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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  December 29, 2018 9:00am-10:01am PST

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n time everytime. and if we are ever late, we'll give you a automatic twenty dollar credit. my name is antonio and i'm a technician at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. that's it for me this hour. i'll see you again at 3:00 p.m. joy reid will be back next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern and coming up, frances is here with the latest. >> great, see you back here in a little bit, morgan. good day to you, i'm frances riviera in new york. alex wit is off today at high noon in the east, 9:00 out west, here's what's happening. shutdown day eight, the president threatening to close the border with mexico while dems dig in their heels when both sides could come back to the table. the next casualties if an agreement isn't reached, new reporting on the impact that's about to be felt.
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plus a new poll on the public appetite partner impeachment. >> and we begin with a live look at the capitol on day eight of the partial government shutdown. two big stories developing today, president trump canceling plans to fly to mar-a-lago for new year's eve and threatening to close down the entire u.s.-mexico border if democrats refuse to fund the wall he promised his voters. and new details on how low the president was willing to go. nbc news learned that president trump backed down on his original demand of $5 billion but democrats turned down his revised request for $2.5 billion. >> we've put forth at least three different offers to extend funding into the new year. the gotten themselves into a difficult situation and they're looking for us to give them a lifeline but we've been clear. we are not going to allow the american people to be held hostage to a $5 billion or somewhere south of that ransom
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note in order to build a ridiculous border wall that's not going to make anyone safe. >> homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen is on day two of a border tour. she is expected to visit yuma, arizona. yesterday she visited officials in el paso, texas, where philippe gomez, an 8-year-old migrant guatemalan boy crossed the border with his father and died in a hospital in new mexico. he is the second child to die in u.s. immigration custody in less than a month. meanwhile as democrats prepare to take control of the house on thursday, a new harvard harris poll commissioned by the hill.com shows 41% of voters think congress should not move to censure or impreach president trump. 39% say he should be impeached and removed from office, while 20% say he should be censured. following the latest developments on the shutdown for us, nbc's kelly o'donnell at the white house and also nbc's mike at the capital. kelly, to you first. the president tweeting about a
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shutdown a short time ago, saying that he's basically there at the white house waiting for this deal. >> as you explained, frances, not in florida which was part of his holiday plan. that on hold with the shutdown. the president saying he is here and urging democrats to come on over. now, we don't know if that's meant to be an actual invitation or just some of the kind of twitter speak we've come to see with president trump who is clearly trying to position this gap in the negotiations, this sort of quiet period which is in some ways inexplicable because in the past, we've seen furious negotiations going on, not so this time in part because of the lay of the land. democrats will take control of the house in the new congress and the president has made an offer according to officials of $2.5 billion, that's half of what he originally demanded for the border wall, and he's been talking about trying to seal the border as a way to shut down commerce as a leverage point to try to twist some arms. democrats have said, as you
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played in that clip from jeffries, that there is no intention to accept the border wall but a willingness to work on getting the government back open. what we have seen from white house officials is pointing the finger of blame at nancy pelosi, even though it is chuck schumer, the top democrat in the senate, what's been doing the negotiating because the senate is the really critical point of trying to get something passed at this phase. mick mulvaney, who wears a number of hats here, the acting chief of staff and the budget director for the president, said, and there's not a lot to back this up, but he is saying that this is about nancy pelosi and the vote to make her speaker in the new congress. here's what mulvaney had to say on friday here at the white house. >> here's what i think is happening. this all comes down to mrs. pelosi's speakership. i think left to his own devices, chuck schumer and the senate democrats would cut a deal but they are protecting mrs. pelosi. if she cuts a deal with the president of any sort before her
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election on january 3, she's at risk of losing her speakership so we're in this for the long haul. >> the white house with mulvaney, with the president himself, with sarah sanders all sort of twisting nancy pelosi at a time when she is about to presumably come into her speakership as the head of house democrats, but that actual election does need to take place next week, and the white house is trying to sort of lay out a bit of a pr game before the new congress comes back into town and to fill this void where there doesn't seem to be much happening except the government is partially shut down. frances. >> we will see one side of it all will be budging in the days to come. thank you. to you, now, mike. you were looking at our countdown clock earlier, doing a little math. hopefully your math is much better than mine. >> reporter: i think we have five days until next thursday, so that would put us at 13 on the countdown clock in we're at 8 now. maybe we're at 7. i was told there would be no
