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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  January 9, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

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i should also tell you the inauguration announcer for the past 06 years who donald trump just fired, he's about to be a guest on "the last word." joy reid is filling in for lawrence. good evening. >> good evening. i have to tell you, thank you so much for doing that extended profile on charlie brotman. he's the dearest, sweetest, most wonderful guy. i've been watching him on tv throughout the day and listening to his story. he's gotten progressively less sad but he's promised to take a selfie with me. if your opponent is of cleric temperament, seek to irritate him. written in "the art of war" 2500 years ago. last night meryl streep proved it's still a sound strategy. donald trump proved that he doesn't care what the law says about hiring relatives in the white house. ivanka's husband, he's getting a gig. >> you're now in charge of the largest organization on earth.
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>> would you talk about your preparations to detangle yourself from your conflict of interests? >> we'll talk about it on wednesday. it's very simple. >> you can't manage it the way you would manage a family business. >> trump can trump's son-in-law jared kushner will be named senior adviser to the president. >> i would love to have jared help us and see if we can do peace in the middle east. >> some contentious confirmation hearings. >> going great. >> there should not be hearings until the office of government ethics gives them an examination. >> democrats are really frustrated they lost the election. grow up here and get past that. >> we're not doing this for sport. >> disrespect invites disrespect. violence incites violence. >> the speech eviscerating the president-elect. >> i completely agree with meryl. it was a heartbreaking moment and so beneath the dignity of the presidency. >> when the deposition used to bully others, we all lose.
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>> today president-elect donald trump renewed concerns over his potential conflicts of interest with a new hire. jared kushner, trump's son-in-law, husband of ivanka and one of his closest confidantes, was officially announced as senior adviser to the president. he's already representing the president-elect in meetings on capitol hill. tonight kushner and a clak of incoming white house officials including alt-right steve bannon and reince priebus met with paul ryan and house republicans to discuss the tax plan. news of kushner's involvement come as concerns over his role in the trump administration. nbc news was told trump's son-in-law won't take a salary and he'll resign all of his positions with kushner companies and the new york observer. but ethics experts have raised questions about whether kushner will run up against a federal anti-nepotism law.
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and how he'll separate himself from his real estate holdings, including the fate of the deal kushner was pursuing after the election with the chinese firm and bank to redevelop his building at 666 fifth avenue. kushner declined to address those concerns tonight when asked by nbc's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: mr. kushner, will you fully divest of your family business in order to serve in the white house? any concerns about the nepotism laws, sir, in serving in your father-in-law's administration? will you comment at all, sir, on what you're going to do as far as the family business? >> we're not going to be commenting. >> meanwhile, trump's secretary of state nomination rex tillerson facing new skut any after "usa today" reported tillerson as exxon's ceo they did work with iran, sudan while under u.s. sanctions of state terrorism.
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"wall street journal" reported new conflicts related to donald trump's debts. they have disclosed $315 million in debt to other company but a new analysis from "the journal" another $1.5 billion of previously undisclosed debt is also connect canned to trump. that debt is held by more than 150 different financial institutions. according to trevor potter, who served as general counsel to the campaigns of bush 41 and john mccain, quote, the problem with any of this debt is that if something goes wrong and if there's a situation when the president is suddenly personally beholden or vulnerable to threats from the lenders. the potential conflicts facing jared kushner, rex tillerson and trump himself are all likely to be brought up two days can from now, when donald trump, in theory, holds his first press conference in 167 days, if it takes place, but democrats aren't convinced trump and his team will take meaningful steps to address these concerns.
