tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 31, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
massive protests sparking a new war of roads between the iranian president and president trump and the russia investigation rolling into 2018, the key issues that will propel robert mueller's probe forward. that's all coming up on this new year's eve. greece, the latest country to cross the threshold into 2018. you're looking at live pictures from athens as people begin to celebrate. waiting for the fireworks to happen any moment now. we had moscow as well. aj thens is expected to be the next country in europe to welcome in 2018. it has already been ringing in in many other parts of the country, in many other parts of europe i should say as well as the rest of the world. there you see it just in time.
incredible pictures. we begin with a new year tragedy in colorado. a deadly ambush that has left one deputy dead and six others injured. it happened in littleton, colorado. the now deceased gunman opened fire on the officers who were called to the scene because of the domestic violence. he leaves behind a wife and two young children. listen to what sheriff tony spurlock had to say about him earlier. >> zack was a good kid, smiley kid. go up and down the halls. you could see his face. he was here to work and eager to serve. his wife told me today that he loved this job more than he had loved any job he had ever had and so you get a kid like that, that's, you know, just loving to serve and unfortunately he was called today. >> a lot of parts of the story that we want to breakdown
tonight. were these officers targeted, lured to the scene in order to be ultimately shot? the sheriff says the gunman fired 100 rounds in the initial shooting and the subsequent shootout with police. what does that tell us about the encounterer? and were the officers properly equipped to deal with an incident like this. jim kavanagh, great to have you with us. i hate to say on a tragedy like this on a day like this. obviously our hearts go out to the families of this police officer slain in the line of duty, but i want to talk to you first about, you know, the deputies as they arrive there almost fired upon immediately. does that suggest to you that this might have been an ambush or a planned attack by the gunman? >> well, it's clearly an ambush, you're right about that. it is an ambush, when you pick up a rifle and shoot at multiple law enforcement officers and i wouldn't be surprised to see if some of the shooting wasn't through the door or the wall
because there were some reports that he had retreated to a bedroom. but breaking it down further, there was a report early in the morning, 1:00 a.m. or so when deputies went to that location for report of a disturbance but couldn't find any disturbance. the second report came in at 5:15 in the morning and the deputies responded to a report of a domestic but apparently was just -- also some disturbance. it wasn't a domestic. it was some yelling and screaming noise in the apartment. apparently occupied by two males. someone let them in so it might have been the other male in the apartment who let them in so deputies get in there and they're inside -- some of the deputies are inside and when the shooting breaks out. rifles involved. more than 100 rounds. the wounded deputies try to rescue their fellow deputy but he is too fatally wounded, they can't get him out and of course the sheriff said when he talked to the doctor that that wound --
those wounds were fatal. they weren't going to be able to save him any way, then there's another hour and a half delay before s.w.a.t. kills the shooter apparently or the shooter takes his own life. we're not quite clear. but likely a lone rifle shot from a s.w.a.t. member might have been taken this guy out. >> let me ask you about a point that you raised, the 100 rounds fired by the gunman. that seems to me like an unusual amount of fire power for someone to have and especially, you know, if somebody's calling for domestic disturbance and police are arriving at the scene the fact that they were bombarded with 100 rounds of fire. is that a lot of fire power for one person to have? >> well, i spent 33 years in the atf and to me it's not with all we've seen. 30 round magazines are really, really common and, you know, you can get 60 or 100 round magazineses is the norm, so
that's three magazines in an hour and a half, that's nothing. you could shoot those three magazines off in just a matter of a couple of minutes. so likely those deputies initially, you know, were just ambushed through the wall. there was some discussion the sheriff said which is good. i think it's a good tactic, the deputies are using the tactics. maybe they're not pressing the situation but nevertheless either they make entry in the door or he steps out the door of the bedroom or shoots through the wall, we don't know those facts but when he's shooting a rifle inside an apartment at close range, a semi-automatic rifle or fully automatic submachine gun, it's going to tear you up and that's what happened to the deputies. they were just torn up by that fire, pinned down and weren't able to get out. it's really sad. hearts out to the sheriff department and the families. >> it's an absolutely heartbreaking reminder of the dangers law enforcement face in this country every single day
