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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  December 24, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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the base. the approximately one-third of the electorate that seems to be for him no matter what he does. >> bob garfield, thank you. >> thank you, chris. >> see you next week, merry christmas and good night. this sunday, democrats, republicans, and president trump. what republicans said this year on "meet the press." >> sean spicer our press secretary gave alternative facts. >> but then we started thinking about whether or not michael flynn was being straight with us. >> here's what i think assad's telling trump by flying from this base, f you. >> and what democrats had to say. >> i don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president. >> we have a president who is delusional in many respects. a pathological liar. >> what we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice. >> we'll look at a fractured republican party. whether democrats embrace or
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avoid the push for impeachment. at both parties, uneasy relationship with president trump. plus war on media. president trump calls the media the enemy of the american people. this morning, a panel of top media critics on the president and the press. >> my biggest fear is that there'd be a chilling effect and that news rooms will be cowed. and the new politics of shopping. where do you shop online more than ever, this holiday season where you shop reveals how you vote. welcome to christmas eve sunday, it's "meet the press." >> from nbc news in washington, the longest running show in television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. >> well, good sunday morning and a merry christmas and happy holidays to everyone this christmas eve. this morning we're going to take a look back at one of the most extraordinary political years in our lifetimes. year one of the trump presidency. and we're going to do that with four of the people whom you have come to know right here at this
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table at "meet the press." hugh hewitt, host on the salem radio network. amy walter, national editor of the political report. cara lee from nbc news, and gene robinson, a columnist for "the washington post." welcome to all of you. before i make you guys take over the conversation, we're going to start with what elected republicans and trump administration officials who've joined us on sunday mornings in 2017, what they've said, the story they tell, the policies they sold. the year ended with a victory for president trump, his biggest and perhaps only real legislative achievement for 2017. it's a $1.5 trillion tax cut, passed with only republican votes. but the year was dominated by a lot of things, including the russia investigation and the effort -- the failed effort to repeal and replace obamacare and the growing divide inside the republican party. culturally driven by the president. and it all started with a debate over inauguration crowd size, right here. >> you did not answer the question of why the president
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asked the white house press secretary to come out in front of the podium, for the first time and utter a falsehood. why did he do that? it undermines the credibility of the entire white house press office on day one. >> no it doesn't, don't be so overly dramatic about it, chuck. what -- you're saying it's a falsehood and they're giving sean spicer, our press secretary gave alternative facts to that, but the point -- >> wait a minute. alternative facts? alternative facts four of the five facts he uttered. the one thing he got right was zeke miller -- the four out of the five uttered were not true. alternative facts are not facts. they're falsehoods. can you say definitively that there was no promises, no winks, no anything that somehow there was an acknowledgment that these sanctions will be -- will go away as quickly as possible once the inauguration takes place? >> so, chuck, almost every single day general flynn talks
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to counterparts and ambassadors from all over the world. almost every single day. that's his job, but i have talked to general flynn, none of that came up, the subject matter of sanctions or the actions taken by the obama administration did not come up in the conversation. >> when did you know you had been misled? >> some time after january 27th. it was -- our legal counsel got a heads up from sally yates that something wasn't adding up with his story. and eventually, we determined that he did, in fact, talk about the sanctions even though we didn't believe that it was illegal, the fact was it turned more or less into a conversation about whether or not he was being honest with us and the vice president and the president asked for his resignation and we got it. >> the president of the united states has every right to criticize the other two branches of government. we have a long tradition of it
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in this country. >> is this a constructive way to do it? >> i think people find it refreshing, they understand how he feels about things. he expresses himself in a unique way. >> can americans be confident that a republican-controlled congress can investigate this president thoroughly if necessary? >> i hope so, and i have to believe so. >> and then before i let you go -- >> more hope than belief. >> more hope than belief. before i let you go, i'm curious of your reaction to a tweet that the president sent friday night. the fake news media, nbc, abc, cbs, cnn, is not my enemy, it's the enemy of the american people. do you believe the press is the enemy? do you believe any group of americans are the enemy of any group of americans? >> i was talking about the period as you know of the new world order. a fundamental part of that new world order was a free press.
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i hate the press. i hate you, especially, but the fact is, we need you. we need a free press. we must have it, it's vital. if you want to preserve -- i'm very serious now. if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. and without it, i'm afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. that's how dictators get started. >> the president is blaming the freedom caucus, club for growth, and heritage for quote, protecting planned parenthood and obamacare. is that a fair read of what happened this week, sir? >> that is not at all how i see it. this bill didn't pass because it didn't deal with the most fundamental flaw in obamacare. the part of obamacare that's made it unacceptable and unaffordable. >> the president is blaming the freedom caucus. what say you?