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math, frances. but following on what mick mulvaney said, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to say that nancy pelosi's afraid to make a deal before thursday simply because of republicans are still in control of the house until thursday and they've already pass add bill that gives the president the $5 billion that he seeks for the wall. so, as talking points go, that one might be a little bit suspicious. but one thing is certain, and mick mulvaney is probably right about this, this thing is on a glide path now until at least thursday. unless the politics change on this, frances, democrats feel like they are holding auto cards now. they are in the serm they were and medium term unlikely to give president trump $1 for the wall he seeks, much less the $5 billion or the $2.5 billion that the white house and the republicans have been let it done that they have put on the table. democrats have called the wall immoral, to give an inch on this now, they're sort of in a box. then they're simply complicit in
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immorality so both sides are dug in on their positions, unlikely to see any movement until the afternoon, next thursday, when in fact democrats take over the house and they can pass something very quickly to reopen the government, then it all depends on the senate and the president. >> and as you said, there's key words, unless politics change. we will see. mike, thank you so much. i want to bring in jane newton, a contributor for "time" magazine. and steph from axios. let's zero in on this amount, this $2.5 billion number offered by the white house. how significant is that, a concession, and why was there this rejection when it comes to chuck schumer? >> i think if you look back, the president has changed the amount of money he's requested a few times, most recently we've seen him saying $5 billion was what he needed but as you all have reported, that's been limited down to $2.5 billion. either way, trump just wants to ensure that this money can be used specifically for his border wall and then on the other side, we have democrats who are unwilling and very united on the
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fact that they are unwilling to provide any funding for this wall. and i think it really does come down to how they're going to define this wall, whether it's just fencing and ensuring that fencing that is already existing is fixed, which has been the case in past funding that has been given towards border security, or whether it is going to be able to be actually used for more of this wall that the president has talked about. >> yeah, we've heard the back and forth with that when it comes to the steel slats, barriers, everything in between. jay, you heard incoming acting chief of staff mick mulvaney tossing out that theory now being pushed by the white house. is this really what's at stake for pelosi and the wedge that seems to be driven here or is it just an attempt to shift blame? >> look, frances, i think this is an attempt to shift blame because trump was the one who said, i proudly take credit for shutting down the government and for mulvaney to come out and say it's actually nancy pelosi's fault. if he was serious about talking to nancy pelosi, why hasn't he spoken to her since december 11?
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that's been 18 days with no communication. and as mike was pointing out earlier, this is not a problem of the house. the house has already passed a bill. it's a problem of the senate and the senate neetsds to find the votes in order to pass this bill. the senate democrats have staunchly refused to pass the republican bill that gives no more than $5 billion for this border wall funding and that's really chuck schumer saying no way, i don't want to pass this so to say it's somehow nancy pelosi's fault is i think just them trying to deflect and lay the glblame elsewhere. >> when it comes to that and schumer not accepting the $5 billion stuff, we have nbc news reporting that it's because the president didn't say it publicly. it wasn't a public announcement or declaration. would that change, though, if that were the case? >> it's hard to tell at this point. if the president came forward and said, hey, i'm willing to negotiate with $2.5 billion, maybe we could see some movement on these efforts, but at the same time, this really is to the democrats' advantage. they're taking over the house, shortly, next week, and so i think we're going to see
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democrats not really willing to budge for any funding on this wall. and again, maybe as this government shutdown drags on and as we see the repercussions worsen and we see more people impacted, that will put more pressure on both sides of the aisle to come to a solution so perhaps there's room for compromise there. but at the same time, democrats are going to take over the house next week, which will limit the president's chances of getting the border wall funding that he's asking for. >> what would a budge look like when you're talking about budging on either side, jay, this number? what would the number be that most would think would be acceptable on either side when it comes to border security, building a wall here? you know, is it calling it just border security? would that change things at all? semantics? or does it need to be more? >> you certainly see the president sort of fudge as you were saying earlier, frances, in saying whether they're slats or border security, but then, i think it's hard for him to say that it's not the big, beautiful wall, because that's what he always says. and if it's, you know --
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democrats have long side they would give more money for border security in terms of drones and personnel on the border which has always been, if you talk to experts, the better way to do border security rather than building physical walls so the question for trump is, does he give up the big, physical beautiful wall, accept $2.5 billi $2.5 billion of funding for drones or other non-physical solutions here, and then does he declare victory with that or does he dig in and say, no, i want that physical wall because that's what i promised my base. >> let's talk about what this shutdown looks like when it comes to several departments here in some federal parks closed as well as other departments, civil suits in new york not going through, so stuff in your latest piece, you lay out the next casualties of the government shutdown. so, talk about that, the growing impact, and how dire it's going to get, especially in the next coming days. >> certainly as this drags on longer and longer, there are going to be more and more repercussions of this shutdown.
