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tv   MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson  MSNBC  January 4, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST

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trump's lawyers are sending another cease and decyst letter. and this morning so is a friend of the president talking with us live here in about five minutes. the other cease and desist that commissioner on voter fraud. president trump's first initiative. now, it's abruptly shut down. why this happened and what happens next. plus, we're heading back out west with a new announcement from the justice department about the legalization of marijuana in places like california. that's where jacob has been looking at how some struggling cities there how pot equals profit. when i say we have a jam packed show today, i really mean it. we'll start with kristen welker in the briefing room the center where all of this is happening. we have new reporting on the legal battle, the scorched earth
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strategy so far that the president's legal team is taking when it comes to this book, "fire and fury." >> hallie, it is a battle and war that is escalating by the minute. just moments ago, as you said, we have confirmed that president trump's legal team sent a cease and desist order to that book and the publisher. i have it right here in my hands. let me read you a little bit of it, hallie. in your upcoming book, "fire and fury" we are identifying false and baseless statements that you're making about mr. trump. they're essentially trying to get the publisher and author to hold off on publishing this. this follows a cease and desist order that was sent to steve bannon overnight. you have breached the agreement by communicating with author michael wolff disclosing confidential information and making disparaging and, in some cases, outright defamatory statements to mr. wolff about
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mr. trump, his family members and the company. of course, some of the most inflammatory statements cited in that book that were made by steve bannon, calling that meeting that donald trump jr. had with a kremlin-linked attorney treasonist. also indicating that the russia investigation is very real. indicating that robert mueller is gunning for the president, essentially. and that donald trump jr. will essentially fold like a card. at the end of this investigation. so, a lot of really inflammatory statements in that book. steve bannon speaking out for the first time in his radio show on sirius xm. take a listen to what he said about all of this, hallie. >> let's focus on the agenda, because, you know, there is no one we think -- >> hallie, the president is furious about this. reportedly growing more furious
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about this by the minute. see the headlines that highli t highlighhighligh highlights this west wing. broader questions here. this is not only a big riff between the president and one of his former top advisors. it's also potentially a riff between the president and what is widely seen as a link to his base. remember, steve bannon seen as the touchto his base. the lead e er of the party head into the midterms and 2020. steve bannon, of course, just suffered a big loss after that race in alabama. he backed doug jones. that effort failed. but that only caused him to redouble his efforts to say that he's firing up his war against the establishment that much more. so, he's not backing down. he's still a political force, but it remains to be seen how this new internal battle between steve bannon and president trump will play out politically in the long run, hallie.
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>> internal and now very exte external. kristen, thank you. i want to bring in now a friend of donald trump's, chris, thanks for being back on the show. let me start with this. have you spoken with the president since all this went down? >> no, i spoke to him this past weekend, but i haven't spoken to him in the past day. >> did anybody from the white house ask you to come on tv and defend the president today? >> well, i don't get into who contacts me or who doesn't contact me, but from time to time in the past, the white house will sometimes suggest that i go out there and, if i had something interesting to say. >> do you have something interesting to say in this instance, chris? >> i do. i posted a blog to news max and i discuss steve bannon and the president's relationship and why i think steve actually is somewhat delusional with some of these claims that he's been making, hallie. >> you write in this op-ed that this major blow up that you
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think was inevitable by donald trump and, by the way, the guy on equal footing with the chief of staff, his former chief strategist. why was this blow up inevitable? >> i think, look what steve says when he left the white house. when he was fired by the president. he announced to the "new york times" that trump's presidency was over. so, in steve's mind he was the trump presidency. and we have an ego that big and so inflated. i think some of this is where he is saying the president won't finish his term or that mueller is going to get him. even making such absurd claims that the trump family or people close to them are engageriing i money laundering. steve thinks that he can run for president and i think if he sees the president not in the race in 2020, that steve would take on mike pence as his view. again, i think it's dilutional. but when you're making such outrageous claims that don't
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make any sense and don't bear up to the facts, you have to wonder why he's doing all of this. >> some of these claims are just from steve bannon who is on the record in this book from michael wolff. wolff writes in the piece out this morning a behind the scenes look at how this all came together. at mar-a-lago a heavily made up trump failed to recognize a succession of old friends. he also says, this is on the screen here, that everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of donald trump's repetitions. it used to be inside of 30 minutes he would repeat word for word and expression for expression the same three stories. now, within ten minutes. indeed, many of his tweets were the product of his repetitions. he just couldn't stop saying something. you interact would the president very recently, just over the holidays. have you noticed the repetiti repetitiveness that wolff discusses? >> i spoke to him a half dozen times and i didn't see anything out of the normal. i think donald trump likes to repeat things for efebt and he thinks it makes his statements
