tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC January 3, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PST
>> without a doubt. you know what? i have a 3-year-old daughter she'd love to meet either of those cutis. thank you so much for joining us. what an extraordinary story. you got a little hero on your hands. >> thank you. >> all right and thank you for watching us this hour of "msnbc live." i am stephanie ruhl in for tamron hall. right now on msnbc, "andrea mitchell reports." >> and thank you, right now on "andrea mitchell reports" ethics swamp. house republicans we holding a secret voteast night to gut the independent ethics office in defiance of their speaker and majority leader. >> i don't want to put politics with it, that's why i thought this wasn't the best time to go forward with it but the reforms do not change the tity. the public still registers a complaint. they still do the work with the ethics review and it still goes forward to ethics, whether they should dismiss it or review it. >> right now the house
republican conference, their caucus is holding a surprise meeting on the controversial rules change. will they change it? stay tuned. first, fight. today the president-elect weighing in on the timing of that ethics battle, saying there are so many other things of far greater importance. and manhunt, a dragnet across turkey as police search for the suspect in that nightclub shooting which left nearly 40 people dead. >> they're trying to find him before it is believed he tries to escape the country and potentially head into isis-held territory in syria. good day, and happy new year, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington, with our new republican majorities in the house and senate are at work, their first priority, gutting ethics oversight, sparking a public bat well their own president-elect. it was a sneak attack, a secret meeting in the dead of night over the new year's holiday, opposed by their own top leader,
paul ryan and majority leader kevin mccarthy. >> yes, it is true i opposed moving forward on this at this time. i thought it was something that both parties should take up at thsame time. >> mr. trump leading a national movement to drain the swamp on his campaign here in washington responded on twitter this morning, writing "with all that congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the independent ethics watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority? focus on tax reform, health care and so many other things of far greater importance." joining me is kasie hunt on capitol hill and kristen welker outside trump tower in new york. kasie, first of all there was a parenthesis there or amendment to what the tweet said, which is as unfair as it may be, so it's clear that the president-elect is not questioning the ethics change. he's not supporting the oversight that existed for the
last number of years since that big corruption scandal. he's only questioning the timing of it. >> reporter: well that's right, andrea and the reality is members of both parties have problems with the office of congressional ethics the way it's been set up, the way it's been operating, but the real sit republicans owned this when they decided last night, late last night to make these changes behind closed doors that essentially guts the powers of this office. they did this over the objection of leadership, paul ryan the speaker, and house majority leader kevin mccarthy, both of whom essentially made this argument. we hear your concerns but we got better things to do first. so that's why now all of a sudden they're behind closed doorhere because there has been incredible pressure buildi throughout the morning on house leaders and on the rank and file to make some kind of change and the real sit they have to do it before the house is gaveled in to start this new congress. this was supposed to be a day of celebration, but this package of rules has really become the focus and they have to change it now if they're going to change
it at all. that's why they're meeting here. i also, andrea, want to point out there is a statement we have not seen comments directly from paul ryan on camera, but he released a paper statement it reads in part "i want to make clear that this house will hold its members to the highest ethical standards and the office will continue to operate independently to provide public accountability to congress. i expect the oversight authority to be exercised solely to ensure the office is properly following its rules and laws just ads any government entity should." this may, of course, at this point all be overtaken by events. we may be hearing from members coming out of this meeting. right now they're still trickling in, that all of this has been up-ended, the pressure is too much and that they're changing their minds, but i have to tell you, andrew, just being up here you're seeing some of this action, people running around. this is not supposed to be the tenor of this day. you've been up on capitol hill on a day like this. we're seeing children, spouses, everyone here kind 1/2 a
celebratory let's come back to school, welcome back mode, and instead, they're dealing with this. andrea? >> it's a self-inflicted wound indeed. because it is the day when they bring their familiesnd they come on the floor and you see the kids everywhere and on the senate side. of course there's a ceremonial swearing in that will be taking place in the old senate chamber. now, kristen welker joining us from new york, we know that mike pence was there today. there was a lot of activity there today, we're expecting intelligence briefings tomorrow but donald trump was clearly saying to the house members, this is their first split. he's saying this is not the timing, this is not the message to be sending today. >> reporter: right, andrea. he campaigned on a vow to drain the swamp, and this essentially runs counter to that, and he said that message in the tweet that you read. he did walk a bit of a fine line in that message, though, saying that he agrees with them, it's not necessarily the most effective body that's set up, in
