tv Meet the Press MSNBC January 15, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST
all i'm doing is waiting to die. it's the world's longest waiting room. it's depressing sometimes. charge from an american civil rights icon. >> i don't see president-elect as a legitimate president. >> john lewis says the russians helped destroy hillary clinton's candidacy. >> i think the russians anticipated and helpeded this man get elected. >> my exclusive interview with congressman lewis. the national debate his comments have inspired and reaction this morning from donald trump's incoming chief of staff reince
priebus, plus growing concerns about donald trump's coziness with vladimir put snien do you think the russians were behind hacking into our election? >> is vladimir putin a war criminal? >> should we ignore our history with vladimir put snin. >> dianne feinstein joins me to explain the probe into the probe into these allegations. >> and with the fbi's email investigation now under investigation itself, democrats go public with their anger at director james comey. >> the fbi director has no credibility. >> joining me for insight and analysis are rich lowery of the national review, helene cooper of the new york times and jeffrey goldberg of "the atlantic" and danielle pletka." welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press". >> from nbc news in washington this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. good sunday morning on this martin luther king jr. weekend
and the last sunday of the obama presidency. even before john lewis' explosive statements denying donald trump's legitimacy as predent, monday president-elect trump in effect challenged decades-old laws of nepotism by hiring jared kushner as a senior adviser tuesday. a dossier of mr. trump's ties to russia are published by the online site buzz feed. wednesday he calls a bizarre news conference where he called cnn fake news for reporting the existence of that dossier. thursday the justice department's inspector general of how fbi director james comey handled the hillary clinton investigation and on friday, an icon of the civil rights movement says he doesn't think president-elect trump is a legitimate president. we'll begin with part one of my interview with lewis and his comments about donald trump.
>> you have forged relationships with many presidents. do you plan on trying to forge a relationship with donald trump? >> i believe in forgiveness. i believe in trying to work with people. it will be hard. it's going to be very difficult. i don't see it as president-elect as a legitimate president. >> you do not consider him a legitimate president? why is that? >> i think the russians participated in helping this man get elected and they helped destroy the candidacy of hillary clinton. i don't plan to attend the inawing raisiinau inauguration. it is the first one i'll miss since i've been at congress. you cannot be at home with something that you feel that it's wrong. >> it will send a big message to a lot of people in this country that you don't believe he's a
legitimate president. >> i think there was a conspiracy on the part of the russi russians that helped him get electeded. that's not right. that's not fair. that's not the open, democratic process. >> you're a man of action. you have been your whole life. you believe this president is not legitimate. what would you tell young folks, young activists to do. >> i would say to young people, and i continue to say it today, and i'll say it during the next few days as we celebrate and commemorate the birthday of martin luther king jr., that when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something. you cannot afford to be quiet or to be silent. >> what should nancy pelosi do? what should chuck schumer do?
what should president obama do? >> we should not be silent. >> are you suggesting the president is being too silent? >> i don't think he's been too silent. he's an outgoing president. those of us in position and those of us not in position, we've got to make some noise. we've got to organize. >> that is a powerful thing to say coming from you that you do not believe he's a legitimately elected president. what should be done? >> we must continue to work. we must continue to speak up. >> it will be very hard and difficult, almost impossible for me to work with him. >> we'll have more later in the program including whether he would invite donald trump to selma and as well his take on president obama's legacy and that's later in the broadcast. not surprising, lewis' reaction drew strong comments from both sides of the aisle and more comments from president-elect trump. a day after congressman john
lewis said he doesn't believe trump is a legitimately elected president, trump responded tweeting congressman john lewis should spend time helping his district which is falling apart, not to mention crime infested rather than complaining about the election results. all talk, talk, talk, no action or results sad. late last night after many pointed out lewis' atlanta district is solidly middle class with wealthy areas. trump tweeted again. congressman john lewis should finally focus on the crime-infested inner cities in the u.s. i could use all the help i can get. with five days to go until trump is sworn in the civil rights icon has ignited the new debate about trump's legitimacy putting republicans on the defensive. >> john is a good man, and i think he will, in time, feel that he used his words poorly. >> and initially dividing democrats. >> john lewis is right on target, you know, in terms of
howthi president-elect was elected. >> i just don't want to see this constant churning that leads to a kind of reflexive reaction every time a president gets elected who we don't like. >> trump's eagerness to pick a fight with a legend is now uniting the democrats. it's the latest in the coming showdown with russia. it's interference with the election and ties to the trump campaign. trump's pick for national security adviser michael flynn is facing questions about a series of phone calls with russia's ambassador including on the day the obama administration announced sanctions retaliating against russia for its interference on the election. >> on the very eve of these sanctions, was it right to have that conversation? >> now trump tells "the wall street journal" he would be open to lifting sanctions on russia in the future. quote, if you get along and if russia is really helping us why would anybody have sanctions if somebody is doing some really great things?
