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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  January 5, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST

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for all those kids. and those great dads were men in the state of texas. that wraps up this hour. i'm stephanie ruhle. i'll be back at 11:00. now to my friend and colleague, hallie jackson. the house probably hopes the next 51 looks nothing like this one. nbc news confirmed that part of a bombshell/new york times highlights the russia investigation. the times says president trump personally ordered a white house lawyer to stop jeff sessions from recusing himself. nbc news has learned from a u.s. official that don mcgann, that lawyer and other officials asked sessions not to recuse, ultimately, he did. so coming up, we'll go through what the special counsel knows about it, what you need to know about it, and what the reporter behind the story is working on next. he's here and only here live. also, only on msnbc, the author of that explosive book
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rattling the west wing, author michael wolf on the "today" show. what he's saying in face of the threats from the president. the book as of 61 minutes ago on sale coast to coast. days earlier than expected. >> my credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has walked on earth at this point. >> reporte >> with us now to kick off the show, michael schmidt, nbc's kristen welker is standing by at the white house, also onset here, former deputy assistant attorney general, robert driscoll, and our panel for the next 60 minutes, white house reporter for bloomberg, shani pettypiece and nick johnson. let's get to it and drill-down on the new york times report. because you need to know what is in it and what we didn't know before. so michael, i want to start off with this graphic here. this morning president trump is telling the white house lawyer apparently back in march to instruct the attorney general jeff sessions to stay on in the russia probe.
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nbc news has just confirmed part of this report. now, sessions, of course, ultimately did, in fact, recuse himself from the russia investigation. the president furious saying the attorney general was not protecting him. so we're also learning a couple other critical pieces that an aide to the attorney general reportedly went to capitol hill before testimony from fbi director james comey, basically looking for dirt expressing hope to a staffer to try to receive some negative stories about comey. the doj denying this. at the same time, a white house lawyer took the else the record in their step according to the times of misleading the president, telling him he could not fire james comey without cause, reportedly, scared of what the president would do. this is a special counsel corroborating claims by comey on his interactions with the president. there's a lot to get to, so first i want to go to michael schmidt so lay out what we did not know before and what we are learning from your piece. what is the most important take-away given folks have taken
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11 1/2 months now of the russia investigation? >> i guess it would be how the president reacted when he knew sessions was going to recuse himself. the president said he needed a attorney general that was going to protect him. he needed an attorney general like jfk had in his brother and like obama had with holder. and that he said, where is the reference to trump's long-time personal lawyer who was the fixer in the '80s. this just gives a sense of how the president sees the job of his top law enforcement official, not as someone who knows all the facts, but someone to protect him. >> i want to get to a couple of the threads in your piece that are important to pull on. but before i do, i want to go to kristen at the white house. nbc news confirmed one aspect of the report, so what is the talk there at the white house and from the president's legal team? >> reporter: well, look, they are pushing back firmly against the broader narrative of collusion, of course, president
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trump has a tweet. now that collusion with russia is proving to be a total hoax and the only collusion is with hillary clinton and the fbi/russia, the fake news media mainstream and this phony new book are hitting out at every new front imaginable. they should try whipping an election, sad. that has been his talking point for quite some time. and, of course, that book he's referencing is the "fire and fury" book that you'll get to later in the broadcast. but just to underscore what nbc news is confirming from the investigative unit, according to one u.s. official familiar with the matter, the top counsel here, don mcgann, and other white house officials reached out to attorney general jeff sessions and tried to encourage him not to recuse himself from the russia investigation, it's important to point out, we haven't yet confirmed that was an order that came from the president. >> given by the president, right. >> reporter: exactly. you and i will be bundled up in just a few hours from now when president trump departs the white house trying not to freeze
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our toes off, and we'll be able to shout our questions at him about all this. hopefully we'll get some answers. >> kristen welker, see you in a few hours, my friend. picking up where kristen left off, we knew the president was not happy about jeff sessions' recusal. here's what he said in the interview with your paper over the summer. >> sessions gets the job. right after he gets the job, he recuses himself. >> was that a mistake? >> well, sessions should have never recused himself. and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job. and i would have picked somebody else. >> we knew what james comey was doing, what the president was doing here, but there's something else in this. you talk about a staffer going to the hill and talking with an ai aide about expressing more about james comey, maybe as
