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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  December 19, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PST

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and right here with kasie hunt in washington. >> i would like to add that was a chilling photograph that we remember, and it's great. >> it's important to remember those big stories of the year. good morning, everybody, from washington, d.c. i am kasie hunt in for craig melvin. deal or no deal? breaking news, a major development on a possible government shutdown. mitch mcconnell announced he's ready to vote to fund the government. plus, invasion of privacy. a new report found facebook gave companies far more of your information than it's ever admitted. and flynn's future, how will the court drama from flynn's delayed sentencing affect his future cooperation with robert mueller? and the cooperation of other witnesses? we're going to start with that breaking news on the government shutdown or perhaps lack thereof. president trump trying to reframe a defeat for his border wall as a victory today. any moment senate majority leader mitch mcconnell expected to introduce a short-term budget
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patch. he announced it less than an hour ago, two days short of the deadline. the minority leader chuck schumer says democrats will support this path. the continuing resolution or cr should avoid a partial shutdown, at least through february 8th. there are a number of unknowns including the exact timing on a vote for the short-term fix. one thing is clear, though, there is not going to be that money for president trump's border wall. no word either on whether the president plans on signing this short-term extension. nevertheless, the president and his staff do appear to be in retreat on the border wa wall issue. the president and the white house staff have been far less definitive than when trump promised a shutdown. >> he has said one way or another he'll get that money. >> the president has asked every one of his cabinet secretaries to look for funding. >> we'll see what happens. >> you say that there's -- >> too early to say. >> that doesn't mean the
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president is backing down from a central promise. >> i am proud to shut down the government for border security, chuck. i will take the mantle of shutting down. >> he could have done this on his own without congress, he would have done it by now. >> are you convinced that we will not shut down? >> yeah, i am. >> i want to bring in paul cane, michael steele former spokesman for john boehner, and peter baker, chief white house correspondent for the "new york times." paul cane, i'd like to start with you. it seemed as though this is something that mitch mcconnell and company managed to convince president trump was a terrible idea after that oval office meeting. what do we know about kind of the behind the scenes messaging or back and forth that went on between mcconnell and the president? >> mcconnell has kept this pretty close to the vest. he doesn't really discuss exactly what he told the president, but you were there yesterday when he was at the mics talking to reporters and used a phrase he likes to talk
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about all the time, no lesson learned in the second kick of a mule. >> yes, a classic. >> he started saying that one after the 2013 shutdown in which republicans were understandably blamed for the shutdown, and they just -- they saw their approval ratings plummet in the 17 days that the government was closed. mcconnell just does not believe that shutting down the government really ever effectively does anything good for his side. and look, the cards have been played out. the election happened, and trump's just not going to get the border wall funding that he wants, and so mcconnell basically negotiated a piece that really recognizes that simple fact. >> peter baker, how did the white house staff manage to help talk the president off of this ledge that he walked himself out onto at that oval office meeting? >> well, that's a great question. i think that they have shown him the consequences of a shutdown, and most importantly made clear
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to him that he doesn't have support, even among republicans on the hill, for his strategy. you can't walk off the bridge by yourself, and this is the friendliest congress he's going to have for the rest of his term. if he doesn't have them on board, the republicans on board at the moment, he still has the house, there's no point in expecting to get a better deal. very few of the republicans on the hill as paul mentioned, wanted any kind of shutdown. they weren't ready to do this. many of them aren't even going to be in town. dozens and dozens of republicans are leaving office. they no longer have office space of their own. they're based in cubicles when they're in town. they're looking for jobs. this is not a moment for the shutdown showdown that the president wanted. >> some of them even out of offices that they normally sleep in, so literally no place to go. peter, one big question mark is the president's temperament. you remember there was a brief period where nobody was expecting any shutdown where the president threatened on twitter to not sign the bill. we all panicked for a few hours, and then everything was okay
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after that. it seems here like nothing is really done until the fat lady sings, so to speak, do we expect there to be some drama about the timing of the president signing this if congress passes it? >> the trump presidency, do we expect some drama? yes. >> the easiest question i've ever asked you. >> you pointed out exactly why. we've been through this before. we've seen this movie before, and nothing is settled until it's literally done when it comes to this administration. so today is wednesday. the deadline is friday. we'll see what the votes are, but i think you could still see some twists and turns between now and the end of the year when as mr. mcconnell tries to push this off into february, you can't assume that we're done. a lot of people around the president are a little surprised he hasn't found a way to sort of, you know, claim victory and go home rather than try to continue to force the issue and make himself look weak. he has some money in there. he could claim, see, i'm making progress, not as much as i want, instead he chose to present