terms of dealing with oversight, but he stressed the need to focus on key priorities, like reforming health care, like tax reform, and on that first point, andrea, health care, of course, has been something that he has vowed to overturn, the president's health care legislation, it's something that congressional republicans have said they're going to repeal and replace obamacare but the reality is coming to light today as well, kellyanne conway acknowledging there's no real firm plans for replacing obamacare and it could take several years to do it. the devil is in the details but the president-elect showing he's not afraid to break with his own party on some of these matters, particularly as he's poised to take office in just 17 days from now, andrea? >> thank very much, thanks to you, kristen. please get out of the rain. i hope you can. what a miserable day up there in new york and joining me now is
maryland democrat senator ben carden the top democrat on foreign relations. i know you need to get in to vote as well as the senate is convening for the first time today. first of all, i want to ask you about donald trump tweeting that he has questions and he mentioned this, of course, also to his guests and to the press on new year's eve, that he still does not accept that russia was behind the hacking, this is the conclusion of 17 intelligence agencies. i don't have to tell you that, and we heard from kellyanne conway today he gets information, intelligence from sources other than the implication was other than not only the pdb but other than the u.s. government. what is your take on all this? >> andrea, there is no question that russia hacked our political system, and they intended to at least discredit our free election system and perhaps influence the election itself. there's no question about that. that is the conclusion of all the intelligence agencies and it is consistent with the facts on the ground. the question is, what do we do
about it? how do we protect ourselves against this type of an attack and how do we respond to a nation that literally attacked us through the internet. >> and what about the punishment so far? is the punishment adequate as far as you're concerned? clearly excessive as far as the president-elect is concerned. >> well president obama has taken action. i'll be introducing legislation with republicans to strengthen congressional sanctions against russia because of its cyber activity against the united states, but also recognizing that they've been active in europe, in cyber activities against democratic institutions. they are still in ukraine. they have been less than helpful in regards to resolving the syria cris. we need to know resolve against this type of bullying and this type of activity against democratic institutions. >> now, we have breaking news, and we're going to get back to kasie hunt our colleague
covering all of this, but the house republicans are backing down in their conference. they are going to apparently strip that amendment out of the rule before they adopt the rule that governs house operations. under pressure, under pressure from donald trump. they weren't pulling back until donald trump tweeted, so it seems to me the president-elect is having some influence on his own caucus there. >> well quite frankly, the process they use to change the rules was outrageous, 11th hour attack, and on the substance, to weaken the ethics reforms in the house, when the first day of the session of a new congress made no sense at all. we'll see exactly what comes out of this, but the way they handled it was just wrong. >> senator cardin, i know you have to go to vote. thanks very much for joining ounce the first day of the 115th congress. and back to kasie hunt, right in the middle of the action on our breaking news. house republicans backing down under pressure. tell me what you know of what
went on inside behind those closed doors, cakasie. >> reporter: hey, andrea, we're stepping out of a scrum here with congressman charlie dent, the outgoing chairman of the house ethics committee talking a little bit about what went on in there, this was withen drawn by unanimous consent so this was an amendment to this rules package that essentially made all these changes to this government, excuse me, office of congressional ethics and under pressure, pressure that's been building all morning from when this was first splashed across newspapers and digested and donald trump started tweeting about it, putting him at odds with many of these rank and file members, but on the same side as speaker ryan and kevin mccarthy, both of whom argued against this change in that rules meeting last night. it seems they lost a little bit of control of their conference, and ultimately that amendment ended up passing and now here we are, we're on the first day of this new congress, as we were talking about before, the mood should be celebratory usually
with people and their families, a lot of kids in the hallways, normally aren't and they're focussed on this. it looks like this flap has been contained for them to less than 24 hours but a damaging number of hours nonetheless. >> of course we always know there are other ways to get around it and one is to not fund that office. they have control over the purse strings. >> reporter: right. >> remains to be seen. you'll be following up to make sure that office can still operate independently because if it is just to refer things to the standing ethics committee, that's kind of a dark hole. that's a place that ethics recommendations never come out of, not in recent years. >> reporter: right, and that's, that was the reason for putting this office into place to begin with, this came out of all of those congressional scandals, jack abramoff and the lobbying scandal, bob nay and others. the congressional committee never lets any of this see the light of day so this office was created to combat that, basically be the prosecutor,