across this country despite the fact that 2017 suggested there might have been one of the safer years for police. i want you to stay with me. i want your expertise on a story we're facing today. new information on an arrest in houston that raised fears of a potential new year's eve attack in that city. a suspect was arrested at a hotel after a stash of weapons and ammunition were found in his room. it all started when police were called to deal with a han who was accused of being drunk in the hotel lobby and from there things escalated. >> officer inside indicated that he had a drunk and belligerent suspect and he needed help arresting him. he was being arrested for trespassing. the officer he noticed inside the suspect's room there was ammunition laying around. they called for backup. they arrested the suspect. >> now police say they don't believe the suspect intended to use the weapons. the man identified at russell
says he was at the hotel to celebrate new year's and brought the weapons to his room because he didn't want them stolen from his vehicle. he faces a charge of assaulting a police officer because of a struggle after being asked to leave the hotel. the houston story comes as cities across the country prepare their own new year's eve celebration and none is bigger than the one right here in new york city in times square where security as you can imagine is at an unprecedented level. ann thompson is out there braving both the chills and crowds. tell us bg the security situation facing people tonight. >> reporter: hi, i apologize. it's hard to hear you because we have some of the music acts practicing and doing their sound checks for tonight. i have to tell you, i've been really impressed by the amount of security that we have seen tonight. there are snipers and spotters on all the high rises here, detectives have worked with every hotel here in and around
time square to prepare for the worst that could happen. you've seen as people have come in, we've seen them wanded, the bags have been inspected, coats have been opened. security is being taken very seriously but actually the bigger story tonight may be the weather because it is really, truly miserable here and people are waiting. they're going to wait 12 hours before this ball drops in really frigid temperatures. it's now 15 degrees. it feels like 4 degrees. the wind has died down a bit but it's expected to pick up as the night draws on and as we get closer to the ball dropping, the temperature is expected to plummet to get down some where between 11 and 8 degrees so that's really going to be the story but so far everybody seems to be in a prael good mood. in fact, within the last half hour the time square alliance has passed out scarves to
everybody in those pens to keep them warm but people have come prepared. they have brought hand warmers and toe warmers. they're all wearing heavy coats and boots. i've seen people with sleeping bags and yoga mats ready for a long night. they want to be here. it's on their bucket list. i think in front of a nice warm fire would be a better place to be. >> ann thompson braving the crowds and weather. thank you very much for that. i want to bring in jim kavanagh back in this conversation. this year obviously two big incidents are on the minds of folks and certainly the nypd, that of the las vegas shooter and perhaps the incident that happens right here in new york where the attacker drove his car down the west side highway killing a lot of pedestrians there. what is the nypd concerned about when they're looking at these two events earlier in the year in terms of how they prepare for
tonight? they're obviously dealing with more crowd control tonight. >> that's right. the guy at the support authority with the small bomb. so you have a vehicle attack which can be easily launched, you have explosive attacks which we've seen in new york and around the world and recently and you have las vegas from the high rise hotel with the 58 dead and 540 wounded and you have just this week, just this week, isis on their online magazine and video urging followers by an american with one leg blown off urging followers to get guns in america, they're easy and to launch an attack. so law enforcement commanders are concerned across the board with all those kind of things and, you know, it really is a dangerous period when you have the world celebrating something all in one day and that's what we have with new year's. i think the security's good. i think everybody should go and
enjoy themselves but just always have a personal security plan, always be alert, always pay attention. i always say, you know, if you hear a noise or engine rev or hear explosion, take cover. there could be another. these things come in wave. just have your wits about you. i think some of the danger here across the board not just manhattan but all the cities is when the crowds start to leave the secured area, whether that's 20 blocks or 30 blocks. >> that's where the vulnerability. >> there's also a vulnerability at checkpoints so everybody's got to be on their game. >> let me skbu that really quickly. the nypd we know they have the resources and experience. you brought up a really good point. the smaller cities across the u.s. they'll certainly have their crowds. we always encourage people to see something, say something. are you concerned about smaller cities and their ability to protect people and being target rich environments?
