tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC December 29, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PST
reports." craig melvin is up next on msnbc. >> steve, i will see you next year, my friend. >> take care. >> craig melvin from msnbc headquarters in new york. off the cuff, donald trump fresh off the golf course sat down with the "new york times." why he says the russia investigation makes america look bad. and the new jab he just took at his own attorney general jeff sessions while praising former a.g. eric holder. and a #metoo moment. what defined our year. the question now, can momentum turn into lasting change? plus, good-bye, 2017. a year where our politics were divided, our rhetoric was heat and bipartisanship was hard to come by. now, former president obama is sharing a final thought as we head into 2018. institute but we end the week and the year with president trump, unplugged in a brand-new "new york times" interview.
>> we went up to the president and spoke to him while he was eating. >> no staff around, no aides, nobody present? >> no, it was just him and i. he didn't attack mueller. he basically said he thought mueller would be fair to him. >> he may be seeing one thing on one hand, but he's got all of his buddies saying something completely different. >> president trump is saying he has is essentially authoritarian power over the justice department. >> he likes to speak his minds and he doesn't necessarily follow protocols. >> he thinks the more he says there's no collusion the more it makes it. >> i know the details of taxes better than anybody. better than the greatest cpa. do you think that's true? >> well, i think there's a little theatrical flourish to that last comment. >> you had no idea you were going to be doing an interview with the president when you went to his golf course. >> sometimes we get lucky as journalists. >> sometimes we do. let's start with garrett haake, who is following the vacationing
president in mar-a-lago. garrett, give us some of the highlights of this interview, sir. >> reporter: craig, very much a wide-ranging interview. touching on everything from north korea, where the president says he would like to be tougher on china, to his agenda for next year, saying he hopes to work in a much more bipartisan way with democrats. but the core of this interview is the president playing the hits, talking about the 2016 election, his electoral victory and the investigations into him and to his 2016 opponent, hillary clinton. at one point he says in this interview, on the hillary clinton e-mail investigation, i have absolute right to do what i want with the justice department. but for purposes of hopefully thinking i'm going to be treated fairly, i've stayed uninvolved in this particular matter. that bite has gotten a lot of attention. the president also talked about being treated fairly by bob mueller. he says, i think bob mueller will be fair. i think everybody knows there's
no collusion. i think it's actually turning out to the democrats because there was collusion on behalf of the democrats. there was collusion with the russians and democrats. a lot of collusion. craig, a lot of references to collusion. the president going back to this time and again, essentially unprompted using "no collusion" 16 times in a couple of different formats. the nature of this interview was sort of open-ended. can you see this is something on the president's mind, not something he was necessarily pressed to address in this way over and over again. very telling that this is what the president is thinking about on his working vacation down here in palm beach. >> did he have any staffers with him during the courses of that interview or was it just him and the reporter from "the times"? >> reporter: michael schmidt, the reporter from "the times," says he was there with a friend of trump's, having lunch, having a chance to chat with the president briefly. no staff whatsoever in the room. the president started stalking about taxes and michael schmidt
says he just asked the president, if you want to talk about this, let's do it on the record. the interview happened just as organically as that. this president, while he doesn't necessarily do the formal press conferences and things of that nature, he likes talking to the press. he belittles the press, attacks us on twitter. he likes giving interviews. and he likes talking to reporters. i think he took this moment at his own club on his own turf to do exactly that. >> i would note he hasn't done a network news interview since he sat down with lester holt. mr. trump also tweeting and tweeting about one of his favorite targets, amazon's jeff bezos. what is he saying? >> reporter: this is a weird tweet, craig. it's sort of a combination about complaint about government inefficiency and an attack at amazon's jeff bezos. the tweet reads, why is the united states post office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging amazon and others so little to
deliver their packages, making amazon richer and the post office dumber and poorer? should be charging much more. aid strange bit of micromanagement of a government agency by this president and an attack on one of the country's most profitable, most well-known, most respected companies. >> right now a live look. president trump on the golf course once again there in mar-a-lago. two thumbs up there from the president. not exactly sure who he is playing golf with today. we're also told, though, that the president did invite some members of the u.s. coast guard to mar-a-lago to play golf today as well. not clear if they were invited to play with him or just play. but president trump, as you can see, greeting some folks there at what he calls -- what he calls the winter white house, his holiday vacation continues. we're also told at some point here we may be hearing from
president trump. there you have it, the u.s. coast guard posing for a picture now with president trump. we do not have any information on precisely where these guardsmen are from, but it would look -- it would look like a number of them are golfers. they are preparing to either play with president trump or just enjoy his course there in west palm beach, florida. for now, i want to talk a little more about this "new york times" interview. ned price is an msnbc national security analyst, also former spokesperson for the nsc under president obama. and elizabeth holtzman is a former congresswoman. she's currently counsel with herrick & feinstein llp. let's listen in for a moment. >> i said, would a couple of people, this is for you guys, would a couple people like to play golf? and i had about 50 people raise their hands. and about 75 people showed up. so, today the course is yours.
