tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 31, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PST
the democrats now vote to put six of those bills on the floor and fund those agencies through the entire year of 2019. those are bipartisan bills that were already negotiated in the senate. the homeland security portion of this, on a continuing resolution. take the money for last year, lock it in through february. again, a short-term continuing resolution for the homeland security portion of this and that would include $1.3 billion for border security. none of it for a wall. this essentially reopens the government, in theory, if this were all to pass and be signed by the president, reopen the government with another fight over the funding just for the border security part of this in february but get the federal government back up and running. if only it were that simple. senate republicans say they were not going to put anything on the floor that the president won't sign and the president has been clear-ish that he won't sign anything without more money for his border wall. so what this effectively will do is allow democrats to come in
the door on day one, pass a big package of bills, show that they are here and ready to govern and ready to address this in a serious way, and increase pressure on the republican colleagues in the senate and on the white house to do the same, but this bill in and of itself or package of bills, i should say, not enough on its own to reopen the government. >> i mean, it also comes on the heels, garrett, and i want you to stay with me on this, of the president being back on twitter today saying, dems should get back here. anything interesting about the timing here? >> not especially. i mean, the plan has always been for the new congress to begin on the 3rd. nancy pelosi will become the speaker of the house. republicans who, again, control both houses up here, at least until the third, have essentially punted on this. the house and senate were sent home. there was no deal to be had. democrats went back to their districts or went on vacation or what have you and democrats will say, they've had no outreach from the white house. this has been such a bizarre
shutdown and both sides have been essentially talking to their own bases, not to each other, and democrats in particular feel like they don't know exactly what the president wants and until he comes to them with one consistent message, one consistent thing he's willing to support, they're fairly comfortable sitting back and waiting to see what the president's negotiations with himself on twitter will produce. >> well, that leads us to, thank you, garrett haake, i appreciate that. we want to go to robert costa, with us, national political reporter for the "washington post," hans nichols is at the white house for us. so to that question, hans, what does the president want, is it clear? >> it's clear he wants something for a wall/border security and i think the interesting thing about this proposal from the democrats is that it's going to force the president's hand on two fronts, really. one, will he continue to hold the other agencies hostage to
the negotiations for the funding for dhs and the wall? and then there's the separate question, entirely separate question whether or not the president wants to agree to have a fight later in february. have a big valentine's day fight, that's when this would run out, when we get closer to the debt ceiling, if the president wants to take these fights and arguments in sequence, the democrats have given him the opportunity. if the president thinks he has more leverage now with all these other agencies but again, this is not the entire federal government or the military but if he likes the leverage now, then this is doa and it's a non-starter. i also think we have to acknowledge, this is an opening bid from the democrats and there's a potential, call me an optimist, for others back and forth to get to something more amenable to both sides. guys? >> robert, take this big picture for us. does this lead us anywhere? >> this effort by the house democrats and incoming speaker pelosi come down to four words for president trump.
a message, welcome to divided government. and this is incoming speaker pelosi calling the president's bluff, saying, in effect, are you going to shut down the border, as you promised with border wall funding. the assertion of power. the new washington starting this week. house democrats have subpoena power and how the budget is going to go and the president is not the only game in town and yet to come up with an exit strategy for the shutdown and continues to play with the pace and talking to conservative leaders on the phone but not negotiating. >> how worried are republicans about that? i mean, at some point, when you have 800,000 people who don't know where the next paycheck is coming from, when a bunch of them are still sitting at home, who's got any kind of influence on him at this point, robert? i know we asked this question all the time and the answer is often the same, yet, at some point, the pressure will mount. >> the pressure will continue to
mount in 2019 as the investigations unfold and the president has to figure out when he talks to the people he does listen to like house freedom caucus members mark meadows and jim jordan and talk radio hosts and fox news personalities, whether he would be willing to truly accept something like funding for steel slats, funding for border security and back away from this promised massive sprawling wall across the u.s./mexico border. if he's not willing to do that in a real way across the table, we could have shutdown after shutdown and hans was el ssayin debt limit standoff. >> tweeting in the office about working hard. i mean, maybe it's semantics but he mentioned the oval office today. we have a signal, anybody who works at the white house knows this, there is a guard outside of that door walking in to the west wing that leads to the oval office. was there actually someone there indicating the president was in the oval office when he said he was in the oval office working
