tv MSNBC Live With Kate Snow MSNBC December 16, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
being used in ways that can affect our infrastructure and affect our financial systems and our integrity of our institutions like our election process. a report from our cyber commission, that outlines a whole range of strategies it is widely dispersed and a lot of it is private and like the dnc, it is not a branch of innovate, we cannot tell people what to do. we can also do is to on a bilateral bases warn other
countries against these kinds of attacks. just as i told russia to stop it and indicated that there will be consequences when they do it. the chinese have in the past engaged in cyber attacks and directed our companies to steal secrets and proprietary. they can use cut outs and one of the problems with the internet and cyber issues is that there is not always a return address and by the time you catch up to it, attributing to what happens to a particular government can
be difficult and not always provable in court and our intelligence community can make an assessment. what we try to do is create some international norms about this to prevent some sort of cyber arm's race. we obviously have offensive capabilities capabilities. my approach is not the situation where everybody works off because folks are constantly attacking each other back and forth. but, putting some guard rails around behavior nations and states and our adversaries so they understand that whatever they do to us we can potentially do to them. we do have special challenges because oftentimes our economy is digitalized and vulnerable and partly because we are a
wealthier nation and we have a more opened society and we are engaged in les control of censorships of over what happens on the internet. the reason i am going on here because i know you guys have a lot of questions about this and i have not addressed all of you directly about it. with the respect to response, my principle goal leading up to the election was making sure that the election itself went off without a hitch and that it was tarnished and that it did not feed any sense in the public that somehow tampering have taken place with the actual process of the vote. we have establiaccomplished tha. that does not mean that we are not going to respond, it is
simply meant that we have a set of priorities leading up to the election that were of the upmost importance. our goal continues to be to send a clear message to russia or others, not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you. but, it is also important for us to do that in a thoughtful and methodical way and some of it we do publicly and some of it we'll do in a way that they know and not everybody will. i know that there is been folks out there who suggested that somehow if we went out there and made big announcements and thump our chests about a bunch of stuff that somehow would potentially spook the russians but keep in mind that we already have enormous numbers of sanctions against russia. the relationship between us and
russia deteriorated, sadly, significantly over the last several years. how we approach on appropriate response but does not create problems for us is something that's worth taking the time to think through d figure out. that's what we have done. at a point in time we have taken certain actions and we'll do so, there are times where the message will go and directly received by the russians and not publicized. i should point out by the way, part of why the russians have been affected by this is they don't go around announcing what they are doing. it is not like -- putin's going around the world publicly saying look what we did, it was not
that clever. he denies it. so, the idea that somehow public shaming is going to be effective, i think does not read the thought process in russia very well. okay? i am going to let all the political pundants in this town have a decisiiscussion. it is a fascinating election, i am sure there is a book written about it. i have said before and i could not be prouder of secretary clinton of her outstanding service, she's worked tire
lessly on behalf of the american people and i don't think she was treated fairly of the election. the coverage of her and the issues was troubling. but, having said that, what i have been most focused on appropriate of the fact that i am not going to be a politician in about 32 days? 31? 34? what i have said is that i can maybe give some counseling advice to the democratic party and the thing that we have to spend the most time on because the things that we have the most over control is how do we make sure that we are showing up in places that where democratic parties are needed and helping
and making a difference but where people feel they are not being heard and democrats are characterized as coastal and liberal latte sipping --you know, politically incorrect out of touch folks. we have to be in those communities and i have seen when we are in those communities, it makes a difference. that's how i became the u.s. president. i became a u.s. senator not because i had a strong base of chicago but because i was driving around down state illinois and going to fish fries and sitting at the halls and talking to farmers, and i didn't win every one of their votes but they got a sense of what i was talking about and what i cared about that i was for working people and that i was for the middle class and the reason i was interested in strengthening
