joe walsh tweet? do you think there's an implication that the fbi could get back at the president in some way? >> i think that's a -- that's a pretty bold speculation. i think within the bureau, very much the attitude is they are supposed to not be a political organ, and their role is to
investigate violations of federal law or within their counter intelligence arm to act as an intelligence agency, not to take out hit jobs on political figures they don't like. now, that said, that is precisely what some republicans on capitol hill believe is happening. how much validity there is to that, i think, is at this point going to be in the hands of congressional investigators who are probing the bureau's conduct. certainly we have seen calls from senior lawmakers on capitol hill, house skwrathey are calli second special counsel on investigate the conduct of the bureau during the 2016 election. we have not seen a lot of appetite from the bureau to make that move. deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, has indicated this
is not a direction that he's going to be taking at this point. >> what about the timing, caitlyn, all these tweets, i mean, attacking andrew mccain, and it was shortly after "the new york times" reported on the immigration tirades, and what do you think, it's the timing? >> because mccabe was center stage this week i think it's certainly on the president's mind, and he's also looking at the political reality he is facing next year, and republicans are head into a mid-term election with the wins against them at this point, and largely because the president himself is very unpopular. the republicans in congress just passed a huge tax plan, a tax reform bill that they have been trying to pass for decades now and the president just signed it, whether you agree with the policy or not, this is a big deal for republicans, but the bill is very unpopular because the president, himself, is very unpopular, and so this is certainly probably on the minds
of a lot of people head into next year, and also, you know, the president could have had a lot to talk about today, not only head into the holidays and the new year, but also because he just signed that tax reform bill they could have touted a lot of accomplishments. it's also very telling the president did not do his end of the year press conference because of all of these questions that would have come about the russian investigation, and about mccabe and the president's own actions here, and so this cloud continues to hover over him head into the new year and i am sure that weighs on him. >> all right, ladies, thank you so much and happy holidays to you both. >> thank you. snow and ice in large swaths of the country, and even santa forced to slow down a bit as freezing rain made for hazardous driving conditions in the boston area. let's go to our meteorologist,
bonnie schneider. how is it looking out there? >> not great. we have wet weather and know in chicago right now. expect two to four inches on the high side, and more towards indiana. heavy snow in new england, and that's good if you are looking for a white christmas. for travelers, be careful across the great lakes into cleveland. this is where we could see ice yes conditions, especially on the highways. it will make for pretty conditions. and another travel spot, the northwest, heavy rain expected along the pacific coast, and snow developing in the mountains. for travelers in this region, it could cause slowdowns. the storm systems is continuing to push east. looking for a white christmas, possible across parts of the nation's midsection, but through many sections, through the northern tier of the country,
snow will be falling today and possibly tomorrow, especially to the northeast. cold temperatures as we wrap up 2017 and into the new year, we will look at a chillier affect. getting down into the numbers in the 20s and teens, and then we will get colder towards monday where it will be below zero in some locations. wrapping up 2017 with cold temperatures and starting off the new year with colder weather as well. expect the numbers to go down, and look for highs in the teens and low temperatures for parts of the northeast. alex, definitely the big chill is coming up. >> appreciate that. it's republicans versus democrats and robert mueller in the middle. up next, the war of words in the russia investigation. it replenishes the moisture in your mouth. biotene definitely works.
what the republicans are trying to do. they are trying to rush to a close this investigation. i think twice this week they scheduled interviews out of state, when we're in d.c. one democrat was able to go up to new york to do the interview that took place yesterday, but there was another interview wednesday when we were -- another interview wednesday when we were in d.c., and that interview was in new york. of course no democratic members were able to go. >> congressman quigley there criticizing the republicans and
their ongoing russian investigation. and trump quoting taubgs news alleging mccabe was promoting his wife's campaign from his official e-mail for office. guys, good to see you. i want to get your reaction to this. former congressman warning president trump, quick attackig the fbi. it's two days before christmas, put your phone down and no more tweets until after new year's. knowing mueller is pushing along, what is at stake for this president? >> the mueller investigation has been moving at really a high rate of speed compared to most investigations of this magnitude, and following the class
classic doj playbook, it's based upon who has been indicted and plead guilty since then. these statements should have no affect on the mueller investigation because that is how the doj does investigations. they don't -- they reveal information only when they absolutely have to, and that's how they perceive running a proper investigation and an investigation that is uncompromised by leaks or public knowledge. >> so steven, from a legal perspective, what does the president have to gain from attacking the leaders of the fbi? >> from a legal perspective, i'm not sure he has much to gain. from a political perspective, perhaps the idea is to undermine the credibility of the fbi and the doj and the investigation so that if later on there are damaging allegations coming forth from the mueller probe then he has laid the ground work for saying this is all partisan
and biassed. i do think that quote that you had earlier about a coming back to bite him later on suggests a very real cost involved. if you undermine the credibility of the doj and fbi, which are considered to be nonpartisan law enforcement agencies, that could undermine counterterrorism or organized crime or garden variety political corruption. >> former solicitor general, kenneth starr, he over saw the lewinsky case, and he said this. it's time to consider the appointment of a bipartisan select committee preferably in the senate with highly experienced respected members chosen by the majority and minority leaders.