hard while the democrats weren't? >> there was no. there was not a marine posted guard. if that question was directed to me, sorry for jumping in but there was not a marine post out there and i've reached out to officials at the pentagon. people here at the white house, if that somehow is a sign that the marine sentry is at the west wing sis indicative of the president being there, any circumstances that he cannot have a marine out there. we have not heard back yet but as the current tradition stands, the president would appear not to be in the west wing, even though he tweeted he was in the oval office. but we'll look for a little clarity on that, guys. >> obviously, this was a big topic on the sunday shows. i talked about this earlier. i thought that republican senator richard shelby belied some frustration to say the least when he was talking to the folks over at cbs. let me play for you what he had to say about the shutdown just
yesterday. >> when do we get off the blame game and get to serious negotiations? at the end of the day, all of this will end, we don't know when, in negotiations. it's not a question of who wins or loses. nobody is going to win this kind of game. nobody wins in a shutdown. we all lose and we kind of look silly. >> we've talked a lot about this, garrett. obviously, the democrats will continue to say as is true that the president said unequivocally, he's happy to own the shutdown. the shutdown happened while the republicans controlled both houses of congress, but is there any concern that at some point, this will look like they're part of the problem as well? they're overplaying their hand? >> i suppose on a long enough timeline, it would look that way if and when democrats take control of the house, they're not able to come to an agreement or move things forward. democratic voters expected by electing a democratic house that
they would get more rational governance here in washington, dc and ultimately, they're going to want to see some results from that but you have to think, the president essentially owned the shutdown twice. first in the oval office meeting with nancy pelosi and chuck schumer and then a second time when he balked on backing that in allowing the senate to believe it was something he would support and sailed through the senate on a voice vote. the white house continues to trip over its own feet here on ending the shutdown and i think that dynamic probably persists for a while, but if we're still having this conversation in mid to late january, and it appears democrats aren't willing to negotiate in good faith somewhere down the line, that pressure could change but right now, that's just not the dynamic. >> i also want to just ask, i'll ask hans and robert about this. another tweet by the president. it was from yesterday, he was tweeting a lot today but this is
from yesterday. quote, president and mrs. obama built/has a ten foot wall around their dc mansion/compound. i agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. the u.s. needs the same thing, slightly larger version if slightly i guess is many, many miles versus a former president and security that the secret service can feel comfortable about. hans nichols, has there been any clarity about exactly, no? >> this is why we should be pessimistic about a deal. it's a symbol of security, a symbol he can personalize it with the obamas and charges he's done in the past. so in a lot of ways, when we're talking about the wall, we're not actually talking about the wall. we're talking about an entire ethos for the country, and that's what the president is driving at. that's what makes it so difficult for this president to compromise on this issue because it propelled him to victory and harnessed a lot of that
anti-immigration sentiment and the wall is a symbol that captures that. you see the president enjoying the symbol. likes the idea of the wall and if this is going to be the field he's going to die on, he's willing to do it. >> he's not making calls to the democrats, robert. is this going to be something that ultimately is going to play out on twitter as it often is for him? >> it is and this episode about president obama in his home reminds me when breitbart, the conservative web site went after house speaker paul ryan for having a fence around his home and it unsettled speaker ryan to have this kind of debate over immigration come down to his own home property and to have that be injected into the national debate and i know talking to president obama's friends, they're unsettled by this as well saying he has secret service protection. he's a former president, of course, hee goi's going to have fence around his home and don't like that blasted out to over 50 million people on twitter. >> robert costa,gate, nichols.
happy new year guys. >> happy new year. exit interview. john kelly. outgoing white house chief of staff said it's not what happened but what didn't happen on his watch that really is the most important. plus, let the games begin. the first big contender for 2020 gets into the race. what elizabeth warren is doing and why she's getting in first coming up. this is msnbc. s getting in first coming up. this is msnbc. well, how are the massage chairs working out for everyone? i dunno. i'm still a little stressed about buying our new house. well, it's a good thing we don't have to worry about homeowners insurance. geico can help with that. we can get homeowners insurance help from geico? well, sure. and they could save us a bunch too. mmhmm? i'm starting to feel better already. get to know geico and see how much you could save on homeowners and condo insurance.
