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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  December 26, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PST

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murkowski, as she breaks with leader mitch mcconnell in a small but maybe critical crack in the gop wall of support for the president's impeachment defense. live with how that plays out. as the year starts to close out, what a year it's been, i guarantee you've forgotten some of the biggest moments of 2019 because these days, time is a flat circle. a look at how what the white house did this year will affect what they want next. joining me now fran chess ska chambers, robert costa, a political reporter for the "washington post" and moderator of washington week on pbs, scott wang is senior staff writer for the hill. there's actually a decent amount to talk about. you cover president trump. sigh you at the white house all the time with me. he is up and tweeting including ability impeachment and interestingly the tweet out in the last few minutes talking about how they thinks it's hurting him on the world stage with other world leaders. an interesting admission from the president who you insisted
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impeachment is a hoax. how do you read it? >> he's insisted impeachment isn't something that has been hurting him in any way. he made a shift not just on that today, but if you look at his tweets about nancy pelosi, he's now questioning whether or not impeachment is even legal in the first place because it was something that was pushed through without any republican support. which seems to be a new legal strategy or at least from the president, if not from the white house today, hallie. >> robert, i want to go back to what we heard from senator lisa murkowski. this is an interview she did with one of our local nbc news affiliates from anchorage and talked about her concern with mitch mcconnell pledging total coordination with the white house. i want to be clear on what she did and did not say here. let me play you a little bit of that. >> i will be asked to raise my hand aaffirm that i will do impartial justice under the constitution and the law so help
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me god. i think it's my job, i think it's my responsibility to do just that. so for me to prejudge and say there's nothing there, or on the other hand, he should be impeached yesterday, that's wrong. in my view, that's wrong. >> and bob, it's important to note she did say she was not going to prejudge and didn't come close to saying she would vote with democrats on things related to the impeachment process yet, rice right? >> she did not say she would vote with democrats. senator murkowski remains a critical vote at this point. like so many senators she says she's undecide but she will have power when it comes to determining the rules for a state trial. there are currently 53 republicans in the u.s. senate. 51 senators are needed to determine the rules and the scope of a trial. if you have senator murkowski out there away from leader
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mcconnell how she sees the process that makes her a player and how someone who leverages her position without in step with the majority leader will be something to watch stew do you get a sense it might be a blueprint for other key moderate voices in the senate? >> not only other key moderates on the republican side like senator murkowski or susan collins of maine or senator romney of utah, you have to have them on your radar as you approach the senate trial as a reporter, at the same time, keep tabs on senator doug jones of alabama, perhaps the most vulnerable senator on either side up for re-election in a ruby red state in alabama where jeff sessions the former a.g. is trying to get the gop nomination and gary peters of michigan, another moderate democrat. these are the players who will help determine the rules of the trial. right now, speaker pelosi has declined to send over the articles of impeachment until the rules are set in a way she
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deems fair. democrats want to see more commitments from the white house on witnesses, on document production, and so you're seeing this whole chess game play out with not just leader versus leader but lawmaker versus lawmaker. >> to the point that bob is making here, we had that graphic on screen, you need 51 votes in a senate impeachment trial to get through any procedural thing, so topics like whether to call witnesses et cetera, you need 67 votes to convict. democrats would need at least 20 republicans to get on board to remove and convictim the president. do you think these murkowski comments may be seized on by democrats to show not every republican is in line or lockstep with mitch mcconnell here? >> certainly. and president trump made clear that he, you know, all the republicans in the house during the big impeachment vote last week, they lined up behind the president and the president
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today that. he said, look at the gop unity that we have in our party. he wants the same thing to happen among senate republicans and the fact that you have murkowski now sort of flexing her political muscle, she has been known for burnishing a reputation as an independent. she has had this independent streak. she came out one of a handful of republicans that came out against a resolution to condemn the house impeachment. she has broken with mitch mcconnell on a number of other issues, including her opposition to brett kavanaugh and so that -- it's important to watch these folks in the middle. they are the ones we have to keep our eye on, they are the ones as we move forward with the procedural process of the impeachment trial, they are the folks that will have the power moving forward in the next few weeks. >> francesca, as scott is
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talking, i can't help but think about the issues he raises in which senator murkowski and others have broken with party on other issues. the president has never been shy about taking aim at the people who upset him, even if they are republicans, on twitter. instead he's focusing on house speaker nancy pelosi, chuck schumer and democrats. what is your sense of if or when that may change? >> well, taking aim at lisa murkowski in this instance may not help the president, certainly upsetting her more may not get him what he wants in this instance. but the other day, you and i were talking about just these sorts of senators who the white house has a little trouble reaching out to, to feel out where they were on impeachment because it could have backfired for them. this is that example that i was referring to then. now lisa murkowski saying publicly that she's concerned by coordination between mitch mcconnell and the white house.