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himself as the loser in this fight, maybe to keep the issue alive. maybe to show his base he's still fighting for them in a way they often don't feel about politicians in washington. >> michael steele, let's talk about that very question and a little bit about nancy pelosi. there are a lot of republicans that have been blaming her for this saying she doesn't have the latitude with her own members to really be a negotiator here. take us kind of behind the scenes in the house of representatives if you're looking at this kind of a landscape? >> the best opportunity to get this done was a wall funding for dreamer protection bill last year. there is no reason right now that nancy pelosi, who is about to take the speaker's gavel at the beginning of next year, has any incentive to deal with the president on this issue. he is bargaining from a position of weakness. they know it, and they're going to take advantage of it. you know, the speaker boehner used to say a leader without followers is just a man taking a walk, and that's where president trump is right now. >> i love all the axioms today. >> i think the most important, most powerful person in the
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white house is whoever has the remote control and is determining what the president is watching on tv, what he's reading on twitter, what he sees as the reaction to what is being portrayed as a capitulation on his part. >> do you think there's a risk if he decides not to sign the bill? >> of course there is a risk if he decides to do something different if the coverage turns against him. it's time for four or five more plot twists in this white house. >> let's talk about how this fight will play out in february if this does go through and we see this issue punted out into that period of time. how does this play out for nancy pelosi? it would be early in her speakership. is this an issue she really wants to re-fight all over again? do we think this is something where we could end up with a play it again, here's another shutdown? >> i actually have my notebook here, it says boehner leader without followers. i was going to use that line, and he stole it from me. >> beat you to it. >> i think what we're going to have to borrow the line from michael, i think we're going to have to see how many followers
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nancy pelosi has on this. i think right now they are going to be very unified, house democrats, on not giving trump any sort of border wall funding unless this is part of a really big deal that michael was just mentioning in which they get what they want in terms of dreamers' path to citizenship. otherwise, i think what you'll see is by late january, early february, they're just going to come up with another continuing resolution. keep the government funded at its current year levels, and just move on to the rest of the agenda that democrats want to get through. they don't want to spend all of -- all of the early part of their majority fighting over last year's leftover work. that's actually what speaker boehner did in 2011, and it just set a really bad tone for republicans for the rest of the year. so she's going to want to move on pretty quickly, unless this becomes part of a really big immigration deal. >> i seem to remember a lot of
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o'tho those fiscal fights, e-mailing you paul was a lot of fun. maybe not. >> ptsd. >> exactly. >> on a different topic, paul ryan, we're expecting to get a farewell address from him here in just an hour or two. what do you think his legacy is ultimately going to be? >> i think he is the last exemplar of the sort of reform minded conservatism that rose in the '90s. that's a reaction to the failures of the government in the 1970s. i think his legacy is one of achievement when it comes to tax reform, increasing defense funding and opening up and making more transparent the institution of the house. >> he' still presided over an incredible increase in federal spe spe spending. >> i think the power of the speaker of the house to set the agenda under a president of his own party is limited. i think that because of that, because the president has no interest in deficit or debt reduction, i think that the speaker was required to focus on
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the half that he could get, the half that was tax reform, the half that was increasing military funding and keeping our responsibilities there. >> how do you think history is going to judge how he did or did not stand up to this president? >> i think it will treat him very well in the sense that he had a great line after this election where he'd expressed some skepticism about the president as a candidate, and he said that under secretary clinton as president i could have done none of the things in the republican better way agenda. under president trump i have an opportunity to do some of those things, and that's ultimately what he was able to do. >> well, i guess history will tell. michael steele, paul cane, peter baker, thank you all very much for a great discussion. really appreciate it. now to our other breaking news story, president trump is preparing to withdraw a significant number of troops from syria. a short time ago he tweeted, quote, we have defeated isis in syria. my only reason for being there during the trump presidency. republican lindsey graham unhappy with the news to say the least. the south carolina senator issued this statement.
