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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  January 2, 2020 3:00am-6:00am PST

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the last decade. talk to us about this. >> we've been tracking on google transdata that shows the growth of memes, clever little things to capture a moment. the chart we have shows them growing over the last decade, they're now bigger than jesus to steal a phrase from the beatles. it's a sign of how social media's come to dominate our political age. political advisers using those things to push campaigns. they're also found in many of the facebook ads that russian agents used to influence the election. and of course, president trump and his allies have become experts at using these special internet moments e momento driv and the election. look for it to a meme election. >> good to talk to you as always. >> thank you. >> of course we'll be reading axios a.m. in a bit. you can sign up for the newsletter at signup.axios.com. >> is that did it for us on this thursday morning. "morning joe" starts right now.
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>> happy new year. >> what's your new year's resolution. >> peace in the world. >> peace is right, but i'm not sure you're supposed to say resolution outloud. >> good morning and welcome to "morning joe." this thursday, january 2nd. we begin with a new year full of the new and the old and a lot of challenges for president trump. "the new york times" michael crowley summed up the president's new year's eve like this. it was perhaps fitting that president trump ended another dizzying year in office with a crisis-driven day of surreal contrasts. one that began with him tracking a middle east emergency from his golf club and ended with a tuxedo clad president holding forth about north korea, iran, and impeachment and vaping on a red carpet over the thumping den of party music.
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in the mooefld meef in the middle east there's the conflict with iran, kim jong-un now saying that he can in fact testing nuclear and long-range missiles despite the president's claim of a signed agreement for north korea to denuclearize. and there's of course. i'm with the president obsessing over nancy pelosi attacking her dozens of time on twitter during the holiday break. when it comes to fight in the testimony of the impeachment investigation, many legal experts say the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a dech former national security adviser john bolton means john bolton must testify. all of this while the president works to convince the american people that he deserves a second term in office. plus, we of course have the latest tally of the money hauls
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for the leading democratic contenders with a really surprising haul by bernie sanders. but first, let's go to where the president's vacationing and bring in white house reporter for the associated press, jonathan lemire. jonathan, another quiet, sleepy holiday weekend with the president. tell us what's happening at mar-a-lago right now and what you're expecting over the next few days. >> joe, happy new year. we haven't seen this much of the president. we didn't see him yesterday because he spent the day at his golf course, the press pool which i was part of which traveled with him never laid kblifr glimpse on him. he was there for about six hours or so. we are expecting more of that today. but we did see him new year's eve in his tuxedo with guests of the club at the knew year's eve bash and he address dollars a number of the storm clubs that are hovering over his vacation here in south florida.
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iran, north korea, and impeachment and, yes, vaping. the president here, it's a two-plus week vacation. we are anticipating he has an event scheduled friday night with the evangelical community a little south of here that was added to the schedule. it must be noted after that scathing op ed in the "christianity today" which called for his removal of office and the president mindful of shoring up his evangelical base. on friday we'll see that and he will strike at notes to reassure them that he should remain in office and he will out to the accomplishments including federal judges he's delivered for them. but the focus is oversaesseas. white house aides along with defense department and state department aides were watching that closely the last couple days. and the unraveling with north korea. the president has bet big on that. he's met with chairman kim three
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times. he went to the dmz and stepped over into north korea believing an effort to get north korea to give up their weapons to land him a nobel peace prize, and instead we're seeing that north korea's returned to their tough talk and threatening to deliver a gift in some way to the u.s. trump said it might be a vase. we tend to doubt that and i think it goes to show you how tense, joe, things have gotten again. >> i'm curious, tell us what, as we talk about north korea, we're going to be talking richard haass, david ignatius, many other experts who from the very beginning have said that the united states, donald trump would never get denuclearization from kim or the north korean people. and the president sent out the tweets after the initial meeting saying you never have to worry about nuclear weapons or missiles again. he's, for some strange reason, continued to talk about love
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letters between kim and himself. and he's continued to assure americans that this one was taken care of, this one was in the bag, check this one off your to-do list of worrying about north korea. well, obviously that's not the case. it's not true. it was never true. what's the president's strategy going forward as it becomes more evident daily that north korea's not going to get the economic relief they want and donald trump's not going to get the denuclearization that he guaranteed? >> right, this has never been a situation where the president has tried to manage expectations. he has talked big from the beginning, believing that the sort of personal rapport, this chemistry he says that he's delivered with chairman kim could lead north korea to give up these weapons. which so many foreign policies experts say they never will because the regime views them as essential to their survival. they continue to have this weapon and the capability to
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create them and potentially deliver them is the only thing that prevents other nations from not invading and imposing that regime from power. but the president hasn't seemed to grasp that, at least not publicly. he met with him in singapore and he met with him in the chairman in hanoi and at the dnz in the summer. and the president believes he can deal with these strong man characters, in this case a dictator who has imprisoned and killed thousand ofs peopes of p in his own country, that he could charm him. they paused, they really stalled over the fall and winter and now north korea is back to delivering the belligerent threats and rhetoric that brought us to seemingly maybe the brink of a conflict two years ago back when the president was calling chairman kim little rocket man. the president's not saying what he will do next. he has teased a few times potentially another meeting. but it would be hard to see how
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he could grant kim another audience in loit ight of this s of rhetoric. >> jonathan lemire with the associated press happening out at the tiki bar across the street from mar-a-lago. stay with us, right? by wait, jonathan, going into the playoffs, obviously new england lymphing imping in afte to phil griffin's miami dolphins. any hopes that the patriots have what it take to win it all? to win the super bowl? >> well, phil and i are not going to discuss that game whatsoever. that was sort of shocking to lose at home to a dolphins team that wasn't playing for anything that cost the patriots a bye, in my opinion, probably their path to the super bowl. they might win this weekend against tennessee. it's hard to see them win two straight road games. i'm never going to bet against brady and belichick, but i'm not really seeing it and i'm starting to begin the countdown to spring training. >> don't do that.
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i don't know that the news gets any better there. >> all right. >> jonathan, finish your mojitos, we'll be right back. let's bring in the author of the work "a world in disarray" richard haass. also columnist for "the washington post," david ignatius. and the morning -- and the co-host "morning joe" first look, ayman. thank you all for being with us. richard, we'll get to north korea in one moment. give us the very latest on iran. >> happy new year. good morning. in the case of iran, the context hasn't changed, joe. i mean, the narrow situation is, yes, people have pulled out of the embassy compound in iraq, but i actual think there it's only a matter of days or at most weeks before the iraqi parliament votes that we need leave, that essentially u.s. forces need to leave iraq, the 5,000 or so that are there. iraqi nationalism is alive and well and what we've done is no
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longer turned against iran so much, it's turned against us. i think the larger context, it's the only way to understand everything over the last couple of weeks, is the united states is carrying out economic warfare against iran. and iran has gone through a series of responses. it attacks tankers, it attacks saudi arabian refineries, it breaks gradually getting out of the 2015 nuclear deal and now it has its militias attacking u.s. personnel. this dynamic is going to continue and the risk is obviously we stumble into war. the one thing that continues to be absent from american policy is policy. we seem to be pressuring iran, but it's not clear what the purpose is. and the issue is, is there anything iran can do other than totally change its nature? essentially have regime change? because that ain't going to happen. is there anything they can do to
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lead to the reduction of the economic pressure we're putting on them? and this administration simply won't put that on the table. they still seem to be holding out the hope that this iran regime is going to disappear or totally change its behavior and that's not in the cards. so the absence of real diplomacy. there's pressure without purpose. >> but, david ignatius, the iran sanctions and president trump's approach towards iran, if you view iran as an existential threat to the united states and want to put pressure on them, it seems at the end of the year to be -- be a success. i mean, iran's -- if we are, in fact, engaging in economic warfare against iran, their economy is crushed. their leaders are feeling the worst heat they've felt, i'd say, even beyond going back to 2009. i'd say that this is the
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greatest threat to the iranian leadership since they took power in 1979 and it's not just coming from the cosmopolitan elites in tehran. it's coming you from those who supported the regime back in 2009. this is a grave threat, is it not, for the people that have run that country since '79? >> if you measure success in terms of chaos and economic difficulty within iran, then, yes, the trump administration's maximum pressure policy has been successful. it's created that instability. the iranians by most reliable estimates have killed something like 300 of their own citizens since these protests began. november 15 the protests were caused by growing economic difficulties in iran which were a result of the u.s. sanctions. from the beginning of this u.s. maximum pressure campaign back
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in 2018, the united states point of vulnerability has been our substantial commitment of american troops in iraq to train the iraqi military, to try to keep a measure of stability there. that's always been our exposed weak point. and the iranians went after it in the last week through their proxies. an attack friday, a week ago, that killed an american contract contractor. the u.s. react the way the israelis do. they had a strongly disproportionate reaction. you kill one of ours we're going to kill 20 of yours. that's what ended up happening when we attacked the base of the proxy group. those were the people who were at the gates of our embassy in the last few days. it was a scary confrontation to look at. >> i was going to ask both you and richard, because richard had
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talked about iraqi nationalism. this isn't iraqi nationalism. these are proxies for iran that were at the gate. the iranian regime is desperate, so what do they do? they send drones to blow up saudi oil fields and they send their proxies to invade the u.s. embassy. this doesn't have anything to do with iraqi nationalism. >> does it. >> i don't think the iranian regime is desperate. i think it's a mistake to nund estimate this regime. are they hurt something yes? are the sanctions hurting? yes. is this regime in serious jeopardy? absolutely not i would say. i don't think we should underestimate it. iraqi was manifesting it self over the last couple weeks and months against iran. you had people coming out against iranian influence.
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what the last couple of days have done is switch things. it was understandable that we responded to the militia strike. what was not understandable or wise was why we necessarily responded within iraq. what it does was put in jeopardy the u.s. diplomatic and military presence in iraq. i'm not arguing that the gates at the compound are iranian militia people, that's being orchestrated. but that trainichanged the scen we didn't think through the likely sequence of results from what would happen if the united states responded inside iraq itself. >> so rfr cours, of course, no with what you just said. you were certainly welcome to disagree with me in the new year, though it doesn't seem like a wise course for the next 12 months, but if that's what you choose, that's fine. i certainly know that members of
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the council on foreign relations would want you to be correct most of the time. >> don't be so sensitive. >> i'm not, i'm actually joking with you. but, david ignatius, of course we have spoken many times about the iranian regime being extraordinarily resilient. i do not suspect, david, that they are going to collapse anytime soon. but it does seem they are feeling more pressure than they've felt since 1979. and it seems if you look at the saudi attack and then if you look at the other attacks that their proxies have put forward in iraq, it certainly does seem, does it not, that they're desperately searching for a fight that will help distract their people from the dire economic plight that this economic national -- this economic maximum pressure has actually put on that regime? >> i think they have been looking for a fight. they feel backed into a corner.
