tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC January 6, 2018 9:00am-9:30am PST
camp david sometime soon, so we're going to stay on that for you. on the offense, republican senators targeting the spy behind the trump dossier. why they're taking action now and what this means for the russia investigation. after the breakup, what happens to the president's base after his split with steve bannon? plus, how far is too far? the questions raised after the president's nuclear button tweet about north korea. but, we begin the situation at camp david. we are waiting right now a briefing by the president with reporters and here he is approaching the podium as if right on cue for the top of our show. let's take a listen, everyone, to the president and to any of those who take to the podium after he finishes speaking. >> thank you very much. it's great to have you at camp david, a very special place. we started, as you know, yesterday afternoon. we had a couple of incredible
meetings. it's a feeling here that you don't have in very many places. there was a bonding, there was a -- got a lot of work done, a lot of great work for the people. security discussed, infrastructure discussed, military and all types of military situations and applications discussed. general mattis is here, general kelly, a lot of -- a lot of good military input, very important. discussed funding for the military, which is so important. we also obviously went into budgets and we went into daca and how we're going to do. we hope that we're going to be able to work out an arrangement with the democrats. i think it's something that they'd like to see happen. it's something certainly that i'd like to see happen. so we are -- we are very well prepared for the coming year. we finished very strong. one of the things we are discussing and discussing very
powerfully is drugs pouring into this country and how to stop it, because it's at a point over the last number of years, it's never been like this. we've never had a problem with drugs like we do, whether it's opioid or drugs in the traditional sense. it's never been like it is. and we are going to do everything we can. it's a very difficult situation, difficult for many countries. not so difficult for some, believe it or not. they take it very seriously and they're very harsh. those are the ones that have much less difficulty. but we are going to be working on that very, very hard this year. i think we're going to make a big dent into the drug problem. with that i think what i'll do is ask majority leader, mitch mcconnell, to say a few words and then i'll have paul ryan and we'll perhaps you'll have some questions for some of the folks. we have a great group of talent and i will tell you the meetings again were really perhaps transformative in certain ways.
we're doing things and we have things planned for next year. one of the things mitch said and he said it very well was it's going to be tough to beat the year we just left because what we had last year was something very special, especially to cap it off with the tremendous tax cuts and tax reform. and don't forget the fact that the individual mandate, such a horrible thing for so many people was terminated so it's very, very tough. but i'd like to ask mitch to come
up and say a few words, please. >> well, thank you very much, mr. president. as you suggest, last year would be a tough year to top. if you are like those of us here at the podium, you'd like to see america be a right of center country. from a right of center point of view, 2017 was the most
consequential year in the many years that i've been here in congress. the president's spectacular nominee for the supreme court, 12 circuit judges, the most in the first year of any president since the circuit court system was set up in 1891, not to mention deregulation. then topping it off with the most consequential boost to our economy through this tax reform bill was an astonishing year. but it's time to look forward. mr. president, i want to thank you for inviting us all up. we had a great planning session for 2018. we hope that 2018 will be a year of more bipartisan cooperation. the president's agenda, much of which he just referred to, are things that we believe there will be a significant number of democrats interested in helping us accomplish. and so, mr. president, thanks for the opportunity
to be here.
we're excited about the new year and ready to get to work. >> mr. president, i want to thank you for inviting us here to camp david. i'm particularly pleased with the fact that we had an extremely productive conversation with the president and his team yesterday about how we go forward in 2018. we have big things to do for the american people. we're excited about getting to work on that. and as both the president and the leader said, we had historic achievements in 2017 that we want to build on. historic achievements that we believe will get our economy growing much faster. what we want to work on in 2018 is making sure that everyone enjoys the economic growth that's to come. we have people sidelined in society that need to get out of poverty and into the workforce so we want to focus on making sure that we can close that skills gap, that opportunity gap so that everyone can get the kind of life and the career that they can get in this country, that tap their potential. we have issues such as infrastructure we want to attend to.