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already there are approximately 100,000 federal workers who are either furloughed or who are having to work without pay, and there's some agencies such as the environmental protection agency and the smithsonians that have had money to keep operating for the past week, but now have run out of funds and are now having to shut down themselves as well. and we saw the office of personnel management send out a letter earlier this week explaining how workers could request lower payments if they had to pay rent, requesting that, hey, we're furloughed, even suggesting that they offer their own services of painting or fixing up places in the buildings, which just shows that this is looking like it's going to be a long-term thing, at least for the next several days. and as i said, as we see workers not receiving one or even two checks, we're going to see more pressure mount on republicans and democrats to find a solution to this. >> you think of their families and kids going back to school and how they're just going to have to deal with that
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altogether so certainly on their minds as well. thank you to jay and steph. always great to have you with me. there's a new poll that reveals what americans think about impeaching president trump. but how much does public opinion matter? also, the one potential opponent he might have no chance of defeating in 2020. no chance of defeating in 2020
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the president is playing the long game here and saying, i want to be on the side of border
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security, unmistakably so, if that means a short-term government shutdown, so be it. >> that's kaylee. this comes as the president is lowering his demands for a border wall. 47% hold trump responsible with 33% blaming democrats in congress. joining me now is congressman dan, a democrat from michigan. congressman, thanks for joining us here. as we look at those numbers in that poll, does that make democrats less inclined to cut any deal when it comes to this border wall? >> i think it's a mistake for us to take too much from these polls. we should just adopt policy that makes sense. democrats believe in border security. we just don't believe that we should build a monument to donald trump's foolish campaign promise, which, by the way, he promised mexico would pay for. we want border security. we want it to be thoughtful. and we want it in the context of more comprehensive immigration reform. if the president really wants to make a deal, it shouldn't be a
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deal about how much of his singular priority we are willing to fund. but what we can do to actually ensure we have immigration and border security policies in this country that make sense. he doesn't seem to want to go to there. >> congressman, let's talk about this as far as the efforts of the white house. nbc news learned that offer made last saturday to senator schumer that was half the amount of the original $5 billion, would that number be acceptable for you? >> not really because it's still just another down payment on a policy that is not proven to be effective. i mean, i listened to people, republicans like will heard from the border who work for the cia for a decade, he's one of my colleagues in congress. he doesn't think this makes any sense to $2.5 billion or $5 billion for something that doesn't make sense is not something i'm willing to support. if the president's willing to have an honest conversation or appoint somebody who's capable of having a thoughtful and honest conversation to negotiate with democrats and republicans in the house and senate, we can get this done.