>> three senators in trump's own party disagree with him on russia and that disagreement dominated confirmation hearings this week. >> do you believe that vladimir putin and his cronies are responsible for ordering the murder of countless dissidents, journalists and political opponents? >> i do not have sufficient information to make that claim. >> none of this is classified, mr. tillerson. these people are dead. >> do you think the russians are behind hacking into our election? >> i just know what the media says about it. >> do you think you can get briefed any time soon? >> i'll need to. >> i think you do, too. >> they threatened nato allies and intervened militarily in syria leaving a trail of death and destruction. >> joining me is the president-elect incoming chief of staff, reince priebus. welcome back to the program, sir. >> thank you, chuck. >> let me start with what congressman amash tweeted. he had a pretty succinct respond
to the third tweet that the president-elect made on john lewis, simply, dude, just stop. let me ask you this, does the president-elect contemplate reaching out to congressman lewis privately before tweeting? >> here's the thing, i think that, chuck, it's shocking that congressman lewis who is a civil rights icon and is a person who has championed voting rights would actually question the legitimacy of an election in this country in starting this firestorm. i mean, the truth is donald trump won 30 of 50 counties. he won 128 out of the 159 counties in georgia. he flipped 200 counties that obama won and had the biggest electoral landslide on our side of the aisle since ronald reagan. i mean, i get you want to go back and forth on tweets, but the truth is it's irresponsible
for john lewis, historic as he is, to have done this. and the other piece of this, chuck, is that barack obama should step up as well and call it what it is. it's wrong what is happening. it's wrong how some of these democrats are treating president-elect trump. we have a great relationship with the white house. i talk to dennis mcdonogh every day. we had a great meeting with the cabinet members and the sitting white house cabinet members on friday. the transfer of power within the white house is going great, but to do this to president-elect trump five days before he puts his hand on the bible is just wrong and the democrats are fund raising on this comment from congressman lewis right now. so they're making money on it. >> let me ask you this, because one of the things that congressman lewis says he will never forget and possibly never forgive that vladimir putin is a
stronger leader than president obama and there are people that will respond to your comments right now and say donald trump spent five years questioning the legitimacy of barack obama's constitutional viability to be president of the united states with the birther controversy. do you understand why there are going to be some who look at your criticism of john lewis and say that's hypocritical coming from somebody who works for donald trump? >> so first of all, he -- the president-elect never said that vladimir putin was a better person. he didn't say -- >> i said stronger leader. my question to you was stronger leader for what it's worth. that's what i quoted. >> i get it. i'm trying to make the distinction. it wasn't he's a better person, and i would rather have him as president of the united states. it was the characteristics of leadership can be parsed and compared, and characteristic qualities can be a lot of things and that's what he was talking
about, but certainly wouldn't prefer vladimir putin over barack obama as president of the united states. that's ridiculous and to take an old argument about where the president was born has nothing to do with whether or not any democracy in the united states, whether donald trump won the election and whether it was legitimate. jameclapper, the intelligence community and i don't knowf ohn lewis knows more than they do, but they have concluded that there is no evidence that anything that was done in the course of this election by russians or whoever changed the course of this election. in fact, the only evidence there is of tampering and having a real connection to foreign leadership was the dnc pagan operative over $400,000 to meddle in the ukraine to dig up dirt on donald trump. nobody's talking about the $400,000 the dnc spent digging up dirt to an operative in the ukraine.