unions and raising the minimum wage and rebuilding our infrastructure and making sure that parents had decent child care and family leaves because was -- my own family's history was not different than theirs even if i looked a little different. same thing in iowa. the question is how do we rebuild that party as a whole? there is not a county and i don't care how red, i think we have a better argument but that requires a lot of work. it is been something that i have been able to do successfully in my own campaign and it is not something that i have been able to transfer to candidates in midterms and sort of -- build a
s sustaining organization around, that's something that -- i would have liked to have done more of. it is hard to do when you are dealing with a bunch of issues here in the white house. that does not mean it cannot be done. i think there will be a lot of talented folks out there, a lot of progressives who share my values who'll be leading the charts in the year to come. michelle from cnn. >> thank you, hillary clinton talks about how she thinks of the fbi directors' announcement made a difference in the outcome election. we heard from her campaign chairman talking about something deeply broken within the fbi and he talked about thinking that the investigation early on was lacking. what do you think about those comments? do you think there is any truth to them? do you think there is a danger
there and there is calming into question of the integrity of institutions in a similar way that donald trump's team had done. the second part of that is that -- donald trump's team repeatedly, giving the indication that the investigation of the russian hack as well as retaliation may not be a priority once he's in office. so, what do you think the risk is there and are i goiyou are g to talk to him directly about some of those comments? >> well, on the latter point, the transition from election season to governing season is not always smooth, it is bumpy and there are still feelings that are raw out there.
there are people still thinking about how things are folded and i get all that. when donald trump takes office and sworn as president of the united states, he's got a different responsibility. there is a soprocess when you wk in the oval office. and i have not shared private conversations that i had with the president-elect. i will say they have been cordial and some cases have involved me making specific suggestions about how to ensure that regardless of our disagreements of policy, maybe i can transmit some thoughts about maintaining the effectiveness and integrity and cohesion of
the party and he has listened. i cannot say if he will end up implemented but the conversations itself have been cordial. i will always make myself available to him just as previous president made themselves available to me as issues come up. with respect to the fbi, i will tell you and i have had a chance to know a lot of fbi agents i know director comey, they take their jobs seriously. they work really hard. they help keep us safe and saved a lot of lives.
it is always a challenge for law enforcement when there is an intersection between the work that they are doing and the political system. we have a system where we want our law enforcement, investigators and prosecutors to be free from politics, to be independent and play it strai t straight, sometimes that involves with investigation that touch on politics and of this environment that we have been in, everything is a suspect and everything you do is one way or the other. one thing that i have done is to be scrupulous about not weighting into
investigations/decisions or prosecution decisions or decisions not to prosecute. i have tried to be really strict in my own behavior about presere presere -- preserving the independence of law enforcement free from my own judgments and political assessment if some cases. i don't know why i would stop now. >> thank you, mr. president, on aleppo of your views of what happens there and the responsibility anies and the run government and the assad regime. do you as president of the united states, leader of the free world, feel any personal moral responsibility now, at the
end of your presidency from the carnage where we are all watching aleppo which i am sure disturbs you. secondly, also, on aleppo, you began to make clear of your practical disagreements and president-elect trump throughout his campaign and he said again last night that he wants to create safe zones for syria. do you feel in that transition that you need to help him towards that, was that something you should not be doing? >> mike, i always feel responsible. i felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers. i felt responsible when millions of people have been displaced. i feel responsible for murders and slaughters that's taken
place in south sudan that's not reported on. participa partly because there is not as much of social media being generated from there. there are places around the world where horrible things are happening. because of my office, because i am president of the united states, i feel responsible, i ask myself every single day, is there something i could do that would save lives and make a difference and spare some child who does not deserve to suffer, so that's a starting point. there is not a moment during the course of this presidency where i have not felt some responsibility. that's true by the way for our own country. when i came into office and people were losing their jobs and losing their homes and pensions, i felt responsible.