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very powerful. he does this on camera. he does it on showalize ts all time. >> he recognized me. >> what about other people? did he recognize other people in mar-a-lago? >> i am always amazed, so, i'll give you an example. i had at the golf club for lunch, michael schmidt of "new york times" he was sitting with two other people the president knows. and the president at first saw michael, hadn't seen him since i think march of last year. and it clicked. like it took him a few seconds and then he realized, that's michael schmidt of "new york times." this idea that he's somehow disconnected from reality, i think -- michael wolff is talking to all these people. you'll find out most of the sources are people that are disgruntled that no longer work at the white house. >> do you think you have any concerns th s about the preside
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mental fitness? >> i do not. >> how angry is the president right now? i spoke to a couple folks very close to the president who said he is decisive and cutting out steve bannon from his inner circle, basically. obviously, as you saw from that statement. what is his mood? >> i don't know exactly what his mood is, but knowing him for so long i can sense that he's probably very frustrated and disappointed that steve would do this. steve wasn't really that well known in this country until donald trump put him on the map. >> well, that's an interesting point, chris, we'll get in later in the show. i appreciate you coming on to talk with us about the president's sort of state at the moment. we'll have you back very soon, i'm sure. i want to bring in jonathan allen and our panel for the next 52 minutes, white house correspondent tamra keith and, thank you all for being here. john, let me start with you. a new piece at about this. reaction you just heard from
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chris there? >> i think it's interesting in part to hear the president's defenders come out and rip steve bannon to say that he's delusional at a time when the president's lawyers are threatening a defamation suit against steve bannon. you know, this is, this is without historical precedent really the fight that is going on between the president and the former aide. and i think what's important to remember here is the degree to which what steve bannon and what others in this book are saying, if it's all true and there's no sort of specific pushback on anything yet. the degree to which this is really damming about the trump presidency and why the fight for this white house is important to keep going as a distraction. >> there's, obviously, been a ton of pushback from the white house. you saw it from sarah sanders in the briefing and saw it in the president's statement. in my conversations with white house officials they're pushing back on certain elements of it, but not all of it, frankly. one interesting piece, the
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threat of a lawsuit. this is a president who has threatened to sue a lot of people. he hasn't actually followed through on those threats. everybody from the club for growth, to john kasich, to the "washington post" ." to steve bannon and michael wolff and to the publisher here, do they have any teeth? >> they could. if the president followed through, which he typically hasn't in the past. but we should point out this lawyer charles harder has been involved in some pretty significant cases, including the gawker case and he is no more. that isn't to say that donald trump will be as willing a client who wants to pursue this and go into discovery. >> and pay all the money for it. discovery, which is a critical point. i think there are some people inside the beltway here, that go, sure. sue. let's get to discovery. >> whenever the president gets punched, he punches back five times harder. he is not just saying some
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stuff, but, look, we'll put our lawyers behind this. when you're trying to bring these kind of cases and you're talking about comments that have been made about public officials and have as much at their disposal and it's very difficult legally to win those cases. >> when you look at the fallout now. because you have not just the pushback from the president and the president's team and noted against steve bannon who, again, can't say it enough. was an actual part of donald trump's campaign. was a big part of donald trump's administration. >> i think that he has a voice in the republican party and i think he needs to knock it off. okay. the way this should work is the president won the election. he's effectively the head of the republican party. there are many different factions inside the republican party. some of us have different philosophical views, different personal views towards each
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other, but let's subordinate all that nonsense and work for the president and knock it off. >> steve bannon will knock it off because anthony scaramucci told him to is laughable. what does it mean for the people inside the republican party who have allied with steve bannon. some of them seemed to distance themselves from the former chief strategist. >> it's time for choosing. we are seeing that. number one, you've seen candidates who have long been allied with steve bannon backing away from him. kelly ward in arizona is one of them who has distanced herself from bannon and kind of hugged the president. we saw that with a house candidate and former house member from staten island in new york yesterday. and then you're also seeing candidates who didn't win bannon endorsements hammer those who have won bannon endorsements and are trying to use this as an advantage. right now i think that is what donald trump was basically doing. saying to people who were part of this nationalist movement,