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we've cut their oil exports from something like 3 million barrels a die something under 500,000 barrels a day. so they're really hurting. and starting in may, june, they've began hitting tankers trying to increase the costs to the u.s. and its allies. so i think this is a regime that has reserves, resources, resilience, as richard was saying, but they have a fundamental problem. this is not a popular regime. contin it increasingly is govern out of iran. when you have to kill 300 of your own people to maintain order, you've got a problem. and i think the regime knows that. i think what we saw in the last few days was an effort by the u.s. and iran to figure out what's the balance in the place where the flash point really will happen, which is iraq. iranian proxies struck the u.s.,
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they went to our embassy, we killed a lot of members of this proxy group, hezbollah. we'll see where the balance works out. often, richard would agree with us, often in the middle east you'd expect it's got to break here. we've got to have a fund mental change and you end up with a patched together network of the status quo. i think american troops are not likely to leave soon despite this crisis. we're going to continue to have this delicate stalemate that would explode at any moment. but i wouldn't expect big changes right away. >> and, ayman, everything in donald trump's eyes, it seems always goes back to his resentment of barack obama. and it seems so much of this, the maximum pressure campaign has to do with getting the iranians back to the table to renegotiate president obama's
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nuclear deal with iran. any chances that that could happen? >> the chances are very slim right now. when you take a big-picture approach to all the topics that we're talking about right now, i think the interesting thing and you were discussing iraqi nationalism and how that relates to the iran talks, you've now put the iraqi government, the struggling iraqi government under tremendous amount of fresh purity that's not something to be lost on in this discussion on what it happening in iran. important to make the distinction between the iraqi pro protests in the last couple of months, those four months of protests against iran and corruption trying to combat s secretaryianism. and the situation you find yourself in, iran is engaging in this quasi proxy war. this exposes how vulnerable our diplomats are that iran could
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strike and reach if it decided to do so on a moment's notice. they escalated this quickly, backed down very quickly, but it interestingly shows that it was america that made the miscalculation here. over the past several months, everyone has been talking that as iran gets backed into the corner and they have begun to lash out, would they then ultimately carry out a grave mistake that would force america's hand? and now what you have is america not only carrying out this air strike inside iraq that put the iraqi government which has tried to walk this balance, the fine line between having relationships with iran and yet being an american ally now completely in jeopardy. and to richard's point, we may not see american troops withdraw immediately, but you will see the iraqi government and parliament take a slightly more aggressive posture, maybe even a more antagonistic posture towards america's presidents there. and that's not good for us. that makes our chances of negotiating with iran that much more difficult. important also to note, even our closest ally in the region, saudi arabia, they're not
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necessarily subscribing to this american pressure campaign on iran. they've now started to open some back-door chan tolnels to solvee of these issues with iran directly. it shows you that the trump administration does not have a comprehensive policy as to what you want to get iran do to bring them back to the table when everyone is kind of all your allies in the region are not working on the same page and are slightly disagreeing with your approach to it. >> that's fascinating. even the saudis uncomfortable in working a back channel with iran. all right, ayman, thank you so much. greatly appreciate it. all of this comes against the backdrop, of course, of impeachment. earlier this week the democrats argument that there needed to be witnesses at the senate impeachment trial get a big boost from more reporting from the "new york times." the times reported that during an oval office meeting in late august, secretary of state mike pompeo, defense secretary mark esper, and then national
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security adviser john bolton tried but failed to convince donald trump to release military aid to ukraine. with us now, one of the coauthors of that extensive story, investigative reporter for "the new york times," eric lipton. eric, where does that leave us? your story dropped like a bombshell last week. add on top of that the judge's ruling that, in effect, means john bolton can testify suddenly the next few weeks of an impeachment seem to be a bit more fluid. >> i think the result is that some of the people that refused to participate in the house investigation are the same people that we now have even more evidence that they played, you know, a central role in at least the conversations that were going on about the aid freeze. and that is, you know, mick mulvaney, rob blair who's an aide to mick mulvaney, not
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necessarily supported but participated. how can you adjudicate on judicial action of sorts without at least having input from people who are direct participants? i think puts more pressure on the senate majority leader, but whether or not it's something that he chooses to take up, there's no hint so far that there's any movement on the part of mcconnell. >> hey, eric, it's jonathan lemire. the piece is terrific with really thorough reporting and great details. a scene that struck me is acting chief of staff mick mulvaney stepping in and out of the office when the president was talking with rudy giuliani in order to preserve attorney/client privilege. what does this show you in terms of what mulvaney knew was going on and also do you think this will add to the intensity of the cries for mulvaney to be someone who is also called before congress to testify in the impeachment proceedings? >> i mean, i think that mulvaney, you know, is more of
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the nexus position in terms of having potential knowledge of the two different tracks that were playing out in the summer. add the one track being the freeze on the aid and the second track being rudy giuliani and his compay the yates that were putting pressure on ukraine. i think there would be an intense interest in understanding what is it that mulvaney new and how much was he aware of a potential connection between those two threads? for the most part what we learned was that the people at the office of management and budget who's job it was to execute the freeze on those frunds starting essentially june 19th through september 11th when president trump lifted the freeze, that they really didn't have that much insight into why the freeze had been imposed. but someone like mulvaney who is the acting chief of staff, he potentially did understand why
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the president had imposed that freeze. >> david ignatius with "the washington post" is with us and has a question. david. >> eric, terrific reporting. i want to ask you a question we often think about in our business is which is what's the next st next shoe to zpldrop? for example, do you think we're going to know definitively when trump made the toward freeze this aid? that's still been mysterious. nobody quite can explain it. what do you think's next? >> think john bolton is probably one of the biggest open questions as to what he knows and what he has to say and whether he decides to participate in some capacity or even speak publicly. and, you know, there's nothing necessarily legally preventing him from speaking and the administration doesn't have the ability to force him to not participate. and i think his deciding potentially to, you know, to speak out to have at least, you know, in terms of public opinion
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could have an impact. and in terms of when it started, it seems pretty clear that, you know, i mean, the president had been raising concerns about corruption with ukraine for back to 2018 and his aides heard that. but this saga starts really -- the aid freeze starts on june nine teeth. on june 18th dod puts out a news release that says it's about to release over $100 million in this military assistance. the president learns about it either on the 18th or the 19th. there's a story in the "washington examiner" conservative website in washington and the president becomes aware of it. and that on june nine teeth nth when they reach out to the office of management and budget and says what it is this money and can we hold it? that's june 19th. we know when the freeze starts. but as to exactly what point does the president connect the notion of stopping the aid to
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the potential influencing the president of ukraine for potential political purposes, that's something that isn't necessarily still entirely clear. >> all right. "the new york times" eric lipton, thank you so much. and still ahead on "morning joe," pete buttigieg raises over $24 million in the fourth quarter. bernie sanders says, hold my beer. we've got the presidential candidates' new jaw-dropping numbers for fund raising in the fourth quarter. you're not going to believe some of these numbers. but first, here's bill karins way check on the forecast. how's it looking? >> good morning to you and happy new year to you and everyone else. rainy start to the new year in the south. if you're heading out the door in areas from louisiana, mississippi, alabama, georgia r and eventually through the panhandle of florida, just a soaking rain. later on this rainfall will add up and we have a potential for flash flooding. areas of greatest risk will be if we go through the northern
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portions of louisiana in tennessee and also there in areas especially around nashville and maybe around southern kentucky. other concern tonight, we can koh get some super sell thunderstorms. new orleans to baton rouge, southern portions of mississippi. on friday we'll have the rainy weather on the east coast. on saturday this storm lingers a little bit, then the cold air moves in back behind it. there's a chance for snow on the backside of this. northern new england looks like snow saturday. the ohio valley could get a little bit too. on sunday some of that will change back over to snow? areas of southern new england too. so anyone traveling from boston to hartford, maybe through maas also you m massachusetts, you may have a snowy period. so as we continue to start the new year, good travel conditions for most of the east coast but that changes tomorrow and this weekend. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. you're watching "morning joe."
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happy new year. the replacements will take us in this morning. it's 6:33 on the east coast and primary voting gets underway next month. and 2020 candidate pete buttigieg has submitted his position as one of the top fundraisers in the democratic field. his campaign announced yesterday that he raised $24.7 million in the final three months of the year. that brings his total fundraising haul last year to
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about $76 million. that's incredible. meanwhile, though, senator bernie sanders' campaign announced this morning that it raised $34.5 million in the fourth quarter. he also hit another milestone surpassing 5 million individual donors in that same quarter. andrew yang's campaign announced this morning that he raised $16.5 million. a figure that certainly could help him remain competitive. last friday, senator elizabeth warren's campaign emailed supporters saying she raised just over $17 million in the fourth quarter. quite a drop from her fundraising totals in the third quarter. let's bring in now former chief of staff to the dccc and the former director of strategic communications for hillary clinton's presidential campaign, adrienne elrod. an msnbc contributor on
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politics. and msnbc political contributor jason johnson. adrienne, let's start with you. so, bernie started lagging in early fall in the polls. he almost was an afterthought. poor bernie, poor bernie, this is bernie 2016, did no one tell him that we've moved on? then bernie had a really bad debate performance, dropped further in the polls. and then just to make things harder for him, he had a heart attack. >> yeah. >> and so, like, it was over. like his campaign was done. everybody was getting ready to write the farewells to bernie and that guy ends up being more like john connor the terminator. you turn around, he's still coming at you. and this fundraising haul is the highest of any candidate in any quarter this cycle. any democrat. talk about -- talk about what
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this number means for the sanders campaign and what it means for the rest of the field moving forward. >> well, what it means is that bernie sanders has absolute staying power in this primary. he will be able to stay in this race as long as he wants to, because his campaign is fueled by those small, grassroots donations that the is what any candidate strives for is to have a campaign that is not built on large significant donors who are maxing out but on those small 15 to $20 contributions. bernie sanders has that. he will be able to stay in the race until, you know, until the last primary votes if he wants to, until the last state votes. 5 million unique donations, that's noggin significanthing i some big pivotal moments that worked in his favor. number one, elizabeth warren slipping in the polls around medicare for all and then aoc's endorsement was significant. he solidified his place as the
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far progressive candidate on the left who can cultivate that large base. he can also bring in some of those young mare len yell voters that other candidates have had a difficult time to attract. i tell you, as somebody who worked on hillary clinton's campaign in 2016, never underestimate bernie sanders. he has staying power and such a devoted base. again, you're going to see this guy continue to do very well as we go through the early states and through super tuesday. >> yes, and we are just getting reports from the control room, alex, apparently i incorrectly identified the terminator. john connor was the little kid, the terminator, alex, his name. >> he's the t-800. he didn't actually have a name. >> the t-800. >> we're worried about facts here so we wanted to make sure that was correct. >> i understand. duly noted, alex. thank you so much.
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what an embarrassing mistake to make. i probably should watch 1 of on the terminator movies before throwing names around. with that, we talked about his staying power in this race. so i guess we also obviously this is something that joe biden needs to be concerned about, but there has, from the moment elizabeth warren has said she was going to get into this race, there has been a discussion among in the media, in political circles, among fundraisers about this progressive battle between bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. certainly this morning if you look at the polls from you look at the numbers, bernie outfund raised elizabeth 2 to 1. essential right now you is have to give a pretty strong nod to bernie sanders in that fight roar right? >> you do. here's the thing. to help you out, john connor was turned into a terminator in the last movie so you're still right. >> there you go. >> okay, good.
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>> but here's the thing. the idea there was going to be a progressive battle between bernie sanders and elizabeth warren, it was never something that had much resonance with me because that pre sums that bernie sanders supporters is are supporting him for policy purposes and that's not what's going on. a lot of his core base support like him because they see him as a political and democratic saviour-type character. he was always going to win out any policy argument because in the end of the day people like bernie and they're bernie or bust kind of people. but i think it's critical to remember this. we really are down to, like, four people who have any chance. you've got joe biden, bernie sanders, mayor pete, and elizabeth warren. the question is going to be not about who's got enough money, because they all have enough money to go way past super tuesday. the question is going to be which of these candidates can bring together the find kind of coalition that they need to go long term? and scoreboard, joe biden is still winning this thing. he's still leading bernie sanders by 10% of the vote.