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in 2013, the senate passed comprehensive immigration reform. the house republican leadership refused to put it on the floor. that's the kind of approach that we should take and if the president's willing to do this, if he wants to see us increase border security, we'll go there. we'll do this. but we're not going to use seventh century technology for a 21st century problem just because in the middle of a campaign speech, he thought he would say, build a wall. it just doesn't make sense. >> congressman, you know very well the republicans are trying to shift the blame to nancy pelosi on this shutdown. we've heard from mick mulvaney. let's have a reminder of what he said yesterday. >> this all comes down to mrs. pelosi's speakership. left to his own devices, i think chuck schumer and the senate democrats would cut a deal but they're protecting mrs. pelosi. she does not have the votes and if she cuts a deal with the president of any sort before her election on january 3rd, she's at risk of losing her speakership. >> all right, so you have that
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suggestion from mulvaney, saying that nancy pelosi doesn't want to make this deal because of that vote for house speaker is on the, you know, january 3rd on the floor there. how much truth there, even just the slightest bit of truth? >> not even a little bit. and look, i know mick. we served together. i consider him a friend of sorts. but he's got this entirely wrong. and i think they know it's wrong. they're trying to make nancy pelosi the demon in all of this. she has the votes to be speaker. she's going to be elected speaker next thursday. and that's a good thing for this country. so, they ought to sort of get it right and realize that this is about the substantive issues that we're trying to work out here, not about personalities. >> if she cut a deal at this very moment, if she takes him up on this invitation, say, come to the white house, let's make a deal, and she does, would she lose any votes as far as the progressives on her side? >> well, first of all, it would depend on what the deal says. i don't think we're in a position where we would accept,
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as i said before, $2.5 billion for donald trump's idea of what border security looks like, even if it doesn't make sense. but i will say this. her speakership and her leadership and her strength is not going to be based on the position she takes on a single one particular point of view. it's because she is a tough negotiator, it's because she has been unwilling to give donald trump, who's basically acting like a spoiled child, to give him what he's asking for, because he's willing to shut down the government. that toughness is what, i think, positions her to be speaker and that's why progressives and moderates along the spectrum of the democratic party are supporting her to be speaker. >> i want to turn now to the public's appetite for impeachment. there's a new poll that shows that 39% of respondents say that donald trump should be impeached and removed. 41% say nothing should happen. >> i think that polling gives an idea of where the american people are but when it comes to
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my assessment of whether the president should be impeached, it's going to be based solely and only on the facts and i'm going to wait for mr. mueller's report in order for me to completely analyze those facts. and then we should ignore the political consideration. we should not impeach him for political reasons and we should not be afraid to take up that constitutional tool for political reasons either. we have to be very careful about this. >> congressman, great to have you with me. thank you for your perspective. still ahead, just say no. rudy giuliani's new message to robert mueller. shield℠ annuities from brighthouse financial
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new today, president trump is taking aim once again at the special counsel in a tweet the president expressed his frustrations with the investigation. "the mueller angry democrats recently deleted approximately 19,000 text messages between fbi agents. this is a total obstruction of justice. all texts demanded." but earlier this month, the justice department released a report announcing the retrieval of more than 20,000 text messages between the agents. joining me now is msnbc legal contributor katie fang and former federal prosecutor steven, author of the new
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book "rethinking u.s. election law." katie, the president's lawyer, rudy giuliani, is also making these assertions about the texts here so when it comes to the basis, what evidence are they basing their claims on? >> rudy giuliani is probably the most consistently inconsistent person you can have as a trump surrogate. because at this time, he's now saying, look, these text messages, does donald trump really know, do they have value, i mean, if donald trump is now the threshold determination of whether or not there's value in evidentiary value to those text messages then we should all just quit practicing law. but giuliani's always saying that he is not, as in donald trump is not going to be sitting down, perhaps in giving a live in person interview with robert mueller, but then he says, i'm not giving any more written answers. he's all over the place so i think the fact that giuliani himself cannot assert a position that donald trump is going to take vis-a-vis either the evidence that's been collected by robert mueller or a possible sitdown interview just goes to show that donald trump doesn't