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quote, if these media reports are true, it will be an obama-like mistake made by the trump administration. an american withdrawal at this time would be a big win for isis, iran, bashar al assad of syria and russia. moments ago, press secretary sarah sanders issued a new statement saying the u.s., quote, stands ready to reengage whenever necessary. richard engel is on this story for us. richard, how many troops do we have in syria, first of all, and what are they contributing to in the mission? what are we going to lose by having them pull out? >> so there are at any given time about 2,000 u.s. forces in syria right now. officially, they are there on a counter isis mission. they are working with kurdish allies, kurdish allies they have a very close relationship with that they've been working with sharing space, fighting in battles, riding in the same vehicles for the last four years now. these have been the closest
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partners, the most loyal partners that the united states has ever had in its fight against isis, and with this kurdish partner and with american protection, the kurds have formed a little state and they have carved out an independent republic right on the turkish border. they are fighting isis, but they are also sustaining this kurdish enclave which is under threat. just to the north of this kurdish enclave are turkish forces poised to destroy them. there are a lot of things that are at play here. if u.s. troops pulled back and pulled back precipitously, the kurds could invade and take over this area. they've threatened to destroy this kurdish enclave, so a lot of u.s. troops would feel that they'd betrayed their close ally, and the fight against isis isn't quite over according to the u.s. military's own estimates.
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about 1% of the territory is still being held by isis. so a small space but the u.s. military doesn't want that seed to germinate. they want to have a decisive victory before they pull out leaving aside the fact they feel like they would be betraying this close ally. >> do we have an idea on a time line for the withdrawal? >> president trump, it seems like he's trying to take a victory lap. we're heading into the holidays, he wants to say the war against isis is over. the troops are going to be coming home, and his tweet was quite decisive. then we had a written statement from sarah sanders talking about how the u.s. stands ready to reengage, but that the u.s. has defeated isis, and this is a great victory, and the u.s. is moving on. the reuters news agency just put out some details recently that are lay out something of a time
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line. reuters says according to a u.s. official that all u.s. military forces will be pulled out once the final stages of the last operation against isis is complete. so there's only about 1% of that territory where u.s. troops are operating in northern syria where there is still an isis presence. u.s. officials in the past have said that it's going to take them, they think, another few months to get rid of that last 1%. going back to the official talking to reuters, he said the time frame for u.s. troop pull grout syr pullout from syria expected to be 60 to 100 days. that more or less coincides with what officials have been saying that there is this last little piece. they're going to need a few more months and then troops would start to come back. there are a lot of people in the u.s. military who are concerned about this, particularly what it would mean to that allied force left behind. nbc's richard engel in london thanks very much. we're going to have much more
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about the pushback the president is getting for this decision within his own party coming up. coming up, invasion of privacy, another bomb shell report on facebook. this one says facebook gave companies access to far more of your information than it's ever admitted. plus, flynn's future. just how much will michael flynn cooperate with robert mueller after his blistering rebuke from a judge? and a big win, how an unlikely alliance of jared kushner, kim kardashian, and president trump helped massive bipartisan criminal justice reform become reality. y top pri. until i held her. i found my tresiba® reason. now i'm doing more to lower my a1c. once daily tresiba® controls blood sugar for 24 hours for powerful a1c reduction. tresiba® is a long-acting insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults with diabetes. don't use tresiba® to treat diabetic ketoacidosis, during episodes of low blood sugar, or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. don't share needles or insulin pens. don't reuse needles. the most common side effect is low blood sugar,
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facebook already under fire is facing scrutiny for potential privacy violations again. the company says it allowed other big tech firms to see your private information but not without consent. facebook was responding to a bombshell "new york times" investigation that found the social media giant gave 150 companies access to your information, friends' information and private messages. those companies include netflix and spotify. the times based its reporting on more than 270 pages of internal documents along with interviews with more than 50 former facebook employees and its corporate partners. joining me now is nbc news senior media reporter dylan byers and msnbc national security analyst malcolm nance. thank you both for being here. dylan, let's just kind of start with the broad outlines of what we're learning here. it's a pretty stunning development. this was a situation where you