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today democrats in both chambers of commerce took matters into -- in congress took matters into their own hands. they introduced a bill that would address at least one of these issues. trump's business conflicts. the bill would effectively force trump to fully divest from his business interests by subjecting him to conflict of interest laws that currently exempt the president. the legislation looks to require the president, the vice president, their spouses and minor or dependent children to divest all interests that create financial conflicts of interest, placing those assets in a true blind trust. according to senator elizabeth warren's office, one of the co-sponsors, that would be the case if it passes. joining me now are andrew rice, contributing editor to "new york" magazine who penned the cover story this week, and also david k. johnson, pulitzer writer who founded a nonprofit news organization that covers the trump administration and david corn, msnbc political
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analyst. thank you for being here. an drushgs you wrote this pretty extensive review of jared kushner's life and business career. what kinds of potential conflicts are out there based on the business that he does both in new york and in his companies writ large? >> i don't think the potential conflicts are all that different than any new york developer might have, but that said, it's -- as we've seen with trump himself, it's a difficult thing because it's not just like selling stock. if you own a $1.8 billion office building, like he does at 666 fifth, it's difficult to sort of just cash out of that. the big revelation over the weekend, which i can't claim credit for, "the new york times" reported that a mysterious held chinese insurance firm -- >> that owns the waldorf astoria. >> and there have been some concerns as to whether it has some connections to chinese government or intelligence, you
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know, they're negotiating to buy a big piece of this building. the question is, will kushner in some way be beholden to this company because he's trying to get them to pay him money for their building. >> and that he was trying to do business with them after the election was over. so, he was aware of the fact that he's probably the most influential adviser to his father-in-law. he's literally making decisions on who stays in and who gets pushed out, just ask chris christie, and yet he's still trying to cut a deal with this firm after the election. >> it seems like we're maybe turning into america's stan. you know, some sort of audit -- autocracy, and trump and his people around him are not taking it seriously. trump is conflicted, not legally, but in real terms conflicted are so many fronts. jared kushner, not just on the anti-nepotism law, which is
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silly because you're not allowed to hire your relatives if you run a federal agency. his lawyers are arguing, well, the white house isn't a federal agency, although it has been interpreted as such under other laws. and there's just no seriousness on the part of the trump family, the trump team, the transition team in dealing with these issues. trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to people we don't even know all his creditors and some are foreign creditors. bank of china, deutsche bank. it's very serious. and yet the republicans aren't raising an issue on this. and trump is steamrolling his conflicts of interests and those of his nominees. >> you know, david, it's worse than not taking it seriously. you seem to see the trump family flouting the laws, the traditions, they just don't seem to care. earlier this evening our colleague -- my colleague chris
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matthews said they're making a family business of government. andrew wrote a piece that deals with kushner's business dealings, lenders around the globe, immigrants investing via cash visa program and likely to come under great scrutiny that he's trying to disentangle it but can we disentanning it will in, what, two days? >> no. and we're not going to. joy, what we're seeing here is trump being trump. a man who has no regard for anyone else. no regard for norms or propriety. i think having jared kushner there might be a good thing. trump can't complain he made mistakes or errors because he didn't have the advisers he wanted to have. that makes him more vulnerable in the future if he screws up. secondly, jared kushner may well provide a force that will help deal with what i, assure you, is going to be increasingly erratic behavior by trump once he has to
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actually deal with issues. remember, he's having a great time right now appointing people and humiliating people. he doesn't have any responsibilities yet. so, if kushner providing a force to help stabilize him, that will be good for the country. if trump wants these people as advisers, let him have them and let's see what happens. >> andrew, you write kushner is often the last person in the room with him. we know from your reporting and others often the last person in the room with donald trump is the person who gets their way. so, what kind of adviser are we talking about? where is he on the spectrum of -- steef bannon is a right wing, christian, nationalist, populist, whatever he is calling himself these days. where is jared kushner on the idealogical scale? >> bannon sort of comes at this as he has sort of a defined philosophy and he sees trump as a vehicle for achieving that philosophy. kushner comes from the opposite perspective.