there is nothing in regard -- and all of the intelligence agencies have concluded that. >> when you say there's nothing here -- >> i mean evidence that changed the outcome of the election. >> you're not disputing that there is a lot of evidence of russia's attempts to interfere in the election? >> i'm not disputing that the russian entities hacked the dnc, but i am -- i'm not going to go back to our interview of a few weeks ago, i will say that when you don't have defenses on your computer system and you basically hand over 50,000 emails obviously that makes it a whole lot easier, and i also think that the clinton folks wasted $1 billion of their donors' money and they've got a lot to answer for and none of this would be happening if hillary clinton would have simply not used a personal server in violation of federal law. >> okay, but mr. priebus does that excuse a foreign government from attempting to interfere in the united states election? >> we've never -- of course not. all of it's wrong.
china's wrong. russia is wrong, iran is wrong, all of these entities are wrong for doing what they've done, but back to john lewis, for him then to say which no intelligence official is saying, that donald trump was elected illegitimately is irresponsible, and just because he's a civil rights leader and someone that i respect as a civil rights leader and someone that i went to selma with him and many others. >> yes, you did. >> a few years ago, it doesn't excuse the fact that his statement was not responsible and it's not right and it's too bad because president-elect trump's going to be a great president and this country elected him in an electoral landslide and it's a shame. it's really a shame that five days from now he's being sworn in and we're talking about this. >> i want to talk about this, because the issue has to do with russia and there was another dispute and some concern that on the same day that the obama administration announced new
sanctions against russia for their meddling in the 2016 election that the national security adviser michael flynn was on the phone multiple times with the russian ambassador to the united states. can you say definitively that there was no promises, no winks, no anything that somehow there was a -- an acknowledgement that these sanctions will go away as quickly as possible once the inauguration takes place? >> so, chuck, almost every single day general flynn talks to counterparts and ambassadors from all over the world. almost every single day. that's his job. so as a national security adviser for those that don't know, one of his jobs is to be in constant communication with counterparts and security issues all over the world. >> the tick-tock on this is that at christmas the two of them texted each other merry christmas. a couple of days later this
ambassador texted general flynn that he wanted to talk and then the next day they had a conversation which did happen to be that same day, but i have talked to general flynn. none of that came up and the subject matter of sanctions or the actions taken by the obama administration did not come up in the information. in fact, it was the sports team that was in an unfortunate plane accident. they talked about setting up a phone call after inauguration, and they also talked about a conference in syria, and that conference in regard to isis in syria. those were the only subjects that came up, but there was no controversy in general flynn talking about their counterparts in the world? >> there was no challenge by the russians? >> no, sir. >> there was a new report out from "esquire" magazine that includes quotes by the incoming secretary and anonymous quotes that seemed to indicate that it is your intent to remove the
white house press corps from the white house. is that true? >> well, look, first of all -- let me explain. no, because the white house obviously is 18 acres, right, chuck? no. the technical answer is no, but what we have is you saw the news conference the other day, and i would have to quarrel with you. i don't think it was a bizarre news conference. i don't think it's a fair characterization, but there was 500 to 600 reporters at that news conference. what i'm talking about and what we're talking about and the only thing that was discussed about this, is whether or not you take 50 people in the very small press room which it looks big on tv, but is very diny and whether you want to go 50 feet to the eob and have for the first few weeks or the first months or so the press conferences where you can fit three or four times the amount of people. it is about more access. >> this isn't about the office space or any of that business? >> this is about quadrupling the
amount of reporters that can cover our press conference. >> but there will still be reporters -- there will still be reporters every day going to work in the white house? >> well, that hasn't been determined, chuck, but as of now the only thing that created this story, i just want to make it very clear was the question of whether or not the press briefings, at least initially are going to be in the eob. >> is this about press briefings or is this about kicking the press out of the building altogether? >> this is about press briefings. that's what created this story. >> all right. reince priebus. i will leave it there. so the press will still be going to work every day in the white house. >> how about a little go, pack, go? >> there will be a lot of go. that i promise you, all day. all right, sir. i appreciate your time. thanks for coming on and sharing your views. all right. still so much to get to in the broadcast, including the decision by the inspector
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welcome back. panelists, rich lowery, editor of the national review. helene cooper, danielle pletka, and jeffrey goldberg, the editor in chief of "the atlantic." welcome. jeffrey, let me start with you. this was already a tumultuous week. >> yeah. >> -- going into the inauguration and then john lewis versus donald trump. >> it's this monday through saturday -- i'm wondering, of course, if this is what the next four years will be like every day. the thought that i have about lewis is an operative one also. the first thought is -- is rex tillerson and jim mattis, the defense secretary, will they have special people monitoring donald trump's twitter feed to see what policy becomes?
