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which are against the law in the north, and allowed to be sold in the south. so a minimart that has a new north carolina address had to get special attention to sell fireworks. all of it confusing. don't worry. iconic south of the border stop on i-95 remains south of the border. that's all for tonight. we'll be back with more "mtp daily." ayman mohyeldin begins the coverage now. a fired up president obama meeting with democrats behind closed doors. we're going to talk to a lawmaker who sat in on that meeting. vice president-elect pence also on the hill today vowing to repeal obamacare on day one. so why was donald trump warning congress? also tonight, a six-year-old video emerged after donald trump mocks intelligence officials, and sides with wikileaks founder julian assange on the issue of russia's hacking of the elections. and an emotional commander in chief says farewell to the
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military. we start with the clash over obamacare. years in the making, coming to a head on capitol hill. today, dueling strategy sessions happening simultaneously within feet of each other. president obama huddling with democrats vowing to protect the health care law, vice president-elect mike pence with republicans vowing to repeal it. all of this happening on day one. democrats emerging from their 90-minute meeting saying they're energized and that the president inspired them telling them to stay strong. here's a photo from inside that meeting. afterwards, democrats sounded confident including the president walking past reporters saying this. >> look out for the american people. >> our republican colleagues don't quite know what to do. they're like the dog who caught the bus. they can repeal, but they have nothing to put in its place. >> they have no replacement plan because they just -- they can't. they can't agree. they don't have the votes for replacement plan. >> to cut health care wouldn't
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make america great again, it would make america sick again. >> meantime, republicans standing with pence, they haven't coalesced yet around a single plan to replace obamacare but do appear dead set on one thing, dismantling it. >> first order of business is to repeal and replace obamacare. and that was our message today and it will be our message on capitol hill. and it needs to be done. not just as a promise kept, but because in the course of this election, the american people had a choice, and what appeared to many as against all odds, oftentimes with overwhelming opposition, our president-elect took his case to the american people to repeal and replace obamacare, and the american people voted decisively for a better future for health care in this country. >> donald trump starting the day
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by firing off tweets about obamacare, with a word of caution for republicans, though, saying, "republicans must be careful in that the dems own the failed obamacare disaster, with its poor coverage and massive premium increases. like the 116% hike in arizona. also, deductibles are so high that it is practically useless. don't let the schumer clowns out of this web. massive increases of obamacare will take place this year and dems are to blame for the mess. it will fall of its own weight. be careful." my friend and colleague, hans nichols was on the hill in the middle of this action as it unfolded. he joins us from the bureau in d.c. hans, walk us through the meeting with pence and how it played out. >> think of what happened today as almost dueling pep rallies, both sides marshaling their forces, how their side is going to win, how the facts are on their side. here's what actually took place
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in that meeting. you had the vice president-elect mr. pence talking about a plan, saying yes, they're going to start repealing it on day one, unclear exactly whether or not the executive actions mr. trump is going to do on day one are going to be centered on health care or whether or not they're going do be rolling back some of mr. obama's policies. here's how pence put it, talked about a clear dual-track strategy. >> we're working right now, the white house staff is, on a series of executive orders that will enable that orderly transition to take place, even as the congress appropriately debates alternatives to, and replacement of obamacare. >> you know, i was trustruck, ayman, today, listening to speaker paul ryan, they didn't want to pull the rug out from anyone who's insured, people who currently have health insurance. they want to take this slowly, go through the legislative process, and here's something in terms of how this is going to work technically. senate's going to vote maybe next week on this, you could see
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something come to the house of representatives on thursday. the important thing about the process they're using, at least in the jsenate, you only need 5 votes. that gives them a tactical advantage, at least a tactical way forward. senate republicans with their 52-seat majority to actually get something done. but, again, we've got a lot of legislating and a lot of details to be worked out. >> hans nichols live for us in washington, d.c. at the white house, following the other meeting that took place also on capitol hill, this one with president obama and the democrats from both the house of representatives and the senate. what was the takeaway from that, ron, in terms of what the president was able to rally his troops, if you will, for this upcoming legislative session? >> reporter: well, ayman, i think rally is a good word because it wasn't a session about tactics and about legislative strategies and so forth, so much as it was about messaging and themes and ideas