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you better choose now. move in haste to make sure that steve bannon couldn't keep taking shots from the outside without some sort of response that force people to choose. >> but, so, if it's a time for choosing, who realistically chooses steve bannon over the president of the united states? >> this is a fantastic question. this is what is going to be decided in the next several months. are all of these people who supported the president despite a lot of skepticism from other people, is it about the personali personality? is it about the anger and frustration as represented by steve bannon? >> yeah, i don't talk to a lot of trump voters who say, well, steve bannon. he is really the flame keeper here. he's the one i am going to follow. >> which is the point the president has made. even before this wolff book came out the grumbling from the president was, steve bannon didn't win me this election, i won me this election. >> now, steve bannon was involved in winning this election.
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you can't deny that. to before steve bannon was actually on the campaign, he was in donald trump's ear. let me just make one more point on this book and the fallout from it. again, the new piece out from the "hollywood reporter" that wolff talked about the access he had. bannon is the one who invited him. 95% of the time to come into the west wing and talk to people, jonathan allen. when you look at some of the questions now about wolff's reporting and this juicy tale as "the washington post" put it. but should we believe it, they ask. the thing that strikes me, there are on the record quotes and that's what i think you can look at and you can say, well, steve bannon said this on the record. katie walsh said some of these things on the record. that seems like it is significant, regardless of what else there is that might not be true. like, for example, this idea that donald trump did not know who john boehner -- >> donald trump absolutely would
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no who john boehner was unless he misheard somebody or trying to diminish john boehner by pretending he didn't know him, which a lot of politicians will do at times. absolutely. a lot of this is on the record. apparently there are tapes of these things. this isn't made up -- and by the way, part of the problem for the president is how much of this stuff is believable whether or not it's true. that is to say, the idea that white house aides when he leaves the room are rolling their eyes and saying, you know, he's not competent to hold the job. that's believable because we had so much other reporting independently from that of those sorts of reactions. of course, secretary of state rex tillerson and our colleagues here at nbc and calling the president a moron earlier this year. >> jonathan allen, always a pleasure to have you on. we'll get you on set next time. coming up, have you seen this new piece? two republican lawmakers calling on attorney general jeff sessions to step down. we're talking about that and
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this guy. the former trump campaign chairman paul manafort taking legal action against the special counsel. a lot coming up on the russia investigation, after the break.e . 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.
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new this morning two of the president's allies in the house of representatives is saying attorney general jeff sessions needs to go. just last hour "the washington examiner" published this op-ed. they said sessions have lost
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control of the fbi and if he cannot stop leaks about the russian investigation, it is time for a new attorney general. then overnight rod rosenstein striking a deal with devin nunez after the meeting with speaker. the doj will now hand over documents related to the fbi's handling of that steal dossier quote, unquote among other requests. speaking of rosenstein, paul manafort is suing him and the doj. he says that the special counsel's investigation is totally unward from the special counsel's individual mandate or initial mandate. then in the midst of all these new calls for him to step down, the attorney general has appointed 17, count them, 17 new interim u.s. attorneys will who will fill offices left empty last year after president trump asked for the resignations of 46 u.s. attorneys. to say there is a lot to talk about right now is a bit of an understatement. to talk about it, i want to
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bring in nick partner at dorsy and whitney and former assistant special watergate prosecutor and an msnbc legal analyst. tamra and josh are also back with us. let me pull up a piece of what that op-ed says. recused himself from the russia investigation, but it appears he has no control at all of the premier law enforcement agency in the world. it is time for sessions to start managing in a spirit of transparency to bring all of this improper behavior to light and stop further violations. goes on to say if sessions cannot address this issue immediately, then we have one final question meet needing an answer. meadow and jordan write, sadly, it seems, the answer is now. nick, this is fairly remarkable. what is your reaction? >> this is just one in a whole series of unsubstantiated allegations that the republicans are trying to stick against the wall to undermine the mueller
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investigation. they cannot point to a single leak that's come out of the mueller investigation or the department of justice. i think this is just like the one they made the other day about how the grand jurys in the district of columbia. because they're mostly comprised of black americans and citizens that somehow they can't be fair. again, they're just making things up and hoping something sticks. >> josh and tamra, these are two people who are close with the president, particularly mark meadows. is this an instance where they do something? >> the president says thank you very much for giving me this cover. but, certainly, the attorney general has recused himself. what that means -- >> the president doesn't like it. >> the president clearly doesn't like it. and that means that the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein is the one overseeing the mueller investigation.
