tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 17, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
and that's a wrap for me. i'm alex witt. the news continues right now about yasmin vossoughian. i think i've had enough. i think they've had enough of me too, right. >> 20 hours later, you've had enough? always a pleasure to get a handoff from you, alex. so good to see you. we have a lot happening, everybody. let's get started. russia calling. vladimir putin thanking president trump during a phone call today. we'll take you inside their conversation.
also, bold accusation. president trump's lawyer now claiming special counsel bob mueller unlawfully obtained thousands of e-mails in the russia investigation. and hitting the campaign trail. the president plans to aggressively campaign in next year's midterms, but do all republicans really want him by their side? those are the big questions. we begin with vladimir putin's phone call to president trump, the second call in just four days. there are reports that putin called president trump to thank him for a cia tip that helped thwart a terror attack in st. petersburg. we have an incredible team of reporters for us to break all of this down with, of course, the latest developments. nbc's geoff bennett is at the white house. i'll start with you. what more can you tell us about this phone call between putin and trump? >> reporter: good afternoon. we know that vladimir putin initiated this phone call and he's making it public. we know he called president trump, who's spending the weekend at camp david to thank him for a tip that came from the cia that helped the russian government thwart an apparent terror attack that was planned in st. petersburg.
now, white house secretary sarah huckabee sanders has confirmed that the call happened. we're still waiting for the official readout, the official characterization from the trump white house about, you know, how that call went. but at the moment what we know is that the two talked. we also know that vladimir putin pledged cooperation with the u.s., saying that russian agents would then hand over any tips about suspected terror attacks here in the u.s. to the u.s. government. so, at the moment, without having the white house version of this phone call, we have to urge caution. we can't read too much into it because we don't quite know what the kremlin's motives might be here, yasmin. >> well, and it's interesting that we are getting sourcing from the kremlin. important to note that, and we haven't gotten the readout from the white house yet. as you mentioned, we are waiting that, and hopefully, we'll get that as we're on today. i understand you have new reporting with regards to the headlines we've seen surrounding special counsel bob mueller and the trump transition team with regards to the e-mails that
mueller obtained from the transition team. what do you know? >> reporter: a source close to the trump transition team tells me that he is troubled, that the source is troubled by the way robert mueller's team accessed the e-mails from the general services administration, the gsa. this source makes the point that robert mueller's team went to the gsa at a time when the gsa's general counsel was hospitalized and unaware of the request. >> okay. >> reporter: and that the deputy general counsel is the one who then handed over the information. the then general counsel, who is hospitalized and incapacitated at the time, never knew about this request and was not involved in it. now, we should say that the deputy general counsel has disputed that accusation, denies it entirely, but there are some sort of lingering questions about how that whole thing unfolded and about the motives at play here. >> and also the major question coming out of all of this, were
these sort of questions and calls made by the trump white house and the transition team only made to sort of put the question out there in people's minds to further sort of muddy the waters with regards to the mueller probe. geoff bennett for us, appreciate you joining us. i want to bring in former u.s. attorney barbara mcquade, an msnbc contributor and terrorism analyst malcolm nance. malcolm, i'm going start with you on this one. so, president putin calling president trump to thank him for a cia tip that thwarted a potential terror plot. let's break all this down. how unusual is it to get a call like this? >> well, it is unusual for a public notification of a foreign leader to give thanks to a u.s. president regarding a tip. usually when we send out tippers from the national counterterrorism center or the fbi, whatever authority which is tasked out to give that information to a foreign power, these are done very quietly, principally because when we thwart these attacks and when we
put that information out, we don't want to give any hint as to the source or even the nation of origin to the source. so, the united states may have gotten it from a third party and then turned it over to the russians. that in itself is not unusual. we do that with many nations. but you know, vladimir putin seems to understand how to play president donald trump. you flatter him, and you flatter him publicly and you flatter him often, and donald trump responds quite nicely to that. >> so, isn't the m.o. of our intelligence agencies to then share intelligence with the kremlin? we've done this before? >> yeah, well, it's not -- it's a question of intelligence. intelligence can just be a single sentence, you know, that we have indications that there will be an attack on kazan cathedral in st. petersburg on this date, these players are involved. so long as we don't give away any of the data that shows how we got that information, sources and methodologies. we don't know whether that happened, because as we know, you know, president trump made a
mistake earlier this year and shared top-secret sources and data information from israel about an activity that was occurring in russia's sphere of influence in syria. >> right, right. >> so, that being said, this information, we do share that. we share it with just about everybody. >> so, glethz into the second point you make. from what i understand, obviously, the kremlin being the first initial source of all this, sort of revealing this phone call and giving us the transcript of the phone call between putin and trump. and as i mentioned when talking to geoff, we haven't gotten the transcript from the white house yet, but what do you think's behind this? because you did sort of get into it a little bit. >> well, you know, it's always important to understand that the person who is the leader of russia is a former kgb officer. >> yeah. >> he understands, you know, the interdynamics between the espionage world. >> when talk being putin, that's always something that one needs to remember, in the way in which he operates and the decisions he makes. >> absolutely.
