tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 31, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PST
support your active dog's whole body health with purina one. a live look in vietnam. now welcoming in the new year. one of several countries bidding farewell to 2016. this was the scene in hong kong, a short time ago. spectators crowded the waterfront to watch this dramatic fireworks display over victoria harbor. and tokyo also joining the early celebrations with the traditional release of balloons into the night sky. a spectacular sight, just a short time ago. earlier, new zealanders celebrated with a brightly colored fireworks display, erupting from automatic land's 328-meter tall sky tower. and perhaps the most dazzling of all, 1.5 million people in
the 2 million revelers expected here tonight. they are already wanting people into the pens. radiation detectors, metal detectors, dogs roaming through the crowd. shoppers in the air. i want to introduce a group, kyle and erica and friends from rochester. you guys came all the way, all night long. why? >> to ring in the new year with the best city, new york city. >> reporter: and you did this last year. what brings you back this year? >> it was a great thing with my best friend, erica. it's very fun. >> reporter: erica, why did you come this year? >> just to have fun. bring in the new year with the big apple. >> reporter: i've got to ask you guys, what are your new year's resolutions? number one according to a recent poll is lose weight. what do you have? >> i think to travel a lot. i really want to travel. >> reporter: okay. erica? >> to better myself and better my community. >> reporter: all right. happy new year to all of you. stephanie, as you know, there's
no known threat from the nypd. they tell us no threats to the festivities here. so let the party begin. happy new year, stephanie. >> happy new year, adam. adam reese. thank you. also happening now, new reports of a russian hack targeting the u.s. according to the "washington post," a malware code associated with a russian hacking campaign was found in a laptop at a vermont electric company. it's unclear what the intention was or when the code was entered into the community. the "washington post" is citing a senior obama administration official among its sources who sigh the russians did not actively use the code to disrupt utility operations. nbc's tammy leitner is in hawaii. tam kn tammy, you have new details on this story. >> reporter: that's right, stephanie. the burlingn electric department has come out and said they found a laptop, and on that
laptop was a code associated with russian hackers. as you mentioned, they don't believe that was used to disrupt any type of operations, but it really shows the vulnerability here of our nation's great. and it also raises a big question, are the russians trying to infiltrate our grid? vermont's governor came out with a statement. let's go ahead and pull that up. he said vermonters and all americans should be both alarmed and outrage's one of the world's leading thugs, vladimir putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely on to support our quality of life, economy, health and safety. now, both government officials and the utility industry regularly monitor this grid. and one reason is that it's highly computerized. any disruption could be disastrous for both our medical and emergency services. stephanie? >> yeah, tammy. such a critical part of our infrastructure. nbc's tammy leitner, thank you. the "washington post" report on the vermont utility company
came just hours after the president-elect praised vladimir putin for his decision to not retaliate against new u.s. sanctions. in a tweet, trump said, "i always knew he was very smart." meanwhile, nbc confirmed the husband of trump's top adviser, kellyanne conway is on the short list to serve as solicitor general. conway is known in conservative circles for helping paula jones against president bill clinton. conway did not play a role in the trump campaign. new reaction from former member of the mormon tabernacle chair on why she resigned in protest to performing on inauguration day. here's what she told steve kornacki yesterday. >> a number of people who feel that going out to perform for this particular candidate expresses conflicted message.