i would go home at night and ask myself was there something better that i can do or smarter that i can be that would make a difference in their live and relief their suffering and relief their hardship. so, with respect to syria of what i have consistently done is taken the best course that i can to end the civil war and having also taken into account of the long-term national security interest of the united states. throughout the process based on hours of meetings, if you tally it up, days or weeks of meetings, where we went through
every option in painful details and maps and with our military and we had our aid agencies and our diplomatic teams and sometimes we bring in outsiders who were critics of ours. when ever we went through it, the challenge was that short of putting large numbers of u.s. troops on the ground uninvited, mandate and sufficient support from congress at a time where we still had troops in afghanistan and troops in iraq and we went through a decade of wars and spent trillions of dollars and went the opposition on the
ground was not cohesive enough to govern a country. and, you had a military super power in russia prepared to do whatever it took to keep its clients safe involved and you had a regional military power in iran that saw their own vital strategic interests at stake and we are willing to send in their people or proxy to support the regime. in that circumstances, unless we are all in and willing to take over syria, we were going to have problems. everything else was testimompti because we wanted to do something and sounded like the right thing to do but it was impossible to do this on the chief.
and in that circumstance, i have to make decisions as the united states -- i am sorry, what's going on? somebody is not feeling good? we can get our doctors back there to help out. somebody wanted to go to my doctor's office and help them. all right, where was i? >> we could not do it on the chief. now, it may be -- can somebody help out please and get doctor jackson in here.
office is? just go through the doors, it is right next to the map room. there he is, there is doctor jackson. he's all right. okay. doctor's in the house. i mean that with all sincerity. i understand the impulse to ultimately, what i had to do is to think about what we can sustain and what isra realistic my first priority has to be what's the right thing to do for
america. the best thing to do is provide support to the modernization. so they can sustain themselves so we would not see anti-assad regime sentiment just pouring in and al-qaida or isil that we engaged in international partners in order to put pressures on ail tll the partie involved and trying to resolve this through diplomatics or political means. i cannot claim that we have been successful. that's something that as it is true with a lot of issues and problems around the world. i have to go to bed with every night. but, i continue to believe that
it was the right approach given realistically what we could get done. as i said to go in a much more significant way. that i think would not have been sustainable or good for the american people because we had a whole host of other obligations that we also had to meet and wars we had started and we are not yet finished. with respect to the issues of safe zones, it is a continued problem and challenge with safe zones. if you are setting up those zones on syrian territories, that requires some force that is willing to maintain that territory in the absence of
consent from the syrian government and now the russians or the iranians. it maybe where the aleppo tragic situation unfolding, that in the short term if we could get more of the tens of thousands of sources who are trapped there out, that so long as the world's eyes are on them and they are feeling pressured, the regime and russia concludes that they are willing to find some arrangement, perhaps in coordination with turkey where by those people can be safe. even that, will be temporary but at least it is all a short term issue that's going to arise. unfortunately, we are not there yet, right now we have russians
and assad claiming that be basically all the innocence civilians who are trapped in aleppo with out when international organization humanitarian organizations know better and who are on the ground have said unequivocally there are tens of thousands who are still trapped and prepared to leave. right now our biggest priorities is to continue to put pressure where ever we can to try to get them out. >> do you feel responsibility not wwithstanding notwithstanding. >> i will help president-elect trump with any advice counsel and information that we can provide so that he -- once he's sworn in can make a decision.
between now and then these are the decisions i have to make based on the consultations that i have with the military and the people that's been working this every single day. peter alexander. >> mr. president, thank you very much, can you give our intelligence that we now heard that this was a free and fair election and specifically on russia, do you feel any obligations on russia -- show the proof and put your money where your mouth us and declassified some of the evidence that exists and raeulatira relating on donald trump, are you concerned of his relationships with vladimir putin and rex tillerson who toasted putin with champagne and over ordeals together. thank you. >> i maybe getting older because these multi part questions are -- i start losing track.