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clearly he's winning amongst black people, the old, young people, clearly it's not about a progressive policy battle. democrats want to win and they think joe biden is the guy do it. >> i'm curious what you think, jason, about you said only four people can have a shot at winning this thing. i'll let you deal with andrew yang's online supporters today and not me. but let's talk about michael bloomberg. you know, charlie pierce this weekend was talking about the possibility, i think a real possibility, esquire's charlie pierce, was talking about the real possibility of, you know, somebody winning maybe mayor pete winning iowa. >> right. >> elizabeth or bernie winning new hampshire. you have biden winning south carolina, who knows who wins nevada. but you go in super tuesday where 40% of the delegates are awarded and you have bloomberg with his billions and billions of dollars advertising in states
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where nobody else has the money to advertise except for bernie and suddenly does bloomberg start to fit into the equation under that scenario? >> well, you look at michael bloomberg as a less connected version of tom steyer. they've spent a combined $2 billion in this race and neither one of them are going anywhere. tom steyer has been an act sflift democratic circles for impeachment and voter rights for the last two years. i don't think michael bloomberg can make that much of an impact. what's i had consistency? new yorkers? he's doing terrible among fra african-american voters. because of his stop and frisk. i don't think money can get you where you need to go. it has to be somebody who lifts you off the ground with passion and excitement. michael bloomberg doesn't could that, tom steyer doesn't do that. andrew yang doesn't do that.
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but i will say this, when steyer and bloomberg eventually drop out of this race and realize that this don key joti fantasy of theirs is not going to happen, where they spend their money or who they support, that could be a bigger issue or what they do in any primary date is. >> jason, in a few poels polllst 7%. i'm not arguing he has a shot at winning this, but he essential has a lot more lift than steyers had thus far, right? >> he had a little bit of a name and people don't like it and he has a collection of surrogate mayors out there who like him. here's the thing. on the ground, when i talk to people in iowa and when i see commercials of michael bloomberg in maryland, he doesn't have enough people who are actually working for him on the ground for him to get the votes that he needs. right now his highest poll numbers come because of things like name recognition. and name recognition alone is not going to win you a state
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when you've got four or five additional campaigns that are bearing down. michael bloomberg can do fine at 6%, 7% in certain obscure states into super tuesday. but once we narrow down the people who can win, people are going to be faced with a question, do you think michael bloomberg can beat donald trump? i don't think the assistance to that is going to be yes for most democrats. >> we'll talk to adrienne and others on the other side of the break on that. and we'll be talking about mayor pete starting to go after joe biden. "morning joe," stay around because "morning joe," let's see if we get this right, alex. "morning joe," because -- >> stay here. i'll be back. >> there we go. we go. so what are you working on?
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well, i certainly respect the vice president. but this is an example of why years in washington is not always the same thing as judgment. he supported the worst foreign policy decision made by the united states in my lifetime. which was the decision to invade iraq. i would not have wanted to see that happen. and at the same time, again, think this is being used to divert attention from what's really at stake in the impeachment process.
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in my administration, we'll have a very high standard around ethics and making sure we do everything we can to prevent even the appearance of a conflict. i think that's very important because, as we see, it can create a lot of complications even when there is no wrongdoing. >> pete buttigieg sharpening his focus at fellow 2020 candidate joe biden. that last one with "the associated press" saying he would not have wanted to see his son serving on the board of a ukrainian national gas company while he was fighting for corruption -- or fighting against corruption in that country. do you like how he so subtly moved to that terminator shot before we went to break? did it sort of with all the finesse of the "star wars" christmas break. that's just who we are. pete buttigieg throwing the elbows politically at joe biden. it will work? >> well, we'll see, joe. that's the real question here. if you're mayor pete you're looking at your numbers and
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saying, hey, things look good in iowa and new hampshire for me right now, but how am i going to break out of that 8% that i'm polling at nationally and get into the double dilgts? that digits? that's the question he's got to figure out. candidates are trying to figure out how are we going to amass delegates? in the first four states, iowa, new hampshire, nevada, and south carolina, only 5% of the delegates in the democratic primary are awarded during those four states. 50% of the delegates will be awarded by super tuesday. if you're somebody like mayor pete, you're trying to figure out, i'm doing well in some of these early states, but i've got to expand my base and figure out what my delegate strategy is in these super tuesday states. and i think the lane he sees that he can best go after is the joe biden zblan lane. >> if you look at kamala harris's attack on joe biden, secretary castro's attack on joe
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biden, david ignatius, it did not work for them at least in 2020. that's what you need to do. you need to cron traontrast you with other candidates but that hasn't worked for draiemocrats attacking joe biden in the 2020 cycle. >> it's one of the biggest surprises the way that biden has steadied himself. there's a period where the commentators, political analysts, it looked like biden was so shaky, his debate performances were dreadful, concerns about his ability to raise money, and then -- and then he steadied. and i think that's the real factor the rest of the field has to think about. if he does, you know, reasonably well. he doesn't have to win iowa or new hampshire, but is strong there, then i think his path towards super tuesday, towards getting a lot of delegates is
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pretty clear. if mayor pete or ex-mayor pete, he's no longer mayor anymore, has a great iowa, maybe perceptions of him will change. that's an "x" factor here. but i think you're right to focus on the inability of other candidates so far to really knock biden hard enough to make him stumble in a way that would really open this field up. that hasn't happened yet. >> well, and, richard, i wonder with donald trump attacking joe biden every day and with impeachment putting joe biden at the center of the republicans focus, i do wonder if, as i said, i think last week or the week before, that that's actually propped joe biden up. because certainly in politics, the way it's played these days, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. in this case the enemy of my enemy may be my nominee,
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democrats may be saying. so, again, attack joe biden, using the same line of attacks that donald trump is using about hunter biden, while it may be accurate, i don't know that it plays well in the democratic party. what do you think? >> it's a mixed blessing, shall we say, for the former vice president. but, as you say, he's front and center. other thing that could hip heel here, to the extent people are talking more about foreign policy, about the middle east, about north korea, about russia and so forth, i actually think that plays into the vice president's wheelhouse is that scenario where he has an awful lot of experience and permanent going to say it is a dangerous world and maybe we need somebody who's got some background in this. it certainly doesn't help the progressives who have really ignored that set of issues. and as i listen to this conversation, it's almost as if you've got two democratic primaries. you've got the progressive pro
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primary and then the centrist primary. and i think you've got the former vice president, the former mayor and mike bloomberg and we'll see how it plays out. but you've got two things going on at once, and one could imagine both prime maearies goi at the same time. >> we need to bring up andrew yang's haul. what does it mean? >> he's got staying power in this race. think you'll see him be in this race beyond super tuesday. the most important thing that you want as a presidential candidate are those small dollar donations and that's what andrew yang's got. >> all right. adrienne he will rod, thank you so much. coming up, a challenge to the impeachment subpoena. we'll talk about what that could mean for the former security adviser himself and whether he has to talk before he gets paid
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welcome back to "morning joe." a lotto ta to talk about this morning. crises breaking out all over the world, especially in north korea and iran. the democrats reporting their numbers this morning and last night for the fourth quarter, it is reshaping the race in the democratic primary for fight to replace donald trump. also, that blockbuster report from the new york times is certainly going to reshape what impeachment's going to look like over the next few weeks. but first let's show you a clip of pope francis. he's apologizing after a video surfaced of him rebuffing a woman who held on to a handshake a bit too long. also, pulled him over. yanked him over following a new year's eve liturgy at the
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vatican. pope francis appears to lose his temper and slaps the woman's hand away who clung on for a handshake. pope francis -- okay, five loops of a pope, love for january 2nd. pope francis -- okay, now what are you doing? are you just going to -- anyway, pope francis apologized for the incident yesterday, the statement saying many times we lose our patience. i do too and i'm sorry for yesterday's bad example. this is not the first time the pope has tried to avoid certain interactions with worshippers in the march he sparked a twitter frenzy after video showing him trying to avoid kisses to his hands. i mean, can people just all up in the pope's face here. i understand. but my goodness. well, you know, obviously when he was being pulled back and yanked to -- obviously has to be concerning for any person, but if you're a pope, an apology's in order and he provided it. coming up, another senate republican is expressing concern
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over mitch mcconnell's coordination with the white house over that impeachment trial. we're going to be talking about that and that blockbuster report in the "new york times" that is sure to change the shape of the impeachment, at least the debate over the next week or so. "morning joe" is back in one minute. t week or so. "morning joe" is back in one minute. $12.99 all you can eat now with boneless wings. only at applebee's. americans come to lendingtree.com to compare and save on loans, credit cards and more! but with the new lending tree app you can see your full financial health, monitor your credit score, see your cash flow and find out how you can cut your monthly bills. download it now to see how much you can
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save. we call it the mother standard of care. it's how we bring hope to our patients- like viola. her team treated her cancer and strengthened her spirit. so viola could focus on their future. cancer treatment centers of america. appointments available now. i heard the senate majority leader saying that he's taking his cues from the white house. there are senators on both sides of the aisle who, to me, are -- are not giving the appearance of -- and the reality of judging this in an impartial way. i am open to witnesses.