independent watchdog in charge of also trying to make sure that members of congress didn't get themselves to the point where they were facing criminal charges, which a number of the members of congress were. this is designed to focus the step before that. are you acting appropriately, behaving ethically, so that's what this office was supposed to do. i will say there is frustration in both parties with some of the ways in which this ethics office has operated, and there might have been bipartisan support to make some changes for it, but the republicans in this case took it all on themselves by the way they did this behind closed doors late at night on a federal holiday and they were being forced to own it politically and that obviously at the end of the day proved untenable for house speaker paul ryan. >> well back in the day, before recent congresses, the ethics committees in both houses were considered the assignment you did not want, everyone hated to do it. you did it out of service to the
speaker or the leader because they did hard work and came up with recommendations and punished their own members but that hasn't happened for a long time, hence the need for independent oversight. kasie hunt thank you for the breaking news. coming up next, hunt for a killer as turkish authorities close in on identifying the terrorist. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc, the place for politics. don't just eat. ♪ mangia! bertolli.
the gunman who opened fire on a crowded istanbul nightclub killing 39 people over the weekend. this is new selfie video of the suspect who police think is responsible for the new year's eve massacre. overnight turkish police conducted several raids and arrested 14 people. joining me now is msnbc's chief foreign correspondent richle engel in istanbul. richard, this was isis taking responsibility for it. we don't know if they really are to blame. what do they know about the hunt for the suspect and at rests this he made last night? >> reporter: a lot of images have come out both still pictures and veo of this suspect put out by turkish media and by police that, selfie video also of the suspect getting out of a taxi shortly after the attack on the nightclub, him changing money in december as well, going back several months,
entering a bus station in the city of konya so they have a lot of pictures but so far they said they do not have this man in custody. there are police checkpoints across the country. there have been these raids both here in istanbul and in the city of konya. lot of the raids are taking place in istanbul and in particular neighborhood where there are a lot of immigrants from central asia, and there have been numerous reports throughout the day here in turkey that they are looking for someone of central asian desc t descent. at one stage a name was put out on social media and that report was retracted. they put out the images, they believe they know who it is or at least what the suspect looks like but they haven't officially once again come out with a name. >> and richard, what about the possibility of isis actually having pulled this off in a
high-end nightclub right with a lot of foreign tourists? >> reporter: very possible, frankly. as you know, andrea, we've been talking about this for a long time. turkey has been the main conduit for foreign fighters entering in syria and coming out of syria. turkey has done more recently to tighten up its border, but for years, isis used this country as something like a home base, a safe territory, and there was a little bit of a don't disturb the country where you have an operation base sort of agreement. you saw isis transitioning through here for years and not counting out very many attacks, carrying out very many attacks. nowsirkish troops are inside syria fighting, according to the turkish military they claim they have killed more than 1,000 fighters from isis in their military campaign in syria, so
it seems like old policy of not necessarily live and let live, but where isis didn't want to upset the place where it was using so conveniently as a transit point that policy seems to be over, and perhaps there is an open war now between turkey and isis. >> and would it be pretty easy for this guy to escape the dragnet? there was more than one person involved though also, correct? >> well, they believe there was one shooter, ogunman, this suspect, who is at large. the question is, did he have help, and if you look back at all the isis attacks from the b bataclan attack to brussels there was a large network of people involved, after the bataclan attack in france where police shut down part of that network there were other militants that went on to attack in belgium. so if it was in fact isis, then it is unlikely that he acted
alone, but the mission right now is to find him before he escapes. it would be very difficult for him to leave through the airport here. there were some detentions at the airport today as people are on, very much on the lookout for this man, but the concern is that he could cross over into syria, re-enter isis territory, where it is still effectively a no man's land, and it would be very difficult for him to be apprehended. >> richard engel, thank you so much, in istanbul, where all of this is happening. up next, draining the swamp. h house republicans gut the office of independent congressional ethic s s aand then reverse themselves. jack abramoff former lobbyist whose scandal led to the ethics formation and portrayed by kevin spacey in the film "casino jack." >> adam, think of the fund-raising possibilities. all right? it's like vegas on crack. the boats go up beyond the 12