he's an out krautocrat, but he the same tools from the old kgb world, and how he operates within the modern world and he's harnessed cyber warfare and cyber technology. that being said, he understands this president. so does president xi of china. they understand that you can lead donald trump around by the nose ring if you flatter him. and by making a very, very public compliment of an operation which may have been sensitive, if, you know, based on whatever information we have, whether it's accurate or not, he knows that now he has put donald trump in a position where he can allow him politically to continue complimenting putin and to be amenable, quite possibly, to changing u.s. policy infavorably in russia's direction. >> barbara, do you think this undermines the white house, the way putin has gone about this, and do you think that was his incentive here? >> you know, it's hard to say. you would hope that allies share information with each other, but russia, of course, is our adversary, so it's hard to know
what he had in mind, what motivated him. but as president reagan always admonished with respect to russia, trust but verify. >> you know, it's also interesting because this is the second time that the two leaders have spoken in the last four days, which is pretty rare, i have to say. on thursday, in case people don't necessarily remember, president putin praised president trump for the nation's economy during his annual press conference, which went on for hours and hours, which is very per putin. but here's what president trump said on friday in his response. take a listen. >> it was great. he said very nice things about what i've done for this country in terms of the economy. then he said also some negative things in terms of what's going on elsewhere. but the primary point was to talk about north korea. >> i wanted to get both of your takes on this, barbara. so, we have a russia investigation going on in which a special council was formed. we have a senate intel investigation going on as well, and then we kind of have a
bromance between putin and trump, it seems. what's going on here? >> you know, again, hard to say, but i think one thing that investigators would be worried about is, is there any leverage that russia has over president trump? is there any compromising information -- >> do you think there is? >> -- that russia obtained that could be the explanation behind the kind of behavior that we're seeing? >> do you think there is, barbara? do you think that russia has any leverage over mr. trump? >> i think that's for robert mueller to glean out through his investigation, but i'm sure that that's an area that they're concerned about in light of some of the information that was included in the dossier, for example. >> malcolm, do you think there's any leverage there? >> well, i wrote a whole book, you know, about potentially the leverage that -- >> well, we don't have time for the whole book, malcolm. >> well, potentially, the leverage that russia has over trump. there are -- right now people are saying we don't have any evidence. no, what we have is we have information that is in the hands of the special prosecutor, special counsel's office. and he's already convicted two
people, made them plead guilty to lying to him about that leverage. and so, we are getting a lot of indicators. you know, people say, well, there's a lot of smoke but no fire. well, you know, it's the smoke that kills you. fire just consumes your body. so, there is a lot of smoke here. >> you know, malcolm, a theory that's being thrown out there is the fact that this is also about putin's own presidency and his sort of re-election, shall we say, because we all know that he's actually going to become the president, no matter what happens, yet again, but this is all about sort of his re-election campaign as well in a couple of months. >> you're absolutely right, and i find it fascinating that putin would sit down and would calculate the release of this information. you know, the first group that he always plays to is the population of russia -- >> but it's not surprising. it's not surprising, though -- >> right. >> -- considering the fact that he's a former kgb officer. >> no, not at all! he's also an autocrat that runs essentially a mini dictatorship run by an oligarchy that gives
him an 82% approval rating that donald trump is terribly jealous of. and by doing that, by releasing this information, he also plays the sympathies and admonishments of the cia against itself. i mean, donald trump has been hammering the u.s. intelligence community and the fbi. let's see if putin comes out and says something negative about the -- >> i believe we just lost malcolm there, but we thank malcolm nance for joining us, as well as barbara mcquade. thank you both. coming up, president trump on the verge of his first major legislative victory with tax reform, but how much does it really help the middle class? what you need to know, next. and a new msnbc poll is signaling a seed change for democrats.