the john lewis thing is interesting as a political issue and moral issue and it's also interesting as an operational issue and i'm curious how he uses this going forward because he's about to become president and he's so easily trolled by people that when he becomes president, if north korea or someone else starts trolling him, how is he going to react because this is not an appropriate reaction. >> this is just -- i'm going to scroll the list and these are just the entities and individuals since he won the presidency, rich, and it's a long list. john lewis, you throw on there, it was chuck jones at one point. you had a steelworker guy, gm, i mean, most of them have been democrats, some republicans, lots of members of the media, present company included. at what point is this a problem for him? >> i think everyone needs to get used to this. this is the new abnormal, and trump is going to -- he finds this effective and emotionally gratifying for him with communication and his supporters love it when he lambastes his
critics especially when he takes conventions and pieties of our politics when you don't hit back hard like statements of john lewis and i see it through working through stages of grief. all of this russia stuff, at least a lot of it was litigated during the election. hillary clinton lost anyway, and my guess is democrats when they actually get traction against donald trump it is a normal opposition opposing a normal republican who wants to cut taxes for the rich. >> you are downplaying the russian angle a little bit? >> i think everything we learned since the election could from been known prior to the election and the result very likely could have been the same. i think most of the wikileaks stuff was gossipy things and how the clinton foundation was a profit center for everyone and that was pretty damaging and comey had much more of a political effect and whatever else you think of him, he is an american official. >> comey is a whole separate
topic. danielle, where are you on all this? i mean, this has just been one of these tumultuous weeks. >> i'll say something about john lewis that maybe hasn't been said. you know, truly a great american, and i think we can all agree about that, but what the russians want is not so much donald trump. what the russians want is for there to be questioned about the legitimacy that happens in america. this is their operative stance. that's what we see in the uk. that's what we see in france. that's what we see in germany and that's what we see them doing everywhere and when congressman lewis says he doesn't believe in the results of the election which i think we can all agree was legitimate and it shows the distrust that helps the russians. i don't think he meant to help them, but it does, and it's not the way we should proceed. >> helene, i think there are people who feel trapped that
share danielle's sentiment here that that's exactly what russia wants, and at the same time there are people that are genuinely outraged and feel the need to speck out. >> i think that's true, and if you're john lewis, there is a way to go about doing this and this is in the measured way that he did with you. i think the far bigger issue because john lewis is not president-elect of the united states. donald trump is and donald trump is about to become president and as president there is a way to respond and there is a way not to respond. there is a way to say i disagree with john lewis without calling atlanta a crime-infested hole. other people disagree with john lewis without going on a twitter tantrum and that's sort of the thing that you do not expect from a commander in chief, and i think this goes back to what jeff was saying. we're now five days out from donald trump taking control of the greatest country on earth. the idea that the president of the united states is going to be
having tantrums on twitter whenever somebody gets under his skin is frightening to a lot of people. >> i don't think he's going to change. i mean, a -- >> new abnormal, that will be the quote of the panel here. >> the new abnormal. i don't think he's going to kafrj. people at my age don't change, i don't think people at his age change, and also, it works. it works. >> can we talk about the -- >> but here's the thing -- >> it satisfies the base. it got him to the dance. >> the irony here is if donald trump says nothing, tweets nothing, this is say debate inside the democratic party about whether to use the "l" word or not and instead it united the democratic party and you have some republicans uncomfortable with his tone with john lewis. >> i think rich is right. this is what works with donald trump. this is who he is and to a large extent we need to all think about how it is that the rest of the body politic in washington reacts to this. if we all stand up and start screaming every time he drops a tweet, we're going to be very,
