tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 31, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PST
it provides $1.3 billion in funding for the border. on january 3rd, when the house returns to the capitol hill, that proposal will get a vote. while the nearly two week stand off began over the president's demand for a $5 billion cement wall at the u.s. border, three of his closest allies the wall trump is intent on building isn't really a wall. revealing exit interview with the new york times. john kelly said to be honest, it's not a wall. the president still says wall. he'll say barrier or fencing. now he is tending toward steel slats. we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration. that sentiment was echoed by two more of trump's frequent defenders. >> the president said last week and he tweeted out pictures of steel slats. it depends on what customs and
border patrol says they need. they have said they need bar yo iers. >> the wall has become a metaphor for border security. what we're talking about is a physical barrier where it makes sense. in the past every democrat has voted for these physical barriers. >> trump pushed back that he had given up on a cement wall. an all concrete wall was never abandoned as han bes been the reported by the media. it's not the media. he adds some area will be all concrete but the experts prefer a call that's see through. meanwhile the manufactured crisis has create add real problem for real people. it's only a matter of time before you, the taxpayer, is impacted. as the shutdown barrels into its second week, a chief economists says if the shutdown last until the end of january, it will
knock $8.7 billion off the gross domestic product. joining me, nbc news white house correspondent jeff bennett, capitol hill correspondent, garrett hague and jennifer ruben. welcome, everybody. garrett, i'll start with you. there's a deal that the democrats are offering. what is it and is the president going to take it? >> reporter: it's not all bad news here in washington. there's a couple getting engaged down below here. we'll that i can as a good sign for this week. the deal that democrats are talking about doing when they come back in on thursday, we're talking about seven different parts of the government that are shutdown. they would pass full funding for the next year for six of those. on the 7th they will pass a continuing resolution to fund it until february.
in that continuing resolution there would be $1.3 billion for border security. none of it for a wall. this allows the democrats to come back in and say we're serious about solving this problem. we're serious about getting this done and challenge the senate to do the same. if it was good enough to fund the government, all the government until february 8th, ought it not be good enough to take this bill s and fund it through the next year. they said we won't take anything up that the president won't support. it's tough to see the president getting behind this. no matter what you call his wall, border, fence, slats, barrier. >> beaded curtain. >> reporter: none of those is funded in this deal. it puts pressure on republicans but seems unlikely to open the border all the way. >> they are offering border security, is the president going to take that idea of just border security and try to turn it into
a win? it feels like there's a lot of semantic arguments being made on either side. >> reporter: for watching at home that will say this is a silly semantic argument, they would be right. government isn't holding up funding over a policy issue, this is a political issue. he needs to find some suitable off ramp to get the government running gwen but to also show his base that he hasn't caved. what we have seen over the past week or two, at this point, is mick mulvaney, lindsey graham and john kelly tried to engineer an off ramp for the president to take. they have been trying to fudge the line between border security and a border wall. just today the president blew that all up saying this all concrete border barrier has never been abandoned. it's not just the american people, the majority of them who are against this border wall, it's also officials in the department of homeland security who says when it comes to securing the border you need
situational awareness. you have to see what's on the other side. a wall stretching from coast to coast, all that gets you is a tunnel underneath or a ladder over top. that is what john kelly was speaking to and that interview he gave the l.a. times. it's not clear what president trump wants. until that's clear, the shutdown drags on. >> eli, republicans never wanted this wall. when donald trump first introduced it as a campaign issue, there were a lot of eyes that rolled and a lot of folks on both sides saying that will never happen. it's a ridiculous idea. it's unnecessary. it's not the most effective thing. it's impractical. there's already a lot of fencing around the wall and there are other natural barriers and if you look at the john kelly interview with your paper, the l.a. time, he's very blunt about it. in some areas what is needed is more people on the ground. more border security agents and also more cyber security. more drones.