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welcome back, everybody. president trump and the gop-led congress poised for their first major legislative victory this week. the new republican tax bill expected to bring widespread changes to the tax code for the first time in 30 years. a vote could come as early as tuesday. earlier today, treasury secretary steve mnuchin was promoting the bill's potential, key word here, impact. >> this is the biggest single change to the tax system in fixing a broken tax code that we have ever had. a family of four making $75,000 will get about a $2,000 tax cut, and a family of four making $150,000 will get almost $4,000. plus, we think as a result of
lowering business taxes, wages will go up. so, this is a huge opportunity for creating jobs, creating tax cuts for working families. >> all right, joining us now to break it all down, erin del more, senior correspondent with bustle.com and annette lopez with "business insider." welcome to both of you on this early sunday evening. i'll start with you. give me your sort of 311, plus your opinion, your 311, plus your opinion -- >> all right. >> -- on the latest tax code. >> this code definitely simplifies things for regular americans, for individuals, but eventually, the benefits they see, those will end. those are temporary. what lasts forever is the cut for corporations and a new complexity that will kind of, some say, make things more easy for the rich and for those with assets abroad to be able to hide their money and get around the tax code. one interesting thing that i see as a wall street reporter is
that people in states like new york, california, they're not going to be able to deduct -- >> they'll have to make some ramifications here. >> exactly. so, i think the political ramifications for president trump are going to be very interesting, especially in the house. >> well, for instance, we had a republican congressman from long island, i believe, yesterday. i forget the name of the person, if you guys in my ear could tell me, but it was a republican congressman from long island yesterday who came out and said i can't vote for this because it's going to hurt my constituents negatively because they are from new york -- >> exactly, new jersey, california -- >> but the rest of the country as well. >> yep. and there are going to be a lot of people who say, one, we like this plan because it's a huge achievement for president trump. then there will be people who say i don't know what's in it, but i trust that it will work out. i keep hearing i'm getting a tax cut for christmas, but you have to look at when those cuts expire and who exactly is receiving the cuts. this is going to be terrific for corporations, but for the middle class, for the average american family, what are they going to get back and how long will it last? those are the questions.
>> let's talk about the expiration dates. 2025, the individual tax rates expire. corporate tax rates do not have any expiration dates whatsoever, right? the distinction. >> there is a staggering there. for lower income americans, they'll see their tax rates go up as early as 2019. for everybody making, i think it's under $75,000, they're going to see their tax rate go up by 2023. so, this really is temporary. and the grandstand that marco rubio made for child -- more of a child tax credit, that, too, is just like a little bump. we're not really seeing a big benefit for the middle class, aside from the doubling of the standard deduction, which also expires in 2025. so, everything that's good for the middle class is either small or it's going to be gone. >> but republicans, they're sticking to their guns here, saying it's going to be good for the middle class, aside from the sort of outliers like mcconnell said a couple weeks ago where he did admit that taxes could go up for some middle class people in this country. also, newly elected alabama
senator doug jones, which we've been covering incessantly for the last month or so, voicing his concerns on this, erin. and he sort of said he likes some of the tax plan but the math doesn't add up on a lot of it. let's take a listen to him. >> this seems to be plopped into a vote too quickly. there are things i like about it, cutting corporate tax rates, cutting some things for the middle class and increasing the standard deduction, but my biggest concerns are the process and also the fact that it's going to increase the deficit by over $1 trillion. that causes me great concern. i don't buy into the fact that it's going to grow the economy such that that $1 trillion debt will get wiped out. i think that's a major problem. >> so, it's between $1.4 and $1.5 trillion over the next ten years, according to the cbo score, that it could increase the deficit here. so, does doug jones have a point? >> to me, his biggest point is the very last thing he said,
that he doesn't automatically buy into this argument that growth is going to be as big as republicans have said, and that's what this hinges on here. they say hey, if we give corporate tax breaks, that's going to translate into more countries repatriating their profits and more jobs coming here in america, but if that doesn't happen, and if those wages don't trickle down to middle class workers and don't trickle down to more jobs, that's when people are going to feel it. >> let's talk about the importance of the pass-through tax break, which steve mnuchin talked about earlier today. let's listen and then talk about that. >> pass-through are the engine of growth in this country, and this is about creating the lowest tax rate for pass-through since the 1930s. that's going to be massive, massive economic growth, and it's about fixing a broken business tax system. we've had one of the highest corporate rates in the world with companies leaving trillions of dollars offshore so that they don't have to pay taxes. this is a historic event to fix a broken tax system. the reason why we have the