is it time for a special committee? >> it certainly wouldn't hurt to have a bipartisan committee that, you know, would have extra authority or extra focus on the -- on the allegations involving the trump campaign and russia. but to the extent that there's any suggestion that the mueller probe is not composed of highly respected people doing a thorough and nonpartisan job, then i think that's kind of going too far. i mean, mr. mueller has been respected and he's appointed by a republican president in the past, and he's a republican. i don't know that we yet have gotten to the point where we could say we don't have confidence in that investigation, but during the watergate model there were concurrent investigations both by congress and by an independent counsel. there's no reason why we can't continue that model. >> do you, danny, have a sense of where we are in the mueller investigation right now?
if so where are we? >> that's really hard to say, again, because the doj and the mueller team is not revealing much. the fact that they are speaking that we are hearing they are speaking to different people, continuing to interview them, not a surprise. i think there's a very real possibility that this investigation, at least near the end, concludes with at least one conference with the president, or at least a request to speak to the president. i think we'll have a good indicator of whether or not the mueller team is approaching the close of their investigation, if and when they decide to speak to president trump or at least make a request. we really cannot tell from what we have seen so far, other than the convictions and guilty pleas we have seen. >> is there any indications of objection, danny? >> that's an interesting question, because objection is a
broad term used to apply to roughly six major categories of federal crimes. it's most basic sense, aobjectin is the idea he's interfering with the judicial or congressional process, something like that. a defensive minded person like myself, i believe the president has a right to interfere and ask somebody not to prosecute, and the praus cue tore annual approach would be, that could be an objection of justice. no matter what, i would agree the president can object justice, and whether or not he can be prosecuted while in office is an entirely different question. >> all right, one we know will be answered at some point, certainly. gentlemen, thank you so much and
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welcome back, everyone. at the half hour, this is what we are monitoring for you. the president delivering a message to the troops and he thanked them for their sacrifice and praised them for their service, and he took questions from some and that was done in private. the president used twitter this morning to attack fbi deputy director, andrew mccabe. >> perhaps the clinton's closest political friend and gave a $700,000 contribution to mccabe's wife when he was running for office, and that's the same time they were launching the investigation against clinton, and the american people need to know
that. >> joining me now, a democrat and member of the armed services committee, and congressman with happy holidays to you, thank you for joining me on a sunday morning. is this a fair line of attack for the president? >> two things, alex. first of all there's clearly a coordinated effort on the part of members of congress and now even the president to somehow discourage, to derail, to demean and bring down the investigation. secondly, what do they fear? why are they doing this? does the president know something he's fearful of and somehow wants to derail the investigations? that's an open question. if you put these two things together there could be one conclusion, there must be a profoundly important reason why the president and his surrogates in congress and other places want to discredit the mueller
investigation, discredit the fbi and discredit the department of justice. there's a coherent and clear plan here, but the ultimate question is what do they know and why do they fear this investigation? >> what about the timing here? the attacks escalated after the text messages made despairen skwreupbg remarks against the president. do you think mueller could have done a better job in vetting his team? >> my recollection of the calendar, it was late spring, i guess it was late spring, he came onboard as the special counsel and then about a month and a half, two months later this investigation came out and he immediately put the person off of the team. he sent it back to wherever he came from in the fbi, and not
involved in the investigation at all. as soon as he learned about it, he put the guy off the team as he should have done. i am not so sure you can find out everything right at the out set set, but what we do have here is a coordinated piece of work being done by the president and his surrogates in congress and other surrogates out there to discredit the entire investigation. once again, the question that all americans must ask and say listen to this, why is the president so intent upon discrediting this investigation? is it that he knows what they may find out? well, let's find out. let him do his job, let mueller do his job and let the chips fall where they may. with regard to congress, congress is not doing its job here. there are two things that congress must be doing. one is to investigate as they are doing so very poorly, and secondly, write the laws to
protect our democracy, to protect our electoral process. none of that has been done by any of the republican-controlled committee in the senate or house, and that's a dara election of duty, and it's leader ship they need to write the laws to protect our electoral process. i think it's less than a year, about ten months and we will have another election. we know for sure there are russians out there and probably other players intent on disrupting our electoral process. write the laws, congress. leadership, get to work. >> i want to ask you about the tax plan, and the democrats say it's going to give them an advantage in next year's midterms, but if a majority of people get more money in their paychecks in february as republicans are promising, do you think it's still going to be