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assume that your messages are private, but, in fact, facebook it seems from this report was letting people look at them? >> right, and kasie, i think there's a fundamental disconnect here between the way that facebook understands what it should be allowed to do and what it can do, and i think it's sort of common sense about where the lines are drawn in terms of how people understand their data is being used. so you have facebook essentially giving major tech companies and not just major tech companies, media companies, automakers, more than 150 companies the ability to access their private data anytime that they log onto a site with their facebook account. and that goes all the way to the ability to read their messages by the way. now, whatever facebook might say about the fine print or the fact that, you know, facebook views all of these companies as sort of an extension of facebook when you use your facebook log-in, the fact of the matter is they have never come clean. they have never adequately
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explained to users how vast these data sharing practices were, and so what you saw in this "new york times" report is the umpteenth example, more than 12 to 15 examples this year of times that facebook has abused user data in a way that they might be okay with but that to the general public looks very shady. >> what are the companies who received this data saying about it? i mean, are they -- do we know if spotify or some of these other companies that received the data are, in fact, reading the messages? >> yeah, so a lot of those companies, spotify, netflix, others have come out and said, look, we have found no evidence that we ever accessed any of this information. i don't think that's the -- you know, that truly would be concerning, but i think the real concern here is that facebook gave them the ability to do that and that it didn't disclose that to users. and you know, that tells you something about how valuable data is in the economy of the
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internet. i mean, really, i cannot stress this enough. we, you and i, the people who use these social media networks, we are the product. >> yeah. >> you know, but i think -- i really do think that there is, again, this disconnect, and that facebook does need to come around. sometimes i wonder would it not be better to just come forward and explain to the general public, look, this is how we work. if we don't like it, log off. >> malcolm nance, facebook's ceo mark zuckerberg was on capitol hill earlier this year, and here's what he said in april. let's take a look, and then i want to ask you about it. >> every piece of content that you share on facebook you own, and you have complete control over who sees it and how you share it. >> so given what we now know in this "new york times" report, was that a lie, malcolm nance? >> i think in his mind that that's true. i think from that, you know, sort of ephemeral world that he
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lives in where he feels he's built this giant machine, that that's true. but you know, a better analogy of what facebook is in the consumers, the people who are on facebook, would come from that old movie, soil it green, which is the food stuff everybody ate in a dystopian world. we found out it was people. you are the consumable of facebook, the pictures of your mothers, the things that you say in private to other people, the communications that you share, those are being sold, and you think you have a measure of privacy, you don't. not only will they sell it to other corporations who will extrapolate through algorithms ways to get information into your hands for things that you may not even know you want, foreign actors, hostile intelligence agencies, even if they're not sharing this information, these hostile agencies can steal this information and use it to identify, oh, things like cia
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officers or people who are more inclined to go into government and manipulate you into giving up your own democracy. that's the real bottom line of facebook's privacy policy, and they don't want any controls on this, but i'm afraid to say they're probably going to get them. >> very quickly, dylan, the stock price has also taken a big hit over the course of this year. is there at some point pressure on mark zuckerberg to step aside? >> well, there is certainly from some shareholders and from the public, but at the end of the day, mark zuckerberg won't step aside because he's the only person who can decide whether or not mark zuckerberg steps aside skps , and that's the fundamental problem. when you look at the stock falloff, what you're really seeing is growing concern about potential regulation by the ftc. really part of the issue here kasie, is that we are all looking at mark zuckerberg and saying get better, do right, you know, course correct. the problem is, as someone tweeted yesterday, if someone robbed a bank 15 times you