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>> well, i tend to agree with the president on that point. let's be honest about this. a lot of concussions that the white house is making at the end of this process is to try to appease the hard right on essential health benefits and other issues all to placate people who are not going to vote for the bill anyway. >> here's what i think assad's telling trump by flying from this base, f you. and i think he's making a serious mistake because if you're an adversary of the united states, and you don't worry about what trump may do on any given day, then you're crazy. >> wow. >> i have to say, you used the initials, but i think that's a first for "meet the press" senator graham. >> well -- >> the president tweeted earlier this week, i'm being investigated for firing the fbi director by the man who told me to fire the fbi director, witch hunt. let me start with this, when did the president become aware that he was officially under investigation by the special counsel? >> the president is not under investigation by the special counsel. the tweet from the president was in response to the five
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anonymous sources that were purportedly leaking information to "the washington post" about a potential investigation of the president. but the president as james comey said in his testimony and as we know as of today, the president has not been and is not under investigation. >> if the president is innocent, why is he afraid of this investigation? >> he's not afraid of the investigation. there is no investigation. >> do you know for sure everyone who was at that meeting with donald trump jr.? >> no, i don't represent donald trump jr. and i do not know everyone for sure that was at that meeting and the president was not at the meeting. the president wasn't aware of the meeting and did not attend it. >> can you tell me about the reports that the president was involved in the initial response that donald trump jr. gave the "new york times"? >> so, i read those reports as well, and the president was not, did not draft the response. the response was -- came from donald trump jr., and i'm sure in consultation with his lawyer. >> i wish that we as a party would have stood up, for example, when the birtherism thing was going on.
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a lot of people did stand up, but not enough. >> did you do enough? do you think -- i'm just curious -- >> on that, i think i did. but on other things as well. i mean, when our party, you know, during rallies when the chants lock her up, we shouldn't be the party for jailing your political opponents. and anybody at that rally -- anybody at those rallies ought to stand up and say that's inappropriate. we shouldn't be doing that. >> can you and steve bannon still work together in this white house or not? >> i get to work with a broad range of talented people. it is a privilege every day to enable the national security team. >> you didn't answer, can you and steve bannon work in the same white house? >> i am ready to work with anybody who will help advance the president's agenda and advance the security, prosperity of the american people. >> do you believe steve bannon does that? >> i believe that everyone who works in the white house, who has the privilege, the great privilege every day of serving their nation should be motivated
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by that goal. >> roy moore is somebody who graduated from west point, he served our country in vietnam. he's been elected multiple times statewide in alabama. the people in alabama know roy moore better than we do here in d.c., i think we have to be very cautious. if more evidence comes out that can prove that he did this, then sure, by all means he should be disqualified, but that's a huge if. i think we have to allow more facts come out. >> what are the more facts? >> roy moore has said he plans to come forward with more evidence to support his innocence. >> and if that evidence doesn't work, what does that mean? you guys are going to step in? is this senate seat that important? >> there is no senate seat more important than the nation of child pedophilia, chuck. that's the reality. but, having said that, he has not been proven guilty. we have to afford him the chance to defend himself. >> well, there you go. i'm going to ask you guys, hugh, i'll let you start, the first word that comes to mind when i think about the first year of
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trump is disruption. at the end of the day love him or hate him, he was a disruptive -- he has been a disruptive force to washington. whether it's the republican party, the democratic party, the press, you name i. >> vertically, horizontally, everything. >> everything. >> every institution. i want to assure my conservative friends, they have to stick around for christmas eve because you put kryptonite under everyone's christmas tree. i was there when nancy pelosi used the word icon. i was here when kelly ann conway used the word alternative fact, it set the tone for the year. a year of constant struggle that has obscured incredible legislative and regulatory achievements, but maybe that was by design, but it has not stopped, not from the first day of the inauguration. >> i want to put up something earlier this week, a reporter of bloomberg noted that with the passage of the big tax cut bill, check this out, because it includes the obamacare individual mandate repeal, suddenly the gop accomplishment list looks pretty hefty, gene robinson.