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if the president gets a new attorney general, then that person isn't recused and then would over see the mueller investigation. >> in addition to these members of congress being align with the president, so is jeff sessions. he is one of the president's earliest supporters in congress and one of his staunchest defenders and the fact that they're going after him in an attempt to undermine the credibility of the russia investigation seems to show a level of desperation that has taken over for a lot of republicans. >> speaking of the department of justice and speaking of everything that is going on, you also have now this lawsuit against the doj from paul manafor i manafort, nick. when he was on capitol hill last month, let's listen. >> the scope of the original jurisdiction, as you know, is publicly set forth in that order. but the specific matters are not identified in the order. so, i discuss that with director mueller when he started and we had ongoing discussion about
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exactly what is within the scope of his investigation and any ambig uty of it, he included my permission to include that in the investigation. >> so, nick, what do you make of this manafort lawsuit given that? >> given that, this manafort lawsuit is completely frivolous. first of all, the regulations and sales provide for rod rosenstein to be able to improve any additional matters that come within mueller's investigation. and matters and i assume that has all been done and properly done, according to the regulations. i think this particular lawsuit is nothing more than a transparent effort to get around the gag order that the judge in the criminal case put into place to keep the defendant from talking about this lawsuit. if you read the complaint, there are lots of statements in there that can pbe taken in his defene of the lawsuit and the problem with the lawsuit. these are all of the things that
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are contrary to the gag order that is put in place. and i think what's ultimately going to happen is that those same lawyers who did represent man manafort in the criminal case and they'll find themselves in the crosshair. >> that is something that the prosecutors are sort of talking about outside of this, too. before you go, i want to ask you about jeffrey berman. this is something we talked about the attorney general coming out with the 17 internal appointments. appointed to the interim u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. i know you know that office because you work there. bermson a friend and former law partner of rudy giuliani. the president personally interviewed him for this job which, frankly, is not something that would typically happen. an office that oversees the trump organization. any red flags to you? >> trump personally interviewed him. i have never prior to this particular situation with trump
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ever heard of a situation where a president interviews appointees to be u.s. attorney. and, particularly, in this case, where trump has an obvious conflict of interest. where he's interviewing somebody who has jurisdiction over the entire area where trump does business in new york city and manhattan. i can understand why the two new york senators have not given their permission to let this go through the senate. >> something that we will be continuing to watch and we will have you back to talk about it. nick, thank you very much for being here. tamra and josh, you'll stick around. we'll go back to the bo bombshell new book with a rocky relationship between president trump and steve bannon. why it all fell apart and where it all goes next as the three cease and desist letters are out. i'm a road flare. laying here so traffic can safely navigate around this broken-down rv.
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woman: so, greg, it's a lot to take in. woman 2: and i know that's hard to hear, but the doctors caught it early. hi, blake! my dad has cancer. woman: and i know how hard that is to hear. but you're in the right place. man: and dr. pascal and her team, they know what to do. they know what to do.