a wall stretching from coast to coast isn't feasibleimpractical. >> lindsey graham called it a metaphor. the president tweeted is talking about steel slats and a barrier even though he can't handle being contradicted by his out going chief of staff. has to say there still could be a concrete wall somewhere. that's because he's been selling this fantasy to his base for the better part of three years now and is remientnded every time h comes close to taking a deal to take border security funding, he is reminded by the ann coulters, the rush limbaughs, the people who speak for his voters who can sway his voters, he's reminded this is not actually what you promised us and he backs away and goes back to the mattresses and says i got to fight for more money for a wall to sort of reverse engineer this fantast
fantastical idea of building a huge wall across the boarder. people in washington do roll their eyes. this president has been selling it to his supporters not as a metaphor but as a literal wall he plans to build for three years. that's why he's in this difficult position of being in the shutdown and having to find somebody else to pin it on. the excuses aren't that believe able. >> he's been acceselling this i since 2015. he always sold it as a wall that mexico would pay for. it was a ludicrous claim back then. it was pointed out to be ludicrous during the campaign when reporters would ask how do you expect mexico to pay for it. they bent over back towawards t how to pay for it with increased fees through visas. he's already broken that campaign promise. he's no longer trying to fulfill
a campaign promise. he's trying to change it and make taxpayers pay for a wall that he promised the group of people who voted for him he would do. jennifer, this seems ridiculous. it seems like this was just not feasible is coming true. this is what happens when you elect somebody who made grand promises that couldn't be inacted. >> th -- enacted. >> this is the problem he has. his policy ideas are built on these fantastical lies. we can pull out of syria because isis is defeated. no one believes that. we can get every one fantastic medical care less than obama care and not have any other requirements.
he couldn't do that. he really has no interest in the details. he's out there selling. just like he sold tough steak, rotten vodka and trump u. he never delivers. it's not something he has interest in doing. now he's trapped. now two years in people are actually, on his side, expecting him to pay up. to do something. >> are they expecting him to do it with taxpayer money or are they expecting him to do it with mexico's money? >> originally i think it was mexico. i think you said something that was exactly right which is he has his way of redefining, moving the goal post so he can claim a victim v ttory and his supporters don't abandon him. if he can bend on mexico paying for it, why can't he build a fence rather than wall. donald trump's not motivated by
logic. he's motivated by fear in some sense of the ann coulters and rush limbaughs will jump down his throat. he is motivated by his own sense of grand i don't siocity. between scene republicans and sane democrats there isn't that much difference. they have agreed there must be border security. no democrat says i'm in favor of open borders as trump says. there's absolutely a deal to be made. donald trump is president, at least for now. that's why the whole thing becomes dysfunctional. that's why people who live paycheck to paycheck are out of work at the holidays. that's why he will hand nancy pelosi a big giant win when she comes back in couple of days. says i've opened the government.
what do you say and mitch mcconnell will say, ugh, ugh, i don't know what he'll say. it doesn't make sense politically. it doesn't make sense substantively. it's really not of this world. it's not grounded in reality. >> do republicans feel the way that jennifer feels that there is a no win scenario for them? that the president is handing nancy pe losi a premature victory. here is what senator shelby said. >> it's a question of when do we get off the blame game and get to serious negotiations. at the end of the day all of this will end, we don't know when in negotiations. it's not a question of who wins or loses. nobody will win this kind of game. nobody wins in a shutdown. we all lose. we kind of look silly. >> garrett, does everybody look sil silly? >> reporter: i think he fairly well encapsulates what senate
republicans feel. it is a split between senate and house republicans. senate republicans would like to see a deal. i've found few, if any, who feel the same desire to fight for wall that the president does. they want border security but the idea of wall, specifically, is not something that animates very many senate republicans. they are still in charge in the senate. they have a responsibility to govern. on the house side in the minority, house republicans have the option of being what they have accused democrats of being which is obstructionists. you can come out every day and say all you want is to see a wall and the president should just keep fightings and the minority in the house, pretty much all you can do is make noise. they will continue to back up the president and carry that message to the base. that split between the senate and the house on this will be telling because senate republicans do have that responsibility to govern. by the way, not to get too far ahead of ourselves but as we
start the look ahead towards 2020, there are plenty of senate republicans up in difficult places who have to start looking like they can be serious adults and who can legislate separate from their president if they want to keep their jobs past the next election. >> eli, has donald trump been talking to anybody on the democratic side? has the deal maker been trying to make a deal? >> the indications i've gotten from the white house is mike pence has had more conversation with senator schumer than the president himself. the president has been tweeting. he has not really been out there beating the drum and putting the pressure on democrats publicly to come back to the table. he's been throwing whatever he can get to stick at the wall saying his advisers have told me while pelosi doesn't want a deal because she doesn't have the votes secured to be speaker yet. pelosis add vi advisers and sta are moving into the speaker's
