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tv   MSNBC Live With Alex Witt  MSNBC  December 31, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PST

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have a safe and happy holiday season. we'll see you next year! bln bln. good to be with you this morning and i'm happy new year's eve. i'm frances rivera in new york. alex widtt is off today. fresh intrigue on what might have prompted the russian meddling investigation and a key trump adviser's role. did it all begin at a london bar? >> the big enchilada here is the conspiracy to break into the democratic national committee in violation of the federal computer crime law. >> the mueller probe. could the latest story about russia's attempt to meddle in the u.s. election tell us where
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the investigation is headed? reinventing the presidency. a new report shows how mr. trump has changed the highest office in the land. reaction on whether it's been for better or worse, depending of course on your view. >> is that's 2018 somewhere. out with the old, in with the new. happening in spectacular fashion around the globe. well, the clock ticks down in new york city, a look at times square. a live look out there. kind of quiet now, but they're getting ready, when the ball will drop on what could be the coldest new year's eve on record. we'll bring you a live report, ahead. and we begin with breaking news out of iran, where two protesters have reportedly been killed overnight in a wave of demonstrations over economic woes plaguing the country. iran's semi-official news agency says they are the first deaths linked to four days of protesting. president trump just tweeted another supporting statement for
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protesters while warning officials, quote, the usa is watching very closely for human rights violations. nbc's matt bradley is monitoring developments from our london bureau. matt, good morning. bring us up to date with the latest. >> good morning, frances. it seems in the last couple of hours that iran's government appears to be taking a harder line on these anti-regime protests, just as they enter their fourth day and just after president donald trump sent out his third tweet on the situation in the islamic republic. the iranian government just announced that it would be suspending access to certain social media services, namely instagram and telegram, which is sort of a communication service like whatsapp, that's heavily encrypted. the iranian government blames telegram and instagram for playing a role in organizing protests across the country. so this increasingly firm government reaction comes as the violence in iran has risenover the weekend and protests against rising prices and corruption
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have actually turned into demonstrations against iran's leadership and even its clerical ruling regime. and frances, that's really important. because we have to remember, even though past protests like in 2009, were against the iranian government, they never took aim at the clerics and the mullahs who are behind the government. so this is an important development. and the protests have really become the largest since, as i just mentioned, this so-called green movement back in 2009 and that was when students, mostly students, reacted with anger at the re-election of a very conservative president, mahmoud ahmadinejad. so these moves were matched with some ominous words from the government today. iran's interior minister warned that protesters would, quote, pay the price for damaged property and other violence. and meanwhile, a local official in western iran said two demonstrators who had been shot dead yesterday, that internship killed not by iranian police, but by, quote, foreign agents. so take all of this together,
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frances. and it really starts to look like the iranian regime is starting to follow the typical playbook used by autocratic regimes throughout the middle east. and we saw this especially during the opening days of the arab spring, back in 2011. you'll remember that first, blame the spread of protests on foreign power. second, suppress social media. and third, suppress the protests themselves using force. this is what typically followed throughout the arab world, especially in iran. not an arab country, but a middle eastern country. this is the playbook they've always been pulling from. and there are fears that the iranian regime will suppress this latest uprising, as brutally as they did the protests back in 2009. it's a very interesting moment in iran and the kind of moment that we really only see once in a decade. so we'll be keeping you up to date on this very uncertain situation. >> and closely watching the direction these protests take. matt bradley for us from london. matt, thank you. now to politics. new reaction to that "new york times" report on how a foreign policy adviser the trump campaign cast at a coffee boy
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may have been the reason the fbi began its investigation of russia and trump associates. the report says george papadopoulos allegedly told an australian diplomat that russia had political dirt in the form of e-mails on hillary clinton. in response to that report, here's what a former watergate prosecutor told msnbc. >> the big enchilada here is the conspiracy to break into the democratic national committee in violation of the federal computer crime law and to use those e-mails to help donald trumpelected. all of that is motive as to why donald trump and others were endeavoring to obstruct the investigation and why donald trump told james comey to let the investigation on flynn go. all of this is going to come together in 2018. >> well, president trump appeared to respond to "the new york times'" report with this tweet, shortly after the story broke. "i use social media not because i like to, but because it is the only way to fight a very