mile limit an all cash business. use your imagination adam, because i got plans. >> jack abramoff joins me ahead. i use what's already inside me to reach my goals. so i liked when my doctor told me that i may reach my blood sugar and a1c goals by activating what's within me with once-weekly trulicity. trulicity is not insulin. it helps activate my body to do what it's supposed to do
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as we've been reporting the new congress is being sworn in today, the 115th congress. house republicans though just scrapping a plan to gut the independent ethics office, a tchdog group that was created eight years ago after one of the biggest congressional corruption scandals in modern times. joining me now is msnbc senior political editor mark murray. thanks for being here. happy new year to you. great to see you. well, they put it up there in the dead of night, they thought they'd gotten away with it and the uproar was starting. when i first saw this break on
rachel's show at 9:00 eastern and just throughout the night and this morning it was more than they could bear. i guess when donald trump finally tweeted about it that was the final blow. >> the biggest sin here that republicans were making, making their first thing before congress started. had this taken place six or seven months, even a year from now after so many other different battles you ended up having i don't think we'd end up seeing the criticism they ended up getting. because it was the first thing and something that democrats could have gone later in the midterm elections had there been an ethical scandal and said the first thing republicans ended up doing was gutting their own house ethics office, so i think that was where the biggest problem. on the trump thing, this is really interesting, because when donald trump made his tweets about this office, and i think that today's movement and the scrapping is in relation to what donald trump tweeted, trump was tweeting about the timing, not necessarily the substance. he said this office actually might end up being unfair, but this isn't the first thing congress should do.
they should focus on health care and taxes more than on this, but yet what donald trump is probably now able to take credit, even though he was criticizing the timing more than the substance. >> he did say it is unfair and kellyanne conway was on this morning defending the changes saying that it had been unfair so it's very clear as unfair as it may be, says he, in his tweet, just to be absolutely accurate, we've got both parts of the tweet up there, so donald trump is doing th. at the same time we understand ford motor company is making announcements attributing part to the economic changes that are coming from donald trump, and he's already taken credit for sprint and other things he had nothing to do but taking credit for it. there's a new economic imperative here, and now he's appointing, we understand, from our colleagues they announced today was broken last night by
kristen welker and halle jackson he announced a new trade rep. he was the deputy reagan trade representative and ronald reagan was in favor of all of those trade deals and not in favor of any of the trade positions of donald trump. >> andrea, you take all these things together and this is donald trump flexing his muscles even before he's inaugurated. he's trying to demonstrate strength on hey, ford motor company, you better not have any plants in mexico, and gm i'm watching you guys, too. at the same time his tweet regarding this house ethics office on saying hey, i didn't like the timing of this, where he's able to exert some power via twitter, that we haven't been able to see from other presidents. barack obama was the first president to have a twitter account, and he usually ended up doing it to make jokes or say things with the official account but not influence any type of policy. this is the strength of donald trump in bringing a lot of
change and almost being a disruptive force to corporate america and house representatives. sometimes when you're a disruptive force there is backlash squl. the way i look at donald trump in his first year, what is the bigger driver and bigger force, is it all this change, the disruptions we're seeing or also the inexperience on things that he's not that familiar. he's familiar with the corporate boardrooms of america comes to ford and gm, comfortable in dealing with foreign countries, the bureaucracies of government, the scandals, the bad situations that come and that remains to be seen. we'll find that out in the next 365 days. >> we're already finding out how he antagonized the intelligence community questioning their unprecedented universal judgment october 7th and follow uedp, made more emphatic and the punishments that came last thursday against russia and to now have him continue to say on new year's eve he's not sure it was russia and he'll have that
briefing tomorrow. boy, he is the first president since richard nixon to come into office as hostile to the established intelligence agencies. obamacare should have been priority number one, they always said it was going to be instead of this ethics controversy that they inflicted upon themselves. can they really undo obamacare, even if they postdate it, repeal it and say it won't be effectively repealed? that will affect whether the insurance industry is willing to participate in the exchanges and affect the economic underpippings of the whole health care system including the parts he says he likes. >> absolutely. the architecture of obamacare is so important to understand and like many big pieces of big legislation, there are goodies and also some pain that's involved, and the health care law that democrats ended up passing the law in 2010 had some goodies like you know, being able to not deny people with preexisting conditions, allowing children up to age 26 to be able to have health insurance, those are the goodies but enacted some