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you've got the repeal of the mandate, cutting taxes by 1.5 trillion. oh, oil drilling and anwar, remember that one? neil gorsuch, not just him, a whole bunch of appellate court judges, most in the first year of a presidency ever. and regulations gone. if you're an activist conservative or a major republican donor, that's a nice list. >> right. and i actually think the biggest change is on the regulatory front. on what's been happening in the agencies. not just in terms of actually repealing regulations, but in -- not enforcing others. and you know, it forced an epa for example has been -- if not gutted then certainly attenuated. it's not what it used to be. and so if that's your bag, if deregulation is what you wanted, you have gotten it from the first year of trump. a lot of things you haven't gotten, you did get the repeal of the mandate. you now have the tax cut that we'll see how that works out next year. and also, you got the sort of fuzzing of the very concept of
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truth and fact. which, i think, is good for nobody. and i think -- i think people who supported this during the year will rue that decision. >> peggy noonen takes these two points and tries to at least explain why we're in this moment carol and amy. he could have broadened his position with a air of stability and moderation. and with policies that were soft populism. he has failed to do so. primarily due to self-indulgences. tendency to heat things up. his tendency always to make the situation a little worse, not a little better. his tweets, his immaturity, his self-pity alienate and offend. >> that is -- >> well put. sort of puts this -- like why does that list of accomplishments. >> not come with a better job approval rating for this president? what why does a good economy not come with a better job approval rating and he did have a chance at the very beginning of this administration to put together a brand new coalition. not just of the people that voted for him, but of course the people that didn't vote for him.
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remember there were a bunch of democrats on inauguration day who were worried that this populist president was going to pick off a lot of these midwestern rust belt or red state democrats for a more populist message. and what we've seen as we look over in your own poll, in the nbc news/"wall street journal" poll, to me what's fascinating is his approval rating with the people that voted for him has stayed pretty consistent and pretty well. the job approval rating of people who voted for him because they didn't like hillary clinton started off in the 40s and has stayed there. those were the people that he needed to move, not just the people that voted for hillary clinton, but the people that voted for him despite the reservations about him. he has never gotten their approval because of the behavior, not because of the policy. >> yeah, this is a president who cannot get out of his own way. you know, he is obscuring his own accomplishments, there's no fight too small. he picks on everything, things that have nothing to do with what his message is supposed to
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be and if there's one big takeaway that we can learn from 2018 is there is never going to be a pivot. this is who the president is. this is how he's going to lead. he's in there for at least another three years. and this is what we're going to see. >> that point. >> one word, charlottesville. the reaction to charlottesville for a lot of people was it. and for a lot of trump opponent he'll never those people. never get them back. >> can i have one counterpoint, the word, syria. isis has been defeated in syria and libya. the defense budget has gone up significantly, general mcmaster who he had on defeated the wing and turned the national security conservatives into fairly reliable trump supporters after a good year of american aggressiveness abroad. >> who's -- let me ask you this. who won the trump presidency, congressional republicans or donald trump, carol? >> well, right now it's a bit of a mix, i think. you know, the president has gotten some things he wants. 2018 is going to tell where these two faction goes.
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how this plays out between the two of them. now that they have the tax legislation, the next thing that's up is maybe infrastructure, that's a far more divisive issue for the party. the president has a very kind of tenuous relationship with establishment republicans, he loves them and hates them, he needs them, but he doesn't want them, and that's going to really just intensify in the next year. >> if you look at the result from the election in virginia, and the election in alabama, a lot of congressional republicans are worried that they're losing the trump presidency. >> do you know what i mean? i feel like congressional republicans, they cut a deal. we're going to accept this guy because he's going to pass stuff we've been trying to do. >> and they got it. and they got it. >> now what do they do? >> and the people who are benefitting the most from the trump presidency or from even the economy, the tax plan, are your sort of traditional suburban republicans. those people who said, okay, i don't know if he's my kind of guy, but, what they worried about was, by this time, this
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year, the economy would be falling apart. he would be a true populist. we'd be in trade war with china. we'd be in a trade war -- or we'd be out of nafta, the stock market would crash. none of that has happened. it is exactly the kind of agenda they'd like, and yet, they are giving him the lowest marks of any of their -- >> and they voted against republicans in virginia and alabama. >> i'm going to pause it here. it's values versus pocketbook. and right now, middle of the road voters are picking values. anyway, when we come back, we're going to look at the democrats who appeared on "meet the press" and discuss if they could become more than the party of not trump. >> the trump administration is posed to do horrible danger to our country, our values and our people and our reputation. is made of. but right now, our bond is fraying. how do we get back to "us"?