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i think it's premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented and get the answers to the questions that we senators can submit through the chief justice to both sides. >> that's senator susan collins on new year's eve. she became the second republican to question majority leader mitch mcconnell's close coordination of the white house and the pending impeachment trial of donald trump. lisa murkowski of course the first. welcome back to "morning joe." it's thursday, january the 2nd. hope you had a great new year's eve, new year's day, great holiday, great christmas, great hanukkah, a great fill in the blank. still with us, we have president of the council on foreign relations richard haass. columnist and associated editor for the "washington post" david ignatius. we also have politics and journalism professor at morgan state university jason johnson. and let's bring in the conversation the associate
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editor of commentary magazine noah rothman. coauthor of the playbook, jake is her m sherman. and we have yamiche here. mika and willie wisely have the morning off. i love being here. i love talking. i don't know if anybody's noticed that over the past 20 years but that's what i love do and we're so glad wur here with us. it's sort of like the brady bunch. we have everybody here and we're ready to talk about a lot of things and we're doing it all. this is what richard haass always says, we're doing it for the kids. richard haass, let's start with you. we have outbreaks going on across the world. and let's talk about iran again, because obviously it's fascinating what's happening there. you talked last hour, i said the maximum pressure, donald trump's maximum pressure, if you look at the unrest it's causing in the
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country, if you look at how the economy is in a bad -- it's badder, there are probably at their weakest place since 1979, i guess the question is, you said there was no policy attached to that. isn't this all focused on getting the iranians back to the table to renegotiate that nuclear deal that they struck with barack obama? >> joe, you're right to say that the sanctions are having significant effect. they've damaged the iranian economy far more than most of the experts thought possible. but the administration has left out there unarticulated what the goal is. is it to bring down rthe regime? as i argued a few minutes ago i don't think that will happen. so the iranians are pushing back in many ways most recently using militias. the real question is what would
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we snep include? we going to get iran to change everything is it does in the region? no, we're not. high don't we put out an offer some why doesn't the united states working with the allies, the countries that negotiated the 2015 agreement, why don't we basically say, here's the degree of sanctions relief, we are prepared to offer the iranians in exchange for the following steps. let the iranian government, let them explain to their own people why they are turning down a degree of sanctions relief, a degree of economic improvement in exchange for what looks to be a reasonable set of limits on the nuclear program. they say they don't want nuclear weapons. okay. let them prove it. let them explain why they are swatting away what ought to be a good agreement. that's what the administration has not done and that's what i would argue that it needs to do. >> david ignatius from iran to
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north korea, denuclearization was never going to happen. it will not happen with the north koreans. and yet that's what donald trump promised, he said -- remember the tweets after the first meeting he said you don't have to worry about nuclear weapons or missiles anymore from north korea. well, here we are what? a year later, we're still worried about it. tell us -- tell us where we are on january 2nd, 2020 and what the next year looks like in terms of north korea nuclear tests, missile tests, where do the experts say we are? >> joe, as we start the year, i think there are two certainties we can note for donald trump. first, he doesn't want any of his major foreign policy initiatives to collapse. so he wants to keep this show with kim jong-un going every
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other week it seems we've got some flattering statement by the president about his dear friend. maybe he'll give me a vase of flowers, maybe, you know, something good will happen. at the same time he doesn't want these talks to call -- the appearance of talks to collapse, he also doesn't want to go do war. it's striking with north korea. it's also striking with iran. he said that on tuesday when tensions were at their highest point, president made a point of saying, in effect, i don't want to go do war here. and the iranians know that. so this election year president in 2020 is going to be, i think, careful and calibrated. as richard has said, as you've said, it's just not possible to see how you translate the initial promise of trump's north korea diplomacy, complete denuclearization of the korean peninsula into anything real for the foreseeable future. it's just not there. i am struck by the fact that
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north korea is still holding back. kim began threat neening in ear december. this history onic riding up on the white horse. it hasn't happened yet. he had a party meeting in late december, we were waiting for something to come out of it, hasn't happened yet. it's always possible that behind the scenes there have been working level discussions that might pro discuss something that would be a basis for further discussions. not to say you're going to get an agreement for denuclearization, that ain't going to happen, but maybe kick the can down the road, further exploration of how the two sides would negotiate. >> so noah, how do negotiations move forward with north korea and iran when both countries, both the tyrannical leaders in both countries have to know that donald trump is going to avoid war at all costs? obviously i'm not here saying we
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should go to war with either regime, but when you're dealing with tyrannical leaders and they know that you're going to avoid war at all costs, obviously there is a degree of -- you give these countries a degree of latitude that they might not have if they think there is a possibility they could push the american president too far. >> yeah. and there's a pretty obvious distinction between the north korean situation and the iran situation. one as nuclear weapons, the other does not. the former limiting ability to effect any kind of a coercive diplomacy as much as we can with iran. >> right. >> iran is a very different situation insofar as mike pompeo has said detention has brokdete has broken down. we had the shooting down of an
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american drone, the brazeen attack on the oil field. that didn't get any kind of military activity, that's dra mitt matic innovations in the economic sector. this gives us more options, deploying a whole substantial deployment into iraq to deter these kinds of attacks. i am of the mind that was probably a better idea than not to execute a retaliatory strike in defense of our drone because, as mike pompeo said, deter referen deterrence. and until it is reestablished and it has been demonstrated to iran that they cannot effect any kind of diplomacy, diplomatic initiative and success in the field for example launching rogts on positions in iraq, then negotiations aren't going to go
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anywhere. . the problem is iran wants nuclear weapons. it's not like they're being coy about this. but as the israeli intelligence demonstrates, iran maintains the intelligence necessary to build a bomb and they want to preserve that dpaft in tcapacity in the until they determine that's not a viable option for them, then these attacks are going to continue, this aggressive relationship is going to continue and i don't see and thenning anytime soon. but establishing deterrence is probably the first thing this administration has to do. >> let's move from foreign poll city to impeachment. yamiche, we saw susan collins' clip coming in talking about the fact she was concerned by what the majority leader mitch mcconnell said and, you of course, she could have said lindsey graham as well, the head of the judiciary committee about not wanting a fair trial, coordinating with the white house, and susan collins expressed concern there just like lisa murkowski. we also of course last week had the bombshell "new york times"
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report talking about the -- all the president's men going to him begging him to release the aid and the president, of course, not doing so. what does impeachment -- does impeachment look any different on january 2nd than it did, say, two weeks ago when congress adjourned for the holiday break? >> well, a couple things happened. you have, of course, the idea that mitch mcconnell continues to say that -- and continues to maintain that the outcome of this is a foregone conclusion, that the president will be acquitted. he's not only the leader of the senate re-republica senate republicans, but he's had a good idea of what his caucus will do. so in some ways i would say, no, it doesn't look very different. but when i talk to sources, especially democratic sources in the senate, they say our eyes have always been on lisa murkowski, susan collins, cory gardner. they are looking at these
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republicans and hoping maybe possibly someone like mitt romney that they might change their minds -- not change their minds, but really i would say look at that differently and break away from republicans. they haven't done that in the past. i remember talking to a lot of those same source when's brett kavanaugh was coming before the senate and they were kind of leaning on those same senators and we know how that all turned out which is that justice kavanaugh became justice kavanaugh. but i think in this case you have republican senators saying we want to be jurors in this. we want to maintain our objectivity and we want to see the actual evidence. we don't want to just rely on what we saw on tv and see what was in the house. but that said, it seems as though mitch mcconnell here is pretty clear that he knows the president's going to be acquitted. that said, i think it will come down to -- i think this has been the case in a lot of ways, it's going to come down to public opinion and likely to the election in now november 2020 because mitch mcconnell, even with all that's going on and he's hearing from senators saying i don't like your coordination with the white house, he's not changing
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anything. and the president seems very confident in the idea that republicans are going to have his back. and they have had his back throughout all of this, including other controversies. but especially on impeachment. we've seen republicans stick together on this. >> and jake sherman, murkowski, collins, gardner, and romney, those names keep getting mentioned. yamiche brought them up. i thought it was interesting i noticed this past week, i think it was this past weekend, mitt romney's, the main paper in utah came out in favor of impeachment. said mitt romney should vote to impeach. i'm curious what you're hearing on the hill and what you're expecting over the next week, two weeks forward. what's this impeachment battle look like as senators and members of the house return from break? >> well, first of all, let me just add to the murkowski/collins thing, which is what they're not saying i is i will not vote for a rules package for impeachment unless it includes "x."
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so in other words, they're not actually making demands at this point, they're just saying they are unhappy. well, being unhappy is an emotion, it's not a strategy, it's not a tactic, it's just an emotion. that's good to know that they're unhappy, but then what? do they say they're not going vote for a rules pack acage unl it includes witness depositions? >> do they want videotaped depositions? >> what do they want and what are they willing to hold the process up until they get? that's what we need to hear. that who make their comments more meaningful. i don't think they're that meaningful at this point. number two, will there be a rules package? some kind of deal brokered between chuck schumer and mitch mcconnell? i don't know the answer to that. what we're going to write about this playbook which is not out yet, i don't believe, and legal experts have said this publicly, mitch mcconnell could decide he's going to hold the trial without the articles coming from pelosi. he could just decide -- the constitution does not stipulate
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that he needs the articles sent from the house. he could just decide i'm hold ago a trial, i'm going to do it how i want and based on what i think has happened. that would be a whole different ball game and it would turn this into a little bit more of a circus. but he could easily do that. the next couple weeks what we need to see is will there be a brokered deal? will pelosi send over the articles? and will these two or three republicans who have been vocal in saying they're uncomfortable, will they turn that discomfort into some sort of blocking mechanism when it comes to impeachment? >> so, jake, are you hearing from the majority leader's office that that is in fact a possibility for him to bring up impeachment to the senate and let them begin the trial even if nancy pelosi doesn't send anything over? >> it is definitely a possibility, a very real possibility. i think that the senate republicans are not going to wait forever. and there does -- there will be some issues if pelosi continues
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to hold on to the articles because they are a process of a constitutional prerogative that the house has. so she does run into some procedural issues by holding ton them because the houses that voted to impeach. she can't just sail the sy i'm subvert the will of the house until i get what i want. but they are going dispense with this issue one way or the other according to my sources and would be well within their rights, into my mind, do that. they're not going threat drag on for six or eight months until there's some sort of brokered rule package that everybody in congress likes. >> "politico's" jake sherman, thank you so much. >> thanks, joe. >> and thank you, as always, for the playbook. jason, so i'm going to name four names for you. and -- and you just raise your hand if you think that any of these four people will ever vote for the impeachment of donald
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trump. susan collins. >> she will not vote for the impeachment of donald trump. >> cory gardner. >> she will not -- none of them will. >> mitt romney. >> no. >> lisa murkowski. >> no. no. look, joe, these are -- at best, we're going to get a jeff flake performance from these individuals like with kavanaugh. >> define -- did efine a jeff fe performance. is the wringing of hands -- >> exactly. he'll sound concerned, he'll bite his lower lip, he'll say maybe we should have a further investigation into kavanaugh and then he's going to do the same thing at the end. only thing that we might get out of those four senators is if there is some sort of principled virtual signaling stance about the sort of pack able age of ho gets pogt put together. if they decide they're going to vote in favor witnesses, that could be the thing they say i
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define myself not being completely beholden to trump but none of them are going to vote to have him removed. think it's funny anybody thinks this is the case. it goes to the larger issue that we've been talking about, how on earth we have a fair trial. if this was like law and order, mccoy would have thrown out half of these senators already. they've declared how they're going to vote. we know the positions that they're in. several months ago there were reports about donald trump bringing in vulnerable senators and talking about how he would fund raise for them. this entire jury is tainted. and that's just the republicans. the democrats, half of the ones run for president have a conflict of interest. so you either come up with a package that allows people to claim they're being slightly independent or you take the ralph nader suggestion and hand the power off to john robtsds a roberts. and i don't think they would give up this ability to flex against each other in a final confrontation. >> jaia yamiche, i've got to
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say, the susan sol licollins th played at the top, virtue signaling. especially after her kavanaugh performance after claiming to pro choice for her entire career, that she would ever surprise any of they're voters in maine and actually hold donald trump accountable. >> well, she's really up against a lot of pressure here. republicans are really under lockstep with the president so you have someone like susan collins who has sounded like the conscience of the republican party a lot of dimes. especially if you're a democrat looking at her and listening to her. but she is someone who has voted pretty consistently in favor of the president. as a result, i think most people when they hear susan collins saying she's unhappy, jake sherman was right when she say, okay, you're unhappy but you're not making anything difficult
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for mitch mcconnell to do what everyone thinks he's going to do and what he says he's going to do which is oversee a trial that's focused on aquitting the president. democrats talk about susan collins and lisa murkowski and mitt romney but i hear in their voices that they know this is going to be a long, long, long shot for any of these republicans to vote to impeach a republican president because, in fact, it would also be hurtful to their own reputations. because there are people who think that president trump has done a lot of things that have bun unethical and challenged the norms and republicans have stood by, in their minds, on that issue. so to impeach president trump on this seems it would be hypocritical in their minds. that's coming from the democratic sources that i'm talking to. >> david ignatius, you look at those four names again, it's interesting, collins and gardner who both come from purple states would have a good political reason to actually consider voting for at least one of the articles of impeachment.
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mitt romney, of course, is in a state where he could get away with voting for one or two of the articles of impeachment. but it seems to me of the four names we've mentioned, it is lisa murkowski who has proven to be the most independent. certainly if you look at her taking on her own party and running as an independent after they threw her out, maybe lisa murkowski is the republican -- or the person caucusing with the republicans most likely to cast this vote, despite the fact that she's in a deep red state in alaska. >> joe, i don't think that the issue is so much whether those four republicans or others will vote to impeach trump in the trial, but rather how their comments will affect the optics of the trial. what i think has happened since the, you know, very rapid
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impeachment votes that kind of fever firestorm moment in late december is that pelosi has slowed things down. you have republicans now demanding that pelosi go ahead and impeach. and you have pelosi and the democrats bargaining for the terms of a trial that looks fair. you have a few republicans, we've named them, murkowski, and collins most specifically, who were saying, yeah, we think an impartial trial is important. we want to act as good jurors. and i think the importance of that is that when that trial happens, the outcome is predetermined, we know how it's going to turn out, that it won't look quite as crazy and partisan. the chief justice will preside. the chief justice gave a speech on tuesday which he stressed the importance of an independent judiciary. he's not going to want this to be a circus. i just feel as if the mood that mitch mcconnell is trying to set
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other republicans, lindsey graham, you know, this all being railroad through, it's fake, it's a hoax echoing the president, i think that mood has been broken a little bit. that's the importance of what the collins' and murkowskis have been saying. not that will change the final outcome, but the optics. >> you may be right. and we certainly will see if mitt romney and others will speak out and put a little pressure on mitch mcconnell to at least try to make the trial appear to be a bit more fair. still ahead, rudy giuliani says he's willing to testify in donald trump's impeachment trial. we'll talk about his potential impact on the case and his impact on the president every time he steps in front of a line of microphones. it's usually not good, i'm not so you're it was good this past weekend either. we'll talk about that next on morning joe. d either. we'll talk about that next on morning joe.