we closed the course. you can have a little tournament. you're going to determine who the best player is, right? maybe it's the boss, i don't know. but we'll make a determination as to who the best player is. the media is terrific. any sports media there? i know you're not sports. any -- any sports media? they're going to have a little coast guard challenge. so, enjoy the course. one of the great courses of the world. the 17th hole. i think all of you were watching my shot, right? did you see it? the shot and then a birdie. they'll say i took a triple bogey but i actually got a birdie. go ahead and enjoy. i know you ate. it's an honor to have you at the course. and you'll come back. the job you did in florida and, frankly, especially the job, as you know, the job they did in texas saved 16,000 people.
it's unheard of. i just want to thank you. the coast guard is fantastic. and i said come use my course. i didn't know i'd be flooded. but that's okay. you guys go have a good time. let me know who won. we'll get them a little trophy. >> we will. thank you. >> is he a tough guy to work for? thank you. thank you, everybody. thank you very much. thank you. [ applause ] >> there you have it, president trump praising some members of the coast guard there. also we found out a little bit more, some of those questions we had before he started speaking were answered. it appears as if the president was speaking to some coast guard members. invited them to show up at his course and play golf. more than expected showed up but
he invited them to play the course. he called it the greatest course in the world. the president could not resist the urge to talk about the birdie i guess he just made. we should note, we have not been able to independently verify whether the president did actually hit a bogey -- hit a birdie there. he also said that the media is terrific. something we have not heard from president trump, perhaps in all of 2017. president trump there playing golf. this is, by our count, the fourth straight day he has played at mar-a-lago. again, shutting down the course, turning it over to some members of the coast guard to play. let's get back, though, to that conversation that mr. trump had with michael schmidt of "the new york times." i want to remind folks what he said. i have absolute right to do what i want to do with the justice department. this is what president trump
said in the course of that conversation, ned. what do you make of the president's absolute right comment about the doj? >> well, craig, i think many people will and have disagreed with the president on this score, but most importantly, i think the constitution would disagree with him on this score. look, whether it's me when i was a junior cia officer taking my oath of office or the president of the united states, the thing we swear allegiance to when we hold up our right hand is to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. we don't swear allegiance to a president. we don't swear allegiance to a party. so, every employee of the department of justice is not loyal -- is not faithful, need not be faithful to president trump but needs to be faithful to the institution. that clearly is something president trump does not understand. he seems to fancy himself as a modern day louis xiv, someone
who is not prone to follow what is set forth in the constitution. >> as we're having this conversation, again, for our virz at home who might have just been joining us, that was president trump on the golf course a few moments ago at trump international course there at mar-a-lago. elizabeth, again, you know, you voted for the impeachment of richard nixon. i want to read what president trump says about loyalty. this is the president talking about a former president obama and his attorney general, eric holder. holder protected president obama. totally protected him. when you look at the irs scandal, when you look at the guns for whatever -- again, these are direct quotes from the president -- when you look at the guns for whatever, when you look at all the tremendous real problems they had, not made-up problems like russian collusion, when you look at things they did and holder protected the president, and i have a great respect for that. i'll be honest, i have a great respect for that. when you hear that, elizabeth, what goes through your mind?
