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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  December 13, 2016 10:00am-11:01am PST

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out his cabinet, doing everything it seems, but fulfilling a promise to talk in detail about how will separate his businesses from his presidency. we'll take a deep dive into the confirmation battles ahead, whether an oil executive like rex tillerson can go toe to toe with someone like vladimir putin. also, aleppo undersiege. at least 82 civilians killed by pro-government forces with according to the u.n. and six states digging out from at least a foot of snow. the latest on the storm front causing havoc in nearly 75 president of the country. look at those roads. let's start with trump and our reporters stretching from to capitol hill and trump tower. kristen, let's start with you. talk to me about wisconsin, this latest thank you tour stop. how does he feel right now? he's facing a lot of criticism about hacking, about tillerson's
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ties to russia. is the campaign on the defensive? the transition, i should say? >> reporter: they're on the defensive, katy, but they're also digging in. first to the tillerson flap backlash that we are seeing. look, they're bracing for a fierce fight in that senate confirmation hearing. they know they're going to get one, but they feel confident, they say, that ultimately he will be confirmed. and you've started to see them really lay out the case for tillerson over the weekend. the president-elect himself saying that tillerson is a dealmaker. someone who's done deals internationally, all across the world. trying to paint the fact that he has these ties to russia as a positive. which, of course, runs counter to so much of the policy that we've seen promoted by republicans. it's a real sea change to try to have a secretary of state that has these close ties to russia. so they know they're going to get a fight. but as you know better than anybody, katy, when the president-elect digs in, he
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doesn't let go. that's effectively what we're seeing. i wouldn't be surprised if he hear him again make the case for rex tillerson tonight in milwaukee. he knows he's facing a big fight and he's prepared to meet that. >> he doesn't back down unless he suddenly changes his mind and decides another route is the best way to go. cal perry over at trump tower, let's talk about how trump is trying to defend tillerson. he's actually saying that he will be able to stand up to vladimir putin. tell me about that. >> reporter: listen, he's painting the picture that tillerson is a master businessman. he's traveled the world and has close relationships with over 50 world leaders, according to the president-elect. he put out a statement saying, rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful state department. his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none. this is really a theme of this transition team, that donald trump, the president-elect, is surrounding himself with like-minded individuals who are masters of industry and we heard that from tillerson himself. he said, we'll have to focus on
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strengthening our alliances, pursuing shared national interests and enhancing the strength, security, and sovereignty of the united states. but listen, as chris was just sort of saying, you have a man here whose company could benefit greatly from sanctions to russia being dropped, that has not been addressed by the transition team. it's certainly looking and shaping up like it could be a very difficult confirmation process, not just for tillerson, but if we her later today about the secretary of energy, rick perry. >> and the republicans do have a majority in the senate. peter alexander, i want to talk to you about whether, though, this confirmation will be difficult for tillerson. all they need, all the democrats need are three republicans to go alongside of them to say no to tillerson. so far, it looks like they could have that in skbrm john mccain and lindsey graham and plamarco rubio. so far, why are they saying no to tillerson or at least questioning him and will they maintain that? >> the bottom line is right now they're not ready to say yes or
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no. in the words of lindsey graham, there are many questions they still want answered. graham says specifically on that relationship between the u.s. and russia and the way that rex tillerson may view that situation right now. so here are some of those statements from some of these republican senators. let's throw that up on the screen and walk you through them to some degree. lindsey graham among those basically praising donald trump, saying, excuse me, praising rex tillerson, saying his a talented businessman. john mccain has expressed some reservations about this, but marco rubio is the one who has been, i think, most critical so far, even before tillerson's name was announced officially as the secretary of state pick. he said, bottom line, that he didn't feel comfortable that someone who was a friend of vladimir, that that was a good attribute for a possible secretary of state. and a short time ago, we did hear from a leading democrat, admittedly not on the senate, but of course the leader in the house, that is nancy pelosi. here's part of what she said in her criticism of this choice.