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he's there to fulfill the desires of donald trump, his father-in-law. and so that leads him in the direction of supporting these populist kind of ideas. so i don't think he's really so much an idealog as he's there to just kind of serve the interests of his father-in-law, the president-elect. >> you know, david corn, have you been able to get a handle on which wing of trump world is going to be the most influential on policy and will any of the wings of trump world even have a second thought of concern about these incredible conflicts? trump could be in debt to a bank in a country that we're in conflict with? >> and his business deals with people overseas, who we might have different foreign policy priorities. it's highly problematic. at this stage it's been interesting. kushner, you know, thanks to andrew's piece and others, has taken a little more -- at least
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has a higher profile than during the campaign and steve bannon has been very quiet. i think maybe worryingsomely so in the last couple of weeks. since trump himself doesn't seem to have any policy core, any real ideas he wants to talk about or advance, maybe other than the wall, i think when you talk about the wings, you know, fighting with each other, it's going to be a tremendous freefall within the trump world in terms of policy, whether it's foreign policy, domestic policy, tax policy, you know, paul ryan's moving ahead with privatizing medicare when that was something that donald trump said he didn't want to do. but yet they're taking it seriously. >> joy, there's nothing here to -- keep in mind. i think what andrew rice's aerial points out very clearly is jared kushner is crucial to enabling trump to say one thing and do another. that's what my new organization is going to focus on, what he does, not what he says. we've had way too much coverage
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of trump tweeting. more focus on what he does. kushner is going to be crucial to allow trump to say one thing and do another. >> we'll see. thank you all. appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, meryl streep once again proved last night how easy it is to get under donald trump's skin. liz winstead is here. one of donald trump's most controversial nominees is jeff sessions for attorney general. civil rights groups are worried sessions could do a lot of damage. north carolina naacp leader william barber is here to discuss. u, saving money on your medicare part d prescriptions. at walgreens we make it easy for you to seize the day by helping you get more out of life and medicare part d. now with zero-dollar copays on select plans... ...and rewards points on all prescriptions, walgreens has you covered.
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sflu president obama will be giving his farewell address tomorrow night in chicago. a president's farewell address can be so important that it ends up in high school textbooks. it can be that meaningful. 7,000 people will be there to watch it. you can watch it live here on msnbc. our coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern.
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then join me at midnight eastern time for a special hour of coverage. coming up next, donald trump versus meryl streep. esurance does auto insurance a smarter way.
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respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. it -- it kind of broke my heart when i saw it. and i still can't get it out of my head because it wasn't in a movie. it was real life. and this instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone's life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. disrespect invites disrespect. violence incites violence. when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. >> donald trump called can the three-time oscar winner, who also holds the record for the most oscar nominations, most golden globe nominations and most golden globe wins,
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overrated. he also tweeted he, quote, never mocked a disabled reporter, would never do that, but simply showed him, quote, groveling. here's the video of trump mocking that reporter played side by side with a photo of the reporter so you can decide for yourself what donald trump was mocking. >> now, the poor guy, you got to see this poor guy. i don't know what i said. ahh, i don't remember. he's going, i don't remember. maybe that's what i said. >> joining us is tre and liz winstead. well, my friends, i have to play for you kellyanne conway for the defense. her defense of donald trump, what you just saw, that video of him clearly mocking that reporter, this was kellyanne conway's defense on cnn this morning. >> is she wrong that it was wrong for trump to make gestures about -- >> that is not what he did. as he tweeted -- >> look at the video. >> you can't give him the
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benefit of the doubt on this? and he's tlg you what was in his heart. you always want to go by what's come out of his mouth than his heart. >> thoughts? >> don't believe your lying eyes! >> listening to his words and demanding that he live up to the things that he say, shame on you. >> also looking at the video. it was clear what he was doing. liz, it's not just that he did it. it was the clear glee and enjoyment that he got out of mocking that disabled reporter and mocking him for something he cannot help. he clearly enjoyed it. now he's pretending he didn't do it. >> three times. and it's like you can't talk about gaslighting enough, it feels. when someone is telling you this isn't happening and then there's people doubling down who are the spokes people for the person saying, why don't listen to what's in his heart?