that might undermine the beautiful message that choir has for so many decades worked so hard to cultivate with so many people. it's not just america's choir. it's also the world's choir, too. for me this is a moral issue where i'm concerned about our freedoms being in danger as time goes by. >> joining me now is francessca chambers, for daily mail do you mean and bob cusack, editor-in-chief for the hill. the president-elect has yet to respond to the "washington post" report on the spyware found on the laptop at the vermont utility company. do you think this may change how he views the intelligence reports? this is some of our most critical infrastructure. >> i do. i think that trump may pivot next week. he's going to get an intelligence briefing, and i think a lot of this is wrapped up in the election, and when some had said, well, the russians played a role or helped trump, it's a reflex from
response from trump where he says, listen, i won and had nothing to do with russia. when he gets his intelligence people into office after january 20th and new cia director, that's when i think he'll pivot. but it's fascinating to see. i don't know this bromance between putin and trump, can it last. i think it's highly unlikely. >> francessca, president obama's sanctions against russia are the latest significant foreign policy decisions to come out of the white house in the last couple weeks. is that an effort by the obama administration to kind of go through a checklist before january 20th? >> well, there's no doubt that president obama is trying to shore up his legacy in the final days of his administration and potentially take actions like these sanctions that donald trump maybe wouldn't ta. donald trump was suggesting on twitter last night that he could potentially roll back those sanctions when he said that vladimir putin was right not to respond too hastily until he came into office to the obama
administration's actions. of course, u.s. officials are saying it wouldn't make sense for donald trump to roll back the sanctions, because they were targeted at people they're saying are russian practiced operatives and officials who helped engage in the hacking. >> bob, how difficult would it be for trump and his administration to roll back these sanctions? >> politically, i think it would be very difficult, because these sanctions have been praised by both republicans and democrats on capitol hill. and there could be sanctions legislation in the new year that would override any veto for trump sanctions, very popular on capitol hill. i think it would be very difficult. it is interesting, though. we had the clinton -- the obama administration with hillary clinton as secretary of state trying to have a reset with russia. trump is trying to do the same. but as we all know, the reset didn't work. for the obama administration. >> did obama in some way kind of paint trump in a corner here, bob, with this -- with these decisions that he has made?
>> i think so. but, i mean, obama is still the president. you can only have one president at a time and he's going to be president until trump is sworn in on the 20th. and a lot of democrats and editorial boards, including the "new york times" have said obama should have acted quicker while praising the actions. democrats definitely think that obama could have been and should have been tougher during the campaign on russia than he was. >> francessca, do you think there were political motivations behind this, that obama was looking to perhaps push trump's hand in the early days of his administration? >> well, again, it's clear that these are not actions that donald trump would have necessarily taken. if he were president. and once he becomes president, he said that he doesn't think that the russians necessarily did do the hacking. and so obama is trying to push him in that direction. and, again, take these actions that officials are saying that it would make sense for donald trump to roll back. you asked that about that a
moment ago. hypothetically, he could, because they are executive actions and he will be the executive. but they're saying that it would make sense for him to allow a large tranche of intelligence operators from russia back into the country or to reopen these compounds for the same reason. >> and bob, is there a sign here that in the first 100 days of trump's administration that he could be facing some battles in congress, even within his own party? >> oh, yeah, definitely, without a doubt. he's going to be -- he said that transportation's a big issue. and a lot of conservative republicans are very nervous about a $1 trillion stimulus on russia. watch john mccain, the chairman of the senate arms committee, he's holding hearings on russia's involvement in the election. and john mccain certainly could be taking on trump on a number of areas. but trump will enjoy republican majority in the house and the senate, and -- but there will be
fights, i think, with conservatives who don't like the trump agenda. >> and what do you think, francessca? do you think trump is ready for those fights? >> i think that he'll be fighting potentially with some republicans on these issues. but he'll be looking to find synergy with republicans on issues like albuquerque, one of the first things he says he will be getting ready of when he takes office. and he's going to be having a shorter inauguration parade, so he can get right to work on day one, he's saying. >> and bob, what do you see at this point after trump comes out this week and publicly praises putin? the reaction to that, he said, you know, great move on delay but v putin. i always knew he was very smart. what is your reaction to that kind of declaration? >> well, it's highly unusual. there's no doubt about it. and it really unsettles republicans. of course, democrats, as well, on capitol hill. but republicans who, like
mccain, say you can't trust putin. now, there's no doubt about it, putin is smart. he's a very good chess player, when you think he's going to do x and retaliate against president obama's actions on sanctions, he pulls back. and i think that politically, that is a deft move. but for the president-elect to be praising putin. they said all went great. since that meeting, there has been a lot of tension between the white house and the trump transition team. though the trump -- trump's transition team was given a heads up on the sanctions. >> and francessca, what was the white house administration, obama's administration's reaction this week? >> they said they had no comment. i received a one-word answer from the white house, which was just "no." >> and nothing behind the scenes from anybody else, right? >> no. no one else has said anything else in the administration at all, either.