we want to make sure secretary mattis and our military have the resources they need to keep us safe. so we have a very bold agenda for 2018. we think this is one that will appeal everyone, between democrats, republicans
and independents, so we're excited about the progress that's already been made and we're very excited about what we have in store for us for 2018. thank you. >> thank you, paul. mike. >> thank you, mr. president. 2017 was a year of extraordinary accomplishment. and the congressional leaders who are gathered here were incredible partners with this president and our entire administration in advancing the interests of the american people. rebuilding our military, supporting law enforcement, historic regulatory reform, appointments to our courts to uphold the rule of law and the constitution at the supreme court to courts of every level and of course historic tax reform, repealing the obamacare mandate and opening up american energy from alaska too from
around the globe. the president's policies have been achieving extraordinary results. nearly 2 million new jobs created, unemployment at a 17-year low. our economy is already growing at a pace that most economists didn't predict would happen for years. 3% and we're looking to exciting predictions for 2018. but as the president said at the close of 2017, we're just getting started. the president convened the congressional leadership gathered here with members of our cabinet to outline the president's priorities for the coming year. those include a budget agreement, investment in our military to truly rebuild and make the strongest military in the world even stronger still. immigration reform and enforcement. the construction of a wall and border security as well as dealing as the president just said with the issue of daca. we truly do believe there are opportunities after our discussions this weekend for bipartisan work on a broad range of issues from infrastructure to
workforce to vocational education. i can say i'm even more confident after this weekend's discussion that with the president's leadership and with the strong leadership in the congress we're going to keep delivering for the american people in 2018 and create a stronger and more prosperous america. >> thank you very much, mike. any questions for the group? yes. >> mr. president, i didn't hear any mention here of welfare reform. is that something that is still on the agenda? >> we're looking at it. it's a subject that's very dear to our heart. we'll try to do something in a bipartisan way, otherwise we'll be holding it for a little bit later. but we'll be looking to do that very much in a bipartisan way if we can. >> mr. president, talking about the policy issues that you all were focusing on the last few days here at camp david but this morning you were tweeting about your mental state. why did you feel the need to tweet about that this morning. >> only because i went to the
best colleges, or college. i went to -- i had a situation where i was a very excellent student, came out and made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people. went to television and for ten years was a tremendous success, as you probably have heard. ran for president one time and won. and then i hear this guy that does not know me, doesn't know me at all, by the way, did not interview me -- he said he interviewed me for three hours in the white house. it didn't exist, okay. it's in his imagination. and what i was heartened by, because i talk about fake news and the fake news media, was really was the fact that so many of the people that i talk about in terms of fake news actually came to the defense of this great administration and even myself because they know the author and they know he's a fraud. and when i saw some of the people say, and you look at some of his past books, he did a book on rupert murdoch.
it was a terrible expose and it was false, so much of it was false. i consider it a work of fiction. and i think it's a disgrace that somebody is able to have something, do something like that. the libel laws are very weak in this country. if they were strong, it would be very helpful. you wouldn't have things like that happen where you can say whatever comes to your head. but just so you know, i never interviewed with him in the white house at all. he was never in the oval office. we didn't have an interview. and i did a quick interview with him a long time ago having to do with an article, but i don't know this man. i guess sloppy steve brought him into the white house quite a bit and it was one of those things. that's why sloppy steve is now looking for a job. oe okay. who else do you have? >> sir, just a follow-up. mr. president, the meetings now between south korea and north korea, the discussions, i was going to ask are you comfortable that this will remain just about
the olympics? >> i spoke with the president, as you know, with president moon of south korea. he thanked me very much for my tough stance and, you know, for 25 years they haven't been using a tough stance. they have been giving everything. when you look at what bill clinton did, and you've seen the famous clip where bill clinton wants to give him everything and where i said years ago with russert on "meet the press" many years ago, we -- i talked -- i don't think anything has changed. you have to have a certain attitude and you have to be prepared to do certain things. i'm totally prepared to do that. but president moon called me and we had a great discussion a couple of days ago and he thanked he very much. i hope it works out. i very much want to see it work out between the two countries. i'd like to see them getting involved in the olympics and maybe things go from there. so i'm behind that 100%. he actually thanked me. he said -- and a lot of people have said and a lot of people
have written that without my rhetoric and without my tough stance, and it's not just a stance. this is -- this is what has to be done if it has to be done. that they wouldn't be talking about olympics, that they wouldn't be talking right now. >> are you comfortable that they're not also taking the conversation beyond the olympics -- >> oh, i hope they do. i hope they do. i would love to see them take it beyond the olympics. we have a very good relationship with south korea. i would love to see it go far beyond the olympics, absolutely. and at the appropriate time we'll get involved. but i like the idea of their dealing on the olympics. that should be between those two countries. >> mr. president, did you ask the white house counsel to ask attorney general sessions not to recuse himself -- >> everything i did is 100% proper. the story in "the times" was way off, or at least off. everything that i've done is 100% proper. that's what i do, is i do things proper. i guess the collusion now is dead because everyone found that after a year of study there's been absolutely no collusion.