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and really the president believes this is going to be a long fight that's going to go on for some time. he told the democrats assembled there, for example, they need to focus more on the individual stories of people who are beneficiaries of obamacare. and the administration has perhaps over the past eight years or so, dealing with health care, they have said that it's important to break apart obamacare down into its constituent parts, and to be clear to people about what exactly health care is. and what exactly obamacare is. that it's an expansion of medicaid. that it's the lengthening of the medicare system. that it's brought cost down or that it has made costs rise more slowly, the administration would argue, overall. and that the talk about premiums increasing, and deductibles going up, applies the white house, would argue, to a very small number of people. and they say, the president did, that they should take this case to rural america, to rust belt america, to voters who voted for donald trump because in some cases, in some states, they are
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the prime beneficiaries of obamacare and all of its elements. and, of course, they always stress the so-called consumer protections that are embedded in the law, like pre-existing conditions, and so forth. so that's the strategy, democrats said the president was energized,s he was passionate. he's not going to let this go. it's the most important thing he's done domestically, arguably, and that was the takeaway, this is a fight that's going to go on for some time. >> he's made very clear he'll be watching from the sidelines as a citizen in the weeks, months and years to come. ron allen live for us outside the white house this evening. thank you very much for that, ron. we're joined now by republican congressman, rob of north carolina who is working to repeal obamacare and who attended that meeting with mike pence earlier today. congressman, great to have you with us this evening. >> thank you. >> i want to ask, sir, about these two dueling statements that came out of this press conference earlier today. on one hand, you have vice president-elect mike pence saying this is going to be the target on day one, in fact, you
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could possibly see some kind of executive order action by president trump on day one to repeal obamacare. then you also see house speaker paul ryan saying they don't want to put the rug from under the americans that are currently being covered by obamacare. what do we expect to happen on day one in regards to obamacare? >> well, the reality is obamacare's not sustainable. it actuarially will not perform and that's the problem we have today. the premiums are going skyrocketing, so are the deductibles. and the coverage is not there. democrats have said, well, you know, 20 million people are covered. well, in reality, it's it'sa su an their part. the architect of obama care say most of the people on obamacare today really wer covered by medicaid. it hasn't had an impact. the same time, 28 million people don't have coverage at all. what we need is affordable health care, one that the american people have a choice.
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and it will be delivered to them through competitive markets. markets that has opened competition through the states, it has tax credits for individuals just like you have for a business. >> right. >> individuals can ban together, they'll be able to buy together to have group rates. we're going to have medicaid reform, medicaid liability reform. i led that in north carolina. reduce the costs significantly because 30% of the tests performed by physicians today are performed to protect themselves from lawsuits. >> so let me -- >> many things we'll do. >> fair enough, congressman, 20 million or 14 million, that's still a lot of million of americans that are still getting some kind of coverage whether through medicare or -- >> jonathan gruber said most of those people are accepted to be covered through medicaid, the architect of obamacare. >> let me put this up for you, this is a gallup on per sen taj
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of americans without health insurance, in 2009, 16.4% in the fourth quarter. that's people without health insurance. that number in the third quarter of 2016, 10.9%. that number has gone down significantly. what are you attributing that to if obamacare is not helping more americans get insured, how do you explain that drop? >> just as jonathan gruber said, t architect of obamacare, he said most of the people, two-thirds of the people covered today are covered because they were entitled to get it through medicaid. it really hasn't had a dramatic effect except for eliminating competition, eliminating the market access. that's what drives prices down in any market and need to have today and that's what we will have. we're going to deliver this for the american people. this has been an abysmal failure owned by the democrats yes, it's theirs. they wrote it through without anybody to even review the document. and they have to live with the failure of this reality. >> all right. the committee for responsible federal budgets says that repealing without replacing obamacare would cost about $350
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billion through 2027. it's been about six years that this has been -- that congress has been controlled by republicans. they haven't put forward another plan to replace obamacare. why would they be able to do so now in this congress? >> well, we have the plans. i'm a co-sponsor of two plans, one that came out of our republican study committee -- >> which plan is going to replace it? which plan is going to replace obamacare? >> if you look back january 2009, the democrats didn't have one single plan, either. yes, these plans are being merged today, and there will be a plan. it will be a competitive market-driven plan that will deliver the best product for the lowest price to the american people. >> are you at all concerned by the democrats on the other side of the aisle saying that, you know, they're not going to help you come up with another alternative for obamacare? it's yours now to own. we heard senator schumer -- >> we don't want their help. their help is socialized medicine where the federal government is dictating it. the american people want choices.