>> i absolutely am and they're all ramped up as well. we focus on new york because it's the biggest, of course, but those celebrations are going on in every city in america. look at houston p.d. good job houston p.d. good job with the guy in the guns at the hotel. whether or not he intended to kill anybody or not, it's still a good job. you did the right thing. somebody saw something and told the officers. we just had an exmarine in san francisco involved in a plot related to isis where he wanted to kill people and later got cold feet and the fbi disrupted that. it's not just new york. we have san francisco, we have other cities celebrations everywhere, everybody have a great time. just be alert. we can defeat these guys. it's going to be a long, long running war, though. >> we wish you a very happy new year. thank you for all the contributions and hours you've spent with us on this program. >> happy new year to you. >> thank you. coming up, a fourth day of unrest in iran has turned deadly as protests break out across that nation.
protesters in iran are on their fourth day of making their voices heard because of economic woes. the demonstrations have brought out progovernment supporters and those against the government. now according to iran news agency two people have been killed in those protests but the yooin government is blaming the
deaths on foreign agents. the government is being accused of trying to quiet down protesters across social media platforms. in fact, the bbc is reporting telegram and instagram has been restricted. iranian authorities are blocking telegram for the majority of iranians after refusing to shut down. just moments ago president trump
tweeted out saying iran, the number one state of sponsored terror with numerous violations of human rights occurring on an hourly basis has now closed down the internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate. not good. earlier today, iran's president criticized trump in a televised address saying in part one who calls the iranian nation a terrorist does not have the right of compassion for our people. i want to bring in matt bradley, live in london bureau this
evening: matt, let's get the situational update from you. what are you seeing in terms of what is played out in the last couple of hours there in iran? >> the last couple of hours the latest news is the donald trump tweet that you just shared. it looks as though the iranian regime is really starting to follow the playbook that's typically used by real estate james come -- regimes by first suppressing internet. they really just shut down instagram and telegram. then you blame the protests on intervention of foreign powers, organize these counter protest easy and suppress the protests even using violence. we saw a lot of this in the green movement back in 2009 and again during the lot of arab spring revolutions starting in 2011 and that's why there are fears that the iranian regime is going to suppress the latest uprising as brutally as it suppressed them back in 2009. back then, months of protests
left dozen of people dead and thousands arrested before the regime finally quelled the unrest. this latest round of protests they're quite different than what happened with the green movement back in 2009 because this weekend's past protest started as a reaction. they get sharp rise in prices for essential good, rampant corruption and that anger has blossomed into protest against the government itself. they appear to be far less centrally planned. they started in cities and towns far away from the capital. >> let me begin with you if i can and matt making the distinction there that the president clearly has failed to make that distinction that the internet has not been shut down. that is not a correct statement by president trump but nonetheless, social media has played somewhat of a significant role in this but we understand from the ceo of telegram that the iranian authorities are
asking him and have asked him to shut down telegram. social media is an important part of these movements that we're seeing in iran. >> absolutely and telegram is the most popular platform for yooin because it's unfiltered. however, despite that, many, many iranians due use vpns and get around the filtering so what's happening -- it doesn't mean that no one in iranian can't access social media it means they have to use their vpns. as you know video and reports coming out of iranian even on twitter which is banned in iran but people use it through use of vpns. it is important in terms of organizing and there's but it's hard to say who's organizing at this point. it started in a very religious city. it was supported by the ayatollah there and so there's some question as to whether this was something directed against rue hanni by the people, by the
hard liners and then went out of control. they lost control of it as it spread to other cities. there is a tremendous amount of anger in iran. there's a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction. nobody can deny that. even rouhani has said that. it's hard to say exactly what's going on right now. >> if i can ask you in terms of one of the reports brought up, this does not seem to have a leader like we saw in 2009 with the so-called green revolution, does that work to the advantage of the government and the authorities that there's not a single person they can round up or does it work in the advantage of the protesters that it remains populus and organic and does not necessarily have one person that can be shut down. >> that's a good question because when the government's having address to clamp down on somebody it's a little bit easier for them to stop it. when it defuses it's harder to stop it but also ples effective.