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have sound legal strategy, frances. he doesn't really know how he's dealing with the mueller investigation. >> when it comes to the inconsistency that you were talking about, katie, steven, i want to ask you about this. you have rudy giuliani, who was on -- with the hill tv in an interview said that he believed the investigation should end soon and then he changed it and he said, you know, whether the president should answer any more mueller questions, so does the investigation move forward if there is no interview? can the president be subpoenaed? >> right. so, frances, giuliani has been all over the map on this and is not quite clear why. it's understandable why trump's lawyers might not want him to sit down for a live interview but it's also just as understandable that mueller would want one. there's no substitute for asking live questions and following up, you know, checking witness demeanor, looking for inconsistencies. i think he has that right. if trump's lawyers do refuse that sitdown, then he can subpoena the president. now, applicable supreme court precedent shows that a president
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must respond to a subpoena at least for production of documents and that the government's interests here are at their highest in a criminal investigation, which is what the mueller investigation is. trump's lawyers may try to distinguish that case involving president nixon and the subpoenaing the tapes by saying, well, a live interview is somehow more intrusive or more distracting. that argument might work, especially now that justice kavanaugh is on the court. he's famously an outlier, even among conservative justices, for saying, oh, let's not distract the president with criminal investigations. but if you take a look at all the supreme court case law, especially the one involving president clinton where they said that the case against him had to go forward, even while he was president, it seems like the weight of the precedent is on mueller's side, that he has the right to subpoena the president and the president should comply with that subpoena. >> and meanwhile, looking back to rudy giuliani, katie, i want to talk about that, especially with what you were calling the
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inconsistencies, that he's all over the place when it comes to what he's saying about the strategy of president trump here. is he helping the president or is he doing more harm legally for him? >> normally, if you were dealing with a regular client, you'd be saying he's doing a lot of harm to a legal strategy but you and i both know this is exactly the trump way that he plays theater. he's creating all these distractions and talking about all these issues so that in the end, he can say, no, i didn't take that position earlier or i didn't really say that so it helps him dodge. he's trying to figure out how to get to the end zone but he doesn't know how to get there so he's playing it by ear so he's letting people like rudy giuliani, foolishly, who's a legal representative of donald trump, he's letting having rudy giuliani go out there and say these things. there's going to be a challenge and i wouldn't want rudy giuliani to be my representative no court to be able to assert my legal position on this because i don't think it's going to be a
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winning one. >> eshlg whpecially when it com this triple fight here he's got when it comes to the special counsel, the southern district of new york as well, then the new york attorney general, so stephen, ahead to 2019, how is he going to stay afloat with these, you know, when it comes to kind of a trifecta? >> he certainly is going to have a lot of different legal challenges coming at him from multiple different directions. you're absolutely right about that. but he is unique in one respect. there is at least some authorities suggesting, although it's not quite clear yet, that a president -- a sitting president can't be indicted. so, from his perspective, it's not the legal court he's worried about. it's the court of public opinion and the court of congress with potential impeachment. and that's why, you know, what we just heard, it's -- it may be an unusual strategy for a normal client, but for a president, throwing up some confusion and, you know, banking it all on hoping that there won't be enough of a political call for
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impeachment, that may be his best strategy, because he may be thinking he won't actually be charged himself because he's a sitting president. >> yeah, well, when it comes to that, as far as the biggest threat, katie, and these investigations, which one is the biggest threat to him? >> i was telling somebody the other day, you can close your eyes, like pin the tail on the donkey and probably find one that could take down donald trump and the reason why is this. we never thought the trump foundation would be shut down and it just got shut down courtesy of the new york state ag so you see there's exposure and there's pressure points. there are achilles heels, multiply, for somebody like donald trump so usually, any one scandal would be enough to topple somebody like the president of the united states. but there are so many different opportunities, i think, for not only the democrats but also the, you know, prosecutors on a state level and a federal level to be able to find the huge hole to drive that mac truck through to be able to really get to donald trump from a legal basis. >> yeah and if not, infiltrate through his closest people, roger stone, his son, everybody
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else. so we'll see. a lot to watch in 2019 when it comes to the legal side of it. to both of you, katie, steven, thank you. what could be the biggest offense, president trump committed in his visit with troops overseas. that's still to come. s. that's still to come hey! yeah!? i switched to geico and got more! more savings on car insurance!? they helped with homeowners, too! ok! plus motorcycle, boat and rv insurance! geico's got you covered! like a blanket! houston? you seeing this? geico. expect great savings and a whole lot more.