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wouldn't say why is this person robbing banks. you would say where are the police. so the question now is really not finish silicon valley, the question is for washington. the question is for lawmakers, the ftc, will they enact privacy regulation that actually has some real teeth that can sort of stop mark zuckerberg from this reckless abuse of your data. >> a real question and there are questions about whether lawmakers really have their heads arnound this problem. thank you both very much. >> sign up for dylan's news market, byers market. you can sign up at nbcnews.com/bye nbcnews.com/bye nbcnews.com/bye nbcnews.com/byersmarket. share the love event,
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michael flynn's future as a free man remains in question today. in a stunning development in federal court in washington yesterday, what was expected to be a routine sentencing for the former national security adviser and retired three star general was anything but. the special counsel had recommended no prison time for flynn citing his cooperation, but judge emmitt sullivan
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apparently wasn't so sure saying quote, i cannot assure you if you proceed today that you will not receive a sentence of incarcerati incarceration. joining me now, the law firm of rosenberg and roca, chuck rosenberg senior fbi official and msnbc legal analyst mimi rocah, thank you both for being here. i want to start with what seems to be a little bit of a dispute among those of you that i have been listening to your excellent analysis over the past 24 hours. chuck, there were some areas that you seemed to say where you thought this judge may have overstepped. i'm interested to hear your perspective on that, and then also talk to mimi about it. chuck. >> i do, kasie. i think there were places where the judge was intemperate. for instance, treason is a very big word. it didn't apply to what michael flynn did, at least not legally, and in a courtroom is what counts, and he used the word treason to describe his conduct.
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he later retracted it. second, kasie, the judge also got his facts wrong on a really important thing, which is whether flynn continued as an unregistered agent for turkey while serving as the national security adviser. he didn't, and the prosecutor made that clear. the judge also apologized for that. look, i think there are places where the judge was right, for instance, to criticize defense counsel for claiming that flynn had been entrapped by the fbi, but judges have to be really careful if what they say, and at certain points in yesterday's hearing, i don't think this judge was really careful. >> mimi rocah, do you agree with that? what's your take on what we saw play out? >> kasie, i am way too smart to disagree with chuck rosenberg. >> aren't we all. >> on television. exactly. and, actually, i think chuck and i overall do agree. i don't disagree that the comments or even the question about treason was probably a
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step too far. i think i'm looking at it from the perspective a little bit different perspective than chuck in that i was saying i think it was a good day for the rule of law because i think that trump and his surrogates were hoping that yesterday would be the beginning of the unraveling of the russia investigation because the judge was going to hold the government accountable for all this fbi misconduct that, remember, flynn brought up or at least his lawyers brought up, which he didn't need to do in his sentencing submission. and instead what happened is the judge and flynn under oath -- because the judge asked him questions -- totally debunked that theory. now, that doesn't have as much to do with flynn and his case as i think sort of what we all -- what i needed to hear which is that in a court of law these conspiracy theories, this smearing of the fbi to try and, you know, disclaim responsibility for what people
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in the trump administration or campaign did isn't going to fly, and so i thought in that sense it was a very important proceeding. >> it's a good point, although we should also point out that the white house continued to push this conspiracy theory after all of this unfolded in the courtroom. take a look at what sarah sanders had to say yesterday. >> are you in a position now or would you like to revisit your comments earlier today that the fbi ambushed flynn? >> no, the fbi broke standard protocol in the way that they came in and ambushed general flynn and in the way that they questioned him, and in the way that they encouraged him not to have white house counsel's office present. we don't have any reason to want to walk that back. >> chuck rosenberg, does this amount to interference in any way? is it improper? what's your view? >> no, it's just dead wrong. i don't think it's interference, i don't think it's obstruction. it's just dead wrong. to mimi's point, and i'm smart enough not to disagree with