office already. a fence around obama's house as something that democrats like walls too. >> he done the same thing with the vatican. >> it's just not serious in terms of policy negotiations and bringing democrats back to washington and back to the negotiating table. >> anything that has wall, he'll bring up. thank you. garrett, that proposal you were just talking about. we got a picture of it. there they are. you can't shut down love. you can't shut down love. >> they found love in a hopeless place. they really did. >> oh, bringing out the rihanna. >> reporter: i'm going home. that's it. >> you can't. aren't you here next hour? >> reporter: and every hour after that. >> don't go anywhere. step off to the side. we'll scoot you in when we need you. garre garrett, thank you very much. up next, john kelly's exit
career, at least in the trump administration. his resignation was pushed up by two months by president trump. white house chief of staff john kelly's tenure is entding. administration turnover is not surprising after elections. it happens. what is surprising is how frank these two men have been with the press and reporters in their final days. secretary mattis alludesed to difficult times in a letter to the department of defense employees today. general kelly did a two hour interview with the l.a. times where he argued he should be judged on what the president did not do rather than what he did. joining me nbc news correspondent hans nichols and rick tyler. hans, you're standing there in front of the white house. how are these exit interviews playing at the white house? >> reporter: it's clear that president trump doesn't like the message that his departing chief of staff is propagating.
the president never really wanted a wall. they just want something closer to border security. the president taking to twitter to try to refute that even though that december 21 tweet where the president pictured a prototype of the wall. it was slats. the slats had spiked tips. it was a slatted wall and not a concrete wall. kelly is giving lie to that myth that the president wanted a concrete wall. >> kelly is being honest about what's happening. the president is going on twitter and claiming no, he wants this cement wall. who do folks believe, rick? the president or his two adults in the room. >> that's such a tough call. they will believe because what ma mattis and kelly are saying is all the reporting we have been hearing the last two years in
the whus. k -- white house. kelly keeping donald trump from executing on the worst impulses he has. it's very telling that kelly says that judge me by what the president didn't do. just think of the lost potential. a good chief of staff is supposed to execute the president's agenda, his vision for the country and everything else is kept out of the office or out of president's attention but this president has no vision for the country. make america great again turns tou out to be an empty slogan. it's an empty vessel. if kelly as chief of staff had president, really presidential vision of what the president wanted to do then he would have organized his time accordingly. instead he's like the dumpster firem firemen. he puts out a dumpster fire here and runs to the next one and puts it out. that pretty much is the summation of general kelly's
time as chief of staff at the white house. >> let me go back to hans. we now have multiple people taking credit for pulling the president back from the brink. it was said that mattis was the one who kept him in nato. matto the best of my recollection s ke-- mattis kept out. now kelly is saying the same thing. he's responsible for keeping troops in south korea and tensions down there. maybe it's both of them together making the arguments. who is left? >> reporter: 2019 might be more interesting than 2018. when you look at the what if arguments that you have from the m mattis and the kelly's, all the opportunities for the president to revert to his campaign promises exist in 2019.
it will be opportunities to withdraw troops from afghanistan. he campaigned on that. we shouldn't be surprised on that. it will be opportunities to withdraw from nato. there's a big nato summit in february. unclear who will be representing the administration. it will likely be the acting secretary of all the impulses of the president, whether or not he believes in article 5 of nato, the mutual defense clause, all those will be tested in 2019. it will be tested with fewer advisers to the president that firmly believe against what the president has been talking about and campaigning against. yes 2018 was interesting but for 20 2019, buckle up. >> is that the case in your opinion, rick? is 2019 going to be even more bo bonkers? >> yes. the president has lack of ability to attract high quality talent. look at the chief of staff that mulvaney got because he
unwittingly walked in front of him in the white house. m mattis laid it out saying you deserve a secretary of state that agrees with your vision. his vision has been things like withdrawing from the middle east before isis is defeated among others. withdrawing from south korea and withdrawing from nato. nato was the greatest deal that the americans could ever enter into. the idea we would have a coalition of allies that is in our interest to protect our national security. the only time article 5 was ever invoked was after 9/11. h ma mattis was so steeped in history. his departure letter is returning to duty and honor and
country. how thoughtful he is about his role and this is the complete opposite of our president. >> believes treating allies with respect is important and in making it very clear, he also made it clear he doesn't believe the president treats our allies with respect. happy new year, gentlemen. >> have a wonderful new year. here we go the senator elizabeth warren makes the first step toward a 2020 bid. who is cheering her on and who is saying no, no, no? we'll talk about it next. no we'll talk about it next it's time for our lowest prices of the season on the new sleep number 360 smart bed. it senses your movement and automatically adjusts to keep you both comfortable. and now, the queen sleep number 360 c4 smart bed
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2019 does not arrive for a few more hours but some are thinking about 2020. elizabeth warren says she's forming an exploratory committee for a presidential bid. she talked about why this morning. >> i spent my career getting to the bottom of why america's promise works for some families but others who work just as hard slip through the cracks into disaster. what i found is terrifying.