i can assure the public that there was not the kind of tampering with the boarding process that was a concern and will continue to be a concern going forward. the votes that were cast were counted and could wanted appropriately. we have not seen evidence machines being tampered. that assurance, i can provide. that does not mean that we find every single potential probe of voting machines all across the country. we paid a lot of attention to it and we work with state officials and etcetera, we feel confident
that that did not occur and the votes were cast and counted. so that's on that point. what was the second one? >> about declassification. >> look, we'll provide evidence we can safely provide that does not compromise sources and methods, but, i will be honest with you, when you are talking about cyber security, a lot of it is classified and we are not going to provide it because the way we catch folks is by knowing certain things about them that they may not want to know. if we are going to monitor this stuff effectively going forward, we don't want them to know that
we know. so this is one of the situations where unless, the american people genuinely think that the professionals in the cia, and the fbi, our entire intelligence infrastructure, many of whom served our administration and whom are republicans, are less trust wort trustworthy than the russians then people should pay attention to what our intelligence agency say. this is part of what i meant when i say we got to think about what's happening to our political culture here. the russians cannot change us or
significantly weaken us. they are a smaller country and they are weaker and their economy does not produce anything that anybody want to buy except oil and gas and arms. they don't innovate. but, they can impact us if we lose track of who we are. they can impact us if we abandon our values. mr. putin can weaken us just like he's trying to weaken europe if we start buying into notions that it is okay to intimidate the press. or, lock up ddiscriminating aga people because of their faiths or what they look like.
what i worry about more than anything is the degree to which because of the fierceness of the partisan battle, you start to see certain folks in the republican party and the republican voters suddenly fi finding a government and individuals who stand contrary to everything that we stand for as being okay because that's how much we dislike democrats. think about it, some of the people who historically had been very critical of me for engaging with the russians and having conversations with them. also, endorsing the
president-elect even as he was saying that we should stop sanction russia and being tough on him and work together with him against our common enemies. it was complimentary of mr. putin personally. that was not "news." president-elect trump during the campaign said so and some focus made a career out of anti-russians did not say anything about it. then after the elections, they're asking well, why didn't you tell us that maybe the russians were trying to help our candidate. well, come on. there was a survey some of you saw where -- it is just one poll
but credible source. 37% of republican voters aprovered aprove approved of putin. over a third of republican voters, aprovproved of vladimir putin, ronald reagan, would roll over in his grave. how did that happen? it happened in part because for too long, everything that happens in this town and said is seen through the lens of help relative to democrats or relative to president obama.
and, unless that changes, we are going to continue to be vulnerable because we lost track on what it is that we are about and what we stand for. with respect to the president-elect appointments, it is his prerogative as i have said for him to appoint who he thinks can best carry out his foreign policies or domestic policies. it is up to the senate to advise and consent. there will be plenty of time for members of the senate to go through the record of all his api appointees and determine whether they are appropriate for the job. martha radditz. >> i want to talk about vladimir
putin, do you believe he authorized the hack and to help donald trump and on the intelligence, what are th the -- can you say unequivocally that this was not china. do these types of tweets and kinds of statements from donald trump unfold in the russia. >> when the report comes out before i leave office, that'll have drawn together all the threads. i don't want to step on their work ahead of time. what i can tell you of the
intelligence i have seen gives me confidence of great assessment that the russians carried out this hack. the hack of the dnc and the hack of the john podesta. now, again, i think this is exactly why i want the report out so that everybody can review it. this has been briefed and the evidence in closed sessions have been provided on a bipartisan base. not just to me but provided to the leaders of the house in the senate and the chairman of members of the committees. and i think that you have already seen it and some of the folks who have seen the evidence don't dispute and think the basic assessments that the russians carried this out. >> specifically -- >> martha, what i want to make sure of is that i give the
intelligence committee a chance to gather the information but i make a larger point which is not much happens in russia without vladimir putin. there is a pretty hierarchy cal operation and the last i checked, particularly when it comes to policy directors of the united states. we have said and i will confirm that this happens at the highest levels of the russian government and i will let you to make that determination whether of high officials who'll go off the road
and decide to tamper with the election. >> i would not be wrong that the president underminds that. >> i have given you what i have. what was your questions? >> do the sweetweets and statem by donald trump em bold russia? >> the president-elect is still in transition mode from campaigning to governance. he has not gotten his whole team together. he still has campaign spokesperson filling in and appearing on cable shows an and -- there is a whole different attitude and vibe when you are not in power as when you are in power. rather than me characterize the appropria appropriateness or inappropriateness of what he's