pain. americans had to have mandatory health insurance, that was a mandate there and what republicans are trying to do even with this repeal, we still want to have the good parts. we don't want to have any of the bad parts but it's hard to say you're going to eliminate denying people with preexisting conditions at the same time saying we're not going to require anyone to have health insurance. that mandate was so instrumental in getting some of the goodies that are involved, and so this kind of game on well we want the good stuff and not the bad stuff, that's just not how big reform legislation works, andrea. >> we'll never know what would have happened if jeff science and silvia burwell had been in charge with the computer from the very beginning and hadn't had the horrible publicity from the get-go. >> 2013-2014 was tough but now 20 million americans have health insurance and there's going to be a big political battle and if republicans repeal it, remember the pottery barn rule you break it, you own it. republicans will end up owning
everything that comes with health care, including rising premiums, which always happen. >> it's always great to see you, especially on the first day back from the new year. >> yes, thanks, andrea. up next, president-elect trump promises any day to reveal new information about the election hacking that no one else knows while still saying he's skeptical russia is to blame. the state department spokesman john kirby joining me to weigh in on all of this and more. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc, the place for politics. t have time to worry about a cracked windshield. so she scheduled at safelite.com and with safelite's exclusive "on my way text" she knew exactly when i'd be there, so she didn't miss a single shot. i replaced her windshield giving her more time for what matters most. tech: how'd ya do? player: we won! tech: nice! that's another safelite advantage. mom: thank you so much! (team sing) safelite repair, safelite replace. ok, so we drowned the fire... yep. stirred it... mm-hmm.
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president-elect donald trump is still questioning whether the russians were actually involved in the hacking that interfered with the u.s. elections or tried to. despite what the intelligence agencies have all said. on new year's eve trump said he knows things that other people don't know. joining me now is the state department spokesman john kirby. welcome and happy new year to you. thanks for being with us. >> happy new year to you as well, andrea, thanks for having me. >> well i want to know how definitive is the evidence for you all to order, for the president to order the expulsion of 35 russians to close down two facilities, recreational facilities used allegedly for espiona espionage. >> right. >> to take the retaliatory steps to announce it was done at the highest level, it could only person whose nirninitia are v.p. how could this all be done
without hard evidence and the next question why is the president-elect not believing you? >> i can't answer the second question, that's for president-elect trump to speak to. we're certain and the intelligence community is certain. the intelligence community came to the conclusions did not on their own and it's definitive, clear, convincing evidence that russia was trying to affect our electoral process that they were involved in these cyber intrusions, that's beyond dispute in our intelligence community and obviously the president wouldn't have taken the steps that he took last week if he wasn't also convinced by the information and the context that had been provided to him by these professionals in the intelligence community. >> kellyanne conway was on the "today" program and had this to say about all of this. >> he is getting information from any number of sources. he's the president-elect. he receives regular presidential daily briefings but in addition
to that particular product the president-elect receives intelligent briefings from many different sources. >> "intelligence briefings from many different sources." i don't know whether kellyanne is suggesting he has outside sources or that mike flynn does, the national security adviser designate, but what intelligence could he be getting that indicates it was not russia? >> well geez, andrea, i don't know. i don't know what other sources he might be getting information from. you did hear her reference the pdb, the daily briefing which of course president obama gets every day. it is not unusual for different presidents to get intelligence updates on their own schedule, and through their own methods, and not every one of them has digested the daily briefing in exactly the same way, so obviously they're trying to work through or maybe they have worked through how he's going to get intelligence and how he's going to analyze and process that. that's clearly for them to decide. but i have no idea what other
outside sources she might be referring to. >> now on friday, a day after the president steps, after president vladimir putin said he'd wait to see how u.s./russia relationships developing before planning any "further steps." donald trump tweeted praising putin, "great move on delay b v. putin. i always knew he was very smart." this is an unusual tweet from the president-elect about vladimir putin. >> it is unusual. look, nobody's doubting that vladimir putin isn't smart. we know he's an intelligent man, but again, the president believes strongly that this was, these were the right decisions to make in light of russia's actions in cyberspace that deliberately were trying to affect our electoral process, and by the way, you might recall last week it was also the result of what has been a year of increased harassment of u.s.