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so even if the white house and legislative affairs wanted to reach out to lisa murkowski and convince her and pull her in their direction she's made it clear she's willing to speak out publicly and it's a situation in which any sort of pushing on her because she's made it also clear she's uncomfortable with that, again could be problematic for this white house. >> to this point, bob, you've also got more broadly speaking here, murkowski referencing multiple times this oath to be an impartial jurors that senators will take. there has been a lot from some republicans and some democrats about their positions on impeachment here, seeming as though they are pretty dug in despite publicly saying they still haven't made up their minds. how do you see that playing out in what you call the sort of chess game here in negotiations on a senate trial? >> it's going to be very difficult for these senators. a test on our whole constitutional norm in terms of
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how the senate operates because we live in a 24/7 media able, we know that, but we live in a divided time with a presidential campaign looming with some of these senators actively campaigning for the democratic nomination, republicans pulled towards president trump to defend him. the constitution says they're supposed to act as jurors in a trial about the president's conduct. the whole process is supposed to be done in a low-key way with senators listening to testimony and different aspects of the trial. now it's going to be so turbulent day in and day out each will be tested on that front. >> scott, what are you hearing from sources and folks that you talk to about when this logjam might end up broken, when a senate trial could begin and negotiations might pick up steam? >> i think we initially thought it was going to pick up steam right after the new year when congress reconvenes after the holiday recess, but as nancy
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pelosi has sort of thrown these roadblocks in the way of mitch mcconnell from allowing this to move forward in an expeditious fashion, i think that we're seeing a longer and longer delay. it could be, you know, it could be a couple weeks delay. we're not quite sure. but nancy pelosi is holding firm. she is, you know, it's interesting that it seemed that things had wrapped up in the house but really, nancy pelosi has let this question -- left this question open about when exactly we could see the start of the senate trial by requiring mitch mcconnell to meet some of her criteria for her to send these articles of impeachment over to the senate in a lot of ways she still is holding a lot of the cards and so it's unclear. we don't have a date yet. >> scott, bob, francesca, great panel reporters talking us through this, thank you very much for being with us. i want to bring in matt
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bennett, executive vice president of third way and former deputy assistant in the white house. put on your strategist here. do you think senator murkowski's remarks show that time may be on the democrats side here? >> i think it does. i mean you don't mess with lisa murkowski. she won a write-in campaign and her name is murkowski. that's pretty hard to do under any circumstances. what that shows she's not beholden to republican leadership and she's showing it now. what i think is striking is that when i was in the white house and we were going through impeachment, the rules package, this is the thing we're talking about now, how they're going to set up the senate trial, that passed unanimously. there was no debate about how the trial was going to proceed and i think people like murkowski, institutionalist, her father was in the senate, they want to see a process where the senators act as impartial jurors and witnesses are heard and
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she's not happy with how mcconnell is proceeding. >> we're talking about her and the republican side of things, but bob costa a moment ago brought up a good point about the vulnerable potentially democrats who will be having to go through this whole thing as well in the senate, right. people like, for example, senator doug jones of alabama. take us behind the scenes here. you have been through something like this. somewhat similar to this, an impeachment before. what do you think the white house should be doing, is doing to make sure that republicans don't break and what should dems be doing to make sure they don't have any cracks on their side either? >> well, i think the democrats need to make the case on behalf of people like doug jones that this debate is about how the trial is going to proceed and make sure it's as fair as possible. i think, look, i don't think doug jones will vote to convict trump. i think he's already facing such overwhelming odds in alabama that would probably be fatal. he might well vote to make this
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a fair trial, to say hear witnesses and require that white house produce people that they haven't produced yet. again, harkening back to the last impeachment, the white house cooperated fully when the senate asked to see witnesses, they were sent. they did the same with the starr investigation and with the house impeachment managers. so this is a wholly new things to have the white house stonewalling like this and i think people like doug jones need the support of democrats to say look, let's just make this fair before we decide on guilt or innocence. >> matt bennett, appreciate your time after christmas, thank you for being with us and from your perspective. we're going to talk to you later in the show about all things 2020. a lot of other stuff to get to later in the show too, including guess who is now asking questions? after kentucky's former republican governor issued the last-minute pardons and sentence reductions for hundreds of people including convicted murders. why the fbi is looking into it as we go live with the reporter
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behind the scoop. with the white house and the u.s., what they are doing today with the so-called christmas gift no one wants to get from north korea as we come to you live from south florida here. president trump on the move from his mar-a-lago resort. a-lago re.