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frequent lip as you say, once a day. that's out of the playbook, the lawyer that the president used to have. >> four days before comey was fired, they were out there looking at what was going on in the justice department the week before the firing. why was it they wanted to fire comey? because it because the president didn't like the way he treated hillary clinton? or was it related to the russia investigation? it just sort of raises the questions about, was there something larger afoot? >> very quickly, handwritten notes from reince priebus, he was also taking contemporaneous notes about james comey. note that is the special counsel, you report, has. >> last year the white house produced a bunch of documents to the special counsel e-mails, memos, handwritten stuff, some of this confirms things that comey has said. remember, the president has called comey a liar and said things in his memos were made up. by the notes from priebus were
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about a conversation with trufr we donald trump. >> does this add up to you to be a potential case of obstruction for justice? it's not up for us to say but you've been in the doj. >> i think there's still a lot that people need to know. i think there's a lot that is embarrassing. there's a lot that goes against kind of the norms that the doj and white house tend to operate in. >> like the president saying, hey, top lawyer of the white house, go tell jeff sessions not to recuse himself. >> but, for example, the recusal question is an enormously complex one, which you could argue both sides of. there's no saying that don mcgann was wrong in arguing that he shouldn't or didn't need to recuse himself. that strikes me as an inherently political question. i think the recusal is more in response to statements sessions made in the hearings to get confirmed as to whether or not he would participate in any investigations that touched on
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the election. so i think that, that is a political question, and generally won't be the subject of an obstruction charge. as for this stuff on the hill, that's disturbing and certainly goes against the norms you would expect to see out of the department of justice. but again, it's politicians practicing politics, which may not be the basis for a criminal charge. >> to that kind of political point, one of the things i found interesting from my reporting last night after michael's story came out -- >> of course it drops at 9:00. >> so at 10:00, we were asking people about this. and we talked to someone who said, yeah, it happened, but so what? what is the big deal? so the sense that still that, well, having the top white house lawyer trying to talk the attorney general out of recusing himself from the investigation where he clearly has a conflict here with the media and congressional testimony, the white house still felt like, well, so what? they didn't get it. >> there was a critical piece in this story that i think caught my eye when i read it, which is this line of legal experts. they said of the two primary issues that bob mueller, the
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special counsel, appears to be investigating, whether donald trump obstructed justice while in office. and whether there was collusion between the trump campaign and russia. there is currently, you write, a larger body of public evidence tying the president to the first thing, that possible crime of obstruction. this kind of goes to the old saw, right? it's not the crime, it's the cover-up. the president has said all along there was no crime, there was no collusion. his lawyers said the same thing. and now, bob, there is this sense, i think in some circles, that there is a growing body of evidence that the body was concerned about this and did try to make some of the moves according to this reporting to pump the brakes on this. >> but that line is so hard when -- i mean, it's much, much easier when dealing with obstruction in a private context. when you're dealing with obstruction of the executive branch, you get into complex constitutional issues of, i don't want to boar the panel, but does the unitarian executive theory really exist where everybody in the executive branch feeds up to the president and that person has ultimate authority.
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the justice department is independent. and yet, the justice department is run by political officers of the united states and the con city tulg city constitution. it reminds me of the bush administration, when the conduct clearly went against the norms of the way the justice department typically had been run. but at the end of the day, there was not much there. >> quickly? >> i would think if you look at when the democrats win the midterms, do you think they will pick up on that nuance? >> what questions do you have based on this reporting? >> we're going to -- as you say, we're moving to a larger question about the legalness of this. is this enough to really make a case? is it simply embarrassing stuff, the fact that there's a special counsel leads the white house to have to disclose these things, it comes out in the press, it looks really bad. there is political consequences to this. but the larger thing is, will this really mean anything? and we don't know that. >> mike schmidt, really a
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pleasure to have you back on the show. i appreciate it. we are here in d.c. and not in west palm where it was a little warmer. shannon and nick, stick around. coming up next, we're talking about a story the country is talking about. the author of the new bombshell book speaking exculusively with nbc news about it all. he's saying the president's anger over the book's release is only helping sales. >> the president's lawyer sent a cease and desist letter threatening legal action against you and the publisher, to which you say -- >> where do i send the box of choc chocolates? >> i don't know if that box of shock lo chocolates will be sent, but we'll talk about what it means for the donald trump administration after the break. whoooo.