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the doctors know what to do. so here's the plan. first off, we're going to give you all... (voice fading away) so, here's more on that fire and fury book we have been talking about. one thing he reiterates is this relationship between president trump and steve bannon. they're friends, they're not friends. now what? they're not friends for now. with us michael crannish, tamra
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and josh are back with us. thank you for joining us here. you were writing this morning about the relationship between the president and his former chief strategist and the president now saying bannon has lost his mind. you point out that they have known each uther for years. it was bannon that encouraged donald trump to run from basically the first time they talked. so, how did we get here to the point that donald trump says his guy is delusional, as you heard one of his allies say. >> you know, donald trump has a history of going back to his businesses in the '80s of surrounding himself with a few people who guide him. this is true of the casino business and he has always depended upon one or two people and family members. having someone close to him is extremely important. often doesn't know the details of how things work. so, he got to know bannon around 2010. and they talked on the telephone. bannon then in 2012 was running
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breitbar news and trump was considering running for president and they were talking on the telephone and that helped shape trump's view on things. he is not an ideology reform party candidate, independent candidate. basically trump winning, so, having someone like steve bannon with very strong, forceful views has been extremely important because he helped shape who trump is. >> he's malleable, idelogically, what that means for his personal relationships. i want to play a little bit of all the things donald trump said just in the last six months since august about steve bannon. >> i have a very good relationship, as you know, with steve bannon. steve bannon has been a friend of mine for a long time. i like steve a lot.
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i like mr. bannon. he is a friend of mine. i like him and the press treats him very unfairly. steve is very committed. he's a friend of mine and very committed to getting things passed. >> michael, what is it going to take, if anything, for donald trump to reunite with steve bannon, if it's going to happen. >> well, in his statement yesterday the president said that bannon was just merely a staffer and had very little to do with his historic victory. so, the clips you played sort of contradict what the statement said yesterday. so, the point of the story in this morning's "washington post" was trying to explain that this is not the case. the idea that he's played a little role, he's played a major role. i interviewed people who know bannon and the president very well. bannon was crucial to shaping trump's views and crucial to the strategy for winning the white house. one of the big questions really is since i mentioned the mind of ideology that bannon quote lost
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his mind. bannon helped him learn and understand. so, is he now going to get rid of those thoughts? for example on global warming. trump pulled out of the global warming treaty and others wanted him to stay in the treaty, including various reports jared kushner and ivanka trump and others in the white house. now push aside some of bannon's views or keep those views, even as he said he's no longer going to deal with bannon. >> there are a lot of people who have gone out of the trump orbit and then suddenly come back in. like, for instance, cory lewindowski fired, we see him at the white house all the time. >> he wasn't. we're also now in the second year where you have a lot of turnover and trump has to fill a lot of jobs. people watching bannon being thrown to the bus giving that a second look. >> michael kranish, thank you for joining us on the show.
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coming up next, talking on how president trump is switching gears and getting rid of his controversial commission on voter fraud and he's blaming democrats for derailing the effort. we're going to fact check that and talk with a former member of that commission about what they found and what this means for the next election, after the break. when i first got on ancestry i was really surprised that i wasn't finding all of these germans in my tree. i decided to have my dna tested through ancestry dna. the big surprise was we're not german at all. 52% of my dna comes from scotland and ireland. so, i traded in my lederhosen for a kilt. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at
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the president this morning is defending the strong surprise to get rid of his controversial voter fraud commission.
