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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  December 26, 2016 7:00am-8:01am PST

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cause of that crash. officials, though, say they do not believe the crash, which killed all 92 on board, was an act of terror. back here in the united states, a perfect storm of chaos with the blizzard blowing across the high plains just as millions travel home after the holiday weekend. we'll get an update on the forecast and go live to one of this country's biggest airports in just a bit. but we start with reaction pouring in from around the world to the sudden death of '80s superstar george michael. he died on christmas at the age of 53. ♪ ♪ >> the singer songwriter and music producer became one of the world's biggest selling artists, first with the group wham and then solo career as well. his manager said he died of heart failure peacefully at his home in england. nbc's steve patterson is live
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for us this morning in los angeles. again, steve, just 53. had george michael been sick? >> you know, craig, there were a spat of recent health scares dating back to 2011. he had a touch of pneumonia that was almost near fatal. but this was completely unexpected. as you said, his longtime manager said there was some heart problems that may have died of heart failure. again, this was unexpected. police came to the home, found him dead, said that it was nothing that was out of sorts. he was just there. the investigation continues. there will be an autopsy that will be performed on him. meanwhile people are mourning the loss of a legend. ♪ freedom >> it's music that made an entire generation move. ♪ baby
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>> those catchy melodies, mixed with a little social commentary all tied together by glossy, unforgettable hooks became mega hooks. ♪ i don't need your freedom >> and turned george michael from teen pop singer into an international icon. a career spanning four decades spawning 10 number one singles, selling more than 21 million albums in the u.s. alone. ♪ i will be your father figure put your tiny hand in mine ♪ >> michael rose to fame in the early '80s as one-half of the british pop group wham with "freedom," "careless whisper," and wake me up before you go go. the group became one of the biggest acts in the world before they split in 1986. the following year michael's debut solo album "faith" got a
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grammy and generated four number one hits. michael who wrote and produced nearly every element also became a world famous sex symbol. ♪ the sun going down on me >> in the '90s more chart success including smash hit with elton john. in 1998, the singer made headlines after being arrested for exposing himself to an undercover police officer in an l.a. public rest room. after the incident michael came out as gay and became an advocate for aids prevention and gay rights. but the songwriter who achieved so much success in his mid-20s said the attention was too much. he wanted his private life back. >> i was freakedhe amount of attention pointed to me. >> more recently the artist suffered health scares including near fatal bout with pneumonia in 2011. >> the hospital in australia they rushed me to was absolutely
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the best place in the world i could have been. >> tributes on social media from friends and famous fans began pouring in almost immediately sunday night including his wham partner andrew ridgely who tweeted, "heart broken at the loss of my beloved friend. forever loved. the man who will be remembered as a music legend. ♪ last kmat. >> ♪ last christmas i gave you my heart ♪ george michael found unconscious. police said the death was unexplained. there was no sign of foul play. an autopsy will be performed. in the meantime, everyone who remembers him -- >> 100 million, staggering number when you think about it. steve patterson in los angeles for us only monday morning. steve, thank you. it's been a busy weekend for
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trump transition steam dealing with fallout over obama administration abstention from u.n. security vote. a controversy on tweet over nuclear weapons and an abrupt change to the incoming white house staff. hallie jackson covering all things trump transition from west palm beach for us this morning. let's start with how the president-elect is reacting to u.n. action, reacting to condemnation from israel as well. >> listen, craig, we know he's not been shy to get involved and to weigh in on this in the past. last week he released that statement essentially coming out firmly on the side of benjamin netanyahu. over the weekend after that security council resolution went down, you saw donald trump tweet again calling what happened, quote, a big loss, saying that it would make it harder to negotiate peace but adding that -- pledging essentially that he would be the one to do it. you know, i think it's worth noting it's fairly unusual to see a president-elect, somebody