>> well, he's saying that what he has respect for is loyalty above all. and that's what he asked from james comey, before he fired him. he said, james comey, i want you to be loyal to me. comey, the director of the fbi said, i'll be honest, and i think that what the president is saying here is not -- is that he has dictatorial power. there's nothing in the constitution that gives him the right of absolute control of the justice department or any other department. he takes an oath of office to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. not to make the laws, but to enforce the laws as they exist. so, he puts himself above the law. one, he's asking for big trouble because that's what got president nixon, a vote of impeachment and got him to resign. president nixon tried to take control of the justice department. tried to take control of the people who were investigating him. he fired the special prosecutor. and then he also met with the top official of the justice department and said, tell me what's going on in the grand
jury, i'm president, i have a right to know what's going on in the grand jury. he used that information to warn potential witnesses before the grand jury. that was part of his prosecution. so, if donald trump wants to take absolute control, he could be facing early retirement and a suit with stripes. >> ned, the president, once again, appearing to try and distance himself from his former campaign chairman, paul manafort, now under indictment. this is what he said about manafort. paul only worked for me for a few months. paul worked for ronald reagan, his firm worked for john mccain, worked for bob dole, worked for many republicans far longer than me. and you're talking about what paul was many years ago before i ever heard of him. he worked for me for, what, 3 1/2 months? why continue to make the length of time he worked for him an issue? >> i think this boils down to there's no other viable defense. they keep pointing to the short
tenure. we saw sean spicer point to this when the issues with manafort first came into the spotlight. the fact is manafort was donald trump's campaign chairman during the most pivotal time of the campaign, during the republican national convention. i think it goes without saying that without paul manafort, donald trump would not be sitting in the oval office. but the fact of the matter is, there is just no other way to separate donald trump from the paul manafort. they are so inextricably intertwined at this point, not only during the campaign, but dating back years. dating back years, their mu sul association with roger stone, who is manafort business partner, who has also come under investigation in this russia probe, but there are so many ties between them that they're grasping at straws to find a way to put daylight between these two men. >> thank you. i wish we had more time. i'll see you next year. that's not all the president talked about in that "new york times" interview.
he explained why, in his opinion, the media industry will tank without him. and the worst fire tragedy in new york city in more than two decades. at least 12 dead, including five children. now investigators think they know what started that deadly fire. >> i just started crying. because it's sad to -- it's tragic.
we have been talking about that "new york times" interview with president trump. in addition to trump's comments about the russia investigation, the president has a lot to say about his base, democrats and more. quote, virtually every democrat has said there is no collusion. there is no collusion. and even these committees that have been set up, if you look at what's going on and, in fact, what it's done, it's really angered the base and made the base stronger. my base is stronger than it's
ever been. katherine is a columnist for "the washington post," kirk is a political strategist and former spokesman for breitbart. this is a base that you know well. when you were at breitbart, these were your people. is his base, indeed, stronger than it's ever been? >> what we've seen is no matter what's happened in this tumultuous and unpredictable 2017, there's a certain amount of population that never leaves donald trump. whether the issue is race relations, whether the issue is the economy, whether the situation is mueller. they steadfastly stand by him and nothing trump does causes any pause or wavering from that segment of the population. that base, 30%, 35% of republican, conservative voters, they don't seem to be going anywhere. >> he also talked about roy moore, the alabama republican who just lost that senate seat
to doug jones. he said as the head of the republican party it was his obligation to endorse roy moore. what do you make of that? >> it was not his obligation to endorse an accused child molester. he went above and beyond what was required of him as the standardbearer of his party. there were a lot of other republicans who were cageyer if not outright condemning this candidate and saying, this is not who we want representing our party in the senate. trump clearly could have done that. i think his motivations were twofold. maybe he did feel some obligation, yes, to be loyal to his party. i think more than that, he felt if he did not accuse a candidate accused of sexual misconduct, that could open trump up. that would open up trump himself to, you know, relitigating, i guess, those kinds of accusations, which he was not keen to do. >> i want to play something "the