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take a listen to some of the president's comments. >> the democrats don't want to let us have strong borders. only for one reason, you know why? because i want it. you just got one of the biggest pay raises you've ever received, unless you don't want it. you haven't gotten one in more than ten years. more than ten years. and we got you a big one. i got you a big one. two years ago, when i became president, they were a very dominant group. they were very dominant. today, they're not so dominant anymore. >> i want to bring in former nato supreme allied commander admiral james. admiral, you're shaking your head here. you're reacting just to that as we get started. >> indeed i am. that was really quite an extraordinary conference. i mean, picture barack obama going in front of a bunch of troops, and by the way, he came frequently to the combat zone when i was the commander at nato, i had 150,000 troops in
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afghanistan, president obama came, i think, at least 4 times. but picture him standing there and delivering an oration on obamacare and healthcare and how much he had delivered for it. inconceivable. it was a very strange performance by the president. >> well, interesting especially when he's gotten criticism that he didn't visit the troops, the fact that he wasn't at mar-a-lago, but you also heard the president, admiral, say that isis is not so dominant anymore, but last week side isis in syria was, quote, defeated. so is there any way to gauge here whether isis is defeated or just not as dominant? >> they are less dominant. i think that's fair to say. and one real measure of that, frances, is the territory they control. at one point, they, isis, controlled a significant chunk of both iraq and of syria and you might recall several years ago the islamic state was moving in tank columns and was a few hundred kilometers outside of baghdad. they controlled the second
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largest city in iraq, mosul. that's all been taken away from them, so territory has been reduced but they're still extremely dangerous, at least 30,000 fighters, walking away now as the president is doing from syria is like walking away from one of those california forest fires while it's still smoldering. you know it's going to burst up again if we just walk away. it's a mistake. >> well, when it comes to this visit here, you've got recent "new york times" article that quotes retired three star army lieutenant general mark about the politicized visit, calls the president's comments a, quote, violation of protocol by the president, so do you agree with it, that this move hurt soldiers? >> i think the general, who was part of my team when i was commander of u.s.-european command is an extremely thoughtful three star general. i think he's correct to call the president out for the general tone and tenor of that, and it is hurtful to soldiers, because it places them in a very
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uncomfortable position. let's face it. some of the soldiers support president trump, which is fine. some of them do not. but they all know the role of the u.s. military is to be apolitical, nonpolitical, to stay out of that world and so to put that kind of presentation in front of them is very uncomfortable for most of those troops. >> that's a sentiment that some veterans feel as well, especially when it comes to this particular one, an op-ed penned in "the new york times" sunday review, written by matt gallagher, that iraq veteran. so there are two items here that i want to get your take on. first, he writes about the president's field trip to the forever war. he suggests that americans have been conditioned to foreign war 18 years since 9/11 and that those in power should be forced to explain to americans why. so your take on that. >> i agree with matt that those in power should explain what our time line is, what the resources are we're devoting and why we're
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there and i think that by and large, both the bush administration, the obama administration, and the trump administration have laid out a pretty coherent case. we're there because of the rise of terrorism, because of the o propensity of these groups to take over territory. imagine today if iraq were conquered by the islamic state. not inconceivable. afghanistan would be a terrorist super state right now if we hadn't gone in there. and let's remember, frances, we've reduced the number of troops there from somewhere near 300,000 in iraq and afghanistan at peak to somewhere around 20,000 today and 95% drop. we're leveraging our allies, partners, and friends. that's a coherent strategy. the mistake i see in it at the moment is walking away from syria. that, we should not be doing. >> yeah, and that's the understanding of many americans, really need in knowing the reasoning bind all of this. you got the second item when it