diplomats in russia, whether it's police checks and false stops, intimidation, publishing personal information online, there was a lot that went into the president's decisions to take these actions, actions that we think were commensurate with what had been done and what continues to be done by russian officials there in moscow. so again, i can't speak for the tweet itself and for president putin's decision to delay any reaction. what i can say though is that we are confident that our reaction to their intrusions into our electoral process, and their continued harassment of our diplomats, we believe that those were the appropriate steps. >> i wanted to ask you about syria, because of the so-called cease-fire, and what your take is on how the assad regime and its russian allies and iranian allies may be trying to take advantage of this cease-fire. >> yes. well, it's exactly right, andrea. i think the way you just put it is exactly right, taking
advantage. we have seen this in the past, that cease-fires have been announced or proclaimed, whether temporary, local, here andhe and as soon as or almost immediately after violated and disregarded, under the guise of going after terrorists when really they're going after opposition groups and that's what we're seeing now. nobody wanted to see this succeed more than us, even though we weren't involved in arranging it. we would have liked to have seen this succeed because we want there to be a meaningful cease-fire that can lead to political talks, and yet again, we've seen exactly what we've seen in the past, either russia being unwilling or unable to properly influence assad to stop the bombing of opposition groups or assad and iran in particular going ahead and doing this anyway, taking advantage of pauses to continue to pound the opposition. >> okay thank you very much, thanks for joining us today, john kirby from the state department, appreciate all of that. >> great to be with you, thank you. >> and you too. and more on our breaking news, house republicans just
scrapping their plan to gut the independent ethics office. reaction ahead. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. 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. of bad breath germs% find out how american express cards and services for a 100% fresh mouth. feeling 100% means you feel bold enough to... ...assist a magician... ...or dance. listerine®. bring out the bold™ i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. my psoriatic arthritis caused joint pain. just like my moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and i was worried about joint damage.
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everything your family touches sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox. and back to our breaking news, house republicans have scrapped that plan to gut the independent ethics office, a watchdog group that was created eight years ago after one of the biggest congressional corruption scandals in modern times leading to the conviction of house majority leader tom delay, a
conviction later overturned on appeal. central to that scandal former lobbyist jack abramoff who spent nearly four years in prison. now he's outspoke been the dangers of an inherently corrupt system that blurs the lines between politicians and benefactors. thanks very much, good to see you. >> thank you. >> first of all, are you surprised they backed down? i think you were up on the hill yourself, i'm not sure if you were on the house side but certainly an explosion of criticism after their late night decision to try to put that into thrule. >> yes. i think unfortunately it was ini incredibly unwise politically to make that one of the lead things they were doing as a new congress. i don't think they intended for that to be the case but what did they think the optics would be on this? >> they seemed to be responding only after donald trump tweeted against it, and he tweeted that it may be unfair this office,
but that this was not the thing that they should do first so he was really suggesting that you know, they got it wrong by making this their first play, but is it unfair? is that house ethics oversight unfair, that watchdog that was put in place after what happened with you and tom delay and a lot of others? >> right, first of all i wanted to correct, delay was not convicted in my case. it was the texas case. but separately from that, no, i don't think it's necessarily unfair. i think what people are concerned about on capitol hill and probably with some justification is that that office in its procedures can sometimes be communicating publicly, as in fact they did do about somebody who was completely innocent and then have political damage that's quite significant. so i think that that is a concern, that's a legitimate concern. they need to look at how to make sure that the procedures are good so it isn't defeated, the
process is not defeated by the procedure but having said that again, this is not what they want to be doing. they want to be draining the swamp. they want to come in and not only keeping that kind of office in place, but they have serious things the congress has to do to make some reform in washington and in fact to clean up the government. don't they realize what the election was about in november? americans are sick and tired of what goe in washington. president trump was exactly correct. >> having been involved at the center of all this, and i know i apologize if tom delay was not part of that particular case, but he was very closely involved, as was portrayed in the movie and in the book about all of this. your own experience, the relationship between lobbyists and members of congress, how can that be cleaned up? >> well the big nexus, the real problem there is the money, the ability of people who are lobbying the government who are