times'" michael schmidt said about the president's view of working with democrats. take a listen and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> he went on and on about wanting to do deals with democrats. >> he called it do by partisan. >> correct. i said, that you attacking to the middle? what is this? you haven't done any deals with democrats all year. now you're talking about doing all these things in the year to come. he said, no, no, i'm moving in both directions, which i didn't totally understand. >> does the president seriously want to do, as he says, do bipartisan, and if so, what does moving in both directions mean? >> it means he talks out of both sides of his mouth. usually has a tendency to talk to whoever is in front of him. the political reality is much different. for all the talk about wanting to do a fix for daca and d.r.e.a.m.ers, he also says he wants to build this border wall, which is a nonstarter for democrats. democrats are poised to make significant, maybe historic
gains in november. there's very little incentive for them to work with donald trump. if they do so, the progressive base would go nuts. on the other hand, conservatives don't have an appetite to spend any more money, especially after they just did massive deficit spending to advance tax reform. he'll have problems from his own base. >> $1.4 trillion over a decade. even paul ryan saying he's not exactly sure whether those numbers are going to add up. at the end of the interview, the president spent some time talking about his favorite topic, talking about us, talking about the media. this is what he said. quote, all forms of media will tank if i'm not there because their ratings are going down the tubes. the failing "new york times," but the failed "new york times," so they basically have to let me win. we should note the president doing this interview with a reporter from "the new york
times." it was the secretary of state who wrote an op-ed earlier this week that was, of course, for "the new york times." notwithstanding, if you look at his current approval rating versus that of other presidents one year into their administrati administration, there are the numbers on your screen, the media not doing a good job. president trump polling under 38% right there. what's your analysis? >> i actually think he's partially right. there's a grain of truth in this comment in that for all of his bashing of the media, for all of his calling us enemies of the state, et cetera, actually he has been good for traffic for ratings because there are so many scandals, so many opportunities for investigative scoops and lots of opportunities for just covering, like, crazy, flashy tweets, click kind of things. so, in a sense, there's this sort of similloved/hate relatio between trump and the media. that said, i don't think that means the media is likely to suddenly be on the trump train and say, we're going to abandon
our objective to report without fear or favor. we are suddenly going to say nice things about trump. not only because that would violate the code of ethics of a lot of places, and according to trump's analysis, this would not be good for traffic, right? if we're just saying nice things about trump, we're not actually doing our jobs and investigating and holding his feet to the fire. presumably that's not going to attract the same number of readers and viewers as, you know, holding our politicians to account. >> we'll leave it there. good to see you both. happy new year to you both. >> happy new year, craig. a deadly fire ripped through a new york city apartment building killing at least 12 people. now officials are sailing saying they have a pretty good idea of how that fire started. defense secretary james mattis just talked about our strategy to fight isis in the coming year. he talked to hans nichols. how the battlefield is changing.
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pressure bomb in chelsea, truck attack auto manhattan's west side and earlier this month, a pipe bomb that went off inside the port authority bus station. frigid temperatures continue to plague many parts of the united states as we prepare to usher in a new year. record lows are expected in the northeast, midwest and great plains. at least 24 daily record lows were tied or broken thursday with cities like minnesota, seeing temperatures drop into the minus 40s. temperatures in the eastern part of this country may be the coldest to bring in any new year in the past 70 years. both megamillions and jackpot powerballs have climbed to more than $300 million, all for one tantalizing present before 2017 comes to a close. winning the lotto may be less likely than being struck by lightning. these jackpots also come with another catch. by 2018, state and local income taxes will no longer be eligible
as an itemized deduction under the new gop tax bill. that would save a few extra million off your initial winnings, but by our math you would still be just fine. the fight against isis has been one of the biggest stories of the past few years. this year no exception. a short time ago u.s. defense secretary jim mattis speaking at the pentagon about efforts to fight the terrorist group in the coming years saying, in part, the war is not over. however, he said that isis is a diminished brand and it's less inspirational. president trump tauts u.s. until helping to dismantle the islamic state, a group like home base may increase its focus on international terrorism without that home base. nbc news pentagon correspondent hans nichols is in washington with more. hans, i know you talked to general mattis a short time ago. >> yeah. >> what else did he have to say? >> i think theed biest headline is the idea there could be more