particularly it looks like one reason why they're obviously restricting use of social media is because that's the instrument that people have used to get out to the street. what's not clear to us at this point is how intense this is and also how political it is. obviously it's economic, clearly even president rouhani tonight acknowledged in his speech that it goes beyond economics and people demanding transparency and fighting widespread corruption but it's not obviously something akin to a revolution and we have to also remember that, yes, the size has been impressive. it took a lot of people by surprise. it's important, but it's obviously nowhere near the size of what happened in 2009 and we even then, we had to keep in mind not only that the regime still has the capacity and the willingness to confront them with an iron fist but also that
the regime also has widespread support which is why they tried to get a lot of people out in the street to demonstrate that. it's much more complicated and obviously intervention for the outside does not help because when you make it about trump, it plays into the hands of the regime. mr. trump has not much credibility not only in yiernl but all over the world. look at the polls that pugh shows. even here in our own country in a poll that we did at the university of maryland just last month we asked name the leader national or international who poses the greatest threat to international security, yes, north korea's kim jong-un is number one, but mr. trump is roughly tied with putin and number two ahead of iranian leaders here in america as a perceived threat to international peace so the credibility gap obviously for the white house, the white house is not in a position really to advance this and this is
something the iranians will do. >> both the white house and nikki haley have commented on this and sometimes -- if they embrace the protesters it's going to get the protest shut down very quickly. >> it's a good point that he makes. first of all, trump administration banned iranian citizens from the united states. they can't get visas. the iranian citizens are well aware of this so to express some sort of compassion for their protest but saying, by the way, you can't come to our country. >> does this put more pressure on the government of rouhani or does it put more pressure on the ayatollah? >> i think there's pressure on both. i think rouhani has troubled dealing with what was promised. partly because of sanctions.
and on top of that he hasn't delivered some of the social freedoms that people voted for him to deliver. >> right. >> what we should also remember in terms of what he was saying in terms of the regime still having some support or having widespread support, we don't know how widespread that is, but let's not forget, we're talking about the entire system when we talk about the regime. 54 million went out and voted seven months ago and stood in long, long lines a while ago. it's a contradictory thing that there's a revolution going on. they stood in line and they didn't have to. >> shipley, let me ask you very quickly, some of the protests, at least some of the chants allegedly say that they've been complaining that the iranian government has been involved in regional conflicts in places like syria and what have you. have those endeavors by the iranian government have they been very costly enough for the people of iran to actually protest against?
>> that's an interesting dimension particularly there were references to lebanon and gaza and that is important but again, you know, i'm not surprised. iran is a big country. there are a lot of people angry. obviously they want focus on iran particularly in light of the economic conditions but we don't know how widespread that is when you take some, you know, chants out of context, we don't know how widespread that is. we don't know how much support, in fact, there is for the intervention in lebanon and gaza. i suspect that the regime has majority support for a lot of these things. we don't know for sure. we should keep in mind that tells you iran is divided. there are important voices. that's something we need to keep watching, but we shouldn't generallyize from this to say this is essentially the broad sentiment of the iranian people. >> all right. thank you very much for joining us. happy new year's to both of you.
coming up, the very latest in the russia investigation as well as we look ahead to where special counsel robert mueller may take the investigation in 2018. the gop ramping up its attacks against him. stay with us. (chris) the very first time i met bruce i saw on his lapel he's got a purple heart. (bruce) we started talking about the service. i outrank him. (chris) [laughs] yeah. meals on wheels reaches so many people. it's impactful beyond anything i've ever done in my life. (bruce) the meals and his friendship really mean, means a lot to me. (vo) through the subaru share the love event, we've helped deliver over one-point- seven million meals to those in need. get zero percent financing for 63 months on select models, plus we'll donate two hundred and fifty dollars to charity. us.