>> great. well, thank you both for joining us. we have francessca chambers there and bob cusack. happy new year to both of you guys. >> happy new year. >> happy new year. later, president obama's legacy, and the biggest threats to it. despite his record-high approval numbers. we look at what he accomplished and the effort under way to keep it from the coming overshadowed. later -- 'm crushing my cance. you are crushing it... thanks to breakthrough discoveries at st. jude children's research hospital. we freely share our research to help kids like isabelle across america. wanna help me cheer st. jude? yeah, let me get up on your shoulders. ok. give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not. donate now at stjude.org or shop where you see the st. jude logo. go st. jude... i'm ready to go.... go st. jude. go st. jude. i just want to find a used car start at the new carfax.com show me used trucks with one owner.
pretty cool. [laughs] ah... ahem... show me the carfax. start your used car search at the all-new carfax.com. as after a dvt blood clot,ital i sure had a lot to think about. what about the people i care about? ...including this little girl. and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me? so i asked my doctor. and he recommended eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. yes, eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. both made me turn around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily ...and it may take longer than usual for bleeding to stop.
seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. plus had less major bleeding. both made eliquis the right treatment for me. ask your doctor if switching to eliquis is right for you.
were you surprised that vladimir putin did not retaliate? >> you know, at one level, i am surprised. at the same time, it was a move. the russians hope to get everything they want from donald trump. merely by flattering the man. so far, it's been successful. >> that was congressman adam sheriff yesterday, reacting to vladimir putin's decision not to
expel u.s. diplomats from russia after president obama slapped sanctions on russia that included an order for 35 russian diplomats to leave the country by tomorrow. let's bring in mark jacobson, senior fellow for international relations. former senior adviser to secretary of defense, ash carter. thanks for joining us. happy new year to you. >> thanks and happy new year to you, as well. >> let's start. first of all, what's your take on the way putin has reacted to these sanctions? is it really all strategic? or is this potentially an olive branch from the russian president? >> it's both. it's strategic and it's an al live branch. i think one of the short-sighted moves the obama administration made was not considering that not only was this too little, too late, but that both putin and trump would take advantage to continue to embarrass the administration. look, i'm all for hard action against the russians for what they have done. but i just think this was handled in a way to open things up to allow, again, for further
moves by putin and trump, but to make trump appear the diplomat, which is a very difficult thing to do. >> mark, didn't the obama administration need to do something about this? >> they definitely needed to do something. i actually think that the expulsion of the diplomats and the closing of the missions should have been done earlier in the year in response to the harassment of u.s. diplomats. the other pieces, this covert action discussion going on. one, it does need to take place, but it definitely needs to be happening without all the discussion, without all the leaks. the way covert action is successful, when you don't talk about it, you let it happen, let the cards fall and do it in order to prevent the russians from doing something in the future. i think the administration played this angle way too much, trying to get some good pr, rather than taking the root of making a few concrete steps and being very clear that this is unacceptable and looking to stop the russians from doing it in the future. >> speaking of covert actions, from the other side, we have some alarming news that vermont
electric utility has confirmed found on one of its laptops, used by russian hackers. the "washington post" reported it first, citing a senior obama administration official. according to the report, the laptop was not connected to the electric grid. but even so, how concerned are you about this? doesn't this change the conversation? now we're just talking about politics. we're talking about critical infrastructure of this country. >> stephanie, i think the conversation should have changed months ago. frankly, it's not new for other adversaries. i am southecertain the chinese nonstate actors would like to do, as well. what this tells us is that we have to double down in terms of protecting our infrastructure. especially in terms of thinking about basic -- basic defenses, such as updating operating systems, ensuring that laptops that shouldn't be connected to
infrastructure systems aren't. we're lucky in this case, it appears as though the vermont public utilities organizations and commissions took the right steps. they caught this early. the malware is there. they can take care of it. but i think this places a larger point. we have to understand that we are in the midst of a political warfare campaign and information warfare campaign, orchestrated out of moscow. it didn't begin with the election cycle and will not end with donald trump's inauguration. >> doesn't this news about this utility company take all of the political conversations that we have had and actually say, look, our national security is in jeopardy here, and both sides of the aisle, republicans and democrats, have to come together and figure out how we are going to protect this country from cyber attacks coming from anyone. >> absolutely. i think you're 100% right on this. it is not a partisan issue. both sides of the aisle have to under that it's not just these little acts themselves. not just the hacking of the dnc,