americans going to syria. secretary mattis says americans as diplomats and security contractors to protect them. it gives you a sense they're preparing for the next stage in syria. how do you forge a peace, how do you make sure the battlefield gains by partner forces, syrian democratic forces, a group of arabs and kurds, how do you keep those gains from isis and prevent isis from coming back. that seems to be what mattis will be spending most of 2018 on. of course, you mentioned, craig, the war is expanding. you look at places like somalia. there are new authorities in somalia. they can take drone strikes quicker. you have multiple ground operations in yemen. that's something they acknowledged last week saying, we have had multiple operations. normally we only find out if something goes bad. and aid drone base in niger that could be potentially with armed drones. you look at the combat fatalities in trump's first year, it is year of 2017. 21 fatalities. it's really the breadth of the
geography that's striking. you have them taking place in over six countries, from afghanistan to africa. and i think moving forward in 2018, the challenge will be for both on the defense side and the intel side is finding out where isis is going to try to find a stronghold and what kind of external attacks they could potentially mount. craig? >> hans nichols there at the pentagon for us. hans, thank you so much for that. the deadliest new york city fire in a quarter century was apparently started by aid child who was playing with a stove. that's according to the fire department here in new york. among the dead, five children, including a 1-year-old. four others were critically wounded when flames tore through a five-story bronx apartment building last night. new york city mayor bill de blasio called it an unspeakable tragedy. >> at least 12 people were rescued and will survive. but the search of the building
continues, so we know that even though it's horrible to report that 12 are dead already, we may lose others as well. >> nbc's anne thompson is live from the scene of that fire with the very latest. anne? >> reporter: craig, i will tell you the people out here are just absolutely numb. not from the cold, and it is freezing out here, but from the shock of what happened last night. as you mentioned, it was a 3 1/2-year-old boy, fire officials believe, who started this blaze. he was in his family's first floor apartment. he was playing with burners on the stove. something he has been known to do. his mother was not -- he was not in his mother's eyesight at the time. something caught on fire in the kitchen. she grabbed him and a 2-year-old in the apartment and ran out. and when she did, she forgot to close the door to the apartment. and as a result, the fire moved
out into the staircase. the staircase acted like a chimney, spreading that fire through all five floors. people -- the fire department got here within three minutes of the call coming in, but in many cases, for at least 12 people, that three minutes was much too late. 20 people were on a fire escape, waiting to be rescued. the fire department did the best they could trying to rescue people, but we understand that the 12 people who died, died in the very early moments of this fast-moving fire. i know that two of the people who died is a grandmother and her grandchild. i spoke to the grandmother's brother. he just said he's devastated. the grandmother called her daughter saying, the house was on fire -- the apartment was on fire. she was desperate to get out. she could not. and she and the granddaughter perished. there are many stories like that today. in a nearby school, neighbors are bringing all kinds of
clothes because the 25 families or so that lived in that apartment building have lost everything. some have lost people they love. they have lost their homes and everything they own. craig? >> anne thompson for us there in the bronx. this is a hard story to get our heads around, anne. thank you. in 2017, we have seen quite the reckoning when it comes to sexual harassment in this country. we are about to talk to the founder of the #metoo movement about turning this focus into action and about a special honor she's going to take part in this weekend. plus, in a year of politics like we've never seen before, we'll look at some of the most underreported stories of the year. hey! yeah!? i switched to geico and got more! more savings on car insurance!? they helped with homeowners, too! ok!
minnesota and the united states senate has been the honor of my life. and i'm here tonight to say thank you. >> minnesota senator al franken with an emotional farewell last night in minneapolis. it was his first public appearance in his home state since announcing plans to resign earlier this month. he was one of several politicians, both democrat and republican alike this year, to face allegations of sexual misconduct in a year that saw the birth of the #metoo movement. that movement raised awareness
about the harassment that women in all walks of life have been dealing with for a very long time. i'm joined by the founder of the #metoo movement. she's become one of our favorite guests here, tarana burke. also with me, msnbc legal analyst katie phang joining us from chicago. she usually joins us from miami. she chose this weekend to go to chicago. tarana, let me start with you. a lot of these allegations that have surfaced this year, they go back years. what do you think it was about the climate in 2017 that made it ripe for the #metoo movement to be born. >> it was born ten years ago. >> that's right. >> but this year in particular having donald trump elected president, starting off with the women's march, we started off this year with a really strong statement about women and where we are in the country and what we will and won't stand for.