pass-through tax break is because we believe there will be about $4,500 in wage growth that will go back to workers. >> so, much of this, lynette, tax code is based on trickle down economics. a lot of people not necessarily agreeing with trickle down economics and how it sort of bears out. pass-through, in case people don't know, are basically all businesses that are not corporations. the idea is that if you have all this excess from this tax break, you're then going to give that money to your workers, who will then earn higher wages, but who's to say that they would then give their money, they would pass that money on, that excess, to their workers? >> well, two things. one of the most crushingly embarrassing moments of this entire ordeal was when gary cohn hosted a roundtable with a bunch of business leaders and he's like, are you guys ready to invest in the economy once you get their tax break, raise your hands, and nobody raised their hand. i mean, nobody -- there is no proof that tax reductions lead to wage growth. and how would steve mnuchin
know? as far as we know, we haven't seen any estimates from the treasury. we saw a one or two-sheet that had no numbers in it. we haven't seen any of the work that the treasury has done. he's promised to show americans what the treasury's calculations are here, and we have seen nothing. so, as far as we know, this is another set of voodoo economics, which is another thing, another name that people use for trickle down economics, just making assumptions, wild assumptions about growth to paper over the fact that we're going to deal with a lot of deficits and a lot of issues going down the line. >> all right, and final word here, is this really just about a legislative win? >> it is in a big way a political victory for president trump, but it's has real-term ramifications for every american in this country. that's what matters. >> clock is ticking, a couple days left before the christmas deadline that the president says, the christmas gift the president says he'll be giving to the american people. erin delmore and lynette lopez,
they'll be hanging around. democrats have a first double-digit lead over republicans since the obama era. well, like most of you, i just bought a house. -oh! -very nice. now i'm turning into my dad. i text in full sentences. i refer to every child as chief. this hat was free. what am i supposed to do, not wear it? next thing you know, i'm telling strangers defense wins championships. -well, it does. -right? why is the door open? are we trying to air condition the whole neighborhood? at least i bundled home and auto on an internet website, progressive.com. progressive can't save you from becoming your parents, but we can save you money when you bundle home and auto. i mean, why would i replace this? it's not broken. more people shop online for the holidays than ever before. and the united states postal service delivers more of those purchases to homes than anyone else in the country.
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poll gives democrats their first double-digit lead among voters since the obama era. the numbers also show democrats lead republicans by 10% in their interest regarding the 2018 midterms. they also show the president's disapproval rate at 56%. so, let's get into this. joining me to break it down, peter emerson, contributor at "the huffington post" and rachel brevard from the conservative partnership. welcome on this sunday evening. should republicans in congress be concerned about this? >> well, yes and no. i mean, historically, the president's party loses an average of 32 seats in the midterms. i mean, this is a trend that has happened every midterm. but i think on the other hand, yes, you've seen republicans have unified control of the government for a year without significant legislative accomplishments. this tax reform bill if they get it will be a great thing, but it's not polling well nationally. this is not going to ignite the base and get them to turn out in midterms and that's a problem. >> peter, do you think democrats will run with this without a
message? >> no. both parties are in trouble. you have the overwhelming majority of americans, and i emphasize overwhelming majority, don't trust the congress. >> right. >> and second, we're moving to single-digit trust very quickly. the democrats think that, somehow, anti-trump's going to work. it's not. and so, both parties should be very, very worried, and democrats better, as you suggested, find an emotionally resonant message that's better than, quote, current slogan we have, a better deal. that's like a great furniture sale on the weekend at some rural mall. >> not that deal, but a better deal. so, what do you think the democrats should be running on, peter, if it's not anti-trump? >> go back to what the party stands for, which is education, and jobs, jobs, jobs. and we seem to have gotten away from this in the belief that, somehow, if we run against these low approval ratings for donald trump, or trump himself -- rahm emanuel, in his response to the criticism that the president