these aren't cracks that families are falling into. they're traps. america's middle class is under attack. >> warren later tweeted she will make a decision on whether to run in the early part of the new year. she joins three other democrats who have announced they are running or have formed exploratory committees for the 2020 race. joining me nbc news political reporter mike and basil. i always think basil of snl when i read your name. >> from austin powers. d >> thank you for being here. mike i'll start with you and the reporting you have. it's no surprise that elizabeth warren was going to form an exploratory committee. she's been expected to run in 2020 for some time. she's not quite making that announcement but what is she doing here? >> reporter: yeah and happy new year to you. when we talked to some of the advisers here for senator warren
and the days leading up to today's announcement and you ask them why now, you'll get some logistical reasons having to do with wanting to start raising money, start building out those early state operations. the key line was in a letter -- an e-mail that she sent to her supporters. she said the american people deserve a real debate about how to restore fairness for working families and about who to lead that fight. what she wants to do is jump start that debate and make it clear she's the best person to lead that debate. she will be sworn in for a second term here on thursday. when she returns to washington she'll be in a room with a lot of other senators running for president. she's running a race now about how kamala harris or cory booker is positioning themselves but what she's doing. >> let's put up the picture of all those who will be running.
why so early? we're in the final days or final hours of 2018. why announce it today and not six months down the line? >> reporter: there's been this game of chicken a little bit going on. i think if you is me six months ago how soon would we see some of these candidates jumping in, you might have had me guess late november, early december. it's a little bit slower than we might have expected but there really is an eagerness on the parts of the candidates to start hiring the key staff. it will be a lot of candidates. not enough staff to go around. she also has this really significant fund raising base that she wants to start tapping into quickly. putting up an early big fund raising number will be really important for every democratic candidate especially as we look at some of those names that might be slower to announce. beto o' rourke, joe biden, some of those who can raise money in a hurry.
>> let's get into the politics and strategy of this. she's putting target on her back by announcing this early. >> she is. i do agree with donor base and getting early support and staff is really important especially because california moved their primary to march. big state. incredibly diverse state. do you think that will make the candidate, whoever is chosen, more progressive in years past? >> this is what i'm not sure about. when i look at the 2018 midterms i look at the age and ethnic and ideological diversity that came out of that. for the lane that senator warren wants to occupy, i'm not sure she canning a agree v ing a gra. going to california she will need to come a little more to the left. what does that mean going forward in the general? my sense is doing it now gets her out there and go to these
early states and make her case. there will be so many others coming in shortly afterwards. i'm curious to see what lane she ends up occupying. >> there's maybe nobody else that is potentially going to announce that strike such a chord as elizabeth warren does. the president has been attacking her now nfor years. calling her racist names. there's those who say they don't think she's right for the job. is that fair? how much of that has to do with her being a woman? >> it's a fair assessment but she still has time to change that narrative and change people's opinion. she sdrdoes have the time. will she have the money? i'm not sure. the fact she's a woman that we have seen those attacks toward hillary clinton, i think we'll become more aware of it. we're prepped for it. she's ready for it. the fact she attracts that kind of attention from the president has a lot to do with the fact that she's a woman. i would say that there are a lot
of folks who get the sense that she probably should have run earlier. >> the boston heglobe made argument over the weekend saying 2016 was her time. there wasn't enough of a challenge against hillary clinton and that was the time where she should have taken that up. do you think that's true? do you think 2020 is all that much different than 2016? >> i would never tell somebody to come off the stage. if you want to run, go ahead. i don't want to hear voices tell her this shouldn't be her time. she can make it into that. it has tarnished her. not so sure a progressive in her vein is the person to go up against donald trump. electability is important in the minds of voters. they want to see someone get there into the white house who has a vision but i think that
job is largely going to be rolling back a lot of what donald trump has done. >> we look at the list of folks that we think are considering running and we look at the lists that the polling that came out of iowa, topping the list is still white men. >> that's discouraging. it's unfortunate. there are a lot of voters that feel they are okay with that. what they are looking at is the number two position. that may be where a lot of sort of dialogue is around diversity and youth. what would i like to see is someone of color or a woman at the top of the ticket. i don't think that's so new in our thinking or new to us from an electoral point of view that we shouldn't be able to demand that going into 2020. quite frankly, there's a lot of talk about beto. you mentioned him. if we're going to talk about be beto, we should be talking about andrew gillum and stacy abram at