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dishonest and unfair press, now often referred to as fake news media. phony and nonexistent sources are being used more often than ever. many stories and reports are pure fiction." i want to bring in now matt apuzzo, one of the three "times" reporters breaking that story, also an msnbc contributor. matt, thank for being with me this morning. i want to get your thoughts on this first. do you think that tweet from president trump was in response to your story? and the reaction here to the types of reports that necessarily have to have these anonymous sources. >> i don't know what the president was responding to. you know, i'm not sure what his media diet is these days, while he's on vacation at mar-a-lago. look, you know, would that every story could be -- could have all the names of all the sources involved in the world that my colleagues and i operate, where you're covering national security, intelligence matters and foreign intelligence. unfortunately, that's just not
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possible. because if you want to know what's happening in the world of national security, you're dealing with a world of people who are not allowed to speak publicly. that's simply the nature of the beat we cover. >> and given that, in this story, you know, the headline here, how the russian inquiry began, a campaign aid drink and political dirt. i want to give us some context on how the investigation into russia allegedly started, the dossier and how this reporting may come into play. so take us through your key findings here, because there are so many in going through this. >> well, the origin story of this whole investigation that's loomed over the president for a year now is that in may of 2016, george papadopoulos, newly appointed foreign policy adviser to the trump campaign, is in london and he's having a boozy night of drinking at an upscale kensington bar and he's with a
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top australian diplomat. and he lets slip the fact that russia's got dirt on hillary clinton. now, we now know from court documents that have been released by bob mueller's investigators that at that point, papadopoulos knew that russia had, quote, thousands of her e-mails. and this is well before anybody knew about hacked e-mails, well before e-mails were being released publicly. so in july, when those e-mails start to trickle out, you can see the american intelligence agencies start to get concerned that, wait a minute, what's happening here with these russian cyber operations? and then they learn from the australians that there's this chance that people in the trump campaign knew in advance about those e-mails. obviously, that is what triggers. that's what gets that concern going early on. >> but you also get this profile of george papadopoulos, and two different versions here. you have the trump camp trying to portray him as a coffee boy.
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but also in this reporting, this is a guy who was trying to set up a meeting with the egyptian president and outlining his first major foreign policy speech for the president here. so what is it and where does that get reconciled, if at all? >> rate. obviously, george papadopoulos was a very ambitious adviser and was taken seriously or not seriously from time to time, by people high up in the trump campaign. but look, he was asked to edit trump's first major foreign policy speech. and as we reported, he helped broker a meeting, you know, a high-level egyptian meeting with donald trump. and this idea that he was just a coffee boy, unfortunately, it's become sort of a talking point. and it ignores a lot of the facts we uncovered in a number of e-mails. and frankly, the russians
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clearly saw him as a way into the trump campaign. some of the smaue-mails we've b able to see are just remarkable, russian intermediaries saying, i would like to become a campaign surrogate. i would like to quietly go out and write op-eds for you or speak on the campaign's behalf whiteout acknowledging my role. >> significanting sfascinating into peripheral players here to get this insight. talk about the timing here, especially as it plays into the larger investigation picture here. especially, you know, you think about it sitting on this as far as the australian diplomat sitting on it for a couple of months, before coming out with it. how does that all come into play, especially with mueller looking at it. and then the plea deal. >> yeah. so we don't know why the australians didn't come to the united states in those months, from may to july. now, we know that the united states didn't really take -- the united states government didn't
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really take the hacking totally seriously, until the e-mails started to get released publicly. and that changes their thinking, that this was like a weaponization of the democratic hacking. and so, i mean, it's certainly plausible that the australians, that that was a passing comment that didn't have a lot of significance until, suddenly, oh, wait, that guy said there were a lot of e-mails and now there are a lot of e-mails showing up on the internet. so maybe they didn't make the connection to that. we don't actually have real clarity into why the australians waited so long. >> well, when it comes to your sources, fill us in on your timeline, is it something "the times" has been sitting on for a while? the reason, if you look at this put together, the gdp in recent days, they've had that narrative coming together saying, when it comes to this and the attacks, you have the dossier, the steel dossier coming out and you have this -- you know, throw cold water on that altogether. but when it comes to these sources and you have the president's tweet, they're saying who these, quote, sources might have been, talk about that