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♪ welcome back to "morning joe." hope you had a great holiday season. some notable passing. passings over the new year that we wanted to tell you about. lee mendelson died in his home yesterday of lung cancer and congestive heart failure. i think that was actually he passed away on christmas day. he often told his family serendipity had led him toward peanuts. before charlie brown and the gang, he worked at a bay area television station and produced film documentaries. it was then that he persuaded a skeptical cartoonist, charles
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swhult schultz, to adopt his iconic character. they produced 50 television specials and four animated feature films in which he won 12 emmy awards. he wrote the lyrics to the iconic song christmas time is here which became the special signature song. he was 86 years old. the world of sports is mourning the loss of one of basketball's most influential leaders, former nba commissioner david stern died yesterday after suffering a brain hemorrhage last month. in his 30-year run, stern, the league's longest serving commissioner, transformed the nba to a global brand worth billions. the games tell adviced in more th televised in 200 countries and 40 languages. while adding seven new teams and helping to launch the wnba, stern was 77 years old. also, legendary baseball
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pitcher don larson has died. hall of famer played for seven different teams over his 14-year major league career but was immortalized as a new york yankee against the dodgers in game five of the 1956 world series when he threw a perfect game and the only no hitter in the history of the fall classic. it led to the first of two of world series titles for larson during his five seasons with the yanks. larson's agent says the former pitcher died of esophageal cancer last night. he was 90 years old. richard haass, talk about david certain, if you will, and also don larson. >> david stern really made the nab a modern sport, a global sport. about a quarter of the players come from around the world, non-american markets, have become central to the game. it's growing incredibly fast around the world.
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really rivals your favorite snort man sport in many places. i got to know him well over the years because he's a member of the council and he really understood that we're only 4%, 5% of the world's people, a global game has to be global. don larson was the original mr. october. he had a losing record through his career. i think you said he played for seven teams, but he played -- i think it was five world series and had the perfect game. so he got -- he got it right when it counted -- had it counted most. >> he sure did. and we'ill always be remembered for that no-hitter in the world series. also a claimed jazz musician jack shelton passed away. he was a prominent part of the west coast jazz scene in the 50s. but he was known to tv viewers as a sidekick to talk show host
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merv griffin and his voice was naerd a heard in dozens of animated series including i'm just a bill. ♪ i'm just a bill ♪ yes i'm only a bill ♪ and i'm sitting here on capitol hill ♪ ♪ well it's a long, long time >> jason, are you too young to remember that? that takes me back. >> it takes me back. i'm a gen xer. that voice, that resonate voice, it makes you love jazz. it makes you love politics. and that -- it does. and that particular segment has been spoofed on the simpsons, on the daily show. it's really one of the most powerful gen x cartoon segments. actually it and david stern were two losses that really hit me. >> yeah. let's finally talk about william
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greiter. he died last week at the age of 83. the associated reported that one of his first well known articles was a profile request of david stockman, president reagan's budget director and a chap of applied science economics. when the ed kaftion him appeared in the atlantic in 1981, his comments that none of us really understands what's going on with all of these numbers created a white house firestorm. stockman later said in his great book, the triumph of politics that he was taken to the wood shed by reagan after the article was published. actually, he was taken to the wood shed by james a. baker and ronald reagan just looked at him with this look of hurt, according to stockman's recollection of it. but, you know, david ignatius, i still remember being a freshman at the university of alabama, being a huge ronald reagan fan, and going and looking in the school bookstore trying to
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figure out what newspapers and magazines i would i go and reaching up and looking at that atlantic article and reading it as a college freshman just standing there just shocked at what david stockman had just admitted to william greider. it was 1 of the most extraordinary piece dhas remember pieces that i can remember about a story of a white house aid ae, d his concerns were correct, nobody did know what those numbers would lead to which were massive deficits and massive debts. >> it was a great scoop. by boss ben bradley, wasn't thrilled to see it in the atlantic because greider was working for "the washington post" then and he left the post
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not long after that. bill was a kind of person that you don't see so much these days. he was a passionate progressive from the midwest. he was from cincinnati. he came east, went to princeton. brilliant, tough-minded, deeply compassionate person. he held a job -- i had my first -- of the outlook sector on the -- obsession that was called against the grain. and that pretty much summed up bill. he was a guy that wanted to tell you not what you wanted to hear, but what he thought was important. he was going to go against the conventional wisdom and we love him for that. also he lost one of his colleagues from that period, ward just in the last couple of weeks. ward was another of the people
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ben bradley hired when he first took over the paper in the '60s. brilliant correspondent. he was also a novelist. but in our business, those great figures sadly are leaving us. >> you know, david, it's so interesting and against the grain, what a perfect title for a william greider title. i remember being interviewed a few times while in congress by him and it's interesting that so often when i was being interviewed during that time being conservative, so conservative that we wanted to drive newt out of up to because we didn't think he was conservative enough on spending, on fiscal matters, that every time i sat down and talked to greider, i always new i was going knew i was going to get a fair shake. i could tell where people were going with the stories and i just smile, i give them a very bland comment and move on. but because greider was against
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the grain, i knew i could sit back, tell him what he wanted to hear, what he needed to hear, actually, for his story, and that not only i would be treated fairly, but more importantly what i was fighting for at that time whether it was a balanced budget or whatever it was, that greider would be fair. he was -- again, he may have been a progressive, but, you know, the guy was a reporter. and you're exactly right, it was -- it's all too rare. >> that's -- you've just described what we need to hold on to in our business is that since the reporter who comes to visit you or anybody else is going to get a fair shake is going to -- the reporter's going to listen, doesn't come in with his mind made up, her mind made up. but greider just personified that quality and we miss him. >> he certainly did. we miss all of those who we
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talked about this morning. still ahead, legal analysts are calling on john bolton to testify in the impeachment trial after a judge tossed out a lawsuit by one of john's former aides. we'll talk about that with two of our own legal experts coming up next on "morning joe." own up next on "morning joe."
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i would testify, i would do demonstrations. i'd give lectures. i'd give summations. or, i do what i do best, i'd try the case. i'd love to right to case. >> are you going to? you telling us you're going to right to case? >> i don't know if anybody would have the courage to give met case. but if you give me the case, i will prosecute as it a racket tearing case, whi racketeering case. >> i'm so confused. is he saying he's going to prosecute the president for racketeering? that's fascinating. i hope democrats were taking notes there. so anyway, that was rudy. i don't know what it means and neither do you so let's not pretend we do. it's just entertaining to watch, i guess. but a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by former deputy national security adviser charles kupperman regarding a
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subpoena from congress testify in the impeachment inquiry. now, the suit had sought to answer whether the white house could block the aide from testifying before congress. on monday the judge agreed with the attorneys for the house of representatives that the question was multe because the house intelligence committee withdrew its subpoena in november. because of the concerns of the subpoena being reissued, in the first place. had the house won, it could have had a major impact on the impeachment inquiry. as former national security adviser john bolton has said, he could be bound by whatever the court decided in the kupperman case. well, the kupperman case has been decided.
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what does this mean? let's find out. dave aronberg is here, also nbc legal analyst danny cevallos. what's it mean, danny? >> it means the case is muted. to understand this we have to go back to 2008 to the hair iot meyers case in which the court held there was no absolute immunity, but it left the crack open to the issues of national security. you fastforward to 2019 and the don mcgahn case where the judge holds that there is no absolute immunity. but perhaps even more important, the administration chose to make a vague arm that because don mcgahn was in the white house, he was in the vicinity of national security, so he may have picked up a little bit of it so that he should be allowed that national security protection that absolute immunity. and in terms of betting, this was like putting that argument
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with the detroit lions as opposed to the san francisco 49ers, this was not best game to bet on national security as an absolute immunity issue. and so judge brown dismissed that argument when the administration might have won if it was used with a kupperman or a bolton. but they never got that opportunity and now they don't quite have as good a law as they might have from the 2008 meyers case. >> you know, noah rothman, i know you have a question for david ehrenberg, but idave aron think we're going to see him testify? >> probably not. there's no appetite for it among republicans, although i think he should. but this is part of what i think is a clear democratic failure. we were talking about how there's all this cosmetic disunity. the real effective disunity has been from democrats. democrats have cast votes
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against the articles and now we're seeing them argue among themselves about how a trial should look but conceding that the impeachment inquiry phase was rushed. we've got a ruling, a favorable ruling from democrats on the mcgahn subpoena. and in the appeals court they said, listen, the articles have passed do we even need to deal with this anymore in the venue where he's supposed to testify is essentially shut. and democrats are now arguing that even though they didn't -- the process is done, they still want to hear these witnesses testify. it's a very similar story with john bolton. the argument the democrats are now making, danny, i think you would probably agree, is that because we had this very urgent issue on our hands that you needed to pass these impeachment articles as soon as possible and move on to the trial phase, they're now arguing to slow everything down. it sort of exposes the fact that the real problem for democrats was that a lot of their members were very uncomfortable with the impeachment process. >> exactly right. i totally agree. that's the challenge with these congressional subpoenas is that
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there's the additional did lema for congress of do we want to take this bat to ttle to the co knowing that time probably run out the clock and the administration will likely win? they have to have an additional layer of strategy. but, keep in mind, that are theoretically the house could impeach on additional information. the fact that these are delayed, the delivery of the articles of impeachment could allow the house to continue investigation. and then, of course, the senate theoretically could subpoena witnesses as well. these are all things that could bring this conflict right back into the light. >> yamiche has a question for dave ehrenberg. yamiche. >> good morning, david. i have a question about the judge's writing. he wrote that he would essentially have had to balance both congress's will to want to investigate with the white house's ability to want to remain private and have executive privilege. when we look at kind of going
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forward, is any judge going to want to touch this? is any judge going want to say at least in a timely way this is who wins here and how realistic is it for to us see anybody be forced, legally forced into testifying given this judge's ruling? >> yeah, yamiche, i think the key ruling a, is the don mcgahn case. judge brown came out way powerful ruling that sets the precedent in cases of executive branch testimony saying that don mcgahn needed to testify that the claims of all this immunity didn't hold any water. and that's why that even if john bolton is subpoenaed and even if he says that, hey, he is going to fight it in the courts, it's a bad look for him and think he's going to lose because the key precedent now is that don mcgahn case. think it's going dto be a loser the democrats had no choice, because if they fought the subpoenas up to the supreme court, we'd be in mid-2020, late
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2020 and the public didn't have the stomach to have an impeachment trial right before the election. so john bolton and his lawyer, who actually is the same lawyer for kupperman, left the democrats with no choice. they had to move on. there was nothingon. by the way there was nothing to prevent john bolton from testifying voluntarily like his subordinates did, fiona hill, that was the patriotic thing for him to do. but he decided to monetize it by getting the $2 million advance from schuster for his upcoming book. >> if they decide it is not going to move forward, mcgahn is the precedent. if mcgahn is the precedent, then in the future people in the position of john bolton will need to go testify. and whether they're granted immunity or not will depend on the situation. >> well, think that's right except the mcgahn case is on
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appeal but it is still precedent. until it is eventually decided it is out there. john bolton can still say, you know, the kuperman case was dismissed because it was moot. if i'm subpoenaed i'm taking it up the chain. again, it is a bad look for him. i think that he should stop making excuses. he should go ahead and start doing the right thing, being patriotic and testify. also, another thing is by not subpoenaing him beforehand the senate could now subpoena him and it would be up to chief justice roberts to make that decision. you wouldn't have to wait until it goes all the way up the court ladder. it is, i think, an interesting strategy to say we're not going to subpoena bolton during the investigation but we will leave it up to the senate to subpoena him. of course, if you don't get four republican senators to go along there's no bolton, no testimony and the whole thing doesn't happen. but at least there's a chance in the senate whereas if you did it in the house it would take a year to get a final decision on it. >> david ignatius, even -- let's
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say john bolton is compelled to testify and even if mcgahn is the precedent, the judge in mcgahn said, yes, you need to show up to testify but you can claim immunity. if you want to claim national security immunity, certainly john bolton is in a much better position to do that than, say, don mcgahn, even if we are talking about the so-called drug deal. >> bolton by the nature of his job as the former national security adviser certainly can make that kind of claim. he undercuts his ability i think to resist a subpoena by having advertised that he has information that's relevant to the inquiry. >> right. >> it is basically waving a flag, hey, i know things that you really would like to know. it may have helped him sell a book but it all registered with members of the house and senate.