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they want to pick what barparts health care they want to have. they don't want it shoved down their throat as one-size-fits all. that's what they're getting. i'm frankly a 68-year-old man. i don't need maternity assistance, i don't need baby care assistance but that's manda mandated. no, the american people are going to be able to pick the medical assistance and support that dthey need. >> do you believe, congressman, there are some parts of obamacare that are pretty popular including children staying on their parents' coverage until 26? >> sure. that's always been in our plans. that's every plan i've been a sponsor of -- >> what specifically in obamacare would you want to see immediately done away with, some are going to stay on in some capacity, whether your than or obamacare? >> it's the man dadates. >> right. >> the government dictating what the american people have to have. the american people want choice and also have competitive open markets. when the government is the only one controlling the markets, you clearly don't have the advantage of a competitive market. and that's what drives prices down. look at the lasik surgery.
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decade ago, it cost, you know, $10,000. now it may cost $800. the markets drive down prices. that's what we're going to do with health care. >> all right. congressman, it was great to have you with us this evening, sir. thank you for that per spective. >> good to see you. >> thank you. the democratic side of this debate and confidence coming from leadership that they can fight republicans. we heard senator chuck schumer predicting that repeal efforts aren't going to go smoothly for the gop. take a listen. >> republicans will soon learn that you can't keep the good parts of the aca and remove the rest of the law and still have it wrk. >> we're now joined by democratic congressman emanuel cleaver -- >> pull the rug out from people while we're replacing this law. the point is in 2017, we don't want people to be caught with nothing. we want to make sure that there's an orderly transition so the rug is not pulled out from under the families who are currently struggling under obamacare while we bring relief. >> so obviously this is a debate that's bigoing to play out on
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capitol hill from both sides really drawing the lines. we're now joined by democratic congressman emanuel cleaver from missouri. a strong supporter of obamacare. from the very beginning. he was also privileged enough to sit many on that meeting with president obama today. congressman, great to have you with us, sir. first of all, give us a sense of how that meeting unfolded with president obama. how would you describe it? what were the key points that the president really nailed home? >> well, i've been in meetings with the president over the last eight years a number of times. i will tell you that this is the best meeting that i have attended where the president interacted with the members of congress. >> is that disdisappointing, si it's been eight years and this is perhaps the last time he's going to be on capitol hill? >> well, yes. i do think that there's some disappointment here, but the good news, i think, for us, at least, is that on two separate occasions, maybe three, white house staffers reminded the president that he had an
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appointment at the white house. he said, okay, let me stay just a little longer. a few minutes later they came back and stayed a little longer. for a brief moment, i thought joe biden has somehow got into the body of barack obama. but it was a good meeting and the president made it very clear that if the republicans proceed with this wrong-headed plan to repeal obamacare, they will rule the day because they have nothing to present to the american people that will satisfy them. >> congressman, i don't know if you had a chance to hear congressman, your colleague, robert pittenger, on before you, sir, he was talking about some of the negative aspects of bhaum ca obamacare, the mandates shoved down people's throats, that was a huge problem, the fact that the majority of people that are covered are not covered by obamacare but covered by medicaid instead and the number
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slighted oftentimes by democrats grossly exaggerated. what do you say to those charges? >> first of all, he would need to go and look at the omb report that contradicts what the office of budget and management says, the nonpartisan office. now, the -- what i think is important for us to understand is that as a result of the affordable care act, we do have some issues that need to be repaired and fixed and the president and any democrat in the country will say, yes, we need to make some changes because you can't foresee some of the problems. what we have been able to do is to insure millions of americans who would otherwise be without any kind of care. we eliminated the insurance companies from saying that we're going to put a ceiling on how much we're going to pay for your illness. >> right. >> that's gone. >> sir, one of the observations