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when it comes to your reporting and who these sources are, especially at a time when these sources are anonymous. >> sure. so this is something that my colleagues and i have been working on for a long time. i mean, george papadopoulos has been, you know, an obvious reporting target since documents were released this fall, showing that he was cooperating with mueller's investigators. look, we -- we were -- we were pretty transparent about who we were talking to, we were talking to current and former u.s. government and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the australian's role in this and the question of whether or not the steele dossier, this former british spy, who was hired through a lawyer, as part of the clinton campaign's efforts to collect information on donald trump, the fact that the steele dossier may have been the, yob, t the trigger for this investigation, that's been
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pretty clearly not the case for a long time, and we saw john brennan testify earlier this year that he was seei ing intelligence that russians were trying to suborn members of the trump campaign. we know at least one of the triggering events for this was george papadopoulos having a little too much to drink and letting slip one detail too many. >> and it makes you wonder how far up the chain did it go? have you seen any evidence of higher-ups learning about this? if that's the case, is it because there are none. he said, i'm closing my tab, i'm out, this is as far as it's going to get, or maybe there are other sources about this that are holding back? >> we've seen a number of e-mails and have quoted from a number of e-mails that george papadopoulos exchanged with members of the campaign and with his foreign contacts. we didn't see any evidence that
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showed that papadopoulos passed that information about russian hacked e-mails to the higher-ups in the campaign. now, if he told it to somebody in the australian government, if he realized it was significant and interesting and trying to be on the make in the campaign, would he have told somebody in the campaign? that is a clear question that i think reporters are trying to answer. i'm sure bob mueller has asked papadopoulos that and asked others about that. we've not seen any evidence that george papadopoulos shared that information with anybody in the campaign zp campaign. >> and speaking to that, matt, if he never showed up at the kensington wine room or just did one round instead of that heavy drinking, as you report, would you have a report on this? would we know about it? >> that's a great question. history is weird in the way it lines up sometimes. i don't know -- i have to assume that given the hacking and, you know, given the many contacts
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between the members of the trump campaign and russians and russian intermediaries, contacts that have been falsely denied, i have to assume that there would have been still been an investigation. but i don't know if we would be where we are today. >> you said history is weird and so are the circumstances, when you have one too many. matt, thank you. appreciate your time. >> thank you. i want to bring in our panel, white house correspondent for the daily beast and katie bell williams with the hill. i want to start with you. so you've got this report. what's your takeaway as far as the revelations there and the significance and how it comes into play to the mueller investigation? >> i think the biggest takeaway here is that george papadopoulos had a far more extensive role in this campaign than officials and even the president himself have been characterizing him. we've obviously heard him described as a coffee boy. we've heard him described by the president as a low-level campaign aide.
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and yet, this is somebody who was trusted enough to be asked to edit the president's first major foreign policy speech. a speech in which the advocated for better relations between the u.s. and russia. so i think from my reading of this, that's one of the most -- that's one of the significant takeaways. >> fascinating when you think about his political experience, being just the two months he spent on the ben carson campaign he was running. lackla lache land lacheland, to you now. >> i think the meta story is that the president will find himself in the prosecutor's crosshairs. i don't want to speculate too much, but it reads like current or former fbi officials who had knowledge of how this investigation got started and were seeing misinformation being propagated by people like the president or intelligence