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>> coziness with vladimir putin is very alarming and should have eliminated him, frankly. >> the bottom line, the first place that this will go in terms of the senate confirmation hearings is the hearing to take place in the senate foreign relations committee, which is headed up by another man, who is actually a finalist for secretary of state. that's the tennessee senator, bob corker. he said those hearings will begin in early january. katy? >> and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has expressed support for tillerson. peter, is there any chance he'll be able to get on the back of john mccain, on marco rubio, on lindsey graham, and get them in line to support donald trump's pick? >> i think the bottom line is, you know, these guys have their own constituencies they represent. they want to go through the process appropriately. it doesn't mean they won't support rex tillerson in the end, necessarily, but they want to hear his answers to some of these questions. they've been complimentary about his business experience, but as he would become the first secretary of state pick in
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modern history, excuse me, without any public sector experience, they want to see what he has to say before they vote up or down. >> and cal, this was a battle at least in the last weeks, we believed, between moiitt romney and a number of folks going in and out. why did mitt romney ultimately lose, and was this donald trump just trying to take him out and embarrass him for all of the criticism that romney launched against him during the campaign? >> reporter: well, listen, according to the trump camp, and we heard from reince priebus, it was really just a difference of opinion between the two men. take a listen to what he said. >> at the end, it was a massive, you know, it was chemistry, it was presence, it was vision. >> reporter: now, you sort of mentioned that chemistry. we saw that dinner between the two men. the chemistry seemed fine there. last night we heard from mitt
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romney on facebook. saying, it was an honor to be considered for secretary of state. so certainly mitt romney saying all the things that he would need to say to sort of remove any questions that people may have that this was to embarrass mitt romney. but look, the facts are, the next secretary of state, potentially, for the united states, has zero foreign policy experience. and that's something that democrats are now pointing out more and more, as we will approach what will be very difficult confirmation hearings. a number of these picks are being flagged not just by democrats, but by people inside the republican party. as people like mitt romney are being dismissed from the list of top cabinet positions, many people pointing to people not just like tillerson but others and saying the experience isn't there. >> zero foreign policy experience on a governmental level. we know tillerson has a bit of experience as a ceo going around the world, quite a bit of experience. going around the state department in a number of scenarios. but let's move on, kristen.
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i want to talk to you about rick perry who is expected to be the energy secretary. this is a man who when he was running for president years ago said he wanted to get rid of the energy cabinet position. he didn't think that that agency was something that needed to stuck around. we have conservative groups coming out and saying that he hope he ultimately does that as energy secretary. how can somebody who doesn't believe in the agency be tapped to run it? >> reporter: well, democrats have been criticizing the mal president-elect for this very reason. they say he continues to put people in positions that are counter tonight departments they oversee. and remember rick perry had that moment in the 2012 debate when he couldn't remember the name of the energy department. this is a very interesting choice. this is someone who has served as governor of texas. that's why the trump transition team is touting the fact that he lab right for this position of
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energy secretary. but katy, that department is not just about energy, it's also about national security. the question becomes, do the skills translate from being a governor of texas to skbroeover a department that is so intricately and intimately involved in the nation's national security. can i tell you that democrats are mounting already their defense against rick perry, but the reality is, the republicans have the majority in the senate, so he's likely one of those who's going to get through. i think the fiercest fight you're going to see is over rex tillerson. but just one more note about perry, katy, he was an early critic of president-elect trump on the campaign trail, calling him a cancer to conservatism, a carnival barker. so you are starting to see the president-elect try to open up who he's bringing into the fold a little bit beyond the loyalists set up his cabinet. but the critical question, will they be able to block him, that
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is doubtful, katy. >> the energy department does oversee the nation's nuclear power plants. moving on, though, to another piece of news, and i want to talk to you, peter about this, if that's okay. donald trump was supposed to, tomorrow, have a press conference that was going to lay out how he was going to deal with his business ties. how he was going to separate himself from his business and the presidency. he has canceled that press conference. do we know why the campaign or the transition, excuse me, suddenly decided to do so? is there any valid reasoning behind this? after all, he hasn't talked to reporters in a press conference for over a hundred days, since july. >> yeah, better yet, they say they're going to be delaying, not canceling it. they now say it will take place in january. they insist it will take place before the inauguration. this is critical, obviously. this is a promise that donald trump had made. he said that this news conference would take place. americans have a right, as by tradition, to hear questions asked by their president-elect. it's been done dating back for