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check out his first tweet of the day. many mostly democratic states refused to hand over data from the 2016 election to the commission on voter fraud. they fought hard that the commission not see their records or methods and continues on to say as americans you need identification. sometimes in a very strong and accurate form for almost everything you do except when if comes to the most important thing. push hard for voter identification. fact check, guys. there are some things that are not true in the president's tweet there. for this, i want to go to kasie hunt on capitol hill. a lot more for democratic states that did not hand over the information that this voter commission fraud wanted. >> this commission was fraught with conflict, chris kobach, the kansas secretary of state involved in this to a degree that upset some members of the commission and, obviously, democrats, in particular from the beginning. some republicans, too, have
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really cast this commission as a way to suppress the votes of people who are traditionally democratic constituencies. minorities, et cetera. chuck schumer tweeting, the commission never had anything to do with election integrity. it was, instead, a front to suppress the vote and perpetrate dangerous and baseless claims and ridiculed from one end of the country to the other. this, of course, a debate about voter identification is one that we've seen in many state races, state elections. this was something scott walker, for example, dealt with in wisconsin and that is often turned into an argument about race. and about how exactly people have access to the polls or don't and what it means in these individual cases. so, this clearly a surprise decision, as you pointed out. now kicking this to the department of homeland security. and i would also point out that there are legitimate concerns about the integrity of american elections that the homeland
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security department are concerned with. they are come from russia outside the united states and that has been a focus, despite the president's refusal to acknowledge that that they have been working ahead of the midterms, hallie. >> thank you. more now on all of that with somebody who was a now former member of that commission. former ohio secretary of state and treasurer ken blackwell and served as the domestic policy adviser. ken, thank you for joining us. let me start and i truly don't want to be combative here but how is this anything other than a big waste of time? >> well, it wasn't a waste of time, holly. if you remember back in the spring of last year, the president disbanded two business counsels once he figured that it was marred in conflict and had become dysfunctional and he, in fact, disbanded the business council and what do we have now? 3% clip and we have dow hitting
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25,000. we have labor participation rates going in the right direction. i think what he understood, excuse me, what he understood as an entrepreneur you have a commission that is marred in controversy has, in fact, become the dysfunctional cause of the controversy, you move on. >> you are acknowledging this was dysfunctional. >> acknowledging that we have become dysfunctional only because we were tied up in five lawsuits. and, so, if, in fact, your job is to figure out what are the vulnerabilities in a system in a decentralized system that if we address them we strengthen the integrity of our elections. you go on and you figure out a way to do that. he has basically said we're going to let homeland security take a hard look at that, work with the bipartisan national association of secretaries of
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state and fix and fix our system. nobody believes that this was a perfect system. nobody disputes that our voter roles have been corrupted or are in need of fixing. nobody challenges the notion that we have vulnerabilities from international actors from china or russia, et cetera. >> well, the president has not been explicit on that final point as you make it sound. two things before we let you go. we talk about dhs taking this over. that is a central question. where does this go from here? saying it will go to the department of homeland security. no independent oversight, obviously, of how this is all going down. so, what is next if you really do want to investigate issues of voting here? >> well, i think -- >> which, by the way, is a small, tiny fraction of the votes that are happening. go ahead. >> i think what you can do is go ahead and invite johnson and the president homeland security leader to come and talk about
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that because jake johnson was the first to say that there were vulnerabilities in our system and we needed to take a look at how we in a decentralized system where elections, even though we have a national election day, we have 50 state elections under the management of 50 state election managers. so, getting people talking together, working on a bipartisan basis to deal with those vulnerabilities is what we need. and i applaud the president for -- i applaud the president for saying, why get involved in lawsuits and dysfunctionality when we can get it done another way. >> the reason there was a lot of concern about this is because people saw this as actual voter suppression. remember this started because the president made an unfounded claim that there was widespread voter fraud in this country that cost him the popular vote. that is the origins of the commission that has now been
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disbanded. that is the origins -- but let me just ask you. what accomplished over the last 11 months -- hang on one second. it's my show. i get to ask the questions. over the last 11 months, i just want you to explain to me what you actually accomplished? that's my question to you. what actually got accomplished over the last 11 months? >> i'll answer your question. what we basically have, in fact, accomplished, is that although we had only two meetings, we have now began to categorize and catalog the vulnerabilities within the system. the question now is how do we as people who represent 320 million americans, how do we come together and make our system stronger? we have got to get out of this when it comes to making our elections sound and fair. >> appreciate you being on the show. tamra and josh, want to thank
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you for being with us for the last 45 minutes or so. a new development out of the department of justice and legal marijuana turning out to be a life saver for some california towns in financial trouble. how is the weed business transforming empty greenhouses into a sea of green. we're talking about that as jeff sessions promises to go after legal pot.