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not in the white house, get involved in matters of international diplomacy to this degree. when president obama frankly is still in the white house, at least for another few weeks. as we know, donald trump has not been shy about weighing in on hot topics, whether they be foreign or domestic in the past and this seems to be yet another example of that. prime minister netanyahu sent his own kind of warning shot to the obama administration basically saying, hey, i might end up looking past you to the incoming administration already. >> mr. trump saying he'll shut down charitable foundation before he takes office. what do we know about that and has the ball started rolling on that? >> well, listen. the whole goal is to try to avoid the appearance of conflict when he is president with his trump foundation. has the ball started rolling, craig? the ball is stuck at this point because of what the new york attorney general is saying. usa know, the trump administration has come under fire for how it spent its money and come under investigation as well. the new york ag currently
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looking into the trump foundation and releasing a statement saying, and i'm paraphrasing here, basically saying not so fast. you can't actually dissolve the foundation while we are investigating it. as you know donald trump has blasted that as partisan, ag as democrat, his tangle with trump in the past. at this point it's not clear how the dissolution, if you will, disabandonment of the trump foundation is moving forward but that is something trump wants to do. he talked about it in a statement this weekend. even though it's done good works, he wants to make sure to avoid any appearance of conflict if he does become president. >> there's a bit of drama within the transition team. jason miller named white house communications director on friday. basically stepping down on saturday. what do we know about what led to his sudden change of heart. >> this was a quick turn around, 48 hours, a staff shake-up before the staff ends up in the
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west wing. it's pretty unusual to see something like this, a very public announcement naming communications staff, naming not just incoming secretary spicer but jason miller, somebody familiar to campaign reporters as somebody whose been a spokesperson for donald trump since the general election. prior to, that remember, he worked for ted crowds in a similar position. miller apparently accepted the job. didn't just accept it but the transition team went public wit. less than 48 hours a reversal essentially. miller pulling out saying over the christmas holiday he wanted to spend more time with his family. his wife is expecting and he wants to prioritize his home life over work life. not unusual for somebody to make that decision but what is a little eyebrow raising, it was so publicly announced and so publicly drawn back in. it also means sean spicer holding dual role, which is not something we typically see in the west wing. >> we'll see how long that lasts. hallie jackson.
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west palm beach, florida. want to bring in john pierre, spokesperson for movon.org. worked for president obama's 2012 election team. a former bush chain adviser. good to see both of you on monday morning. thanks for being with us. let me start with you, the transition so far, how would you characterize it? >> bumpy, a little bit of turbulence. this is not unusual. i should put it in perspective. most presidential transitions are bumpy. it's a misnomer there is an office of president-elect. there is no office of president-elect. the president-elect is just that. he or she has to obviously organize these things without a huge infrastructure around them. the difference here with this president-elect is obviously he's making news and making policy not only via social media but just in general while we currently have a president until january 20th. that's the difference. >> craig, it was interesting to
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me last week to hear ivanka was already starting to call congressmen, congresswoman as well to talk about paid maternity leave, to spend some time talking about paid leave in general. what areas do you expect there will be some common ground between donald trump and leading democrats on the hill. >> right now it doesn't seem there will be any common ground at all, especially if they are talking about privatizing medicare, obama care, trying to figure out where he stands, what he's going to actually do about his rhetoric about banning muslims and deporting millions of immigrants. so right now those things seem to still be on his agenda. so i'm not sure where there will be a space to work with. if anything, democrats need to make sure they stand for our principles and don't give the trump administration an inch. >> how do you go about doing that if you don't have the
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house, you don't have the senate, you don't have the high court. how do you provide this resistance you're calling for? >> yeah, well, craig, i think in 2005, when bush called for privatizing social security, the democrats came together and they had a really great fight that they actually won and led to winning the house, the next election cycle. it was an opportunity where everybody came together, democrats came together. they really pushed back and stopped the privatization of social security at that time. so i think we've seen examples before that we can certainly move forward with. >> robert, it would seem to me that one of the legacies of a trump presidency four years from now could very well be the judicial branch. we're not just talking about the high court, we're talking about 120 open seats, federal judgeships all over this country