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committee chairman devin nunes and are really anticipating a full-throated attack on bob mueller and his team of investigators and are sort of trying to preempt that. and you know, this is a major revelation that this investigation actually predated the steele dossier. the trump campaign apparently knew about these clinton e-mails in, you know, in the spring of 2016, which is far before the public knew about it. and even the democratic national committee knew about it. >> and you have the plea deal, katie, we're talking about, trump aides said that papadopoulos was a rogue agent. that his meetings with these russian intermediaries were on his own accord. do his actions there have any impact on that argument? >> well, i mean, certainly, as matt pointed out just a couple of minutes ago, they didn't see any evidence that papadopoulos went back to the campaign and told them what he knew about the russian hacking of these e-mails. but certainly, having a cooperating witness is going to be a key part of mueller's investigation. the reason that you have these sort of low-level witnesses that
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you try to get on your side as part of a prosecutorial team is to sort of work your way up the food chain. so, you know, i think that's certainly going to be a significant piece of mueller's ongoing investigation here. >> and then the timing that we're looking at. and lachlan, is there anything though that timing in this report as far as where it's going with the investigation? you think about it, how long that they sat on, as far as this australian diplomat knew, and even the timeline of that night out being may and then you have, you know, the trump tower meeting with jared kushner following a month later. >> yeah, that's obviously something the special counsel is going to look into. you know, look, the intelligence committee is preparing a report that's sort of an examination of spro supposed corruption on the special counsel's team. so i think we'll see much more focus on the sources and methods that went into developing this investigation over the last year. so i think, you know, as the year progresses, we're going to find out more and more about the
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actual kidetails of which partsf the special counsel's office sees as connected. you know, right now you feel like there are a lot of disparate developments that we've learned about through press reports and congressional leaks and so on. but we really haven't gained that full picture of it. and i think that's going to come to the forevery qui very quickl new year. >> as we heard, the big enchilada that's going to come out in 2018. katie, back to you and your latest article, how the trump administration has been maintaining many of president obama's policies on russia, how they recently approved the largest commercial sale of defensive weapons to ukraine. how they're also implementing sanctions on human rights violators and how are more sanctions are spoipaused to com against the kremlin. can you explain the president's strategy in speaking warmly to russia, while quietly carrying out what appears to be a mainstream approach here? >> that's the question i'm
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hearing the from a lot of former diplomats that have experience in this region of the world. what signal does this send to moscow when you have the president who does sort of speak so warmly of president putin and of possible relationship with russia, while simultaneously, you know, his administration is carrying out concrete policies that are sort of this mainstream republican approach now. if you speak to people within the administration, they don't see a gap. they say this is a two-pronged strategy. where you have the president coming out saying, look, this is what the relationship could be. this is what we want. we want to search for areas of cooperation. particularly in areas like syria, for example. but simultaneous, we're not going to let russia run roughshod over us in areas where we believe that they are being too aggressive. such as in ukraine. for the administration, they see russia's aggression in ukraine as sort of sin number one. >> lachlan, with the time we
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have, i want to ask you about this articles by your colleagues, trump inc. had a rough year, but his d.c. hotel is killing it. so how rough as trump inc.'s year been here? and when it comes to the d.c. hotel killing it, what i ay and? >> well, you've seen a lot of protests abroad at trump properties. a lot of properties actually removing the trump name. and of course, this is where the president gets a lot of his income is from licensing his name out to many of his hotels. that brand is not wheat it used to be in many parts of the world. trump is even more of a household name now than it was two or three years ago, but that name is a little tarnished in the eyes of many both domestically and abroad. the d.c. hotel is a different story. you've seen it become the focal point of essentially informal politicking in washington, with everyone from foreign dignitaries to cabinet secretaries to white house chief of staff basically hanging out there on a daily basis. and in an e-mail that my
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colleague, betsy woodruff obtained, suggests that the president may not be as detached from it as he said publicly. we have a high-level person saying that he's requested briefings there. that's something that the hotel vehemently denies. as long as the president maintains these assets, these questions will keep arising and they're very unique questions to a president so invested in a very large business empire. >> to both of you, lachlan mar k marcay and katie bell williams, thank you. still ahead, the next item on the white house agenda and that reported bipartisan meeting with congressional leaders. daca and the wall between mexico as the thorniest issues. is there any compromise that would protect d.r.e.a.m.ers?