leveled against chicago as being the murder capital of america said we're going to make chicago an anti-trump city. how about making chicago an antimurder city? that should be the message. saving the lives of the constituency in chicago. that's where democrats are way off base on this. >> rachel, nearly 70% of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 want to see the democrats in control of congress. what do you think that republicans need to do to get a hold of the young vote here? >> well, two things. you know, that's the millennial vote, and there's one thing that we know millennials prize more than anything else, and that's authenticity. and i think republicans haven't done a good job at communicating their message -- >> do you think trump is good for the authenticity vote? >> i think for some people, yes -- >> for the young authenticity vote? >> for some, yeah. i think they look at him and they see he's unlike any other politician they've ever seen and that appeals to them and they're overlooking other foibles because of that. but republicans as a whole have not been good at getting to the
ground game and saying we're going to do the things we promised to do that historically have promised a lot of things on the campaign trail, and just like this year, they've gone to washington and not done them, and people are paying attention to that. so, especially for that demographic, i think the authenticitiy and follow-throug will be very important. >> if you look at what happened in virginia and then obviously what happened this past week in alabama, do you think trump is good for the campaign trail for the midterms? >> i don't think the alabama race has had anything to do with donald trump, to be totally honest. i think it was very much about the candidates in play, roy moore especially. i also think if there was any national figure that was involved in that race, it was much more of a referendum on the senate republican leadership and mitch mcconnell. and you saw people reject mcconnell's pick, luther strange, and as a result, they had roy moore. and i think people really took it to heart that this republican establishment elite leadership in washington did not play well in alabama. >> peter, i want you to weigh in, but i have some breaking news to get to. i want your reaction on this. cbs news now reporting republican senator john mccain
will miss the vote on the gop tax bill. mccain, as we know, currently recovering from a round of chemotherapy treatment for brain cancer. if you remember, everybody, back in late july, mccain voted no on the obamacare skinny repeal, killing that effort. he joined two other republicans, susan collins and lisa murkowski, at the time in opposing that. mccain's absence, though, unlikely to derail the tax effort going forward. republicans still appear to have enough votes to pass the bill, possibly as early as tuesday. meghan mccain just tweeting as well. i'll read this off the screen because we are just getting this in. she says "thank you to everyone for their kind words. my father is doing well and we are looking forward to spending christmas together in arizona. if you're feeling charitable this christmas @headforthecure or @nbtstweets to help find a cure for brain cancer." and we remember the emotional video from meghan mccain and joe biden on "the view," him talking about his son's trials with
regards to cancer, brain cancer at that, exactly what john mccain is suffering from. peter, your reaction to that, that senator john mccain not able to weigh in on the tax bill? >> one of the greatest heroes in my lifetime john mccain, of a different party. i disagree with him on many, many issues. one of the most despicable things i've ever heard spoken by anyone, much less a president of the united states, when he criticized john mccain and challenged his patriotism. so, in many ways, even though i don't believe the vote is a solid one yet for the tax bill, i think there's still some hope. john mccain not showing up, obviously because of an illness that's likely to take his life, unfortunately, probably saves america, could save america from an economic disaster. >> rachel, your final thoughts on this? >> you know, john mccain is a patriot, and i think the thoughts and prayers of the country are with him. i agree that the tax vote is not yet sewn up. it's not done until it's done, but i think this is an accomplishment that republicans really need, and it's the one thing they're going to be able
to show for a year in control on the campaign trail, and that's going to be a tough uphill climb for them. >> yeah, i think no matter what side of the aisle you sit on, we all can agree that john mccain is certainly a hero in this country. we're wishing the best for him and his family right now. definitely a difficult time. peter emerson, rachel bovard, thank you. want to turn to special counsel mueller's russia probe. nbc news has obtained the letter the administration team sent to house and senate members of congress, which they accuse special counsel bob mueller of inappropriately obtaining trump transition team e-mails. mueller's spokesperson responding, saying, "when we have obtained e-mails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process." joining me now to talk about this, nick akerman, msnbc legal analyst, and jonathan ultra, political analyst and "daily beast" columnist. welcome to you both. nick, i'll start with you. mueller's not a novice at this. he knows what he's doing. >> absolutely. this is a bogus lie.