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publicly pushing back on his outgoing chief of staff reacting this morning to john kelly's exit interview with the l.a. times where the general dismisses a key talking point for the president during the shutdown over funding for his border wall. kelly said, to be honest, it's not a wall. the president still says wall, oftentimes, frankly, he'll say barrier or fencing. he's tended towards steel slats, but we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it. the president is trying to set the record straight in the first tweet this morning writing an all concrete wall was never abandoned and blaming the media for kelly's latest comments. joining me now, reuters white house correspondent, jeff mason and kevin barron, editor of defense one. jeff, we read these tweets from the president less than 24 hours after we heard this from lindsey graham outside the white house. let's take a listen. >> the wall has become a
metaphor for border security and what we're talking about is a physical barrier where it makes sense. >> feels, jeff, like messaging is a little bit all over the place the last couple of days. >> well, indeed. and, you know, number one, you certainly can't blame the media for something that president trump's outgoing chief of staff has said. it's clearly a sense of, a bit of sensitivity for president trump right now. the wall in general, because he's shut down the government over that issue and number two, somebody leaving his administration with whom he's had some disagreements seemingly contradicting him which never goes over well. it's true that the president changed his rhetoric a little bit or his vocabulary about the wall. he's used the term steel slats more often than not in his tweets lately. he obviously is still pushing for a wall, but the definition or what exactly that will be has been a little bit ambiguous. >> we also heard rumors for most
of 2018 about the rocky relationship between john kelly. every couple of weeks, it seemed like, maybe months, there was a report his departure was imminent. i guess a farewell skirmish like this isn't surprising but i thought one of the more revealing things about kelly's interview is him saying his tenure is best judged by what the president didn't do. what do you make of that, kevin? >> yeah. i'm not surprised by it. so a couple of things. john kelly gave this interview to the l.a. times but he used to work for us at defense one with the south commander. it's interesting that's who he chose with the outgoing interview with. not somebody who had focused on, you know, the inside sniping of, was there chaos or not? but somebody who covered his time as a commander, who understood john kelly already and how he thinks about things like immigration. that's what he covers at the
l.a. times. i'm not surprised to hear him come out and say, look, you don't know how much we walked this president on things like pulling out of afghanistan and all these other security issues while at the same time, john kelly tried to portray himself and to be a chief of staff, not chief of the president, as he said, and do his constitutional job to help this new guy, outsider of washington, govern. >> jeff, obviously, we can go on and on and this isn't the first time we've had a conversation about what the meaning of the word "wall" is, but if you have an outgoing chief of staff talking about all the things he kept the president from doing that weren't good and that's his greatest accomplishment, that seems to be maybe even more concerning. >> he certainly is hinting at things that he was able to or suggested he was able to prevent. we'll have to see after john kelly leaves the white house whether he's able to give more
details about that. no doubt, that's also something that will upset the president, however. the president not somebody who likes to be criticized, certainly not by his own staff and the suggestion that maybe his outgoing chief of staff has prevented some sort of calamity is probably not going to go over well with him at all. >> kevin, you also have the relationship that blew up between the president and general mattis. it's also mattis' last day. he sent a new letter to pentagon employees, not atypical but he said in part, keep the faith and hold fast alongside our allies, aligned against our foes. i mean, as he and others transition out and the president no longer has the guise that he brags so much about which is the generals, what kind of impact will it have on the troops and the defense department in 2019, at least with this letter? it seemed to me that mattis was trying to calm fears, not just among those who work for d.o.d.