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we now know from court documents that have been released by bob mueller's investigators that at that point, papadopoulos knew that russia had, quote, thousands of her e-mails. and this is well before anybody knew about hacked e-mails, well before e-mails were being released publicly. >> well, that was part of my interview with "new york times" reporter matt apuzzo just a few minutes ago shedding new details on his report that george papadopoulos allegedly told an australian diplomat that russia had political dirt in the form of e-mails on hillary clinton. let's bring in democratic
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congressman, adriano espiatte of new york. >> it shows the depth of this investigation. far before the dossier came into being, there was already knowledge that the russians had dirt on the clinton campaign, and this is really the more and more comes out, it looks more and more like a watergate moment. >> well, spraurprising to you t it came from this george papadopoulos? >> yes, for long, they have been describing him as a coffee boy. but obviously, he knew much more than that. he is a cooperating witness in this investigation. and we will see what proceeds. >> i want to talk to you about what your republican colleague, charlie dent, said on msnbc yesterday. let's play it and then we'll talk about it. >> i suspect some allies of the president are perhaps trying to cast some doubt on the
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investigation so that when the findings are ultimately divulged and revealed, that might bring -- they think it might bring some taint to the overall process. i don't believe the president would be well-served by firing director mueller. i mean, that would set off quite a political firestorm, an earthquake, so to speak. >> so i want to talk about one day from today, 2018, if the democrats pretty much win back congress when it comes to that, is the party pretty much all set in your take as far as kbreechikbreech i impeaching the president? >> i'm one of six members of congress who have signed on to the five articles of impeachment. i think we should not abdicate our responsibilities as dually elected members of congress. there is an ongoing investigation that's more lepar. obviously, it will continue. and this new information that was revealed throws a bucket of cold water on any attempt to try to taint the mueller investigation or derail it. and we'll see what proceeds, but we should not abdicate our
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responsibilities as dually elected members of congress to go after something that we feel the president did wrong. >> all right. i want to ask you headlines that we're following today. the unrest in iran, especially overnight, has turned deadly with two dead from that. what's your take on that? any sense that this is going to escalate into something much more? >> well, wiiran has been a troubled part of the world for a long time. we're still concerned about what goes on there. we really have very little information about what goes on underground there. so we're hopeful that it won't escalate, but i won't be surprised if it will. >> i want to ask you a big day on wednesday on daca. before you left for recess, you met with senator schumer here demanding a solution to that along with others, as well. can you manuimagine that happen on wednesday? can you imagine that leeway? >> i'm optimistic it will happen. the sequester cap for the military spending is an important issue to republicans.
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and in january 18 for the continuing resolution that extends the budget to that particular date expires, i think that we'll have another juncture at which we should discuss daca. i think it stands a better shot on the 18th. >> especially when it comes to -- i want to hear what you think the take will be from nancy pelosi and chuck schumer when it comes to that. the president has made it clear in his tweets and everything, no daca, no wall when it comes to that. >> the wall is a non-starter. we feel like the wall is really beefing up a deportation machine that in essence will tell daca recipient d.r.e.a.m.ers they can stay, but their parents will be deported is a nonstarter for us. there are other things that the republicans want in the continuing resolution when expires on the 18th and we'll cross that bridge when we get there. but a wall is a nonstarter for us. >> we'll see what happens, certainly, 2018, a day away and a lot in store. thank you so much, senator sena
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espaillat for your time. up next, we'll tell you why the russia investigation is about to heat up, that's next. f, heritage and innovation have made gillette the #1 shave in america. now get gillette quality at lower prices -- every day.
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welcome back.
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i'm frances rivera in for alex witt. at the half-hour, here's what we're monitoring. new information following the bombshell report upon what sparked the fbi's investigation into russia and trump's campaign team. "the new york times" reporting it all started with a revelation made by the man that trump associates have cast as the campaign's coffee boy during a night of heavy drinkings in may of '16. joining me now, katie fang, former prosecutor. thank you for being with me as we jump into this and focus on papadopoulos has he revaled er this australian diplomat that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton. two months later, the australian officials alerted the u.s. government to that conversation. so when you look at george papadopoulos, does this now make, you know, trump's associates statement to downplay his role as the coffee boy, volunteer, all of that, now more relevant? >> oh, yeah. listen, maybe he's the covfefe
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boy. if you're mueller, keep on keeping on, or if you're trump, loose lips sink ships or maybe loose fingertips on twitter sink ships. when you're a prosecutor, you're going to build a case on a tight timeline. when you go back and look at that statement of the offense that george papadopoulos attested to and swore was true that was released back in october of 2017, you can now plug in the pieces of all the different players that are a part of that time line. and that is why mueller, in his solid and stalwart way, keeping his head down and keep on keeping on, he's going to reveal more and more about the trump's involvement or the trump campaign's involvement in russian interference. >> wow, a whole lot to watch in 2018, especially when it comes to a former watergate prosecutor's take on all of this. let's listen to him and we'll talk about it. >> i think the big enchilada here is the conspiracy to break into the democratic national committee in violation of the federal computer crime law and to use those e-mails to help