there's been no collusion between us and the russians. now, there has been collusion between hillary clinton, the dnc and the russians. unfortunately, you people don't cover that very much. but the only collusion is between hillary and the russians and the dnc and the russians and one of those things. any other questions? >> in what way was "the new york times" story off? >> you'll find out. but the story was off. >> do you stand by jeff sessions as your attorney general? >> yes. >> and will gary cohn continue to remain -- >> i hope so. where's gary, is he here? he was here. >> did you hear the question, gary? in this beautiful hangar that's freezing? >> i did not, sir. >> they said will gary cohn continue or remain in the administration. i said i hope so. now, if he leaves, i'm going to say i'm very happy that he left, okay? all right. come on, gary. come here. are you happy, gary?
he just passed a very big bill. i think he's happy. >> yes, i'm happy. how's that? >> gary hopefully will be staying for a long time. >> just a follow-up on the conversations between north korea and south korea. are you willing to engage in phone talks with kim jong-un right now? >> sure. i always believe in talking. i'm very firm but i would be very -- absolutely i would do that, no problem with that at all. >> so no prerequisites to coming to the table and talking with him? >> that's not what i said at all. look, right now they're talking olympics. it's a start. it's a big start. if i weren't involved, they wouldn't be talking about olympics right now, they'd be doing no talking or it would be much more serious. he knows i'm not messing around. i'm not messing around, not even a little bit. not even 1%. he understands that. at the same time if we can come up with a very peaceful and very good solution, we're working on it with rex, we're working on it
with a lot of people. if something can happen and something can come out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all of humanity. that would be a great thing for the world. very important. >> mr. president, do you plan on involving yourself in republican primaries? >> yes, i'll be very much involved. that's one of the reasons, hard to believe my poll numbers have gone way up. you'll have to explain that to me one day, but i will tell you actually -- actually they have been explaining it to me but they want me to be involved. we're going to be very involved, in fact not only with the senate, also with the house. >> and protecting -- >> protecting incumbents and whoever i have to protect. look, we need more republicans. we have to have more republicans. with that being said, i think we're going to go bipartisan. i think we'll have some really great bipartisan bills. but we need more republicans so that we can really get the rest of the make america great again
agenda passed and so i will be actually working for incumbents and anybody else that has my kind of thinking. i think that's going to happen and we'll make a lot of trips. we'll be very involved. i think you folks are going to be very happy because you're doing to be a lot of traveling. >> does that include some challengers to incumbents too? >> i don't see that happening. i don't see that happening at this moment, no. i think they have sort of scattered. we have somebody that lost us the state of alabama and i think as far as i'm concerned that was a shame that that was lost. it should never have been lost. you have to -- look, with it all being said, we have the right policy, we have the right everything. you still need a good candidate. you don't have a good candidate, you're just not going to win so we should have never lost alabama. it shouldn't have happened. any other questions? >> i know you released a very long list of requirements of things that you want immigration tied to for daca -- >> i can say some of the basics.
we want the wall. the wall is going to happen or we're not going to have daca. we want to get rid of chain migration, very important. and we want to get rid of the lottery system. in addition to that, we want some money for funding. we need some additional border security. these are great people and we need some border security. we need i.c.e. but we want to make sure that in terms of what we want. and we want daca to happen. we all -- everybody -- i think i can speak for everybody. we want john cornyn from texas, we all want daca to happen, but we also want great security for our country, so important. we want to stop the drugs from flowing in. very important. so we have to get rid of the visa lottery. you know, the lottery is a disaster. they give you people -- in fact, as you know, the person on the west side highway that killed eight people and so badly injured legs and arms, so badly
injured many more, he came in through the lottery system. and remember this, the lottery -- it's just common sense. they're not sending us their finest, okay. when somebody gets picked in the lottery, we're not getting their best people. so we have to get rid of the lottery system. we have to get rid of chain migration. we have to have the ball. >> do you want the lottery and chain migration aspects in that same piece of legislation? >> i think it should be in the same legislation, yes. i think frankly the democrats feel strongly about it too. chuck schumer is new york. he saw somebody that came in through the lottery system. he saw this man kill eight people on the west side highway that he knows very well and he loves like i do. i think he's okay with it. i really think we'll have a lot of democrat support. i hope so. okay? >> mr. president, have there been any more efforts to get mexico to pay for the wall? >> yeah, i believe that mexico will pay for the wall. i have a very good relationship with mexico. as you know, we're negotiating
nafta. we'll see how that goes. yes. but mexico will pay. in some form mexico will pay for the wall. >> we have time for one more question. >> mr. president, if robert mueller asks you to come and speak with his committee personally, are you committed still to doing that? >> just so you understand, there's been no collusion. there's been no crime. and in theory everybody tells me i'm not under investigation. maybe hillary is, i don't know, but i'm not. but there's been no collusion, there's been no crime. but we have been very open. we could have done it two ways. we could have been very closed and it would have taken years, but sort of like when you're done nothing wrong, let's be open and get it over with. honestly, it's very, very bad for our country. it's making our country look foolish. and this is a country that i don't want looking foolish. and it's not going to look foolish as long as i'm here. so we've been very open and we just want to get that over with.