not just the malware put on the computer system up in vermont. but that we are engaged in a campaign or need to be engaged in a defensive campaign that recognizes what the russians are trying to do. they are trying to drive changes in u.s. foreign policy. and if we don't understand their broader goals, we won't understand why they're undertaking these smaller operations. >> and it sounds from what you've said, you disagree with the obama administration's timing on the sanctions, but don't disagree that sanctions really should have taken place in the first place. but if you look at the two compounds that president obama shut down and the 35 diplomats who were ordered to leave the country, why do you think they were specifically identified? >> you know, i'm not sure whether it's because these compounds were used for leisure by the russian diplomats, and therefore you're punishing, saying to the russians, look,
this is something you like to do. you're not going to be able to do it any more. or there were some initial reports there were intelligence activities taking place out of these compounds. if that's the case, you have to make the decision, do you let these activities go on, and then you're able to monitor them, or do you shut them down? either way, i think it's fine. as i said, i just don't think it's enough. i think that we have to have a longer-term concerted effort to address the russian political warfare campaigns. >> when you look at the united states and its history of attempting or at least allegedly attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries, does this country have a bit of a double standard here? >> i take a different approach. we're actually better at it than the russians are. famously, the united states helped intervene in the italian elections of 1948. keeping italy from going down a communist route. so there's actually a danger then when you talk openly about the covert operations that you open yourself to criticism of
having a double standard. i want the united states to be able to engage very quietly in covert action. again, if we go out and talk about it and say this is what we're going to do to take down the russians, we really put ourselves at a disadvantage. >> so it's okay then to say we can do it but the rest of you guys can't. >> what i'm saying is, we're going to do it, they're going to do it and we have to be better at understanding what they're doing so we can inoculate ourselves against the disinformation and we can understand what the goals are. that this is part of the political warfare that's existed long before the russian -- current russian state. >> so really ends up being a question of security at that point. mark jacobson, thank you very much. >> thanks and happy new year. >> same to you. coming up, what's it like to be an american diplomat living in russia? next, former u.s. ambassador to russia tells me how he was treated by the government and the russian media while living in moscow.
g new cars. you're smart. you already knew that. but it's also great for finding the perfect used car. you'll see what a fair price is, and you can connect with a truecar certified dealer. now you're even smarter. this is truecar. but when we brought our daughter home, that was it. now i have nicoderm cq. the nicoderm cq patch with unique extended release technology helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. it's the best thing that ever happened to me. every great why needs a great how.
welcome back. i'm stephanie gosk here at msnbc world headquarters in new york. here's what we're monitoring. happening now, another russian hack targeting the u.s. this time within the system of an electric vermont utility. the hack first reported by the "washington post" comes just days after the obama administration leveled new sanctions against russia over its alleged cyber meddling in u.s. elections. let's turn to nbc's lucy cavanaugh who joins us from moscow. is the russian government commenting on this report? >> reporter: hey, stephanie. happy new year. great to be on with you. no comment at this point from the russian government or anyone
here to this report. in fact, it hasn't even really made the headlines. a few local wire agencies reported it. said the "washington post" alleged this hack and said the "washington post" did not criteria any sort of evidence. we should be careful, of course, with this kind of story. because it does seem that there was one computer that was infected with this malware. so it's not necessarily the hacking of the vermont power grid. i want to read for our viewers the statement of the burlington electric department. they wrote, we detected the malware in a single burlington electric department laptop not connected, and this is important, to our organization's grid systems. we took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding. so it does seem like it's an isolated case. of course, russia is not known to comment to many of these hacking allegations. they have been flatley denying the allegations they have hacked
the u.s. elections. we have seen very accusatory language from officials here in moscow. the foreign ministry spokeswoman trying to portray the obama administration as trying to sync relations between the two countries writing, and, quote, calling them foreign policy losers. and president putin decided not to retail ate. and the way that's played out, he is portrayed above the fray, not stooping to this diplomatic tit for tat and very much winning the news cycle domestically, certainly not abroad. while also throwing the ball into president-elect trump's court. obviously, waiting for that man to take office in hopes of better ties with the two countries. stephanie? >> yeah, i mean, it does sort of seem like putin came out as the hero this week to a certain degree. how are the people in russia reacting to this latest spat? is there hope that u.s./russia relations might improve?