but everybody else in the country. >> well, yes. mattis is talking directly to the troops and this is not anything new out of his mouth. he has said this directly to them overseas during his travels, and specifically referencing the last two years without saying, i know trump is crazy. i know things are crazy in washington and things back home are very divided. you guys on the front lines keep your eyes on the ball. do the job you signed up to do. complete your missions, fulfill your oath to the constitution. that's what he repeated today. in a way, yeah, i'm not mentioning trump but just sending that steady as she goes message to the troops. that's been his mantra. what effect for the troops? that depends who the next secretary of defense is. like patrick mananan, and not syria or military intervention abroad. shanahan is a businessman from a
defense contractor but like a lindsey graham or some outlier we don't know about, then yeah, you get a partisan who's going to drive home a lot of trump policies but even a lindsey graham is somebody who's a partisan but also an internationalist which is different. he's the guy trying to keep trump from pulling out of syria too fast and the u.s. military actively abroad fighting terrorism writ rehere it rests, something trump fought with. he campaigned on being an interventionist and wanting to bring the troops home when the job is done and depends whether or not you agree with it or right or wrong you've been sent and now being pulled home, the mattis message to those guys, keep doing your job. >> which we expected they will do but you do have the situation with everything sort of converging and the president so unhappy with so many people and the people unhappy in general with him, clearly, based on the
interviews that they've been giving. >> new generals next year. the new joint chief, new c co-collco co-coms. not just a new mattis but not mattis anymore but somebody else and general milly, who is an interventionist and believes in those wars. >> i think it's at least five or six senate confirmations that are going to be pretty contentious that this white house is going to have to face, so you do look at this and say, well, when you see what happens to even people who he spoke so highly of, like a general mattis and seemed to have a good relationship with, why would you go serve in the government? >> i think that's something they're grappling with in terms of trying to get good staff, not only at the high level of the cabinet but other levels within the white house where they're understaffed and elsewhere in the administration and put the whole thing into the broader context of the big picture as well as we look into 2019.
you've got these changes at the cabinet level and major decisions that the president needs to make on those but also, at the same time, you've got this government shutdown which could last for some time, at least that's what the president has said. you have the mueller report, the investigations and you have the reality of democrats controlling the house of representatives. it's going to be a fascinating year in 2019 and there's just a lot on the president's plate. >> that's to say the least. thank you so much, appreciate it. >> happy new year. >> happy new year. up next, the dam breaks. the first democrat from the ranks of the u.s. senate eyeing the 2020 nomination. here she is, elizabeth warren making her major announcement today. what it all means next on msnbc. today. what it all means next on msnbc. i knew about the tremors.
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with just a few hours left in 2018, one democrat is planting her flag for a 2020 run. senator elizabeth warren often derided by president trump over her claim of native american heritage announcing just a couple of hours ago that she's launching an exploratory committee for a potential presidential campaign. the announcement came at a 4.5 minute video posted on her web site. >> no matter where you live in america and no matter where your
family came from in the world, you deserve a path to opportunity. that's why today, i'm launching an exploratory committee for president. the outcome of this election will depend on you. if we organize today, if we fight together, if we persist together, we can win. we can and we will. >> oh, we've got a lot to talk about. here's nbc news national political reporter mike memeli and "washington post" opinion writer and msnbc contributor. good to see you guys. i'll start with you, mike, since you're there in massachusetts. what do we know about the senator's announcement? the timing? give us the lay of the land there. >> hey there. in terms of the conversations we've been having with senator warren's advisers in the days leading up to this announcement, you get a couple of reasons about why now in terms of making this announcement today. the first has to do with a lot of the practical considerations
about the presidential campaign. she does not have a leadership pack, sort of a bridge operation other big name democrats have to use to spend money or raise money to test the waters in the presidential arena. i should note, however, that the filing with the fec itself may not have gone through just yet. the fec is affected of all things by the government shutdown but she obviously is off and running in terms of her message and the other thing is really laying down a marker in terms of the other big name democrats in the race. i think she wants to make it clear she's not waging a campaign based on what anyone else is doing or anyone else's timeline. she wanted to get out first and start setting the agenda in terms of the race. she said in her e-mail to supporters, it's time for the country to have a real debate about restoring economic fairness for the middle class and who should be the best person to lead that debate. so as she now moves into this testing the water phase, we know she's tweeted she'll make a final decision early in the new year and expect to see her traveling to some of those early
states, of course, that are so important in the presidential nominating contest. >> not surprising, we've already heard from a republican. the first republican reaction we've seen to the announcement, rnc chairman mcdaniel in a tweet writing, quote, senator warren couldn't be more out of touch. americans will see her for what she is and another extreme far left obstructionist and a total fraud. alex, i don't suppose that any of us, at least among us the senator herself are surprised by the phrases. far left, total fraud but it's kind of a warm-up, isn't it for what to expect. it doesn't take long, the attacks will begin. >> absolutely, chris. and probably none of the big 2020 candidates or potential candidates have already taken more heat than elizabeth warren who really mixed it up with donald trump during the 2016 campaign on twitter. he has attacked her repeatedly as you mentioned over her native american heritage and accusing her of making that up.