okay, anyone else? thank you very much. i appreciate it. thank you. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> and the president leaving the podium there at the hackberry building at camp david, assembled with some of the 23 members of the administration and top congressional officials who have come there to camp david to talk about the 2018 legislative agenda. i'll just say on a personal note for many of us that covered the terrible horrific shooting of steve scalise at that baseball field in suburban d.c. -- actually in virginia specifically, it's good to see him there. he was standing there with a couple of canes to prop him up, but it was good to see him there. he is the house majority whip. let's go to the white house and nbc's kelly o'donnell standing by. kelly, the president went through a laundry list of things and a bit of a cheerleading session for 2017 applicators, the appointment of neil gorsuch and building up the military, talking about their movements on immigration, daca, the wall. he could not, though, escape the
long shadow of the book "fire and fury." so give us your interpretation of all that was said there. >> reporter: the question was in the context of the fact that the president is assembled with top officials from his administration talking about serious policy issues and yet while at camp david, he felt compelled to tweet about his own mental stability. so that was the way the question was framed. that is a backdrop for the president's thinking right now and his mood and his outlook. he talked in many ways sort of like a spoken tweet. he reiterated his own sense of frustration about the contents of the book, insisted he had never submitted to an interview with michael wolff, who told savannah guthrie exclusively on the "today" show that he had spent about three hours collectively with the president, although he acknowledged it may not have appeared to the president that it was an interview. president trump saying, no, he did not submit for an interview for the book out now, had spoken to michael wolff for a separate article some time ago and again talking about his own education, having gone to the university of pennsylvania, the wharton school, talking about his
success in business, talking about his one run for the presidency resulting in his election and time in office as sort of on its face an example of what he believes is his established, intelligence and capability to serve in the office. the fact that he's having to discussion that itself is sort of a surreal experience. it comes at a time when at camp david it is highly unusual to have any sort of media coverage across several presidents that i have covered so it's unusual in and of itself, beeing surrounde by some of the top republicans in his administration. as we saw shortly after the tax cut was passed, effusive praise from top leaders in congress for the president and his leadership. as mitch mcconnell, the senator majority leader called it for a right of center nation, which is their point of view, they believe it has been a successful first year in office. some of the highlights that stand out is a willingness for the president to both be on the road for republicans in the midterm elections and at the same time talking about the need for bipartisanship on issues
like immigration. he's insisting a border wall and enhanced border security are must-dos for him but in exchange he suggests that daca, which is the program for young immigrants who were brought to the united states illegally as children, extending legal status for them, something he says he wants to see happen. but we certainly get the impression that there's an exchange there in his view about how bipartisanship would work. so the president also notably talking about lending his name recognition, his capabilities on the campaign trail, his fund-raising ability to candidates who will offer themselves up on the ballot, republicans, incumbents or new candidates this year. it will be interesting to watch in the months ahead how many of those candidates and incumbents take him up on that, given his poll ratings. it will be a decision they make race by race, based on how popular the president is or is not in their district or state. so headlines today also about north korea where he said that
president moon called him, talking about the new interaction between the south korean leadership and north korea in advance of the olympic games, wanting to focus on that being secure and safe for all who will participate. and the president saying perhaps that is a good start that could lead to something more permanent when it comes to trying to slow the progress of kim jong-un's nuclear capabilities and his threatening nature in what has been a volatile back-and-forth at least verbally between president trump and the north korean leader. so it is unusual that the president would call what amounted to be a press conference. let me just emphasize for our viewers that this was a limited number of reporters part of the daily traveling pool, roughly a dozen, so just a handful who were transported to camp david. not the full complement. no advance warning given to prepare for questions and so our colleagues certainly held their own trying to hit a number of the subjects of the day. this was not a full white house press corps opportunity to