>> reporter: absolutely. definitely something we're hearing in the street. a lot of folks have absorbed the same narrative we're hearing from the kremlin. a lot of people aren't paying attention to the municipal using, but are hopeful of better relations under president-elect trump. takes a listen to what some told us on the streets of moscow. >> they are introducing sanctions illegally. they have no proof. nothing. i think with the new u.s. president, everything will get better. >> these sanctions won't influence russian politics. >> of course, they will influence us. they will become much better. i personally think that everything they introduce against us makes us stronger. >> obama is living. trump will come and everything will be all right. >> reporter: so there you have it. a lot of optimism for the trump administration, a lot of suspicion of president obama, a lot of the folks here simply reflecting the same kind of language that we saw from the kremlin.
stephan stephanie? >> reporter: certainly remains to be seen. thank you very much. joining me now, msnbc contributor, michael mcfaul, former u.s. ambassador to russia. ambassador, thank you very much for joining us. happy new year to you. >> happy new year. >> let's start with these sanctions -- [ speaking in foreign language ] . as they say. >> thank you. i need to work on my russian. let's turn to these sanctions. and they were -- they were issued in part, according to the obama administration, as retaliation to diplomats in moscow being treated poorly there. you felt some of that mistreatment yourself personally. tell me a little bit about that. >> well, i did. when there was an uptick intentions in -- between our two countries at the beginning of 2012, our entire embassy felt harassment. sometimes it would be petty things, like the slashing of tires of some of my diplomats. at other times, there would be break-ins to apartments. and sometimes there would be following of our staff,
including me, in a way that you knew that you were being followed in a way to create anxiety when you're at your soccer game or going to church. >> i read also that you had recently applied for a visa to go back to russia and you were denied. is that true? >> yes. that's true. back when the russians supported the intervened and eastern ukraine and supported insurgents there, the obama administration rightly, in my view, imposed very sanctions on some very senior officials. in the russian government and russian industry. therefore, they had their own list, and i'm on that list. and that tit for tat back in 2014, that's what is different about the current set of sanctions, where mr. putin so far has not responded to what the obama administration just did a few days ago. >> well, let's turn to that decision by putin. it's being looked at in a couple different ways. one is slightly brilliant
strategy on his part in light of a new administration coming in. and then the other side is that this is actually this genuine olive branch out to the u.s. how do you view his decision? >> well, i wouldn't use the word brilliant, first of all. most certainly, he has done some very uncommensurate things, sometimes, in the past, where he doubled down and tripled down in these tit for tats. you know, and i'm happy he's not throwing our diplomats out. let's be honest about that. he's not disrupting their work and their families. i applaud that. i think that's a good decision. those people did nothing wrong. and that's why this kind of moral equivalence between what we did and what they did is wrong. the russians intervened in our presidential election. there has to be a response to that. our diplomats in moscow have done nothing wrong. having said that, the explanation is obvious. he's waiting for donald trump.
president-elect donald trump just like those people that you are interviewing, your colleague interviewing on the streets of moscow. i would just remind everybody, this is a common cycle. at the end of the clinton administration, there was lots of hope for george w. bush. that ended very sourly. in the beginning of the obama administration, there was lots of hope that obama would change everything. and now we see how that's ended sourly. so i'm a little skeptical that mr. trump is going to save the day and change everything in u.s./russian relations. let's wait and see. >> there was skepticism on the hill this week, asking. congresswoman lee, who sits on the homeland security committee. told us yesterday that putin will fire back. listen to what she said had to say. >> putin is a kgb. yesterday, today and tomorrow. what he is not doing publicly now in response to these sanctions, you can be assured
they're probably covert actions, or that he is preparing to act at some time later. when he feels it is appropriate. right now, he's gaining public applause in russia for his demeanor and his tempered actions. that's not going to last. >> so, i mean, putin obviously has goals, and this is a strategy to reach those goals. what would you say his wish list, his top three things that he wants out of the u.s./russian relations? >> i'm glad you framed it that way. he's not doing anybody any favors. by the way, i don't think much diplomacy is ever about doing favors for friends. he is doing this right now, this olive branch, waiting for president trump to take office, to receive concessions. at the top of his list is the lifting of economic sanctions that the obama administration and the european union put in place in response to his intervention in ukraine. that's at the top of his list.