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anything that mimi rocah says, it was a good day for the rule of law. she's absolutely 100% right because what you see are judges acting as judges should, even if they use intemperate remarks at times, it's the independence of the judges that matters so much to the fabric of this country. what judge sullivan did with respect to this notion that the fbi broke rule or protocol or procedure, the way he debunked it, the way he pushed back on it was terrific. i agree with mimi, that's the important signal. i just wish he chose some of his other words more carefully. >> mimi very quickly, before we wrap up here, what is it that michael flynn could potentially give the government in the next 90 days that could impact whether or not he is sentenced to jail time? >> that's a hard question for us to answer. the judge knows more than we do, but mueller also knows more than we do, and mueller was ready to say he could be sentenced. so my sense is that it's not so much about more, new information that flynn, that he hopes flynn
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will give to the government but just that he continues under his obligations and maybe the arguments that flynn's lawyers made in his brief made the judge nervous that flynn wasn't going to keep doing that and be available and be truthful, you know, if and when needed. congress might want flynn to testify in addition to mueller, and so i think it's the judge sort of holding out this carrot, which you know, prosecutors do sometimes. here mueller decided not to go that route, but the judge apparently thinks that, you know, that's appropriate. >> mimi rocah, chuck rosenberg, thank you both as always for your very sharp analysis. we really appreciate it. coming up, the trump family's crumbling foundation, why the legal fight is far from over. and the story behind the bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, inside the oval office for a last ditch plea and five years of work on the hill. - [narrator] the typical vacuum head has its limitations,
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the u.s. withdrawal of troops from syria, republicans angry about president trump's decision this morning. senator lindsey graham has already called it an obama-like mistake, an ultimate insult. moments ago, graham talked to reporters. >> the number one job is to defend america against people who want to attack us. if you're tired of fighting radical islam i understand it. they're not tired of fighting
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you. >> here's what marco rubio of florida told me colleague garrett haake moments ago. >> the decision to withdraw an american presence in syria is kol loss sal in my mind mistake, a grave error that's going to have significant repercussions in the years and months to come. >> joining me now is aaron blake, "the washington post" senior political reporter. aaron, great to have you. >> thank you. >> it does seem as though lindsey graham and marco rubio were caught offguard in this. >> that is very much in keeping with how the president generally handles these kinds of things. this is something that didn't necessarily come out of nowhere, this is something the president has talked about or reported to have been talking about for a while. ta it's also the kind of thing where these republican senators will occasionally be able to talk the white house out of certain things or express their real disagreements with the president. i think it actually kind of goes
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back in some ways to the jamal khashoggi situation where a lot of these republican senators very uncomfortable with this, didn't understand what the white house was doing, and, you know, as much as it's difficult for them to call into question what a united states president is doing, they view these issues as being significant enough where they're willing to actually go to that level and risk the potential blowback that would come from running afoul of their president. >> lindsey graham has taken a lot of heat from critics who think he has been too embracing of president trump lately, but he has also said he'll speak up in certain instances. this clearly one of them for him. >> there are a number of senators like this who kind of go back and forth. they'll really stick up for the issues they believe in. bob corker is another one who was critical of the president and then kind of warmed to him, then was very critical about things like khashoggi. it's -- i think lind 'grahsey g he feels the best way he can
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have influence on the course of the country, on the administration, is by being donald trump's friend, but then when it comes time to cash in that goodwill with the president, he's shown he's willing to do that. he's doing it now with this issue. he's done it with jamal khashoggi, being very outspoken about that. he views this as a policy-oriented strategy of him aligning himself with trump and kind of putting up with some of the shenanigans, and so this is one of those issues on which i think he sees it as being worth it to try and cash that in. >> it is one area where this president has really been at odds with the republican that he joined relatively late in life. he was somebody who even during his campaign talked about how we shouldn't have gone into iraq, for example. when he tweeted about this, he just said the only reason we're there is to fight isis, and declared it completely done. >> right. the president can move this party on issues like trade. he can move this party on issues like prison reform, which we saw in the last week or so here.