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we are back from balmy west
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palm beach, where it is a gorgeous 78 degrees. not a bad day for golf as president trump just within the last few minutes has arrived at his golf resort here in west palm. he's been staying at mar-a-lago for the holidays. plenty of news happening not here at home but on the overseas front too. this morning we are getting new word from south korean officials about that potential belated christmas surprise from kim jong-un after north korea ominously hinted at a holiday gift for the u.s. south korean defense officials today say they're work with u.s. officials closely monitoring, closely tracking any movement from the north korean regime. let me bring in christopher hill, former u.s. ambassador to iraq, south korea, poland and macedonia, an msnbc contributor. great to have you back on the show. thanks for being here. >> sure. >> and let me start by talking with you about the timing of this. there is some perhaps speculation that this could come maybe not this week, maybe next week, the week after.
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what is kim's game here? what is his end goal? >> well, i think he, frankly, i think the north koreans have done very well in the trump administration. after all, they have broken out of their isolation. their country is lined up to see them as a result of the initiative with the u.s. at the same time, the trump administration has been pretty tough on sanctions, so i think what they're trying to do is say look, we can be a responsible power with having nuclear weapons, but we need you to help us out on sanctions and, indeed, russia and china recently said they believed that the sanctions should be alleviated. i think secondly, what probably has happened in the last few days, is the chinese who often say they don't have much clout with the north koreaens, one area they have been effective with north korea in the past is to say don't do something. in this case they may have said no test this week. it may have been a chinese initiative, but whatever it is, we'll probably get some clear
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understanding in the next week because kim jong-un will give his almost in north korean terms mandatory new year's address and we'll have to see what he says at that point. >> talk to me about that. that is something he traditionally does. a lot of people look to it for clues or hints or signals about where kim's head is at and what he wants to do next. i imagine this will be watched for hints about developments in north korea? >> well, there's no question that even brutal dictatorships have their politics and clearly he was playing to some domestic politics when he got on that white horse and then started talking about doing some kind of major signal to the u.s. i don't think this issue will be ignored. i think what he's going to try to say in his new year's address is the americans have not negotiated in good faith. north korea needs to protect itself. this kind of language.
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he can be pretty bombastic with one sort of olive leaf out there saying they are prepared to take meaningful steps in return for meaningful steps from the u.s. i think this will be kind of pressure on the trump administration to do something about the fact that they have not made any gestures in the way of sanctions. i think president trump has made it very clear he doesn't want north korea to become a nuclear power before the elections, before the u.s. elections. i'm not sure he's quite as concerned about it after his elections. i think this is all kind of a game for 2020. the president hinted at that yesterday when he spoke about he said kim knows i have an election. it was kind of an inappropriate remark to make in the context of sending missiles our way, but i think this is how the president looks at it. i think the north koreans are on to that. >> the just north korea that officials are watching. you mentioned 2020 and u.s.
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officials are looking at russia in the context of the upcoming election as you talk about here. "the washington post" has a new piece out, great reporting on cyber command looking at taking some action against russia to try to head off any kind of interference come 2020. there's this intriguing line, one option being explored would target southeastern leadership and russian elites, though not vladimir putin which would be considered too provocative according to current and former officials, the idea would be to show that target's personal sensitive data could be hit if the interference did not stop, but officials didn't get more specific than that. what does that mean? what does that look like? can you give us insight into how that might go down? >> well, it would be an extremely bold step because this means there's a sort of game on and our senior officials would have to be concerned about their own data.