the same time. with have stop pushing these early narratives and the early conversation and taking people off the table before they had a chance to make their case. we have to stand back. be a little patient for a minute and let this process play itself out. i'm not sure we'll have the opportunity to do that. we need to. it will be worth it. >> there's a lot of time to go. it's unclear who will be on the republican side. whether it will be donald trump or a jury charchallenger or two he's still running. he says he's running. thank you so mouuch for being here. >> thank you. >> good look up there in massachusetts. later this week, senator elizabeth warren will give her first tv interview since today's announcement to rachel maddow. 2018 saw trump's white house rolling back policies that
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of the obama era restrictions. the places most of us do not see but places with problems that will affect every one of us. the times conclusion is a dark one. eric, there's a lot of numbers we can throw out. the amount of regulations that have been rolled out. i think it's 78 that are expected to be rolled back by this administration. the climate regulations. numbers don't really connect with people. you guys made a point of going out there and seeing the effects of climate change and the effects of these roll backs first hand. california, north side nd, dako virginia and texas. talk to me about california. sf >> in california there's a pesticide used on several dozen different crops. treats various insects but also is a neurotoxin that is harming workers who are exposed it to
accidentally and causing developmental disabilities among children. epa staff recommended this pesticide be banned from use in 2017. scott pruitt moved to keep it on the market. you have workers who continue to be exposed and sicken and children who are, according to research, suffering developmental disabilities because the pesticide is still widely in use. >> in california there's migrant day cares where parents drop their kids off as early as 4:30 in the morning. those are during pesticides spring hours and kids are required to have some outside time. what sort of health effects are folks seeing out there? are they seeing? >> there's quite a bit of worry among the researchers who study these farm children. it's incredible what they have done. they have been tracking these children for approximately 20 years. they looked at the blood of pregnant women confirmed they had this pesticide in their
blood system and observing the development of children who had high levels of exposure. their iq level and development as children in ability to learn and be productive people has declined because of their exposure to this pesticides. the evidence is pretty compelling. kcalifornia is moving separatel to limit its use on its own. >> what about in texas? >> there were nine power plants which the obama administration moved to require they install what's called scrubbers to reduce sulfur dioxide admissions. we visited a plant south of houston and the plants are -- houston is the largest source of sulfur dioxiode in the united states. it gets into the air. it creates tiny particles. those go into your lungs. they cannot only cause
respiratory problems but they can cause heart attacks as well. there's 300 deaths a year attributed to those power plants that are operating without scrubbers. the trump administration had decided not to require them to i stall those. >> west virginia. >> the obama administratiominis moved to limit the single biggest source of water pollution going into streams and united states. that comes from discharges from power plants. they have a rule which would require them to stop putting toxic metals into rivers and streams. seems like it made sense. killing fish and insects and contaminating drinking water sources. scott pruitt moved to delay that rule by two years. there's 80 plants affected by it. two-thirds have stopped doing design work on those upgrades. the rivers will continue do be threatened unless the upgrades are done. >> there's a natural gas issue in north dakota.
>> in north sidakota you have flairing which is burning off e methane gas. they don't really want the gas . if you release it into the air it's an incredible climate change factor. i went to visit north dakota and it was incredible how much i saw burning into the air. >> just for our viewers, these are the role backs. the regulations that are expected to be rolled back for the ones on the way out under donald trump. 2019 only expected to get worse. this is after those alarming reports from the u.n. and from this own administration about
what climate change is doing and how it's being disregarded not only by us but by other countries after the paris climate accord were signed in 2015. er eric, thank you so much for joining us. let's talk about this more and more in 2019. we need to. >> thank you so much. just the past year we have seen former trump associates jailed, indicted, convicted or sentenced to prison. what in the world are we in store for in 2019? i knew about the tremors.