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many past presidents. the bottom line is that donald trump, in effect, tried to use twitter last night as his means of communicating the answer to these questions. and here's how he went about answering them, in terms of walling off his business interests from the country's interests. he said, even though i'm not mandated by law to do so, i'll be leaving my businesses before january 20th, so that i can focus full-time on the presidency. two of my children, don and eric, plus executives will manage them. and then this is a critical part of the tweet. he write writes, no new deals done during my term/internships in office, but that doesn't address one of the new challenges, which is the new deals he would do going forward, but the deals that already exist with his hotels and golf courses and properties and other entities around the world. it's those possible, those potential conflicts of interest that many people are waiting for answers to right now. and it's not just donald trump about whom these questions are being sk aed right now. but also jared kushner, his son-in-law, and his daughter,
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ivanka trump. both of whom i'm told are likely to be maintaining washington, d.c. and maintain some role, in some form, whether informal or formal where they'll be advising the next president. >> and donald trump has said that he believes using twitter is his best resource, basically to get around what he calls dishonest reporters. remember the last time that he did hold a press conference for our viewers was back in july. that was during the dnc. that's when he basically invited russia to hack into hillary clinton's e-mails. he welcomed them releasing her e-mails. and now he is saying that it's absolutely, completely untrue that russia would have anything to do with it. anyway, nbc's peter alexander in washington, kristen welker in west alice, wisconsin, and cal perry at trump tower, thank you all for joining me. and today we're asking you this microsoft pulse question. rex tillerson has been with exxonmobil for over 40 years, ceo since 2006, but lacks government experience. is he qualified to be secretary of state?
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we want to hear from you. head over to to cast your vote and of course let your voice be heard. president-elect trump's pick of rex tillerson for secretary of state could pose his first major clash with members of his own party. we'll hash that out in our daily debate. but next, prosecutors are wrapping up their case against accused charleston church shooter, dylann roof. we'll have a live report with the latest on that, coming up. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, and you're talking to your doctor about your medication... this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira helping me go further. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira has been clinically studied for over 18 years. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened,
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in charleston, south carolina, the prosecution is wrapping up its case against dylann roof, who's accused of killing nine black priarishione at emanuel ame church last year. attorneys for roof now say they will present witnesses. the defense had previously said their focus would be on the
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penalty phase if roof was convicted. nbc's mariana attencio is with us. what did the father have to say? >> he just gave me a hug. that is how hard it is for some of the families inside that courtroom. he said, some days i don't know how i am doing. he is the father of the 26-year-old who stood up the night of the shooting and asked dylann roof why he was doing that. his mother was phylicia sanders, the one who testified on the first day and she was the witness who brought that courtroom to tears. now, the father, he told me, you know, that he steps out of the courtroom, cries, that he was reading a story in the paper about this trial this morning and it also brought him to tears. and he carries a business card,
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that just says tuanza's father and has a quote from martin luther king in the background. and to me it brought home how emotional this is for some of these families. >> and the prosecution wants to wrap up in the next few days, mariana. who do we know that their final witness will be? >> reporter: so the final witness will be pauley shepard. she is a survivor of the shooting. and she was the one who dylann told, i'm going to spare you so you can tell the story of what happened here tonight, the night that he, of course, allegedly killed these nine people in mother emanuel church here in charleston. >> nbc's mariana atencio in charleston, south carolina, thank you very much. turning now to weather. the polar vortex is back, storming through the midwest and northeast. up to 28 million americans are
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facing dangerously cold windchills. it is december, after all. and another storm developing in the pacific northwest is threatening to bring more snow to more than a dozen states. nbc's blake mccoy drew the lucky card. he is in chicago, where the temperatures just keep on dropping. blake, i'm so glad you're wearing a scarf today. you look like you're warm. i think you need a hat, still. what's going on out there? >> reporter: you know, we are just getting just socked by that cold air coming down from canada. believe it or not, this is going to be one of the warmer days we see this week. it's 20 degrees right now in chicago. we're going to dip into the single digits, even below zero as the week continues. take a look at a graphic we have for you, just to show how cold this december is so far. we have spent nine days below average in chicago, six days below average in minneapolis. and even where you are in new york, you've spent three days below average so far this year.