very tired, sorry, jack, the day is tough, at the end of the year. we need to recognize that first of all, not every tweet is policy, because this is the constitutional policy of the country. >> when the president of the united states says something it's automatically news. >> i'm not telling you to ignore them. i'm telling you not to edge toward the cliff every time you read one. that's what i mean. it's not always an object of hysteria, and it isn't going to necessarily be the policy of the united states. plus we have a congress and we have a constitution and he has a cabinet. >> it almost sounds that it is the responsibility of the united states to act as the adult while the president acts like a child. >> first of all, i don't want to say that he acts like a child. i say that this is who he is and he was elected being who he is. it's not what i would do, but i wasn't running, and if we are going to manage how we assess the government and how he governs, we need to --
>> this is very abnormal to go back to that. that is a very abnormal way of looking at the way the world should be organized. >> but that's what the american people chose. >> i will pause the conversation. i promise you it's a pause. i will hit play on this in a little bit later, but coming up i'll speak with senator dianne feinstein of california. she's on the intel committee. they are the first congressional committee that will formally investigate the potential russian interference in the election and later, more of my interview with congressman john lewis and his feelings about donald trump. >> can you imagine ever sharing >> can you imagine ever sharing a stage with donald trump?
welcome back. the senate select committee on intelligence announced friday that it will conduct a bipartisan investigation into among other things russia's efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. senator dianne feinstein of california knows as much as anyone about the intel community. she is the former chair and vice-chair of the committee, still on it. she joins me now. welcome back to the program. >> thank you, chuck. >> before i get to the investigation, i have got to ask you about what john lewis said and about donald trump's response and just get your response. >> well, i understand why john lewis feels the way he does. this is a very fearful and divided nation right now. and the trumps have not done
anything to bring it together. i really regret the president-elect's response to what john lewis said. it's without understanding of his history, of what he went through, of the fact that this is martin luther king weekend. and there is so much fear in this country. i come from the biggest state. i get tens of thousands of phone calls and e-mails of people that are fearful of what's going to happen. it's the job of this new president to reassure people that he is not just the president of his base but he is the president of everyone, and that means a coming together. now -- >> reince priebus said he thought president obama should play a role in healing more. what did you make of that statement? >> well, president obama has played a role for eight years in doing just that. we're talking about the next
period of four years. and the man that's going to head that four-year period really needs to step up and recognize that he represents the whole country and he represents people of all different races and creeds who are looking for opportunity, hope and for the values that this country carries high. >> let me go to the investigation. you have seen the unclassified versions of this intel report. do you have any doubt in your mind that russia tried to interfere in the election and then, second, do you believe it altered the outcome? >> the answer is yes on both cases. >> you truly -- you believe it altered the outcome. >> that's what i believe. i have had all of the major classified briefings. i have been astonished at what has been a two-year effort at russia to spear-fish, to hack, to provide disinformation, propaganda, wherever it really could. i think this has been a very sophisticated effort. i think, in our classified
sessions, we will be able to get down to the depth and breadth of it. i hope so. i spoke yesterday twice with senator warner, who is our new vice chairman. and he reviewed with me the terms of this agreement. this investigation has to be full and robust. if it isn't, both of us will go toward an outside panel. but we cannot ignore what has happened. to ignore it really is to commit ourselves to a very bad future. >> what is the scope? i'll be honest. i read it. it comes across as an investigation into the investigation. it's an investigation into the intel community's assessment. are you -- is the intel committee going to do its own investigation? and maybe, you know -- >> let me. >> okay. >> it's a review of the intelligence that informed the declassified report about russia's ipt feernterference in election.