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because his heart is not saying anything. his actions and words are saying both things. his heart doesn't speak. his voice does. >> once again we have a citizen speaking from her heart saying this is all problematic. not just you specifically but trump is of this notion of bullying people and taking power over people and he attacks the person -- he feels attacked by this critique. it is not delivered in strident ways. if he says she's one of the greatest actors it neutralizes the whole thing. what you saw didn't happen, she's overrated, which we know is not real, makes him seem small. >> just literally in 2015, which is one year before, he mocked the reporter. he was saying, julia rob erlts is terrific and many others, meryl streep is excellent. he contradicts himself. that's out the window. what do you make of the reaction from some conservatives? i was flabbergasted by the reaction on twitter to what meryl streep did.
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my daughter and i watched it and welled up in tears. megan mccain tweeted, this meryl streep speech. he mocked his father during the campaign. is she saying we're not to -- we're to say that's okay? >> first of all, she never said the word trump. in her entire speech. >> but it's clear she meant it. >> of course. but she was smart enough to talk about the actions of a human and his actions. i think that is such a smart, touching, wise thing to do. she wasn't demonizing the man. she was saying, this person's actions did this. everybody knew it was trump. but for meghan mccain or anybody to double down on, do you really think you should be imitating a person who is differently abled when you are literally in a position of power? >> what she did with the first part of her speech was really powerful and important as well,
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speaking up for sxhoel saying, -- hollywood and saying, we are real americans. we may be elite now but we come from the other side of the tracks. meryl, public school in jersey, from a share cropper -- >> viola davis. >> most of them are not. most are coming from somewhere, they had a dream. is that not the american dream to come from nowhere, make it in hollywood and then have money and have some power? that not the american dream? they have achieved it. why are we denigrating these folks? >> the question, too, is what is the principle that conservatives are fighting for here? is it the right to denigrate? i don't understand what the principle is. i wonder if you do. >> i think the most fascinating part of it is, it's a celebrity death match and the most ridiculous celebrity on the presidency and the first lady of celebrity eloquently shut the whole thing down and made everybody have to reflect.
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>> is it the notion that you shouldn't criticize the president? like he's a king -- >> #barackobama. >> i don't understand what meghan who i know, i don't understand your pointing. i don't understand what the right's point is saying meryl streep should not speak? i guess they're trying to delegitimize everyone who is not, quote/unquote, real americans so meryl shouldn't get to speak? these are real americans and these are not? that doesn't work. that's going to bite you in the end because hollywood is filled with real americans. >> it is. and real americans love hollywood. they may say, we don't like it, but they're still at those movies every week. "hidden figures" does-d very well. it's not "hidden fences". >> i love that movie.