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it is cold and it is only going to get colder. back out here live right now, you can see the chicago river, still no ice on it, because these bigger bodies of water take a little more time to cool down. but when you go up into minnesota, our friends up there in the land of 10,000 lakes, those are smaller bodies of water, they're going to start to see ice a lot sooner. this right here is the big concern from the weekend, though. the snow is still here that we received in chicago. and right now, it's still pretty mushy. that's going to turn to solid ice once we hit single digits later in the week. thursday here in chicago, we are looking at 20 below zero, to start the morning off. and minneapolis is going to see similar temperatures. that's when things get really dangerous. that's when i'm going to have to find the earmuffs and bundle those kids up when they go to the bus stops in the morning. we're racing for a very, very cold week here in the upper northwest. and the seven-day outlook shows that cold really sticking around. >> you're the bearer of bad
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news. how cold is it right now in chicago, out of curiosity? >> reporter: 20. i was joking with mark, my photographer here, this is actually warm. this is balmy, from what we're going to see later in the week. >> you're crazy! get a hat, get some earmuffs. i don't want to be your mother, but you're going to catch your death out there. up next, we'll talk to chris coons. what does he think about trump's tillerson pick? stay with us. the microsoft cloud helps us stay connected. the microsoft cloud offers
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you know what, guys? there's a lot of tree branches and dry brush over here. we should probably move the bonfire over there. [smokey whistling a tune] i'm guessing smokey liked that idea.
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we just couldn't be more grateful that someone of rex tillerson's proven leadership and accomplishments has been willing to step forward to serve our nation as our next secretary of state. >> that right there, vice president-elect, mike pence, outside of trump tower this morning, praising the pick of exxon ceo, rex tillerson, as secretary of state. one of the men who will be questioning tillerson during his
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confirmation hearings joins us now. christopher koonce, a democratic senator from delaware and a member of the senate foreign relations committee. senator, thank you very much for joining me, first off. secondly, you said tillerson's ties to russia do bother you. what do you need to find out about him in order to feel okay, saying yes to this pick? >> well, rex tillerson has four decades of experience helping lead and ultimately run the world's largest oil company, exxonmobil. and i understand that that gives him lots of experience negotiating with leaders around the world. but russia is not our business partner. vladimir putin is our adversary. and anyone who says he's not a thug, who has murdered journalists and made political opponents disappear and has invaded neighboring countries, is either misinformed or misled. and i'm going to be asking rex tillerson tough questions about his long and close relationship with vladimir putin. he received a medal of friendship from putin for his
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central role in inking multi-billion dollar deals for drilling in the russian arctic. and while that might be good business for exxonmobil shareholders, i'm going to have hard questions for him about how he transitions from leading an oil and gas company to leading an agency that is centrally responsible for fighting for human rights and for free press and for democracy around the world. >> given what you're saying, i think we can expect to hear a no vote from you, senator. if that is the case and you don't feel comfortable with him, how you going to be able to convince your republican counterparts to say no as well? john mccain has expressed discomfort with this, marco rubio, as well, lindsey graham. do you think that you can get them on to the democrats' side in order to block a confirmation like this? >> katy, i don't think we should look at this as on the democrats' side or on the republicans' side. i think we should be looking at the enduring interest of the united states. presidents, both republican and democrat, have seen the importance of our foreign policy