this is nothing more than an attempt to undermine the entire mueller investigation in the eyes of the american people. the fact of the matter is that these e-mails were done during the transition that was under the auspices of the general services administration, a government agency. all of these e-mails are part of the public record. they don't belong to these people personally. there's no privilege here. there was no presidential privilege, executive privilege, because president trump wasn't president then. and they also aren't attorney-client privilege. these were simply transition e-mails that he had every right to receive even if he gave a subpoena! >> but the president's counsel says the transition team is not subject to the same laws as the white house is. is that accurate? >> well, they may not be subject to the same laws, but the general service administration, is and they were the ones that were using government-sponsored e-mails and servers. that's what this is all about. and i guarantee you that even if
they just -- they probably had a subpoena for them anyway. >> yeah. >> but either way, i think this whole thing is a big lie just to undermine the entire mueller investigation. >> tell me what you think. [ laughter ] jonathan, you tweeted this story from the "hill" saying "this story by mark penn, bill clinton pollster turned mueller skeptic by fox, told you everything you need to know about why mueller firing could be coming soon. if sessions and heuler don't clean house, they'll be gone, under cover of polls." do you think this is a plot to fire mueller? >> no question. and you're seeing it from fox. you're seeing it from supporters of trump in other parts of the political universe, and you're even seeing it from somebody like mark penn, who did a story on "the hill," where he took a poll. he's a pollster. this is hillary clinton's former pollster back in 2008. >> right. >> that showed that the majority of the american public wanted an investigation of mueller. so, they're very supportive of
mueller's investigation of people like flynn, but they want everybody investigated. so, this is just another nail in the coffin, like this gsa business, you know? this business of whether a criminal investigation can get access to general services administration data is completely ridiculous. of course, in a criminal investigation you can get that kind of access to government documents. it's just more chaff that's being thrown up, and this mark penn poll is another indication of this. what they're doing is they're creating the groundwork for mueller's firing, possibly even over the christmas holiday. and whereas last summer, republicans on the hill were pushing back hard and saying, he'd better not fire mueller, this morning they were pushing back a little bit, saying, oh, i'm not sure we favor it, but
that brick wall of saying protect mueller, he's a man of integrity, he should finish his investigation, that wall is crumbling now. >> i mean, if we were to put together a mash of every person that said that mueller was the right person for this job from both sides of the aisle, it would literally be almost everybody, who have now changed their opinions -- >> right, they're not saying that. >> they're not saying that anymore. >> lindsey graham's not saying that anymore. and this is very dangerous, because -- >> why? are they trying to get ahead of it before mueller finds something? >> no, they're carrying water for the trump white house, and they all have their motives for doing so, but it's a very, very dangerous game to play. and history will look very, very poorly on republicans who didn't try to prevent bob mueller from being fired, if he is fired, because he is a man of utter integrity. he has more integrity than anybody we've had on the political scene the last 25 years. he had an impeccable tenure record as head of the fbi. he is a bronze star winner in vietnam. he is mr. integrity.
and if they continue to let the munchkins of the republican party chew him to death and create air cover on fox and other places so that the president can cover him, they will be damned by history. >> ty cobb has repeatedly denied they have plans to fire him. "as the white house has repeatedly and emphatically said for months, there is no consideration about replacing the special counsel whom the white house has fully cooperated in order to permit a thorough and prompt conclusion." but maybe we should be reading between the lines. what's your hunch, nick, that they fire mueller before christmas? >> it's possible. just because ty cobb could be -- >> and you've been here before. >> i've been here before, and i remember telling archie cox i didn't think he'd be fired because it would be politically crazy for nixon to do it. it was politically crazeies, but he did it. >> but nothing seems politically crazy for the trump administration. we say that over and over again. people come on my show and say it's political suicide, it's politically crazy, and he turns it around again. >> right, doesn't mean he won't
do it. but the fact of the matter is, it would not be unusual for the white house to basically be letting other people do the dirty work. i mean, i think that's exactly what's happening with the underlying conspiracy to steal those e-mails from the dnc. the trump campaign clearly was involved in that conspiracy just by virtue of the june 4th e-mail that goldstone wrote to don junior saying they had all this dirt on hillary clinton, which was clearly those e-mails. and the trump campaign didn't handle those. they took those and they subbed those out to guccifer 2.0 and then to wikileaks, and they're doing the same thing here. >> it doesn't seem like the trump administration is operating within the court of law, they're operating within the court of public opinion, in which it seems as if amongst his base he does quite well. i want to quickly, while i have you guys, jonathan, talk to you about the trump-putin phone call. talk about this in the midst of the russia investigation and the firing possibly of bob mueller come christmas.