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from outside is that people are watching this debate as it begins, once again, you know, really heated. and they're hearing the tone coming out of democrats as we heard from senator schumer saying that they're the ones that are going to own it if they break it and it's almost, we don't see anything coming out of the democrats saying, well here are the areas where we are willing to work, we're not seeing any clear ideas as to how we can address some of those issues that you just identified in terms of potential areas to work on. republicans are saying they want to repeal it, not offering a clear plan. democrats are saying we're not going to work with you to try to fix it. what are american citizens supposed to walk away with this -- >> affordable dumptee settlement wall, had a great fall, all president's womens and president's men couldn't put humpty dumpty back together again. look, you knock affordable care act off the wall, you got to put it back together. they're not going to be able to put it back together without doing some enormous damage to
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the american public. there are 2.6 million people in the state of missouri who would be negatively impacted if this is repealed. not to mention the $802 billion in additional medicare costs if this -- >> right. >> -- is repealed. >> congressman emanuel cleaver with that little, i'd have to say the first time i heard a humpty dumpty lyric in relation to the affordable care act. great to have you with us this evening. thanks for joining us, sir. >> good to be with you. donald trump mocks intelligence officials, what happens when they go face to face in two days? we're going to talk to a former cia officials who has actually sat in on those meetings. also president obama reflects on eight years as commander in chief. with a very emotional speech. that's straight ahead. stay with us. when coughing keeps your family awake.
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obamacare is a story of broken promise after broken promise after broken promise
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followed by failing program, higher premiums, higher deductibles. >> our republican colleagues don't quite know what to do. they're like the dog who caught the bus. >> speaker ryan there and senate minority leader, chuck schumer, battling it out today. and really from the start, before the affordable care act was signed, this has been a pretty brutal fight from heated town hall events with protests erupting to anti-obama care rallies that were ugly and at times divisive. today president-elect donald trump attacking the sitting presidents he signature law. tweeting, "don't let the schumer clowns out of this web." now here's how chuck schumer responded. >> the president-elect, who's tweeting again this morning, he said republicans shouldn't let the schumer clowns out of his web. well, i think republicans should stop clowning around with the people's medicare, medicaid and health care. >> joining me now is one of the architects of that law, former health and human services
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secretary, kathleen sebelius. madam secretary, great to have you with us this evening. on a personal level, what would it mean for you to see a law you fought so hard for repealed within the first 14ur00 days of this congress? >> actually, this isn't about me. i'm an old lady and i now have the great benefits of the medicare program. i see my prices go up in medicare if the law is repealed because seniors are getting a break. better benefits and lower rates. i've always had reliable insurance, and we've been blessed and fortunate in my family to have healthy members, but i talked to people each and every day whose lives have been transformed by this law. who the moms i was with in baltimore who are parents of children born with serious illnesses who said i finally can be confident that not only can i get the child the care they
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need, but my child will be insured in future lives. the young women who run this great diner in lawrence, kansas, who told me she could finally fulfill her life's dream and open a diner because she had a pre-existing condition, and before this could not health care. people who stopped me in an airport or the grocery store saying my mom is a diabetic and now can get care. the woman i was with at -- >> right. >> -- an opening of a breast cancer center who said i never had a mammogram because i could never get care if the mammogram turned up negative. those are the folks whose lives will be totally upup-enendeded s a law and have nothing to replace it with. >> let me play you this sound bite from vice president-elect mike pence laying out the republicans' criticism of the health care law. take a listen.