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being based on human rights and democracy. as conservative republican ronald reagan made fighting for human rights around the world and standing up to russia a central part of his legacy. so i think we augd to be asking questions about the trump administration. i'm every bit as concerned about rumors that john bolton will be nominated to be deputy secretary of state. bolton is a hard line ideologue neocon and still thinks the iraq war was a good idea today, despite all evidence to the contrary. so i think, katy, a number of us, republican and democrat, will have some pressing questions for rex tillerson. i have not met the man. i will give him a fair chance, i look forward to hearing from him, but it's really my hope, my expectation that he will have thorough and full hearings, so that the american people can make up their mind about whether or not he's a good choice to be secretary of state and then we can vote appropriately in the foreign relations committee. >> and in light of allowing the american people to make up their mind, in your statement about
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tillerson, you mentioned the allegations of russian hacking. folks on the left want to declassify the evidence that supports that. where do you stand on that matter? >> i think all of the relevant committees, armed services, foreign relations, judiciary and intelligence should be having hearings on this so the american people can learn what is appropriate for us to make public. back in august, i called in writing for senator cruz on the judiciary committee to use the oversight subcommittee on which we both serve, to have hearings into whether or not there was inappropriate russian hacking into our election and whether our laws are strong enough to protect our electoral system from foreign interference. >> but senator, beyond the hearings, do you want to declassify that information, so the american public can see what the cia is talking about when they say that they have evidence or they believe, they have a high confidence that russia not only hacked into our systems, but was trying to tip the scales towards donald trump?
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>> katy, i think we should make as much of this public as is reasonably possible, while still respecting the importance of national security. one of the things most of your viewers may not know, that has really informed me, is a trip that i led to eastern europe in august, where we heard from a state department and military and intelligence professionals from our government, that there are more than a dozen countries across central and western europe, where the russians have been interfering with their elections. either covertly or overtly. this is not just unique to this election or to these two candidate. russian activity to influence and undermine democracy is something that's been widespread in recent years and is part of the tools in vladimir putin's tool kit to try to expand his influence. i think we should declassify the information we should share without compromising sources or methods of the intelligence community, so the american people can make up their mind as well. >> senator, i imagine you know more about this than i do. can you tell me if this is a
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possibility? if we are going to see declassified information. and if so, what is the timeline for that? >> i can't give you any timeline. i think there's some important and tough decisions to be made. but i am encouraged that republican majority leader mitch mcconnell has joined a bipartisan call for hearings on this topic. we hadn't heard that until recent days. so to have senators mccain and graham and rubio joining senator mcconnell as well as schumer and myself and cardin and others in calling for bipartisan hearings, i think, is a big positive step and i am optimistic we will see the declassification of some of the criminal background information here. >> delaware senator chris coons on capitol hill, thank you so much for joining me today. let's see what you're saying about microsoft pulse question out there. rex tillerson has been with exxonmobil for 40 years, but he does lack government experience. do you think he is qualified to be secretary of state?
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16% of you say yes. an overwhelming 84% of you say no. but the voting is not done yet. you can go paback to to let your voice be heard. if you want to change those scales, get on there and vote. up next, though, what is happening in syria. disturbing reports of civilian executions as the syrian army closes in. we'll update you on what humane workers are calling hell on earth.
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right now we're looking at pictures of bill gates leaving trump tower, descending that golden elevator. he spoke briefly to reporters p p. he was saying that he had a good conversation with donald trump about innovation, education, health, foreign aid.