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i have reportings, i have no -- i am certainly an absolute, in every way, comfortable with everything i have reported in this book. >> would you release any of the reportings since your credibility is being questioned? >> my credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than anyone who has ever walked on earth. >> michael wolf defending his reporting in the bombshell new book, "fire&fury" within the white house. that just went on sale in the
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l last hour. here's some of the highlights in this morning's interviews in case you missed it between wolf and savannah guthrie. 100% of those around the president question his intelligence and fitness for office. 100%. wolf also told savannah that, insiders say the president is like a child. i want to bring in now, former clinton chief of staff, matt mcclarty. love having you on. let me play more of what wolf had to say to savannah. listen. >> everyone around the president, senior advisers, every single one questions his intelligence and fitness for office. >> 100% of those around him.
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ly tell you the one description that everyone gave. everyone has in common. they all say he's like a child. and what that mean by that is he has a need for immediate gratification. it's all about him. i mean, this letter for the cease and desist letter, i still have sources in the white house, and i know everybody was going, we should not be doing this. this is not smart. and he just insists, he just has to be satisfied in the moment. >> mac, as somebody who saw your fair share of chaos in the start of the clinton years, what do you make of what wolf was saying here? >> well, i think there's always a challenge, hallie, as we discussed moving in the campaign, and it was a very tough campaign to governing. during that period, particularly when there's a new president and a change of administration from a different party, but you try to get things settled down, get focused on your agenda.
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in our case, we did get it settled down and passed the family medical leave act, the economic plan and nafta. the president's numbers improved from 43% that he got in that election to 58% off the first year. you got to get things in place and focus on the agenda. this is a last thing the president needed to start the year. >> but mac, is there a difference between sort of the normal, what you would see chaos as you sort of move from the campaign of the administration and what appears to be the more fundamental claim written about here, talked about by the president's team that he's, in the words of michael golf, citing the ad visors, like a child. is that not more fundamental? >> it is. i mean, this is an unusual president. he's been a celebrity. he's come from business, he hasn't been in government before. it's a soap opera. and you've got to get the agenda focused and things settled down. and i can't imagine people working with the president, certainly in our case with president clinton, but other former presidents. there's regard, there's respect,
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there's trust. certainly there's comments about more discipline or, you know, us not trying to do too much. but nothing like this. and nothing like these kind of interviews and access to an author such as michael wolf who is going to write this book. >> speaking of that access, let me play a little bit of janice minn had to say earlier on this network about how this all came about. >> he said, i don't know what they think i'm doing. and a different answers would be, i'm going to keep doing it. until they tell me not to. michael responded to me, there's so much chaos. i think i'm last on the totem pole of the concerns. he did proceed to be in there for many, many, many more weeks, even with kelgly in the white house. >> what does that say to you about what is going on in the
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white house? would you have that access to bill clinton? >> i would hope not. there's always the possibility someone gets access, but you find out about it. you have communication with your staff people. if you see something that doesn't strike you, you get on top of it. these were early days. and apparently wolf just worked his way into the white house and got access both in the white house and outside with others speaking to him. again, i don't think we have seen anything quite like this, hallie. >> that is fair to say. pushing back on what wolf did and didn't do, did or didn't say, here's what she had to say. >> look, we said they spoke once by the phone for a few minutes, but it wasn't about the book. they had a very short conversation. but he never interviewed the president about the book. he repeatedly begged to speak with the president and was denied access. he makes it sound like he was sitting outside the oval office every single day, which is just not the case.