doing at the moment. what we have to see is how will the president-elect operate and how will his team operate when they been fully briefed on all these issues and they have their hands on all the level of government and start to make decisions. one way i do believe that the president-elect trump can approach us and to be unified is to say that we welcome a bipartisan, independent, process that gives the american people assurance and not only that votes are counted properly, the elections have fair and free but that we have learned lessons about how internet propaganda
from foreign countries can be released and a political bloodstream and that we got strategists to deal with in the future. the more this can be non-partisan, the better served the american people will be. which is why i made the point earlier, and i am going to keep on repeating this point. our vulnerability to russia or any foreign power is directly related to how divided partisan dysfunctional of our political process is. that's the thing that makes us vulnerable. if fake news that's being released by some foreign government is almost identical
to reports that are being issued through partisan news venues then it is not surprising that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect. it does not seem that farfetched compares to some of the other stuff that folks are hearing from domestic propaganda to the extent that our political dialogue is such where everything is under suspicion and everybody is corrupted and everybody is doing things for partisan reasons. all of our institutions ar are -- full of actors, if that's
the story line that's being pit out there, by whatever parties out of the power, then when a foreign government introduces that same argument, with fact that is are made up, voters who have been listening to that stuff for years and for years who's been getting that stuff everyday from talk radio or other venues, they're going to believe it. so, if we want to really reduce influence for our elections, we better think about how to make sure that our political process and political dialogue is stronger than it is been.
ma mark. >> thank you, mr. president. your successor spoke by phone with president of taiwan yesterday. and declared that he was not sure if united states needed to be bound by one policy. and to get better terms on a straight deal and corporations in north korea. there are already evidence of tensions and today the chinese seized an under water drone. do you agree that our china policy could use a fresh set of eyes and what's the big deal of having a short phone call with the president of taiwan or do you worry these types of unorthodox approaches are setting us on a collision course of our biggest political adversary. >> that's a great question.
i am some where in between. ir think a i think all of our foreign policies should be subject to fresh eyes. i have said this before and i am very proud of the work i have done. i think i am a better president than i have started. you know if you are here for eight years in the bubble, you start to see things a certain way and you benefit from the democracy and america benefits from some new perspectives. and, i think it should be knott just the prerogatives but the obligation of a new president, examining everything that's been done and what makes sense and what does not. that's what i did when i came in. given the importance of the relationship between the united states and china, given how much is at stake, in terms of the
world's deconomy and national security and our presence of asia's pacific and china's increasing role in international affairs, there is probably no bilateral relationships that carries more significance and where there is also the potential if that relationship breaks down or goes into a full conflict mode th. i think it is fine for him to take a look at it. what i have advised the preside president-elect is across the board on foreign policies, you want to make sure that you are doing in a systematic deliberate and intentional way.
since there is only one president at a time, my advise to him has been before he start to to have a lot of interactions with foreign governments and other than the usual courtesy calls, he would want to have his full team in place and his team to be briefed on what's gone on in the past and where the potential of pitfalls may be and where the tuopportunities are a what we have learned from eight years of experience so that as he's then maybe taking foreign policy in a new direction, he's got all the information to make good decisions. by the way, all of government is moving at the same time and staying from the same handle.
and, with respect to china, and lets take the example of taiwan, there is been a long standing agreement, essentially between china and united states the some degrees of taiwanese was to not change the status quo. taiwan operates differently than mainland china does. china views taiwan as part of china but recognizes it has to approa approach taiwan as an entity that has its own ways of doing things. the tawainese have agreed that as long as they're able to continue to function with some
degree of taxonoawe autonomy th won't charge that is status quo although not completely satisfactory to any of the parties involved has kept the peace and allowed the taiwanese to be a pretty successful economy and people who have a high degree of self determination. but understand for china the issue of i can wan is as important as anything on their docket. the idea of one china is at the heart of their conception as a
nation. if you are going to up end this, the chinese will not treat that the way they will treat other issues. this goes to the core of how they see themselves. the reaction on this issue, that doesn't mean you have to adhere to everything that has been done in the past. that means you have to see it through. and the reaction they may engage i in. isaac of politico. >> two questions.