last night i read the declassified report. the declassified report is pretty certain about what russia did. there are some particulars which are classified which are not part of it. but it's pretty clear that the hacking was, in both political parties, but with the aim of hurting hillary clinton. and then, if hillary clinton were to win, the aim clearly was to weaken her. >> are you investigating -- but is there a new aspect? are you investigating the specific allegations of whether or not there was a trump -- any member of the trump campaign was somehow in contact with russian officials? >> well, that hasn't been discussed. i really can't answer that question right now. i can say that it should be full and robust with respect to who gave the order to do this, who participated in it, exactly what they did and how they carried it
out and what it portends for the future. that's my view of what the intelligence committee should do. >> do you truly believe, though, it will be a thorough enough investigation that it will get to the bottom of it as far as the american public is concerned? >> we'll see. i know that we have to. if we can't this way, we will another way. look, i am certainly not going to leave this in limbo, because this is the future of america. it's the future of democracy. if we can't carry out an election without disinformation being pumped into it by another country, we've got a huge destruction of our system going on. so we have to -- we have to be full and robust in this look. and i trust that we are. i have worked with chairman burr for a long time. and i believe that this can happen. if it doesn't, we will sing out loud and clear. >> let me button-hole something, though, you said you believe that russia's interference altered the outcome of the
election. >> i believe that with -- it's a combination of a couple of things. i think that and i think the fbi, in the october surprise, i call it an october surprise, of announcing a subsequent investigation, did have an impact. and i believe the clinton people believe it did too. they were polling, and they were up, and all of that diminished. >> do you think james comey is still fit to serve in your opinion? >> i think that's to come when we learn more about what drove this. >> it should wait until after -- >> i think the inspector general's report is critical in this. there are rumors of all kinds of conflicts within the fbi that focused on the director. the director, i think, was torn. i think he did what he thought was right. in my view it turned out very much not to be right because the fbi doesn't announce --
>> you are not ready to say he should be fired yet. >> not yet. >> senator dianne feinstein, cub democrat from california. quite a week. new pacemaker and healthy as ever. nicely done. >> thank you. when we come back, investigating the investigation. the justice department is now the justice department is now looking into how which you are you? the justice department is now looking into how be the you who doesn't cover your moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. be the you who shows up in that dress. who hugs a friend. who is done with treatments that don't give you clearer skin. be the you who controls your psoriasis with stelara® just 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before starting stelara® tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have symptoms such as: fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough. always tell your doctor if you have any signs of infection, have had cancer, if you develop any new skin growths or if anyone in your house needs or has recently received a vaccine.
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the panel is back. we ended there on james comey. wow, helene, james comey might be in rougher shape than any non-elected official in washington. >> it's incredible. he's had quite a week when you look at the beginning of the week and they came out with the russia dossier, and there were so many questions about, okay, what was comey's motivation here, as well? >> right. >> and then you look at the end of the week.