so i think it rypiened the field for something like #metoo to come about and go viral and have this moment that we're seeing in the media. >> do you think that this is a moment or do you get the sense that this is a movement that is actually going to endure and we'll see more in 2018, 2019 and beyond? >> if i have anything to do with it, it will definitely be beyond. i do think it's more than a moment. hashtags are meant to be hashtags. they're viral and they last for maybe a moment or longer than that. what we've seen as a result of the hashtag and the viral moment is this shift in our culture that's starting to happen and i think that will be long-lasting. >> we've seen men lose their jobs over allegations of misconduct. but heretofore we have not seen many face legal repercussions. do you expect that to change in 2018? >> absolutely. and the reason why is this
culture of silence has been broken in great part due to the empowerment we've seen not only for women but for men that have suffered. suffered in silence because of what, because of legal maneuvering, like nondisclosure agreements, things like confidentiality provisions. so what you're going to see, craig, is going to be companies, executives, people that are in positions of power that are now going to be held accountable for their actions not only through the criminal arena, but sifl through state and federal laws and actual employment agreements. >> one of our guests a few moments ago talked about this. a number of people have been talking about this ever since the first allegations were levied against harvey weinstein. president trump continues to face allegations of misconduct. he was there on that "access hollywood" tape, of course, all but admitting to groping women in the past.
why do you think, katie, that the president of the united states hasn't faced any consequences? >> because, number one, it's the obvious point, he is the president of the united states. and there's a certain level of hypocrisy that comes with that level of office. i think you're seeing this huge exposure of his conduct and his actions and the irony, as you just heard from tanara, it's actually empowered and emboldened people to step forward and say, i have a voice. even though the president of the united states, who is in the biggest and highest office in the land shut comport himself better and be legally compliant, the bottom line is he hasn't been held accountable for his actions yet. >> do you think that's it? >> yeah, i mean, i think we throw around the world accountability a lot, too, right? we've seen some accountability in the sense of people getting fired from their jobs. but i think it was melissa harris-perry wrote a great piece saying that's not the same as structural change.
we haven't seen structural change yet. we've seen some people being accountable in some ways, but we still need to wait and see what happens. >> one of the concerns that's been expressed by some is that in all of this, due process may be getting lost. that there are some men who may be suffering unjusticely. there's this rush to justice. what do you say to that? >> due process is a legal term. not everybody is afforded due process in the world. that's something that happens in the court of law. also, we've seen two to three months of women coming forward with accusations versus the years and years and years and years and years and years of things that have been happening to women. allegations they've had to hold, crimes they've had to hold in the pit of their stomach and could not reveal to anybody. now people are like, whoa, whoa, whoa, we're going too fast, this is a rush to judgment. what i say to that, this is a moment women -- not just women, and men, are finally able to
release these things, talk about things that have been extremely taboo. i think we need to be patient and let people say the things they need to say and get that out. >> before we let you both go, a bit of a programming note, if you will. this is a big deal because you're going to spend new year's eve in times square with 2 million people. and you are going to be doing what? >> i'm going to be pressing the waterford crystal button to bring in 2018. >> oh, wow. >> and it's typically an honor reserved to the person or persons who has had the greatest impact on our society in the previous year. so, i hope that you and your daughter soak in that honor. >> i'm very, very honored. >> and i also hope you dress in layers. >> thank you. i will. >> 12 degrees. good to have you. katie, good to see you as well. happy new year to you. >> happy new year. looking at president trump's first year in office, we'll talk to an economist who thinks the biggest story of this year is the president's betrayal of his base.