and if donald trump will do that, he'll throw a great party for him in the kremlin and say, you know, we are friends now. second, he would like to see the kind of recognition of what he's been doing in syria from the new administration. and third, in his dream of dreams, he would love for the new trump administration to recognize his annexation of crime i can't and ukraine. that's what he would seek and to not throw out 30 u.s. diplomats in return. >> there are a number of policies. something to say about all three. former ambassador, thank you very much for joining me. >> sure, thank you. happening now, tens of thousands of homes and businesses without power, following the america's strongest nor'easter storm in nearly two years. the storm brought heavy know and
powerful winds burying some towns under 2 feet of snow. they resulted in numerous car crashes and so far blamtd for one death. joining me now, msnbc meteorologist bonnie schneider. bonnie, what's the situation right now? >> stephanie, we're facing lake-effect snow in a different part of the area of the northeast than we saw the heaviest snowfall totals. there are some winter weather advisories into the western adirondacks. 4 to 6 inches. nothing compared to what we saw with the nor'easter earlier this week. look at that. 27 inches, that's where it topped out. maine saw the worst with 25-plus inches. as we head to the south, plenty of rain in nashville and thunderstorms rolling through baton rouge into new orleans. this is the beginning of a stormy period, we're watching out for some nasty weather there and the potential for flooding. another storm in california. this one is a cold one with heavy rain at sometimes. we'll see that today in los angeles. tomorrow into arizona. the thunderstorm chance will continue as that pacific moisture comes through.
working its way across the southwest. making for hazardous travel, especially in the mountain areas where we're likely to see snow. some nice weather for the rose parade, looking good for pasadena. your temperatures comfortable at 44 degrees with partly cloudy conditions. for the last day of the year, nice conditions across the country. temperature in new york, 41. that's what it will be at midnight in times square. very comfortable weather for this new year's eve and dry around new york city. not the case across the south, where we're looking at storms brewing and watching for that wet weather and stormy conditions in the southwest throughout the weekend. stephanie? >> thanks, bonnie. bonn bonnie schneider in new york. still ahead, president obama's push to save the legacy. what he's doing in the last weeks in office. next. in the next hour, we'll ask a member of the intelligence committee what her biggest fear is when it comes to computer hackers.
a new gallup goal calls president obama the most admired president. joining me now, democratic strategist, daron johnson, regional director of obama's 2012 campaign. happy new year to you. >> happy new year, stephanie. >> you know, talk of obama's legacy really started during the campaign. in fact, obama encouraged support of hillary clinton to bolster his legacy. and he is still making a case for it. listen to what he said during his last weekly address of the year. >> poverty is falling. incomes are rising. in fact, last year, folks' typical household income rose by $2,800. 20 million more americans know
the financial security of health insurance. our kids' high school graduation rate is at an all-time high. we have brought 165,000 troops from iraq and afghanistan, and took out owe bin laden. >> he really focused on jobs. i mean, president obama will go down in history as having the longest streak, 81 months of job growth in this country. he also talked about education, how the high school graduation rate is increased. and let's not forget what he's done around the affordable care act. now american people, some american people in this country have access to health care. but the one thing, stephanie, i think that will not necessarily overshadow, but is not really being talked about, is that president obama has been an ethical president. i mean, this has been a very scandal-free president. a president who has been very
transparent, and i think that that's the reason you see he is not only admired, but has this tremendous approval rating amongst american people. they can trust him, and they always feel he can make the best decisions. ultimately, history will cast the final ballot that will determine president obama's legacy. i think that months from now, and probably years from now, when we enter into this trump administration, the american people will miss president obama, and i think ultimately, they will continue to define his legacy. >> well, theron, he certainly has his critics and in some ways, this was a repudiation of obama. the affordable care act has been called the spectacular failure. 43% americans want changes, a third want it repealed and replaced. this week going to capitol hill to prevent that from happening?
do you think his efforts will work? >> president obama himself and people like me have said that it wasn't perfect. it wasn't the all-in, you know, be-all as far as fixing a broken health care system in our country. but we cannot negate the fact that 20 americans -- i'm sorry, 20 million americans now have access to health care. and one of the criticisms that we have heard throughout the president's term, and also during the campaign with hillary clinton, donald trump, is his replace and repeal. and we saw on day one within the first week as president-elect trump met with his team and met with president obama, he sort of backed off this whole notion he was just going to continue to replace it. i think ultimately, yes, there has been people who have been concerned with some of the rate increases. but ultimately, i think that it's done well for the american people and it's very disingenuous, i think, to tell these 20-million-plus americans who now have access to health care and especially niece these
young people who have been able to stay on their parents' health insurance has been an ultimate failure. again, it's worked, it needs probably some adjustments. but ultimately, i think it would be a big part of his legacy in a favorable way. >> theron johnson, thank you very much for joining me. >> thank you. predictions for donald trump's first 100 days in office is next. my business was built with passion... but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on all of my purchasing. and that unlimited 2% cash back from spark means thousands of dollars each year going back into my business... which adds fuel to my bottom line. what's in your wallet?