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that donald trump is going to be able to appoint. does that worry you at all? >> no, it doesn't. president-elect trump has assured republicans and conservatives that he's going to nominate individuals that are strict interpreters of the constitution. so in that regard it doesn't bother me not one bit. if i can go back to something else that was mention add few moments ago, i do see two significant pieces of bipartisan legislation that democrats can work with president-elect on. number one, infrastructure. the president-elect has said he wants to spend about a trillion dollars on infrastructure. the last time i checked, those are true american jobs that you cannot outsource. and those are good high-paying jobs. so i see some movement on democrat on that. secondly, democrats on record -- not allf them but some of them on record saying, look, if the president-elect is going to repeal and replace obama care, the affordable health care act, let's see what he's going to come up with. there are some things fundamentally flawed, i'm
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quoting democrats here. if there's something in there to replace obama care, keep the mandate and some other things, i'm open to that. so i do see two significant things that perhaps there's some consensus on. >> infrastructure spending and repealing and replacing, optimistic about either one of those? i kind of probably know what you're going to see about obama care. but with regards to infrastructure spending, it would seem as if that's something that everyone can get behind? >> we have to see what's going to be presented here. look, the republicans, the reality is the republicans spent the last eight years blocking everything that obama had to put forth. in spite of them, the economy is humming. so we'll see what actually happens. as we know, trump is pretty unpredictable. with obama care, the person who is leading, that he's appointed to lead the hhs is congressman tom price, who is against -- against every day low income
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people and for the rich. we've seen that in the type of votes he's done, that didn't support medicare and medicare and even c.h.i.p. for children and states. so i'm not confident there's going to be actually something that the republicans are going to put in place that's going to fix the issues of obama care. let's remember as well, democrats tried to work with republicans also for six years to try and fix even small things to make obama care better. they did not work with different democrats at all. >> big thanks to both of you. >> thank you. happy new year. >> happy new year. >> when we come back we'll get one democratic congressman's reaction to the u.n. resolution end to settlement building and obama's administration's decision to abstain from that vote. netanyahu summoned a meeti
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u.s. ambassador daniel shapiro in response to united nations resolution to stop israeli settlements and palestinian occupied territory. the meeting comes after netanyahu said that he plans to re-evaluate all u.n. ties, which would include the united states. prior to friday's vote president-elect donald trump tweeted his disappointment asking countries to veto the resolution. the u.s. delegation as you know abstained from that joint.
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i'm joined by congressman levin. thanks for being with me this morning. >> glad to be with you. >> let's start with initial thoughts on the resolution and u.s. decision to abstain from that vote. >> it would have been preferable if the u.s. had vetoed but i think the president-elect also has some responsibility. i think he appointed two people who wan to expand settlements without limitation, really, and are very hostile, indeed, to a two-state settlement. also i think the prime minister, if i might say so, is really making the mistake of going after the u.n. and also going after the motivation of the president. >> did the white house -- did you have any correspondence with the white house before the vote on friday? did you make your wishes known? >> there were some earlier discussions, but they made the
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essential judgment. i think it was based in part on what president-elect trump was doing. essentially he was appointing people, as i said, who were in favor of expanded settlements and who were hostile to a two-state solution very contrary to what has been the policy of the united states for decades. >> speaking of the president-elect, as "now" know e major news on friday saying, quote, let it be an arms race, with regard to nuclear weapons. how do lawmakers and respond to a comment like that less than a month from taking office? >> reckless. it's reckless for him to say that. in part he's on a reckless journey. for example, health care reform. he wants to end it in a way that doesn't replace it in any way