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donald trump get elected. all of that is motive as to why donald trump and others were endeavoring to obstruct the investigation. and why donald trump told james comey to let the investigation on flynn go. >> all right, katie, are you nodding or shaking your head? >> i'm nodding. the word "conspiracy" is being tossed around a lot, but that is where you're going to go with this. you're going to go for obstruction and for conspiracy. why? because people may not have their hands completely within the mess of this, they may be peripherally involved, but your peripheral involvement can lead to a conspiracy charge against you. and the fact that flynn is the linchpin right now that we can think about. because as we know from that "new york times" article, papadopoulos ended up wanting to maybe get flynn to help him in this whole endeavor. and both flynn and papadopoulos have now pled guilty and are now cooperating with mueller. >> you were talking so much is going to hinge on the timing. let's talk about that. especially when it comes to the fact that the australian government reportedly sat on
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this for two whole months before alerting their u.s. counterparts here. what's the significance of that? and also, when you think about this meeting, happened in may of 2016 and a month later, you have that trump tower meeting with don jr., jared kushner, and then the outcome of that. >> so we have the disclosures in may of 2016, the trump tower meeting in june of 2016, and yes, listen, australia sat on it, but you never really know if someone's just full of bluster, right? you never really know if someone's trying to puff their chest and make seem like they're more important than they are. and papadopoulos may have been flirting with that type of reputation. but look, his word has now become true, has it not? we now see that the facts are meeting with the evidence. e-mails, correspondents, communications are now all lining up and because of that, that is going to be, again, the building blocks of a case for mueller. >> we also have to consider this wins when you're saying that all of these are the building blocks lining up when it comes to this case, there's a tweet from democratic congressman ted lieu. he tweeted about that report saying this. keep in mind, no one was really
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aware of george papadopoulos until his guilty plea was revealed. so that tells us special counsel mueller knows far more than people think. what more does he know? >> well, he knows other names of other people. and remember, he can also bring people back in that have already been interviewed, once he gets more and more information. so there's a lot of behind the scenes that's going on. and you don't ever see mueller retorting. you don't see him coming on social media saying, you're wrong, leave me alone, i'm doing my job. because what is he doing? he's doing his job and doing it with discretion. and that's what's key with a special counsel. discretion is key. somebody who's just going to do their job, follow the law and the facts and the evidence. >> oh, boy, when it comes out, big enchilada, maybe. katie fang, thank. >> happy new year. >> and to you. and speaking of the countdown to 2018 at times square, how they are keeping the celebration safe. or your diges.
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it's already 2018 in australia and other parts of the world. this was the spectacular scene in front of the sydney opera house just an hour ago. check out these amazing fireworks in auckland, new zealand. a beautiful display there at the sky tower. here in new york city, we are just hours away from our own fireworks show. take a live look at times square. the crews have been setting up for that famous ball drop. tonight, millions will show up for one of the coldest new
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year's eve nights in new york city history. nbc's anne thompson is there in times square. probably the warmest it's going to be so far today. anne, how you doing out there? >> reporter: frances, it is brutal out there. as you said, this is the good part of the day. tonight, it could drop as low as 8 degrees. and then you add the windchill and it could be subzero. and that is really going to be tough out here. the other big story aside from weather, of course, is the security. the nypd is very confident that they are well prepared. they have been planning for this night, working with the fbi and the secret service. but as i said, you know, tonight, the biggest story may not be man-made, it may actually be nature made. this new year's eve will be marked by bitter cold. >> i'm wearing like a sweater, thermal, and a shirt underneath the sweater. i have three layers and i'm freezing. >> reporter: and ever-present security. >> i think that we have the best city in the world.
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our offices here are doing a great job to keep us secure. >> reporter: the 2 million spectators for the ball drop will enter through a dozen entry points with multiple layers of security. magn magnetometers, wands, and bag inspections will once again be the price of entry. >> everyone wants to be here be on tv. >> reporter: cement barricades, trucks fill wed with sand and blocker vehicles are now part of the tradition. this year, the square's high-rise buildings, the backdrop for its neon glitz will have spotters and snipers after new york's massacre in las vegas. detectives are assigned to each hotel here and working with their security squads. and you will see more k-9 units, specially trained vapor-sniffing dogs able to detect explosives, even under many layers of winter clothes. yet for all the reminders of potential trouble, some are focused on the spirit of the night. >> it brings a lot of people together. and i think just that, that unity, really -- it brings a match to this place, you know?