>> i mean, they do have serious business to deal with each other on whether it's a plot to bomb st. petersburg or how to deal with north korea, and one of the problems with this whole larger russia story is it gets in the way of the legitimate business that two heads of state need to deal with each other on. but we haven't gotten the truth consistently from donald trump about his connections with the russians. so we don't really understand that yet, and that's why this investigation is so important, so we know, what does putin have on trump? because there has to be some explanation for why he's been so kind to him and to nobody else in the entire world for the last two years. >> yeah. >> and this is only one of the many questions we don't have the answers to, but the immediate problem is are we going to have a constitutional crisis over whether the president is above the law, which is very much like what we had during watergate?
are we going to have another saturday night massacre, perhaps, when everybody's off on holiday and not as able to go into the streets? >> it's just interesting to think that the white house just released a readout of the trump/putin phone call, literally minutes ago. it's in my e-mail. but yet, our sourcing came from the kremlin, and i can't help but think that's putin very much pulling the strings there, which lends itself -- >> pulls the strings of trump on everything, has him dangling from a string in the same way president xi does in china. our president has been manipulated endlessly. he's supposed to be i great deal-maker. he's getting taken to the cleaners over and over again on these various -- >> final word. we've got to go. >> it makes you even wonder whether or not this whole operation that was occurring in st. petersburg was for real or wasn't just cover. >> yeah. >> you can't really trust anything this guy does now. >> all right, nick akerman, thank you. appreciate it. a little more than 30 days
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welcome back, everybody. president trump is not up for re-election quite yet, but the campaigner in chief is gearing up to hit the campaign trails to back down-ballot gop candidates in next year's midterm elections after that upset in alabama. the "washington post" is reporting that. the president has told advisers that he wants to travel extensively and hold rallies and that he is looking forward to spending much of 2018 campaigning. but the question is, could this be risky strategy and pay off for republicans, or will next year's midterms become a referendum on the president himself? i want to bring back my panel, erin delmore and senior correspondent at business insider, lynette lopez. lynette, i'm going start with you. how beneficial could the president's investment in down-ballot races be in the gop?
>> it's unclear. if you don't have a heavy hitter at the top of the ticket, you have to get people energizend get them out to vote, and it's unclear whether trump will be able to do that. he needs more than his base to win 2018. he needs people as my colleague, josh called them, trump-curious. people who are like -- >> trump-curious. >> trump-curious. people who are like, i'm going to give this guy a chance, i'm going to give his party a chance, his policies, his politics. and you know, the republican party has gotten a little messy. you have the bannonites, you have the more old guard, mitch mcconnell type republicans. there's going to be infighting between them, and you don't know if you can necessarily trust trump's judgment on which candidate to pick, on which side to go down. he'll go down either way, but it seems like the bannonites get to whisper in trump's ear, and it seems like they hold sway over a president. and the more they do that, the more you turn off the trump curious, the more you cut off
the chances of getting people who are middle of the road. and again, this tax policy's not going to help, especially when you're talking about -- >> you don't think it's going to help? but you would think if the gop has a legislative win, it will help people on the campaign trail. >> but will people feel that? >> and will they feel the effects of that, exactly. but that could be turned on a positive, erin. >> yep, they're going to try to run on this in 2018 and point to it as trump keeping his promises and getting work done. then democrats will say, well, how did this tax cut benefit you and what happened to border security, immigration, health care, all of these other promises that we've seen fade away over the course of the 2017 calendar year? >> the opioid crisis. >> now trump can come back and try to fight some of those fights, especially for some states that are bordering on the edge, but in 2018, the map favors republicans, yet democrats are feeling emboldened after that win in alabama. >> quickly, linette, who do you think the democrats need to walk out on the campaign trail to get support in the midterms? who are the superstars?