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discernible. what he said about arms, nuclear weapons was, indeed, most unfortunate. i think an arms race is not what we need. >> some of your colleague on the hill, including eric swalwell, congressman from california i just spoke with earlier this morning, they are calling for a separate commission, a blue ribbon commission, if you will, to investigate the russian hackings during the election. do you think it's necessary or do you think it's something that will actually happened in a congress that's controlled by the other side. >> it's very necessary. again, i think the president-elect has been so wrong just dismissing russian hacking, kind of putting putin on a pedestal. we need a bipartisan investigation. i think the intelligence committees but something beyond that to get to the bottom. again, i think when the president-elect just says, well, it really didn't amount to anything, i think that is a threat to american democracy and i think we need to investigate
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it actively. >> congressman, i had a guest on a few moments ago who talked in broad terms about how democrats should oppose the incoming administration. i want to pose the same question to you. this idea that you can be a legitimate opposition forces when you are now in the minority and the house and the senate. you don't have the white house. you don't have the supreme court. what are you left to do? >> i think a legitimate opposition. there may be a few areas of common effort, for example, on infrastructure. but even there, i think he's proposing financing that won't work. we need to oppose, i think, the efforts of this president-elect to turn everything upside down from health care to education policy. no, i think we need to stand up and be counted, because i think, as i said before, this president is embarked on a really reckless
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course that is really going to harm indeed many of the people who voted for him. working families are going to find, for example, with health care that millions are going to lose their health care essentially overnight. the president essentially is saying on education, let's turn things upside down. no, we need to speak out if there's a common effort, fine. but other than that, we need to be very, very adamant in opposition to a president who i think really threatens so much of what this country has been all about during my lifetime, that's for sure. >> michigan congressman senator levon. congressman, thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> a live look, jackson hartfield international airport, with a blizzard hammering
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midwest could turn into mad house. looks pretty good now. we'll go there live and get you caught up on the forecast after a quick break. when heartburn hits, fight back fast with tums smoothies. it starts dissolving the instant it touches your tongue. and neutralizes stomach acid at the source. ♪ tum -tum -tum -tum smoothies! only from tums
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pop icon and '80s heartthrob george michael from the british group wham has died at the age of 53. according to his manager he died from heart failure lying in bed peacefully. president obama visited u.s. troops at a marine corps base in hawaii taking part in what's become an annual christmas tradition one last time as president. he thanked the troops saying it's been a, quote, privilege of my life to serve as commander in chief. neither the wind nor
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torrential rain could stop those cabrera city chiefs. a team now headed for the playoffs this sunday after cruising to a 33-10 victory over denver broncos. >> the weather, one of the big stories today this day after christmas, part of the midwest and great plains paralyzed from the holiday storm. the white christmas in north dakota was also treacherous. freezing rain, ice, winds all causing accidents shutting down highways leading to widespread power outages there. a day we've got covered from every angle from tracking the storm, the fitzpatrick, shoppers braving elements to hit the stores. not bad in the windy city but really bad nearby. exactly, craig. i was just thinking what a difference a few states make because to our west as you mentioned dakotas got clobbered this weekend. blizzard conditions. expecting a lot of snow in parts of the dakotas and upper plains today.
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in addition to snowfall you've got some tropical force winds blowing as well up to 60 miles per hour. so whiteout conditions possible there. it's going to be treacherous traveling. back here in chicago, this is hard to believe that the day after christmas it's 50 degrees. it's finally dry again. you might be able to see blue sky behind me. so travel out of o'hare today and midway should be pretty smooth, although we should report that midway has about 30 or so, give or take one or two cancellations today and five or six over at o'hare, which obviously is a much busier airport. always a good idea to check your airports and carriers before you head for the airport, especially if you're going back to parts west of here. now, the big trouble spots going forward is all in the northeast because the weather that moves through here overnight and this morning in the form of just light rain is going to turn into freezing rain and perhaps snow in the upper parts of the northeast today. so folks trying to get out of there and into that area today should make -- should be mindful