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welcome back. democrats spent much of 2017 like a champion boxer who had just recovered consciousness to learn that he'd been knocked out of a fight he was certain to win
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and he no longer had the championship belt. the republican victory stunned democrats. they managed to regain their footing late in the year with big election victories starting in november in new jersey. in virginia, then of course the big upset in alabama. and it gave them hope that 2018 could be the year that that party takes back congress. but they face their own issues including a growing divide between the clinton and sanders wings of the party. whether they should pursue impeachment and if they stand for something more than being the party of not trump. because it was president trump who dominated the discussion when democrats appeared on "meet the press" in 2017, we have a lot of trump. you have forged relationships with many presidents. do you plan on trying to forge a relationship with donald trump? >> i believe in forgiveness. i believe in trying to work with people. it's going to be hard. it's going to be very difficult. i don't see it as president-elect as a legitimate
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president. >> you do not consider him a legitimate president? why is that? >> i think the russians participated in helping this man get elected. and they have destroyed the candidacy of hillary clinton. i don't plan to attend inauguration. it would be the first one that i miss. since i've been in the congress. you cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong. >> the essence of the bill was what the president committed, and that's what we trust him to honor. >> he committed to a pathway to citizenship for these daca recipients. >> he committed to -- mind you the pathway is an earned pathway that is way down the road. >> i understand. right. but some people think think there should be no path at pull you believe the president agreed to a pathway to citizenship with
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this d.r.e.a.m. act. >> that is what is contained in the d.r.e.a.m. act. >> you think he will keep his word on this? >> that's what he said. >> what makes you trust him? >> well, we'll see. >> move to health care, it seems as if the democrats are a lot more enthusiastic about the bipartisan deal between senators alexander and murray than the republicans are. are democrats done negotiating? >> we have a very good deal, mcconnell should put it on the floor, it'll pass overwhelmingly, if ryan puts it on the floor, it'll pass, the house overwhelmingly -- >> you didn't answer if you're done. are you still willing to talk? >> we are. we have an agreement. we want to stick by it. >> i understand that. are you willing to take or no? >> we are sticking to the agreement we have. put it on the floor. see if it fails. >> all right -- >> don't just -- i mean, you're asking know negotiate against myself. i've been around long enough, i don't do that.
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>> if president trump in the fall of '18 can say you didn't support his tax bill, and your opponent is somebody that will work with him, how problematic is that for your re-election? >> well, i think missourians are going to take a look and see who is actually getting stuff done. so there are specific policy things we agree on, and i am anxious to work with him on those things. >> you don't believe there should be a litmus test on abortion? is there an issue there should be one on for the democrats? >> the litmus test should be intelligence, caring about -- as harry truman or roosevelt used to call it the common man. we're not going to get everybody on board. and i'm sorry, but running in san francisco is not like running in the county or modock, california, much less mobile, alabama. if we want to be a governing party of a very diverse and i
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say ideologically as well as ethnically country, well then you have to have a broader, a party that rises above the more particular issues to the generic. the general issue of making america great. if i might take that word. >> when i hear the word rigged, let's be very clear. hillary clinton won the democratic primary by 4 million votes. the democratic national committee does not run elections for primaries. the republican national committee does not run elections. states run elections and those elections were run by the states. we run caucuses and bernie sanders did very well in the caucuses. where i think both senators, warren and keith ellison and myself, where we agree is we have to earn the trust of the voters. and during the process of the democratic primary, we fell short in that. undeniably. and i accepted that responsibility. >> so define zero tolerance. you say there's now a zero tolerance. john conyers what does that mean for him right now, in or out? >> we are strengthened by due process. just because someone is accused,
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and one accusation, is it two? i think there has to be -- john conyers is an icon in the country. he's done a great deal to protect violence against women, the protect violence against women act. which the right wing is praising him for his work on that and he did great work on that. the fact is as john reviews his case, which he knows, which i don't, i believe that he'll do -- >> why don't you? >> may i finish my sentence? >> sure. >> he did do the right thing. >> and is the right thing what? resign? >> he did do the right thing in terms of what he knows about his situation, that he's entitled to due process and that women are entitled to due process as well. >> i'm ranking on judiciary. and the judiciary committee has an investigation going as well. and it involves obstruction of justice. and i think what we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice.
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i think we see this in the indictments. the four indictments and pleas. that have just taken place in some of the comments that are being made. i see it in the hyper frenetic attitude of the white house. the comments every day. the continual tweets. and i see it most importantly in what happened with the firing of director comey and it is my belief that that is directly because he did not agree to lift the cloud of the russia investigation. that's obstruction of justice. >> let me go to this impeachment question here. is tom steyer right, that it's time to look at that option? there was already a house vote this week. many democrats weren't ready to get on that bandwagon yet. where are you on this issue? >> i think there is a process that has to be followed.