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michael cohen was sentence today three years in prison of pleading guilty to breaking tax evasion and lying to congress. his former campaign chairman, donald trump's and paul manafort was found guilty. he agreed to cooperate with robert mueller but was accused of lying to mueller's team. trump's national security adviser was this close to being sentenced for lying to the fbi but the judge held offsetting flynn's cooperation with mueller. p it is only part of it. all told the special council's investigation has resulted in seven guilty pleas and dozens of
indictments including 13 russian nationals. with the many reports that robert mueller is wrapping up his probe as 2018 drew to a close the core russia question whether trump or people around him conspired to allow foreign power to influence the election remained unanswered. also unknown is what if anything mueller had learned about any financial entanglements between donald trump and russians whether putin had something to be blunt on the president of the united states. so could those questions finally be answered in 2019? joining me the editor and chief, he is also an msnbc legal analyst. so much happened in 2019 when it comes to robert mueller. lots of folks were indicted and lots pleaded guilty to lying. a lot of folks were super close to the president. a number of russians were
indicted as well. there is a lot we don't flow. what do you expect for 2019? >> i do expect we are going to learn the big answer to that big question you posed. now necessarily, you know, what framed as the collusion question but mueller has been very careful so far to address questions of what the russians were doing and to address questions of how people lied to him as he tried to investigate that. he has, as you point out, with held the answer to the question, what do we know about the u.s. side of that russian operation, whether there were people on this side of the atlantic who assisted, coordinated with, conspired with or colluded with the russian effort. i do think that effort that with holding is intentional.
it is because the day he answers that question, if the answer is that there were it will inspire a real confrontation between him and the executive branch. i think he is with holding that until he is ready to lay his cards down in a very authoritative fashion. i do think we are coming up on that relatively soon, whether it is quite as soon as, you know, some reporting recently had suggested i don't know. i think we'll see it in 2019. >> folks on the president's side including the president's own lawyer liked to argue that because we haven't seen a definitive connection between donald trump and russia as a definitive point of collusion between the president and russian officials that that means robert mueller doesn't have it. is that sound logic? >> i don't think it is sound logic but i'm not certain that the answer to the question is
that there is a smoking gun piece of evidence that the president was involved with, you know, some kind of collusion or conspiracy with respect to russia. i think the most likely answer is probably a bit subtler than that. i don't think that the fact that mueller hasn't announced it yet means it's not true but i'm also -- i wouldn't be at all surprised if the reality were a little more complicated than da mid-february robert mueller presents the evidence of collusion. we would say oh, my god, there was all of this collusion in exactly that fashion. >> i think the soundest logic is to wait for the results of the investigation to be revealed although there are a lot of valid questions out there about how they are going to be revealed and how much the public is going to get to see it with who is in charge of the justice department right now. good to see you.
happy new year. >> good to see you. coming up at the top of the hour, who wants to be a white house staffer? several key west wing and cabinet positions need to be filled but who will take those jobs? that and we'll take you to time square where despite the rain there's a lot of folks waiting for that ball to drop. of folks g for thatal bl to drop. -here comes the rain. [ horn honking ] [ engine revving ] what's that, girl? [ engine revving ] flo needs help?! [ engine revving ] take me to her! ♪ coming, flo! why aren't we taking roads?! flo. [ horn honking ] -oh. you made it. do you have change for a dollar? -this was the emergency? [ engine revving ] yes, i was busy! -24-hour roadside assistance. from america's number-one motorcycle insurer. -you know, i think you're my best friend. you don't have to say i'm your best friend. that's okay. you don't have to say i'm your best friend. my mom washes the dishes... ...before she puts them in the dishwasher. so what does the dishwasher do? cascade platinum does the work for you,
it is 12:00 p.m. out west. all of the presidents men are leaving but they are not going quietly. in a letter commemorating outgoing defense secretary wrote our department has proven to be at its best when the times are most difficult which is a lot subtler than he was where he said my views on treating allies with respect and also being clear eyed about both actors and competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades in these issues because you have the right to have a secretary of defense john kelly sat down for a lengthy interview with the l.a. times where he publicly contradicted the president's key campaign promise and justification for shuttin