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>> the promises of obamacare have all been proven to be false. we were told if you like your doctor, you can keep it. not true. if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. not true. this year, the average premium increase on names has been 25%. over 100% in some american states. that all comes to an end when we set into motion the effort to repeal and replace obamacare. >> in addition to that, madam secretary, kaiser family foundation says health care premiums, average premium for family coverage gone up from 2009 at about $13,000. today it's about $18,000. how do you respond to that? >> well, first of all, i think it's important to know that the obamacare marketplaces are a small slice of the market. many of the families you're talking to are in employer plans or part of the 150 million people that weren't impacted by obamacare. they may be in a private market
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plan that isn't impacted by obamacare. so some of what vice president-elect pence is describing has nothing to do with the law in place. i also find it interesting that as the governor of indiana, which he currently is, he decided to take advantage of the benefits and expand medicaid in his state. he's one of the republican governors that said we want affordable coverage for the uninsured working adults in my state, and the most cost-effective way to do that is through medicaid expansion. so we've got a little bit of a -- >> right. >> -- catch 22 where as a governor, he saw the benefits of the plan, he is participating in the plan, and now says he wants to eliminate the plan, not only for the constituents of indiana, but across the country. >> let me, madam secretary, if i can, play the sound bite from senator chris murphy. he was on our air today talking about what the president said in the meeting today on capitol hill. take a listen to this. >> i think what he's saying is
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that we didn't win the messaging war on the rollout of health care bill in part because of the disaster of the technology, right, people couldn't get onto the website in those first few days. there's still 20 million americans who have health care sfur insurance. >> i wanted to give you a chance to quickly respond to that before we ran out of time. >> sure. the website was a mess when we rolled it out in october of 2013. good news is it was fixed by december of 2013, and we had 8 million people able to enroll in i'll take 20 million people with new health insurance and a bungled website any day of the week. >> all right. madam secretary, we're going it have to leave it at that. great to you with us. i'm sure this debate is going to go on for months to come. we'll certainly have you u back on. >> i'm sure it will. >> kathleen sebelius. ahead, what donald trump is touting the wick ke leaks founder this time around. and first lady michelle obama will make a highly anticipated final appearance somewhere. we're going to tell you where, next. ♪ ♪
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the president-elect and i will receive a briefing from the leadership of our intelligence agencies this coming friday. and we'll be listening in. look, i think that the president-elect has expressed his very sincere and healthy american skepticism about intelligence conclusions. >> the vice president-elect today previewing the intelligence briefing he's going to get with donald trump about russia's apparent meddling in the u.s. elections. now, pence added that trump's skepticism about intelligence agency findings is, quote, healthy. trump has, of course, cast doubt on the conclusion by 17 intelligence agencies apt about russia's interference, could set up a clash with officials from those agencies some of whom trump will be meeting with friday face to face. up next, i'm going to talk to a former intelligence officer who personally briefed presidents.
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my swthis scarf all thatsara. left to remem... what! she washed this like a month ago the long lasting scent of gain flings welcome back, everyone. now to donald trump mocking american intelligence agencies. trump tweeting, "the intelligence briefing on so-called russian hacking was delayed until friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. very strange." now, notice trump put the word, intelligence," in quotes, and he did the same with "russian hacking." trump still doubting 17 agencies just 2 days before meeting with
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representatives from just a few of those. but now siding with wikileaks founder julian assange after hearing this. >> did russia give you this information or anybody associated with russia? >> al is not a state party. sorry. the answer for our interactions is no. podesta gave out that his password was the word, password. his own staff said this e-mail that you received, this is totally legitimate. so this is something a 14-year-old kid, a 14-year-old kid could have hacked. >> based on that. >> that way. >> trump this morning tweeting, "julian assange said a 14-year-old could have hacked podesta. why was dnc so careless?" also said russians did not give him the info. the incoming president of the united states appearing to trust
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julian assange over the u.s. intelligence community. joining me now, ken delaney, an nbc news intelligence and national security reporter, and david priest, a former intelligence officer, and daily intelligence briefer. he's also the author of "the president's book of secrets." great to have both of you with us. david, let me begin with you, your response to trump's tweet on, "intelligence services" and ding with julian assange over our own community here. >> you know, i focus on a different word in that and that's the word, "could." the intelligence community generally doesn't deal in coulds unless it's talking about a base capability to do something. intelligence assessments have to do with likely or probably or almost certainly. that is what actually happened to the best of our ability to assess that based on known information and based on the unknowns. the word, "could" being thrown out there doesn't really add anything to the debate. >> all right. ken, let me ask you this. you talked to senior intelligence officials about some of trump's tweets and some of his positions, particularly