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>> but here's what wolf told savannah. listen. >> i absolutely spoke to the president. whether he realized it was an interview or not, i don't know. but it certainly was not off the record. >> and you spoke to him at the white house after he was sworn in? >> i spoke to him after the inauguration, yes. and i had spoken to -- i've spent about three hours with the president over the course in the white house. so my window into donald trump is pretty significant. i spoke to people who spoke to the president on a daily, sometimes minute-by-minute basis. >> yeah, and i mean, i think that sarah is parsing words and said, did not interview him for the book, so maybe interviewed him for articles or for research
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or i think there is parsing of words, but three hours is quite significant. i'm not sure how many reporters have spent the time talking to him. this includes in you spent time on the campaign talking to reporters, but that is definitely significant. to the idea of him having access to the west wing, i don't know if you and me are there every day, i don't know if you hang out in the west wing all the time, but my understanding is from reporters how it works. you have an interview scheduled with someone, they come back and bring you back and you are escorted there, you do your 30-minute interview and come back. there are not reporters hanging around the west wing. so this makes it quite remarkable. it seems like the impression is wolf was just hanging out with bannon around the west wing. and then bannon was his escort for the hours at a time. >> matt, i hear you chuckling there, but i want to get to something broader. you mentioned three words critical to when you were in the white house. you said, respect, regard and
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trust. do you think based on what you're seeing from this book that people inside donald trump's west wing have respect, regard and trust for this president? >> certainly not in the way michael wolf writes about it. that is going to be the question of how credible the sources are. and savannah guthrie pressed him on his recordings and so forth. i think shannon's got it right about how you conduct an interview in the white house. but in our case. and just talking to other people close to president bush and president obama, there's a respect in align wmt the president and what he's trying to do, sure. there are dix agreements and you may say things constructively of the president. that was something i was trying to get straight with on the job with the president. if you work in the white house,
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there's a commitment to the agenda and an easy working relationship to get it done. >> mac, i assume there's a chiefs of staffs club here, have you spoke on the john kelly since he's been in the white house and given him advise how to handle this? >> no, i have not offered advice. nor have i spoken to chief kelly. i had a couple occasions with him before that. he has a reputation to get things ordered on process and those types of things. you've got to get this in place. but the president is the one elected to has to make a decision, and temperament and style approach are crucial for a successful presidency. >> on temperament style and approach seems to be where he's coming from in this book. nick, you write on axios, in the past year we have had many of the same conversations with the same sources wolff used.
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we won't betray them or put on the record what was off. but we can say that the following lines from the book ring unambiguously true. how trump processes and resists information, instinct over experti expertise, ill-preparedness and low regard for key aides. there's this piece in "the national review" who says the same thing, if this surprised you, if what was in the book shocked you, you haven't been paying attention for the last year. >> i think there are two ways to read this book. there's a lot of juicy anecdotes about who is interpreting that. >> but there's something more about that. >> there are big themes in this book that we are showing readers about this administration and what the president has. and these are what we look to prepare instinct over experience and how the aides view this. the conclusions are what all of us have drawn on the white house.
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>> that's not new. that's donald trump on the campaign. that's donald trump as a businessman in new york. >> so it is very useful. take a stop and step back and view the forest instead of the trees. >> nick and shannon, thank you. always a pleasure to have you on the show, mack. coming up there are new jobs number numbers for the season. even if the markets really surge. we're talking about the industry seeing the biggest slump and what is going on with underwelling performance heading into the new year after the break. shawn evans: it's 6 am. 40 million americans are waking up to a gillette shave. and at our factory in boston, 1,200 workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day.
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we are back now with a look at your morning's headlines. the trump administration is suspending all security aid to pakistan. the state department say this is decision does not affect civilian aid to pakistan. the security money could still go through if islamabad changes its tune. and north korea has officially accented the south's offer to sit down for talks. the first formal high-level meeting wean the neighbbetween f two years. it's happening before the olympics that start next month. kim jong-un said sending north
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korean athletes to the game uni people. and one of the women who accused former alabama senator roy moore of sexual misconduct is suing him, suing his campaign for defamation. lee corfman is citing personal attack that s that moore groped. moore repeatedly denied the accusations. and in just a few hours, the president will head to camp david for the working house retreat. senator majority leader mitch mcconnell will join him to talk about priorities for 2018. but you know what happens earlier in the year? government funding runs out two weeks from today, so you know that is on the table. they are also outlining the top priorities for the year ahead
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and what may be in store in november come midterms. specifically, daca, that is the obama-era program that protects roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought here when younger. democrats want to attach a daca deal to the funding bill that has to get passed in two weeks. that's what democrats want. but republicans, they want to keep it separate. joining me now is republican congressman rodney davis. it is probably pretty chilly out there. thank you for being with us. let me start with immigration here. twice in the last 24 hours, the president reiterated that any kind of a deal for a border wall. will he back down on that? border security is different from the wall, right? border security is different, a border wall is more specific.