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i think as much as the u.s. talks about the capabilities of russia, china, iran, frankly of north korea, and the cyber area, there's no country that is as advanced in this kind of cyber warfare as the u.s. is. it might be a view from -- coming from the u.s. to say look, if you want to continue to play these games, we can play too and we can go right at you. so i think it's a kind of tough move from the u.s. i think it kind of announces the importance of this cyber command and makes very clear that u.s. has capabilities and, you know, in my view, maybe it's an effort to show these other countries that they better stop trying to mess with us because we can surely mess with them. pretty tough statement but, you know, once you do this kind of stuff in a situation where there are no rules of the game in cyber warfare, we have to kind of baton down the hatches in anticipation of what some other countries might do to us. >> very quickly, before i let
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you two, your reaction related to foreign policy here, talking about how russia, syria and iran, he says, are killing or on their way to killing thousands of civilians in idlib province. don't do it. turkey is working hard to stop this carnage. what real world impact might that tweet have if any? >> pretty much zero. the president has signalled that he doesn't want the u.s. involved in this whole issue and i think 2020 is -- i think he's going to have a lot of problems with russia and some of the other countries going forward and, you know, we have a foreign policy to describe it as in utter disarray is really to compliment it. it is pathetic. there is no connection between the president and any other element of our government on these things and we need to clean up this foreign policy before, frankly, it starts to really affect us in terms of overseas crises.
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>> we have to leave it there. ambassador hill, thank you for being on the show. >> thank you. >> campaign spending on steroids. jaw-dropping new numbers from the billionaires blanketing your tvs this holiday. new reporting on the record amount of cash they're dropping and whether that will translate to the polls. our 2020 talk next. but first, a royal debut. have you seen this? prince george and princess charlotte of cambridge making their first appearance at the christmas day services overseas stealing the show. they're 4 and 6 now. you can see them walking with their parents the duke and duchess of came bridge and grandpa prince charles. their brother is still too lil to join this adorable tradition. . billions of mouths.
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while most of the 2020 democrats are off the campaign trail this week, they are not off your tv screens and that is tunnelly or triply true for the billionaires bloomberg and steyer. politico is reporting they've already dropped together nearly $200 million into tv and digital ads alone. bloomberg spending an unprecedented $120 million in the roughly three weeks since he joined the presidential race.
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to put that in perspective that is more than tunnel the combined ad spending of every n nonbillionaire candidate in the entire year. susan is a republican strategist and political analyst, matt bennett, a democrat strategist. matt to you, are these numbers as jaw-dropping as they sound? >> yeah. they're unbelievable. but i think it's important to keep in mind a couple things. one, no one has ever bought a major party nomination in the modern era since 1972 when we've been really voting for our nominees. you haven't had anyone come in and simply bulldoze their way to the nomination by buying television ads. we've seen people spend incredible amounts of money on failed bids like jeb bush did, spent $100 million, sending ipads to people in new hampshire.
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the second thing to keep in mind is that bloomberg, spending more than steyer, is banking on the ads being enough when someone is going to come out of the first four states, iowa, new hampshire, nevada, south carolina, with some momentum into super tuesday. we'll see if his strategy works. >> susan, it's interesting, some of steyer and bloomberg's democratic opponents are s simpatico on the fact that this will not make a difference. i want to play for you what we heard from andrew yang and joe biden. >> i'm less upset that some of the other candidates other than tom and mike spending this money because i think it's going to be a does, honestly. >> michael, keep spending. >> susan, are they right to laugh it off like this? do you agree all the money in the world will not make a difference here? >> if you're joe biden you're right to encourage mike bloomberg to keep spending because the chances of mike bloomberg getting enough to win the nomination is very small.
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i think he's looking to be an influencer in who gets the nomination. it's possible that mike bloomberg could end up with 15, 20% of the delegates after super tuesday because he is going into these states so strong and it's not just the money, it's how you spend the money. i've seen plenty of candidates spend a lot of money very poorly. mike bloomberg so far is spending it mostly on tv. we have not even seen the infrastructure he has built to complement those ads and, you know, much like he did in 2001 when he ran for mayor of new york, he blanketed the tv ways but that is nothing compared to the micro targeting he did to voters. that's what it appears to be their campaign plan going forward. >> talking about joe biden here, it's not ad spending or big money, but he's looking at a different strategy as "the new york times" is reporting this morning, he's appealing or trying to appeal to a certain slice of voters.