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about this issue. what was their response? what are you hearing from the intelligence community about "a," how this is playing out, and his distrust of them? >> yeah, i mean, well, they're deeply disturbed. but don't forget, this isn't the first time trump has dissed the intelligence community in a tweet, he did so on december 11th when he talked about the cia making a mistake about wmd in iraq. an lot of intelligence officials i spoke to viewed that as a cheap shot at the time. but they were also sort of willing to cut trump some slack. saying, look, it's going to take time for him to come around on our founding of the hacking of the election, because he sees it as a threat, as impugning his victory and maybe, you know, as he comes to be briefed on the intelligence, he'll start to come osaround. he hasn't come around. he's doubling down this wheeek. there aren't any julian assange supporters i've ever met so he's
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on thin ice with the julian assange stuff. >> david, give us a sense of what you think might play out in this meeting in terms of the dynamic. forget the intelligence for a second. >> right. >> you're expected to have the head of -- dni james clapper, head of the fbi, expected to have john brennan, director of the cia, sitting in there with a meeting with a man who openly, as well as vice president mike pence, openly doubting their intelligence and the credibility of their information. how awkward is that going to be? >> it's going to be awkward, but you have to remember, every president-elect goes through this. and the only one in recent memory who had extensive experience with the intelligence community before this type of meeting was george h.w. bush who had been a cia director before becoming vice president then president. >> correct me if i'm wrong, was there anyone as hostile to the intelligence community as president-elect trump? >> oh, yes, we have historical -- richard nixon came into office, he didn't take a single briefing from the intelligence briefers who set up
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shop next door to his transition headquarters to brief him. in fact, as a backup measure, they sent over hard copies of all the president's daily brief that lyndon johnson was allowing to be shown to president-elect nixon. at the end of the transition, those envelopes were all returned to them unopened. he was also disparaging the intelligence community in private meetings saying things like a whole lot of them just need to be fired. those things weren't acted on. now, there's a key difference there because those disparagements were done privately. they were done in national security council meetings or other small groups. they weren't done on twitter or in any other public medium. that's the real difference here, is this getting to know each other process normally happens behind closed doors. this kind of thing has not played out in public in this way before. >> interesting enough. okay. let me play you guys this sound bite. this was a sound bite, a video from six years ago that surfaced where donald trump is talking about julian assange after he published those infamous u.s. diplomatic cables. take a listen.
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>> got nothing to do with the leaking of those documents. >> i think it's disgraceful. >> you think it's disgraceful? >> think there should be death penalty or something. >> on one hand, six years ago he was saying the wikileaks founder deserves some kind of death penalty or punishment. today it seems like he's implicitly siding with julian assange given the dnc hack. ken, what do you think the reaction from the intelligence community is, how do they view julian assange, do they view him as a national security threat or, you know, as donald trump implies, maybe somebody who's just sharing truthful information with the american public? >> no, they absolutely view him as not only a national security threat, but as a tool of russia intelligence at this point. but it's not just the intelligence community, it's republicans in congress, interestingly enough. i mean, this is really sort of opened up a rift. you saw speaker paul ryan and some other republicans issuing statements today. not criticizing trump, but denouncing assange a sort of a veiled brushback as the way i interpreted it to trump on the
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assange stuff. >> david, let me get you to weigh in on that as well really quick. >> plenty president-elects have had disagreements in issues with their intelligence as they get these briefings. publicly calling out somebody who is so disliked within the intelligence community and across the wide spectrum of u.s. national security decision-makers from both parties, that is a different thing entirely. to see this meeting tomorrow, it would be great to be a fly on the washington wall. >> yeah. >> because to have those heavy hitters in the room, they're probably not going to diverge from the assessmentes that have already been out there. clapper oversees the president's daily brief process, his assessments aren't going to differ from what's already appeared to the president-elect in those documents. >> does trump's criticism make it harder for people like dni clapper or oathers to brief him withhold information, they don't want to hear criticism if the information is is not ironclad?