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it was a wide-ranging conversation. but earlier on cnbc, bill gates was almost glowing about the president-elect. he talked about how he was almost kennedy-esque and saying he has a real opportunity to einnovate in this country, much as president kennedy with the space mission. he could potentially innovate in the field of education or stopping epidemics. so we'll wait to find out more about that meeting between donald trump and bill gates. that just happened, just now, at trump tower. meanwhile, in oakland, california, in less than 30 minutes, federal officials are expected to tell reporters what caused that fatal warehouse fire that ill canned 6 people. officials so far have been focusing on electrical issues as the possible cause. and in syria, officials at the pentagon confirm three isis leaders were killed by a u.s.-led coalition air strike. two of the militants, officials say, were involved in the paris attacks last november that killed 130 people. the bombing was carried out in
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the de facto isis capital of raqqah on december 4th. and as the battle for aleppo nears its end, the united nations says it's received reports of syrian government forces entering home and killing civilians in what they're calling, quote, a complete meltdown of humanity. >> we have the names of 82 people who have been killed in this way, apparently, incoming 11 women and 13 children. >> and unicef is saying there could be more than 100 unaccompanied children trapped in a building under fire in the rebel enclave. the agency is demanding, as you would imagine, that the kids be evacuated immediately. nbc foreign correspondent, ayman mohyeldin joins me now. ayman, what are we hearing so far about the agreement? it's not a cease-fire in aleppo, but tell me about it. it's an end or putting down of arms? >> it seems like what we're hearing right now is from multiple sources. let's start with the most definitive, that is coming out
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of the russian ambassador to the united nations. the u.n. ambassador stopped and spoke to reporters and said he expects a cessation of military operations. he is referencing a unilateral decision that was made by both the syrian military and the russian air force. so that is, perhaps, the strongest indication that we're getting that there is going to be a cessation of operations from the syrian and russian militaries in eastern aleppo. what we are also hearing on the ground, from syrian activists, is that they are planning an evacuation of the families of the fighters, as well as those individuals and others that are trapped in the eastern part of aleppo in this enclave that has been besieged. they are willing to do that in the next couple of hours. i think we should be careful in designing it as a cease-fire in the context of both the rebels and the syrian government agreeing to some kind of stalemate. it seems more like it should be characterized as an evacuation agreement. >> got it. talk to me what the u.n. is
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alleging, that the syrian forces are doing. that they're going in and they're killing civilians on the spot? >> yeah, they're saying right now, and again, they're basing this on their reporting on the ground based from activists. they're saying that the syrian military as well as the allies that are fighting alongside the syrian military, some of these militias as well as other ally of theirs are going home to home, neighborhood to neighborhood, searching some of these homes, and in some cases executing men, executing young men who are within fighting age, that they may believe to be rebels. these are the reports that the u.n. are getting. nbc has not independently verified that. again, to put it in context, the russian representative at the u.n. is saying he has no accounts of any human rights violations taking place. >> in light of that, what is the russian role here? they've been backing assad. wouldn't it behoove them to say, this isn't true. >> they're saying, they're not carrying out any human rights abuses. but russia is providing two very
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important things for the syrian government. diplomatic cover at the u.n. to allow them to continue without any serious security consequences, but also providing them with superior air power and the shelling that is taking place in some of these areas in whole s.e.a.l. destruction. >> quickly, bring it back home to why this should matter to americans. donald trump has basically been praising putin, saying that we should allow him to help in the fight against isis. he's almost backed him if not indirectly backed him in what he's doing with assad. >> they should definitely be concerned about that. in the short-term, what we're seeing is a humanitarian catastrophe unfold before our very eyes. this is something that the u.s. along with other liberal democracies in the western world continuously say never again when there is this type of humanitarian crisis. some are saying this is similar to the massacres that took place in bosnia and elsewhere when the u.s. intervened. but we're not seeing that intervention. on a humanitarian level, the
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u.s. should definitely care about it. but we've seen the consequences of inaction. humanitarian refugee crisis in europe. that poses as a security threat to the united states, as well in the long-term. these images are going to radicalize millions, if not continue to radicalize terrorists around the world for generations to come, to see this destruction. and that could inspire a new generation of terrorists that the united states may ultimately deal with in the long run. >> horrifying images of the children in aleppo and syria and just -- >> absolutely heart wrenching. >> terrible situation. >> absolutely. >> ayman mohyeldin, thank you so much for joining me. meanwhile, we still don't know how donald trump plans to separate himself from his business empire. why? because he postponed the news conference he set up to explain how he's going to put america's interests above his own. so what happens now? and will the president-elect's pick for secretary of state, rex tillerson, face similar scrutiny for his exxonmobil assets, worth more than $200 million?