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the i would never vote for donald trump but vote for joe biden. he's talked with many republicans who dodo not intend to vote for president trump they're looking for an alternative when the conversations come up, but i would vote for joe biden. what do you make of that strategy here? >> well, keep in mind that only thing that is going to be on the minds of democratic voters when they go to the polls in their caucuses or primaries is who beats trump. what democrats tend to do is vote as pundits. they will go in and think look, i need to find a person who other people are going to vote for and if they believe that even a small slice of republicans and independents in very important places like michigan and wisconsin and pennsylvania those people are going to come over and vote for joe biden and they might not for another candidate that's going to be enormously powerful for biden and the other thing is biden is making a case about down ballot as well.
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a lot of vulnerable house democrats that won their seats in 2018 in trump districts and might be easier for them to survive if someone who is more mainstream is at the top of the picture like biden. >> okay. so susan, matt says something important, small slice of the electorate on the republican party. there are frankly few sort of swing republican voters that may be left, although there are in potentially some of these key places, put that in perspective and give us a reality check on the numbers that we're talking about? >> well, i think the first place to see if that's going to work is the new hampshire primary because it's an open primary, you may see a lot of republicans who are not going to vote for donald trump or know that there's nothing to really vote in their primary for and see if they come out for joe biden because they would rather see him, because they believe he's the best one to take on donald trump. right there is a significant move. as far as trump's base goes, i mean they're not leaving them. the republicans frustrated with
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donald trump, if it's -- they may vote for biden, they may not vote at all if it's an elizabeth warren or a bernie sanders. but those folks just as determined not to vote for donald trump as the folks are that are going to -- republicans that are going to vote for donald trump. >> interesting points. susan and matt, great to have you both on the show. thank you very much. coming up, convicted murderers, a man accused of raping a child, all given a get out of jail card by kentucky's controversial former republican governor. why we've now learned the fbi is taking a look and the governor is defending what he did. before that as the decade comes to a close we want to know what you think the biggest story of the 2010s was. head to nbcnews.com/decadesstories. tell us what you think. es tell us what you think
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a very controversial wave of pardons and sentence reductions is now on the fbi's radar. the moves coming from then kentucky governor matt bevin and his final weeks in office and it has triggered an uproar, right. that has led investigators to take a look at what happened and where things stand right now. >> matt bevin, kentucky's former republican governor, is out, but now the fbi is starting to ask questions about his last-minute pardons and sentence reductions for more than 600 people including convicted murderers and a man convicted of raping a
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child. chris harris says he's now been contacted by an investigator. federal officials say there's little choice but to take an initial look. among the controversial actions the pardon of patrick baker convicted in a home invasion, his relatives hosted a political fundraiser for bevin last year, but he says he didn't kill anyone. >> i am innocent. i just want to thank mr. bevin for his courageous actions and allowing know come home to my family. >> also raising questions, the pardon of a man convicted of raping a 9-year-old girl. the prosecutor says the governor never talked to those involved with the case. >> didn't review the police department file and never talked to the victim or her mother. makes you wonder what was he basing his decision off of. >> bevin says there was no impropriety on in the pardons, all based on the merits, but
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leaders of the kentucky republican party are urging state officials to conduct their own investigation. pete williams, nbc news, washington. joining me now is philip bailey in louisville, kentucky, who broke that fbi scoop. philip, thank you very much for being on. we're glad to have you. let me be clear here, your report says that fbi is asking questions about the pardons matt bevin issued. listen, you're not saying matt bevin is under criminal investigation. explain the distinctions here. >> right. speaking with state legislature chris harris who only wanted to say a criminal investigator called, there were other sources who were familiar with that matter who said no, it was the fbi, simply inquiring, asking basic questions about governor bevin's pardons. here in kentucky there's been an uproar around former bevin's pardons. he was uniquely unpopular here. he lost a state where donald trump won by 30 points, where
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the president rallied for him. there was a lot of questions about how governor bevin came to these decisions around some of the more controversial pardons. he had given about 650, more than 650 pardons, mostly to low-level drug offenders most didn't have a problem with with, but some of the more high-profile cases, convicted of murder or raping minors, there was a number of questions about how the governor came to this decision in the final weeks when he didn't really consult with his top staff or anyone else. >> bevin has has been talking about this and sharing his take on these things and there's a moment from a radio interview that is getting a lot of reaction here. i want you to take a listen. >> you're the father of nine. >> i am. >> this one crime, i'm going to stay on this, because there's 420 pardons and we're not going to be able to talk about all of them -- >> name which one are you talking about? >> a child rapist.