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i think mr. mueller is doing a very good job on his investigation. and if mueller brings forth the clear evidence that there was collusion between the trump campaign and the russians, i think you have grounds for impeachment. i think jumping the gun does nobody any good. you have to bring the american people on to this issue. you don't want to make it into a partisan issue. if we're going to go forward with impeachment, i want the american people clearly to understand why that is the case, why it makes sense. why it's the right thing to do. i don't think we're there right now. that's what the mueller investigation is all about. >> all right. back now with the panel. democrats in a word, gene, i think it's fair to say they were woozy when this year began and now i'd call them ebullient. >> they are feeling better at the end of the year than they felt at the beginning of the year. they see a very unpopular president. they see from the evidence of recent elections they're not that unpopularity, can spill
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over into local races, state races, and they, for the first time see a chance to pick off one or both chambers of congress. now it's a long shot, longer shot for the senate than for the house, perhaps, but, you could argue there are signs that potentially there's a wave election. who knows, it could happen. it could happen. and so they feel better. what they don't have is sort of fresh new leadership. >> right. but are we sort of in -- is this -- i feel like are we really wash, rinse, repeat, here amy, carol, meaning that we're just reliving eight years ago, except this time, exchanges all the democrats for the republicans? you don't need a message right now because you just run against the machine. >> that's the risk. for the democrats, and that's what it feels like, you know, they have -- they're not necessarily united around any sort of policy. it's all -- is there something beyond we're the party that's anti-trump. and if if you don't like trump,
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then you vote for us. that's not clear because what these divisions -- all of this is obscuring what are still divisions within the democratic party. on economic issues and other issues, and now, you know, i think the tax bill will be something they'll cling on to and say, and try to make it more about policies in 2018 because they have that to run against which is a little separate from president trump, but they still have serious issues. not the least of which is the fact that they have not gotten any fresh leadership. >> when 2009 began, there were people in the obama white house that thought oh, there's going to be eight or nine republicans to work with. 2017 began, there were people at the white house that said there are eight or nine democrats they thought they could work with. the most remarkable thing about mcconnell in '09 was keeping that republican conference together. the most remarkable thing is schumer keeping the senate democrats. >> and that trump hasn't been able to -- again a lot goes to why we are where we are now. is both parties, both white houses, whether it's 2009 or 2017 said we have a mandate.
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and our mandate is to do something that's way off of where the middle of the country is. so they go way too far, the country punishes them, then the other side comes in. they go way too far and the country punishes them. there was an opportunity for the president, i think, to recreate these coalitions in a way that we haven't seen before because he's not part of one of the factions of the republican party. the other thing is about timing. you know, rahm emanuel was famous about this. never let an opportunity pass you up or a crisis pass you up. and in this case, democrats knew their one issue was health care. here was their one chance to pass it. let's do it. for republicans the economy says don't do a tax cut, but this our one chance. we won't be able to get this again and let's do it. and i don't know of any policy or any party that does well when they just shove through policy on a purely partisan basis. there is always a backlash. >> and this is the issue that i
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think -- i think our viewers are probably throwing the shoe at the tv. essentially republicans believe they're borrowing a democratic tactic, democrats believe they're borrowing a republican tactic, either way the tactic is the same, stay unified in opposition or stay unify in going forward. you can get some stuff done, but politically it never holds. it never sticks. democrats are going to use the same playbook on the republicans. >> if you used a google search for the word most used in 2017 and not in 2016 i think it's tribal. i believe it's jumped up. something carol and gene both said, fresh, new leadership, if there's a concussion protocol, most would still be in the protocol. the first was tim ryan. he scares me a lot as a conservative republican. kamala harris she's a very different kind of democrat. there are democrats out there who can take that message of getting out of the tribes, and bridging some gaps that could actually move the country. >> and that's the question here, right? the leaders of the democratic party. >> right. >> who are they and do they need
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any right now? >> well, you know, right now meaning today -- >> right now meaning a team. 2020's a different question, right? >> exactly, 2020 is a different question, but you know, a party doesn't have that leadership, doesn't have that candidate until it does, right? it didn't in 2007, it didn't until barack obama, then all the -- then all of a sudden everything changed. and so, and, you know, who would have known a few years earlier that that would happen? so we don't know what's going to happen in 2020 and we don't know who's going to emerge. it could be kamala harris. it could be tim ryan. >> mcconnell, schumer, pelosi, ryan, of the four, how many of them are in their positions come january of '19 in some form, whether just heads of their conferences, how many of those four come back, quick? >> mcconnell, schumer, pelosi. >> interesting. flee out of the four. what to you say, gene? >> boy. >> forcing predictions. be fast, five seconds. >> two of the four. >> i agree with carol mcconnell is the most successful majority leader of my lifetime. >> that do you say?