>> gosh, i mean, everybody -- >> it is the cory bookers, the kamala harrises? we saw cory booker in alabama. >> i think kirsten gillibrand -- >> her stock has gone up, for sure. >> i think everybody loved the moment with joe biden and meghan mccain. and i think, you know, the obamas are still out here. they did calls in alabama. i think that some people -- cory booker and kamala harris, they're young, they're stars. i don't know about their national name recognition. >> right. >> but maybe this is a chance for them to show their chops for some retail politicking, going to some states they've never been to before or that they haven't campaigned heavily before and get their national name recognition up. >> i'll tell you, no matter what side of the aisle you stand on cory booker has some major speaking skills. >> oh, yeah. >> obama-style. >> his twitter game is on point. >> erin, linette, thank you both. appreciate it. >> thank you. a power outage at the nation's busiest airport, hartsfield-jackson international airport in atlanta. you can see it right there, looking at a live shot of a lot
of planes there going nowhere very fast, a stand-still. kind of a nightmare to be on a runway right about now when you're at atlanta hartsfield and there's a power outage. officials are saying an electrical issue at a power substation has affected power at the airport. repair teams have been there for a couple hours. passengers on social media say their flights are delayed and others remain on the tarmac, as you see. i think i count nine or so there, but i'm sure there's more. the atlanta airport tweeting out "the faa has set a ground stop for flights into atl due to the outage. a ground stop means flights to atl are held at departure airports. we'll keep you updated with the latest. next, a surprising report about the pentagon spending millions to investigate ufos. we will have the revealing details on the secret program, coming up next. constipated?
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harry reid in 2007 and spent $22 million each year searching for unidentified flying objects until the program was shuttered back in 2012. joining us now to talk more about this, one of the authors of yesterday's fascinating "the new york times" article, journalist ralph blumenthal. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> i appreciate it. talk to me about the research that went into this. >> first of all, it was $22 million total, not in a year, which is really a drop in the bucket of the pentagon budget, but it went into research for these objects, and no one knows what they are to this day, that have been seen by navy planes, they've engaged with them, they've been reported by witnesses. but beyond that, we really don't know much. and the research went into trying to identify their strange means of propulsion. they have phenomenal aerodynamics, which represent nothing on the face of this earth, by any country. and the research, even though the program was officially ran out of money in 2012, it really
has continued, we found out. >> so, what's been going on? and why have they not publicized the fact that it has continued, despite the fact that -- >> well, it's a controversial program. a lot of people -- there's a ridicule factor. a lot of people are afraid people will make fun of the government spending this money, as has already happened in other media. >> but there's also a lot of fascination. >> there is fascination. this is probably the most-watched and looked at story "the new york times" has run in a long time because -- >> wow. >> -- people are fascinated by the subject. >> yeah, so what are they finding? have they found anything so far? >> they have confirmed in effect for the first time that these things exist, according to what the program said, that they have established a kind of reality to these objects that didn't exist before, that the government was standing behind, at least this unit of the pentagon. they have, as we reported in the paper, some material from these objects that is being studied so that scientists can try to figure out what accounts for their amazing properties.
this technology, these objects, whatever they are. so, they have made some type of -- >> what type of material? >> they don't know. they're studying it, but it's some kind of compound that they don't recognize. >> so, a lot of questions still. >> more -- >> not a lot of answers. >> more questions than answers. >> as we always have with ufos, but it really is fascinating stuff. >> it is. >> despite the fact that there is ridicule along -- >> it takes you away from the day-to-day, put it that way. >> yeah. i like a little respite,ons would you? i'd like to talk about ufos more these days. >> it's a fascinating subject. >> ralph blumenthal, i wish i had more time with you, but we have run out of time. thank you for joining me. >> thank you. >> i appreciate it. all right, five years after sandy hook, everybody, i'm going to talk to a mother turned activist after losing her child in that incredible tragedy. what she's doing now to make a huge difference. that's coming up next. that's good. lica misses you. i'm over it though. (laughter) that's fine. i miss her more than you anyway.
hello, everyone. i'm yasmin vossoughian. let's get started. hour two, bromance for the second time in a week, donald trump and vladimir putin exchanged praise over the phone. this time, the russian president thanking strup for a tip that foiled an alleged terror attack. and accusing mueller of getting e-mails from trump's transition team. and riding the blue wave. poll numbers reveal what could be a democratic wipeout in