it's amazing to me to see what the different iterations. one minute he's, you know, he's viewed as having or hurt hillary clinton and the next minute he's hurting donald trump, and it's going to be very interesting to see how he emerges from this, and how trump ends up viewing him when he becomes president. >> rich, on the day that "the wall street journal" comes out and says comey must resign and he goes and briefs house democrats and that ends in a debacle and you heard maxine waters. he has no confidence from either party. that is not a good place for the director of the fbi to be. >> they're investigating whether he violated guidelines during the election. we can all save time and mono pep yes, he did. when we talk about how trump violates norms. they nominated a candidate under fbi investigation. and that was going to stress the system in all sort of ways. i think they make a very good case that comey never should have said anything about this
publicly, but i cut him some slack because as soon as loretta lynch has that meeting with bill clinton, there is a pall over the whole thing and he feels as though he needs to explain his decision and once you get outside the guidelines and once you start explaining and talking there is not a good place to stop. >> i don't know how he survives this and i don't know how you get a new fbi director confirmed in this atmosphere who wants the job. >> if i were doing pr for comey i would note that he's a uniter and not a divider and he's brought republicans and democrats together in a way they don't get together anymore. i would note under the record that being under investigation is not being found guilty and i would not suggest that people under investigation. being under investigation means someone said something anonymously to the fbi and they're looking into it. i'm not commenting on the particulars of the hillary clinton. we don't want a standard where anyone under investigation can no longer run for office. >> once you do that the fbi director will be in a really
tough position and bad things might happen and they did. now democrats turn around and say oh, these terrible things topped hillary isn't as awful. it's what she did and it was their decision to nominate her anyway. >> it has to do with how it was three republicans that i would argue set the tenor of some of these confirmation hearings, mccain, rubio, all on russia and that confirmation hearing had nothing to do with john mattis and it was his take on russia and you saw it with tillerson. where is this headed? is this going to be a showdown on sanctions and will it divide the senate republicans? >> i spent ten years at the senate foreign relations committee than most people and the notion that a nominee would disagree with the -- with the president-elect is basically par for the course. >> sure. especially when you have a president-elect who speaks in the way that donald trump does. you cannot expect that the nominees will ever echo his
style of rhetoric, let alone the exact words that he says. so i didn't feel that that was so dissident. what i think is going to be a real question is how much of what they say, how much of what these nominees have said whether it was on russia, or china or the middle east is actually going to be policy because once they're confirmed, guess what? donald trump is the boss. not john mccain and not marco rubio. >> no, is there going to be a showdown? >> i think absolutely. >> senate wants to pass one. there is a majority in the senate to pass it and put it on his desk and that is a test. >> i think there will be a showdown. there will be showdowns between president trump and his cabinet. i was struck, and i sort of disagree with you, danielle. i was struck by the level of -- of distance between mattis and
tillerson and donald trump and it wasn't just about russia. it was also about nato. it was also about europe. it was also about iran. there was a level of distance that i have not seen in confirmation hearings. >> you forget that hillary clinton was nominated to be secretary of state for a president whose policies she called naive and wrong. >> but what were the real sources of difference between hillary and barack obama? >> that's not about the relationship between the united states and -- i think it's a word. i think it's not about the traditional adversary. when the dust settles this is maybe the most interesting fight in washington, the fight inside the republican party about how to understand the role of russia in the world. >> all right. we'll have another pause here. when we come back, more of my interview with congressman john lewis. >> what happened? >> what happened? what role did the russians play
when really, it's scorching. and while some may say the desert is desolate... we prefer secluded. what is the desert? it's absolutely what you need right now. absolutely scottsdale. welcome back. earlier we heard congressman john lewis make the startling statement that he does not consider donald trump to be a legitimate president because of russian interference in the election. here's more of my interview with congressman lewis beginning with what kind of relationship he might try to have with the incoming president. >> can you imagine ever sharing
a stage with donald trump? donald trump came to you and said, you know, i want forgiveness here. i want your trust or i want your -- you know, would you take him to selma? >> well, by going to selma like president bush, president clinton, president obama, maybe he would learn something. maybe he would get religion. >> so you would bring him? you would -- you would do that for him if he asked? >> i would not invite him to come. >> you wouldn't invite him, but if he asked to come would you let him? >> i wouldn't try to prevent him from coming. >> we're going from the first african-american president, a breakthrough. at the same time, we've just elected a president that you believe was illegitimately elected. what does that say about the state of race relations in this country? >> well, on one hand we made a
lot of progress, but we're not there yet, and i think when the president spoke a few days ago he said we're not a racist society and some people said it and some people believe that, but we're not there yet. the scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded in american society. we cannot sweep it under some rug or in some dark corner. we have to continue to do all we can to move us closer to what dr. martin luther king jr. called the beloved community, where we can redeem the soul of america and lay down the burden of hate, separation and division. >> if he's not a legitimately elected president in your mind, there are tools that congress has. do you think congress should use those tools?