a cakewalk for democrats? >> absolutely. the fundamental issue is more than 80% of the total tax giveaways went to the wealthiest 1% and to america's biggest corporations, and america's biggest corporations don't need the cash. they had $2.5 trillion of cash stashed away in their various treasuries and they didn't need additional money. they are talking about modest investments, investments by at&t, and at&t can spend money in rural america where there is no internet broadband service. there's things that can be done here, but the fundamental point, the fundamental point is that the great majority of the money is going to the super wealthy, the 1% of those that have estates that are multimillion-dollar estates, and they are going to enjoy the reduction in the taxes and
ultimately the poor and the middle class will pay for this, and this is an enormous giveaway to the super wealthy. >> but if more people get more money in paychecks, people vote their wallets, and so are democrats concerned? >> i think there's a bigger story here. yes, there will be a few dollars. keep in mind the same legislation that puts a few extra dollars in their paycheck will rapidly take it away in their insurance. the mandate, taking that away, it will raise insurance by at least 10%, and in my district it could be a 25% increase. that will clearly by many, many factors outweigh whatever small factor there is in reduced taxes. republicans did give a small
modest tax break to the men and working women. good. secondly, they gave money to the super wealthy, and gave it to the corporations. they turn around and set up a system in which the affordable care act is gutted and that could cause an increase of at least 10% across the nation and everybody's health insurance costs. >> you bring up the affordable care act and let's hear what the president said about the tax plan relative to the affordable care act. >> we have the mandate, which is a very unfair and unpopular provision, as you know, and obamacare essentially, i think it ultimately leads to the end of obamacare. essentially, i think obamacare is over. >> what is your realistic read here on the status of obamacare? is it over, as the president just said? >> if it is, he's to blame,
along with the congressional republicans and senators. keep in mind, nearly 18 million people received insurance. 25 million people -- excuse me, 25 million people received either insurance or increased health care available through the medicaid programs, and yes, indeed, the republicans are gutting that program. the repeal of the mandate is but one part of it. they have done other things. the result is whether they tried to, in one felt swoop, do away with obamacare and the american public repelled and said you cannot take away our insurance, and instead they came back in a nefarious and secretive way and with the power of the president to re-write regulations and cut off funding they are indeed gutting the affordable care act. millions upon millions of americans are going to lose
their health insurance. they will be uninsured and will get sick and wind up in emergency rooms and all of us will end up paying higher premiums because of the horrible game republicans are playing under the cover of legislation. >> that's a sobering statement right there. >> here we are on christmas eve. we ought to be talking about positive things, the good things occurring across the nation, but instead we are focused on the president determined to tear down the department of justice and throw millions upon millions of people off of their health insurance. that's not a very merry christmas. >> i will wish you one there. merry christmas to you. thank you very much. parts of puerto rico still without water and power, next. h? h? do what i did. ask your doctor about humira.
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it has been more than 90 days since hurricane maria struck puerto rico knocking out power to the island. one-third of the residents are still powerless. they are struggling to get power and basic services restored. >> reporter: for many in puerto rico, this will be the only christmas delivery this year. there are basic supplies a. lifeline for many of the 800
families. >> do you feel like your mountain community has been forgotten about? >> in a way, yes, because we are behind schedule compared to other places. >> reporter: this community has no power or running water. the family that used to live in this house tells me they have not seen anybody from fema and they don't know if and when help will ever come, meaning this is their new normal. three months after hurricane maria devastated puerto rico, a third of the island is still in the dark. we asked the governor about the setbacks? >> reporter: you early on said you thought you would have 85% plus of the island back on the grid. has not happened. >> it has not happened. >> reporter: why? >> partly is the manpower and the materials have not gotten here. >> reporter: for this family, it has been a tough season. >> we lost the christmas spirit
right now. it's not easy. >> reporter: jose and his wife built this star more than a decade ago, and the shining beacon could be seen 11 towns away during the holidays but the hurricane badly damaged it. >> the star is broken. >> reporter: you can see where it snapped. >> yes. >> reporter: some of the steel snapped here at well. with time, the family promises, the star will shine again. >> it's a lot of work, but he can do it. >> reporter: just like this tiny mountain community. >> coming up, how republicans are responding to reports the president made offensive comments about immigrants during a white house meeting. with rheumatoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr. a once daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling
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new today, congressman charlie dent sounds a warning to fellow republicans. he says next year's mid terms could be trickier than they might expect. >> i've told my colleagues, look, you're going to be preparing to run into a head wind. this could be a tough year. >> this comes days after the president signed the gop tax plan into law, his first major legislative accomplishment.