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>> not all all. it's a matter of symantecs, hallie. those in the media and congress nose that, too. there's historic border funding in the appropriations package that we passed earlier in the president's term. there are places along the southern border that a wall is not ever going to be built. but we have to have border security. they are also addressing the daca issue. that has bipartisan support. >> i know you talked to speaker ryan trying to get a daca deal done. actually, you wanted it before the year was up back in 2017. are you concerned that these negotiations are now getting too broad? that too much is getting folded in at the risk of getting something done for dreamers? >> not at all. i think when you look at the legislative process, you have to take ideas from all sides and
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figure out how the ideas are going to turn into votes. and if it's going to have to be a bipartisan vote. you have the far left and the far right that no matter what we do, are never going to be satisfied with the daca deal. but i can tell you, with discussions with my of my fellow democrats and republicans, we want to come up with a good solution. we all know it's going to have border security issues addressed. and frankly, i would like to see the immigration issues addressed along our airports and with our current immigration system, because frankly, hallie, that's where most of the illegal immigration in this country actually comes from. it is from people who come to this country legally and overstay their visas. >> i want to get you on today, quickly, and on the record, is the government going to shut down in two weeks? >> no. >> okay, based on my conversations with the i shaoffs at the white house, it seems like there may be a deal, another short-term deal, a punt? >> i certainly hope not. we passed the 12 appropriations bills over to the senate months ago. i would hope they would actually
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move though those. >> sure, but hopes could be far from reality in this instance, fair to say? >> well, i have given up on trying to actually predict what the senate is going to do and how fast they're going to move on anything. but frankly, that's the easiest path they should take. and i would hope that we would get bipartisan agreement that we aught to fund government without these artificial deadlines and do it through the end of the fiscal year, september 30th of this year. >> congressman, two other topics to get to relating on big headlines out today. one, is the new york times report that a sessions aideis a congressional staffer. something he denies. is that troubling to you? >> of course that is always troubling, but obviously something that is always address in the three investigations going on into collusion with russia. so these are the types of issues that i'm sure will continue to be brought up to the mueller investigation, also the house intelligence employee and the
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senate intelligence committee investigations. >> you talk about the investigations, two of your colleagues, mark meadows, jim jordan, you know, said jeff sessions should step down if he didn't do more to what they say is stop leaks. here's what jim jordan has to say on the radio about that. >> you're not going to appoint a special counsel, if you're not going to deal with these crazy anonymous leaks to "the new york times" and the story last week, then it's time for a change. but let's just do the right thing. and if you're not, we probably need a new attorney general. >> do you agree with him? >> well, jim and mark have their own opinion on the attorney general. i know jim -- >> i'm asking your opinion, respectfully, congressman. >> my opinion is, let's let the investigations play out before we start talking about whether or not somebody should or should not be fired as a cabinet official. >> i'm sure you have been following or at least have been seen, it is pretty hard not to have seen unless you live in a case, the book out by michael wolff. a number of the senior aides are painted to have a low opinion of
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the president, some mocking his intelligence. if that was happening in your office, if your staffers felt that way about you, could you run your office properly? could your office function? >> well, obviously, most of those staffers who felt that way are no longer at the white house. i mean, you look at this book, it's not a coincidence that the publisher is going to release it quickly. it's going to be on the best-seller list. it is about palace intrigue, it's about gossip and selling books and making money nor the author and the publishing house right now. >> michael wolff was asked this morning about some of the anecdotes he raised that seems to raise questions about the president's mental fitness. is that at all a concern for you? >> it's a concern for me that we have a book that is written by an author that i read stories today that you even had former obama administration officials say that he writes total fiction. and one obama alumnus said that he's a total sleaze bag.