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so just in the last hour we learned that the attorney general former president obama's hands off policy toward enforcing federal law against marijuana. jeff sessions is making the announcement today. with more on that, nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. >> hallie, what this means is the attorney general is ending the federal government's hands off policy toward enforcing the federal law that makes marijuana illegal. senior justice department officials tell us that sessions is rescinding the policy put in place four years ago under president obama. in essence, that said federal prosecutors would turn a blind eye to the growing legalization by the states and would step in only when there was some significant federal interest, such as distribution to minors or involvement of gangs or organized crime, sales beyond a state's border or growing
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marijuana plants on federal land. we're told sessions is simply ending that policy but not giving any new directives. he's not telling the u.s. attorneys to be more aggressive in the enforcement. he's leaving it up to them. now, jeff sessions has long said he believes marijuana is harmful and that no benefit can come from using it. something like this step has been expected. it now creates new uncertainty as medical and recreational uses have been blessed by a growing number of states. hallie? >> nbc's pete williams from our washington bureau. the latest news comes a couple days after towns and cities across california started issuing permits for the legal recreational sale of marijuana. pot for fun, basically, now allowed in california. now, some towns with struggling companies are hoping to turn their fortunes around. for his series, pot gold rush, jacob traveled to a few of the places. he's back with more on his week-long series. hey, pal. what'd you find?
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>> interesting this is going down the week the world's largest marijuana marketplace comes online. talking about $5 billion potentially this year alone in revenue related to marijuana in california. there are towns across the state that are really banking on that. not just to create marijuana millionaires or have pot for fun, but they turn around struggling economies in towns like desert hot springs. i went there to see how they want to use pot to reverse their fortunes. take a look. all throughout california, towns with struggling economies are hoping to turn things around by getting into the cannabis business. >> looking at the remains of greenhouses that were once thriving. it was when the industry was in great shape in the '90s. now, this is what's happened. this was once a thriving area, yet now most of those greenhouses are vacant. >> reporter: in the '90s, the u.s. signed a trade pact with columbia that devastated monterrey county's cut flower industry. now jeff brothers has taken over
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an abandoned greenhouse complex here. he intends to renovate it and convert it to a cannabis growing operation. he's not the only one. >> this is called fuji lane. it was once the powerhouse of the cut flower industry. now, as you look down, you'll see fancy fencing with barbed wire on the top. wherever you see that is a new cannabis operation that's come into being. we'll end up with close to a couple hundred greenhouse operations of size in the cannabis industry here. >> reporter: 400 miles to the south, desert hot springs, which went bankrupt in 2001 and has been struggling ever since, is hoping cannabis will revive its fortunes. >> what you're seeing here is in desert hot springs, they've zoned light and dust trails to be cannabis friendly. all the parcels have cannabis opportunity for cultivation. 30,000 square feet. >> reporter: carter has a consulting business in desert hot springs that helps companies open cannabis production facilities, like this new $7 million marijuana grow house.
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let's do the math. >> one room. >> one room. >> times 84. >> times. >> $2,000 a pound. >> $2,000 a pound. times 12. >> times each room will turn four times. >> four times. $8,640,000 of cannabis every year for this building. >> from your lips to god's ears. >> reporter: the cannabis industry already had an impact on one aspect of life in desert hot springs. real estate prices. >> my guess is that property like this wasn't worth much a couple years ago. >> couple years ago, they were probably purchased around $60,000 an acre. >> reporter: $60,000. >> now, you'd be lucky if you could find one for $900,000 to $1 million. >> reporter: talking $1 million an acre. >> undeveloped. >> reporter: in the middle of the desert. three years ago, this cost you
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$60,000 an acre. >> that's what i'm telling you. she's the ceo. >> nice to meet you. >> reporter: one of carter's clients, a group of marine corps veterans, is building a grow house to be staffed by veterans. you got your approvals for the facility today? >> yes. >> it's happening? >> yes. >> we're moving in plants this weekend. >> reporter: this is a veteran-owned cannabis business? >> marine corps veteran owned. >> reporter: both of you? >> yes. >> reporter: you're betting on these guys, that they're going to succeed, but you're not betting on everybody out here, that they're all going to succeed in the cannabis industry? >> they blend good business sense with a conscious and with cannabis experience. >> reporter: the odds in california's new recreational pot industry, as in any gold rush, are against you. >> from lessons we learned from other states, the failure rate is very high. 70% the first year will fail. >> reporter: so it looks like a gold rush, but it might not be for everybody. >> that's right. >> reporter: there you go, hallie. marine corps veterans. you have young people coming from around the country to go