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democrats are jumping on rex tillerson's nomination of secretary of state. senate minority leader chuck schumer said in a statement, while mr. tillerson's world view may not seem to be as dangerously interventionalist as mr. bolton's, that does not absolve him from being asked the most serious questions about his relationship with russia. his disturbing opposition to sanctions on russia, and how he views putin. joining me now is beana, yahoo! news and finance anchor. as ceo of exxonmobil, rex tillerson did have a close relationship with putin. is that something that should be concerning to americans or is this something, in your opinion, that can be a boon to american interests? can they forge a relationship that was not there before? >> you can look at it from both perspectives, katy. i think this was sort of a dark
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horse candidate that many people didn't see coming, even exxon shareholders, you see the stock today up 2%. we're told that rex tillerson also wasn't aware that he was in the running upyemp until the l few weeks. so let's look at it from both perspectives. you can say there's a conflict of interest in the sense that, yes, he approached russia and relations with many countries around the world that he dealt with vis-a-vis exxonmobil. and as the ceo of a major oil company. a lot of these countries were not very friendly towards u.s. policy. some were our allies, u.s., some were russia, some were in the middle, as you mentioned, he was opposed to sanctions, it cost shareholders and the company over $1 billion in deals. he's very close with executives in russia, igor sechen, who is currently on the sanctions list. so one has to wonder if she's sanctions come up for renewal and if they do, will he be in
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favor of that? on the flip side, you could say this guy knows vladimir putin and knows how to push his buttons. so maybe he is the man who can hold vladimir putin accountable and know which buttons to press. i guess the answer so far, katy, is that no one knows, because this is an executive who has spent his entire career in the oil industry, not in the public sector, and he hasn't been an outspoken ceo, as, let's say, the ceo of starbucks, howard schultz, has been, on political issues, on issues regarding human interest, health care, what have you. so we really don't know, can only speculate. >> we'll have to find out how he f feels on those things. but his whole career has basically consisted of going around the state department and working with governments, even when the u.s. has held a more antagonistic relationship with them. russia being a prime example.
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how can somebody like tillerson be expected to head an agency that he so frequently was trying to, you know, go around? >> yeah, it's interesting, he has been described as the ceo of a company that had its enforce and that didn't always align with the foreign policy in the u.s. he's dealt with some of the world's shadiest leaders, some of the scariest leaders, not necessarily human rights supporters, in the middle east, what have you, in south america, in venezuela. and he's been able to navigate relationships with people that the u.s. necessarily doesn't have a close relationship with. so from that perspective, he walks into the job knowing a lot of these players that many of his predecessors perhaps did not. on the flip side, you're not necessarily just negotiating over oil. you're negotiating over air space, over human rights. >> you're not negotiating for your shareholders, either. you're negotiating for the american public. not necessarily to make money, but to keep americans safe and
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to secure american interests overseas. >> i do have to close this by saying, it is a bit reassuring when you have diplomats like condi rice, like jim baker, like bob gates, who really supported this. and promoted him for the job. so there's something they obviously know about his views on world policies that we may not know as of yet. >> and they're also paid to consult for exxonmobil. >> bianna, thank you very much for joining us. coming up, how important will rex tillerson's confirmation be to donald trump's first months in office?