of course, calling her pocahontas and republicans have loved to attack her for a long time. that has led some people like the boston globe editorial board to say she's already too divisive and her hometown newspaper advised her not to run for president because of that and other democrats i've spoken to say, you know, whoever runs, they're going to be attacked or end up being divisive and she is still here. her numbers are still pretty good, although, her negatives a little bit higher than the other candidates, so that shows she's durable and he can actually withstand these attacks, raise the money, have the profile to do it but that's a nice welcome to the new year and to the new reality of elizabeth warren's life as a presidential candidate. >> welcome to the presidential field. there you see ten of them, johnathan. could well be many more and usa today did a poll asking democrats and indpenependents w they were most excited about.
most said someone entirely new but biden and beto at the top but elizabeth warren with 26%. does that matter? >> she's in sixth place in a field that could be up to about 20 people, so that's not a bad place to be. look, chris, i think actually elizabeth warren now that i think of it comes into this race actually stronger than i think people are giving her credit for. one, in terms of her message. the clip that you showed all focused on economics. the reason why we know elizabeth warren's name is that she's been out there pounding the table on behalf of working americans and the middle class and the working class and since the 2008 financial implosion. she's been hammering away for ten years. think about that. ten years. so she makes that a central focus of her video there. the second thing is, and i think we're going to be reminded of this, alex talked about this a
second ago. she has been a focal point of attack by republicans and particularly, then candidate trump and now president trump on twitter, on the stump and everything unlike anyone else. most of the people in the upcoming presidential field, she has not only taken attacks from president trump, but she's given as good as she's gotten. >> a disagreement about that, jonathan. you know there's a lot of people who think she played the whole thing with the dna test wrong, that once that, in fact, there are plenty of analysts who suggest she has shown other democratic candidates how not to treat donald trump. you get in the mud with him, you're going to lose. >> fine, you can, i'll give you that point, chris. i wasn't even going down that route, but i'm talking about democrats who have not gotten the brick bat of a donald trump tweet ever and how do they react to that? elizabeth warren has been hit
many, many times, fairly, unfairly but she's been the focal point of donald trump's attacks and republican attacks for years now. >> and there's another side of the economic message. one part of it is her pretty consistent economic message. alex, the other part of it is, these folks, whoever decides to run, they've got to figure out how to raise money. she's done that. she's got a pretty strong list of small dollar donors, in her last six years ago, i think raised $42 million against scott brown. a little less this time but didn't have quite as challenging a race and carried over something like, what, $15 million there? so how does she look, how does she stack up against the fund raising prowess of other possible top tier democrats? >> it's an unfortunate reality of politics but money is hugely important and i think that's going to be especially true in
this race. part of it is that really big states like california and texas have moved up their primaries to earlier than we've ever seen them in recent years, so that means the campaigns will start to spend money in those states which is hugely expensive endeavor, much earlier than they have in the past. you need a lot of money but in a big field as we've been talking about, you need to stand out and show strength and viability. no one wants to bet on a loser an one of the best ways to show early strength is to put up some big numbers in the beginning. she enters this race with more money at the moment than anyone else. any of the other potential 2020 candidates. she has about, yeah, you said $50 million. $12.5 million left over in her account from 2018. that's more than anybody else. she has a large e-mail fund raising list and also able to raise money from more conventional means. at the same time, bernie sanders raised a ton of money online. he has the kind of gold standard e-mail list in the democratic party. beto o'rourke and fund raising records including those set by elizabeth warren last year.
this will be a very expensive campaign and you need to raise $10 million or $15 million at a minimum in the first quarter just to be seen as viable and that's just the ante before you can get to the next round. >> so we've only got 30 seconds left. i'll go to you, jonathan. we've already heard from a number of republicans, even before she officially announced she'd be chomping at the bit if the president got to run against someone on the left, where elizabeth warren is, but who do you think the republicans would least like to have donald trump face? >> oh, that's a very good question. >> get all the time from voters. they don't care if they like the person they most. they want to vote for the person they think can beat donald trump. >> that's the beauty of the process. some people look good on paper but once they get into the process, they might wither. they might fold.