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coming up next, protests in washington today against jeff sessions' nomination to be attorney general. william barber was there and he'll join me next. almost anything. even mer-mutts. (1940s aqua music) (burke) and we covered it, february third, twenty-sixteen. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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confirmation hearing before the senate judiciary committee. a former federal prosecutor and attorney general for the state of alabama, sessions has served nearly two decades in the senate. his nomination has drawn fierce opposition. today 100 african-american pastors sent a letter asking senators to vote against jeff sessions' confirmation. the letter cites two incidents. first, as a u.s. attorney in the 1980s, senator sessions unsuccessfully prosecuted multiple african-american voting rights advocates, including a trusted adviser to dr. martin luther king jr. and when mr. sessions was considered as a position for u.s. district court judge, a
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federal prosecutor testified sessions agreed with a comment that a white attorney representing african-american clients may be a, quote, disgrace to his race. the prosecutor also reported that mr. sessions had called the naacp un-american and a black attorney testified that mr. sessions had referred to him as boy. senator sessions did not get that federal judgeship. also today another group of clergy marched to capitol hill in protest of his nomination. one of the members of the clergy who was at that march joins me now dr. reverend william barber. nomination of jeff sessions. there are people trying say personally he is respectable and nice, but his policies are mean and racist and extreme. and we wanted to say that this is not about left versus right,
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conservative versus liberal. it's about what's right. we even had evangelicals with us who understand justice. all of us were there today. we delivered it. we are clear this is a first action, not a last action, because we're committed all the way, even to civil -- even if he gets appointed we'll stand every time that he does things that are contrary of our constitution. >> there's an interesting breakdown of people coming forward, for and against jeff sessions. you had kazir khan who came out and denounced jeff sessions in a letter because of his path saying there's no reason to believe he has changed. on the other side of that you have condoleeza rice, who's from alabama, and she says essentially jeff sessions has helped to heal the wounds of the country's racist past. but i want to read you a little bit of bishop kyle sercy from alabama, speaking on why he's
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supporting jeff sessions' nomination. take a listen. >> if you look honestly at the track record of jeff sessions, not biased but honestly, you'll find him to be a kind and decent man. one that many democrats, black democrats and whites alike have supported, and a man who deserves to lead this nation as its top lawyer. >> reverend barber, how do you answer that? >> it's interesting. he said kind in policy but he didn't list his policy. let's look at the record because a tree is known by the fruit it bears. this man has called the voting rights act an intrusion. he applauded the shelby decision, which gutted the voting rights act. that decision opened the flood gates for the worst kind of voter suppression we've seen since jim crow. he refused to help the voting rights, 1,000 days longer than strorm thurman fill bursted the civil rights act of 1957.
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he has never repented for his past actions. he sought to put persons in jail for 250 years because of their participation in the fight for voting rights. he has voted against authorized -- reauthorizing violence against women's act. he has voted to oppose the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. he opposed the matthew shepherd/james byrd hate crimes prevention act. he voted to ease restrictions on wiretapping and cell phones. he voted to abolish a program that helps businesses owned by women and minorities compete for federal funding. and he has opposed comprehensive immigration reform and has supported religious bigotry. and he's been in connection with white supremacist groups. he opposed attorney jenl general lynch. he did not want to give president obama his nominee. he opposed all of president obama's supreme court nominees. so, he has persons who come up and just have empty phraseology. for what reason, i don't know. but when you look at justice, when you look at the poor, when you look at racism, to put jeff
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sessions over the u.s. department of justice, it's like putting the fox over the hen house. he is contemptuous. he has contempt for the very laws he would be called on to enforce as attorney general. >> reverend, very quickly, senator cory booker of new jersey has taken unprecedented steps and he will testify against jeff sessions. take a quick listen. >> i'm breaking a pretty long senate tradition by actually being a sitting senator testifying tomorrow against another sitting senator. we've seen consistently jeff sessions as senator sessions voting against everything from the matthew shepherd act, voting against -- or speaking out against the voting rights act, taking measures to block criminal justice reform. he has a posture and a positioning that i think represent a real danger to our country. >> reverend, we see you do the impossible in the defeat of the governor in north carolina.
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do you expect jeff sessions to be defeated or is this more about making a statement opposing his nomination? >> well, i'm believing people always have that hope. people will stand up and be statesmen and stateswoman. this is not the time for cordiality and put someone who's the antithesis of the office he would be holding. we do not need to let him deconstruct the attorney general's office. i hope people will stand up against it. i hope they will stand strong. i hope they will not say, well, he's just a senator because even if you're a democrat and you vote for this, you own it. you own his record. what we're saying is, if he is, we're going to keep fighting, including civil disobedience. not one or two times but consistently. if he becomes attorney general, we'll call attention to what he's doing. >> reverend dr. william barber, thank you for being here tonight. up next, former presidential
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candidate and former cia agent evan mcmullen is here to talk about what donald trump could do about russia and what he's actually likely to do. are you getting this? these numbers are off the charts... sir! what's the status? there's a meteor hurtling towards earth. how long until impact? less than a minute. what do you want to do, sir? listen carefully... if we all switch to geico we could save 15% or more on car insurance.