trying to get things out of the public sector to give public servants money and to give them contributions and meals and everything like that, that's the big issue. are we going to allow people who are trying to get private goodies for themselves to give the deciders funds? that's the question. that's the question that people don't like to address in washington, but everywhere i go in the country there's unanimity, that that is not something that people want to see. unfortunately washington doesn't really want to deal with it, not because they're all a bunch of corrupt scallions and horrible scalawags, rather but because this is the way the system has done and efficacious for them and they think somehow people don't pay attention but they do and that's what the election i think was about in very large part. >> the ethics committees used to have some teeth and i can remember all the way back when former speaker jim wright was taken down and had to leave. there were a number of speakers, newt gingrich in fact and others among em who had to leave office because of ethics issues
that had come up in the regular committees, but that doesn't happen anymore. it seems to be that the ethics committees themselves were the place where ethics complaints nt to die. >> well, aga i don't want to defe what's going on there, because i think some of the stuff going on there is not the greatest, and indeed there is some truth to that, but you have to also, andrea, look at this in the context that all of these relationships between the justice department, the fbi, the congress, are complex, and congress also by the way if you have a member of congress who has broken the law and broken the law in a way that they're not protected by the speech and debate clause, which is the great impediment to the fbi and the justice department, a non-political justice department i should add, coming in and looking into these things, they are so complicated by the speech and debate clause and by other things that the ethics committee is one small part of the problem. there needs to be and congress has to do this, an overhaul of the entire system. we have to look very seriously
at are we going to allow special interests to buy our government, which again the american people have i think resoundedly said no, we don't want that, but washington is not really doing much to prevent that. >> and what would the, what does the 2017 jack abramoff say to the guy who got in all that trouble, ended up in jail, was played by kevin spacey in the movie "casino jack," what have you learned? >> well what i've learned is that i was enmeshed in a system and very much at the tip of the spear of a system that unfortunately is very corrupt and corrosive of the things we hold dear in the country. we should not allow people like i was and no longer, but was and many others who are currently like it to be able to use resources, primarily money, and to be able to help decide what our laws are and decide what the positions of our politicians are, but i got to add this also, andrea, that it's not merely the lobbyists' fault. it is not merely sort of the
folks who are giving out the money. we have in washington a group of people that isn't just the congress, that desires to arrogate power to themselves and involve the federal government in our lives in ways that are really inappropriate, so sometimes companies and individuals and others who are at the receiving end of that have no choice but to step forward and try to lobby. what we have to do in the interim before we can at least stop some of that, which is shutting down the expansion of the government in outrageous ways, is to make sure that people aren't doing it in a corrupt fashion by using money to do it, and that's what i would say to myself in the past and i is ai it to everyone today. >> thanks for being with us, jack abramoff. on the floor as you can see the new democratic leader chuck schumer is addressing the senate. >> it's our job to do what's best for the american people, the middle class and those struggling to get there. if the president-elect proposes legislation that on issues like infrastructure and trade and closing the carried interest
loophole, for instance, we'll work in good faith to perfect and potentially enact it, but when he doesn't, we will resist. but what we will always do is hold the president-elect and his republican colleagues in congress accountable, accountable to the working people, to whom the president-elect promised so much, accountable to the people of all colors and creeds and sexual orientations in this country, for whom he is president, accountable to the millions of americans who voted for him even though many of the republican policies he now post-election seems to be embracing are enimicable to their interests and perhaps most importantly mr. president accountable to the law. the senate has a rich bipartisan
tradition of being a constitutional check on presidents of both parties. many in this body have long observed that, in america, we are a nation of laws, not men. that sacred constitutional duty of holding the president accountable to the law must continue, and democrats will make sure of it. sometimes it will mean pointing out where his rhetoric and reality diverge and sometimes it will mean resisting the president and republicans in congress when they propose legislation that we believe will hurt the american people. this will be an accountability congress, and we will be a caucus that makes sure the president-eleckeeps his commitment toruly make america great again, in its finest sense and tradition. we know what makes america great -- a fundamental optimism, a belief that the future will bring every child more opportunity than their parents, a conviction that this american