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>> that's not the ethos of the intelligence community. you tell the message that needs to be told. it is your duty to make sure that is made clear to the person you're talking to. it's not the job of the president to adjust to the intelligence community. it's the job of the intelligence community to adjust to the personal preferences and styles of the president-elect and eventually the president. this president-elect presents unique challenges, no doubt about it. this is what intelligence community officers do. even in a tough environment, they adjust and they find a way to make sure that that information gets to the people who need it. >> ken, very quickly, do you expect on friday intelligence officials to tell donald trump, hey, tone it down a little bit, just take this briefing, but tone it down going forward? >> you know, that's a great mystery, how they're going to play it personally in private. i wouldn't be surprised if they did that, but i think they're mainly going to be focused on making the case about the intelligence. >> all right. ken, dave, great to have both of you with us this evening. i couldn't agree with you more, dave, i'd love to be a fly on the wall for that friday
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we're back with an emotional farewell speech from president obama to the military today. the president meeting with the joint chiefs of staff in the cabinet room at the white house to discuss a seamless transition of power. the outgoing commander in chief also said farewell to the military. he was reflective and at times emotional. >> a lot of americans don't see the sacrifices you make on our behalf, but as commander in chief, i do. at times of division, you've shown what it means to pull together. we must never hesitate to act when necessary to defend our nation but we must also never rush into war because sending you into harm's way should be a last and not first resort. >> he also spoke abo progress
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that the military s made over his years. >> service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love. all combat positions in our military are now open to women. one of the reasons our military stands apart as the most respected institution in our nation by a mile. the american people -- [ applause ] >> joining me now, retire army colonel, jack jacob, medal of honor recipient and msnbc contributor. colonel jacobs, always great to have you, sir. thanks for joining us. let me start off by asking you about the operational side of the past eight years, perhaps the most notable success under president obama's tenure as commander in chief, the killing of osama bin laden, that hunt. what else would you say have been some of his achievements as commander in chief? >> well, he focused very heavily on eliminating the
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infrastructure of isis. and to do that without having a lot of troops on the ground encouraged, ordered the extensive use of precision-guided munitions to take out the leadership. it's interesting to note that in his first month in office, obama ordered more precision-guided air strikes than the previous president had done during his entire term in office. having said that, he -- he has focused on the use of not only precision-guided munitions but also special forces and special operations forces. >> right. >> to the exclusion of regular forces which are being drawn down. his original idea was to fight in afghanistan the good war, and withdraw everybody from iraq,
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but it didn't turn out that way and now we spr have 15,000 people in iraq still. >> colonel jacobs, the flip side of that question, what would you say have been his failures or i guess, you know, lack of a better word, negatives of being commander in chief over the past eight years? where has he failed more or less? >> well, there's been an enormous drawdown in the size of our forces. we're about ready to have the smallest army we've had since the second world war. focusing almost exclusively on technology, equipment and so on, as the way to def fefeat the ens of the republic. that's not going to work over the long term. it's easy to take objectives, it's easy to destroy formations of troops, but at the end of the day, somebody has to stand on the objective in order to secure it and what's happened here is that we have not done a particularly good job even though we've tried, we haven't done a particularly good job of
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training indigenous forces to hold onto the gains we've given them. you see, of course, the whole region in turmoil. you could argue that the original sin was going into iraq, but i think a lot of the things that have happened since then -- >> right. >> -- would have happened ultimately in any case, and it would have been difficult to handle without a large american presence which we don't have the political will to do. >> colonel jacobs, we could probably spend hours talking about this. i know it's going to be the subject of many, many scholars and books. thank you very much for joining us this evening. >> you're welcome. arrests made at senator jeff sessions' office. we're going to tell you about that next.