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president obama is making it hard are for trump to roll back sanctions on russia. today the obama administration is increasing punishment on russia by black listing five russians, including a close aide to russian president vladimir putin. according to "the new york times," the sanctions will ban travel to the united states and freeze any of their assets held by u.s. financial institutions. "the new york times" reports it may be harder for trump to ignore the requirements under the magnitski act passed in 2012 with bipartisan support. this is what kellyanne conway said when asked by "usa today" if trump would roll back the sanctions that president obama has enacted. >> i think president trump will want to make sure our actions
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are proportionate to what's occurred based on what we know. >> joining us is evan mcmullen, former cia operative, who i'm happy to meet for the first time. what do you make of kellyanne conway seeming to indicate that the trump administration might be open to rolling back these sanctions? >> i found her comments fairly amusing. she said we need to make sure they're proportionate response suggesting what obama has done is disproportionate. i would say what obama has done is a couple steps in the right direction. to even suggest those steps are disproportionate, we're talking about a foreign adversary mocking our democracy, for defending our rights and other united states' interests.
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for her to suggest that just a few modest sanctions are disproportionate, i think, does a tremendous disservice to the security of the united states. >> can you just put -- take us to a bizarro world where donald trump was a different sort of personality and had what would be a normal and expected response of an incoming american president to the now known hacking of the election. what should the response be? >> it's not complicated. an american president should say this is unacceptable what russia has done and what russia is doing. we're going to sanction them as a response. we're going to increase the cost of russia taking this kind of activity inside our borders. we're also going to stand up and stand with democracies in europe through nato and otherwise to make sure that russia and putin can't continue to destabilize
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those democracies. i mean, this is something
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if the american president isn't standing against it, who will? >> we have to, joy. that is such a critical question. we as americans, with europeans, actually, we must stand against this. only a very few number of our elected officials are still standing strong, especially, i'm sad to say, on the republican side. because of that, it's exposing what i call a leadership crisis in our country. it's not just trump. it's a range of leaders that aren't standing up for our interests. it is incumbent -- it's become incumbent upon the american people to stand for liberty. that's something that i and my running mate from the election, mindy finn, that's something we're working on. we invite all americans to join us in this cause. >> are your friends in the intelligence world concerned that the president of the united states doesn't seem to believe anything they say if it's negative about russia? >> yes, they're very concerned.
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it's deeper than that. it's not just that trump doesn't believe what they say. it's i think, i suspect, it's more that trump is on board with putin's agenda. it's not that trump is naive to putin's agenda. i think he understands it very well and is on board with the kind of populism you described that will weaken our country in favor of vladimir putin, in favor of russia, but will also provide opportunities for corruption and cleptocracy for donald trump. >> that's scary. who can stop him? >> we he will. >> do you think they'll get as exercised as they did a celebrity at the golden globes talking -- the man who has announced every presidential inauguration since eisenhower but got fired by donald trump. companies in the country. after expanding our fiber network coast to coast.
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stop republican plans to also defund planned parenthood and cut health care security programs like medicare and medicaid. on "face the nation" senator majority leader mitch mcconnell said the first steps to repeal obamacare will be takened in senate bit end of the week. coming up, how donald trump ended an inaugural tradition and fired the man who has announced every incoming president's parade since eisenhower. well this here's a load-bearing wall. we'll go ahead and rip that out. that'll cause a lot of problems. hmm. totally unnecessary and it triples the budget. we'll be totally behind schedule, right? (laughschedules. schedules. great, okay. wouldn't it be great if everyone said what they meant? the citi® double cash card does. it lets you earn double cash back: 1% when you buy, and 1% as you pay. the citi double cash card. double means double.