question president trump. alex. >> yes, but clearly professionals were there because i'm looking at the themes that were struck with the questions and as you said, kelly, they did a great job trying to hit all the bullet points. as you always do, kelly, thank you very much for that. joining me now, kimberly atkins as well ass iyamiceh alcindor. ladies, with a good day to you, i want to get your reactions to what you just heard from the president. kimber kimberly, i'll go for you first. there was a lot about russia and the reiteration by this president, no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. >> yeah, he expect even answer the question as to whether he would sit down with robert mueller if asked. he just said there's no collusion, that this investigation is bad for the country and that the time should be spent investigating hillary clinton. this is a repeated refrain by the president both in his statements and his twitter account. so it wasn't a lot of surprise
there. but you can really see the pressure that the president is putting on his justice department with these signals to hillary clinton and it's i don't think coincidental that we had the news this week that there are actual investigations into hillary clinton, into the e maimai mails that she sent as well as her aides and the clinton foundation. this seems to be an effort by the justice department and attorney general jeff sessions himself trying to keep his job and doing what the president wants him to do as we get more information about this mueller investigation. >> yeah. >> looking into folks, looking into people within his own circle, so that wasn't surprising. >> you know, as much as the appellate a president and those assembled with him, those 23 folks trying to discuss the 2018 agenda, there was no escaping the aftermath of all the revelations in this book and in fact the question was posed to the
president about why he had to feel the need to tweet this morning and bolster his credibility with his mental stability and his intelligence. let's take a listen to what the president had to say about that. >> only because i went to the best colleges -- college. i went to -- i had a situation where i was a very excellent student, came out and made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people. went to television and for ten years was a tremendous success, as you probably have heard. ran for president one time and won. and then i hear this guy that does not know me, doesn't know me at all. by the way, did not interview me for three -- he said he interviewed me for three hours in the white house. it didn't exist. it's in his imagination. and what i was heartened by, because i talk about fake news and the fake news media, was really the fact that so many of the people that i talk about in terms of fake news actually came
to the defense of this great administration and even myself because they know the author and they know he's a fraud. and when i saw some of the people say, and you look at some of his past books, he did a book on rupert murdoch, it was a terrible expose and it was false, so much of it was false, i consider it a work of fiction. and i think it's a disgrace that somebody is able to have something, do something like that. the libel laws are very weak in this country. if they were strong, it would be very helpful. you wouldn't have things like that happen where you can say whatever comes to your head. but just so you know, i never interviewed with him in the white house at all. he was never in the oval office. >> so, yamiche, i'm going to speak over the president there because his most robust answer to anything that was asked of him was in answer to this question, why he felt the need to tweet. give me your thoughts on this and how this affects everything that's happening in camp david today. is there an undercurrent as they
try to look at the 2018 legislative agenda that this is really what is taking up most of the attention and focus? >> i think that's definitely the theme there. the idea is michael wolff has completely gotten under the skin of president trump. he's obviously now really, really focused on him, it's really bothering him. the fact that he has to go and essentially list off his resume and talk about how great he is and even tweet that he was a stable genius shows you that he's really bothered by this. as they're trying to set all these agendas and trying to talk about legislation, you can just tell that he's going to be on twitter, reading about this, watching the news, trying to figure out what people are saying, trying to figure out what people are taking his side and i think michael wolff will continue to sell more books mainly because the president can't staop talking about him. >> all right, ladies, unfortunately this is an abbreviated discussion because of the president and all of those who took part at that podium. but thanks so much. that's a wrap for me for this
hour. i'm alexwitt. i'll see you at the top of the hour with what to make of the access michael wolff got in his reporting. could this have happened in any other administration? we'll hear from someone who spent a lot of time in the obama white house and get his take. "velshi & ruhle" starting right now. markets kicking off 2018 with a big bang, while investors yawn as the latest controversy rocks the trump white house. why? one word. deregulation. >> america's jobless rate at its lowest level in 18 years so why aren't workers' wages going up more? it might have something to do with where you live. i am city stephanie ruhle am so happy to be joined by my friend, david gura.