>> this leaves us in a really good spot. if we make good decisions. >> what do you say to the electors who are going to meet on monday and thinking of changing their votes. do you think they should be given an intelligence briefing about the russian activity or should they bear in mind everything you have said already? should votes be bound by the state votes as they have gone? long-term do you think there is the need for electoral college reform that ties to the popular vote? >> it sounded like two, but that was all one? >> that was one. >> i love how these -- two questions, each one has four parts. >> on the democratic party, the labor secretary is running to be the chair of the democratic national committee. is the vision you have seen going forward what you think the party needs to be focused on and
what do you say to some of those who say it shouldn't be a continuation of your political approach. part of that is complaints that decisions that you have made as president or the leader of the party have structurally weakened the dnc and democratic party and they think that helped lead to the losses in elections in the country. do you regret the decisions? >> okay. good. i will take the second one first. say that tom perez has been, i believe, one of the best secretaries of labor in our history. he is tireless and wicked smart.
he has been able to work across the spectrum of labor, business, activists, he produced. he worked on behalf of working people what he has pushed for in terms of workers get a fair deal and their safety is protected on the job. he has been extraordinary. now, others who declared are also my friends and fine people as well. and the great thing is, i don't have a vote in it. so we will let the process unfold and i don't think it's going to happen any time soon. i described to you earlier what i think needs to happen which is
that the democratic party through the dnc or through a rebuilding of state parties or some other arrangement has to work at the grass roots level and be present in all 50 states and has to have a presence in us. they have to have a message in how we are speaking directly to voters. i will say this and i will not engage in too much punditry, but i could not be prouder of the coalition i put together in each of my campaigns. because it was inclusive. it drew in people who normally were not interested in politics and didn't participate. i would like to think and i think i can show that in those
elections, i always cast a broad net. i always said first and foremost we are americans and we have a common creed. more that we share than divides us. i want to get a chance to get everybody's vote. this red state, blue state thing is a coninstruct. it is a coninstruct that got more and more powerful for the reasons from gerrymandering to big money to the way that the media is splintered and people are just watching what reinforces the biases as opposed to having to list the different points of view. there are all kinds of reasons
for it. but outside of the realm of electoral politics, i still see people the way i saw them when i made that speech. full of contradictions and folks care about the families and having meaningful work. they care about making sure their kids had more opportunity than they did. they want to be safe and feel like things are fair. whoever leads the dnc and any candidate with the democratic brand going forward, i want them to feel as if they can reach out and find that common ground and speak to all of america.
and that requires organization. i said this in my earlier remarks. what i was able to do in my campaigns, i was not able to do in the mid-terms. i spent time and effort in it, but the coalition i put together didn't always turn out to be transferrable. the challenge is that some of that when you are in the party in power and people are going through hard times like in 2010, they are going to punish to some degree the president's party regardless of what organizational work is done. some of it has to do with deep standing traditional challenges for democrats like during off year elections, the electorate is older and we do better with
the younger electorate. we know those things are true. i didn't crack the code on that. if other people have ideas about how to do that even better, i'm all for it. so with respect to the electorates, i am not going to weight into that issue because again, it's the american people's job and now the electors job to decide my successor. it is not my job to decide. i provided people with a lot of information about what happened during the course of the election, but more importantly, the candidates themselves i think talked about their beliefs and their vision for america. the president-elect i think has
been explicit about what he cares about and believes in. it's not in my hands now. it's up to them. >> what about long-term with the electoral college? >> long-term with the electoral college, the electoral college is a vestage, a carry over from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states and it used to be that the senate was not elected directly. it was through state legislatures and it's the same type of thinking that gives wyoming two senators with about a half million people and california with 33 million get the same two. there are