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and you're talking to youro doctor about your medication... this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira helping me go further. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira has been clinically studied for over 18 years. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common,
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and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. ready for a new chapter? talk to your rheumatologist. this is humira at work. there's one thing that every presidential inaugural parade has had in common for the past 60 years. the man known as the eyes and ears of the president. the parade announcer, charlie brotman. he announced his first inaugural parade in 1957 for president eisenhower's second term and has a broadcasting term that dates back to 1949. brotman has been the official announcer in 16 inauguration parades.
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but he won't be behind the mike for donald trump's inauguration day. they cast him aside, giving the gig to freelance announcer and trump campaign volunteer steve ray. it's no surprise the trump team has shown little reverence for the american tradition and for basic human kindness. but let's face it, treating charlie brotman, a man who looks forward to that phone call from the white house every four years, a phone call he sometimes makes himself to remind an administration of his duty, to treat him with so little compassion on the thing that is his thing just seems downright shabby. joining me now is charlie brotman. charlie, and i'm going to let my friends and the audience know, you did know i can call you charlie, so i'm going to call you charlie. >> yes, please. >> charlie, how did you find out that you were not going to be
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announcing the trump inaugural? >> i received an e-mail that says, charlie, you are so spectacular. you are so wonderful. you sound great. and you're like the leader of the pack here in the capitol can city. but i wanted to let you know, you're not going to be the announcer. and i'm saying, impossible. is this an imposter there? what are you talking about i'm not going to be the announcer? well, we've made some changes and we're going to allow you special privileges and we are going to put down you in a special box seats near the president. and it's going to be our honor to honor you. and i said, gee, that's all well and good, but what happened to the announcement -- the announcer, the guy that's done 15 consecutive, the parades, and 10 different presidents, what happened to that?
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>> and did they explain to you why they chose someone snels. >> no, they didn't. i asked the question several times of. in each case it was, we'll get back to you. our communications director will call you back. nothing. >> you're terrific. obviously, you've been -- you mentioned you've done 15 of these inaugurals. tell us about the first one and you did and your favorite one. >> well, we do have two or three days on this, don't we? what happened, i was the public relations stadium announcer for the washington senators' baseball team.
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president eisenhower was there to throw out the first ball. and all celebrities, including the president, they bring that individual to me. i take them into the locker room and the dugout, introduce them to all the players. and players and the president get a big kick out of this. so i had done everything that i could to be a pal of the president. the season is over and everything went well for opening day. it's now november 1956, and a woman calls me and says, are you charlie brotman? i says, yes, man. she says, i'm calling from the white house. the president has been asking everybody, get that announcer, see if he'll announce me again. >> wow, that's frisk.
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>> i'm saying, holy mackerel, this is really special. would i like to? just tell me where and when. she says the where is pennsylvania avenue in washington, d.c. the when is january 20, 1957. i told the lady, i'm a native washingtonian and that sounds like the presidential inauguration parade. she says, mr. brotman, you are absolutely correct. you will be the president's announcer. >> that's amazing. >> whoa! >> i understand you have with you a little memento from the last announcer gig that had you did with president barack obama. can you show that to us real quick? >> i will, indeed. here's that baby.
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it doesn't look like much here but when i open it up, look at how pages, how much it weighs. from people over 50, it's similar to the yellow pages in years going by. so, normally it takes maybe two hours, but for reagan and for kennedy, it was four hours. >> well, charlie brotman, i have to tell you, america has fallen in love with you. you may not be announcing at the inaugural parade, but i think in all of our hearts, we're going to hear your voice over that loud speaker. you are terrific, sir. we wish you all the best. oh, thank you, charlie. have a wonderful night. >> that was very nice. thank you. >> thank you. nice. thank you. >> thank you. and make sure you log on to to hear charlie tell me about his favorite inauguration parade of all. nbc's live coverage continues with brian williams, and that's next.
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