i've spent my life planting a size-six, non-slip shoe into that door. on this side, i want my customers to relax and enjoy themselves. but these days it's phones before forks. they want wifi out here. but behind that door, i need a private connection for my business. wifi pro from comcast business. public wifi for your customers. private wifi for your business. strong and secure. good for a door. and a network. comcast business. built for security. built for business.
i think we ought to get on with our lives. i think the computers are complicated lives are great. the whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what's going on. we have speed, we have a lot of other things. but i'm not sure you have the kind of security that you need. >> that's donald trump, reacting earlier this week to the news that president obama is ordering new sanctions against russia in response to its interference in the november election. let's bring in robert drenham,
msnbc contributor. and a contributor involved in two presidential transitions. robert, let's start with you. what does trump even mean, "get on with our lives?" >> i don't know what he means. i think what he's trying to say, let's forget about the past and focus on the future. let's forget about the fact that there was a lot of fake news out there and focus on the future. let's forget about wikileaks and the fact they happened into the dnc. i think that's what he's trying to say. there say problem with that. the problem with that, we are a democracy, and we are for the people and we reserve the right to know if, in fact, a foreign policy or foreign entity hacked into our systems to influence an election. you just can't get over with our lives on that. that is something fundamental to who we are as a country and we reserved the right to get to the bottom of it, and to strike back
at a time of our choosing, when appropriate. so that's what's getting on with our lives i think means, at least for me. >> peter, let's turn to the transition. it's really been an incredible couple of weeks. how unusual is it for obama to be making all these major diplomatic moves now? and how effective can he really be this late in the game? >> it's been an unusual transition. at least overtly. covertly, that is to say, behind the scenes, transitions often very messy and often very acrimonious. but this one is played out on the front pages of both newspapers, television and twitter. for quite some time. i think obama is a bit like the kid who has just found out he's going to leave the neighborhood, so he's gone on to the playground and given the -- the bully a slap. that would be putin. and is going to leave. and so i don't think there will be any really lasting effects. besides, most of what president obama has done can be reversed.
or altered by trump, relatively quickly. >> well, he slapped putin, and he kind of gave netanyahu a kick in the shins, didn't he? >> he did do that. and so, again, i think it's this question that a lot of people have, why didn't he do a lot of this after he won re-election? because after he won re-election, he had no further electoral goals. he had literally the same power then as he has today. so a lot of us are wondering, why didn't he do it four years ago or even after the mid terms two years ago? >> there's a time in question about these sanctions, as well, robert. why do you think that the obama administration waited as long as it did? >> i don't know the answer to that. but i can say from a political standpoint, it's actually a stroke of genius. what he did is put republicans on the defense, coming into january, by saying, okay, listen. if you disagree with what i did, then change it. and if so, justify your change.
justify your change as it relates to russia, are you really playing footy with russia, and if so, what are you going to do different leave. and you know, justify the decision if you choose to change it, when it comes to israel. so i think what he's doing is more political than anything else. and i also think what he's trying to do is trying to preserve his own legacy so he can walk out of 1600 pennsylvania avenue by saying this, is what i did. i stand by it. i can look myself in the mirror by saying that this is something i think is very important, not only for the country, but also for my legacy. >> and i agree with robert. i think on the latter point, this is obama's attempt to try to recreate and redefine his legacy. he in the last stages of this administration at a time when the world is fairly uncertain. >> but don't you think he teed up on an opportunity here, coming out even with his own tweet, saying, great move on delay. i always new he was very smart. >> you're talking about trump
vis-a-vis putin. i think it could be said about obama, handed putin an extraordinary touchdown. i mean, putin is a master at judo. that's one of his practices. and in judo, you take the energy from the opponent and you turn it against them. and so by putin not responding to the expulsion of their diplomats by sending out ours, i think he's masterfully manipulated the news media as well as public opinion in a way i don't think the obama people expected. >> robert, what are your predictions for the upcoming year? >> i think president trump is probably going to have a win on infrastructure. i think he's probably going to reform the corporate tax code. and then transition to more thornier issues, vis-a-vis, foreign policy where he's not going to have a lot of republican support, ironically, on some of his ideas he wants to implement. >> robert and peter, thank you both very much and happy new year to you.