welcome back. it's time for we said, they said. we talk about the different ways the international media reports a story that's making headlines in the united states but tonight a look at a common thread that seems to unite countries around the world as they ring in the new year. the fireworks show lit up the sky above the tower and shortly after that sidney harbor bridge began 2018 for around a million on hand. in tokyo, the celebrations included the release of white balloons followed by performances in addition to the fireworks. a fast paced version of auld angsyne. dubai went a different way. we want to show you some video of north korea celebrations. a rare glimpse of that country's new year's festivities and over moscow's red square, the
midnight sky got illuminated to welcome 2018. here in the united states the fbi's russia investigation continues into the new year with a new "the new york times" report saying that the investigation started with an intelligence tip from australia have former trump campaign advise george papadopoulos reportedly got drunk with an australian diplomat and bragged about russia's thousands of stolen e-mails that have offered up as dirt against hillary clinton. that report contradicts statements by trump and his gop allies suggest thagt probe is based on a controversy opposition research dossier. four former campaign officials were charged in 2017 in the russia robe so what can we expect from special counsel robert mueller in the year ahead. there's a lot the we still don't know about possible russia interference in the 2016 election. joining me now is our panel.
cynthia, let me begin with you if i can. this year's mueller investigation charged two trump campaign officials with conspiracy and the other two with lying to the fbi. where does the investigation go next you think? >> well, the investigation has a lot of aspects. the first thing it's going to do is follow the data mining application. mueller is focusing on that to find out whether or not when the trump campaign got polling data whether or not they shared that with the russians that the russians would put their bots to work and effect the campaign. that's one place. another place is probably in 2018, pence and trump will be interviewed and that will be a very tense and exciting time and the fun news out of today, this
crazy drinking game that they were playing in london about the -- with the aussie ambassador does tell us that we've always wondered now did this papadopoulos character when he learned that the russians had hacked the hillary e-mails, did he share that with anybody and i think we noel the answer to that. if you get the information and three drinks later you're telling a complete stranger i think we can make a pretty good judgment that he was telling people in the campaign. now that we're pretty sure he's told people in the campaign, who did he tell and what did they do with that information? >> what i love about that story is on the one hand you got the trump campaign saying that papadopoulos was a small town guy, nothing more than a coffee boy. but he's also having drinks with the australian ambassador. frank, let me ask you this question, if the "the new york times" is reporting is accurate that means the fbi has been sitting really on this australia
element for a year and a half, more or less, how much classified intelligence do you think is under wraps in the russia investigation and how much is actually coming from allied nations you think? >> so australia's part of what's called the five is. they share all intelligence with each other. we share common adversaries, values and goals so australia's one of those. you've got an iceberg that you're looking at. you can see the visible part on what we know on the huler investigation but beneath the surface say large component of classified intelligence likely being shared amongst the five i nations which means the leaders of those nations including australia know and are briefed on what we know about the russian link to our election and really are privy to more information than president trump is being permitted to see because of his role in the investigation, but the latest "the new york times" report is really a reminder what the mueller inquiries is all about.
it's about getting to the bottom of the degree to which a foreign government tried to mess with our election process and i predict as we move forward into the next year we may well see indictments on russian individuals, russian operatives particularly russian hackers that are tied to the hack on the dnc and the hillary e-mails. >> that's an interesting point, frank. >> that was in the real message we need to send to foreign governments, to stay hands off on our election process. >> frank, real quickly, would the president be privy to intelligence information that the u.s. intelligence community has about this or would that raise suspicions that he would ask for it or even see it? could he have known that the australia intelligence provided this information? >> look, we've heard a few things recently, one we heard that the presidential daily briefing no longer includes russian intel. we've heard that the fbi at a very high level briefed the