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of that that travel could be a little difficult going into tonight, especially tomorrow. but i can't complain about sunshine and 50 degrees in chicago. we're just a few days from january 1st, craig. >> amen to that. ron mott in the windy city. ron, thank you at this hour. in spite of the weather, millions making their way home on congested highways and crowd-filled airports. aaa estimating 100 million americans will travel 50 miles or more by january 2nd. nbc's gabe gutierrez at laporta's hartsfield-jackson airport. is it living up to its name today. >> hi there, craig. i'll tell you what, ron said it was about 50 degrees up in chicago, not too bad in atlanta. about 60 degrees this morning. pretty mild temperatures. thankfully smooth sailing right here through the tsa precheck line as well as the main security checkpoint in atlanta. check out here, main checkpoint
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less than 15 minutes. all the others also 15 minutes. while atlanta is the busiest airport today, they seem to have brought in more staff. things are going pretty smoothly right here. now, the airport is expecting more than 4 million travelers during this holiday travel season. aaa expects more than a 2 1/2% increase in holiday air travel again. lines moving smoothly here. according to faa website, there are delays in other parts of the country. minneapolis/st. paul dealing with wintry weather. as ron was mentioned, two-hour delay there. lax also according to faa experienced about 45 minute delays on average because of construction. oddly enough, west palm beach, that airport is averaging 1 1/2 hour delays because of some volume there. again, here in atlanta's hartsfield-jackson international airport things moving very smoothly. but that could change because so
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much of what happens in other parts of the country can ripple all the way down here. send it back to you, craig. >> gabe for us in atlanta. gabe, thanks. there's a blizzard warning in parts of the west. meteorologist bonnie schneider tracking that situation for us. bonnie, what are we seeing? >> it's interesting. blizzard warning you're speaking of in north dakota extended noon to 3:00 p.m. local time. so the threat lingering a little further. airport delays right now, we do have a lengthy one, 126 minutes over two hours in minneapolis not really surprising with the weather that we've had there. in los angeles, getting some delays at 51 minutes at lax. elsewhere light delays are reported, at least good news on busy travel day. back to the blizzard, even though a lot of it is winding down, we still have bands of snow. we also have very strong wind. put that together with bitterly cold temperatures and it's just making travel treacherous, dangerous, and not advised in this part of the state, north dakota. you can see into south dakota as
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well, areas toward the eastern part of the states we're seeing those advisories extend well into the afternoon. what's ahead for the northeast and into pennsylvania and great lakes, look at this. we're watching out for freezing rain on top of all the snow in the plains. freezing rain for harrisburg, scranton, syracuse, western mass. then if you start heading into the mountains of vermont up towards maine, light snow. be careful if you're driving tonight. even just a little trace of ice can make a difference. wet weather in the northwest. gusty winds and a lot of snow. this is going to be big, big snow for the cascades. some areas will actually see up to 3 feet. some pockets here you can see. i guess that's great news for skiers. for those traveling this could be a problem. be careful, snow will be heavy. this is a vigorous storm we'll be talking about straight through wednesday. craig. >> all right. bonnie schneider at the weather map friday. bonnie, thank you. millions hitting not just roads
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and airports not necessarily to shop. this time they are returning. that's a big bust for retailers. last year americans returned more than $260 billion in merchandise. nbc's morgan radford outside of walmart in new jersey. she's giving us some tips on what we need to know before we return these items. may, morgan. >> hey, craig. that's right. cold weather isn't stopping people from coming back and returning items. we've seen a lot of big spending this season. spending estimated to be up $1 trillion, that's about a 4% increase from what we saw last year. even an increase last month 5% in terms of sales. again, that's just in terms of the end of this holiday season. a lot of people did not want to wait in these lines outside. it's cold, so they went online. when they did that, we saw about a billion dollars in sales just this year alone. a lot of them were procrastinators. they saw tendencies of people who tended to shop online. it looks like they waited until the last minute.