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as we mentioned earlier in this hour, donald trump was supposed to be holding a news conference tomorrow to talk about his business ties and how he was planning to separate himself from his businesses and make sure that the american public knew that he was putting
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their interests above his own. but he has canceled that news conference for reasons that we are not entirely clear of, so we don't know exactly how donald trump plans to do it yet. joining me now to break it down, find out what's going on, kristen tate, a conservative columnist and julien epstein, ceo of law media group. kristen, first question to you. why is donald trump not coming out tomorrow as he had planned to ensure that he is going to be able to put the public's interests above his own? >> first of all, there's actually no law that says donald trump -- >> there's no law. >> but he should, he should, and he will. he says he'll address this in january in a press conference then. i mean, right now he's busy staffing his cabinet. >> he's meeting with kanye west. >> that, too. we don't know why. trump is putting together an all-star -- >> is that more important? >> we don't know what that meeting is about. trump is putting together an all-star cabinet of conservatives and also doing
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things already helping the country. he's negotiating with companies about how to save jobs. liberals are furious about him stalling this press conference because he's executing at high levels and they have nothing else to complain about. >> do the liberals have nothing else to complain about and is this why they're not happy about donald trump talking to reporters? >> well, kristin might want to study up on the law before she comes here. there are plenty of laws at play. there's only one way to solve the conflicts problem. it's either to divest or put your holdings in a blind trust. we've already seen donald trump try to leverage his business interests after the election in india, in japan, in the united kingdom, possibly even in taiwan. he has 111 business interests across a couple dozen different countries. do you really think foreign leaders are not going to try to use his quite naked interest in
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making money? his quite naked interest in his businesses when it comes -- they're not going to try to leverage that when it comes to our foreign policy dealings? it's kind of absurd. it really gets absurd when you look at things like his business partners, one is the deutsche bank, under investigation by the justice department. probably have to pay a $14 billion fine. do you think donald trump is going to enforce that $14 billion fine for deutsche bank for a fraud case? >> let me ask -- let me ask kr sichlt tin something specific. foreign leaders and diplomats have been going to trump hotel in d.c. and using their money there and saying that, why would they go to one of his competitors? donald trump may say to the american public that he doesn't really care, but foreign leaders are going to try to curry favor regardless of what donald trump says. do you not see that as a potential problem? >> but, bottom line, is that it's a good thing we have a businessman in office. the american people want a better economy. democrats are worried that trump will put policies in place that
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help his own businesses. that may be true but that's just because donald trump -- >> it's okay? >> let me jump in here. >> they benefit from lower corporate tax rates and -- >> kristen, with due respect, let me jump in. stick to the issues. it's not about whether he's a businessman. it's whether he's going to put his business interests before the american people's interests. >> donald trump has already said he's not going to do that. >> in the case of deutsche bank, the $14 billion fine they have to pay for criminal fraud, do you think donald trump is going to force that criminal penalty against deutsche bank? what about a bank of china? bank of china is a business partner with donald trump. and a very, very dangerous thing for donald trump because of the clause if he takes money from -- >> i want to give kristin the last word. >> the american people want a stronger economy. if trump can deliver that and his business and all other businesses benefit in the process, they'll be okay with
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that. >> good luck with that. >> we're still waiting for donald trump himself to come out and say why and how he will do this. until that time, a lot of questions. thank you so much for coming and joining me here. >> thanks. >> we will be right back.
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♪ everything your family touches sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox. time for one last look at our microsoft pulse question. rex tillerson has been with exxonmobil for over 40 years. ceo since 006 but he does lack government experience. do you think he's qualified to be secretary of state? not -- it's convincing, let's put it that way. 86% say no, 14% say yes. you can still vote. you got another hour to do so. go to, share your thoughts. thank you for watching this hour of "msnbc live." more news with my colleague and the man who wears a suit better
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than anybody else, thomas roberts. >> good to have you with me. this hour on "msnbc live," the president-elect makes that long-awaited pick for secretary of state while setting the stage for a fight could define the early days of trump's presidency. and donald trump's come to yeesuz moment? the controversial rapper looking for a role in the new administration? breaking news out of california. this hour investigators planning to reveal the cause of the deadly inferno that claimed 36 lives. just weeks ago in oakland. up first though, this hour, growing opposition to donald trump's long-awaited pick for his top diplomat. senators on both sides of the aisle coming out against rex tillerson's nomination for secretary of state, questioning his ties to vladimir putin. marco rubio citing serious concerns about tillerson's nomination and independent senator bernie sanders calling the nomination very sad, very dangerous and saying he must be


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