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and work in the marijuana industry, to turn around struggling communities like desert hot springs, and monterrey county. it's not who you'd expect. it's them, i'd imagine, who are watching the news closely this morning. >> the sessions news which is what i wanted to talk to you about. as we've been covering california's new law on this show this week, i heard the question of what the federal government would or would not do. we kind of have an answer. what have you heard out in california talking to people, about what's happening back in washington? >> it's something that's built into their business model. they don't necessary -- they didn't know this was going to come down today, but they also expect -- remember, jeff sessions said in a congressional hearing not long ago, good people don't smoke marijuana. he is a rabid, anti-marijuana a activist. probably one of the biggest in the country. a lot of the folks are saying, you know what, if they crack down, we'll see you in court. >> jacob, always a pleasure to
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have you on. thank you. >> appreciate it. >> i want to bring back tamara and josh. somebody who is not happy about this sessions news today is senator cory garner from colorado, right, which is also where this is legal. he's tweeting about this. i'm checking on my phone. he's not happy with sessions. it directly contradicts what the attorney general told him prior to his confirmation. saying the justice department trampled on the will of voters in colorado and other states. i imagine gardner is not going to be the last of perhaps republican senators to say, leave it up to the states. >> cory gardner's tweet that followed that says he is willing to hold up any justice department nominee until jeff sessions goes back and keeps his original promise he said sessions made. >> he's not on judiciary, so it moons more of a headache than a stoppage, but still. >> still. unfortunately for senator gardner, a verbal assurance from the attorney general doesn't mean a whole lot. i think the response from the administration is going to be, look, it's our authority and our ability to decide how we're
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going to prosecute the law. if congress doesn't want this to be a law anymore that we need to prosecute, congress can change the law. so far, they have not. >> i want to talk about something else that's happening as we wrap up our show. 10:57. east coast in three minutes, we expect to get some pretty big news out of virginia. we don't often talk about these local sort of state races, but this one is really critical. taking a live look right now at what's beginning on going on in. in a couple minutes, they are going to pick out of a bowl -- i think that's the bowl in the middle of the table. >> yes. >> the bowl right there. pick the name of the person who will break a tie in the virginia state senate. here's the deal, it'll be david yacy or shell li siy simonds. there was a recount and it was tied. this is the lottery that is happening now. kind of a remarkable democratic moment here. it is a random drawing that is going to decide the balance of power in virginia. >> they are pulling film
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canisters out of the bowl. film. like we have digital cameras now. >> for you younger kids, not something you use in polaroids. >> if this doesn't go the way the republicans want it to, he's signaling he could ask for another re-count. this may not be the end of the road. >> we'll watch and see what happening there. we'll have you back soon. we'll end, as always, with today's big picture. a little setup before we do. there are blizzard warnings in effect for costal areas from the carolinas all the way up through new england. people are hit with snow, strong winds, dangerous conditions that left part of the east coast at a stand still. today alone, more than 3,000 flights have been cancelled. this brings us to the big picture and what's happening down south. we end on a lighter note. this 7-year-old having the time of her life, sledding down a
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hill in south carolina. it's a boogie board, not a sled, because it is south carolina. the south is getting record snowfalls. seven inches in this state. kids like finley have been taken advantage. i applaud you. as always, love to hear your thoughts on facebook, twitter, snapchat and instagram, or another busy news day. i'll see you later this afternoon. ms. ruhle, you got it. >> thanks so much, my friend, ms. jackson. i'm stephanie ruhle. my partner, ali velshi is off, and hopefully in better weather than this. it is thursday, january 4th. let's get started. >> explosive accusations from bannon in a controversial new tell-all book. >> there's zero chance trump junior didn't introduce his russian guest to his father. >> even if you thought this was not treasonous, unpatriotic or bad, expletive, and i think it's all of it, you should have called the


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