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>> which were. there were a couple accused of that whose sentences i commuted. >> he goes on to describe why he thinks their convictions were flawed here. what stands out to you here? >> the case of mika schultz convicted of raping a 9-year-old child the governor went on to explain to terry, a radio host in louisville, how there was no physical evidence. when pressed on that the former governor said their hymans weren't broke, saying the victim and her sister neither hymans were broke at that -- over that case. former medical professionals here and now pretty much saying that has nothing to do with someone has been sexually assaulted or not. saying the governor may not know the basic anatomy of women but that has nothing to do with it. that raised a lot of eyebrows. the pardon powers here in kentucky like in most states given the governor god-like powers to come in and extinguish
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cases as he or she sees fit. many are disturbed if that was the former governor's rationale this 9-year-old's hyman wasn't broken she wasn't sexually assaulted when that is not the determination for someone being sexually assaulted. >> right. you also, i believe, bevin told you, he welcomed an investigation and denied political gifts had anything to do with his pardons and said if the truth comes out, there will be people involved in this process on the other side of the equation that have very good reason to be very concerned right now and some of them are the loudest people right now and for good reason. it sounds like governor bevin thinks he's pretty confident he's in the clear here? >> that's usually his style. he was always sort of confrontational, sure of himself when he spoke with my colleague one on one, it was very, you know, long, sort of rangy interview, about a 50-minute interview where the governor said i did nothing wrong. kentuckians are used to that. governor bevin wasn't someone who admitted making a mistake or
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thinking twice about things. he made these determinations on his own. i did speak with his former justice cabinet secretary john tilly who recommended against many of these pardons and commutations saying ultimately the governor made his own decision. he ignored his own state police commissioner who said after investigating and looking into the patrick baker case that mr. baker was guilty. the governor pretty much ignored his, you know, legal counsel, his justice cabinet secretary and his state police commissioner and made the decision on his own which has many wondering if we should change the pardon powers in kentucky. i do want to say one thing, many are saying kentuckians are opposed to criminal justice reform. that isn't the case. rand paul, holly harris, others have been at the forefront of criminal justice reform. the question here is, the access certain people had over others to get their applications in front of the governor who is able to get this sop's case
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commuted, get his son pardoned, the question is what level of access do these individuals have and decision-making process the governor take when he made these decisions? >> great reporting and i'm grateful to have you on the show thank you for sharing that with us. appreciate it. >> coming up, the biggest stories you may have forgotten about. we are digging out of the aft after -- avalanche of news next. we're getting our first look at the trail of devastation left behind by a typhoon that battered the philippines on christmas day. officials say more than a dozen people were killed, tens of thousands forced to evacuate. many returning today to find their homes destroyed without power. emergency officials are working around the clock to try to get food and aid to the people who need it most. the ports of entry, thousands of tourists are stranded waiting for flights and ferry services to start back up.
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my third full year covering the trump administration and my day job over for nbc news at the white house, and somehow in some way, this year has arguably been the busiest one yet. it's been one that's made history from a fight to reopen the federal government to a
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moment nobody expected at the dmz to the third ever mooech impeachment of our country's president. that's the stuff you haven't forgeten from 2019. here's a look at what went down >> 2019 started with fireworks over the longest government shutdown in history. >> are you still proud to own this shutdown? >> i'm very proud of doing what i'm doing. i don't call it a shutdown. >> after 35 days over fighting over funding for the border wall, a retreat that reopened the federal government and the state of the union. >> it's called the state of the union. it's in the constitution. >> a week later. >> i want to get it done. that's all. >> a declaration of a national emergency at the border, instantly setting off a court fight that continues even today. overseas a spring summit suddenly scrapped early with president trump leaving vietnam and his meeting with north
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korea's kim jong-un without a deal on denuclearization. that relationship repaired enough by the summer for a surprise visit to the dmz with donald trump stepping where no president has before. >> a great honor to be here. >> back home the investigation that loomed over the white house for two years coming the a close. robert mueller concluding russia did interfere with the 2016 election, but the special counsel didn't have sufficient evidence that the trump campaign coordinated or conspired with the kremlin. in his 448-page report mueller describes instances in which the president could have obstructed justice without explicitly hon rating him. >> it is not a witch hunt. >> the president insistent. >> we went through the greatest political witch hunt in history. >> reporter: airing his grievances as he kicked off his 2020 election campaign. a different rally where this chant erupted. >> send her back. >> reporter: after the president's racist tweet slamming four freshmen