are you one of those that believe the impeachment process should begin? >> i truly believe that we should find out what happened and how it happened? >> john mccain wants a special committee. >> i agree with senator mccain. i think we should have a special commission to get to the bottom of what happened, what role did the russians play in determine the leader of our country. when you have someone elected who said the president and the leader of russia is stronger or better than our own president -- >> that's just something you can't forgive? >> i will never forget it. >> this was a weekend of commemoration and it's a holiday that we commemorate dr. king. what would dr. king say about this moment? >> dr. king would say to all of us, never give up, never become
bitter, be hopeful, be optimistic and keep pushing. >> you can see the entire interview on meet the press.com. you are free tone joy the meet the press podcast, we call it 1947 the year "meet the press" was born and we call it putin 101 and we have the likes of maureen dowd among others. find us on itunes and the apple podcast app and we'll be back in 45 seconds with endgame and a big thing that president obama said and asking, is our democracy facing a moment of crisis? coming up, "meet the pr oh, look... ...another anti-wrinkle cream in no hurry to make anything happen. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair works... ...in one week. with the... fastest retinol formula. ...to visibly reduce wrinkles. neutrogena®.
>> announcer: "meet the press" end game is brought to you by boeing. back with "end game." lost this week was president obama's farewell address. the guts of the speech, rich lowry, seemed to be a -- i don't know if you want to call it defense of democracy, a warning, hey, democracy is fragile. what did you make of it? >> well, i think in our national consciousness we still look back at the couple decades after world war ii when there is a broad consensus in our politics and we think that's the way it works and should work. in the broad sweep of american history that's usually not the way it's worked. go back to the beginning of partisan politics.
the federalists thought the jeffersonians were tools of the french. even lightly, democrats thought george w. bush was selected, not elected. republicans delegitimized or tried to, bill clinton out of the gate because he only won 43% of the vote. democracy very often is messy, contentious and that's the way it should be. >> you are saying -- that's an interesting take. you buy that? this the post world war ii period, the 30-year period, was an outlier. >> i didn't think that until this past 12 months, but i am wondering if that's the case. a lot of things we didn't think were on the table about the way we organize ourselves, the nature of our politics, those things have been put up for question. president obama was eloquently making the case that we can't take these things for granted. it was also, by the way, an admission that he had failed to achieve what he hoped to achieve, which is to change politics.
not red america, blue america but one united america. >> that was interesting. >> i just felt that there was that through-line. >> it was an emotional speech for him. i was really struck afterwards by sort of the response from people, both in the crowd in chicago -- they were rapturous. also on social media, all over the place. you see people now changing their profile pictures on twitter and facebook to the obama family and that sort of thing. it's been -- i thought his speech was probably one of his better ones. and this is somebody who has made that an art. an art form over eight years. and i thought, you know, yeah. democracy is pretty fragile. but it's also always been messy. and that's kind of the beauty of it. >> the irony in farewell addresses. people talk about the most influential ones. eisenhower's. the political parties and the ironies, we didn't heed either warning. we didn't. we talked about it. but we didn't heed it.
>> the american people are -- as a nation, we are so profoundly sentimental. you talk about social media. i really -- i was -- i felt my heart warmed when he talked about his wife and his kids. it was so sweet and so lovely. >> and joe biden. [ laughter ] >> his deep love of joe biden. >> that was lovely. but let's not forget that one of the reasons our nation is so divided is because of the legacy of barack obama, one of the reasons why we no longer lead the world is barack obama. >> don't think everybody will agree with you on that one. that's a tough charge. i am running up against the clock. we'll leave it there. the debate will continue, i am sure. before we go programming note. this week lester holt will take "nbc nightly news" across america, talking to americans about the state of the nation, all leading up to friday's inauguration. that's all we have for today. back next week for inauguration weekend. and because of it's sunday.
"meet the press" and another nfl game to worry about. let's hope the packers beat the cowboys. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons into a world of chaos and danger. now the scenes you've never seen. "lockup: raw." >> if personal relationships can get complicated on the outside, they can be even more complicated behind bars. >> my mom gave me the best advice. everything that has happened in my life, she told me that was going to happen.