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comes to that op ed as well being that less than 1% of americans wear the uniform, so gallagher writes this, that this president embodies our republic's earnest yet shallow understanding of military service while acting as reminder of the limited mass appeal of service itself. it's interesting how you'll take that, especially when it comes to your perspective with your experience. >> my personal experience is i go all over the country, i speak a great deal in public settings, people constantly come up and talk to me about service. i appreciate that. i take it as a very sincere representation. the point i would make, i think matt would agree with this, is that there are a lot of ways to serve this country. our diplomats, our cia agents, our police, our firefighters, our schoolteachers in low paying school districts, our nurses in low cost inner city clinics, peace corps volunteers, teach for america, volunteers for america, we need to expand that idea of service and thank all who are serving the nation and
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there are many, and i think that is the way to approach this idea of service. >> now, we know when it comes to that it's about the service of defense secretary james mattis and we know how that has come out with the resignation in protest of the president. so, how did those in the military as a whole feel about the commander in chief given that, given this visit, and given the words and the political rally that it's been described as? >> well, on secretary mattis, the general tone, speaking to both active duty friends and many, many retired friends and veterans, is dismay. people are very sorry to lose an officer and a secretary like james mattis. he really had personal connectivity to the troops, and if you look at it, president trump seems to be getting kind of tired of the generals, if you let me use a nautical metaphor as an admiral, he's thrown overboard general mcmaster, general flynn, general kelly, now general mattis.
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i think he has tired somewhat of these retired active duty, former active duty folks. i think within the military, there's a general sense that, maybe he isn't as lit up about the military as he was a couple of years ago. we'll have to see how things come out going forward. >> admiral james, as always, great to have you with us. thank you. >> thanks, frances, have a great new year. >> and to you. now to the threat of impeachment and the people who might be about to turn on president trump, and they're not democrats. esident trum ap,nd tht democrats.
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i understand the desire to sort of point the finger at nancy pelosi and say, this is your fault or this is your shutdown. i think that the ball's in her court, but remember, the president said that this is his shutdown and i'm not clear on what amount of money he needs in order to sign a funding bill. >> outgoing republican congressman ryan costello on the blame game for the government shutdown. he said he thinks it will drag on for at least several more weeks. i want to bring in now a former president for young democrats of america and also joe watkins, former white house aide to
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president george h.w. bush and republican strategist rick tyler, an msnbc political analyst. all of you, let's jump into this, starting with you, rick. how realistic is congressman costello's prediction? are we looking at several more weeks of this? >> yeah, i think it could go on for weeks, maybe longer. donald trump seems to have an intransit position and it's his position the house and the senate have both passed bills to fund the government. what they haven't passed is one that's passed both houses and sent to the president. they could do that very easily. the mitch mcconnell has said he will not put a bill in front of the senate that the president won't sign, but the president hasn't indicated what it is he will sign, and you noticed everybody left town and you notice that the republican leadership hasn't really informed its surrogates, no one is out there with a coherent message over the air waves about what we're fighting for, and they seem to have just left this up to donald trump. i think donald trump's strategy is to wait until nancy pelosi is
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speaker and then see if he can actually blame her. i think that's a misguided strategy but i think that's his strategy. >> that's the thing when it comes to the number, the names, steel slats, fence, you know, barrier. >> force field. >> exactly. joe, what do you make of the fact that nobody seems to know what the president is willing p willing to accept and will take? >> that creates a problem. it means this thing could, as rick said, drag on for longer than anyone would wish for it too. there are americans impacted by this, not just federal workers but the grantees, full-time contractors, americans who depend on these paychecks are now in limbo because of this unfortunate shutdown. it could drag on for weeks. >> we've also heard from incoming white house chief of staff mick mulvaney, he's saying who is to blame for this. let's listen. >> this all comes down to mrs. pelosi's speakership.