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lawmakers, all women of color and u.s. citizens. >> i'm not going to negotiate up here. >> reporter: the summer saw the west wing's revolving door swing again with press secretary sarah sanders stepping down and stephanie grisham stepping in. >> two devastating shootings stunned the country. >> waking up to a pair of tragedies in america brought on by men with guns. >> and sparked calls for changes to gun control laws. despite the talk -- >> very have to have meaningful background checks. >> if you look at background checks, it wouldn't have stopped any of the last few years' worth of these mass shootings. >> in the fall, foreign policy in focus as president trump announced he was pulling u.s. troops from syria. >> i'm not going to get involved in a war between turkey and syria. >> that same month, another announcement, one of the most significant in the trump era. the president, in extraordinary detail, describing the death of the world's most wanted
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terrorist, abu ak kerr al baghdadi. >> we understand the president himself personally approved this operation. >> he died like a dog. he died like a coward. >> later on the south lawn, a photo op with the here co-canine involved in the raid. a shadow hanging over the white house, impeachment, as democrats accuse the president of abusing his power by asking ukraine for investigations that could help him politically into the bidens and the 2016 election. >> there was no crime. >> the danger persists. the risk is real. >> the white house choosing not to cooperate with the house proceedings, and on december 18, donald trump became only the third ever impeached president of the united states -- >> with today's illegal, unconstitutional and partisan impeachment -- >> his white house choosing to tech cuss on several political wins like an agreement on the first phase of a trade deal with china to ramp down the trade war that roiled markets this year and the year-end passage of a
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underiffing bill that includes the space force the president wants, approval of the usmca, a revised version of nafta. still impeachment looms over 2020, with a trial on the way and donald trump hoping to make history again by becoming the first impeached president ever re-elected. >> 2019 quite the year. we'll see what 2020 will hold. we'll be right back with what our sources are saying as we bring you the show from west palm beach, florida, where i'm on assignment covering president trump. he's over at trump international golf course, not too far from where we are, as you take a look at the balmy marina waters here. . apps are used everywhere...
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time to get a look at what our sources are saying. robert acosta is back with me. bob, i understand you have new reporting on the 2020 field and specifically on senator bernie sanders. what's up? >> reporter: hallie, i've been talking to my sources in the democratic party over the holiday break, and they keep telling me to pay attention to senator sanders. he's going to be in iowa over the course of the next week. he's con stintsly been near the top of the polling. he has a base he cultivated in 2016 and that base looks to remain with him just about a month before the caucuses. >> and what are the chances that ends up happening? how do you see that playing out over the next five weeks i think until iowa, six weeks?
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>> for now, mayor buttigieg of south bend and others like senator klobuchar have certainly gained traction in iowa. senator sanders is going to be in the demain area on monday and tuesday, new year's eve, new year's day, continuing the go back to iowa, the liberal side of the democratic party and say he's their champion. he's trying to not go after any particular candidate. you don't see him tangling with senator warren like mayor buttigieg has been doing on the debate stage. but they believe he has a slot to go forward. >> always working your sources. bob costa, thanks for being here, my friend. that does it this hour from breezy south florida, gorgeous day for us in west palm beach. our thanks to the meyer amphitheater hosting us. we'll be back next week. right now my colleague phillip mina picks it up where i don't think your weather is quite as good. a bit of a winter warmup.
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>> it wasn't bad, hallie. nothing like florida. good morning. i'm phillip mina apt msnbc headquarters in new york in for craig melvin. christmas has come and gone. the impeachment is here to stay into the new year. this morning president trump is staying in attack mode on the impeachment process. keeping with the theme of his tweets from christmas day where he aired his grievances against speaker pelosi and congressional democrats calling them hypocrites and the process a sham. joining me now, brendan buck former chief communications adviser to former house speaker paul ryan, press secretary to former speaker john boehner. benjamin wit that, id tore in chief of law fair, a national security blog, also an msnbc legal analyst. good morning and thanks for joining me today. ben, i want to start with you. the president in his christmas tweets attacked the impeachment process as unfair, a message he continues to hammer. he said there was no due process, no

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