president and his staff that they were being penetrated by the russians. so they're on notice. it could very well have been that the aussie information was included in that briefing. >> ashley, what are people in the white house saying about what george papadopoulos has emerged in this story multiple times now but given the "the new york times" story on him what is the white house saying about him? >> so the white house's stance was almost initially one of relief because a lot of these white house aids were scanning their brain, do i even know this guy? have i ever talked to him? for a lot of low to midlevel staffers the answer is no. we don't know who he reached out in the campaign and i imagine those people are quite nervous. with this latest disclosure, any time there's any disclosure on russia in this investigation, even if it is someone they might not have personal dealt with ever in the white house, everyone in the white house is
nervous. they just want this investigation to be wrapped up as soon as possible and they don't want any chatter of russia coming to their e-mails are or their cell phones. they want it as far away from them as humanly possible. >> do you think that as this investigation continues into 2018 there will be more cracks within the gop or do you expect there to be more unity around the president? >> i think we should note that there have been several republicans who have spoken out against this administration's criticism of the intelligence community as well as intelligence institutions and our country. people like senators bob corker, john mccain, jeff flake to say the least. the question becomes that the politics of this and, you know, like it or not we have the midterm election coming up in 2018, we're about nine months out from that and that really is the basis for why you're seeing such a vocal minority right now of house republicans speaking out aggressively to defend this
administration but to frank's excellent point, we're nine months out from a midterm election. the nonpartisan issue has to become how are we going to protect democratic institutions being able to do this again he regardless if you're a republican or democrat. you know russia's going to try to do this again. we're 18 months out from 2020 elections. >> i know there have been attempts to discredit mueller. a big part of that coming from gop operatives. it public criticism from the agency from the president, in fact, some of the gop legislators, does that impact the daily work of the fbi? >> it impacts it in the form of increasing lack of effectsiveness. that's the concern among the rank and file. that citizen perceives those credentials as something less than they used to be. that erodes the effectsiveness which can effect morale. >> i know in this recent interview this trump gave that he gave with the "the new york
times," he made reference to the word collusion 16 different times, even suggesting that one time it may have been the democrats who were colluding with russia, but there's some suggestion ironically that collusion isn't a charge the president could face if the mueller investigation goes in that direction. what are some of the charges the president could actually face? >> he could face obstruction of justice. collusion isn't -- you're correct. collusion is not a criminal indictment term but he could face obstruction of justice. he could face all kinds of campaign finance violations. but the biggest issue would be for him is if -- if he faced impeachment for an abuse of power. that's really what we're talking about. the investigation and the "the new york times" work yesterday in the interview when he said he had the absolute right to do whatever he wanted is what everybody's concerned about right now. he could easily fire mueller. he could go through the process of firing rosenstein and firing
someone to fire mueller and that's a really big concern. we need to figure out a way to make congress an independent of the justice department so that the mueller investigation and the information within the mueller investigation is protected. >> there was some suggesting that could be the president's new strategy for 2018 in the russia probe. ashley very quickly, what might that new strategy for president trump be in 2018? >> so far recently we've seen the president himself be quite calm when it comes to mueller but we're seeing his allies, some republicans on capitol hill attacking mueller, attacking his correct, attacking the probe and now we understand that his legal team is going to paint general flynn as a liar and attack his credibility. you're going to see all the people around him trying to erode away at the trust of these people who are making the case against him. >> thank you all very much for joining me. we've run out of time. i'm sure will be talking a lot about this in 2018.
happy new year. thanks for joining us. thousands upon thousands of people are braving the cold to celebrate new year's eve in time square. this could be one of the coldest on record. your full new year's eve forecast is next stay with us. shawn evans: it's 6 am. 40 million americans are waking up to a gillette shave. and at our factory in boston, 1,200 workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get. the center of the how canneighborhood?r house first, mix liquid gold velveeta with the one-two kick of ro*tel's diced tomatoes and spicy green chilies. then, find space for extra parking. lots and lots of parking.