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now to politics, a big day, a lot going on. we're going to get to all of it with our panel. ja bhamal sim nsmonssimmons, de strategist. elise, a former adviser to senator rand paul's campaign. great to have both of you with us. we want to start with the arrests at the sit-in at senator jeff sessions' office. the naacp were protesting to stop his attorney general nomination and get the word out about alleged racist remarks he made and past allegations that session, himself, denies. six protesters including the organization's president, cornell brooks, have been arrested, facing charges of criminal trespass. session' confirmation hearing is expected early next week. it's great to have both of you with us. elise, let me give with you about this press conference that we're expected to hear come january 11th.
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it happens to fall on a day where you're going to get some high-profile confirmation hearings for secretary of state, some of the others including possibly senator sessions. do you think that donald trump knew that was going to happen and so he decided to have the press conference on that day? >> i almost wonder if it's just to keep the attention focused where donald trump wants the attention to be on donald trump. so even less than to distract from any possible snafus and missteps by these potential nominees, trump is going to refocus everyone back on this pivotal press conference that everyone has been waiting for for so long. >> yeah, 160 days, jamal. what's your take on this? do you think he's doing this on purpose? what's at play when you have high-profile, some of the controversial cabinet picks including jeff sessions? >> when it comes to donald trump, it's always about donald trump. we have assume whatever he's doing, he's doing it because he thinks it's going put him in the best light there is.
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reality is you got somebody like jeff sessions who's a senator from alabama, who a lot of people in the senate may think that they want to support because, you know, he's a colleague, but the reality is his record, some of the things that he's said, have all raised concerns among a lot of groups. i think it's not just the naacp, but there are going to be a variety of groups, seen law professors come out, former assistant attorney general deval patrick, governor of massachusetts. >> right. >> wrote an incredible letter about jeff sessions. i think the attention on him as the american public focuses in, he's not somebody who represents the future of the country as much as he's somebody who represents our bad, racial, m past. >> jamal, speaking of that, do you expect him to get a tough confirmatieirmation hearing? >> the democrats will be tough. the question is how the republicans treat their former colleague. hear all sorts of stories about people not liking him so much. maybe the republicans want to get him out of the senate. whatever that is, the democrats will certainly sli hold his feet to the fire when it comes to some of his past statements of positions.
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>> so elise, what do you make of that possibility that jeff sessions' hearing is froeprobab going to be money of the more contentious ones, democrats want to try to fight if they decide to go after any of the cabinet picks? >> i think potentially if could be quite they're making a miste by focusing in on past comments and racist language and rhetoric thatic and shouldn't have done. focus on issues that yubfy with other republicans like civil asset fort forfeiture. that's somewhere where democrats could potentially pull in republicans whot the end o the d day will vote for sessions but there are republicans who oppose those measures. >> let's put politics aside, have fun on a different note. we learned first lady michelle baobama is going to have her fil "tonight show" apierce next
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week. to y do you think she's going to top this classic? check this out. all right. so i think that was the video there of the sessions -- it looked like it was the senator sessions arrest. it didn't look like michelle obama in that video. what we wanted to play you was this appearance of michelle obama on one of the issues of jimmy fallon. her popularity is soaring, elise. she's -- >> off the charts. >> a lot of people want to see her career continue in the public spotlight. what do you think she's going to do -- >> she hit a stride this year, considering how uncomfortable she was with the attention at the beginning, this year was a rock star on the campaign trail, i'm excited to see what she does next. she spoke with a lot of passion about the issues she cared about this year. >> jamal, final word, what do you think we're going to see from michelle obama next week and going forward? >> i think she'll do a fantastic job of wrapping up the administration for the next two or three weeks and then when
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this administration's over, i think she's going to have one of the best vacations that we've ever seen a modern first lady get a chance to take. >> all right. >> in fact, i want to say this, barack obama would not be president of the united states if it wasn't for michelle -- >> jamal, we're running at of time, have to leave it at that. thanks for watching. i'm ayman mohyeldin. "hardball" starts right now. trumping the media. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. on what has been a very busy day up in the capitol. president obama and vice president-elect mike pence were both on the hill today meeting with members of their respective parties. mike pence held what is described as a pep talk, focusing on killing obamacare. the president huddled with democrats strategizing to


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