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>> but here and across most of the country, all eyes will be on the ever-plunging thermometer. dangerously frigid temperatures forced winterfest in st. louis to end early. omaha, nebraska, could drop to 15 below tonight, postponing the city's annual fireworks show until next weekend. and in iowa, des moines's outdoor skating rink will stay empty until tuesday when the temperature is finally forecast to get back above 0. now in new york, officials say there are no credible threats against the city or the celebration and everyone is hoping for a safe and happy new year. frances? >> celebrate and stay warm. anne, thank you. up next, while the crowds get ready to gatherer for tonight's party in times square, predictions on what to expect from the white house and president trump in 2018.
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they had to win to get in. that's the only way to book this ticket. as 2017 winds to a close the new york city times is defining president trump's first year in office as re-inventing the presidency, and following the unconventional actions and b behaviors, either way, it may
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never be the same. want to bring in the former national spokesman for ted cruz's campaign, and also msnbc contributor, howard dean, former dnc chairman. both of you, happy new year's eve. which side of the fence do you fall on, more authentic or more odd kratic? >> we knew from 2015/16 that president trump was an unconventional president. he is somebody that has insreug rated. so he's going to continue to shape the presidency his own way
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through his last day in office. >> he will also look as far as those on the right who say his predecessor, they are looking at former president obama, and looking to advance his agenda. >> in the big picture, i don't think the president is redefining the presidency, he's defining what we don't want in the presidency. after president trump's presidency, whenever it may end, you will see something like what happened after watergate, you will see the congress reassert itself, and you will have less people in the republican party slavishly following from on high, and this is unprecedented what has happened in the country. i think the word redefining
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would have been better left out of the "new york times" story. >> speaking to that, it may also shape who comes after as the president -- following president trump, and the next president may feel compelled to be more interactive with the public even as he or she feels less compelled to release tax returns or white house entry logs, because president trump refused to. should republicans be raising more concerns about the potentials of these things becoming the new norms? >> certainly, if we take a look at recent history, part of why president trump won the nomination for the republican candidates. president obama was much more reserved. we see a long list of differences in not just policies but in terms of approach, and so
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we have seen the swing back and forth, jimmy carter followed by ronald reagan and the like. certainly, one president, when there are aspects of the presidency that could be considered tiresome to the public, the public goes back in the other direction and that's why every election is an opportunity to make a adjustment going forward, and president trump is in the position he is in is because he was a reaction to barack obama. >> when it comes to congress and trump as well. >> i think we are going to take back on the house and have a good shot at the senate, and there will be races, including senator cruz's race, and it will be tougher for the republicans, and his numbers are terrible in texas, arizona, nevada, i think are really tough. we have got -- we picked up a seat in alabama.
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these are not going to be easy races, and the map is against us in tough states, but the reaction is extraordinary. i don't know anybody could have predicted what happened in virginia, which we picked up 15 seats. the great thing about the seats they are young people and look like the democratic party in terms of diversity. >> what are you going to be looking at that in 2018 when it comes to the races and the president? >> because of the grassroots race of the republican party, it's in support of trump, and i think the candidates and the anti-trump candidate will have a difficult time winning a nomination to the house or senate in the open seats, and i think incumbents have more freedom, but you know, donald trump will be a major factor in republican primaries and in the general election. i think there will be a lot of speculation in how much he chooses to be involved in the general election, but the
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general election in 2018 will pivot on the presidency and the republican party will be defined by president trump and the actions he takes between thousand and then. >> howard, when it comes to george papadopoulos, does it throw cold water on the dossier? is that dead? >> i agree with ron. always nice to have a note of agreement. i think he has it pegged. it will be about trump. i think trump is in a huge amount of money and his family is in a huge amount of trouble. i don't know what's going to happen in the investigation, but he's in a lot of trouble. >> ron, agree with that, quickly? ten seconds. >> you know, i do have to say good-bye. i apologize for the timing there. thank you for being with me.
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2017 is almost gone. and that will be welcomed news for many americans. this year has seen the beginning of donald trump's grip on the white house, an attack on obamacare, and an effort to re-write the entire tax code and resurgence of the ku klux klan, and natural disasters and international embarrassments. a. "am joy" has covered everything in the

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