they might shrivel up. i have my eye on some people i don't know because president trump is such an unconventional president and unconventional campaigner, asymmetrical fighter, i'm not sure if we can think of this campaign of what's the best way to beat him. i mean, i've written this before. i think democrats, you need to, no matter who the nominee is, circle the wagons and support that nominee because as we saw in 2016, the democratic candidate hillary clinton got 3 million more votes than president trump did but he won the electoral college. if democrats circle the wagons around the nominee, whoever that is, whether it's beto, whether it's elizabeth warren, whether it's kamala harris, that person will win. >> jonathan, alex seitz-wald, thank you. >> happy new year. >> happy new year. up next, put up or shut up. ultimatum to the special counsel as robert mueller prepares to
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the dow. there are three overarching concerns that traders will have and that is concerns about the federal reserve and interest rate policy next year, about slowing economic growth possibly here and elsewhere around the world and then what happens overall with trade and tariff policy. now, on that last point, markets are catching a bit of a bid helped along by the tweet from president trump who said he had a lengthy conversation with chinese president xi jinping. the reason investors are cautious about this, we have heard these reports before but not until march with the deadline with the next round of tariffs and self-imposed deadline when they want to have the trade talks. this will shape up to be the worst december since the depression era and the worst month in a decade for the overall stock markets. see if there's some positivity to be had in pushing these stocks up for the last trading day of the year. this is the last time you can make any kind of a move before
201 2019 starts. >> worst december. any optimism for january and for 2019 in general or is the expectation at least in the short run to see a lot more of the volatility? >> we could see more of the volatility and what comes down to you is a reconciliation of the economic data and what we all see as the health of the overall market. the reason why i say that is because we still do have economic data points. things like job creation, things like unemployment, things like gross domestic product and the u.s. are showing signs of life and growth. those are good signs. however, there's a sentiment or survey driven data where people are not as optimistic or don't feel as good about the future. whether or not there's any kind of a carry-through in the economic data, that is growth and jobs and whatnot to catch up with the slowing sentiment data. but for right now, the economy looks like it's growing and growing. there are some concerns about a possible recession but it's not
the majority by any means. we'll have to wait for the data to play out and there's a big role in the discussion. >> cnbc's dominic chu. thank you. happy new year. >> to you too, cris. a turbulent year. vladimir putin put donald trump on the new year's message list with queen elizabeth, teresa may, pope francis, others. but putin said he is ready to have a dialogue with president trump on a range of issues and stressed the importance of a strong relationship with the u.s. now, that is not dissimilar to a message last year and of course, since then, scores of russian diplomats have been expelled this year following the poisoning of a former russian spy in britain and election interference continues. let's get the inside scoop from msnbc contributor politics reporter for the daily beast and jeff mason is back, reuters white house correspondent. betsy, so it was a year ago to the day that putin put out a similar note, kind of struck a
similar tone in that message to trump as he looked forward to the year of cooperation. should we look at this any differently? >> there's a distinct possibility. not because of changes on putin's end but the changes in the trump administration. the fact that jim mattis is no longer running the pentagon. he was viewed as a more traditional supporter of the con ven conventional transatlantic alliance. particularly in western and eastern europe, there's an opening for putin to try to shift some of the dynamics in american foreign policy and of course, the drawdown of troops in syria is fantastic news for putin. the kremlin was delighted to hear that trump announced that u.s. troops were going to be moved out of the country because it only serves to increase their influence and the middle east more broadly. we'll keep a close eye on the way that u.s./russia relations
potentially are more significant in the coming months. >> foreign minister sergey lavrov was quoted by the russian news agency it's up to the u.s. to hold a meeting with russia. that was alluded to by putin. where's the white house on this? >> it's a good question. the first part of the answer to that is to look back at the g-20 in buenos aires. it was cancelled on the u.s. side because of a concern over the russian dispute with ukraine. whether or not that changes, i think may depend entirely on what moscow does with ukraine going forward but it is no secret that president trump has said he would like to have better relations with russia. he has been open to talks with putin, at times, when others discouraged him from doing that. we have to see in 2019 whether the situation changes and whether the advisers around president trump say, hey, you can afford to meet with president trump now or no, you need to stay away because of the
tension with ukraine. >> the findings from robert mueller may impact any of that. betsy, rudy giuliani delivered an ultimatum to robert mueller. put up or shut up. i know you've been looking into the mueller lawyer trump talks. where are we with that? >> an important revelation giuliani confirmed to my colleague is that conversations between the president's legal team and mueller's lawyers never actually stopped. negotiations are still open as mueller's attorneys try to get more information from trump himself. now, we know that trump has turned over to mueller, a significant number of written answers to questions and we also know that it's extremely unlikely that mueller has any sort of verbal in person or telephone conversation with the president but at the same time, mueller's lawyers still have more questions for trump and still looking to extract more
information from there. any potential developments on the front. >> we saw that the shutdown, the wall, these conversations have deverted the president's attention a little. certainly not completely at least on his twitter feed away from the mueller investigation but as we know, all of that is still ongoing. you've talked to him, what, three times this year in the oval office? you see or observe him pretty much every day of the year. i'm curious about how you think he's changed where his mindset is going into 2019. >> sure, yeah. i've had a chance with some reuters colleagues to interview him three times this year and the most recent sit-down he had, he was very focused. i think he's very focused on 2020. i think that's also clear in his tweets. you see that right now with his sort of doubling down on the shutdown, realizing that his base or believing anyway, his base is the key to getting reelected in 2020. we saw in his interview as well, just really focused on that.