joining me now basil michael jr. and elise jordan, former adviser to senator rand paul. msnbc contributor as well. elise to you first, what do you make of charlie dent's comment? >> i think congressman dent is dead on. i think republicans have to really look at 2018 knowing they are in a weak position. the energy is on the democratic side. just earlier this month the surprise upset in alabama, a democrat was elected to the u.s. senate in alabama, which is absolutely incredible, disregarding just how terrible the republican candidate was. so i think that, yes, the republicans definitely should be on edge about their prospects for holding the house in 2018. >> which means this question is begged to be asked, elise. if the gop loses the house, is
the president at risk for impeachment or even then is that a bridge too far? >> i think absolutely he's at risk for impeachment if the democrats take over the house. i think he knows that and that's why he's said he wants to ramp up efforts to be helpful to republicans in 2018, although look at how his help turned out this year with candidates. he was far more of a detriment than an aide on the campaign trail. >> basil, on the flip side, republicans are promising americans quick access to more cash in their paychecks. companies are already promising bonuses and pay raises. democrats are characterizing this as a tax cut for the wealthy. but if at least in the beginning it does fatten up people's wall lengths, is that going to blunt democrat's momentum on the issue? >> i don't think so. i think it's going to be difficult to disabuse the american people that this is not a tax cut for the wealthy, that it does help them in the long term. what i also think about is the fact that even though some of these companies are spending a
little money on their employees in the short term, i have to remind folks that their tax cut was permanent. the tax cut for many households, particularly lower and middle class households in this country, is temporary. do these companies continue their largess in the next five to ten years when a lot of those same households will see their taxes actually increase. i'm not so sure that that's going to be the case. i think a lot of the tax proposals that have been promoted are based on an old, outdated model of our economy. i don't see -- i'm skeptical about how we go forward. >> let's take a listen, elise, to how ivanka trump is selling the tax plan. here it is. >> i'm really looking forward to doing a lot of traveling in april when people realize the effect that this has, both on the process of filling out their taxes, the vast majority will be doing so on a single postcard, but also having experienced the relief that will be starting as early as february. >> so are you going to be able to file on a postcard, elise?
did she get this wrong? >> no, you -- she's talking about april 2019, so a year from now, ivanka trump, can expect for people to have hopefully a simplified process. that was what the white house was setting out to do. corporate tax return that simplified the process but instead tax attorneys are going to be even more well employed than ever because plenty of loopholes are still there. ivanka trump really shows her basic ignorance of when this policy goes into effect although hopefully people will see some payroll relief starting in february. >> that's a very good point. this all goes into your taxes for next year, which means those that you pay in april of 2019. let's take a listen to how both sides are selling the flanges right now. here it is. >> the president laid out his vision for a tax cut that would be a middle class miracle, and that's exactly what the congress
passed today. >> this tax billing is armageddon. >> all right. you've got a miracle and then you've got armageddon, basil. have democrats over sold the doom and gloom for this plan? what's the risk for democrats when they use this kind of language, that's pretty hare much, armageddon. >> i don't know if it's that risky. i think a vast majority of the american public doesn't believe that this tax reform effort is really for them, and even though for some families it may benefit in the short run, there are elected leaders, governor cuomo in new york, going out and talking to families and households in new york about how they can get ahead of this and try to benefit at a point whe where -- early enough where at a certain point they will get hurt by the tax reform effort. it's caused tax attorneys and cpas but certainly elected officials, governors and so on to have to go out there and talk
to their constituents about how detrimental this may be. we talk about things like infrastructure. all of these issues where republicans say they can work in a bipartisan fashion with democrats, but the truth of the matter is we didn't see that with tax reform and i doubt we're going to be able to see that with things like infrastructure, particularly if the salt tax and others are capped. so, again, families do get hurt in the long run and that's, i think, the concern for so many elected leaders. >> happy holidays to you both. we'll end the conversation there for now. basil and elise, appreciate you both. thank you. >> thank you. coming up in our next hour, david gurr will talk with congressman ro khanna when we come back. starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers,
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that is a wrap of this hour of msnbc live. i'm alex witt. my colleague david gurr is going to pick it up from here. >> good morning. i'm david gura coming to you live. the white house is pushing back against a bombshell report in "the new york times" that says president trump made racist remarks about immigrants in an oval office meeting last june. according to officials who attended or were briefed on that meeting, trump while venting about the slow pace of implementing his immigration agenda told members that, quote, haitian immigrants all have aids and nigerian immigrants would never