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and what may be the least surprising news of the day, president trump touting his approval rating in one recent poll, tweeting that my rating on december 28, 2017 was approximately the same as president obama on december 28, 2009, which was 47%. and this despite massive negative trump coverage and russia hoax. 47% is more than seven points
higher than real clear politics recent approval rating for mr. trump, by the way. that average shows trump with historically low polling numbers for a president at this point in his first term. for more on that and more, larr sabato from the university of virginia center for politics. and the former economic policy adviser to vice president joe biden joins me. larry, let's talk about the president's approval rating. how concerned should republicans in general be as they go into this midterm year? how worried should they be about the low marks even after this big win on tax reform? >> they should be very concerned. it's one of the best indicators. only one, but it is a good indicator of what will happen in the midterm elections. it's always possible that trump's ratings will go up, though i have to note he's the first president since polls were
taken never to have been over 50% on a single day, including his inauguration day. he's never had majority support. you can cite, as he did, the rasmussen poll all you want to, but the polling averages are better and you were correct to say the polling average is at 38%, not 46%. so i think republicans should be concerned for that reason and quite a number of others. >> jerod, let's talk about taxes and that "new york times" interview that the president did there at mar-a-lago. he said in part, quote, i know the details of taxes better than anybody. better than the greatest cpa. i know the details of health care better than most, better than most. and if i didn't, i couldn't have talked all these people into doing ultimately only to be rejected. your thoughts on the president's assertion that he knows details of taxes better than anybody? >> i don't believe him. i think it was maybe you who a
few minutes ago said we weren't even sure if he hit a birdie on the golf course. you have to discount a lot of what he says. quick point on what you were talking to larry about. when president obama's approval rating was in the high 30s, the unemployment rate was 10%. now it's about 4%. so that tells you a lot about that discussion. not only does donald trump not understand the details of policy, but he continues to sell this tax cut as if it has been a boon to the working class that helped him get elected. there is absolutely no question, if you aren't getting paid to believe this, you don't believe the following that this tax cut helps those who depend on capital income, asset-based income, stocks and bonds, far more than paychecks. a corporate tax cut. the -- almost repealing the estate tax cut. cut outs for pass-through businesses at the high end. all of that benefits the
corporate and the -- and the shareholdering sector, not people who depend on their paychecks. as 2017 comes to an end, that to me is the biggest betrayal of trump's first year in office. the betrayal of the working people who helped put him where he is today based on a false premise that he was going to help them. >> that was the biggest story in your opinion of 2017, jerod bernstein. what in your opinion is the most underreported story? what did we miss? >> i think we've missed this quiet attack on a set of rules and regulations that also basically help those on the wrong side of the inequality divide. not going after wage theft. not going after people who cheat workers out of overtime pay or minimum wages. trying to get rid of the fiduciary rule that helps people save for retirement. deregulating financial markets. these have all been the quiet rule changes that don't involve
congress that the trump administration has been gutting ever since they dot got into to. >> larry, biggest story of 2017 and then the most underreported story. >> the biggest story has to be the inauguration of donald trump and his presidency. i suppose that's always true when you have the inauguration of a new president, but never have we had a new president so unpopular, so controversial, so completely unusual. and i'll leave it at that. the underreported story, actually, i was going to cite what jerod cited. there are over 800 cases of key regulations being either withdrawn or killed by president trump. his administrative cabinet officers or by the congress. many of these are very important, but they don't get covered because some of them are incremental changes. it's not good tv. where are the pictures? but can i add just one other thing? >> sure. >> you thad jnow that jared too.
there was a failure by the media and all of us on following up on what we saw in charlottesville and elsewhere during 2017. the fact is this neo-nazi movement, this white supremacist movement, whether we like it or not, and i hate it, is growing. there are plenty of indications of this. the question is why we haven't gotten to the root causes. it's not enough to cite trump, although i think he is part of it. you have to go further than that because we all have to work to counteract it as america moves toward becoming in the 2040s, a majority minority nation. >> many have spent time wondering why is it our divisions continue to run so very deep in this country. larry, unfortunately, we're going to have to leave it there. mr. bernstein, good to see you, brother. always learn something from you on television. i hope you'll come back and join me. >> of course, i will. >> we will be right back.
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mar-a-lago resort. last hour we saw the president for a fourth day at trump international in his golf gear. but this time with members of the coast guard who he invited over to hit the links. but we begin with something else that happened at the trump international. specifically in the grill room. the president's impromptu interview with "the new york times." and, it was illuminating. >> just when you think you'll have a slow friday before new year's, a "new york times" reporter stumbles upon the president of the united states in the grill room at mar-a-lago and launches an unbelievable interview. >> president trump unplugged in a brand-new "new york times" interview. >> donald trump spoke to a "new york times" reporter alone without any aides or staffers present. >> the core of this interview is the president playing the hits. talking about the 2016 election, his electoral victory, and the investigations into him and to his 2016 opponent hillary clinton. >> he says he knew more about
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