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foreign policy is a much more difficult nut to crack. there is a much more kind of defined division between the two parties about exactly what america's role in this world should be, and so we haven't seen republican senators necessarily warming to the president's more noninterventionist attitude towards these things, even somebody like tom cotton who is very reluctant to criticize the president is still very hawkish on foreign policy and has shown himself to be not entirely comfortable with the direction that the president has gone on some of these issues. and so i think maybe that's the one issue on which the republican party and president trump are still kind of at loggerheads and maybe won't even come together over the next couple of years. i think the president really wants to move the party in a certain direction, but it's very much entrenched in a certain way of doing things as far as foreign policy. >> aaron blake, thank you very much for your insights. president trump is tweeting about his foundation today for the first time since the announcement that the foundation
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will close. quote, the trump foundation has done great work and given away lots of money, both mine and others, with me taking no fees, rent, salary, et cetera, but the new york attorney general said the foundation acted more like a checkbook for trump's campaign. david k. johnson is the founder of d.c. report.org and the author of the making of donald trump. thank you so much for being here, sir, really appreciate it. the new york state attorney general wrote in this, quote, our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the trump foundation including unlawful coordination with the trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing and much more. this amounted to the trump foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve mr. trump's business and political interests. can you walk through the ways in which this is simply not how a charity is supposed to operate? >> sure, and i've been a trustee of charities and my wife runs a large charity. under the law the charity money is not yours.
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you are a trustee, and your duty of loyalty is to safeguard and act as a guardian to those charitable assets. donald trump used the foundation, which was almost entirely funded by people doing business with him, a sort of legal kickback where they would make contributions to the foundation where he could then spend the money, and he spent it repeatedly to benefit himself. that's called self-dealing. he settled lawsuits. he fixed up the fountain in front of the plaza hotel in new york when he owned it briefly. he bought two portraits at enormously high prices of himself that hang in trump properties, and a whole host of other things including money that was used during the 2016 campaign in the primaries, and the campaign contribution earlier to president oba earlier to pam bondi, the attorney general of florida which they lied and denied about what it was. and all of this shows that trump had no loyalty whatsoever to the
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law and to the entity he used this organization purely to advance his interests to pay bills that he owed and to take care of himself. that is conduct for which other people have been prosecuted and imprisoned. >> i was going to actually follow up by asking you this currently is a civil matter, but could it turn into a criminal one? >> well, barbara underwood, the attorney general of new york in her referral letter last june said her office believes this is a criminal matter and referred it to the federal election commission and to the irs, and there's no reason to believe that the federal government is going to prosecute the president, certainly at the moment. but under new york law, the attorney general does not have criminal authority unless it's given to her, and so at d.c. report we encourage people to call governor cuomo and tied up his phones for as long as ten minutes at a time for a period of a week, and he finally came
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out and signaled that he would allow barbara underwood criminal authority. unfortunately, the most egregious things that have happened here kasie, are outside the statute of limitations in new york for criminal action. some of them are within it, and they could be pursued. we'll see whether la tisha james, the incoming elected attorney general does that but civil action, trump should have to pay back the money. he should have to pay it back with interest, and every dollar he spent for his own benefit is also income that if we ever get his tax returns, and i expect we will, if not reported would be tax crimes. >> of course he does have to get rid of, dispose of those two portraits and apparently signed tim tebow football, which were the three tangible assets that the charity had. david k. johnson, thanks very much for being here. >> thank you. coming up, how jared kushner's family life helped the nation get a huge compromise on