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so it will be up to the author to bring out the evidence, bring out the recordings, bring out the issues so that he can regain his credibility as this book goes to market. >> so just to be clear, congressman, so your concerns are not about the president's mental or cognitive fitness for office? i just want to put a fine point on this. >> yeah, you know, hallie, all i can tell you is from my experience. look, during the first year, there were a lot of personnel in the white house leading a lot of different parts of the white house. some of them were friends of mine before we got to the white house. they are not there anymore. and i can tell you from my dealings with the white house right now, general kelly, the president, the vice president, this administration is a lot more disciplined than they were when the book and research happened. i have -- i have nothing but positive things to say about my interactions with the white house at this point in time. and frankly, any discussion on the president's mental fitness, i think is nothing but gossip, because i have worked with the president. i have worked with his officials and his administration. and that is sincerely not the
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case at all. >> congressman rodney davis, i appreciate you coming on the show and answering some of the questions. thank you. coming up next, we want to go back to the economy and frankly the underwelling jobs numbers going into the new year where retail should have been great. we'll talk about what is behind the scenes after the break. fee. fibromyalgia may be invisible to others, but my pain is real. fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by overactive nerves. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. i'm glad my doctor prescribed lyrica. for some, lyrica delivers effective relief for moderate to even severe fibromyalgia pain. and improves function. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions, suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worse depression, unusual changes in mood or behavior, swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or blurry vision. common side effects: dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain, swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica.
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creation whiffs in december. what happened? >> well, let's just separate it out. remember, we are full employment, so at 4.1 unemployment, you have a lot of people out there with jobs. so that is a big positive. but when you look at the whiff, what areas did you see job growth? you saw in health care and construction. but the area worrisome is, 20,000 retail jobs were lost. this is a problem because this is the holiday season. the holiday season is when you see a spike in retail jobs. and you and i both know the way the retail sector is going, death of the shopping mall, you're only going to see numbers go down in the coming year. so you lost 20,000 retail jobs in december, you're going to lose more and more as the year continues. but you have to caveat it, because the fact that we're at full employment is very good. the fact that we're at the lowest unemployment number for african-americans since 1971 also a positive. and if you want to talk about the markets, it's not just the dow and the s&p across the
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world. the nikkei, the dax, you're seeing a global stock market rally. so we're going to separate the two from a market's perspective, boom, things are really going well. from the fact that people are employed, yes, that's another positive. but the third bucket, wages, wages are still creeping. we are not seeing enough wage growth yet. and that is where people are struggling, hallie. because you may have a job, but companies have gotten a lot more efficient that they could give you a job, but just a part-time one. and a part-time one doesn't mean you could afford your kid's health care. you certainly can't afford your own health care. and it's an issue. we need those wages to go up and they haven't yet. >> nick johnson is with us, you want to jump in? >> that's a number we look at most in the jobs report. when at full employment, wages should go up to encourage more people to enter the workforce. that's a reason that was behind a lot of the tax bill. now that it has been enacted, will the companies use the money to save wages? that's a number i'm watching.
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>> president trump loves to talk about the economy, he did it in the press briefing room 200 pete from the oval office. is it necessary to give the president credit for this boom? >> the president talks out of both sides of his mouth. when he was on the campaign trail, he hated jobs numbers and the interest rate. but now he loves them. but deregulation and tax reform or the tax cut, it helps corporate america. that's a positive. whether or not cutting taxes is going to help the rest of america, that remains to be seen. >> stephanie ruhle -- >> one more point, who do you need to thank for the rally? janet yellen, low interest rates, never forget that. >> we'll see you in 15 minutes, any friend. coming up, we're talking about republican lawmakers and donors joining with the president to slam, well, the new nicknamed sloppy steve bannon, per donald trump. that comes after the release of michael wolff's book we have been talking about.
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so what is next for him as he seems to be losing allies?