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they got good deals, even free shipping. we do have tips for you. if you don't like scarves, gloves grandma, grandpa got you, make sure you call stores ahead of time. each retailer really has their own return policy, especially when it comes to those specialty items, tvs or drones, electronics, headsets. all those cool things like that, they have a separate return policy often from other items in the store. it's important to remember to do that, also to bring your photo id. they are kind of beefing up security when it comes to returning these items. they are asking to see a photo id and receipt in many places. be sure to get here quick because we expect the cold, as i said, will not keep these people away and these lines will get longer throughout the day, craig. >> it does look like we're starting to see a few more folks there than we have the last couple hours at that particular walmart. thank you, morgan radford in new jersey. morgan, thank you. the latest on that massive certainly operation for victims of that russian military plane
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happening right now russian defense ministry saying this morning there is no evidence at this point to indicate the military plane crash in the black sea was caused by a terrorist attack. officials say two fragments of the plane's control mechanism were pulled off the sea floor. some 3500 people are now
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searching waters near sochi for victims of the crash. that crash happening on christmas day. 92 people were on board the flight, including members of the beloved military choir. nbc's lucy kafanov has been following all the latest developments from london. >> reporter: craik, a christmas day tragedy. divers found several piece of the plane this morning at the bottom of the black sea. russian officials say the investigation at this appoint is focusing on pilot error or technical problems, not terrorism. authorities now scrambling to figure out why this plane went down on christmas day. >> it's an around the clock mission to peace together a deadly puzzle. thousands of emergency workers scouring frigid waters, salvaging what they can of what remains. no survivors, all 92 on board dead. the plane departed from sochi bound for military base in
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syria. but just two minutes after taking off, it plunged into the black sea in near perfect weather. most passengers, members of its world renowned military choir, heading to spread holiday cheer at a new year's performance. this young couple, dancers in the ensemble planning a wedding. also on board a beloved charity doctor taken medicine to syrian hospital. war is a hell on earth but kindness, compassion are stronger than any weapon. reality is now beginning to sink in for those who loved and lost their dearest. on board a christmas day flight to a war-torn country with a tragic end. craig, among the dead, singers, dancers, nine russian journalists, also a famous human
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rights worker in russia. eleven bodies recovered so far. no black boxes. that will be critical to the investation. russian vladimir putin declaring national day of mourning across russia as that investigation continues. craig. >> lucy kafanov in london. thank you. the relationship between obama administration and israel's prime minister has taken a bit of a turn. united states declining to veto a u.n. security council resolution which keld israeli settlement policy on the west bank and east jerusalem. in the past the u.s. has vetoed similar resolutions. former house speaker newt gingrich tweeting his reaction a short time ago. why is obama team waging war against israel? why are they taking steps to isolate and kill a democracy and an ally. nbc's kelly o'donnell in west palm beach where president-elect trump is spending the holiday. pretty strong words from the
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speaker, kelly, do they appear to reflect the sentiment of the president-elect? >> very much so, craig. you have seen donald trump who could have focused on his transition and allowed one president at a time tradition to hold and not, especially on foreign policy matters intervene, but instead he was brought into this in part because of his own sense of allegiance and as an ally of israel and because benjamin netanyahu, according to our reporting in israel, had warned the obama administration if they did not do more to prevent this resolution, they would look to donald trump for help and they did. and so prior to the resolution being considered before the u.n. security council, he tweeted, which as we see is his form of proclamation. at the same time he made some phone calls at the behest of the israeli government. when it proceeded as we saw it play out with samantha power explaining obama administration position, they chose not to use
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a veto which would have stopped the resolution and explained the voting and explained complicated history of all this. but the effect was the u.s. had an option to prevent the resolution chose not to for reasons they laid out. that angered israel. we saw them recall ambassadors in countries involved with this to meet on christmas day and met with his cabinet and had some very strong words for the u.s. >> over decades, american administrations and israeli governments have disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the security council was not the place to resolve this issue. as i told john kerry on thursday, friends do not take friends to the security council. >> so as he pointed out, there has been a differing view about the use of settlements. the obama administration and others before have felt that building these new settlements in an area that could be part of a palestinian state in a
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two-state solution is a hindrance to reaching peace. the israeli government sees it very differently, believes that the palestinian officials are too far apart. this is their view. but at the same time the u.n. security council, because of its history, that world body of being, according to israel, anti-israel, netanyahu felt that the u.s. should have taken this out of that forum. so we also saw donald trump tweet after that vote the big loss yesterday for israel, referring to friday, in the united nations will make it much harder to negotiate peace. too bad, he says, but we will get it done anyway. that's a quote from donald trump's twitter feed. so he is trying to align himself with netanyahu at a time when he knows that there is a sensitive relationship, a frayed relationship between president obama and prime minister netanyahu. donald trump is choosing to take action at that time when it is so sensitive.
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craig. >> kelly o, west palm beach. thank you. queen elizabeth missing her christmas service for the first time in nearly three decades because of a cold. that's not the only reason this was an historic holiday for the royals. we'll explain after this break. also ahead, more on the death of george michael. i'll be joined by one of this country's preeminent music writers and critics to talk about the singer's impact on the music industry.
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liberty mutual insurance. another first? christmas church service for prince george and little princess charlotte, clearly fascinated by the bells. joining mom and dad for a middleton christmas.