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>> i think they all come back, i don't know that they stay through january. >> i say one. i say only one comes back. >> which one? >> mr. schumer. just throwing it out there. we'll see. we'll see. mcconnell and ryan can spite the football. all right guys, thank you very much. happy holidays to all of you, merry christmas, everything you're celebrating. later in the broadcast, we're going to talk to a panel of media journalists about the uncomfortable and sometimes hostile relationship between the president and the press. but when we come back, more evidence now that where you shop reveals how you vote. [hawaiian music playing]
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welcome back. data download time, americans are spending more time than ever surfing the web for the best deal and the best holiday gifts. but where you browse can actually tell us something about your politics. at least according to our friends at hit wise. here now with the top ten online retailers where you're most likely to find shoppers who identify as conservative republicans. overall, check it out. it's a mix of power tool and home improvement sites like granger and northern tool. as well as more upscale home good stores like william sonoma, pottery barn, and crate and barrel. only two apparel companies make this lace by the way -- l.l. bean and land's end. i'll explain why i pointed that out. compare that to the top retail sites you're most likely to find among those who call themselves liberal democrats. nearly all are clothing stores.
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that mainly cater to a younger, female clientele. forever 21, urban outfitters, express, h & m, bloomingdales. no home improvement sites on this list. and the one store that appears for both liberals and conservatives, crate and barrel. love a good glass of wine apparently and it look likes people on both ends of the spectrum need coffee tables and wine glasses as well. there were actually one other online store that liberals and conservatives were more likely to visit than moderates, and that is the official trump store. we're not making this up. here, both men and women can buy official trump golf polos. there's a trump onesie for babies and even a coin bank in the shape of a gold bar. emblazoned with the name trump. so why are conservatives and liberals visiting the trump store? conservatives are fans of president trump. not surprising, they'd want to buy some of the merchandise with his name on it. liberals on the other hand, you're scratching your head, aren't you? they're visiting out of
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curiosity and possibly looking for some gag gifts. but as we've previously discussed in data download, we do recommend doing this. check your politics at the door this holiday season. let's go a few days without it, huh? let's enjoy time with loved ones, without debating the president for at least an hour. at least until you gather around the television with your family to do what? watch "meet the press." when we come back, some of people in politics, media, and culture that we all lost and more in 2017. >> we no longer live in an age in which peace and war can be sharply differentiated. we live in a neither neither land. fast acting zzzquil liquicaps help you fall asleep fast,
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welcome back. the holiday season is a time for joy and for family and looking ahead with hope to a new year. it's also a time to reflect and look back. we to want take a moment now to remember some of those in the world of politics, media and culture whom we lost this year. faces and friends who should be very familiar to our "meet the press" viewers. ♪ >> we no longer live in an age in which peace and war can be sharply differentiated. ♪ >> there is a third way, and i represent that third approach for the american voter.
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♪ >> the american people didn't want to be told what to think about the information that were receiving, so we came up with we report, you decide, fair and balanced. ♪ >> given the historic transient and the mood and the president's rating should be a democrat right about now. ♪ >> my feelings after being here and witnessing this, as long as there's a man alive on the face of the earth, this day will always be remembered the world over. >> i would like to know why the
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last associate producer before me made $50 a week more than i do. ♪ ♪ >> i feel like there's glorious accident of history, okay, that put me here in this position. >> mr. speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to wield this gavel at least one time and actually sit in the chair. it was something to behold. s'. what do you think? hate to play devil's advocate but...
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i kind of feel like it's a game changer. i wouldn't go that far. are you there? he's probably on mute. yeah... gary won't like it. why? because he's gary. (phone ringing) what? keep going! yeah... (laughs) (voice on phone) it's not millennial enough. there are a lot of ways to say no. thank you so much. thank you! so we're doing it. yes! "we got a yes!" start saying yes to your company's best ideas. let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. trust #1 doctor recommended dulcolax. use dulcolax tablets for gentle dependable relief. suppositories for relief in minutes. and dulcoease for comfortable relief of hard stools. dulcolax. designed for dependable relief.