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i think left to their own devices, chuck shuchumer and th senate democrats would cut a deal. but if she cuts a deal of any sort, she's at risk of losing her speakership. >> what's the truth level? >> that was a cute and lovely spin but i think if anybody watched how soon to be speaker pelosi worked to secure her votes in the caucus to become speaker, i think that you would understand that what he just said is a lot of bs, actually. it's a very cute way, quite honestly, to spin the fact that, you know, trump has tried to make the shutdown the democrats' fault kind of the way, for my fellow millenials who watch "mean girls," it's not going to happen. it's very much he claimed proudly in the white house that he was going to do live on national television, he was going to shut down the government over funding for a wall. so he's going to try and gin up his base and try to make the point. when the numbers come back, and
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the numbers are not in his favor, they're clearly saying it's his fault, so we'll see how much he'll withstand the lower poll numbers. when it tips into his base, that's when it will happen. >> when you hear mulvaney trying to drive a wedge between the democrats when it comes to that vote. >> he may get people to believe that, it's sort of inside baseball. speaker pelosi went about getting her votes one at a time. she has the votes, they're secured. but not only that, there isn't a challenger to pelosi. there wasn't even a named challenger during the lead-up to it. so she has the votes, she's secure in her position. she will be the speaker. she'll be a formidable speaker. but the president wants, you know -- he always wants a foil, he always wants someone against, and he's going to get that. but he's got a pretty tough foil here. >> so much of a blame game going on with this, joe, you have a
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new reuters/ipsos policy say 47% of voters blame trump for the shutdown and 33% blame democrats. >> i think rick is right, they'll continue to try to blame, pin the blame on nancy pelosi but clearly the president said it was his shutdown early on, and i think he was right, it's his shutdown. 47% of the public sees it that way. and maybe some who aren't willing to say so. but clearly he shoulders a great deal of the blame for where we are right now. >> i want to bring up another poll here, because this one is involving impeachment. it's from harvard. here are the numbers. voters were asked if president trump should be impeached and removed from office, censured by congress, or no action. 41% said no action should be taken. 39% said impeach and remove from
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office. 20% said he should be censured. how should the white house interpret that, quirick? >> i'm troubled by this poll. impeachment is a very serious remedy for a president who misbehaves or has become unaccountable. you know, we don't have a list or articles of impeachment drawn up by the house. until we do, and that may come after the mueller investigation report is released, i doubt it will come before that, but until we do, i'm troubled talking about it. i don't want to go down this road. impeachment and talk of impeachment really undermines elections. it's undoing elections. the founders knew that very well. even though i'm a big trump critic, i would really have to be convinced of the evidence that he needs to be impeached. so i worry about that. i think the way to handle this is politically and at the polls, soundly defeat him at the polls if you want to get rid of him.
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>> what do you think of that when it comes to this, atima? you're nodding, is there agreement on that? >> yes. one of the interesting things about the poll, i was agreeing with rick on that, yeah, this is pretty stunning to see not only a certain amount of americans who think he should be impeached but also censured. so that's a large number for just any president of either party. you know, there's a majority of americans, at least certainly in this poll, who think there is cause to reprimand the president, be it impeachment or censureship. the other thing i was going to say, certainly is that i think to rick's point about impeachment, it's a serious thing, of course. and so obviously it's well-known in the democratic base that most folks think that trump is a crook and likely definitely, potentially a traitor to this country. the democrats picked up 40 seats by promising investigations,
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which they're stacking up their committees to take on. they need to make a clear case for impeachment as a result of those investigations that even the republicans would have trouble staying with the president on. >> final word, joe, when it comes to that impeach talk and whether that impeachment ball will start rolling once the dems take over. >> think both rick and atima have it right, they'll do their investigations, the new congress will, but everybody will be waiting to see what the mueller report has to say and then there might be this kind of talk continuing. it's still too early. >> atima, joe, rick, happy new year. still to come, homeland security secretary visits the border today. what can she do to protect migrant children from peril? i knew about the tremors.
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a government shutdown stalemate. one week in, no end in sight. both sides standing their ground. is anyone searching for middle ground? >> there have been zero negotiations in the interceding weeks. this thing is going nowhere. >> this is something that i think is going to be with us, unfortunately, for the long haul and that both sides are digging in on. >> up next, conflict, casualties, and barriers to compromise. plus -- will he or won't he? confusion over whether trump will answer any more questions from robert mueller and why he may not have any choice.
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