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is here with the breakdown. >> we've been talking all week how it's going to be a cold one. the new year's eve time square forecast, 11 degrees. the wind chill, negative 5. this may become the coldest new year's ever. the temperature was 1 degree in 1917. currently 6 in kansas city. the cold air impacting 90% of the united states right now and for new year's day. 163 million people under some sort of wind chill advisory and that threat will persist into the first day of the new year and the second one as well. dangerous windchills gripping so many parts of the country so in the morning when the temperatures are the coldest we'll be looking at a wind chill of negative 30 in green bay. as we go through the week, unfortunately, it's not warming up much as we transition into 2018. the middle of the week temperatures are still very cold and even toward the end of the week, look at our temperature here in new york city. friday morning it'll feel like it's in the negative numbers once again with the wind chill
of 5 degrees. really cold out there. >> all right. you'll go from here to the studio straight to time square to get the party started. >> i'll be bundled up like everyone else. as we say good-bye to a very active year in politics, what can we expect heading into the 2018? we'll preview what's at stake for both parties. ♪
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welcome back. moments ago president trump offered a new year's greeting but in his customary style it came with a generous dose of criticism. in fact, trump tweeted out, as our country rapidly grows stronger and smarter, i want to wish all of my friends, supporters, enemies, haters even the very dishonest fake news media a happy and healthy new year. 2018 will be a great year for america. all right, so what will 2018 bring us? joining us now with some political predictions, a former chief of staff to senator joe manchin. and a former chairman of the california republican party. gentlemen, great to have you both with us. as you saw president trump's
tweet generous in some ways but also taking a dig at fake news media. he could have let the year end without one final dig. chris, let me begin with you if i may. are we going to see a blue wave come the midterms? how do you see the midterm elections shaking out? the recent polls show the demes have the upper hand. not to mention the most recent one in alabama that key senate seat. >> well, i mean, historically incumbent parties who control the white house lose significant seats in their first midterm election. i think what's even more i think unique about this president is the degree of division and dissatisfaction he's caused in a year is pretty historic by any measure. so i think the conditions are there for democrats to do really well. you are seeing in contrast to other midterm elections a really mobilized and energized base
which is really critical because you have a lower turnout in the midterm election. so the ingredients are all there and now that i think it ends up becoming like we saw in alabama, like in virginia, execution and, you know, if i was -- you know, if the choice was between democrat or republicans i'd rather be a democrat in november. >> ron, your take on this. what does the gop need to do to prevent a democratic takeover, at least of the house, possibly even the senate in 2018? >> well, first we have to understand history and that certainly the democrats historically as the party that doesn't hold the white house, they have a certain advantage. that having been said, the trump republican brand in 2016 was much stronger than the romney republican brand in the northeast, the appalachia and the midwest. by contrast the trump republican brand was weaker than the romney brand throughout all of the southwest. so when iowa, for example, trump
outperformed romney in all 99 counties so i think this is going to break down regionally. i think there is a lot of tea leaf readings as the president goes around the country and holds rallies and questioning is this member of congress there, is this congressional candidate there, has this senate candidate stayed away? is this senate candidate embracing the president, so on. what it comes down to this. in the primary elections on the republican side it will be very difficult for anyone who doesn't support the president to be nominated. then when it comes to the general election it will hinge on the popularity of the president. the generic ballot question that will be largely influenced by how the president defines the republican party. that's how i think it will come down. >> ron, let me ask you very quickly about this point that you just raised which is the republican -- the president's republican -- or president trump's brand. is that going to be a liability come 2018 midterm elections because if you look at some
candidates he's supported, luther strange, he doesn't have a successful record in 2017. >> well, i think the president will be extremely influential in republican primaries. when it comes to the general election i think it will depend number one on events between now and then. but number two it's also going to vary by region. donald trump won pennsylvania, republicans for many years had not been winning pennsylvania. you know, ditto, wisconsin, and ditto michigan, so on. on the other hand, in the southwest it's different where the republican brand has been suffering and donald trump didn't strengthen that. didn't outperform that in 2016. >> chris, what does a trump presidency going to look like for you in 2018? any way to predict an unpredictable commander in chief, if you will? >> yes, i'll make the prediction we will see more chaos over the next coming year. i don't think he's going to change one iota from what he has done in the past. it is his -- i mean, you saw -- literally in the final tweet of
the year, he kind of speak -- it kind of speaks to how he looks and uses the presidency. so i don't think that's going to change. i think that goes to the heart of what the midterm elections and the political year will be about next year. it will be about trump. the midterm elections will be a referendum on trump. i think that plays right into the democratic narrative t one they want. and i think our challenge to be really frank is we're facing a tough map in the senate area. and in more favorable map in the house. >> let me remind you quickly we have several hours until midnight. the president can fire off a lot more tweets. >> fair enough. >> gentlemen, great to have you with us. happy new year. well, that will do it for me. join me next sunday to break down the major stories of the week. you can reach out to me on social media. be sure to join kasie hunt at 7:00 p.m. but up next, it's "meet the press."
this sunday, looking back at 2017 and ahead to 2018. president trump. did he keep his promises? >> i will be the greatest jobs president that god has ever created. the tax relief will be concentrated on the working and middle class. i will be president for all americans. >> we'll look at promises made, promises kept, and promises broken. plus the 2018 political landscape. democrats aim to take back congress.