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-oh! -very nice. now i'm turning into my dad. i text in full sentences. i refer to every child as chief. this hat was free. what am i supposed to do, not wear it? next thing you know, i'm telling strangers defense wins championships. -well, it does. -right? why is the door open? are we trying to air condition the whole neighborhood? at least i bundled home and auto on an internet website, progressive can't save you from becoming your parents, but we can save you money when you bundle home and auto. i mean, why would i replace this? it's not broken. just serve classy snacks and bew a gracious host,iday party. i mean, why would i replace this? no matter who shows up. do you like nuts? they feel that they have to drink patients that i see that complain about dry mouth a lot of water.
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medications seem to be the number one cause for dry mouth. dry mouth can cause increased cavities, bad breath, oral irritation. i like to recommend biotene. biotene has a full array of products that replenishes the moisture in your mouth. biotene definitely works. it makes patients so much happier. [heartbeat]
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♪ welcome back. president trump is often accused of chronic inconsistency of saying one thing, doing another, and then saying it again. but one area where he's never wavered is in his stated contempt, or supposed contempt, for people in this business. the media. >> these are really, really dishonest people. it's totally fake news. it's just fake. it's fake. it's made up stuff. and they're bad people. the fake news won't cover it.
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and i really think they don't like our country. you see, there's the fake news back there. look, everyone. >> a few days ago brought back four media critics we talked to last year at this time about the president and the press. david of npr, hal boedeker of the orlando sentinel, claire atkinson, and gabe sherman of "vanity fair" who is also an nbc contributor. and we began by discussing the increasingly hostile relationship between journalists and a media-bashing president who considers other media bashers, some of whom are in the media themselves as part of his base. all right. let's start with a simple question. we were here last year. there was a lot of optimism here that the media's reputation would improve. okay. i'm going to start with the most outsider of everybody at this group. hal, has the media's reputation improved as far as the people in orlando are concerned? >> well, i think most people in orlando would probably say no,
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but you're just repeating certain things. if you say "the washington post" or the "new york times," i don't think most people in orlando read those newspapers, so you're just regurgitating what somebody else thinks. as somebody observes these things, i think the reputation of the press has gone way up. >> three major newspapers now can say they've got a million plus paid subscribers. that is historic, and the fact that people are deciding, you know, we'll pay ten bucks a month on netflix, but actually ten bucks a month for "washington post" or the "new york times" is a positive thing. >> i do think that a lot of news organizations taking time, taking care if you look at this recent race in alabama, the senate race there, not only did the "washington post" do strong reporting, alabama newspapers chipped in strong reporting and even took very strong editorial stances that in some ways were vindicated by results you saw. that is people believe there were enough troubling information for them to absorb. even if the hard core of roy moore didn't accept that, i think a lot of voters did.
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>> hal, you're where i thought you hit it correctly was on the blind spots, right? our biggest blind spot in 2016 was misunderstanding clinton hatred. have we fixed these blind spots? >> i grew up in red america. i grew up in missouri. i talked to my dad and my brother yesterday, and they both voted for trump. and they both hate his tweeting. they hate his tweeting. they like that he's shaking things up, but they hate his tweeting. so i think that explains his high unpopularity. >> the biggest question we had was, how was the media going to treat his tweeting? all right. a year later, let's discuss this. this is sort of where i want to dive into this. i think we're still trying to figure this out. >> yeah, i mean, i fall in the camp that i think the media should treat them as official presidential statements which, which in many ways they are. and i think they are in certain ways a realtime window into the
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psyche. we never had such a realtime read on the president's mood. i think they're oftentimes very offensive, but as journalistic material incredibly valuable, and i think, you know, this whole idea that the media is overcovering the tweets, i think underestimates their value. >> i think, also, if you make a tapestry of a bigger understanding of what the administration is doing in response, lurching around, trying to discern where the president is at any one moment, the tweets offer you a little timeline. it is a time stamped mood ring of where the president is at and you can usually disambiguate the ones he clearly wrote. >> they offer up a new story of the day. when you think about trump's feuds, whether it's the mayor of san juan in puerto rico, whether it's the nfl or the media, it's a prepackaged story that drives the news agenda of the day, and it's fueled huge interest in the news business in general.