i remember the first time i interviewed him in 2017 here at the white house, part of the time, we just kind of had to keep him focused on the policy questions while he was reflecting back on his victory in 2016. he hasn't done that as much now, or most recently when we've talked to him. i think his eyes are on the prize of staying in the white house. >> betsy woodruff, mason, thank you, have a great new year. thank you so much. >> you too, chris. coming up, crowded house. people are packing into times square to watch the crystal ball drop less than 12 hours from now. look at the crowd there. what the biggest police force in the u.s. is doing to keep everyone safe. you're watching msnbc. p everyone safe. you're watching msnbc.
there are just over 11 hours left in 2018 and people are starting to get ready for the mother of all new year's celebrations. in new york's times square, revelers have already started to stake out the best spots to watch the ball drop at midnight. now, the good news is it won't be that cold. the bad news -- it will likely be raining at midnight for the first time in more than 20 years. security is tight in and around times square to make sure
nothing happens to the estimated 1 million people who will gather there tonight. nbc's stephanie gosk joins us now from times square with more on what's being done there. it is amazing to watch. anybody who's ever been there, they have this down to a science there. >> reporter: yeah. chris, they really do. every year it's an elaborate and enormous security operation and the nypd changes and adapts this operation depending on the different types and threats and includes this year the use of a drone for the first time. this is what the police commissioner had to say this morning about it. >> the drone just gives us perspective from a greater height. it is tethered. not flying over any crowds. first time using it. i think it's a great -- we have a responsibility to make sure that whatever technology's available that we use that. we have counter drone technology, which is important,
also. >> reporter: anyone using a drone faces arrest is what he went on to say in this area. to support that, here's security by the numbers. 200 vehicles blocking the streets. these large sanitation trucks typically filled with sand to stop vehicles. 1,200 security cameras. detectives in hotels. there will be also metal detectoring detectors. these pens are already starting to fill up and the people who are in them right now have to stay in them. once you go through security, if you leave then you can't come back in and if you are standing there you're there for hours and some cases some of the people longer than 12 hours. >> ah. >> not to get too graphic about it, chris, but there are adult diapers involved. it's not going to be pleasant for them. >> reporter: stephanie gosk, is that really the note you want to end on? high above times square in new
york city? >> reporter: just something to semiabout you people at home saying, boy, do i wish i was in times square? >> with the rain to start in about an hour. stay dry out there. i want folks to watch tonight when nbc's lester holt and a group of other journalists will push the button to lower the official ball in times square representing the committee to protect journalists which is being honored for its efforts the promote journalism an freedom of the press around the world.
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and that's going to wrap up the last hour of "andrea mitchell reports" for 2018. morgan radford takes up the coverage. what a year. >> 2018, chris. >> just another life in the year of politics. >> we made it. >> survived so far. morgan, happy new year. >> and to you, chris. good afternoon to everyone out there. i'm morgan radford. thank you for being with us. it's new year's eve, monday, december 31st, and let's get started. we have this breaking news with the shutdown on day ten. house democrats have decided on a plan to try to reopen the government. >> the wall has become a metaphor for border security. i think he is receptive to a deal if it secures our goal. >> president trump this morning digging in on the government shutdown and border security disputing very publicly