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more and more it seems to me as was just said so clearly that the senate may be the venue where bolton testifies. if chief justice roberts as the presiding officer in the senate trial supports under whatever rules are established calling bolton as a witness, i can't imagine bolton trying to resist that, resist the chief justice's request that he appear. that testimony will be very dramatic. >> yeah, agreed. it should be fascinating. plenty fascinating developments ahead of us. danny cevallos, thank you vouch. david aaronberg, thank you so much as well. greatly appreciated. still to come, we are following new developments with the stabbing spree that took place on one of the final days of hanukkah. one of the victims is reportedly still in a coma and family members fear he may not regain consciousness. we have will nbc's gabe
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gutierrez with us with the latest in that tragedy. we are back in two minutes. tray we are back in two minutes mond, by thursday, you'll be enjoying that chocolate ice cream again. they can start it, and 3 days later, i know that they're going to have the results they were looking for.
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this morning there's stepped up security in many jewish neighborhoods in new york follow tinge brutal stabbing attack on a hanukkah party. the families of one of the victims is now speaking out. we have nbc's gabe gutierrez with us for more on that. what do you have? >> reporter: hey, joe. good morning. it was a horrifying attack. in order to show the magnitude of it, the family of 71-year-old
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yohosef newman is releasing new details about the attack and a photo showing his grave condition. we want to warn you some may find the image disturbing. this morning he is fighting for his life. he is one of five jewish men severely injured in a hanukkah stabbing attack in monsey, new york. the 71 year old seen in the hospital, some of his most extreme wounds blurred. his family released the photo writing on facebook, doctors are not optimistic about his chances to regain consciousness. if he does survive they expect he will have permanent danger to the brain. the attacker is due back in court tomorrow. he has pled not guilty to attempted murder and burglary. according to documents, a machete and knife were found with traces of dried blood. in his home court documents say
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the fbi uncovered handwritten journals with anti-semitic writings. his attorney tellsis that his clint has a history of mental illness. >> there's been no history of anti-semitism or violence with this man. >> reporter: the brutal attack is one of hate-filled incidents that occurred since the start of hanukkah. a woman eventually punched the victim in the throat. the recent string of assaults prompting local and state authorities to step up securities in jewish neighborhoods in and around new york. >> wherever i walk i walk with pepper spray. i'm afraid. i'm afraid. >> reporter: heavy security seen at met life stadium this weekend where a jewish religious celebration drew nearly 100,000 people united in faith. >> it has been a rough week. we can't help across the world as jews feel like there couldn't be a better time to gather
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together and strengthen one another. >> now, grafton thomas's attorney tells nbc news his clint was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia before, citing hospital records. he is due in state court tomorrow and then in federal court in about two weeks. he has not yet entered a plea on the federal hate crime charges. joe. >> gabe, thank you so much. we greatly appreciate that report. of course, anti-semitism has been growing across europe and across the world over the past decade. of course, it has always been with us, sadly and tragically, but especially in new york, in the new york area over the past year or so the incidents continue to pick up. there is a real need for new york city to step forward and figure out a way to stem these anti-semitic attacks.
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enough is enough. still ahead, iran, north korea and impeachment. we will be talking about the many challenges facing president trump in the new year. we will be back in one minute. i.
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>> happy new year. do you have a new year's resolution? >> peace in the world. >> peace is right, but i'm not sure you are supposed to say resolution out loud. >> good morning and welcome to "morning joe" this thursday, january 2nd. we begin with a new year full of the new and the old and a lot of challenges for president trump. "the new york times's" michael crowley summed up the president's new year's eve like this. it was perhaps fitting that president trump ended another dizzying year in office with a crisis-driven day of surreal contrasts, one that began with him tracking a middle east emergency from his golf club and ended with a tuxedo-clad
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president holding forth about north korea, iran and impeachment and vaping on a red carpet over the thumping din of party music. in the middle east there's increasing danger of an armed conflict with iran. in asia there's the unraveling of the president's diplomatic efforts with north korea, with kim jong-un now saying that he can in fact continue testing nuclear and long-range missiles despite the president's claim of a signed agreement for north korea to denuclearize. of course, there's impeachment with the president obsessing over house speaker nancy pelosi, attacking her dozens of times on twitter during the holiday break. when it comes to the fight over testimony in the impeachment investigation, many legal experts say the dismissal of the lawsuit brought by a deputy of former national security advisor john bolton means john bolton
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must testify. all of this while the president works to convince the american people that he deserves a second term in office. plus, we, of course, have the latest tally of the money hauls for the leading democratic contenders with a really surprising haul by bernie sanders. but first, let's go to where the president is vacationing and bring in white house reporter for the associated appreciate, jonathan lemire. jonathan, another quiet, sleepy holiday weekend with the president. tell us what is happening at mar-a-lago right now and what you're expecting over the next few days. >> reporter: joe, happy new year. we haven't seen that much of the president. we didn't see him yesterday because he spent the day at his golf course. the press pool, which i was part of, which traveled with him never glimpsed him. he was there about six hours or so.
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we expect more of that today. we did see him new year's eve in his tuxedo at mar-a-lago with guests of the club with the new year's eve bash and he addressed a number of the storm clouds hovering over his vacation here in south florida, iran, north korea, impeachment. yes, even vaping. the president here -- i mean it is a two-plus-week vacation. we are anticipating, he has an event scheduled friday night with the evangelical community in miami south of here added to the schedule it must be noted. after that scathing open ed in "christianity today" evangelical magazine that called for his removal in office, the president is mindful of shoring up his evangelical base. on friday i think we will see that and he will certainly strike notes to reassure them he should remain in office and he has been their guy, and he will tout the accomplishments including federal judges he delivered for them. but the focus indeed is overseas. the embassy in baghdad, though it seems to have quieted down in
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the last day or so, white house aides along with defense department aides were watching it carefully the last few days, and the seemingly unraveling of the diplomatic effort with north korea. the president met with kim jong-un last june, and i was part of the trip where he went to the dnz and stepped into north korea, where he believed that getting them to give up nuclear weapons could earn him the nobel peace prize. kim said he might have a gift for the u.s. and trump thought it might be a vase. though we doubt that, it shows how tense things have gotten again. >> i'm curious. as we talk about north korea, we're going to be talking to richard haas, david ignatius, many other experts who from the beginning have said that the united states, donald trump would never get denuclearization
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from kim or the north korean people, and jet the president, of course, sent out the tweets after the initial meeting saying you never have to worry about nuclear weapons or missiles again. for some strange reason he continued to talk about love letters between kim and himself, and has continued to assure americans that this one was taken care of, this one was in the bag, check this one off your to-do list of worrying about north korea. well, obviously that's not the case. it is not true. it was never true. what is the president's strategy going forward as it becomes more evident daily that north korea is not going to get the economic relief and donald trump's not going to get the denuclearization that he guaranteed. >> reporter: right. this has never been a situation where the president has tried to manage expectations. he has talked big from the beginning, believing the sort of personal rapport, this chemistry he says he has delivered with
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chairman kim could lead nert or korea to give up these weapons which analysts say they never will because the regime views them as essential to their survival. the only reason they continue to have the capability to create them and potential deliver them is the only thing that prevents other nations from invading and deposing that regime from power. it has been viewed as a nonstarter but the president has not seemed to grasp that, at least not publicly. he met with him in singapore, in hanoi and at the dnz over the tumor. we have seen it time and again where the president believes he can deal with these authoritarian leaders, in this case a dictator who has imprisoned and killed thousands of people in his own country, yet the president could charm him out of the weapons. there was some thawing of the talks last year, but they paused, they stalled over the fall and winter and now north korea is back to delivering
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belligerent threats and rhetoric that brought us seemingly to the brink of a conflict a few years ago when the president was calling the chairman little rocketman. the president has not said what he would do next. he has teased another meeting but it is hard to see how he could grant kim another audience in light of this rhetoric. >> jonathan lemire with the associated press, hanging out at the tiki bar across the street from mar-a-lago. stay with us, right? right? by the way, jonathan, going into the playoffs obviously new england limping in after a loss to phil griffin's miami dolphins. any hopes that the patriots have what it takes to win it all, to win the super bowl? >> reporter: well, phil and i are not going to discuss that game whatsoever. yeah, that was sort of shocking to lose at home to a dolphins' team that wasn't playing for anything that cost the patriots
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by, in my owpinion their path t super bowl. they might win this week at tennessee. i'm never going to bet against brady and belichick, but i'm not seeing it and i'm starting to begin the countdown to spring training. >> don't do that. i don't know that the news gets better there. >> reporter: it may not be better there. >> jonathan, finish your mojito. we will be right back. still ahead, we mentioned the foreign policies facing the white house. up next, richard haas and david ignatius break down the serious challenges posed by iran. first here is bill karins with a check on the forecast. bill. let's start off with individual we i have never shown anyone before. they are clearing tumbleweed in areas of washington state from the high winds that piled it up on new year's eve. these cars were stuck in it and the people got out but their vehicles were trapped. they had to call in snowplows. never seen anything like that before. let's talk about today's weather concerns. we are starting in the south with heavy rain.
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we have a flash flood threat for about 8 million people from central mississippi through northern alabama and will include areas around nashville. that's where the rain will move in later on today. you can already see the heavy rain shield moving up towards tennessee so it is just a soaking rain in the south and now it is starting to push even into georgia. here is the concern though. later on this afternoon when the cold front pushes through it is warm enough and humid enough for strong thunderstorms. a slight risk of severe thunderstorms this area in yellow, we could see an isolated tornado later on this afternoon. we have very nice day today, enjoy the sunshine and warmth you have in the east, the nicest day we will have this week by far. rain moves in tomorrow and over the weekend it will stay with us. as far as the weekend outlook goes, here is the soaking rain on friday. saturday, cold air on the backside, snow for you possibly in ohio, western new york and northern new england. then sunday morning it looks like we will go rain to snow, possibly even around areas like new york city, hartford, boston.