dream can be shared by all of us, regardless of race or gender or sual orientation. we will hold president-elect trump accountable to the values that truly make america great, but we'll fight him tooth and nail when he appeals to the baser instincts that diminish america at its greatness, instincts that have too often plagued this country and too often plagued his campaign. and we'll have benchmarks throughout the campaign. the preside-ele said he could push gdp growth to 5% or 6%. he complained that the real unemployment rate was too high and he'd bring it down. we'll hold him accountable to that. what does he think he can achieve in a year or two or four? what policies does he propose to achieve those goals? he promised to be much tougher on china, even though many republicans for years have
resisted legislation here in congress to do that. we'll hold him accountable for it and demand he keep his promise. he promised to protect social security and medicare, but tapped an avowed critic of medicare a man who spent his career advocating for its demise as his secretary of health and human services. we demand that he keep his promise not to cut social security or medicare. he says he wants to build a strong america and earn respect around the world, but seems to be marching in lockstep with a bullying dissemmbling autocrat who has caused a great deal of trouble here and around the globe, vladimir putin, we're going to hold him accountable to that. we will hold the president accountable if he doesn't nominate a mainstream supreme court justice. president obama nominated a mainstream candidate in merritt garland. president-elect trump should do
the same. and the president-elect said many great things about build a great many things rather about building our infrastructure. democrats well comment that discussion, but how is he going to do it? we have thousds of bridges and tunnels and highways and schools, waste water systems, airports in need of repair, not only in our big cities -- >> well joining me now as senator schumer completes his speech for our daily fix, chris cilizza and ann greer, "washington post" political reporter. chris, they can say the democrats are going to hold donald trump accountable but in the senate they don't have the votes. he can pretty much do what he wants. they can try, but he's got a clear majority. >> that's right. the one thing i would say is he'll have to unite what is not a terribly united at the moment republican conference over there. the difference between rand paul and john cornyn, let's say, from
kentucky and texas is vast, you are right. this is total control of congress in the white house for republicans, something that no one thought was going to happen 90 or 120 days ago and we saw though i would say andrea today with the house republicans the danger of i don't want to say overreach but of not sort of considering political consequences. >> and ann guerin while laying this out, what schumer is hoping on is united democratic senate caucus. he's got bernie sanders and elizabeth warren on one side, and joe manchin on the other. >> yes, right, he has a version of the same problem the republicans have, plus the larger problem of they just don't have a great way to checkmate republicans when he says here repeatedly the theme of this opening address for chuck schumer is we'll hold you accountable. we will check your, you know,
check your overreach. his actual ability to do that is limited, and it is likely to be limited even further if he can't keep his own troops in line behind him. >> but the first test will be these confirmation hearings, and to both of you, they are going to pick and choose, but they think they've got some opportunities. anne? >> yes they've picked four or five top targets, including rex tillerson for state, and there are two hearings, one next week and then a few days after that, where the democrats will really try to display some, if not total ability to stop the process, to display some of what schumer is referring to here, questions about accountability. on the tillerson, in the tillerson hearing they're specifically going to be going after the question of how much financial information he has turned over, whether it's enough, and whether the senate can really give him what they
refer to as a clean bill of health financially before asking for confirmation. >> the same questions for donald trump as well. thanks so much, and we're going to have to leave it there. chris, we'll catch up tomorrow. that does is for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." follow us online, facebook and twitter. craig melvin is up next. >> good day to you. the first day of this 115th congress, and some breaking news on this tuesday, the leader of the democrats and the senate new york's chuck schumer laying out his vision for the party as we speak, talking about holding president-elect donald trump accountable. let's listen in. >> i'll speak a little longer than he did today, after all it's my first speech, and but i want to start by extending my sincerest wish to him that we be able to work together to get things done for the american people. the republican leader