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increase in subscriptions. you know cable news ratings are way higher than they were last year because of trump. >> it is just a good thing. >> it's a bad thing. >> okay. >> for him, it's a bad thing. >> what about for us? >> i think the value the media can have is providing context of the tweets. there is times that white house aides will tell me trump has tweeted things to create distractions or story lines to misdirect the media. and i think the media should not chase the tweets without saying, hey, look, look at the hearings on the hill. it's curious that trump is doing this or look at robert mueller's doing it. i wonder why he's tweeting about "x." it's clear he uses twitter strategically and tactically and the media should not just blindly follow that. >> but if he says i don't get enough credit for what i've done, he is the one who has distracted people from what he has done. >> that's right. but it just seems to me if we focus this certainly -- particularly online posts and sometimes cable news will take a tweet and build a segment around it, build a half hour around it, build a post around it. and that, to me, there is a laziness and there is sort of a dopamine drip, adrenaline rush for people who love it.
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sort of a backlash for people who hate it. that's emotional rather than journalistic impulse. it does get traffic. it does get audiences. >> there is something else that took place this year. you had some journalists decide to publicly go after the president, publicly stand up to him and, on one hand, it makes them feel good in the moment, but is that good for us or has that been bad for us? does that play into the media's the opposition of the american people as the president tweeted? this is sort of -- sort of try to bring this in for a landing. this is the part of the year that i don't know if this is a good or bad development. >> i think the most obvious example of that is the cnn/trump battle and folks like jim acosta who are on the front lines and aggressively saying i'm going to question the if i want to, whether you want me or to not. and the backdrop of that is the question of political interference in doj, decisions about whether they're going to allow at&t to buy time warner, which is the owner of cnn. i think there are some very intriguing questions about, you know, how journalists interact
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with the president, and then the president's reaction to that. >> look at the "washington post." there is a place that i think has done some of the most aggressive investigative reporting in the past year during the trump presidency. and it has in some way the most new motto under ownership. democracy dies in darkness. listen to marty talk about it, we're not going to war, we're going to work. this is not some sort of hash tag struggle for him. this is first principles, living up to your mission. it's a great approach. >> there's not one way to do journalism. what you do is not what he does and not what she does. >> i think a general rule, though, as a reporter, if you become the story, that clearly something is out of whack. readers turn to journalists not for who we are, it's what we do. and i think journalists should always remember that. >> if we look that the balance though, if we're talking about what's out of whack by and large, the president has made the media the issue, and the media -- it's almost internally in response to it. so those who might lean in too
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much to the combat, jeff zucker's administration at times at cnn has issued public statements that seem, surprised -- snarky, tough. they're figuring out how to navigate this world too. >> on the other side, you have the fox news, the sinclairs, the whole bunch of of other folks who are kind there have hoping to win the president's hand and be the voice of the president. and so you are seeing this kind of division of the very tough on one side and supportive on the other. >> quickly, getting out of here, biggest fear you have of the relationship between the media and president in 2018. hal, you go first. >> i fear that we go to war. and that, you know, something spirals out of control. i very much feel like we're living in a thriller. it's sort of like manchurian candidate. that's why i think the russia investigation is so important. >> that's heavy stuff. what about the relationship between the media and the president? >> i guess i would say as we saw the early stages of the trump presidency when the chips were down for him, when he was in a tough spot, he would go after
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the press. things could get worse with the investigation. and then there's the question of is there actual interference with the at&t ability to acquire time warner for the wrong reasons, not for anti-trust review. would he decide to intervene in certain ways that would undermine the american press abroad? that's a question when he's under the most duress, that's when the relationship gets most worried. >> my biggest fear is trump calling out a washington post reporter by name. calling for this reporter to be fired. my biggest fear is that there would be a chilling effect and that newsrooms will be cowed if they make a mistake, mistakes are a part of journalism that they will pull back too much. >> all right. final word. >> i think the fear that i have and most share is this idea that there are people out to get you, to fail you, to tape you in a ball when you're having a personal conversation with a friend and release that as evidence of bias. and i think on top of that, this fear that we're being set up for mistakes as "the washington post" was when the sex harassment story. >> i'm going climb in my hole
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and make sure nobody can find me and nobody can touch me. anyway guys, what a year. that's all for today. merry christmas to all and remember, if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." tonight the russia investigation that today followed the president on his christmas vacation in florida. and tonight there's word a longtime member of his inner circle has been interviewed by investigators. plus, all smiles earlier at the white house, but behind the scenes, reports of growing alarm at what the new year might bring, including renewed scrutiny for jared kushner. and on this friday night before christmas, the unusual sound heard across a small area of midtown manhattan. the unusual sight that lit up the night skies out west, all explained as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a friday night.


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