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it is a little too early to determine how much snow we will get out of it. we will pinpoint that for you tomorrow. new york city, today is your dry day. make it two or three in a row and it will be umbrella weather as you head through your saturday. you are watching "morning joe." we will be right back. ♪ will be right back. ♪ what are you doing back there, junior?
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since we're obviously lost, i'm rescheduling my xfinity customer service appointment. ah, relax. i got this. which gps are you using anyway? a little something called instinct. been using it for years. yeah, that's what i'm afraid of. he knows exactly where we're going. my whole body is a compass. oh boy... the my account app makes today's xfinity customer service simple, easy, awesome. not my thing.
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♪ let's bring in the president of the council on foreign relations and author of the book "a world in disarray" richard haas. columnist and associate editor for "the washington post", david ignatius. richard, we will get to north korea in a moment. give us the latest on iran. >> happy new year. good morning. in the case of iran, the context hasn't changed, joe. i mean the their row situation is, yes, people have pulled out of the embassy compound in iraq but i actually think it is only a matter of days or at most weeks before the iraqi
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parliament votes we need to leave, that essentially u.s. forces need to leave iraq, the 5,000 or so that are there. iraqi nationalism is alive and well. what we have done is no longer turned against iran so much as turned against us. i think the largest context though -- it is the only way to understand everything over the last couple of weeks, is the united states is carrying out economic warfare against iran and iran has gone through a series of responses. it attacks tankers, it attacks saudi arabian refineries, it is gradually getting out of the 2015 nuclear deal and now it has its militias attacking u.s. personnel. this dynamic is going to continue and the risk is obviously we stumble into war. the one thing that continues to be absent from american policy is policy. we seem to be pressuring iran, but it is not clear what the purpose is. the issue is, is there anything
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iran can do other than totally change its nature, essentially have regime change? because that isn't going to happen. is there anything they could do that could lead to a reduction of the economic pressure that we're putting on them? and this administration simply won't put that on the table. they still seem to be holding out the hope this iran regime is going to disappear or totally change its behavior, and that's simply not in the cards. so there's the absence of real di diplomacy. there's pressure without purpose. >> david ignatius, the iran sanctions and president trump's approach towards iran, if you view iran as an existential threat to the united states and want to put pressure on them, it seems at the end of the year to be a success. i mean iran's -- if we are, in fact, engaging in economic warfare against iran, their
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economy is crushed. their leaders are feeling the worst heat they've felt i would say even beyond going back to 2009. i would say this is the greatest threat to the iranian leadership since they took power in 1979, and it is not just coming from the cosmopolitan elites in tehran. it is coming from those who supported the regime back in 2009. this is a grave threat, is it not, for the mullahs who have run that country since '79? >> joe, if you measure success in terms of chaos and economic difficulty within iran, then, yes, the trump administration's maximum pressure policy has been successful. it has created that instability. the iranians by most reliable estimates have killed something like 300 of their own citizens since these protests began november 15.
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the protests were caused directly by growing economic difficulties in iran, which were a result of the u.s. sanctions. from the beginning of this u.s. maximum pressure campaign back in 2018 really, the united states' point of vulnerability has been our substantial commitment of american troops in iraq to train the iraqi military, to try to keep a measure of stability there. that's always been our exposed weak point. the iranians went after it in the last week through their proxies. an attack friday a week ago that killed an american contractor. the u.s. reacted the way the israelis do when they get hit. they had strongly diss proportionate reaction. you kill one of ours, we're going to kill 25 of yours. that's what ended up happening when we attacked the base of the iranian proxy group kataib
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hezbollah. those were the people at the gates of our embassy in the last few days and it was a scary confrontation to look at. >> i was going to ask both of you and richard because richard had talked about iraqi nationalism rising. this is not iraqi nationalism, is it, richard? i will go to you, david, as well. this not iraqi nationalism. these are proxies for iran that were at the gate. i mean the iranian regime is desperate so what do they do? they send drones to blow up saudi oil fields and send their proxies to invade the u.s. embassy. it doesn't have anything to do with iraqi nationalism, does it? it is a desperate iranian regime? >> two things. i don't think it is a desperate iranian regime. are they hurting? yes. are the sanctions hurting? yes. is the regime in serious jeopardy? absolutely not i would say. i don't think we should
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underestimate it. second of all, iraqi nationalism was manifesting itself over the past weeks and months against iran. you had the burning down of iranian consulates and people coming out against iranian influence. what the last couple of days has done is switched things. it was understandable we responded to the militia strike. what was not understandable or wise was why we necessarily responded within iraq. what it did was put in jeopardy the u.s. diplomatic and military presence in iraq. i think there is iraqi nationalism. i'm not arguing with the basic point that the people at the gates of the embassy compound are iranian people that's been orchestrated. that changed the scenario. i think we didn't think three the likely sequence of results of what would happen if the united states responded inside iraq itself. >> so, of course, no problem with what you just said.
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so while you were welcome do disagree with me, though it doesn't seem like a wise course for the next 12 months, but if that's what you choose that's fine. i certainly know that members of the council on foreign relations would want you to be correct most of the time, so why go out of your way to -- >> don't be so sensitive. >> i'm not. i'm joking with you. david ignatius, of course, we have spoken many times about the iranian regime being extraordinarily resilient. i do not suspect, david, that they are going to collapse any time soon, but it does seem they are feeling more pressure than they have felt since 1979 and it seems, if you look at the saudi attack and then if you look at the other attacks, that their proxies have put forward in iraq, certainly it does seem, does it not, that they're desperately searching for a fight that will help distract their people from the dire economic plight that this
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economic maximum pressure has actually put on the regime? >> i think they have been looking for a fight. they feel backed into a corner. we have cut their oil exports from something like 3 million barrels a day to something under 500,000 barrels a day. so they're really hurting and starting in may, june, they began hitting tankers, trying to increase the cost to the u.s. and its allies. i think this is a regime that has reserves, resources, resiliences, as richard was saying, but they have a fundamental problem. this is not a popular regime. it increasingly is governing in iran by, you know, straight-outta authoritarian rule. when you have to kill 300 of your own people to maintain order you have a problem. i think the regime knows that. i think what we saw in the last few days was an effort by the
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u.s. and iran to figure out what's the balance in the place where the flashpoint really will happen, which is iraq. iranian proxies struck the u.s. they went to our embassy. we killed a lot of members of this proxy group, kataib hezbollah. we will see where the balance works out. often, i think richard would agree with this, often the funny thing in the middle east is you expect it has to break here, you will have a fundamental change, and you end up with a patched-together version of the status quo. i think american troops are not likely to leave soon despite the crisis. >> no. >> i think we will continue to have this delicate stalemate. it could explode at any moment, but i wouldn't expect big changes right away coming up on "morning joe" you can't spell bombshell without omb. how the office of management and budget became the central focus in the impeachment of a
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president. "new york times" report eric lipton joins us with his blockbuster reporting next on "morning joe." ♪ ♪ (sensei) beautiful. but support the leg! when i started cobra kai, the lack of control over my business made me a little intense. but now i practice a different philosophy. quickbooks helps me get paid, manage cash flow, and run payroll. and now i'm back on top... with koala kai. hey! more mercy. (vo) save over 40 hours a month with intuit quickbooks. the easy way to a happier business.
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♪ ♪ god only knows what i'd be
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without you ♪ >> earlier there week the democrat's argument there needed to be witnesses at the senate impeachment trial got a big boost from more reporting from "the new york times". "the times" reported during an oval office meeting in late august secretary of state mike pompeo, defense secretary mark esper and then-national security adviser john bolton tried but failed to convince donald trump to release military aid to ukraine. with us now one of the co-authors of the extensive story investigative reporter for "the new york times" eric lipton. eric, where does that leave us? i mean your story dropped like a bombshell last week. add on top of that the judge's ruling that in effect means john bolton can testify, suddenly the next few weeks of impeachment seem to be a bit more fluid. >> i think the result is that some of the people that refused
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to participate in the house investigation are the same people that we now have even more evidence that they played, you know, a central role in at least the conversations that were going on about the aid freeze. that is mick mulvaney, rob blair, an aide to mick mulvaney, esper, pompeo, bolton, all were involved in conversations, not necessarily supporting it but they participated. so there's a greater interest in seeing what they have to say in terms of testifying, and how can you adjudicate of judicial action of sorts without at least having input from people who were direct participants. i think it puts more pressure on the senate majority leader, but whether or not it is something he chooses to take up there's no hint so far there's any movement on the part of mcconnell. >> hey, eric. it is jonathan lemire. the piece is terrific with thorough reporting and great details. a scene that really struck me is deputy chief -- acting chief of staff mick mulvaney stepping in and out of the office when
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president trump was talking about rudy giuliani, his personal attorney, in order to preserve attorney/client privilege. what does this show in terms of what mulvaney knew what was going on, and also do you think it will add to the intensity of the cries for mulvaney to be someone who is called before congress to testify in the impeachment proceedings? >> i mean i think that mulvaney, you know, is more of a nexus position in terms of having potential knowledge of the two different tracks that were playing out in the summer. the one track, of course, being the freeze on the aid and the second track being rudy giuliani and his compatriots that were trying to pressure the president of ukraine. mulvaney was really, you know, at the axis to both of those, more so than someone like esper, for example, or even -- you know, perhaps even pompeo. so i think there would be an intense interest in understanding what is it that mulvaney knew and how much was he aware of a potential connection between those two
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threads. i mean nfor the most part what e learned is the people at the office of management budget whose job it was to execute the freeze on those funds from starting essentially june 19th through september 11th when president trump lifted the freeze that they didn't have that much insight into why the freeze had been imposed. someone like mulvaney who is acting chief of staff, he potentially did understand why the president had imposed that freeze. >> david ignatius with "the washington post" is with us and has a question. david. >> eric, terrific reporting. i want to ask you a question we often think about in our business, which is what is the next shoe to drop? as you look at this story, what's the next target of opportunity, question we should be asking? for example, do you think we will know definitively when trump made the order to freeze this aid? that's still been mysterious. nobody quite can explain it. what do you think is next? >> i think john bolton is probably one of the biggest open
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questions as to what he knows and what he has to say and whether he decides to participate in some capacity or even speak publicly. you know, there's nothing necessarily legally preventing him from speaking and the administration doesn't have the ability to force him to not participate. i think his deciding potentially to, you know, speak out could have at least, you know, in terms of public opinion, could have an impact. in terms of when it started, it seems pretty clear that, you know, i mean the president had been raising concerns about corruption with ukraine for back to 2018, and his aides heard that. to some extent this saga starts on -- the aid freeze starts on june 19th. on june 18th dod puts out a news release that it is about to release over 100 million dollars in the assistance. the president learns about it on the 18th or 19th.
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there's a story on a conservative website in washington and the president becomes aware it. on june 19th is when the chief of staff's office reaches out to the office of management and budget and says what is this money and can we hold it? that's june 19th. we basically know when the freeze starts, but as to exactly, you know, at what point does the president connect the notion of stopping the aide to the potential influencing the president of ukraine for potential political purposes, that's something that is not necessarily still entirely clear. >> all right. "the new york times'" eric lip to lipton, remarkable reporting. thank you so much. barn storming through new hampshire to kick off the new year and joining us next on "morning joe." us next on "morning joe." when you move homes, you move more than just yourself.