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the president has tried to put this, the book is about steve bannon. so let me say very forthrightly,
quote
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this book is not about steve bannon. this book is about donald trump. >> author michael wolff making his point there in that exclusive interview on the "today" show this morning. this bombshell book officially goingthere. his bombshell book officially going on sale about two hours ago. you're checking out a bookstore in washed. we just got a tweet from the president about all of this. he said the mercer family recently dumped the leak noern as sloppy steve bannon. smart. that's a new one. rebecca mercer, of course, is the billionaire conservative endorser who now has cut ties with steve bannon. so i'm joined by white house bureau chief phil. is he right? >> he's absolutely right. the comments attributed to steve bannon in the book have gotten an extraordinary amount of attention this week, but there's a lot more in there. it's a pretty devastating
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portrait of the president, of the way he does his job, of his sort of capacity to lead and to comprehend the information before him as commander in chief and it's attributed to a great number of sources inside the white house. some of them have denied the stories in the book, but the reporting in the book is based on an extensive number of interviews, not just steve bannon. >> michael wolff had more to say about steve bannon. i spoke to steve as i spoke to many people throughout the length of the reporting here and really saw a transformation, not only of steve but of everyone, but steve in the way his most vivid or language is the most vivid, and the transformation was, you know, we thought this presidency could work, we thought donald trump is an interesting unique character and
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we might be able to do something here and they saw him over that time come to the conclusion he cannot do this job. >> pretty explosive charge there, phil. >> that's right. you know, it's an explosive charge there. if you read the book, it looks like that's a charge leveled by a number of other people in and around trump and the white house. there are a number of aides, many of them described anonym s anonymously in the book who take issue and have concerns about the president's ability to conduct his business, about whether he's even reading the briefing materials presented to him, whether he understands the decisions that he's making, and i think that's one of the reasons why the president has become so enraged about this book because of the negative portrayal of him. >> and the enragement about steve bannon. he could have thrown a verbal grenade. he kind of pulleda punch.
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he could have gone into it. yesterday morning it was key. why does it matter? >> it really matters to the 2018 primaries because there was such a concern that bannon was going to be supporting these roy moore-type candidates who were great but could not win a general election. there was a lot of concern republicans would lose seat if bannon was to take control. >> the establishment then, your point is, is sighing relief here, a younld heard that from mitch mcconnell who said, i would like to associate myself with what the president had to say about steve bannon. >> he might be down, but he might not be out. >> look at his approval rating. our nbc/wall street journal poll shows there's a 17% favorable, 15% unfavorable. but look, a third of the people don't know anything about him
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and a third of them have never heard of this guy. phil, are we giving too much attention to him? >> i think so. look, he's a very prominent figure, he has a lot of bold ideas, he wants to be a key player on the political scene, but at the end of the day, he's just a strategist, an operative, and right now he looks to be an operative without the funding and infrastructure he once had, and so he's a little bit less of a threat to the establishment republicans today than he was last week, but i don't think he's going disappear quietly. i think he's going very much be a force in the months to come and he's going to find a platform. >> listen. donald trump may be talk about rebecca mercer now. he was railing against donors before. >> remember something we learned this week before this book came out, bannon told trump he wanted to run his campaign and if trump didn't make it, he wanted to run
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himself. think he has not illusion but aspirations. >> he's not retiring. >> fair enough. shannon, rick, and phil.
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for today's big picture we're heading to bangladesh. the pier of this crisis is especially intense, especially heartbreaking and an especially powerful reminder of what a big deal this is.
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i want you to look. it's a mom crying next to her son outside a refugee camp. aide groups estimate 45,000 children like this little boy will be born in refugee camps. you cannot imagine how unsanitary it is. higher risk of disease, higher risk of malnutrition. it has a lot of people scared about the next generation. the youngest and most innocent among us perhaps some of the hardest hit. i would love to hear your thoughts on my facebook, twitter, instagram, and snap chap. i welcome your feedback. that does it for us this hour of ms. msnbc. up next, stephanie ruhle. >> good morning. my partner ali velshi, lucky dog
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still off today and still warm. it's freezing this friday, january 5th. so let's get you started. the president tweeting about it over the night saying it's full of lies. >> my credibility is being questioned by man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on earth at this point. i have recordings, i have notes. >> according to your reporting, everyone around the president, senior advisers, family members, every single one of them questions his intelligence and fitness for office. >> let me put a marker in the sand here. 100% of the people around him, they all say he is like a child. he's like a -- like the pinball just shooting off the sides. >> the publisher moved up its release by four days from tuesday to today. >> the

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