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criminal justice reform. but before we go, here's something that will make you smile. former first lady michelle obama stopped by "the tonight show" last night, and she and jimmy fallon decided to have a little fun with some unexpecting guests touring 30 rock. take a look. ♪ >> happy holidays. >> hi. >> oh, my gosh! >> hey, guys, do you mind if i get on? actually, you know what? we'll take the next one. >> wait, wait, i thought we were --
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to making our world a better place. ♪ in a rare display of bi-p t bipartisanship, the senate last night passed the comprehensive criminal justice reer form action. the legislation is dubbed the first step act. it passed 87-12, taand the hous is expected to take up the senate is's version, and it will only impact federal prisoners and 10% of those incarcerated
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but it is going to give the federal judges more discretion to bypass mandatory minimum, and it will help inmates to earn reduced sentences with good time credit. and joining us is jonathan capehart and msnbc contributor, and great to see you as always. we want to show you what cory booker who has been a big proponent of the legislation had to say earlier at a press conference. >> this is going to be a shot at this if it weren't for the white house, and i want you to know that we are still living in a country where these outrageous thi things are going, and it is not a partisan issue. >> so there is a democrat standing behind mike lee and chuck grassley and rare for him to be praising the other party, and so how did we geter here? >> keep in mind that this conversation happening between senator booker and senator grass
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ly and senator lee and senator graham took place in the tailend of the obama administration. can you might recall that is one of those things when there was such obstruction on everything else that there were, there seemed to be some movement when it came to criminal justice reform at the tail end of the obama year, and fast forward to president trump getting lekted and those conversations kept going, but what took some people by surprise was that there was the active involvement of jared kushner, the president's sort of the go-to man for everything, but also the president's son-in-law, and he took this on as sort of a almost personal mission, and it is getting a lot of credit. understandably so for pulling across the finish line this v e vote, an convincinging the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell with who is resisting up until last week bringing the bill to the floor for a vote to getting him to changing his mind. people had known and you know this, kasie, because you covered
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the hill, there was overwhelming support for the first step act and as we saw yesterday, it p s passed 87-12. when is the last time that we saw anything like that happen in the senate. >> certainly on, not on a controversial potential issue like sentencing reform. talk about booker specifically for a second, because as much as we have been focusing on the resistance of tom cotton and others on the republican conference, this ran into scrutiny from some of the activist activists on the left, and people who say that this is not going far enough, and cory booker has dispensed with it, and he said, it is a significant first step and we should go ahead to take this regardless, and he is willing to puts a side and not make the perfect the enemy of the good. he is looking at a run in 2020 and how is this going to be playing in a democratic 2020 primary? >> well, he has something to show. i mean, if you are senator booker, which would you rather
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have saying that i have been trying so hard to get the criminal justice and some sort of sentencing are reform passed and we can't do it or do you want to go around the country, and say, because of the first step act, you know, women with won't be shackled, pregnant women won't be shackled while they are giving birth if they are in federal prison or that three strikes act is no longer life in prison, but knocked down to 25 year, and those are tangible things that booker can poin to. >> jonathan capehart, thank you. always great to talk to you. >> thank you, skai. fifty thous, fifty thous, decided in as little as 60 seconds. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it.
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that wraps th s up this hou "msnbc live" and we bring in the lovely as always andrea mitchell for "andrea mitchell reports." >> thank you. and now, president trump declaring victory over isis preparing to pull troops out of syria. >> the number one job is to defend america against the people who are trying to attack us. and even though you are tired of fighting them, they are not tired of fighting you. >> and deal or no deal, mitch mcconnell says that i have a deal to keep the government open until february, and will the president sign on? >> we need the government to remain open for the american people, and i hope that

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