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hey, welcome back to "morning joe." it is 8:38 on the east coast. with us we still have columnist and associate editor for "the washington post", david ignatius, and associate editor of commentary magazine noah rothman. susan page joins the page. we have democratic presidential candidate senator michael bennet of colorado. let's start with a question. are you like secretariat of the race? are you hanging back at the derby until you are ready to make your move? how is the presidential campaign going? >> i think now is the time to make the move. i said my new year's resolution is i want to finish in top third in new hampshire -- or top three in new hampshire. i have spent more time here than any other candidate, and i have committed to doing another 50 town halls here. the reason i have stayed in, joe, even though i haven't
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polled great is that i still think that my plans are the plans that we need to restore the middle class in this country, give working people a chance again, and end childhood poverty. i think they're the best plans anybody has in the race. so i'm putting one foot in front of the other and new hampshire has rewarded an approach like this before and i hope they will do it again. >> senator, so let's not talk about the horse race or even this campaign. if you would, just be a reporter for the people. tell us, because there is nothing like running a campaign, even on my small level as a congressman when i ran, i loved knocking on doors and hearing what people had to say. often it just didn't match up with what people were saying on the floors of congress or what they were saying in the media. so what are the one or two issues that people keep talking about when you are knocking on the doors, when you are in town
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hall meetings, when you are talking to them in new hampshire? >> it is incredibly straightforward, joe. it is entirely consistent with the ten years of town hall meetings i have had in my home state of colorado. it is people coming and saying, michael, we are working really hard and we can't afford some combination of housing, health care, higher education and early childhood education. in other words we can't afford a middle class life. we can't save. we think our kids are going to live a more diminished life than the life that we lived and than even that our parents lived. when they're finished talking about that they want to talk about climate change. that's what they're talking about. >> talk about the real deal. you are unveiling it today. does that help? >> i think it does. i mean it is a combination of stuff that i have been working on the last ten years to lift up the middle class, to restore opportunity through the way we
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approach education, and then to deal with the generational challenges we face from climate change to immigration to restoring faith in our government and integrity in the white house. and when i look at the other plans, you know, bernie's offered $55 trillion worth of plans. elizabeth has offered $41 trillion worth of plans. that's more money than we are spending in the next decade than it is today. those will be dead on arrival. i don't think we can run democratic candidates in swing states on those plans. i look at the other plans and they're meek compared to the one i proposed. no other plan is going to cut childhood poverty by 40% in one year. i can tell you as a former school superintendent it is the most important thing we can do to give kids a decent education. no other plan does more for the education than my plan, so that's what the real deal is all about. it is real because not only does
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it answer the question that you asked about what i'm hearing in my town halls, but it does it in a way that's actually plausibility. importantly, it is in a way that we can run in purple states and win, you know, like the state of colorado. there's not a single thing on that list that i can't run for reelection in colorado on, and i think it would be true of democrats from iowa to arizona to maine to north carolina. winning the senate can't be an afterthought in this presidential election. >> "usa today's" susan page is with us and has a question. susan. >> senator bennet, you are talking about issues like housing and education while you are on the stump, but you are one of five senators who likely will be called back to washington for the impeachment trial of president trump. can you talk about what you think the impact of the impeachment trial is going to be on democrats, the democratic field generally and also how you specifically plan to handle this time period when you will be focused on something you are not
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hearing from voters about. what will you do during the impeachment trial? >> well, i'm going to be in washington and fulfilling my constitutional duties and i'm sure the other people as well. on the off hours i hope i will be continuing to communicate with people in new hampshire. i find it really useful to have these town halls. like joe said, i think it is the best source of information about what people are thinking about and being responsive to that will give us a nominee that actually can take on donald trump and win. so it is not obviously the most convenient thing in the world to have this beach trial in the middle of that, but it is what it is. i think we all will be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. >> "commentary's" noah rothman has the next question. noah. >> senator, yes, i want to talk about your plan here. you go after some of your opponents for spending a lot of money, but you propose expanding medicare which is very expensive. i don't think a lot of people have dealt with the cost of
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this. the trustees have said that the program's hospital insurance fund is insolvent in six years. you have a lot of revenue generators in here but the one that looks most enticing is the smart wealth tax. can you talk about what is smart about it and does it get around the problems with senator warren's tax, mostly the prohibitions in the constitution on direct taxes and taxes on ex appropriating property? >> right. what is smart about it is that it is constitutional and it can be administered. i don't think the other ones that have been put forward fulfill those criteria. it is largely about equalizing the rates between capital gains and north korea income, that's been income and working income and dealing with the stepped up basis issues that confront us as we think about the estates that are building up, building up, building up, being passed from one aristocrat to another in this country. we don't need that in the united states of america. then on the health care cost,
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you're quite right. we are spending twice as much as any other country in the world on health care, and we've got to reduce that. i think the way we're going to do that is by creating trans paerns transparency so everything has a price tag. it is not a mystery why we're spending more than other countries and it has nothing to do with health care but with broken politics in washington, d.c. i think we can overcome that. >> let's go to david ignatius next. david. >> senator, vice president biden is still the front-runner had in the polls. what do you think is his weakest point and why should moderate democrats vote for you instead of biden. >> my view is that people want new generational leadership and that i think is his biggest weakness. his tax plan includes, for example, restoring the state and
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local deduction which i know is popular in new york but 86% of the benefit of that goes to the richest 5% of people in america. it is a little bit like the plan that he struck with joe biden on the physical cliff deal when we expended the bush tax cuts having run against it for years and years as democrats. we are seeing more of that, the same go-along stuff instead of addressing the needs of the people in my town halls that joe talked about. i think the other concern that i have is that he has said over and over again if we just get rid of trump things will go back to normal. there was not a normal before donald trump was here. joe knows this well. congress wasn't working at all during that period of time because the freedom caucus had immobilized our exercise in self-government. i think we need a president that will go out to all 50 states with an agenda that the american people can actually support that's popular, that is not just
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empty promises, and bring it back to washington and overcome a broken washington. it is the only way i think this direct in the end can make progress on the economic issues that we face and also the generational issues that we face like climate change. the next generation of americans is becoming very impatient with us, and i think that the plans that i put forward are responsive to what they're asking for. so that's the case that i would make. >> all right. senator michael bennet, thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> we always greatly appreciate it. good luck out there. >> look forward to seeing you up here. >> so we are looking forward to it. we will see you very soon in new hampshire. susan page, so this morning we talked about fundraising numbers from the democrats, bernie sanders obviously doing very well at 36 million. pete buttigieg around 24, 25 million. elizabeth warren around 17
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million. 34 for bernie. andrew yang, 16.5 million. tulsi gabbard, 3.4 million. that's what is reported so far. elizabeth warren, the word is she will go coming in around 17 million. but donald trump raised 46 million in the fourth quarter. while it is a good number it is certainly not going to come close to the aggregate once you add in joe biden and, of course, michael bloomberg sneezed last week and 45 million, $46 million fell out of his back pocket which he immediately put up online. donald trump is getting hammered in swing states by bloomberg ads. i wonder if that's a story that's going under the radar for a lot of people in the media. >> it could because we don't know whether to take bloomberg seriously as a potential nominee, but he is spending the money of a nominee and more. it is interesting.
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many of his ads are focused less on promoting michael bloomberg and more on attacking donald trump. that could be a real wild card going forward if -- if there's a nominee and is not bloomberg will he continue to make that kind of enormous investment. that could be important in key states. it is useful for democrats at the moment regardless of who ends up winning the nomination. we saw michael bennet raise questions about joe biden's age. we have some ad that's are really directly taking the democratic side generally attacking the president. >> that is what is so fascinating, david, that the bloomberg ads are not all about michael bloomberg. for the most part they're doing what democratic party, the dnc, would want to do. they are going at all of trump's weaknesses and bloomberg is
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doing it in wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, north carolina, and florida. it t is better targeted ads against a sitting president. >> it is like the early rounds of a boxing match where the fighter tries to soften the opponent by punching to the body, steady round after round, and it takes a toll. legs start to get weak and i'm sure that is what bloomberg is hoping and democrats generally are hoping. this relentless continuing effort to point out to voters what they're not getting from trump. past all of the daily carnival of antielitism, what is going on. it could be powerful. >> it could be, all right, coming up next the new yorker
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takes a look at the ultra wealthy that argue they should be paying higher taxes. that is next in 90 seconds. n 90s they're walking into a trap. your orders are to deliver a message calling off tomorrows attack. if you fail, we will lose sixteen hundred men. your brother among them. we need to keep moving. i can't see! you keep hold of me! come on! what the hell are you doing lance corporal? trust me!
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it has been quite a year for the stock market and much as been made under the gains under president trump with the president tweeting this cnbc article. it shows him outpacing his
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predecessors. it compares him to the average of all of the presidents dating back to 1928. if you look at the gains under specific presidents, he trails george h.w. bush and he is even further behind barack obama. that was after the 2008 financial crisis. noah, let's say these charts were out and well -- well 25 years ago or so when more americans were in the stock market. it might have a greater impact. a lot of retirement accounts rise and fall with the stock market. i'm just curious in 2020 how much will that play, do you think, into the politics of 2020. how much will it help trump? >> the retirement accounts issue is an interesting one.
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more people are invested in that and they have wealth in those accounts than feel it. it is like a hidden source of wealth. but polls just that the economy is not the most salient issue in the election. but 13% of people said it was the most important issue facing the country. pocketbook issues are more relevant. so the economy is boosting trump's support, but at the same time it doesn't seem to be the chief problem on voters minds and the more the president doesn't seem to even enjoy talking his economic record. he likes to talk about his grooefs grooe grievance of the day. >> it is incredible. an unemployment rate under 4% not talking about that more than he does. meanwhile a new piece in the new
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yorker look at the ultra-wealthy. it uses the example of the heiress to disney. she is the granddaughter of roy disney who founded disney with his brother, walt. we know they have not been involved in managing the company since 2003. with us now, the piece's author and staff writer, sheila kolhatkar. let's talk about your piece and talk about those that believe their taxes have been cut too much. >> so abigail is part of a group called the patriotic millionaires that are welty millionaires, and they have kind of realized that this is
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individual acts of charity, donated to the museum of modern art. raising the minimum wage. rethinking the tax code, so their lobbying to raise their taxes and they're making an argument saying it is in their own interest, in the interest of other rich people to live in a country with a stable secure middle class. they don't want to live in a country with widening disparities. >> usa today has the next question. >> when you look at the top one tent tenth of one percent of americans, how -- of course we have these examples you're writing about of members of that elite economic group who support higher taxes on themselves, of that universe what proportion do you think support higher taxes
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and what proportion think what is mine is mine. >> i think if you privately asked people, i do a lot of reporting among wall street executives and some of them say that some of the tax cuts have gone too far, but they're not likely to go out and advocate publicly for that. another thing that you see that is interesting is people donating money very generously to a lot of causes. to alleviate poverty to the local possible, but at the same time their political donations suggest they want to continue to keep their tax bill down. there is a sort of disconnect. you cannot solve some of the problems without addressing the inequity in the tax code. >> david igna trious.
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what do you think is donald trump's anger part of what is driving the politics? >> absolutely, many people sited concern of social unrest. i thought the question of if there could be a social uprising in the u.s. was fascinating. none of the historians i asked about this thought it was likely. they felt that although inequality riched a top level, the government has too much control over the nation. wealthy people too well protected. they all agreed that was more likely was a prolonged period of extreme polarization. >> not encouraging at all. sheila, thank you so much.
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we appreciate you being with us and we're going to be reading your piece and the new issue of "the new yorker." that does it for us this morning, stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage now. >> happy new year, and we're going to begin this new year with president trump facing not just impeachment, but a pair of global challenging comes to a head at the same time. i'm talking about iran and north korea. the situation in both countries have gotten more dangerous in the last few days and while the president has tried two completely different approaches to contain them neither seems to be working. let's start with north korea where the president says he trusts kim jong-un to get rid of his nukes because she a man of his word. the president of the united states said that on new years eve, two days ago. on the very same day, kim jong un said he will

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