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prince william and duchess kate forgoing the christmas with the queen for a more relaxed holiday with the in-law. sugary. charlotte had other ideas on what to do. a practice run perhaps for their visit here in five months when pippa middleton and james matthews tied the knot but will we hear the sound of wedding bells for prince harry? a part from his megan markle this christmas but maybe not too much longer. the queen addressing the nation in a prerecorded speech striking an optimistic note. >> on our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice. but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine. >> that was lucy kafanov reporting from london. fans of george michael in
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mourning today. the super star who launched his career with the '80s duowham. he died christmas day. just 53 years old. his manager said he died from heart failure. rolling stone contributing editor anthony, a university of pennsylvania english professor joins me now. what a career it was. 100 million albums sold, 11 number one uk hits how big was his talent? >> it was quite big. there was a sense of which, you know, when you started out with wham, it was a tendency on the part of, i mean, they were really popular but there was a tendency on the part of critics to be dismissive of them as a team pop phenomenon. but then as he developed and became a solo artist, the quality of his singing became clear and he was massive and had a big impact on people of that generation who were gripped by mtv. >> to your knowledge, had he been ill?
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>> this is a question. you know, he's had health problems in the past and there have been drug arrests and other issues in his life. >> sure. >> but there was not something, you know, he's 53 years old and art failure at 53 is pretty uncommon. i think people were pretty shocked. >> there's an autopsy that's going to be performed that officials said we'll perhaps get more after the alutopsies. there was an arrest that led to him coming out during the era of aids. did that in any way, shape, or form affect his career, you think? >> well, that's an interesting thing. i'm not sure how much it affected it in terms of popularity, but he always struggled, i think, with who he was a a person and the degree of focus on him. he pulled back from the spotlight for a time. he had issues with his record
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company. i think the question of who he was just as a sexual person and then who he was aus an artist, these things plagued him in a way that affected his life and affected his popularity. >> what was it, anthony, about his music, you think, that made him so special and his music so special? >> there was an emotional quality to his singing, i think, that anybody who listens to careless whisper, for example. i heard him one time perform at a benefit for nelson mandela and did a version of stevie wonder song that was heartbreaking, just so powerful. he could really, it wasn't just a technically good singer but could convey the emotion very powerfully. >> anthony, thank you. "rolling stone" writer. i wanted to make sure you came in today to talk to us more about the man who was george michael. >> thank you, sir.
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>> my pleasure. president-elect trump's untangling of his web to avoid potential conflicts of interest. what will be his next step? youy when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. glad forceflex. find out how american express cards and services extra strong to avoid rips and tears. be happy, it's glad. announcer: they'll test you.
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that's all for me on this monday. i'm craig melvin. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 10:00 eastern. tamron hall in on the holiday. >> how was the christmas with the kids? >> it was nice.
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how was yours? >> it was fantastic. what was the big gift. >> for my son, all things thomas. you showed up wearing a bow for all of us. >> yes, i'm in costume. that's how seriously i take it. have a good one. thank you for joining me today, this day after christmas. i'm tamron hall coming to you live for msnbc. international standoff. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu lashing out at the obama administration for not blocking a u.n. security council resolution condemning israeli settlements. he says he's now looking forward to working with president-elect trump. >> as i told john kerry on thursday, friends don't take friends to the security council. massive travel headaches. blizzard conditions across the plains causing major road closures, so many people try to make it back home after what, i hope, was a great holiday
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weekend. and some very sad news this morning, remembering a music legend. these are live pictures of fans gathering outside the london home of pop icon george michael paying their respects after his sudden death at the age of 53. more on what his manager says happed and details about the cause of death. we begin with the diplomatic fallout with israel. prime minister benjamin netanyahu summons the u.s. ambassador of accusing president obama of orchestrating the u.n. security council vote against israel. the white house denies this and tensions at a boiling point but with president-elect donald trump's plans for the middle east, all of this could change. nbc's kelly o'donnell is at west palm beach covering the trump recessi transition. we heard from netanyahu regarding dealing with one or two presidents at the same time. >> reporter: well, good morning,

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